ALL “NEWS” ALL THE TIME

Re: Sara Catania’s “Al-Jazeera
All the Time” [November 9–15]
. The report that the Israelis had maps to
nuclear facilities is sheer invention by Al-Jazeera, and the Israelis
have basically been cleared of everything except very common visa violations
(see www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/11/09/News/News.37845.html).
Note too that the Jerusalem Post story states that dozens of Israelis
have been in U.S. jails for the past two months, just like other detainees.
Meanwhile, Aztlan.org is notoriously biased in its reporting. See www.aztlan.org/castakip.htm
for a good example: The crudely Photoshopped-on yarmulke is a good commentary
on Aztlan’s incompetence, dishonesty and prejudices.

As for “What
They Want
” by Gendy Alimurung and Sara Clinehens [same issue], for many
years Israel has had to take out terrorists who have been murdering Israelis,
terrorists whom Arafat has encouraged and has been either unable or, more likely,
unwilling to stop. Israel needs no false justifications, since it has the very
valid reason of self-defense. Also, the claim that the Palestinian Authority
wants Israel to accept a Palestinian state is completely disingenuous. The Palestinians
could have had a state had they been even moderately reasonable; instead, they
demanded that Israel commit suicide by letting in millions of very hostile Arab
immigrants. The Israelis have accepted a Palestinian state; it’s the Palestinians
who haven’t accepted a Jewish one.

—Richard Sol
Los Angeles

 

 

Re: “What
They Want [November 9–15]
.” Yep. One might conclude that this is war declared
by the center against the full spectrum of radicalisms, including rightist ones.
Them militia peckerwoods are as nervous about the post-WTC paradigm shift as
them anarcho-Marxist doinkers.

—Walter Alter
Portland, Oregon

SOMEWHERE

Given the enormous scope of Los Angeles’ housing crisis, Harold Meyerson’s
article “A
Place for Us?” [November 16–22]
is stunningly shortsighted. In campaigning
to persuade the Los Angeles City Council to lay out $100 million annually for
low-cost housing, Mr. Meyerson cites the Southern California Association of
Governments’ conclusion that L.A. needs 60,000 new units per year to keep pace
with population growth. Furthermore, he posits that only 8,000 new units are
built each year, leaving an apparent shortage of 52,000 per annum. Mr. Meyerson
laments the crowding of “two or three families (or 10 single men) . . . into
apartments built for one family,” and that many victims of housing scarcity
are poor immigrants.

Let’s review some other significant math that affects the L.A. shelter crunch:
In recent years, a variety of private and public agencies have estimated that
between 800,000 and 1,000,000 illegal immigrants reside in Los Angeles County.
If America had a coherent immigration policy (or even a well-regulated guest-employment
program) instead of the existing free-for-all, the 60,000-unit shortfall would
diminish. Even using the Reggie White formula (in an address to the Wisconsin
State Legislature several years ago, the former Green Bay Packers standout said
that Hispanics excelled at sharing space, and marveled that they could fit 20
or 30 people into a single home), the return of illegal aliens to their countries
of origin would free up between 33,333 and 50,000 units. An overdue crackdown
on the widespread fraud artistry in the HUD Section 8 program would further
close the gap by clearing out scammers and giving deserving low-income renters
a fair chance at housing.

Meanwhile, businesses lure middle-class yokels from all points between and
beyond the shining seas with visions of year-round frolic in the Southern California
sun. In exchange, these suckered professionals work like dogs, sit stuck in
traffic and gasp as the region’s high cost of living savages their salaries.
Notwithstanding the difficulties that middle-class professionals (citizens and
legal immigrants alike) encounter in locating reasonably priced digs, the tightness
in the L.A. housing market is overall an immigrant-driven problem. Rather than
peeling off $100 million (which Mr. Meyerson seems to regard as a trifling sum)
from the civic wad, Angelenos should be pressing the federal government for
a more rational immigration model and demanding that the city fathers (and mothers)
immediately get busy at devising a long-term master housing strategy.

The housing crisis is a quality-of-life issue, and Angelenos must stop accepting
the local governments’ ramshackle approach to it. The solution is thoughtful
planning, not knee-jerk, palliative spending and piecemeal building.

—Scott Sawyer
Los Angeles

SCARED ALL OVER

In “Focus Pocus”
[New World Disorder, November 16–22]
, David L. Ulin writes, “My fellow Americans
scare the hell out of me.” As one of his fellow Americans, I’d like to state
that Mr. Ulin scares the hell out of me. The preamble to our Constitution
states that one of the primary purposes of our government is “to provide for
the common defense.” Our government failed miserably in that job on â September
11. While Mr. Ulin is complaining about the “morality of revenge,” the rest
of us see the war in Afghanistan as an attack on someone who has said his goal
is to destroy America, and to kill as many Americans as possible doing it.

The fact that Mr. Ulin cannot recognize that we’ve been attacked, and doesn’t
feel that the U.S. is worth defending, is amazingly, horribly scary. While he’s
busy cringing at his fellow citizenry for having the gall to call someone evil,
we’ll be watching his back. It’s certain that I can’t count on him to watch
mine.

—Richard Espy
Los Angeles

PUNKS PLUS

Ernest Hardy’s vicious, irresponsible condemnation of the film Punks
[New Film Reviews, November 16–22]
tells us more about Hardy’s personal
hang-ups and his narrow, dreary vision of how black gay life should be represented
than it does about the film he was supposed to discuss. While pretending to
be concerned about the racial and sexual politics of representation of the film,
Hardy completely misses the powerful statement the film makes by exploring the
lives of black gay characters who are politically conscious and aware, but who
are also complex and complete enough as human beings to think about issues like
love, friendship, work, art, commitment, community and destiny.

—Dionne Bennett
Culver City

SNUFF ’N’ STUFF

Re: the Topps Enduring Freedom trading cards featured in Judith Lewis’ “Back
Story” piece for Week 9 [November 16–22]
. You may be interested in the fact
that some of us citizens out here on the Web who carry slightly less enthusiastic
views than Topps on the current exercise of power — and the means by which it
is being sold to the public — have created an entirely non-commercial set of
print-’em-yourself trading cards as a political, counterpropagandistic response
to the current war fervor. American Crusade 2001 Trading Cards, currently 37
in number, are at https://www.infinitejest.org/1/cards.html. Please note
that each card depicting the weaponry of war — so lovingly fetishized by the
Topps cards — correspondingly includes an inset picture of a dead or injured
Afghan. That only seems honest.

—Ted McManus
Madison, Wisconsin

4 TO 40

Re: “A Letter From
Pakistan” [November 16–22]
. “Zahir Shah, now 87 years old, lives in exile
in Rome. He had reigned as king of Afghanistan from 1933 until July 1937 . .
.”

That should be July 1973, not July 1937.

—Daud Malik
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

WEASELS . . . GET IT?

Please be advised that this is T from the Weasels who was mentioned in Christine
Pelisek’s article regarding the Love Ride [“Biker
Life,” November 16–22
]. I informed Christine that the Weasels is not
a motorcycle club. Weasels is a social organization. Motorcycle clubs
take the “MC” on their colors seriously and for good reason, as a specific commitment
is made by club members to their club. It is not a commitment that is taken
lightly, and it is a commitment that Weasels do not make, which is why we do
not profess to be a motorcycle club, nor do we wear the “MC.”

—T
Valencia