Hollywood lefties today emulate the weeping Venezuleans over the death of dictator Hugo Chavez. Sean Penn salutes him as a “champion” of poor people and Oliver Stone calls him “a great hero.”
Knowing Chavez’s record, it is not surprising that he is saluted by leftist Hollywood. He is their fondest dream, the dictator that Woody Allen wanted Obama to become until the president’s policies were firmly in place. They call George W. Bush “a fascist”– Chavez goes them one better by likening him to Satan. They want the “fairness doctrine”– Chavez put their secret wishes into policy by forcing opposition broadcasters (Venezuela’s equivalent of alternative media) off the air. They denounce the United States as “imperialist” in much the same manner as Chavez. They attack the “fetish” of those who apply the US Constitution against opponents — he rewrites his the first day in office.
And best of all, he did this as the progressive one-percenter like Michael Moore. Experts today have discovered that he amassed a private fortune of $2 billion, and we all know how much Hollywood lefties make.
For those who cite Benghazi as proof the White House’s pratfalls on intelligence, I counter with the Hollywood-White House secret airlift of the First Lady to last night’s Oscars.
Hollywood certainly regarded this as a successful intelligence operation. The planners behind the operation–Academy President Hawk (what better name for an intelligence agent) Koch, Oscar Producers Neil Moran and Craig Zedon–saw themselves in their secret meetings at the White House to work out the logistics as “behaving like the CIA.” The White House colluded in this vocabulary describing the operation as “hush hush.”
Neither Hollywood nor the administration indicates they have even an awareness of their hypocrisy and misspent energy. The Obama campaign anthem, “Yes We Can,” has now become, in the words of Academy president Hawk Koch, “I knew we could do it and we did it.” What a marvel of planning that they could get the First Lady to a meeting of one-percenters.
If only the administration could devote such energy to the problems that plague the rest of us. With Iran and North Korea potentially pointing nuclear missles at us, and unemployment at a record high, the White House measures it success by OPERATION TINSELTOWN.
“Do As I Say Not As I Do” is a favorite conservative rejoinder to preachy liberal hypocrisy. There is no better evidence of this than the President and his celebrity echo chamber refusing to even entertain the notion of placing security officers in schools.
Today the NRA has dared to remind the populace that Obama’s children attend a school with armed guards. The liberal response has been that the President, the target of world wide enemies, needs secret service protection for the potential hostage-taking of his children. But the school his children attend had armed guards before his kids attended.
But this hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. Consider the celebrities who line up behind the President’s executive actions: Steven Spielberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Barbara Streisand. In addition to these celebrities having their own guards, Spielberg is known as the biggest gun collector in Hollywood.
Worse than private security forces, however, is how celebrities are willing to use violence to make a buck. Jaimie “Let’s Kill All The White People” Fox advocates gun control while his Jango film, with the usual Tarrantino body counts, is making him a millionaire. Jeremy Renner, the newest version of the ultra violent Jason Bourne series, also demands gun control. John Cusack, the star of Grosse Point Blank, a film which balances humor with violence (in one scene Cusack drops a TV set on Dan Ackroyd) supports gun control.
There is an old saying about “shooting yourself in the paycheck,” which in essence, means don’t engage in self-destructive behavior against your employer. Violent films equate into big box office, and literally and figuratively, the celebrities will not imperil their salaries.
The Obama administration has greeted the response to president’s threat of an executive order to bypass Congress and implement gun control measures as reminiscent of dictators, as hysteria.
But such comparisons are not easy to dismiss. Lenin stated “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.” Stalin, his successor declared, “If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.” When the Kulaks refused, Stalin instituted his own “executive order,” and they were helpless as the state mowed them down.
But this disarming of the population was not exclusive to the Russians. Mao Tze Tung declared “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.” Fidel Castro sounds eerily like those Americans who state that automatic and semi-automatic weapons are of no use for hunting nor defending their home when he says,”Guns, for what?” in response to the populace’s resistance to his gun control policies.
For those who think it hysterical to even dare to compare these sentiments with liberals, they should consider what has been said. Dianne Feinstein, stated in 1995, years before Newton: “If I could have banned them all – ‘Mr. and Mrs. America turn in your guns’ – I would have!” Then-President Clinton, who would send armed federal troops into the unarmed home of those sheltering Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, stated in 1993, “We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans.” Attorney General Janet Reno, who would send in black helicopters at the Koresh compound in Waco, Texas, subscribed to a step by step process (to be fair, something Stalin did not do) and was quite clear in her ultimate objective when she said, “Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal.”
Consider the much more honorable people on the other side of the debate. George Washington declared “that a free people should be armed.” Thomas Jefferson echoed this sentiment: “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” James Madison was quite prophetic when he said, “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries (italics mine), whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms.”
For those who say that this was another period, when a citizen militia was needed, they should consider another facet of this era. In 17th century America, the British Army, under the Quartering Act, were allowed to camp in colonist’s homes. But weapons of both sides were on a relatively equal footing (muskets, knives, swords, etc). There were no helicopters, no tanks, no bazookas, no snipers on the side of the tyrants. Citizens could truly defend their home. Today the need for private arms is even greater, for potential consequences of governmental invasion of your home is even greater, and under the Patriot Act, you can be arrested and imprisoned without due process.
The Founding Fathers regarded the government as the employee of the people, while Communist dictators saw the individual as the property of the state. One group was concerned with civil liberties; the other regarded such bourgeois rights as impediments. And gun control was their first step.
Something to think about.
As Vice President Joe Biden threatens the Second Amendment with an executive order, and Hollywood leftists like Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Reese Witherspoon, and Susan Sarandon predictably support this threat, there are Hollywood celebrities at odds with gun control–and not just the Charlton Hestons.
Clint Eastwood has stated that his gun control policy consists of him being in control of a gun. James Earl Jones notes that the world is full of violence and decent citizens need weapons to defend themselves; otherwise, “they will win and decent citizens will lose.” Science Fiction author Robert Heinlein pithly states that “an armed society is a a polite society,” which is validated by my time in gun control New York.
And there are ancestors to this view, since they are not movie stars carry much more intellectual weight. Martin Luther King, who liberal Hollywood honors, stated “the right to defend one’s home and one’s person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages by common law.”
Contrast this with that noted intellectual Sharon Stone who has said that she “would be willing to give up her freedom for gun control.”
And no doubt, liberal Hollywood and the administration is willing to give up ours.
Whittaker Chambers, who many conservatives regard as their godfather, once counseled William F. Buckley to quit heeding the editorial intention of National Review – “standing athwart history and yelling stop”–and tactically adjust to history’s drift. He was speaking of the masses’ unwillingness to abandon Keynesian economics and for the Republican Party to accept, even embrace this.
In the aftermath of Obama’s re-election, conservatives once again need to accept history’s drift, not regarding economics but the changing culture. Despite the anger at this president by social conservatives, this group no longer wins elections. Former witch-turned-religous dingbat Christine O’Donnell, who was against the separation of church and state, cost the party senatorial control. The populace has accepted the realities of abortion and gay marriage either because they support them or because they regard them as here to stay. Obama was able to attract moms (but not dads) because of stupid statements by Republicans about rape being God’s will and calling those who want subsidized contraception “whores.”
Let’s be real: Obama was elected for reasons having nothing to do with economics (60% of the country disagrees with his economic policies and Romney led in the polls on who was best able to handle the economy). He was elected because of his powerful photo-op during Sandy (Chris Christie’s bear hug helped as well), because he was black (he commands 94% of the African American vote even though they have borne the brunt of his economic policies), because he supported gay marriage and abortion and federally funded contraception.
There is a strand of the Republican Party that is culturally on board with most of these issues that are apparently of such importance to moms that they are willing to risk four more years of failed economic policies.
They are called libertarians. Because of their fears of the government intruding into personal issues of morality, they support the right of people to live their lives the way they want, which includes the right to marry whoever they want and a woman’s right to choose. But these same big government fears put them at odds with Obama’s socialism. They are committed to getting government out of the way of innovative entrepreneurs.
It is time for the Republican Party to quit putting up Republicans who are moderate in the worst way: economically liberal (John McCain’s attacks on money in politics; Mitt Romney’s support of a healthcare bill in Massachusetts that was a carbon copy of ObamaCare) and socially conservative. Reasonable libertarians are just as moral as the social conservatives. The difference lies in their belief that the government has no business trying to make individuals more moral — that is as bad as the Marxists trying to change human nature.
And that is how to win elections.
Eugene Debs once said that he would not want to be considered by his fellow socialists their leader, for if they trusted him “to lead them into the promised land, then someone else can lead them out.”
Last night this type of leader-worship won. Obama the Messiah, Hail Obama (as one boy joyously proclaimed at a rally), the political figure that Woody Allen believed should assume dictatorial powers won because of robotic leader worship. Obama already has delusions of Godhood, and he will not doubt regard this victory as a mandate from “his” people.
Conservatives might be tempted to throw up their hands, and stick their heads in the sand. I did a similar thing during the Clinton years; I gave up and focused on non-political matters. The people have spoken and what they have said is they want socialism. Conservativism lost–decisively. So what to do, how to cope?
The technique of Lech Walesa, that brave dissident against the Soviet occupation of his country might help. Against a regime that sought to control every aspect of his daily life, Walesa adopted the “as if” mindset. Walesa refused the regime’s legitimacy by behaving as if he could read what he wanted, vote for who he wanted, write what he wanted–in short, behave like a free man.
We could do the same. We can behave as if we won’t be penalized for not having health insurance, won’t be forced to include in our insurance plans funding for abortions, won’t be forced to pay high taxes.
This method helped Iron Curtain citizens cope. And it will work even better in ours. We have the recourse to challenge unjust laws, not only by grabbing a lawyer, but in taking to the streets.
My fervently Democratic wife once asked what us tea party folks wanted. My answer was that, if they mean what they say, they will, once in power, give it away to state and local governments. We could behave as if this has happened, and the proximity of the government to pressure is within walking or driving distance.
This isn’t denial; it is a way not to allow the Obama regime their willingness to trample the Constitution. Don’t burrow your heads conservatives–behave “as if.”
Groucho Marx, a reluctant petitioner for the Hollywood Ten, a group of communist screenwriters investigated by the House Un-American Actitivies Committee in 1947, once lamented that he and his brothers were not called to testify. He believed that the lunatic times of the blacklist were a perfect setting for the Marx Brothers’ own brand of lunacy.
At first glance, the Brothers’ anarchic spirit seemed to inhabit the white-teethed, hair-plugged body of Vice President Joe Biden during the debate. He interrupted Ryan (82 times by some counts) rudely in the Groucho manner.
But there is one problem with such a comparison: Biden wasn’t funny. For the Brothers’ humor to work, they needed a stuff shirt to deflate. Ryan was hardly that.
And worse, although satire is about defying logic, and Biden certainly does that, the true satirist has to know logic in order to defile it. Biden certainly doesn’t.
Biden will no doubt be applauded for his antics by liberal Hollywood. But for the rest of the sober minded–and I mean that figuratively as well as literally–Biden came across as a tired old vaudevillian engaging in some banter with an invisible straight man.
Conservatives have long argued that Obama is a weak debater because no one ever asks him tough questions. Indeed, the mainstream media spends more time swooning or carrying his water or both than helping hone his debate skills.
A similar process occurs with Biden. No one tells him he is not funny. As a result, he will continue his crazy relative schtick throughout the campaign, and brave will be the handlers who will tell him his brand of lunacy will make voters uncomfortable with the fact that he is next in line for the nuclear trigger.
The Old Left has had a tough time of it for the last 10 years. Cause celebres such as Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs that once got them out in the street to clench their fists have now been revealed to have been what the Right always said they were: agents of Stalin. And now they have lost one of their best rationalizers, historian Michael Wreszin.
At first glance, Wreszin, the author of a biography about the almost feverish anti-Stalinist Dwight MacDonald, would seem to be sturdily in the liberal anti-communist camp—what used to be known as the Vital Center. But his behavior and stances proved otherwise; indeed, Wreszin would be the kind of foe MacDonald would have broken his lance on.
This behavior dated back to the 1980s. According to Historian Ronald Radosh, Wreszin once took a drunken swing at him for daring to confirm the Rosenbergs’ guilt. Even in his writings, he projected his own leftist hopes on inappropriate subjects. Take MacDonald. Wreszin would always claim that MacDonald shed his Cold War positions in the sixties for one last socialist hurrah with campus radicals. But MacDonald’s letters, which incidentally Wreszin edited, showed that MacDonald retained his Cold War era views up to his death. MacDonald castigated those “cretins” at the Academy Awards for giving a standing ovation to Lillian Hellman and refused to have Alger Hiss as a cocktail guest. Asked if he regretted his part in a demonstration against a pro-Stalin meeting in 1949, known infamously as the Waldorf Conference, MacDonald, a year before his death, said no.
My own encounters with Wreszin occurred via H-HOAC, a discussion group for those specializing in the study of American Communism. When Wreszin celebrated Dalton Trumbo as a civil libertarian, I countered by showing that Trumbo during the War bragged of keeping anti-Stalinist works from reaching the screen and that as an editor of a Hollywood daily refused to print an opponents’ article against the Soviet Union. To the author’s claims that Trumbo was not honoring free speech, Trumbo replied that free speech led to fascism.
Wreszin tried to give me as much of a drunken swing as emails would allow. He personally told me to quit “raising hell” on the discussion log. Confronted with the evidence about Trumbo, Wreszin emulated the writer by saying that Trumbo was correct in censoring the films since they were “reactionary.”
Wreszin will no doubt be admitted into the Valhalla of departed leftists such as Lillian Hellman and Trumbo. This time around though he will also be portrayed in the time-honored method of a Left that attempts to camouflage anti-democratic tendencies in the guise of liberal anticommunism.
For those who think the BBC is the overseas version of our own mainstream media, there might be reason to pause in this opinion. A proposed George Orwell statue, funded by the George Orwell Memorial Trust and by numerious British journalists, to be erected on outside the BBC offices has been denied by the BBC. Their reported reason is that Orwell was “too leftwing.”
The real reason, given the liberal tinge of the organization, might be how Orwell used his wartime experiences as a BBC broadcaster for source material. From 1941-43, Orwell produced anti-fascist broadcasts specifically to India.
When writing Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell had his character Winston Smith be a propaganda broadcaster for Big Brother. He also used the conference room for staff meetings at the BBC, designated room 101, for the torture chambers used by the regime.
Orwell, however, didn’t dislike the BBC. He thought their wartime censorship reasonable and didn’t have qualms about any editing of his broadcasts. His main reason for quitting was because he felt that his broadcasts were reaching a large Indian audience and he also wanted time to write.
One of the most notorious pro-Communist films has been taken out of mothballs and will be shown on Turner Classic Movies on February 16 and 17.
Mission To Moscow, produced at the high tide of Stalinist influence in Hollywood, 1943, took the then and now astonishing thesis that Stalin’s Purge Trials were justified. An adaptation of useful idiot Joseph Davies, who attended the trials and endorsed them (“there are no fifth columnists in the Soviet Union–Stalin shot them”), the film was, in the words of largely sympathetic reviewer James Agee, “the most pro-Stalinist film ever to come ouf of a major studio.”
Watched in its entirety, the film is less a time capsule document recalling Grand Alliance days and more in sync with the party line presentation of today’s political culture. Like those on the left today who trot out Republicans for Obama, or religious figures against the War On Terror, the backdrop of Mission to Moscow is deniability. No one associated with its production wants to leave a Stalinist trail. Ambassador Joseph Davies attended the trials and advertised his capitalist/business background before endorsing the trails in a manner that would make Pravda proud. Howard Koch, the screenwriter attached to adapting it, portrayed himself as merely a New Dealer liberal seeking to help the war effort (a description amplified by Victor Navasky); the reality was that he was a sincere fellow traveler who described American Stalinists as “saints.” Attached as a technical advisor, Jay Leyda characterized himself as a sincere liberal but was, in fact, an ardent Stalinist who was being monitored by American intelligence at the time.
In choosing Lincolnesque actor Walter Huston to play Davies, the filmmakers anticipated the Oliver Stone motivation for casting: pick the cosmetically typical American, highlight his conservative, Establishment background, have him disillusioned and then voice subversive statements.
Five minutes into viewing the film, one can understand all the efforts at ideological deniability. Mission to Moscow endorses every claim of the Purge Trials. The Trotsky-Hitler-Hirihito conspiracy is alive and well, and is a lurking presence beside all the smiling peasants and earnest government officials. In the beginning of the film, it is without form, merely present in the suggestive tones of a Nazi officer speaking with Davies. But thanks to dogged, but reasonable efforts of Prosecutor Vyshinsky, the conspiracy is admitted by goateed Old Bolsheviks.
Old Leftists who never got over McDonald in Red Square will no doubt get a nostalgic jolt out of this film’s release; to the rest of us, however, viewing this fantasy world of the Old Left backed by a major studio is eerie. Leyda and Koch’s attempts to bridge the cultural gap between the Soviets and Americans by Americanizing the former produces a nightmare effect, as if Our Town put Bernard Baruch on trial for conspiring with Dwight MacDonald to put Herbert Hoover back into power.
As the White House War Room and Michelle O’Bama are on full defense mode because of the new book, The Obamas, showing an angry and draconian First Lady, one liberal magazine urges the couple to embrace the image.
Nation writer Illyse Hogue lauds the book for showing the “tensions of a culture that expects our women to achieve as highly as our men but our first ladies to take a back seat to their presidents.”
While the public regards Michelle O’Bama as an autocratic spendthrift, Hogue views her dustups with the president’s staff as powered by a determination to hold them to Barack’s ideals.
Various media outlets have focused exclusively on Whoopi Goldberg’s comment that communism “looks great on paper.” But missed in all this flurry of coverage was a more revealing comment. Speaking of how it failed in Russia and around the world, she ended the exchange with “But, I keep my fingers crossed.”
It would be hard to find a better quote on the philosphy of the Hollywood Left than this. In the thirties, Hollywood screenwriters like Party members Ring Lardner Jr., Dalton Trumbo (who stated there was no anti-semitism in the Soviet Union since their constitution forbid it), Lillian Hellman (“the intellectuals revere Stalin”) and Dashiell Hammett (the idea of a secret Hitler-Stalin partnership was “a fantastic falsehood”) didn’t even need to keep their fingers crossed about Stalin’s Soviet Union. To them, the socialist utopia had already been achieved.
But with Kruschev’s Secret Speech in 1956, in which he admitted the falsehoods of the Purge Trials, all but the most diehard jumped ship (Hellman would denounce Kruschev for being an informer). But it was only the Russian ship. Lardner and even Hemingway would focus their hopes on Castro’s Cuba. Even though Castro himself would admit communism hadn’t worked in Cuba, there would still be latter day admirers that included Ed Asner, Oliver Stone (“Castro is one of the world’s great humane leaders”) and Chevy Chase, (“socialism might still work in Cuba”).
Today, Hollywood has shifted from Castro to Hugo Chavez as if the former is an aging sex queen and the latter is cosmetically younger. Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, and Ed Asner now see socialism working in Venezeula.
No one has ever wised up to the fact that no matter where it occurs, socialist governments repeat themselves by destroying freedom through the instrument of the secret police.
Goldberg herself has an interesting history regarding communism. When most reasonable people had concluded that East Germany was one of the most repressive Communist regimes, she saw none of the violations of freedom enforced by a prowling Stasi while she resided there.
For Goldberg and company, the dream is still alive, no matter how many bodies pile up from their matinee idol of the moment.
Fingers will remained crossed.