Obama’s Catholic messaging compared to his Jewish messaging

Israel/Palestine
on 80 Comments

Yesterday NPR did an excellent story on the large number of Catholic swing voters in the upcoming election. Reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty said there are millions of swing voters wavering between Joe Biden’s old school Catholic message– vote on economic issues– and Paul Ryan’s new Catholic message– of affluence and conservatism. 

John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron, says Catholics have never been so polarized. The divisions between liberal and conservative Catholics have been growing for decades, but this election has thrown it into sharp relief.

But he says there are millions of Catholics who don’t really fit into either camp: the swing Catholics. For them, religious and social issues take a back seat.

“Those moderate Catholics tend to respond to the economic situation much more so than more conservative Catholics or liberal Catholics who tend to be strong partisans,” Green says

You’d think that with millions of Catholic voters swinging, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, etc., the Obama campaign would be reaching out to them all the time. But if you go to the Obama site, there’s very little for Catholics. Here’s the page of Catholic leaders for Obama. From their statement, emphasizing economics.

Catholics for Obama is the home for committed Catholics across the country who are supporting President Obama. We believe this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class…

Compare that messaging to Obama’s copious Jewish messaging. Yesterday the campaign announced a new group of Rabbis for Obama. Obama’s list of achievements at the Jewish Americans page is loaded with posts about Israel (there is no “achievements” tab at the Catholics page); and here are half a dozen videos about subjects like Israel and Iran (the Catholic videos are generic, Obama on faith).

The Jewish Americans for Obama page has a blog that gets updated pretty regularly with posts like this one:

Israeli leaders on the President’s support for Israel: “More than anything I can remember”.

Then if you go to the White House website, there’s a whole “pander page,” as MJ Rosenberg put it, aimed at Jews. I can’t find any page like that for Catholics.

But if Catholic voters can swing by the millions, why all this attention to Jews, who represent only a couple hundred thousand votes of swing? Well, for one thing, Obama surely figures that his general message will be appealing to the Catholics who care about the economy– so he doesn’t have to tailor his message. That’s true of most Jewish voters too. They’ll be moved, or not, by Obama’s overall message. Most of them are liberal Dems who vote on domestic issues.

But this is not about voters. The underlying reason for all this energy is that Obama is engaged in a dogfight with Mitt Romney over fundraising, and he’s worried about losing Jewish donors because of Israel. Let me quote Jim Besser from the Jewish Week (link is to our site; can’t get the publication’s link, apologies):

So why are Jewish Republicans spending millions portraying Obama as a threat to the Jewish state?

The reason is money. While Jewish voting isn’t very Israel-focused, Jewish campaign giving is — and especially the mega-giving that is playing a bigger role than ever in Election 2012.  Tarring Obama as anti-Israel, while not influencing many Jewish votes, galvanizes the growing base of wealthy pro-Israel givers and provides a platform for their generally hard-line views, one more front in the internal Jewish debate over Israel’s future.

Jewish Republicans aren’t indifferent to the possibility of picking up some extra Jewish votes, especially in critical states like Florida, but few are naive enough to believe there’s a chance of winning over enough to make a real difference in the final vote tally. Jewish votes — a drop in the huge electoral bucket — are much less important than Israel-focused campaign cash.

On a related note, I’m reading Jonathan Schneer’s The Balfour Declaration. Schneer says clearly what I’ve said often on this site: that the British rushed to compose the Balfour Declaration in 1917 because they were desperate to have world Jewry on their side in the First World War, and especially American Jewry. Schneer contends that this was an anti-Semitic misapprehension on the part of the Brits. Maybe it was a misapprehension (though certainly the Brits would have been aware of the role of American financiers in the Russo-Japanese war, a role described by Gary Dean Best in To Free a People, which describes the freeing of my own ancestors from Russia thru international leverage). But the point here is that political leaders believe that Jews have this power and act accordingly. Obama is now courting Jewish leaders out of this belief– and the voters can take care of themselves. Like it or not, this is a real aspect of American Jewish identity in 2012: we are perceived as having tremendous clout; and I think we do have it.
 

80 Responses

  1. flyod
    August 22, 2012, 9:54 am

    ” But the point here is that political leaders believe that Jews have this power and act accordingly. Obama is now courting Jewish leaders out of this belief– and the voters will take care of themselves. Like it or not, this is a real aspect of American Jewish identity in 2012: we are perceived as having tremendous clout; and I think we do have it.” Weiss

    absolutely

    • Krauss
      August 22, 2012, 12:41 pm

      Yes.

      And the irony of it all: if it weren’t for donors, Obama could do messaging which is much closer to his heart – and to the heart of most Jewish voters.

      All the polls I’ve seen mimic that of the 2008 race. Obama had about 67% of the vote going into October when he sealed the final votes. Maybe he’ll lose a few percentages since it’s a tough economy, but I don’t think he’ll lose votes on Israel except perhaps an odd one or two here or there.

      Just as Phil says: this all about the donors since they are neocons, even if Democrats, on Israel.

      And he needs that dough to reach the rest of the country.
      This is the power of money.

      Then again, I think the solution to the problem is overall campaign finance reform. Because you’re not going to get AIPAC out of the way, or the Penny Pritzkers, the Haim Sabans et al, if you don’t get Big Oil, Big Pharma and so on out of the way too.

      It works in tandem.
      Still, if you think about it, even if there’s a recognition on how ‘arrived’ Jews are as a group and part of the modern establishment, do Jews really carry that much weight in the American system? I’m thinking about it more recently and on Middle Eastern issues, yes, tons. But that’s because the Jewish state is.

      But on other issues? The Jewish position on health care is obvious, yet it has eluded political leaders for a full century. Obamacare is better than nothing but people have to remember it’s essentially the same plan Republicans offered in the last years of the Reagan era(specifically the Heritage foundation).

      On other issues, cap and trade, climate change? The Jewish middle is again very liberal on these issues but has progress been made? Gun rights? Abortion?
      Or take taxes. True, you have Jewish donors who are Wall St tycoons, Hollywood tycoons, Real Estate tycoons etc who want low taxes, but so do all tycoons, Jewish or not.

      Yet the Jewish establishment isn’t the same as the donors and they take quite liberal positions on domestic issues, because the base does.

      Yet on issue after issue I see the Jewish middle being hopelessly outplayed. In many respects we’re a far more right-wing nation in terms of law on the books today than we were just 20 years ago or even 10 years ago.

      True, we’ve arrived at the establishment but aside from Israel I can’t really see a specific ‘Jewish imprint’. Even on immigration, the Democrats under Clinton were ready to tighten the spigot but the business lobby, often Republican, said no.
      And Jews are actually much more conflicted on immigration than most think, including most older Jews. Polls have consistently showed slight majorities among Jews for tighter immigration laws.

      This is a random thought, of course, but it’s for all the socioeconomic power we’ve had, I can’t say we’ve been tremendously successful at political power. I’d vote for cultural power instead, that’s an area where we’ve had far more impact via Hollywood for instance or Jewish academics. Yet the political winds have nonetheless turned more right-ward decade after decade…

  2. pabelmont
    August 22, 2012, 10:31 am

    “we are perceived as having tremendous clout; and I think we do have it. ”

    Darn, such bad diction. True, there are a very, very few very, very rich men who call themselves “Jews” and who act to promote right-wing Zionism, but that is (again) very, very few people, and not “the Jews” or “the American Jews” or “us”.

    You’ve said it yourself — Jewish voting is independent of these very, very few bozos.

    The presidents of the big banks (part of America’s ruling oligarchy) may be Jewish, but act (when acting for the banks alone) as bankers, not as Jews, and they are very, very few, and very, very rich. FEAR THEM. But don’t call them “us”.

    Please.

    • Ranjit Suresh
      August 22, 2012, 10:51 am

      If they act simply as bankers (say as a Platonic ideal of generic bankers), then why is the U.S. threatening Syria, treating Hezbollah as a serious terrorist threat, imposing punitive sanctions on Iran and drifting towards war against that country?

      Weiss is courageous for broaching this subject. Incidentally, the Russo-Japanese war was momentous. Without the Japanese defeat of czarist Russia there would have been no 1905 Revolution. No 1905 Revolution and quite possibly no successful 1917 Revolution either.

      • Krauss
        August 22, 2012, 12:53 pm

        There would be. The 1905 incident wouldn’t have happened but it was a very minor regardless. It gets blown out of proportion because people like to rationalize the 1917 revolution with something to fall back on.

        Germany was long thought to be the center of the oncoming revolution, and not without reason, all the way up to 1917. And even afterwards, in the era of depression and hyperinflation the hope for communism was held out. Yet Hitler managed to mobilize the discontent far more efficiently. (Not that the Tea Part is Nazism in any way, but there is an analogue here to America post-bailouts where the right-wing populists managed to grab the anger far better and more efficiently than the leftwing populists, which will have disastrous results as we go on down the line).

        But yes, your note about the bankers are correct. Dan Loeb, Boaz Weinstein, Julian Singer and so on. All hedge fund billionaires, all are fierce supporters not only of Israel but a far-right version of Zionism.
        Loeb is even one of the chief underwriters of ‘ECI’, Kristol’s newest outfit.

        These small circle of donors also explain why neoconservatism rose to power within the Republican party. The explanation is merely banal: money and persistence.

        Even if the neocons have never been and to some extent not yet are part of the grassroots, they have the advantage of being funded by sympathizers. Non-Jewish rich conservatives tend to be Christian fundies (such as Santorum’s backer Friess or Huntsman Senior) who obsess over abortion or similar non-important issues.

        Kristol is so important not because his pen is so gifted, but because he is so gilded by his supporters who fund all his ventures. That’s also part of the reason why he’s a Republican. He’s liberal on abortion, gay marriage, immigration and many other issues. But the Republican party will give him two things: Likudnik positions on Israel and endless support for Wall St(which is his way of thanking his benefactors).

        The same is true of Jennifer Rubin and many others. All started out as leftists/liberals and went to the other side as the crass motivations changed.

        Same is true, by the way, with Dan Senor. He started out as a liberal and still holds those positions on a lot of social issues but then he caught the nationalist bug and then he worked at Wall St. So he switched to becomming a neocon.

        Once upon a time, of course, the Republican party was far more cautious about wars(but that was slammed as ‘isolationism’), it was far more even-handed(but those were smeared as ‘Arabists’) and it was ambivalent about Wall St, supporting Glass-Steagall among other laws.

        True, the Republican party has always supported other cartels, like the Oil Lobby, but it was nowhere near as extreme as it is now on taxes or on wars. And then the rise of Christian Evangelicalism cemented the move to the right on social issues(which upsets the Jewish liberals posing as conservatives because of Wall St and Israel, but it’s a price they’re willing to pay).

        This is why MJ Rosenberg teased them by saying that they were ‘passing’ in front of their gentile conservative colleagues, and he’s right.
        There are genuine conservatives within Jewry but they are often Orthodox and don’t tend to be so affluent and don’t tend to work on Wall St or move within the neocon cocktail circuit, always looking for the next war…

      • ColinWright
        August 22, 2012, 5:06 pm

        Krauss says: “…Once upon a time, of course, the Republican party was far more cautious about wars(but that was slammed as ‘isolationism’), it was far more even-handed(but those were smeared as ‘Arabists’) and it was ambivalent about Wall St, supporting Glass-Steagall among other laws.

        True, the Republican party has always supported other cartels, like the Oil Lobby, but it was nowhere near as extreme as it is now on taxes or on wars. And then the rise of Christian Evangelicalism cemented the move to the right on social issues(which upsets the Jewish liberals posing as conservatives because of Wall St and Israel, but it’s a price they’re willing to pay)….”

        This is actually one of the more disturbing trends.

        There seems to be a loss of any sense of responsibility. Maybe it’s just an illusion, but as you mention, the Republicans supported Glass-Steagall. Was it Dewey who ran against Roosevelt in 1940? Anyway, as I recall, he tacitly agreed that America should rearm, and whatever the temptations, he wasn’t going to fight Roosevelt on those grounds.

        I have the impression that there used to be a sense that whatever one’s ideological preferences or personal interests, that one really should put matters of obvious public interest first. One thinks of the Republican senators John Kennedy profiled: the ones who voted against Andrew Johnson’s conviction even though they knew that in doing so they were signing their political death warrant.

        How many would do that now? I’m sure those old guys of 1868 had all kinds of views we would regard as reprehensible — and I imagine they weren’t averse to tossing a contract someone’s way in exchange for a suitable consideration — but when they saw what should be done, they did it.

        We have now a kind of petty, populist morality, where people just don’t seem to think about the actual, overarching common good. Never. They will advocate anything at all if they calculate it will win them votes. Your basic politician now might take pride in the fact that you can’t pay him $10,000 and get that contract — but he is perhaps far, far more profoundly corrupt than his predecessors.

    • bo gest
      August 22, 2012, 1:42 pm

      “The presidents of the big banks (part of America’s ruling oligarchy) may be Jewish, but act (when acting for the banks alone) as bankers, not as Jews, and they are very, very few, and very, very rich.”

      Yeah right! How freakin’ convenient…nice game that.

      • ColinWright
        August 22, 2012, 3:11 pm

        ““The presidents of the big banks (part of America’s ruling oligarchy) may be Jewish, but act (when acting for the banks alone) as bankers, not as Jews, and they are very, very few, and very, very rich.” “

        We seem to be shifting from ‘there are rich Jewish bankers’ to ‘the presidents of the big banks are Jewish.’

        I was prepared to find out they were — but they’re not. The following isn’t scientific — I just ran searches for ‘worlds biggest banks’ and then for ‘US biggest banks,’ and then noted down whoever was listed first in the heirarchy. Those names that are in italics are those that clearly aren’t Jewish.

        World. Deutsche Bank AG — Juergen Fitscher (born in Germany in 1948, seems unlikely to be Jewish but I suppose it’s possible). BNP Paribas — Baudouin Prot (no details.) Industrial and Commercial, Shanghai — Yang Kaishang. Barclays — Marcus Agius (part Maltese). Japan Post Bank — Koji Furukawa.

        US. B of A — Brian Moynihan. Citigroup — Vikram Pandit JP Morgan Chase — _____ Dimon (‘Greek American.’) Wells Fargo. ______ Stumpff. (From Minnesota, grew up on a dairy farm.)

        Usually biographical entries make it clear if someone is of Jewish extraction. None of these seem to be Jewish — and a good many clearly aren’t. ‘Prot’ is the only one without any reason to think he isn’t Jewish.

        So whence cometh ‘the presidents of the big banks [are] Jewish’? As far as I can see, they’re not.

  3. Woody Tanaka
    August 22, 2012, 11:13 am

    These people are playing with fire. It’s not a far leap from “These Jews have the resources to obtain government office; they need to be courted” to “The Jews control government; they need to be destroyed.”

    • Krauss
      August 22, 2012, 1:56 pm

      True, but whose fault would it be anyway?
      That Jews are powerful isn’t a problem in of itself. And as I noted above, aside from Israel, I can’t see that much of a Jewish impact on our political life, not least since the country has moved far to the right in the last few decades on most issues(save perhaps gay marriage, but although there is Jewish support for that, I don’t see it as decisive since a lot of gentile white liberals support it too and gays have become a cultural/media force in their own right).

      The problem, as I also noted, is the whole lobbyist system set up to begin with. Jews perfected the game but we didnd’t invent it. The oil lobby was far ahead of us on that one, the military-industrial complex wasn’t far behind.

      This doesn’t excuse the neocons, far from it, but I still maintain that this is a part of a wider, systemic problem. Want to get rid of AIPAC? The solution is the same as for the oil lobby, big pharma, the farm lobby, the gun lobby, the military-industrial complex, even niche lobbies like the ethanol lobby(now in times of drought, they get their way despite the fact that it isn’t good for the nation).

      True, AIPAC’s acitivites are far more severe than the, say, ethanol lobby since AIPAC want war, it wants blood. But how many deaths isn’t the gun lobby responsible for? Over a decade, I’d be willing to bet quite a few. The Iraq War was favoured by neocons, but it was conceived by the oil lobby since Iraq is the only country left with significant conventional oil potential left. And there hadn’t been a war for a long time. Do you think it was a coincidence that Cheney worked for Halliburton and had very close connections to oil companies and the defensive contractors before he became a Vice President? Same with Rumsfeld, both non-Jews.

      In my mind, if you really resent Hollywood and contemporary American culture then Jews have to worry a lot more if that resentment becomes mainstream and people start looking at who are at the masthead of all those studios etc.

      Yet for all I know, most people like Hollywood despite the occasional rant.
      And how revolutionary is the ‘Avengers’ movie anyway? Even if you look at how Hollywood depicts cops or military it’s a big difference today compared to the 70s, for instance. Hollywood these days do patriotic movies with a constant barrage of pro-US military films(black hawk down, etc etc) and copkillers are demonized these days, not lionized. So even Hollywood has gotten a lot less radical.

      The only thing left is gay marriage, but really, the Jewish imprint there is substantial but far from primary. And if gay marriage is your #1 opposition issue, you’re likely to be an evangelical, which means you support Israel even more than most Jews.

      Ergo; ‘safe in America’ isn’t just a cliché.

      • Ranjit Suresh
        August 22, 2012, 3:16 pm

        You’re working hard on damage control. We’ve just come out of two decades of destroying Iraq as a nation, and while foreign companies like ENI, BP, and China National Petroleum are tapping their reserves, we’re supposed to believe that the U.S. oil industry is the prime mover here. I suppose the petroleum industry is also in favor of punitive sanctions against Iran, regime change in Libya, toppling Assad, cutting off Hezbollah’s funding, choking off Gaza, and stopping nuclear proliferation among Muslim countries.

      • ColinWright
        August 22, 2012, 4:49 pm

        Ranjit Suresh: “…You’re working hard on damage control. We’ve just come out of two decades of destroying Iraq as a nation…”

        Not to nit-pick — but this repeats a common fallacy of critics of our (admittedly majestically botched) intervention in Iraq: that it was preceded by some kind of golden age.

        When — exactly — was Iraq ‘a nation?’ I can’t think of anything after the sack of Baghdad in 1260 that would fit that description — and I know nothing after the eighteenth century does. So what ‘nation’ are you referring to?

        Broadly speaking, for the last three centuries, Iraq has been a thinly populated hell-hole, inhabited by groups usually engaged in murderous internecine warfare. When the Turks wanted to exterminate the Armenians, they simply sent them to Iraq.

        Even when we invaded, it was all too promptly demonstrated that there was no ‘Iraq.’ There were Kurds in the north, Sunnis more towards the middle, Shia in the South, and various smaller and hence still more vulnerable groups. None of them had any feeling that they had anything in common with any of the others, and even now, the place is rapidly subsiding back into it’s characteristic occupation of intercommunal oppression and slaughter. What ‘nation?’

        We can be criticized. Our attempts at terra-forming were indubitably puerile and poisoned by hypocrisy. However, and again, what ‘nation’?

      • MRW
        August 23, 2012, 12:06 am

        ColinWright,

        Where did you learn your history of Iraq, or what the word “Iraqi” even means or why they applied it? What a whitewash of a people. I’m no fan of wikipedia, but you can start here.
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Baghdad had a splendid medical center that was renowned outside of the country. I don’t know if it’s still standing (war) but its reputation was exemplary. Harvard doctors told me about it. Mesopotamia was the cradle of civilization. Saddam Hussein had the presence of mind in September 2002 to move some of the more priceless objects from their museum to the British Museum basement for safekeeping (the Brit museum made copies for them) as soon as he knew Bush Jr was serious.

        I remember pictures of Iraq and Baghdad in January 1991 when we attacked. Whoever said above that we destroyed the country for 20 years was right. It will take another decade before the real reason why we went to war is declassified. I hardly think it was for the oil; none of the oil companies wanted the instability, and Hussein was friendly towards us. We could have bought up every drop in Iraq with what we spent warring there. It was American imperialism led by neocons, and I posit that their reasons had to do with Israel, as Halevy told Victor Ostrovsky (who published it in the early 90s). Halevy told Ostrovsky that Saddam Hussein was a threat to Israel and they were going to take him down.
        But don’t let me be the source of US intentions. Listen to General Clark.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 22, 2012, 3:38 pm

        “True, but whose fault would it be anyway?”

        Ultimately, the fault would lie with those who act on it. But my point was, rather, that the US is fickle. There is a general move in society in a more humane direction, but don’t forget that people were put in internment camps and hung from Southern trees less than 75 years ago in this country solely because of their skin color and ethnicity.

    • ColinWright
      August 22, 2012, 3:17 pm

      “These people are playing with fire. It’s not a far leap from “These Jews have the resources to obtain government office; they need to be courted” to “The Jews control government; they need to be destroyed.”

      That’s vaguely analogous to ‘Spaniards always follow their priests — either with a cross or a club.’ Perhaps it’s true — although I also think that Jews themselves, above all, cannot tolerate the thought that they might simply be insignificant. Notice this piece — insisting that Jews are pivotal to the election. I have my doubts.

      • Mooser
        August 24, 2012, 3:42 pm

        “although I also think that Jews themselves, above all, cannot tolerate the thought that they might simply be insignificant”

        Where did you get a crazy idea like that?

  4. American
    August 22, 2012, 12:18 pm

    Hispanics are traditionally Catholic, big voting block now…..but they will go for the economic issues more than religion.

  5. Polly
    August 22, 2012, 1:02 pm

    Limiting U.S. campaign donations would hit the Israel-first beast harder than anything else.

  6. Henry Norr
    August 22, 2012, 1:34 pm

    I very much appreciate Phil’s effort, in this post and previous ones, to make the case that the pols’ pandering to the Jews is more about money than votes. We shouldn’t forget, though, that Obama et al. do have reason to worry about Jewish voters in the swing states, such as Pennsylvania and especially Florida. Sure, most of them will vote Democratic, but even a marginal switch of Jewish voters to the Republicans could determine the outcome in these closely divided states, which in turn could determine who wins the Electoral College.

    That said, I have a more important concern about the votes-or-money frame, because it omits another critical explanation for the pandering: Jewish power in the media. Raising this issue will bring on the accusations of anti-semitism even faster than talking about the money, but let’s face reality: Jewish families own much of the elite media (including the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, etc.). Not only in those outlets, but also in others owned by publicly traded corporations (the TV networks) and in the “public” media (especially NPR), Jews are hugely overrepresented on the reporting staffs, but even more in key editorial and management positions. And if you look at the Beltway punditocracy, it’s overwhelmingly Jewish.

    Probably only a minority of these people are hardcore Zionists, but I’ll bet virtually all of them are influenced to one degree or another, even if only subconsciously, by Obama’s abject courting of the Jews – even those who are Republicans are less critical because of it. Many if not most of them would certainly be bent out of shape if Obama actually put any pressure on the Israelis, or even expressed any criticism of them.

    • Nevada Ned
      August 22, 2012, 8:09 pm

      Henry Norr:
      I have a lot of respect for your intelligence and activism.
      Your general point is valid – that the occupants of many important positions in the media are Jewish, FAR FAR outnumbering Arab voices, who can be counted on the fingers of one hand. (Anthony Shadid, RIP).

      However…
      you mention the LA Times, which is owned by Mr. Zell (owner of the Tribune media group). The LA Times has at times criticized Israeli policy in ways that the New York Times, or the New Republic, would never dare to do. The LA Times has run opinion pieces by Saree Makdisi, a Palestinian intellectual (also UCLA prof and cousin of Edward Said). The LAT policy was the same before Zell bought the paper.
      So, in the case of the LA Times, Jewish ownership seems not to matter.
      Unlike the New Republic, where ownership by Marty Peretz has made an enormous difference.

      So sometimes ownership makes a difference, and sometimes it doesn’t.
      And I can’t explain when it does or doesn’t matter.
      Your thoughts?

      • Henry Norr
        August 23, 2012, 12:46 am

        Thanks, Ned. Certainly you’re right that “sometimes [Jewish] ownership makes a difference, and sometimes it doesn’t,” but I think we can very safely say – can’t we? – that on the whole Jewish ownership of so much of the media tends to help the Zionist cause. Not so much (I’d say) because the owners intervene directly in editorial decisions, though surely that does happen occasionally, but more because of the kind of people they’re apt to hire to run their outlets, and the people those bosses in turn hire for editorial positions, and the people those editors hire (and fire) as reporters, and so on.

        Put all that together, and the plain truth is – as I and many others can testify from personal experience (in my case at a paper that wasn’t Jewish-owned) – that people who don’t buy the Zionist line don’t last long unless they learn to keep quiet about it. By the same token, if Obama were to put any public pressure on Israel – even to suggest the obvious fact that attacking Iran is loony – you can bet he’d catch hell from a lot of the media.

        In the case of the LA Times, though I don’t read it regularly, I think you’re right that they’ve printed more criticism of Israel than most American papers, but I have the impression that it’s only on the op-ed page, and that their news coverage and official editorial positions are the usual pro-Israel stuff – am I right? And don’t they print plenty of pro-Israel op-eds, too – way more than the occasional Palestine-friendly ones?

        I guess it’s to Zell’s credit, in some sense, that there’s ever anything by Makdisi and such, and it does support your point that ownership isn’t everything, but I don’t think it in any way undermines the general point I was trying to make: that when the pols pander to the Israelis, they’re not after Jewish money and Jewish votes, but also the blessing of the Jewish opinion-shapers.

      • tree
        August 24, 2012, 3:37 pm

        From what I’ve heard of Zell’s “stewardship”, if you can call it that, it seems like its been both a moral and financial disaster, but he seems more interested in cutting down the news content of the LA Times, and laying off reporters, than in anything else at this point.

        From Harold Meyerson. “The LA Times Human Wrecking Ball”

        link to washingtonpost.com

        And a longer piece, reviewing a book by Jim O’Shea, called “The Deal From Hell” about the decline of the LA Times over a longer span, up to and including Zell’s takeover.

        According to Zell, “the eleventh commandment is Thou shalt not take oneself seriously.” His public posture was combative but laced with impish mischief; the gleam in his eye suggested he enjoyed being challenged. This may have misled Orlando Sentinel photographer Sara Fajardo, or perhaps she had seen the new employee handbook rewritten on orders of Zell. One of its entries read: “Question authority and push back if you do not like the answer. You will earn respect, and not get into trouble for asking tough questions.”

        In any event, there Zell is in Orlando, telling his staff about the necessity of making money, how that would be our top priority going forward. Fajardo did what none of us attempted with Mark Willes; she stood up and asked her new boss about his view on “the role journalism plays in the community, because we’re not the Pennysaver, we’re a newspaper.” Zell placed both hands on the podium and bent his elbows, as if he wanted to push it forward. “I want to make enough money so that I can afford you,” he said, his irritation mounting. “It’s really that simple. You need to in effect help me by being a journalist that focuses on what our readers want and that therefore generates more revenue.” Fajardo immediately broke in, “But what readers want are puppy dogs,” she said, as the courage drains from her voice. “We also need to inform the community.” Zell cut her off, his right hand gesticulating forcefully. “I’m sorry but you’re giving me the classic, what I would call, journalistic arrogance, by deciding that puppies don’t count. … What I’m interested in is how can we generate additional interest in our products and additional revenue so we can make our product better and better and hopefully we get to the point where our revenue is so significant that we can do puppies and Iraq. Okay?”

        The audience, some of whom applauded, might have been momentarily perplexed by Zell’s concept: That, like a kid who must endure being grounded before he can go to parties again, a newspaper would have to sell its very soul so that, at some undetermined point in the future, it might be allowed to go back to being a newspaper again. If anyone was busy contemplating the conundrum of Zell’s argument, he might have missed the day’s dramatic high point, which occurred when Fajardo turned around to sit back down. Zell had two more words for her. They were: “Fuck you.”

        Fortunately, it lives on YouTube.

        I watched the video of this event over and over. What mesmerized me was the sight of a man so unprepared for his come-to-Jesus moment that he had no idea it had arrived. Where Murdoch had his ducks lined up in a formation any dictator might envy, Zell had only his anger at everyone who had ever criticized him, at anyone who had ever doubted that accumulating wealth, by itself, was proof of ethics, intelligence, or general marvelousness.

        A week later, on February 7th, Zell came to visit the L.A. Times. Like any experienced public speaker, he knew to open with a joke. “The challenge is,” he said, referring to the newspaper, “how do we get somebody 126 years old to get it up?” This prompted nervous laughter from the crowd. Then, he delivered his zinger: “I’m your Viagra, okay?” Aware that the Sentinel incident was on our minds at his flagship paper, Zell addressed that issue right away. He did not name the photographer he had insulted, but he told us, “She showed me her ass before I finished answering her question. And if any of you show me your ass while I’m talking, I’ll say the same thing to you.” There was a moment while we in the Chandler Auditorium took in our new chief. That he thought this was an explanation for what had happened in Orlando was more telling than the incident itself.

        link to lareviewofbooks.org

        youtube video here: link to youtube.com

  7. German Lefty
    August 22, 2012, 2:35 pm

    You’d think that with millions of Catholic voters swinging, the Obama campaign would be reaching out to them all the time. But if you go to the Obama site, there’s very little for Catholics.

    The Catholics don’t want or have an own state. So, what could Obama possibly offer them? Anyway, I really dislike this pandering to specific groups. Politicians make contradictory promises to different groups and if they get elected, they don’t keep any of them. Totally dishonest. I have absolutely NO idea what Obama’s true convictions are. However, they don’t matter. What matters is that he’s a murderer. Don’t vote for a murderer!

    • ColinWright
      August 22, 2012, 3:23 pm

      German Lefty says: ‘However, they don’t matter. What matters is that he’s a murderer. Don’t vote for a murderer!’

      The difficulty is that if you don’t, you’re voting for Romney instead. If there were only two people voting, and I voted for Obama and someone else voted for Romney, it would be a tie. If I decide I’m ‘not going to vote for a murderer’ then Romney wins.

      My reasons for disliking Obama are almost certainly radically different from yours. However, rest assured that I don’t think much of him. Nevertheless, I’m going to vote for him. There’s no responsible alternative — the issues are too important to allow me to write in my dog this time.

      • German Lefty
        August 22, 2012, 5:57 pm

        My reasons for disliking Obama are almost certainly radically different from yours.
        Examples please.
        So, you think that a head of state should be allowed to commit mass murder?

        the issues are too important to allow me to write in my dog this time.
        Is that an idiom or did you actually write in your dog? How about Jill Stein?

      • ColinWright
        August 22, 2012, 6:27 pm

        German Lefty says: “Examples please.
        So, you think that a head of state should be allowed to commit mass murder?

        the issues are too important to allow me to write in my dog this time.
        Is that an idiom or did you actually write in your dog? How about Jill Stein?”

        Three quite distinct issues here.

        How my reasons for disliking Obama differ from the ones you presumably have.

        1. Obama is a fairly conventional progressive of the ‘working within the system’ persuasion. Outside of perhaps environmental issues, I support almost nothing he would do — not that it matters much, since he’s too ineffectual to do any of it. 2. As far as political ability goes, he is the weakest president we’ve had since at least Herbert Hoover and perhaps considerably before that. When he won, I actually briefly took the position ‘let’s quit bitching. We need to do something. Let’s do it his way.’ It turned out he couldn’t do it even his way.

        ‘So you think a head of state should be allowed to commit mass murder?’

        It’s irrelevant what I think a head of state should be allowed to do. I have a choice between Obama and Romney. I can cast my vote in such a way as to increase the chances of Romney winning or so as to decrease them. Since I think Romney would be far worse than Obama, I’ll cast the vote so as to decrease the chances of him winning.

        “Is that an idiom or did you actually write in your dog? How about Jill Stein?”

        I most certainly did write in my dog. 2000. Ralph the Puppy. Right there on my ballot.

        As to Jill Stein — or Ralph — unless and until it’s reasonably certain that Obama is going to win even if I don’t vote for him, I have no moral alternative but to vote for him. You accuse Obama of ‘mass murder’ — which is fairly obviously hyperbole. If Romney wins, you may wind up being able to make such an accusation without anyone being able to label it hyperbole. No thanks.

      • Keith
        August 22, 2012, 10:32 pm

        COLIN WRIGHT- “The difficulty is that if you don’t, you’re voting for Romney instead.”

        Bullshit! You only are voting for Romney if you actually vote for Romney. If you vote for Jill Stein, for example, you are voting for her, not for Romney. And if enough people do vote for Jill, and if that contributes to Obama losing, so what? Obama is screwing his base and getting away with it. Would he act this way with AIPAC? Of course not! Why not? Because they would hold him accountable! Does Sheldon Adelson say to himself, “Oh gee, if I don’t give Romney lots of money I’ll be voting for Obama?” Of course not. Your excuse for supporting Obama is an example of battered liberal voter syndrome. You want change? Then send the Democrats a message: you screw us you lose us. I would rather endure Romney for four years than send a message to ‘roll me over and do it again.’ Enough of this ‘Masochists for Obama’ crap, I’m voting for Jill.

      • ColinWright
        August 22, 2012, 11:10 pm

        “Bullshit! You only are voting for Romney if you actually vote for Romney…”

        Call it what you like — but you can either take actions that will make it more likely Romney will win, or take actions that will make it less likely that Romney will win.

        It’s up to you.

      • Keith
        August 23, 2012, 10:17 am

        COLLIN WRIGHT- “…you can either take actions that will make it more likely Romney will win, or take actions that will make it less likely that Romney will win.”

        You can attempt to hold Obama accountable for his actions, or you can continue to be manipulated by fear of some Republican ogre. Both Republicans and Democrats voting their fears, manipulated by Madison Avenue into voting against their own best interests election after election, each time a replay of the last, complete with shopworn rationalizations. I’m tired of the excuses. If you vote for business as usual, you are part of the problem.

      • American
        August 24, 2012, 2:33 pm

        @ Keith

        I did a write on in the last election also BUT…I wouldnt have if I hadn’t been 99.9% sure Obama was going to win anyway. My write in was just tossing a grain of sand in the machine statement.
        Yea we have to get out of the two parties lesser evils but that’s not going to do it.

    • marc b.
      August 22, 2012, 4:22 pm

      I have absolutely NO idea what Obama’s true convictions are. However, they don’t matter. What matters is that he’s a murderer. Don’t vote for a murderer!

      you’ve hit the nail of my ambivalence on the head, lefty, but romney’s choice of ryan is testing my resolve not to vote for the lesser of two evils.

      • German Lefty
        August 22, 2012, 6:03 pm

        you’ve hit the nail of my ambivalence on the head, lefty, but romney’s choice of ryan is testing my resolve not to vote for the lesser of two evils.
        There are more than just two parties. Vote for Jill Stein! Nothing will ever change in the USA as long as people keep voting for “the lesser of two evils”.

      • ColinWright
        August 22, 2012, 6:34 pm

        German Lefty says: “There are more than just two parties. Vote for Jill Stein! Nothing will ever change in the USA as long as people keep voting for “the lesser of two evils”.”

        This is superseded by the fact that if we don’t vote for the lesser of two evils, things most certainly will change. As Romney said, if he wins, ‘Iran’s going to know there’s a new sheriff in town.’

        I believe him. Completely.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 23, 2012, 9:13 am

        “There are more than just two parties.”

        Under the seriously screwed up American system, in the race for president, there are functionally only two parties.

        Because it is a presidential system where the executive and legislative branches are separate, and the vote for president goes to whoever gets the plurality, no other set up (be it three parties, or even multiple parties) is stable. I strongly suspect that this is something that could actually be proven mathematically. (Although I don’t have the skills in math and game theory to demonstrate it, myself…)

        Absent bizarre circumstances that show up maybe once a century (and which do not, at any rate, last very long) only a two party system can be stable. Third party candidates are doomed to failure or worse. Consequently, progressive American voters ALWAYS face a lesser-of-two-evils choice.

      • German Lefty
        August 24, 2012, 9:50 am

        This is superseded by the fact that if we don’t vote for the lesser of two evils, things most certainly will change. As Romney said, if he wins, ‘Iran’s going to know there’s a new sheriff in town.’

        If Romney wins, then that’s not because Jill Stein got too many votes, but because she got too few votes.

      • LeaNder
        August 24, 2012, 10:51 am

        Sean (McBride) tells me, German Lefty, you have a steel trap mind, and a more polished style in English than the average American. No, this is not verbatim, and I am too lazy to look it up.

        But here I find myself absolutely disagreeing with you. If I were American, I surely would vote for the lesser evil at this point in time. Besides I occasionally do so in Germany too, although I would have more party options than Americans.

        Do you feel all is fine and cozy on our own Western Front? Look it’s only a crisis of confidence, Romney surely will bring it back to the US. I am usually not a fan of Harper, but I would advise you to take a closer look at this. I have absolutely no doubt, Romney will immediately stop any however slow developments in the right direction.

        And now I am taking a look at your larger argument in context, admittedly I only did this very cursorily.

      • German Lefty
        August 24, 2012, 12:53 pm

        @ LeaNder:

        Sean (McBride) tells me, German Lefty, you have a steel trap mind, and a more polished style in English than the average American. No, this is not verbatim, and I am too lazy to look it up.
        Yeah, I remember that Sean wrote something like this. However, I am doubtful about whether I deserve all his praise.

        But here I find myself absolutely disagreeing with you. If I were American, I surely would vote for the lesser evil at this point in time.
        The thing is that Obama is a murderer. And that’s a clear disqualifier. He’s a criminal and belongs behind bars, not in the Oval Office. There are absolutely no political achievements that can outweigh murder. Imagine that people in Nazi Germany had said, “I am going to vote for Hitler, because he’s a good politician, mass murder aside.” Now, I am not saying that Obama is as evil as Hitler. However, just like Hitler, Obama is a head of state who murders people. And with that, he has clearly crossed the line. I could not vote for such a person and still look at myself in the mirror afterwards.
        Also, I get the impression that Muslims have, in a way, become the new Jews. They are demonised and there is this mentality of “Let’s kill them before they take over our country.” For example, Obama strongly condemned the killing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria as a “barbaric terrorist attack”. At the same time, he doesn’t mind killing innocent Muslims by drone strikes. That’s a majorly disturbing double standard. Apparently, he considers the lives of Muslims much less valuable than the lives of non-Muslims. And that’s the president of a nation that prides itself on statements like “All men are created equal.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
        See also here: link to electronicintifada.net

        Besides I occasionally do so in Germany too, although I would have more party options than Americans.
        I have to admit that I have done this, too. I voted for the Social Democrats to prevent the Christian Democrats from winning. However, the Social Democrats haven’t murdered anyone.
        In principle, there’s is nothing wrong with voting for the lesser evil. Actually, voting for any party constitutes a compromise, because there is no party whose platform you completely agree with. However, in case of Obama and his Democrats, the lesser evil is simply too evil to vote for in good conscience.

        I hope you understand me better now. By the way, how could you add a pic to your profile?

      • German Lefty
        August 24, 2012, 1:51 pm

        @ Woody:
        only a two party system can be stable.
        Why that? What about a government coalition?

      • LeaNder
        August 24, 2012, 2:24 pm

        I hope you understand me better now. By the way, how could you add a pic to your profile?

        Understanding better? Not really, maybe that you are young? Concerning how to add a pic to my profile, check where my image leads you, that’s how I found out.

        concerning the more interesting aspect of your reply, I’d suggest you read Gil Anidjar’s Semites to get a bit of historical perspective.

        Concerning your response below, yes, I am a non-practicing Catholic, but ultimately it does not matter. In this respect, I would advise you to return to the German 19th century especially Bismarck’s anti-Catholic laws, yes there weren’t only anti-Socialist laws for a specific reason.

        But now I have to retire.

      • American
        August 24, 2012, 2:26 pm

        “Under the seriously screwed up American system, in the race for president, there are functionally only two parties.”…Woody

        True.
        But I think all the time about the fact that 45% of US voters are *registered as independent or unaffiliated these days.
        That shows the level of disgust with both major parties.
        But, unless a third party of some kind can find a candidate well known enough, with broad popular appeal enough to overcome the media, and one not as economically extreme as Ron Paul, it won’t happen.
        And, this 45% of unaffiliated is diverse and isn’t *organized, so how they organize to go find that candidate I don’t know.
        If I were looking a candidate for a ‘third way’ to overcome those media and other obstacles I’d look around Hollywood for someone like a popular Reagan figure, one known to be involved or interested in politics. A Clooney or similar figure, they’d have a hell of a already built in campaign team.

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 2:55 pm

        German Lefty says: “…If Romney wins, then that’s not because Jill Stein got too many votes, but because she got too few votes.”

        …and if everyone just started acting different tomorrow, we could disband all police forces, trust people to drop their money in the till at the store, and leave our doors unlocked.

        However, I don’t think they’re going to start acting different, and when I go out, I’ll continue to lock the door. Similarly, I don’t think Jill Stein is going to get a hundred million votes, and so I’ll think about what I should do if she doesn’t.

        …and so I should vote for Obama. Since I don’t want Romney to become president.

        You are arguing that we should act as if the lion will lie down with the lamb — if only we pretend he will. Well, I don’t think so, and I’ll act on the assumption that he’s not going to.

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 3:03 pm

        American says: “If I were looking a candidate for a ‘third way’ to overcome those media and other obstacles I’d look around Hollywood for someone like a popular Reagan figure, one known to be involved or interested in politics. A Clooney or similar figure, they’d have a hell of a already built in campaign team.”

        This is an attractive but probably disastrous idea. To be an effective politician — and still more so, to be an effective national leader — one needs to have a very special skill set. One needs to be able to cajole, bully, seduce, rally, and generally herd everyone to where one wants to go. One thinks of the earlier Roosevelt’s ‘bully pulpit’, and the later Roosevelt’s ‘tame Republicans’ and his fireside chats, of Lyndon Johnson’s ‘I don’t trust a man unless I’ve got his pecker in my pocket.’

        As Diaz said to Madera, ‘senor, to govern Mexico a man must be more than honest.’

        We don’t want some actor up there who has fine ideas but no idea of how to get 51 senators to say ‘yes’ at the same time. We are going to want an experienced, savvy politician. That’s what all our most successful presidents have been. People like Lincoln aren’t born. They learn their trade — and that takes a while.

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 3:26 pm

        In this connection, note that even the one actor — Ronald Reagan — practiced on California first. He was governor here.

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 3:33 pm

        German Lefty: “The thing is that Obama is a murderer. And that’s a clear disqualifier. He’s a criminal and belongs behind bars, not in the Oval Office. There are absolutely no political achievements that can outweigh murder. Imagine that people in Nazi Germany had said, “I am going to vote for Hitler, because he’s a good politician, mass murder aside.””

        For this analogy to work, Hitler would need to be running against someone who was worse still.

        It would be more to the point to look at Hindenburg — specifically, Hindenburg when he ran against Hitler in 1932 and won. He won because Social Democrats voted for him.

        Of course Hindenburg was a rock-ribbed, monarchical conservative whose political ideas were positively antediluvian — basically, what’s good for East Prussian landowners is good for the country, if I recall aright. But the Social Democrats voted for him anyway — because the alternative was Hitler.

        You would argue they should have voted for someone exactly to their taste. Of course, that would have meant Hitler would have come to power a year earlier and with the presidency already in hand — but that’s what you would advocate.

        No thanks. I’ll vote for Hindenburg.

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 3:39 pm

        German Lefty says: “If Romney wins, then that’s not because Jill Stein got too many votes, but because she got too few votes.”

        No doubt. And since Jill Stein most assuredly will get too few votes, Romney will win.

        Therefore, I will vote for Obama. I don’t want to see Romney win.

      • Mooser
        August 24, 2012, 3:52 pm

        So Obama is a murderer, but now Romney should get a chance to take over the murderer-in-Cheif position?
        You seem to be under the illusion that the military in America is under civilian control. If Romney wins, he simply picks up, as far as the murdering goes, where Obama left off. Our military, which runs its own foreign policy (the rest of the foreign-policy appuratus just exists to make excuses for it, or cover for it.) wil continue on its merry way. Perhaps Romney won’t avail himself of the Tuesday after noon victim-picking sessions, but I don’t see how he can, since Obama has set the precedent. But if either of them really tries to restrain the military in any way, they will pay for it.

      • German Lefty
        August 24, 2012, 4:23 pm

        @ ColinWright:

        …and so I should vote for Obama
        Your post reminded me of the saying, “Wer mit der Herde geht, kann nur den Ärschen folgen.” (He who goes with the herd can only follow the asses.)

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 24, 2012, 5:06 pm

        “No doubt. And since Jill Stein most assuredly will get too few votes, Romney will win.

        Therefore, I will vote for Obama. I don’t want to see Romney win.”

        The beauty of living in a super-blue state: I can vote my conscience without it hurting my conscience.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 24, 2012, 5:09 pm

        “No thanks. I’ll vote for Hindenburg.”

        Very insightful, Colin. And a damn shame that Hindenburg wasn’t in better health or 10 years younger.

      • German Lefty
        August 24, 2012, 5:10 pm

        @ ColinWright:

        You would argue they should have voted for someone exactly to their taste. Of course, that would have meant Hitler would have come to power a year earlier and with the presidency already in hand — but that’s what you would advocate.

        I get what you are saying. However, you have to consider that this is history. Society should be more evolved now.
        Wasn’t it the USA that taught Germany, the country with the murdering head of state, a lesson on human rights? Therefore, I would expect the USA to be more civilised and respecting of human rights.

      • German Lefty
        August 24, 2012, 5:23 pm

        @ Mooser:
        I see. The USA is a lost cause.

      • Mooser
        August 24, 2012, 5:43 pm

        “I see. The USA is a lost cause.”

        When an adventurist military of a country can have its adventures ratified by the government in advance, or even as policy,instead of retroactively, that country is even worse off than Japan during “Manchurian Incident” times.
        Yes, the US might very well be a lost cause, in that sense. Got no argument with that.

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 6:41 pm

        German Lefty: “…I get what you are saying. However, you have to consider that this is history. Society should be more evolved now…”

        There you are. It is foolish to work on the basis of what ‘should be.’ One has to work on the basis of what is. One can work to bring about what ‘should be’ — but it’s simply pointless to work as if it in fact is.

        …and ditto for what the US ‘should be.’ We have to work with what it is — for better and for worse. Mostly worse the last twenty years or so — but going into denial about that won’t help.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 24, 2012, 7:28 pm

        “I get the impression that Muslims have, in a way, become the new Jews”
        —————————————————————————————————————–
        Look Lefty:
        The German Jews didn’t set the Reichstag (parliament) on fire in 1933.
        But it were Arab Muslims who took down the WTC in New York in 2001.

        Every political analyst of the Middle East knows that Al Quaida (and its mass murder of WTC employees) was at least in part a response to America’s unjust support of Israel. – But Al Quaida’s threat to the US was and is real, whereas the Jew’s threat to Germany was unreal. That’s a small difference.
        And I have to add: There is some unspoken Muslim support for Al Quaida.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 24, 2012, 9:27 pm

        Lefty,
        you are carrying your moral flag too high – and teaching the Americans.
        Germany weren’t what it is after WW II – if it weren’t for the Americans.
        (And if it weren’t for the Americans YOU would still be in Communism.)

      • RoHa
        August 24, 2012, 11:47 pm

        (He who goes with the herd can only follow the asses.)

        A better translation would be “He who goes with the herd can only follow the arses.” It makes it clear that the German is not talking about donkeys.

      • American
        August 25, 2012, 12:12 am

        I sort like..

        If you’re not the lead dog the view never changes.
        And
        You can’t soar like a eagle if you’re surrounded by turkeys.

      • German Lefty
        August 25, 2012, 4:18 pm

        @ Klaus:
        But Al Quaida’s threat to the US was and is real, whereas the Jew’s threat to Germany was unreal. That’s a small difference.
        Right. That’s a difference. Therefore I said “in a way”.
        However, it is false to conclude that ALL Muslims are terrorists, just because SOME of them are. Equating terrorism with Islam is islamophobic, just like equating Zionism with Judaism is anti-Semitic. Nothing justifies preemptive killing, oppression or dispossession of Muslims. That’s unjust persecution.

        you are carrying your moral flag too high
        I don’t carry any moral flag. I complain about human rights violations.

        Germany weren’t what it is after WW II – if it weren’t for the Americans.
        1) So what? Does that mean that they should now be allowed to murder innocent people? I don’t understand your logic.
        2) You can’t know what Germany would be like now if the USA hadn’t interfered. Perhaps it would have been better.
        3) What happened in Germany before I was born has nothing to do with me. Therefore, I am not indebted to the USA.

        And if it weren’t for the Americans YOU would still be in Communism.
        1) Really? Why that?
        2) One could also blame the USA for not having prevented communism.
        3) Communism doesn’t sound all that bad.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 25, 2012, 5:09 pm

        Lefty
        “Communism doesn’t sound all that bad.” – Yes, when you read it.

        But YOU would probably be in jail for carrying your human rights flag high.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 25, 2012, 8:07 pm

        Lefty
        “What happened in Germany before I was born has nothing to do with me.
        Therefore, I am not indebted to the USA.”
        ————————————————————–
        On principle I agree with you. – Germany should decide present time on political matters, whether something is NOW politically reasonable or not.

        But you somehow don’t get the idea that we all inherited Germany’s past.
        To put it simple: I encountered people – even in Israel – who spoke admiringly of BMW cars. – Should I have said: ‘I have nothing to do with BMW cars, they were engineered before I was born’? Or Kant or Leibniz or the Bratwurst?

      • American
        August 24, 2012, 2:37 pm

        “Don’t vote for a murderer!”

        LOL..yea, vote for the other murderer by not voting for the first murderer.
        Yea, we’re trapped but we can ‘t get out of it by gnawing our leg off.

    • LeaNder
      August 24, 2012, 11:14 am

      The Catholics don’t want or have an own state. So, what could Obama possibly offer them? Anyway, I really dislike this pandering to specific groups. …

      What a lot of hot air, what are you, a single issue guy?

      Besides what about the Vatican, it has state rights, no? And its power reaches far beyond it due to all the Catholic people it controls to a greater or lesser extend. With the obvious exceptions. Ever noticed the GOP party’s strategy to reach out to Evangelical leaders, why do you think they do?

      Besides what is your political agenda beneath your screen name?

      • German Lefty
        August 24, 2012, 1:28 pm

        @ LeaNder:

        Wow, why so aggressive? Are you a Catholic?

        What a lot of hot air, what are you, a single issue guy?
        I am neither a single-issue person nor a guy.

        Besides what about the Vatican, it has state rights, no?
        Right. I totally forgot about Vatican City. However, that’s not comparable to Israel. I don’t think that Catholics actually care about Vatican City. Also, there’s no Vatican Lobby in the USA and nobody claims that Vatican City is the homeland of all Catholics.

        Ever noticed the GOP party’s strategy to reach out to Evangelical leaders, why do you think they do?
        Evangelicals are different from Catholics. They are much more extreme in their religious beliefs and want to turn the USA into a Christian country.

        Besides what is your political agenda beneath your screen name?
        Have a look at my profile. If you want to know anything specific, then ask me. I chose to include the term “Lefty” in my screen name, because I feared that otherwise the people here could mistake me for an Israel-hating neo-Nazi.

      • ColinWright
        August 24, 2012, 3:23 pm

        LeaNder says: ‘…Besides what about the Vatican, it has state rights, no? And its power reaches far beyond it due to all the Catholic people it controls to a greater or lesser extend…’

        What I think is more relevant is that (a) I’m not sure Catholics as a group have a different agenda than Americans as a whole, and (b) Catholics are rather diffuse. Polish Catholics, for example, don’t necessarily feel all that akin to Filipino Catholics. Obviously, there are no absolutes here, but while one could say American Jews are a group with differences, when it comes to American Catholics it’s more a matter of otherwise separate groups with a point in common.

        So it probably wouldn’t be particularly useful — or even possible — to pander to Catholics as a group. They’re not a group. What are we going to do? Sell the Pope F-16’s? A Polish Catholic might be happier if we sold the F-16’s to Poland, while a Mexican Catholic might actually prefer a set of citizenship papers for his cousin.

      • German Lefty
        August 24, 2012, 3:44 pm

        What I think is more relevant is that (a) I’m not sure Catholics as a group have a different agenda than Americans as a whole, and (b) Catholics are rather diffuse. […] So it probably wouldn’t be particularly useful — or even possible — to pander to Catholics as a group. They’re not a group.

        This is what I had in mind when I wrote, “The Catholics don’t want or have an own state. So, what could Obama possibly offer them?” US Catholics don’t have a Catholic-specific political goal, unlike Jewish (Zionist) donors or evangelical voters.

      • LeaNder
        August 25, 2012, 12:22 pm

        Colin, when I was younger I basically believed in the straightforward evolutionary path of mankind, like Lefty, in spite of… I was deeply puzzled when I first encountered different concepts European historians suggested, like waves or circles. I am aware of similar concepts in other cultures, mind you.

        My comparison or parallel, if you like, was obviously deficient, but isn’t every one necessarily to a minor or larger extend?

        I give some random remarks from the top of my head, in trying to circle why I may have responded to Lefty’s argument the way I did. Excuse me if it feels like prevarications or as an avoidance to simply answer your question.

        Do you think that Bismarck was simply a paranoid, or that the Kulturkampf was a real political struggle? Do you think comparable struggles could never happen again, with the exception of the Jews and their quite possibly anachronistic state? What about Pakistan? What about the idea that paragons create copycats? Impossible?

        In legal classes several decades back for a specialized diploma, a law prof confronted me with the for me then very peculiar notion that the state had to remain vigilant concerning special laws or legal structures associations and clubs were allowed to give themselves. I can’t put this better at the moment. … The State within the State idea? Basically? Maybe not only relevant concerning religion?

        The German scholar Jan Assman claims religions have two basic rules, one has to be carefully watched, the other cannot be given up ever:

        a) to fight the other
        b) to care about the helpless or needy

        He caused quite a bit of a controversy with this and/or related statements about religion generally.

        Last but not least, yes I think it makes sense, if I call myself secular Catholic analog to the term secular Jew. I makes sense, because it would be close to impossible for me to decide to what extend e.g. my anti-death-sentence-position may in fact be based on my earliest ethical training, which was Catholic, even if I consider my mother’s non-religious humanitarian eduction more important. And yes, this position could theoretically move me politically, were I given a chance to vote against it, just as on other issues, although quite possibly not on abortion. Although not on abortion… I’ll cut a longer comment here about my own experience in this context, in a nutshell, I am not 21 anymore and the handling by the doctor was revolting, and it admittedly haunted me in a very surprising way decades later.

        I consider the issue about the Israeli state and thus a different kind of support from other religions not irrelevant, but find it difficult to ignore the history behind its creation, and thus secondary not primary in the larger context, which may well have to do with the acceptance of my country’s responsibility for what happened.

        I met people from the ME that told me Hitler did the right thing, as Marc Ellis writes in his essay on Jewish reeducation. This shock remains as a basic warning, I can’t help.

        Concerning the fact that Jews may not be as diverse as other groups on the state issue, I would advise you to look at Marc Ellis latest argument, that they have been re-educated to agree on the issue for a time. Consider whoever thought fit to do so had some of the best imaginable argument served to her/him on a silver platter.

        I am gone for a longer time again, I can’t promise it will be forever, I realized. I surely will watch Mooser occasionally.

  8. marc b.
    August 22, 2012, 4:17 pm

    ‘christianity’ as a political and economic force may be evolving, leaving the muck inhabited by know-nothing christian zionists and creationists, to something a bit more ambitious and sophisticated. (Hats off to the Financial Times of London, despite it’s ideological biases, one of the few remaining serious journalistic enterprises.)

    Silicon Valley, the epicentre of the global technology industry, is ruled by rationality and science. Data drives decisions, computer code solves problems. And yet there is a strong current of faith that permeates everything – an extreme idealism that motivates entrepreneurs, a staunch belief among engineers that technology can cure the world’s ills and contribute to the progress of humanity.

    Sometimes that belief is drawn directly from a Christian teaching. But rarely are such values expressed in the boardroom or on the demo stage. Getting the job done is paramount in Silicon Valley, so religious believers often keep quiet about their faith in public forums, for fear of alienating co-workers or customers, says Jan English-Lueck, a professor of anthropology at San José State University. “Dogmatic faith would get in the way of good work relationships,” she says, “and that is the true sin in Silicon Valley.” But within Christian circles, a shared faith can also turn into a powerful business alliance. Christians find each other at informal prayer groups at Google and Facebook, and at fellowship gatherings for entrepreneurs, forming social bonds that segue back to the office.

    “There is a network of people who are Christian that help each other in the workplace,” English-Lueck says. “In Minnesota, you wouldn’t find people so openly and freely drawing on any domain in their lives to create a work relationship. There would be a boundary that you don’t exploit your religious network. That’s not the idea in Silicon Valley: it’s not exploiting, it’s leveraging.”

    the article goes on to cite statistics that in santa clara county, the heart of silicon valley, a full 40-plus per cent of residents are affiliated with an organized religion, most of them being catholic and evangelical.

    this will be one of the new ‘kinship networks’, along with those of various asian, hispanic and ME (non-israeli) ethnicities.

    link to ft.com

    • ColinWright
      August 22, 2012, 6:38 pm

      “the article goes on to cite statistics that in santa clara county, the heart of silicon valley, a full 40-plus per cent of residents are affiliated with an organized religion, most of them being catholic and evangelical.”

      Goes to show what statistics are worth.

      That so-impressive 40% probably consists overwhelmingly of Hispanic maids, gardeners, carpenters, and convenience store workers. Not of computer programmers.

  9. CitizenC
    August 22, 2012, 4:53 pm

    I have just ordered Schneer’s book on the Balfour Decl. Does it also say that the official British view of Jewish influence was assiduously cultivated by Weizmann and the London Zionists?

    • ColinWright
      August 22, 2012, 5:56 pm

      “I have just ordered Schneer’s book on the Balfour Decl. Does it also say that the official British view of Jewish influence was assiduously cultivated by Weizmann and the London Zionists?”

      I think the most important thing about the Balfour Declaration is the most obvious: what it actually says.

      It does not mandate anything. It merely declares that ‘the British government views…with favor.’ I may view ‘CitizenC’ becoming rich ‘with favor.’ Obama presumably would as well. That doesn’t give CitizenC a right to one red cent. It’s merely an expression of good will — like the Balfour Declaration.

      Moreover, of course, it only ‘views with favor’ the establishment of ‘a national homeland’ — and immediately goes on to specify conditions which suggest that whatever this means, it isn’t a Jewish state. ‘Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.’ Now how could a state be created that was at one and the same time Jewish and did not ‘prejudice the civil rights of existing non-Jewish communities’? In any case, in the upshot, the creation of Israel immediately and indisputably did prejudice those rights — to put it mildly. So whatever the Balfour Declaration is argued to favor, it certainly wasn’t the Israel that came into being.

      The Balfour Declaration was — almost certainly intentionally — a virtually meaningless piece of fluff. To find in it some kind of Magna Carta for Israel is absurd.

      • CitizenC
        August 22, 2012, 6:54 pm

        I quite agree that the Declaration was diplomatic weasel language. But it figured in the diplomacy that followed the war, in the San Remo conference which divided the former Ottoman territories and established the Mandates; the San Remo resolution included the Balfour text. I wonder what Schneer says about Zionism. A review I found states:

        British Jewish chemist and Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann orchestrated the campaign to persuade powerful men that support for Zionism would benefit Britain’s wartime cause and the ensuing peace. Perhaps most shrewdly, Weizmann lobbied former prime minister Arthur James Balfour, then a member of Britain’s War Council.

      • MHughes976
        August 22, 2012, 6:59 pm

        Margaret Macmillan’s invaluable ‘Peacemakers’, p.427-8, makes it clear that though the Declaration contained balanced wording it wa not meant to be read in a balanced way, the press being briefed from the word go that it was an endorsement of Zionism. The balanced wording was insincere and was I think the product of the deep commitment of Balfour and even more importantly of Lloyd George to Zionism in its famous Christian form, which had roots much deeper than the Scofield Bible.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      August 25, 2012, 7:56 am

      Remember that the Balfour Declaration was issued at a time when most Jews were NOT ZIONISTS. The one member of the British cabinet who voted against it (Montagu) was also the only Jew in the cabinet. That in itself suggests there was a large mythological component in the way the British ruling class perceived “Jews.”

      Also their support for Zionism was not based solely on the hope of winning Jewish support for the Allies in World War One. They also hoped that patronage of a Zionist colony in Palestine would strengthen the position of the British Empire (whose demise was not foreseen) in the Middle East.

  10. dbroncos
    August 22, 2012, 11:23 pm

    ” Like it or not, this is a real aspect of American Jewish identity in 2012: we are perceived as having tremendous clout; and I think we do have it.”

    Yes indeed. A fact not lost on many millions of Americans who watch with dismay as the Israeli PM gets 29 standing ovations in our congress, a congressional candidate plays soldier in an IDF uniform and another candidate skinny dips on an “educational” junket to Israel. No attempts are made to disguise the decadent pandering that goes on these days. Zionists are becoming victims of their own successs as the worm slowly turns and eats away at the core of good opinion that Americans have had about Israel for decades.

    On another note concerning the upcoming election: Brian Williams, the news anchor, was on Jon Stewart the other nite saying that the respective party pollsters have not only identified the swing states that will decide the election (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida) they’ve also identified just 12 counties within those states that will decide if they go red or blue. As the pollsters see it, the election will be decided by the vote tallies in just 12 counties! Perhaps the Jewish vote is more fateful than I thought.

    • Mooser
      August 24, 2012, 3:58 pm

      ” Like it or not, this is a real aspect of American Jewish identity in 2012: we are perceived as having tremendous clout; and I think we do have it.”

      And we must use this clout for good, instead of evil! ROTFL!

  11. Ellen
    August 22, 2012, 11:29 pm

    You’d think that with millions of Catholic voters swinging, the Obama campaign would be reaching out to them all the time. But if you go to the Obama site, there’s very little for Catholics…

    Maybe because there really is no such thing at the so-called “Catholic” vote. The idea is, instead, an imagination of the media — and others — attempting to box people into categories that really do not exist. To create a non-story.

    Of all organized religions, and with an estimated 77 million plus, Catholics in the US are probably the most varied, multi-culti, group of all. There is no box.

    • Mooser
      August 24, 2012, 4:01 pm

      “Maybe because there really is no such thing at the so-called “Catholic” vote. The idea is, instead, an imagination of the media — and others — attempting to box people into categories that really do not exist. To create a non-story.”

      Bingo! But of course, us Jews are to smart to fall for anything like that. We are intelligent enough to know when somebody is playing a trick on us.

  12. FreddyV
    August 23, 2012, 5:26 am

    Thanks for the tip on the Jonathan Schneer book. Just ordered it. I’m very interested in the Balfour Declaration and the political motives behind it. Being British, I feel my country has done much harm in the world through it’s colonialism and machinations for it’s own ends. Should be an interesting read. Thanks.

  13. FreddyV
    August 23, 2012, 9:28 am

    Thanks gamal, I’ll take a look.

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