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An editorial in today’s Washington Post says that Charles W. Freeman Jr. “looked like a poor choice to chair the Obama administration’s National Intelligence Council” and criticized Freeman for suggesting that the Israeli Lobby had jettisoned his appointment, calling that a “crackpot theory.”
If there was a campaign against Freeman, “its leaders didn’t bother to contact the Post editorial board,” said the editorial. But with Fred Hiatt in charge of the Post‘s reflexively pro-Israel editorial page, why would they have bothered? That would be like the Obama administration lobbying Daily Kos to support its legislative program, or the GOP to demand ideological fealty from the Weekly Standard. It’s less time consuming to just sit back and wait for the party line to emerge on its own.
Whatever you think of Freeman, it’s impossible to imagine that his appointment would have been shot down if not for his views on Israel. “Mr. Freeman’s most formidable critic — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — was incensed by his position on dissent in China.,” writes the Post. Right. When’s the last-time that a political nominee was shot down because of their ties or sympathies to the Chinese government? Such a standard would eliminate from consideration virtually the entire foreign policy establishment.
Note: New York Times endorses crackpot theory: “Charles W. Freeman Jr., a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, withdrew his name from consideration after a campaign by pro-Israel lobbyists.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”