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Monday, December 16, 2002

Washington: Segregationist Israel – good! Segregationist Trent Lott – bad!

Watching the Washington establishment of both Republican and Democrat persuasion fulminate against Trent Lott is instructive in the spectacle of beltway tribal hypocrisy. It would seem that the same people condemning Lott for his whimsical support of a segregationist past themselves support a segregationist present. In fact, they have that in common with Lott, which makes their hypocrisy all the more rank: both openly and enthusiastically support the segregationist state of Israel.

That Israel practices institutional racism – indeed, is an apartheid state – is beyond question to anybody with the intellectual curiosity and courage to look past the headlines and into the nuts and bolts of Israeli law. It is no dark secret, except to too many Americans, that Israeli law codifies institutional, government-sanctioned discrimination against non-Jews.

In fact, all manner of basic rights in Israel are granted according to race: citizenship, the right to buy and own property, the right to participate in government service. If a person born in Israel is not of Jewish bloodline, he is not entitled to any of these; in fact, he is often legally barred from all of them. However, if he is of Jewish blood, even if he was born, say, in America, he is automatically entitled to them all. (It’s not called the Jewish State for nothing.)

In America, such an arrangement is called segregation and institutional racism: the government granting of rights and privileges according to race. In Israel, it’s called democracy. Go figure

So why are so many Washington insiders, pundits and politicians, nearly all of whom openly and vocally support all things Israel, up in arms over what Lott had to say about segregation? Is a verbal longing for a segregationist American past really a bigger crime than aggressively supporting a segregationist Israeli present? Should a Freudian slip of the tongue at a birthday party be grounds for expulsion from the Senate when openly voting Israel billions of dollars in arms and economic aid to enforce it’s racist structure is not?

Apparently so. And given that particular perverse Washington double standard, it’s really not too difficult to see how Trent Lott, who will never be accused of being an intellectual, could make such a mistake, or believe he could get away with it. In today’s political climate, where pro-war opinion makers for both the Republicans and Democrats routinely throw around religo-ethnic slurs like "Islamofascist", it’s no surprise that Trent Lott would think it was safe to dust off the old segregationist rhetoric and take it out for a test drive.

Perhaps he wanted to see if the environment was right to begin implementing Israeli-style racial laws in America. After all, that is one of the principal reasons the Gentile supporters of Israel dedicate so much money and political capital to the Zionist cause – it establishes a socially acceptable American precedent for instituting ethno-religious discrimination. True, they probably realize it will never again be acceptable for the good-old-boys to indulge in old fashioned minority-bashing on their own, but if it’s a politically correct Judeo-Christian/center-right Establishment coalition doing the bashing, well, who’s going to stop them?

But poor, hapless Trent Lott didn’t reckon on three potent forces. First, true Christianity (yes, still a force in America, if only latently) which holds that the only blood that matters is the blood of Christ and is thus repelled by institutional racism. Second, the ruthless Machiavellianism of the pro-war lobby, which doesn’t want the American public being reminded, especially now, of the intellectual consistency between Zionism, the nascent war against the Arabs, and Jim Crow. And lastly, the P.C. police of the left, who never miss an opportunity to exploit and demagogue a racial issue for political gain.

Except if that racial issue is in Israel, which many members of the American P.C. police are on record as supporting. And they will justify their support as long as Israel can plausibly be called a democracy, even though it’s own laws put the lie to that categorization. Problem is, they and their pro-war counterparts will continue to define Israel as a democracy long after it has slipped into "Judeofascism."

Oh, I forgot: “Palestinians are terrorists and suicide bombers.” Let’s be precise: less than one percent of all Palestinians are suicide bombers, but that’s enough for some in the media to label them all as such in justification of Israel’s draconian methods in dealing with them. Less than one percent of all blacks in America are murdering criminals, too. By logic Trent Lott could appreciate, and consistent with the Israeli model, that should be enough to demonize all African Americans and take away their civil rights.

And what about those draconian Israeli methods? Israel routinely destroys the homes of innocent relatives of Palestinian terrorists. Did the American government level the homes of relatives of Timothy McVeigh? Of course not. It would never punish the son for the sins of his father. Or would it? It’s hard to tell what will happen if the pro-war coalition continues to have it’s way with American policy. The mass jailing and torture of suspects, the targeting of children and bystanders because they are of a certain ethnicity, the wholesale leveling of villages: all have been defined in Israel and in the American media as reasonable reactions to a terrorist threat by a “democracy” under siege.

“It could never happen here.” Let me tell you: if it could happen in Israel with American financing, it could happen here.

By Chris Moore, Editor and Publisher of

Friday, November 22, 2002

Libertarians as the G.O.P.’s best friend and worst enemy

For Libertarians, the fallout since the Nov. 5 elections has been particularly interesting. Even though the Republicans enjoyed tremendous success, they spent much post-election energy sniping at the Libertarians for denying them even more. As documented by Howard Kurtz in the Washingtion Post ("Taking Aim at Those Independent Thinkers" Nov. 22), Republicans have complained frequently and bitterly that the Libertarian vote exceeded the margin of victory for Democrats in several important races across the country. If only the Libertarians did not exist, the presumed logic goes, then those voters would have supported Republicans and the party would be in an even stronger position than it already is. That notion, and the Republican vituperation that has accompanied it, has garnered the Libertarian Party more national publicity than it has seen in quite some time.
Given that Libertarian voting returns were (relative to the Big Two) mediocre at best, this development is the biggest Libertarian-related news to come out of the 2002 campaign -- and points the way for Libertarian Party strategy going forward.

Following the elections, Eric Dondero e-mailed me a long analysis of the Libertarian election returns, the last part of which I posted on LT on Nov. 20 ("The best role for Libertarians: spoilers punishing big-gov Republicans"). Dondero argues that the best way for Libertarians to influence public policy is to follow the lead of the New York Conservative Party in its efforts to turn out votes in support of small government Republican candidates and against big government ones. He writes: "When a big government liberal wins the GOP nomination for a particular office, the Conservatives respond by running a general election candidate in opposition, usually denying the bad Republican the election. Conversely, when the GOP nominates a relatively conservative Republican, the NY Conservative Party rewards the candidate with an endorsement and an extra ballot position. This would be an admirable and very positive role nationwide for the Libertarian Party to play. But there is one huge problem. Instead of targeting poor Republican candidates in the general, the Libertarian Party has chosen the path of mutual suicide, targeting like-minded GOPers for defeat."

I don't know how accurate his last statement is, but I heartily agree that the role Dondero envisions the Libertarian Party playing is a wise course -- for both practical reasons, and for short and long term strategic ones.

As I see it, one attribute the national Libertarian Party lacks in terms of wielding power is a focus: the leadership seems to take a highly decentralized approach to both party promotion and campaigning. While it did a great job this year of turning out a record number of candidates in a multitude of elections across the country (which in and of itself is good publicity for a party) when the returns came in, the vast majority of Libertarian candidates received under five percent of the vote and were consequently reduced to the status of "also rans." As far as both the national and local media were concerned, they simply vanished off the radar screen. The exceptions, of course, came in the races mentioned above, where the Libertarian votes were the difference between a Democrat and a Republican winning a given election. (And that media attention came primarily because the Republicans took note of those races and complained loudly about them.)

At least for the short term, it is unlikely that the average Libertarian candidate will do significantly better than five percent. However, as we have seen, that small portion of the vote can tip the balance in a number of important races one way or the other (let's call these campaigns Spotlight Races.) The key, then, is for the Libertarian Party to determine which elections it can probably swing prior to the nomination process and then leverage its expected five percent of the vote in those races into disproportionate political power and publicity going forward. Here's how:

Let's map out a hypothetical scenario similar to what happened in some of the Spotlight Races of November. Let's say leading up to a 2004 primary, the Republican establishment starts to get behind a fictional candidate for US Senate by the name of Joe Smith. Smith is a big government Republican who has a history of supporting taxes and increasing government budgets; he supports corporate welfare and many social welfare programs; he supports foreign aid, foreign intervention, and international activism in general. Although he may claim to be, he is obviously not a true fiscal conservative and is unlikely to vote as one if elected. Because of this, he becomes a potential target for Libertarians.

Problem is, there are a lot of Republican candidates like Smith, and the Libertarians don't have the resources (and in many states, the votes) to go after them all. So before Smith's becomes a Spotlight Race, the Libertarian Party should ask and answer several questions about the state in which he is running: 1) How evenly is the state divided between Republicans and Democrats? Is three to five percent of the vote likely to swing the election one way or the other? 2) Does the state have a large constituency of solid libertarians and/or libertarian-leaning conservatives who are likely vote in the general election against a soft Republican candidate in favor of a Libertarian candidate out of principle? 3) Does the state have an articulate Libertarian candidate who can take up the cause and who is willing to run against Smith if he is nominated? If the answer is "yes" to these criteria, the Libertarians designate the Smith race as perhaps one of 10 Spotlight Races nationally and call a press conference to announce it as such.

The press conference is where the publicity campaign begins. With the potential Libertarian candidate present, the Libertarian Party announces that it opposes the candidacy of Joe Smith because of his various positions, and if Smith wins the Republican nomination, the Libertarians are going to target him in a spoiler campaign backed by the national party.

This will accomplish two goals: first, it will serve as a warning to Republicans to get behind a more fiscally conservative candidate or risk losing the race even before the election; and second, it will garner the Libertarian Party significant publicity as a showdown between two groups of conservatives (something the liberal-leaning media is always happy to publicize).

Given the history of the 2002 elections, such a threat from the Libertarians would probably not be taken lightly, and the Republican establishment may be forced to back a candidate more acceptable to libertarians. If it does, and that candidate goes on to win the Republican primary, the Libertarian Party has achieved a victory without winning the race and can withdraw its candidate and throw its support behind the Republican.

On the other hand, if the Republican establishment continues to back Smith's candidacy with the Libertarian threat looming, the primary takes on a drama that will only ratchet up the publicity. If Smith goes on to win the nomination, the race really does take on the trappings of a conservative vs. conservative showdown which, when the Libertarian candidate officially announces his candidacy, gains the Party that much more attention. From that point forward, the narrative of the race won't be limited to "who will win, Smith or the Democrat?"; it will also include the question "will the Libertarian vote be responsible for a Smith loss?" And when the election is over, if the Libertarian vote is indeed the difference, the Libertarian Party can declare victory -- all with under five percent of the vote.

Of course, in order for such a strategy to work, it would be essential for the Libertarian Party to focus it's efforts and resources on the Spotlight Races -- perhaps at the expense of other races throughout the country. But because those other races will likely be lost anyway, the expense really isn't that high. As I see it, it is smarter to direct resources towards a small number of high profile "victories" scattered across the country in the form of Spotlight Races than at a large number of low profile losses everywhere else. And given the publicity they will generate in terms of name recognition and identifying the party with limited government principles, they are an investment that is well worth making.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Rehashing Iraqi History a Weak Substitute for Solid Evidence, Case Building

In response to critics who say that the Bush Administration needs to build a solid case
before rushing into Iraq, the spin coming out of the White House
now is that the government already has all of the evidence it needs to
justify an attack.

“The president believes that the evidence that we have already seen is sufficient to require
regime change," said spokesman Ari Fleischer recently. “Saddam Hussein has a history of
using force. He used military force when he invaded Iran, he used military force when he
invaded Kuwait, he used military force when he launched ballistic missiles against Iran,
against Saudi Arabia and against Israel."

President Bush is set to make his pitch for a war against Iraq to the U.N. on Sept. 12
the shamelessly opportunistic date of the speech), but has yet to provide any solid
evidence that Iraq can be tied to the terrorist attacks. Absent such hard evidence, and in
light if Fleisher’s comments, it appears that President Bush is going to ignore the fact that
Iraq cannot be tied to the attacks and argue that it deserves to be invaded any way.

Is this is the best this administration can do to justify an invasion? A rehash of what
happened in the Gulf War 10 years ago? Or even more absurdly, a reminder that Iraq went
to war with Iran in the ‘80’s? A war in which the U.S. Government and Donald Rumsfeld
himself strategically aided one of the combatants, namely Iraq
, in it’s effort to fend off
Iranian attackers? Why, even
Tonly Blair claims to have a “secret dossier” of evidence against Iraq (I hold in my hand a dossier...)

Such an effort is hardly worthy of even a gentleman’s “C” on a mid-term college paper, let
alone as justification for risking the lives of thousands of American soldiers and
committing America to what will no doubt be a long, grueling, painful occupation of Iraq
for years to come; an occupation that will do little more than earn Americans the enmity
and scorn of Muslims throughout the world and actually increase the odds of another
terrorist attack instead of reducing them.

“No other nation has been as militaristic, as prone to use weapons, as prone to launch
missiles, as armed up with biological and chemical weapons that they have a willingness
and ability to use," Fleischer said.

But what Fleischer didn’t say is that the U.S. Government foolishly and irresponsibly aided
an abetted Hussein for years both in his pursuit of military weapons and his quest to use
them. In therapy-speak, the American Government acted as Saddam’s enabler, which is
consistent with a busy-body foreign policy that inevitably and tragically (as Sept. 11
demonstrated) engulfs all Americans in its blowback.

That the U.S. Government has a long and established record of creating Frankenstein
monsters that then turn on their makers is no secret; nor is the fact that the average
American pays the price for these silly and dangerous foreign policy lab experiments, both
financially and as the targets for payback. What is a secret, apparently, is that many of
these secretive experiments and proxy wars are forbidden by the Constitution, or rather
would be if it’s restraints were enforced.

As Bush prepares to go to the U.N. to make the “case” for yet another undeclared war
that will result in yet more Frankenstein monsters and more America-polluting blowback,
let’s keep in mind that the Founders provided us with the mechanisms to prevent such
irresponsible adventurism. If only we would use them.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Clues on the War with Iraq, and Beyond?

Recent reports out of the Middle East may provide clues as to the timing and extent of a war with Iraq and possibly an ongoing U.S. presence in the Middle East. This article from the World Tribune was particularly interesting: “The United States has told Israel that it
will attack Iraq before the end of November. Israeli military sources said a senior U.S.
military visited Israel earlier this week and toured facilities where the U.S. military has
prepositioned equipment and weapons for an emergency in the Middle East. The sources
quoted a visiting U.S. general who heads army logistics as saying that Washington
intends to strike the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by late November.”

The report goes on to say that the war won’t end in Iraq: “In joint military discussions
earlier this summer, Pentagon officials said Iraq would be only the first stop in the U.S.
war on terror, an Israeli parliamentarian said. Yuval Steinetz, chairman of the Knesset
subcommittee on military doctrine, said he held talks with senior Pentagon officials in
June regarding Washington's vision of a post-Saddam Middle East. Steinetz said
Washington envisions a new order in the Middle East after Saddam is toppled and a
democratic regime is installed. "Iraq is the key but not the last stop [in the U.S. effort],"
Steinetz said. "It is the first stop. After that there will be massive [U.S.] pressure on Syria
and Iran to halt weapons of mass destruction programs and Syria's occupation of

And Israel would retaliate if attacked: “Israeli military sources said the level of
Israel's response would depend on the number of casualties and damage caused by any
Iraqi strike. The sources said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has told the Bush
administration that it would not pledge any policy of restraint as that during the 1991
Gulf war.”

So if this report is true, we now have several crucial pieces of the “impending war with
Iraq” puzzle: When it will take place; the fact that Israel is now being used as a staging
area, and therefore will probably be a base of operations during the war; the fact that
Israel is likely to participate in the attack on Iraq if (or when) it is hit by Iraqi missiles;
and the fact that American ambitions are greater than the removal of Saddam and may
even include regime change in Syria and beyond.

How much of this could possibly be accurate and what are the implications if it is? Let’s start
with the “when.”

If the attack takes place in late November, it would be well after the
elections on the 5th. Bush has repeatedly said he would not attack
, but has never said he would wait until after the holidays. A late November attack would leave time
for new members of Congress to be sworn in and to get their bearings before taking a vote on a resolution. And it would also
square with the strategic imperative of Middle Eastern weather, given the reports that
“U.S. soldiers would probably have to slog through Baghdad's streets wearing
chemical-weapons suits and carrying extra equipment.”
However, in response to conservative critics of war, Bush also recently said he won’t rush a decision. But in Bush’s mind, a
post Thanksgiving attack might well mean he didn’t rush. Overall, it seems a late
November offensive is very plausible.

Now what about Israel’s participation? There is no question that Ariel Sharon hates Arabs and would probably
love to nuke as much of Iraq as
possible. There is no question that in a battle, Israel would be a fire-power asset, given that
it has the fourth or fifth strongest military in the world (and one that has had regular combat experience, albeit mostly against civilians lately). And of course there is its proximity
to Iraq. Because the Bush administration has been unable to rally any international support from either the
or the Europeans,
having at least one ally it can point to essential, even though Israel is hardly an objective one. So at this point, and after pumping nearly $100 billion into Israeli coffers over the years, it
seems the U.S. Government is finally set to utilize its expensive client in battle.

No doubt, as the Israeli Firsters see it, Israel's participation has the added bonus of further entangling our
alliance to the point where Israel’s military success in the region is synonymous with
America’s military success, and to where an attack on Israel is synonymous with an attack
on America.

How will this play in the Arab world? Not well. What the Iraqis and any other Arab states
that might come under attack will see on the horizon is a duplication of the brutal Israeli
occupation of Palestine, only in their front yards. They will see the Palestinian experiences
under the Israelis now as a precursor of what their own experiences under the
American/Israeli coalition will be later. And this will inspire a fight.

Within such a context, the
optimistic thinking in the Bush administration that once under attack, the Iraqi military will
suddenly turn on Saddam and finish the job for us becomes wishful thinking. Because of Israel’s bellicose behavior towards the Palestinians, their participation in this
offensive will stifle any opposition to Saddam that might exist within the Iraqi military and
unite it with the leadership. As bad as Hussein is, the Iraqi people will have to doubt that
an invading force made up of the two countries most responsible for the suffering of the Palestinan people and the sanctions that
have taken between 500,000 and one million Iraqi lives has the best interests of the Iraqi
people at heart, or will treat them any better than their current oppressor. It is better to be oppressed by the tyrant you know than by the tyrant you don't, or so the logic will go.

Now let’s move the last piece of our puzzle, the larger ambitions of the Bush
Administration for the region. Let’s re-examine the quote from the Israeli Government
official from above: “Iraq is the key but not the last stop [in the U.S. effort]," Steinetz
said. "It is the first stop. After that there will be massive [U.S.] pressure on Syria and Iran
to halt weapons of mass destruction programs and Syria's occupation of Lebanon.”
--Yuval Steinetz, chairman of the Knesset subcommittee on military doctrine

It reads like an Israeli government fantasy, a wishfull-thinking prophecy that it hopes will become
self-fulfilling. Iraq, Iran, Syria, emasculated and compliant, probably occupied by
American soldiers who will do the brutal and dangerous work of trying to pacify a
stubborn, defiant and angry Muslim population, all without the Israelis having to lift a

Granted, with the oil-loving, Arab-hating clique of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and
Perle holding such sway over Bush decision-making, such a scenario is possible; but
fortunately, this group of “Oil and Israel Firsters” is counterbalanced by the Colin Powell
State Department and, importantly, the Pentagon, which would actually have to do the
heavy-lifting of an occupation and has some perspective of how costly and dangerous such
a feat would be.

Would the Oil and Israel crowd gladly stretch the American military as thinly as possible over as
much of the Middle East as it possibly could get away with? No question. But will they be allowed to?
That all depends on the fortitude of President Bush to resist the grandeurous delusions of
some of those who surround him.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Conservative Warnings on Iraq a "Shot Across the Bow" to Neocons

In today's news, former Secretary of State James Baker became the latest in a series of old-school
conservatives to warn Bush against going it alone in attacking Iraq href="
5&dt=20020824233300&w=RTR&coview=">(US Needs Allies to Hit Iraq-Former
Secretary Baker)
. He joins other Republican elder-statesman such as Chuck Hagel,
Brent Scowcroft, Dick Armey and Lawrence Eagleburger in sounding the general alarm
over the risks of a unilateral invasion and, by extension, any invasion at all.What's going
on here? Has this bunch gone soft? Are they all now "peaceniks," "appeasers," "Arabists"
and "terrorist sympathizers"?

While the pro-war lobby and warfare-socialists would no doubt like to brand them as such, this is hardly the case. What they really are, on this issueat least, is traditional conservatives who, like many others, are able to see the pro-war
propaganda emanating from neo-conservative and "democratic-centrist" circles for what it
is: namely a special-interest effort to leverage the anger and nationalism brought on by the
9/11 attacks into an all-out war against Middle-Eastern Arabs.

So who are these "special
interests" and what are their motives? Two words: “Oil” and “Israel.” Oil, because Iraq is
second only to Saudi Arabia in known reserves, and Israel because of the Zionist
movement -- including “Christian” and Jewish, Israeli and American. Independently, probably
neither would be able to attain the critical mass necessary to pull America into a war; but
together, and in the context of the terrorist attacks (which provide the two interests with
the propaganda cover they need) anything is possible.

But where does the crop of anti-war
conservatives fit in? Don’t they also support Israel? Don’t they also support big oil? The
short answer is: “yes, but unlike the war-lobby, they support the interests and well-being
of Americans first.” Theirs is not a single-issue patriotism. They understand that a victory
over Iraq may indeed be a short-term boon to the oil interests and perhaps the first major
component in a “Greater Israel” plan (or at the least will kill off one of it’s major enemies).
But they also understand that neither goal dovetails with the long-term moral or
geopolitical interests of Americans, and worse than that, sets them up as targets of Islamic
retaliation -- targets both as foreign occupiers, and as enablers of a slow-motion race war
being carried out by the current Israeli government against the Palestinians now, and
potentially the larger Arab world later.

The warnings coming from Hagel, Baker, Armey,
Eagleburger, Scowcroft et al are simply shots across the bow of the pro-war lobby;
unspoken messages: “we know who you are and what you’re up to; we know what you
want and how you want to go about getting it; and we know that you’re manipulating the
impressionable Bush Jr.; but we also know what the long-term interests of Americans are,
both in terms of maintaining their well-being and effectively attacking real terrorists, and
we won’t allow you to put Israel or oil before them.”

From the libertarian perspective, that
the larger Republican and Democratic establishment can be so easily used and manipulated
is not only pathetic, but scary. And scarier still is the silence that, until recently, had grown
so loud. The lesson that Democratic voters should draw from these events is that their
leaders are cowed and cowardly, trembling before the special interests and completely
lacking in morality and principle. The lesson that Republican voters should draw is that,
while some in their party have the courage to take a quiet stand, the Party itself is as easily
co-opted, compromised and corrupted as is the Democratic Party, and the only way to
prevent a compromised government from using and abusing the American people is to
explicitly limit it’s ability to do so -- in other words, join the Libertarians.