WHERE HE BELONGS
Re: Charley J. Levine’s A Visit With Jonathan Pollard:
I am an American, I am a Jew, and as far as I am concerned, Jonathan Pollard can rot in prison forever.
— Glen Hoffing
You ought to be ashamed for letting the traitor Jonathan Pollard vent his self-pity in your periodical. How many times does it all have to be said? The guy betrayed the people of the United States. Maybe the intelligence doesn’t matter today (though this can of course not be proven), maybe he meant well because he wanted to help our “friend” Israel. It doesn’t matter. He put loyalty to his religious peers in Israel before his loyalty to his American fellow citizens. He has no idea where the intelligence he passed on may have ended up, or what damage it may have caused.
Pollard, and the flack you brought in from Israel to do a sympathetic, “exclusive” puff-piece on him, need to wake up. There are no “friends” in the international community. There are allies who share common interests, and when those are gone, nations pursue their own way. Does anyone doubt that if Israel felt its interests were divergent from ours (as it has in fact manifestly felt on many occasions) that their “friendship” would stop them from turning against us? I don’t.
Let me give you an analogy. I am an American of Irish descent, with close ties remaining with the old country. Ireland is our friend. We have a lot of common interests. We both like democracy. I would be outraged if some Irish-American betrayed classified information to the Irish government because of that, and I would call for the imprisonment of such a person.
Let us not waste our sympathy. Pollard is a self-righteous, duplicitous hack who needs to spend his life behind bars, at the very least, as do any we catch in the act of betraying all of us.
— David T. Murphy
I had my doubts about reading Levine’s interview at all, doubts which were only reinforced by Pollard’s answer to the first question (the only acceptable answer: “I am responsible for my incarceration”).
This piece provided insights into Mr. Pollard’s mind, and I will work actively to ensure he remains behind bars. I have zero sympathy for him.
— Mark Stoffel
There was one thing notably lacking in the traitor’s discourse: remorse. Pollard has a firm grasp on many reasons why he should be set free, but no sense of why he was imprisoned in the first place, of the magnitude of his betrayal of his fellow citizens for his personal desires. A life sentence is barely adequate for such an act.
— Kevin C. Eaton
As a Naval Officer who was unlucky enough to work with Jay Pollard during his brief but destructive career let me point out one glaring error in your recent reporting. Mr. Pollard was a CIVILIAN analyst assigned to the old NFOIO and at no time to my knowledge held a commission in the United States Navy.
Aside from not mentioning Mr. Pollard’s well-documented profit and revenge motives in spying against this country, Mr. Levine’s interview offer nothing which should encourage readers to agitate for his release. If Jay Pollard has served more than the “typical” sentence for spying so what? Every Pollard should serve life at hard time.
If any reporter ever bothered to interview the worker bees who knew Pollard and suffered his arrogance, a much different picture would develop.
— CDR Jay Ambler, USN Retired
Jonathan Pollard was never a “U.S. Navy officer.”
— TJ Connelly
Why will the government provide all necessities for Muslim terrorists held at Guantanamo, including Halal food, and not provide Kosher food to Jonathan Pollard? Such a small kindness for someone imprisoned for life. It’s not as if Kosher food is exotic fare. Frozen kosher airline meals are readily available….
— Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
I seem to remember a big brouhaha over at our intelligence community when Clinton was considering commuting his sentence. Didn’t the head of the CIA threaten to resign? This whole interview shows his allegiance was to Israel and not the United States. I know Israel is an ally, but someone working in his job owed his allegiance to the United States.
— Annette Cwik
If it’s provable that Pollard’s dispatches did not kill anyone, could not have killed anyone AND he scrupulously made sure at the time of his sales that the info could not have killed anyone, then he is guilty only of selling things that belonged to his employer. Twenty years for that is a long time in this day and age.
— Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Jonathon Pollard should have asked himself whether he was an American or an Israeli. He apparently thought he was an Israeli but pretended to be an American. This is a dangerous position to put oneself in as an American Naval intelligence officer. You could get shot as a spy or maybe a life sentence. He did a great disservice to Jewish Americans by supporting the stereotype of divided loyalties. This is why Cap Weinberger encouraged the prosecutor to ask for the maximum sentence. I hope he enjoyed the money he was paid and as his wife has said that they have no regrets. He should rot in jail until Israel stops requesting his release and stops treating him like a hero. Criminals that are not repentant cannot generate much sympathy.
— Clifton Briner
I experienced more nausea reading this article than the biology professor listening to Harvard’s President wondering aloud about differing aptitudes between the sexes.
Should I now expect you to publish PR releases from FBI & CIA turncoats in the last 20 years arguing that they too must be forgiven? Since whatever they did and whatever it meant at the time, it has no “relevance today”? By that standard, keeping Christopher Boyce in prison from 1979 through 2003 was ludicrous too: the traffic he sold between the CIA and manufacturers of spy satellites was practically antique by the mid ’80s. Is CIA agent Howard, who turned up in Moscow in the 1980s, entitled to come home now claiming that with the collapse of the USSR “all is behind us”? Should I watch for the PR release urging that Kathleen Soliah (aka Sara Olson) be let out of prison in California too, since the crime of trying to bomb police cars in the ’70s really was so long ago as to make it irrelevant today.
It’s a pity Mr. Pollard didn’t worry more about the relations between the U.S. and Israel before he sold his country’s secrets. Israel is a friend: spies are criminals. Espionage against the U.S. is not a “slap on the wrist” crime.
— Tim Harris
Los Angeles, California
Jonathon Pollard, Israel’s greatest living hero, stole vast amounts of United States’ most important secrets of military hardware. They all went to our “ally” Israel. Pollard committed an act of the highest treason and should have been executed.
Why? Our ally Israel sold, bartered, donated these most valuable secrets to Communist Russia, and Communist China!
We now have to face those most dangerous totalitarian nations who are now armed with our most advanced weapons systems and technology.
— Jack di Pluma
Thanks for publishing this article. It is clear from reading it that no American patriot need lose an hour’s sleep over Pollard’s life sentence. It’s quite obvious that he was and still is a traitor, and his apparent paranoia is no kind of excuse.
The only question is how an individual this warped managed to obtain and retain a sensitive intelligence job.
— Richard Donley
New Lyme, Ohio
Mr. Pollard is a traitor to the U.S. He took money to betray his country.
It’s been suggested that the Israelis passed on Pollard’s material to the Soviet Union as barter for the Soviets to allow continued immigration of Jews to Israel. And because of his treachery, it’s alleged that a number of key CIA agents in the East Bloc were executed. Yet, his statements portray how it’s he who has been victimized and that what he did no longer matters.
I don’t know whether any of the allegations are true. But if, before he passed intelligence to Israel as a civilian U.S. Navy employee, he had become the Israeli he now says he’d like to be, perhaps he wouldn’t now be in Federal Corrections Institution Butner?
But, then, where would he be?
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge’s Hall of Shame:
Mark Gavreau Judge isn’t going to get his grandfather, Joe Judge, into the Hall of Fame any faster by bad mouthing Babe Ruth. Ruth unquestionably belongs in the Hall of Fame. Joe Judge doesn’t. He has very good stats for a first-baseman but they fall short of Hall of Fame stuff. The fact that there are many players with lesser talents than his in the Hall is evidence of the Gresham’s Law that has affected the Hall’s selection process.
The major problem with the selection process is letting the boobs who work as sportswriters select who gets in. Most of these clowns couldn’t pick their own twin brothers out of a room full of Chinamen! For too many of them the major requirement is that the candidate played in New York or another large city with a big media outlets. Here is an egregious example: Does anyone seriously believe that Bert Blyleven would not have been a first ballot choice if he had compiled his impressive pitching statistics while playing in New York City? He played most of his career in Minneapolis and he continues to be ignored in the balloting. The average newspaper sportswriter thinks Minneapolis is a minor league town.
Baseball should set up an Academy whose members are appointed for the sole purpose of selecting new Hall of Famers.
In closing I will solve the conundrum of whether Pete Rose should be admitted to the Hall of Fame. I say yes and I will give the specific date on which he should be admitted and that date is the day after Shoeless Joe Jackson is admitted!
— Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Mark Gauvreau Judge’s article on his grandfather, Joe Judge, and the Baseball Hall of Fame is simply special pleading, and not particularly persuasive special pleading at that.
Compare Mr. Judge’s career to the Hall of Fame first- basemen who were his rough contemporaries (Frank Chance shouldn’t be in, and isn’t included in this comparison):
Jim Bottomley (1922-1937) had a career of comparable length, most of which overlapped Judge’s career. Bottomley had a higher career average (.310 vs. .298), better slugging percentage (.500 vs. .420), out-homered Judge by a wide margin (219 to 71), and drove in 247 more runs. All of this despite having 427 fewer at-bats. The two men’s career fielding statistics are virtually identical. Bottomley led the league in several different categories over the course of his career, and was the NL MVP in 1928. Joe Judge led the league in games played, once. That’s it. I’m not convinced Bottomley belongs in either, but he was a MUCH better player than Judge.
George Kelly (1915-1932) had a much shorter career (1905 fewer at-bats), but had comparable batting average and slugging numbers while driving in MORE runs and hitting more than twice as many home runs as Judge. Again, Kelly’s career fielding stats are basically identical to Judge’s. Kelly led his league in home runs twice and RBI once.
George Sisler (1915-1930) had a career of comparable length, and his batting statistics are significantly superior: career BA .340, SLG .468, 141 more RBIs, 31 more home runs. Their defensive stats are basically identical. Sisler led the league in several important offensive categories, including two batting titles and four stolen-base titles.
That leaves Bill Terry (1923-1936) and Jimmie Foxx (1925-1945). I presume I don’t need to explain how absurd it is to compare Judge to these two players.
Of the ten most-similar players to Joe Judge, only one (Edd Roush) is in the Hall of Fame, and he probably shouldn’t be either.
I understand family sentiment, but the Hall of Fame doesn’t have room for everyone who was a very good player. It certainly can’t afford to start letting in everyone who was as good as the obvious mistakes that have been made over the years.
— Terrance Shuman
I can only assume you owed Mr. Judge a favor that you paid back by publishing his article. Otherwise, there is no viable explanation for taking up space with it.
While I am no great fan of the Baseball Hall of Fame, I do consider myself a pretty knowledgeable baseball fan and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of his grandfather. His statistics, during a time when hitting .300 was a pretty common occurrence, certainly do not support his selection, even if there may be others in there who maybe shouldn’t be either.
— John Conroy, P.E.
Reading Mark Gauvreau Judge’s article on his grandfather, Joe Judge, elicits these responses:
1) Rabbit Maranville was a shortstop, not a catcher.
2) The gap between being the “greatest Senators’ first baseman” and being Hall-of-Fame quality is immense. The Hall is not exactly full of first basemen with 71 lifetime home runs.
3) If Joe Judge retired in 1934, and wrote the article that supposedly kept him out of the Hall in 1959, how does Mark Judge explain the 25-year gap where his grandfather’s brilliance was somehow overlooked?
4) Having an inflated opinion of yourself is apparently a Judge family trait.
— Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey
Mark Gauvreau Judge replies:
2) Joe Judge played virtually all of his career in Washington’s Griffith Stadium, a notoriously huge park (called by one writer “a home run hitter’s worst nightmare”) with a giant wall in right field (he was left handed). When the Senators won the World Series in 1924, they hit exactly one home run at home — inside the park. Joe Judge was more famous for his fielding, which you seem to think is of no importance in baseball. Indeed, while his hitting stats are impressive, his fielding stats are incredible. Which leads us to:
3) He was ignored because, as I point out in the piece, baseball had become blinded with home run hitters and colorful characters, particularly if they were from a big market like New York. Forget Joe Judge — why isn’t Cecil Travis in the Hall?
4) I’m too cool to respond to that.
To Mr. Shuman, Check your stats. Joe Judge led or tied for the lead in fielding in the AL seven years.
HARRY’S WACKY SIDE
Re: Shawn Macomber’s The Honest Libertarian:
“Despite the eccentricities and sometime excesses…” But Shawn Macomber leaves it to the bloggers to provide some examples, to wit:
Browne’s presidential platform included the abolishment of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, you see, not having the Constitutional authority for creating a federal police force. So when the State Police in Maine notice some scruffy fellows going through airport security to board a flight to Boston Logan, where in hindsight we know they were going to hijack airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center towers, those State Police would need to check the rolodex for who to call at Logan, or Newark, or wherever, as the case may be.
And the presidential platform included the abolishment of all “offensive” military weapons. It wasn’t exactly clear where, say, an M1 Abrams would fall, the Third Reich having used its Panthers and Tigers offensively, but the United States using its Shermans defensively, maybe.
Browne’s presidential platform made it clear that a Libertarian America would not be limited to Amsterdam style pot bars on every street corner, but also some changes that would be a little dangerous.
— Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey
Despite the fact that I consider myself a 18th-19th century liberal, Shawn Macomber’s report (or eulogy) on Harry Browne covers the reasons I’ve never considered myself libertarian. Too often libertarians seem to have taken personal freedom to destructive extremes.
The more thoughtful libertarians I’ve read have, as an example of the kind of society they’re envisioning, the pre-Roman Celts. But that kind of society cannot scale above village size, it can survive only as long as all problems and threats are local. Confronted by the Romans, the Celts lost. They fought bravely and ferociously, but lacking the ability to mobilize above local scale until it was too late, they lost. Same basic story in North America, with various Indian tribes who had a similar social structure versus “the white man.” Vercingetorix and Crazy Horse were both exceptional and charismatic leaders, mobilizing their cultures on much larger scales than normal, but they were too late.
It’s also worth noting that, in the history of many nations, the “libertarian” phase was ended by an ambitious, native, conqueror unifying the nation by force of arms. E.g., Ancient China, ancient Egypt, et al.
— Larry Allan Davison
WRONG SEX FOR THE JOB
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Commando-in-Chief:
Women as a separate political group? That’s not new, given the pandering politicians have done for years with them to get votes. But it has now became a genuine wedge issue — regarding them as a separate group — and fits clearly into the deconstruction of our society.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
I for one would not vote for a woman so long as we are at war. This is the most powerful and last check for freedom in the world. I do not think most woman have the right emotional needs to handle this. As for any other country, I would be incline too if the right, conservative woman was available. You may call me a male chauvinist pig. That is all right. I just know that God made us different for a reason. And to mix and match strengths and weaknesses in not a good thing.
Jay D. Homnick replies:
Golda Meir led Israel in the 1973 War and their nuclear weaponry was developed on her watch. Similarly, the Indian nuclear program was mostly established on Indira Gandhi’s watch.
The idea that a woman seasoned in government would have more difficulty conducting a war than a man is more than passing strange. As I recall my Bible, Barak was afraid to lead the charge against the Canaanites without Deborah at his side. Joan of Arc, anyone?
NEAR OCCASIONS OF WITCHERY
Re: Brandon Crocker’s There’s No Nicer Witch Collection:
It may surprise you that the occult — especially witchcraft — is chock full of rampant sexuality, especially lesbian and homosexual. This catalog you describe is one of many ways these people lure young people into the occultic lifestyle. It may start out as witchcraft, then lead into what is called “white magic” which progresses to “black magic” and then into the outright worship of Satan. Some of these cults are responsible for horrendous murders, as well as other crimes such as church fires and such. You should not dismiss these things as a fad or something that is cute and girly. That is how they want you to see it — as harmless, which it certainly is not. Just take a look at the movie Eyes Wide Shut starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. There are several creepy occultic sexual scenes in this movie. Stay away from such things, as they are the essence of evil.
— G. Sorrentino
Re: Steve Latin’s letter (under “A New Ben Day”) in Reader Mail’s Life in the Slow Lane:
Oh hey, Steve, I agree we need more Presidents like Bill, just make sure you have LOTS of interns for him. Steve do you ever feel like a Salmon swimming upstream. It really must be hard to have that much hate built up inside, I will say a prayer for you.
— Elaine Kyle
All right! Enough with the joke letters, OK? Please gentlemen, tell me you made Mr. Latin up and that this is your joke of the week. On the off-chance that it is not your twisted brand of humor, someone should tell Mr. Latin to stop breaking the Prozacs in half. He obviously needs a double dose. That letter was the most terrifyingly whacko offering that I have ever seen. If he softened it somewhat, it could qualify as a rant. What is the matter with these liberals anyway? What has happened to that vaunted compassion of which they used to be so proud? Oh, well, I guess we’ll have to muddle along without it.
— Joseph Baum
CULTURAL ACTION PLAN
Re: William Smith’s letter (under “A New Ben Day”) in Reader Mail’s Life in the Slow Lane:
William Smith asked what us common folks can do to offset the damage done to this country by the misguided residents of Hollywood’s entertainment industry and the MSM. A simple answer is to speak with people. Not talk to them, but speak with them.
Most of us are bombarded constantly with the point of view of the liberal mainstream media. Not surprisingly, this same media gives an excessive amount of time to the views of certain actors and entertainers. Due to their name recognition, people tend to pay attention when they speak. The best way to debunk the ludicrous views expressed by entertainment personalities is simply to discuss these views with others.
Talk with your neighbors, friends and family members about the issues. Take a little time to research the issues and have facts available to present if necessary. Present more than your opinion. Most of us common folk are smart. If given a little information, we can figure things out for ourselves. So give us a little information and make sure that it is accurate. And do not press people to believe immediately, or become discouraged if they “don’t get it” right away. Give people a chance to think about things and digest information and you may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
There are only a hundred talking heads in Hollywood and the liberal media. We outnumber them by a significant margin and ultimately can sway many more people to our point of view based solely upon the truth. The truth is a commodity severely lacking in the MSM and the liberal community.
This is just one positive thing that Mr. Smith and the rest of us can do. Be creative.
— Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
BEN HELD OVER
Re: Ben Stein’s Missed Tributes:
Three cheers for Mr. Stein!
He said what a lot of us were thinking after that embarrassing Oscars self-love fest. I can’t believe I sat through a whole ten minutes of it before getting nauseous and changing the channel.
— Joyce Romano
Redondo Beach, California
Ben’s perspective on the Oscars and Hollywood in general was right on the money. Fortunately America is pushing Hollywood and its shameful artists right out the door. The drops in movie money generated and attendance will eventually, albeit slowly drive these un-Americans to the curb where they belong. The paying public will soon dictate if Hollywood and its elite will live or die. They seem to be living a nightmare and hopefully it gets much worse.
— Eric Wilford
Great Falls, Montana
As the daughter of a Vietnam vet, the wife of a retired enlisted navy man who served in Vietnam and Desert Storm, and a veteran of the united states navy myself, I thank you. How jaded the west coast has become on what brought about Western civilization. Sadly though, this will never change and they attain more and more say. As if being wealthy, able to act (lie), or sing made them intelligent. Go figure.
— Amy Lester DeFendini, former EN3, USN
Thanks. How we tend to get caught up in the hoopla of Hollywood. Not to acknowledge our troops is terrible and it brings to mind our Hollywood stars that were active in WWII and still remain my heroes, along with our troops today. I appreciate your reminding us foolish ones that sat through the whole event without a reality check.
— Sharin Smith
Please pass on my thanks to Mr. Stein — and may God bless him and his family.
If only those in H’wood could see their own folly. Keep up the good work! We need people like Ben Stein speaking out on behalf of those of us with so little influence.
— Jim Holland
Good stuff from Ben Stein.
Thank you, Mr. Stein, for telling it like it is, again. As a liberal arts professor at a major university I am in the only profession that is very nearly as vile, self-centered, and deluded as Hollywood. I thank you and yours at the Spectator for keeping my spirits up.
— Eric C. Graf
God bless you Mr. Stein for your honesty, bravery, and intelligence to paint the true picture of Hollywood and what it (and its supporters) stand for.
— Keith Boyer
Mr. Stein, as the child of a veteran of three wars and 31 years in the Navy and the friend to many who are serving in the military now in Iraq or have recently come home — let me just say — “oh please just stop.”
“The brave guy in Hollywood will be the one who says that this is a fabulously great country where we treat gays, blacks, and everyone else as equal. The courageous writer in Hollywood will be the one who says the oil companies do their best in a very hostile world to bring us energy cheaply and efficiently and with a minimum of corruption. The producer who really has guts will be the one who says that Wall Street, despite its flaws, has done the best job of democratizing wealth ever in the history of mankind.”
Courageous? I propose that you — who drinks and earns from the swamp that is Hollywood — are living in Dreamland. LOLOL
Yes the Oscars reek of pomposity and excess. Duh!
Lip service to our troops smacks as being just as superficial as silence. My 82-year-old father didn’t think we should go into Iraq. My military friends serve their country but I can tell you they didn’t want to be there either, but they honored their commitment. Mr. Stein, our troops don’t need Hollywood’s thanks. They need action, they need to know that those in power are working to get them out of harm’s way. They need to know that those in power are not able to sleep at night. They need to know that those in power are not just going about their business as usual.
Just leave our fluffy, pretty, pretentious, Hollywoodians alone. Most of them don’t own their dresses or jewelry anyway. And may I suggest that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. You may want another show one day — or to do a commercial.
— T. Anderson
I’ve been reading excerpts of Ben Stein’s writings in the Washington Times. Only Stein will say what others will not. There’s reasons why so many of us lifelong Democrats have abandoned the Democratic Party, and Stein has his finger on the reasons.
— Marc Cheves
Please forward my sincere thanks to Mr. Ben Stein for his article “Missed Tributes.” It’s something that has long been badly needed to have been said, and heard. He didn’t only say something that needed to be said, he said it well, truthfully, and eloquently. Thank you Mr. Editor, and please thank Mr. Stein for me as well.
— M. Eversman
Ben Stein hit the proverbial nail right on the head with his article. As a native Californian I am embarrassed by the Hollywood film community, their self-promotion to excess, and their actors touting their political viewpoints despite most not having a college bachelors degree much less a masters degree. In fact a good number have never even finished up a high school degree and graduated. In summary, movies are hurting, people aren’t frequenting movie theaters as often now, and the Oscar show failing to pay tribute to our brave, and greatly underpaid, military troops only further hurt Hollywood’s image! Ben Stein, congratulations on a well done piece, much needed, and done with courage and insight!!
— Gary Koehler
MAYBE NOT SO GREEN
Re: Judd Magilnick’s Bobos in Priuses:
How absolutely PERFECT to call a solution “green” that speeds the little roller skate Prius’s of the elite through the carpool lanes, while keeping the gas guzzling, smoke belching SUV’s and minivans idling in stop and go traffic. Pardon me while I vomit.
— Boris Berejan MD