And the winner is … the Israel lobby

Related article: Israel Gives America Go-Ahead To Invade Iran

WASHINGTON – They’re all here – and they’re all ready to party. The three United States presidential candidates – John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Madam House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Most US senators and virtually half of the US Congress. Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. And a host of Jewish and non-Jewish political and academic heavy-hitters among the 7,000 participants.

Such star power wattage, a Washington version of the Oscars, is the stock in trade of AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the crucial player in what is generally known as the Israel lobby and which holds its annual Policy Conference this week in Washington at which most of the heavyweights will deliver lectures.

Few books in recent years have been as explosive or controversial as The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, written by Stephen Walt from Harvard University and John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago, published in 2007. In it, professors Walt and Mearsheimer argued the case of the Israeli lobby not as “a cabal or conspiracy that ‘controls’ US foreign policy”, but as an extremely powerful interest group made up of Jews and non-Jews, a “loose coalition of individuals and organizations tirelessly working to move US foreign policy in Israel’s direction”.

Walt and Mearsheimer also made the key point that “anyone who criticizes Israeli actions or says that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle East policy stands a good chance of being labeled an anti-Semite”. Anyone for that matter who “says that there is an Israeli lobby” also runs the risk of being charged with anti-Semitism.

All the candidates in the House say yeah
Republican presidential candidate McCain is opening this year’s AIPAC jamboree; Clinton and Obama are closing it on Wednesday. Walt and Mearsheimer’s verdict on the dangerous liaisons between presidential candidates and AIPAC remains unimpeachable: “None of the candidates is likely to criticize Israel in any significant way or suggest that the US ought to pursue a more evenhanded policy in the region. And those who do will probably fall by the wayside.”

Take what Clinton said in February at an AIPAC meeting in New York: “Israel is a beacon of what’s right in a neighborhood overshadowed by the wrongs of radicalism, extremism, despotism and terrorism.” A year before, Clinton was in favor of sitting and talking to Iran’s leadership.

Read moreAnd the winner is … the Israel lobby

400,000 Troops needed For Afghanistan

No, that’s not a typo. The outgoing US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan says it would require 400,000 troops to secure that country.

ISAF Commander McNeill has said himself that according to the current counterterrorism doctrine, it would take 400,000 troops to pacify Afghanistan in the long term. But the reality is that he has only 47,000 soldiers under his command, together with another 18,000 troops fighting at their sides as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and possibly another 75,000 reasonably well-trained soldiers in the Afghan army by the end of the year. All told, there is still a shortfall of 260,000 men.

Gen Dan McNeill is one of the straight-shooters of the US military, he says what he means and says it when it needs said. Four hundred thousand troops. As opposed to the less than 200,000 sent to Iraq for the Surge.

Worse, it costs the U. S. three times to maintain a soldier in Afghanistan that it costs it to maintain a soldier in Iraq. Consequently, the U. S.’s maintaining a force of 400,000 in Afghanistan would cost us nearly ten times what we’re spending in Iraq right now.

But as Brandon Freidman points out today, the alternative – what is happening right now – is that the US is losing on the central front of the poorly named “War On Terror”.

Read more400,000 Troops needed For Afghanistan

McCain: I’d Spy on Americans Secretly, Too

If elected president, Senator John McCain would reserve the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president’s wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight, according to a statement released by his campaign Monday.

McCain’s new tack towards the Bush administration’s theory of executive power comes some 10 days after a McCain surrogate stated, incorrectly it seems, that the senator wanted hearings into telecom companies’ cooperation with President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, before he’d support giving those companies retroactive legal immunity.

As first reported by Threat Level, Chuck Fish, a full-time lawyer for the McCain campaign, also said McCain wanted stricter rules on how the nation’s telecoms work with U.S. spy agencies, and expected those companies to apologize for any lawbreaking before winning amnesty.

But Monday, McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin, speaking for the campaign, disavowed those statements, and for the first time cast McCain’s views on warrantless wiretapping as identical to Bush’s.

[N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. […]

We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.

The Article II citation is key, since it refers to President Bush’s longstanding arguments that the president has nearly unlimited powers during a time of war. The administration’s analysis went so far as to say the Fourth Amendment did not apply inside the United States in the fight against terrorism, in one legal opinion from 2001.

Read moreMcCain: I’d Spy on Americans Secretly, Too

Newest McCain official: President has “near dictatorial powers”

McCain reaches into the most deceptive propaganda organ in America to staff the highest level of his communications apparatus.

Bill Kristol today proudly announces that one of his Weekly Standard staff members, Michael Goldfarb, was just named the Deputy Communications Director of the McCain campaign. Last April, this newest McCain official participated in a conference call with former Senator George Mitchell, during which Mitchell advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Afterwards, this is what Goldfarb wrote about what he thinks are the powers the President possesses in our country:

Mitchell’s less than persuasive answer [to whether withdrawal timetables “somehow infringe on the president’s powers as commander in chief?”]: “Congress is a coequal branch of government…the framers did not want to have one branch in charge of the government.”True enough, but they sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security.

As I noted at the time:

Until the Bill Kristols and John Yoos and other authoritarians of that strain entered the political mainstream, I never heard of prominent Americans who describe the power that they want to vest in our political leaders as “near dictatorial.” Anyone with an even passing belief in American political values would consider the word “dictatorial” — at least rhetorically, if not substantively — to define that which we avoid at all costs, not something which we seek, embrace and celebrate.

And the very idea that the Founders — whose principal concern was how to avoid consolidated power in any one person — sought to vest “near dictatorial power” in the President is too perverse for words. But that’s been the core “principle” driving the destructive radicalism of the last seven years, and it’s an extremist view that is obviously welcomed at the highest levels of the McCain campaign.

Kristol closes his boastful announcement by noting that the pro-dictatorial Goldfarb will return to the Weekly Standard after the campaign ends — “unless he’s appointed national security adviser in the McCain White House.” Somehow, McCain continues to be depicted in the media as a “moderate” and the like despite the enthusiastic support of our nation’s most crazed and unprincipled warmongers. But even more revealing is that McCain is now staffing his communications apparatus at the highest levels by reaching into Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard — one of the most deceptive propaganda organs of the Bush years. Does one even need to point out that there are few things more incompatible with one another than “straight talk” and The Weekly Standard?

UPDATE: Michael Goldfarb on waterboarding and other illegal interrogation practices internationally considered to be “torture” (h/t A.L.):

The Times indicts the Bush administration for exposing terrorists captured abroad to “head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.” Boo hoo.

McCain is a deeply principled opponent of torture and waterboarding which is why his new communications official’s view of objections to those techniques is “Boo hoo.”

UPDATE II: Last October, this is what Goldfarb wrote in arguing that telecoms deserve amnesty even if they broke the law in enabling warrantless spying on Americans:

[I]f federal agents show up at a corporate headquarters for a major American company and urgently seek that company’s officers for assistance in the war on terror, the companies damn well ought to give it as a matter of simple patriotism, whether the CIA wants a plane for some extraordinary rendition or help in tracking terrorists via email. . . . [T]o expect a company to resist a plea from the government for help in a time of war is ridiculous.

So, consistent with his President-as-Dictator vision, McCain’s new communications official believes that — as I wrote at the time — when “federal agents” come knocking at your door and issue orders, you better “damn well” obey — you had better not “resist” — even if the orders you’re being given are illegal, even if they’re designed to spy on Americans in violation of the law, and even if they’re intended to facilitate the torture of detainees. That’s what patriotic Americans do — they obey the orders of their near-dictatorial Leader, so sayeth the heel-clicking Michael Goldfarb. That’s a superb, and very mainstream, new addition to the maverick McCain team.

Glenn Greenwald
Jun. 02, 2008

Source: Salon

McCain Backer Hagee Said Hitler Was Fulfilling God’s Will (AUDIO)

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God’s behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a “hunter,” sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God’s will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.

Going in and out of biblical verse, Hagee preached: “‘And they the hunters should hunt them,’ that will be the Jews. ‘From every mountain and from every hill and from out of the holes of the rocks.’ If that doesn’t describe what Hitler did in the holocaust you can’t see that.”

He goes on: “Theodore Hertzel is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said ‘I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.’ So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the holocaust.

“Then god sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says — Jeremiah writing — ‘They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,’ meaning there’s no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don’t let your heart be offended. I didn’t write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.” (Listen to the audio below.)

The sermon, which was first posted by Bruce Wilson on his site, Talk To Action, adds another element to Hagee’s controversial stance on the state and history of Israel. It also may provide a new round of political headaches for McCain who has admitted that seeking out Hagee’s endorsement was a mistake, but still declared himself “glad to have” it.

John Hagee’s Ministries did not immediately return request for comment.

Since McCain secured the endorsement, both his campaign and Hagee have been pressed to explain a series of derogatory remarks the Reverend made about the Catholic Church, including his reference to the institution as “the Great Whore.”

Hagee has since apologized for those remarks. But his interpretation of the role of the Nazis could be harder to dismiss, in part because McCain and Sen. Barack Obama are expected to compete heavily over the Jewish vote come the general election, in part because McCain has said he admires Hagee’s commitment to Israel, but mainly because similar theories have found their way into much of the Reverend’s writings.

As Wilson notes, in his 2006 book “Jerusalem Countdown”, Hagee proposed the theory that “anti-Semitism, and thus the Holocaust, was the fault of Jews themselves — the result of an age old divine curse incurred by the ancient Hebrews through worshiping idols and passed, down the ages, to all Jews now alive.” He also wrote that “Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews.”

Hagee is considered, in many political circles, to be one of the most passionate and strident supporters of Israel. He has spoken at AIPAC conferences and leads the evangelical group Christians United for Israel. But his views of the country, while possibly shared by others in the evangelical community, can be, at times, startling. Holding to the belief that Armageddon will come to earth following the reestablishment of the Kingdom of Israel, Hagee has advocated an aggressive war against Iran and has opposed any Israeli military withdrawal from the West Bank.

McCain, at least in the public record, has sought to thread the needle with the Hagee association: distancing himself from the controversial comment while reaping the political benefits of the Reverend’s endorsement. Appearing on ABC’s “‘This Week” in late April 2008, McCain criticized Hagee’s past remarks on the Catholic Church, but said that, “I admire and appreciate his advocacy for the state of Israel, the independence of the state of Israel.”

May 21, 2008 01:24 PM

Source: The Huffington Post

State GOP Chair: McCain Like Jesus

Columbus — Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart said Saturday that the party’s presumed presidential nominee has a lot in common with Jesus Christ.
“John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross,” Everhart said as she began the second day of the state GOP convention. “He never denounced God, either.”

Everhart was praising McCain for never denouncing the United States while he was being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“I’m not trying to compare John McCain to Jesus Christ, I’m looking at the pain that was there,” she said.

By AARON GOULD SHEININ
Published on: 05/17/08

Source: ajc

(The little difference here is that all that John McCain has to offer are lies that eventually could bring him on the cross of truth, whereas Jesus has put his life on the line for truth and to demonstrate that there is no such thing as death which brought him on the cross. And unfortunately the truth got lost again and all we are left with is another Religion, that regards people as sheep and sheep get milked, fleeced, herded and slaughtered. Sounds familiar? Got a little sidetracked here. The only presidential candidate that probably knows the meaning of the word truth is Ron Paul. – The Infinite Unknown)

JOHN MCCAIN’S LOBBYIST CONNECTIONS TO DICTATORS, OIL REGIMES, AND CHILD ENSLAVERS THE WORLD OVER

Last week, two McCain staffers resigned after it was reported that they had performed extensive lobbying on behalf of the Burmese junta. However, Doug Goodyear and Doug Davenport are the not the only lobbyists on McCain’s campaign staff with ties to unsavory international figures.

Three other lobbyists, Charlie Black, Tom Loeffler, and Peter Madigan, and their firms’ clients, have generated at least $3.5 million in campaign donations to Sen. McCain over his career, according to Campaign Money Watch analysis of campaign finance data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (hyperlink: www.opensecrets.org). DCI Group, which employed Davenport and Goodyear, and their clients provided less than a quarter as much campaign money — $817,685 – to McCain’s elections.

Charlie Black, McCain’s senior counsel and spokesman, began his lobbying career by representing numerous dictators and repressive regimes

  • Black’s firm represented the governor of Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos. According to a 1985 report, the firm Black, Manafort & Stone earned $950,000 plus expenses for its work to provide “advice and assistance on matters relating to the media, public relations and public affairs interests.”1
  • Black’s firm lobbied on behalf of Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire, earning $1 million a year for his efforts.2
  • Black’s firm lobbied on behalf of Somali dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.3
  • Black’s firm represented Nigerian dictator Ibrahim Babangida, earning at least $1 million for his efforts.4
  • Black’s firm has represented Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich state “best known for the outlandish brutality of its rulers.”5
  • Black represented Angolan rebel and “classical terrorist” Jonas Savimbi, a job that earned him $600,000.6 “We have to call him Africa’s classical terrorist,” Makau Mutua, a professor of law and Africa specialist told the New York Times. “In the history of the continent, I think he’s unique because of the degree of suffering he caused without showing any remorse.”7
  • In recent years his client list has also included the Iraqi National Congress8, Friends of Blackwater9, and the China National Off-Shore Oil Corp.10
  • Since 2005, BKSH has received more than $700,000 in fees from foreign entities.11

Thomas Loeffler, co-chairman of McCain’s campaign, has represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia RESIGNED: Click here

  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid the Loeffler Group “a whopping $7.9 million from December 1, 2005, though November 2006 — the largest fee collected from a foreign government by any lobbying firm in 2006,” according to National Journal.12 The Washington Times reported that “Mr. Loeffler’s firm has received more than $10 million since 2006 from the Saudi Embassy and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”13 Much of this work was centered on gaining admission for the Kingdom to the World Trade Organization.14
  • Since 2005, according to the Washington Times, “the Loeffler Group reported more than $11 million in fees from foreign lobbying clients.”15

Peter Madigan, a leading McCain fundraiser, lobbies on behalf of the king of Dubai

  • Madigan has earned upwards of $800,000 to improve the United Arab Emirates’ reputation in the face of a class action lawsuit over the enslavement of boy camel jockeys.16

Click here to download the fact sheet (pdf).
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Read moreJOHN MCCAIN’S LOBBYIST CONNECTIONS TO DICTATORS, OIL REGIMES, AND CHILD ENSLAVERS THE WORLD OVER

McCain’s YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare

There’s no question John McCain is getting a free ride from the mainstream press. But with the power of YouTube and the blogosphere, we can provide an accurate portrayal of the so-called Maverick. We can put the brakes on his free ride!

Since we first released The Real McCain a year ago, our REAL McCain series has garnered close to 2 million views, with over 13,000 comments and tens of thousands more in petition signatures! Clearly, John McCain’s record is something the public wants to discuss, and yet the corporate media is doing NOTHING to present the truth. We feel obliged to continue countering the mainstream media’s love of McCain. And so we thought it was high time for a sequel: The Real McCain 2.

May 18, 2008

Source: You Tube

Bloomberg’s End-run Around the Second Amendment

“In other words, New York is a Constitution free zone. But then so is much of the rest of the country, thanks to Bush, who considers the Constitution “just a goddamned piece of paper.”

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In New York, the notorious gun-grabber Michael Bloomberg wants to censor the Second Amendment. “New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has moved from outrage to atrocity, said the Second Amendment Foundation, by asking anti-gun activist federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein to ban any reference to the Second Amendment during a civil lawsuit trial beginning May 27 against Georgia gun dealer Jay Wallace, proprietor at Adventure Outdoors,” reports PR Newswire.

But the “billionaire demagogue who considers himself so far above the law,” as Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, characterizes Bloomberg, wants to go after the First Amendment, too. Bloomberg wants a gag order slapped on the case. In “Mikey’s world… a fair trial is one in which a defense attorney is muzzled, and the defendant is already guilty until proven innocent. Bloomberg missed his calling. Instead of being mayor of an American city, he should have been the administrator of a gulag.”

Reports the New York Sun:

City lawyers, in a motion filed Tuesday, asked the judge, Jack Weinstein of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, to preclude the store’s lawyers from arguing that the suit infringed on any Second Amendment rights belonging to the gun store or its customers. In the motion, the lawyer for the city, Eric Proshansky, is also seeking a ban on “any references” to the amendment.

“Any references by counsel to the Second Amendment or analogous state constitutional provisions are likewise irrelevant,” the brief states

In other words, New York is a Constitution free zone. But then so is much of the rest of the country, thanks to Bush, who considers the Constitution “just a goddamned piece of paper.” Bush and his coterie of Straussian neocons need to get rid of the Second Amendment in particular because militarized police states don’t go far if people have guns. Come marital law, Bush and crew may want to begin with New York, Chicago, and D.C., where restrictive gun laws rule. Short of some draconian law, it will be hard going out here in the hinterlands.

Read moreBloomberg’s End-run Around the Second Amendment

GLOBAL ELITE GATHER IN D.C.

Trilateral Commission members want suffering U.S. taxpayers to shell out even more money

The Trilateral Commission-one of the three most powerful globalist groups in the world-held closed-door meetings right here in Washington, D.C. from April 25 to 28. True to form, those members of the media who knew about the meeting-or were themselves participants in the proceedings-refused to discuss what went on inside or report on the attendees. Luckily, AFP’s own editor, Jim Tucker, was on the scene to bust this clandestine confabulation wide open.By James P. Tucker Jr.

Luminaries at the Trilateral Commission meeting in Washington expressed confidence that they own all three major presidential candidates, who, despite political posturing, will support sovereignty-surrendering measures such as NAFTA and the “North American Union.”

“John has always supported free trade, even while campaigning before union leaders,” said one. “Hil and Barack are pretending to be unhappy about some things, but that’s merely political posturing. They’re solidly in support.”

He was referring to Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Mrs. Clinton, they noted, held strategy sessions as first lady on how to get Congress to approve NAFTA “without changes.” As president, they agreed, she would do no more than “dot an i or cross a t.”

Candidate Obama has not denied news reports in Canada that his top economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, assured Canadian diplomats that the senator would keep NAFTA intact and his anti-trade talk is just “campaign rhetoric.”

PETRIFIED ABOUT PAUL

While they are confident they can deal with any “potential president,” the Trilateralists paid huge tribute to Ron Paul in an equally large twist of irony, by expressing alarm that he is causing “significant future damage.”

They expressed concern that Paul’s rallies have attracted multitudes of young people who are getting “their political education.” They want Republicans to pressure Paul to drop out now and stop his education rallies. This assignment was given to Thomas Foley, former U.S. House speaker.

The reasons Paul’s “education campaign” strikes fear into Trilateral hearts are obvious. Paul would refuse to surrender an ounce of U.S. sovereignty to an international organization and TC wants world government.

Paul would immediately bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, Afghanistan and from 130 UN “peacekeeping” missions around the globe. TC wants to enjoy war profiteering and global power. Paul would abolish the federal income tax while the TC wants to pile on a global tax payable to the UN.

The formal agenda was loaded with everything Paul and American patriots detest: higher taxes, more foreign giveaways, more immigration, both legal and illegal, into the United States and “engaging Iran,” among others.

Read moreGLOBAL ELITE GATHER IN D.C.