Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

May 30, 2006

Will he get the Ward Churchill treatment?

Filed under: Education,repression — louisproyect @ 4:56 pm

Professor Martin S. Feldstein
George F. Baker Professor of Economics

Office Address
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-868-3900
Fax: 617-868-2742

mfeldstein@harvard.edu

====

http://www.monthlyreview.org/nftae02.htm

The Rich, the Poor, and the Economists

by Michael D. Yates

In the New York Times of December 15, 2001, there is an article titled, “Grounded by an Income Gap.” The subject of the article is the growing income gap between the richest and the poorest people in the United States, a disparity greater here than in any other industrialized nation. Apparently the reasons for this inequality have been vexing the brains of our best economists. Martin Feldstein, Harvard professor and, under Reagan, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, is quoted as follows: “Why there has been increasing inequality in this country is one of the big puzzles in our field and has absorbed a lot of intellectual effort.” But, this effort has apparently been wasted, since he goes on to say, “But if you ask me whether we should worry about the fact that some people on Wall Street and basketball players are making a lot of money, I say no.”

Before I comment on Professor Feldstein’s rather remarkable statements, let me say something about Feldstein’s own work. Before he became Reagan’s chief economist, he was an expert on the economics of social security. In published papers, he claimed to have empirically demonstrated that the social security system in the United States inhibited savings. Since savings are the source of capital investment, the implication of his research was that the social security system also reduced investment and thereby reduced the growth rate of the economy, since investment is the engine of economic growth.

Feldstein’s work fit nicely into the growing conservative movement which arose after the post World War Two boom came to an end in the early 1970s. The Keynesian economics that was gospel during my college years was giving way to a return to the pre-Keynesian theory that “freely” operating markets (free from the poison of government control and regulation) were the only solution to all economic problems. Led by the famous “Chicago Boys,” especially Milton Friedman, the anti-Keynesians carried the day in the economics profession and still do. No wonder, then, that when Ronald Reagan became president, he tapped Feldstein to chair the Council. For years, Reagan had been railing against social security from his General Electric radio pulpit. Now here was an economist who could lend professional credence to Reagan’s reactionary views. Social Security would be a tough nut to crack. It was an extremely popular program, run with great efficiency and effective in sharply reducing poverty among the elderly.

There was just one problem. Feldstein’s research was fatally flawed. Two staff economists at the Social Security Administration asked Feldstein for his supporting data. After three years of repeated requests, he sent the data to them. When they tried to use Feldstein’s numbers to replicate his results, however, they could not. They uncovered an error in the computer program Feldstein had used, and when they corrected the error, the results were exactly the opposite of Feldstein’s. That is to say, the social security system actually encouraged savings and, according to Feldstein’s cherished “free market” theory, facilitated capital formation and economic growth. (For more on this, see “‘Superstar’ Feldstein and His Little Mistake” in Dollars & Sense, Dec. 1980, pp. 1-2 and the citations therein.)

In a field like physics, when the data consistently fail to support a hypothesis, the hypothesis is eventually rejected. A scientist who continues to hold to a rejected hypothesis will eventually lose his scientific reputation. But in economics matters are not so straightforward. To the best of my knowledge, Feldstein never acknowledged that his research was worthless. In fact, a short time after his mistake was exposed, he claimed to have redone his research and found his original result. Nor has he become a champion of the social security system. He is today one the most virulent proponents of privatization, and he continues to cook his numbers. He kept his privileged position at Harvard, from which he has made millions of dollars as a consultant. As the Times article gives proof, he is still being sought after for pithy quotes in his later middle age.

The reason why a person like Feldstein can continue to prosper in the face of what should have been a devastating professional scandal is simple ­ money and power. The social security trust funds contain billions of dollars, and those who own our society’s property want that money. It is not now available to them, but it would be if social security were abolished or to use the euphemism of the day, “privatized.” Today, economists continue to tell lies about social security, a program as sound as it ever was but under growing and relentless attack. Feldstein and others like him provide a veneer of “science” to justify what is nothing more than the theft of the people’s money.

Which gets us back to inequality. Anyone willing to look can see that a society in which wealth ownership is extraordinarily unequal, as it is in every capitalist country, must by its very nature also be one in which incomes are also unequal. And anyone with any connection at all to reality knows that those with the lion’s share of the wealth (and income) call the shots in everything that matters ­ politics and culture to name just two ­ and this power puts still more money into their hands. It also follows, as the night follows the day, that there can be no such thing as equal opportunity in a hopelessly inegalitarian society. Just perform a thought experiment. Imagine two child, one born into the poorest family in the United States and one born into the richest. Imagine further that all necessities, indeed all useful things, must be purchased in the marketplace. The results of such an untrammeled capitalism, just the kind Feldstein prescribes, are easy to predict. If the poor child is lucky enough to survive, he or she will assuredly have close to a zero opportunity to rise to the top. The rich child, on the other hand, can be completely incompetent but will never fall to the bottom or anywhere close to it.

If we add to the inherent law of capitalist inequality policies designed by the wealthy to make them richer, inequality will worsen as it has in the United States. As the Economic Policy Institute and many other scholars have shown with meticulous and uncooked research, the employer-led and government-abetted attack on labor unions, the class nature of the schools, the implementation of job-destroying and income-reducing trade policies, the stagnant minimum wage, all have contributed to growing inequality. Not to mention racism and sexism. Yet Feldstein and his ilk profess incomprehension. Or, worse yet, they blame the victims. They say that teenage pregnancy is a primary cause of poverty. In intellectual desperation, they even say that “low cognitive ability” is the culprit. Not only is this bankrupt, but given the racial composition of those at the bottom of our society, it is racist (as is Feldstein’s equation of Wall Street operators and basketball players).

Yes, the last 25 years have witnesses a marked transfer of money from the poor to the rich. But contrary to the cant of economists like Feldstein, this has everything to do with capitalism and the actions of politicians beholden to and increasingly a part of the wealthy class. No wonder the economists, whose own place high up the income scale is so often tied to their championing of this unfair and repugnant system, would rather ignore this truth (and the voluminous evidence supporting it) or claim not to understand it or say its not a problem but a socially desirable state of affairs. This is what the wealthy demand, and this is what the rest of us must think if the entire ideological edifice buttressing capitalism is not to crumble to the ground.

Let me make two final comments. First, the Times article ends by noting that Adam Smith, himself, was concerned with equity. Smith said, “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” That the “far greater part of the members are poor and miserable” cannot be doubted; this is truer today than it was in 1776 if only because then a much higher proportion of the world’s population could grow its own food. But the article fails to note Smith’s remedy for human misery ­ education in homeopathic doses. Second, lest we doubt the class biases of Feldstein and company, let us remember that after the fascist generals murdered Salvador Allende and began to round up, torture (including electric shock), and murder their enemies, the “Chicago Boys” were recommending neoliberal “shock treatment” for the economy.

MICHAEL D. YATES is associate editor of Monthly Review. He is the author of Why Unions Matter and co-editor of Rising from the Ashes?: Labor in the Age of “Global” Capitalism.

 

Baghdad ER

Filed under: Film,Iraq — louisproyect @ 3:51 pm

Last night I watched "Baghdad ER," an HBO documentary about the 86th Combat Support Hospital in the Green Zone. It is 63 minutes of unrelenting and graphic depictions of amputations, etc. While it was given official benediction by the Pentagon initially, there are signs that it is pulling back. Both this documentary and "The Road to Guantanamo," a film I reviewed a while back, are facing censorship:

Two new films which expose unpleasant truths about Guantanamo and the battle for Iraq are coming under pressure from censors in the United States.

The Motion Pictures Association of America has censored a poster advertising a film about the Tipton three, called The Road to Guantanamo, that showed a hooded and blindfolded man hanging by his shackled wrists. Also, the makers of Baghdad ER, a documentary about a US military combat hospital, told the Guardian yesterday that Francis Harvey, the secretary of the army, had demanded last-minute changes to the film.

The Guantanamo film ran into difficulties with the MPAA last month when it submitted its advertising material for customary review. To the surprise of Howard Cohen, president of Roadside Attractions which is distributing the film in the US, the association demanded that the poster for the R-rated film be toned down.

"It was the head in the burlap sack that pushed it over the edge for them," Mr Cohen said. The film will be advertised instead by a poster which shows only a pair of shackled hands and arms. "It's outrageous that they are objecting to this image . . . They are saying . . . children in the US should not be allowed to see what it is we are doing to people in Guantanamo." The MPAA offered no comment.

The makers of Baghdad ER say the senior leadership of the Pentagon has turned against their film, despite cooperation during its making in Baghdad and a positive reception at screenings at military bases. "Somebody wearing a tie and not a uniform seems to have a political agenda and is trying to influence this film," said the director, Jon Alpert.

–The Guardian, May 18, 2006

One imagines that the Pentagon might have been asleep at the wheel when it gave the green light to allow Jon Alpert to make a film like "Baghdad ER." Although it ostensibly hails the brave men and women in uniform who are sacrificing life and limb to win freedom for the Iraqi people, it has a deeper subversive message–namely that this war is an obscene waste, both for Iraqis and Americans.

Anybody who has followed documentary film over the past 30 years or so will recognize his name immediately. He is exceptionally bold and critical-minded, as this excerpt from a December 18, 1981 report would indicate:

Jon Alpert (interviewing a Salvadoran soldier): Who flies the helicopters for you?

Unidentified Salvadoran soldier [subtitled]: The pilots are American.

Jon Alpert: The U.S. State Department denies American pilots are being used. El Salvador denies their soldiers cross the border [into Honduras]. But we saw the soldiers – and we saw their work. We saw this man shot in the head. Still alive are his wife and four children.

Alpert deliberately avoids any kind of editorializing in "Bagdad ER" as should be obvious from this quote on the HBO website: "We went over there not so much trying to express our own opinions, but trying to figure out how we could hold a mirror up to what was going on and reflect that back to the United States. We thought that would really be the most valuable thing we could do."

However, simply by allowing home viewers to see the awful results of IED attacks, etc. it can only intensify opposition to the war. "Baghdad ER" reminds us that nearly 18,000 men and women have been wounded during the 3 years of occupation. Although body armor and rapid medical response, such as the kind seen in this documentary, have saved many lives, there are still thousands of young people all around the USA who are blind, missing limbs, brain-damaged and suffering immense chronic pain from their wounds. No wonder the Pentagon wants to suppress this worthy documentary.

May 28, 2006

Tagged

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 4:30 pm

Although I am not quite sure of why tagging takes place, I do feel a certain obligation to respond when I am tagged. Last time it was by Barkley Rosser from Max Sawicky's blog. This time it is from Renegade Eye, who explains the rules as follows:

1)If you are tagged, you must answer the question or questions, assigned by the person who tagged you.
2) You must credit the person who tagged you.
3) You can then choose other bloggers to tag.

In reply to the subject of the tag ("What are 10 of life's simple pleasures"), you can read his reponse here

So here is my own 10 top list:

1. Watching "Desperate Housewives"

2. Cooking and eating 'matzoh brei', a Jewish breakfast consisting of fried matzohs (unleavened bread) and eggs.

3. Walking around my neighborhood on the Upper East Side.

4. Running in Central Park.

5. Drinking cocktails before dinner, especially a Manhattan with angostura bitters.

6. Listening to WFAN, the local sports talk show station.

7. Watching horror movies (like the remake of "House of Wax" that I rented last night.)

8. Doing crossword puzzles, especially the difficult British-style ones that I resubscribed to the Nation Magazine in order to solve.
9. Playing chess on my computer.

10. Smoking cigars, especially Macanudo cigarillos.

MERIP opines on immediate withdrawal from Iraq

Filed under: imperialism/globalization,Iraq — louisproyect @ 2:26 pm

Like NACLA, the Middle East Information and Research Project (MERIP) emerged during the radicalization that began in the 1960s and was designed to serve as an independent and radical alternative to mainstream journalism.

Apparently, based on the evidence of an article by Executive Director Chris Toensing titled "Why Exiting Iraq Won't Be Easy" in the current "In These Times", MERIP has evolved in the same direction as NACLA. As the 60s died down and as the principals involved with such publications become a bit longer in the tooth and more convinced of their usefulness to wonkish policy-makers in Washington, the more pragmatic and the more opportunist they become. Thirty years ago the target audience for MERIP or NACLA might have been undergraduates organizing teach-ins. Now it would seem to be aides to Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden.

After surveying the current military and political situation in Iraq, Toensing's article makes the case that "The United States, having done so much to break Iraq, has now become powerless to fix it." Those of us who are still foolish enough to adhere to the principles of self-determination that prompted us to organize antiwar demonstrations in the 60s can only stand with our mouths agape at the notion of the US "fixing" anything. There is absolutely nothing in Toensing's article that challenges the right of the US to send its troops anywhere to act as a police force.

To his credit, Toensing does explain the role of the US in creating the conditions of civil war that make "precipitous" withdrawal so problematic–at least in his eyes.

The CPA made its most damaging decision in July, when it allocated seats in the Iraqi Governing Council to Shiite Arabs, Kurds, Sunni Arabs, Turkmen and Christians according to estimates of their share of the population. For the first time, sectarian and ethnic affiliation became the formal organizing principle of Iraqi politics, exacerbating the tendency of Iraqi factions to pursue maximum benefits for their own community at the expense of Iraq as a nation.

But after creating such a terrible situation, the US regrettably stands by and refuses to separate the warring factions:

Yet the United States seems to be doing very little to stop the civil war that its continued presence is supposed to prevent. The military failed to intervene in the street fighting that followed the Askariyya shrine bombing, for example. Indeed, the military’s predicament is that it cannot intervene, because then it would appear to be taking sides more than the United States has done already.

So you see, dear reader, we are dealing with something akin to the Crown Heights riots of August 1991 when angry African-Americans and Hasidic Jews battled in the streets as Mayor Dinkin's police force stood by helplessly. Dinkin's perceived ineffectiveness during this period led to the election of Rudy Giuliani. By the same token, much of the criticism from the Democratic Party, even its flaccid left-wing, has to do with effectiveness rather than principle. One imagines that if the US military had operated "effectively" from the beginning and if the streets were quiet today, the Democratic Party would never have found anything to complain about. And presumably, neither would Chris Toensing.

In detailing why immediate withdrawal might not be feasible, Toensing draws upon the sage counsel of Jeffrey White, former chief of Middle East military assessments for the Defense Intelligence Agency:

From the Pentagon’s perspective, a helter-skelter withdrawal is the option of last resort. According to Wayne White, for the past two years, security concerns have impelled the military to airlift both troops and heavy equipment instead of using rail freight or large road convoys, meaning that the enormous planes built for transcontinental flights are used for in-country travel. But there are simply not enough planes to effect a precipitous pullout. A number of units would be forced to leave the country in land convoys, which could be attacked by either insurgents seeking to press their point or, White suggests, “some very angry people who thought you were going to stay.” While such fighting would be brief, heavy U.S. casualties would be possible. “Phased is the way to go,” White says. “Abrupt is not."

Now I admit to being a case-hardened Bronto-Marxist who still believes in hoary values like self-determination and socialism, but wouldn't progressives less wild-eyed than me question the value of anything coming out of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the US military whose goal, in the words of its website, is to: "Provide timely, objective, and cogent military intelligence to warfighters, defense planners, and defense and national security policymakers."

For fuck's sake, you might as well quote George W. Bush,

May 26, 2006

The Blood of My Brother

Filed under: Film,Islam — louisproyect @ 4:45 pm

Besides "The War Tapes", this year's Tribeca Film Festival premiered another compelling documentary about Iraq. While "The War Tapes," a film made by the GI's themselves, was striking for its inability with rare exceptions to empathize with the Iraqi people, "The Blood of My Brother" is remarkable for its intimate views of a Shi'ite family torn apart by the death of their bread-winner.

The film begins with a funeral for Ra'ad, who was killed by American troops in August 2004 while guarding a mosque in Kadhimiya, a predominantly Shi'te neighborhood in Baghdad. Ra'ad was not even carrying a rifle, but was accidentally shot in a typical episode of 'collateral damage' that has cost the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

"Blood of My Brother" focuses on the difficult economic, political and existential questions forced on Ra'ad's younger brother Ibrahim. He is torn between joining the Mehdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr and taking over his brother's photography business and providing for the family. Deeply religious, everything is posed in terms of "Inshallah," or "if god wills it."

But this is not just a film about an individual family's travails. It is also about the Shi'ite insurgency that took place in the Summer of 2004 in Baghdad's Sadr City and the holy city of Najaf. Director Andrew Berends, who describes himself in the press notes as "unembedded", was able to take up-close footage of Shi'ite militiamen confronting American helicopters and tanks, and fighting them to a standoff. These were the events that Berends captured:

Iraqi fighters loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr shot down a US helicopter yesterday in fierce clashes in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf that killed four people and threatened to unravel a deal to end an uprising led by the radical cleric.

In other violence, guerillas detonated a car bomb and sprayed gunfire at a police station in the mixed Sunni and Shi'ite town of Mahawil, south of Baghdad, killing at least six people and wounding 24, Iraqi government officials said.

The fighting in Najaf was the most intense since Sadr's rebellion in April and May. The city is home to the holiest shrines in Shi'ite Islam, and most Iraqi Shi'ites react with outrage when clashes erupt near the sacred sites.

Sadr's supporters in Basra also took to the streets and threatened attacks unless comrades they said had been detained by British forces were released. Armed followers of Sadr also took to the streets of Shi'ite areas of Baghdad.

A US military spokesman said the crew of the downed helicopter were wounded and had been evacuated. Sadr's aides said the cleric's Mehdi Army militia had shot down the aircraft.

(The Australian, August 6, 2004)

In between displaying the struggle taking place in the streets, "The Blood of My Brother" reveals the daily patterns of life of Shi'ites. They slaughter a lamb both for food and to offer up a blood sacrifice for the martyred Ra'ad. Like young men everywhere, Ibrahim whiles away the time playing violent video games on a Sony Xbox. It is a grim unintended irony to see them yelping in delight when one of the animated game figures gets his head slashed off in combat.

In the press notes, Berends states:

It is worthwhile to note that the window of opportunity to do verité documentaries covering the Iraqi side of the conflict is all but closed. It was difficult and dangerous before. Now, the consensus among most journalists and filmmakers is that the threat of abduction and death has become too high and the access to Iraqi stories too restricted to be able to work unembedded. It is unlikely that more films like The Blood of My Brother will emerge from Iraq for years to come.

If for no other reason, this would compel the serious film enthusiast to see "The Blood of My Brother," which opens at Cinema Village in New York on June 30. Highly recommended.

"The Blood of My Brother" website 

May 25, 2006

Thoughts on Ward Churchill

Filed under: indigenous,repression — louisproyect @ 8:31 pm

Posted to www.marxmail.org on May 25, 2006

I don't have much to add on the Ward Churchill case beyond what he already stated in his powerful rebuttal.

I do want to elaborate, however, on his observation that appears there near the end:

"I have published some two dozen books, 70 book chapters and scores of articles containing a combined total of approximately 12,000 footnotes. I doubt that any even marginally prolific scholar's publications could withstand the type of scrutiny to which mine has been subjected."

This is an important point. Generally speaking, if you don't rock the boat politically, there is little chance about losing your job for plagiarism or for faulty scholarship, as the continued presence of Doris Kearns Goodwin and Alan Dershowitz at Harvard University proves.

In the latest outrage, Douglas Feith, one of the chief architects of the war in Iraq, has been hired to work at Georgetown University:

NY Times, May 25, 2006
Washington Memo Faculty's
Chilly Welcome for Ex-Pentagon Official
By Jason DeParle

WASHINGTON, May 24 — Douglas J. Feith's table at the Georgetown University faculty club is shaping up as a lonely one.

The move to a teaching position at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown by Mr. Feith, a former Pentagon official, set off a faculty kerfuffle, with 72 professors, administrators and graduate students signing a letter of protest, some going as far as to accuse him of war crimes.

Some critics complain about the process. (He was hired without a faculty vote.)

Some complain about the war in Iraq. (Mr. Feith has been accused of promoting it with skewed intelligence.)

All say the open protest is unusual at a place that embraces former officials as part of its panache. A former secretary of state, Madeleine K. Albright; a former national security adviser, Anthony Lake; and a former director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, have joined the faculty without event.

But Mr. Feith, a former under secretary of defense for policy planning and analysis, is another story.

"I'm not going to shake hands with the guy if he's introduced to me," said Mark N. Lance, a philosophy professor who teaches nonviolence in the program on Justice and Peace and who organized the protest. "And if he asks why, I'll say because in my view you're a war criminal and you have no place on this campus."

The dispute can be read as — take your pick — an explosion of fury at a disastrous war, an illustration of the pettiness of academic politics or evidence of Mr. Feith's talent for attracting invective.

Gen. Tommy R. Franks of the Army, the top commander of the Iraq invasion, once referred to him as "the stupidest guy on the face of the earth."

So let's see if we can get this straight. Ward Churchill will be fired for alleging that the US Army killed American Indians without proper documentation while Douglas Feith gets a job despite killing Iraqis in great numbers. Sloppy footnoting trumps mass murder in late capitalist America apparently.

In the 1950s, you could lose your job if you were a member of the CP or even if you had been proved too friendly to the party during the turbulent 30's. Cognizant of the free speech battles that were won in the 1960s, today's witch-hunters focus more on "scholarship", which usually means scouring through a left scholar's output for fatal flaws. The more prolific and the more leftist you are, the more extreme the scrutiny.

In a Pressaction article, Rosemarie Jackowski pointed out:

Ward Churchill is under attack. Will he receive justice through a judicial process? No one knows. Has he ever made an error in any of his writings? I would assume so. A few years ago I planned to sponsor (as part of my activism) a contest. The purpose of the contest would be to get as many people as possible to read Howard Zinn’s A Peoples History of the United States. A monetary prize would be awarded to anyone who found a significant error of fact in the book.

I had a brief conversation with Zinn about my idea one day when he was speaking at a college near Albany, N.Y. I asked him what he thought about the contest. I will never forget his answer. He said, “Of course there might be a mistake in the book”. The point is this. Even the most highly respected authors and historians might not achieve absolute infallibility. Ancient history is hazy. Any author should be judged by the whole of his work. It would be helpful to also judge the press by the same standard. The accuracy of all history textbooks that are currently in use in our schools should also be re-evaluated

For example, in a Frontpage assault on Howard Zinn, Dan Flynn complains that Zinn suppressed evidence of Pequot Indian attacks on whites during the build-up to the New England wars of the 17th century. In Flynn's eyes, the Indians were just as bad as the colonists, a racist trope that the administration at the University of Colorado seemed determine to rectify when they hired Churchill. Autre temps; autre moeurs.

It wasn't just ultra-rightists who had Zinn in their gunsights. Michael Walzer, who heads up the anti-antiwar left at Dissent Magazine, describes Zinn as a propagandist rather than a historian:

Like most propagandists, he measures individuals according to his own rigid standard of how they should have thought and acted. Thus, he depicts John Brown as an unblemished martyr but sees Lincoln as nothing more than a cautious politician who left slavery alone as long as possible.

Get it, dear readers? Zinn is too soft on the bloodthirsty Pequots and John Brown. An objective historian would be more balanced. Just like the "revisionist" historians who emerged in Germany during the 1970s with their "Hitler was no worse than Stalin" analysis.

The rightwing hellhounds at the History News Network, a website sponsored by the neoconservative George Mason University, have been crying out for my friend Paul Buhle's scalp for years now, on much the same basis that they have gone after Churchill. Ralph Luker, a resident Satan, has charged Paul with crimes against Clio, the muse of history whom he stands on guard with bared fangs to protect:

When I mentioned Paul Buhle's name along with those of Stephen Ambrose, Michael Bellesiles, Joseph Ellis, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Edward A Pearson in the OAH Newsletter two years ago, he had the opportunity to step up to the plate and answer the charges against him. Instead, he has studiously ignored them and continued to crank out deeply flawed work "at an alarming rate." The employers, peers, and publishers of all those others who were similarly accused forced a reckoning with the charges against them. They absorbed severe penalties. Why is Buhle sponsored by the OAH's Distinguished Lecturer Program? When will his employer, Brown University, and his publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, or his editor there force Paul Buhle to face the recklessness of his own work?

Paul, with his unerring instinct for avoiding pissing contests with skunks, which one is bound to lose, declined to answer Luker. (HNN showed Mr. Buhle an advance look at a draft of this article. He declined to offer a response.)

If the relationship of forces were worse for the left in the academy and if Zinn and Buhle did not have tenure, there is little doubt that they would be facing the same consequences as Ward Churchill.

Ward Churchill's sins were not plagiarism or inadequate scholarship. It was speaking his mind about 9/11. Even if he was wrong, his sins paled in comparison to Douglas Feith or his fellow professors in the School of Foreign Service. Like Madeline Albright who blandly assured Leslie Stahl that it was worth the death of 500,000 Iraqi children to accomplish US goals in the region. Or like George Tenet who belongs in the jail cell next to hers. Someone once said that history is written by the victors. No greater confirmation of that can be found by Churchill's ordeals and by the elevation of a common criminal and liar like Douglas Feith.

Crossing the Bridge: the Sound of Istanbul

Filed under: Film,music — louisproyect @ 6:43 pm

"Crossing the Bridge: the Sound of Istanbul" is a terrific introduction to Turkish popular music and to Turkish culture in general. Directed by Fatih Akin, a 33 year old Turk who was born in Germany, it explores the way in which Turkey's connections to both West and East produce a synthesis of both cultures, defying Samuel Huntington's clash of civilizations thesis. Crossing bridges is an apt title for the documentary since Istanbul itself overlaps two continents across the Bosporus Straits. Imagine getting in your car from your home in Asia each morning and driving across a bridge to get to your workplace in Europe. That's Istanbul for millions of its residents.

Richard Hamer, the American saxophone player who is a member of the Istanbul-based band "Orient Expressions," dismisses the idea of a rigid distinction between East and West altogether. In one of the film's many insightful interviews, he states that the idea that the West starts at Greece and extends to Los Angeles and that the East starts at Turkey and ends at China is "bullshit." Indeed, the ability of Turkey over the centuries to synthesize European and Asian influences should indicate that there are ways to transcend the seemingly intractable conflicts taking place today.

Like Ry Cooder in "Buena Vista Social Club," "Crossing the Bridge" relies on an outsider's perspective to introduce the newcomer to unfamiliar territory. In Akin's film, that role is assigned to Alexander Hacke, the bassist in Einstürzende Neubauten, a German "industrial rock" band, who wrote the score for Akin's first film "Head-On". Hacke is a self-described aficionado of Turkish music and sits in during a number of sessions just as Ry Cooder did in Buena Vista.

"Crossing the Bridge" features interviews with fifteen different performers, who range from modern forms like rap to the traditional "arabesque" (or "arabesk".) It also relies on commentary from musicologists and the ordinary man and woman on the street, whose wit and charm are characteristically Turkish. Visually, the film is as rich and as fascinating as the music. Akin draws upon footage of Istanbul that is off the beaten track, as well as films of the city and the featured performers from decades past.

Although I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about Turkish music, the film was a real eye-opener. Ceza is a rapper who lives in Kadiköy, a neighborhood on the Asian side not far from where my in-laws live. (The suffix 'köy' is akin to the English 'ville', as in Smallville or Huntsville.) He raps in a rapid-fire, staccato manner but the rhythms are drawn from Turkish music rather than American funk. He also dismisses the gangsta posturing of American rap and prefers to address larger social issues, as this snippet from "Holocaust" would indicate (if you understand Turkish of course; the song is performed in its entirety in the film with subtitles).

Ceza

As an expert points out early in the film, Western rhythms are based on groups of four beats, whereas Turkish music employs triplets. The typical Turkish rhythm evokes the chant of marching soldiers: "Left … left … left right left." Not by coincidence, Mozart and other Western composers incorporated this rhythm into their compositions after hearing Janissaries on parade. Although Akin's film focuses on Asian appropriation of American cultural influences, the process has been reciprocal over the centuries. Not only did classical European composers integrate Turkish sounds, there is strong evidence that Spanish flamenco derives from Middle Eastern traditions.

Much to the film's credit, it tackles the Kurdish problem head-on. Both in performance and in interviews, Aynur is a deeply compelling figure who uses her music to advance her peoples' cause. Singing in Kurdish, a language that was at one point illegal to speak in public, she embodies the new spirit of self-confidence that is gaining ground in Turkey. Over and above her role as a freedom-fighter, Aynur is a supremely gifted vocalist as the clips on this page would indicate.

The last three performers in "Crossing the Bridge" have long and honored histories. Orhan Gencebay, known as Turkey's Elvis, is an enormously popular film and singing star whose Arabesque music is beloved by Istanbul's working class. He plays the 'saz,' a long-necked lute that is as central to Turkish music as the oud is to Arabian music. You can watch video clips of his film performances at the bottom of this page. I recommend "Birde Sen Vurma" (Don't Hurt Me) in particular. This is a cheesy Orientalist fantasy that is saved by the power of Gencebay's performance.

Gencebay is followed by Müzeyyen Senar, an 86 year old who is still going strong. She can best be described as a Turkish version of Egypt's legendary Umm Kulthum. In a riveting performance with a glass of raki in one hand and a microphone in the other, she admits to a life of sin but offers up the refrain, "I don't care."

As Turkey's music became more Americanized, Senar was pushed to the fringes and finally stopped performing in 1983. In recent years, she has enjoyed a revival as Turkish superstar Sezen Aksu has invited her to perform with her at concerts. Aksu is beloved by Turkish musicians of all persuasions, including the rapper Ceza. Aksu is an extremely courageous artist who took risks in defending Kurdish rights:

The release of a new album by one of Turkey’s biggest pop stars has prompted a debate on how far Turks dare go in acknowledging their diverse ethnic and religious origins – especially when rebel Kurds are fighting for their own state and the secular establishment feels threatened by Islamic fundamentalism.

The album by the female singer Sezen Aksu entitled “Light Rises in the East” has sold nearly 500,000 copies since it was launched two months ago.

Accompanied by folk musicians of Greek, Armenian, Kurdish, Arab and Gypsy origin, the singer has controversially attempted to fuse Turkey’s mixed ethnic heritage in music. Newspapers have called the album a political call for unity. Ms Aksu says she is hurt by the thought of “valuable parts of this country being broken into pieces”.

(The Guardian, September 13, 1995)

"Crossing the Bridge" is scheduled to open at the Angelica Theater in NYC on June 9th, 2006. Don't miss it!

Ward Churchill responds to U. of Colorado investigation

Filed under: indigenous,repression — louisproyect @ 12:57 am

Summary of Fallacies in the University of Colorado Investigative Committee Report of May 9, 2006

Ward Churchill May 20, 2006

The May 9, 2006 Report of the University of Colorado (CU) Investigative Committee is but the latest step in CU's ongoing attempt to fire me for political speech and, more fundamentally, for scholarship which challenges the orthodox "canon" of historical truth.

The investigative committee abandoned all semblance of due process and equal protection mandated by both the Constitution and the University's own rules, in the process betraying the most basic principles of academic freedom.

Rather than assessing my work in terms of the methods and procedures of my discipline, the committee – which included no one with expertise in American Indian Studies – chose to determine for itself the "historical truth" about disputed matters. Unable to condemn my substantive conclusions, it engaged in a detailed post hoc critique of my citations.

The committee's recommendation of harsh sanctions appears to have been driven primarily by my "attitude," not by the specific conduct at issue. I was presented with the "Catch-22" option of apologizing for things I did not do or being condemned for being insufficiently contrite.

In this process, the investigative committee abandoned its mandate to serve as a nonadversarial information-seeking body, instead taking upon itself the role of both prosecutor and judge. It then did exactly what it accuses me of doing: it tailored its report to fit its conclusions. As a result, the document contains numerous false statements, misrepresentations of fact, and internal contradictions; it suppresses evidence and employs faulty logic to conclude that I engaged in research misconduct.

A few of the most glaring problems with the report are summarized below:

Punishment for Constitutionally Protected Speech

* Since January 2005, University administrators have been trying to fire me for expressing my political opinions, directly violating both the First Amendment and the Regent's own rules on academic freedom. Having reluctantly concluded that they could not fire me directly for my speech, they resorted to trial by media, soliciting allegations of misconduct to use as a pretext.

* Some of this involved encouraging the media to generate allegations.  Interim Chancellor DiStefano as "complainant" then forwarded these charges to the Committee. Other allegations were directly solicited by CU administrators, including law school dean David Getches, who had already made his bias against me clear. Some came from known political adversaries, but their malicious or frivolous nature was disregarded.

* None of these were legitimate accusations the University had an "obligation" to investigate; they were simply a pretext to penalize constitutionally protected speech. All of the allegations at issue are based on work I did years, sometimes decades, ago; had there been any substance to them, they would have been investigated long before now.

* Under University rules, this report was part of a confidential personnel process. The fact that the committee convened a press conference to announce its findings and University officials immediately distributed the full report is but one indication of their willingness to violate my rights, as well as their own rules, in order to chill my speech and discredit my scholarship.

* Further evidencing retaliatory motivation, just as this investigative phase was wrapping up the University announced that it is initiating yet another investigation into "new allegations" it received over a year ago.  The message is clear: if you do not give up, we will investigate you forever.

The Investigative Committee and Its Process

Committee Composition: The committee consisted primarily of CU insiders and included no one with expertise in my field.

* Given the pervasive bias of CU administrators, I requested an outside committee and, because of bias exhibited by law school dean Getches as well as law professor cum columnist Paul Campos, I specifically objected to the inclusion of CU law faculty. The committee, however, was composed of three CU insiders, chaired by law professor (and former prosecutor) Mimi Wesson.

* The committee's mandate was to establish whether my scholarship complied with the accepted practices in my discipline, American Indian Studies – a subset of Ethnic Studies.

* Ethnic Studies programs were introduced into universities precisely because the standard practices of mainstream disciplines (history, sociology, anthropology, etc.) had failed to incorporate historical and contemporary knowledge they found inconvenient, thereby producing inaccurate and misleading "academic truth." To rectify this, Ethnic Studies not only bases itself in the perspectives of diverse communities, but employs its own set of research practices and methodologies.

* My job is thus to bring a critical indigenous understanding to my teaching and scholarship. However, the committee included no American Indians and no one with expertise in American Indian Studies, despite the fact that eminently qualified American Indian scholars were available and willing to serve.

Procedural Deficiencies: Neither the allegations nor the standards applied were clearly identified, and the committee artificially restricted my ability to respond.

* I was expected to present a defense without knowing clearly which allegations were at issue. Furthermore, during the investigation, the committee expanded the scope of certain allegations without giving me notice or adequate opportunity to respond.

* I was expected to defend my work before being informed of the standards being applied. The report says American Historical Association (AHA) protocols and other unspecified standards were utilized, falsely claiming that I agreed to AHA standards and never revealing which other standards were applied.

* I was prevented from speaking directly to expert witnesses, even my own, and was required to e-mail my questions across the room to the committee chair. This caused considerable confusion; allowed the chair to "interpret" what I was asking, sometimes fundamentally changing my meaning; and generally impaired my ability to elicit information.

* Although the rules allow for extensions of time, the committee denied my repeated requests for an additional 30 days in which to complete my responses, rigidly insisting on a 120-day time frame designed for much more limited investigations. I was forced to spend much of this period trying to determine which charges and standards were at issue, and even more on an apparently futile attempt to introduce committee members to the foundational concepts of American Indian Studies and, more generally, the discipline of Ethnic Studies. As a result, I was prevented from responding to the charges in a thorough manner.

The Report

Violations of the Committee's Mandate: The committee abandoned its responsibility to serve as a nonadversarial fact-finding body, instead retroactively imposing its views as to what and how I should have cited in support of my historical analysis, condemning my attitude rather than my scholarship, and tailoring the report to justify its conclusions.

* According to University rules, the investigation was to be nonadversarial. Instead, the committee functioned in a prosecutorial manner. Rather than simply reporting its factual findings, the committee asserted a prerogative to recommend sanctions. Having done this, it then tailored its presentation to support its advocacy of penalties entirely disproportionate even to their own findings.

* The committee's mandate was not to determine the "truth" of disputed historical matters. Yet the bulk of this report, written by persons without expertise in the subject matter, is devoted to their analysis of the history at issue. Having concluded, in most cases, that I was substantively accurate, they resort to a detailed critique of my use of sources and the nature of my footnotes.

* Much of my work takes the form of synthesis; in other words, connecting-the-dots with respect to a broad range of information. By definition, one cannot delve into minute detail with respect to each piece or the "big picture" will be lost. Yet this is precisely what the report condemns me for. (Witness the 40 pages of analysis it devotes to the two paragraphs I wrote on Fort Clark.) If this standard were to be uniformly applied, no scholar could engage in the sort of analysis which brings together apparently disparate information to illustrate fundamental problems with the status quo.

* The committee's charge was to investigate whether my work comported with accepted practices in my discipline. Instead, it applied standards from a very different discipline, as well as unnamed standards. In some instances these appear to have been the standards used in legal publications; in other cases they seem more akin to "gut" reactions. The bottom line is that the committee retroactively imposed standards in ways that have never been applied to other scholars at CU. Nationally, this has been done in only in a few blatantly political cases, such as those of David Abraham and Michael Bellesiles.

Distortion and Suppression of Evidence: The Committee disregarded and/or falsely characterized much of the evidence presented, using the slightest of pretexts to conclude that I engaged in significant research misconduct.

* The committee did not have evidence that I failed to comply with their arbitrarily selected and retroactively applied standards, and it certainly did not meet its burden of establishing that I engaged in research misconduct by the required "preponderance of the evidence."

* The first two allegations address my summaries of the impact on native peoples of two federal laws, the Allotment Act and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. In its 20-page analysis, the committee acknowledges that my conclusions may be right but criticizes the nature of my citations and faults me for having failed to publish a response to a particular critic.  On the Allotment Act the committee acknowledges that I was essentially correct and my accuser generally incorrect. However, the report accuses me of getting the details wrong, despite the fact that I wrote only a few paragraphs on the subject and, thus, did not address any details. For this I am charged with falsification.

* The third charge concerns my statement that there is "strong circumstantial evidence" that John Smith introduced smallpox among the Wampanoags in the early 1600s. The committee took it upon itself to decide that this was an "implausible" conclusion and that, therefore, I had not cited to enough circumstantial evidence. This is characterized as both falsification and fabrication.

* My two paragraph statement that in 1837 the army deliberately spread smallpox among the Mandans at Fort Clark generated 44 pages of analysis on the fourth allegation. While basically confirming my conclusions, the committee expresses displeasure with the nature, thoroughness and, in some cases, the sources of my citations. Although numerous scholars have made the same general point without any citation, I am charged with falsification, fabrication, and deviation from accepted reporting practices.

* In this connection, it should be noted that all of the indigenous witnesses confirmed that my work conforms to the expectations of native tradition concerning scholarship. An expert from the affected nations confirmed my assertions concerning the oral traditions on the deliberate infection of the Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa peoples. Nonetheless, this entirely non-Indian committee took it upon itself to declare that I "was disrespectful of Indian oral traditions when dealing with the Mandan/Fort Clark smallpox epidemic of 1837."

* The fifth charge involves the use of material from a pamphlet circulated by a long-defunct environmental group called Dam the Dams, whose representative stated he was happy to have the article used. In my initial use, I gave Dam the Dams co-authorship credit and the evidence I presented that this credit was removed by the publisher is uncontested. In all subsequent use of the material, I gave credited Dam the Dams in my footnotes. For this I am charged with plagiarism.

* The sixth allegation asserted that I plagiarized an article I had ghostwritten for Rebecca Robbins. The committee concluded that I had not plagiarized it, but that having allowed a junior scholar to take credit for the original piece was a failure to comply with established standards of authorship attribution. This despite the fact that ghostwriting is common practice and the committee could point to no rule or standard that I had actually violated.

* With respect to the seventh allegation, the committee concluded that I had committed plagiarism by allowing portions of an essay written by Fay Cohen to be published under the name of an Institute of which I was a co-founder, in a volume edited by a third person. The fact that my role consisted only of copy-editing the volume, that Cohen never complained to the publisher, and that she acknowledged having been solicited by the University to make this complaint were deemed irrelevant. Neither Cohen nor the Dalhousie University report on the matter accused me of plagiarism; the committee received no evidence (much less a preponderance) that I plagiarized her material. On the record, my denial that I did so stands uncontested.

The Message

I have published some two dozen books, 70 book chapters and scores of articles containing a combined total of approximately 12,000 footnotes. I doubt that any even marginally prolific scholar's publications could withstand the type of scrutiny to which mine has been subjected. The committee's assertion that the above-referenced allegations constitute – by a preponderance of the evidence – the sort of serious research misconduct which warrants revocation of tenure, termination, or long-term suspension undermines the most fundamental guarantees of academic freedom as well as the constitutional requirement that similarly situated persons receive equal treatment.

This is but the latest volley in a national, indeed international, campaign to discredit those who think critically and who bring alternative perspectives to their research. The May 9 report generated by the University of Colorado's investigative committee is designed to send a clear message to all scholars: Lay low. Do not challenge orthodoxy. If you do, expect to be targeted for elimination and understand that the University will not be constrained by its own rules – or the Constitution – in its attempts to silence you.

May 22, 2006

Television And The Witch Hunt

Filed under: media,repression,television — louisproyect @ 1:10 pm

(Swans – May 22, 2006) Last year's much-acclaimed Goodnight and Good Luck, now available in video, generated a wide-ranging discussion about the responsibility of the media in the face of government lies and repression. Even though the film dealt with the showdown between Joe McCarthy and Edward R. Murrow, it was fairly obvious that director, writer, and co-star George Clooney intended it to be a commentary on the failure of the media to challenge the Bush administration. This article seeks to place the events portrayed in Clooney's film in broader historical context and connect them to today's world, just as he intended.

Since the first place to start is a good biography of Murrow, it is hard to imagine anything more definitive than the 795-page Murrow: His Life and Times written by A. M. Sperber, who establishes the newsman's roots in native liberal traditions. Since the witch hunt was intended to stifle any kind of independent and critical thinking, Murrow's challenge to Joe McCarthy amounted to a radical act even though Murrow saw it as nothing but a stand for traditional liberal principles. A good companion piece is Fred Friendly's Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control. Friendly was Edward R. Murrow's producer at CBS and another beacon of liberal integrity. Finally, we will consider A Red in the House: the Unauthorized Memoir of Stephen E. Fleischman. In contrast to Murrow and Friendly, Fleischman was a member of the Communist Party when he went to work for CBS in the 1950s. A documentary on Jimmy Hoffa that he produced later on for ABC clearly demonstrates a kind of savvy that can only come from experience in the trenches of American radicalism. When Fleischman's generation was purged from the arena of American popular culture, the main victim — after the blacklistees themselves — was the American public, which was deprived of its keen insights.

Edward R. Murrow came of age politically when it was still possible to have an open mind about the USSR. In 1932 he became assistant director of the Institute of International Education (IIE), a student exchange program founded in 1919 by Nicholas Murray Butler, the president of Columbia University. He was hired by Stephen Duggan, the director of IIE who had advised the Soviet government on the administration of its workers colleges.

Duggan was a typical 1930s liberal crusader whose passions tended to overlap with those of the Communist Party. He was against fascism and the Japanese invasion of China. He opposed US foreign policy in the Caribbean and Latin America and especially the Platt Amendment, which provided a legal cover for US occupation of Cuba.

However, as was in the nature of this brand of liberalism, it also maintained a foothold in the establishment. Duggan sat on the Council of Foreign Relations and was sure to bring Murrow along with him to meetings. Sperber accurately sizes up Duggan, his young assistant, and their relationship to the inner circles of power as follows:

Where Duggan went, his assistant followed. At a time when many of his contemporaries were drawn to radicalism, young Murrow, at twenty-four, was catapulted into the school-tie world of old and exclusive club-rooms, venerable advisers, informal dinner meetings at the Century or the Town Hall clubs — the interlocking circles of academics, foundations, university trustees, Wall Street lawyers, and financial figures that would later be lumped together under the heading of the "Eastern Establishment."

Entering as "Edw. R. Murrow of the staff," he would become, in time, the youngest member by some thirty years to be elected to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Following Duggan's lead, Murrow also joined the American-Russian Institute, which had been founded by leading American intellectuals, including John Dewey. Its goal was to "promote international peace through the fostering of friendship between the USSR and the USA." It sponsored lectures at Town Hall, where Anna Louise Strong was among the featured speakers. Strong was a journalist who became famous for writing dozens of books defending the Soviet system, with titles like Soviets Conquer Wheat and Red Star in Samarkand. She died in China in 1970 at the age of 85.

full: http://www.swans.com/library/art12/lproy37.html

May 18, 2006

Bill Simpich and the antiwar movement

Filed under: antiwar — louisproyect @ 7:56 pm

Posted to www.marxmail.org on May 18, 2006

There's an article on today's Counterpunch by Bill Simpich titled "Lessons from the 1970 Student Strike: Building a Movement that will be Stronger After the US is Out of Iraq". It rehashes the old "single issue versus multi-issue" debate of the 1960s and 70s that many of us, including an SWP veteran like me, lived through. That debate still goes on in one fashion or another as last year's controversy over ANSWER's Palestinian right of return litmus test indicates. I have no idea who Simpich is, but he seems fairly knowledgeable about the debate that took place in the 1960s even though he is mostly wrong if not mischievous.

Attorney and antiwar expert Bill Simpich

Simpich views the May 9, 1970 Washington demonstration called by "the radicals and pacifists of what would become the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ), who believed in multi-issue organizing and the need to leaven mass mobilizations with civil disobedience" as a kind of acid test for the antiwar movement.

The PCPJ was a rival to the coalition led by the SWP. Simpich neglects to mention that the CP was instrumental in the formation of the PCPJ since it saw "multi-issue" campaigns as complementary to its own orientation to DP liberals, while the SWP fought to keep the antiwar movement independent of peace candidates. The CP had natural allies in some of the campus radicals who had hadn't made a clean break with bourgeois politics. As an "outside agitator", I took part in a debate at Harvard involving Jamie Galbraith who wanted the Student Mobilization Committee to endorse some liberal running against the war.

Simpich does indirectly refer to the tensions between the SWP and the CP, but in his eyes it appears to have more to do with government "dirty tricks" rather than politics:

A key "dirty tricks" tactic of the FBI involved "exploiting the hostility" between other sectors of the left and the SWP. Like the CPUSA, the Trotskyist SWP (aka "Trots") was plagued with infiltrators during this period – a working estimate is that every third member was actually a government informant. James Kirkpatrick Davis, Spying on America: The FBI's Domestic Counteintelligence Program. (New York; Praeger, 1992), P. 137.

As far as Davis is concerned, this one-third figure is utterly laughable. About 2 years ago I challenged Chip Berlet, who made a similarly wild claim on Doug Henwood's list to back it up. He could not. Most SWP'ers came out of the student movement at this time. The idea that an 18 year old antiwar activist recruited out of our milieu at the University of Illinois or Wisconsin would go on the FBI payroll to snoop on the SWP is just ridiculous.

Simpich takes Dave Dellinger's side in a fight that took place that day over civil disobedience. It is literally impossible to make sense out of his version of the events that day since they involve only the word of people who were bitterly opposed to the SWP and to single-issue mass actions. He quotes Nancy Zaroulis and Gerald Sullivan, the authors of "Who Spoke Out", as follows: "So the marshals (who had been trained by Bradford Lyttle and the Socialist Workers Party's Fred Halstead) labeled CD as violent."

This is a really crude distortion of the SWP's views. The SWP did not regard CD's as violent per se but it fought all efforts to foist such actions on a peaceful mass action like cherries on a sundae. My experience with people like Dave Dellinger is that they had a tough time generating momentum for an independent civil disobedience but were always looking for ways to include as part of a more mainstream and massive protest, just the way that anarchists do today. The simple fact that these folks refuse to understand is that the average worker or student prefers not to get smacked in the head with a billy club.

From his rather obscure references to the May 9th protests of 36 years ago, Simpich veers off into a condemnation of efforts by the Movement for a New Congress, the Moveon.org of its day, to push for electing peace candidates. What this has to do with opposition to Dellinger's views on May 9th, I am not sure since Dellinger never met a peace candidate he didn't like. Simpich does complain that "The Princeton Plan failed in changing the complexion of Congress, while the few authentic antiwar firebrands such as Democrat Al Lowenstein and Republican Charles Goodell were targeted by the Nixon Administration for defeat." I had to rub my eyes at this. Whatever Al Lowenstein was, "firebrand" hardly describes it.

During his days in Congress, Rumsfeld struck up a close friendship with Allard Lowenstein–another example of Rumsfeld's eagerness to embrace, up to a point, someone bright from an opposing camp. Rumsfeld and Lowenstein met in the mid-1960s when Rumsfeld was a congressman and Lowenstein was a left-leaning activist and a backer of Robert Kennedy. "He almost lived with us," recalls Joyce. They debated politics until late into the night, with Lowenstein sometimes sleeping on their sofa. They grew so close Lowenstein was with the Rumsfelds when their son, Nick, was born in 1967. The following year, Rumsfeld stood beside Lowenstein when he won his House seat from Long Island. Both wrestlers, they frequented the House gym. When Lowenstein ran for re-election in 1970, Rumsfeld–now at the OEO–publicly refuted charges by Lowenstein's Republican opponent that Lowenstein was a dangerous radical. But then Rumsfeld endorsed that very opponent. He knew that his boss, President Nixon, expected him to. "That's when you cease to be an independent operator," Rumsfeld explained. Lowenstein lost and–unlike others who felt betrayed by Rumsfeld–never forgave him. (Lowenstein was murdered in 1980 by a disturbed former disciple.)

Full: http://www.geocities.com/rummyfan/chicagomag.html

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