Dusty Sklar

  • Review

    The American Jewish Army that Never Was

    June 4, 2018

    A new work chronicles the attempts by Zionist leaders to raise an American Jewish army to fight Hitler.

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Why We Can't Afford the Rich

    August 18, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: Why We Can't Afford the Rich, by Andrew Sayer. Policy Press at the University of Bristol (reissued by Policy Press, c/o University of Chicago Press), paperback edition, 2016, 448 pages. WHO ARE THE RICH, and why can't we afford them? It's a long story, according to Andrew Sayer, Professor of Social Theory and Political Economy at Lancaster University in the UK -- 444 pages long, to be exact. In his new book, Why We Can't Afford the Rich, he tells us that...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Holocaustic Tones

    July 28, 2016

    THE EXPLOITATION OF MUSIC IN NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS by Dusty Sklar MUSIC, SUFFERING AND DEATH are not usually linked in our contemplation. It is not widely remembered, for instance, that Nazi concentration camps often resounded with gorgeous sounds, counterpoint to the ghastly sounds of unimaginable grief... Theresienstadt is the exception. By now, we're well aware of the performances there.  Songs and compositions which originated at that camp have been heard in America for decades.  But al...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    The Jewish Jefferson

    July 10, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet, by Jeffrey Rosen. Yale University Press, 2016, 266 pages. YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, as part of its "Jewish Lives" series, has just published Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of his Supreme Court confirmation. It's not a full-blown biography, but largely an intellectual one. The author, Jeffrey Rosen, is president and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and a...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    The Nazi Ink Blots

    June 27, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: Anatomy of Malice: The Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals, by Joel E. Dimsdale. Yale University Press, 2016, 256 pages. AFTER WORLD WAR II, the Allies held an international war crimes trial in Nuremberg. In Anatomy of Malice: The Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals, psychiatry professor emeritus Joel E. Dimsdale reassesses the work of two men who had in-depth interviews with Nazi leaders on trial and arrived at utterly different conclusions. The interviewers ...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    The Ghetto, from Venice to Vilna to Harlem

    June 6, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea, by Mitchell Duneier. 2016, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 304 pages. AS MITCHELL DUNEIER, a sociology professor at Princeton,  points out in the preface to his inspired book, Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea, people associate the word “ghetto” with harmful and stigmatizing stereotypes of poverty, racial or religious confinement and exclusion, and general degradation — includi...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Kicked Out

    April 19, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond. Crown, 2016, 432 pages. AMERICA HAS BEEN transformed into a country of shrinking opportunity for all except the smallest proportion of fortunate ones. Despite the 14 million jobs and radical lowering of the unemployment rate in the past six years, decent wages are hard to come by for millions of Americans — including, disproportionately, many black Americans. It's a most propitious tim...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Big Money versus Democracy

    April 1, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar Reviewed in this essay: Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It, by Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman. 2016, Bloomsbury Press, 288 pages. MANY AMERICANS are finally beginning to realize that the game is rigged against them and that the government is often not on their side. Along come Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman to tell us that we've gotten it exactly right. By now, we are well aware of super-PACS and the damage they do. Although...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Mahatma Gandhi on Zionism and the Holocaust

    March 19, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar IT WAS my daughter-in-law, Nikki Pusin, who brought it to my attention, just as her father, Max Pusin, had brought it to hers years before — that the world-revered Gandhi had a puzzling relationship to the Holocaust. In 1947, interviewed by Louis Fischer, author of The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi said: "Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves in...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Sex for Seniors and Juniors

    February 28, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: Scary Old Sex, by Arlene Heyman. Bloomsbury Press, 2016, 240 pages. IN HER DEBUT collection of short stories, Scary Old Sex, Arlene Heyman, a 74-year-old writer, has created characters, old and young, who are not the teeniest bit scared of sex. A Manhattan psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Heyman writes fiction in which the world is large, compassionate, and tingling with erotic energy. She reveals startling observations about the sex lives of older peopl...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    American Eugenics and German Nazism

    February 20, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar [caption id="attachment_40801" align="alignright" width="300"] This emblem was part of an award certificate at the Second International Congress of Eugenics, held in 1921 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. (Image courtesy of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia.)[/caption] THE AMERICAN EUGENICS movement aimed at improving the human race through ethnic cleansing well before the Nazis did. The pseudo-science became popular here in the late 19th cent...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Doing Business with Hitler

    February 11, 2016

    Koch Was Not Alone in Aiding the Nazi War Machine by Dusty Sklar JANE MAYER'S RECENTLY PUBLISHED Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, is causing a stir. She reports that Fred C. Koch, the father of billionaire rightwing political activists Charles G. and David H. Koch, founded a company, Winkler-Koch Engineering, which built a large oil refinery in Hamburg for the Nazi regime. According to Mayer, the refinery was personally approved by Hitler ...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Gertrude Stein's Romance with Fascism

    January 20, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar MODERNIST INNOVATOR, TASTEMAKER and (by her own admission) artistic genius Gertrude Stein was beloved by many. She had a warm, charming persona that almost never failed to delight people. She delighted historian Bernard Fay (1893-1978), a fellow American intellectual with whom she had several things in common. Both were gay (Hemingway referred to him as Bernard Fairy). Both were expatriates living in Paris. And both were drawn to fascism, which, in Stein's case, especially given ...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Einstein and Freud on "Why War?"

    January 3, 2016

    by Dusty Sklar ALBERT EINSTEIN had two sons with his first wife, Mileva Maric. The youngest, Eduard, studied medicine at Zurich University and planned to become a psychiatrist. Sigmund Freud's picture graced his bedroom wall. Eduard often wrote discourses to his father on the helpfulness of Freud's theories in unraveling aspects of music and film. Father-son relationships were of particular interest to Eduard: In one letter, he wrote, "It's at times difficult to have such an important father, b...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Einstein for President

    December 21, 2015

    Albert Einstein and the Zionist Movement by Dusty Sklar ALBERT EINSTEIN'S relationship to Judaism, Jews, Zionism, and Israel was complicated. His parents were secular Jews, but they weren't thrilled to see their son influenced by Catholic dogma at Munich's Catholic elementary school, where he was the only Jewish child. They commissioned a distant relative to tutor him, and Albert became observant, but only until he was 12, when his interest in science kicked in. He refused to become a bar mit...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Henry George, Wealth Inequality, and Democracy

    August 30, 2015

    An Interview with Edward T. O'Donnell, author of Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality by Dusty Sklar The tax upon land values is, therefore, the most just and equal of all taxes. It falls only upon those who receive from society a peculiar and valuable benefit, and upon them in proportion to the benefit they receive. It is the taking by the community, for the use of the community, of that value which is the creation of the community. It is the application of the common property to common u...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    The Urge for Fame: Does It Fade?

    April 7, 2015

    by Dusty Sklar "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done     and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;     nothing was gained under the sun." —Ecclesiastes MY GOOD FRIEND, Ruth Lilian, still elegant, witty and beautiful at 86, cannot give up her desire to be famous. She searched for the perfect orgasm in her younger years, for high culture among the Europeans in her twenties, and is now happily married to her third husband. Ruth taught pai...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Henry George and Zionism

    October 26, 2014

    by Dusty Sklar THE AMERICAN SOCIAL PHILOSOPHER HENRY GEORGE published his second book, Progress and Poverty, in 1879, and became one of the most celebrated figures in the Western world. Not surprisingly, his ideas excited the early Zionists, who were just then beginning to come together to search for solutions to the Jewish Question. George set forth to answer a difficult riddle: why extreme poverty should exist alongside immense wealth, despite social and technological progress. His answer ap...

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