Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Social Economics of Wokeness

What’s the appeal of ‘Wokeness’?
Let’s take two recent examples, Senator Kamala Harris and Terminator: Dark Fate. Both clunkers have two things in common. They’re overhyped vehicles that wasted millions of dollars of other people’s money, $25 million or so for Kamala, and an estimated $100 million for Terminator: Dark Fate, for negligible results, Kamala is polling at 2%, and Terminator: Dark Fate blew its opening weekend.
And they both took out identity politics insurance policies against their eventual failure.
Kamala didn’t run on identity politics just because it was a good winning strategy, but also because it was a good losing strategy. That’s why, as her campaign sinks, she keeps emphasizing two things, that she’s always won elections in the past, and that, if she loses, it’s because America may not be ”ready for a woman of color to be President of the United States”. Kamala isn’t losing. America is losing.
Like a lot of movie franchises with no reason to exist, Terminator: Dark Fate adopted ‘wokeness’ as its identity. It’s the latest in a series of ‘woke’ franchise cash cows to bomb, not because of their politics, but because their politics couldn’t disguise the hollowness of the cash grab at the heart of the movie.
Kamala’s candidacy also had no reason to exist. Neither Democrats nor Republicans, insiders nor outsiders, can define what the hell her message is, except the hollowness of her own ambitions. Like Obama, she tried to use identity politics and borrowed radicalism to disguise the hollowness, but just like movies, the difference between a bad cash-in and a good one is style, art, and entertainment value.
The only thing entertaining about Kamala’s candidacy or Terminator: Dark Fate are their failures.
‘Wokeness’ isn’t just a selling point for bad candidates and bad movies with no reason to exist except synergy and greed, which are two ways of saying the same thing, it also justifies their failures.
‘Wokeness’ may go broke, but nobody ever pays the price except the money people.
Kamala Harris took out an insurance policy by running on identity politics. Her defeat will not be due to her decisions or her flaws, but to America’s unreadiness for a half-black, half-Indian woman to be president. And since there probably won’t be another one of those running, her premise isn’t even disprovable. Terminator: Dark Fate defined itself around challenging sexism. And so that $100 million in estimated losses isn’t anyone’s fault except that of the sexists who weren’t ready to go watch it.
The ‘wokeness’ insurance policy has bigger and broader applications than a bad candidate and a bad movie. It’s all around us. Why is Dick’s Sporting Goods doubling down on its anti-gun politics after losing hundreds of millions of dollars? Because its ‘principled’ position was never about principles. It was a PR strategy to cover a risky shift away from its old customer base to a trendy urban outdoor sports market.
If Dick’s had played it safe, by selling firearms, while still making the transition, and failed, its leadership would have taken all the blame. Instead, Dick’s jettisoned its old customer base while appealing to its new customer base with a show of ‘wokeness’, while its leaders are hailed as heroes for their farce. Whatever happens to Dick’s, its leadership will never be seen as failures, but as courageous activists.
This cynical game pervades corporate life where ‘wokeness’ is an insurance policy for risky gambits, especially among start-ups and financial institutions. A controversial ad campaign, a minority CEO, and an environmental initiative are insurance policies against social and reputational failure by big business.
The ancient Greeks sacrificed to the gods before any risky venture. Their pagan descendants sacrifice to the gods of political correctness, they read the entrails of ‘wokeness’, and go forth fatalistically. If they succeed, it’s because they’re good people. If they fail, they’re still good people, but they failed because of the evil people, the racists, the sexists, the gun owners, and the enemies of all that is woke and true.
Success isn’t attributable to hard work, but to the right beliefs. Failure doesn’t bear any responsibility, but is due to a society that isn’t progressive enough to allow a project with the right values to succeed.
‘Wokeness’ shifts the axis of responsibility away from the individual and to all that it believes is evil.
This is as true of ordinary people as it is of giant corporations or presidential candidates. Identity politics indemnifies its heirs against failure, whether they’re Kamala Harris or the person in the next cubicle. Oppressed minorities never fail, like Kamala or a feminist killer robot, they are failed by society. To be underprivileged is be hailed for anything short of total disaster, with zero expectations or accountability.
What we think of as ‘wokeness’ elevated the social economics of embracing leftist politics from individuals to major corporations. By prioritizing social values over economic ones, the new credos of socially responsible investing and socially responsible corporate governance, and putting stakeholders over shareholders, upholding leftist politics became more important than making money.
That’s the appeal of ‘wokeness’.
Hard work is hard. Saying the right things isn’t.
Freedom of Speech is a part of the American work ethic because we were a society where what you did mattered, not what you said, what you accomplished, not to which group you belonged. That’s why America, not Europe, Africa, China, Russia, or whichever part of the world lefties think we should be more like this week, actually developed civil rights and the most equal society in the world.
Meritocracy is inherently equalizing. Ideological systems, no matter how much they preach the cant of equality, are inherently unequal because ideology is never accountable to anything outside itself.
Leftist politics are clerical politics. Their theology of values has been embedded into every institution, making the very idea of separation of church and state into an obscene mockery. And the essence of theocracy is the conviction that what you believe matters far more than whether you get results.
‘Wokeness’ is just the buzzword of the moment whose real meaning is that society is being reinvented from a meritocracy based around hard work to a theocracy for the exponents of leftist beliefs. It’s an engine that defines success in terms of its values while removing the penalty for real-world failure.
Of course, ‘wokeness’ is a huge hit. Unlike its movies.
Who’s likeliest to go ‘woke’? The lazy, the incompetent, the corrupt, the greedy, the insecure, and the powerful who want to keep a hold on power without having to honestly compete for it. Is it any wonder that the ‘wokest’ corps are huge corporations that once had a good product, but are just living off their brand and anti-competitive business model, e.g. Nike, Apple, Google, Procter & Gamble (Gillette), Disney, and the usual suspects who spend more money on diversity than on customer satisfaction?
Corporate America’s biggest ‘woke’ fans have a ‘broke’ product and no desire to do any better.
Meritocracy means that the lazy and the incompetent can’t just rest on their laurels. If people and organizations are judged by the work they do, then the elite must work harder than everyone else.
As the twenties of the twenty-first century dawn, would anyone accuse America’s elites, its political, academic, corporate, and government leaders of working harder than everyone else? There was a time when our elites, love them or loathe them, were overachievers. These days, a Harvard degree or a spot as a Fortune 500 CEO are as likely to demonstrate clerical membership as dedication and hard work.
The appeal of ‘wokeness’ to a lazy and incompetent elite, to an Obama or a Warren are obvious. They are just as obvious to corporate morbidly obese monopolies and multinational brand warehouses.
Why bother figuring out a business model or a revenue model when you can just virtue signal?
And the appeal is just the same to the college student who doesn’t want to work hard, and instead takes a detour into identity politics studies, and discovers that it opens doors in every infiltrated field. You can study math and science, and if you fail, it doesn’t prove you’re lazy or stupid, but that math and science are racist constructs invented by dead white slave owners. Like Kamala, you can’t fail. It’s math’s failure.
On a social level, you don’t have to do the hard work of developing character and working on yourself. ‘Wokeness’ means that your social failures, your dating problems, aren’t really your fault. And anyone on the wrong side of your temper tantrum can be subjected to an extended bout of ‘cancel culture’.
That’s what we used to call bullying before we ‘cancelled’ it and replaced it with cancel culture. The only difference is that bullying rewarded strength, while cancel culture rewards shows of weakness.
That’s ‘woke’ politics in both the micro, in a school, to the macro, a multinational corporation.
“Go woke, go broke,” is a common conservative saying. It’s true in one sense and not true in another.
‘Wokeness’ brings with it economic, structural and personal failure. But it’s also a social economic strategy of avoiding responsibility for those failures. It’s an insurance policy for incompetence. It’s a good hedge against risk. And it means never having to learn how to be a better human being.
Successful societies bring out the best in people while failed societies reward the worst in them.
As America makes the slow downhill journey from a successful society to a failed society, ‘wokeness’, by its many names, is an engine of change, an incentivizing agent for bad behavior, and a disincentive for the traditional success strategies of meritocracy. It doesn’t just punish success: it rewards failure.
Failed societies have successful people. They just use different strategies to succeed. The elites don’t lose out. It’s the hard workers and the strivers, and society as a whole who suffer the consequences.
No society is so failed that it doesn’t have an elite. ‘Wokeness’ is a new success strategy for a failed society. The people and organizations making use of it may not go broke individually. Not as long as the system that they’re part of extends its safety net to cover their losses and reward their values.
Instead it’s our society that’s going broke as its elites go woke.

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

Thank you for reading.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Hillary Clinton’s Latest Book is Another Miserable Failure

What Happened, Hillary’s compendium of excuses and conspiracy theories about losing the election, opened with 100,000 in hardcover sales. Two years later, her latest book racked up a 30,000 debut.
And it got worse from there.
The Book of Gutsy Women, a collection of feminist stories by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton about role models like eco-brat Greta Thunberg, Rachel Carson, and Bella Abzug, remembered respectively for helping revive malaria and ugly hats, is the #1 bestseller in Women’s Studies on Amazon.
That’s about all it has going for it.
Even in its debut, the lazy cash-in fell behind the latest Trump conspiracy tract, Rachel Maddow’s Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth. Even Maddow’s title sounds like something a crazy homeless man might yell at you while waving a cup of his own urine, so it obviously sold more than twice as many copies as Hillary’s feminist tract.
Hillary might have taken a lesson from What Happened, which outsold her own memoirs, that her ex-base is a lot more interested in conspiracy theories about Republicans than feminist heroines. Lefties might claim that they want to read about inspiring women, but they really want to flip through a spittle-flecked rant written on tin-foil paper which blames all their problems on a vast-right wing conspiracy.
How could Hillary, who has been living that way for a generation, not pick up on the obvious?
Only the die-hard Hillaryites, who wear matching pantsuits to her book tours, and eagerly shell out hard cash for the opportunity to smell her chardonnay breath, showed up on Day 1. And there was no Day 2.
The Book of Gutsy Women debuted at No. 3 in NPD's BookScan list which gathers data from thousands of booksellers. By next week, it was down to No. 10, meanwhile Maddow's explanation of how the space aliens conspired with the Russians to elect Trump so he could let them construct a base in Wisconsin and perform experiments on local cows continued to reign over the bestseller list.
To add insult to injury, Hillary didn't just fall below Maddow, but also below Gregg Jarrett's latest book on Spygate, Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History, and Bill O'Reilly's The United States of Trump: How the President Really Sees America. Unlike Hillary, O’Reilly’s book had a much smoother descent because the word of mouth was better than on Gutsy Women.
The news wasn’t much better from the New York Times, whose best seller list is notorious for being rigged to favor its favorites. Gutsy Women debuted at No. 2, then crashed down No. 8 and then No. 13. The Los Angeles Times list saw Gutsy Women come in at No. 5, crash down to No. 14, and then disappear like a Maddow UFO flying over Moscow with a load of Wisconsin ballots.
Even Chelsea Clinton, who is to literature what Alvin and the Chipmunks is to opera, managed to score No. 1 New York Times bestsellers with her She Persisted collection, whose premise, stories about feminist heroines, is suspiciously similar to Gutsy Women, but couldn’t do it with her mother on board.
Ponder this.
Instead of Bill and Hillary creating a career for Chelsea based on nepotism, Hillary is actually weighing Chelsea down. In 2017, Chelsea Clinton's She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. Take that same formula, add Hillary, and sales actually go down.
The next time Hillary wants to co-write a book with Chelsea, the former sock puppet interviewer will have to hold an uncomfortable conversation about cutting her mother loose.
It’s either that or watch Hillary kill her new hobby of writing listicle books like she killed pantsuits, compulsive lying, and Vince Foster. Bill Clinton is already remembered, not as a two-term president, but as the other half of an unlikable two-time failed presidential candidate.
After wrecking Bill’s legacy, Hillary can finish the job by wrecking her daughter’s writing career.
Fast forward to the end of October and Gutsy Women had been buried by everything from two cookbooks, Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? and The Pioneer Woman Cooks, an Elton John biography, and Newt Gingrich's Trump vs. China.
Maybe Hillary should have taken a smoke signal from Elizabeth Warren and written a cookbook?
“Destined to be a classic in the tradition of Profiles in CourageThe Book of Virtues and We Should All Be Feminists," Jonathan Karp, the President of Simon and Schuster, had declared.
Two of these things are not like the other. And none of them are like The Book of Gutsy Women which is destined to be a classic the way that one of its authors was destined to be the President of the United States. What it is destined for is remainder bins, the shelves of 99 cent stores, and the town dump.
Much like its authoress.
Simon and Schuster had invested a whole lot of money in Hillary Inc. It paid her a record $14 million advance for Hard Choices, her second memoir, a flop, it paid her $8 million for her first memoir, Living History, it suffered through It Takes a Village and Dear Socks, and got back into bed with her for what was supposed to be a book of personal essays, and instead The Book of Gutsy Women happened.
And that’s all she wrote. Literally.
“For the past 21 years, the Gallup survey has ranked Hillary Rodham Clinton as the most admired woman in the world, and there are at least 65 million people in the United States who agree,” Karp had claimed.  “We think a lot of them are going to want to hear her stories.”
Not so much.
Yes, the Gallup survey does claim that 65 million people admire Hillary Clinton. What it fails to mention is that they’re all located in a single Cook County cemetery. And none of them buy books because there isn’t a single Barnes and Noble bookstore that they can reach and return from before the sun rises.
The last time reality didn’t accord with Hillary’s polling, she blamed an international conspiracy. Now that her latest book sold fewer copies than SpongeBob Goes to the Doctor, it’ll have to be interstellar.
But the reality is that nobody likes Hillary. The only time people bought her books was when they expected her to have something to say. Living History sold big because everyone was waiting for her to dish on her husband’s affair. What Happened did very well because readers were waiting for her reaction to losing the election. There’s a winning formula here that Hillary ought to learn from.
Hillary’s books sell really well after she’s involved in a disaster, whether it’s her husband cheating on her, or losing an election. If she wants another bestseller, she needs a huge disaster to write about.
Bill Clinton cheating on her again won’t surprise anyone. And no one will let her run for president again.
That just leaves an extensive confession of her crimes. Everything from Whitewater to the Steele Dossier. In one book. It’ll outsell Living History and What Happened combined. She could even call it, What Really Happened. Unfortunately, the only place for her to go afterward would be a 6 by 8-foot cell.
But just think how many copies her fourth memoir about life in prison would sell.

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

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

The Terrorist J Street Won't Invite

“You are partners in everything that is being done to us, you are collaborating in the suffering of the Palestinian people,” the crackling Arabic-accented voice on the phone says. “You think that you are working for peace, but you are actually supporting the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority.”
He pauses as he ponders the events going on thousands of miles away in Washington D.C.
“You are not working for peace, but for murder.”
That’s Muhammad’s message to J Street. The anti-Israel organization claims that it wants to listen to ‘Palestinians.’ But the man I’m on the phone with is one Palestinian they don’t want to hear from.
While Senator Elizabeth Warren and other 2020 Democrats bemoaned President Trump’s eviction of the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic delegation from Washington D.C., he’s all for it.
“We don’t want them. If the Democrats want them,” Muhammad says. “They can take and keep them.”
While I’m on the phone with Muhammad, and Amit Deri of Reservists on Duty, a pro-Israel campus group getting the real story out there, in D.C., Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, and other 2020 Democrats are partying with the biggest anti-Israel group in America.
Reservists on Duty, a group of former Israeli soldiers, whose Shillman Fellow activists come to American college campuses to tell the truth about Israel, have a fraction of J Street’s massive budget. None of the 2020 Democrats come to visit their events. Instead, Amit and other Reservists are in touch with Arabs like Muhammad who are telling the stories that J Street doesn’t want its members to hear.
Muhammad had spent 7 years in an Israeli prison fighting for a Palestinian state. And when he got out of prison, he learned the hard way the ugly reality of what he had really been fighting for.
Old photos show him wielding a Kalashnikov, draped in a keffiyah, the embodiment of the Palestinian cause. On the phone, Muhammad describes himself as, “Mamash Mehabel.” “A real terrorist.” But these days he lives at an undisclosed location in Israel. And being caught by the Palestinian Authority would mean death. But there is one place that Muhammad does want to go. The J Street conference.
J Street, the anti-Israel organization that sets the agenda for the Democrats, invited Palestinian Authority apparatchiks like Saeb Erakat, the Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, and Osama Qawasma, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, organizations that Muhammad is all too familiar with.
Muhammad describes them as a “mafia” who don’t represent anyone except themselves.
“These Jews are part of the problem for inviting them,” he says, meaning J Street. “Shame on you, giving a stage to the people oppressing us, they are to be blamed for our suffering here.”
“I wish that J Street would invite me to come and hear my story.” Muhammad says.
Senator Bernie Sanders spends a lot of time talking about how the 1% run everything. I ask Muhammad if the Palestinian Authority is a social justice utopia.
“We have the 2%,” he says. “The 1% of the rich officials and the 1% of the terrorists.”
And, in the Palestinian Authority, they are usually one and the same.
“There are only rich people in the leadership,” he sardonically notes.
While 2020 Democrats have called for a restoration of aid to the Palestinian Authority, Muhammed accuses them and J Street of being “accessories to the crime”.
“Europeans and Americans giving money are part of the problem,” he passionately warns. “It's an illegitimate political system kept afloat by foreign money, the moment funding is cut off, Palestinian Authority officials will flee and whole thing will collapse.”
Foreign aid isn’t helping the “Palestinians” whom the Democrats are so worried about.
The Palestinian Authority “only take money from the US and Europe for their own families, and put money into their pockets,” Muhammad says. “The Palestinian Authority is getting rich from the Palestinian people, they don't care about the people, they control the people because they control the system, hospitals, welfare system, the basic needs, that's why people are afraid to talk.”
He describes how an acquaintance with cancer was denied a permit to be treated in an Israeli hospital because he had spoken out against the Palestinian Authority.
Many, like his friend, he says, “want the Israelis to come back. Most are oppressed by the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, and their voices are not heard at J Street.”
In the 90s, when Muhammad was in an Israeli prison and the Oslo Accords were announced, he was optimistic. Like everyone, he says, “Israelis and Arabs, I thought the Oslo accords would bring peace between two peoples.” But, instead of peace, they brought war, terror and oppression.
He vowed then that if he ever got out, he would escape to Israel and tell the truth.
That’s what he has been doing ever since.
It wasn’t the Israelis, but the Palestinian Authority, the interlocking organizations of Fatah, the PLO, and the PA, which tortured him in prison. The 2020 Democrats who appeared at the J Street conference and sent in video messages criticized Israel; but none said a harsh word about the Palestinian Authority.
Muhammad would like to change that. He would like to tell the conference attendees, the political candidates, and all the rest about the “Hayim shel mavet”, his “life of death” in a PA prison. He wants to tell them that he was almost beaten to death and suffered bleeding in the brain. He would like to describe the ‘shabeh’ torture in which he was left hanging suspended by his wrists from a hook.
‘Shabeh’ in Arabic means ghost. It’s a torture recently made famous by ISIS. But it’s also used by the PA.
And these days, Muhammad is a ghost. He can’t go back home. And J Street and other anti-Israel groups which claim to care about human rights would rather listen to the lies of his torturers than to him.

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

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Kamala Harris Blames American Racism for Failed Campaign

Senator Kamala Harris polled at 3% in last month's Quinnipiac poll. That must make the San Fran and Hollywood donors who stuffed $11.6 million in her pantsuit pockets this quarter feel good about giving to charity.

A quarter of Iowa Democrat caucusgoers have a negative opinion of Harris. That’s up minus eleven points since June. So, Harris is making weekly trips to Iowa while claiming that she’s going to move there. Not even Democrats are stupid enough to believe that she’s going to leave her Brentwood mansion to move to a place where the temperatures are currently hovering around the low thirties.

And her Iowa stump speech is now all about accusing anyone who doesn’t vote for her of racism.

In her speeches, Harris claims that "electability", the question of whether a candidate polling 3% nationwide can beat President Trump, is the "elephant in the room---but actually more accurately, the donkey in the room."

There's a donkey in the room all-right. Or maybe it's a jackass.

"It's been coming up in connection to my campaign: is America ready for that? Are they ready for a woman of color to be President of the United States?" Harris insists.

When Harris tried this line in an Axios on HBO interview, a baffled Margaret Talev asked, "America was ready for a black man to be President of the United States.”

And, in response, Harris spent 30 seconds spewing inane gibberish.

But who are the sexist pigs who aren’t ready for a woman to be President of the United States?

Senator Harris polls at 5% among men and only 2% among women. Either women aren’t ready for a female president. Or women just don’t like Kamala.

And where’s the outpouring of support from black voters?

Black voters aren’t as stingy with their support for Kamala as white voters. While only 3% of white voters support Harris, a whopping 4% of black voters are ready to choose her as their candidate.

Maybe that 1% difference can be explained by racism?

But that doesn’t explain why 20% of black voters rate her unfavorably.

Maybe the 96% of black voters and 98% of women who aren’t backing Kamala just aren’t “ready for a woman of color to be President of the United States.”

Or, and this is a stunning idea, maybe they aren’t ready for Kamala Harris. Or Kamala Harris isn’t ready.

But, instead of blaming herself, Senator Kamala Devi Harris is blaming America. The vast majority of it which isn’t supporting her. And there’s only one possible reason they aren’t supporting her. Racism.

Harris began her campaign ascendancy by accusing Joe Biden of racism. It’s only fitting that she’s wrapping it up by implying that her lack of support isn’t her fault, but the fault of an intolerant nation.

Electability, a problem caused by her own poor poll numbers, is really a sign of racial unreadiness.

In Iowa, Senator Harris claimed that the question of whether voters were ready for a "woman of color" is "a conversation that's come up in every single time in every election that I've---now, here's the operative word---won."

Kamala’s opponent in the 2016 Senate race was Loretta Sanchez, a fellow Democrat and “woman of color”. The two questions voters faced in that election was how California had turned into a one-party state, and whether to vote for the “woman of color” who had said racist things about the Vietnamese or the “woman of color” who had slept her way to the top courtesy of one of the state’s crookedest Dems.

Since Kamala raised $15 million and spent $14 million, while Sanchez had about $4 million, it was easy.

But, just as Kamala launched her bid with a revisionist history of growing in the segregated South, in Berkeley, her revisionist history of her 2016 election, has her fighting racist white male intolerance.

It’s pathetic.

This time around, she raised over $36 million, and spent $25 million of it, to poll at 3%. But that’s after an initial surge of enthusiasm that saw her break fundraising records and make it to the first tier.

What happened? Kamala opened her mouth. Her unfavourability ratings now routinely poll in the negative forties. It’s not just the shameless race-baiting. It’s also her utter inauthenticity.

Trying to pretend that she’s polling at 3% because Obama voters aren’t ready to vote for black people, and women aren’t prepared to vote for women, and black people aren’t willing to vote for black people, is exactly the reason why even Democrats hate her. Voters have gotten tired of the lies, the flip-flopping, and the constant racial appeals as if she had come out of a ghetto in Detroit, Newark or Chicago, instead of being a privileged woman who grew up with her Indian scientist mother in Canada.

Kamala Harris bet her entire campaign on racial identity politics. She assumed that she could break off Joe Biden’s black support and combine that with white lefties yearning for another Obama.

None of her bets paid off. Nor did the bets of the donors who lost $36 million on her campaign.

Instead of laying out a vision, the former socialite relied on the personal charm that made her a hit among San Francisco’s wealthy lefties. But the transparent phoniness that won over her old social set hasn’t translated well to a national stage. And her constant transformations, pretending that she’s about to move to Iowa, and then complaining that Iowans are racist, just make it obvious how fake she is.

But no matter how badly Kamala fails, she can always blame it on racism.

This is a problem and it’s a bigger than Willie Brown’s former mistress playing her last race card. Kamala Harris blaming racism, instead of her bad decisions, means that she never has to take any responsibility. Instead, somehow, the entire country is to blame for not being “ready” for her historic candidacy.

That’s a disgusting smear of millions of people, Democrats, Republicans, men and women, white people and black people. It cynically uses race and gender to divide the country while obscuring the actual problems of racism. And it shields perpetrators of racial divisiveness like her from accountability.

Kamala Harris can never fail. Her failures are America’s failures. The worse she fails; the worse America must be. Instead of leaving the race having learned something, she stumbles to the exit, having learned nothing except that even if shameless racial huckstering can’t win a half-Indian politician from Brentwood the election, it can deflect attention from how she squandered her lead, alienated her voters, and wasted tens of millions of dollars of other people’s money to poll at 3%.

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

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Monday, November 04, 2019

A Burning Girl's Ghost in Bangladesh

Over a grim concrete gateway in a small town near Dhaka, a blue sign reads, "Sonagazi Islamia Fazil (Degree) Madrashah". This is where Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a teenage girl in Bangladesh, was burned alive.

The girls who attacked Nusrat wore burkas. So did she. This was, after all, an Islamic school. And even when murdering, its female pupils were expected to abide by Islamic principles of conduct.

The madrassa students who held Nusrat down and helped tie her hands and legs, before she was set on fire, were acting under the authority of leaders of the local Awami Muslim League and their own principal who had been an emir with Jamaat-e-Islami whose mandate calls for an Islamic state.

The girls weren’t trusted to do the actual killing. That allegedly fell to Javed Hossain, a man, if you can call him that, wearing a burka, who poured kerosene on Nusrat while she lay tied up on the roof.

He struck a match and set her on fire. Then he went down to take an exam. The same exam that the burning girl was supposed to take.

Outside the court, after his conviction and death sentence, his mother called on Allah.

There were other men in burkas on the roof that day. Saifur Rahman Mohammad Zobair tore away Nusrat’s burka and used it to tie her up. Shahadat Hossain Shamim had bought the burkas that the men wore with money from a leader in the Awami Muslim League and gagged her with his hand while she was set on fire. More of the conspirators guarded the area to keep anyone else from intruding.

In court, the girls, now women, one of them a mother, went on wearing their burkas. When they were taken out of court, with a death sentence pronounced on their heads, they went with their faces already covered. While Nusrat covered her face much of the time, in the final photos, her face is uncovered, while her body is swathed is white bandages. When the pupils of the Islamic school set her on fire, 80% of her body was left burned. And she died that way in Dhaka Hospital for the crime of telling the truth.

The truth helped bring down the Madrassa and its principal, Siraj Ud Doula, a small scowling goateed man, the tips of the goatee dyed a noxious orange-red, who sent Nusrat to her death, and whose plot against her, led to a death sentence for 16 men and women, including himself. His crimes dragged in his students, the Awami Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami, and shocked all of Bangladesh.

The first truth that Nusrat told was that Siraj had sexually harassed her. She continued telling the truth while her brother taped her on his phone in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

It was also the final truth she told in a hospital bed, declaring, "I will fight till my last breath.”

Nusrat had not been meant to survive to tell that truth. After accusing her Islamic school principal of sexual harassment, she had faced violent assaults and death threats. Then, a plot had been hatched to have other students lure her to the roof of the madrassa, tie her up, set her on fire, and make her death look like a suicide. But the headscarf she had been tied with burned up and she survived to tell the truth.

That truth means death for her murderers.

Siraj had come to court smiling. Her former principal and Jaamat-e-Islami emir left it in tears.

In Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, girls often die without any explanation. The conviction of the 16 men and women who plotted Nusrat’s death provides a horrid window into how such girls die. And how high up the crimes extend. At one end of the murder plot were schoolboys and schoolgirls. On the other end was their jailed principal, and local leaders of the Awami Muslim League.

The Avami Muslim League is the governing party of Bangladesh. Its roots go back to the Muslim League that divided India, and created Pakistan, before Bengali nationalists went on to create Bangladesh.

The trial of Nusrat’s killers dragged in Maksud Alam, a local councilor, a member of the governing body of the madrassa, and acting general secretary of the Awami League in Feni, the small town outside Dhaka where the atrocity took place. Also facing justice was Ruhul Amin, the Madrassa’s vice president, and the local Awami League president. The links between the Feni leaders of the Awami League and the Islamic school highlighted the interconnections between Islamism, politics and, the brutal crime.

Before the murder, some figures in the Awami League had staged rallies in defense of Siraj. One of those was Alam, who had not only participated in protests, but also helped provide funding for the crime.

And Ruhul Amin’s job had been to keep the cops away while the murder was taking place.

Siraj, the Islamic school principal who had sexually harassed the teenage girl before trying to have her killed, had been a former emir with Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami. Unlike the Awami League, Jamaat is a genuinely hard-core Islamist movement which has been responsible for numerous atrocities in the past. Its agenda is a full Islamic state with the uncompromisingly brutal application of Islamic Sharia law.

Setting a teenage girl on fire would not have fazed Jamaat’s Islamists who had tortured, raped and killed anyone standing in the way of their vision of an Islamic state. But Siraj had proven too nasty even for Jamaat which had expelled its former emir. The madrassa where Nusrat was killed had been Jamaat territory and the former principal’s associates had been Jamaat loyalists. After Siraj’s sexual habits became too much, the madrassa shifted sides to the Awami Muslim League whose local leaders conspired to cover-up his perversions with murder.

The Islamic school principal’s associates in Jamaat-e-Islami and the Awami Muslim League had been bribed and the police had turned a blind eye to events at the madrassa. All this had to be done because Siraj had entangled the local Islamic political leaders with his own crimes until they had no choice but to help murder a teenage girl to protect their sources of income, power and their Islamic legitimacy.

It took 16 men and women, and more behind the scenes, to try and kill that teenage girl.

Nur Uddin, Siraj’s aide at the madrassa, and Hafez Abdul Kader, a teacher at the madrassa, had allegedly served as the interface with their jailed boss. And after no amount of pressure seemed to dissuade Nusrat from telling her story, the Islamic pervert who had assaulted her, told his minions to set her on fire on the roof of his own school.

Nusrat’s murder wasn’t unusual. What was unusual is that the killers were caught and will be punished. And that may be due less to public outrage than to the political divisions within the Awami League. Girls like her die all the time. Their deaths are ruled a suicide. Or they disappear and are said to have run away.

And that’s what would have happened if the 19-year-old girl hadn’t been so determined to live.

The horror of the crime, Nusrat’s determination to live and to denounce her killers, were vital. As she lay burned badly, the teenage girl told a familiar story, but one that very few murdered girls live to tell.

The Islamic leaders she had trusted had betrayed her, they had assaulted her, covered up their crimes, and then tried to kill her, but burned and dying slowly, she had brought them down anyway.

As her killers left the courtroom weeping, the ghost of the teenage girl followed them into the sunlight.

Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Muslim world are full of such ghosts. They are usually invisible. Their voices have been turned to ash, dirt and dust. There is no counting the number of women and girls who have been killed. But in Bangladesh, one girl managed to speak and be heard even after her murder.

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

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Chicago Teachers Strike for $100,000 Salaries

Since October 17, the Chicago Teachers Union has banished 361,000 students from their classrooms by going on strike to demand a $100,000 average salary for its members.

The union insisted that taxpayers, “stop short-changing the people who make our schools work”.

4 in 10 Chicago public school students don’t meet national reading standards. Or, as celebratory press releases declared, 61% of Chicago students actually met the national average. Math is obviously not a key skill of Chicago educators except when it comes to demanding obscene pay hikes.

A “record” 57% of Chicago students also met the national average in math.

If 57% doesn’t deserve a $100,000 salary, what does?

Currently, Chicago teachers are living on starvation wages of $78,211 a year. The people responsible for that 57% “record” are shortchanged with a miserly starting salary of $52,958, a beggarly $82,630 10-year midcareer salary, and a $108,242 maximum salary that barely keeps them out of the poorhouse.

They can’t live like this.

Hundreds of thousands of students are left on their own as their educators “fight for the students” by demanding a 15% raise in 3 years, while Chicago’s lefty mayor will only offer them 16% in 5 years.

And that’s not counting the annual cost-of-living increases which make it more like 25%.

5 years from now, the starting salary for a Chicago teacher would be $72,000 while the average salary for a Chicago teacher would be $100,000. That’s the offer that the union claims isn’t good enough.

Waiting 5 years for a $100,000 salary would “short-change” the people who make our schools fail.

67% of Chicago’s school budget already goes to salaries and benefits. Another 33% is left over for the other stuff. Guess where that $2.5 billion that the union is demanding will come from? Not the 67%.

“The fact is there is no more money,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot insisted. “Period.”

Nonsense. There’s always more money. All Chicago schools have to do is put out more junk bonds, borrow another $500 million, pay $70,000 in interest a day (that won’t even cover the average salary of a public school teacher), and add it to the $9 billion or so in debt that it’s already carrying.

That’ll help put a dent in the $850 million in pension contributions this year.

Better make sure that the number of students meeting math averages doesn’t pass 60% or the next generation of taxpayers might figure out what’s going on and run for their lives and their wallets.

CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates previously had lots of ideas for raising money. “Where will the money come from? Rich people."

Ah, those rich people. They really are the answer to everything.

It’s not hard to see why Senator Elizabeth Warren, a rich person, turned up to a CTU protest.

Past tax returns showed that in 2017, a CTU VP had been earning $96,115 from the union. It’s doubtful that there have been salary reductions in the union since then. That would force the union’s management to go on strike against its membership. So, Gates is probably making six figures.

Is the money coming from her, a rich person? Nah, she has other ideas. Like gambling and drugs.

“We have a governor who has committed to legalizing recreational marijuana and putting a tax on it, we can take that as well,” Stacy Davis Gates ranted. “They are also talking about sports betting. We can take that. They’re talking about opening a new casino here in the city of Chicago. We can take that.”

We’ll take the drug and gambling cash… for the children.

Gambling and drugs will be used to help pay the $100,000 salaries of teachers in a city that actually brags that a record 57% of the students met national averages in math. This is what full spectrum failure, moral, economic, educational, political, looks like in this progressive Pottersville.

In Chicago, there’s only one difference between organized crime and organized lefties. Many criminals won’t shake down gamblers and drug dealers for cash, and then steal the money from the children.

There’s a union for that.

Stacy Davis Gates will take the drug and gambling cash, but there are things she won’t take.

"Rich white men tell black women with children in the Chicago Public Schools what to do all the time," she whined, after her name was misspelled in a note from the lawyer of the black female lesbian mayor.

Not only is Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s mayor, a black woman, but so is Janice Jackson, the CEO of the public school system. But, even when the mayor is a black lesbian, the race card never expires.

In a city and a system run by black women, those “rich white men” keep pushing everybody around.

And those “rich white men” will be paying those $100,000 salaries too. It’s the very least they can do.

It’s all theater.

361,000 students were left without an education, and their parents, most of whom work and earn a lot less than the privileged teachers whining that they can’t live on $100,000, were left to cope with them.

Mayor Lightfoot insists that there’s no money, but that’s silly. There will be money. Rich white men will provide it too. At interest rates that only a Chicago public school graduate would find acceptable.

The Chicago Teachers Union will get its insane raises. More money will be borrowed at ruinous interest rates to pay for them. The pension cost will be incomprehensible and won’t actually be paid.

Enrollment in Chicago schools keeps dropping sharply even as the unions howl for more cash. CTU protesters claim that they’re striking for smaller class sizes, but they’re already getting them as the enrollment numbers fall by the thousands. The teachers are running out of students to exploit.

And that’s the real crisis.

Chicago can always borrow more money even if its bonds are rated below those of Puerto Rico, Somalia, and a burning pile of trash below an underpass that somehow talked J.P. Morgan into a bond issue.

But it can’t borrow more students.

Illegal aliens are doing their part. A sizable chunk of Chicago public school expenses is generated by students who don’t speak English. But why would your average illegal go to Chicago when he can stay in California? On a cold winter night, even hardened MS-13 gang members will shudder at the ‘lake effect’.

The Chicago Teachers Union is bulking up salaries and staff sizes for a huge influx of students that isn’t coming. If anything, the students are running the other way. And who can blame them?

The future of public education in Chicago is empty schools, $100K teacher salaries, and fake jobs.

Don’t worry. The “rich” will pay for it. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always gambling and drugs. They won’t pay for the $100,000 salaries, but that’s where plenty of those salaries will be going.

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

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Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez Returns to The Place She Cost Thousands of Jobs

“I am back,” Senator Bernie Sanders declared in Queensbridge Park: under the shadow of Queensbridge Houses, the country’s biggest housing project and its biggest failed experiments in government housing.

Cabrini–Green, Pruitt–Igoe, and other mammoth projects have been demolished. Queensbridge or
'the Bridge' lingers on as the nation's worst socialist housing eyesore where nothing works except the guns.

Aides and proxies for the socialist politician insisted that the location was sending a message.

“Queensbridge was a deliberate choice,” one of his aides claimed.

It’s a hell of a choice.

The comeback rally was built around Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s endorsement of Sanders. Cortez had famously helped scuttle the deal that would have brought a coveted Amazon HQ to New York.

The location of that planned HQ would have been in Long Island City, near Queensbridge Houses. Amazon was bringing a potential 25,000 jobs. Queensbridge Houses, the largest housing project in the country, has 6,600 residents. Most of them are poor. A large number are unemployed.

Amazon would have brought job fairs and resume training to Queensbridge for 3 years. Instead, Queensbridge Houses gets a rally for the smug socialist who took away the future of its residents.

Assemblyman Ron Kim bizarrely claimed that Bernie's rally was a "a metaphor for all Americans who feel neglected by Wall Street.”

It's hard to think of a worse socialist metaphor than coming to a place to which a company tried to bring 25,000 jobs before being driven out by a Bernie Sanders ally to complain that capitalists don’t care.

"All the people protesting, where are they now?" Billy Robinson, a community activist had asked, weeks after Amazon pulled out, under pressure from the socialists, leaving local residents with nothing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez went off to get a $300 haircut. Then she and Bernie, a socialist millionaire 1 percenter, returned to celebrate their own greatness in a place where the median income is $15,843.

Time to come back and ignore all the thousands of black people whose lives AOC ruined.

“It wasn’t until I heard of a man by the name of Bernie Sanders that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a human being," the obnoxious rich girl from Westchester claimed.

So, Rep. Cortez hadn’t recognized her value as a human being until she turned 26?

Sanders called the socialist brat "an inspiration to millions of young people, not just here in New York, but across this country."

It’s doubtful that Cortez is an inspiration to anyone in Queensbridge Houses. They don’t get $300 haircuts in the ‘Bridge’. It did, at one time, hold the record for the highest numbers of murders of any housing project in the city. Last year, Queensbridge managed to goose murder rates with 3 shootings in 1 week as the five gangs based out of the mammoth project battled four gangs from another project.

None of them showed up to the Sanders-Cortez socialist lovefest.

“A few miles away from here, people on Wall Street make unbelievable amounts of money and live in incredible and ostentatious luxury,” Bernie Sanders screeched, “while right here, across the street from us, people are struggling day after day just to survive.”

Yes, they are.

But Sanders neglects to mention that they’re struggling to survive being shot at by fellow residents.

"You heard of us, official Queensbridge murderers," Mobb Deep rapped in Shook Ones (Part II) back in the day. "You all alone in these streets, cousin. Every man for they self in this land we be gunnin'."

In the Giuliani era, criminals were evicted from public housing, but in the ‘progressive’ De Blasio era, criminals are welcome in public housing, and that means more people getting shot in Queensbridge.

People on Wall Street do make lots of money. Some of that money nearly found its way to Queensbridge. And then Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez stepped in to make sure it didn’t happen.

Queensbridge Houses is 61% black, 30% Latino and around 2% white.

The Sanders and Cortez rally was a sea of white faces. That mob of lefties, estimated at 26,000, didn’t come from Queensbridge Houses. There were probably more people who worked on Wall Street in that crowd than people who live in the housing project complex.

None of the three headliners of the Bernie’s Back rally, Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore (who had been dug up from a time capsule left behind in 2007), and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, are black.

Somebody in the most culturally illiterate political campaign since Hillary Clinton’s abuela imbroglio decided to bring in Michael Moore to headline a rally at one of the birthplaces of hip-hop music.

In Bernie’s mind, Queensbridge Houses is a pristine experiment in socialized housing from 1939 and a model of how government intervention can bring equality through subsidized housing. In the real world, the ‘Bridge’ was a disastrous progressive experiment right from the very beginning.

The mammoth complex of Y-shaped grayish-brown buildings looked like a prison. Like the even more infamous Pruitt-Igoe complex, its elevators skipped every other floor. All the modern designs, like asbestos tiles, that were supposed to transform housing did not hold up once the 1939 World’s Fair had come and gone. And the residents added to the fun by trashing ‘the Bridge’ into a miserable hellhole.

Or the triumph of socialism in action.

Nothing works in Queensbridge Houses. And nothing has worked for generations. The elevators don’t open. The doors don’t close. And the heat and gas come and go. The roofs leak and the mold grows.

Last year, HUD Secretary Ben Carson visited Queensbridge and suggested a federal takeover. One of the buildings hadn’t had any gas for four months.

This year, Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Cortez showed up to call for more of the same.

"Safe and decent housing is an essential right," Sanders insisted.

Queensbridge Houses shows how that ‘right’ works out in real life. The housing projects of Queensbridge mirror the miserable experiments in mass housing of Bernie’s old USSR. They’re built badly, they don’t work, and they exist only to serve as receptacles of endless human misery.

Bernie came to the site of one of socialism’s worst failures in New York City. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez showed up to the place where she stole thousands of jobs from its poor black residents.

A mob of white lefties followed them to an area they wouldn’t usually set foot in.

The only purpose of this disgusting farce was trying to revive Bernie’s failed campaign while giving Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez leverage to negotiate her eventual endorsement of Elizabeth Warren.

Nobody involved showed any real concern for the thousands of black people they were using as props.

"We want a justice system that doesn’t gun down Black folks in their houses," Bernie Sanders ranted at a building complex where black gang members are the ones killing people.

He called for a Green New Deal by buildings where people routinely don't have heating or cooking gas for months.

If the white lefty hipsters chanting for social justice wanted to see the reality of what the visionary policies they support look like in the real world, all they had to do was spend some time in ‘the Bridge’.

Instead, in the shadow of one of socialism’s biggest failures, Bernie demanded more socialism.

"Ain't no such things as halfway crooks," Mobb Deep rapped about ‘the Bridge’. No such thing as halfway socialists either.

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

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And click here to support my work with a donation.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Hollywood's #MeToo Studios Only Want to Tell #MeToo Stories About FOX News

Over 80 women accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of everything from harassment to rape. The drama of the case made the #MeToo movement go global. And you might think that there would be a movie in that. But years later, the closest we’ve come are rumors that Brad Pitt, who has his own history with Weinstein, might adapt the story of two of the reporters involved in the coverage.

Brian De Palma (Scarface, The Untouchables) will be making Predator, which will be about Weinstein without actually naming Hollywood’s Voldemort. “My character won’t be named Harvey Weinstein, but it will be a horror film, with a sexual aggressor, and it will take place in the film industry,” he said.

Why not name Weinstein? And why treat a recent case as historical fiction?

“I was aware of some of the things that were happening during the Harvey Weinstein era and it is an interesting story to tell,” De Palma said.

Okay then.

Meanwhile there have been not one, but two, count ‘em, two movies about the #MeToo scandal at FOX News. Showtime adapted Gabriel Sherman’s dubious book, The Loudest Voice, into a seven-episode miniseries featuring top talent. Russell Crowe had to be paid enough money to spend 6 hours in the makeup chair, not to look like Harvey Weinstein, but Roger Ailes.

Russell Crowe had been accused of being recruited to kill an investigative piece on Harvey Weinstein’s assaults back in 2004. But, please give him an Emmy now for being outraged about sexual harassment. If it involves Republicans. Weinstein had all but made Sienna Miller a star and she used to call him “Pops” while claiming that he had never propositioned her. Give Pops’ favorite daughter another Emmy.

The Loudest Voice miniseries rehashed the usual lefty culture war targets from a previous decade, the Bush administration, 9/11, and sank like a stone. Even dedicated FOX-hating proggies didn’t want to spend the bulk of their free time watching Russell Crowe try to act his way through a wet paper bag in a neverending story about events that could be summed up in three sentences.

Reviews were poor and only some 300,000+ viewers tuned in to see the episodes when they first aired.

Was there a more interesting story that Showtime could have made a miniseries about?

Showtime is a subsidiary of CBS. And CBS had its own TV version of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, complete with Clinton connections.

CBS CEO and former Chairman Les Moonves was accused of harassing and assaulting numerous women, he allegedly even had a staff member who was there to perform sexual favors for him. A CBS board member, who was a major Hollywood producer, had said, “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff.”

Moonves was a good friend of the Clintons and had shepherded their projects through the pipeline.

But Moonves was not just any executive. He transformed CBS from a midwestern family network into an urban and edgy network that pushed the boundaries. The story of his rise and downfall isn’t just a #MeToo scandal, it’s an important story about the cultural changes in the industry and the country.

It’s the kind of story that The Loudest Voice claims to be telling.

But Moonves’ own Showtime gang has no interest whatsoever in telling it. Instead, the former toy of television’s worst sexual predator, spent a fortune accusing FOX News of sexual misconduct.

Lest you think that a seven-episode miniseries could exhaust the topic, Bombshell, a movie starring Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie, will be coming to theaters soon.

Bombshell is not to be confused with the movie of the same name about Hedy Lamarr: who merely escaped Nazi Germany, became a movie star, and whose ideas helped pave the way for WiFi. That movie was considered unimportant. This one bashes Republicans.

Bombshell is being released by Lionsgate, whose former executive vice president of legal affairs accused its general counsel of assaulting her and trying to make her his slave.


At one point the powerful Lionsgate figure allegedly told her that, "he wanted me to be his slave and he wanted me on my knees to crawl to him."

After coming forward, the former Lionsgate lawyer claimed that Lionsgate execs struck back and prevented her from finding work.

There could be a movie in that. But just not from Lionsgate. Or anyone in Hollywood.

Instead, Lionsgate, which has its own sexual harassment problem, is betting big on a movie about FOX's sexual harassment problem. And, of course, no one will actually call out Lionsgate for its hypocrisy.

Just like Showtime got a pass.

The #MeToo scandals tore a swath through the industry leaving major holes in CBS (Les Moonves, 60 Minutes exec producer Jeff Fager, Charlie Rose, Rick Najera), NBC (Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw, Mark Halperin), NPR (Michael Oreskes, head of news, David Sweeney, chief news editor), not to mention scandals involving the head of Amazon studios, the chief creative officer for Walt Disney Animation, Bill Cosby, Paul Haggis, Morgan Freeman, Russell Simmons, Tavis Smiley, Louie C.K., Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Tambor, James Franco, Casey Affleck, and an endless legion of other big industry names.

None of that was worth a movie. The only #MeToo stories Hollywood will tell are about Republicans.

The same industry which has yet to cobble together one single lousy movie about Harvey Weinstein, a predator whose crimes became international news and whose fat face is instantly recognizable, has managed to ignore the disasters at CBS, NBC and NPR, to make two productions about FOX News.

The movies come from CBS and Lionsgate. Both of which have had their own #MeToo scandals.

Bombshell and The Loudest Voice are pictures of a corrupt industry. Just not the industry that CBS and Lionsgate had in mind. These propaganda flicks exist in negative space. The important stories are the ones that they aren’t telling. And the reasons why they aren’t telling them are the real story.

There’s an old Soviet anecdote about an American and a Russian who are arguing about freedom.

The American tells the Russian that he can go to the White House and shout that the President of the United States is an idiot. The Russian tells the American that he can also go to the Kremlin and shout that the President of the United States is an idiot. CBS and Lionsgate, like the proverbial Russian, will prove they oppose sexual harassment by shouting how terrible the situation for women is at FOX News.

Why won’t the only major Hollywood project about Harvey Weinstein that appears to be going somewhere even use his name? It’s not because the industry still fears Harvey. Those days are done.

But the industry is full of guys like him, and many of the boys and girls who work in it are complicit.

When you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see there (a common problem in Hollywood), you project it outward. Build an effigy and burn it. And then pretend that it’s a problem that the other tribe has. Tell the story often enough and maybe you’ll even believe it. And hopefully the public will.

Bombshell and The Loudest Voice aren’t exposes. They’re industry cover-ups.

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

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And click here to support my work with a donation.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Why the 'Woke' Corporations Back China

Think there’s a contradiction between ‘woke’ corporate titans like Apple and Disney silencing anyone opposed to China’s crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong?

It’s not hypocrisy, it’s synergy.

The same forces that made the major brands scattered around your kitchen, living room and garage broadcast their support for gun control, gay marriage and illegal immigration are fueling their support for the People’s Republic of China pulling another Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong.

The lefties in Beijing and Berkeley used the same set of ideological tools to force companies to toe the party line. They roped off access to an appealing customer base, the population of mainland China, urban millennials with huge amounts of disposable income, in exchange for ideological compliance.

Communist China is one entangled oligarchy which mingles political party and company. Sound familiar?

The CEO of Nike sits on the board of Disney. The CEO of Disney until recently sat on the board of Apple. The CEO of Apple sits on the board of Nike. Good thing we have a “free market economy” isn’t it?

Disney, Apple and all the rest have no problem understanding their Chinese Communist counterparts.

ESPN smears democracy protesters in Hong Kong for the same reason that it celebrated Colin Kaepernick. There’s a fundamental contradiction in principles between supporting a Communist police state and denouncing American police officers, but a perfect synergy of political expediency.

Disney, ESPN’s parent company, has embraced identity politics from the top down, even as its head honcho, Bob Iger, remains whiter than vanilla ice cream, not because it really believes in this stuff. The Chinese Communist Party believes in One China. Its American counterparts believe in A Thousand Genders. Lefty power in China is built on unity and solidarity. Lefty power in America is built on divisive minority coalitions. But it’s only a difference if you focus on the means rather than the ends.

And the Mouse didn’t eat the entire entertainment industry by being unable to see the endgame. Avengers Endgame brought in $612 million in China. That’s the real endgame that it cares about.

In America and China, a lefty political elite controls the culture. Chinese and American lefties interlock cultural, economic and political power. Disney, once seen as a square family friendly studio, can rule the box offices in America and China because it advances the cultural goals of their political elites.

American corporations went ‘woke’ because their ideal customer base, wealthy millennials, were reprogrammed by academia. Getting access to young people with lots of money required ritual virtue signaling, first by cultural industries, which didn’t need much encouraging to function as gatekeepers, censors and reeducators, and then by all the other industries which bowed to the culture.

If Disney didn’t advance the party line, its comic book movies would be ridiculed, dismissed and denounced, and its cartoon remakes would be accused of racism in America. And in China, where the loci of political control are even simpler, they would never be released in the country’s movies theaters.

China’s Commies control the entire economy. America’s lefties control the cultural economy. And our few real exports to China are either agricultural or cultural. And soybean farmers aren’t tweeting about Hong Kong. The ‘wokest’ parts of our economy, entertainment and tech, are that way because they depend on the cultural sanction of the same political movement that killed millions in China.

If you’re going to sell thousand-dollar phones made by slave labor in some dusty factory town where the air is poison, you need the sanction of the Communist Party of China and the culture industry of California. And if you’re going to dump your cultural garbage in American and Chinese movie theaters, both owned by the same Chinese corporations, you’ll need to run the stuff by cultural censors.

Chinese censors are concerned about portraying their leaders as powerful and discouraging insurrection. American censors want to push their identity politics. That’s how you end up with ESPN cheering Colin and booing Hong Kong protesters. Chinese and American commies both get what they want and ESPN gets a foothold in the Chinese market and among the Ivy League’s wealthy woke grads.

The Hong Kong protesters won’t be too happy, but how many Avengers movies do they watch? How many iPhones can they buy? How many copies of Battlefield do they play? That’s the real question.

The ‘enemies of the people’ in Hong Kong are free market Christians who don’t want a police state controlling their lives. Funny coincidence, those are also the ‘enemies of the people’ in America.

Giant multinational monopolies don’t like free markets. They encourage competition.

The last thing the NBA, Disney, Apple, Nike and the rest of the ‘megas’ want is competition. What they want is a walled garden tended by a kindly Zen-Communist tyrant who will give them a virgin territory in exchange for a huge slice of the pie to be shared with local political partners. And, of course, slavish devotion to the tyranny of whatever it is the locals believe in, dialectical materialism, the transcendence of gender, which is a small price to pay by people who don’t have any principles or believe in anything.

It doesn’t really matter if this walled garden is in China or California. Either way, the ideal outcome is a totalitarian leftist state and the enemies are Christians who believe in a free market economy.

Can you think of anything a soulless ‘woke’ monopoly would hate and fear more than religious believers who also believe in personal freedom? That’s why Disney, Apple and the ChiComs are on the same page.

Apple, Disney and all the rest are about brands. A brand is a form of identity.

Brands don’t make good products. Instead they churn out overpriced junk and use advertising to fuse consumer loyalty to their brand. And that brand, a sports team, an Apple logo, becomes part of the identity of the people who are brainwashed into identifying with it even to their own detriment.

That’s why ad agencies have gone gaga for identity politics. And why every other ad you see is virtue signaling so hard that it would make Mao roll his eyes. They’re all in the manufactured identity business.

Identity politics manufactures identities and then convinces its dupes that their lives are hopeless and incomplete until they also implement open borders, gun control, and a ban on fossil fuels.

Sound familiar? Buy into the revolution now. Organizers are standing by to take your call.

That’s also why religious believers are the enemy. They don’t make ideal consumers.

People who have a form of meaning in their lives that isn’t for sale on Black Friday aren’t good consumers. Lefties with thirty genders and a hole the size of Cleveland where meaning should be, are.

So are Communist drones in a society drifting away from Communism while suppressing religion.

That’s why California and Communist China are the capitals of ‘Capitamunism’. And why free market Christians are the enemies in both of the capitals where identity politics are their own religion.

In China, it’s nationalism. In America, it’s anti-nationalism. But those are just different identities. And advertising is in the business of monetizing identities. The militant Chinese nationalist vocally insisting that everything in Asia belongs to Beijing and the furious Black Lives Matter activist demanding that we build Wakanda in Oklahoma are two sides of the same coin and ESPN will market to both of them.

And if a few protesters in Hong Kong or police officers in Dallas get shot, that’s also the same coin.

What really matters is the next game, the next movie, the next phone and the next crackdown. What matters is that you can buy governments, shut down protests and suppress the truth. What matters is that more people, in China and America, are realizing that what they want isn’t a sale: it’s freedom.

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

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Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Bernie Sanders’ Perpetual Motion Green New Deal

One time, as I was riding in an Uber from the airport, the driver began explaining perpetual motion.

Even though we were in a motor vehicle which needed regular infusions of gasoline to keep going, the driver, who was a devotee of ancient Egyptian technology, claimed that the pyramids were really generators, that modern technology had been stolen by the white man, and that free energy was real.

He also had a video of a perpetual motion machine powered by a bicycle chain. “It generates energy by sliding down,” my driver assured me. “And then it gets pulled up by its own weight. It’s real simple.”

I never got around to asking him why he didn’t use the perpetual motion bicycle chain to power his car.

But now, Senator Bernie Sanders has announced his own perpetual motion energy plan.

In Bernie’s new Green New Deal, 20 million new jobs will be created to fight, what the elderly socialist claims is, a “climate crisis”. These jobs will be "good paying, union jobs" in "energy efficiency retrofitting, coding and server farms, and renewable power plants", not to mention the eternal New Deal fantasy of government work camps under a "a reimagined and expanded Civilian Conservation Corp".

And this perpetual motion plan will pay for itself by, among other things, "collecting new income tax revenue from the 20 million new jobs created by the plan."

The bicycle chain slides down. And then gets pulled up. And creates 20 million jobs. It’s real simple.

Bernie’s plan calls for spending a mere $16.3 trillion (also known as most our national debt) and that will create 20 million union jobs in such booming sectors as sealing windows and coding (when the coders have been unionized, all our software will work as well as all other union sectors), and then the income tax from those 20 million jobs will help cover that $16.3 trillion. Presumably with some tax hikes.

But it’s okay. We’ll just pay the workers more so they can afford to pay the higher taxes. It’s real simple.

Much like my Uber driver’s perpetual motion machine, the energy will be free.

First, Bernie will “ban the imports and exports of fossil fuels”. There will also be bans on fracking, coal mining and offshore drilling. And he’ll also “ensure fossil fuels stay in the ground by stopping the permitting and building of new fossil fuel extraction, transportation, and refining infrastructure.”

You wouldn’t want those fossil fuels escaping the ground and sustaining human civilization.

Then, President Bernie will use the SEC to force "financial institutions, universities, insurance corporations" to divest from oil and gas and buy "clean energy bonds". Those “clean energy bonds” will be subsidizing the failed “renewables” strategy that doesn’t work, but will now have been mandated.

Federal pension funds will also be forced to throw away the futures of their workers in the same way.

By 2030, the entire country’s electricity and transportation grid will be powered by “100 percent renewable energy.” Which is to say you’ll spend a lot of time sitting around in the dark.

But the whole thing will pay for itself “through litigation, fees, and taxes” on the fossil fuel industry.

First Bernie will bankrupt the energy industry and then pay for everything by taxing the industry he bankrupted. The bicycle chain goes up and then it goes down. Which part of that don’t you understand?

At least the energy will be free. Or virtually free.

Bernie’s Green New Deal proposal claims that, “after 2035 electricity will be virtually free, aside from operations and maintenance costs.”

Operators are standing by to take your call.

Bernie promises to “end greed in our own energy system”. Goodbye Edison, vamoose Tesla. There’ll be no more profiteering from the infinite free energy generated by the Green New Deal. Forget energy greed. And the energy grid. There’ll be neither greed nor grid in the Green New Deal.

How will this free energy work?

Simple. "The renewable energy generated by the Green New Deal" will be sold to "cooperatively-owned" utilities that " demonstrate a commitment to the public interest". Ban oil, coal and gas, then force all the financial institutions to subsidize “clean energy” which will be sold to lefty cooperatives.

And they say Communism doesn’t work.

There will be no more “energy greed” because the Green New Deal, whose key pieces of energy infrastructure, windmills and solar panels, are the least reliable ways to produce energy, and only work intermittently when there’s sunlight and wind, will resell its energy to politically correct utilities.

Everything will be subsidized and pay for itself by taxing the oil industry that no longer exists. And forcing everyone to invest their savings and pensions in a boondoggle worthy of Venezuela.

The bicycle chain goes up. The bicycle chain goes down. And you’re really gonna need those bicycles.

As Bernie puts it, "We will move beyond oil toward an electric car." There'll be $2 trillion in grants to buy electric cars. And $681 billion for electric car trade-ins. Then $407 billion to replace all buses with electric buses. And $216 billion to replace trucks with electric trucks. Plus, another $100 billion to “decrease the cost of a new electric vehicle to at most $18,000.”

(It's only money. Taxpayers have lots of it.)

Actual cars will be eliminated through the, "regulation" and "enforcement" of personal vehicles.

But don't worry about the cost of charging your new electric car, built by unionized "indigenous peoples" and "communities of color", because with charging stations everywhere, "drivers will no longer need to worry about where to charge their car or if they can pay for it."

The electricity is "virtually free".

The entire country, including all its vehicles, and long-haul trucks and school buses, and your car, will be dependent on an energy grid run by political apparatchiks who worked on the Bernie Sanders campaign and whose power supply varies depending on the weather, and are managed in defiance of economics.

What could possibly go wrong?

Better hang on to your bicycle. You’re going to need it once the blackouts, brownouts and restrictions on power usage kick in. After a while that $2 trillion worth of electric cars will be banned through “regulation and enforcement”, while everyone except seniors will be told to ride bicycles.

The bicycles will be powered by that unique form of renewable energy known as human muscle.

Human ingenuity and folly are the only true sources of renewable energy. Both are infinite. And sometimes it can be hard to tell one from the other. That is why socialism continues to endure. Not because it works, but because there will always be people who want to believe that the bicycle chain can go up and down, and that your trillion-dollar spending plans will be paid for by your fantasies.

Any intelligent adult would see Bernie’s Green New Deal as raving lunacy. Take the plan to subsidize 20 million jobs with income taxes from those 20 million jobs. Or the claim that the Green New Deal can be paid for with taxes on the energy industries it proposes to wipe out. Or a call to spend $150 billion to “decarbonize” shipping and aviation “as soon as possible”. (Just put windmills on the planes.)

Portions of the Green New Deal read like socialist gibberish poorly translated from the original Russian.

“We will establish a ‘take back’ program to require large corporations that produce goods with the materials needed for this clean energy transition to pay to take those goods back from consumers who no longer want them to establish a nation-wide materials recycling program so we can use as many recycled materials as possible to build the renewable energy equipment needed to transform our energy system,” one particular breathless sentence insists.

There’s no room for periods or commas in this excited vision of a world in which consumers eagerly rush to turn over the goods they no longer want so they can be used to construct windmills for free energy.

After the Bernie revolution, the people will have been educated to realize that they no longer need material goods. (Bernie however will have upgraded from three houses to four.) And they’ll rush to turn over all their iPhones and convertibles, while the evil corporations which convinced them that they needed those things will atone by beating their lawnmowers into solar panels and windmills.

This isn’t a political vision. It’s environmentalist messianism. It doesn’t work. But it isn’t really meant to.

My driver didn’t try powering his car with the perpetual motion bicycle chain. The idea of it was what mattered. Once upon a time, American socialists were cranks confined to lecturing students or random people about their magical economics with no real risk of having to put their delusions into practice.

The truly vital thing was the pseudo-religious vision of a remaking the world into a magical place.

We all like believing that wonder can transcend material reality. For religious people, God is the source of wonder. Others, like my driver, find validation in imagining the technological miracles of ancient Egypt. And millions of lefties believe that given total power they could reshape reality to create their vision of a magical world unbounded by the materialism of economics and energy.

In the real world, the only way the bicycle chain keeps going is if your feet are working the pedals. And lefties invariably realize that the only “free energy” doesn’t come from wind or solar.

The only “free energy” with which lefties build their utopias is slave labor.

Ancient Egypt wasn’t powered by magical batteries or lost ancient technologies. It worked because of slave labor. Communist dictatorships got things done not because they had good ideas, but because they enslaved millions of people. Bernie proposes bringing back the Civilian Conservation Corps. Perhaps he forgot that Norman Thomas, America’s leading socialist, had called CCC a “system of forced labor”.

Or maybe Bernie remembers all too well.

The bicycle chain rattles. Keep pedaling. It’s the only way to generate power in the Green New Deal.

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

Click here to subscribe to my articles. And click here to support my work with a donation.

Thank you for reading.