Tag: Eric Alterman

“Face it, the system is rigged, and it’s rigged against us”

Must Read Eric Alterman article about our kabuki democracy — and what to do about it.


     Face it, the system is rigged, and it’s rigged against us. Sure, presidents can pretty easily pass tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful corporations. They can start whatever wars they wish and wiretap whomever they want without warrants. They can order the torture of terrorist suspects, lie about it and see that their intelligence services destroy the evidence. But what they cannot do, even with supermajorities in both houses of Congress behind them, is pass the kind of transformative progressive legislation that Barack Obama promised in his 2008 presidential campaign. Here’s why.


    As for the “Here’s why” and how to fix things part, one should go read the whole article at The Nation, and go below the fold for more.

. . . for the Jews? Christmas Eve Jewish Thread

(Cross posted at Kos)

As a liberal Jew (which most of us are!), nothing infuriates me more than the hijacking of “Jewish Opinion” by the organized, powerful Jewish Groups like AIPAC, the ADL, etc. American Jews suffer guilt by association because people like Podhoretz, Crystal, Goldberg et al., ad nauseum are perceived as speaking  for us when quite the contrary is the case.

Eric Alterman does a great job of summarizing this problem in a piece at The Nation, Bad for the Jews..  As he puts it:

“Rather, it’s that they think like enlightened liberals yet allow belligerent right-wingers and neocons who frequently demonize, distort and denounce their values to speak for them in the US political arena.

(More below, if you should only be so inclined.)

Eric describes the overwhelming (most likely more than any other ethnic group) Jewish opinion against the war/neocon program:

According to the American Jewish Committee’s 2007 survey of American Jewry, released December 11, a majority of Jews in this country oppose virtually every aspect of the Bush Administration/neocon agenda. Not only do they disapprove of the Administration’s handling of its “campaign against terrorism” (59-31 percent), they believe by a 67-to-27 margin that we should never have invaded Iraq. They are unimpressed by the “surge”–68 percent say it has either made no difference or made things worse, and by a 57-to-35 percent majority they oppose an attack on Iran, even if it was undertaken “to prevent [Iran] from developing nuclear weapons.”

Jews are also impressively sensible when it comes to Israel/Palestine, all things considered. Though barely more than a third think peace is likely anytime soon, and more than 80 percent believe the goal of the Muslim states is to destroy Israel, a 46-to-43 percent plurality continues to support the creation of a Palestinian state.

He concludes:

It’s long past time, however, for the mainstream media to recognize just how out of touch they are with the values of the American Jewish mainstream

The problem as I see it is that there is no counterbalancing organized group to oppose the AIPACs, and break through to not only the mainstream media, but more importantly, the Congress that is cowed, e.g., into voting for Kyl/Lieberman.  

The main reason for this may be that while the Neocon Jews are clear and unanimous, there is no comparable unity on the center and the left.  The Tikkun/Lerner faction is probably too far in the other direction for most Jews, and thus far, there’s no wide support for another alternative.

Anyway, Gut Yontif to all of our Christian brethren here.  We may be of different faiths, but most of us are dangerous secular progressives at heart.