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Ed Driscoll

Radical Chic

Somebody Set Ayers Up the Bomb

October 14th, 2013 - 7:06 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“‘I don’t regret setting bombs,’ Bill Ayers said. ‘I feel we didn’t do enough:’”

”Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon,” he writes. But then comes a disclaimer: ”Even though I didn’t actually bomb the Pentagon — we bombed it, in the sense that Weathermen organized it and claimed it.” He goes on to provide details about the manufacture of the bomb and how a woman he calls Anna placed the bomb in a restroom. No one was killed or injured, though damage was extensive.

“No Regrets for a Love Of Explosives; In a Memoir of Sorts, a War Protester Talks of Life With the Weathermen,” the New York Times, September 11th, 2001.

Speaking from the well-heeled confines of the University of Chicago’s International House on Wednesday, Bill Ayers said he was “amazed” to see himself on TV “cast as some kind of public enemy” with close ties to Barack Obama during one of the 2008 election’s biggest controversies.

At the event meant to promote his new book Public EnemyConfessions of an American Dissident, Ayers slammed the “opportunistic media” and the “eager campaign staffs of the right, the middle, and even the moderate left” for resurrecting the Weather Underground, a radical far-left group Ayers co-founded which bombed government property and banks throughout the 1970s.

“Bernadine and I had hosted the initial fundraiser for Obama and uncharacteristically donated a little money to his campaign,” said Ayers, reading an excerpt. “We lived a few blocks apart and sat on a couple nonprofit boards together. So what? Who could have predicted it would blow up like this?”

“Bill Ayers: Didn’t think Obama connection ‘would blow up like this,’” the College Fix, today.

Weatherman hagiographer Robert Redford could not be reached for comment, but John Nolte of Big Journalism could, after Ayers was invited to appear on NBC today:

Monday, after MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” spent about two hours blasting the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and Ted Cruz as bubbled, dangerous, and stupid — in other words, a typical Monday on “Morning Joe” — the show hosted Bill Ayers, the unrepentant domestic terrorist. To no one’s surprise, hosts Mika Brzezinski and Time’s Mark Halperin treated the co-founder of the Weather Underground and friend of Barack Obama with extraordinary deference as he hawked a new book.

Pat Dollard is succinct: “After Accusing Tea Party Of Terrorist Bombing, MSNBC Invites Bill Ayers On To Plug His Book.” Or as Iowahawk tweets:

NBC has so many metaphorical bombs of their own these days, they don’t mind tossing a few at the GOP’s direction as well.

Update: Great catch by Ron Radosh in his PJM column, who watched Ayers on MSNBC so that the rest of us didn’t have to:

Joe Scarborough, on set for all the other segments, mysteriously disappeared after the break. Ayers was left to be questioned by the non-threatening (not to say Scarborough would have been hostile to Ayers, but as a self-described conservative, he would by nature have offended Ayers’ sensibilities) Mika Brzezinski, and journalist Mark Halperin.

“The only thing left is for MSNBC to offer Ayers his own program. Don’t think that is impossibility. And once again, why did you leave the set, Joe? Were you told to disappear, or was it a private statement of your disapproval of Ayers appearing on the program that bares your name? Your viewers are owed an explanation,” Ron adds.

Read the whole thing.™

More: Tim Graham of Newsbusters adds, “MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski has applauded calling Newt Gingrich a “political pyromaniac,” and suggested Sarah Palin was to blame for the Gabby Giffords shooting. So it was a bit shocking to see her fawning over Pentagon bomber Bill Ayers on Monday morning.”

Lenny and Felicia would entirely approve of her polite bourgeois-bohemian good manners when a radical chic guest stops by to chat.

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Considering that Dan Rather’s shameful acts during the 2004 presidential election gave PJ Media its original name, I shouldn’t be astonished, but even at this late date, it’s still pretty amazing to think that a man who once held himself out as a quote-unquote “objective” journalist would say of Fidel Castro that he’s “Cuba’s own Elvis.”

That’s just one of the many radical chic romances the MSM and Hollywood still have for Castro and his socialist prison island, as veteran author, columnist and PJM contributor Humberto Fontova tells me today, quoting from his latest book, The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. During our interview, Humberto will discuss:

● When Ernest Hemingway viewed Che Guevara’s execution squads personally.

● How did The Godfather Part II become the MSM’s go-to guide for pre-Castro Cuba?

● Which film did Robert Redford present to Fidel Castro and the widow of Che Guevara in a private showing?

● What is Cuba’s  “Military-Tourism Complex”?

● What is Fontova’s take on Diana Nyad, who recently successfully swam from Cuba to Florida?

And much more. Click here to listen:

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Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

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Perhaps I was Wrong About The Atlantic

October 10th, 2013 - 8:09 pm

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Yesterday, when I linked to the Photoshop from the Atlantic of Speaker Boehner being hauled off in handcuffs pictured above, I first tried to Google on the source of the photo. I had assumed it was a Photoshop of the Capitol or DC police, but didn’t have much luck. I also searched on “Checkerboard police caps,” with similarly poor results.

However, Prof. William A. Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection blog has tracked down the original photo:

As startling as the image may seem coming from a mainstream publication, consider that the source of the image was a photo of an Irish Republican Army terrorist, Colin Duffy, who was charged with the killing of British soldiers (he later was acquitted):

Notice the photo of Colin Duffy is the exact same photo The Atlantic used as the source for the photoshop.

I’m sure the author and editors at The Atlantic knew exactly what they were doing, even if most of the readers didn’t pick up on the Boehner being equated to a specific accused murderer.

Click over to see the Atlantic’s source photo.

Perhaps I’ve been judging the Atlantic wrong. While we know what Republican Congressman Peter King is reported to think about the Irish Republican Army, what does the left think about them? Perhaps a bit of context is in order. I know Leonard Bernstein had no problem inviting the Black Panthers over to his Park Ave. duplex for tea, canopies, and a little Spring Fascism Preview, to borrow from a classic early National Lampoon cover. Ted Kennedy was pretty cool with the Soviet Union. In 2002, Sen. Patty Murray said she dug Osama bin Laden for “building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities”. David Bonior and Jim McDermott, were big fans of Saddam Hussein. And Barack Obama certainly has his favorite Weatherman. So if the leftwing consensus on the IRA is along similar lines, and having been chastised by Mr. Obama’s attacks on free speech and journalism, perhaps the Atlantic’s Photoshop is meant to build sympathy for Speaker Boehner in his measured responses to what has been remarkably testy rhetoric from Mr. Obama, not to incite a citizens’ arrest or violence towards him, as the Atlantic previously implied in 2011 with its attacks on Gov. Palin.

Context is everything — and so is subtext. And I’m glad we got to the bottom of this one.

(I keed, I keed. Of course the Atlantic hates Speaker Boehner’s guts. I mean, for one thing, the guy is a Catholic, not a Scientologist, for Xenu’s sake.)

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Network’s theatrical release poster.

 

The recent corporate transfer of Alec Baldwin from permanent NBC Saturday Night Live guest host and star of the recently cancelled low-rated NBC series 30 Rock to his upcoming gig as a raving anchor at MSNBC sounds like something out of Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 film Network. Not the least of which because Baldwin’s in-house transfer was preceded by an outrageous homophobic slur, which old media — and not just NBC — worked very hard to bury. But then, there’s very little about television news that Network didn’t anticipate.

Because of the length of time needed for a movie to be both green-lighted, and then produced, few cinematic satires arrive at the apogee of their subject’s power. When Kubrick released Dr. Strangelove in 1964, the Air Force had begun to move away from nuclear-equipped B-52 bombers to a missile-based attack system. By the time Robert Altman had shot M*A*S*H in 1970, President Nixon was beginning to wind down American involvement in the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, films such as Red Dawn and 2010: The Year We Make Contact depicted America involved in future military conflicts with the Soviet Union, even as the latter was imploding. (Thank you, President Reagan.)

But when Network hit movie theaters in 1976, the original big three television networks were at the apex of their uncontested power; newspapers were losing readership, the World Wide Web was nearly 20 years off, and even CNN wouldn’t begin broadcasting until 1980. More importantly, talk radio, Fox News and the Blogosphere wouldn’t come into to play for another 15 to 25 years respectively. There was nothing to stop television’s untrammeled power, and seemingly no way for the individual to fight back.

“It’s Not Satire — It’s Sheer Reportage”

In his 2005 interview with Robert Osborne on Turner Classic Movies, Sidney Lumet, Network’s director, told Osborne that when he and Chayefsky were making their initial rounds on the interview circuit to promote the movie, “Paddy and I, whenever we’d be asked something about ‘this brilliant satire,’ we’d keep saying, ‘It’s not a satire — it’s sheer reportage!’ The only thing that hasn’t happened yet is nobody’s been shot on the air!”

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“Col. Bud Day, Vietnam War Hero, Dies at 88,” the New York Times tweets, linking to their obit of Col. Day:

Col. Bud Day, an Air Force fighter pilot who was shot down in the Vietnam War, imprisoned with John McCain in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” and defiantly endured more than five years of brutality without divulging sensitive information to his captors, earning him the Medal of Honor, died on Saturday in Shalimar, Fla. He was 88.

His death was announced by his wife, Doris.

Colonel Day was among America’s most highly decorated servicemen, having received nearly 70 medals and awards, more than 50 for combat exploits. In addition to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the highest combat award specifically for airmen.

In a post on Twitter on Sunday, Senator McCain called Colonel Day “my friend, my leader, my inspiration.”

Colonel Day’s life was defined by the defiance he showed in North Vietnamese prison camps, where besides Mr. McCain, the future senator and Republican presidential candidate, whose Navy fighter jet had been downed, his cellmates included James B. Stockdale, also a Navy pilot, who became Ross Perot’s running mate in his 1992 presidential campaign.

It’s a sensitively-worded obit, and at first glance, surprisingly free of leftwing bias. However, I’m not sure if the Times’ publisher, “Pinch” Sulzberger would approve of the wording of the Tweet linking to it, which described Col. Day as a “Vietnam War Hero.” As the Media Research Center noted in July of 1999, quoting from a profile of Suzlberger in the New Yorker

An alert MRC fan tipped us to the profile of New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. in the July 26 issue of The New Yorker magazine by authors Susan Tifft and Alex E. Jones, who are writing a book on the Sulzberger family.

Sulzberger, nicknamed “Pinch” (in comparison to his Times predecessor and father, Arthur “Punch” Sulzberger), traveled a familiar path for the children of the Eastern elite in the 1960s and 1970s:

“He had been something of a political activist in high school — he had been suspended briefly from Browning for trying to organize a shutdown of the school following the National Guard’s shooting of students at Kent State — and at Tufts he eagerly embraced the antiwar movement. His first arrest for civil disobedience took place outside the Raytheon Comapny, a defense and space contractor; there, dressed in an old Marine jacket of Punch’s, he joined other demonstrators who were blocking the entrance to the company’s gates. He was soon arrested again, in an antiwar sit-in at the J.F.K. Federal Building in Boston.

“Punch had shown little reaction after the first arrest, but when he got word of the second one he flew to Boston. Over dinner, he asked his son why he was involved with the protests and what kind of behavior the family might expect of him in the future. Arthur assured his father he was not planning on a career of getting himself arrested. After dinner, as the two men walked in the Boston Common, Punch asked what his son later characterized as ‘the dumbest question I’ve ever heard in my life’: ‘If a young American soldier comes upon a young North Vietnamese soldier, which one do you want to see get shot?’ Arthur answered, ‘I would want to see the American get shot. It’s the other guy’s country; we shouldn’t be there.’ To the elder Sulzberger, this bordered on traitor’s talk. ‘How can you say that?’ he yelled. Years later, Arthur said of the incident, ‘It’s the closest he’s ever come to hitting me.’”

Did Sulzberger ever recant from his youthful radical chic views of the Vietnam War? Judging by his paper’s encomium for former Weatherman turned future Obama crony Bill Ayers, published, in what would later turn out to be a horrific moment of synchronicity, on September 11th, 2001, I would doubt it.

(Via Twitchy.)

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Oh that Jahar Tsarnaev, isn’t he totally cool and dreamy? Not content with lionizing Robert Redford for his recent cinematic encomium supporting Bill Ayers’ efforts in bombing the Pentagon and other targets, Rolling Stone magazine — whose readership increasingly overlaps with AARP magazine, finally discovers a youthful terrorist with vintage Springsteen-style facial topiary to celebrate.

Greg Gutfeld of Fox’s Red Eye sums up Rolling Stone’s morally repugnant cover “in 50 Seconds:”

So I just read the Rolling Stone piece with the shitbag on the cover. It’s long, but i can summarize it for you:

“Wow, here’s a really good looking cool kid who loves to smoke weed (a lot — isn’t that cool and funny!) and seems super cool and all his friends just think he’s the “bomb.” He has such great hair!!!!

Oh — sorry – and then the cute guy does something really really bad, and it’s like totally weird because he was such a cool dude –and he was smart and stuff, and a great fighter and girls liked him! He seems really cute to me, anyway!!!    :)

and when someone cool does something REALLY BAD WE THINK then we are really sad. :(

Or as Jim Treacher writes, “Apparently you can do whatever you want, kill anybody you want, as long as Jann Wenner thinks you’re cute:”

As per the hottest magazine of 1974:

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, contributing editor Janet Reitman delivers a deeply reported account of the life and times of Boston bomber Jahar Tsarnaev. Reitman spent the last two months interviewing dozens of sources – childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents, many of whom spoke for the first time about the case – to deliver a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster.

Islam? Was it Islam? I’m just speculating here.

Incidentally, the liberal mayor of Boston, a city still recovering from the Tsarnaev’s youthful indiscretions, is not amused by Rolling Stone’s cover. Neither is Kmart, Rite-Aid, Walgreens and CVS. (Presumably, most Rolling Stone readers like to pick up a copy of the magazine in the checkout line while buying their weekly bottle of Geritol.)

On the other hand, the Washington Post is pretty cool with the cover. Which isn’t all that surprising; in a 1995 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army credited America’s “liberal” media for helping America lose the war:

What did the North Vietnamese leadership think of the American antiwar movement? What was the purpose of the Tet Offensive? How could the U.S. have been more successful in fighting the Vietnam War? Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam’s army, received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. He later became editor of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of Vietnam. He now lives in Paris, where he immigrated after becoming disillusioned with the fruits of Vietnamese communism.

Question: How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?

Answer: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, “We don’t need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out.”

Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi’s victory?

A: It was essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.

Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits? A: Keenly. Q: Why? A: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.

But at least in the late ’60s and early ’70s, there usually wasn’t quite such an obviously direct line between Rolling Stone’s cover stars and terrorism.

Radical Chic: The Geritol Years

May 30th, 2013 - 8:02 pm
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Someone set up us the bomb.

For a salon full of self-described “Progressives,” time sure does stand still at the New York Review of Books:

The New York Review never lost its taste for upper-class English dons, but in the mid Sixties the dons were joined by a more demotic element. Suddenly, political firebrands like Jerry Rubin, Stokely Carmichael, Andrew Kopkind, and Tom Hayden began appearing (Rubin, Carmichael, and Hayden once each, Kopkind with ten pieces). The nadir came with the notorious issue of August 24, 1967. Headlined “Violence and the Negro,” the cover announced in outsize type Kopkind’s piece on Martin Luther King and Black Power and Hayden’s report on the riots—what he called “The Occupation”—of Newark. Underneath was a large diagram instructing readers on the exact composition of a Molotov cocktail.

—  “A nostalgia for Molotovs: ‘The New York Review,’” Roger Kimball, the New Criterion, April, 1998.

The latest edition of the New York Review of Books includes a 4,076-word piece sympathetic to the Boston jihadists who built bombs designed to rip through flesh and bone. In “The Bombers’ World,” Christian Caryl sets out to normalize the unthinkable and justify the savagery that claimed three lives and left many with missing limbs.

The article is an example of the pathology of the left’s obsession with justifying violence directed toward America or any other country that shares our values and the lengths to which they will go to exonerate Islam and deflect attention from the real root cause.

— “New York Review of Books Sympathizes with Jihadists,” Pamela Geller, Big Journalism, today.

Bill Ayers swears up and down that his Vietnam War-era terrorism was totally different from Islamic terrorism today — and yet it’s remarkable those who looked the other way (or were actively fundraising) when the Weathermen and Black Panthers were at their peak are more than willing to be sympathetic towards today’s terrorists. It’s almost as if the sclerotic reactionary left isn’t anti-war, just on the other side, to coin a phrase.

The Return of the Primitive

May 23rd, 2013 - 2:44 pm

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In his introduction to The Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, the 1999 update of Ayn Rand’s early 1970s anthology originally titled The New Left, Peter Schwartz, the editor of the new edition, wrote:

Primitive, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means: “Of or belonging to the first age, period or stage; pertaining to early times …” With respect to human development, primitivism is a pre-rational stage. It is a stage in which man lives in fearful awe of a universe he cannot understand. The primitive man does not grasp the law of causality. He does not comprehend the fact that the world is governed by natural laws and that nature can be ruled by any man who discovers those laws. To a primitive, there is only a mysterious supernatural. Sunshine, darkness, rainfall, drought, the clap of thunder, the hooting of a spotted owl— all are inexplicable, portentous, and sacrosanct to him. To this non-conceptual mentality, man is metaphysically subordinate to nature, which is never to be commanded, only meekly obeyed.

This is the state of mind to which the environmentalists want us to revert.

If primitive man regards the world as unknowable, how does he decide what to believe and how to act? Since such knowledge is not innate, where does primitive man turn for guidance? To his tribe. It is membership in a collective that infuses such a person with his sole sense of identity. The tribe’s edicts thus become his unquestioned absolutes, and the tribe’s welfare becomes his fundamental value.

This is the state of mind to which the multiculturalists want us to revert. They hold that the basic unit of existence is the tribe, which they define by the crudest, most primitive, most anti-conceptual criteria (such as skin color). They consequently reject the view that the achievements of Western— i.e., individualistic— civilization represent a way of life superior to that of savage tribalism.

Both environmentalism and multiculturalism wish to destroy the values of a rational, industrial age. Both are scions of the New Left, zealously carrying on its campaign of sacrificing progress to primitivism.

In addition to the shocking Islamic terrorist attack yesterday in London, a troika of pop culture-related stories making the rounds today reminds us that reprimitivization is well on its way.

First up,  “Movement to Normalize Pedophilia Finds Its Poster Girl,” Stacy McCain writes in the American Spectator:

In January, Rush Limbaugh warned that there was “an effort under way to normalize pedophilia,” and was ridiculed by liberals (including CNN’s Soledad O’Brien) for saying so. But now liberals have joined a crusade that, if successful, would effectively legalize sex with 14-year-olds in Florida.

The case involves Kaitlyn Ashley Hunt, an 18-year-old in Sebastian, Florida, who was arrested in February after admitting that she had a lesbian affair with a 14-year high-school freshman. (Click here to read the affidavit in Hunt’s arrest.) It is a felony in Florida to have sex with 14-year-olds. Hunt was expelled from Sebastian High School — where she and the younger girl had sex in a restroom stall — and charged with two counts of “felony lewd and lascivious battery on a child.” The charges could put Hunt in prison for up to 15 years. Prosecutors have offered Hunt a plea bargain that would spare her jail time, but her supporters have organized an online crusade to have her let off scot-free — in effect, nullifying Florida’s law, which sets the age of consent at 16.

Using the slogan “Stop the Hate, Free Kate” (the Twitter hashtag is #FreeKate) this social-media campaign has attracted the support of liberals including Chris Hayes of MSNBC, Daily Kos, Think Progress and the gay-rights group Equality Florida. Undoubtedly, part of the appeal of the case is that Hunt is a petite attractive green-eyed blonde. One critic wondered on Twitter how long activists have “been waiting for a properly photogenic poster child of the correct gender to come along?”

Portraying Hunt as the victim of prejudice, her supporters claim she was only prosecuted because she is homosexual and because the parents of the unnamed 14-year-old are “bigoted religious zealots,” as Hunt’s mother said in a poorly written Facebook post. The apparent public-relations strategy was described by Matthew Philbin of Newsbusters: “If you can play the gay card, you immediately trigger knee-jerk support from the liberal media and homosexual activists anxious to topple any and all rules regarding sex.”

Meanwhile, giant cable television conglomerate Viacom must be especially proud of MTV today, as we’ll discuss right after the page break.

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Totally, you guys:

Left-wing radical Bill Ayers, a longtime friend of President Barack Obama, recently defended the series of bombings that he carried out as a member of the Weather Underground, saying that his bombings were not like the Boston Marathon attack and that America is the most violent country that has ever been created.

Ayers — who participated in a series of anti-Vietnam War bombings in the early 1970s including an attack on New York City police department headquarters and the Pentagon — answered an Akron Beacon Journal reporter’s questions after giving a keynote speech at an event commemorating the anniversary of the 1970 Kent State National Guard shootings.

Ayers said that there is no equivalence between his bombings and the deadly bombings that rocked the Boston Marathon.

“What I did was some destruction of property to issue a scream and cry against an illegal war in which 6,000 people a week are being killed,” Ayers said.

Ayers reportedly said that the United States is the most violent country that has ever been created, and said that Republican Senator and Vietnam War hero John McCain committed daily war crimes.

“Six thousand a week being killed and I destroyed some property. Show me the equivalence. You should ask John McCain that question … I’m against violence,” Ayers said.

Well, the Weathermen certainly had a funny way of expressing their pacifism back then.  These days, we tend to remember the Weathermen solely for the Pentagon incident (particularly after the New York Times’ fawning profile of Ayers that ran, with horrible synchronicity, on September 11th, 2001), and the botched Fort Dix bomb, but according to Jonah Goldberg in Liberal Fascism, they were remarkably active in the late ’60s and early ’70s:

Many of us forget that the Weather Underground bombing campaign was not a matter of a few isolated incidents. From September 1969 to May 1970, Rudd and his co-revolutionaries on the white radical left committed about 250 attacks, or almost one terrorist bombing a day (government estimates put that number much higher). During the summer of 1970, there were twenty bombings a week in California. The bombings were the backbeat to the symphony of violence, much of it rhetorical, that set the score for the New Left in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Rudd captured the tone perfectly: “It’s a wonderful feeling to hit a pig. It must be a really wonderful feeling to kill a pig or blow up a building.” [Mark Rudd is now is now "a math teacher at a community college in Albuquerque, New Mexico," Jonah adds elsewhere -- Ed] “The real division is not between people who support bombings and people who don’t,” explained a secret member of a “bombing collective,” but “between people who will do them and people who are too hung up on their own privileges and security to take those risks.”

Wikipedia has a page titled “List of Weatherman Actions.” It’s certainly extensive; it may even be accurate.

At Hot Air today, Allahpundit adds, “Good news from Bill Ayers: My terrorism was nothing like the terrorism in Boston:”

The Tsarnaevs wanted to kill people, whereas the Weather Underground mostly wanted to blow up property except for that time they built nail bombs to kill soldiers at a dance at Fort Dix but ended up blowing themselves up instead. Oh, and the time they probably killed a cop in San Francisco and wounded nine others. There’s the big distinction.

Two mild surprises here. One: Ayers doesn’t attempt to defend the Tsarnaevs’ motive, even though it was anti-war of a sort. This is a prime opportunity to lecture about “blowback” by the oppressed people of the Muslim world who object to U.S. imperialism, etc etc etc, even while condemning the tactics, but he doesn’t take it. Maybe the politics of defending the Tsarnaevs, however mildly, are too toxic even for him. Two: Almost 50 years later, he’s still looking for ways to defend the Weathermen’s tactics even though he loses more than he gains by it. You would think he’d regret setting bombs, even “just” to destroy property, if only because it made it easier for hawks at the time to discredit the wider left as radicals and terrorists. Nope.

Regarding those who would lionize such tactics, Jason Mattera asks the questions the MSM refused to when they gave Robert Redford’s new film an extensive tongue bath:

In his review of Redford’s pro-Weathermen movie (which he grades as a “B” — insert your own jokes here), Burlington (NJ) County Times film critic Lou Gaul writes:

Redford, who earned an Oscar as best director for “Ordinary People” (1980), obviously wanted to tell this cautionary story, and his limited production budget of $2 million caused the film to look more like a cable movie than a major motion picture.

Thanks to his filmmaking status, Redford was able to attract top talents willing to work for much less than their usual salaries to be part of the ensemble. They include Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Chris Cooper, Brit Marling, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Christie and Nick Nolte.

A throwback film, “The Company You Keep” provides a welcome twist at the end and enough political ideas to generate post-screening discussions.

Funny though, as Ed Morrissey writes, linking to Mattera’s new video, “Hey, didn’t Redford make The Company You Keep to start a ‘conversation’? Looks like Redford isn’t interested in conversing these days.” Well, it depends on who he’s conversing with. Compare the inconvenient truths Mattera asks with this “interview:”

Though to be fair, fellow leftist George Stephanopoulos was at least able to get this moment on record:

Reminiscing on his own past, the liberal Hollywood star recounted, “When I was younger, I was very much aware of the movement. I was more than sympathetic, I was probably empathetic because I believed it was time for a change.”

After Stephanopoulos wondered, “Even when you read about bombings,” Redford responded, “All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree.

If the budget of The Company You Keep was indeed two million dollars, as Gaul wrote in his review, then it’s turned a profit at the box office; though a very small one. I don’t think Redford’s going to keep up the payments on his environmentally correct estate on its royalties, however:

Oh, and speaking of “the company you keep,” at the end of a lengthy round-up of Ayers’ recent appearance in the news, Jim Geraghty adds the Obama connection:

Ayers recently elaborated on his relationship with Barack Obama and his political allies earlier in life:

David Axelrod said we were friendly, that was true; we served on a couple of boards together, that was true; he held a fundraiser in our living room, that was true; Michelle [Obama] and Bernardine were at the law firm together, that was true. Hyde Park in Chicago is a tiny neighborhood, so when he said I was “a guy around the neighborhood,” that was true.

As Ben Smith summarized:

Ayers and Dohrn, who have been semi-officially rehabilitated in Chicago but still inspire a wide range of feelings, played a modest but real part in launching Obama’s political career.

Fancy that: Even Obama flack Ben Smith can airbrush Ayers’ Obama connection away through sufficient Bensmithing.

Finally, some food for thought as an exit quote:

Great minds, indeed.

The Inevitable Rise of the Tsarnaev Truthers

April 23rd, 2013 - 12:06 pm

On September 11th, 2001, I remember watching the horrors on TV with my wife and leaning over to say, “You know it’s only a matter of time before the conspiracy theories begin and somebody starts blaming this on the government.” When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon last Monday, the speed of social media meant that the conspiracies began near instantaneously. (“It’s a government false flag operation, maaaan!”)  Which naturally flows into this post from Neo-Neocon on “The Inevitable Rise of the Tsarnaev Truthers:”

It was a foregone conclusion that almost as soon as the bombing occurred and evidence began to churn out—and especially after the photos of the young and somewhat telegenic Dzhohkar were flashed around—a certain segment of people would begin (along with the Tsarnaev brothers’ parents, who at least have the excuse of being their parents) proclaiming the brothers’ innocence.

Sure! The Tsarnaevs were framed. Patsies! And all those people in the crowd with all those photos were part of the plot. As for the cop killing and the final shootout and all that—well, after all, wouldn’t anybody act that way?

Like the Soviet ambassador in Dr. Strangelove, their source was the New York Times. In more ways than one.

And note this:

I predict that there will soon be a market for T-shirts with Dzhohkar’s picture on them a la Che, if it’s not already happening.

Oh. I see that it’s already happening.

Will they buy the whole collection?

Bad timing for a headline at the Internet Movie Database this past Saturday:

How he kept his radical edge

Robert Redford plays an ageing anti-war activist in his latest movie, The Company You Keep – just one more incarnation in an ever-changing image

Robert Redford’s new film sees the Hollywood liberal play a craggy radical, hiding away from a criminally subversive past under an assumed name. Once the FBI rumbles him, the agents on his trail spend some time comparing the image of his lined face to that of his much younger, 1970s, moustachioed self.

Cinema audiences across the world have travelled down that same long, ageing trail with Redford too, watching as his luminous youth in the role of Bubber in the 1966 film The Chase was gradually replaced, first by the poised cynicism of The Candidate and then by the stately leading man in Out of Africa or the worn-out sleaze of his Indecent Proposal to Demi Moore. Yet, as a man, Redford’s radical zeal remains undimmed.

See full article at The Guardian – Film News »

Shouldn’t Hollywood leftists be toning down the “radical zeal”? Especially in light of this item from Larry O’Connor at Big Journalism: “Scarborough Only Blames ‘Radicalism’ For Boston Terror, Not Radical Islamism”:

In an effort to cut against the excrutiatingly politically correct mindset on his home at MSNBC, Joe Scarborough mocked left-wing analysts who spent the weekend looking inward at America for possible motives behind the Boston marathon terror attacks.

Citing a column by Kevin Cullen, Scarborough said:

“Before you engage in the whole why do they hate us clap-trap, let’s just talk about the fact that these guys were evil. They were beasts. And guess what? It wasn’t our fault that they put a bomb at the feet of an eight-year-old boy.”

So far so good. But then, Scarborough can’t shed the PC shackles enough to take the extra, logical step of pointing to the leading cause of terror attacks in the world today. He uses the watered down “radicalism” as a catch-all to encompass all radical ideas under one umbrella, as if “radicalism” is the biggest threat in our society. He just can’t bring himself to point out the significant fact that the terrorists were hugely influenced by radical Islamism.  ”Don’t blame society for that. Blame radicalism, blame evil, blame them (the Tsaraev brothers.)”

But it’s not like Redford would support terrorist bombings, would he?

Scott Whitlock of Newsbusters summarized Redford’s appearance with fellow Democrat George Stephanopoulos on April 2nd:

George Stephanopoulos was so enthusiastic towards Robert Redford and his sympathetic new film about an ex-1960s radical that the actor enthused, “You ought to get on the marketing team!” The aging actor/director appeared on Tuesday’s Good Morning America and endorsed the violent actions of protest groups. Reminiscing on his own past, the liberal Hollywood star recounted, “When I was younger, I was very much aware of the movement. I was more than sympathetic, I was probably empathetic because I believed it was time for a change.”

After Stephanopoulos wondered, “Even when you read about bombings,” Redford responded, “All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree.

As I mentioned last week, it’s pretty rare for someone to drop the mask and admit that he’s cool with terrorist bombings; at Front Page, Bosch Fawstin explores “Robert Redford’s Terrorist Heroes”:

“ALL OF IT,” said Robert Redford, when asked if he supported the bombings by The Weather Underground.

Redford came out for terrorism on a mainstream morning television show in an interview with democrat-operative-leftist-hack George Stephanopoulos, who was slobbering over Redford’s pro-terrorist movie, The Company You Keep. I drew my illustration of Redford, below, days ago, and I wonder if he’s for the terrorist attack in Boston today. Or maybe he wants to wait and see if it’s leftist terrorists before he decides he’s all for it. Below is a list of what Robert Redford was for, via Sean Hannity on FOX News.

The Weather Underground’s history of terrorism consisted of:

1970: SFPD Bombing (1 Killed)

1970: NYPD Bombing (7 Hurt)

1970: NYC Explosion (3 Killed)

1971-72: Capital & Pentagon Attacked

1981: Armed Robbery (3 Killed)

(As John Boot at PJ Media notes: The Vietnam War, of course, had been over for years, [by 1981] which gives the lie to the film’s claim that the Southeast Asia conflict was anything but a pretext for the terrorist network.)

In their effort to give the aging Redford the full radical chic treatment, the Guardian profile the IMDB links can’t be bothered to notice the cognitive dissonance between lines such as this: “Redford is aligned with the anti-gun lobby in Hollywood, questioning the level of violence in entertainment,” and Redford’s pro-terrorism statements, such as this, only a couple of short paragraphs later in the same article:

The Company You Keep, based on the novel by Neil Gordon, has so far won two awards from the Venice Film Festival and is a hard look back at the radical era that made Redford. As a young actor in the late 1960s, he followed the leftwing organisation Weather Underground, founded on the University of Michigan campus with the express aim of overthrowing the American government.

“I supported their cause because I also thought the Vietnam war, just like the Iraq war, was built and sold on a faulty premise,” Redford has said. He saw the risks members took and watched the movement destroy itself. “I thought, ‘Gee, there’s quite a story in this. I don’t think it’s a story I want to tell right now’, he has recalled.

Journalists who interview Hollywood celebrities rarely ask tough questions, for fear of being tossed off the gravy train of easy access to stars. Will any reporters have the guts to ask Redford his take on the Boston bombers, and the rights of those people who were terrorized by them, both during their initial blasts and when the terrorists tried to escape the authorities later in the week?

(Incidentally, Redford’s embrace of radical chic in his dotage — and all of the hype the sympathetic MSM have given this film isn’t exactly giving him the edge at the box office.)

Related: “TMZ Targets Model for Donning Dress Decorated with Guns” – why are they giving model Karolina Kurkova grief, and not a superstar actor/director who is espousing pro-terrorist views? Or to reverse the equation, if Redford — and, as Christian Toto notes at Big Hollywood — anybody who wears a Che T-shirt gets a pass, why not Kurkova as well?

More: From Ace, “The Passive-Aggressive Voice: Newest Narrative From the Left and Media (But I Repeat Myself): It Was ‘Society’ to Blame, By Which is Meant Us”:

The left considers itself outside society, a critic apart from it, above it, superior to it, as a teacher is above and superior to his students. So any mention of “society” is an attempt to put blame on others. And the “we/us” language is the Accusatory version of the pronoun; they don’t mean they themselves.

Have you ever heard someone on the left specifically take responsibility for such a horror? The left could say, for example, “Perhaps by promoting terrorists as icons and to university professorships, we have transmitted the idea that terrorism is acceptable.” That would be a real expression of “We’re to blame,” we including the speaker. The true use of “we.”

But of course they never say such things. It’s always “We’re all to blame, because of various things you and specifically not I are guilty of.”

Also note that Melissa Harris-Perry pushes the idea that “we” (by which she means “You”) are “Otherizing” the terrorists — conceiving them as entirely unlike you — in order to reduce your own culpability for their actions.

Apparently it never occurs to this supposed intellectual that that’s precisely what she herself is doing.

Read the whole thing.

Update: “Report: Boston bomber confesses, cites US wars as motivation.” The more things change

 

In 2001, when it was announced that Will Smith would be playing Muhammad Ali in a film directed by Michael Mann, this seemed like perfect casting. If anybody could portray Ali, it was the equally charismatic Smith, then at the peak of his career. Unfortunately, this was a case of the right actor in the wrong movie, at the wrong time. The film was released in late 2001, after 9/11, and after American troops first rolled into Afghanistan. As John Podhoretz wrote in January of 2002, Mann wasn’t interested in Ali the superstar boxer who was made for television, he was interested in Ali’s radical politics during the Vietnam War, and the timing and the lugubrious, inert feel of what should have an exercise in kinetic filmmaking sunk the movie at the box office:

It’s conceivable that the movie has failed because it’s a stiff. But moviegoers wouldn’t have known that in the first weekend of its release, and with Will Smith’s name above the title, it should have made at least $30 million. It made half that. Why?

Simple. Ali is a mostly worshipful movie about an American icon who converted to Islam — or rather, Elijah Muhammad’s bizarre riff on Islam — and then proceeded to dodge the draft while making speeches about how he had no argument with the people who were killing tens of thousands of young Americans in Southeast Asia.

You can perhaps see how uncomfortable this story would make American audiences these days. In 1975, Ali himself starred in a fictionalized version of his own life called The Greatest. Ali was charming and funny in The Greatest in a warts-and-all portrait that showed him being a selfish jerk with at least one of his wives. What The Greatest did not do was turn Ali into a political icon.

A wise move. As a political icon, Muhammad Ali is as much of a dud as the movie about him.

A movie that dwelled on the comic aspects of his life — that would have used Will Smith’s own natural energy and likability to its utmost — might have been a triumph. But such a movie wouldn’t have satisfied Michael Mann’s hunger to Be Important.

Memo to Hollywood: Draft-dodging Muslims are out. A movie with a Muslim war hero — now that might make a fortune.

Of course, Hollywood would spend the next seven years doing its damnedest to destroy America’s morale in the wake of 9/11. This was partly because they hated Dubya, and as Daniel Henninger has written, for many on the left, their most intense day during that period wasn’t 9/11, but a year earlier, when Al Gore lost the recall election to GWB, partly because of the nostalgic left wanting to relive the glory days of their protests against LBJ, Nixon, and fighting communism in Vietnam.

Which brings us to this infamous moment by Robert Redford, while promoting The Company You Keep, his new film embracing the Weather Underground:

As Scott Whitlock of Newsbusters summarizes:

George Stephanopoulos was so enthusiastic towards Robert Redford and his sympathetic new film about an ex-1960s radical that the actor enthused, “You ought to get on the marketing team!” The aging actor/director appeared on Tuesday’s Good Morning America and endorsed the violent actions of protest groups. Reminiscing on his own past, the liberal Hollywood star recounted, “When I was younger, I was very much aware of the movement. I was more than sympathetic, I was probably empathetic because I believed it was time for a change.”

After Stephanopoulos wondered, “Even when you read about bombings,” Redford responded, “All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree.

It’s pretty rare for someone to drop the mask and admit that he’s cool with terrorist bombings; at Front Page, Bosch Fawstin explores “Robert Redford’s Terrorist Heroes:”

“ALL OF IT,” said Robert Redford, when asked if he supported the bombings by The Weather Underground.

Redford came out for terrorism on a mainstream morning television show in an interview with democrat-operative-leftist-hack George Stephanopoulos, who was slobbering over Redford’s pro-terrorist movie, The Company You Keep. I drew my illustration of Redford, below, days ago, and I wonder if he’s for the terrorist attack in Boston today. Or maybe he wants to wait and see if it’s leftist terrorists before he decides he’s all for it. Below is a list of what Robert Redford was for, via Sean Hannity on FOX News.

The Weather Underground’s history of terrorism consisted of:

1970: SFPD Bombing (1 Killed)

1970: NYPD Bombing (7 Hurt)

1970: NYC Explosion (3 Killed)

1971-72: Capital & Pentagon Attacked

1981: Armed Robbery (3 Killed)

(As John Boot at PJ Media notes: The Vietnam War, of course, had been over for years, [by 1981] which gives the lie to the film’s claim that the Southeast Asia conflict was anything but a pretext for the terrorist network.)

Fortunately, Redford really did his homework, thoroughly immersing himself in the history of that intense and convoluted period before the cameras rolled:

[A]t a recent press junket, Redford emphasized that he didn’t do much research beside watching Siegel’s documentary.

“I didn’t feel I needed to, because I saw a documentary several years ago that came to the festival called the ‘Weather Underground,’” Redford said. “I felt that that documentary was very well made about the actual people … I felt I had a thorough description of them from the film.”

Redford’s film is now playing in an environment where real terrorism is front and center in the news. On Twitter, Bill Hobbs speculates:

Of course they will. As Kathy Shaidle likes to say, so much of “liberalism” boils down to “It’s different, when we do it.” This might be the ultimate case. Still, kudos to Redford for revealing his inner liberal fascist on national television.

Related: Speaking of the Company You Keep, “New York Times shows sympathy for Boston terrorist suspects,” as spotted by the Daily Caller, who finds the Times attempting to brand the suspects as just average Joes, slacker kids “Far From War-Torn Homeland, Trying to Fit In”; “Brothers Seen as Good Students and Avid Athletes.”

Why, it’s almost as if, from the top down, the Gray Lady is pretty cool with this whole radical chic thing themselves.

Nahh. Can’t be.

More: “A Short History Lesson for the Media on American Domestic Terrorism.”

One More:

Heh, indeed.™

The Country’s in the Very Best of Hands

April 9th, 2013 - 3:46 pm

“Would You Trust Your Financial Future to This Woman?” David Foster asks at the Chicago Boyz econo-blog:

Another example of Murray’s ignorance shows her also to be a nasty bigot. When lobbying against a contract award for an Air Force tanker plane to Northrop Grumman, she said:

“I have stood on the line in Everett, Wash., where we have thousands of workers who go to work every day to build these planes. I would challenge anybody to tell me that they’ve stood on a line in Alabama and seen anybody building anything.”

This blogger responds:

Perhaps Senator Murray has heard of “Hyundai.” They manufacture “automobiles.” She might be shocked to learn that Hyundai has a “manufacturing plant in Montgomery, Alabama. She might also find it surprising to learn that Mercedes-Benz has a huge, state of the art manufacturing facility  just outside of Tuscaloosa. The last time I heard, manufacturing plants had “lines” where people “build things.” In fact, according to the Manufacture Alabama! website, Alabama has a strong manufacturing base.

Patty Murray is chairman of the  Senate Budget Committee. What do you think are the chances that this individual is able to understand the complexities of the Federal Government budget, or that she is willing to work seriously and objectively to analyze the issues involved?

Oh, and don’t forget Murray (D-WA) singing the praises of Osama bin Laden and his “day care facilities,” in 2002. Foster hasn’t — click over for the details. As the Professor is won’t to say, the country is truly in the very best of hands these days.

Oh, That Higher Education Bubble

April 8th, 2013 - 9:00 pm

Now is the time at Ed Driscoll.com when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals style:

It is one of the touchiest, most inflammatory subjects I know, and if you get into it, you will be accused of McCarthyism, for sure. No problem. I’m talking about American liberals and their relationship with the violent Left. The subject has come up again because of Kathy Boudin: Columbia has hired her as an adjunct professor; NYU has made her a scholar-in-residence.

She is, of course, a Weather Underground terrorist, and largely unrepentant, as far as I can tell. Susan Rosenberg was, and is, unrepentant too.

I wrote about Rosenberg early in 2001, because of what President Clinton did: In the waning hours of his presidency, he granted clemency to both her and Linda Sue Evans. He did not do the same for Kathy Boudin. Maybe he regarded that as a bridge too far? Anyway, my piece is called “Clinton’s Rosenberg Case,” here.

In this period, I thought long and hard about liberals and leftist terror. Bill Clinton, the editors of the New York Times, the English department at Amherst College: They would never kill policemen. They would never blow up young people as they danced at Fort Dix. But they would be tender toward those who do, wouldn’t they? Haven’t they?

Bob Tyrell had a name for certain people he observed in college: “coat-and-tie liberals.” They were not the scruffy radicals, who were naked in their aims. They were respectable, but they were not far off in their thinking from the radicals. Perhaps they considered the radicals purer, in a way?

“The Weathergal’s a perfessor, &c.,” Jay Nordlinger at NRO today.

“Sigh: George Washington University students attempt to oust priest after discovering he’s Catholic.”

Mary Katharine at Hot Air, also today, who adds, “Mind you, this is the same university where Anwar al-Awlaki was a chaplain, but sure, Fr. Greg is what causes them to reevaluate their vetting of religious figures.”

And while we’re on the topic of the Higher Education Bubble, don’t miss “The Golf Shot Heard Round the Academic World,” at the Wall Street Journal:

One day in the summer of 2010, Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, a respected liberal-arts school in Brunswick, Maine, met investor and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein for a round of golf about an hour north of campus. College presidents spend many of their waking hours talking to potential donors. In this case, the two men spoke about college life—especially “diversity”—and the conversation made such an impression on President Mills that he cited it weeks later in his convocation address to Bowdoin’s freshman class. That’s where the dispute begins.

In his address, President Mills described the golf outing and said he had been interrupted in the middle of a swing by a fellow golfer’s announcement: “I would never support Bowdoin—you are a ridiculous liberal school that brings all the wrong students to campus for all the wrong reasons,” said the other golfer, in Mr. Mills’s telling. During Mr. Mills’s next swing, he recalled, the man blasted Bowdoin’s “misplaced and misguided diversity efforts.” At the end of the round, the college president told the students, “I walked off the course in despair.”

Word of the speech soon got to Mr. Klingenstein. Even though he hadn’t been named in the Mills account, Mr. Klingenstein took to the pages of the Claremont Review of Books to call it nonsense: “He didn’t like my views, so he turned me into a backswing interrupting, Bowdoin-hating boor who wants to return to the segregated days of Jim Crow.”

The real story, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, was that “I explained my disapproval of ‘diversity’ as it generally has been implemented on college campuses: too much celebration of racial and ethnic difference,” coupled with “not enough celebration of our common American identity.”

For this, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, Bowdoin’s president insinuated that he was a racist. And President Mills did so, moreover, in an address that purported to stress the need for respecting the opinions of others across the political spectrum. “We are, in the main, a place of liberal political persuasion,” he told the students, but “we must be willing to entertain diverse perspectives throughout our community. . . . Diversity of ideas at all levels of the college is crucial for our credibility and for our educational mission.” Wrote Mr. Klingenstein: “Would it be uncharitable to suggest that, in a speech calling for more sensitivity to conservative views, he might have shown some?”

After the essay appeared, President Mills stood by his version of events. A few months later, Mr. Klingenstein decided to do something surprising: He commissioned researchers to examine Bowdoin’s commitment to intellectual diversity, rigorous academics and civic identity. This week, some 18 months and hundreds of pages of documentation later, the project is complete. Its picture of Bowdoin isn’t pretty.

Read the whole thing.

Related: John Boot on “The 4 Most Outrageous Lies in Robert Redford’s New Pro-Terrorist Movie,” elsewhere at PJM.

Asleep in Hollywood

April 5th, 2013 - 1:07 am

My wife and I watched Casablanca at the movie theater in San Jose’s Santana Row Wednesday night; there was a pretty good-sized crowd in the theater joining us. (We saw the revival of West Side Story at the same theater a couple of weeks ago; Homer Simpson could have counted the audience on his fingers.)

In 1992, as part of the film’s 50th anniversary, Roger Ebert, who passed away yesterday, penned a beautifully written take on Casablanca, in which he wrote, “There are greater movies. More profound movies. Movies of greater artistic vision or artistic originality or political significance. There are other titles we would put above it on our lists of the best films of all time.” Nonetheless, for Ebert,  “It is The Movie:”

Movies are, in a sense, immortal. It is likely that people will be watching “Casablanca” centuries from now (and how wonderful it would be if we could see movies from centuries ago). In another sense, however, movies are fragile. They live on long flexible strips of celluloid, which fade, and tear, and collect scratches everytime they travel through a movie projector. And sometimes films burn, or disintegrate into dust.

There’s another element about moviemaking that’s fragile as well: the culture that makes them. Casablanca was filmed in the summer of 1942, when World War II could have gone either way; the meat grinder battle of Stalingrad, which in retrospect sealed the Nazis’ fate, didn’t begin until after filming was complete.

The Hollywood culture that made Casablanca would age rather poorly and exhaust themselves in another kind of battle; in his 2009 interview with Peter Robinson, the late Andrew Breitbart chided the aging conservative executives who created the industry for handing it over to the cultural left without a fight in the late 1960s, as the book and accompanying documentary Easy Riders, Raging Bulls explores:

30 years prior though, in May of 1939 even before WWII had officially begun in Europe, a tough and confident Warner Brothers released Confessions of a Nazi Spy, starring WB vet and Edward G. Robinson, and “considered the first anti-Nazi film produced by a major studio,” according to Turner Classic Movies. In 1942, the studio made Casablanca.

Warner Brothers is now but one cog in a conglomerate whose TV news network looks at dictators ranging from Saddam Hussein to Fidel Castro to Kim-Jong Il, repeatedly shrugs its shoulders and says, “meh.” (When it’s not openly embracing them.) Time, the pioneering news magazine that’s now just another component of that conglomerate was founded 90 years ago with the goal (in addition to turning a profit, of course) of allowing small town Americans to better themselves by having a concise update on the week’s events. (The magazine’s name was chosen by founder Henry Luce because it implied both the timeliness of its contents, and the ability to save its readers’ time.)  Since Luce’s retirement and death in the mid-1960s, his would-be successors at the magazine have consistently looked at its original core readers as The Other, this strange group of unknown readers out there somewhere in the hinterlands.

In the film Casablanca, the back story for Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine character implies that like many Americans, he was broke at the start of the Depression, took to a variety of unsavory socialist jobs afterwards, before hiding out in Casablanca and starting his saloon. With America on the eve of World War II — significantly, there’s a close-up insert shot of a credit voucher Rick signs early in the film, which is dated December 2, 1941, only a few days before Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor — he emerges from his moral stupor to fight totalitarianism, beginning with this utterance to Sam, his faithful piano player:

Rick: If it’s December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?

Sam: What? My watch stopped.

Rick: I’d bet they’re asleep in New York. I’d bet they’re asleep all over America.

Hollywood went back to sleep long ago. Today, Robert Redford, who at the peak of his career, had the matinee idol box office clout of Humphrey Bogart, and is still capable of having his pet projects green-lit and funded, is making films in praise of a very different wartime American than Bogie’s Rick. The same theater in San Jose that showed Casablanca this week, will be showing Redford’s pro-Weathermen The Company You Keep beginning the end of this coming week. I’m glad there’s a week and a half space between the two films; too close would risk cultural whiplash.

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The More Things Change at ABC News…

April 2nd, 2013 - 11:34 am

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Except when it is:

Reporting ABC News President David Westin’s plan to step down at the end of the year, the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz noted “some early missteps” during his 13-year tenure, such as “a comment after the Sept. 11 attacks, for which Westin apologized, that journalists should offer no opinion about whether the Pentagon had been a legitimate military target.”

That apology was promoted by an MRC CyberAlert item in October of 2001 which put into play an answer Westin delivered during a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism seminar. Barely six weeks after the 9/11 attack, Westin was remarkably reticent about expressing an opinion, contending that’s improper for a journalist to do so – how quaint:

The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now….Our job is to determine what is, not what ought to be and when we get into the job of what ought to be I think we’re not doing a service to the American people….As a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.

— ”Flashback: Reacting to MRC, ABC News Chief Westin Apologized for ‘No Opinion’ on Whether Pentagon Was ‘Legitimate’ 9/11 Target,” the Media Research Center, 9/7/2010.

But what about the Weathermen, a late-’60s/early-’70s-era group of terrorists who had also targeted the Pentagon? Flash-forward to the present day:

George Stephanopoulos was so enthusiastic towards Robert Redford and his sympathetic new film about an ex-1960s radical that the actor enthused, “You ought to get on the marketing team!” The aging actor/director appeared on Tuesday’s Good Morning America and endorsed the violent actions of protest groups. Reminiscing on his own past, the liberal Hollywood star recounted, “When I was younger, I was very much aware of the movement. I was more than sympathetic, I was probably empathetic because I believed it was time for a change.”

After Stephanopoulos wondered, “Even when you read about bombings,” Redford responded, “All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree.”

After Stephanopoulos wondered, “Even when you read about bombings,” Redford responded, “All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree.” Remarkably, after this well known actor endorsed violence and terrorism as a political tool, Stephanopoulos did not question the remark. Instead, he tossed a softball: “Do you come out of the experience with the same kinds of empathy that you had going in?”

The ABC anchor offered just one tough question in the entire segment. He gently pressed, “I’ve noticed that already some critics have come out and said that you’re romanticizing radicalism. How do you respond to that?”

The Internet Movie Database summarized the plot of The Company You Keep this way: “A thriller centered on a former Weather Underground activist who goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity.”

— ”Robert Redford Loves Stephanopoulos’s Fawning Over His ’60s Radicals Film: ‘You Ought to Be on the Marketing Team!’”, Newsbusters, today.

Ahh, the marketing team and Hollywood insiders who have twisted themselves up via pretzel logic to utter such quotes as these:

Tinseltown cheerleaders can’t stop gushing about Redford’s paean to gun-toting progressives, of course. Variety called the flick an “unabashedly heartfelt but competent tribute to 1960s idealism.” The entertainment daily effused: “There is something undeniably compelling, perhaps even romantic, about America’s ’60s radicals and the compromises they did or didn’t make.” One of the film executives promoting the Weather Underground movie slavered: “This is an edge-of-your-seat thriller about real Americans who stood for their beliefs, thinking they were patriots and defending their country’s ideals against their government.”

You would think that Redford and and a Disney-ABC spokesman such as George Stephanopoulos would denounce such cinematic homages to terroristic violence. Isn’t it worth it, if it saves just one life?

‘The Bloody Company Hollywood Keeps’

March 31st, 2013 - 1:50 pm

That’s the title of Michelle Malkin’s latest syndicated column, on Robert Redford’s public embrace of Bill Ayers and his sclerotic radical chic politics — and the pretzel logic of the Hollywood executives who must now talk up his new film:

Bleeding-heart liberal Robert Redford is already the subject of early Oscar buzz. His much-hyped new film glamorizing the lives of Weather Underground domestic terrorists, “The Company You Keep,” will be released in the U.S. next week. But peace-loving moviegoers should save their money and take a stand.

Hollywood’s romanticizing of murderous radicals is an affront to decency. Redford and Company’s rose-colored hagiography of bloodstained killers defiles the memory of all those victimized by leftwing militants on American soil.

Tinseltown cheerleaders can’t stop gushing about Redford’s paean to gun-toting progressives, of course. Variety called the flick an “unabashedly heartfelt but competent tribute to 1960s idealism.” The entertainment daily effused: “There is something undeniably compelling, perhaps even romantic, about America’s ’60s radicals and the compromises they did or didn’t make.” One of the film executives promoting the Weather Underground movie slavered: “This is an edge-of-your-seat thriller about real Americans who stood for their beliefs, thinking they were patriots and defending their country’s ideals against their government.”

Shades of Oliver Stone defending another group that attacked the Pentagon, the 9/11 hijackers, in October of 2001. (Incidentally, September 11th, 2001 was the date the New York Times published their own infamous encomium to Bill Ayers, in a case of morbid synchronicity.)

Earlier: Two Redfords In One, from this past week, in which we spot Redford lionizing Ayers, and concurrently distancing himself from his legendary 1976 role as Bob Woodward.

(Originally posted this morning at Instapundit; a big thank you to both the Professor for allowing me to sit in, and to his stellar group of co-bloggers this past week.)

Oh, that Liberal Fascism.

And the bloggers are frequent PJM contributor Kathy Shaidle and her husband Arnie, who blogs at Blazing Cat Fur. If the Toronto School Board wants to watch the Blogosphere spill gallons and gallons of pixels about them, they certainly picked the right two bloggers:

Joe Warmington has the story:

In what can be described as more TDSB theatre of the absurd, an obscure six-week-old blog comment resulted in police visiting his home like one might see back in the day of the Stasi in communist East Germany. (…)

***
Arnie has created a mega-post of every story he’s written exposing the Toronto District School Board’s insanity.

Read the whole thing, then follow the links.

Regarding Rand Paul’s filibuster of proposed CIA head John Brennan, and how Mr. Obama or a surrogate such as Jay Carney will respond, John Sexton writes:

I agree that it’s unlikely the President or Carney will come out and announce a new position. That would be an admission of failure, a show of weakness. However there is another move that seems more likely.

Tomorrow when Carney is asked he can claim that this is much ado about nothing because of course the President would never use drones on Americans inside the US. Who would ever suggest such a thing? That way they give a response but the tone says move along, nothing to see here. They’ll claim the President is a champion of civil rights and that these questions are misguided and maybe even offensive.

The needed follow-up question is the one I posted on Twitter earlier: Would the criteria for targeting Awlawki have applied to Bill Ayers 40 yrs ago? Why not?

Heh, indeed.™

Update: At Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin writes, “Paul’s Real Beef Isn’t Domestic Drones:”

…anyone who heard all or most of his several hours of talk on the subject heard a great deal that shows he thinks the “perpetual war” against the Islamists is the real problem.

The unfortunate fact is that Americans will have to continue fighting al-Qaeda. This is not because our leaders lust for war or are enraptured with drone technology, but because our enemies believe they are engaged in war that will go on for generations until we succumb. Winning that struggle will require patience and endurance as well as the will to seek out these enemies wherever they may be plotting. Targeted killings of these terrorists are necessary and effective. But Paul’s core critique of the administration is not about a theoretical drone attack in the United States but about this very tactic.

Those who worry about Barack Obama’s fast and loose approach to the Constitution do well to keep close tabs on what the government is up to. But the president’s drone use against al-Qaeda is both constitutional and necessary. Conflating this policy with a plan to kill American dissidents or non-combatants sleeping in their beds here is merely a tactic aimed at transforming the debate about drones in a way that will make the curtailment of foreign strikes possible.

We can all take pride in the willingness of members of the U.S. Senate to stand up for the Bill of Rights and against the unchecked expansion of government power. But today’s filibuster is rooted in Paul’s unhappiness with American counter-terrorism tactics abroad, not those that have never been used at home.

Similarly, PJM alumnus Rich Miniter posits the following on his Facebook page:

RAND PAUL’S STAND against John Brennan’s nomination as CIA director is doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Brennan has a reputation inside the intelligence community for “failing upward” and would likely not be a stellar DCI. But Sen. Paul’s objection-that Obama might use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil–is actually dangerous. In reality, you want the president to be able to kill Americans who are attacking civilians without a court order. Does any body really think that Lincoln have gotten a warrant every time the confederates took a shot at federal property. Should George Washington have had to get a judge’s approval to fire on the rebels in the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion? When people take up arms against our country, they are making war on us–not engaging in criminal activity. If Sen. Paul’s prevails, they will have all of the protections of criminal law–and the public will have none of the protections of military force. Hardly a good bargain.

As Peter Robinson asks at Ricochet, linking to Rich’s post, “Has Rand Paul Got it All Wrong?”

Update: “In the midnight hour: GOP Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell decides to #StandWithRand.”

Update (9:42 PM PST): Almost 13 hours later, it’s over. We’ll have more on the fallout tomorrow. In the meantime, as the Professor dubs it, the Tweet of the Day:

Update (10:09 PST): Bridget Johnson has a lengthy recap of Paul’s filibuster on the PJM homepage: “Paul Injects Life Into Party with Nearly 13-Hour Filibuster.”

Update (10:18 PST): Blogger SooperMexican presents helpful tips on surviving a domestic done strike:

Oakland Mayor Promotes Lock-Picking Class

March 1st, 2013 - 12:47 pm
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No, really. From the what on earth are they thinking?! department:

In her State of the City speech Wednesday night, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan mentioned that violent crime was not the city’s only problem — and she is correct. Burglaries of cars, homes and businesses skyrocketed from 8,797 in 2011 to 12,549 in 2012. That’s an average of 34 burglaries a day — or one every 42 minutes. So, Oakland resident Noah Garber was plumb flabbergasted when he saw what Quan’s weekly newsletter was advertising this weekend: a class on how to pick locks. ”For reasons that cannot be explained, and defy logic, there is a class this weekend on lock picking,” Garber wrote in an e-mail. “Given the uncontrollable crime in Oakland, we are beyond ourselves that Oakland can advertise an event on lock-picking. It’s akin to teaching a class on making IEDs in Iraq.”

The link from Quan’s newsletter takes readers to the details of the “Introduction to Lockpicking” class: “Have you always wanted to know how to pick a lock? In many cases, opening a lock without a key is easier than you think!” The class costs $40 and is open to ages 10 to 101.

“Don’t get me started about how she surrendered to the Occupy thugs,” Wesley J. Smith writes at the Corner. “Quan has to be the worst, most clueless mayor in the United States.”

As Yoda would say, no, there is another.