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:: Saturday, January 10, 2004 ::

I've moved, folks. All future blogging (which will, hopefully, be pretty regular) will be at Aspasia (http://aspasia.blog-city.com), with a couple of other friends from college. Check it out.
:: Judah 8:32 PM [+] ::

:: Saturday, October 18, 2003 ::

Well, folks. I'm back. After a year of blogging inaction, including a semester in the Balkans and a summer in DC, it's time to gear up for a whole new season of politics and prose. So, without wasting any more time...

The Democratic Party has a troublesome tendency to act as if the Iraq War never happened. All too many Members of Congress refuse to make the neccesary commitment to Iraq to help it emerge from the mess its in. Whether you thought the war was right or wrong, to leave Iraq or not give reconstruction the funding it needs is to doom Iraqis to a society of anarchy. At this point, progressives should be working to ensure a progressive, democratic outcome. Instead, all too many are opposing foreign aid or making it only in loans - two things we constantly criticize the conservatives and neo-liberals for doing.

David Brooks' latest column,The Good, the Bad, the Ugly finds three types of Democrats in the Congress. Pelosi Democrats who don't want to deal with Iraq, Bayh Democrats who will deal with it, but not spend American money there and "the Cantwell Democrats. This group could be named after Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt, but Maria Cantwell, the Washington senator, sits at Scoop Jackson's old desk on the Senate floor. The Cantwell Democrats are dismayed with how the Bush administration has handled the postwar period. They'd like to see the rich pay a bigger share of the reconstruction cost. But they knew yesterday's vote wasn't about George Bush. It was about doing what's right for the Iraqi people and what's right, over the long term, for the American people. These Democrats supported the aid package, and were willing to pay a price to give the Iraqis their best shot at a decent future. This week, Gephardt, who has to win over Iowa liberals to have any shot at the White House, is the bravest man in Washington.
Those are the three Democratic visions — the good, the bad and the ugly. Right now the Pelosi wing of the party is dominant, and the Cantwell wing is beleaguered. So this is a party teetering on the brink of full-bore liberal isolationism."

I'm proud to be a Cantwell Democrat.
:: Judah 1:12 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 ::

Unfortunately, Bob Reich lost the Democratic primary for Governor yesterday. It was a great honor to be a part of a campaign that did politics cleanly, the way it should be done, that brought a compelling vision to the race, that inspiried many new people to take part on the democratic process, and that viewed idealism as a neccesary component of politics, rather than an insult. Thank you, Bob.
If Ronald Regan's election was the start of the conservative takeover of America, the seeds were planted sixteen years earlier in Barry Goldwater's "extremism in defense of liberty" speech. He staked out territory far to the right of where the American electorate was, but the Republicans stick to their guns and build a party up around that ideology. It took sixteen years, but they eventually got to radically alter American politics and society. Let us, as progressives, unite behind the message offered by Robert Reich of renewing the social compact and building the economy by investing in everyone and go forward in building the Democratic party up as a powerful force for progressive change in America.
:: Judah 9:30 PM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 ::

A new Boston Herald poll has Robert Reich and Shannon O'Brien in a dead heat in the Massachusetts gubernatorial Democratic primary. Shannon and Bob are both polling at 28%, Warren Tolman at 21%, and Tom Birmingham at 17%. When you vote, remember that a vote for Tolman or Birmingham is a vote for O'Brien and against real progressive reform.
:: Judah 5:39 PM [+] ::

Computer is broken, the primary is next week, and I'm up to my neck in work. Blogging is going to stay light, unfortunately...
:: Judah 5:36 PM [+] ::

May this September 11th be a day of comfort and peace for everyone in America and around the world.
:: Judah 5:35 PM [+] ::

:: Saturday, September 07, 2002 ::

Warren Tolman is an everyday, hack politician who is willing to play dirty and lie when he wants power. He is more interested in tearing down than building up. If Shannon O'Brien is elected Governor of Massachusetts, it will be because little baby Warren couldn't share the "reformer" mantle and has to use the $3 million he got in public financing by selling state hospitals to lie about Bob Reich's character and record.
:: Judah 6:07 PM [+] ::

:: Sunday, September 01, 2002 ::

Hopeful survery results from Search for Common Ground:

80% of Palestinians would support a large-scale non-violent protest movement and 56% would participate in its activities.

78% of Israeli Jews believe that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to seek a Palestinian state, provided that they use non-violent means.

A strong majority (62%) of Palestinians thinks that a new approach is needed in the Intifada and overwhelming majorities (73-92%) approve of Palestinians using various methods of nonviolent action.
:: Judah 2:43 AM [+] ::

Daoud Kuttab in the Jordan Times writes about the "unholy alliance" between Palestinian extremists and the Israeli hard-liners to perpetuate the violence.
:: Judah 2:38 AM [+] ::

Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, the new Palestinian Interior Minister, seems to be making some serious progress towards ending the violence in the Middle East. At the same time that he has been talking to Islamist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad about forging a united Palestinian front with Fatah and the other secular nationalists, he's been pushing for this to be a non-violent unity and to "return to the legitimate struggle against occupation, without violence...."
:: Judah 2:21 AM [+] ::

:: Saturday, August 31, 2002 ::

Unfortunately, its not availiable on the web, but Brian Doyle's "Leap" from the American Scholar (reprinted in the Utne Reader) is the first essay about 9/11 (and God, for that matter) that's moved me in a long time. It's well worth finding.
:: Judah 1:51 AM [+] ::

:: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 ::

School's starting again, the primary's in two weeks, life is crazy. Blogging will be light for a few days...
:: Judah 2:51 AM [+] ::

:: Friday, August 23, 2002 ::

Liberal Oasis suggests an alternative to watching Palestinian supporters and Israeli supporters shout at each other on television:
"[H]ere’s a crazy idea for TV producers.
Only book people who are willing to discuss what their own side could do differently.
How mind-blowing would it be to see an Israeli supporter suggest the abandonment of just one settlement, or a program to reduce Palestinian unemployment?
Or to see a Palestinian supporter acknowledge that the tactics of Gandhi would be far more effective than the tactics of Bin Laden?
If there is no one like that available, then don’t bother."

While he misses that his example of a Palestinian supporter, Adam Shapiro, really is a self-critical Jew, it seems like a great idea to me. I'd love to be one of the first guests on this new style of peacemaking television.
:: Judah 3:06 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 ::

Comments are on the fritz and they're screwing up my site on Netscape. Not making me very happy...
:: Judah 10:40 PM [+] ::

Some members of the American Jewish community are playing into every anti-Jewish stereotype when it comes to political power. It worries me that there must be people having these very rights at this very moment: "Those Jews did it again. First knocking of Earl Hilliard, and now Cynthia McKinney. They care more about Israel than they do about people in America. They use their money to keep us African-Americans from choosing our own political leaders. If you want to get into Congress now, you need the Jews' approval - they control the whole damn thing."
:: Judah 1:21 PM [+] ::

Just as the Palestinians agree to use their security forces to prevent attacks on Israelis and small scale cooperation begins, Israel goes and kills the brother of Ahmed Sa'adat, leader of the PFLP. After the killingof Raed Karmi in December, Salah Shehadah a few weeks ago, and this, one might get the idea that the Sharon government is sabotaging its own peace moves.

UPDATE: Ha'aretz has the same worries.
:: Judah 1:16 PM [+] ::

Jim Capozzola of the enjoyable and enlightening Rittenhouse Review thinks that Eric Alterman has been getting an "awful lot of truly vicious e-mail". Jim has, obviously, never had the experience of being an American Jew Who Disagrees With The Israeli Government. While people such as Eric and myself would be well within mainstream political discourse in Israel (I support Meretz, Israel's fourth-largest party with 10 seats in the 120 member Knesset), here in America we regularly are referred to as "anti-semites" and "Nazis". After sending a letter to the Boston Jewish Advocate about personal attacks on dissenters, I was even referred to as an "international jihad savage". All this, and I'm still a Zionist...
:: Judah 1:05 PM [+] ::

:: Saturday, August 17, 2002 ::

Quick self-promotion: If you like this site and want to see more traffic here, help me get on Eric Alterman's blogroll. Email Alterlinks@aol.com (and CC it to me too at judah at brandeis.edu) and let them know you like this site.
:: Judah 9:22 PM [+] ::

:: Friday, August 16, 2002 ::

Possibly in advance of Palestinian elections, we're starting to see the national consensus break apart in Palestine. According to Nabil Sha'ath, a PA Minister, Hamas has rejected efforts by moderate, secular Palestinian groups to create a united Palestinian front of reistance to the Israeli occupation that included claims only to the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem and that rejected attacks against civilians in Israel.
Growing out of efforts lead by on-the-grond West Bank Fatah leaders like Hussein a-Sheikh (and supported by the imprisoned Marwan Barghouti, and assisted by EU diplomat Allistain Crooke) that have since been taken over the PA, the attempts to create a unified political platform reflect a growing debate over the efficacy of certain violent methods. While the original unified cease-fire attempt was thwarted by Israel's bombing of Sheikh Salah Shehadah, efforts continued to get all Palestinian political groups to back a single unified concept of resistance to Israel. With Hamas unwilling to sign on and give up its suicide bombings or its rejectionist Greater Palestine fantasy, we may see a fight for public opinion between the moderate groups as the Islamists. Israel can make a big difference in who wins this debate - if they're willing to give up their "Yasser Arafat is the kingpin of terror" argument and get down to negotiating. If they keep arresting people like Barghouti, I can guarantee the public will side with those advocating the most violent methods possible against Israel.
:: Judah 3:36 PM [+] ::

Busy, Busy, Busy has been doing a good job of following the Iraqi issue. Its good to finally see a debate.
:: Judah 3:23 PM [+] ::

While he might be another example of Amnon Lipkin-Shahak/Ami Ayalon style "burn bright-burn out" political leaders, Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna is all the rage in the Labor Party. He seems to have real left-wing credenitals, talking about new negotiations with the Palestinians and having good relations with Palestinians citizens in Haifa, a mixed city. He even single-handedly guaranteed the presence of Palestinians at last year's Seeds of Peace camp, after the PA pulles out. If Mitzna should win the Labor chairmanship, me still might not be enough to save the party from collapse. However, with MK Yael Dayan moving to his camp and courting leading doves such as Yossi Beilin and Avraham Burg, he might be what Labor needs. There still isn't a left-wing leader with enough legitimacy to challenge Sharon or Netanyahu, but Mitzna might turn into the closest thing we have. File this one under: wait and see...
:: Judah 3:22 PM [+] ::

This may be one of the very few times I agree with people like Brent Scrowcroft, Norman Schwartkopf, Lawrence Eagleberger, and (war criminal) Henry Kissinger. If the majority of anti-war voices continue to be Republicans, I might just find myself voting for some in the next election (just kidding, sort of...). Where are all the Democrats who oppose Bush's plans to send (mostly lower-class) young men and women to kill and be killed for no reason? If there's more to the Democrats' silence than pre-election politics, I'm going to be very dissapointed.
:: Judah 3:09 PM [+] ::

Josh Marshall keeps asking questions about a meeting between Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Taliban Foreign Minister Ahmad Muttawakil in April 2001. Marshall apparently thinks that Rohrabacher did something very wrong by meeting with Muttawakil and presenting the Taliban with his "personal peace plan". I don't harbor any illusions that this would have been a viable peace plan, still I think the congressman should be congratulated for trying to bring stability and peace to troubled Afghanistan. At the time, the Taliban weren't considered enemies of the U.S. In fact, when they came to power in 1996 the State Department considered them potential allies. Yes, one can take issue with negotiating with such a repressive regime, but the government does it all the time - China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia. In the end, I think contacts between peoples and government are almost always going to be helpful, no matter how far apart the two sides start.

Josh Marshall reponds: I take your "apparently" is included there because I never say there was anything wrong with the meeting. But I think you miss a few important points. In April 2001 we had sanctions on the Taliban because they refused to turn over Osama bin Laden who we held responsible for the murders of a number of US citizens, and a couple hundred African in Tanzania and Kenya

My response: I still stand by my belief that negotiations are a positive thing, even in that case (as I would have supported them during the Cold War, or with Iraq, Cuba, Libya, Iran or anyone else we have sanctions against). I guess a lot of the questions could be resolved by knowing what Rohrabacher's plan was. Was it a plan for American to run an oil pipeline through Afganistan and allow the Taliban to collect tax revenue and use the money to enforce "stability"? Or was it a real plan for peace, power-sharing, democracy, and improved US-Afghan relations? I would love to know....
:: Judah 3:00 PM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ::

New Year's Eve. Madison Square Garden. Phish. Be there...
:: Judah 5:05 PM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 ::

Betting tip: Keep your eye on West Bank Fatah leader Hussein a-Sheikh. If Israel wants a democratic Palestinian leadership that still has street credibility, this may be the guy.
:: Judah 9:32 PM [+] ::

Why is the Israeli Defense Minister negotiating security cooperation with the PA if they really are an organization that sponsors terror? Maybe he realizes that Israel needs to deal with the non-rejectionist Palestinian leadership and that Sharon's "there is no partner" claim is merely propaganda.
:: Judah 9:30 PM [+] ::

There was an suggestion by Akiva Eldar in his weekly "People and Politics" column in Ha'aretz (that has since disappeared from the website) that jailed Tanim leader Marwan Barghouti now believes in a cease-fire and was ready to sign the declaration that was to be published last week before Israel's bombing raid in Gaza. The interesting thing was Eldar's claim that Barghouti, if released, plans to lead a non-violent movement against the Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. If I understand directly, the evidence for this claim comes from European diplomats working with Palestinians. While there had been suggestions in the past the Barghouti is the Palestinian Nelson Mandela (a much more likely option that a Palestinian Mahatma Gandhi), this seems to be the most blatant.
P.S. Getting to be involved in things like this is one of the reasons I'd much rather be on the inside than the outside.
:: Judah 9:22 PM [+] ::

While we know that technology was the driving factor in both the domestic (tech stocks, productivity gains via internet) and international (better shipping, better communications) aspects of the '90s boom economy, I wonder if anyone can find a viable connection between the economic problems here in America and the ones being faced internationally, specifically in Latin America? Are our woes and their merely coincidence or there is there something underlying them both?
:: Judah 9:15 PM [+] ::

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