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Sunday, September 25, 2022

They’re Redistributing Wealth, Not Fighting Inflation

By On September 25, 2022

 

Biden threw a party to celebrate the Inflation Reduction Act on the White House South Lawn even as the latest figures showed that core inflation has continued to rise. Grocery prices had the steepest increase since 1979. Rent prices shot up again and medical costs are escalating.


Even the most loyal media lapdogs could hardly stand this festival of lies. CNN cut away from Biden’s masque of red ink to show what was happening to the stock market. Reuters acidly headlined its coverage, “Biden celebrates ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ as food, rent prices climb”.


So what’s there to celebrate?


The Inflation Reduction Act is a lie. It doesn’t reduce inflation: it actually gooses it. The IRA is another inflationary leftist spending boondoggle that throws billions at green energy and $80 billion at the IRS to audit the middle class in the hopes of balancing out some of the crony cash.


A week after signing the IRA, Biden announced a trillion dollar loan bailout for his party’s base of perpetual grad students. Like the Inflation Reduction Act, this was a massive wealth transfer. Audit the middle class and send the checks to Tesla drivers and sociology grad students. Raise inflation rates with inflationary spending and transfer some of the wealth over to welfare voters.


That’s what the White House was really celebrating.


And the worse inflation gets, the closer Biden and his administration get to their true objectives.


The Biden administration isn’t fighting inflation, it’s deliberately increasing it even as its cronies in the Federal Reserve hammer home new interest rate hikes to force the economy into a recession. This two-step dance destroys savings, wrecks investments and allows for a massive wealth transfer to Democrat donors, special interests and voters. The more that the Democrat majority spends, the worse inflation gets and the more justification there is for higher rates.


If a recession arrives, there’ll be even more justification for government wealth transfers.


That’s the good news that brought James Taylor to the White House and got Joe Biden to put on his best 80s shades and party like it’s 1929. Biden announced that he wanted to be FDR. You can’t be FDR without a Great Depression. Even if you have to create it every step of the way.


“I’m kind of in a position that FDR was,” Biden modestly claimed. FDR’s position was to use the Soviet Union and Mussolini’s Italy as templates for dramatically transforming America through massive spending, socialist controls and crackdowns on conservative political opponents.


So far Biden has managed 2 out of 3.


The Biden administration is not here to “save the economy” so that its titular figurehead can retire to a Delaware basement and then drool softly into a Dixie cup for the next decade. The formula has always been really simple: create the crisis, worsen it, and then exploit it.


Until America has been destroyed and there’s no freedom, only the omnipotent state.


Honest socialists like Bernie Sanders would at least admit that they’re trying to replace the economy with socialism while pursuing massive wealth redistribution. Biden claims to be trying to fix it by giving his base more spending money while interest rate hikes push the economy into a recession in order to keep people from spending more money.


A recent paper by prominent economists warned that unfettered government spending would lead to, “a vicious circle of rising nominal interest rates, rising inflation, economic stagnation.”


But whether that’s a vicious circle or a virtuous circle is a matter of perspective.


From the standpoint of any normal person, it’s a vicious circle, but from the standpoint of a socialist, it’s a grand opportunity to Cloward-Piven the economy as we know it into the abyss.


And make a whole lot of money for an army of politically connected special interests.


Biden is pretending that he’s a firefighter when, like FDR, he’s actually an arsonist in a big helmet and black boots. Inflation is one of the fires being fed to justify tighter government controls and interventions that reduce economic independence and redistribute wealth.


Devaluing money is the traditional tool of totalitarian leftist regimes. Runaway inflation provides them with a pretext for interventions such as wage and price controls, both of which were rolled out during COVID lockdowns on an unprecedented scale and still continue to be statewide.


Inflation is not the administration’s enemy, it’s the best tool for wrecking what’s left of free enterprise. How do you get Americans to accept price controls? Keep feeding inflation so that the prices of everyday goods, of gas and housing climb out of the reach of even the middle class. The Biden administration deliberately pushed up gas prices, threatened the industry with price controls and then dumped oil from the reserve into the market. That was a trial run.


So was the baby formula crisis in which the FDA shut down production and then the Biden administration stepped in to fly in formula from overseas. These trial runs involve government intervention creating artificial scarcity or higher prices by intervening in the production process, shutting down plants or oil and gas leases, and then stomping in to reshape the marketplace.


While inflation is a useful tool, it’s not the only one. The EPA, CDC, FDA, USDA and numerous government agencies with virtually unchecked regulatory powers can dramatically change product availability and price at the macro level leading to demands for further interventions.


COVID lockdowns were the patient zero of this new economy. Seemingly irrational and unjust measures shut down small businesses while allowing Amazon and major retailers to roll on. But there was nothing irrational about it. This was a deliberate strategy to further consolidate the retail sector, concentrating the pain among small businesses before offering them temporary subsidies, and narrowing the retail pipeline to put it even further under government control. Labor disputes in rail lines and UPS allow Democrat unions to shut down the supply chain.


But as they used to say on television, “This was only a test.” Socialism, on a much broader scale than we’ve seen it, is being tested. As destructive as these tests were, that’s still what they are. Anyone living under actual socialism can tell you that it can get much worse. And will.


When that happens, Biden will throw an even bigger party. And we’ll be the ones paying for it.




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.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

African Feminist Slave Traders vs. White Male Slave Liberators

By On September 22, 2022

Sony, spurred by the success of Black Panther, decided to make the ‘Amazon’ Agojie warriors of Dahomey, the inspiration for the fictional female warriors of the comic book, into a movie.


The Woman King had a $50 million budget to bring the real Wakanda to life. It opened at the top of the box office as a black nationalist story of female empowerment about heroic slave traders. While a movie celebrating the Confederacy could never be made, African slave traders who sold hundreds of thousands of slaves and engaged in mass sacrifice are Hollywood heroes.


Despite the fact that the movie had originated with white actress Maria Bello of Coyote Ugly, Gina Prince-Bythewood, its half-black director, made sure “people of color” would be in charge during the production. Prince-Bythewood, who had been given up for adoption by her white birth mother and was raised by a white couple near the vineyards of Monterey, claimed that she cried about her “connection to the material” glorifying one of the worst slave trading tribes in Africa.


The Woman King’s absurd wokeness extended even to Prince-Bythewood claiming that she based the movie’s rape scene on “Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearing.” And the media was appropriately fawning.


But then the protests on social media began.


The Dahomeys and the female warriors had sold hundreds of thousands of members of rival tribes into slavery. They had also overseen gruesome mass sacrifice rituals of their slaves.


While black nationalist movies routinely ignore history, this one hit home with some descendants of slaves, especially those from the Bahamas. The slaves sold by the Dahomeys tended to be shipped to Brazil which was notorious for the mass death of black laborers. The slave ships intercepted by the British Navy however occasionally set the slaves free in the Bahamas.


The actual history of the Dahomeys of the ‘Slave Coast’ has sabotaged what was supposed to be a smooth rollout for The Woman King and its mingled tale of female empowerment and black nationalism. But while The Woman King’s feminist warriors were real life villains who helped enslave countless black people, there were real heroes who fought the slave trade.


Unfortunately they were white men. Now long dead and defamed by leftist revisionist historians.


While Black Lives Matter has conducted its own rampage in the UK, it was the British Navy that fought African and Muslim slave traders. In Dahomey and the Dahomeyans, Frederick Forbes, a British naval officer who had come to lobby the monarch to end the slave trade, described “guards of amazons” following in a procession behind a member of the king’s harem using umbrellas to shade her. One such umbrella was “decorated with 148 human jaw bones.”


When wealthy Dahomeyans were dying, they took some of their wives and slaves with them as human sacrifices. Large scale mass sacrifices were practiced, including the brutal and horrifying killings of hundreds to thousands of slaves to honor Dahomey’s monstrous monarchs.


One account from 1860 presented in Parliament described how “a great pit has been dug which is to contain human blood enough to float a canoe. 2000 persons will be sacrificed on this occasion.” Those killed were captives from other tribes where the “young people among these prisoners will be sold into slavery, and the old persons will be killed at the great custom.”


The New York Times reprinted a description of “thousands of people are being sacrificed, (decapitated and afterwards cut in pieces,) and thousands are kept for the slaves.”


This was the real-life Wakanda.


It was the British and the Americans who put an end to this nightmare through colonialism and imperialism. Even before the Civil War, the United States had signed the Webster–Ashburton Treaty (for Daniel Webster) under which the US Navy and the Royal Navy conducted patrols to intercept slave ships.


US Navy efforts to intercept slave ships actually dated back as far as 1820 when Congress passed the James Monroe Piracy Act. Importing slaves had already been banned under the Jefferson administration in 1807, but the Monroe Act equated the slave trade with piracy.


Any American who would “on any foreign shore, seize any negro or mulatto, not held to service or labour by the laws of either of the states or territories of the United States, with intent to make such negro or mulatto a slave, or shall decoy, or forcibly bring or carry, or shall receive, such negro or mulatto on board any such ship or vessel, with intent as aforesaid, such citizen or person shall be adjudged a pirate; and, on conviction thereof before the circuit court of the United States for the district wherein he may be brought or found, shall suffer death.”


Famous naval vessels including the USS Constitution, USS Constellation, and USS Yorktown hunted for and captured slave ships bringing slaves from Africa to this hemisphere. The Navy’s African Squadron cruising off the ‘Slave Coast’ and patrolling as far as Cuba managed to capture over a hundred slave ships.


But it was the British whose embargo of Dahomey and pressure on Brazil and Portugal proved especially effective in shutting down the slave trade. All those dead white men shut down the trade in slaves across the water. Later, the British imperialists fought to stop the land traffic in slaves through Egypt and to the Muslim Middle East. They were successful until the end of colonialism restored the old and new kinds of slave trade bringing cargoes of human beings from Africa and Asia to the Middle East where, as in brutal Islamic tyrannies like Qatar, they are worked to death much as they were before the dreaded days of European imperialism.


These are movies to be made and stories to be told about the British white men, long since dead, who put their lives on the line to stop the slave trade practiced by the heroic African feminist warriors of Dahomey. And those movies will never be made, because they don’t fit the narrative propounded by the 1619 Project and Ibram X. Kendi in which slavery was a European crime against Africa, rather than an Islamic and African tribal crime ended by Europeans.


Specifically, by the European imperialism and colonialism that liberals love to hate.


The scope of the African slave trade was massive. It encompassed much of human history and the known world. There were black slaves in China over a thousand years ago. The Middle East is dotted with large populations of former black slaves and in some cases current slaves. The American role in the slave trade was relatively brief in both historic scope and scale. It’s a sin, but it was certainly not, as Obama put it, our original sin. It was a crime that began in Africa.


Westerners did not invent slavery, but they did more than anyone else to put an end to it.


That’s a truth that cannot be told. And Hollywood would rather make movies celebrating slave traders, as long as they’re black women, than the dead white men who fought to end slavery.



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, September 21, 2022

The ADL's Radical Boss Must Go

By On September 21, 2022

 The latest numbers show that only 1 of the 118 thugs arrested for assaulting Jews in New York City since 2018 was sentenced to actual prison time. While attacks on Jews tripled, the ADL is promoting police defunding in its curriculum. The lesson’s only mention of crime proposes that it can be fought through police defunding by “investing more money in education, health care.”


Another high school lesson plan claims that evidence of privilege is parents telling a child “to find a police officer if I need help”. The numerous Jewish children assaulted by thugs in New York needed a police officer, not because they were ‘privileged’, but because they were beaten while the ADL treated their attackers as the victims threatened by a “school-to-prison pipeline”.


And so the antisemitic violence continues through the complicity of the ADL.


The ADL’s lesson plans promote the racist hate group Black Lives Matter, despite its support for BDS, and the Women’s March, despite the overt antisemitism of its leadership at the time,


The latest outrage over critical race theory materials in the ADL’s curriculum isn’t shocking.


Two years ago, CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote a post defending BLM’s antisemitism and celebrating the “clarion call of ‘Black Lives Matter'” which in Los Angeles and a number of other communities were followed by pogroms against Jewish synagogues and businesses.  Last year he authored another op-ed opposing “divisive concept” legislation to keep hate out of schools. That’s understandable since many of the ADL’s teaching materials foster such extremism.


That racist concepts such as ‘white privilege’ and ‘intersectionality’ are harmful not only to all Americans, but to Jews in particular, inculcating antisemitism as a progressive value, does not trouble Greenblatt or the ADL who care nothing about the consequences of leftist antisemitism.


Much of this is the responsibility of Jinnie Spiegler, the ADL’s curriculum director, whose Twitter account is a steady stream of leftist derangement, but has nothing to say about Jews or antisemitism. Her philosophy can be summarized with the headline of one of her op-eds, “Forget Kindness. Schools Need to Foster Social Justice”.


“The first step is to facilitate students’ learning about the issues in a rigorous and complex way, and then to get them involved in action, advocacy and/or activism,” she has insisted.


Spiegler promotes antisemitic figures like AOC, Cori Bush, and Ilhan Omar.


The ADL has announced that it’s reexamining some of its hateful lesson plans, not because it’s truly sorry, but because it knows they run afoul of some of those “divisive concept” laws.


A variety of Jewish leaders whose organizations are actually fighting antisemitism, including Morton Klein of the ZOA, as well as Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser of the Jewish Leadership Project have called for ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to step down or be fired.


“The only thing ADL’s board and donors should be reviewing in the wake of this expose is the continued employment of Greenblatt. If the ADL really wants to demonstrate that it is rejecting CRT and the anti-Semitism that comes with it, then Greenblatt has got to go,” Jonathan Tobin, Editor-in-Chief of JNS, wrote in a recent editorial.


Greenblatt and his hires have spent the years in power building antisemitism into the ADL until the organization has become a stronghold of the antisemitic and anti-Israel element of the Left. All of this was accomplished under the false flag of fighting antisemitism. Even now the ADL keeps promoting antisemitism while claiming to be in the business of fighting antisemitism.


In August, the ADL announced the fellows for its inaugural Center for Antisemitism Research Fellowship, to identify “new approaches to combating antisemitism in society.”


One of its fellows, Michael Zanger-Tishler, has called for protesting Birthright Israel to “change Israeli policy toward the Palestinians” and his work has accused Israel of “constructing Palestinian criminality”.


Another, Sara Yael Hirschhorn, tweeted that, “the Palestinian case shares some common features with South Africa—population transfer/ethnic cleansing”, and falsely claimed that Israel is guilty of “daily violations of human rights.”


Hirschhorn has cultivated a career of bashing Israel with New York Times op-eds like, “Israeli Terrorists, Born in the U.S.A.” Her book, “City on a Hilltop”, attacking Jews living in their historical homeland in Judea and Samaria, was featured, along with the author, at a Foundation for Middle East Peace event. FMEP, a part of the Arab Lobby, accuses Israel of “apartheid”.


Her new book, “New Day in Babylon and Jerusalem: Zionism, Jewish Power, and Identity Politics”, already being promoted by the ADL, will discuss how “how the Six Day War and its aftermath transformed Zionism from a national liberation movement of the Jewish people to a colonialist enterprise in the Middle East in international eyes”.


Michael Boxer of Brandeis, has dismissed the reality of leftist campus antisemitism. “When I tell people the communal freak-out over antisemitism on campus is overblown, I’m usually told by people who haven’t set foot on any campus in decades that I don’t understand the climate today. Much Jewish communal discourse can be summarized by ‘ok boomer,’: he sneered.


He also argued that, “The American Jewish community’s fear that BDS permeates college campuses is almost entirely overblown.”


This is the level of contempt that the ADL has for the Jewish community and for its stated mission of fighting antisemitism. It’s a contempt that is a product of the Greenblatt era.


It can end when the Greenblatt era and everyone he hired are finally shown the door.


CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, an Obama administration veteran, has transformed the ADL, much as his counterparts have transformed the ACLU and other civil rights groups, from their original mission into another generic component of the national leftist network. And that network is venomously hostile toward Jews and aimed at the destruction of the Jewish State.


Under Greenblatt, the ADL has become a threat to Jews. Either he must go or it must go.





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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Transgender Historical Revisionism

By On September 20, 2022

Social media users ridiculed a recent Scientific American documentary claiming that, “before the late 18th century, Western science recognized only one sex—the male” and that “the two-sex model served mainly to reinforce gender and racial divisions.”


The contention that women didn’t exist until the 18th century is absurd and is also being taught in classrooms at both the most advanced and the most basic levels. Like critical race theory, it’s based on academic works that steadily gained influence during the last three decades while few outside academia noticed the normalization of their presence.


Now at Johns Hopkins you can find a class on “The Gender Binary and American Empire” which contends that “the sex and gender binary was produced out of colonialism and statecraft in Americas and particularly through US imperialism” while PBS tells school students that “on nearly every continent, and for all of recorded history, thriving cultures have recognized, revered, and integrated more than two genders.”


This historical revisionism isn’t isolated to the classroom, textbooks or social media. Anthropologists are being pressured to stop identifying bodies in tombs as male or female. Historical figures like Joan of Arc are being posthumously redefined as transgender. The overriding goal is to reimagine a history in which men and women didn’t exist until being “invented” by imperialistic westerners to repress the non-westerners they were colonizing.


Transgender historical revisionism is a subset of intersectional revisionist history that reverses the traditional western concept of the enlightenment as the coming of a new dark age that spawned capitalism, colonialism and every possible form of bigotry. Much as the 1619 Project falsely claims that America was not only built on racism, but actually invented it to prop up colonialism, other intersectional revisionist histories make similar claims for the nuclear family, the middle class, free enterprise, men and women and every other norm they want to destroy.


Intersectional revisionist history emerged from the post-colonial boom in academia. Unlike traditional Marxism, which presupposed the superiority of the western world and the inevitable progress of human civilization, post-colonial identity politics are a form of Marxism that are hostile to western civilization and the very idea of progress. Embraced by Islamists, black nationalists, La Raza academics, feminists and sexual activists, it’s aimed at not only rolling back the western project, but inventing imaginary African, Islamic and American Indian utopias that were free of the evils of capitalism, racism, the nuclear family, as well as men and women..


The growth of these fantasy ‘wakandas’ across academia has been accompanied by cancel culture and a complete collapse of even the most elementary standards. At the ground level, history has already been rewritten to not only denounce Columbus, Washington and Lincoln as racist colonialist villains, but to accuse them of destroying utopias that were free of their sins, and to make the rebuilding of dark age societies the purpose of “decolonizing” the West.


The worst fringe racial and sexual nuttery of the 70s has long since become academic doctrine. 


The dark enlightenment doctrine (this term is used similarly by some on the alt-right) was embraced by black separatists who wanted their own apartheid state, Islamists and their fellow travelers like Edward Said because it paved the way for the resurrection of a caliphate, Latino nationalists because of its inherent anti-Americanism and sexual activists because it allowed them to pretend that basic human norms didn’t exist. Transgender revisionist history is the modern equivalent of 70s feminists inventing past matriarchies that never actually existed.


Sexual revisonist history colonizes and distorts other cultures to promote a political agenda. For example, transgender activists claim that there were six or even eight genders in Judaism. There were and are only two genders. “Male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Much like modern medical science, Jewish legal tradition dealt with biological and developmental abnormalities like an androginus (from the Greek androgynous) or a saris (a enunch who had suffered castration) that were not new genders, but medical problems.


The non-western sexual and feminist utopias never existed and the racial ones were nightmares. These were societies where cutting off the noses of women was routine, where slavery was the norm and anyone different was exterminated. Diversity, the concept that has been used to club western civilization to death, did not exist except under the conditions of empire or as a temporary side effect of trade. It only truly existed in America.


Marxism hoped to harness identity politics to topple western power blocs and remake them in its image Instead Marxism was reduced to a coalition between Third World nationalists and sexual activists who embraced the original Nazi ethos of the Dark Enlightenment that called for a rebirth of humanity through the civilizational destruction of the Enlightenment and much of Christianity. That is why Enlightenment thinkers remain leading targets of academic wokes. 


Intersectional revisionist history is an argument for a world in which the West never existed. The earliest socialist texts to the latest tweets by Bernie Sanders and AOC make their argument against America and the West by envisioning fictional utopias of the future. But intersectional revisionist history is no longer looking to an imaginary future, but to the past. Like most racialists and historical losers, it fantasizes about reclaiming a lost world that never existed. 


Nicole Hannah-Jones, the black nationalist behind the 1619 Project, once wrote a letter claiming that “Africans had been to the Americas long before Columbus or any Europeans. The difference is that Africans had the decency and respect for human life to learn from the Native Americans and trade technology with them.” To her this is no doubt as real as the 1619 Project. And academia is learning that it can’t have anti-American historical revisionism without the identity politics historical revisionism and its phantom utopias supposedly destroyed by America


Intersectional revisionist history reconciles these two narratives by depicting the entire planet as a kind of idealized CHAZ of fluid genders and polyamorous matriarchies, free of racism or the concept of ownership until the European ships arrived to destroy these dreamworlds. Every social norm, including even the existence of men and women, is revealed by these conspiracy theories to have been invented by European colonialism to repress the primordial utopias.   


Academia has come to be driven by this pseudo-theological search for a lost Eden that is composed in equal parts of denouncing every element of western society and imagining non-western societies that are the very opposite. Each phase of intersectional revisionist history asks people to accept increasingly implausible things. The demands of transgender revisionist history are some of the most ridiculous, but they are being accepted wholesale nonetheless.


Transgender revisionist history’s modest proposal is to disgender most of human history to ‘decolonize’ it. And that requires pretending that men and women didn’t exist until the 18th century, and denouncing the “invention of women” as a conspiracy by western colonialism against non-western societies.


Revisionist history, like all fantasy, reverses reality, victims become perpetrators, norms turn into aberrations, the rare is deemed commonplace and sin is praised as virtue. It looks to redeem the past by fictionalizing it to the detriment of the present. Marxism postured as progressive and yet when given the opportunity, its societies were always reactionary feudal dictatorships. 


Modern Marxism has stopped even pretending that it is anything other than reactionary, longing for an idealized racial or sexual past, not the future. Like the Islamists it’s allied with, it is no longer destroying the western world to build a better future, but to reinvent a dark past.





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, September 19, 2022

The 11,110 Afghan Migrants Born on Jan 1

By On September 19, 2022

 The Biden administration brought tens of thousands of Afghans into our communities who were never properly vetted and who may not have had proper documentation to show who they are.



Last September, Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas claimed that “the federal government has been focused on the screening and vetting of individuals evacuated from Afghanistan” and that the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the Department of Defense and the FBI had “established a robust screening and vetting architecture” for the masses of Afghan migrants that Biden had brought to this country.


But the latest report from the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security reveals that the vetting of the migrants was so lacking in even basic information that 36,400 Afghans carried an unidentified document and at least 11,110 had fake birthdays.


659 of the Afghans were either missing a first or a last name. Worse still, even many of the Afghan migrants with recorded names may not be accurate. The report reveals that customs officials “had to rely on translators or interpreters to identify evacuees’ names”. Despite the claims of a robust vetting system, the process was as crude and low tech as it gets with officials using “photographs of handwritten flight manifests” as the basis for entering the names.


It would be hard to imagine a more inaccurate way to obtain any reliable information.


How do you vet someone when you don’t even know their name? The answer is you don’t. The Biden administration claims that biometrics would identify potential terrorists even when we don’t know their names, but that’s only if their biometrics are already part of our database and if they had already been connected to previous terrorist activity. What happens if the Al Qaeda members weren’t helpful enough to get scanned in between plotting to murder Americans?


The report makes it clear that there was no meaningful vetting and that there couldn’t be any.


Rushed by the Biden administration to quickly move Afghans from staging areas into the United States, officials put down whatever information they had no matter how worthless it might be.


That’s why a statistically impossible 11,110 of the Afghan evacuees had January 1 as their birthday. According to officials, that was the automatic response when the Afghans didn’t know their birthdays. And if they didn’t know their birthdays, it’s likely they didn’t have documents.


At least none that actually prove anything.


“36,400 records had “facilitation document” as the document type. However, “during the audit, CBP could not define or provide an explanation for this document type, indicating potential inaccuracies. 7,800 records had invalid or missing document numbers,” the report warns.


If Customs and Border Protection doesn’t know what document they used to bring 36,400 Afghans to America, then who does? What does CBP know? It deliberately knows nothing.


The Biden administration’s evacuation protocol was to allow as many Afghans in as possible, not to worry about any of the paperwork and not to track any of those missing the paperwork.


The report warns that, “CBP could not provide reliable data on evacuees admitted or paroled into the United States” and “we could not rely on the visa class code in CBP’s data to determine the number of evacuees paroled into the United States or the document type code to determine the individuals admitted or paroled into the United States without proper identification.”


The Biden administration had allowed officials to “admit or parole evacuees into the country without presenting proper identification documents” and no records were kept of them.


The Inspector General’s report reveals that “during the audit, when we requested a list of individuals admitted or paroled without proper identification, CBP officials responded that they did not maintain such a list.” That’s not incompetence: it’s a bureaucratic cover-up.


One of the few examples identified in the report shows just how pervasive this cover-up was.


One of the Afghan migrants had been freed by the Taliban, likely alongside the Kabul airport suicide bomber who killed 13 military personnel, indictating possible membership in an Islamic terrorist organization, and had cleared the worthless vetting processes and come to America.


When entering the United States, “CBP officers identified derogatory information during the primary inspection. However, a supervisor ‘unreferred’ the individual and paroled the individual into the country without a secondary inspection.” This indicates that CBP was under heavy pressure to expedite the movement of Afghan migrants as much as possible.


41,195 Afghans were processed through Germany with a time constraint of 10 days. How thorough was that vetting? Ask all the Jan 1 birthday boys with no names.


Even when local CBP officers did their job, a supervisor allowed a possible terrorist into the U.S.


The vetting process did not keep the terrorists out. The men and women tasked with vetting the Afghans did not do their jobs. Or, as in the above case, were prevented from doing theirs. It was the FBI that stepped in several times to flag suspected terrorists and pass it along to ICE. And that’s probably only because, unlike CBP, the FBI didn’t have specific orders not to do it. A lot of the FBI may be broken, but some of the counterterrorism people are still doing their jobs.


Dozens of potential terrorists were released in this manner into the country. And those are only the ones who were flagged. The true number is exponentially larger. We simply don’t know.


And we likely never will.


Instead of keeping the Afghans in third countries and vetting them fully before bringing them to America, Biden chose to bring them here now and then spend what was supposed to be two years vetting them and giving them every opportunity to find a pretext for applying to stay here.


As the scandals over Afghan refugee sexual assaults and terror ties have mounted, the Biden administration, the refugee resettlement industry and its allies in Congress are rushing through an Afghan Adjustment Act that could “give more than 80,000 Afghan evacuees in legal limbo in the U.S. a clear pathway to permanent residency.” Proponents, like Senator Lindsay Graham, are once again promising “a strong vetting program” for people with no names or birthdays.


Senator Chuck Grassley responded to the DHS OIG report by stating that, “The fact that Biden appointees at DHS had the audacity to criticize this report instead of taking steps to fix the problems tells you what you need to know. As I’ve said before, Congress should not consider sweeping status immigration changes for evacuees unless and until this administration guarantees the integrity of and fully responds to long-standing oversight requests regarding their vetting and resettlement process.”


The question is whether Republican Senate members will hold the line on the Afghan Adjustment Act. And stop the rapid legalization conveyor belt for unvetted Afghans.


Massive numbers of Afghans were brought to America by relying on biometrics, which are incomplete and not wholly reliable, and on biographical data, which proved so worthless that we don’t even know the names or the birthdays, let alone anything more personal, of many of the migrants. Proper records were not maintained or kept. The rush to quickly legalize them is yet another phase of a cover-up that began when they were illegally dumped in this country.


President Calvin Coolidge may have been born on the fourth of July, but the next Afghan terrorist who shoots up America, like the one who shot up the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, may very well be born on the first of January. Another of Biden’s birthday boys.





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. 

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Coming Outlawing of the Republican Party

By On September 18, 2022



Republicans want to hold the majority and co-exist with Democrats, while Democrats, under the influence of the Left, want to eliminate Republicans.


This fundamental difference between the two sides was on display during Biden’s fascist rant in Philadelphia where he denounced half the country as a threat to democracy.


And it would be a mistake to imagine that all the talk of a “threat to democracy” is mere rhetoric.


Another basic difference between the two parties is that Republicans are politically unserious. Politicians, pundits and influencers spend so much time virtue signaling that they think words don’t matter. Democrats are quite serious. The Republican refusal to take them at their word, to believe that their histrionic rhetoric represents a serious policy agenda, is why things are so bad.


Surely, Beltway GOP figures will reassure, Democrats aren’t serious about adding states, Supreme Court seats, a trillion dollar coin or using unlimited dictatorial executive authority.


But what if they are?


Biden’s speech was the tip of a much more dangerous iceberg.


After Biden took over, Democrat activist groups began a push to disqualify Republicans who had participated in the Jan 6 protests from elected office based on the 14th Amendment. Adopted after the Civil War, it’s mostly notable for abolishing slavery. But Section 3 also banned anyone from holding elected office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” Aimed at Confederates, most would have considered this a dead letter, but the Left excels at digging up obscure legal fossils and making use of them.


The insurrection lawsuits have targeted members of congress, Senator Ron Johnson and local officials. But by defining anyone who questioned the 2020 presidential election results as an “insurrectionist” or having provided “aid and comfort”, the scope could be vastly larger.


A New York Times article lists “147 Republicans who voted to overturn election results”. Lists like this are proliferating in time for the midterms and they are meant to be actionable.


The criminalization of the Republican Party achieved its first real win when a New Mexico judge removed Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin from office over his role in the Capitol riot using Section 3. But there were more troubling developments earlier this year when the 4th Circuit ruled in a case involving the disqualification of Rep. Madison Cawthorn that the 1872 Amnesty Act did not nullify Section 3. A Georgia federal judge ruled similarly in a case involving an election challenge to another House member, though that case later collapsed.


The Section 3 campaign lost in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Arizona, but it’s still alive.


The wording of the Amnesty Act is quite clear. It states that, “all political disabilities imposed by the third section of the fourteenth article of amendments of the Constitution of the United States are hereby removed from all persons whomsoever”. But an Obama judge argued that “pure common sense” showed that Section 3 still applies. Her ruling would have been dramatically different if conservatives were applying this to Kamala Harris who helped bail out BLM rioters.


But the law matters less than the agenda. Some of these efforts have run into legal roadblocks, but they have also seen some success in using Section 3 to establish a political test for office.


That political test is allegiance to Biden and the Democrat Party.


During the Cold War, efforts to criminalize and remove Communists operating within the Democrat Party and its allied cultural institutions were abandoned. The Communists don’t intend to be so generous to their old enemies now that they run the Democrat Party.


The legal counterarguments are obvious. The amnesties of 1872 and 1898 had been intended to nullify Section 3. But because the Constitution was never actually modified, that may not matter. Section 3 was arguably unconstitutional to begin with. But which Supreme Court justice will be ready to take a red pencil to a key civil rights amendment? There was no actual insurrection, and no insurrection prosecutions or declarations holding any legal status. But these are legal arguments that will have to be ruled on by judges. And they’re a poor guarantee of what is really at stake here which is the right of political opposition. Or the First Amendment.


A Congressional Research Service paper on disqualifying Republicans suggested that a presidential or congressional declaration would be enough. And that anyone who provided “words of encouragement, or the expression of an opinion” could have engaged in insurrection. Alternatively, “a simple majority” could be used to refuse to seat House or Senate members.


Last year, CREW, Common Cause, MoveOn, the Constitutional Accountability Center, and other leftist activist groups wrote an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging the use of Section 3 to prevent Trump from holding office. But their scope is much wider than that.


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which is a 501(c)(3) and is supposed to be non-partisan, was behind the successful New Mexico disqualification lawsuit


“Section 3 of the 14th Amendment can and should be used to bar anyone who engaged in the insurrection,” its leader argued.


How is “engaged” defined? In the case of Trump, there is the false insistence that he bears “responsibility” for violence during the Capitol riot even though he was opposed to it. The Constitutional Accountability Center quoted an opinion suggesting that anyone who engaged in any “overt act for the purpose of promoting the rebellion, may well be said . . . to have engaged in rebellion.” Both CAC and the CRS paper promotes the idea that the “expression of an opinion” is enough.


These are some of the reasons why future presidents and legislators hurriedly dismantled the emergency Civil War era measures that were grotesquely unconstitutional to such a degree that they would have outlawed the existence of any political dissent. But they did so in a clumsy and incomplete fashion and those measures, along with even more clumsily written Civil Rights era legislation pose an existential threat to civil rights and political freedom in this country.


And long after the end of the Civil War, Section 3 has been revived by the former Confederate party turned Communist that has the country’s most consistent track record of treason with the aim of overthrowing the Constitution.


Leftists didn’t oppose McCarthyism. They just wanted to be the ones dispensing it.


Beltway Republicans shrug at this sort of thing as posturing. They refuse to believe that this is a serious statement of intent. And even if it is, they privately argue, it won’t go past a few state officials, some fringe House members, or Trump at worst. They’re sleepwalking into disaster.


This particular bid to outlaw the Republican Party may go nowhere, but if so it won’t be because of Republican opposition. It will be because leftist groups decide to prioritize their resources on more immediate programs rather than launching a dramatic moonshot. But it remains part of the agenda. And Biden’s speech shows that the agenda is being entertained by the White House.


The midterm and the next presidential election are being defined not in terms of policies and issues, but as a response, in Biden’s words, to a “threat to this country” posed by a “Republican Party” that is “dominated” by “MAGA Republicans”. That’s rhetoric, but among Democrats, unlike Republicans, rhetoric is a political program, not just fundraising text messages.


Democrats and their allied non-profit groups have laid out a political program for reviving Section 3 to bar most Republicans from holding office. They have spent money on it, field tested it in courts, gotten Obama and Biden judges, along with prominent legal experts, to sign off on it, and only fools would assume that they don’t seriously mean it. Or that they just thought of it.


Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to bite the bullet during the Cold War or 9/11 and respond to a global conflict and abetted by the domestic Left by cleaning house. Conservatives missed the most important point about the Left’s hysteria over the fairly minor Cold War investigations of Communism or the Patriot Act’s light touch on Islamic terrorism.


How was it possible to seriously accuse mild-mannered men like Eisenhower or George W. Bush of being fascist dictators in complete contrast to their unambitious domestic programs?


The Left wasn’t making bad faith arguments. Talk to a leftist and you will see that leftists genuinely believed that Republicans were prepared to use national emergencies to wipe them out of existence. Why did they believe that? Because it’s what they would do in their place.


Now they’re actually doing it.





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, September 14, 2022

The Wit and Wisdom of Kamala

By On September 14, 2022
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris might be the single worst pair of communicators to occupy the White House. Both Joe and Kamala are wedded to teleprompters because he has too much to say and she has nothing to say. Teleprompters are there to keep Joe Biden from telling wildly inappropriate stories about his leg hairs or announcing an impromptu surrender to China, but they’re also there because in her natural state Kamala is incapable of saying anything at all.

Presidents and their veeps are supposed to be a balance of strengths and weaknesses like a good marriage, but instead Biden and Kamala are a bad marriage in which their weaknesses are mirror opposites, but also so far apart that they’re incapable of balancing each other out.

Neither Joe or Kamala have any real skills. They both got to where they are as a combination of political accidents by men who were attracted to their weakness and incompetence.

Obama picked Biden because the failed presidential candidate was an old white man who would be too inept to build his own power base or function independently of his team. And Obama proved correct when Biden not only failed to declare his independence during eight years as his second banana, but even after Obama twice refused to endorse his presidential run is still dependent on Obama’s people to tell him what to do, where to go and what to say.

Kamala was handpicked by Willie Brown for her willingness to sleep with a much older man. And to represent Willie’s interests on various commissions. Despite no apparent skills or real track record, she advanced through the ranks because she was a hollow vessel. Having very little in the way of a mind of her own, she could be counted on to do what her bosses wanted.

Her latest boss picked her for the same reason. And because no one could want her in power.

No, at the pinnacle of their careers, Biden and Kamala are clueless and unpopular, incapable of doing their jobs or even coherently communicating their agenda to the American people.

Where Biden is a terrible communicator who believes he possesses ineffable campaign instincts, Kamala is the product of a Democrat political machine in a one-party state who never really had to campaign until her terrible performance in the presidential primaries.

Joe Biden spews word salads composed of anecdotes, misheard quotes from old movies, and the preexisting condition of his illiteracy. Biden has spent much of his career lying about his grades, academic achievements and even his IQ because of an obvious intellectual insecurity.

Kamala’s word salads are less exotic. Biden’s malapropisms and asides are unique, but Kamala isn’t likely to call someone a “lying dog-faced pony soldier”. Instead she speaks in the familiar argot of woke bureaucrats who mix “stakeholders”, “impactful”, “commitment”, “awareness” and “transformative” together in some random order and call it a sentence.

This language doesn’t have an official name, but the combination of academic constructs, business buzzwords, and ‘therapyspeak’ expressions has taken over the HRs of every major company and is the language in which the 99.9% of useless government bureaucrats speak internally. It’s natural that Kamala would have picked it up, but she never unlearned it, or learned any other language and so she is incapable of making herself understood to the people.

Like Orwell’s Newspeak, Kamala’s native language is meant to defeat communication. It’s impossible to express anything clearly and plainly in a tongue that consists of ambiguities that signal virtue rather than explain what they are after. Soon adjectives become verbs and verbs become adjectives. Untangling it is difficult enough when it’s written down, but a teleprompter recitation of strings of cliches tangled with general assertions that never add up to anything is impossible. Yet tens of thousands of such events are held everyday in which the participants are subjected to an hour of this nonsense which, no matter how many 10 AM whiskeys you’ve had, never start making any sense. And Kamala is a capable practitioner of this difficult language.

Unfortunately, while it’s an excellent way of killing an hour at a meeting or completely shutting out civilians who have come to speak about a proposal that affects their lives, Kamala’s linguistic skills are absolutely hopeless for communicating with ordinary human beings. That’s when Kamala ‘dumbs it down’ by stating general sentiments in simplistic language or repeating the same idea in the same words a few times. She’s not doing it because she’s stupid (even though she is) but because she thinks of everyone else as being too dumb to understand her.

Kamala’s incoherence isn’t unique. Her native state is dominated by political bureaucrats who have these same two modes, either ‘talking up’ to their own kind or ‘talking down’ to the locals. From Governor Newsom on down, California Democrats speak gibberish to each other or painfully condescend to the proles. But most of them can at least make some kind of sense.

The trouble is that Kamala has nothing to say and doesn’t know how to communicate. The woman one heartbeat away from running the country has never been anything other than an empty shell. There’s no discernible personality or characteristics to Kamala. Her interests and hobbies all appear to have been invented for a presidential campaign. Unlike Hillary, who developed a fake persona to humanize a nasty human being, Kamala is a ‘space alien’. The only thing her fake persona is hiding is that there’s nothing underneath except ambition.

Biden has too much personality, but she has too little. The daughter of a wealthy globe-trotting mother, she became a successful socialite, followed the herd through college, hooked up with Willie Brown and probably became the most successful person in her class. But unlike Joe Biden, who at least helped finance Hunter’s hooker and crack habits, has nothing to show for it.

Biden spent his political career compensating for obvious insecurities and living out his appetites. Kamala grew up rich and successful, pampered and pandered to, and if anything suffers from a lack of insecurities. That’s why she can’t reach people or empathize with them. Biden’s political instincts are bad, but Kamala doesn’t have any gut instincts. She doesn’t feel anything and has no ability to read a room, either a real one or the national one. She’s tone-deaf because she never needed to learn how to interact with people outside set social situations.

Kamala, the daughter of a researcher and an economist, is bright enough in her limited way. But her abilities are limited to learning a ruleset and then adopting it. That’s how she does everything from socializing to launching a political attack. Her manner seems even phonier than that of most politicians because it is wholly artificial. There’s nothing spontaneous about it because the only way she ever learns anything is didactically and then repeats it by rote.

Biden may read from a teleprompter, but Kamala is a human teleprompter. Forced to depart from a script, she doesn’t go off-script the way that her boss does, instead she tries to go back to the simplest scripts she knows or echoes her interviewer, and then starts to repeat herself. Biden can readily improvise, but shouldn’t, and his number two absolutely cannot improvise. To improvise is to draw on your talents and reserves, and Kamala’s well is dry and empty.

Never has someone so empty of everything come this close to running everything.




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, September 12, 2022

Biden Fights 9/11 Victims in Court to Protect Taliban Cash

By On September 12, 2022



White House Democrats have a history of fighting against terror victims suing Islamic terrorists. The Obama administration battled American terror victims suing the PLO. In 2015, after they won a $218 million judgement against the terror group, Blinken, then only a deputy secretary of state, intervened claiming that the lawsuit threatened “several decades of US foreign policy.”


But now Biden is fighting 9/11 victims on behalf of the Taliban. At stake are billions being held by the Afghan central bank fund in the United States.

A decade ago, 9/11 families sued the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Iran. The court found that the Islamic terrorists were responsible and a judgement of $6 billion was handed down.

The verdict was described as “symbolic” at the time. CBS News commented that “it would be near impossible to collect any damages, especially from the Taliban or al Qaeda.” But that was before Biden turned over Afghanistan to the Taliban. Since Afghanistan has assets in this country, including $7 billion in bank funds, it’s now entirely possible to collect that money.

Or it would be if the guy who let the Taliban take over wasn’t also in the White House.

Biden officially announced that he was splitting the $7 billion between the families of the victims and a “trust fund” to provide “humanitarian aid” for the people of Afghanistan.

But that was just another one of his many lies and double crosses involving Afghanistan.

The $3.5 billion was placed in a separate trust that would be “separate and distinct” from the around $800 million the Biden administration has already spent on aid to Afghanistan. Officials admitted that the money could actually be used for matters other than “humanitarian aid”.

The media headlined it as, “Biden frees frozen Afghan billions for relief, 9/11 victims”. But a Biden official admitted that it was done to stop 9/11 families from getting access to the money.

“Absent action by us, these funds were likely to be tied up in courts for years, while the action we have taken stands the best chance of more quickly freeing up a large portion for humanitarian support,” the official argued. As a Lawfare blog post noted, “the administration’s plan would insulate nearly half of the Afghan assets at issue from these attachment efforts.”

What Biden actually did was take the money off the table for 9/11 victims. And it got worse.

Secretary of State Blinken claimed that the administration “will continue to support these victims and their families, recognizing the enduring pain they have suffered at the hands of terrorists, including those who operated from Afghanistan prior to the September 11 attacks. These victims and their families should have a full opportunity to set forth their arguments in court.”

Blinken, like his boss, lied.

While the 9/11 families would have their claims “heard in court”, neither Biden nor Blinken mentioned that the administration would be advocating against them.

On the same day as Biden’s executive order reserving $3.5 billion for the terrorists, his Justice Department filed a statement of interest in court arguing that the judgement for the victims of terrorism was too large and that actually turning over the money to them would interfere with the Biden administration’s foreign policy in Afghanistan.

Now a magistrate judge has repeated back most of the DOJ’s arguments, ruling against the 9/11 families who were laying claim to the other half of the money. Judge Sarah Netburn’s arguments closely mirror the contradictory positions of Biden and the DOJ. And they reveal the underlying corruption behind the ambiguous status of Afghanistan’s central bank.

Netburn, like the Biden administration, contends that the Afghanistan bank enjoys “sovereign immunity” because the country itself was not sanctioned as a terrorist state, only the Taliban were. And that the Taliban once again control Afghanistan is irrelevant, according to the judge, because Biden hasn’t recognized the reality that this is actually the case.

Banks don’t enjoy “sovereign immunity” and neither do the Taliban. Netburn and Biden act as if there were some entity representing Afghanistan that is not the Taliban. That position might make sense if they were backing a resistance movement to the Taliban. But they’re not.

Instead the Biden administration has maintained a deliberately ambiguous position for Afghanistan’s central bank as being both under and not under Taliban control. This is convenient because it allows the Biden administration to use the financial institution as a vehicle and to restrict its access at the same time. The bank’s leadership, a mixture of terrorists and wonks linked to the former government, maintains that same calculated ambiguity.

The deputy governor of the bank is Noor Ahmad Agha, a Taliban leader listed as a specially designated global terrorist. Shah Mohammad Mehrabi, a member of the board of governors of the bank, lives near Washington D.C. and teaches at Montgomery College, has made his own media tour demanding that the United States release funds to the bank.

Biden is unable to do that until he thoroughly defeats the 9/11 families in court.

If Biden releases the money to the Afghanistan bank before that happens, the 9/11 families will be able to argue that the administration is contradicting its own position. Biden wants to reserve all $7 billion for the terrorists and so he has to hold off long enough to defeat the terror victims.

The level of betrayal here is worse than even the Obama administration.

The Biden administration claims that the money will be used for “humanitarian aid” and will not go to the terrorists. That’s another lie and it’s been disproved by its publicly stated policies.

The Biden administration has issued global licenses authorizing financial transactions with the Taliban and the Al Qaeda allied Haqqani Network that include, in the Treasury Department’s own words, “delivery and provision of humanitarian aid or shipments”, “administrative issues”, “donor coordination meetings”, “sharing descriptions of projects”, “coordination with regard to travel”, “participation in technical working groups” and “sharing of office space”. Not to mention the “payments of taxes, fees, or import duties to, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services from, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network.”

While Biden and his corrupt cronies insist that they don’t recognize the Taliban, that’s purely a formality. Not only do they recognize the Taliban as the government, but they’ve been extensively coordinating with the Islamic terrorists and helping to fund them.

At the end of July, Biden’s representative met with “senior Taliban representatives” to discuss  “ongoing efforts to enable the $3.5 billion in licensed Afghan central bank reserves to be used for the benefit of the Afghan people”.

Even while the Biden administration and its allies insist that the other $3.5 billion set aside to meet the claims of terror victims can’t be released to them because that would “implictly” mean that the Taliban are being recognized as the government, Biden’s diplomatic representatives can meet with them and conduct negotiations about giving them the other $3.5 billion.

Releasing money to 9/11 terror victims would “implictly” recognize the Taliban, but engaging in sustained diplomatic negotiations with them as the governing authority somehow does not.

The Taliban privately understand that Biden can’t release the $3.5 billion to them until he beats the 9/11 families in court. And then they’ll potentially get access to the whole $7 billion. This corrupt charade is being played out for the benefit of the equally complicit judiciary and media which is cheering the downfall of the 9/11 families and waiting for the cash to go to the Taliban.

Reuters headlined its story, “Afghans outraged as 9/11 families lay claim to frozen billions”. There’s no real ambiguity as to which side Reuters, the media and Joe Biden are on.

In October 2001, Biden proposed that, “this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran,” He’s managed to send much more money than that to the Islamic terror state since, but now he’s preparing to send a $7 billion check to the Taliban.

All he had to do to get that money was lie and cheat 9/11 families. 

The Frictionless Politics of the Social Technocracy

By On September 12, 2022
Pass a Tesla on the street or pick up an Apple Magic Mouse and you encounter the sleek simplified aesthetics that underlie the mindset of the new technocracy. Apple used Picasso's Bull, a set of drawings that reduce the animal to a stylized cubist abstraction, as the basis for its own minimalist aesthetic reductionism. It’s an aesthetic that meshes with Big Tech’s love of frictionless experiences that make complex processes appear deceptively simple.

Eliminating the extrusions on a car or a computer peripheral doesn’t actually make them any simpler to construct or to operate. It’s a marketing strategy that also shapes how people think of technology. Early computer kits were messy assemblies of wire and circuit boards. The early internet was a sprawling assortment of unregulated content. That was around the time that science fiction author William Gibson, a foremost promoter of Cyberpunk, coined the term "cyberspace". A generation later, Gibson even more radically envisioned the internet disappearing and being reduced to a few apps on the phone. And that is what happened.

A sizable percentage of the population now experiences the internet by flicking through platform apps like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Google, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Amazon. People flocked to frictionless experiences that simplified the internet from a bewildering jungle to a few apps whose algorithms offered customized push content to provide a distraction for a few minutes or hours. And those platforms ended up in charge of our society and our culture.

Free speech was the first casualty of the simplified internet. Most people give it away for convenience. And they never missed it until suddenly they realized that they wanted to say or hear things that the new platforms no longer allowed. Big Tech wanted people to keep on clicking, but not in a way that disrupted their business model, their politics or culture.

The problem wasn’t just censorship. The nature of how people experienced the internet had been fundamentally altered from open to closed, from pull to push and from independent distribution to a few centralized hubs. Senate hearings and threats of Section 230 intervention wouldn’t turn back the clock on not just how the internet was run, but how people used the internet.

And how people used the internet was also how speech, culture, and politics now worked.

The frictionless internet was both a model and a microcosm of a frictionless society, one in which the complex processes of the political system were ‘simplified’ and people did what they were told without realizing that is what they were doing. Cass Sunstein's 'Nudge’ suggested using sensible “choice architecture" to "nudge" people to make the right decisions. The book by the future and former Obama official came out a few years after Time Magazine declared "You", as embodied by the social web, to be its "Person of the Year"

“You” turned out to be “Them”. Personalized recommendations were omnipresent nudges. Web 2.0 wasn’t empowering, it was profoundly disempowering. Moving from ‘pull’ to ‘push’ content turned netizens into passive feed consumers who were being distracted from their lack of agency with a bombardment of fake controversies and social media spawned nonsense. The two defining modes of Web 2.0, narcissism and trolling, were responses to the medium that also defined our society and our culture which is now one long battle between narcissists and trolls.

Early algorithms like Google’s PageRank that were bottom-up instead became top-down. The only true way to simplify everything was to rig it. And as the internet became everyday life, the difference between rigging the feed and rigging political systems became meaningless.

American elites envied the “frictionless democracies” of Europe where committees and stakeholders determined outcomes while allowing the public the illusion of participation. European elites appeared to synergistically merge media, political and corporate leadership into a smoothly running machine that amplified the right ideas and suppressed the wrong ones.

American politics was an old gas-guzzler with tail fins, fuzzy dice and smoke coming out of the hood while the elites wanted a sleek simplified electric car where all the dirty stuff happened out of sight and the public showed up on cue to vote the way that they were told.

Obama began the technocratic simplification of American politics. His brand was Picasso’s Bull applied to politics, a modernistic sketch, an abstraction, a set of delineations that simplified much, but offered nothing. Elites were impressed with how Obama simplified complicated issues with hollow aspirational platitudes. The more he spoke, the less he had to say, but the more moved the elites were by all the unspoken depths that they were sure lurked underneath.

“We are the ones we have been waiting for” was the embodiment of Web 2.0. Much like the “You” in YouTube, Obama and Big Tech were seizing power, not turning it over. The illusion of social participation was that power was being transferred to those who showed up instead of those running the system. And public frustration with the glass ceiling of the technocratic betrayal led to cultural backlashes on the internet and everything from Trump to Brexit.

Politics is meant to be ugly and messy by design. A too tidy politics has been rigged.

Frictionless politics eliminated debate and dissent. Or as Obama recently argued, "If we do not have the capacity to distinguish what’s true from what’s false, then by definition the marketplace of ideas doesn’t work. And by definition our democracy doesn’t work."

Democracy is based on a behind the scenes consensus, as he put it, "what to do about climate change" that has no room for someone who says, "This is a hoax that the liberals have cooked up." Political debate can’t extend to questioning premises, only pathways to outcomes. In a frictionless democracy, captive conservatives can offer “free market solutions” to global warming or racial inequality, but they can’t question whether these should be on the agenda.

The manufactured consensus in which people are allowed to differ on tactics not agenda items is the simplification of electoral politics that has taken hold in many first world countries. It is what leads people to think of different parties as flavors or variations on a theme. The illusion of choice fools many, but not all, especially as real problems take hold and cannot be addressed because they do not fall within the ideological premise of the artificial consensus.

Democracy that is all sleek lines, a mere hint of form, seeks to rid itself of the messy disagreements under the illusion that the elemental truth of a civilized society lies in eliminating the mess rather than embracing it. Europeans used to think this way, but Americans knew better. The Founding Fathers embraced the mess and made it the epicenter of our political experience. Radicals think that they are discrediting the Constitution when they delve into its messy history. To simplifiers who think like teenagers, the messy cannot be ideal and true.

Simplification suggests that life is simple. And that technology simplifies problems rather than complicates them. Thinking this way makes it all too easy to believe in preposterous abstractions like Modern Monetary Theory or Zero COVID. To simplify is to believe that following experts and relying on simple answers will create a natural unity like Obama’s right side of history. When political philosophies replaced religion, they outsourced Divinity to experts and to the invisible hands of whatever guiding force they believed governed all human affairs.

To deny it is political heresy or misinformation. The categorization of classes of speech as “misinformation” or “disinformation” merges politics and technocracy, reducing political dissent to a computer problem. Ideas become binary, either true or false, sorted based on expert opinion. Technology did not originate this familiar tyranny. but its aesthetics make it seem logical and rational. Riefenstahl and Eisenstein made the Nazis and Communists seem heroic figures struggling for the soul of man. Technosimplification is even more pernicious in the way that it suggests that the problems have been solved and all it takes is clearing away the excess.

Simplicity can be more dangerous than totalitarian grandiosity because the cult lies within. Its invisibility makes it more seductive. Totalitarians wanted to overwhelm society while the simplifiers underwhelm it. Less is more, society could stand to lose pounds, conveniences, and complexities. Individualism isn’t a political crime, it’s an inconvenience. Morality is a trend and the conscience surrenders to the algorithm. You will own nothing and be happy.

The minimalism that makes anti-aspirationalism seem aspirational also made anti-capitalism into capitalism. It tapped into eastern philosophy to envision a seamless future that would replace the industrial revolution with a unity of art, technology and culture. That way of looking at the world remains central to key Big Tech giants like Apple, Netflix, and Facebook. Its hodgepodge of zen and business jargon is often mocked, but still defines the machine.

The internet, like the rest of our society, is at war between its messy truths of human nature and the technology underneath and the sleek simple aesthetics that make abstract socioeconomic theories seem realizable with a smooth technocracy and better AI. Progress comes from embracing the messiness of human nature and technology, repression comes from smoothing it away. That war between messy realities and smooth illusions may determine our future.





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.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

9/13

By On September 11, 2022

 As another 9/11 anniversary arrives, we are not in 9/10, a world before the fall of the towers, nor 9/12, the world that was born in the aftermath of the attacks, rather we are in 9/13.


In 9/13, the attacks of September 11 are not considered especially significant. 


In 9/13, years have passed without significant Islamic terrorist attacks taking place on American soil. In past surveys, concern about Islamic terrorism ranks in the low single digits behind everything else.


In 9/13, culture wars, COVID, pronouns and other concerns have vastly eclipsed not only the barbaric mass murder of thousands, but the recognition that we are at war. And that war is far from over.


In 9/13, the people who once specialized in talking about the threat of Islam have increasingly moved on. And it's hard to blame them. No one really wants to hear it anymore. It's yesterday's news.


In 9/13, Mehmet Oz is the GOP Senate candidate, and he's not the only one, Saudi Arabia is our ally again and the vast majority of Americans polled don't think that there's anything wrong with Islam.


America's Islamic population is growing. The open border doesn't just bring in drug dealers and gang members, but massive numbers of people from the Muslim world. The Afghan airlift and visas will probably end up importing at least a quarter of a million as family reunification kicks in. Our national demographics are being transformed with the same eventual outcome as Europe.


But it's 9/13. When I write articles about Islam, they perform worse than anything else. And I don't have the same raw feeling toward the day that I used to. The ash used to haunt my nightmares. I snuck past the law enforcement and military presence downtown to make it to the site, the twisted mess of what was left, because I needed to know up close that what I had seen was real. But it's not the same.


I hope it is for you. But I don't think it is for most of us.


Back then, afterward, I wondered how it was possible to move on and to forget. I was still young then and I concluded that the answer had to be time. With time, pain dulls, what seems fresh grows stale. Such things were abstractions then. I hadn't lived through phases of history or seen generations change. 


That's no longer true. I've seen how people can change. How they can go mad. And how they can forget.


9/13 is all about forgetting.


9/13 means we've done it. We fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's time to move on now. Maybe take a day to remember the people who died in the towers, in a field, bow our heads and go on with what really matters today.


What's the alternative? Fighting a forever war?


After WWI, most people were done with world wars. But world wars weren't done with them. That's a poor analogy because the Jihad isn't some nationalistic European grudge match. It's a thousand-year assault on the rest of the world that will not stop just because we've decided to move on. 


Early on WW2, wags joked that it was the Bore War because nothing seemed to be happening on the western front. The jokes made sense at the time. But they stopped being funny really fast. 


We're in the Bore War now. But thousand-year-old wars don't remain boring.


Americans recalibrate quickly. We believe that the world is always changing. TikTok, machine learning, quiet quitting, this week's trend. The past is... past. We quickly forgot about the airline hijackings once they became yesterday's news. We're more than ready to forget Islamic terrorism all over again.


But Islam does not forget. 


Reality is what exists even when you stop paying attention to it. Ideology and opinion don't matter. Marxist ideologies claim to know the future and believe it will be dramatically different from the past. But the only reliable way to predict history, as Patrick Henry told a bunch of men long since dead, is with the lamp of experience. The best way to know the future is to know the past.


And sometimes that may even mean living in the past.


Living in the nanosecond has not served our sanity, our reality or our culture very well. But it means that we are always leaving things behind. History keeps vanishing in the rearview mirror. The outrage of the moment fills our minds. And then the next and the one after that. And all the others to come.


September 11 is not just a day. It was a wake- up call. And many of us woke up. But it's easier to wake up then it is to stay awake. And yet the war we're in isn't going anywhere. It's only getting worse.


Islamists and Islamic terrorists accomplished their main purposes which were to drag America into political and military engagements with them, ones that they were bound to win through sheer staying power, while they infiltrated our political system and spurred massive immigration into our country. 


Islamic terrorism became a partisan issue. And then it ceased to be even that. Democrats have embraced Islam and Republicans, as usual, are tagging along for the ride. Even the conservative landscape is dotted with apologists, truthers, conspiracists and other sympathizers. Meanwhile we're losing. 


The demographic conditions are coming into place for a next wave of Islamic terrorism which will depend not on internationally coordinated attacks, but domestic terror cells following up on the 'lone wolves' like the Boston Marathon bomber and the Pulse nightclub shooter.


Every few weeks another Islamic terror plot is broken up. I wrote about them sometimes. Sometimes someone even reads the article.


It's 9/13 after all.


Before 9/11, I had a sense of a dimly understood future rushing toward us. I still have that sense now. 


Islamic terrorism is not the only thing that matters. It's not the only thing that will determine our survival. But it is one of those things. And it's the one that we've forgotten. And one of these days we will once again wake up to blood and horror and mass death. Let us hope that this time we stay awake.

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