Thursday, May 14, 2009


Sadly, many Americans are incapable of naming a single US Congressman, outside of perhaps, their own.

But every American should know about Rep. Jane Harmon, (Dem, CA), who is reported to have been caught on a National Security Agency wiretap (legally authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) discussing a pending case of spying by two lobbyists for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). According to NY Times sources, Harmon was contacted by an unnamed Israeli agent who asked her to intervene with the Justice Department to use her Congressional influence to get the charges against the two indicted lobbyists reduced. The two, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were scheduled to go on trial in June after years of delay, but presto..the Justice Department quietly dropped the charges just as impartial followers of the case predicted.

The potential criminality in the Harmon-Israeli agent conversation is bribery and obstruction of justice. The agent reportedly offered to use the influence of the Israel Lobby to get Harmon appointed chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee in return for her help with the Rosen-Weissman case. If Harmon agreed to accept the offer, it is a crime regardless of whether she acted upon her promise. It is further alleged that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales blocked any investigation into whether Harmon and the Israeli agent were involved in criminal conduct because he needed a high profile Democrat to support the Bush Administration's efforts to quell political damage from the bombshell revelations of the domestic spying scandal.

Lobbying is a perfectly natural and legal concept that every cause and organization engages in to promote their agenda. But how many other lobbying organizations have had two of its lobbyists awaiting trial for espionage and apparently have used their enormous influence to further lobby a member of Congress to illegally intercede in that same espionage case?

Every American who is truly seeking a the establishment of a Palestinian state and peace between Israel and the Palestinians should ask Rep. Harmon where her real allegiances lie.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The best lobbying job in America must be that of a lobbyist for AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

Generally recognized as the most powerful lobby in America, AIPAC's website proclaims its mission to be: For more than half a century, American Israeli Public Affairs Committee has worked to make Israel more secure by ensuring that American support remains strong.

That is a laudable mission for any organization lobbying on behalf of a foreign country, but what is so neat about being a lobbyist for AIPAC are privileges no other lobbyist can even fathom, much less enjoy.

For example lobbyists for AIPAC can spy on America with impunity as prosecution is off the table. Just ask Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, AIPAC employees who had been charged with committing espionage on behalf of Israel. Their trial was delayed for five years and quietly dropped last week by the Justice Department, even though Larry Franklin, the Pentagon analyst accused of passing government secrets to Rosen and Weissman, plead guilty to espionage and received a twelve year sentence in 2005. Apparently, it's OK to solicit and receive US secrets on behalf of AIPAC, but it's hard time for the non-AIPAC government official who hands over those secrets.

Another great benefit of lobbying for AIPAC is that you can sabotage the appointment of an outstanding appointee to a key intelligence position simply because AIPAC believes that the appointee will not tilt toward Israel in assessing intelligence. How can this happen? Just ask Charles Freeman whose appointment to head the National Intelligence Council was derailed last March after intensive lobbying efforts orchestrated by AIPAC. Freeman was a good choice for this position precisely because his refusal to religiously follow an Israeli slanted intelligence view would prevent the phony intelligence estimates that allowed America to blunder into the Iraq war.

Much as I would love the perks that go with it, only one thing would keep me from accepting a lobbying position with AIPAC. Call me old fashioned, but I believe America must come first in more than name only.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a same-sex marriage bill Wednesday, making Maine the fifth state to legalize gay marriage, following Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa. New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey may soon follow and the California Supreme Court may rule next month to overturn California's Proposition 8 which rescinded gay marriage which was legal for a short time there before last November's election.

Gee, these are tough times for homophobic folks who believe gay marriage is a threat to heterosexual marriage. Maybe America should set aside a large swathe of land in a desolate area of the west and form the 51st state of Homophobia. Homophobes could settle there assured that their 50% divorce rate will not escalate to 60% or 70% by virtue of having a bunch of gay marrieds living amongst them.

In the interests of fairness, the state of Homophobia would have two Senators, but just to be safe, the Homophobia state constitution would require that these seats always be filled by one man and one woman. You just never know. The two Homophobia Senators getting together on state business may just happen to do what comes naturally and fall in love. And if they be both men or both women? Well, let's not even go there.

Also published in Glen Ellyn News, May 13, 2009
Also published in Daily Herald, May 15, 2009