Turn Left and Go Over the Top
Stefan Kanfer writes: Pity the poor members of the Resistance. They decried violence on the right—only to have GOP congressman Steve Scalise shot by rifle-wielding left-winger James T. Hodgkinson. Then, a group of theater professinals decried any attempt to quash a staging of Julius Caesar with the title character, caparisoned as Donald Trump, assassinated with shouts of revenge and gouts of blood. But soon afterward, yet another assemblage of theater professionals decided that censorship was a good thing after all.
The Lincoln Center Festival is staging a four-night production this month of To the End of the Land, a dramatization of the acclaimed novel by Israeli author David Grossman. The play is underwritten by a cultural-outreach arm of the Israeli government. The Jewish State is anathema to the radical Left, and angry members of an organization identifying itself as “Adalah-NY, the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel,” are demanding that the production be taken off the boards before the Center dares to raise its curtain. Signatories to the demand include playwrights Tracy Letts, Lynn Nottage, and Annie Baker, as well as director Sam Gold, rock star Roger Waters, indie-film darling Greta Gerwig, and reliably anti-Israel playwright/actor Wallace Shawn.
Adalah-NY says that production of To the End of the Land will aid the Isralie government in its “Brand Israel” campaign, which aims to use arts and culture to beguile audiences into thinking that Israel is a modern, civilized nation—while the wicked Hebrews continue their “violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.”
Never mind that the play is actually an antiwar document, that its Israeli writer lost a son to battle and is understandably reluctant to fan any fires, and that, in fact, it has a sympathetic Palestinian character. Never mind that Israel is surrounded by would-be assassins who have sworn to destroy the Jewish state and all who live there. Never mind that a quick glance at the state of human rights or rule of law among any of Israel’s neighbors provides the sharpest possible foil, and that not a peep has been heard from Adalah-NY about the lives of the citizen-victims of Egypt, Gaza, Syria, or Lebanon. 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 »
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney won’t have to face reporters shortly after his office made a critical error.
For Breitbart.com, Charlie Spiering reports: The White House press office canceled the daily briefing with reporters Tuesday, dodging tough questions after the press office mistakenly revealed the identity of the top CIA official in Afghanistan.
The official was named in a list of participants of a meeting with President Obama during his brief trip to Afghanistan.
[According to the White House, Obama had a private lunch with foreign policy columnists Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, Jeffery Goldberg, Gerald Seib, Fareed Zakaria, Peter Bergen, Susan Glasser, and Peter Beinart.]
After journalists at the Washington Post questioned the White House decision, the press office scrambled to update the list of participants sent to the press pool. Read the rest of this entry »
Funny How Everything’s Gone Left
Says the Seattle Times’ Danny Westneat, who — captivated by some pretty gosh-darn amazing insights in Peter Beinart‘s Daily Beast essay, “The Rise of the New, New, Super-New-and-Much-Better-This-Time-We-Promise-Left“— suggests that while the Reagan-Clinton generation might look favorably on the pro-business centrism and robust entrepreneurialism of that era, the younger millennials are rejecting it.
Having been burned by financial collapse of the Bush era, and weak economic malaise of the Obama era, millennials distrust business, profits, and corporations.
Millennials, the former New Republic editor says, are increasingly comfortable supporting candidates who proudly campaign under the banner of socialism.
By “Everything’s Gone Left“, what Westneat means, is that already pretty far-Left-wing political micro-cultures in two places, New York, and Seattle, have Gone.. Left. Well, gone further left. (Sorry to have to translate, but it’s necessary to explain to outsiders: inside the media bubble, these two geographic locations are synonymous with “Everything”)
A fair question might be: are we so sure pro-socialist millennials in New York, and Seattle, are really leading… anyone…anywhere?
The generation right behind the millennials are already questioning the millennials’ suspicious embrace of the welfare state, the youth-punishing costs of Obamacare, and the lurid spectacle of pro-government excess. As a casual dip into Twitter or Tumblr, or Facebook‘s college-campus-generation’s anti-Left pushback will reveal, they’re not cool with it, and they’re outspoken about it.
As I wrote in in my introduction to Michelle Goldberg‘s essay, “2008 Crash Prompts Young Intellectuals to Revisit Marxism”:
“The same financial crash prompted young intellectuals to revisit Ayn Rand, too, judging from the surge in sales of Atlas Shrugged…is but one example of the resurgence in philosophical questioning and renewed examination of historic texts that inevitably follows economic disasters. I think this is natural…”
Westneat tells readers that Seattle, like New York, is right there on the leading edge of this Rise of New Leftism. The more activist, wage-control-advocating, socialism-embracing new-Left phenomenon is flourishing. Like a pretty flower.
To be fair, Westneat isn’t promoting the trend. He’s not without skepticism. He’s just reporting on it. And since he just donated a copy of Emily Gets Her Gun But Obama Wants to Take Yours, to the Seattle Public Library, in honor of the city’s recent policy change regarding the legal carry of firearms by law-abiding citizens in library facilities, I admire his civic priorities. I’ll give anything he writes a fair reading.
Also, I could be wrong, and Westneat is right, about this trend.
So, step aside New York. You’re not the only knuckle-dragging throwback to romanticism of Pol Pot, the radical hipness of the Sandinistas, and the historic grandeur of Marxist solutions. Seattle is now a “leading indicator”!
The election isn’t for 10 days, but we can already declare the big winner in Seattle.
It’s the socialist.
Out in left field? Seattle politics may seem that way, but it’s really the leading edge.
Alex Castellanos writes: Damn those extreme Republicans. President Obama and White House press secretary Jay Carney have found Republicans guilty of extortion and blackmail. Joe Biden, per a report in Politico, once christened Republicans as terrorists.
Liberals have led a media assault, calling the GOP anarchists, jihadists, “gun to head” hostage takers, and the political equivalent of the Taliban. White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer has likened Republicans to suicide bombers “with a bomb strapped to their chest.”
What could be more extreme?
The Democratic Party.
The Old ‘New Left’ Ponders: Hey, Like, Why Aren’t Those New, Millennial Liberals Protesting the Shutdown?Posted: October 1, 2013
MICHAEL KAZIN wonders: Is a new, young left really on the rise? A few weeks ago, Peter Beinart wrote a long online essay which argued strongly in the affirmative. It drew a lot of attention—20,000 “Likes” and almost 5,000 tweets, at last count. And it made a lot of the progressives who read it feel better about politics than at any time since Mitt Romney learned 47 percent was actually the percentage of his popular vote.
Beinart cobbled together an impressive set of poll results to show that Millennials (Americans under 30) swing left on a broad range of issues—from such obvious ones as same-sex marriage, immigration reform, and military intervention abroad to more surprising ones, like favoring labor unions and preferring a bigger welfare state to a smaller and cheaper version. They also embrace the message of Occupy and even prefer socialism to capitalism, although no pollster seems to have asked them to define those famously slippery terms.
Given their views, large numbers of Millennials should be protesting vigorously as the House GOP holds the state and the economy hostage to an agenda straight out of a Rush Limbaugh show. They should be surrounding the Capitol to defend Obamacare and blast the Republicans for denying food stamps to millions of poor people. They should be clogging the phone lines to Congress to announce a grand mobilization to overturn the GOP majority in 2014. It’s our government, they ought to declare. Boehner, Cantor, and their band of militants have no right to bankrupt or shut it down.
Alas, the only Americans who seem upset enough to organize, at least in large enough numbers for the media to notice, belong to the Tea Party—most of whose zealots are old enough to have voted for Ronald Reagan. Where’s that new left when we need it?
Like many pundits, Beinart assumes that decisive shifts in public opinion will result in changes in national policy. He predicts that whomever wins the Democratic nomination in 2016 will have to embrace “youthful, anti-corporate passion” if she or he hopes to win the White House. However, a movement and those politicians who support it need to mobilize the people who share those opinions or their opponents can win the day. A majority of Americans actually hold a positive view of labor unions. But that hasn’t stopped big employers like Wal-Mart and their GOP enablers from blocking attempts to organize workers and increase the minimum wage.
The inertia of progressives—young or old—isn’t hard to explain. Few are enthusiastic about the Affordable Care Act. Read the rest of this entry »