March 11, 2009 [LINK / comment]
Israelis "bork" Charles Freeman
"Who is Charles Freeman?" you ask. Until yesterday, he was President Obama's choice to become chairman of the National Intelligence Council. He had been recommended by the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, but his reputation for forthright speaking out on controversial issues clashed with the low-key, discrete style of the Intelligence Community. That, plus his lobbying activities for businesses associated with Saudi Arabia and China, proved to be fatal liabilities. What sank his appointment for good was some rather intense lobbying by the Israeli lobby in Washington, which will not countenance any attempt by American officials to be even-handed in the dispute with the Palestinians. See the Washington Post.
This story has been virtually ignored by the Mainstream Media, and I only found out about it from reading Andrew Sullivan's blog. He has been positively obsessed with this case for the past few days, and is clearly sympathetic to Freeman. I don't know enough to weigh in, but I do know that the effective veto power wielded by the Israeli lobby over certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy is contrary to our national interest, and potentially dangerous.
Dumping on the GOP
More sharp criticism of the Republicans: Frank Schaeffer wrote "Open Letter to the Republican Traitors (From a Former Republican)" for the Huffington Post, accusing the GOP of being "dedicated to sabotaging the American future." Just because they're trying to save what's left of the free market system?? There is probably some validity to what he is arguing, because the many in the GOP did behave very badly during the Bush administration, but calling Republicans in general "traitors" is going way over the top. Blindly acquiescing to the Obama agenda, as Schaeffer expects congressional Republicans to do, is not the responsible thing to do. I know there are many like me who consider themselves part of the loyal opposition. Those like Schaeffer who have switched parties can be among the most strident and least reasonable people. Hat tip to Richmond Democrat (except that he messed up the link, forcing me to search).
Labor union power grab
I'm glad to see Virginia's two leading Republican statewide candidates (Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling) make a high-profile denunciation of the "Employee Free Choice Act" -- a.k.a., "Card Check." It would allow individual workers to "vote" on unionization by signing a card, rather than with a secret ballot, thereby facilitating coercive tactics by union activists. It is, as they say, a grave threat to personal liberty, and to free enterprise. See Bearing Drift.