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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Silicon Valley Orgy and a $100,000 Check for Elizabeth Warren

By On July 31, 2019
The path to the $100,000 payment that allowed Senator Elizabeth Warren to access the DNC voter file began in a town near San Francisco with an anonymous man in a bunny suit and some ecstasy.

But that’s just because they do things a little differently in San Fran.

The Bay Area is home to the dot coms that dominate the country. And the parts of the country that they haven’t bought yet, they’re trying to buy. But even the masters of the universe need to relax. And on a fine spring evening, a “sex party” was held at the home of Democrat dot com donor, Steve Jurvetson.

“Sex party” would become a term of contention. The official title was either an “Afterthought” party or a costume “party on the edge of the earth” at Casa Jurvey by the Sea. Steve Jurvetson was there in a “feather vest and hat” and Google co-founder Sergey Brin was “bare-chested in a vest”.

A year earlier, Barack Obama and his notoriously scandal-free administration had named Jurvetson a “Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship”.

But in the spring of ‘17, a different kind of diplomacy was taking place in Half Moon Bay.

"Photos reveal a group of men and women lying close together, kissing and massaging one another," on the pillows and white faux fur blanketing the room, Emily Chang wrote in Brotopia. A venture capitalist in a bunny suit offered the anonymous female correspondent a bag full of powder. She tasted some of the Molly and began making out with the dot com VC in the bunny suit while his wife watched.

Chang’s reporting bookended the end of Steve Jurvetson’s time in his firm. Rumors percolated about extramarital affairs and sexual harassment. Karla, Steve’s wife, filed for divorce. And started writing big checks to Democrats.

The Jurvetsons had been Dem donors, but in the 2018 election cycle, Karla hit no. 11 on the list of top federal donors. No easy feat when no. 7 was George Soros and no. 12 was Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos.

Some of those donations were a little strange.

Karla donated $5.4 million to an Emily's List pro-abortion SuperPAC in Baidu tech stocks. Baidu is a Chinese company which is intertwined with the Chinese government and its ruling Communist party. Foreign entities are not supposed to be involved in American elections.

“We cleared the donation through our lawyers,” Emily’s List replied.

China’s Communist rulers are fans of mandatory abortions for women. And when you start out with orgies and ecstasy, what’s a few million in Communist tech stocks between comrades anyway?

You can’t exactly have drug-fueled orgies without abortion on demand.

Senator Elizabeth Warren keeps denouncing the 1%, but she stopped by Karla’s in Los Altos Hills, the 3rd most expensive zip code in the country, with a median household income of over $248,000, a median home value of $2,000,000, where 83% of the population has a college degree, for a fundraiser.

The fundraiser was curiously unreported because the optics may have been less than ideal.

Warren had claimed that she would be shunning big donors because candidates “spend way too much time with wealthy donors.” Her campaign had been billed as “The Best President Money Can’t Buy."

Like everything else Warren ever said, including claims of Indian ancestry, it was best taken with Molly.

Paul Egerman, her campaign treasurer is a millionaire PAC donor, who was a Democracy Alliance treasurer, served on the advisory council of the anti-Israel lobbying group, J Street, was a board member of the anti-Israel New Israel Fund, and is a donor to the Soros radical left-wing Bend the Arc PAC.

You don’t bring the “Personal PAC Man” to the table with his tech millions if you don’t want big donors.

Egerman cut a $120,000 check to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which calls itself the "Warren wing" of the Democrats, sells Warren merchandise, sends out fundraising emails for Warren, and states that it "can’t imagine a better use of our time, resources, energy, enthusiasm, creativity, door knocking, phone calling, Facebooking, Tweeting, and fundraising at this moment than ensuring that Elizabeth Warren starts strong and is successful."

The PCCC includes a dark money machine and multiple components, but even so Egerman has been documented as donating $560,000 to one part of it.

The suckers who believed Warren wasn’t taking big donor money should have been snorting Molly in Half Moon Bay while wearing their own bunny suits.

And then Karla Jurvetson, the new megadonor who out-donated the head of Amazon, cut $100,000 in checks to get Warren access to the DNC voter file. Just like the PCCC or a VC trying to get a young woman high so he can make out with her on a plush rug in front of his wife, this was a little convoluted.

Instead of donating to Warren, Karla wrote two checks to the DNC. The payment was split up into two checks, one for $35,500 and the other for $64,500, to bypass FEC donation limits. One payment was labeled for the legal fund and the other for general operations. But both were allegedly about kicking in $100K so that the Warren campaign could get access to the voter file and take her message of not taking money from big donors to the people.

Right before heading to a San Francisco $10,000 a seat cocktail party fundraiser with a $50,000 “photo opportunity” with Warren’s noble Cherokee cheekbones. So much for the egalitarian “selfie lines”.

It turns out that neither part of “The Best President Money Can’t Buy” is actually true.

You can buy Warren's “The Best President Money Can’t Buy” t-shirt for $30 bucks. And, like an insurance company trying to stiff asbestos victims, you'll find out that buying Warren costs a little more.

But you can absolutely buy her. Just make sure you hang on to the receipt.

It’s a long strange trip from a Bay Area dot com orgy and its “deep cuddle puddles” to a feminist megadonor doling out Communist tech stocks to abortion groups and a sidewise check to Warren.

Senator Elizabeth Warren claims to hate dot coms and pledges to break them up, but her biggest corporate donor base comes from Google employees, when she wanted to back up her false claims of American Indian ancestry, she turned to Carlos Bustamante, an adviser to 23andMe, co-founded by the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin (allegedly last seen bare chested at Half Moon Bay) which was fueled by an influx of millions from Google, and her money comes from the ex-wife of a Tesla investor.

This whirlwind of drugs, gene testing, orgies, voter files, Communist stocks and dark money machines seems like some Science Fiction nightmare. But the simple summary is that the Bay Area runs America.

Or at least the Democrats.

Grass roots rage didn’t swing the 2018 elections. Bay Area cash did. Speculative investments in dubious industries and massive silicon chip houses of cards made some men and women very rich. And out of the hothouse madness of broken relationships, chemical joys, radical politics, and lost souls that have defined San Fran for generations, came a river of money that bought elections around the country.

It’s a strange, tangled path from a Half Moon Bay orgy with white plush rugs to the checks that bought Senator Elizabeth Warren access to the treasured DNC voter file. But that’s what happened when San Francisco, with its filthy streets, filthier mansions and filthy rich dot coms, hacked America.

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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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Celebrity School Purges a Conservative Teacher

By On July 30, 2019
On the 5th of May, the American Freedom Alliance convened a conference on leftist radicalism. Before David Horowitz stepped up to the podium to discuss the threat of leftist extremism, Dr. Karen Siegemund, the president of the AFA, welcomed the attendees by speaking to our common values.

“Each of us here believes in the unparalleled force for good that is Western Civilization, that is our heritage, whether we were born here or not,” she said.

After Dr. Siegemund and Horowitz’s remarks, a panel discussed radicalism in the school system.

The day after this event, Dr. Siegemund was informed by Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, the school where she had taught mathematics for four years and where she had studied as a child, that her contract would not be renewed because she had praised western civilization.

The conference, which had addressed leftist radicalism in educational institutions, had struck home.

“On Monday, I was informed that my teaching contract won’t be renewed because of my ‘widely publicized views,’” Dr. Siegemund said. “You know, I’d always known I was vulnerable – of course. We on the right all know how vulnerable we are. But when it happens – when you actually become a victim, a casualty of this Long March, of the Left’s silencing tactics, it’s truly breathtaking.”

The French and English school set up and run by the Kabbaz family took as its motto, Cogito ergo sum or I think, therefore I am. These days, the radicalized institution has become hostile to the independent thinking that it claims to inculcate in its students. And to the cultural heritage of its origins.

Dr. Siegemund was told that her remarks about the good of Western Civilization were part of the problem.

“Give us your child and we will give you back two children: one European and one American,” Esther Kabbaz, the co-founder of the school, had promised parents.

But neither of the two children, the European one or the American one, is allowed to be Western. And what does being American or European even mean without the context of Western Civilization?

Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles’s learning materials repeatedly emphasize its global, rather than European, heritage. But a Lycée is not the product of global, but of French and Western roots. That’s why the school, which disavows Western Civilization, still offers courses in classical Latin and Greek.

Even the name of Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles comes from the Latin, lyceum or the Greek, lykeion, dating back to Aristotle. The Lycée curriculum that is the school's selling point dates back to 1801 France, where it was established to produce "citizens who are attached to their religion, their prince, their country and their family."

The goal was an educational system based on enduring values. As Napoleon, who established the system put it, “The morals and political ideas of the generation which is now growing up should no longer be dependent upon the news of the day or the circumstances of the moment.”

But there’s no room at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles for the heritage on which it was built.

Dr. Siegemund was purged by the leadership of Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles for advocating precisely those values on which the entire Lycée system was built. And which the school has abandoned.

She was not pushed out the door for advocating for religion, family and country in the school, but outside it, through her leadership of the American Freedom Alliance.

Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles is certainly not an apolitical environment.

Clara-Lisa Kabbaz, the daughter of the school’s founders, who now runs it, donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Her husband, as well the school’s Dean of Admissions, are ActBlue donors.

Dr. Siegemund recalls being cautious about wearing clothes with an American flag on them while "other teachers who denigrate the president in the classroom, who wear ‘resist’ tee-shirts, who promote all kinds of various leftist policies in the classroom" felt free to spout their political views.

But that’s not surprising considering that Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles is a celebrity school. Kabbaz is friends with Jodie Foster. And celebrities were instrumental in its founding and continued existence.

With pre-K tuition coming in at $17,500, going into the twenties for elementary and middle school, and climaxing at $28,000 for high school, it’s an exclusive school that caters to a cultural and political elite. Hollywood parents of the institution include Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, its galas feature celebrity performances, and its compounds are meant to protect the children of celebrities from the paparazzi.

Did Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles feel pressured to purge a conservative educator to avoid offending some of its wealthy and famous clientele? If so, it may have made a serious mistake.

California is one of the very few places in the country where political affiliation is a protected class.

California Labor Code Section 1101 prohibits employers from interfering with employees who are engaging in politics and forbids them from trying to control their political affiliations. Section 1102 warns against attempts to coerce employees in regard to any "political action or political activity."

Dr. Siegemund is being represented by famed conservative civil rights attorney Harmeet Dhillon. Her supporters have launched a fundraiser on her behalf and her work at the American Freedom Alliance goes on. On August 18th, the AFA will honor Dr. Siegemund as its 2019 Hero of Conscience.

The real harm has been inflicted on the students of Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles who have been denied the opportunity to meet and learn from her. Dr. Siegemund is a renaissance woman who speaks French, German, and Italian; who worked as a computer programmer on Navy sonar system; and holds degrees in Applied Mathematics, International Relations, and Education.

Dr. Siegemund is a scientist and a scholar, and in an age where schools emphasize STEM learning for girls, she's a role model.

But none of that mattered to Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles because she is a conservative.

Once Dr. Siegemund’s views were brought to the attention of the school’s leadership, a talented teacher did not have her contract renewed because her belief in the value of what the school claimed to teach offended some combination of its leadership, some of its parents, and, possibly, some of its celebrities.

There is a French phrase that the bilingual educators and leaders of Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles ought to learn.

Trahison des clercs.

When educators start behaving like political operatives, they betray their calling and the children in their care. The Left’s long march that Dr. Siegemund’s conference addressed is an act of intellectual betrayal.

Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles has betrayed its ethical responsibilities to its employees, to the children, and to the heritage that it claims to teach, but, in its betrayal, has instead come to hate.

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.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Senator Kamala Harris Lives In the Most Segregated Neighborhood in Los Angeles

By On July 29, 2019
Senator Kamala Harris, who lives with her white husband in one of the most segregated neighborhoods in Los Angeles, has come out with a call for busing children to distant schools to fight “segregation”.

That’s great for Kamala, who has no children. Her stepson, Cole, who works at the William Morris Agency, which is about as diverse as his dad and S-Mamala’s Brentwood hood, won’t be bussed to work at more diverse talent agencies, and Ella, won’t be bused from her studies at Parsons School of Design (4% black) to a more diverse design college. Like most politicians, Harris wants to penalize other people.

None of these provisions and solutions to problems that don’t exist will actually apply to her and hers.

If segregation is the mere absence of diversity and requires government intervention, as she insists it does, what is Senator Kamala Harris doing to desegregate her Brentwood neighborhood?

Kamala’s $4.8 million Brentwood home is located in a neighborhood that is 84% white and 1.2% black in Los Angeles, a city that is nearly 10% black.

Senator Harris has come out for busing children to schools that aren’t sufficiently diverse. What about busing some folks from South Central to Brentwood to live across the street from her home?

“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me,” Senator Kamala Harris whined.

Because the only way a successful Democrat can run for office is by playing the victim.

The truth is that little girl, the privileged daughter of wealthy foreign grad students, wasn’t bused.

She was flown around the world.

That’s not a “right-wing conspiracy theory”, as the media now describes any account fact-checking Kamala Harris’ imaginary past, it’s right there in the words of her own mother who couldn’t stop bragging about the wealth and power that was Kamala’s birthright by way of family and connections.

“When Kamala was in first grade one of her teachers said to me, ‘You know, your child has a great imagination. Every time we talk about someplace in the world she says, ‘Oh, I’ve been there.’ So I told her, ‘Well, she has been there!’”

“India, England, the Caribbean, Africa—she had been there," Kamala's mother told Modern Luxury magazine.

These days, Kamala actually has a great imagination. She has to work hard to imagine being oppressed.

That’s the actual little girl being displayed on those t-shirts that Kamala Harris For the People (the official and officially laughable name of a campaign funded by California millionaires) is selling for $30 bucks.

"Two decades after Brown v. Board, I was only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools. Without that decision, I likely would not have become a lawyer and eventually be elected a Senator from California,” Senator Kamala Harris claimed.

Kamala’s insistence that without busing she wouldn’t have become a lawyer or a senator takes place in an exciting fantasy world in which her wealthy, famous and powerful parents never existed. In the real world, her Brahmin mother, an internationally famous cancer researcher, sending her "Montreal’s tony Westmount" high school probably had a lot more to do with her becoming a lawyer.

Busing certainly didn’t put Kamala Harris on a path to the Senate and the White House. Not unless there were buses running directly to Willie Brown’s house and stopping in a shadowy spot at the back door.

It wasn’t civil rights, but an alleged extramarital affair with a dirty San Francisco city boss that made her.

Forget the trauma of busing. To get to where she was, Kamala, at 29, hooked up with Willie, at 60, and ended up in a Brentwood home with no children, but a Senate seat and a shot at the White House.

“And that little girl was me.”

It’s understandable politically and personally why Kamala would want to invent a past in which she hadn’t used her privilege and connections as a down payment on ruining her life and selling her soul.

Kamala’s story, in which busing took her out of the grim inner cities of Berkeley, where she had to watch three beatnik poets recite bad verse before she got to her bus stop, and opened the world to her, so that one day that little girl in the old creased photo could aspire to be president, is much nobler.

It’s a much more satisfying story than sleeping with a married politician and getting a BMW and a seat on a commission. There are no t-shirts at Kamala’s campaign store showing her old self driving in Willie’s BMW to the job that Willie got her, attending California Medical Assistance Commission meetings twice a month, for over $120,000 in current dollars, while still managing to miss 20% of them.

That not so little girl was her too.

If Kamala had at least allegedly slept with Willie because she was that “little girl” from the ghetto, clawing her way up the ladder, that would have been understandable. But the story is much worse. Kamala didn’t need Willie Brown to get a good job. She needed him to get jobs she didn’t deserve.

Like the one she has now and the one she wants now.

That’s the truly damning thing.

Senator Harris wasn’t a poor little girl from the ghetto. She mingled with the Nob Hill set. Her life was filled with privilege and wealth. It wasn’t desperation. It wasn’t need. It was greed.

Senator Kamala Harris has to reinvent her past because she needs to run as a victim. And because it shifts the social context behind the entire Willie Brown story to make her seem more defensible.

What can you expect from an oppressed little girl from the Berkeley ghetto trying to survive?

It’s not just Kamala rewriting her past. The media is working just as hard to reinvent a woman that the local press had covered thoroughly, while denying all the stories it had written about her in the past.

There’s always been speculation about Obama’s rise in Chicago politicians, but there’s never been much ambiguity about Kamala’s rise in San Francisco politics. We know how it happened and why.

But, now that’s a “right-wing conspiracy theory” even if it appeared in all the big California papers.

Before the media reinvented Kamala Harris as living on a Berkeley plantation with white and colored marijuana dispensaries, the Los Angeles Times had described her as a, “privileged child of foreign grad students”. These days, repeating that will see you accused of spreading right-wing conspiracy theories.

Reality, history and the media’s own stories are all notoriously right-wing conspiracy theories.

But meanwhile “that little girl” lives in one of the most segregated neighborhoods in Los Angeles, without ever saying anything about it, with her entertainment lawyer husband, in a $4.8 million home with a “spa-like” master bedroom, and a kidney-shaped pool. The median income is $112,000.

Kamala has an estimated net worth of $391,000.

Once upon a time, she got a BMW from Willie Brown. These days, it’s unknown what she drives. But, like most wealthy people in Los Angeles, Senator Kamala Harris would never actually take the bus.

Busing is for other people.

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, July 24, 2019

The Anti-Library Library

By On July 24, 2019
What belongs in a library anyway?

The Library Journal recently retweeted the accusation that, "Library collections continue to promote and proliferate whiteness with their very existence” and all the books by white people “are physically taking up space in our libraries."

The Library Journal had been founded by Melvil Dewey. Since then, the American Library Association, also founded by Dewey, pulled the name of its progressive feminist founder, who had issues with wandering hands and bigotry, from its medal.

It was the second time in two years that the ALA had renamed one of its medals. Last year, the Laura Ingalls Wilder award became the Children’s Literature Legacy award after accusing the Little House on the Prairie author of racism.

The cultural establishment unsuccessfully spent three-quarters of a century trying to kill the Little House on the Prairie books because of their conservative and libertarian worldview. While the beloved classics are set in the 19th century, the books tapped into the national debate between self-reliance and socialism during the New Deal. Wilder was an opponent of the New Deal and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who edited the books, would become a major libertarian figure.

Little House on the Prairie is one of those “library collections” proliferating “whiteness” and “taking up space in our libraries”. Exhibits of the books already come with warnings about “problematic” content. And, before long, a pressure campaign will see them forced out of their traditional spaces in libraries.

What will replace them? Probably nothing.

The Library Journal retweeted a screed calling for more minority books. But the definition of what a minority is constantly keeps changing. A library collection filled with books across the racial spectrum won’t sufficiently represent transgender authors. And once enough transgender authors are recruited, published and embedded, it won’t represent whatever the next great identity politics cause will be.

Libraries run by a radical movement are a contradiction in terms.

In the 20th century, European radicals wanted to burn museums to destroy all the old works of art. During some leftist takeovers, such as the Bavarian Soviet Republic, the threats became serious. The ideological justification grounded in class warfare, rather than identity politics, expressed the same idea as the Library Journal’s tweet. Collections represent the old. Changes comes from the new.

A library is reactionary. Burning books is progressive.

Leftism requires not just a revolution, but an endless cycle of them. Libraries seek to preserve the sum of human knowledge, science, art and literature. The ideology and the institution are on a collision course. The ideology worships newness for its own sake, destroying the old to justify its power, while the institution preserves the old, deriving its legitimacy from the study of the past.

Soviet libraries were caught in a cycle of censorship as new histories and political positions kept emerging. The old Communist hero was now a traitor. Lenin’s old position was now taboo. The books that contained them had to be eliminated. That’s the same problem facing the modern library which has to police the constantly changing political boundaries of timeless literature.

The easiest way to run a library is to stock as few books as possible. And that’s the future.

Modern libraries are dumping their collections, opening up more work spaces and adding classes, events and programs. Lefties have little use for libraries with their collections of printed books. Library spaces have to function as social organizing hubs for immigrants, minorities and activists. If people have to read in a library, it should be a screen. The internet rewards the trending topics of the moment. Not the past.

There are no concerns about that worn 1971 copy of Little House in the Big Woods on a back shelf because an internet search will be biased to push the latest social justice essays about the series. Libraries exist to curate an intellectual history while the current internet model pioneered by Google and reinforced by social media, exists entirely in the trending moment with no sense of history at all.

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there," a writer most have forgotten once wrote. The radical hatred of the past is a cultural xenophobia. History is assailed with propaganda as honest and vicious as anything put out by North Korea. The foreign country in which the men and women who live on in the stacks dwelled were bigots. All we need to know about the past is its evil.

Accusations of racism become a convenient means of eliminating the past. And once that’s done, nobody knows anything at all. We all become millennial wunderkinds like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, forever discovering new things, and attributing those discoveries to knowledge instead of ignorance.

The real problem with the past though is the litany of the crimes and failures of the Left. That litany is mysteriously omitted in the latest lecture of how America was built by exploiting the oppressed. Leftist history is always being revised. The revolution of the moment is urgent and inevitable. The revolutions of the past are old history. Nothing needs to be learned from the past. And it’s best not to have libraries.

And so the library becomes the anti-library.

The anti-library is dedicated to limiting knowledge and eliminating the past. The fewer books there are, the easier it is to make sure that they are the right ones. The miserable task of censorship cycling will invariably leave readers with far fewer readable books than they might want. The Soviet Union tried to solve the problem by supplementing its propaganda tracts with selected works of classic literature.

But classic literature is full of dead white men. And there are only so many books that the alliance of oppressed minorities of the moment can be expected to produce that people will want to read. The ability to write is not distributed by any agency or committee. And it cannot be redistributed. Identity politics offers no assurances that the resulting book will be read out of pleasure, rather than duty.

Soviet anti-libraries tackled the problem by allowing children to take out classic literature only if they also took out modern propagandistic works. American libraries however won’t face the same problem.

The Bolsheviks believed that it was important to get people to read so they could be propagandized to. A newspaper is a much more efficient use of political resources than a street corner demagogue. But online video has made the street corner demagogue much more efficient and effective. The destruction of literacy is not an accidental malfunction of the educational system. Illiteracy is the intended outcome.

The Communists were teaching the peasants to read. Our Marxists are teaching them not to bother.

The library, the radicals tell us, is an outmoded institution. Books full of words by dead white men are mainly of interest to dead white men. Even replacing them with books by identity politics minorities doesn’t fix the structural problem that literature and history conform to the norms of dead white men.

Whiteness isn’t just in the names of the authors in the stacks. It’s in the nature of the stacks themselves.

Why have libraries at all?

The obvious answer is that they employ librarians. And they provide internet access to homeless people and teach English to day laborers. They offer spaces for visitors to study the slogans on all their posters. That’s the anti-library future of the library. A space with few books and many screens. A community organizing hub that occasionally happens to have a few books tucked away somewhere.

Not too many though.

There’s no reading in the anti-library.

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, July 23, 2019

Peace Doesn't Exist. Neither Do the Palestinians

By On July 23, 2019
Salah Abu Miala, a Hebron businessman, traveled to Bahrain to attend the Bahrain peace conference. When he returned home, he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority.

A security official for the Islamic terror group admitted that there was no actual charge.

"It was a warning," he said. "He must understand the implications of this sort of collaboration."

Collaboration with the United States. The country that set up the PA and lavished billions in aid on it.

Another businessman managed to evade the crackdown on peace conference attendees.

The Palestinian Authority had not only boycotted the peace conference, but it arrested participants in the peace conference, and warned that participating in the peace conference was collaboration.

Collaboration, under Palestinian Authority law, can be punishable by death.

The message is that the Palestinian Authority really doesn’t want peace. It has sabotaged peace conferences under Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump. Every approach running the same narrow gamut from pressuring Israel to bribing the Palestinian Authority has been tried. They all end the same.

Just ask Salah who was locked up for attending a peace conference.

The pattern here is so obvious that it would take a diplomat or a politician to miss it. That’s why we’ve been mired in it for so long. And the billions of dollars wasted and thousands of lives lost could have been saved if only our leaders had questioned their premises by asking three simple questions.

1. What if the Palestinians don’t want peace?

2. What if there are no Palestinians?

3. What if there’s no such thing as peace?

The three assumptions, that the Palestinians exist, that they want peace, and that enduring peace is an attainable condition in the region, are at the root of the senselessly Sisyphean peace process.

The peace process was launched under the assumption that the PLO really wanted peace. Or at least a deal. Surely, our best and brightest agreed, they couldn’t possibly want an endless war.

And so, the truth was dismissed out of hand. It was too horrible to believe.

Decades of failed negotiations, rafts of Israel concessions, personal involvement by five presidential administrations, billions of dollars, with nothing to show for it, and the truth is still dismissed.

Instead, the official story is that Israel doesn’t want peace. The media echo chamber resounds with a narrative in which Israel has moved sharply to the right and is run by ultra-orthodox religious fanatics.

And Netanyahu, who is hardly anyone’s idea of an ultra-religious fanatic.

Also, the most right-wing party in the last Israeli election ran on a platform of marijuana legalization.

But it’s easier to claim that Israel doesn’t want peace than that the Palestinian Authority doesn’t. If Israel doesn’t want peace, that just goes to show that it’s a bad actor and must forced for its own good. If the Palestinian Authority doesn’t want peace, then the whole political premise of the process dies.

Israeli misbehavior can always be met with economic and political pressure. If the PA doesn’t want peace on any terms, that means it was never really a government, just a front for a terror group.

And that terror group became vastly more powerful and dangerous because of the peace process.

Before the peace process, the idea that the PLO might not want peace seemed implausible. In the post-peace process, the idea is an explosive scandal whose culpability extends through the political establishments of dozens of countries, including America and Israel. And so, it can’t be talked about.

Why did so many experts come to believe, against all evidence, that the PLO wanted peace? The error came about because the establishment had accepted the PLO’s propaganda that it was leading a national struggle to set up a state on behalf of a population of displaced and oppressed people.

The truth was that Palestine, as an Arab cultural minority as opposed to a defunct Roman colony, was as much of a mythical invention as the Islamic State with its Caliph. Like ISIS, Hezbollah and countless Islamic terror groups around the region, the terror group tapped into grievances among a local minority, invented an identity for them, and, backed by foreign donors, launched a campaign to “liberate” them.

There are dozens of similar enterprises going on in the region at any given time. They don’t enjoy the same level of support and recognition as the PLO does. None of them can actually run a state. Or want to. But neither does anyone else in the region. That’s why it’s always on the verge of exploding.

That brings us to the third assumption.

Peace as the natural state of the world is an exciting European delusion from just after one war and then another war that devastated the continent. There is as little evidence for this idea in human history as there is for the existence of a Palestinian kingdom, empire or anthill. And even less evidence for either the existence of peace or the Palestinians in its own region which has never experienced either one.

Even in Europe, the inevitability of peace keeps being interrupted by wars every generation. There are soldiers in the streets of Paris, where the first League of Nations meeting was held, fighting the war that France failed to fight in Algeria. After reviling the Pied-Noirs, the French are two generations away from becoming a nation of Pied-Noirs themselves, fleeing to Montreal to escape the Battle of Paris.

Peace is not the natural condition of mankind. It is a lovely thing that sometimes happens.

Generations of western diplomats keep stumbling into disasters because they believe that peace is inevitable. Therefore, the other side is bound to want it, because it wants the same things they do.

They never ask the terrible question, what if the other side wants something else?

Our foreign policy keeps falling apart because we never ask that question. We take the other side’s claims at face value and view them through the flawed lens of our own wants and needs. We want peace; therefore, they must want it too. We want the killing to stop, how could they not?

No matter how many times peace fails, the fundamental assumptions are never questioned.

What if instead of negotiating with a national minority that wants land for its own state, we’ve been funding an Islamic terror group that was set up by the USSR to destabilize the region?

Which of these two possibilities better explains the history of failures in the peace process?

If the Palestinian Authority were a terror group set up by the USSR to destabilize the region, undermine Israel’s existence, and drag America into a messy conflict, what would it be doing differently?


There’s no solution here. There never was. The region is never at peace for longer than a week. When peace can’t even hold between Sunnis and Shiites, how was it supposed to hold between either Muslim group and the Jews? The Arab Spring reminded us that every state in the region is just one crackup away from splitting apart into a civil war. What made anyone think that a terror group could create a state?

Or that it even wanted to.

We can solve the problem that five administrations have struggled with if we reevaluate our flawed assumptions about the world, the Palestinian Authority and the fictional people it represents.

All we have to do is ask the right three questions.

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.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Eagle Has Landed

By On July 22, 2019
Fifty years ago, a nation that we now know was racist, didn't care about the environment and drank too much soda, landed on the moon.

As the New York Times notes, its space program was less diverse than that of the USSR, which never did make it to the moon, but excelled at sending dogs to die in space.

Half-a-billion television viewers watched it happen live. They saw men walk on the surface of another world. They saw that human beings could break free of their world and take a first step into the rest of the universe.

And that was that.

Neil Armstrong died about the time that Obama finished gutting NASA. He lived long enough to write a saddened letter about the decline of American space exploration under Obama that everyone in the media did their best not to pay attention to. The letter was also signed by Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon.

Eugene Cernan is now 82.

No one who was born after 1935 has walked on the moon.

That period is swiftly becoming a historical relic. A thing that men did who lived long ago. A great work of other times like the building of dams and fleets, the winning of wars and the expansion of frontiers. Those are things that the men of back then did. Those are not things that we do anymore.

The youngest man to have walked on the moon, Harrison Schmitt, is 84. He was only 37 when he walked on the moon. Soon he will be one with the last of the Civil War soldiers and the last of the WW1 soldiers and then the last of the WW2 soldiers.

We like to believe that walking on the moon is still something we could do if we really wanted to. But like building all the big things, we just choose not to do it. We have more important things to worry about like social justice and figuring out the implications of the latest 1,000 page bill.

Forget exploring space. We explore the breadth of our own bureaucracy. We are the Schliemanns of Trojan horse government. We are the Neil Armstrongs of government landing on the paper moons of bills and acts by whose pale light we lead our pallid lives.

In those long lost days, we did great things. The bureaucrats took their cut and the contractors chiseled and the lobbyists lobbied and the whole great vulture pack of government swarmed and screeched and still somehow, with a billion monkeys on our back, we moved forward, because we still had great goals. Now our goal is government. There is no longer a moon. Only a paper moon.

The whole mess of bureaucrats, contractors, lobbyists, policy experts, consultants, congressmen, aides, crooks, creeps, thieves and agents is no longer a necessary evil that we put up with in order to accomplish great things. It is the great thing that we accomplish. There are no more moon landings, no more dams or tallest buildings in the world. The massive towering edifice of our own government is now our moon landing, our Hoover Dam, our Empire State Building.

Like so many decrepit civilizations before us, the massive rotting edifice of our government has become our great work. Keeping it going, keeping it from falling apart, wiping its bottom, finding the money to prevent its latest imminent failure, fighting over the last folder while the barbarians shout "Allah Akbar" and put all the paper to the torch because the Koran makes it redundant, that is what we do now.

We no more go a-roving so late into the night. Not when our own night has come. And it is late indeed.

It is not that we have no more Neil Armstrongs or Eugene Cernans or any of the other clean cut men who look back at us from those old photographs, cool and confident, knowing that they are the messengers that a civilization at its golden apex has picked to represent it at its peak moment. It is that we no longer want them.

A civilization calls forth its heroes through its conviction that they exist. And then, when they come forth, its convictions are affirmed.

That was always the secret truth of our greatness.

Like a tightrope walker crossing an impossible chasm or a man taking one small step, we believed in ourselves. We believed that there were heroes. And we understood the price that had to be paid.

We still believe in all sorts of things.

We believe that everyone's health care can be paid for without raising taxes.

We believe that the planet will end if we don't ban straws.

We believe that everything is racist.

But we don't know the cost of anything. And our heroes are the biggest whiners, the thinnest skinned tantrum throwers, and the con artists who make promises that they can't ever keep.

And don't know how.

The core element of the space program was competence. It's the same competence that allows us to still land jet planes every day, even if the rate of improvement in the technology slowed down long ago, or perform open heart surgery. But the number of professions in which competent counts has been decreasing over the years. And so has competence as a quality.

We have replaced confidence with attitude. And the difference between them is the same as the difference between a civilization and the savages outside. Confidence comes from competence. Attitude comes from rituals of pride uninformed by achievements.

Attitude is what actors, musicians and the endless swathe of reality television cretins project. And as a society, we value attitude more than competence because not everyone can have competence, but everyone can have attitude. Not everyone can walk on the moon, but everyone can work for the government.

We were going to go the moon and then to the planets beyond. We could find new frontiers, plant our flags, build colonies, jump from world to world, star to star, and turn our civilization into something more than another archeological dig. Maybe it was all just a crazy dream, but looking at the eyes of the men who did it and who died and die seeing it undone, there is that sense that they believed that it could be done.

Going to the moon was a crazy idea of course. Going beyond it would have been even crazier. Instead we settled down to the important things, like race relations, the importance of listening to music, breaking up the family, importing huge numbers of people with little use for our way of life and all the other stupid suicidal things that dying civilizations do to pass the time.

The eagle landed in a mud puddle in D.C. The last men who walked on the moon will probably be dead within a decade.

We'll tell our kids about it and they'll shake their heads because what's the big deal anyway? Everyone flies around in spaceships in all the movies. Why bother doing it in real life? They don't bother doing anything in real life. And then they'll go off to another class that will teach them how much carbon waste the space program added and how many super-hurricanes it caused and how much better off we are now that we no longer have cars, plastic bags or air conditioning.

We could have gone to the stars, but we took another road instead. Maybe we can still turn back to a time when we could do great things before it's too late.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Man Who Definitely Can't Beat Trump

By On July 21, 2019
The Weld 2020 campaign site features an old photo and raw video of his campaign announcement. It’s early July and the latest update on the site is from the beginning of May. That’s incompetence as usual in the hopeless campaign by the former Massachusetts governor which is being run by his stepson.

The Never Trumper competing against President Trump for the 2020 GOP nomination claimed back in March that he could “start Monday in the Oval Office.” Three months later, he barely has a website.

Back then, Weld dismissed talk of Trump’s popularity by saying that, “six months is forever in national politics”. That’s true. But no amount of forevers would allow the former Libertarian VP to beat Trump. An Emerson poll in February, before the beginning of his campaign, showed Weld polling at 15% against Trump. After a month of campaigning, the USA Today poll in June dropped Weld down to 5%.

William Floyd Weld seems to have taken the message of the polls to heart by campaigning as little as possible. The fewer Never Trumper Republicans actually encounter him, the more likely they might be to vote for him. When asked why he was running against Trump, Weld ranted about the Mueller report, and concluded with, "I would have pursued an indictment of the President of the United States for obstruction of Justice." Indeed, he seems to have spent as much running against Mueller, as Trump.

Even starting out, Weld had announced that he didn’t expect to win Republican votes in the Republican primaries for the Republican presidential nomination.

"Among the really dug-in Republicans, he's got a 98% rating," he rambled on CNN. "There are 20 states where independents are permitted to vote in the Republican primary. I'm going to be concentrating on those states."

Trying to win the Republican nomination by concentrating on independents in 20 states is a unique strategy. Almost as unique as having your stepson run your campaign and not updating your website.

Republican, or ex-Republican Trump challengers, tend not to win votes, but at least they have money. Weld doesn’t have either one. In June, he filled for an extension on his financial disclosures which absolutely no one was waiting around to study.

Back in March, Weld was claiming that billionaires would back his campaign. They don’t seem to have shown up. He has currently raised $688,000 and loaned his campaign another $181,000.

It’s a sad comedown for a man who once boasted, “The Welds don’t make money; they have money.”

No wonder he can’t even update his website.

But incompetent campaigns are Weld’s specialty. His primary pitch is big on stories of successful election campaigns for Massachusetts governor. He neglects to mention that when Bill Clinton nominated him as ambassador to Mexico, over the protests of Republicans, he resigned his job so he could go to D.C. and campaign for what, to most politicians, is a sinecure for connected donors. And he failed at that.

Over two decades before this current run, Weld declared that his campaign to be an ambassador to Mexico was a fight for the heart and soul of the GOP between moderates and extremists.

''I wanted to send a message that I wanted to be captain of my ship even if it's going to bottom,'' he declared.

And the bottom is exactly where the S.S. Combover ended up.

The Republican governor of Massachusetts threw away his political career in a failed bid to become an ambassador to Mexico before many of the millennial voters whom he hopes to court were even born.

And so, he turned to writing bad novels like, Mackerel by Moonlight. "I am underclass Irish," Weld wrote, unconvincingly, in Mackerel. "Wrong side of the tracks." In reality, Weld was a blue-blooded descendant of bankers who lived in mansions with more rooms than some hotels. Even his novels reeked of unearned privilege with blurbs from Doris Kearns Goodwin and Mary McGrory.

The Mexico job offer came after Weld had lost to John Kerry in a Senate election leaving him in tears After washing out in Massachusetts, Weld tried for governor in New York. This was another bad idea in a series of them. Republicans weren’t eager to have Weld show up and he was being followed around by the scandal that ensued when a college that he had been running had seen its accreditation pulled.

The payroll supervisor accused him of taking a $750,000 salary. The admissions director claimed that, “millions of dollars that were literally stolen out of taxpayer’s mouths” went into his pocket.

Weld pulled out of the New York campaign.

By then, Weld had become the relic of the days when the GOP had briefly been a party of likeminded blue-blooded northeastern liberals. Only his friendship with Mitt Romney tethered him in any way to the GOP. Romney picked Weld as the co-chair of his doomed campaign against McCain. And Weld repaid the GOP by endorsing Obama. That was it for Weld as far as most Republicans were concerned.

Weld still retained Eastern Establishment friends, most notably Romney, but no Republican would vote for him. So, he dived into the 2016 election as the Libertarian VP. (Romney suggested that the Libs would have his vote if only Weld were at the top of the ticket.) Weld, an inept and uninteresting politician from yesteryear, had been brought on in the expectation that he could bring the money.

Just as in his 2020 campaign, the money never appeared. And Weld seemed much more enthused about Hillary’s candidacy than his own. On MSNBC, Weld had opined that he's "not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States." The ex-Republican politico had always carried a torch for Hillary, at one point, praising her, “rock-like integrity.”

In the 2016 campaign, Weld had said, “I hope Gary Johnson and Bill Weld win the presidential election, but if we don’t I hope Hillary Clinton does.” His 2020 entry is not so much about Weld winning as Trump losing. “My favorite stat on this score is the last nine times a first-term President has sought reelection, the four who had a primary challenge lost while the five who didn’t have a primary fight won another four-year term,” he recently told a reporter.

But calling it a primary fight is a shameless exaggeration.

Back in the 2016 race, Weld had been a declared “Libertarian for life”. Now he’s trying and failing to play spoiler. After failing at actual elections, he can’t even manage to put together spoiler candidacies.

“I’m not scared of anybody. I don’t care what anybody thinks about me,” Weld once protested.

That’s part of the problem.

Weld has never really cared about politics. He’s a dilletante who got into it originally because, “It seemed like great fun.” His shtick, that of the lazy, careless and harmless blue blood, won over voters in his younger days in Massachusetts. But the act, along with Weld’s blonde hair, wore thin decades ago.

What was once funny is now just sad.

Beneath the carelessness is contempt. "Almost everyone, including Republicans, agree with me in private,” Weld arrogantly insists. It’s the refrain of a man from another political era who believes that his narrow elitist circle represent the GOP and America. And generations later, he still doesn’t get it.

Trump’s victory was the ultimate rebuke to the establishment that Weld had emerged from.

Both Trump and Weld are the same age. Weld is actually younger than Trump by a month and a week. But where his opponent, who doesn’t even know he exists, seems strong and vital, Weld feels old.

William Floyd Weld is not a candidate. He’s a relic who has outlived his time and his world.

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, July 17, 2019

Dem Dot Coms vs. Trump's Soldiers and Steelworkers

By On July 17, 2019
Politics has its style and its substance. Style requires the 2020 candidates to stump in New Hampshire diners and eat corn dogs at Iowa fairs. These stylistic rites of passage in American politics are on the verge of irrelevance as the kingmakers in California push up their primary and as the effort to eliminate the electoral college gains traction among the 2020 Democrats and, more importantly, their donors.

Forget the New Hampshire diners and Iowa corn dogs, the truth can be found if you follow the money.

The 2020 race is all about touting the democracy of small donors with a 130,000 donor threshold for the third Democrat debate. But certain zip codes keep coming up for the top Democrat candidates. The 100XX zip codes of Manhattan, the 90XXX zip codes of Los Angeles, the 94XXX zip codes of San Francisco, the 98XXX zip codes of Seattle, the 20XXX zip codes of D.C. and the 02XXX zip codes of Boston.

These are the core zip codes of the Democrat donor base. They are the pattern that recur in the campaign contributions lists of the top Democrats. And they explain the politics of the 2020 race.

Providing free health care for illegal aliens at taxpayer expense may not be very popular nationwide, but is commonplace in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. Gun control is a loser nationwide, but a sure thing in the big blue cities. Even proposals to take away private health plans, allow rapists and terrorists to vote from prison, and open the border pick up more support there.

The 2020 Democrats aren’t speaking to Americans as a whole. Instead they’re addressing wealthy donors from 6 major cities, and some of their satellite areas, whose money they need to be able to buy teams, ads and consultants to help them win in places like New Hampshire and Iowa.

New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles show up in the top 5 donor cities for most of the top 2020 candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg. Boston shows up in the top 10, not only for Bernie and Warren, but for Kamala and Buttigieg. Seattle appears in the top 10 for Bernie, Warren, and Buttigieg. Washington D.C. features in the top 10 for Bernie, Booker, Warren, Kamala, and Buttigieg. And the rest of America doesn’t really matter.

Not if you’re a Democrat.

The democracy of small donors is illusory not only by zip code, but by industry. Google isn’t the largest company in America, but, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, its employees show up on the top company contributor lists for Kamala, Sanders, Buttigieg, and, Warren. Despite Warren’s supposed threat to break up big dot coms and Sanders’ talk of going after big companies, Google employees were the top backers of both candidates.

What do they know that we don’t?

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, does employ a lot people, but its number of employees is a fraction of those employed by Home Depot, Kroger or Wal-Mart. What Google does have is an enormous concentration of wealth and power through its monopolistic control over search advertising. That power also gives its radical employees a disproportionate ability to shape the 2020 Democrat field.

Despite Warren’s supposed threats to break up big tech, their employees are some of her biggest backers. Besides Google, Microsoft, Apple and Yelp employees are some of her major backers.

Again, what do the millionaire employees of big tech know about Warren’s plans that we don’t?

Microsoft employees show up on the donor leaderboards for Bernie, Kamala, Warren, and, Buttigieg. Amazon employees are a major donor group for Bernie and Buttigieg. Pinterest, which recently made headlines for the dot com’s aggressive censorship of pro-life views, appears on Buttigieg’s donor board. Apple employees are some of the major donors to Bernie, Warren, and Kamala.

There’s no question that big tech cash is helping shape the 2020 Democrat field.

But it’s not just big tech.

Some of the biggest financial players in shaping the 2020 field are government institutions.

After Google, University of California employees are the biggest donors to both Bernie and Warren. They also show up, somewhat less surprisingly, on the donor leaderboards for Kamala Harris and Buttigieg. The prominence of California college employees on donor lists for candidates from the other side of the country shows the sheer financial wealth of taxpayer funded institutions in California.

Aside from UC, employees of Berkeley, the city, show up as one of Bernie’s major donor groups. Employees of the State of California are a major donor group to Kamala Harris, a former state official.

New York City employees are a major donor group for Bernie Sanders.

The donor list roundups show the power of alumni networking with Warren tapping into a large donor base at Harvard and Buttigieg at Notre Dame. Harvard had positioned Warren for a profile in national politics and Notre Dame had made Buttigieg a viable candidate in a city where hardly anyone seems to even bother voting. And even Cory Booker managed to tap into his old Stanford connections

University of Michigan and University of Massachusetts employees are some of Warren’s most prevalent institutional donors. University of Illinois, Michigan, and Massachusetts employees fuel Bernie. As do Stanford and Columbia University employees.

Beyond the regional geography, there is a political and industrial geography shaping the 2020 field with New York City and Berkeley employees funding the candidacy of a Vermont socialist and the employees of public and private universities (but either way heavily subsidized by taxpayers) across the country funding the rise of a Massachusetts socialist with an academic background.

By contrast, Trump is the only 2020 candidate whose top 5 donor groups don’t contain a single big data firm, but do contain employees of the United States Army and the Department of Defense. He’s also the only candidate whose top donor groups contain multiple branches of the military, the Army, Navy, and Air Force (Space Force still pending), but not a single college or FAANG tech monstrosity.

In contrast to the 2020 Dems, there isn’t a single law firm, but there are several manufacturing firms. Meanwhile not a single of the top 2020 Dems appears to have a manufacturing donor base.

The sharp contrast between Googlers and steelworkers, between professors and soldiers, draws a truer picture of the clash of cultures between the Democrats and Republicans, lefties and righties in America.

Bernie Sanders claimed that his campaign was grass roots because his average donation was $27. Bernie, a 1 percenter socialist who claims to advocate for the poor from one of his three homes, was under the impression that $27 was what poor people could donate to a political campaign.

Then President Trump raised $54 million. His average donation was four bucks.

The parts of the country are also more diverse with Milwaukee, San Antonio, Greensboro, Dallas, and Houston appearing on the list of Trump donor bases.

The 2020 election will come down to the question of whether six influential blue cities will be able to buy the election and dictate their politics to the country, whether the big tech firms and professors will be able to drown out the sailors and steelworkers, or whether the rest of the nation will be heard.

The dot coms and academics of San Francisco and Boston, the financial firms of New York and the lobbyists of Washington D.C. will pick the Democrat nominee. But will they pick the president?

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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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Stop the Deepfakes Freakout

By On July 16, 2019
In 1988, a new program was created that would, unwillingly, give its name to an entire field of fake pictures. At the end of the eighties, Adobe Photoshop was not associated with faked photos. But the popularization of the graphics software made it possible for people to produce plausible fake pictures.

And, the world is still here.

Deepfakes, what can be called "Photoshopping for video," has set off an hysterical overreaction by Dems and the media that’s usually reserved for discovering that their flaming pants were made in Moscow.

Rep. Yvette Clarke, a politician no one had previously accused of understanding technology, has proposed the DEEPFAKES Accountability Act. The bill exists for no other reason than to remind people outside her miserable Brooklyn district of her existence and for the Supreme Court to strike it down.

The bill mandates a digital watermark for any "advanced technological false personation record" created "with the intent to distribute such record over the internet".

It comes with a 5-year prison sentence for malicious intent.

Mutale Nkonde, a Clarke advisor on the bill from the Data & Society Research Institute, bizarrely claimed, "Deepfake videos are much more likely to be deployed against women, minorities, people from the LGBT community, poor people."

Deepfakes are more resource intensive than Photoshopping. There’s no reason to think that their creators are going to spend a lot of time and effort targeting poor people. The current victims mostly appear to be female celebrities, who have plenty of financial resources, rather than poor gay minorities.

Clarke’s bill somehow gets even worse when it defines a deepfake as a video depicting “any material activity of a deceased person which such deceased person did not in fact undertake, and the exhibition of which is substantially likely to either further a criminal act or result in improper interference in an official proceeding, public policy debate, or election.” That would mean a Hollywood movie using a digitally enhanced Lincoln released around an election could run afoul of the Democrat’s legislation.

The repeated mentions of “elections” get at the truly troubling part of the deepfakes hysteria.

Clarke claims that her bill would stop “election interference from both foreign and domestic players who could use deep fake technology to alter images and videos of candidates running for office.”

We’ve had technology that can do that for a long time. Again, it’s called Photoshop.

A bill to ban Photoshopping of politicians, or to require watermarks on Photoshopped pictures of Obama or Trump, would rightly meet with outrage and pushback from free speech groups.

Photoshopped pictures and memes have become the most common form of political cartoon.

Before the deepfakes hysteria took off, bad lip-reading videos and other audio overlays served as forms of political satire. Long before the existence of computers, impersonators did the same thing.

Rep. Adam Schiff claimed that deepfakes, “enable malicious actors to foment chaos, division or crisis — and they have the capacity to disrupt entire campaigns including that for the presidency.”

But do they really? Why hasn’t it happened yet?

For the same reason that a Photoshopped picture of a political candidate with a supermodel has yet to stop an election. Faked pictures can be detected. So can deepfakes. Tampering leaves telltale traces.

And the proliferation of Photoshopping has devalued the significance of the damning photo. The proliferation of deepfakes will, in the same way, prevent people from taking videos too seriously.

People outside D.C.

Rep. Schiff demanded that social media companies “protect users” from “viral deepfakes” before the 2020 election. But it isn’t users that need “protecting” from videos. It’s Democrats like Schiff and Pelosi who want to censor the internet to protect themselves from a little ridicule.

When a recent video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, slowed down to make her words sound slurred, went viral, the media jumped on the non-event with headlines in the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. Rep. Schiff immediately announced that there would be an investigation of deepfakes, even though the Pelosi video was not a deepfake, it was a basic audio trick that’s been around forever.

The Pelosi video was not, as the media falsely claimed, a “nightmarish” new threat or part of a wave of deepfakes that will destabilize the 2020 election and test the ability of the internet to cope. YouTube is full of dozens of videos of Trump slowed down with that same drunken slur. And videos of every politician from every nation under the sun. They’re everywhere and nobody takes them seriously.

The media has claimed that the Russian and Chinese governments could introduce hoax videos. But governments had the financial resource and technology to produce them long before deepfakes.

The threat of deepfakes is that, like Photoshopping, anyone can in theory figure out how to do it.

Democrats and the media embraced a fact-free deepfake hysteria because it perpetuates the fake news panic they set off after Trump won with the aim of censoring the internet and tightly controlling speech.

Censorship, not deepfakes, is the real threat.

The last time fake materials were used in an attempt to change the outcome of a presidential election, the perpetrator was CBS News which tried to pass off documents produced in Microsoft Word as being from the Vietnam War in order to prevent President George W. Bush from being reelected.

America weathered that crisis, not because of government legislation or because of the media’s fact checks or censorship by internet platforms, but because internet users quickly spotted the fakery.

The media has spent an entire generation trying to rehabilitate Dan Rather and the original reporting. Hollywood even made a movie starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather. The media regularly consults Rather as an elder statesman on subjects such as fake news. It couldn’t possibly have any less credibility on the subject of bad actors using faked materials to sway the outcome of a presidential election.

No Russians needed.

Should legislation be enacted to prevent the media from faking documents, pictures or videos?

No. The government is the worst possible custodian of gatekeeping election materials. The conflicts of interest are so obvious as to be abusive. Clarke’s bill risks exactly that problem. Internet platforms like Google and Facebook are even more politically biased and untrustworthy. Especially when they’re guided by media fact checks which manage to be even more biased than the lefty dot com monopolies.

The answer is to stop creating tiers of gatekeepers with their own biases and conflicts of interest.

The internet is an open forum. The best way to manage its conflicts is with the marketplace of ideas. And while ideological debates can recede into endless abstractions and namecalling, faked photos and videos can be highlighted and called out. The debate over photoshopping does show a way forward.

And, as with the CBS News scandal, the worst abusers have often been the media.

In 2013, the World Press Photo award winning photo of Muslim parents carrying dead children through the street in Gaza was an impossible shot that turned out to have been tampered with. The photo became the subject of a debate between bloggers, tech experts and the media, which defended it.

Faked photos of various kinds have been a staple of the Israeli-Muslim conflict.

During the 2006 fighting in Lebanon, Reuters photos had to be withdrawn due to Photoshopping. The media has been much less interested in discussing the threat of fake news posed by photos falsely indicting Israel. Or of the Daily Mirror photos that falsely showed British soldiers torturing Iraqis (that’s the scandal which inflicted Piers Morgan on America) which may have inspired Islamic terrorist attacks.

History tells us that if deepfakes become a political threat, the perpetrators will be the media.

And the best antidote to them isn’t government, media or dot com censorship. It’s the piercing light of public scrutiny. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and for it to shine, the shadow of Congress, Google and the International Fact Checking Network can’t be allowed to blot out the light of public debate.

The deepfake that poses a threat to a presidential election won’t come out of an obscure forum. It will be broadcast by the media which will mobilize experts to defend its legitimacy and employ its fact checkers to suppress dissenting material on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The suppression will be backed by the legislation and threats put forward by Rep. Schiff about suppressing “disinformation”.

We’re Americans and we know that the best defense against fake news, lies, hoaxes and scams is not a government agency, a dot com monopoly or a media monopoly. Those are the ways we get fake news, lies, hoaxes and scams that cannot be challenged because anyone who speaks out is swiftly silenced.

The only way to prevent an actual deepfake election hijacking is by keeping speech on the internet free.

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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Sunday, July 14, 2019

The History of the Israeli Community of Ramat Trump

By On July 14, 2019
At an elevation of over 2,000 feet, the road to Ramat Trump or Trump Heights at times appears to be climbing into the sky. The Golan Heights with its scrub and brush, the vast Mediterranean vistas, nature reserves and artsy cottages, interrupted by secluded villages with more livestock than people, could easily be mistaken for some rural part of California. But occasionally there is the distant sound of artillery or the sonic booms of Israeli or Russian jets reminding everyone that this is a war zone.

On the other side of the wineries and ranches isn’t California, but a murderous struggle between Sunni and Shiite Islamic terrorists battling each other and themselves for control of Syria. Factions on the other side include Iran, Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood. Ever since Trump won, the struggle has been dying down. ISIS has mostly been crushed. But the cows up here can’t count on the quiet.

The announcement that Israel would be naming a town after Trump, in appreciation of his recognition of the Golan Heights, was met with jeers and media cries that it would be an “illegal settlement”.

There’s plenty of history behind dismissing the notion of “illegal settlements” on land where Jews had lived for thousands of years. Ramat Trump will be under the authority of the Golan Regional Council based out of Katzrin, a Jewish village with an ancient synagogue dating back to at least the 4th century built by refugees fleeing the might of Rome, only for it and other small Jewish villages built on the Heights to encounter the Islamic invaders claiming the land not for the emperor, but for the caliph.

On the Syrian side, there are still jihadis hoping to invade and claim the land for another caliph.

The Democrats, activists and media hacks who condemned President Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights and who denounce Ramat Trump as an “Israeli settlement” haven’t explained what they want to see done with it. Do they want to turn it over to the Sunni or Shiite jihadists? To ISIS or to Iran?

The calm waters and scattered stones, the massive clouds slowly drifting across the sky and the breeze rich with the smell of growing things, belie the many battles that have been fought here.

And may be fought yet again.

After the next Israeli election, Trump Heights will slowly come into being near the community of Kela Alon named after the oaks that thrive here and which were referenced by the prophets in biblical times. A more recent landmark is Petroleum Road, the remnants of a pipeline which once ran from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon. The pipeline and the road have long since become defunct. One day archeologists will dig them up to unearth their secrets. But for now, Petroleum Road has another secret to tell.

On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of Judaism, Syria and Egypt launched a surprise attack on the Jewish State. Some of the bloodiest battles for survival were fought here as a handful of Israelis held out against overwhelming odds.

On Petroleum Road, Lieutenant Zvika Greengold, 21, with one tank, held off an entire Syrian armored division. Greengold, who had been born in a kibbutz named after the ghetto fighters, destroyed 60 tanks in 30 hours of fighting. His tank was knocked out, his uniform caught on fire, but he never gave up.

Highway 98, off Petroleum Road, leads to the Valley of Tears. That’s the memorial for the Israeli soldiers who fought and died when 175 Israeli tanks stood against 700 Syrian tanks. Highway 98 isn’t just a road. The location was one of the objectives of the battle that left hundreds of enemy tanks in ruins.

Such lopsided battles defined the struggle for the Heights with outnumbered and overwhelmed Israeli forces building temporary walls out of enemy armor while waiting and praying for reinforcements.

The bloody lessons of those days have settled the question of the Golan Heights for virtually all Israelis.

The commanding heights that allowed Israeli forces to survive, to win battles by holding the line and preventing superior enemy forces from breaking through gaps, cannot be surrendered at any price.

You might as well have asked the 300 Spartans to surrender the Hot Gates to the Persians as to demand that the Israelis turn over the Kuneitra Gap and its lava beds to Iran’s proxies in Syria.

It’s been a long time since 1973. Old heroes have gone to their resting place. But the war waits.

Aside from the visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Ambassador Friedman to dedicate Ramat Trump, the area is quiet. The new community will rise out of an older community of Bruchim or Welcome. The symbolism is significant because when Bruchim village was pioneered back in the 90s, a furious Secretary of State James Baker had blasted Israel’s “provocative” actions in creating a “settlement”.

Three decades later, the few Soviet Jewish refugees who found welcome in these heights live quietly and provoke no one. Baker’s efforts at Israeli-Syrian peace talks not only failed, but were irrelevant. Syria, like much of the rest of the region, is not a country or a people, it’s a dictatorship welding together different peoples and tribes who would fight for dominance and independence any chance they get.

A deal with the Assad family is as hollow and meaningless as one signed with a drug cartel or Hamas.

President Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights disavows the fantasy foreign policy of both Bush administrations and of the Obama administration. Trump is a realist and how better to honor him than to recognize the reality on the ground. That’s the message that dedicating Trump Heights sends.

Israelis have brought American diplomats and politicians to the Golan Heights for generations to show them how vulnerable the country is. They all nodded their heads as if they understood. But none did.

Trump Heights is named after the only man in the White House who understood how important it is.

James Baker III had represented generations of the old Republican foreign establishment. His protégé, Condoleezza Rice had carried on his work under Bush II. But Baker’s closest equivalent in the Trump era, Rex Tillerson, another oil company man, was gone and replaced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is a realist not given to fantasy diplomacy, ambitious regional solutions or wishful thinking.

The old Arabist anti-Israel alliances have fractured and some of the Sunni Muslim oil powers would rather that Israel hold the Golan Heights than that Iran add another strategic region to its empire.

Trump Heights will not be a booming hub of commerce and technology. The Golan Heights are remote and not suited for huge bustling crowds. With 110 housing units planned, Ramat Trump will probably have fewer residents than most Trump hotels. Traffic will be light. And likely limited to tourists and artists staying for a while in the nearby cottages of Matsok Orvim or the Cliff of Crows.

But the vistas and the history here are too overwhelming for big buildings and shopping malls.

The Israelis who live in Trump Heights will not be wealthy. They will have few luxuries. But they will be determined. All Israelis live in a war zone. But some do more than others. All Israelis live close to heaven. But some heights are closer than others. The unyielding patience of history has formed the rock and dust here. And some of that quiet determination has made its mark on the land and the people.

The Heights are crowded with thousands of years of history, with the sounds of falling shells and screaming men, but also with a vastness of sky and earth that open the human heart to wonder. There are strange megalithic monuments that have never been explained, unexpected springs bounding from the earth, and massive waterfalls. And in the air is that intangible taste of a timeless eternity.

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, July 11, 2019

A $1.6 Trillion Bribe for Dem Primary Voters

By On July 11, 2019
62% of Democrat primary voters have a college degree. 29% have a postgrad degree.

That’s in contrast to a national average of a third of Americans with college degrees and only around 13% with postgrad degrees.

Those postgrad numbers are very significant.

MA students make up 17% of student loan borrowers, but 38% of student loan debt.

Graduate degree students borrowed $18,120 in one year compared to $5,460 for undergrads. Loan debt hits stratospheric numbers with professional degrees with medical degree debt at $161,772 and law school debt at $140,616. Much of this was due to a rule allowing unlimited grad student borrowing.

Over a third of Dem primary voters earn over $100,000 a year compared to 9% of Americans.

Democrats student loan bailout proposals are heavily tilted to favor their own primary demographic.

The number of grad students is rising as the number of undergrads is dropping. Two MAs are being awarded for every five BAs backed by unlimited borrowing and out of control tuition increases.

But a White House plan to limit the scale of student borrowing ran into Democrat opposition.

Instead Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders have decided to offer a $1.6 trillion bribe to a minority of Americans, but a majority of Democrat primary voters. Warren and Sanders have repeatedly criticized Wall Street bailouts, but their student loan proposals are even more cynical.

The $1.6 trillion giveaway is not an emergency response to an economic crisis. It’s a bailout of irresponsible behavior by an industry and some of its consumers in order to win the primaries.

Sanders and Warren are trying to bribe their way to the valued second place slot in the 2020 race.

Warren has traditionally polled best among post-grads. She’s trying to appeal to that base to get her further into the race. Bernie Sanders has lagged among the 100k+ voters. His plan has no income tests because he’s trying to improve his standing with a minority of Americans, but a third of primary voters.

They’re both scrambling for the support of the same base of young wealthy postgrads who are extremely politically active in Democrat circles and would love to get a pass on student loans.

And that demographic has already been the beneficiary of unprecedented largess.

Loans have gone from being backed by the government to being made directly by the government. When Obama first won his election, there was $140 billion in federal student debt loans. We’re now at approximately $1.2 trillion in federal loans ever since the government all but took over the business.

Turning taxpayer money into loans for a sizable chunk of the Democrat base has now led to a demand that we take a bath on that trillion plus and then buy up loans from private lenders in the bargain.

This is every bit as bad as the Wall Street bailouts that Warren and Sanders inveigh against. Their proposal is to have Americans bail out the Democrat voters they want to the tune of $1.6 trillion.

Warren and Sanders have claimed that they wanted a college loan bailout for all Americans. Demographically, their bailout is about helping them score a few points in tight primaries by appealing to a minority of Americans, who happen to be key demographics in the primary contests.

The largest concentration of student loan debt is among the under 30 and the 30-39 crowd. As college tuition rates spin out of control, younger students are likely to carry heavier debt than in the past.

This is also a group that is far more likely to vote for Democrats.

In the 2018 midterm elections, the under 30 crowd chose Democrats over Republicans, 67 to 32, and 30-44 voters picked Democrats to Republicans, 58 to 39.

Those also happen to Bernie and Liz’s base. The one they’re cannibalizing our earnings to bribe.

Student loan debt is a bigger problem among women than men and among black people than white people. Black college grads owe $53,000 in debt, almost twice as much, four years after graduation.

Black voters tend to vote for Democrats by 90 percent or more.

That doesn’t mean that their problems don’t matter. But, conversely, there’s something obscene about Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders offering a $1.6 trillion bailout to their voters.

The American people should not have to pay the tab for a $1.6 trillion primary bribe.

The socialist candidates claim that the money will be paid for by new taxes on the rich. We’ve heard that line before. All their programs are supposed to be paid for that way. In reality, the costs will be passed down to the middle class while the benefits will be reaped by Democrat politicians and their supporters.

We don’t have a cost crisis in higher education. Instead, we have a spending crisis.

Senator Elizabeth Warren ought to know. Harvard paid her $350,000 to teach one class. Senator Bernie Sanders ought to know. His wife got $200,000 in severance from the college she ran into the ground.

Both Warren and Sanders profited from out of control college spending without caring about students.

The student loan crisis was caused by a chain reaction of irresponsible spending by schools, leading to tuition hikes, and student debt spinning out of control until it approaches entirely impossible numbers.

Student loan debt increased from $90 billion in outstanding student loan debt in 1999 to $550 billion in 2011 to $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $1.6 trillion now.

$90 billion to $1.6 trillion in 20 years is a huge leap. But it can be reversed with market signals that make it clear that the era of free money that drove institutional costs and tuition hikes is over. Or we can flush trillions more down the drain while blowing up the educational bubble until it becomes too big to fail.

Another two decades of such increases would lead to a number that would consume our entire GDP.

When that day comes, the real cost won’t be $1.6 trillion. It will be our entire economy.

The answer to the student debt crisis isn’t to feed the beast, but to tell the institutions that have helped run up unfathomable amounts of institutional and student debt to go on a diet before it’s too late.

There have been enough bailouts. It’s time to stop bailing and fix the boat.

Americans can’t afford Bernie and Liz’s $1.6 trillion bribe to their voter base. Nor can we afford the cost of the bubble when it finally bursts.

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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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Progressive Feminist Who Founded the American Library Association Faces a Reckoning

By On July 10, 2019
The Dewey Decimal System is the foundation of the modern library. Hundreds of thousands of libraries have laid out their collections around the work of the founder of the American Library Association.

Now Melvil Dewey has been purged by the American Library Association.

The ALA's resolution declares that its founder "does not represent the stated fundamental values of ALA in equity, diversity, and inclusion" and thus will rename the Melvil Dewey Medal to something else.

Renaming an award, without renaming the Dewey Decimal System seems odd, but stripping Dewey’s name from a meaningless award is easy, transforming library catalogs is a lot more difficult.

Virtue signaling is easiest when it takes very little work.

The purge was inevitable. The ALA is a leftist organization and Dewey had been due for the worst kind of revival. His name had begun showing up in the posts that millennial progressives who don’t know any history write to denounce the political incorrectness of some overlooked figure from the past.

Dewey’s sins from 1906 are only new to lefty millennials with no knowledge of history beyond last week.

The denunciation of Melvil Dewey rests on two sins that were not only very well known in his own time, but had already been dealt with a century ago, his sexual harassment of female librarians, and his racism and anti-Semitism. Not only was his misconduct well known, but over a hundred years ago he was forced out of the ALA over sexual harassment and out of the New York State Library over anti-Semitism.

Why did the ALA create an award named after a man it once shunned as a creep with wandering hands?

Melvil Dewey made the American Library Association what it is and his failings and faults are writ large across the entire spectrum of liberal intellectual life. The millennial friendly hot takes on Dewey’s life reduce him to another racist, sexist white man from a bygone era. And that ignores the actual reality.

Dewey was in a position to sexually harass numerous women because he was a feminist.

As a key figure in the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage, Dewey had appeared at suffrage events and marched alongside suffragettes to call for votes for women. He got women into Columbia by hijacking a classroom, creating the first library school, the School of Library Economy at Columbia, and admitting a mostly female class to a college that did not allow women over the protests of the trustees.

That class went on to become leaders in a new field that would be dominated by women.

Along with his wife, Dewey championed birth control, votes for women, and the League of Nations. He was a progressive hero, before he was disgraced, was resurrected as a hero, before being purged again.

The intersection between male feminists and sexual predators dates back well over a century. The stories eager to lay out all the complaints of sexual harassment against Dewey for decades neglect the role his progressive social views played in his actions. Did Dewey advocate for women’s rights because it gave him more opportunities to prey on women? Or did his social views cause his abuses?

Dewey had been a member of the American Social Hygiene Association which promoted sexual education and birth control. At the Conference on Race Betterment, a eugenics group, he argued for a ban on tobacco. Margaret Sanger, who combined eugenics and birth control, listed him as an endorser.

At least one article has linked Dewey to the Oneida Community, a communal sexual cult whose founder coined the term, “free love”. An early joke about Dewey from his chums has him heading to that "Paradisi of bliss, that ‘Oneida Community’ where all men are free and equal, and all women ditto."

Instead, Dewey turned library science into his own commune, surrounded by women he groped and harassed, even as he championed their equality and boosted their professional careers.

It’s an old story. And it created the American Library Association.

Some viewed the Lake Placid Club, which generated the accusations of anti-Semitism over its exclusion of Jews, to attempts to create another progressive utopian community, married to Dewey’s obsession with the metric system. (All the guests had to turn out the lights and go to sleep by 10 PM.)

Rules barring Jews from clubs weren’t unusual. But Dewey’s rules took a progressive eugenic tone.

A member’s Christian wife was banned because her “blood” was one-quarter Jewish. American anti-Semitism was social. Dewey’s racial anti-Semitism would later find its eugenic echo in Nazi Germany.

The specific ban, of which Jews ran afoul, extended also to “consumptives, or other invalids”.

Dewey was a member of the Eugenics Committee of the United States.

The Lake Placid Club had been set up for the educators and thinkers who were Melvil’s friends and allies. It was not the country club of a reactionary set, but the society of a progressive elite.

The anti-Semitism at the Lake Placid Club was not old. It was a New Anti-Semitism of the Left.

Melvil Dewey and his wife Annie were obsessed with improving the race. Jews had no place in their vision of a progressive nation run by a master race using eugenics to improve the species.

Just as Dewey’s sexual harassment stemmed from his progressive views, so did his anti-Semitism.

Those facts are absent from the stories about his name being removed from ALA award. None of them address the reality that Dewey’s lechery and bigotry defined progressivism and leftist politics today.

Dewey suffered from the typical progressive obsession with modernity and efficiency. The end result was dehumanizing and disastrous. The founding genius of the library system was almost impossible to listen to as a teacher, intolerable as a colleague and an obsessive-compulsive mess as a friend.

Melvil Dewey was an obsessive progressive. The first clue is in his first name. A fierce advocate of spelling reform, Dewey changed the spelling of his name from Melville to Melvil and from Dewey to Dui.

“Skolars agree,” he ranted in a sample of what his spelling reform would have done to the language, “that we hav the most unsyentif ik, unskolarli, illojical & wasteful spelling ani languaj ever ataind.”

Dewey’s obsession with reforming everything made him the toast of progressives. He championed transforming the language and imposing the metric system. He wanted to see everything modernized. The progressive reformer envisioned a world of rigid conformity and unstoppable change. He resolved the paradox, as all lefty reformers do, with a totalitarian answer of tyrants imposing new world orders.

And, like all radicals, he lived long enough to run afoul of the new world he had brought into being.

While the ALA can take Dewey’s name off its medal, the unified duality of his feminism and sexual harassment, his progressive values and bigotry, his obsession with the new and destruction of the old, characterize the movement that is purging him. Lefties can get rid of Dewey, but not the Dewey within.

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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