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Ron Radosh

Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Rebirth of the Stalin Cult

December 30th, 2008 - 8:42 am

What would we think if Germans voted Adolf Hitler one of the most popular leaders in its history? We might wonder about its implications; a German move to the extreme  Right, and the failure of all the educational efforts made since the end of World War II to educate the current generation about Germany’s dismal past. We would despair over what it might mean for minorities in Germany, especially the many new Jewish residents from the former Soviet Union who migrated to Germany in hopes of starting a new life.

Certainly, we would be shocked. But few of us are surprised when we learn that the Russian people, in a national poll, have voted Josef Stalin as the third most popular historical figure in Russia’s past. At least he wasn’t number 1!  Stalin lost to Alexander Nevsky, who defeated German invaders in the 13th century, and whom the Russians know, was one of Stalin’s favorites. The second contender to beat Uncle Joe- as he was called in America during the war- was Prime Minister Stolypin, who cracked down on revolutionaries in the early years of the 20th Century. All were tough men, who knew how to use an iron fist.

The resurrection of Stalin comes at a time when historical backsliding is being encouraged by the Putin regime. Under his leadership, the old Soviet national anthem was restored, with new words composed by the same man who wrote the old anthem for Stalin when he ruled Russia. Lenin’s body still lies for exhibit in Red Square, and no plans have been made to close the  mausoleum down. And the new Russian textbooks ordered by the government for schoolchildren all praise Stalin as one of the great wartime leaders who defeated the Nazis and made old Russia a strong and modern state.

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The essential articles on the war against Hamas

December 29th, 2008 - 9:58 am

I will be blogging later on another issue. But a few must-read essential articles- simply the most cogent and important- are available today. They come from the pens of Michael Oren- the prize-winning historian now at Georgetown University and the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, and his colleague Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic correspondent in Jerusalem. More then any other writers, they have analyzed the real stakes behind the need for an Israeli success.

The stakes in the issue are developed well by Ralph Peters in The New York Post and by former Ambassador to the US from Israel, Dore Gold

Read all these, and pass them on . 

We in the United States who wish Israel well must do our part to prevent the media from focusing on civilian losses in Gaza- the very goal of Hamas-and to prevent the media from portraying the issue as one of Israeli disproportionate force, which will lead to a new round of international condemnation of Israel.

Haaretz, the leftist Israeli newspaper, has run an indispensable column by Bradley Burston, answering the obvious charges the world Left will make in response to Israel’s necessary defensive attack against Hamas.

People in the United States, and the West in general, must understand that Israel is united in the need for military action to be taken against Hamas and its continued rocket attacks against Israel. Indeed, a few days ago, Meretz, the most leftist party in Israel- the far, far Left party- itself issued a call for a military strike.

Now that it has taken place, we can wait for the usual response from the Chomskys of the world, who will condemn Israel and call for solidarity with the Palestinians. Burston has made mince-meat of their forthcoming response, setting forth what they will say before they do it themselves, and clearly enunciating the answers.

Send his piece around to all you know, and hope that it will lead to more understanding of Israel’s plight.

The Options on the Iranian Bomb

December 26th, 2008 - 12:27 pm

While we in the United States celebrate Christmas and Chanukah in relative peace, albeit in a more restrained fashion given the economic crisis at home, Israelis are being forced to observe the holiday under the most dire of threats—-the increasing barrage of rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza, and the existential threat posed by the increasing likelihood that sooner or later, Iran will have a nuclear bomb.

To deal with Iran, leading neoconservatives like Joshua Muravchik have long advocated a preemptive bomb attack to knock out its nuclear arsenal. (See his article in the current issue  of World Affairs Journal).  The only way George W. Bush can leave with a successful Presidency, Muravchik argues, is to hit “one more home run-right into Iran’s nuclear facilities.” In a similar fashion, Norman Podhoretz has long called for the essential necessity of such a pre-emptive strike.

It appears that such a course is not going to be taken, either in the last few weeks of the Bush Administration or by the Obama Administration.  President-elect Barack Obama is committed to trying to obtain U.S. objectives by diplomatic means. So the question becomes whether or not the toughest and shrewdest diplomacy will be able to thwart the Iranian leadership’s nuclear ambitions.

The various options open to the United States are thoughtfully discussed in an article by  Patrick Clawson and Michael Eisenstadt, The Last Resort:Consequences of Preventive Military Action Against Iran, published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and available as a free PDF download. I urge anyone who is interested in this complex issue to print out this 44 page discussion.

Everyone seems to be waiting for a clarifying moment, but the problem is that such a moment may never arrive.  The authors do understand, as they put it,  that if “diplomacy fails, then despite all the risks, preventive force may be the only way to avert the possible emergence of a nuclear Iran and the associated danger of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, as well as a grave weakening of the global nonproliferation regime.” 

This morning, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Andrea Mitchell suggested that the sources she has spoken to do not want Iran to become a nuclear power, but are resigned to the fact that it will, and the United States and the West will have to live with that and make policy accordingly. So the question remains, will the diplomatic efforts succeed, allowing policy-makers to avoid such a stark outcome? The authors of The Last Resort believe that there is still hope, since Iran is in a weak position economically, and that the more pressure is put on Iran, “the more likely Iran’s leaders will become sensitive to their weaknesses and decide to postpone, if not halt, their nuclear ambitions.” 

If that does not occur, and pessimists (including myself) think that will not take place, Clawson and Eisenstadt  suggest that there has to be a “searching debate” about the relative merits of deterrence versus preventive action. Underlying such a debate, they warn, is the understanding that in the last resort, the United States may very well- even the Obama Administration-have to take military action against Iran’s nuclear installations. Arguing that a diplomatic solution is preferable, they stress that “steps should be taken now to strengthen the credibility of the military option.” 

Let us hope that the Obama team and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reads this study, and takes its advice into serious consideration. And let us hope that when such contingency plans for an attack are developed, they are not abandoned after someone leaks them to Seymour Hersh, who will write yet another New Yorker article revealing that the United States has been taken over by neoconservatives seeking to push America to war on behalf of Israel.


I should also add that policy-makers should take into account the ideas of fellow PJM blogger Michael Ledeen, who for the past few years had made a single point: the United States should proudly and openly give aid to Iran’s brave dissidents and democrats, as our country did to Solidarity in the waning days of the Cold War and during Ronald Reagan’s Presidendcy.  Support to democratic revolution in Iran avoids the pitfalls of bombing on the one hand and appeasement on the other.

The Fort Dix Five

December 23rd, 2008 - 3:46 pm

What is the difference between the five Muslim immigrants convicted in a Federal court in Camden, New Jersey on Monday, and Bill Ayers and his comrades in the Weather Underground?

The answer: not much, except for the outcome. The men were convicted for conspiring to kill American soldiers in Fort Dix. They had taken concrete steps to train and arm themselves. The government had taped conversations about their plans between them and FBI informants; propaganda videos, and proof of the purchase of machine guns. The jury was evidently not impressed with the defendants’ arguments that they were not serious, and had been coaxed into making incendiary arguments by the informants. If that was so, any sane juror realized, it would not explain why they actually purchased the weapons for the planned attack.

In the case of the Weather Underground, as Bob Owens recounts on his blog today, the FBI had only one inside informant- Larry Grothwol. Like today’s informants, Grothwol had first hand knowledge of terrorist plans of the communist cell, and of actual attacks they carried out. But the Bureau didn’t need this to find evidence- the Weathermen group did it themselves when their home made bomb went off prematurely, killing only themselves.

Despite this, the U.S. Government never tried Ayers and others for their plans and their conspiracy, of which Ayers famously bragged to David Horowitz and later in his book, that he was “guilty as hell” but “free as a bird,” adding sarcastically that “America is a great country.” Yet everyone knew years later, due to confession from members of the group like Mark Rudd, that the anti-personnel bomb they were building was meant for soldiers and their dates at a dance in the very same Fort Dix.

Today’s would-be terrorists are Islamic radical fundamentalists, organized into the same kind of conspiratorial cells as the Weather Underground was in the1960′s and 70′s.  Yet, to this very day, Ayers brags in his memoir that each year he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, go to the site of the Greenwich Village townhouse on the anniversary of the bombing, to lay flowers on the street.  He even writes that the time should come when like US soldiers who lost their lives are remembered and honored, so should his comrades like his former girlfriend Diana Oughton, who was killed in the blast, be honored as well.

At least we should be grateful that our government today is on top of the actions of conspirators, and stops and convicts them before they act on their beliefs.  That, however, is small consolation for our just anger at how Ayers and company got away with their conspiracies.

Obama and a new Cuban policy

December 22nd, 2008 - 2:41 pm

A few weeks ago, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote an interesting article about Cuba today. Cohen is no knee-jerk leftist fellow-traveler, full of illusions about Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. He is an unusually conscientious reporter, who talks with disillusioned Fidelistas, Cuban refugees, diplomats, Cuban government officials, and scores of regular Cubans. He would like what he calls an anachronistic American-Cuban relationship to change, and he would like the oncoming Obama administration to come up with new solutions that would finally open up Cuba.

Obama, as he notes, campaigned against George W. Bush’s “tough talk,” and favored a new strategy based on lifting travel restrictions for family visits by Cuban exiles; freeing up remittances they can bring in to Cuba for their relatives, and for direct diplomacy with Cuban officials, provided they agree to advancing “the cause of freedom for the Cuban people.”  Cohen points to the difficulty of doing this, since the official Cuban position is that “we do not accept that Cuba has to change in order to deserve normal relations with the United States.”

But change it must. As Cohen writes: “Fidel claimed he wanted to free Cubans from oppression. Instead, his revolution has oppressed them.”  He provides readers with the evidence- in particular he writes about the more than 220 political prisoners thrown in jail for their belief in democracy.  He ends his report by writing that Fidel’s revolution “has carried a terrible price for his people, dividing the Cuban nation, imprisoning part of it and bringing economic catastrophe.”  (Cohen’s report is a refreshing change from the would-be reporter Sean Penn, whose own recent column in The Nation reads like a stenographer’s notes for Raul Castro’s propaganda.)

When it comes to advocating policy prescriptions, however, Cohen shows his naiveté.  He thinks that in addition to the measures cited above, Obama should announce that he is “offering to open full diplomatic relations with Cuba immediately.”  Such a step could lead to face-to-face negotiations at the highest level at which Obama could insist on the freeing of political prisoners, “as a first step toward beginning to lift the embargo.”

It is not surprising that Cohen believes the U.S. must act first. In a telling statement, he writes that Castro sought “a more-just society, but U.S. pressure radicalized his revolution and pushed it toward all-out socialism within the Soviet camp.” That widely repeated claim is perhaps the no.1 myth of accepted liberal opinion about the U.S. and Cuba: it was American policy that pushed Castro and Cuba towards the Communists and the Soviets; if only in 1959-60 the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations had accepted Castro’s revolution, given it an economic loan and reached out its hand to Castro, he would have proceeded to build a democratic and moderate revolution in the island.

The problem is that this account is not true. Scholarship over the past decade or two has shown that Castro had never sought an American loan; immediately moved to create a social revolution that could not be brought to fruition without a total break with the United States; had secretly forged an alliance with Cuba’s old line Communist Party before the 1959 revolution; and on his own and without provocation had turned to the Soviet Union for both political and economic support. Nothing the United States had done- indeed in Castro’s first months in power the U.S. had held out a helping hand that was firmly rejected- could have stopped Castro’s predetermined push to the far Left.

All one has to do to find this out is to read books by historian Robert F. Smith, journalist Tad Szulc and Latin American expert Mark Falcoff, some of them unfortunately out of print, but available in libraries and used book stores.

So what should be done, to turn back to Cohen’s original question? Certainly mid level negotiations, if accepted by the Cuban government, could take place. But the U.S. should insist that if Cuba really wants a formal lifting of the embargo, then Cuba must show its own good faith by immediately closing down all the prisons that hold the political prisoners, as well as allowing Cuban dissidents to openly express their ideas, to distribute petitions such as the Varela statement demanding free and open elections, and to have access to newspapers, magazines and radio and television.

In no way should the new administration accept Cuba’s most current offer: that they will trade political prisoners for the five Cuban espionage agents convicted in American courts and held in Florida prison for their crimes. To do so would be to equate men imprisoned for their ideas with those who were actual Cuban agents of the secret police, working in this country to undermine its national security. That offer was made without the approval of the brave Cuban dissidents in Castro’s prisons, and is nothing but an insult to their integrity and to their cause.

Cuba is in need of change, and the U.S.-Cuban relationship is also. But now, as in the past, the ball is in the hands of the Castro brothers.

Richard Falk: The UN’s Professor is a Flake

December 18th, 2008 - 6:49 pm

It is something of a joke that the United Nations Human Rights Commission has appointed Richard Falk, Milbank Prof. Emeritus at Princeton University as its “Special Rapporteur” on investigating human rights violations in the Palestinian territories.  Falk’s appointment was made, not surprisingly, by the chairman of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel D’escoto Brockman of Nicaragua, the Sandinista liberation theologian who was himself appointed by Daniel Ortega. Throughout D’escoto’s entire career, he has been a left-wing ideologue, whose anti-Americanism is legendary.

But even for the UN, whose concern for human rights seems to extend only to abuses supposedly undertaken by Israel alone, the appointment of Falk is a mockery of any pretensions to objectivity. Falk made his views on the situation in the Middle East well known years before his current appointment. Writing in The Nation in 2002, he explained that the state terrorism he believes Israel is engaged in is not only the moral equivalent of Palestinian terrorism, but is in fact greater. Israel, he writes, is engaged in “state sponsored terrorism,” while what many people consider actual terrorist acts by Palestinians- such as the suicide bombings that regularly occurred in Israel before it built its protective wall-were called by Falk “reactive and understandable” responses. When the Palestinians blew up a private Passover celebration at Netanya,  Falk called it “horrifying,” but Israel’s response was “the equally  horrifying Israeli incursion…throughout occupied Palestine.”

Falk argues that Palestinian acts like suicide bombings took place only after their cadre “ran out of military options” in response to the Israeli occupation, “and suicide bombers appeared as the only means still available by which to inflict sufficient harm on Israel so that the struggle could go on.” So way back in 2002, Falk was already declaring that such barbarism by Palestinian extremists were a just response to Israeli defensive actions.  It is, he writes, simply “the right of resistance…enjoyed by an occupied people,” which “would seem to legitimize some armed activities.”

A few days ago, Falk was turned back at Ben Gurion airport and denied entry into Israel.  Given his writing, the Israeli charge that his UN mandate was, as an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said, “profoundly distorted and conceived as an anti-Israeli initiative,”  was completely justified. 

Reading a more recent Falk article, “Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” provides even more evidence for Falk’s lack of impartiality. In this now famous screed Falk writes that he is “compelled to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel” as itself a “holocaust.” Is this, he rhetorically asks, “an irresponsible overstatement?”  Falk’s answer: “I think not.” He calls the situation in Gaza- from which Israel withdrew and handed the area over to the Palestinians-a “deliberate intention on the part of Israel…to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty.”

Falk continues to argue that the Western powers as well as other Arab states are associated in a “pattern of criminality” akin to those who let Hitler oppress the Jews in the 1930′s. As to the withdrawal by Israel from Gaza and the dismantling of Israeli settlements, Falk argues they were but a “sham” in which 300 Gazans were killed since Israel’s “supposed physical departure.” Somehow, no words appear anywhere in Falk’s account of the continued Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, the concurrent Hezbollah incursions against Israel, or their  refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist . In his lexicon, it is only Israel who attacks the Palestinians, and only Palestinians who respond in self defense. 

As for Hamas, Falk attacks those who castigate it “as a terrorist organization” when in fact, he assures his gullible audience, that Hamas always “was ready to work with other Palestinian groups” like Fatah and to “move toward an acceptance of Israel’s existence.”  The trouble is caused only by Israel, which “seems more determined than ever to foment civil war in Palestine.” Falk concludes, before any investigation he was to carry out for the UN commission, that Israel has brought Gaza to “the brink of collective starvation,” imposing a “sub-human existence on a people” by “collective punishment.” All this, he concludes, is “indeed genocidal.”

This is the man who supposedly was to conduct an investigation into Israeli abuse of human rights.  As if this was not enough, Falk recently reiterated his view that the Al Qaeda attack of 9/11 is not a “closed book.” Referring to conspiracy theorists of the so-called “9/11 Truth Movement” like David Ray Griffin, for whose book Falk wrote an introduction,  Falk writes that “it is not paranoid…to assume that the established elites of the American governmental structure have something to hide, and much to explain.” Indeed, he calls the view that the conspiracy theorists have- that the Bush administration brought down the twin towers to find an excuse to go to war-as a “convincing counter-narrative.”

Falk, in other words, reveals himself to be a plain vanilla nutcase.  He is happy that Barack Obama won the Presidency, but distraught that the supposed conspiracy was ignored during the campaign. The reason is that both Democrats and Republicans have a “widely shared fear of what sinister forces might lay beneath the unturned stones of a full and honest investigation of 9/11.” Obviously, the much praised 9/11 report does not fulfill that goal for Falk. Without a full investigation of the conspiracy theorists charges, Falk concludes, “the legitimacy of the American government” is tainted.  It can only gain back legitimacy by a willingness to “reconstruct the truth of that day.” Obviously, that “truth” can only put the blame not on Bin Laden, but on George W. Bush.

Israel was right to refuse entry to Richard Falk. His appointment reflects the hypocrisy of the United Nations and instead reveals its lack of concern for doing anything about genuine tyrants like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and others, who are actually engaged in the obliteration of their nation’s people.

Bush and the Jews

December 17th, 2008 - 10:55 am

On Monday night, my wife and I attended President George W. Bush’s annual Chanukah party at the White House.  Although other Presidents have held menorah lighting ceremonies, President Bush and his wife were the first to hold a party to celebrate the occasion.  And it was quite a party-600 people replete with traditional Chanukah fare including potato latkes and jelly donuts and music to fit the occasion. The President said in the statement he released, “This year, as Jewish families light the menorah, the flame reminds us that light triumphs over darkness, faith conquers despair, and the desire for freedom burns inside every man, woman and child.”   The President ended his statement by saying that “the forces of intolerance may seek to suppress the menorah, but they can never extinguish its light.”

When President Bush spoke before Israel’s Knesset on May 15, 2008- the day of the 60th Anniversary of Israel’s creation as a Jewish State-he gave an inspirational speech reflecting on what Israel meant to him, and what its existence means to the United States as a nation. One can say that it was certainly the most pro-Israel speech ever given by an American President.

Bush noted that the fight against terror and extremism was not just a clash of arms, but “a clash of visions, a great ideological struggle.” And he explained how Israel was a necessary ally in that fight, and why the United States could not capitulate to the demands of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. And, perhaps most important of all, he told the Israelis: “America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.” Israel, he assured them, “can always count on the United States of America to be at your side.”

George W. Bush’s commitment to Israel and his solidarity with the world’s Jews led me to reflect on a great irony. Within the United States, a high percentage of Jews, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, have been opposed to the policies of the Bush administration and bear an animus to Bush personally.  

When I returned home from the party, a friend had e-mailed me two statements that address this issue. The first came from the head of America’s Reform Jewish congregations, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffe, who delivered his remarks as a sermon at the Union Board Services in Tampa, Florida on December 12th.  Reform Jews are as a whole the most liberal politically of all Jewish religious bodies in our country. On various issues, especially social ones, they stand firmly opposed to the Republican Party political agenda. Whether it is gay rights, stem cell research, the fight of a woman to have an abortion if they choose, and questions pertaining to civil liberties in the fight against terrorism, they stand on the liberal side.

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Left-wing Hope Springs Eternal

December 12th, 2008 - 4:52 pm

Socialism never seems to die, at least to its Western European remnant. After the fall of the Soviet Union and its subordinate so-called  ”People’s Democracies,” it became fashionable for the Marxisant Left in Europe to make the following argument: “Really existing socialism wasn’t socialism; it was a deformed variant created out of the rubble of war and the circumstances of its creation in backwards Russia.”  Hence, they claimed, to say socialism had failed is to say only that it had not as yet ever been tried. When we succeed to build it in economically developed and politically civilized Western Europe, its promise will be fulfilled.

A few years back, Joshua Muravchik wrote his important book, Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. Both a history of the idea from its origin to the present, as well as a survey of socialism’s collapse in the present day, Muravchik discusses how socialism failed throughout the world. This is true not only in the Soviet bloc- where its failure has been acknowledged by most everyone- but in the social-democratic states of Europe and in Africa and in Israel, where the kibbutz movement died a slow death and itself became part of a modern market economy. Unfortunately, it seems that a younger generation in Europe most in need of its message and analysis has not only ignored the book, but seems determined once again to repeat their ancestors’ mistakes.

This is the case at least to journalist Neil Clark, who writing in the leftist New Statesman (Great Britain) argues that “pure, unadulterated socialism…is making a strong comeback.”  Arguing that centrist and conservative political parties are seeing their electoral dominance challenged by socialist parties, he calls it “a clean break from the Thatcherist agenda that many of Europe’s center-left parties have embraced over the past 20 years.”  Clark points to Germany where Die Linke (“The Left”) has become the main opponent of the Christian Democrats in the old East Germany, where a nostalgia for socialism still exists. In the western sectors, they have scored heavily in Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Hesse, where they are taking away votes from the old Social Democratic Party.

Clark’s optimistic picture is way overstated. While the extremist left-wing Linke is indeed gaining ground, what it will succeed in doing is splitting both the Green vote and the Social-Democratic vote, as moderates in both these groups refuse any alliance with them. The effect will most likely be to put into power more conservative governments- not leftist ones. I doubt that the majority of Germans- already burdened by the collapsing economy due to heavy welfare state subsidies that are bankrupting the nation-want to put into power a party that demands a maximum wage, nationalization of industry, banning of hedge funds and the dismantling of a mixed economy with a strong private sector.

Clark also argues that a similar case exists in Holland, Greece, Norway and Spain. Aside from the latter, one must look at who is in power in the major European governments-Berlusconi in Italy, Sarkozy in France, and Merkel in Germany—-neither of them are in any way socialists. Indeed, even Clark has to admit that the prospects for socialist growth in France and his own Britain are next to nil.  In Britain, the left-wing parties favor unrestricted immigration- a program hardly popular with working-class Brits who have seen the effect on their culture from the rapid growth of radical Islamic sects in London.

To this reader of Clark’s article- and he is hardly an objective analyst, but a socialist activist of the far left himself-his claim that the “prognosis for socialism in Britian and the rest of Europe is good” comes off as nothing but a pipe dream. It reminds me of the old joke:  as an old revolutionary is being lowered into the grave, he shouts out his one dying breath: “This is but a tactical retreat.”

I also want to recommend must reading. Yesterday I mentioned Sean Penn, the great pretend journalist. An indispensable scathing criticism of his report on Venezuela and Cuba appears on the website of Reason, the libertarian magazine. Written by Michael Moynihan, it bears the wonderful title “Dumb Man Talking,” a sarcastic reference for those who might not get it- to Penn’s film- “Dead Men Walking,” his attack on the death penalty. So kudos to Michael Moynhan for the best piece on the web this week.

Shame on Chris Matthews

December 11th, 2008 - 12:21 pm

I have blogged endlessly- and too much- on Bill Ayers. But his resurrection tour, like Bob Dylan’s neverending tour, goes on and on. And so must comments about those in the media who continue to buy into the purpose of his reissued book and his current campaign.

Last night he appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews. One can hardly wait for Matthews to leave MSNBC and run for the Senate. Or, he should at least change the name of his program to “Softball with Chris Matthews.” Because, as the video of his program shows, Matthews allowed Ayers to get away with everything, and to use Ayers’ 10 minutes of air time to repeat his standard litany of lies over and over.

Matthews obviously has not done his homework. I don’t expect that he would have read any of my numerous blogs about Ayers, or even my published letter in The New York Times, but I thought he might have read Katha Pollitt’s devastating article in The Nation website that lets Ayers have it, no holds barred. She summarizes Ayers’ apologia, and tears it apart. As she writes; “Spectacular violence, and creating fear of it, was the point.”

Calling Ayers “Thuggish, vainglorious” and “egomaniacal” is more accurate that Matthews’ response, which is that after listening to him, declaring that he is a “changed man” and not the person who was in The Weather Underground. Matthews allowed Ayers to repeat that he did not advocate or praise bombings in his memoir; that he was simply part of a broad anti-war coalition that was correct about everything, and like Matthews, wants a new foreign policy so America does not come off as a superior nation over others. Just your average standard left/liberal Democrat- like Matthews.

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