Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Obama’s Nowruz Address: not “appeasement,” not a Kumbayah moment

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington Predictably, President Barack Obama’s conciliatory Nowruz message to the Iranian people has produced fierce reaction on both sides of the debate over Iran policy.

Jewish Groups united on budget proposal — well, almost

Thursday, March 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Jewish groups are pretty much united on wanting more government spending for critical health and social service programs as part of the federal budget for the next fiscal year. But as Congress began chewing on next year’s budget proposal,  a letter signed by more than 100 local and national organizations, organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), was conspicuous in the lack of any Orthodox support.

Internet Rumors, Republicans and Refugees from Gaza

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 James Besser in Washington It’s getting harder to tell urban legends from reality in this age of drive-by talk radio and an anarchic Internet. Case in point: the widely proliferating rumor that the Obama administration is spending $20 million of your taxpayer dollars on “resettling Palestinians with ties to Hamas in the United States.”

Pro-Israel PAC goes to bat for Coleman in war of attrition with Franken

Monday, March 16th, 2009 James Besser in Washington It’s already the longest and most boring senate election in recent history, unless you love legal minutia, and it’s not over yet; a three-judge panel in Minnesota is deliberating whether challenger Al Franken, who got a few more votes, or Norm Coleman, who says those votes are tainted, will be sworn in sometime before the end of the 111th Congress.

A Madoff Victim Bailout? I don’t think so

Sunday, March 15th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Just in case you haven’t read enough about mega-swindler Bernie Madoff, check the book-like article about many of his victims in the current Vanity Fair. Needless to say, most of the victims interviewed are Jewish, and the tales are poignant, like the story of the wealthy physician’s widow who invested with Madoff and ended up working as a kind of maid.

Bernie Madoff and Jewish Angst

Friday, March 13th, 2009 James Besser in Washington So Bernie Madoff is going to the Big House, and his many victims won’t get to see him strung up by the thumbs.  I’m sure there’s  a lot of disappointment (I sort of liked Elie Wiesel’s suggested punishment for the Ponzi King: put him in a jail cell with a flat panel TV, and run continuous pictures of his victims).

Freeman Out as Intel Panel Chair; Controversy unlikely to end

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Just as I was getting set to write yet another blog item on the Chas Freeman controversy, word came that he is turning down his appointment as chair of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman’s defenders are no doubt busy writing their own blogs, describing how his nomination was torpedoed by pro-Israel forces, and they won’t be entirely wrong.
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