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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Whom Will Socialized Medicine Kill?

By On August 29, 2019
Four of the 2020 Democrats fighting to claim the White House have endorsed banning private health insurance and forcing everyone into a national socialist medical system overseen by the government.

“Health care for all is a right, not a privilege,” Senator Bernie Sanders said. His call to abolish private health insurance was endorsed by Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Cory Booker.

Sanders promises that government health care will cover everyone, provide everything, at no charge, and will be open to everyone. His models are the national socialist medical systems of European nations.

Like the NHS.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his first speech, argued that it shouldn’t take three weeks to see a GP under the NHS. Despite the well-known failings of Britain’s National Health Service, financial, medical, and ethical, it continues to be touted by, among others, MSNBC, as a model for the United States.

And yet the NHS also shows how a national socialist medical system is able to deny care and even kill.

Americans were riveted by the forced euthanasia of Baby Charlie last year, but the pressure to cut costs is manifested in ways that are less devastating, but more comprehensive. Despite Senator Sanders’ false statements, no system can or will provide care for everyone. Just like private health insurance, it will seek ways to cut costs by denying care. But a national socialist system will deny care on a larger scale by evaluating the value of people’s lives while penalizing their behaviors in almost eugenic ways.

That’s the case with the NHS obsession with obesity.

Michael Buerk, the host of the BBC's Moral Maze, recently argued that the NHS should let obese people die. "The obese will die a decade earlier than the rest of us. See it as a selfless sacrifice in the fight against demographic imbalance, overpopulation and climate change."

Buerk pointed to NHS estimates that obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion a year. "Who can calculate how much an obese person would have cost if they were slim?"

As a BBC host, Buerk is part of a different arm of the socialist octopus than the NHS. But his mindset comes out of the same political culture in which some must die so that others may get health care.

Last year, Steven Simons, the NHS boss, warned, “Obesity is the new smoking and the scale of our response needs to match the scale of the crisis.”

But the NHS has taken measures that go far beyond encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

Responding to budgetary problems, some NHS hospitals began denying routine and non-urgent operations to obese patients. That includes knee and hip operations without which patients, especially elderly patients, can be effectively disabled and on a track to a rapid decline and death.

The wait for hip and knee procedures can already take as long as a year. That meant that patients could be trapped in pain and partially disabled for even longer than a year. The elderly might lose their lives.

The new approach, Brits were told, “saves the NHS and taxpayers millions of pounds.”

“It’s the only way providers are going to be able to balance their books," Chris Hopson, the head of NHS providers, said.

Government health insurance, like private health insurance, denies care to save money. The difference is that when the government consolidates control over health insurance, there’s no alternative.

But overweight people had become political targets. And denying them care was seen as politically safe, at least somewhat safer than euthanizing sick babies, because they could be blamed for the situation.

The truth though was that was just a reason to rationalize resource shortages and denial of care.

That was 2016. This year, the NHS has been accused of denying fertility treatments to overweight women and even to ordinary women whose husbands happen to be overweight. The obesity might be unrelated to the treatment, but it provided a moral pretext for denying care to ‘bad people’.

BMI, rather than financial resources, had become the new barrier to obtaining medical care.

And the NHS leadership tended to conflate the two. The heavier you were, the more money you were costing the NHS, and the more likely you were to bankrupt the national socialist health care system.

"If as a nation we keep piling on the pounds around the waistline, we’ll be piling on the pounds in terms of future taxes needed just to keep the NHS afloat,” Steven Simons warned.

Simons and the NHS openly intertwined the “sustainability” of the NHS and public eating habits.

Government health care couldn’t be expected to function until people lost weight. And until people lost weight, they couldn’t be expected to benefit from a working government health care system.

The eugenic qualities of the NHS were undeniable and inevitable. And they reveal the lie behind the promises of endless care touted by Sanders, Warren and Harris in their proposal for a national socialist health care system, that eliminates Medicare, but that they falsely describe as, ‘Medicare-for-All”.

Under a national socialist system of medicine, your health is no longer your personal business, or that of your doctor, or your insurance company. Your physical condition is political and everyone’s business.

Socialist medicine claims to be based not on vulgar profits, but on morals. Even though it denies health care for financial reasons, it must wrap those fiscal arguments in a moral crusade. It can’t deny health care to deserving people, only to the undeserving or those who would be better off dead.

Private insurance companies can make fiscal arguments without dehumanizing their victims. National socialist medicine however must first demonstrate why its victims truly don’t deserve to live.

If the targets are to be blamed for their own fate, they must first be dehumanized. And if they are to be mercy killed, as the disabled often are, then the campaign dismisses them as hopeless cases.

"This man suffering from a hereditary defect will cost the German people 60,000 Reichsmark during his lifetime," a popular Nazi eugenics poster read. "Fellow citizen, that is your money too."

NHS rhetoric about obesity closely echoes the classic arguments of national socialist medicine.

The Nazis consolidated control over the health care system. Like modern socialists, they built up an extensive system of benefits, freebies and entitlements for Germans. The National Socialist People's Welfare organization was the envy of progressives worldwide. And by centralizing control over the medical system, the Nazis claimed to be able to offer better and more efficient care for everyone.

But, like all socialist medicine, the Nazi health care system was based around a collective need, not the needs of individual patients. That was how the Nazi medical system could rationalize the Aktion T4 mass murder of hundreds of thousands of disabled patients for the collective benefit of society.

The integration of the medical system allowed for the swift identification, seizure and killing of the elderly and disabled. By tying together a vast network of medical practitioners and facilities, the Nazis were able to carry out a program of eugenic mass murder on a previously impossible scale.

Family members were told that their children, their parents and their relatives were getting free health care. The entire system covered everything, including transportation in free ambulances.

And so, a socialist medical system that had been created to provide care for everyone was transformed into a mass murder scheme that would save money and make it more viable and sustainable.

To use both the Nazi and the NHS terms.

Nazi eugenics was a worst-case scenario. But the logic of socialized medicine requires some eugenics. When everyone can’t be treated, then a group must be denied care based on their unworthiness.

Medicare-for-All, the euphemism that is as misleading as the Charitable Foundation for Cure and Institutional Care that carried out mass murders in Nazi Germany, will have to ration care. Despite all the false promises, it will do so by finding medical scapegoats for its economic eugenics.

The only question is whom will it kill?

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.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

How the Left Gets the Statue of Liberty Poem Wrong

By On August 28, 2019
Being a writer means never knowing what you might be remembered for. Or how badly.

That poem that Emma Lazarus became famous for was forgotten, remembered again, and has been misused, quoted out of context and transformed into a battle cry for open borders and a disastrous immigration policy. Its lines about “wretched refuse” and “poor” immigrants have been taken literally.

And yet the vocal advocates for the poem imprinted on the Statue of Liberty would have loathed the
Confederate socialite and the Zionist writer who are responsible for the words they claim to love.

At the age of 34, Emma, a New York poetess with a bad case of writer’s block, was asked to submit a poem for a fundraiser to build a pedestal for a statue that most people hadn’t seen yet.

That included Emma.

Her first response was to turn down the request. Though she didn’t know it yet, her life was nearing its end. Five years after she wrote what would become her most famous poem, she would be dead.

But the request came from Constance Cary Harrison, a New York socialite, whose family story was a tapestry of American history, from John Randolph to Thomas Jefferson to Jefferson Davis. Her father was descended from Jefferson, her great-uncle's godparents had been George and Martha Washington, her grandfather had been the 9th Lord Fairfax and she had sewn one of the first Confederate flags.

Mark Twain had mockingly replied to her request with, “What has liberty done for us? Nothing in particular that I know of. What have we done for her? Everything. We’ve given her a home.”

Harrison was a prolific author, both in her days as a Confederate activist, writing as Refugitta, and a New York grande dame, and she didn’t accept rejections, either from Twain, or from Lazarus. As a teenager, she had lost her family home, her brothers, and her way of life. In many ways, she was also an exile.

And so, Harrison had encouraged Emma to think of the Jewish refugees she had been working with.

Twain’s sardonic comments had gotten at the problem with the Statue of Liberty. Its theme was Liberty Enlightening the World, but what did that mean? Did it mean that Americans were meant to export freedom to the world: a notion that would eventually drive American foreign policy in the 20th century?

That was the vision of some of the French activists involved with gifting the Statue of Liberty to America.

Emma Lazarus hadn’t seen the giant woman who would become the Statue of Liberty, but the obvious reference point for a giant statue in a more classical age was the Colossus of Rhodes. Unlike the ancient Greek statue, the American colossus would match it size for size, but would be female. It would not stand to celebrate a military victory, but to welcome visitors, many of them immigrants, to New York.

By welcoming in people from foreign dictatorships, American liberty would enlighten the world. Not by invading and conquering other countries, but by allowing oppressed people to live freely in America.

The central image of The New Colossus welcoming immigrants though didn’t come from Emma though, but from Harrison, the wife of the private secretary of Jefferson Davis, who as a teenager had lost most of her family, and had spied for the Confederacy in Washington D.C.

“Think of that Goddess standing on her pedestal down yonder in the bay, and holding her torch out to those Russian refugees of yours you are so fond of visiting at Ward’s Island,” Harrison had told her.

It was Emma Lazarus who dramatized it, harnessing the romantic vision, mingling classic Greek references with a modern American take into, “A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.”

The woman embodied the contrast between America and Europe. The Statue of Liberty had been a message from France to America about our place in the world. Emma’s poem, The New Colossus, continued the dialogue, with a response from America to Europe about our idea of liberty.

Emma’s poem has since become a foundational text of liberals, but its origin was with a woman who had sewn one of the first Confederate flags and was first known for her writings for its cause. Harrison, like Lazarus, like the resulting poem though, was more complicated than fans of the poem might like.

Harrison had been as firm an opponent of slavery, as she was a partisan of the Confederacy.

Emma Lazarus was a Zionist, long before the term was common currency, and her preferred solution for Russian Jews wasn’t emigration to America, but to Israel. The New Colossus was not a significant part of her life’s work. It was a favor for a friend. When the poem was read at the fundraiser, it wasn’t by Emma, but by F. Hopkinson Smith, an engineer associated with the Statue of Liberty project.

The poem was written in two days, and made a splash at the time, but was then forgotten, only to be revived generations later when Americans needed a symbol to counteract Nazi Germany. Emma Lazarus would have been deeply disappointed had she known that she would only be remembered for a poem that she had written in two days for a friend’s fundraiser and wasn’t even mentioned in her obituary.

Its revival has focused heavily not on its opening lines, but a few lines before its conclusion, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.” The most obvious error they make is to remove the context and read The New Colossus with the painfully literal-minded didacticism of the idiot.

When the poem speaks of “wretched refuse”, they ignore the ironic tone and assume that the ideal immigrant is wretched refuse. Since the poem speaks of “poor” immigrants, they insist that the United States is obligated to take in not just immigrants who are currently poor, but intend to stay that way.

They believe (often without reading it) that the poem speaks of America’s obligation to the world.

But the poem isn’t an idealistic address to the world, but an ironic one to backward tyrannies. By cutting away the opening, “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp”, the context and contrast between the “storied pomp” and “wretched refuse” is lost. Only “yearning to breathe free” still suggests that the poem is a dialogue between two different ways of life that is meant to demonstrate how liberty works.

America, The New Colossus is saying, was built by people who came here because they had no place in their old societies. Emma’s message was not that America was an evil imperialistic nation obligated to take in every migrant to atone for its sins, but that it was a free nation built by people who had escaped the “ancient lands” with their “storied pomp” and thrived in a land where they could “breathe free”.

Its point was not that America was obligated to take in “wretched refuse”, but that the people who were considered “wretched refuse” by the ruling classes of Europe, had made America into a great nation. The "wretched refuse" is Europe's view of the waves of migration by English tenant farmers, Scotch and Irish laborers, German and Jewish refugees, Italian workers, and many others considered of no worth in their home ports. Because Europe considered its people "wretched refuse" and the other unflattering descriptors, its nations lacked the liberty that America had.

The Statue of Liberty had been a gift from France to America. But the French idea of liberty was different than the American one. The French had wanted to make a political point with the Statue of Liberty. Their liberty was an idealized figure enlightening the world. A secular goddess of political revolution.

Emma Lazarus instead humanized her into an American figure, a welcoming statue, not an ideal of political terror. Perversely, her poem has been embraced by the advocates of political revolution who see immigration as a means of transforming and overturning the United States of America.

That was the French vision, but it was not the American one. And it was not Emma’s vision.

The New Colossus instead suggests that free societies succeed and tyrannies fail. Like Mark Twain, Emma Lazarus challenged the French presumptuousness of gifting America the Statue of Liberty.

America did not need the statue; it had the reality.

The French had meant for the Statue of Liberty to be a towering ideal, but The New Colossus is more of a sympathetic lighthouse, highlighting America as a place where Europeans can breathe free.

Her Statue of Liberty has no interest in the “storied pomp” of “ancient lands”. American liberty would not be an ideal, but a working reality. It couldn’t be exported because what was truly required was for people to “breathe free”. To be able to live without compulsion and tyranny of one kind or another.

American superiority lay not in abstract ideals about liberty, but in the reality of breathing free. We might take in French immigrants, but we could not teach the French to be free. Only they could do that.

The advocates for open borders don’t believe in people being able to “breathe free”. They take the part about “wretched refuse” seriously because they envision a world in which everyone is reduced to refuse. Likewise, they don’t think of being “poor” as a temporary condition, but as a permanent one.

The New Colossus was an ironic dialogue between America and Europe. Its biggest fans today take the European side, ignore the irony, and want to use immigration to stamp out freedom in America.

Their new colossus of immigration is a conquering giant. It does not stand for liberty, but tyranny.

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.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Amazon Should Not Control the Military Cloud

By On August 26, 2019
Millions of Americans brought Alexa into their homes only to learn, belatedly, that not only software, but human beings, were listening in on them. Amazon employees and contractors from Costa Rica to India were caught reviewing thousands of recordings, of casual requests, private conversations and intimate moments, and sharing clips that they thought were funny in chat sessions with each other.

The Amazon product is always listening and maintains recordings of your conversations indefinitely.

But now there’s something bigger at stake than privacy violations. Amazon expects a $10 billion
cloud contract for the military. The $10 billion contract was a sweetheart deal for a politically influential company that seemed unstoppable until President Trump suddenly slammed the brakes on JEDI.

The deal had always been dubious and many critics had questioned how or why a single company could expect to have a monopoly on the JEDI cloud for the United States military. Amazon’s cloud business is huge, but the Capital One breach of 100 million credit card applications by a former Amazon employee highlighted the company’s security and workforce issues. Capital One kept its data in the cloud through AWS or Amazon Web Services and the hacker was a former AWS employee with specialized knowledge.

In the Obama era, Amazon had received a $600 million cloud contract that covers all 17 intelligence agencies. The secret deal was met with protests especially since Amazon’s wasn’t even the lowest bid.

Just as with JEDI, all the national security eggs were being put into one very fragile basket.

Amazon’s federal cloud contracts took off in the Obama era. Many of the biggest contracts are classified making it difficult to measure how much taxpayer money is being sucked into the Bezos business. But Amazon is winning contracts in the usual Washington D.C. way, by spending millions a year on lobbying.

The dot com titan began lobbying the Pentagon in 2016. That was the year Amazon’s lobbying expenditures hit a whopping $11 million, up from $1.62 million during the Bush administration. Amazon’s PAC, which the company strongly encourages employees to donate to, accounted for $515,200 in donations to members of Congress.

Amazon was the fourth biggest contributor to Senator Mark Warner. And when President Trump put Amazon’s JEDI deal on hold, Warner was among the first to protest the move. In his letter, Warner urged the Secretary of Defense to “resist political pressures” that might scuttle $10 billion for Amazon.

Senator Warner, who was applying political pressure to the Secretary of Defense, to protect a contract that would benefit his contributors, appeared to be unaware of the irony of his message.

But Amazon’s lobbying millions were only the tip of the iceberg of its dubious political influence.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is not only the richest person in the world, with an estimated $156 billion, but is a heavyweight political donor who has outspent other S&P 500 CEOs by a factor of 10. Bezos was the 12th biggest political donor of the 2018 cycle, coming in behind Bloomberg and Soros.

And, even more importantly, Bezos owns the Washington Post. The powerful political tabloid sets the agenda in the government city, but it’s also raising questions about whether Amazon is a security risk for reasons that go far beyond the flaws in AWS or whatever influence it might have used to grab JEDI.

In its story on the JEDI contract, the Washington Post claimed that, “Trump on several occasions has spoken out against Amazon and its chief executive, Jeff Bezos. And he has attacked the Bezos-owned Washington Post for its coverage of him by conflating it with Amazon’s interests.”

Then the Washington Post went on to complain that, “The president has called the news organization the ‘Amazon Washington Post,’ while accusing it of publishing ‘fake news’ and being a ‘lobbyist newspaper’ for the company.” A rumor that the Washington Post helpfully put to bed by doing just that.

But the real problem with the intersection between the Washington Post and Amazon isn’t its left-wing politics: it’s Jamal Khashoggi. A year after Amazon began lobbying the Pentagon, the Washington Post began publishing propaganda screeds in support of the Muslim Brotherhood, shaped by the Qatar Foundation, under the name of Jamal Khashoggi.

The Washington Post was aware that Khashoggi, an old friend of Osama bin Laden and longtime supporter of Islamic terrorism, was operating under Qatari influence. It was also aware that Qatar was the region’s biggest backer of Sunni Islamic terrorism and regime change influence operations. Its publication of Qatari propaganda under Khashoggi’s name and its subsequent insistence on transforming him into a martyr as part of the Qatari influence operation against Saudi Arabia, was an active attempt to influence United States foreign policy on behalf of an enemy government.

It’s behavior properly associated with registered foreign agents. Not an American media outlet.

A company that appears to be operating as an unregistered foreign agent for an enemy government cannot then turn around and have its owner’s company be trusted with the military’s JEDI cloud.

Why the Washington Post chose to participate in the Qatari influence operation is an open question. Until it’s resolved, allowing another company controlled by its owner to have sole dominion over the military cloud, as it already possesses over our intelligence cloud, is an unacceptable security risk.

The issue at stake is about more than whether Amazon or Microsoft get a $10 billion contract.

Our national security has already been badly compromised by the radical employees of contractors, Edward Snowden and Reality Winner. Snowden and Winner both compromised national security through the auspices of The Intercept, a site funded by Franco-Iranian dot com billionaire Pierre Omidyar. The Intercept has also been a notorious vehicle for Qatari influence operations.

Putting the military cloud in the hands of a compromised company could be truly devastating.

The Washington Post has an unfortunate history of acting as an advocate for Qatar and for Islamic terrorists in general. It has run countless pieces in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has multiple terrorist affiliates and is dedicated to subverting our political system.

The Post was criticized for running an op-ed by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi terrorists, who are backed by Iran, who have attacked Americans, and who chant, “Death to America”.

Earlier it had been condemned for publishing an op-ed from Ahrar al-Sham, an Islamic guerrilla group that had worked with Al Qaeda. One of the founding members of the armed jihadist group went on to head the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. Even Secretary of State John Kerry had condemned it, saying, “From Orlando to San Bernardino to the Philippines and Bali, we’ve seen pictures and we’ve heard testimony of shocking crimes committed by al-Qaida, by Boko Haram, by Jaysh al-Islam, by Ahrar al-Sham, by al-Shabaab, Daesh, other groups against innocent civilians, against journalists, and against teachers.”

But the Washington Post didn’t just offer op-ed space to brutal terrorists, it whitewashed them.

It ran a glowing profile of Salah Badi, a Libyan Islamist terrorist who had been sanctioned by the Treasury Department and the UN Security Council for rocket attacks that had killed civilians.

The Washington Post described the brutal Islamist killer as "one of Tripoli's defenders".

Even when it came to ISIS, the Washington Post ran an article headlined, "ISIS kidnapped my best friend. But when I met its fighters, I couldn’t hate them."

The Post ran an article touting Ismail Royer, who had been caught with weapons on September 2001, and had been convicted as part of the Virginia Jihad Network.

Last year, even the Taliban praised the Washington Post for giving the terror group credibility.

The Washington Post provides terrorists with a forum, whitewashes them and maintains an inappropriate relationship with state sponsors of Islamic terror. A company that shares a common leader with an organization with troubling terror ties should not control the military’s JEDI cloud.

The risks to our national security and the lives of our soldiers would be incalculable.

While American soldiers battle the Taliban in Afghanistan, the military’s JEDI cloud should not belong to a company that shares a leader with a paper that was praised by the Taliban.

While American sailors battle the Houthis in Yemen, the JEDI cloud should not be exposed to a company that shares a leader with an organization that provided the Houthis with a forum.

While American pilots go after Al Qaeda, ISIS and its allies in Syria, they should not be relying on JEDI cloud that shares a leader with an outlet that opened its doors to Al Qaeda’s allies.

Amazon’s JEDI bid is a threat to national security as long as its CEO is involved with a propaganda outlet for foreign terrorist groups and foreign governments that are waging a war against the United States.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

And With Free Government Internet For All...

By On August 25, 2019
Things have never been as bad as they are now. Not only is unemployment at a 50-year low, but last year saw the largest annual wage gain in a decade. 46% of Americans say jobs are plentiful. The number claiming that jobs are hard to come by declined from 15% to 12%.

But it’s at 100% in a field facing 96% unemployment in under a year. The 2020 Democrats.

“Who is this economy really working for?" Senator Elizabeth Warren demanded to know.

How bad is this economy really? So bad that Warren rolled out a plan to have the government guarantee Netflix 4K streaming internet for all at the modest cost of merely $85 billion.

That’s enough to pay for over 5 billion Netflix accounts which would cover most of the human race.

In her latest 5-year plan, Warren called for a “public option” for broadband. If her public option for the internet works the way that her public option for healthcare did, private internet will soon be banned. And the government internet will keep shutting off because it’s powered by green energy windmills.

And a hamster in a spinning wheel.

81% of Americans own smartphones. Only 10% don’t use the internet. The majority of those who don’t use the internet are senior citizens. 2/3rds of those who don’t use the internet say that it’s because it’s too confusing or they don’t think it’s relevant to their lives. Only 1 in 4 blamed price or access.

And that was in 2013.

Today, 100% of 18-29 year olds use the internet. 97% of 30-49 year olds are online. And so are 88% in the 50-64 group. The only lag is among people 65+ of whom, only 73% are online.

Warren claims that many people can’t afford the internet. That 100% says differently.

Almost everyone has internet access. Some older people are just choosing not to make use of it.

But Warren isn’t offering internet access. Instead the goalposts have been moved to broadband. Or, as Warren demands, “minimum speed broadband”, which she rates at 25 Mbps/ 3 Mbps.

Those are also Netflix’s requirements for 4K streaming.

At below Warren’s “minimum speed”, you will be able to watch videos. They just won’t be in 4K. And HD videos will take longer to stream. They may even, stop and start, or pause for a moment.

And how can we possibly deprive people of being able to watch uninterrupted HD videos?

To save the welfare class from being forced to endure such horrors, Warren is proposing to spend $85 billion to subsidize Netflix 4K streaming for the oppressed proletariat of Cleveland and Detroit.

"Nearly 27% of households in Detroit and Cleveland had no Internet access in 2017," Warren claims.

Except a Michigan State University survey found that 98% of Detroiters use the internet. 79% use handheld devices. And 48% access the internet through their cell phones.

But the no. 2 candidate in the 2020 Dem race has declared 4K streaming to be a human right.

“Who is this economy really working for?" Warren asked. It’s working so well for even the welfare class that Warren isn’t just offering them Obamaphones or internet, but specifically broadband internet.

Witness the incomprehensible suffering of those without 4K streaming connections.

Not all that long ago, Democrats were insisting that food, housing and medical care were human rights. Now they’re insisting that luxuries like 4K streaming and organic food are essential human rights.

“Access to adequate nutritious food is a human right,” New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced.

Not just access to food. Or adequate food. But adequate nutritious food.

Your free steak or chicken sandwich, like your broadband, must be of the highest possible quality.

Johnson, the likely next mayor of the failing city, was denouncing what he called, “food inequity.” Forget hunger. That’s been solved. The new problem is that not everyone has access to the same exact foods.

Why can’t the welfare recipient also guzzle Mouton-Rothschild and munch on organic mushroom pate?

Warren had announced that she would create an Office of Broadband Access and spend $85 billion to see to it that every single resident of Detroit, even if they don't have running water or working streetlights, would have 4K Netflix streaming. And Johnson promised an Office of Food Policy.

Not content with Orwellianisms like “food equity” and “food equality”, Johnson’s Council report also touts “food justice”. And he claims that the Trump administration represents a threat to “food justice”.

By food justice, the Democrat means food stamps.

“The primary responsibility for ensuring the right to food lies with government,” the report insists.

But not just any food. "Fresh, healthy food", including "sustainably grown" wheat rolls, and "antibiotic-free chicken" and "100% beef burgers". And New York City, the most densely populated city in America, will make this happen through “urban agriculture” in which enough healthy food to feed 8.6 million people (including the illegal aliens highlighted in the report) will be grown in New York City.

The Office of Urban Agriculture will "promote the expansion of agricultural uses in the city", which will expand "the availability of healthy food in low-income neighborhoods", ensure that every child has "equitable access to agricultural education", and of course, provide "adult urban agriculture training for local low-income residents" which will prepare them for "opportunities working in urban agriculture".

All this in a city where 27,000 people live per square mile. Or 42 people per acre.

You could import food from Missouri, or grow wheat rolls sustainably in the vast wheat fields of Harlem (where 32,000 people live per square mile) while equipping its low-income residents for the boundless opportunities to be found in being employed in the delusional fantasies of its insane government.

The OFP’s new metric for food equity is that, “every neighborhood should have food businesses that reflect that community’s cultures and diversity.” But it’s the Corey Johnsons, pretentious wealthy white lefties, who want to eat at diverse places. The people he’s advocating for want McDs or KFC.

“Evidence also suggests that access to fresh fruits and vegetables, in particular, is often lacking in communities with high rates of obesity and diabetes,” the report claims.

Speaker Corey Johnson is a notably adipose fellow. Pictures of him are usually taken from the neck up. The Democrat’s bulging stomach suggests that he should be the one eating more fruits and veggies.

Politician, heal thyself.

New York City’s illegal aliens and welfare recipients (who are often one and the same) are so hungry that they’re suffering from obesity. They’re so lacking in food that they’re downright diabetic. And the Democrats want to save them from this sad orgy of plenty by getting them organic fruits and veggies.

Organic pears are a human right.

Meanwhile in Detroit, too many of the residents are getting their internet access through smartphones instead of broadband. And you can’t stream too many episodes of Arrested Development that way.

America’s oppressed welfare class deserves more than Obamaphones and Taco Bell. 4K Netflix and Whole Foods are their Gaia-given right. And it is the obligation of taxpayers to provide it for them.

Only when we’ve blown $85 billion so that everyone in Detroit has Netflix and when organic heirloom tomatoes sprout in the Bronx, will food justice and internet justice and luxury justice be achieved.

“We Need Fully Automated Luxury Communism,” a New York Times editorial claimed.

Lefties are no longer advocating for necessities, but demanding luxuries. Forget food and shelter. Everyone has a right to diverse restaurants and videos that load without waiting. Everyone.

Welfare is no longer charity. It’s not even about giving people what they need, but what they want.

And politicians like Warren and Johnson have become more shameless about taking from those who work to reward those who don’t, not only with necessities, but with the luxuries of the good life.

Forget having to work in order to eat. You don’t even have to work to sit on the couch and watch Netflix.

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.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

How Trump Started a Civil War Between the UN and Hamas

By On August 22, 2019
Even within the United Nations, a sprawling multinational bureaucracy linked by luxury dining, corruption and complicity in terrorism, the UNRWA stands out for waste, corruption and terror.

The UNRWA’s abbreviation leaves out its full title, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and its heavy focus on Gaza. The UNRWA classifies 1.4 million or 73% of the people living in Gaza as “refugees” even though it’s an independent territory run by Hamas.

There are really two UNRWA agencies. One is a UN agency run by a small number of international staffers. Another is an arm of Hamas which employs thousands of “Palestinians”. Many if not most of these are members of Hamas. Some, like Suhail al-Hindi, the former head of the UNRWA union, who was also a member of Hamas’ leadership, serve in the upper echelons of the terror group.

While a handful of European UN employees act as the public face of UNRWA, the actual agency is run by Hamas operatives who control its schools, using them to recruit and to store weapons. The union representing UNRWA employees is controlled by Hamas and its employees implement Hamas policies.

Hamas had announced as much when its newspaper responded to a call to fire UNRWA Hamas members by writing, "Laying off the agency employees because of their political affiliation means laying off all the employees of the aid agency, because…they are all members of the ‘resistance.’”

The power struggle between the UN employees and Hamas was tested before during clashes over the teaching of the Holocaust in UNRWA schools and the use of UNRWA schools to launch attacks on Israel.

The real crackup came when the Trump administration cut off all funding to UNRWA.

On a Rosh Hashana call, President Trump told Jewish leaders that the free ride for terrorists was over.

“I stopped massive amounts of money that we were paying to the Palestinians," he announced. "The United States was paying them tremendous amounts of money.”

UNRWA leaders had reacted to the cuts by announcing that 250 employees in Gaza would be let go. Hamas UNRWA employees then seized control of UNRWA facilities and banished the international staff.

Mahmoud Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas, who had once declared that the Jews had "legitimized the murder of their own children" and that, "removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle because it appears in the Book of Allah", visited UNRWA’s Hamas members engaged in what they described as a "peaceful and safe sit-in".

“I am the captain of the ship which has 13,000 sailors on it and they have basically thrown me off the bridge and consigned me to my captain’s quarters,” Matthias Schmale, UNRWA’s director of field operations in Gaza, whined.

Schmale had never actually been the captain. Zahar and other Hamas leaders had been running things.

The UNRWA was forced to evacuate most of its 19 international staffers from Gaza, including its ten senior leaders, leaving behind only 6 international staffers. This made no practical difference as the UNRWA operation on the ground was actually being run by the 13,000 Hamas UN employees.

But the UN isn’t moved by protests or violence. It runs on reports. And soon a report arrived.

Al Jazeera debuted an internal UN report alleging corruption and misconduct by UNRWA leaders. Al Jazeera is an arm of Qatar. The Islamic terror state is currently the biggest backer of the Muslim Brotherhood, supports Hamas, and is extensively involved in Gaza. Al Jazeera’s barrage of stories on the UNRWA report was a clear signal that Qatar was targeting the UN agency on behalf of Hamas.

Al Jazeera claimed that it had obtained a copy of the report from agency employees “concerned” that action wasn’t being taken against an “inner circle” running UNRWA. The inner circle consists of the international leadership that Hamas is angry at for trying to fire hundreds of its people.

The report, aired by Al Jazeera, claimed that UNRWA boss Pierre Krahenbuhl had carried on an affair with his senior adviser, Maria Mohammedi, which “embarrassed” their colleagues and donors.

Krahenbuhl, a Swiss NGO vet, is officially married to Taiba Rahim, the head of an Afghan non-profit, and Maria Mohammedi, is an Algerian who was, at least in the past, married to Rashid Abdelhamid, a "Palestinian filmmaker", who is really an Algerian educated in France, and living in Gaza, and while this is all very multinational, it's also the sort of "international diplomacy" that the UN frowns upon.

But if the allegations are true, the Swiss humanitarian had just gone native by adopting polygamy.

The report is filled with allegations of bullying, nepotism, abusing travel vouchers, and, the worst possible sin in a bureaucracy, bypassing official channels. And it might be more serious if the behavior being described weren’t slightly eclipsed by the fact that the rest of the UNRWA, which likely includes the employees behind the report, is an Islamic terror group dedicated to murdering children.

But in the UN, using schools as munition dumps isn’t a serious issue, going outside official channels is.

UNRWA Chief of Staff Hakam Shahwan stepped down over some unstated allegations. Deputy Head of Human Resources Nadine Khaddoura, accused of colluding in nepotism, “had to be escorted from her office under vociferous protest”, according to a report in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, an anti-Israel, pro-terror outlet, founded by the former US Ambassador to Qatar.

The Swiss and the Dutch have announced that they’re cutting off funds to UNRWA until it’s determined just who had an affair with whom, and who got whose husband a top job at a UN human rights agency used as a pass-through to an Islamic terrorist group dedicated to killing Jews.

This will mean even less money going to UNRWA and fewer Hamas employees in Gaza.

But Hamas has deep-pocketed backers in Qatar. The power struggle is about establishing once and for all that the Muslim Brotherhood terror group is the dog and the 17 international staffers are the tail.

Suicide bombing a bunch of European and North African lefties who got into this to eat at 5-star restaurants would be counterproductive. Taking away their jobs with a smear campaign is far more effective. And that’s what Qatar and the Brotherhood, which excel at influence operations, are doing.

The power struggle will likely end with Hamas fully in charge of UNRWA while its international staff will learn to run all their decisions past the Hamas employees who are actually running the agency.

When I wrote, “Defund the UNRWA” in 2014, it was attacked as counterproductive by establishment figures. I was urged to withdraw it and stop proposing unrealistic and destructive policies. Then, four years later, President Trump went ahead and cut payments to UNRWA from $360 million to nothing.

The cuts have revealed what we knew all along, that UNRWA is really a Hamas front.

Hamas responded to the cutoff in US aid by trying to cannibalize the UN agency. As the money gets tighter, the Islamic terror group wants to make sure that more of it goes to it, and not to the Europeans who pretend to run UNRWA while discussing the evils of Israel over expensed lunches at steakhouses.

As the wall of separation between UNRWA and Hamas comes down, international donors will have to face the fact that they’re not funding a “modern, secular” humanitarian agency, as one laughable report by the Brookings Institute, a Democrat think-tank dominated by Qatar, claimed, but Hamas.

By cutting off UNRWA, Trump set off a clash between Hamas and the UN that is revealing the truth.

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, August 21, 2019

Environmentalists Killed More Europeans Than Islamic Terrorists Did

By On August 21, 2019
"Do Americans Need Air-Conditioning?" a New York Times piece asked in July. Air conditioning, it argued, is bad for the environment and makes us less human. It ran quotes suggesting that, "first world discomfort is a learned behavior", and urging "a certain degree of self-imposed suffering".

If environmentalists ruled the world, air conditioning wouldn’t exist. And there’s a place like that.

90% of American households have air conditioning. As do 86% of South Koreans, 82% of Australians, 60% of Chinese, 16% of Brazilians and Mexicans, 9% of Indonesians and less than 5% of Europeans.

A higher percentage of Indian households have air conditioning than their former British colonial rulers.

Temperatures in Paris hit 108.6 degrees. Desperate Frenchmen dived into the fountains of the City of Lights with their clothes on. Parisian authorities announced that they were deploying heat wave management plan orange, level three, which meant setting up foggers in public parks and distributing heat wave kits. The kits consist of leaflets telling people to go to libraries which have air conditioning.

France24, the country’s state-owned television network, advised people suffering from temperatures rising as high as 110 degrees to take cold showers and stick their feet in saucepans of cold water.

A 2003 heat wave killed 15,000 people in France. And, in response, the authorities have deployed Chalex, a database of vulnerable people who will get a call offering them cooling advice.

The advice consists of taking cold showers and sticking their feet in saucepans of cold water.

Desperate Frenchmen trying to get into any body of water they can have led to a 30% rise in drownings. The dozens of people dead are casualties of the environmentalist hatred of air conditioners.

Only 5% of French households have air conditioning. Even in response to the crisis, the authorities are only deploying temporary air conditioning to kindergartens.

The 2003 heat wave killed 7,000 people in Germany. And, today, only 3% of German households have air conditioning. Germany’s Ministry of the Environment refused to back air conditioning as a response to global warming.

Temperatures in Dusseldorf hit 105 degrees. Officials in Dusseldorf had recently rejected proposals to install air conditioning systems because they’re bad for the environment.

The climate action head at Germany’s Institute for Applied Ecology explained that air conditioning wouldn't work because there's not much wind during heat waves, and the country can't end reliance on coal and run air conditioners at the same time. You can have air conditioners or save the planet.

But not both.

The issue isn’t poverty. in Greece, one of the poorest countries in Europe, 99% of households have air conditioning. What it comes down to is a willingness to choose comfort over environmental dogma.

In Europe, people are dying because they’ve been told that their sacrifices will save the planet.

The 2003 heat wave killed 70,000 people in Europe. That’s more than Islamic terrorists have.

When environmentalists claim that global warming is a greater threat than Islamic terrorism, they’re half-right. Global warming isn’t real, but the measures taken to fight it are killing thousands of people.

And it doesn’t have to be this way.

In 2007, only 2% of Indian households had air conditioning. Those numbers have more than doubled. India is expected to field a billion air conditioning units by 2050.

“I am not rich," an Indian laundryman earning $225 a month, who had just put in air conditioning, told a disapproving Agence France-Presse, but we all aspire to a comfortable life."

Some of us do.

The 2003 heat wave killed 2,000 Brits. The current heat wave has led to London being placed on a Level 3 health watch. But air conditioning in the UK still hovers at 3% of households. And every summer, the local media lectures Brits on the evils of air conditioning.

Every heat wave is treated as a compelling argument for reducing power to save the planet. The heat and its accompanying misery are treated as heralds of a global warming apocalypse. Soon, we are told, it’ll be hot all the time, the waters will rise, the icebergs will melt, and life will perish from the earth.

When a heat wave consumed Europe in 1540, leading to the hottest temperatures on record and the deaths of thousands, the people blamed a higher power. In England, where the River Trent dried up, the megadrought was blamed on Henry VIII’s sacrilegious crackdown on monasteries. Modern Europeans have a simple, rational explanation. Mother Earth is angry because we’re using air conditioners.

Or other people are.

China has 569 million installed air conditioners. More than any other country in the world. South Korea has 59 million air conditioners. That’s more than France, Germany and the UK combined.

Europe’s sacrifice is not only senseless, it’s also meaningless.

Vietnam has become a booming market for air conditioners. 17% of Vietnamese households now have one. Indonesia is leading its own boom in air conditioning. As is much of Asia and the Middle East.

Europe can go on letting its people die for the environment, but it won’t make any difference.

Air conditioning isn’t some American fetish, as European elitists sneer. It’s a worldwide movement. Every country that can manage it is getting air conditioners. Meanwhile people are dying in France.

While the rest of the world is cooling off, Europe is in thrall to a pagan pseudoscientific cult.

Its tenets insist that the planet is a living entity, but fail to understand its true implications. The climate is part of a living entity which changes on a timescale that challenges human understanding. For a thousand years of recorded history, Europe has undergone alternate warming and cooling periods. The Medieval Climate Anomaly was an example of how complicated those cyclical changes could be.

A heat wave isn’t proof that we’ve sinned against Mother Earth by heating and cooling our homes. It’s a reminder that the environment operates on an inescapable scale that is vaster than human beings.

We can cut down forests and build dams. But so can beavers. We cannot change the climate.

The bones of hippos have been found under Trafalgar Square. The Chauvet Cave in France includes pictures of rhinos. The Little Ice Age killed off England’s vineyards in the 14th century. The Thames began to freeze over in the 17th century. The Viking colonization of America collapsed under the wave of cold.

Air conditioning and heating are not how we change the climate. They’re how we cope with it.

Environmentalism has so hopelessly tangled human civilization and the environment that we are no longer able to understand the planet on its own terms, instead of as a luddite eschatology in which the climate is a deity punishing us for our civilizational ingenuity with hot weather and natural disasters.

And that makes it extremely difficult to adapt to the changes in a healthy way.

A century ago, Americans beat the heat by wading in fountains, sleeping on roofs and fire escapes, and escaping the city. Air conditioning has made it possible for us to live and work across the entire country.

In 1896, a heat wave killed thousands of Americans. New York City authorities resorted to the same measures as their modern Parisian counterparts, turning on fire hydrants and handing out ice.

Those temperatures amounted to a mere 90 degrees.

In 1902, Willis Carrier invented the air conditioner in Brooklyn. He imagined a world in which, “The average businessman will rise, pleasantly refreshed, having slept in an air-conditioned room. He will travel in an air-conditioned train, and toil in an air-conditioned office.” We live in that world now.

At the New York World’s Fair, while temperatures outside hit 90 degrees, Carrier debuted an Igloo display. Two giant thermometers contrasted “Nature’s temperature” with “air conditioning”.

It sold itself.

Air conditioning allows New Yorkers to shrug off 90-degree weather and go on living and working.

Today, New York is the home of the Green New Deal which believes in following Europe’s trends. If New York adopts Europe’s environmentalism, it will discover what living in 1896 really felt like.

Environmentalists have killed thousands of Europeans. They can kill thousands of Americans too.

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, August 20, 2019

Marianne Williamson Shows the Dems are a Cult

By On August 20, 2019
How did Marianne Williamson, the author of 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever, and other stuff you might see on the bottom layer of a garage sale, end up on the 2020 debate stage?

The obvious answer is that she’s been there for a very long time.

Lefties love to claim that they’re the movement that believes in science. But the Third Law of
Thermodynamics isn’t something you believe in. Fermat’s Principle doesn’t give your life meaning.

Marianne teaching you spiritual lessons about weight loss on an episode of Oprah does.

Hillary Clinton held a séance in the White House. The seance overseen by Jean Houston, the author of The Hero and the Goddess: The Odyssey as Pathway to Personal Transformation, encouraged Hillary to contact Eleanor Roosevelt. Hillary and Houston hit it off after the Clintons invited self-help book authors to Camp David to help them cope with their defeat. The authors included Marianne Williamson.

Marianne Williamson had reportedly participated in some of Hillary’s White House seances.

Esquire claimed that Hillary Clinton had met her at a fundraiser where the New Age guru made such an impression that she was invited to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Where did Marianne Williamson come from? The White House and the Democrat Party.

Unlike Andrew Yang, Williamson isn’t a fringe character who somehow made it into the debate stage. When she ran for Congress, her backers included Dennis Kucinich, who told supporters, "You are the ones who are calling forward a reality by the name of Marianne Williamson", and Jennifer Granholm, the former Governor of Michigan, who headed a key Hillary SuperPAC.

Williamson is a crackpot, but her crackpottery fills the broken china closets of the Democrats. She got this far because the upper echelons of the Dems don’t believe in God, but do believe in crazy.

When Hillary Clinton wasn’t trying to commune with Eleanor and Gandhi, she appeared to share the obsession of John Podesta, her campaign chair, with UFOs. There was bafflement when former Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid was caught earmarking $22 million to study UFOs. Earlier this year, Reid claimed that there was a UFO race between Russia’s KGB (which no longer exists), China and America.

$10 million went to a Dem donor interested in UFOs who had written Harry $10,000 worth of checks.

The UFO research quickly took a dive into the paranormal, which, according to a senior manager included studying, "bizarre creatures, poltergeist activity, invisible entities." The reports were subcontracted to a research team led by a psychic espionage researcher.

Compare that to President Trump being briefed on UFOs and dismissing them.

Remind me again which party “believes” in science?

Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to think that astrology is "very scientific". And the Democrats split equally down on the middle on whether astrology was or wasn't scientific.

Liberals were more likely to believe in astrology than conservatives. 43% of liberals believed that astrology was scientific, while only 26% of conservatives did. Only 48.6% of Democrats, compared to 62% of Republicans, were able to correctly answer that the earth revolves around the sun.

58% of Democrats compared to 37% of Republicans believe in UFOs. 35% of Democrats and 27% of Republicans believe they experienced the paranormal. 69% of Democrats, compared to 49% of Republicans, believe in ghosts.

That’s why Marianne Williamson is up there on the debate stage. The only surprise is that it took this long for an unabashed representative of what the Democrats really believe to finally show up.

At the 2020 debates, the Democrats are letting their leftist freak flag fly. They’re coming out of the closet about their support for taking away everyone’s health insurance, dismantling the border and freeing criminals. Why shouldn’t they come out of the closet about their New Age beliefs?

70% of Republicans believe in the God of the bible. Only 45% of Democrats do. 39% believe in some other power or spiritual force. 14% don't believe in any kind of higher power.

47% of white Democrats say that religion isn't really important in their lives. What do they believe in?

Spirituality. Auras. Energy forces. Karma. Battling dark psychic forces. Being attuned to the universe. They believe in, among other things, the founder of the Church of Today who lived in a commune, worked as a cabaret singer, ran a New Age bookstore, and became a fave of Oprah and Hillary Clinton.

"One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England," George Orwell wrote.

But do lefty politics draw in nuts and kooks for no apparent reason. Or is the insanity baked inside?

Are Marianne Wiilliamson’s crazy rants about dark psychic forces and force fields unrelated to her politics, or is the socialist conviction that the world needs careful management by the enlightened to cure us of our human nature exactly the sort of political philosophy that attracts quacks and kooks?

Behind the façade of reason, the light side of the Left, with its plans for a totalitarian utopia of resource management, speech policing, constant reeducation, and disposition of the unworthy, is a dark side of festering demons, spirits, ghosts, sorcerous powers, and invisible visitors from other realms. The light side claims that its ideas are the product of science, experts and modern thought, but the dark side is throbbing with magical thinking, hysterical outbursts, senseless cruelty, and cults of personality.

People don’t believe in what speaks to their conscious, but their unconscious.

The Left likes to claim that its plans come out of the light side, but history shows they originate in the dark. That’s why all the scientific plans never work out the way that they are meant to. The revolutions devolve into blood rituals. The economic plans fall into corruption and chaos. And when it’s done, masses of brutalized people wander in the shadows and wonder how all this could have happened.

The answer is that leftist politics only pretend to come from the conscious mind, but actually originate in the resentments, fantasies and terrors of the unconscious mind. Leftism isn’t reasoned, it’s rationalized.

Its politics are the wishes and the vendettas of the subconscious filtered through pseudoscience.

Marianne Williamson is unremarkable. After Trump’s election, tens of thousands of women like her swarmed the streets wearing pink hats to shriek at the sky and repel the dark psychic forces. This caucus of crazy white women, who underlie the leftist activist base, are spiritual rather than religious. They believe that they have special insight and are much too smart for organized religion. They are convinced that women are more spiritually attuned than men, that progressives are more sensitive than everyone else, and that they project spiritual forces through their activism that will change the country.

They believe in everything, ghosts, auras, energy forces, UFOs, and even angels, but no God.

That would be blasphemous because what they believe in, above all else, is themselves.

Marianne Williamson, like Obama and Oprah, speak to their inner specialness, to their egos and their conviction that they were put on earth to change the world and feel good about themselves. They assure them that all their inner conflicts can be resolved by directing their energy into politics and that they will be assured of immortality if their political activism puts them on the right side of history.

They are their own goddesses, their religion is narcissism, and the church is leftist politics.

Hillary Clinton, despite being one of them, never actually managed to speak to them. That’s one of the reasons why she lost. Even aside from Marianne Williamson, the 2020 field is full of Democrats trying out the rising cadences and long pauses of fake spirituality and impassioned vagueness. They use the borrowed poetry of religion to convey faith, but the only thing they believe in is themselves.

Williamson will lose this race. Just as she lost the race to represent Beverly Hills in Congress. But eventually the unofficial religion of the Democrat Party will get a guru as President of the United States.

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, August 19, 2019

The Hijabs of Our Banana Republic

By On August 19, 2019
When a company runs into trouble, it tries to go forward or backward. And when Banana Republic faced a 3% decline in sales, it decided to go all the way back to the 7th century. Hoping to tap into the lucrative market of concealing bruises and strangulation marks, Banana Republic rolled out a line of hijabs for the discerning woman who knows better than to leave home without the permission of a male guardian.

While women in Iran were being beaten and imprisoned for taking off their hijabs, Banana Republic decided to celebrate the courageous spirit of those women who want to live as second class citizens.

But if the Gap brand thought that displaying some garments of female subjugation between its ugly purple purses and its eighteen-dollar scrunchies would win over Islamists, it had another thing coming.

Modern lefties iconize hijabs without having the faintest idea of what they mean or what they’re for. All they know is that to properly display diversity, you need to add a woman in a hijab between the gay guy, the Black Lives Matter guy, and the militant #resistance member ready to storm Starbucks; even though a hijab is as much a symbol of human liberation as a case of female genital mutilation.

But since Banana Republic couldn’t figure out how to market female genital mutilation to sophisticated urban consumers, it had to settle for trying to sell them hijabs. A hijab, BR execs thought, is just a 72x26 shmata. Our Vietnamese slave laborers can make one a minute before passing out from the toxic fumes. And we can sell them for 20 bucks while getting a diversity award from CAIR for our wokeness.

A cigar may sometimes just be a cigar, but a hijab is always a repressive way of life.

Instead of being cheered from Algeria to Afghanistan, Banana Republic was accused of cultural appropriation and insensitivity. The failing retailer had made an obvious and tragic error. Their model may have had every lock of hair encompassed by the fashion forward follicular prison, but she was showing off her elbows in a short-sleeved shirt. What’s the point of locking up the hair after the elbows are already out there? Does Banana Republic, despite its name, understand nothing about Islam?

"There are guidelines to hijab outside of just covering hair," the founder of Haute Hijab warned.

The guidelines of Islam cover women’s hair, elbows, sometimes faces and even one eye. The hijab is the most distinctive sign of subjugation, because hair is even more offensive than elbows.

The Islamic Republic of Iran's first president, Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, warned that women's exposed hair emits rays that drive men mad. It's unknown if women's elbows also emit rays, but Islam approves of women's elbows no more than it approves of their hair. And Banana Republic soon repented.

The model in the black rectangular hijab print and the short sleeves vanished from Banana Republic the way she had from the republics of Afghanistan, Iran and ISIS. The very woke company replaced her provocative elbows with a cropped shot in which she no longer has elbows, arms or hair.

Just the way Allah intended.

But Muslim critics pointed out that the model in the blue soft satin square hijab has an exposed neck. And Allah is no more fond of the sight of women’s necks than he is of their hair and their elbows. Meanwhile the model in the unconvincing leopard print hijab is not only showing her neck, but has the first two buttons of her shirt open. The only thing more offensive would be is if she were also driving.

Banana Republic had banished the model with the dress slit below the knee, but it couldn’t keep up with the frenzy of demands for erasing all the parts of the female body whose existence Muslims object to.

"If people were on the fence about the short sleeves or exposed neck photos, no one could get behind the dress slit photos," Melanie Elturk, the founder of Haute Hijab, complained.

An American brand that claims to tap into the liberating power of fashion bet big on subjugation and discovered that no amount of subjugation is ever enough. The hijab is not just another twenty-buck shmata. Its origins go back to 7th century Arabia where Mohammed faced the same problem as his modern ISIS counterparts. He had to figure out how to tell apart his wives and his rape victims.

Or, as Islam likes to call them, concubines. Or, as the media likes to call them, underage sex slaves.

The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), like the Prophet Jeffrey Epstein (Prison Be Upon Him), sought to colonize the world with miniature versions of himself by capturing and raping innumerable young girls. Since the Florida Democratic Party did not exist in 7th century Arabia, Mohammed couldn’t just write a check to the Clinton Foundation, and instead had to recruit a gang of rapists with promises of rape.

A famous PBS documentary refers to this period as an Empire of Faith.

Since the various rapists also had wives, and since Islam frowns on Muslim men assaulting each other’s wives (the wives of non-Muslims however are fair game, as Koran 4:24 states, "And all married women are forbidden unto you save those captives whom your right hand possess"), the hijab, the burka, the abaya and all the other exciting ways to repress women arrived.

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies that they may thus be distinguished and not molested,” Koran 33:59 states.

A commentator on the Koran adds, “It is more likely that this way they may be recognized (as pious, free women), and may not be hurt (considered by mistake as roving slave girls.)” It’s always awkward when you confuse your wife, or somebody else’s wife with one of those roving slave girls.

Muslim women cover their hair and elbows to show that they’re the property of a Muslim man. Banana Republic had gone into the business of selling twenty-dollar social markers distinguishing their wearer as already belonging to a Muslim husband or father, and suggesting that he go “molest” someone else.

Maybe the purchaser of that Banana Republic purple purse who left her elbows shamelessly exposed.

The media can’t exactly fault the Old Navy’s cousin for advertising hijabs in a way that sends mixed messages to sex grooming gangs, so it instead threw out accusations of cultural appropriation.

Islamists had spent a generation whining about a lack of accommodation and representation. Restaurants weren’t open around the clock to break the Ramadan fast. Victoria’s Secret wasn’t hiring models in burkas. The police still treat synagogue bombings as a crime no matter what the Koran says.

And then Banana Republic debuts four hijabs and it’s cultural appropriation even though Islam appropriates cultures the way hot dog eating contest winners go through sauerkraut and brats. Huge chunks of the Koran are appropriated from Judaism and Christianity like a little kid trying to write his own comic book by taking all the best parts of all the books and movies he saw and mixing them up.

The Washington Post article concludes with a Muslim fashion blogger vowing to "stick to Muslim-owned businesses".

The Texas resident said that it is, "where my loyalty lies."

The question is where do the loyalties of the huge corporations which collude in the oppression of women lie? Is it with the women risking their lives to defy oppression or those who collude with it?

Banana Republic tried to collude with a theocracy of rape and discovered that no amount of erasing women is ever enough. And that’s a tough lesson for an American clothing retailer to absorb.

But when BR next relaunches its line of oppressive headgear, it’ll bring in CAIR advisers who will make sure that none of the models are showing any ankle, elbow, neck, or hair. And then the media will cheer. And there will be awards and an ad campaign.

Because we all live in a banana republic now.

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.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Control Criminals and Crazies, Not Guns

By On August 15, 2019
Mass murder is not a gun control problem.

In 2003, Kim Dae-han, a middle-aged taxi driver, killed 192 people and left 151 others wounded, by setting a South Korean subway train on fire using paint cans filled with gasoline. In 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Muslim terrorist, killed 86 people and wounded 458 others by ramming a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in France. In 2001, Muslim terrorists killed 2,977 people and injured 6,000 more, by using box cutters to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings.

Guns are a tool. There are a whole lot of other devastating ways to kill lots of people.

American mass killers often use guns because they’re convenient and available. There are plenty of alternatives like trucks, boxcutters, pressure cooker bombs and paint cans full of gasoline.

Mass murder isn’t caused by the tools you use. The Nazis were not inspired to kill Jews by the invention of Zyklon B. The Japanese did not decide to kill hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians because of the availability of airplanes. The Soviet Communists did not commit their acts of mass murder because their arms stockpiles didn’t need a waiting period to obtain machine guns for their mass shootings.

Murder is not a technical problem. It’s a moral problem. It happens because of internal decisions made in the mind, not external tools. The tools are used to implement the decisions of the mind.

A society with mass murder is experiencing a moral problem.

America’s moral problem is more complex than that of Nazi Germany or its Communist counterparts. We don’t have a government that is actively killing people. Instead we have a government that has made it easy for killers to operate by dismantling the criminal justice and immigration systems, making it very difficult to stop the three primary categories of killers, gang members, terrorists and the insane.

And media corporations have been allowed to glamorize killers who seek fame through massacres.

Gun controllers insist that the Founding Fathers never anticipated the problem of mass shooters. That’s probably true. But they would have also never tolerated the conditions that brought them into being, a permissive criminal justice system, a failure to institutionalize the mentally ill, and a media that promotes these acts of violence under the guise of condemning them and clamoring for gun control.

The America of the Bill of Rights could have had modern weapons without constant mass shootings.

The Founding Fathers understood that murder was not a technical problem, a matter of tools, but a moral problem. The Bill of Rights was meant for a moral society. It cannot function in an immoral one.

"Government would be defective in its principal purpose were it not to restrain such criminal acts, by inflicting due punishments on those who perpetrate them," Thomas Jefferson wrote in a Virginia criminal justice bill submitted a few years after authoring the Declaration of Independence.

It is not the purpose of government to control weapons, but to control criminals.

Western countries have instead focused on controlling guns, while failing to control criminals. This has led to absurdities such as ‘knife control’ in the UK and public bollards to control car rammings. Flying has become an experience once relegated to traveling to Communist dictatorships. Gun control measures encourage doctors to inform on their patients. Schools implement zero tolerance for pocket knives.

When criminals aren’t locked up, then everyone ends up in jail.

When we fail to lock up criminals, society becomes a prison. When we don’t institutionalize the insane, then society becomes the insane asylum. When we don’t stop foreign gangs and terrorists from entering our country, then we wake up to realize that we are living in El Salvador, Mexico, Pakistan or Iraq.

A moral society locks up dangerous people while a progressive society locks up everyone.

Gun control is a sensible measure in a society where criminals, madmen and terrorists freely roam the streets. This attempt to turn society into a prison won’t work because of the problem of scale. You can prevent guns from entering a prison of thousands of people, but not a country of millions.

“We should be more like Europe,” the gun controllers say.

But then why are French and Belgian soldiers deployed across major cities after Islamic terrorists carried out attacks with heavy firepower that killed over a hundred people? You can get a ‘military weapon’ in the capital of the European Union for $1,000 in under an hour. Gun control doesn’t work there. Or here.

There are two ways to cope with mass shootings and killings.

We can work to turn our societies into giant prisons in the hopes of impeding that 0.1% of the population which is inclined to violence over drugs, deranged fantasies or the Koran from shooting up malls, ramming cars into crowds, setting off pressure cooker bombs or flying planes into skyscrapers.

Or we can get rid of that 0.1% and actually have a free and safe society.

We’ve tried turning our country into a giant prison while failing to protect our borders, crack down on gangs or stop the psychos. And the experiment has devastated virtually every major city, cost tens of thousands of lives, made flying miserable, and brought our country to the brink of destruction.

Maybe we ought to try common sense instead.

Either that or we can pass the latest raft of “common sense” gun control laws that haven’t worked before while letting every Islamic terrorist and Latin American gang member enter the country, while letting every Chicago gang continue fighting its feuds, and while letting every deranged monster plot an attack while ignoring the warning signs until it’s too late. Surely gun control will stop all of them.

Every single one.

Constitutional conservatives often echo, “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” But they neglect the obvious corollary. “Don’t lock up the guns, lock up the killers.”

Murder is a moral problem.

When societies such as Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan kill, it’s everyone’s moral problem. But when societies such as ours enable killers by failing to restrain them, that’s also true. A society engaging in mass murder has to remove its leaders. But a society where mass killers operate has to restore its morality by removing those, as Jefferson put it, “whose existence is become inconsistent with the safety of their fellow citizens.” Their existence is physically inconsistent because it’s morally inconsistent.

What unites mass killers, the terrorists and the psychos, the Neo-Nazis and the Antifas, the gang members and the drug dealers, is that their moral outlook is completely incompatible with ours.

Some criminals don’t have a moral outlook at all. Mentally ill killers may be so out of contact with reality that they are incapable of having a moral outlook. And terrorists have their own moral outlook, but one which would turn our society into a killing field and prison overseen by Islamists, Nazis or Communists.

The Left insists that we ought to take away guns and other freedoms equally from everyone.

We all ought to live in prison. Or none of us should live in a prison.

And we’ve tried it their way for three generations. We’ve built walls everywhere except around our borders. We share our communities with criminals and the insane. Every house has an alarm system. There may be as many as a million law enforcement officers in the United States. Are we better off?

The first prerequisite to any morality is understanding that actions originate within individuals. The Left is hopelessly immoral because it believes that actions originate within external social conditions. It insists that murder is caused by the social conditions of capitalism, the gun industry or poverty. It justifies its own massacres as attempts to remedy the social conditions of capitalism by force.

That’s why murder thrives under leftist governments, whether in Venezuela or Chicago.

If we want to stop mass killings, we have to restore a moral society based on individual responsibility. The alternative is living in one giant progressive prison with the killers, the psychos and the terrorists.

Either we control the criminals or we lose all control over our own lives.

The moral equation of murder wasn’t altered by the technology of the automatic weapon. The most ancient societies in the world have known how to deal with it. We chose to forget.

When Cain slew his brother with a rock, G-d drove him out of the civilized lands.

G-d did not ban rocks. He banned murderers.

If we want to stop killings, mass or singular, we have to drive our own Cains out of our civilization. Or reconcile ourselves to living in a society where Cain has a gun and Abel is always on the run.

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, August 14, 2019

Nationalism and Idealism at the Border

By On August 14, 2019
The Border Patrol is to the millennial lefty what the Marines in Vietnam were to his grandpa. The problem with both is not that they wear uniforms and carry guns. A heavily armed force dedicated to policing carbon emissions, hate speech, and non-biodegradable straws would be entirely copacetic.

The trouble is that the Border Patrol and the Marine Corps are nationalistic forces. And nationalistic forces are the wrong kind of forces because they exist to secure the physical existence of America.

Idealistic forces that exist to protect ideas, like the evils of the industrial revolution, politically incorrect speech, or violations of UN human rights accords, from threatening the ideal society are good. Threats to our ideas about the world must be urgently fought. And reality is the greatest threat to those ideas.

The threatening thing about borders is that they define the nation as a physical reality, not an ideal.

Lefties prefer America as an ideal rather than a reality. The ideal nation is a mirror image of their politics. It is not defined by anything as grubby as citizenship or miles of land, but by ideas. Its true defenders aren’t men in uniforms with guns, but social justice activists lecturing about its evils.

When they speak of loving America, it’s not a love of the actual country, but of their own ideals.

"I believe, as an immigrant, I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born and because I am ashamed of it continuing to live in its hypocrisy,” Rep. Ilhan Omar claimed.

Lefties often pair love and resentment of America. They speak of loving an ideal, but loathing the reality.

This allegiance to America as an ideal becomes treason to the real America. But to lefties, it is the reality of America that is a betrayal of its ideal. The actual country has an objective existence. The ideal one exists only in the subjective vision of each individual. To be loyal to your subjective ideal over that of the actual nation in which you live is to give allegiance not to America, but to your own desires.

The immigration debate pits nationalists against idealists. To the nationalists, America is limited by physical realities, by the capacities of its land, its number of available jobs, and the limitations of its social fabric, while to the idealists, America is an unlimited space that is capable of anything.

We can absorb every single person who comes here. Anyone who disagrees is a bigot.

That is the fundamental difference between nationalists and idealists. Nationalists have strong ideals, but they believe that ideals derive from physical realities. Nationalists believe that America’s potential is inherent in its physical territory and in the physical realities of its citizens. Idealists insist that physical realities derive from ideals. America’s potential is not rooted in its territories or its people, but its ideas.

If you believe that we are only as limited as our ideas, then any objection that we cannot absorb unlimited migrants, and provide everyone with infinite free benefits, reveals a limitation of ideas.

Idealists denounce such limitations as selfish greed and reactionary bigotry.

When the Border Patrol is overwhelmed by migrants, idealists attribute the resulting conditions not to resource limitations, but to malice. That’s the same thing they attribute a refusal to implement universal health care, even though it can’t be paid for, or forgive all outstanding college loans, likewise impossible.

People who believe that ideas create resources reject the very concept of resource shortages. To them, there is never a shortage of resources, only a shortage of the ideas that allow resources to be shared.

The currency of real nations is money, but the currency of ideal nations is ideas. In real nations, policies have to be paid for. In ideal nations, free health care or education are the currency and pay for themselves. New immigrants create jobs. All spending, as Obama liked to say, is really an investment.

Idealists are unable to distinguish abstractions from realities. When President Lincoln said that America was “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”, to them that is not a legal principle, as it was to Lincoln, but a factual reality that must be demonstrated as a fundamental truth of life.

Since to idealists, equality is primarily a moral principle, they are required to believe that all immigrants believe that everyone is equal, otherwise they themselves would be guilty of heresy. The baffling outcome of this delusional thinking leads them to dismiss Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism as a myth, otherwise she would be less than equal, and they would be bigots for even thinking such a thing.

The idealist error lies not only in mistaking the physical capacity of immigration, but its moral capacity.

They assume that America is a universal idea rather than a nation. Nationalists understand that America’s uniqueness lies in its ideas. But they view those ideas as emerging from a culture. The ideas that make America great emerged from a history of ideas within England and the West. To study the history of ideas is to understand their origin in a physical reality and to know their limitations.

To idealists, ideas are a religious revelation. Their origins are an interesting detail, but not a limitation. It doesn’t matter what country or culture originated John Locke. Much as to many the Jewishness of the prophets is incidental. The ideas of America are infinitely portable and transportable. They can be planted in Iraq or Afghanistan and function every bit as well as they do in Texas or California.

Nor, is there any reason for idealists to assume, that migrants from Iraq or Somalia are not as American as we are. If everyone is created equal, then really everyone is an American.

Except those Americans who resist accepting the insanity of that proposition.

If the essence of what it is to be an American is to believe in universal entitlements, which is what leftists have distilled the proposition of universal equality to, then everyone who believes that the government is required to give everyone free healthcare and college, is truly an American.

Rep. Ilhan Omar is a great American because she believes in the right of free things for all. And it is the Republicans who don’t believe in universal entitlements who are guilty of being un-American.

The two Americas, the nation of ideas and of citizens, are on a collision course at the border.

The second America, the one with borders, an economy and citizens, has interests. These interests are an expression of the physical needs of its citizens. The first America, the place of ideas, has no citizens, no economy and no borders. It is a phantom nation with no physical realities, only ideals and values.

Nationalists speak in terms of interests. Idealists blather about values. American interests are condemned as violations of American values. To protect the border is “not who we are”, they insist.

Our ‘whoness’ is not measured in the physicality of land and laws. America is not a real place, but a concept. Its borders are not policed with armed men, but hate speech codes. The integrity of its ideas matters far more than the lives of its people, the integrity of its borders or the worth of its economy.

Nationalists want to control the physical boundaries of the nation while idealists want to police its discourse. Both are protecting what they understand to be the essential truth of America.

But there can only be one America.

The citizenry voted Trump to protect America’s interests and the elites have vowed to destroy him to protect America’s values. The citizenry wants to build a wall on the border and the elites want to build a wall on the internet to silence opponents of migration. The outcome will determine whether America will be a free nation of citizens whose elected officials protect their interests or a tyranny of idealists.

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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