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Political tidbits: Madoff lobbyists cut ties, Israel and Iran come together with drinks

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  • Johns Hopkins professor Fouad Ajami, in the Wall Street Journal, writes that Barack Obama and "his foreign-policy advisers portend a return to realpolitik and to a resigned acceptance of the ways of foreign autocracies":

We have erred, the Obama worldview preaches, and overreached. We have overread the verdict of 9/11, and it is time to make our peace with regimes we have offended in the Bush years. It is the Scowcroftian way — other lands, other ways.

  • The lobbyists that worked for Bernard Madoff  in Washington has already begun to cut ties with the fraudulent financier, reports Politico:

The lobbying firm Dow Lohnes Government Strategies filed paperwork on Dec. 12, terminating its lobbying contract with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. That ended more than 10 years of Madoff lobbying in Washington, in which his investment firm spent more than $400,000 to influence the federal government.

But lobbying is just a piece of Madoff’s influence in Washington. His family has contributed nearly $400,000 to political committees. And his niece, Shana Madoff Swanson, who serves as a compliance attorney at his firm, is married to a former high-ranking Securities and Exchange Commission official, Eric Swanson. …

One of the largest recipients of Madoff largess was Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who received $39,000 from the family for his two Senate races. Bernard Madoff has given an additional $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee since Schumer took its helm in 2005.

  • The D.C. Examiner reports Israel, Iran and Syria came together in Washington last week — sort of:

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy held its “Spirits of the World” event last week at the Ethiopian Embassy, and it was a boozy Benetton ad of harmony: Drinks from Israel were featured alongside drinks from such enemies as Iran and Syria (no, none of the drinks were deviously named a “Molotov Cocktail.”) The Bahamas, Chile, Jamaica, Moldova, Morocco, the Philippines and Venezuela also joined in the melting pot.

But even liquor can’t bring about world harmony: Foot traffic at the event was minimal and, like any Washington party, the cliques remained in their protective circles at various corners of the room.

  • The Jerusalem Post’s David Horovitz talks to U.S. Middle East security coordinator Keith Dayton:

The general, with typical care, has prepared for our interview by typing out, in considerable detail, what he wants to say. The theme can perhaps best be summed as: This time, it’s different. This time, the Palestinian forces will prove genuinely capable – of taking on Hamas and other extremists… and of refraining from taking on their Israeli counterparts.

Obviously, Dayton is highly invested in these young Palestinian security personnel. Still, it is striking to register the emphatic belief he places in their ability to bolster security for their people and in so doing, to enhance security for ours.

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