The Establishment fights back (Hagel gets nod from Volcker, Hills, Wolfensohn, Crocker)

Israel/Palestine
on 34 Comments

As we await Act II– or is it 22?– of Obama’s endless dithering over Chuck Hagel, the Establishment is fighting back. Hagel is getting a lot of support from conservatives and members in good standing of what we used to call the ruling class.

Ryan Crocker, the former ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, has endorsed Hagel in the Wall Street Journal, saying “Chuck Hagel is a statesman, and America has few of them.” The piece seeks to give Hagel credibility as an Israel-lover, though it happily says nothing about attacking Iran and suggests that we should be negotiating:

Mr. Hagel understands far better than most the evils of Hamas and Hezbollah, both backed by Iran . He also appreciates the importance of looking in and among those groups for fissures that might lead to internal debate, dissension or division—or even to areas of agreement with the U.S. In the months after the 9/11 attacks, I negotiated with Iranian officials regarding Afghanistan ; it accomplished a little of both, spurring agreement on some issues and internal debate among the Iranians on others.

Jim Lobe points out that Crocker has neoconservative credibility, or had it once:

Bill Kristol, along with the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin probably Hagel’s most vociferous foe, has been unstinting in his praise for Crocker over the last four years, explicitly and repeatedly comparing him to Petraeus and promoting them as a winning team. In August, Kristol nominated Crocker to serve as ambassador to the UN in a Romney administration.

More establishment support: A bipartisan group of big realists and former Senators have signed a letter to Obama strongly supporting Chuck Hagel’s possible nomination to be Secretary of Defense and stressing his support for a resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. The letter specifically defends Hagel from the anti-Semitism charge that was floating around thanks to the neoconservatives. It appeared as an ad in the Washington Post, and Carla Hills, Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, Gary Hart and Paul Volcker are signers, as is James Wolfensohn, former World Bank chair.

Here is Lobe’s report on that letter, which notes the job title that Obama praised Hagel for on Meet the Press the other day, being on his intelligence advisory board:

A new letter in support of former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination signed by a familiar list of eminences was published in the form of an ad in the front section of the Washington Post. Unlike other letters, this one specifically addresses the Israel-Palestinian conflict with a strong endorsement of the principles that underlie the so-called “Clinton parameters”. And, in a clear swipe at neo-conservatives, in particular, it asserts that attempts by some to claim that those who support these principles are either anti-Israel or anti-Semitic are “unacceptable.”

Signers include former Oklahoma Sen. David Boren, who is Hagel’s co-chair on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, former Republican Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum-Baker, former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart, former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills (George H. W. Bush), former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and UN Amb. Thomas Pickering, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski (Jimmy Carter) and Brent Scowcroft (Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush), former CentCom Commander, Gen. William “Fox” Fallon, former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci (Ronald Reagan), and former World Bank Chairman James Wolfensohn. Of course, most of these have signed other letters in support of Hagel, but Boren’s signature is particularly significant given his long history in the right-of-center Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), one of the central principles of which was solid support for Israel. Wolfensohn is also significant given his role after his departure from the Bank as the Quartet’s representative in dealing with Israel-Palestinian issue. He quit in frustration after only a year in 2006 and was succeeded by the egregiously cynical Tony Blair.

That’s refreshing: the egregiously cynical Tony Blair.

Relying on Lobe here, he also says that Michele Flournoy appears to be the choice of the neoconservatives for Defense, in part because she signed a Bill Kristol letter of 2005 that called for a much larger military so that we could take on our commitment to the greater Middle East. Guns not butter… Peter Beinart also signed this letter:

we write to ask you and your colleagues in the legislative branch to take the steps necessary to increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps. While estimates vary about just how large an increase is required, and Congress will make its own determination as to size and structure, it is our judgment that we should aim for an increase in the active duty Army and Marine Corps, together, of at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years.

There is abundant evidence that the demands of the ongoing missions in the greater Middle East etc

But I guess Hagel also needs neocon support, if he’s going to get nominated… Lobe observes that while neocons ought to be exiled from any serious policy conversation about the Middle East, they continue to get traction from the media “not only because of their own ideological predilections (American “exceptionalism” and all that), but also because of their polemical skills, notably their ability to break down any dimly understood overseas conflict into a moral struggle between good and “evil” or a question of U.S credibility.”

Meantime, the idea of Hagel is playing better overseas than in the U.S. Stephen Kinzer at the Guardian says the big problem is that Hagel is a realist, and militarists and the Israel lobby wield power in Washington. Kinzer:

Here is the heart of the case against Senator Hagel’s nomination.

Militarists in Washington, taking their cue from pro-Israel lobbyists, are trying to derail the appointment because Hagel doubts the wisdom of starting another war in the Middle East. Their evidence is his assertion, made several years ago, that:

“A military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.”

Hagel is absolutely correct. Like many thoughtful Americans, including some of our country’s most seasoned diplomats, he is eager to make a real effort to engage Iran. No American president has done that since Jimmy Carter’s presidency was immolated in the wake of the hostage crisis – except for Ronald Reagan, who tried sending Iranian leaders a cake and a Bible, to no avail.

Part of what has led Hagel to recommend a calm, reasoned, prudent approach to Iran is his own worldview. He is among the few in Washington who do not seem to have accepted the century-old principle that in order to defend its interests, the United States must be involved everywhere in the world, all the time.

Hagel is said to be “outside the mainstream” because he does not believe American power can solve people’s problems around the world. That is, indeed, outside the mainstream….

Hagel is in the great American tradition of the prairie populist. He has sought to speak a word or two of truth to power. Power is not amused. That is why his nomination is in trouble before it has even been announced.

34 Responses

  1. seanmcbride
    January 2, 2013, 12:42 pm

    The big news here is that the neocons have finally managed to polarize a critical mass of the American foreign policy establishment against themselves — oh blessed day. We all knew that this moment was coming.

  2. jimmy
    January 2, 2013, 12:49 pm

    does it really matter who might be DofD.sec…hey why dot russ feingold…

    the MSM of this country will twist and turn until they get their Iran…mess//

    and I suspect it will then be over for the USA

  3. jimmy
    January 2, 2013, 12:51 pm

    I think the tribe is way over playing its hand here

    thye are showing themselves to be what many have thought all along

  4. David Doppler
    January 2, 2013, 12:58 pm

    What of the reports over the weekend that Obama was calling major Jewish groups to alert them to the impending appointment of Hagel? Were the reports false? Was the reported timing false? Is there something else going on under the surface?

  5. fillmorehagan
    January 2, 2013, 1:01 pm

    I am wondering if Obama might nominate Hagel, but release Jonathan Pollard to appease the lobby.

  6. Krauss
    January 2, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Lobe observes that while neocons ought to be exiled from any serious policy conversation about the Middle East, they continue to get traction from the media “not only because of their own ideological predilections (American “exceptionalism” and all that), but also because of their polemical skills, notably their ability to break down any dimly understood overseas conflict into a moral struggle between good and “evil” or a question of U.S credibility.”

    I’m sorry, and excuse the language, but this is complete bullshit.

    I can understand a MSM journo making these mistakes(or cynical/fearful omissions). I can not accept Lobe doing them.

    Neocons get traction on Hagel not because of some abstract verbal contest. It is Israel. Period. Remember, who were among the first who got this ball rolling? Wasn’t Bill Kristol. It was Ira Forman, Obama’s Jewish outreach director who started going public expressing doubt.

    Do anyone here still remember the recent Hanukkah at the White House?
    You had a bunch of Jewish leaders, most of whom are Democrats, remember, who started to pressure the White House immesely. Then they started to leak at how ‘Hagel was the talk of the party’.

    This is about Israel, and the neocons get traction because the media owners want them there. Rupert Murdoch wants Bret Stephens at the Op-Ed page. Fred Hiatt wants Richard Cohen and other neocon crazies at the WaPo editorial page to set the foreign policy agenda. These people are bigoted, far-right oligarchs who have strong neocon views of the world. It’s the same phenomenon with Sheldon Adelson in Israel, who basically has bought Bibi the election with his media purchases. The people who write in his newspaper are carefully selected for an ideological agenda.

    Can anyone seriously consider the half-wits at Yisrael Hayom as more brilliant than, say, Joseph Dana? No, but Dana has the wrong political convictions so he doesn’t get employment. You can take a U.S. example, like Max Blumenthal. Same there. Max is far more brilliant than the pedestrian minds that Hiatt can dredge up.
    Yet, again, the neocon oligarchs do not want Max there, because he doesn’t share their view on Israel, even if he is ridiculously knowledgeable about Israel and the region. Far more than any mainstream journalist out there. Yet Lobe seems to entertain the thought that Max and people like him are just not as good at making slogans.

    Why does all of this matter? Here’s why.

    Lobe and others do everyone a disservice when he refuses to discuss these issues, making it seem to outsiders as if, oh gosh, the neocons are just so smart and witty and their opponents are just dunces. This is a total distraction and I think Lobe is uncomfortable talking about the neocon oligarchs. But he shouldn’t Murdoch isn’t Jewish. Yet he is a primary source of the lobby’s media power. This transcends religion and ethnicity. But yes, it is inevitable that you’ll have to talk powerful Jews in the media, and Lobe doesn’t want to go there. I get it. I understand it. But everything doesn’t have to black and white, as the above-mentioned Murdoch example proves.

    Words and disinformation matter. Even if you do it for “noble purposes” in the end the truth is always, always preferable. Genuine anti-Semites will always hate Jews no matter what, but most people will be able to handle a debate about right-wing neocon power, some of which is Jewish to be sure, without losing their minds and start a pogrom, yet this fear is holding the discussion back.

    Also, beyond the trouble with disinformation, it’s just plain ridiculous too.

    For example: do anyone remember the smearing of the people at Center for American Progress? Zaid Jilani lost his job. Matt Duss went underground.
    There was very heavy donor pressure on that leadership and they listened and did what they were told. Were those right-wing donors “good at debate”? Bullshit. Money talks. And money is heavily concentrated among neocon donors and media barons, who push a neocon/Likudnik line on Israel.

    The left has far more gifted writers and intellectuals. But we don’t have the cash to contend, yet we are still slowly winning the media war. And that is amazing in of itself and that shows who is really good at winning debates.

    • Sin Nombre
      January 2, 2013, 4:57 pm

      Apropos of Lobe’s attempted explanation of why the neo-cons continue to get “traction” in the media, Krauss wrote:

      “this is complete bullshit.”

      Hear hear. Great bit of bullshit detection. The only thing wrong is where Krauss notes that “[t]he left has far more gifted writers and intellectuals,” in that the same is true of the Right as well, but that’s niggling.

    • Chu
      January 2, 2013, 5:56 pm

      Lobe is caught within a catch 22. One is not supposed to make the connection between Jews and money and political power. We can watch and witness them get stuck in this trap. The system’s gamed for it.

    • MRW
      January 2, 2013, 6:15 pm

      Lots of good points, Krauss.

      [I thought Murdoch's mother was a non-practicing Jew; I recall reading an Australian interview with her where she discussed the 'wisdom' of saying nothing about it when she married Murdoch pere because it didn't matter (because she was non-practicing, etc).]

      • Krauss
        January 3, 2013, 2:01 am

        MRW, I have read similar stories, but none have been verified. It’s entirely possible that Murdoch is an ethnic Jew by halacha, but even so, his entire upbrining has been devoid of Jewishness. He was raised as a Christian, married Gentile women and raised Gentile children. If it is true, it could explain his neocon orientations, but for all intents and purposes, he lives his life as an agnostic (cultural) Christian.

        Edit:

        I found this interesting article by Murdoch’s inofficial biographer who spent quite some time with the man. Here’s a story he shared:

        Gary Ginsberg, his long-time aide – part chief-of-staff; part PR consigliere – was often hurt and confounded by Murdoch’s jibes, insensitivities, and humor (there was the Christmas every executive desk got a crèche by order of the boss). Once, with me, Murdoch got into a riff about Jewish groups and money: how they were good at tricking him out of his dough.

        If Murdoch is Jewish, he is acting in an aggressively Christian way during the holidays, riffing off about those damn Jews in business. I consider the ‘Murdoch is Jewish’ meme as unlikely.

        link to guardian.co.uk

    • marc b.
      January 3, 2013, 9:10 am

      they continue to get traction from the media “not only because of their own ideological predilections (American “exceptionalism” and all that), but also because of their polemical skills

      absolutely a ridiculous statement from the normally astute lobe. as if there was some debating society hierarchy that the dipshit neocons worked their way up before being given a platform to speak to the nation and publicly display their ‘polemical skills’. who decided to hand any one of them the microphone in the first place? (i can just imagine the tens, maybe even dozens of disgruntled TV watchers clamoring for the return of bill kristol to the airwaves if that cretin were flushed down the rhetorical toilet bowl.)

  7. Ramzi Jaber
    January 2, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Don’t be fooled, the zionist lobby knows how to play the game extremely well. Stories of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

    Look what they did to Obama the first time around…… they played up the “Hussein/Moslem” part do hard on him knowing that it’s TOTALLY BOGUS just to force him to over-compensate in support of the criminal zionist state. This gave the world the most supportive US president ever in terms of building up the criminal zionist regime’s military. He and his entire administration and the entire political dialog now continuously talks-thinks-acts in terms of UNSHAKEABLE support for the zionist criminal regime. Such absolute language demonstratively increased the intransigence of the criminal likud government and made peace even farther away.

    When Hagel becomes SecDef, he will be beholden to the zionist lobby and will over-compensate to prove he’s for israel. Wait and see.

    All hope is lost as we start 2013. US can no longer be a mediator to solve this problem. We Palestinians need our Arab Spring with constant non-stop non-violent daily demonstrations against all existing and illegal settlements and outposts and border points so we force the occupation to end. The PA is incapable to make this happen. We need a new national bottoms-up fresh leadership.

    • MRW
      January 3, 2013, 6:35 am

      Ramzi,

      We need a new national bottoms-up fresh leadership.

      You need more than that. ;-(
      Alan Hart writes about a Dec 30, 2012 Haaretz article discussing Molad’s study of Israeli Hasbara. Molad is Avrum Burg’s think tank in Israel. The Haaretz writer says

      “Molad, established less than a year ago (in January 2012) is a think tank devoted to providing Israel’s liberal left with new ideas regarding matters of foreign policy and security, as well as socioeconomic issues. The new study is the first project released by Molad as part of an effort to infuse leftist ideas in Israeli public discourse. This effort, the center believes, will help resuscitate a political camp which is currently on its deathbed.”

      Molad’s governance includes a Public Council chaired by a former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Avraham Burg, who for some years has been expressing with passion his disillusion with what Israel has become and his fears about where it is taking the Jews. In an op-ed for the New York Times last August, he castigated Prime Minister Netanyahu for his “warmongering” and Israel for its “unconscionable treatment of the Palestinians.”

      Hart writes:

      The Molad study concludes that the Netanyahu-driven criticism of Israeli advocacy is “detached from reality” and “a myth”. The real reason for Israel’s growing isolation in the world, the study proclaims, “is the Israeli government’s policies.”

      Further:

      Ravid’s article also contains a very good explanation of why until recently the Zionist state was so successful in selling its propaganda lies as truth. It possessed the awesome ability to do so because of NID. What’s that?

      Here’s Ravid’s description:

      “Israel’s advocacy effort is directed by the National Information Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office. All the other official advocacy entities, and there are several of these – the Foreign Ministry, the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, the IDF Spokesman’s Office, the Tourism Ministry, the Jewish Agency – are subordinate to the directorate. The National Information Forum, comprising delegates from these various bodies, is in charge of coordinating messages and formulating strategies. The directorate also consults media and marketing experts from both academia and the private sector. And, in addition, the government conducts an unofficial advocacy effort involving hundreds of Israelis and overseas activists, organizations and NPOs, along with non-Jewish supporters; this effort is aimed at delivering Israel’s messages mainly in the United States and the EU.”

      Hart quotes Ravid, the Haaretz writer (behind a paywall):

      After analyzing Israel’s advocacy effort, the Molad study used the same tools and criteria to assess the efficacy of the anti-Israel campaign.

      What it found was that the various anti-Israel efforts have failed to properly coordinate and unify their messages. The organizations do not operate under the aegis of one overall group; in many instances, they act separately from one another. Unlike Israel, with its National Information Forum, there is not a single anti-Israel group which takes overall responsibility for setting a unified agenda.

      Moreover, the Palestinian Authority’s role and influence on anti-Israel advocacy is limited. “More than anything,” contends the study, “the conduct of these bodies reflects the anti-Israel advocacy campaign’s absolute failure to unify organizations and activists in this context around a single, coherent, official message.”

      “Apart from basic principles,” it continues, “these groups lack a common idea or common goal that could consolidate them as partners in one official body.”

      Hart’s article is here

      The Molad study, published Dec 27, 2012, is here.

      • MRW
        January 3, 2013, 7:05 am

        Everyone should read, at least skim, through that Molad study about the onslaught directed towards us (American and EU blogs, campuses, all US media, influential US Jewish voices). Do any of them dictate, either directly or indirectly, what the moderation policy should be on this blog?

        I wonder which Ministry of Information lackey or military historian has been assigned to Hostage?

      • Ramzi Jaber
        January 3, 2013, 5:15 pm

        Thanks for this MRW. Totally agree, we need many things and many friends and many organizations including a “PNID”. But the essential necessary prerequisite is a new fresh bottoms-up leadership since the current one, whether PLO or Hamas, is just not working. President Abbas declared his intentions already and opened all his cards on the table before even knowing what’s the game. Hamas has its issues and with an increasing focus on religion away from secular democracy, they will not be able to sustain wide popular support. Hence, we need a new fresh bottoms-up leadership…….. plus many other things!

  8. piotr
    January 2, 2013, 2:00 pm

    I wonder how ancients the “American exceptionalism” is, in the sense of “fixing problems around the world”. Clearly, around 1898 American elite decided to have overseas colonies “like everybody else”, and there was some pablum about LIBERATING those folks, but I guess nobody took it seriously. But sending shiploads of troops to serious war remained unpopular until WWII. Only then, first in the context of world war, and then in the context of Cold War, the Manichean vision of forces of light, the good guys who struggle to get to the light of American alliance from the bondage of materialists, and of course the evil forces of the materialists took hold, although it was also the subject of persistent derision.

    Nowadays telling friend from foe is much harder. More or less the same people, using the same means are bad in Afghanistan, “we do not care anymore” in Iraq and freedom fighters in Syria. And in Africa we have very, very hard time deciding if we care or if we do not. Among all that confusion there is at least Israel, but even there keeping track of the approved narrative is not simple. Christian Zionist frequently make total hash of the talking points.

  9. Kathleen
    January 2, 2013, 2:44 pm

    You may have all ready covered this but Dr. Zbig, and a couple of Generals sent Obama a letter in support of Hagel several weeks ago. Announced on Morning Joe. As far as neoconservatives supporting Hagel. Sure would put Friedman in that category,

    Huffington Post would not allow my link to the petition in support of Hagel on their site. Had tried to post it under Barney Frank’s piece where he shared his lack of support for the Hagel nomination

  10. American
    January 2, 2013, 3:28 pm

    Well here’s another attack about gays…

    Barney Frank Slams Hagel Nomination On Last Day In Office
    barneyfrankflag823912
    Barney Frank kept it real until the end: The outgoing representative used his last day in office to attack Sen. Hagle”

    From what I understand all this is about Hagel saying he didn’t think a man ‘who aggressively promotes” his gayness..and I think the key is ‘aggressively promotes” was right for the ‘position’.
    I wouldn’t be for him either– if in fact that he conducted himself aggressively on it as in challenging or in you face type behavior….I wouldnt be for a ‘diplomat” being a crusader or advertiser for his ‘personal to his sexuality’ cause or any other personal cause, don’t care what it is. ..doesn’t belong in diplomatic country to county relations positions. No one wants a loose cannon on some issue that could affect his ability to get along with those he has to get along with.
    I’ll have to research the man in question and see if he was indeed too demanding about his cause in arenas where it didn’t belong…maybe he wasn’t and Hagel was behind the times..in which case I’ll say Hagel was wrong.

    • American
      January 2, 2013, 4:23 pm

      Hummm….it appears there was more to and more than Hagel opposing Hormel.
      The *agressively gay* objection by Hagel may have centered on the controversy about Hormel’s Gay and Lesbian Reading Center at the San Francisco Public Library, a Hormel-funded enterprise. Evidently the Catholics were after him also for his anti- Catholicness and failure to denounce pedophilia.
      So whether the allegations about Hormel were true or not he doesn’t exactly have a squeaky clean or uncontroversial background.
      I find it interesting that Hormel refused to comment on the obscene materials in his library…..why didn’t he just say he disapproved of them and didn’t know they were there? That seems like a sort of in your face – who are you to question me—attitude to me ….a regular nice guy gay would have expressed outrage that those things had been snuck in his library and find out who was responsible.
      I’m not liking this guy….I get the impression he thought his Hormel Spam empire money could buy him whatever he wanted and he could act out and act as asshole as he pleased about gay issues under some pc taboo about not attacking anyone gay on anything. Reminds me of the zio guys who think their behavior is protected by some taboo on calling out anyone Jewish.
      Another thing is he won’t accept Hagel’s apology–even though it was a host of others who kept him out the position—he like the controversy, wants to keep the anti gay thing going as a fight.
      Nope I wouldn’t have been for appointing this guy either, gay or not gay, he’s got a ‘bad’ attitude.

      link to cnsnews.com

      (CNSNews.com) – A claim by homosexual activist James Hormel that Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft opposed Hormel’s nomination as ambassador to Luxembourg in 1998 “solely because I am a gay man” is unfair and without basis in fact, family and religious groups said Friday.

      Ashcroft and a majority of senators opposed Hormel not because of his homosexuality, but because of his funding of obscene material for children, his failure to denounce pedophilia and a “tolerance for anti-Catholicism,” they said.

      The New York-based Catholic League spoke out against Hormel’s nomination because of his association with the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” a group of drag queens that dressed as nuns and took part in the 1996 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade in San Francisco. During the parade, Hormel welcomed the queens and encouraged their antics.

      “Worse than this was Hormel’s refusal to disassociate himself from this Catholic-bashing incident,” said William Donohue, president of the Catholic League.

      “The issue all along has been Hormel’s reluctance to distance himself from anti-Catholic bigots, not his sexual orientation,” he added.

      Hormel, who recently returned to the United States after serving a term as ambassador to Luxembourg, said Ashcroft opposed his nomination on sexual grounds. At his Senate confirmation hearings last week, Ashcroft denied that, saying sexual preference was not a factor in his hiring practices as a governor or as a senator, nor would it be if he is confirmed as attorney general.

      Hormel accused Ashcroft of an “anti-gay prejudice,” which could affect how he handles the attorney general’s job.

      Hormel’s allegation, and that of Paul Offner, a Democrat who said Ashcroft asked him about his sexuality during a 1985 job interview, has prompted family groups to rally to Ashcroft’s defense.

      Andrea Lafferty, executive director of Traditional Values Coalition, is circulating, among freshman senators, packages of explicit materials she received at the James Hormel Gay and Lesbian Reading Center at the San Francisco Public Library, a Hormel-funded enterprise.

      Included in the packages are copies of a graphic “Coloring Book” of female genitalia and crayons – materials that are made available to children at the Hormel library. Lafferty discovered the lesbian coloring book – along with other reading materials by the North American Man Boy Love Association that promoted incest and sex between children and adults – during several trips to the Hormel reading center.

      The center’s function is to make homosexuality attractive to children, and it distributes obscene material to children, Lafferty said.

      “If the library had Dick Armey or Trent Lott’s name, the liberals would run them out of town,” she said.

      “Senators should applaud Ashcroft for his opposition to Hormel for promoting this kind of obscene material,” she added.

      During the nomination hearings in 1998, Hormel refused to comment on the materials in his library. His supporters said Hormel personally found some of the materials offensive, but to hold him responsible would be like “holding the Hirshhorns responsible for what is in their museum on the Mall.”

      But Lafferty and others categorically refute this argument. “They are distorting the truth,” Lafferty said. “What they fail to acknowledge is that sex between adults and children is illegal, and that is what is in the Hormel library. Hormel has for years refused to denounce pedophilia and he has refused to denounce incest.”

      Much of the opposition to Ashcroft stems from the fear that the attorney general-designate will crack down on pedophiles and enforce the laws on obscenity and pornography, family groups said.

      Lafferty said she would not have brought back the subject of what is available for children at the Hormel reading center had it not been for attacks on Ashcroft and his record.

      “They made Hormel the issue. They’ve been lying about Ashcroft and his record. They’re trying to make Ashcroft the fall guy.”

      • Mooser
        January 4, 2013, 8:16 pm

        “his failure to denounce pedophilia”

        If Hormel had denounced pedophilia, all those alter boys would be unmolested today? Talk about a Hail Mary pass!

      • American
        January 5, 2013, 11:09 pm

        That’s not the point….his attitude of refusing to do it…’like you can’t make me, so there’…. it the point.
        Who would refuse to say they’re against pedophilia?
        The guy is a jerk.

  11. jimmy
    January 2, 2013, 3:57 pm

    Syria Death Toll At 60,000, UN Human Rights Office Says

    for what…and or who

  12. DICKERSON3870
    January 2, 2013, 5:04 pm

    RE: “Relying on Lobe here, he also says that Michele Flournoy appears to be the choice of the neoconservatives for Defense . . .” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: It’s time for Obama to show us who’s the boss, him or William “Bill” Kristol (f/k/a “Dan Quayle’s brain”)!
    If Obama folds (caves in) on Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, he will pretty much spend the next four years as a lame-duck president (U.S. President in name only).

    WHITE HOUSE PETITION: Urging the Obama administration to nominate Hagel and fight for his confirmation.
    TO SIGN - link to petitions.whitehouse.gov

    ROBERT NAIMAN’S PETITION: President Obama, we have your back. We support your choice of Chuck Hagel to serve as the next Secretary of Defense.
    TO SIGN - link to signon.org

    FACEBOOK PAGE: Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense
    TO “LIKE” – link to facebook.com

  13. Nevada Ned
    January 2, 2013, 5:22 pm

    Philip Weiss reports that

    Stephen Kinzer at the Guardian says that Hagel…
    “is eager to make a real effort to engage Iran. No American president has done that since Jimmy Carter’s presidency was immolated in the wake of the hostage crisis – except for Ronald Reagan, who tried sending Iranian leaders a cake and a Bible, to no avail.”

    What did Reagan REALLY send the Iranians? Weapons! Stephen Kinzer, a former NY Times reporter, as conveniently forgotten all about the “Iran-Contra Gate” scandal that rocked the Reagan administration. The US sold weapons to Iran, and used the cash from Iran to purchase weapons for the Contras in Nicaragua. The US Senate held public hearings, Oliver North testified…does anybody remember this? No!!!!

    Why did Stephen Kinzer forget all about this? Perhaps because Israel was helping the US sell weapons to Iran. And recalling THIS has disappeared down Orwell’s “memory hole”.
    The Israelis don’t want anybody to remember that they once helped the US sell weapons to Iran. The US wants the same thing as the Israelis, for the same reasons. Hence Kinzer’s sanitized history.

    By the way, when Kinzer was at the NY Times, he covered Central America. It was his specialty!

    • Donald
      January 4, 2013, 3:36 pm

      I think you’re reaching here. I don’t think Kinzer expects that people have forgotten the Iran/Contra affair. Maybe the younger folk don’t know about it.

      As for Israel’s involvement, it was mostly (not entirely) suppressed at the time. Chomsky talks about Israel arming the Khomenei regime in “The Fateful Triangle”, which came out in 1983, a couple of years before the Iran Contra scandal broke. He cites both a BBC documentary and an interview in the Boston Globe with Israeli ambassador Moshe Arens, who claimed Israel had armed Iran with the cooperation of the US government. I was initially confused when the Iran/Contra scandal broke, because so many people seemed shocked that we had “secretly” armed Iran, when I already knew we had from reading Chomsky, who in turn had read it in the Boston Globe. It was surreal. Of course, with the Internet now I think millions of people would soon find out what the press wasn’t telling them.

      But I don’t think Kinzer is trying to suppress anything here. The cake and Bible story was famous, a standard example of how stupid the Reagan Administration was in all this. Kinzer is just using it, assuming his readers know what he means. He’s written books about US plots and coups in both Central America and Iran and other places.

  14. Byzantium
    January 3, 2013, 2:19 am

    I can’t help but wonder if this show of support for Hagel isn’t a subterranean way for career politicians to manifest their opposition to the Israel lobby in a way that wouldn’t hurt them professionally. I suspect more than one of them are fed up with having to kow-tow before Israel in order to assure election or advancement, and in consequence must be grateful for the opportunity to take a contrary position without risking the usual accusations of anti-Semitism etc.

  15. MRW
    January 3, 2013, 9:41 am

    Uruguay has more balls than the US. Haaretz:
    Uruguay hints Israeli ambassador should be replaced
    Ambassador Dori Goren called senior MPP officials’ remarks that Israel is committing genocide ‘repugnant and shocking’, angering members of the Uruguayan government.

    Several senior MPP members said during the course of Operation Pillar of Defense that Israel is committing “genocide” and conducting a “policy of extermination” in Gaza. The Israeli ambassador hastened to react to the statements, calling them “repugnant and shocking.” Goren said the words are particularly grave coming from the party of Foreign Minister Luis Almagro.

    The Uruguayan government rejected the MPP [ruling party] statements but at the same time called the Israeli ambassador to order. Goren was summoned for a clarification at the Foreign Ministry in Montevideo, during which he was asked “not to intervene in the activity of the country’s elected democratic institutions.”

  16. biorabbi
    January 3, 2013, 9:40 pm

    No mention of the latest Hagel action against Israel regarding the Haifa? USO base he wanted to close, telling a Jewish group something to the effect of ‘you people fund it yourself.’ This is being reported on a site called the Free Beacon which has usually broken most of the Hagel accusations. This one is weird as the records have been lost or destroyed or something. Maybe Hagel thought this USO base in Haifa, was aggressively, openly Jewish? Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last retort=)

    While I’m a huge fan of Obama , the period between the trial balloon and now really hurts any prospective individual. Another thing I don’t understand here is the dems have a large advantage in the senate, couldn’t they have just have pushed Rice through? One cannot call her unqualified or even ineffective. Same with Hagel. Also, where is the rule book that says that Rice or Hagel needs to stay mum during this period?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 3, 2013, 10:07 pm

      from the link:

      A USO spokesperson said the organization has “no records of any discussion to close the USO Center in Haifa while Charles Hagel was CEO and President of the USO from 1987 to 1990″ and USO staff “are still working to determine when after 2000 the USO Center in Haifa closed.”

      “We have no one here that can confirm the discussion about USO Haifa as reported in your story,” the spokesperson said.

      also, the navy had (still has) some issues w/israel after what happened to the liberty so the allegation everyone but hagel was on board is iffy. the only source for this story is Marsha Halteman, director for military and law enforcement programs at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). one might think there would be some record of this in the press from the time,either in israel or elsewhere.

      here’s the bio of the chairman of the ‘free beacon’

      Michael Goldfarb is chairman of the conservative think tank the Center for American Freedom, publishers of The Washington Free Beacon. He is a writer with the neoconservative The Weekly Standard owned by Rupert Murdoch and edited by William Kristol. Goldfarb “also works as a research associate” at the Project for the New American Century,[1], one of the leading neocon organizations. Jim Lobe describes Goldfarb as “known primarily as vociferous defenders of Israel” [2].

      Beginning in spring 2007, Goldfarb participated in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Bloggers’ Roundtable.

      In May 2007, Goldfarb was awarded a $25,000 part-time journalism fellowship by the Phillips Foundation.[3] Goldfarb’s funded project is entitled “The Upside of Global Warming.”[4]

      His fellowship profile states that Goldfarb is deputy online editor at The Weekly Standard, “where he has worked since 2003.”[4]

      He received a B.A. in History from Princeton University “with a concentration in war, revolution and the state.”[4]

      • biorabbi
        January 4, 2013, 12:58 pm

        Annie, did you catch his nice major concentration in war, revolution and the state. I don’t think that was offered at my humble college. Also, his 25,000 dollar journalism fellowship regarding ‘The Upside of Global Warming.’ So, his college study was war, then he examined the upside of global warming…. Paging Dr. Strangelove. The Free Beacon is really, really weird. It’s kind of like a weird conservative National Inquirer.

        Still, in my thinking, my I think Richard Lugar would have made a more interesting choice. He’s a moderate-centrist Republican who is known to be more in the realist school of foreign policy, has been luke warm to Israel, and I believe is very close to Obama. Plus, he’s really, really, really smart. Actually, he’d be better at State.

        I think, in the final analysis, the choice is Obama. A President needs and deserves wide latitude in his choices. Bush got it. Obama certainly deserves it… especially at the start of his second term. I think he should have gotten Rice and she should not have been vetoed.

        But the fault here is not the lobby. The fault is Obama’s endless dithering on the appointments, leaking names for weeks/months in advance, then letting the opposition take charge. Rice and Hagel are public figures. A few hours and google could have yielded all their past sins/comments to be scrutinized. Perhaps a 24 hours heads up to the majority leader in the senate and/or minority report about the thinking, then nominate your choices. Instead, Obama leaked Rice, let her twist slowly in the wind, then sent her to McCains and Graham’s office who killed her. McCain and Graham would be even more eager to kill Hagel because of his evolution on Iraq to a fierce critic. They want payback. Still, nothing from Obama. I’m by no means a fan of Hagel, but Obama is royally screwing this up. Back to Rice, he let his friend down as well, and for what, because of a single Sunday when she simply read the administration’s talking points on libya? Obama leaves his fallen on the political battlefield.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 4, 2013, 7:56 pm

        Also, his 25,000 dollar journalism fellowship regarding ‘The Upside of Global Warming.’

        can you link to this biorabbi? i am curious what year it was.

        So, his college study was war, then he examined the upside of global warming…. Paging Dr. Strangelove.

        wondering if hagel’s opposition to the global warming treaty was perhaps related to Nebraska’s farm interests who feared it would raise petroleum prices. either way i don’t care about what my dentist’s opinion on global warning is either.

        But the fault here is not the lobby. The fault is Obama’s endless dithering on the appointments, leaking names for weeks/months in advance, then letting the opposition take charge.

        what fault? everything’s going along swimmingly. had obama just nominated him flat out we wouldn’t have had this circus of neocons hanging their dirty undergarments all over our press. it’s been kind of amusing to watch don’t you think? not once did i imagine the opposition took charge, they seem very off the rails. and there doesn’t seem to be anything the lobby can do about it. i could be wrong. but from my vantage point, it’s been very illuminating.

      • ToivoS
        January 4, 2013, 8:54 pm

        Quite correct Annie. I questioned Obama’s tactics at first but whether intentionally or not, he has smoked out the opposition into the full light of the day. If nothing else, it has been most entertaining. Not only that, but I think it has improved Hagel’s chances of being approved — the opposition is simply discrediting themselves to the point only the extreme rightwingers in the senate are openly opposing Hagel.

    • tree
      January 4, 2013, 2:28 pm

      Why oh why was there a USO Center in Haifa in the first place? The USO fulfills a support mission for US troops and are only located where US troops are stationed. When did we have troops in Haifa, or anywhere in Israel? It sounds like it was a total boondoggle.

  17. Ramzi Jaber
    January 4, 2013, 12:15 pm

    Now barney frank wants to be “intermin” senator “temporarily” replacing John Kerry, link to huffingtonpost.com.

    He changed his mind pretty quickly for love of country ;-)))

    BUT don’t be fooled: All that this aipac israel-firster agent wants is to vote against Sen. Hagel for SecDef. Gov. Patrick, just say NO please!!

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