Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tom Lantos May Face Challenger


Tom Lantos, a Democrat who has represented San Mateo in the U.S. House of Representatives for 13 terms, plans to run for reelection in 2008. Budapest-born Lantos, who came to the United States as a young man, may face a primary challenge from popular former state Sen. Jackie Speier. Reports indicate that Speier, who has yet to announce her candidacy, has in-house polls showing her leading Congressman Lantos in the 12th District two to one. Beating a politician of Lantos' stature would catapult Speier to immediate national standing.

As I noted below, Lantos has worked hard to get the US into both Iraq wars, and is an uber-supporter of Israel. He has visited Israel 68 times!

Jackie Speier is of Armenian decent and has a Jewish grandfather who fled Nazi Germany, so it is unlikely that she will put real pressure on Israel to negotiate peace, but she will no doubt be an improvement over Lantos. Given those poll numbers, I would think Lantos would just retire if she does in fact put her hat into the ring.

It will also be interesting to see what reason Ms Speier gives for initiating a primary challenge to this incumbant. Will she focus on Lantos' support for the war, making it a referendum thereon?


Monday, December 10, 2007

Dershowitz Shops at Settler Store

Alan Dershowitz is being more provacative than usual lately.

First he writes a very emotional, but not very factual, article, about the NIE finding that Iran has discontinued its nuclear bomb program here.

Gary Hart provides an excellent responds here.

But it seems Alan Dershowitz has decided to shop for Jewly store in New York that is being protest because the Israeli owner (Leviev) provides finacial support to the settler movement.

Alan is not longer pretending to be anything but an ethnic tribalist with little support for humanistic thinking, peace or other important western values.

New York, NY, Dec. 8 - Wealthy Madison Avenue holiday shoppers were greeted Saturday afternoon by boisterous music and dancing, as 60 New Yorkers protested in a growing campaign to boycott Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev over his settlement construction in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Participants performed a joyous dabke, a traditional Palestinian dance, and chanted to music from the eight-piece Rude Mechanical Orchestra. During the protest, Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz entered LEVIEV New York and emerged to jeers as he displayed a LEVIEV shopping bag to the crowd.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Tom Lantos

Congressman Tom Lantos has been quoted as saying some interesting stuff prior to the Iraq war:

This is the same Tom Lantos, you'll recall, who gleefully told Colette Avital, a Labor party member of the Israeli Knesset, "My dear Colette, don't worry. You won't have any problem with Saddam. We'll be rid of the bastard soon enough. And in his place we'll install a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for us and for you." (Lantos denied saying that, but Ms. Avital confirmed it: the man's a liar as well as a hypocrite.)

Very damning stuff.

Also, see this:

As Chairman of the Human Rights Caucus in 1990, Lantos helped organize hearings at which the infamous "baby incubator" invention was peddled to the U.S. congress and public. Lantos introduced a Kuwaiti woman who claimed to have witnessed Iraqi soldiers killing babies by ripping them from incubators in a Kuwait hospital. He neglected to mention that the young woman was the Kuwaiti Ambassador'S daughter and her testimony had been manufactured by public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, under contract to the Kuwaiti Royal Family.

Mr. Lantos seems to have got us into lots of wars.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Israel had NIE before Bush?

Based on these public statements Israel had the NIE before Bush.

According to Haaretz, Israel has known about the Iran NIE “for more than a month. The first information on it was passed on to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and to Shaul Mofaz, who is the minister responsible for the strategic dialog with the Americans. The issue was also discussed at the Annapolis summit by Barak and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and it seems also between Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.” But Bush claims he didn’t get briefed on the NIE until last Wednesday.

Is this OK? What other countries do we share the NIE with before it is released publically?

However, in this case I think Bush is just lying or he just kept himself out of the loop. Still, pretty interesting.

Think Progress

Illegal Donation by Friends of Israel

Very strange scandal coming out of England involving David Abrahams, member of the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) a British Lobby group for our favorite little nation in the Middle East.

Labour officials helped lawyers acting for David Abrahams to draw up complex covenants that allowed the millionaire businessman to pay up to £650,000 indirectly to the party, the Guardian has learned.


It is understood that Labour officials were well aware that the arrangement exploited what they believed was a loophole in Labour's recently passed legislation, the 2000 Political Parties Act, so as not to reveal Abrahams' identity.[Why?]


Abrahams had high-ranking friends among the Labour Friends of Israel and the charitable world, where many of Labour's donors come from.

Abrahams claim that he wanted to keep his life "private" does not hold water. This may have been a donation for business interests or to give him influence with regard to England's relationship with Israel.

Neither is very attractive.