Real Genius
Monday, February 28, 2005
David Neiwert's Latest Masterpiece
The brilliant Mr. Neiwert has finally posted the PDF version of his award-winning essay, The Rise of Pseudo Fascism, as part of a fundraising drive he's started. I don't need to go into details about why support of such independent work is so fundamental in the advancement of our collective intellect and shaping the political discourse in a healthy manner --or did I just do that; he does a very humble, eloquent job of explaining that himself. But aside from such deep thoughts, his prose is simply very enjoyable to read and the topic he discusses is just incredibly interesting.

Go see how he did the painstaking research and connected the dots, and how scary our political landscape really looks.

And please support his work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Dr. Alterman v. Boston Globe
Please go ahead and read the full text of Dr. Alterman's exchange with the Boston Globe upon being slandered by Cathy Young on their op-ed pages. Here's his full response to Young:
To the editor:
It is quite painful for a proud, practicing pro-Zionist Jew who was Bar Mitvah, educated in Israel, lights candles on Shabbat, attend shul regularly, contributes to the Forward, and educates his own child into the religious tradition, to be accused publicly of anti-Semitism. It has happened to me on occasion in extremely obscure, right-wing websites, but only twice in the mainstream media. Both times it has been done by Cathy Young on the editorial page of The Boston Globe. The last time I was denied the courtesy of a response. I hope that will not be the case today.
As most people are aware, the accusation of anti-Semitism, like that of anti-Americanism, can be employed by people to stifle debate and stigmatize points of view with which they disagree. In this case Cathy Young seeks to silence anyone who recognizes the reality of Jewish responsibility for Palestinian suffering. This is unfortunate, for many reasons—one cannot hope for peace in the Middle East without a mutual recognition of the pain the conflict has caused—but more to the point, phony accusations of anti-Semitism have the effect of weakening societal strictures against the real thing. By employing this slander against me, now twice, Cathy Young is actually aiding and abetting the anti-Semites by robbing the term of any coherent meaning.
Here, for the record, is the entire text of the blog text that has led Young to call me these horrid names. .
“I’m a Jew, but I don’t expect Arabs to pay tribute to my people’s suffering while Jews, in the form of Israel an its supporters—and in this I include myself—are causing much of theirs. Would Andrew [Sullivan] want to go to a service in honor of the suffering of gay bashing bigots? (Wait, don’t answer that. Would a gay person who didn’t regularly offer his political support to gay bashing bigots want to go?) Anyway, I’m sure what I’m saying will be twisted beyond recognition, and so I suppose that makes it stupid to do, but I’m sorry. The Palestinians have also suffered because of the Holocaust. They lost their homeland as the world—in the form of the United Nations—reacted to European crimes by awarding half of Palestine to the Zionists. They call this the “Nakba” or the “Catastrophe.” To ask Arabs to participate in a ceremony that does not recognize their own suffering but implicitly endorses the view that caused their catastrophe is morally idiotic—which is why, I guess, I’m not surprised Andrew’s doing it. Also via Little Roy, here’s another conservative Jew joining David Horowitz in endorsing Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism and even William Donahue’s disgusting anal-sex-obsessed anti-Jewish attack, which was broadcast on MSNBC and implicitly endorsed by Pat Buchanan. “
You can see from the above while the item does recognize the political folly of demanding that Arabs who have suffered their own catastrophe at the hands of Jews, be demanded to pay fealty to Jews without any recognition of their own suffering, the item also contains an attack on the genuine anti-Semitism of both the Passion of the Christ and the Catholic League’s William Donahue blaming America’s moral ills on “Hollywood’s secular Jews,” whom he informed MSNBC’s Buchanan, “like anal sex.” Nowhere do I, as Young accuses, hold “Jews responsible for ‘much’ of the suffering of Muslims everywhere,” as I was clearly talking about Palestine, and nor, for the same reasons can I be accused of arguing that “every Muslim is justified in viewing every Jew as the enemy.” As for her accusation that I actually blaming “long-dead Holocaust victims,” well, it boggles the mind that your editors would allow this hateful poison into your newspaper, whatever Young’s motives may be for spreading it.
That a newspaper with the reputation of the Boston Globe would allow itself to be used for Young’s vicious vendetta against me, now twice, is both shameful and shocking. I would appreciate a retraction and apology.
Eric Alterman
New York, New York

Friday, February 04, 2005
I'm afraid the press is going to provide Bush with all the cover he needs on Social Security.

The somewhat-decent piece in the Times today by Richard Stevenson was encouraging on some of his fact-checking about Bush's numbers, but reading the second editorial in the Post right after that made my stomach turn. It's quite amazing, really. The Post has some of the best reporters in the business, and they often provide better material than The Gray Lady even --and today Jonathan Weisman has a very good article on SS-- but their editorial page has become more and more lockstep Republican on almost any issue except the environment in the past few years.

So, coming back to Social Security, the majority of the people in this country get their news from TV and TV news media have major problems in doing any actual reporting instead of being stenographers for the administration. They've already partly bought into the crisis rhetoric even though the WH is now shifting away from it, and they cannot even see that Bush's social security tour around the country right now is not to convince the opposing Democrats, but to get members of his own party to agree with him.

And if Bush can get the press to amplify his agenda in full, it should only be a matter of time before polls start showing that people believe in his plan and the need for privatization, which would be followed by Democrats defecting, and as long as there are Democrats on their side, more Republicans would join them and they would collectively destroy Social Security "as we know it", in order to save it.

It's quite like Iraq, really. A crisis was concocted, it was propagated by the press, public opinion was conveniently shaped, thus the Congress agreed, and we found ourselves in this mess. And the press asked Kerry for his plan to get us out of the mess BushCo made, just as they're asking Democrats now for "their plan to fix Social Security" that will be an alternative to privatization.

I think it'll all come down to how much the facts will make it to the SCLM outlets and how firmly the congressional Democrats will stand their ground. If they can sustain a united front, they'll stop the demolition plan in its tracks. If they cave in, game's over.

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