More news Jews can use ...

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

We have a new "Think Again" column here, called "Fool Me 936 Times," and a new Nation column here called "Wall Street to Daily Papers: Drop Dead."

I can't claim to be a regular reader of Ms. Magazine, and so I guess they won't miss me when I say I don't plan ever to pick it up again, and while I always thought well of the organization MADRE, I guess I've not done much for them either and they won't miss my support, but this is a blog and I get to say what I want, and I'm saying Ms. and MADRE are on the side of censorship and fear and possibly anti-Semitism and, as such, should be shunned by all of us who prefer free speech to these things. I say this after receiving a press release reading: "MADRE supports the decision of Ms. Magazine to decline a paid ad from the American Jewish Congress (AJC) featuring three prominent Israeli women along with the text, 'This is Israel.' " Aside from the principles involved, such as they are, it's also pretty dumb. After all, where would feminists be if everyone who disagreed with them reserved the right to censor as well?

Complaining that America deserves better-informed warmongers, Matthew Duss cites Norman Podhoretz, authentically bewildered, "What's a Kurd, anyway?" Duss notes "Podhoretz had spent the previous months arguing for invading Iraq, apparently without having bothered to learn enough about the country to know who the Kurds were," but what strikes me is the affinity that aging Jewish neoconservative armchair generals who've ruined the once-liberal magazine they edited have for bringing up the Kurds. Remember Marty Peretz, when he advised Israel to administer to the PLO a "lasting military defeat" that "will clarify to the Palestinians in the West Bank that their struggle for an independent state has suffered a setback of many years." Then "the Palestinians will be turned into just another crushed nation, like the Kurds or the Afghans," and the Palestinian problem -- which "is beginning to be boring." They sure bored Norman ...

Mr. Duss has another useful perspective on a related topic, here.

We note also that in an op-ed published in the Italian daily La Stampa, Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua said George W. Bush should recall the U.S. ambassador to Israel until the Jewish state dismantles all illegal outposts in the West Bank.

"If the American president would have really wanted Israel to disassemble the illegal outposts, he would have done better to stay in the White House," Yehoshua wrote in response to Bush's recent visit to the Middle East. "He should have recalled his ambassador to Tel Aviv (Richard Jones) for an indefinite period until the outposts were evacuated.

"I can guarantee you that had he acted in this manner, Israel would have promptly dismantled the outposts, and the US administration would thus cement the faith of the Israelis and the Palestinians in the peace process," he said in the op-ed.

Yehoshua further described all West Bank settlements as illegal and described the "Jewish lobby" as having "become a powerful tool of influence on Israel's behalf within the U.S. administration."

Why does A.B. Yehoshua hate the Jews? More here.

And why does Gershom Gorenberg hate them also? Well, at least the CAMERA kind of Jew ...

There's more here.

This is funny: The kind of things Americans, apparently, need explained: This, for instance, is Joseph Epstein, writing for Humanities, who is forced to explain, "[Carl Reiner] reports that the Queen of England, given his and Mel Brooks's 2000 Year Old Man comedy album by Cary Grant, said that she much enjoyed it, causing Reiner to remark that Jewish comedy had really arrived if the Queen, 'the biggest shikse in the world,' enjoys it. (Shikse is Yiddish for gentile woman.)" Here.

This is funny too: "A woman whose initial he cannot remember, a one-off in a hotel bedroom, observed as they undressed, 'Am I myself? Are you you?' 'The question,' Steiner muses, 'seemed to stem directly out of Fichte's meditations on the cancellation of the self.' Well, maybe. Or maybe she was just drunk." Here.

On Moyers this week:

Bill Moyers interviews John Grisham, best-selling author of The Firm, The Pelican Brief, and The Rainmaker, in a far-ranging conversation that gives viewers insight into the beliefs and background that influenced Grisham's work and provides an unexpected look at his views about the state of the nation. "I get angry when you look at our democratic system, and I wonder how democratic it really is," says Grisham, a former criminal defense attorney and former member of the Mississippi state legislature. "The elections are manipulated by religion, by money, by corporations. And then once the people are elected and they go to Washington, they fall under the influence of really serious money."

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Cheryl H.
Hometown: 'Burque, NM

Luba from Detroit suggests that "voting by mail would be the best solution."

Yeah, if you want to encourage the system that's most prone to abuse and fraud.

There is no effective validation of identity with vote-by-mail schemes. An apartment owner might "vote" for most of his tenants. Old folks' homes could be goldmines for unscrupulous owners and/or political party operatives. Wives may find their ballots were pre-emptively filled out by their inconsiderate hubbies. Bedridden elders might "vote" their children's or caregivers' choices. The wealthy might vote from each of their home addresses in various states/countries.

I believe there is a lot more evidence for all of the above scenarios than there is for voter impersonation at the polls (the grounds for picture Voter ID verification).

The trouble is, Republicans vote absentee (i.e., by mail), so they have no reason to investigate -- plus, most of the scenarios listed above benefit THEM, to a disproportionate degree. Democrats want more people voting, and don't care to shut down the process by which many of their constituents get to exercise their franchise. So the fraud goes on.

But that doesn't mean encouraging postal elections is a good idea.

Name: Charles Perez
Hometown: Marion, NY

As an ex-Army pilot, I can tell you that these stats have more far-reaching effects than just missing a recruiting number. While it's true that almost all aspects of the Army have become more high-tech, you can still put most any decent recruit behind an M-16 and they'll do just fine.

The same cannot be said for those enlisted folks who turn wrenches on Apaches or Kiowa Warrior helicopters. Nor for the mechanics who work on the sophisticated systems on armored vehicle weapons systems. The same is true for many mechanics and systems technicians.

With the current OPTEMPO (operations tempo), aircraft, vehicles and weapons are breaking down at alarming rates. It takes months -- if not years -- to replace some of the larger items so it is on the shoulders of these soldiers to repair them as best they can and get them back in the air or on the road.

And for those who take the long view, these folks would be the senior NCOs eventually training the next generation of new enlistees.

It's true that Bush and his war have ruined the military, but most who have never served don't realize that he's ruined it for decades to come.

Name: Tom Joyce
Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Dear Eric

I can prove I am a real person with no political ties, I can prove I am a lifelong Democratic Party member who cast his first vote as a 22 year old when the rules were changed to allow 18 year olds for George McGovern.

I voted for each Clinton twice, hate Ralph Nader (I love your "Thanks Ralph!" remarks) and want Edwards. I am neutral on Barack Obama.

I will NEVER vote for Hillary Clinton again. She and Bill's undignified scorched earth destruction of Obama have sickened my heart.

I hate the fact that apparently haters like Hitchens were right about them.

Bah! Clintons

p.s. I read your column first each day knowing you are honest and real. So am I, alas! I hope others are not as sick of these people as I am.

Name: J DAlessandro
Hometown: Crestwood, NY

Here's a magic bullet for the Edwards campaign: have him call for impeachment of Bush and Cheney, and turn every speech and rally into an impeachment rally. This will eat up much of Clinton and Obama's web support, and put the issue squarely into the public arena, where it belongs. They've barred Kucinich from the debates, but let's see them try it with Edwards. And just today, we've added another charge to the indictment. According to NPR, the Administration is negotiating a treaty with Iraq to tie the hands of the next president, and commit the US to a permanent military presence. Except they're not calling it a treaty, because they can't get Senate confirmation. We're running out of Articles and Sections of the Constitution that they haven't violated. So, let's give Tim Russert and Matthews something more meaty to talk about at the next debate: impeachment. It's what's for dinner.

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