Sunday, May 19, 2019

America Doesn't Have an Anti-Semitism Problem. American Politics Does

If anti-Semitism is thriving among Americans, there’s no sign of it in any of the latest polls. Americans are the least anti-Semitic people in the world. A 2017 poll, taken at the height of a spike in anti-Semitism, showed that 14% of Americans held anti-Semitic attitudes. That was up from 10% in 2015 and 12% in 2013. That’s not a great trend, but it also shows just how narrow the scope of the problem is.

It’s also dramatically different than the numbers from similar polls conducted in Europe.

How then can we explain the rise in anti-Semitic violence? What about the increased harassment of Jews on campuses and in major cities? And why is there a rise in anti-Semitic discourse?

There’s no climate of hatred in America. The rising anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence are the work of small but highly active political groups who have become disproportionately influential in public life.

The rise in anti-Semitism isn’t happening among ordinary Americans, but among a narrow group of influencers. An anti-Semitic cartoon in the New York Times isn’t representative of the country. Neither is Rep. Ilhan Omar. Nor are Richard Spencer or the alt-righters who tweet their own anti-Semitic memes.

Anti-Semitic violence is rising. But the total number of incidents remains small. The perpetrators represent a small segment of the population. The violent doesn’t come from ‘anywhere’. On campuses and in synagogues, it comes from a small radical population of the alt-left and the alt-right. In urban areas, it originates with a slightly larger, but still fairly small population, of neighborhood bigots.

Anti-Semitism is marginal among Americans, but it’s increasingly mainstream in political activism.

Anti-Semitic incidents on campuses have doubled for several years in a row. Growing numbers of Jewish students report feeling intimidated and threatened. But the intimidation is the work of a small minority motivated by political ideology. The number of students engaging in campus harassment through hate groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine remains tiny. The real problem is the complicity of identity politics groups in supporting campus hate groups and administrators in turning a blind eye to it.

The harassment is most intense at a handful of top, but not truly elite schools, in a few states. The situation is not representative of the country or even its average campus. Even in the most problematic schools, only a small politically active minority plays any role in the harassment. But that minority dominates campuses and the campuses provide much of the future leadership of the country.

It’s the same problem nationwide.

Americans don’t have an anti-Semitism problem. American politics has an anti-Semitism problem because, just like on college campuses, small groups are driving an anti-Semitic agenda.

American politics isn’t anti-Semitic. But its leadership is becoming complicit in anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism is a function of political radicalism. And very few Americans are political radicals. But the radicals are driving national politics by constantly shattering political norms and normalizing extremism. Hatred of Jews is just one of the radical ideas heading from the political margins into the mainstream. The mainstream of politics though is a very different thing than the mainstream of American values.

Polls show that most Americans still view anti-Semitism as disgusting. But that’s no longer the case among political activists and elites as anti-Semitism becomes embedded within political movements.

The anti-Semitic cartoon in the New York Times was not a sign that anti-Semitism had become normalized among Americans, but it had become so normalized in the media that it did not notice when its language of covert anti-Semitism slurred and crossed the red line into overt anti-Semitism.

America’s anti-Semitism problem is worst, not in small rural towns, but in urban media operations.

National politics was radicalized by media operations that took the marginal agendas of fringe groups and mainstreamed them. Anti-Semitism is just another one of those many radical agendas.

The media mainstreamed and normalized radicals like Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour while glossing over their hateful agendas. It celebrates and defends Rep. Omar’s bigotry. Rep. Omar is one of hundreds of members of the House. She’s a freshman with no notable accomplishments. The only reason that everyone in the country knows her name is because the media chose to turn her into a celebrity.

Rep. Omar’s displays of anti-Semitism aren’t surprising. The same ADL poll that found that only 14% of Americans held anti-Semitic beliefs, also found that 34% of Muslims in Americans held those beliefs.

Muslims make up around 1% of the country.

How did a woman who represents 34% of 1% of the country suddenly become the face of a political movement that claims to represent half the country?

And why did Democrats rally behind a bigot who represents a third of a percent of the country?

Most Democrats are not anti-Semitic. Even most of the radicals backing Rep. Omar are not explicitly anti-Semitic. But they’re willing to defend anti-Semitism as part of an alliance with that hateful third.

That’s also how the anti-Semitic cartoon showed up in the New York Times.

American politics isn’t anti-Semitic. But it’s full of politically active people who will defend anti-Semites against charges of anti-Semitism because they agree with them on the rest of their political agenda.

Anti-Semitism in American politics is a symptom of this mainstreaming of political radicals.

The media may not be trying to intentionally mainstream anti-Semitism. As in Omar’s case, it’s collateral damage from mainstreaming radicals. The New York Times editorial staff didn’t wake up one morning and decide on the best way to mainstream anti-Semitism by printing a cartoon of Trump in Jewish religious garb. The anti-Semitic cartoon was collateral damage from mainstreaming radicals like Rep. Omar and Linda Sarsour who blurred the line between hatred of Israel and hatred of Jews.

Once the media mainstreamed anti-Semitic radicals, it defended them against charges of anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism may not be growing, but tolerance for it is. And that can be just as dangerous. The things that you justify, whitewash and minimize, can become the things that you eventually get on board with.

Racial supremacism and obsessive hatred of Israel are radical views shared by few Americans. But they are the feverish obsessions of small, determined groups of activists who are defining national politics. As their activists gain traction, anti-Semitism leaks from the fringes and into movement organizations.

Radicals make up an even tinier percentage of the country than the campus. But anyone who reads, listens to and watches the media would think that a minority of radicals have become the majority.

This isn’t the Corbynization, but the ‘Campusization’ of American politics.

American politics have come to resemble the college campus with a small group of radicals calling the shot and a media that hardly anyone pays attention to defending them, while the majority doesn’t care.

Campus radicals are no longer just allotting student funds. They’re trying to run the country.

The lessons of the battle against anti-Semitism on campuses will need to be applied to national politics. Jewish groups failed to fight the problem on college campuses. The graduates from many of these institutions went on to bigger and better things. And now the problem has gone nationwide.

Anti-Semitism isn’t an American problem. It’s a radical problem.

The Campusization’ of American politics is the challenge of fighting to prevent a tiny minority of extremists from doing to the country what they have already done to the college campus.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Americans Paid for the Internet, We Deserve Free Speech On It

“But, it’s a private company.”

It’s a familiar argument. Bring up the problem of Google, Facebook and Twitter suppressing conservative speech and many conservatives will retort that it’s a free market. The big dot com monopolies created their own companies, didn’t they? And we wouldn’t want government regulation of business.

In a FOX Business editorial, Iain Murray writes that breaking up dot coms like Google would be "a repudiation of conservative principles". He argues that "Twitter is a private company" and that "there is no positive right to free speech on Twitter or any other private venue."

“The same goes for the president’s attacks on Google and the complaints of conservative censorship," Diane Katz writes at the Heritage Institute. "These private enterprises are not obligated to abide any sort of partisan fairness doctrine."

The talking point that Google, Facebook and Twitter are private companies that can discriminate as they please on their private platforms, and that the First Amendment doesn’t apply, is in the air everywhere.

But it overlooks two very simple facts.

The driving force behind the censorship of conservatives isn’t a handful of tech tycoons. It’s elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris offered an example of that in a recent speech where she declared that she would "hold social media platforms accountable" if they contained "hate" or "misinformation".

“Misinformation” is a well-known euphemism among Democrats and the media for conservative political content. It was originally known as “fake news” before President Trump hijacked the term to refer to the media. The recent Poynter list of “unreliable” sites was stacked with conservative sites. Lists like these aren’t hypothetical. Poynter runs the International Fact Checking Network which had been empowered by Facebook and other sites to deplatform conservative content through its ‘fact checks’.

All of this got underway in response to claims by Hillary Clinton and her allies that “fake news” had cost her the election and represented a grave attack on our democracy. The call was quickly taken up by Democrats in the House and the Senate. It’s been commented on supportively by powerful Clinton allies in the tech industry, like Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google.

Dot coms like Facebook are cracking down on conservatives as an explicit response to pressure from elected government officials. That’s not the voluntary behavior of private companies. When Facebook deletes conservatives in response to threats of regulatory action from Senate Democrats, its censors are acting as government agents while engaging in viewpoint discrimination.

Free market conservatives can argue that Facebook should have the right to discriminate against conservatives. But do they really want to argue that Senate Democrats should have the right to compel private companies to censor conservatives?

What’s the difference between that and a totalitarian state?

It might, arguably, be legal for your landlord to kick you out of your house because he doesn’t like the fact that you’re a Republican. But is it legal for him to do so on orders from Senator Kamala Harris?

Defending abusive behavior like that is a desecration of the free market.

The second fact is that the internet is not the work of a handful of aspiring entrepreneurs who built it out of thin air using nothing but their talent, brains and nimble fingers.

The internet was the work of DARPA. That stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is part of the Department of Defense. DARPA had funded the creation of the core technologies that made the internet possible. The origins of the internet go back to DARPA's Arpanet.

Nor did the story end once the internet had entered every home.

Where did Google come from? "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine," the original paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, reveals support from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and even NASA.

Harvard’s computer science department, where Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg learned to play with the toys that turned him into a billionaire, has also wallowed in DARPA cash. Not to mention funds from a variety of other DOD and Federal science agencies.

Taxpayer sank a fortune into developing a public marketplace where ideas are exchanged, and political advocacy and economic activity takes place. That marketplace doesn’t belong to Google, Amazon or Facebook. And when those monopolies take a stranglehold on the marketplace, squeezing out conservatives from being able to participate, they’re undermining our rights and freedoms.

"A right of free correspondence between citizen and citizen on their joint interests, whether public or private and under whatsoever laws these interests arise (to wit: of the State, of Congress, of France, Spain, or Turkey), is a natural right," Thomas Jefferson argued.

There should be a high barrier for any company seeking to interfere with the marketplace of ideas in which the right of free correspondence is practiced.

Critics of regulating dot com monopolies have made valid points.

Regulating Google or Facebook as a public utility is dangerous. And their argument that giving government the power to control content on these platforms would backfire is sensible.

Any solution to the problem should not be based on expanding government control.

But there are two answers.

First, companies that engage in viewpoint discrimination in response to government pressure are acting as government agents. When a pattern of viewpoint discrimination manifests itself on the platform controlled by a monopoly, a civil rights investigation should examine what role government officials played in instigating the suppression of a particular point of view.

Liberals have abandoned the Public Forum Doctrine, once a popular ACLU theme, while embracing censorship. But if the Doctrine could apply to a shopping mall, it certainly applies to the internet.

In Packingham v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court's decision found that, "A fundamental principle of the First Amendment is that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen."

The Packingham case dealt with government interference, but when monopolies silence conservatives on behalf of government actors, they are fulfilling the same role as an ISP that suspends a customer in response to a law.

When dot com monopolies get so big that being banned from their platforms effectively neutralizes political activity, press activity and political speech, then they’re public forums.

Second, rights are threatened by any sufficiently large organization or entity, not just government. Government has traditionally been the most powerful such organization, but the natural rights that our country was founded on are equally immune to every organization. Governments, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, exist as part of a social contract to secure these rights for its citizens.

Government secures these rights, first and foremost, against itself. (Our system effectively exists to answer the question of who watches the watchers.) But it also secures them against foreign powers, a crisis that the Declaration of Independence was written to meet, and against domestic organizations, criminal or political, whether it’s the Communist Party or ISIS, that seek to rob Americans of their rights.

A country in which freedom of speech effectively did not exist, even though it remained a technical right, would not be America. A government that allowed such a thing would have no right to exist.

Only a government whose citizens enjoy the rights of free men legally justifies is existence.

If a private company took control of all the roads and closed them to conservatives every Election Day, elections would become a mockery and the resulting government would be an illegitimate tyranny.

That’s the crisis that conservatives face with the internet.

Protecting freedom of speech does not abandon conservative principles, it secures them. There are no conservative principles without freedom of speech. A free market nation without freedom of speech isn’t a conservative country. It’s an oligarchy. That’s the state of affairs on the internet.

Conservatives should beware of blindly enlisting in leftist efforts to take regulatory control of companies like Facebook. The result would be a deeper and more pervasive form of censorship than exists today. But neither should they imagine that the ‘free market side of history’ will automatically fix the problem.

As the internet has devolved from its origins in academia to a set of handheld devices controlled by one of two companies, and then to a set of smart assistants controlled by one of two companies, it has become far less open. Even if Google were to lose its monopoly, Silicon Valley hosts a politicized workforce which allies with the media to compel any rising new company to toe the same line.

And if that fails, there are always House and Senate hearings and harder laws coming out of Europe.

We have an existing useful toolset to draw on, from anti-trust laws to civil rights investigations to the Public Forum Doctrine. This will be a challenging process, but we must remember through it all, that we have a right to freedom of speech on the internet. Our tax dollars, invested over generations, built this system. It does not belong to the Left. Or, for that matter, the Right. It belongs to all of us.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Dozen People Were Shot in Buttigieg's City While He Ran for President

In early April, South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski had two concerns. His boss, Mayor Peter Buttigieg, was preparing to formally announce his presidential run.

The blighted Rust Belt city, riddled with gangs and bodies, was Buttigieg's platform.

The bodies were Chief Ruszkowski's other concern.

Another fatal shooting had happened a day earlier. A reporter asked him how many shootings had taken place in South Bend. The top cop's response was both bitter and evasive. “After one shooting, I stop counting because all of these shootings are frustrating and make me sick to my stomach."

There’s little doubt that Chief Ruszkowski knew the number. South Bend’s plan for fighting crime has run heavy on statistics and light on results. But he knew that the number would be inconvenient. Instead he touted the “special event” where his boss, after running the city into the ground, would announce, not a plan for dealing with the shootings, but a run for President of the United States.

By April, the politician whose supporters called him, “Mayor Pete” had been neglecting the city where 8,515 voters in an apathetic city of 102,245 had elected him mayor. While the bodies piled up, Buttigieg and his boyfriend were rushing between upscale fundraisers and media appearances.

On April 18th, Mayor Peter Buttigieg had been the guest of honor at a Manhattan fundraiser by the majority owner of the third largest theater chain on Broadway. His boyfriend had sat in the VIP section at one of the theater mogul’s productions. Meanwhile, a world away from the glamorous Chelsea scene, a vigil was being held in South Bend for Keyontae Jones, a 21-year-old man, who had been shot dead.

Myron Draine, 19, was also charged in a shooting that wounded two Indiana University South Bend baseball players, leaving one paralyzed from the neck down. Draine was a member of the G-Block gang and had been trying to avenge the shooting death of a fellow gang member in South Bend’s ganglands.

After posing for selfies with members of Manhattan’s elite, Buttigieg caught a flight to South Carolina. In South Bend, a wounded man walked into the hospital after someone opened fire on his car.

On January 23rd, Buttigieg had announced at a Washington D.C. press conference that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for president. He claimed that what qualified him was his "experience leading one of America's turnaround cities" which was now "on a terrific trajectory".

South Bend was rated one of the worst cities to live in the country. It’s been listed as one of the nation’s murder capitals where half the residents live in poverty. That’s a trajectory. But not a terrific one.

A day later, a South Bend man was arrested in a shooting and carjacking gone wrong.

A week before Buttigieg claimed that South Bend’s turnaround qualified him to run America, three people were arrested for shooting one woman in the chest and wounding another.

By the end of March, as Peter Buttigieg turned into the new Dem crush, 6 people had been shot in his city. A talented baseball player had been paralyzed and an 11-month old baby had been wounded.

"My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete," Buttigieg declared in the city he now occasionally visited. "I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana.”

He was so proud that he would not be running for a third term in office.

After the latest brutal violence, he admitted that, “life here is far from perfect.” He claimed once again that, “we've changed our trajectory.” He didn’t show the press and his fans, the bodies. Instead he triumphantly touted the makeover of a Studebaker plant into a “tech startup incubator”. The makeover by a trendy Chicago architecture firm had been funded by a grant from the Pence administration.

The Studebaker plant had employed 23,000 workers. Buttigieg’s proposed new vision for South Bend, at a cost of $23 million, assuming it even goes anywhere, will employ few residents from the city.

Buttigieg’s vision for the Rust Belt was the same old failed Obama pitch of giving up on manufacturing jobs, and converting factories into tech incubators that will only employ workers with college degrees.

Meanwhile, in the week before the launch, a man was fatally shot, and two days beforehand another man showed up at the hospital with 4 gunshot wounds.

While Mayor Buttigieg touted the country touting his South Bend success, there had been a dozen shootings.

Two of them were fatal.

Despite claiming to be its proud son, Buttigieg doesn’t talk about South Bend that much. He would rather pick fights with Christian conservatives than have anyone look too closely at his record.

How is it possible that a dozen people can be shot in the city that a top presidential candidate is supposed to be running without the media ever reporting on it or asking Buttigieg about it?

Photos from the Chelsea fundraiser at an undisclosed location showed a sea of white, wealthy men. The men wounded and dying in South Bend have been mostly black men. They are not part of the world of Mayor Pete which is rooted in Notre Dame and in the area catering to its students and faculty.

Buttigieg represents the gown side of South Bend’s town and gown divide. He was never the mayor of South Bend. He is the mayor of Notre Dame U: the son of a Marxist professor on the faculty. Notre Dame’s student population of over 8,000 is about the same size as the 8,000+ voters who elected him.

The boy wonder hasn’t connected with a working-class Rust Belt electorate. There’s not that many of them left in South Bend. Nor has he clicked with the city’s sizable African-American population.

In the 2020 polls, he performs best with white lefties. He doesn’t even rank among black voters.

As Mayor Peter Buttigieg heads to Los Angeles for a fundraiser co-hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow, the three thugs who murdered a man outside Frank’s Place are going through the legal system.

Frank’s Place is a long way from the glamorously Beverly Hills mansions where “Mayor Pete” will be pressing the flesh of the beautiful people. After the shooting, Frank’s manager urged the city to do something about the violence. But the guy whose job that is will be in California posing with celebrities.

In response to the latest murder, Buttigieg’s office issue a press release touting his failed Group Violence Intervention program and “strong partnerships” with “community leaders”.

A dozen people have been shot. And a dozen more will be and then a dozen more while he drinks champagne at fundraisers, pops up on talk shows, appears on Saturday Night Live, dines at nightclubs and restaurants from Brentwood to Brooklyn, and is feted, toasted and celebrated by the elite.

The lives of the fallen in the absentee politician’s city, unlike his political ambitions, don’t matter.

The poor black and occasionally white people being shot in South Bend don’t exist for the wealthy lefties swooning over Buttigieg’s class president routine that got him elected the Mayor of Notre Dame U.

The bodies in South Bend’s hospitals and morgues show that its mayor couldn’t run a city of a hundred thousand let alone a nation of over three hundred million. And the truly damning thing is not only that Buttigieg failed South Bend, but that the moment he sniffed out an opportunity, he abandoned his job.

Buttigieg opportunistically left his city in its hour of need. He parties while South Bend bleeds.

South Bend, like so many other failed cities, is the work of generations of Democrat politicians. Buttigieg is just the latest hack to pump and dump a city that has so little hope that it never even bothers to vote.

While the vigils, the murder trials and the shootings continue, Buttigieg is cashing in from San Diego to San Francisco with a busy schedule of fundraisers through May and June. For a thousand bucks you can meet with him in Palo Alto. For $2,800 you can get a picture taken with him in Los Angeles.

But if you live in South Bend and want to talk to “Mayor Pete” about the bullets flying through your windows, you’re going to need a plane ticket, a shiny new suit and a whole lot of money.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Latin America is Collapsing and Taking America With It

Long before the current scenes of thousands of migrants showing up in New Mexico or Arizona, the northward migration was fueled by a combination of Latin American instability and American greed for cheap labor going back over a century to the Mexican Revolution.

Venezuela’s spectacular collapse may be dominating the news cycle now, but a Latin American country usually implodes in a spectacular fashion every few years. Even now, there is political chaos in Nicaragua, with major protests demanding the ouster of Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, and brewing scandals in Argentina, Brazil and Peru that could expand and tear any or all of the three countries apart.

Political instability, sharp swings from the far left to the far right, from Marxist terrorists to military warlords, are not a temporary aberration that can be fixed with our foreign aid or military intervention. They’re an enduring feature of political life that are as much a part of Latin America as the Declaration, the Constitution and the Founding Fathers are a part of the United States of America.

Political and civic institutions in Latin America are sources of instability. What little stability there is comes from the legal economy of oligarchs and the shadow economy of organized crime. The oligarchs work national economies and provide opportunities for educated professionals and trained workers. The crime lords, cartels and gangs offer security and economic opportunity for those nearer to the bottom.

America is not going to Americanize the countries south of the border. Instead America is being remade along a more Latin American model with radical politics, gang violence and a loss of civic confidence.

Latin American revolutions delivering cheap labor to America is not a new phenomenon. The real life Joads of Grapes of Wrath wouldn’t have been able to find agricultural work because the jobs were filled by Mexicans. The Cristero War’s Mexican migrants had been protected from the Immigration Act’s quotas because then, as now, agribusiness insisted that they couldn’t run farms without them.

Even in the Dust Bowl era, the same old interests insisted that there were jobs Americans wouldn’t do.

A century later the same Mexican workers that helped build California agriculture, decimated it by voting in Democrats whose environmental policies starved farms of water and strangled them with countless regulations. The workers have moved on to water-hungry cities where they don’t pick fruit, they provide services to a wealthy population of professionals, and then pass the bill to social services.

American taxpayers are being taxed to death so that blue state urban professionals can have cheap nannies, housekeepers and gardeners working off the books and making their lifestyles possible. The hospital visits, prison terms and welfare of that shadow population is financed by onerous taxes.

Despite the partisan tilt of migration, it took a revolution in the GOP to try and do something about it.

The wall is an important symbol not only of American sovereignty, but of the recognition that we are not going to fix the rest of the continent. When President Trump pulled foreign aid from migrant countries, he was not only sending them a message, but tossing out the swamp talking point that the best way to stop migration wasn’t a wall, but nation building in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

No amount of foreign aid is going to change the reality on the ground in the homeland of MS-13.

The impact of southern migration on America isn’t just about the charged demographic debates or the shift of red states to blue states. Demographic change is not going to eliminate Republicans. There are plenty of right-wing parties south of the border. The nature of what being on the right means will change in a majority-minority country. The end result won’t be conservative: it will be fascist.

Mass migration won’t end the GOP or the right. It will however eliminate American conservatism.

Leftists accuse Republicans of being fascists for opposing open borders. But open borders are the surest formula for fascism. Conservatism with its constitutional foundation of individual rights, limited government, and separation of powers will become a historical footnote. Instead, America will ricochet between socialists and national socialists, the way that some of our southern neighbors already do.

The crisis is already upon us.

A Democrat movement untethered from the middle class has come to be defined by the Obama alliance of radical white lefties and minority voters. With no further reason to be moderate, it is rapidly embracing any political extreme that is put forward, from packing the Supreme Court to letting the Boston Bomber vote to slavery reparations. Political stability requires respect for civic institutions and a secure middle class. America used to have those. Latin America never did. Now we’re losing them too.

The media has made much of the alt-right. While it describes this as a white nationalist problem, many prominent members of the alt-right are second generation Latin American immigrants. Nazism was never popular in America. Fascism and Nazism have more significant followings south of the border. The rise of the alt-right is not a reaction to a more diverse country. It is a product of that very diversity.

Gun violence is another major lefty talking point. But most of the gun violence in this country is gang-related. The problem isn’t the guns. It’s that gangs are flooding into this country and fighting over territory. We don’t have a Second Amendment problem. We have a border security crisis.

The pro-crime movement disempowers police so that ordinary people turn to criminal organizations for protection, replicating the existing model in many of the countries the migrants are coming from. As political radicals destroy civic institutions in their battle for power, gang leaders emerge as rivals to elected officials. That’s already the case in Chicago. It will become the norm in cities across the country.

Most of the vices controlled by organized crime, from gambling to drugs to prostitution to illegal migration, have already been legalized or are on the way to being legalized. This will not, contrary to some optimistic libertarian predictions, result in the destruction of organized crime. Instead, organized crime will thrive in the social chaos of the broken families, shattered communities and lost values.

The Prohibition analogy was wrong. Legalizing crimes doesn’t get rid of organized crime. Men with guns and no morals can always find ways to make money. Especially in a society losing its own morals.

Policies don’t stop crime. Social cohesion does. As a society breaks down, it tries to fight the most obvious symptoms of social breakdown with violence, before embracing the breakdown until there is no longer a distinction between law and criminality, between cops and gangs, and politicians and bosses.

Mass migration breaks down social cohesion. Immigration transformed major cities a hundred years ago, and then took a breather, allowing them to develop their own culture and identity. The organized crime that they brought with them faded as the next generation assimilated and became Americans.

That’s where the New York City, Boston or Philly we know came from. But there are no more geographic restrictions and no breathers. Not when hordes of Somalis are crossing the border on the way to Maine.

America can absorb new immigrants. But it needs time, space and control over the process. And, most of all, it needs to have a culture to absorb them into. Constant mass migration deprives us of the time, space and control. And the Left has deprived us of a culture, leaving nothing but vapidity and guilt.

The collapse of social cohesion wrecks the middle class leading to political radicalism and gang power. Political instability and social instability form a violent cycle which drive each other. The migrants heading north carry their radical politics with them. And the organized criminals who accompany them set up shop and quickly transform political instability into social instability.

That is what is tearing apart America.

Mexico began the great tradition of dumping its social problems in America over a century ago. These days it’s become an extremely profitable endeavor with billions in remittances pouring back in. Latin American countries export unskilled labor and gang members, and get back billions of dollars.

It’s a great deal for them. And a terrible deal for us.

Honduras and El Salvador don’t care if Trump cuts off its foreign aid. Not when remittances make up a fifth of their GDPs. The more of their citizens they get across the border and onto our social services, the more money their countries have. It’s not just the migrants who are exploiting the United States to avoid the social collapse of their countries. Latin American countries are exploiting America wholesale.

And, like a drowning swimmer, they are dragging us down with them even while we try to rescue them.

Latin America is collapsing. But, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s always collapsing. Its people have learned to live like that. If we don’t secure our borders, we’ll have to learn to live that way too.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Brainwashing of a Nation

Brainwashing isn’t a secretive event that takes place in hidden rooms. No hypnotists or vials full of chemicals are required. It takes place every day on a massive scale across the United States.

Unlike Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate, brainwashing does not turn people into hypnotized zombies who would be ready to kill a presidential candidate at a command. Instead, it transforms them into the sort of people who would be willing to kill someone for political reasons.

The distinction is why so few people understand the sources of political radicalism and violence.

Brainwashing isn’t magic, but it can look like magic. The sleight of hand that causes us to think so is our firm belief in our reason and free will. It’s easier to believe in changing minds through hypnotism and drugs, than to understand, what the successful practitioners of brainwashing do, that the human mind is more malleable than we like to think, and that the subconscious is more powerful than the conscious.

The art and science of brainwashing is well known. We don’t know it because we choose not to.

Brainwashing happens every day. It doesn’t have to mean a complete transformation of identity. On the simplest level, it means compelling someone to believe something that isn’t true.

It’s as simple as two cops browbeating an innocent suspect into believing that he’s guilty. The officers and the suspect won’t see their interaction as brainwashing. The officers can honestly believe in his guilt. And, at the end of the process, the suspect will also believe that he committed the crime. He will even be able to describe in great detail how he committed it. That’s common, everyday brainwashing.

The key elements of brainwashing are present in that cold room with the peeling paint on the walls. Those three elements are control, crisis and emotional resonance. To successfully brainwash someone, you have to control their environment, force a crisis on them, and then tap into core emotions, fear, love, guilt, hate, shame, and guide them through the crisis by accepting and internalizing a new belief.

The belief can be anything, but the pseudo-religious ritual taps into an emotional core requiring them to believe that they were bad people, and that by accepting this new belief, they are now good people.

This false conversion is the essence of brainwashing and of leftist political awakening narratives.

The human mind, like the human body, adapts to a crisis with a fight-or-flight response. Brainwashing forces the mind into a flight response. Once in flight mode, the mind can rationalize a new belief as a protective behavior that will keep it safe. Even when, as in the case of the suspect, the new belief will actually destroy his life. Fight or flight mode inhibits long term thinking. In panic mode, destructive and suicidal behaviors seem like solutions because they offer an escape from unbearable chemical stresses.

There’s a good biological reason for that. Our minds stop us from thinking too much in a crisis so that we can take urgent action, like running into a fire or at a gunman, that our rational minds might not allow us to do. But that same function can be ‘hacked’ by artificially putting people into fight-or-flight mode to break them down and shortcut their higher reasoning functions. Decisions reached subconsciously in fight-or-flight mode will then be rationalized and internalized after the initial crisis has passed.

When that internalization happens, then the brainwashing is real.

Almost anyone can be compelled to say anything under enough stress. Many can be forced to believe it. The acid test of brainwashing is whether they will retain that belief once fight-or-flight mode passes.

Cults, abusive relationships and totalitarian movements maintain ‘total crisis’, shutting down higher reasoning, creating a permanent state of stress by triggering fight-or-flight responses unpredictably. This leads to Stockholm Syndrome, where the captive tries to control their fate through total emotional identification with their captor, pack behavior, loss of identity and will, and eventually suicide or death.

Total crisis leads to burnout, emotional exhaustion, detachment from friends and family, and violence.

How do you brainwash a nation?

Control the national environment, force a crisis on the country, and tap into their fear and guilt. And then you can outlaw planes, cows, skyscrapers, straws, plastic bags and the rest of the Green New Deal.

The environmental crisis is just one example of how leftist movements can brainwash a nation.

The growing number of millennials who say that they will not have children because of environmental panic is an example of how brainwashing can make suicidal behavior seem like self-preservation.

Since the Left still lacks total control over the United States, it relies on repetition, itself a form of control and stress, to create fear and panic. It makes up for its lack of physical control by bombarding Americans with messages meant to inspire fear, love, hate and guilt through the media, through the educational system, through entertainment and through every possible messaging channel.

Global Warming panic is one of a succession of manufactured leftist crises in America that began with a class crisis. transitioned to a racial crisis, and then to an environmental crisis.

Each of the crises claimed that society was on track to an inevitable apocalypse, that the nature of the crisis, economic, racial or environmental, had been verified by experts, that we were all complicit in the crisis, and that the only solution was radical change administered by the crisis experts.

The panic over Trump is a micro-crisis of the sort that leftists detonate in the political opposition, but the fear, anger, terror, stress and violence on display are typical of the crisis mode of fight-or-flight.

The “Resistance” isn’t a political movement. It’s a political cult whose crisis was the 2016 election. Its irrational belief that Trump is a Russian agent is typical of the conspiratorial mindset of cults. Its inability to understand that its convictions are completely irrational show how brainwashing works.

The 2016 election inflicted on its members a loss of control. Trump became the crisis embodying their loss of control. Their fear, guilt and anger induced stress that altered their behavior and beliefs.

And, within the very recent past, millions came to believe that Trump was really working for Moscow.

This is brainwashing on a timescale so immediate that we can easily recall it. Yet most of us have trouble understanding how it works and why it works. And that lack of understanding is holding us back.

How can smart people fall for minor variations of the same lie in generation after generation?

Smart people make the best brainwashing targets. Cults recruit bright students on college campuses, they target aspiring executives looking for leadership training, and dissatisfied professionals searching for meaning. Cults are rarely made up of stupid people. They’re made up of smart, vulnerable people.

Human beings don’t behave rationally. We rationalize our behavior.

The more people rationalize, the more they can be brainwashed. Your old Casio digital watch can’t be hacked. Even if it were hacked, there’s not much it could be made to do. Your smartphone can be hacked and made to do more. Your desktop can be hacked and made to do even more. Intelligence doesn’t make us less vulnerable to being manipulated, it leaves us much more vulnerable.

The political brainwashing campaign in this country targets the upper class and the middle class. The best subjects for brainwashing are intelligent and emotionally vulnerable. They’re easier to manipulate by using the gap between their emotions and their reason, and their emotional instability makes it easier to force them into crisis mode. The ideal subjects are in their teens and their early twenties. In modern times, that’s a period in which identity is still developing, and can be fractured and remade.

That’s why the Left aims most of its brainwashing efforts at high school and college students. It’s why it prioritized control of the educational system and the entertainment industry above all else.

Both of these have become highly profitable brainwashing industries: one sugar-coated, and one bitter.

Classrooms and campuses provide physical control over students for nearly two decades of their lives. That control was initially used for simple dogmatic preaching. Then it escalated to cult behavior with classroom role-playing rituals encouraging mass expressions of love and hate, transformations of sexual and gender identity, detachment from friends and family, and violent displays of pain and rage.

The modern American identity politics campus looks a whole lot like Jonestown or a Hitler Youth rally.

Exploiting sexuality, triggering guilt and shame in children, to transform their identity was usually the work of the lowest savage tribes and the vilest cults. It’s now the American education system.

The techniques aren’t new. They’re as evil and old as time itself.

Like every cult, the modern campus claims to serve an educational purpose, helping students find meaning and purpose, but insisting that they must first be cured of the subconscious evils such as white privilege and toxic masculinity that are holding them back through a process that deconstructs their barriers, encourages confession, expressions of trauma, shame and guilt, to create new identities.

This isn’t education. It’s not even dogmatic lecturing. It’s the same basic set of techniques used by any major cult in the country. Once colleges began trying to cure their students of subconscious evils at closed sessions, under the guidance of unlicensed therapists associated with a movement, there was no longer any difference between them and that of any cult, except billions in taxpayer dollars.

The sessions at which white privilege or toxic masculinity can be cured, or at which students are put in touch with the trauma of their oppression as minorities, duplicate cult indoctrination in every regard.

They’re the successors of consciousness raising groups whose name even signaled their cultish nature.

Despite attempts to wrap leftist politics in the objective garb of the expert, the scientist, the scholar and the bureaucrat, its heart lay in its spiritual narrative of a struggle between an altruistic good and a materialistic evil, the inevitable historical triumph of progress over reaction, and the pseudo-religious induction of new recruits into the gnostic revelation of our oppressive world with its layered conspiracies of capitalism, sexism and racism. The original ‘red pill’. Or, ‘little red book’.

To non-cult members, it’s brainwashing. To cult members, it’s revelation. The distinction may seem like a matter of perspective between believers and non-believers, but it lies in the question of consent. Brainwashing always relies on removing control from the victim. The control may be taken openly, by force. It can be taken covertly through manipulation and deceit. But there is always a loss of control.

The victim does not understand the process by which they are being taken apart and put back together until much later. And if the process works as intended, he or she may never realize it happened at all. Brainwashing’s cruelest trick lies in using the intelligence of its victim as its greatest ally in building a trap for its own ego and its consciousness that it cannot escape from without a great deal of determination.

Like drug addiction, the aftermath of brainwashing transforms the mind into a convoluted maze of rationalizations for self-destructive behavior that are guarded by biology and the subconscious. It cannot be escaped without breaking down the defense mechanisms that were put into place to avoid reexperiencing the original trauma, and without examining the emotions behind the mechanisms.

Brainwashing can create new ideas and realities, but it can’t create new emotions. All it can do is amplify them and use them to induce in its subject a new belief in an altered reality. It doesn’t create guilt, shame, fear, love or hate. It amplifies, exploits them and uses them as tools to create stress, force a crisis, and then transform a single belief or an entire identity.

That is why the Left cannot be defeated through policy debates and intellectual abstractions. It is a belief system. Though it traffics in seeming abstractions, these are a language, but not the meaning. The esoteric languages of policy and pop culture in which it speaks are vehicles for a deeper language of primal emotions. Behind the theories and manifestos is a great darkness of fear and terror, of love and hate, of emotional instability and vulnerability on which its lies and propaganda are built.

And it is within that primal darkness out of which all evil is born that the brainwashing does its work.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Who Can Count the Dust of Jacob?

"Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the seed of Israel." Numbers 23:10

The sun sets above the hills. The siren cries out and on the busy highways that wend among the hills, the traffic stopsthe people stop, and a moment of silence comes to a noisy country.

Flags fly at half mast, the torch of remembrance is lit, memorial candles are held in shaking hands and the country's own version of the Flanders Field poppy, the Red Everlasting daisy, dubbed Blood of the Maccabees, adorns lapels. And so begins the Yom Hazikaron, Heroes Remembrance Day, the day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror-- Israel's Memorial Day.

What is a memorial day in a country that has always known war and where remembrance means adding the toll of one year's dead and wounded to the scales of history? A country where war never ends, where the sirens may pause but never stop, where each generation grows up knowing that they will have to fight or flee. To stand watch or run away. It is not so much the past that is remembered on this day, but the present and the future. The stillness, a breath in the warm air, before setting out to climb the slopes of tomorrow.

Who can count the dust of Jacob.

And yet each memorial day we count the dust. The dust that is a fraction of those who have fallen defending the land for thousands of years. Flesh wears out, blood falls to the earth where the red daisies grow, and bone turns to dust. The dust blows across the graves of soldiers and prophets, the tombs of priests hidden behind brush, the caverns where forefathers rest in sacred silence, laid to rest by their sons, who were laid to rest by their own sons, generations burying the past, standing guard over it, being driven away and returning each time.

On Memorial Day, the hands of memory are dipped in the dust raising it to the blue sky. A prayer, a whisper, a dream of peace. And the wind blows the candles out. War follows. And once again blood flows into the dust. A young lieutenant shading his eyes against the sun. An old man resting with his family on the beach. Children climbing into bed in a village on a hilltop. And more bodies are laid to rest in the dust. Until dust they become.

In this land, the Maker of Stars and Dust vowed to Abraham that his children would be as many as the dust of the earth and the stars of heaven. In their darkest days, they would be as the dust. But there is mercy in the numberless count of the dust. Mercy in not being able to make a full count of the fallen and remaining ignorant of that full measure of woe. Modern technologies permit us terrible estimates. Databanks store the names of millions; digital cemeteries of ghosts. But there is no counting the dust. And when we walk the length and breadth of the land, as the Maker told Abraham to do, it the dust that supports our feet, we walk in the dust of our ancestors.

Some new countries are built to escape from the past, but there is no escaping it in these ancient hills. IDF soldiers patrol over ground once contested by empires, tread over spearheads and the wheels of chariots buried deep in the earth. The Assyrians and the Babylonians came through here in all their glory. Greek and Roman soldiers and mercenaries pitted themselves against the handful of Judeans who came out of the Babylonian exile. The Ottoman and the Arab raged here, and Crusader battering rams and British Enfield rifles still echo in the quiet hills.

Here in the silence of remembrance the present is always the past and the sky hangs like a thin veil fluttering against the future. The believers cast their prayers out of their mouths against the veil. The soldiers cast their lives and their hearts. And still the future flutters above, like the sky near enough to touch, but out of reach. Beneath it, the sky-blue flag, the stripe of the believer's shawls adorned with the interlocked star of the House of David.

Can these bones live, the Lord asks Ezekiel. And generations, after each slaughter, they come again, the descendants of the dead to reclaim the hills of their ancestors. Rising like the red flowers out of the soil. Like the bones out of the earth. They come up as slaves out of Egypt and out of the captivity of empires, their tongues as numberless as the earth. Here they come again to set up kingdoms and nations. And there in shadows on the dust, a handful of men fight off a legion; swords, spears and rifles in hand they face down impossible odds. They fight and die, but they go on.

The calendar itself is a memorial. Israel's Memorial Day, Independence Day and Lag BaOmer; the  commemoration of the original Yom Yerushalayim, the brief liberation of Jerusalem from the Romans, still covertly remembered in bonfires and bows shot into the air, all in a season that begins with Passover, the exodus that set over a million people off on a forty-year journey to return to the homeland of their forefathers.

The battles today are new, but they are also very old. The weapons are new, but the struggle is the same. Who will remain and who will be swept away. Some 3,000 years ago, Judge Jephthah and the King of Ammon were exchanging messages not too different from those being passed around as diplomatic communiques today. The King of Ammon demanding land for peace and the Judge laying out the Israeli case for the land in a message that the enemy would hardly trouble to read before going to war.

Take a stray path in these hills and you may find a grinning terrorist with a knife, or the young David pitting his slingshot against a lion or bear. This way the Maccabees rush ahead against the armies of a slave empire and this way a helicopter passes low overhead on the way to Gaza. Time is a fluid thing here. And what you remember; you shall find.

The soldier is not so sacred as he once was. The journalist and the judge have taken his place. The actors sneer from their theaters. The politicians gobble their free food and babble of peace. Musicians sing shrilly of flowers in gun barrels and doves everywhere. But the soldier still stands where he must. The borders have shrunk. The old victories have been exchanged for diplomatic defeats. From the old strongholds come missiles and rockets. And children hide in bomb shelters waiting for the worst to pass. This is the doing of the journalist and the judge, the politician and the actor, the lions of literature who send autographed copies of their books to imprisoned terrorists and the grandchildren of great men who hire themselves on in service to the enemy.

The man who serves is still sacred, but the temple of duty is desecrated more and more each year. Leftist academics dismiss the heroes of the past as myths or murderers. Their wives dress in black and harass soldiers at checkpoints, their children wrap their faces in Keffiyas and throw stones at them. Draft dodging, once a black mark of shame, has become a mark of pride among the left. Some boast about how easy it is, others enlist only to then refuse to serve. They call themselves Refusniks , accepting the Soviet view of Israel as an illegitimate warmongering state, but laying claim to the name of the Zionists who fought to escape the Soviet Union.

Some are only afraid, but some are filled with hate. They have looked into a twisted mirror and drunk of the poisoned wine. They have found their Inner Cain and go now to slay their brothers with words.

How shall I curse whom G-d has not cursed, asks Balaam. But the King of Moab is determined to have his curses anyway. And today it is to the UN that they come for curses. The Arab lands boil with  blood, but resolution after resolution follows damning Israel. China squats on the mountains of Tibet, Russian government thugs throw dissidents out of windows and Iranian thugs assault girls for removing their hijabs. And still the resolutions come like curses.

In a land built on memory, it is possible not to remember, but it is impossible to entirely forget. A war of memories comes. A war for the dust. Is this a day of remembrance or a day of shame. Were those men who fought and died for Judea and Samaria, for the Golan and Jerusalem, for every square inch of land when the armies of Arab dictators came to push them into the sea, heroes or villains. Were Nasser, Hussein, Saddam, Arafat, Gaddafi, Assad and the House of Saud the real heroes all along. The tiny minority of 360 million pitted against the overwhelming majority of 6 million.

Yet though men may forget, the dust remembers. And the men return to it. For some four thousand years they have done it. And they shall do it again. For He who has made men of the dust and made worlds of the dust of stars does not forget. As the stars turn in whirling galaxies and the dust flies across the land, so the people return to the land. And though they forget, they remember again. For the dust is the memory of ages and the children shall always return to the dust of their ancestors.

In the cities, towns and villages-- the dead are remembered. Those who died with weapons in their hands and those who just died. Men, women and children. Drops of blood cast to the dust, reborn as flowers on lapels. Reborn as memory.

All go to one place, said King Solomon, all that lives is of the dust, and all returns to the dust. There is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his works. And so memorial day precedes the day of independence. That we rejoice in that which those who sleep in the dust have died to protect. The skyscrapers and the orchards, the sheep ranches and the highways, the schools and the synagogues. For they who drained the swamps and built the roads, who held guard over the air and built the cities, may not have lived to see their works. But we rejoice in their works for them. And a new generation rises to watch over their dust and tend the works that they have built. Until the day when He that counts the dust of Jacob shall count them all, and the land shall stir, and in the words of Daniel, they that sleep in dust shall arise, and then rejoice with us.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

8 Years of Media Lies About the Syrian Civil War Exposed

The end of the big lie about the origins of the Syrian Civil War began on the Arizona border.

Claas Relotius, a German reporter for Der Spiegel, had written a piece about being embedded with a
militia patrolling the Arizona border for illegal migrants. Gullible German leftist readers were regaled with tales of the militia, whose leader called Mexicans "bean eaters" and, at the end of the article, opened fire into the night. It was one of a series of Relotius articles delving into Trump country with novelistic accounts of pro-Trump Americans that confirmed all the stereotypes of Der Spiegel’s readers.

But the residents depicted in the Minnesota town in which ‘Where They Pray for Trump on Sundays’ is set quickly pointed out that much of the article was factually wrong and that Relotius had never even bothered talking to the people he claimed to have been writing about. And a woman doing media relations for the militia contacted Der Spiegel and informed the magazine that he had never been there.

That was the beginning of the end.

But Relotius had not confined his creative journalism to depictions of Trump’s America. He was better known for his writing about the Middle East. As the scandal that was about to demolish his reputation was breaking, Relotius was receiving a Journalist of the Year award for a very different kind of story. (That award and a number of others, including two from CNN, would soon be returned or withdrawn.)

But the exposure of the particular story that Relotius was receiving an award for on that day has been slow in coming because its roots go deep into a fake news matrix that predates the fraud of one German reporter. It’s the story of an eight-year fake news scam used to mythologize the Syrian Civil War.

Relotius was honored with the ‘Journalist of the Year’ award for the story of one of the ‘boys’ who had started the Syrian Civil War by spraying graffiti on a wall. The story has since been withdrawn, but the case of Relotius impelled one German media site to take a closer look at its larger contradictions.

The Arab Spring regime change operations coordinated by the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, the Obama administration, and some of its European allies began with propagandistic origin stories to justify the violence and the overthrow of the targeted governments. In Tunisia, it was a street vendor who had been slapped by a policewoman. The story of the slap turned out to be fake and his family blames his bizarre reaction, setting himself on fire, on a sexist reaction to being humiliated by a woman.

The Syrian Civil War’s origin story was of a group of boys who were detained and tortured after one of them spray-painted anti-government graffiti. In Child’s Play, Relotius became one of the final journalists to go back for a drink of dirty water from a tainted well that had trickled into international media outlets from CNN to Qatar’s Al Jazeera, from Vice to Time Magazine, from the Globe and Mail to NPR.

There’s usually a boy at the center of the story. The one boy who scrawled “It’s Your Turn, Doctor” and started the cycle of violence that led to the fighting in Daraa and then across Syria.

But his name and identity keep changing all the time.

On March 2017, almost exactly six years after the original story broke out, the Daily Mail ran a story headlined, The Boy Whose Graffiti Changed the World. The boy in question is named NaiefAbazid, who claims to have been 14-years-old when he scrawled the graffiti that started the war.

Four years earlier, in 2013, the UK’s Daily Mail ran another story, Revealed: The Boy Prankster Who Triggered Syria's Bloody Genocide with Slogans Sprayed in His Schoolyard.

His name is Bashir Abazed and he was 15-years-old.

Both stories from the same media outlet claim that the two different boys were both the ones who started the Syrian civil war by scrawling the same phrase, “It’s Your Turn, Doctor” on the wall.

In 2017, the Globe and Mail featured its boy in a headline titled, How I Found the Teenager Who Inadvertently Sparked the Syrian War. His name is also Naief Abazid.

In 2018, Qatar’s Al Jazeera Islamist news network claimed thatthe "boy credited with prompting Syria’s uprising" was a 14-year-old named Mouawiya Syasneh.

In 2016, Canada’s Reuters reported that the boy who wrote the slogan that started it all was actually a 16-year-old named Mohammed.

Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung ran its own 2016 article, The Boy and his Graffiti that Started the War in Syria. In the Zeitung’s version, his name is Abdulrahman al-Krad and he was only 10-years old. Even though al-Krad is also in Jordan, his name doesn’t appear to be mentioned by non-German media.

Germany’s Die Welt, in its 2013 article, The Civil War in Syria Began With This Boy, claimed that the boy was actually 15-year-old Bashir Abazed.

In 2012, NPR published an interview with an anonymous man in Jordan who, “at 19 years old, he has the face of a 40-year-old.” That would have made him an adult at the time of the graffiti incident.

In 2013, the New York Times published an interview with a“faceless” 17-year-old in Jordan, wearing a Syrian flag over his face, who claimed it had been his cousin. The man in the photo does not look like a teenager. The reason for the anonymity is given as a need to protect relatives back in Syria, but if he had actually been detained and tortured by the regime, wouldn’t the authorities already know who he was?

The New York Times article furthermore claimed that the boy who wrote the graffiti was dead. How then could Al Jazeera, and so many other media outlets spend years claiming to have talked to him?

Even the most hardened media apologist would have to admit that there is a fundamental contradiction.

There are at least 6 boys who started the war. Some of them are actually men. They all have different names. Some have different ages. Even the accounts of the ages of their friends who were also there, ranging from 9-year-olds to adults, vary wildly between different stories from major media outlets.

As in Mark Twain’s The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg, they declare that they were the ones who wrote, “It’s your turn, Doctor” -- the Syrian equivalent of Twain’s: “You are far from being a bad man.”

Reporting on a war in another country is tricky, but none of the stories attempt to reconcile or recognize their basic contradictions. The media insists on the right to fact check conservatives and erase them from social media, but fails at the most elementary fact checking when it comes to its own stories.

In their sensationalist stories about how the Syrian Civil War began, media outlets failed to even acknowledge that other outlets had published claims that fundamentally contradicted their own.

If they really believed their own reporting, they would have defended it.

Instead, Mohamed, Naief, Bashir, Mouawiya, and Abdulrahmanall got their 15 minutes of fame. And the journalists who claimed to have interviewed them in cafes, safe houses, or ruined cities, posing smilingly for photos or hiding their faces, were celebrated and even honored for their contradictory stories.

Why did Claas Relotius believe he could get away with it? The same reason that most criminals commit crimes. They’re socialized by their surroundings to believe that crime is normal and laws don’t matter.

Claas Relotius was only the latest media journalist to wade into the story of the boy who started the war. And, looking over the previous accounts, the contradictory media stories all listing different boys as the one who started the war, he would have seen no reason not to add his own boy to the mix.

Relotius was lying. But it was a lie so commonplace in his industry that it was normative behavior.

The story of the boy who started the war demonstrates that the term ‘Fake News’ is not an insult, but an accurate description of the media’s preference for narratives over truth. Relotius’ only mistake was making up stories about pro-Trump Americans whom he assumed wouldn’t be able to read German.

The 6 boys’ story is undeniable proof that the media cannot be trusted to police its own facts, let alone those of its political opponents. That it is not an industry of facts, but an assembly line of propaganda. And that its reporting on major issues, including wars in other countries, is quite often fake news.

If you don’t believe that, ask the media how the Syrian Civil War started. Then ask if his name was Mohamed, Naief, Bashir, Mouawiya, or Abdulrahman.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine at the above link.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Declare War on Russia or Shut Up

The Mueller Report has come and gone leaving behind neither collusion nor obstruction. But in the time that has passed, the Democrats have shown that they won’t give up their pet conspiracy theory.

The post-Mueller efforts of House Democrats to interest the public in scandals about White House
security clearances and Trump's tax returns failed miserably because they lacked the drama, the unfolding layers of conspiracies, and the delegitimization of the 2016 election that Russiagate offers.

After Attorney General Barr's summary of the Mueller Report, the Democrat media held out hope that the full report would prove collusion. When it failed to do that, House Democrats have promised to hold as many hearings as it takes until even CNN stops inviting Rep. Adam Schiff to snack in its green rooms.

Conspiracy theories don't just go away. You can't prove a negative. There's no factual way to conclusively show that President Trump wasn't secretly elected by Moscow.

Every time you disprove a conspiracy theory, another layer of conspiracies is discovered underneath. When Barr summed up the Mueller Report, the theorists retreated to the ‘real’ report. When the report was released, they retreated to the redactions and to secret referrals for prosecution. If Mueller were to tell them they're wrong, it would be proof that the Russians have a tape of him in a Moscow hotel room.

Conspiracy theories can't be disproven. You can only humiliate and discredit the conspiracy theorists.

The details of the Russiagate conspiracy theory, that some combination of Russian Facebook trolling, most of which took place after the election and targeted black people, and the hacking of the emails of Hillary's campaign chair, whose contents no one outside the media and political activists cared about, somehow swung the election, are gibberish. But the facts don’t matter in the paranoid style of politics.

Hillary Clinton, whose people invented the Russia conspiracy theory and used it to convince Obama officials to spy on Trump allies and staffers, compared it to 9/11. Other Democrats and media outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times compared it to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.

“This was an act of war, in my view,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said. Senator Tim Kaine also thought it was an act of war. Senator Ben Cardin said that the election conspiracy amounts to an "act of war". Rep. Steven Cohen also agreed that it was an act of war.

An "undeclared, but very real, 'war' has already come to the United States," Senator Chris Coons claimed.

If they really believe that Facebook trolling is an act of war, then they should declare war on Russia.

President Trump can’t declare war. Only Congress can do that. President Trump should ask Democrats to put up or shut up with a declaration of war. If they truly believe in their conspiracy theories, if they really think that what happened was as bad as 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, that it was, in their own words, an “act of war”, they should have no problem voting unanimously for a declaration of war against Russia.

Democrats began raving about the need to mobilize for a Green New Deal, as if it were WW2, but when they were given the opportunity to vote on the Green New Deal, they all voted against it.

Russiagate is even bigger than banning cows and planes to save the planet from flying cow flatulence.

Democrats keep claiming that the Facebook trolling, which was as bad as 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, is an act of war. Yet they seem reluctant to actually do anything to Russia. Instead they want to fight Russia until the last surviving Trump family member and associate. They should have the opportunity to vote on a Russia war resolution. And then be forced to explain why they voted against their own rhetoric.

If they truly believe that what happened was an act of war, why won’t they defend America? If they don’t believe it, then they’ve spent the past few years lying in order to bring down a president.

In a crowded field of 2020 candidates, not a single one has promised to go to war with Russia.

"A hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump," Senator Elizabeth Warren claimed. She whined that Trump is not “responding with strength” to Putin, but then rebuked him for a proposed arms race with Russia. Instead, she wants to cut the military and work with the Europeans to sanction Russia. Even though that’s what President Trump has already been doing.

"We're all clear that Russia attacked our country during the 2016 election and that they are continuing to attack us today," Senator Kamala Harris declared. Her proposed response to that is to “make sure that the American public recognizes who is trying to sow hate and division among us”.

They’re called Senate Democrats.

If Senator Harris really believes that Russia attacked us, her solution would be more robust than a speech. Instead, Harris and other Democrats are using Neo-McCarthyism to sow division and hate.

When President Trump responded to Russian arms accord cheating by pulling out of the fake INF Treaty, Harris wailed that Trump needed to go back and negotiate with the Russians.

"This is a Paul Revere moment," Senator Cory Booker speechified two years ago. "The Russians are coming, what are we going to do about it?"

Apparently, nothing. Two years later, Revere is still snoozing on his horse in the barn.

"We were attacked. We know who did it," Senator Spartacus tweeted last year. "The attacks from Russia will continue unless met with strength."

How does he propose to do that? His Senate campaign foreign policy page doesn’t even mention Russia. The Paul Revere moment is so urgent that he couldn’t even find the time to write up a policy position.

President Trump can offer Booker, Harris, Warren and all the rest the opportunity to meet Russia with “strength”. All that House and Senate Democrats have to do is put forward a joint war resolution.

Except that the Democrats never seem to want to do anything about Russia over this act of war.

The solution that House and Senate Democrats keep proposing is holding more hearings about Trump. That and censoring social media so that no one who disagrees with the media can ever be heard again.

Is that their idea of “strength”?

Rep. Eric Swalwell commemorated September 11 with an editorial comparing Russian Facebook trolling to 9/11. “We can still show our enemies that we will stand together in the face of aggression. We can still put country ahead of party. We can still create an independent, bipartisan commission,” he vowed.

The California Democrat was obviously echoing Churchill’s stirring words, "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall create an independent bipartisan commission in France. We shall create an independent bipartisan commission on the seas and oceans. We shall create an independent bipartisan commission on the beaches whatever the cost may be, we shall create an independent bipartisan commission on the landing grounds, and another one in the fields, and even the streets."

Swalwell suggested nuking gun owners, but he wants to fight Russian aggression with a commission?

Even though Swalwell is running on “Russia, Russia, Russia”, he cares so much about Russia that the one word his House Foreign Affairs and Defense page never even mentions is… “Russia”.

Democrats keep invoking wartime emergencies to justify subversion of civil liberties at home, but they’re laughably unwilling to treat their supposed “act of war”, their 9/11, as a wartime emergency.

They want to deprive us of our rights at home, and then fight Russia with hearings and commissions.

They want to censor the internet and remove the President of the United States from office because of this “act of war”, and then they might sanction Russia a little bit, before holding some more hearings.

Nyet, Comrades. You can’t call for a wartime emergency at home, when you won’t vote for one abroad.

The Democrats don’t know anything about Russia and don’t care. They couldn’t find Moscow on a map if they were offered their weight in rubles. They claim Russia attacked America, but their only response is to hold more hearings to investigate Trump. They want to fight Russia until the last Trump associate.

A Russia war vote would force them to put or shut up.

And then every time they tried claiming that Trump’s victory was a Russian act of war, they would have to explain why they had the opportunity to vote on a war declaration, but ran from it like rabbits.

The only way to make the Russiagate conspiracy theory go away is to completely destroy the credibility of the liars, hacks and frauds who have been using it as a pretext to attack the legitimacy of a free election, to remove a sitting president, and to undermine the First Amendment. No more cartoons of Trump in a Russian fur hat, no more Neo-McCarthyist efforts to connect every Republican organization from the RNC to the NRA to Russia, no more reports, investigations, hearings and witch hunts.

Either declare war on Russia or shut up.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine at the above link.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

The Green New Deal Comes to New York

A ban on skyscrapers. Wind turbines in the middle of one of the most overcrowded and noisiest cities on earth. Billions in building renovation costs. Stopping natural gas. Shutting down all the power plants.

The Green New Deal is coming to New York City.

“We are going to ban the glass and steel skyscrapers which are inefficient,” Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on MSNBC.

That was the first warning most New Yorkers got of what their radical city government had wrought.

"We're actually making the Green New Deal come alive here in New York City," the leftist mayor explained. As if anyone except for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez thought that was a good thing.

The Big Apple has no cows to ban. And without planes, it would be cut off from the rest of the planet. But its version of the Green New Deal will still find dozens of ways to make New Yorkers miserable.

Bill de Blasio claimed that the city would switch completely to ‘renewables’ in only 5 years. That would be a spectacular achievement since neither solar nor wind energy work all that well in New York.

New York ranks 47 out of 50 states in average sunlight hours at only 3.79. It’s windier than it is sunnier, but still only comes in at 28 out of 50 with an average annual windspeed of 0.05 miles per hours. Turbines need winds of 10 miles an hour to start working and city winds are not only erratic, when they blow, they come from different directions, making conventional wind energy setups all but useless.

The New York Times even noted that the city’s turbines were for show, with the builder of the city’s first wind turbine building installation admitting that they barely did anything. “On a good day, there’s maybe enough energy to power the common areas,” he said, “but we don’t get a lot of good days.”

“Our installers spend more time convincing people not to build turbines than to build them,” New York State’s turbine program director said. “The conditions really have to be ideal.”

But now there are a whole lot of mandatory wind turbines coming to New York City’s rooftops.

One of the Green New Deal bills mandates either solar panels, plants or wind turbines on roofs. There’s also a bill pushing large wind turbines. Aside from killing birds, wind turbines make lots of noise. And they have been known to catch fire or collapse. When that happens, metal can turn into shrapnel that has been known to travel for as much as a mile. Who needs terrorism when scrap metal from a badly installed wind turbine rains down on Manhattan commuters?

But that won’t stop New York’s version of the Green New Deal, the Climate Mobilization Act. The Act is a package of 10 bills, three of these include massive building retrofits, including the so-called ‘Skyscraper Ban’, that would force major revamping of even existing buildings, while also creating a loan program.

7 others call for a study on replacing the city’s 21 power plants with solar, wind and batteries, mandate turbines and solar panels on roofs, and stop a pipeline meant to bring natural gas to New York.

The skyscraper ban meanwhile targets buildings over 25,000 square feet with fines if they don’t reduce energy usage. That’s why Bill de Blasio was announcing the end of the glass and steel skyscraper.

One of De Blasio’s flunkies estimated that it would take $4 billion in work to meet those targets. That’s heavily optimistic and unrealistic. It may easily cost a hundred times that and still fail because its targets can’t be met. And the plan depends on believing that its existence will create an energy efficiency boom. The technology and financials that will enable it to work will come into being because of its existence.

But the skyscrapers aren’t actually going anywhere. Middle class housing is another matter.

If your skyscraper is using too much energy, you can offset it by buying renewable energy credits. It’s the same old scam in which a fake crisis is used to feed money to powerful green energy donors.

Meanwhile a Queens co-op of senior citizens on fixed incomes is facing climate regulation doomsday.

“To get down to even 20 percent from where I am today, with the technology that exists, there’s nothing more that I can do,” a co-op board president said. “It’s not like there’s this magic wand.”

They can dig into their fixed incomes to buy “renewable energy credits” from green billionaires.

That’s what the Green New Deal and every environmental measure comes down to. Rent seeking regs are used to steal money from the struggling middle class and put it into the pockets of wealthy lefties.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in traditional radical fashion, is selling this as a crackdown on the skyscrapers of the wealthy. But the ugly reality is that it’s stealing money from senior citizens to give to green investors.

Stopping a natural gas pipeline won’t hurt the city’s new elites. It will be the senior citizens that will freeze. Tight energy use regulations won’t keep Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and the rest of the expat hipsters from using central air, with wind turbines on their building roofs for show, but it will mean that working class New Yorkers won’t be able to run their air conditioners in the killing summer heat.

Living in New York City already isn’t affordable. The Green New Deal will make it impossible.

These regulations will squeeze what’s left of the city’s middle class out. They will make it impossible for anyone who isn’t wealthy or on welfare to remain in New York City. That’s what they are meant to do.

“We are on the precipice of climate disaster, and New York City is acting,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson declared.

New York City is on the precipice of disaster, but it isn’t caused by the climate, but by the Coreys.

"I remember the devastation of Hurricane Sandy like it was yesterday. There weren’t many climate change deniers left in our city. Not after that," Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.

Hurricanes are a reality of living in the region. What made Sandy so devastating wasn’t climate change, it was the ineptness and poor planning of city, state and federal authorities who failed to prepare, provide aid or produce a plan for dealing with a natural disaster. Blackouts that took down the power grid, including hospitals, occurred because power plants had been positioned right next to the water.

New York City is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, not because of climate, but because of government mismanagement. Instead of building an energy grid and communications infrastructure capable of coping with a hurricane, billions are being diverted into a bizarre plan to change the weather with fines and taxes. No matter how many fines and taxes are imposed, the weather will not change.

What will change is livability.

The emissions caps will dramatically raise the cost of living in New York City. It will eliminate all housing except that geared to the wealthy and the welfare class. It will also push more businesses out of the city. And that will take more jobs out of a city that already barely has an economy that benefits its residents.

Billions will flow into the companies of environmentalist donors. The targets, total renewable energy in 5 years, won’t be met. Skyscrapers will continue to be built, and the power plants will remain. The energy that powers the city will still come from oil and gas. But everyone will be obligated to buy renewable credits that have nothing to do with the actual sources of residential and commercial power.

Everyone in New York will get their power from ‘brown energy’ while paying companies in windier and sunnier states for ‘green energy’ that they will never access. And they won’t know any better.

There will be a small useless wind turbine on their roofs and some even more useless solar panels.

And, occasionally, an actual wind turbine will malfunction and take off somebody’s head. For the environment.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine at the above link.

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And thank you for reading.