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Interview with Sarah Paine

I've recently watched Sarah Paine from the Naval War College interview with Dwarkesh Patel. She would be a great interview with counter points or breaking points over the situation in geopolitics.

Congo

Would you all be open to finding some experts or an expert to help us understand what’s happening in the Congo?

Campaign Funding Detail

Great expose on Haim Saban yesterday, juxtaposing his lazy incoherence with reality of his awesome power on ME policy. Few people know he's basically the Koch Brothers of Dems. But what really few people understand is the reality of the demographics of wealth in America, and how that drives US policy on Israel. And hard to talk to because discussion is 'antisemitism' adjacent. But fact is that most people become more conservative, if not reactionary, as they get richer. One demographic for whom this trend has held up the least has been Jews - for obvious reasons given history of discrimination in America and world. Those two things mean that, for example, while ~30% of billionaires in America are Jewish, perhaps 90% of billionaires or UHNW individuals who ARE NOT RIGHT WING are Jewish. I don't know stats but I've been told this by someone involved in DNC fundraising. Obviously not all wealthy Jews have same policy on Israel, or even are Zionist (e.g. Soros), but in a contest where you need to raise $2.5bn or more (party wide not just presidential campaign), you don't need that much deflation of Jewish donor enthusiasm to make a huge difference for the DEM party. According to OpenSecrets.org, the top 50 Dem donors to party alone contributed $610m in 2020. That's order of magnitude larger than AIPAC and orgnanisations identified as 'Pro Israel. A quick scan of the names (they are all well-known billionaires) reveals that 43 of them are Jewish and contributed $570m collectively. That's just the biggest (e.g. >$1.5mn) donors. I suspect information of the bulk of the other categories of donors (not individually identified) would reveal similar disproportionate dependencies. I realise this is a hard thing to report as it rhymes with 'Jewish money control our politics' tropes. However, we simply have to. If we continue to imagine that the dysfunction on Dem party decision making on Israel is just about ideology, or even frankly Jewish voters, we will never get anywhere. How many Jewish voters live in swing states, or would consider voting R? Analogous questions can be asked about 'Christian Zionist' voters - who are actually much more numerous than Jewish Zionists, but electorally irrelevant in Republican Party given where they live and party loyalty. We *cannot* understand drivers of US policy without understanding this funding dynamic, and watching AIPAC is a mistake. Those reports of 'XYZ candidate gets $700k from AIPAC' just reveal how irrelevant AIPAC money is in broader context. They aren't where the money is. The money is in garden parties and diners and galas full of rich people who aren't single-issue voters, but who *will* pay attention if someone scares them about an issue on which they believe there is only one right answer. We can dream about a more balanced ME foreign policy all we want, but unless we address the disconnect between the base of the party (Jew and Gentile alike, who I suspect are more aligned w/ each other than w/ leadership), and the demographics of the donor base - on this particular issue - we aren't going to get anywhere. We certainly wont see a more humane and less stupid foreign policy. And finally, to anticipate the 'isn't this just an antisemitic trope' question, let's be clear: we can dismiss talk about the percent of doctors who are Jewish, or Physicists who are Jewish, or movie producers who are Jewish, for one simple reason: there is no such thing as 'Jewish' medicine, or 'Jewish' law, or 'Jewish' movie making. But there self-evidently is a 'Jewish' POV on Israel. Obviously there is. While there is nothing wrong with that, and totally understandable given history, the whole purpose of having a multi-cultural democracy is to create a political system that balances the specific biases and blinkered views of specific groups of people, and corrects for them. That's why we tell ourselves democracies (small d) are more robust than autocracies. Democracies, we tell ourselves, can self-correct. After American elites got intoxicated by quick success in Afghanistan in 2002 and decided to remake the entire muslim world, democracy delivered a new generation of leaders and the country adjusted. China, or Russia, we tell ourselves, isn't as able to do this. So 'Iraq' was a disaster for us, but Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward or Holodomar a disaster on a totally different scale. But this 'self-correction' mechanism is broken in the case for Israel. It simply is. Group-think amongst maybe ~1,000-2,000 families drives fundraising which drives policy, no matter how crazy it seems to the rest of us, including increasingly large numbers of (unfortunately not-yet-billionaire) young Jews. It has ruined our standing in ME, our reputation in global south, handed our enemies propaganda WMDs, and humiliated our political system to the world - and to ourselves. Would love you to drill into it. JIm P.S. Note one irony of the stats above is that Republicans are LESS dependent on donations from Jewish donors than Dems. For every Haim Saban Dems have, Republicans have many Koch Brothers and Coors and Harlan Crowes and others willing to support a candidate regardless on Israel. There are plenty of RW Christians who don't care about Israel. That's why the biggest pushback to Israel have often been from Republicans - like Rand Paul, Massey in Congress today, or GHWB, Reagan and even Eisenhower as Presidents. However, ever since Bill Clinton robbed Bush / Baker of the credit they deserved at that Rose Garden ceremony in 1993 (just 9 months into first term, what I call Clinton's #MissionAccomplished moment), the 'peace process' which frankly was created ONLY thanks to Bush / Baker willing to push Israel to table, was abandoned by Republicans who saw it after that as a 'Clinton' rather than 'Bush' or even bipartisan achievement. That's the lie Hillary never explains, and is why she and Bill are so vested in the idea of Arafat walking away from peace. Nevertheless, although the financial importance of 'Jewish' donors (distinct from 'AIPAC' itself, which again, while studiously bipartisan and increasingly RW, is actually insignificant in terms of $$), the Republicans have a new ideological commitment to Israel based on (1) abandonment of Madrid / Oslo (again, noting this was GWHB achievement, credit for which Clinton robbed from him, (2) cultural affinity with idea of ethno-nationalism and militaristic policing, and, perhaps most important, (3) recognition that the opportunity to wedge Democrats and left between their voter base and donor base could be a 'Southern Strategy' all over again. It could be the 'get-out-of-jail' card from the Trumpian conundrum of aligning with conservative white nationalists in a country where demographics are headed against that. Democrats counted on that time bomb to destroy the Republican Party over time. And it wasn't bad thinking. However, 'Israel', could be a Republican way out - and as with Southern Strategy, their ticket to another several decades of power. The result is continued over-the-top courtship of large-donor pro-Israel support: by Republicans to defund Democrats, and by Democrats to avoid returning to the early 20th century reality of always being massively outspent by Republicans. In any case I'd love someone to explore this issue. I don't know what solution is but we cannot as a society keep ignoring it.

44 day war Artsakh

Hearing both Saagar and Krystal talk about Israel vs Palestine. Did you over the 44 day Artsakh war of 2020? What is your take? What about the removal of 120k Armenians from their ancestral homeland in 2023v? What’s your take? You are my #1 podcast and I want your take This has come up several times. If being a paid supporter doesn’t generate a response I see no point to keep Paying when I can listen for free.

Retail Investors and Interest Rates?

Reading this article in Barron's from yesterday, the author speculates that the GameStop phenomenon is a result of interest rates not being high enough and laments that regulators aren't going to squash the retail investors. https://www.barrons.com/articles/gamestop-meme-stock-market-what-to-know-today-2de0b63c?mod=djem_b_Feature_5142024%2070434%20AM Think there's anything to this? Ian Carroll has been doing some fun shortform videos on the GME 2.0 short squeeze.