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Yet another stumble

Monday, Jul 28, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Back in January, state Sen. Michael Frerichs formally kicked off his campaign for Illinois state treasurer and posted a video online touting the fact the he’d ended “free, lifetime health care for state legislators.”

Actually, Frerichs had voted against that bill in the General Assembly. Frerichs’ campaign had to pull the video and replace it with a new one, even though he’d been planning his formal launch for at least a year.

In April, Frerichs appeared to flip-flop on his long-standing position that the comptroller’s and treasurer’s offices should be merged.

“People have said to me,” Frerichs told a WBBM Radio interviewer, “‘Wouldn’t it just be a lot more efficient if we just had one financial officer?’ And I’ve said yes, we could become very efficient, efficient like the city of Dixon, Illinois, who just had one chief financial officer and she was able, from this small little town, over several years to take something like $52 million away from them.”

Frerichs was quickly forced to restate his support for the office merger.

A few weeks ago, Frerichs was endorsed by the Illinois Education Association. At the kickoff tour, a Springfield reporter asked an IEA official why her organization backed Frerichs over Republican state Rep. Tom Cross. The official quickly deferred to her union’s spokesman, who was mostly silent for 25 very long and uncomfortable seconds while he tried to come up with an answer. He eventually cited the union’s “long association” with Frerichs and Frerichs’ support for more state revenues.

Since at least February, Frerichs has been pushing an idea to make the treasurer’s investment fund more Illinois centric.

“The current Republican Treasurer has placed a premium on investments outside of Illinois and the US, over the benefits that can be gained from investing in our people, our infrastructure, and our businesses,” he wrote on a Daily Herald questionnaire published on February 14th. Over and over since then, Frerichs has criticized incumbent Treasurer Dan Rutherford for investing Illinois dollars “overseas.”

But Frerichs either didn’t check the details of Treasurer Rutherford’s investment portfolio or didn’t think anyone else would because the one and only “overseas” investment in Rutherford’s portfolio is in bonds issued by the Israeli government.

Oops.

Support for Israel has long been an important statewide political issue in Illinois, dating back to at least US Sen. Charles Percy’s first win and then his 1984 loss to Paul Simon because Percy had allegedly become less supportive of the nation. Mark Kirk made a congressional career out of his unquestioning support for Israel and that stance helped him defeat Alexi Giannoulias for US Senate in 2010. There are other examples, but you get the idea.

So, last week, Tom Cross’ campaign blasted Frerichs for his investment proposal.

“One country that would be singled out under Frerichs’ plan is Israel,” a Cross press release noted. “The office of Treasurer currently has $25 million invested in foreign bonds, all with Israel.”

Treasurer Rutherford later confirmed that Israeli government bonds are the only overseas investment his office makes. So, if, indeed, Frerichs wants to divest the state treasurer’s portfolio of “overseas” investments, those Israel Bonds are the one and only instruments he could sell off.

Frerichs quickly sent out a statement noting that he’d co-sponsored a bill to encourage more purchases of the Israeli bonds, and attached a quote from several Jewish state legislators claiming that he was “among the most outspoken and vocal advocates for the State of Israel in the Illinois General Assembly.” The Frerichs campaign later issued a statement which said in part: “He would continue investing in Israel bonds as Treasurer. To say anything else is flat out wrong.”

But Cross’ hit was politically legitimate. He didn’t go overboard and frantically accuse Frerichs of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic, he merely pointed out a simple fact: Frerichs has repeatedly demanded overseas divestiture and in the real world that can only mean one thing, Israel Bonds.

I wouldn’t expect that this easily preventable problem will go away any time soon.

Frerichs has earned a reputation for being a hardworking state legislator. He’s easy to talk to, but educated and ambitious. He raised a ton of money early on. The Downstater worked overtime to keep all potential Chicago-area candidates out of the Democratic primary. Most Democratic primary voters are in Cook County, so that was a real coup for the Champaign County legislator.

But he’s obviously not living up to expectations. He needs to up his game.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


57 Comments
  1. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:24 am:

    If Tom Cross hadn’t promised to initiate a constitutional crisis - by having the State Treasurer file a lawsuit to shut down the state - it would be easier to be more sanguine about all this.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:27 am:

    @FakeMikeFrerichs - when you are as tall as I am, when you stumble and fall it’s a long way down #KiddieTableSpilledMilk


  3. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:30 am:

    I like Mike and have raised money for him. But you are completely right - he seriously needs to up his game. I can’t quite figure out what’s going wrong here but there seems to be an attention to detail problem.

    Mike, we love ya man, but please stop with the unforced errors.


  4. - A guy... - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:31 am:

    There’s no margin for error with the Jewish vote that he can up his game to regain. As stated in this well done article, this is a loyal constituency to those who maintain strict loyalty in return. Percy made a huge mistake and it cost him big. Frerichs is beyond their comfort level now. So, he better up his game elsewhere. Shrewd move by the Cross team on this one. Good article.


  5. - Happy Hank - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    It is sad to see him become a joke of a candidate so quickly. I had high hopes for him and his future for the party but it is clear he is hapless and like other backbenchers had relied so much on the leader that he doesn’t know how to open his own mouth without jamming his foot in it.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    To the Post,

    I appreciate this column very much, well done.

    The amateur hour Dopiness that is Frerichs’ attempt to be relevant actually has put into focus how important it is to be “ready” for the next step in attempting a statewide run;

    Knowledge of your record, and the issues shaping it.

    Seasoned staff, that understands that the image and perception is as important as the product released.

    Social media hurts too. It does. It cuts both ways, and allowing the cuts should be unacceptable.

    Have a response to a possible pivot.

    More humble, less bumble.

    “@FakeMikeFrerichs” is more about the failure of his staff and himself, and less about how easy they make it to be snarky.


  7. - Lance - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    I mean this campaign of “tax hike Mike” is truly laughable..


  8. - the Frisco kid - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    This guy is now an official campaign clown. The Treasurer’s race will be my one crossover for a Republican. There us no compelling reason to vote for Frerichs and he has created a million reasons to vote against him.


  9. - Almost the Weekend - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    When does Frerichs start making changes to his staff? These miscues are inexcusable. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The only advantage Mike seems to keep is fundraising. But when do his donors start to notice and stop their support until necessary changes are made.


  10. - Brass - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    Given the massacre, war crimes, deaths of children, elderly, bombing hospitals, schools and an ongoing illegal occupation and apartheid by Israel, I’m actually disappointed to learn we have any money invested in Israel. It’s bad enough over $3B of our taxdollars are gifted each year plus weapons. The fact that Israel is the ONLY foreign country is even more troubling. We should take that money and spread it in countries that are not engaged in massacres. Could anyone imagine the legislature being okay with investment in South Africa under apartheid? This is actually worse…people are dying.

    I don’t know why Dan Rutherford invested this money in Israel or if it was by his predecessor but both current candidates are wrong.

    It’s time we stop looking the other way on right vs wrong in this state.


  11. - Knome Sane - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    We are not into August yet and “regular” folks haven’t even begun to think about the Treasurer’s race, if they ever will.

    This office, in an open seat scenario as is is this year, is a lot like the “University of Illinois Trustees” position on the ballot, back when the trustees were elected. It is more of a barometer on how the state electorate is swinging than anything else. A good ballot name helps but honestly folks, let’s put the horse back in the stable. Mike Frerichs has a lot of time between now and election day to “right the ship”. Anyone posting to pump up Cross in the eyes of the blog readers at Capitol Fax Blog are largely wasting their time.


  12. - Stones - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:51 am:

    I agree with everything that was in the piece but would add that there are very few people (outside of those on this blog) who are watching or really care about the State Treasurer’s race. I’m sure that will change as we get closer to November but right now - not so much.


  13. - Brass - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:51 am:

    It should also be noted that many Jews are opposed to Israel’s war machine and even support boycotts and divestment. However, if anyone thinks a Jewish voter is going to choose the next Treasurer based upon having a $25m bond investment from the fiscal flop known as Illinois, then that is a big mistake.

    We should be asking why money wasn’t invested across other countries if we are investing internationally. The sooner we divest from Israel, the better unless we want to be on the wrong side of history.


  14. - From the North Shore cheap seats - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    Oh, I think Jewish voters paid attention to the Israeli bond gaffe, considering the current circumstances.


  15. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    Frerichs displays a pattern of speaking and declaring policy stances based on politics and nothing more. As a result, he keeps shooting himself in the foot.

    Like many, Frerichs knows what he is “supposed” to say for his own political benefit. His problems develop when he puts that personal ambition before actual knowledge of the issue being discussed, his own beliefs or even his well established record.

    How else to flip-flops, which are then walked back after he is reminded of his record? Or his odd attempt to make “overseas” investments an issue? Anyone who looked at the actual portfolio would quickly understand it’s a moot point, and possibly even a self-damaging one based on the strong support for Israel?

    Talking points and “make stuff up” are bad crutches to rely upon when running for an office like Comptroller or Treasurer statewide.


  16. - Former State Employee - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    As an Illinois taxpayer, I appreciate the information that Brass has provided. I know this is about the Treasurer’s race, and not the Middle East, but I am strongly in the same camp as Brass


  17. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    The problem with the “July doesn’t matter in November” theory is a basic one.

    The reputation you build, and the gaffes you make, in July helps form your reputation in November. What will those casual voters discover about Mike Frerichs when they tune in come October or November?

    That he can’t keep his own record straight. That he flips-flops on flip-flops. That he takes strong policy stances on issues like “overseas” investments without actually understanding the issue. That he wants to inject politics into a fiduciary position.

    Plus, the journalists, partisans, donors and kingmakers many of those “casual voters” rely upon to be informed come November are paying attention right now.

    Very close attention.


  18. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    –There’s no margin for error with the Jewish vote that he can up his game to regain. As stated in this well done article, this is a loyal constituency to those who maintain strict loyalty in return. Percy made a huge mistake and it cost him big. Frerichs is beyond their comfort level now. So, he better up his game elsewhere.–

    Yet another community A Guy speaks for! Dude, are you at least getting paid for all this work?

    What was Percy’s “big mistake,” by the way?

    So the “Jewish vote” is irrevocably lost now to Frerichs? I bet you’re way wrong.

    The “Jewish vote” is hardly monolithic, as can be seen both locally and nationally, and, for that matter, in Israel.

    Frerich looks silly by not knowing what he’s talking about. but I’m sure he’ll receive plenty of Jewish votes, as will Cross.


  19. - Tom Joad - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Knome: I don’t know why Dan Rutherford invested this money in Israel or if it was by his predecessor but both current candidates are wrong. He invested our money in Israel because he wanted to run for Governor and raise more money.


  20. - Federalist - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:12 am:

    The Israeli factor sure seems to get a lot of attention in Illinois politics considering the small percentage of people with Jewish heritage.

    As to Israel and their ‘war machine’ well, it is a mess over their and so complicated on both sides. I have been to both Israel and Jordan. I have seen the Palestinians walled up in Bethlehem even though they are citizens of Israel. But Israel is in a fight for their life. Glad I am NOT there.

    Israel must give the West Bank (old Trans-Jordan) for a new Palestinian state. Part of Lebanon could be joined (already heavily Palestinian) through massive immigration and high birth rates.

    Who gives it up and who supports a new Palestine state financially? Other Aab countries do not want a separate state, in my opinion, as it is a constant wedge against Israel. Saudi’s alone could bankroll this operation if Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and perhaps other neighboring states would agree to land.

    I will stop except I felt some need to respond to those who seem to place most of the blame on Israel. Far more complicated to discuss than is appropriate for this site. But it does seem to strike a political nerve- even in Illinois.


  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:12 am:

    Frerichs has double the cash on hand of Cross and I see him at almost every event I attend across the state.

    Cross’ campaign is extremely petty - pushing memes on Illinois Truth Team that mock Frerichs’ height, creating fake news websites to trash Frerichs, and seizing on and twisting every word Frerichs says. Seems like you have bought into their garbage narrative.


  22. - walker - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    For voters who notice, Cross’ threat to sue the legislature if they don’t produce the balanced budget required by law, is a winner politically.

    We “insiders: know at lest three things wrong with it: a. it has nothing to do with the Treasurer’s job, b. Cross himself was a GA leader who participated in the same practices, c. that suit would fail because technically even the current budget can be claimed to be “balanced.”

    For every voter who knows the a b c’s of it, there are fifty who don’t. And Cross’ campaign message has real appeal. Frerichs might be the better guy, who knows? But Cross is the better campaigner hands down.


  23. - Federalist - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    Excuse me for my crummy typing. Should read “Other Arab countries” in next to last paragraph.


  24. - Knome Sane - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    @Formerly Known As “The problem with the “July doesn’t matter in November” theory is a basic one.”

    It think you have it backwards. I would contend that “November doesn’t matter in July”. Voters are not focused on this race and it’s an expensive proposition to get them to focus on this office in late October. The “Overseas/Israel investment” gaffe is a tempest in a teapot and will have little to no bearing in the outcome of this race.


  25. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    Federalist, thanks for solving that Israel/Palestine problem. And all before lunch, too!


  26. - Puddles - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    I would consider voting against him, but you have to give his campaign credit on one account– he is tall.


  27. - A guy... - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    ===Slinger: So the “Jewish vote” is irrevocably lost now to Frerichs? I bet you’re way wrong.====

    You’re on.


  28. - Responsa - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    Choosing to ignore Frerichs’ gaffes is one thing when he’s the party’s guy. But actually defending them, or trying to spin his gaffes in a way to try to make them not be gaffes is just craziness. Rich’s article is spot on.


  29. - A guy... - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    Slinger, I think Rich covered it well enough in his article re: Charles Percy. I don’t speak for the Jewish vote at all, but why don’t you simply pay attention as they speak for themselves. The timing of being less supportive of Israel was lost on the “perpetually lost” Frerichs and not on Cross (or at least a sharp staff person).

    You’re condescending early this week.


  30. - Just Observing - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    === I have seen the Palestinians walled up in Bethlehem even though they are citizens of Israel. ===

    @Federalist — Your assessment is quite fair, however, you are incorrect on one point where you say “I have seen the Palestinians walled up in Bethlehem even though they are citizens of Israel.” For the most part, they are not citizens of Israel. Around 20 percent of Israel’s citizens are Arabs with rights equal to Jewish citizens, but, generally, those living in the West Bank are not citizens of Israel.


  31. - Confused - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    =Given the massacre, war crimes, deaths of children, elderly, bombing hospitals, schools and an ongoing illegal occupation and apartheid by Israel, I’m actually disappointed to learn we have any money invested in Israel. It’s bad enough over $3B of our taxdollars are gifted each year plus weapons. The fact that Israel is the ONLY foreign country is even more troubling. We should take that money and spread it in countries that are not engaged in massacres. Could anyone imagine the legislature being okay with investment in South Africa under apartheid? This is actually worse…people are dying.=

    Now if Governor Quinn can only be encouraged to take this enlightened position…


  32. - The Illinois Observer - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    Even under Illinois standards, you would at least hope any person running for a Constitutional office would make a cursory attempt to learn something about the position, but Mr Frerichs recent comments belie this minimal expectation. One of the primary responsibilities of the Illinois State Treasurer is to safely and prudently invest taxpayers funds. It’s unfortunate that even with a very rudimentary issue that Mr. Frerichs is either uninterested in discovering where taxpayers funds are currently invested or he is ill-equipped to figure it out. In either case, Illinois taxpayers cannot afford this lackadaisical or inept approach to running this office.


  33. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    The interest in Israel Bonds as an investment by Illinois pensions, the Treasurer, etc. has been around for 20 years and maybe longer. Cross has been around long enough to be aware of this-the tall guy, not so much.


  34. - Federalist - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    @Wordslinger,

    Glad to help! My little contribution to World Peace.


  35. - Big Debbie - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    While it is true that the current State Treasurer, Dan Rutherford, only has invested in Israeli Bonds during his tenure, I think it is important to note that in addition to Israel, he took lengthy third-party paid for trips to China and and Korea. He told the media these three trips were part of his official duties as State Treasurer, but was not very clear on what that meant since the State Treasurer only oversees the state’s investments, and is not responsible for trade negotiations or economic development. Based on how the Treasurer’s office has been run, including through supposed official trips to China and Israel - and then investments in Israel Bonds following quickly after - I think foreign investment is a legitimate issue in the race. I won’t deny that Mike should have been clearer initially that he wasn’t talking about the Israeli bonds, but just because that is our only current investment doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed considering the multiple foreign trips supposedly related to the state’s investments to places like China that the current treasurer is engaged in.

    Frerichs has answered the question that he would not divest in Israeli bonds. I find it more telling that Tom Cross won’t answer the question of whether he would also pursue investments in China and Korea as his fellow republican predecessor is currently doing.

    If you’re interested, you can read about Rutherford’s country-hopping travels here: http://www.suntimes.com/25278943-761/gop-gov-hopeful-dan-rutherford-spent-32-days-overseas-as-treasurer.html#.U9Z1uIBdUZE


  36. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    - Big Debbie -,

    Rutherford’s Facebook and Twitter cataloged all that, but thanks for trying to change the story that Mike Frerichs is a disaster of a candidate, with a disaster of a Staff letting it happen… but your pivot is fun, reminding us that Mike Frerichs’ Twitter and Facebook Dopiness is Rutherford-esque!


  37. - Big Debbie - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Also, as far as the Illinois Truth Team stuff goes, every post they have on Frerichs is just annoying at this point. There is a typo in one of his Facebook posts? Literally saw a post on there where they were bashing a typo that was up for only like five minutes then changed, because obviously, the biggest stumble of all time. I really don’t understand the logic of that, it is really petty and, for anyone who has ever worked on a campaign, somewhat upsetting. Both paid staff and interns who are not paid work really hard and for long hours and see no reason to dedicate a blog to pointing out Facebook and twitter typos. I feel bad for whatever intern they have working on Facebook postings because, at any given time, they could generate about 10 posts on that blog making fun of them. But I guess this is the state of politics now, where the opposition’s big issue is Facebook posts. Why don’t more people get involved again?


  38. - DateNight - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    If I was running Big Mike Frerich’s campaign, I’d worry less about offending Israel and more about pleasing Downstate Democrats. Senator Frerich’s going to beat old Tom Cross in Chicago and run competitively-in in DuPage. All Big Mike has to do now is circle his wagons and carry Downstate.

    Face it. Other than on Capitol Fax the majority of voters don’t know Tom Cross

    Don’t let insiders alter your path Senator Frericsh’s! Juts ensure up your base, keep raising cash and standing tall for Illinois.


  39. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    How many times can someone shoot themselves in the foot before it falls off?

    It seems we are about to find out.


  40. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    @FakeMikeFrerichs - thanks DateNight! You understand looking like a rank amateur, and not knowing my own record just screams qualified. #ShrinkingVioletUnderTheRadar #PleaseDontLookAtMe


  41. - Ginhouse Tommy - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Sen. Frerich flip flops and oops make him look bad when he’s running for political office. It’s like he’s acting without thinking or checking things out first and that makes him look incompetent. Not good when your opponent can use that in attack ads. Rich is right. He needs to get his act together before it’s too late.


  42. - Responsa - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    ==Face it. Other than on Capitol Fax the majority of voters don’t know Tom Cross==

    Oh, but the majority of voters do know Frerichs??? LOL Keep digging.


  43. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Because I know Rich doesn’t like off-topic posts, I will resist correcting every one of the many factual and historic errors written here by Brass and a couple of others. Suffice it to say Israel has never defaulted on its bonds and pays a relatively high rate of interest. In addition to political considerations, that’s why they are used as financial instruments for the Treasurer’s office.


  44. - Downstate - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Mike’s a good guy, smart guy, likeable guy who Democrats want to help. He’s turned his campaign over to a handful of consultants who must be telling him, “Wait until we go with our paid media - don’t sweat the day-to-day campaign.” Big mistake. Sorry to see.


  45. - Brass - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Chicago Cynic, you are missing the point. It doesn’t matter if Israel pays x, y or z percentage. Even without the latest massacre and war crimes, it is an occupier and practicing apartheid. We would not tolerate investments in the old South Africa regime or current North Korea so there are plenty of places to invest. The fact Israel is the ONLY foreign country we are invested in is even more bizarre and shows blatant bias, not objective investment.

    I want zero of my taxdollars to support Israel’s misconduct. It’s bad enough we have cowardly politicians in Congress to stand up to Israel, we don’t need cowardly politicians in state government making the same mistake.

    Illinois has massive fiscal problems, yet our two US senators rubber stamp sending three billion dollars per year to Israel, no questions asked. Think about that next time any elected official in Illinois says “we need money.”


  46. - Barney - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Or, maybe mike is more to blame for these errors than his staff??????


  47. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    I’m not remotely missing the point. You are 100% wrong on your facts and your history, but I was trying to stay “on-topic.” But since you missed that when I wrote it above, let’s try a short version (hopefully Rich will indulge me for a quick response).

    Israel is not practicing apartheid. Apartheid refers to the laws of separation in South Africa. Israel has no such laws for Israeli Arabs. They are full citizens of Israel, have the right to vote, elect members of parliament and enjoy freedoms that are denied Arabs living in most of the Arab world and receive equal opportunities for education. Israeli Arabs and other non-Jewish Israelis serve in various capacities in the security forces and are appointed members of the Israeli court system (Arabs often win cases against the government in Israeli courts).

    In terms of the current conflict, Israel withdrew from Gaza nine years ago. Since that time, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have launched tens of thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian population. Rather than invest in their citizens protection or economy, they have invested in an extensive network of tunnels and rocket factories - the only purpose of which is to inflict the maximum number of civilian casualties. They do not accept Israel’s right to exist and have made their ambitions for driving every Jew out of Israel completely clear.

    As for the “latest massacre”, you clearly are not paying attention to the region. Syria killed 700 Palestinians in a two day period a couple weeks ago. 170,00 Arabs including thousands of Palestinians have died in that conflict. If Israel’s goal was to kill civilians, the death toll would be in the tens of thousands after three weeks. They don’t. They warn civilians to evacuate - send them text messages, call them, leaflet them, etc. Unfortunately, as some of the links I posted made clear, Hamas continues to launch their rockets from civilian areas and store their rockets in hospitals, schools and apartment buildings. The UN found two cache’s last week at UN schools.

    I’m not going to continue to respond but I couldn’t let your distortions continue without some response.


  48. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    Sorry - I missed a zero. “170,000 Arabs including thousands of Palestinians” was what I meant to write.


  49. - Brass - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Chicago Cynic, it’s okay if you want to distort reality or support war crimes, apartheid, genocide, occupation, discrimination and even a child killer like Netanyahu with nuclear weapons…that’s your choice and you have to live with that but NOT WITH MY TAXDOLLARS.


  50. - Brass - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    And Chicago Cynic, just to be clear, your version of reality is blatantly incorrect but again, this is about my taxdollars and our so-called elected officials and candidates use of them.


  51. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    Actually Brass, Chicago Cynic used facts and a well reasoned argument. You are using emotional platitudes that do not reflect reality - but hey, don’t ever let facts get in the way of firing off an ill conceived knee-jerk remark.


  52. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 3:49 pm:

    I understand your point about your tax dollars. There are LOTS of things I don’t want my tax dollars used for like, say, the war in Iraq. But that’s not how the system works. We don’t get a check box for those things we like.

    That said, I would welcome you to tell me which of my facts are wrong. Israeli Arab citizens? Israeli Arab Knesset members? Syrian brutality? Hamas and Islamic Jihad launching more than 10,000 rockets at Israel since they withdrew. This is not hyperbole. These are facts. They may be inconvenient from your world view, but they are facts. The only thing I did wrong was overstate the number of rockets. It is not tens of thousands but 11,687 from withdrawal to the current conflict. Add another 2500 in the last three weeks.

    This is not to say the Israeli government is blameless. They are politicians and I don’t agree with many of the Likud government positions and actions including settlements. But on the basic framework and dilemma, it is what it is and Hamas is to blame.


  53. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 5:38 pm:

    If nothing else, can we all agree that Rutherford’s motivation for his one-and-only overseas investment was to score personal political points, and had nothing to do with “maximizing returns, minimizing risks?”

    Should that practice continue?


  54. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 6:08 pm:

    Some additional context from January 2009

    == WASHINGTON (JTA) — The state of Illinois has purchased $10 million worth of Israel Bonds.

    The Israel Bonds will mature in three years with a 2.43 percent rate of return, compared to U.S. government bonds yielding a 1.51 percent return during the same period, according to Illinois state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

    “This is a good way to safely diversity our portfolio, especially during a time when some of our other investment options aren’t generating as much revenue because of the market fluctuations here in the United States,” Giannoulias said in a statement…

    This is not the first purchase of Israel Bonds by Illinois, which started buying foreign government bonds in 2003. ==

    www.jta.org/2009/01/29/news-opinion/united-states/illinois-makes-major-israel-bonds-purchase


  55. - Brass - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 8:18 pm:

    There is a very serious problem if a candidate of any party for STATE government must boast their advocacy for Israel, a foreign government.

    Even though we have several Hispanic and Latino elected officials, do you see anyone boasting the are a strong advocate for Mexico?

    Why do our brains, objectivity and common sense disappear when it comes to Israel? Not just politicians but our media as well. Rich, why not challenge the candidates and Rutherford to explain why Israel is the only foreign country? Is it political? If not, then how do you explain it? If it’s purely based on investment return, how can any candidate guarantee to continue? Shouldn’t it depend on performance and comparison to other options? And why should any money be invested with an entity that is clearly engaged in occupation, let alone war crimes, genocide?

    If we just look the other way on these questions, then we are as irresponsible as the elected officials or candidates.


  56. - Responsa - Monday, Jul 28, 14 @ 9:54 pm:

    Take a breath Brass. You made your point upthread. Enough. Buying bonds for investment in order to get a good return is not the same as boasting advocacy of a foreign government. Really. It’s not.


  57. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jul 29, 14 @ 7:24 am:

    The last thing Frerichs needed was this.

    He walked into a trap of his own making, and Cross was correct to spring it.

    It doesn’t matter what country the bonds help support - you don’t bash a sincere constituency group that have traditional ties to your party, then expect votes from them.


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