Sean Davis writes: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was against government shutdowns before she was for them. Last year, she railed against Republicans and said they wanted to shut down the government in order to prevent food inspections, allow lead into children’s toys manufactured in China, and deform babies through their mothers’ use of unsafe morning sickness pills.
Seriously, she said that:
You’d think that they believe that the government that functions best is a government that doesn’t function at all. So far, they haven’t ended government, but they have achieved the next best thing: shutting the government down. But behind all the slogans of the Tea Party and all the thinly veiled calls for anarchy in Washington, behind all that, there’s a reality.
The American people don’t want the extremist Republican’s bizarre vision of a future without government. They don’t support it. Why? Because the American people know that without government, we would no longer be a great nation with a bright future. The American people know that government matters.
The anarchy gang is quick to malign government, but when was the last time anyone called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children’s toys? Or for food inspectors…(read more)
My, my, my, how things have changed. Now Warren is suddenly a big fan of government shutdowns. She’s such a big fan that she’s trying to orchestrate one all by herself:
Weird. I was told last year that threatening to block a spending bill over one provision was tantamount to treason. I was told that hostage-taking during the budget negotiation process was downright un-American. Read the rest of this entry »
Joel B. Pollak reports: The implosion of The New Republic, pending its move to New York and re-establishment as a “digital media” company, has consumed much of the political commentariat in recent days. The change is deeply mourned by former editors and writers for the publication, many of whom resigned in protest. However, the shift mirrors that of other publications that shifted further left in recent years, only to stumble into commercial failure.
Former publisher Marty Peretz lamented in 2013 that the magazine he sold to Facebook guru Chris Hughes–a key social media operative in Barack Obama’s rise to power–had moved in a nakedly partisan direction, away from its traditional center-left liberalism: “The magazine wasn’t supposed to be a White House siphon….The magazine now seems to live in a space where those ‘little insurrections of the mind’ are unwelcome. It is akin to the atmosphere in many colleges and universities: There are prevailing orthodoxies but they aren’t recognized as such. Mr. Obama himself is the main one. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles C. W. Cooke reports:
This morning, pretty much the entire editorial staff of the New Republic resigned, in protest at the direction in which the magazine was being taken. Courtesy of Ryan Lizza, here the list of those who have left:
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) December 5, 2014
It would have been easier to say who is still there.
You know, I used to love TNR. Until about 2003-2004, it was a great read even if I didn’t agree. Then it went Full Metal Bushitler.
— Thomas H. Crown (@ThomasHCrown) December 5, 2014
In the immediate term, the exodus was sparked by the firing of editor, Franklin Foer, which, per the Daily Beast, was not done kindly:
According to informed sources, Hughes and Vidra didn’t bother to inform Foer that he was out of a job. Instead, the editor was placed in the humiliating position of having to phone Hughes to get confirmation after Gawker.com posted an item at 2:35 p.m. reporting the rumor that Bloomberg Media editor Gabriel Snyder, himself a onetime Gawker editor, had been hired as Foer’s replacement. Yes, it’s true, Hughes sheepishly admitted, notwithstanding that he and Vidra had given Foer repeated assurances that his job was safe. (Hughes and Vidra didn’t respond to voicemail messages seeking comment.)
Still, as has been made clear by a number of media-watchers, the rot is much, much deeper than that. Contrary the reports of some outlets, this does not seem to have been a battle between modernizers and traditionalists, but rather a fight to the death between those who wished to work for a storied magazine and those who wished to be led by a myopic bunch of clowns who are incapable of speaking in anything other than moronic platitudes….(read more)
Leon Wieseltier writes: One has to start somewhere, explained Curtis Marez, an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego, and a member of the National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA), which had just announced an academic boycott of Israel. He was responding to a reporter’s sensible query about the justice of singling out Israel for punishment when many countries in this heartless world have human rights records that are significantly worse, and his chillingly casual words are a measure of the moral and intellectual vapidity of what the ASA proudly described as “an ethical stance.” In a supporting document called “Answering Questions About the ASA Boycott from Department Chairs, Deans, Administrators,” the ASA instructs its members that its mission is to “make a positive contribution to human understanding” and “support diversity and equity” and “contribute to solving world problems” (there is no mention of scholarship, of course: these people long ago obliterated the distinction between academia and activism), but in truth only one “world problem,” only one problem of “human understanding,” exercises it, and it is the problem of the Palestinians. They and they alone are the universal touchstone of decency. A few hours away from Palestine six million people are refugees in their own country, where they are being bombed by their government, and starving in the snow, and fighting polio; but never mind them, they are not Israel’s victims, and it is the turpitude of the Jewish state, not the actually existing misery in the region and the world, that offends the ASA. Compared with Aleppo, Ramallah is San Diego. But one has to start somewhere.
It is true that one cannot care equally about everything, that an ethical action is always concrete and therefore selective. But the ethical quality of one’s action must be measured by one’s standard for selection; and if that standard is not first and foremost determined by an impartial assessment of suffering and need, so that one selects as the beneficiaries of one’s ethical energies not those who are most wretched but those whose wretchedness confirms one’s prior ideological and political preferences, then the halo is a fake. Reading the ASA materials on its decision, I am immediately struck by the decidedly extra-ethical origins of its boycott. In another helpful document called “ASA Academic Boycott Resolution Frequently Asked Questions”—if the resolution is so clear in its reasons and its virtues, why is the ASA producing these agitprop crib sheets for its members?—I read that “Israeli academic institutions are part of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of the Zionist settler-colonial project.” That is not anti-occupation, it is anti-Zionist; it is the foul diction of delegitimation, the old vocabulary of anti-Israel propaganda. (It also ignores the fact that Israeli universities are where criticism of the occupation flourishes.) In the “Council Statement on the Academic Boycott of Israel,” I read that “in the last several decades, the ASA has welcomed scholarship that critically analyzes the U.S. state, its role domestically and abroad”: so this is not just the usual anti-Zionism, it is also the usual anti-Americanism. Of course Pakistan is also an ally of the United States whose military we support, and the Pakistani army is complicit in savagery beyond anything that any Palestinian is enduring—but terrorism (and certainly Muslim terrorism) does not interest such progressives. They are not empirically minded in their ethical commitments. They answer to higher promptings. I also read, in the National Council’s statement, that “the ASA also has a history of critical engagement with the field of Native American and indigenous studies that has increasingly come to shape and influence the field.” What on earth has this to do with Israel and Palestine? The answer is, everything.