Wednesday, March 14, 2018

An Obama Photo Worth a Thousand Lies

When a a major Obama news photo story broke, the media was there to capture it. A 2-year-old girl was photographed looking at a really terrible painting of Michelle Obama.
"'A moment of awe': Photo of little girl captivated by Michelle Obama portrait goes viral," Washington Post cheered.  "Little girl awestruck by Michelle Obama's portrait believes she's a queen," urgently reported CNN. The sum total of this story is that a little girl looked at a portrait of Michelle.

Eat your heart out, North Korea. Our fake news propaganda is even tackier than yours.
Recently, a photo was released of Barack Obama meeting with Louis Farrakhan. The photo had been suppressed all these years to protect Obama’s career. Farrakhan was the racist leader of a hate group who had praised Hitler and described Jews as “satanic”. And yet he had met with the future president at a Congressional Black Caucus event. A CBC member, Rep. Danny Davis, had even praised Farrakhan.
You might think there’s a story in all that. And you would be wrong.
There isn’t a single Washington Post story on the photo. Not one. The same paper that believed its readers needed to be informed that a little girl had been photographed looking at a bad painting of Michelle Obama hasn’t found the time to report on the cover up of a meeting between top Democrats, including a future president, and the leader of a racist hate group that had once allied with the KKK.
It’s not that the Washington Post can’t report on Farrakhan. Or use Farrakhan to attack a president.
In ’15, the Post ran, “The bigotry of Trump and Farrakhan” and in ’16, “Why the Nation of Islam is praising Donald Trump”. Its stories about Obama and Farrakhan insist that the two men hate each other. A ’15 piece even attempted to link Farrakhan to Clarence Thomas, instead of Obama.  
The Washington Post can report on Farrakhan when attacking Republicans. It just won’t report on Obama’s links to Farrakhan. Neither will CNN. The only mentions of the photo on its site come from CNN personalities like Jake Tapper and Michael Smerconish. CNN found the time to report on a photo of a dog’s ear that it claimed looked like President Trump. But not on a photo of Obama and Farrakhan.
I reached out to Washington Post editor Marty Baron and media columnist Margaret Sullivan asking them to explain their paper’s embargo on the Farrakhan photo.  There has been no response.
Instead of coverage, the Washington Post has engaged in a cover up.
Ever since Obama left office, the media has reported on all sorts of photos of him. None of these photos are actually significant. The stories are puff pieces of the kind you expect to find in North Korea.
The New York Times, the Washington PostTime and other media outlets found it vital over the years to report on a photo of a boy patting Obama on the head. They continued revisiting the photo even after Obama was out of office. And then ran stories of the boy looking back on that “historic” head patting.
If only they had done a fraction of the research on a photo of Obama meeting with a hate group leader at an official Democrat function as they did on a photo of him mugging for the camera with a little boy.
"Photo speaks volumes about Obama and race," is how the Washington Post wrote it up. Does the photo of Obama with a black nationalist racist leader who praised Hitler say anything about race?
The Washington Post dedicated yet another piece to yet another photo of Obama and a little boy.  “A touched cheek and hope for the future,” it declared. CNN, for its part, ran, "Obama reacts to child's White House tantrum." The media finds staged photos of its beloved leader as newsworthy as any state propaganda agency in a dictatorship. But actual newsworthy photos get buried out back at midnight.
The propaganda photos were mostly taken by Pete Souza, Obama's Official White House Photographer. Souza had been brought on board to do his best Leni Riefenstahl shtick since 2005 when the Chicago Tribune assigned him to "document" Obama's first year in the Senate. That turned into a book, “The Rise of Barack Obama”, released just in time for the full launch of the Obama presidential campaign.
New senators don't normally have a former White House photog following them around. But Obama was being groomed for the White House even before he walked into the Senate. Souza was selected for the Chief Photo Propagandist gig by the Tribune’s Jeff Zeleny in ’04. Zeleny later became infamous, after switching to the New York Times, for asking Obama how “enchanted” he was by his first 100 days.
Obama wasn’t enchanted, but the media was. It was the Chicago Tribune whose dirty trick of unsealing the divorce records of Obama’s Republican opponent got him to the Senate.  And having used dirty tricks to get him there, it funded his hagiography without reporting it as a campaign contribution.
Behind the cute propaganda photos was a darker truth.
The White House Correspondents Association protested the ban on independent photographers. “Journalists are routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the President while he is performing his official duties,” they complained.
While President Trump allows the media to photograph him as much as its shutterbugs want, Obama’s official image was a carefully manufactured collaboration made to appear casual and natural.
Instead of risking unflattering shots, Obama Inc. just tossed out propaganda pics from Pete. But photojournalists also participated in staging photos of Obama. During his live speeches, still photographers would be kept out to avoid any unflattering pictures of the beloved leader moving his simpering lips. Then when he had finished speaking, the photogs were allowed in to take posed shots of Obama pretending to speak even while he was saying nothing.
That is a good summary of how the media covered Obama and how it’s still covering for him.
The media found the time to turn 5 different photos of Obama posing with kids into stories. It pretended that some of these photos, taken with African-American children, said something about race.
No, they didn’t.
The photo that does say something about race is the one of Obama smiling next to a notorious racist. And how many other photos like it remain buried? How many are locked away in a vault somewhere, like the Los Angeles Times’ infamous Obama Khalidi tape, awaiting the day when they no longer matter?
The Obama Farrakhan photo can’t be locked up again. But mention of it can be locked away by the media which will instead urgently report on a photo of a little girl looking at a portrait of Michelle Obama. Or a photo of a little boy patting Obama on the head. Or Obama with a baby.
Just like the countless propaganda photos and posters of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Kim Jong-un with the kiddies. Here’s an adorable photo of the North Korean dictator at an orphanage. You won’t believe how cute this photo of Stalin holding a little girl is. Especially once you find out he murdered her parents. This snap of Hitler with the daughter of his chief propagandist, who was murdered when Hitler’s doctor forced cyanide tablets into her mouth, was meant to make people think he wasn’t a monster.
And this shot of Saddam Hussein ruffling the hair of a 5-year-old British hostage will melt your heart.
There’s a reason that dictators are often depicted with children. Yes, it makes them seem cuddlier. But it’s also the essence of tyranny for the servants of the people to play the parents of the people instead.
The people are their children who need to be told what to do and disciplined when we misbehave.
Soviet propaganda named Stalin, “Father of Nations”. (When he invaded other nations, he was just exercising his parental prerogatives.) Hitler was the “Father of the German People”. And Obama?
“The President of the United States is, you know, our boss. But also, you know, the president and the first lady are kind of like the mom and the dad of the country. And when your dad says something, you listen, “ said Chris Rock, at a gun control rally back in the Obama era.
 And you don’t need to ask why daddy is kissing Louis Farrakhan. It’s none of your business.
That’s what the media is really telling us. And it’s telling that we have the same media as Russia, China and North Korea that runs propaganda photos of its beloved leader while smearing his opponents.
The media’s Obama kiddy photos and its sullen silence about the Farrakhan photos do tell us something. They tell us that we narrowly survived a cult of personality. And that we aren’t out of the woods yet.
The dictator is out of the White House. But his lackeys still control the news.
Change will come when the Berlin Wall of silence about the Farrakhan photo falls and when the Fuhrerbunker in which the Khalidi tape is buried pops open. We’ll know when the spying, the lies, the dirty tricks of the tyranny under which we’re still living come crashing down around its heads.
And then we’ll know that we are finally free.

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

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Fake Antisemitism and Real Antisemitism

After weeks of outrage at the close ties between top Democrats and Louis Farrakhan, the leader of an anti-Semitic hate group, the media finally condemned anti-Semitism by a top political official.

President Trump and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney had referred to outgoing NEC Director Gary Cohn as a “globalist.” And “globalist,” according to Think Progress, the Huffington Post, Salon and Vox, is an “anti-Semitic slur.” Those are the same media outlets that had no problem using “globalist” as a slur when targeting Trump. HuffPo had published a piece tarring him as “Trump: The Globalist Plutocrat” and Vox had described Trump going to Davos, “the world’s biggest party for globalist elites.”

Both Trump and Mulvaney were praising Cohn and minimizing a globalist-nationalist split. That’s why President Trump said, “He may be a globalist, but I still like him. He’s seriously globalist, there’s no question, but you know what, in his own way he’s also a nationalist because he loves our country.”

And why Mulvaney wrote that, "I never expected that the coworker I would work closest, and best, with at the White House would be a "globalist." Gary Cohn is one of the smartest people I've ever worked with. Having the chance to collaborate with him will remain one of the highlights of my career in public service."

Can’t you just spot the “anti-Semitic dogwhistles”?

There are some in the alt-right who use “globalist” as an anti-Semitic slur, just as there were those on the left who used neo-conservative as an anti-Semitic slur. But that’s not what those terms mean.

When Stephen Miller, a Jewish Trump adviser, told CNN’s Jim Acosta, a Cuban-American, that he was suffering from a “cosmopolitan bias,” Politico accused Miller of using an “anti-Semitic dog whistle.” While “cosmopolitan” was an anti-Semitic euphemism in the USSR, Miller isn’t a Russian Communist, he’s a Jewish conservative.

But a congressional Democrat recently did use an anti-Semitic dogwhistle.

Rep. Danny Davis defended his ties to Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam, by arguing, “The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that.”

About the only people who think there’s a “Jewish question” these days are anti-Semites. When Hitler and Marx weighed in on the Jewish question, it was to denounce the Jews. Unlike “globalist,” when the term is used by the alt-right today, (shortened to JQ), its meaning is unambiguously hostile.

But the national media chose to ignore Rep. Davis’ remarks. It embargoed the story, just as it embargoed the recent release of a photo of Obama and Farrakhan and the controversy over Women’s March leaders’ ties to Farrakhan. And Farrakhan, who once praised Hitler, has been venting a stream of anti-Semitic invective at the “Satanic” Jews because he knows that the national media won’t touch him.

The controversy over Obama, Davis, Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory has played out in the Jewish and conservative media. But no one in the mainstream media is willing to ask why Obama, the No. 2 man at the DNC, the Congressional Black Caucus and the next generation of intersectional feminist leaders are comfortable hanging out with a racist who suggested that Jews use pot to make black men gay. But the media will only discuss anti-Semitism is when it serves its political agenda.

ThinkProgress had the chutzpah to accuse President Trump of using an “anti-Semitic dogwhistle” when the lefty advocacy site had been forced to clean house over actual anti-Semitic dog whistles. The uproar over the use of “Israel firsters” by the site led its editor-in-chief to denounce the “terrible, anti-Semitic language”. But Salon, which also denounced Trump’s “globalist” remark, had published pieces defending TP’s anti-Semitic language while smearing the lefty group’s Jewish critics. Some of the same culprits are now targeting Bari Weiss at the New York Times for her willingness to call out anti-Semitism on the left.

But while its personnel were using anti-Semitic dog whistles, TP accused Sarah Palin of using an “anti-Semitic term” when she defended herself against false accusations of being responsible for the Arizona shooting by accusing the media of a “blood libel”. The accusation that Palin was being anti-Semitic made as much sense as Politico suggesting that Stephen Miller was using Soviet anti-Semitic slurs against CNN.

But the left is happy to invent fake anti-Semitism while refusing to address its own real anti-Semitism.

It will pretend that Mulvaney, Trump and Miller are using anti-Semitic language, but it won’t speak up when a member of the Congressional Black Caucus talks about a Hitler-lover and the “Jewish question”.

The left doesn’t just use anti-Semitism as a political weapon while refusing to renounce it. It will even deploy accusations of anti-Semitism as a political weapon in support of anti-Semites like George Soros.

The same media outlets that won’t talk about the genocidal threats by Iran’s regime and by its terror proxies in Gaza, have been accusing the critics of Soros, a billionaire lefty donor, of anti-Semitism. Soros, a former Nazi collaborator, had called his wartime activities “the most exciting time of my life.”

Soros described growing up in a "Jewish, anti-Semitic home" with a mother whom he called, a “typical Jewish anti-Semite” who hated his first wife because she was “too Jewish.”

After he compared Israeli Jews to Nazis at an event honoring a Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel had declared, “I heard what happened. If I’d been there—and you can quote me—I would have walked out.” That same year, Soros had blamed the Jewish State for a “resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe”.

And Soros’ J Street, an anti-Israel group, is still mulling whether to stop endorsing Rep. Danny Davis. That’s their version of the Jewish Question. How much anti-Semitism by a progressive ally is too much?

The left treats anti-Semitism as another identity politics counter to be tossed in whenever convenient. It wants to be racist while accusing Republicans of racism. It wants to assault women while accusing Republicans of sexism. And it wants to be anti-Semitic while accusing Republicans of anti-Semitism.

Even while it appropriates anti-Semitism, treating it like another microaggression, triggered by terms like “globalist”, “cosmopolitan” or “blood libel” that have some anti-Semitic associations, but not in the context where they are presently being used, the left ignores what anti-Semitism actually is.

Anti-Semitism is not just another of the many intersectional expressions of bigotry as the left sees it. That misguided view of anti-Semitism makes it too easy to dismiss it as part of a bundle of attitudes that progressives don’t share. Emphasizing “globalist” and “cosmopolitan” appropriates anti-Semitism and reduces it to the worldview of people who don’t think about the planet the way that progressives do.

But anti-Semitism is ubiquitous. It’s not just a general phenomenon, but a specific one. It can pop up in any political worldview. It’s a black hole that curves ideologies and religions around its event horizon.

Appropriating anti-Semitism as a partisan political weapon lends cover to internal anti-Semitism within a political movement by externalizing it. The media can spot anti-Semitism in a random Trump quip, but not in the affinity of a former president, the second-in-command at the DNC and numerous members of Congress for Louis Farrakhan, a racist who praised Hitler and accuses Jews of running the country.

When Islamic terrorists kill Jews, when campus BDS thugs intimidate Jewish students, when their own party pals around with an anti-Semitic racist, they’re nowhere to be found. The left traffics in classic anti-Semitic stereotypes, supports rabid bigots and aids anti-Semitic regimes, but the moment they hear a whistle from the other side of the fence, they come barking as loudly as they can.

It’s bad enough that the left aids anti-Semitism from Berkeley to Tehran. It’s even worse when it appropriates anti-Semitism as a political weapon even while it remains an anti-Semitic movement.

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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Saturday, March 10, 2018

We're From the International Community and We're Here to Help

“I've always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help,” Ronald Reagan famously said. But the most terrifying words in every other language are, “We’re from the international community and we’re here to help.”

In Haitian Creole that would be, "Nou soti nan kominote entènasyonal la e nou isit la pou ede."

When an earthquake hit Haiti in ’10, everyone who was anyone in the international community quickly showed up. Bill Clinton had been appointed as the UN Special Envoy for Haiti a year earlier where he had touted the “unique opportunities for public and private investment” in Haiti. The earthquake opened up those opportunities to Clinton Foundation donors.

A year later, Bill Clinton was touting a $45 million new hotel owned by an Irish cell phone tycoon who was a close pal as the only thing a country with a million homeless needed. A CNN puff piece claimed that the hotel would house “aid workers, potential investors and other visitors”. Like Anderson Cooper, who needs someplace to take a hot shower after standing waist deep in water for 5 minutes on camera.

Haiti was a gold mine for the Clintons. Literally. Hillary’s brother was added to the board of a small company that got a gold mining permit at half the standard rates with a 25 year renewal option. Tony, Hillary’s brother, is a college dropout who had worked as a repo man and a prison guard.

The Clintons not only turned a disaster into a slush fund, but even got Hillary’s idiot brother a gig.

But inflicting the Clintons on Haiti wasn’t the worst thing that the United Nations did to the impoverished island. The worst thing that the UN can do to any country is send in the blue helmets.

Before the UN peacekeeping mission arrived, Haiti was a disaster. After it left, it was a disaster with cholera. The UN peacekeepers brought the disease with them and spread it around, killing 10,000 people and infecting at least 800,000 others. None of them could get into a Clinton luxury hotel.

Before the UN showed up, Haiti had 99,000 problems, but cholera wasn’t one of them. Then UN peacekeepers spread their multinational fecal matter into the Artibonite River. Soon the UN was trying to raise $400 million to clean up the national disaster that it created on top of an existing national disaster. It asked its staff for money and those donations added up to $6K or a week in the Presidential Suite of the Royal Oasis, Haiti’s first 5-star hotel, with financing from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

But say what you will about the Clintons, unlike the UN, they’ve never given anyone cholera. (That we know of.) So far the UN has only come up with a few million. And everyone is demanding that the United States pay for the cholera that the United Nations spread even though we are already a cholera importer, bringing in top grade cholera from Latin American outbreaks to New York, Kansas and Virginia.

But that’s globalization for you. In a flattening world, Nepalese peacekeepers bring an exotic strain of cholera to Haiti. Refugees from Haiti bring it to America. Hillary Clinton’s brother tries to get in on a gold mine. And a horse breeder in Kentucky and a plumber in Michigan have to pay for the UN’s cholera.

But it would be a slow day at the United Nations if all it did was start a cholera epidemic that infected hundreds of thousands of people, lie about it for years, then pretend to take responsibility, refuse to actually pay for it, and then try to blame the whole thing on Trump who had been hosting Season 10 of The Apprentice back then. Unlike the UN, The Apprentice never infected 800,000 people with cholera.

Since it was the UN, it also had to sexually abuse children to give Haiti the full multilateral experience.

"One boy was gang raped in 2011 by peacekeepers who disgustingly filmed it on a cell phone. What do we say to these kids?" UN Ambassador Nikki Haley asked.

Those were the Uruguayans. The Sri Lankans had their own child sex ring of some 134 peacekeepers paying children 75 cents to abuse them and the Nepalese gave most of the country cholera.

That’s the international community for you. If it doesn’t get you one way, it’ll get you another way.

It’s hard not to look at that and conclude that the United Nations is its own war crime and that the best possible punishment is to put everyone involved on trial in one of the UN’s patented multi-generational war crimes tribunals that only end when everyone dies of old age. After 11 years, the Cambodia tribunal managed three convictions. Two others died of old age. That’s how the UN coddles those monsters it wants to punish. Haiti is an example of how it treats those victims it claims to want to help.

The UN might be more effective the other way around. Just imagine if North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had to worry about being “helped” and “protected” by sex-crazed and cholera-infected UN peacekeepers.

But it wasn’t just the Clintons and the United Nations living it up in Haiti.

The latest scandal has hit Oxfam. The leftist alliance claims to want to fight poverty, but it spends more time denouncing the rich. Its global inequality report is a staple of leftist talking points. Its Even It Up campaign is a blatant call for wealth redistribution. The anti-Israel group’s spat with actress Scarlett Johansson over her endorsement of Israeli products led to, what its boss called, a “PR disaster”.

But Oxfam had no idea what a real PR disaster was until the lefty charity’s own Haiti scandal hit.

Oxfam’s Haiti director was using the villa rented by the charity to host prostitutes. Senior Oxfam aid workers had exploited women and possibly even children. Oxfam had covered up the scandal in ’11 and tried sweeping it under the rug. And now it’s offering awkwardly unconvincing apologies.

While the Haitians suffered, Oxfam aid workers lived it up in a style worthy of Bill Clinton and the UN. “These girls wearing Oxfam T-shirts, running around half-naked, it was like a full-on Caligula orgy. It was unbelievable. It was crazy,” a London Times source stated.

Even it up indeed.

An Oxfam spokesfiend explained that the cops hadn’t been called because it was “extremely unlikely that reporting these incidents to the police would lead to any action being taken.” Fear that the police will do nothing is generally why organizations don’t report crimes committed by their members to the authorities. That and a deep concern that their donors will stop subsidizing their child rape villas.

"I don’t think it was in anyone’s best interest to be describing the details of the behaviour in a way that was actually going to draw extreme attention to it,” Oxfam’s boss said.

It certainly wasn’t in Oxfam’s interest, but it might have been in the interest of the Haitians it was claiming to help. The interest of those same people for whom Bill Clinton raised all that money, whom the UN sent in peacekeepers to protect and on whose behalf Oxfam had fundraised. But it was never really about the Haitians. It was about the gold mines, child sex rings and villa orgies. It was about the Clinton Foundation, the UN budget and all the money to be made from promising to save the world.

“We’re from the international community and we’re here to help.”

The lefty politicians and professional activists who rushed to Haiti were as enthusiastic about helping the Haitians as the Congressional Black Caucus is about lowering black unemployment. The left isn’t a charity. When it shows up to help, there are going to be luxury hotels, villas and sex rings involved.

And the people it claims to be helping will be even worse off than they were before.

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, March 07, 2018

Trump's Win is the Reichstag Fire of Internet Censorship

Trump’s election victory was the Reichstag fire of internet censorship. The fury and conspiracy theories that followed were not just about bringing down President Trump, but ending free speech online.

It’s no coincidence that the central conspiracy theory surrounding the 2016 election involves free speech or that the solution is internet censorship. The claim that Russian trolls and bots rigged the election has zero actual evidence behind it. But it’s a convenient tool for not only delegitimizing Trump, but the very idea of a free and open internet where anyone can say anything they choose.

Senator Ben Cardin, Rep. Jerry Nadler and other members of Congress compared the election influence conspiracy to Pearl Harbor. Rep. Jim Himes went even further, suggesting that it had eclipsed 9/11 by claiming that it, “is up there with Pearl Harbor in terms of its seriousness as a challenge to this country."

What they’re really saying is that Democrats losing an election is worse than the murder of 3,000 people. It’s why they will oppose a terror state travel ban until Islamic terrorists start voting Republican.

And what did this greatest attack since Pearl Harbor consist of? Speech. On the internet.

The central Russiagate conspiracy theory isn’t really about hacking: it’s about fake news sites and bots. The new Pearl Harbor comes from too many people saying the wrong things and the need to make them stop saying them. If they go on saying those things, it’s worse than the murder of 3,000 people.

If this was the new Pearl Harbor, does that mean we should be at war with Russia?

Democrats have little appetite for military conflict with anyone except Nevada ranchers. Trump has put more Russian fighters into the ground in one day of fighting than Obama did in eight years in office. When it comes to Moscow, the Democrats want to slap on some meaningless sanctions, before pushing the Reset Button once they get into the White House. It’s not Russia they want to crack down on, it’s us.

The accusations of treason and the cries of wartime emergency are pretexts for a domestic crackdown.

The election Reichstag fire manufactured a crisis that had to be urgently addressed. Alarmist wartime rhetoric justified civil rights violations from eavesdropping on Trump officials to internet censorship. The “collusion” effort to impeach Trump and imprison his associates through everything from eavesdropping to the Mueller investigation has been the loudest part of the campaign. Internet censorship has been the shadow campaign. Its implications aren’t as obvious, but extend far beyond this election.

The bulk of the remedies (beyond going back to paper ballots which are a lot easier for local lefty activists to stuff) involve internet censorship. The campaign began with alarmists warnings about Fake News. President Trump successfully seized the phrase and turned it against CNN, but the program to purge conservative material from Facebook, Google, and other services and sites is still going strong.

Before the election, Obama had urged, "We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function.” The talking point that the internet has become a dangerously unregulated environment is at the heart of the internet censorship campaign. The First Amendment prevented direct government action, so the regulation had to take another form.

The “curating” was managed by pressuring Facebook, Google and others to embed a middle layer of lefty non-profits, from media fact checkers to activist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, to determine what belonged and who didn’t belong on their services. The middle curation layer would promote “trustworthiness” and curtail “divisiveness”: Orwellian euphemisms for political censorship.

This middle layer allowed Google and Facebook to outsource censorship by curation to “trustworthy” organizations. Or at least those organizations considered trustworthy by the left. The same media echo chamber which had manufactured the speech crisis had put itself in charge of imposing the solution.

And the solution was restoring a media monopoly by turning the internet into a gated community.

Putting the left in charge of determining the “trustworthiness” of content is political censorship. And Google and Facebook’s control over huge swathes of the internet meant that the censors would gain control over the eyeballs of more people than any single government could possibly manage.

Without the banner of “Fake News”, the censorship is harder to track. Some of it gets reported. And much of the rest is anecdotal. It’s the shadowbannings, demonetizations and suspensions that have become part of life for vocal conservatives as part of the political repression after the 2016 election.

Some of the results were obvious. Others were algorithmic. Visits, hits, views and retweets dropped. Some users and sites were banned. Others vanished into the shadowban twilight. The many grades of censorship ranged from full bans to demonitzation. But all shared a common leftist political agenda.

After a year, the left has made significant inroads in banning and restricting conservatives. Some battles were temporarily won. Facebook is pulling back from its reliance on the left’s “fact check” sites, Google’s knowledge panels no longer roll Snopes smears into search results for conservative sites and Guidestar’s defacing of the non-profit listings for conservative sites with Southern Poverty Law Center ratings was also rolled back. But the left is still winning the censorship war as the internet is reshaped away from an open marketplace of ideas to a “trustworthy” source of ideas “curated” by non-profit lefty partners.

Political censorship, no matter how it’s disguised, might be hard to justify if there weren’t a “serious threat to our democracy” or if we weren’t facing the “worst attack on America” since Pearl Harbor.

In wartime only selfish people would insist on unrestricted freedom of speech on the internet.

In December, the activist left went to war for what it called, “Net Neutrality”. The war was fought with fake comments, death threats and calls to action by some of the biggest monopolies on the internet.

If you believed them, freedom on the internet was about to be wiped out by cable companies.

There are a handful of big companies that provide cable or satellite internet access in the United States. But there’s nothing like Google, which controls 88% of search and 42% of the digital ad market, or Facebook, which has a comparable grip on social media. Between them they control 70% of the digital ad market. No cable company enjoys an internet monopoly remotely comparable to that of Google.

Should we be more worried about a cable company with 20 million subscribers or online monopolies which act as the gatekeepers to the internet, shaping how we experience it for their own reasons?

The new internet censorship has emerged as a partnership between the media, allied non-profit groups and the huge gatekeeper monopolies and it bypasses conventional government censorship. And yet its origins lie with the Reichstag fire conspiracy deployed by Barack Obama and his intended successor.

The new censorship may not be implemented by government, but it originated with government. It is the action of the private arm of a public-private leftist coalition monopolizing political power. The same coalition that unleashed a new Watergate by eavesdropping on Trump officials is also changing what you see on Facebook. And both the public and private arms are doing it under the same pretext.

The accusations of treason and calls to limit freedom of speech as an act of social responsibility for the public good are familiar totalitarian responses to wartime conditions. The left manufactured a war. And it imposed wartime restrictions through public organizations like the FBI and private ones like Facebook.

The private side of the campaign is based on the talking point that the big monopolies have a social responsibility to emphasize trustworthy information and to censor divisive misinformation.

The pressure came first from the media and activist groups. Now it’s spreading to politicized companies like Unilever whose chief marketing officer issued an ultimatum warning sites that if they don’t clean up “divisive” content and replace it with a “positive contribution to society”, they will lose Unilever’s ads.

Euphemisms like “trustworthy” or “divisive” are markers for the left and the right. A Washington Post editorial or CNN tweet, no matter how abrasive, will never be seen as divisive. Lefty organizations that advocate for illegal aliens are making a “positive contribution” and conservatives ones that oppose them are “divisive”. The ability to determine what is “positive” or “divisive”, will not only drive viewers and money to left-wing sites while destroying conservative sites, but create red lines for conservative sites.

Those conservative sites that remain within the red lines on gun control, illegal aliens or Islamic terrorism can go on benefiting from search and social media traffic, those that don’t will be purged.

Dividing Americans by escalating the political conflict also escalates the crisis that justifies the censorship. The NFL protests, Antifa violence, shootings and riots all maintain the sense of urgency. As society explodes, the need to limit the “divisive” content increases. Once again, the left creates a crisis and then imposes restrictions on its political opponents to resolve the crisis that it created.

The left exploited Trump’s victory to manufacture a sense of crisis. The anger and fear it unleashed stampeded liberals into agitating (or at least remaining silent) on serious abuses of power from deploying national security organizations against political opponents to silencing them on the internet. By depicting them as representing an unacceptable domestic extremism and traitors in league with a foreign enemy, it justified any possible domestic abuse of authority.

Anyone who disagreed was in league with either the Nazis or the Russians. In a great historical irony, the left had deployed the Reichstag fire strategy against its opponents while accusing them of being Nazis.

There is a plot against America. It’s just not the one that the plotters keep using as their plot’s pretext.

It’s a plot against our election, not by the Russians, but by the left. It’s a plot against freedom of speech, not by the Russians, but by the left. The plotters took a Russian propaganda and influence operation and turned it into a pretext for the greatest assault on democracy and freedom in American history.

The Russians created some Facebook posts. The left is using that to end free speech on the internet.

If the left succeeds in reversing the outcome of the previous election, it will be a catastrophe for our age. If however it succeeds in censoring the internet, the catastrophe may last for generations.

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, March 05, 2018

The Bernie Sanders Dynasty

Forget the Clintons and the Bushes, there’s a new political dynasty: the Sanderses.

Bernie may have been born a few months before Pearl Harbor, but the socialist proponent of the estate tax is trying to leave an untaxable inheritance to his next of kin. The inheritance of political power.

It never fails. Give a socialist power, and he becomes a monarchist and founds his own dynasty.

Levi Sanders, Bernie's son, is running for Congress in New Hampshire on his dad's old inherited platform of free health care and free college. While Bernie claims to be an independent, Levi has been consulting with him about his run.

Levi doesn't actually live in the district, but Hillary Clinton didn't really live in New York until she decided to run for the Senate. What matters is that like Hillary, the Sanders scion has the right last name.

And Bernie’s stepdaughter is running for his old job as mayor of Burlington.

Carina Driscoll, the daughter of Bernie’s wife, Jane Sanders, will run as an independent. It’s an ironic designation considering that running for your stepdad’s old job is about as independent as Jeb Bush and Chelsea Clinton. Her office is two doors down from her mom’s Sanders Institute operation.

Our Revolution, Bernie’s dark money fake social welfare organization, has endorsed her and sent out a fundraising email for her. People for Bernie also endorsed Carina. Her brother, who runs the Sanders Institute, used his Twitter account to promote her campaign. She’s even reusing her stepdad’s slogan.

Bernie’s stepdaughter declares, “It is time to bring the people back to the table.” As long as they’re part of the Sanders clan.

Carina promises to “foster the best schools” and cites her experience running “the Vermont Woodworking School”. That’s bad news for Burlington schools just as it was for Burlington College.

Burlington College was raided by the Sanders clan. Jane Sanders, Bernie’s wife, is under FBI investigation for allegedly lying about the school’s finances on a bank loan application. The debt broke the college, which had to shut down under the crushing burden of the loan, while Jane walked away with $200K.

Some call it “federal loan fraud”, but, socialists call it wealth redistribution. Bernie and Jane have hired Rep. “Cold Cash” Jefferson’s lawyer while hoping he keeps her from following Cold Cash to a cold cell.

Carina did pretty well during her mother’s mismanagement of Burlington College. The Vermont Woodworking School got $500K from Burlington College. It was among the college’s most expensive programs with a budget over 10% that of Burlington. That’s some rather pricey woodworking.

Why did a struggling college need to spend all that money on a woodworking school?

“This was a sweetheart deal for Carina Driscoll, Jane Sanders’ daughter,” Carol Moore, Burlington's final president, said. She accused Carina's school of “gouging the college.”

Will the wonders of crony socialism never cease?

Bernie had paid his wife, $80,000 for “consulting and ad placement” in his congressional campaign. What’s her expertise in ad placement? Jane was a community organizer with a degree in social work who married Bernie and honeymooned with him in the USSR.

The degree was from Goddard College, a “holistic” alternative school where students design their own curriculum. Sixteen years later, Sanders was its new provost. What qualified her for the job? The Burlington Free Press stated that she had, "progressive credentials . . . above question."

Carina’s progressive credentials are also above question. That’s why she got $65,000 from the campaign.

Mother and daughter had teamed up for a series of ad buying firms, including, Sanders & Driscoll, Leadership Strategies, which listed two of Jane’s kids, and handled ads for her husband’s campaign.

These days, Jane Sanders has branched out into founding the Sanders Institute whose mission is to “revitalize democracy by actively engaging individuals.”

As long as those individuals are members of the Sanders family.

The executive director of the Sanders Institute is Dave Driscoll, Carina’s brother, and Jane’s son. Before that, Dave had been working at Burton Snowboards.

When Mayor Bill de Blasio, the progressive icon also under FBI investigation, whose donors have pleaded guilty to trying to bribe him, was sworn in by Bernie, observers noted that the socialist senator was wearing a $689 down jacket. That’s a pricey piece of gear for the leftist who once ranted that, “You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country.” But Bernie needs a $689 jacket and a $600K summer home.

And the jacket was a Burton parka. Burton’s CEO sent its employees to the anti-Trump “Women’s March” and two dozen of them volunteered for Bernie’s campaign. Burton’s bosses are among Vermont’s most prominent political donors. And the beneficiaries include Bernie.

During the 2016 race, $82 million dollars poured through Old Towne Media, a mysterious company run by two of Jane’s old pals, that got most of its business from Bernie. And the Bernie campaign put no caps on commissions. So the sky was the limit. The more Bernie campaigned, the more money they made.

Throughout all this, Bernie avoided disclosing his personal finances by filing for two extensions and then refusing to actually make the information public. Since then he’s come into a $600K summer home.

"Wall Street and the billionaire class has rigged the rules to redistribute wealth and income to the wealthiest and most powerful people," Bernie's site still declares.

Bernie knows all about rigging the rules. And now the Sanders dynasty can inherit his power.

The old leftist critique is that the wealthy hoard money, power and privilege, and then pass it on their kids. The most vocal critic of wealth is the newly minted socialist 1 percenter whose stepdaughter seeks to inherit his old job and whose son wants to run for Congress. And the Bernie machine has the connections to make it all happen while demanding a higher death tax on the 1 percent.

But don’t blame Bernie. He’s doing what all the lefties do.

When Bill Clinton first ran, Dem voters thought they were voting for a fresh new voice who would challenge establishment politics, not create a political dynasty. It took a generation to get rid of them. By then they had stolen everything from the White House furniture to the nation’s uranium. And the Clintons are pikers compared to the Kennedys who 65 years later inflicted Rep. Joe Kennedy III on us.

At this rate, it’ll outlast some English royal dynasties.

And a generation from now, descendants of the Sanders clan and stepclan will be clogging up public offices and wetting their beaks across Vermont. That’s how the Bernie “Revolution” will end.

The left claims that it’s on the right side of history. But it never actually goes anywhere. Instead it plays out the doomed cycle of Animal Farm’s bitterly satirical rendering of Soviet history. And when all is said and done, no one can tell the socialist pigs from the crony capitalist pigs. Just ask the Sanders porkers.

There’s an old Soviet anecdote about Brezhnev, the Soviet boss, showing off his wealth to his family.

“But Lyonya," his concerned mother asked, "what will you do if the Communists return to power?”

Bernie Sanders is now a 1 percenter with three homes and a political dynasty. His campaign plane was a mostly empty 767 serving lobster sliders, chocolate ganache, fine cheeses and white wine.

But what will he do if the socialists come to power?

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.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Guns Don't Kill People, Ideas Do

“The copycat phenomenon is real,” Andre Simons, of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. One group of researchers found that up to 20 or 30 percent of attacks can be influenced by previous attacks.

During Omar Mateen's rampage at the Pulse nightclub, the Muslim terrorist searched for news coverage of the ongoing attack. He wanted to see what the media was making of his massacre.

Shootings that are widely covered by the media produce a cluster effect. After each attack, the risk of copycat attacks goes up for 13 days. If the media covers the attack, the copycat killers will come.

On Dec 3rd, 2012, Naeem Davis, a homeless Muslim refugee from Sierra Leone, shoved a middle-aged Korean man in front of an oncoming Q subway train in Times Square. A photographer snapped a shot of him waiting to die that appeared on the cover of the New York Post and then went around the world.

And that was that... except it wasn't.

On December 28, there was another shoving murder. After the round of murders, suicides and accidental deaths, seven people  had died under trains in 2013; a number that does not include the deaths previously mentioned. In Feb 2013, two people committed suicide by jumping in front of trains. Another was killed in a possible accident. One lost a leg. Two others were seriously injured. And then there was another suicide.

These numbers are not normal, but they are predictable. And that photograph and its consequences have dark implications for school shootings, mass shootings in general and human nature.

Around the same time that the American Revolution was getting underway, the German writer Goethe wrote a book that would become the Catcher in the Rye and Twilight of its day. "The Sorrows of Young Werther" had the dubious honor of being disowned by its author, starting a fashion trend and another deadlier trend.

Werther Fever spread around the world. Readers wrote parodies of the book or imagined different endings for the characters. Some wrote themselves into the story or wrote poems about the story. There were unauthorized sequels, people dressing up like the characters and all the usual things that we have now come to take for granted, but that were still somewhat new and surprising then.

And some committed suicide like Werther. The Werther Effect was born and it had a sneaky way of resurfacing whenever and wherever the book became popular again.

Some 200 years later, German television debuted "Death of a Student", a six-part series about Claus Wagner, a high school student who commits suicide by jumping under a train. Each episode began with Claus jumping under the train. The series was supposed to teach teenagers that suicide was wrong, but it had the opposite effect.

The real message of "Death of a Student" was the same message as that of "The Sorrows of Young Werther", if you kill yourself, lots of people will pay attention to you.  And suddenly the number of teenage boys killing themselves by jumping under a train increased by 175%. Having failed to prevent enough suicides, the show aired a second time. This time fewer people were watching and the suicide rate for teenage boys only went up 115%. 

A few years later in neighboring Vienna, suicides went up when they were featured on the front page rand fell 75% when they were pushed to the back page, run sans photos and without mention of the word, "Suicide." Young Werther, in his blue-tailed coat and yellow vest, stopped chasing the trains of the Vienna underground.

The suicide cluster is a well-known phenomenon, especially among teenagers; it is why the media avoids coverage of teenage suicides... with one exception. A teenager who hangs himself in his garage, jumps under a train or turns on the gas will generally not make the front page or even the back page. But if he takes a gun into a school, opens fire and then commits suicide,  Young Werther will be front page news for days, weeks or even months.

"No man is an island entire of itself," John Donne wrote, "every man is a piece of the continent." And some pieces of the continent are more easily invaded than others.

Suicides spike after front page coverage of a suicide. After Marilyn Monroe's death, 197 more people killed themselves than the statistical norm. Suicides rise even after fictional suicides on soap operas. And murders are also influenced by the coverage of real and fictional murders. The rise in the number of shootings after a heavily publicized shooting isn't a mysterious conspiracy, it's Werthers being Werther or Lanza or Holmes.

People are not mere machines who repeat back what they are given, but nor are ideas empty signals shouted into a void. Society is built on such signals. As is civilization. And it is foolish to pretend that the streams of communications that surround and connect those islands do not also influence the direction in which they drift. In a society where fame is the object, media coverage acts as both reward and punishment. And like any other training method, it produces its results.

Stick a photo of a man about to be hit by a train on the cover of a citywide newspaper, and more people will be pushed under trains and jump under trains. Spend weeks making a mass shooter famous and others will decide that resolving their problems with a shooting spree makes sense. Bad ideas are like bad signals, even if disapproved of, they are imitated if they are broadcast loudly enough. And the modern media is a deafeningly loud broadcast mechanism with many hypocritical agendas.

That does not mean that we ought to push the 1st Amendment under the train, the way that the media has been trying to do to the 2nd Amendment, but it does call for soul-searching and responsibility not by the people who make guns or defend the right to carry them, as the media insists, but by the people who make school shootings and subway suicides. The people who insist that everyone must search their souls, but them.

Stephen King, who recently jumped into the fray with his own gun control screed, was credited with inspiring one of the first clusters of school shootings in the United States. To his credit, King has wrestled with the question, withdrawing "Rage" from sale and conceding that it had an incendiary effect on troubled minds. To his discredit, King has used that action to argue that gun owners, manufacturers and civil rights groups should agree to a ban on the mythical assault rifle.

Ideas are more powerful than weapons. Weapons can kill a man, but ideas can cause a man to kill. Nevertheless the United States is a country built on the premise that ideas and weapons should be available to all. We are a country with high capacity magazines of both kinds. That experiment in human liberty is a dangerous one, and even though some Americans get on the wrong track, it is a profoundly worthy experiment because it allows us to choose who we are.

A totalitarian society cannot be moral. It can only be immoral. The few moral people in it retain their morality only by defying authority. In such a society, the Young Werther isn't a screwup, he's a saint. In our society, morality is a choice. Even as we drift into a totalitarian consensus that exchanges choice for obedience, individual opinions for mass media and civilian weapons for a police state, the power of choice still allows us to choose the right track or the wrong track.

The American can still choose to push a man in front of a train, kill a class full of children or vote to turn over his freedom and that of his friends, neighbors and countrymen to the state. Those are all choices that come up on the wrong track. The wrong track is the mass track. It is the track of letting the signals make the choices and of a willingness to kill and die just to appear for a moment as a ghost in the media's fame machine.

Choice requires a moral culture. It requires a weight of decency to overcome the darker impulses that lead men to take the wrong track. It requires us to think not only of our destination, but how we get there. It demands that we see ourselves not as the train running over a fragile body or as the passengers clumping together for safety while turning over the movement of the train to the driver, but as the drivers of our own train.

A moral society is based on the awareness of choice. Not the empty Wertheresque drama of it, but the knowledge that our choices define our lives and those of our neighbors. They call on us to be good people because the goodness of our society does not come from the law or the state, but from ourselves.

When the American society was hijacked from a consensus of the people and transformed into a top-down programming mechanism, its morality also became a top-down operation, rather than a bottom-up faith, and as the media management has decayed, its mixed signals and the ugly madness that it often broadcasts for its own profit and entertainment have become the ugly madness and mixed signals that lead some of its viewers and listeners to seek fame and power at any cost.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

The Endless Ages of Purim

Tonight the celebration of the holiday of Purim begins. Purim is a Jewish holiday often neglected outside the more religious communities in America and the State of Israel because it commemorates an attempt to exterminate the Jews. And we all know that stopped being a problem long ago.

If Purim had culminated with some smart power diplomacy and a lesson on tolerance, liberal Jews might be more inclined to celebrate it. Unfortunately it ends with a genocidal madman being hung from a tree and the Jews fighting for their lives, winning and slaughtering their enemies.

And instead of feeling guilty about it, their descendants eat pastries, dress up in costumes and get drunk. At least those of their descendants who believe in survival instead of surrender.

Liberal Jews complain about the difference of values they have with Israeli Jews who insist on survival instead of surrender. They have an even bigger difference of values with the Jews of the Bible. And with Jews throughout history. Not to mention with the religion of the Jewish people.

The more liberal a Jew is, the less likely he is to celebrate the substance of his people's holidays as they conflict with his worldview and virtues. Moshe, the Maccabees and Mordechai don't seem like role models, not even if you rebrand them as community organizers and claim that they were fighting prejudice. There is something relentlessly bloody-minded about them. They care very little about a sustainable environment or LGBT rights, and instead walk through the corpses of their enemies with no regrets or apologetic winces. They stand up for their own people in a regrettable show of tribalism that perpetuates the cycle of violence instead of preaching about Tikkun Olam.

The story of the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther, is the story of how Mordechai, the descendant of the first Jewish king of Israel, snubbed the Grand Vizier of a multicultural empire by refusing to bow to him. The obstinate Benjaminite so infuriated the Vizier that he plotted to kill all the Jews.

The smart thing to do would have been to bow to Haman. To invite him to AIPAC and let him give a pre-written speech and then give him a standing ovation. Then the important official might have been willing to help out the struggling Jews of the Second Commonwealth in Israel. Instead the narrow-minded fanatic offended Haman. And the angry Agagite decides to strangle the newly reborn Second Commonwealth of Israel and all the other Jews throughout the Persian Empire.

By refusing to bow to Haman, Mordechai had turned the formerly moderate Haman into an extremist. He had radicalized him. Jewish leaders hurried to reassure Haman that this fanatic was in no way representative of their values of tolerance and appeasement. Hadn't they attended the feast where the sacred vessels of their own people were used to serve wine and spirits to the mob? Rather than anticipating the return to their land at the end of the prophesied 70 year period of exile, they had cheered the brutish tyrant and made Sushan, his capital, into their new holy city.

A few tens of thousands had gone back to Israel, which the empire had repopulated with other peoples. There they struggled to survive, building half the day and keeping watch with their spears from the time the stars came out until the sun rose.  Most Jews however had remained behind in the Persian Empire. The struggling settlements of the Jews under the last of the prophets seemed like a futile proposition. The future belonged to empires, to Babylon, Persia and Rome. 

There was no room anymore for the sort of pride displayed by Mordechai. This was Haman's hour. Israel was gone and would never return. Rebuilding the Temple was a fool's dream. Why go off to some place your ancestors had come from, to slave in the hot sun, to choke on dust and sleep with a spear by your side expecting an attack from the nomads that had settled in the land?

In Sushan, the wine is plentiful, the bazaars are never closed and the empire will never fall.

There is no room for ancient dreams in the new empire. No room for old fables about slavery and freedom. Perhaps in ancient times some deity had liberated them from Egypt, but here in the modern present, it was the fall of the Babylonian Empire which had raised them up out of slavery and given them a place among the subject peoples of a new empire. They bowed to Haman and to the new order. They gave up their dreams and their religion and drank headily of the wine at the festival of the king. On their couches, they dreamed they saw a new world opening before them.

But Mordechai, narrow-minded fanatic that he was, only saw an old world. And he was determined to fight for it. He wasn't willing to let the old dreams die. To bow to Haman and to imagine, as so many Jewish leaders have done, that some accommodation with evil could be made on mutually beneficial terms. Mordechai was not a man of the Empire. He was an Ish Yehudi. A Jew.

He saw through the illusion of empires and new ages. He saw what his first ancestor had seen when he looked at the sky. He saw that the only true permanence was G-d. Nations would fall, empires would perish and even the stars would burn out. Only G-d would endure.

And so he did not bow. And Haman understood what his refusal meant.

Had Mordechai refused to bow out of personal pride, Haman might have had him and his family killed. But Mordechai refused to bow to Haman because he was a Jew. Haman sensed that the old man had seen through him. The emperor was naked. The old man in rags at the gates did not worship power. He might rule, but had no appetite for it. He worshiped only G-d.

Was it personal conviction? Haman investigated and learned that Mordechai was a member of an  obscure people. A people who do not worship the empire, but worship G-d.

And so they all had to die. The king was bribed. The letters were sealed and sent. The decree was death. It was all over.

But Mordechai had seen more than the nakedness of Haman, the crawling, insecure lackey, filled with hatred for the Persian ruler, flattering him and craving the ultimate power he could not have. He had seen the nakedness of the empire and the age. His eyes had seen past the horses and palaces, the ranks of scribes penning decrees, the harems, bureaucracies and armies.

Mordechai knew that all this would pass away. He had seen through the illusion that every age brings with it the end of history, a new age whose achievements break with the past and usher in a boundless future. The shadow crosses the sundial, the walls come crashing down and the new era of history ends up buried under the rubble of time.

Exile divides the Jewish people into Jews and New Age Jews. Jews wander on their meandering course through history concerning themselves with a past that modern people dismiss as myth and legend, more ancient than that story about Troy, and even more dubious.

The New Age Jews always see the coming of a new era of history, a bright and shining plateau that makes all those old moldy beliefs completely irrelevant. History ends and now a new age of human progress begins. The age of Alexandria, the age of Sushan, the age of Berlin. How, in such a new age, could they be expected to take a few bygone fairy tales retold by barbarians seriously? Such things weren't for enlightened people who were witnessing the peak of human civilization.

The old Jews know what the New Age Jews do not, that history has not ended, that the past is still with us and that it has sharp teeth. They know that Man has not changed, that his sophistication is still only a shell and that sooner or later the shell cracks. If it does not crack from within, then it is cracked from without. 

Those who feel time in their bones know the patterns of history, reading ages like constellations, can never lose themselves in one age or fall into the fallacy of a new era. They know that there is nothing new under the sun. Machines may come and go, but the world is a broken place because the hearts of men have not turned from their ways. And so they remember that every age carries within it the seeds of its ruin. They witness the ruin, climb out of the ashes and move on.

Liberal pieties embrace the new age, fixate on a final transformative era of history at the hands of messiahs who promise hope and change, who will uplift us and inspire us to make the world into a better place. But history never ends. That is the lesson of the Holocaust, of Purim and of countless other horrifying intrusions of the old into the new. The shining new era that begins with grand public spectacles and displays of the power and might of an empire, ends with corpses and men and women fighting and running for their lives.

Jews like Mordechai understand this. New Age Jews do not.

The confrontation between Mordechai and Haman was a collision between two different conceptions of history. It was a contest for the Jewish soul.

Mordechai defied Haman to remind the Jews, who had abandoned religion and nation for the new age of the Persian Empire, of the ugly and bloody truths under the hollow glories of that new age.

In every age, the Jewish soul is nearly lost and then redeemed. The people seem on the verge of vanishing, but then survive. Mordechai understood that the future of the Jews did not depend on the Persian Empire. It depended on their willingness to remember who they were. And so he defied Haman and brought on a Holocaust. And at the end of it, the Jews fought for their survival.

Purim, a holiday preceded by a fast kept by the men going into battle and their loved ones, is not about forgiving your enemies, progressive taxation or coming out of the closet. It is about survival. Not mere survival, but the skin of the teeth sense of how close we came, that moment of revelation which pulls back the curtains of the material world and reminds us of the impossibility of our survival under all the ordinary rules of the world that new ages are found on. It reminds us that behind the scenes of the brick and mortar, steel and steam world, is something else entirely. A force that breaks apart the towers of history, that saves us when we should have died, that has entrusted us with a mission. It reminds us of what the world is and reminds us of Itself and of what we are.

When you stand on the edge of death, life is a revelation. It is not our deaths under the Egyptian sun, the blades and bullets of a thousand empires and kingdoms, or the ovens of Dachau that we are obsessed with. It is that moment of survival. The revelation that even amid the horrors of all that we have witnessed and the terrible things that we had to do to survive, we have risen out of the ground, watched the flesh cover our bones and stood alive again upon the earth. Every time we survive, we are reminded of the fragility of the world and of our enemies who wielding every power and trick, have failed to destroy us. Each time we rise, we transcend the world, in confronting our dead, we confront our immortality.

It is not a purely joyous experience. The day of Purim is preceded by a day of fasting. Before the celebration comes a day of battle as the struggle to survive, the long decline into the abyss, the final desperate hours, suddenly give way to the upheaval of an impossible salvation. We remember the pain, the sense of the grave closing over us, the bodies lying everywhere, the certainty that we will be next. We accept the hopelessness of our situation and then we walk out of the grave and praising G-d, sit down to the feast.

This is Jewish history. It is an alien one to the New Age Jew who clings tightly to the new era and its rules, to its pieties and its mores, who scowls at the old ones for refusing to come and join the imperial festivities where the vessels of the temple are used to serve drinks and the mob toasts that the 70 years have come and gone, and still there is no chance of the Jews returning to their Jerusalem and reclaiming the lost history. "The past is the past," says the New Age Jew. "The past is the present is the future," says the Jew.

The feast of the New Age is the celebration of the end of history, a golden time when there is an unlimited bounty for all, where the wine and the free health care will never run out, where everyone will live together under one government in perfect brotherhood for all time. Many Jews are drawn to this feast, its golden vessels, its vast bounty and its glorious ideals. But then enters the Grand Vizier and some of them begin to frown for though he wears rich garments and speaks soothing words, he is a monster. They don't always know how they know it, but it is a nagging feeling that creeps into them that there is something rotten at the heart of this new age.

Most of them still bow to him, touching their heads to the floor, some even embrace him and celebrate his vision. They assure others that he is our friend, the only man who can realize the promise of this age, a wise and noble leader whose vision of change brings new hope. But one or two stay away from the feast and refuse to bow to him. Instead they look to Jerusalem, to where the battle between good and evil was once fought, and where it will be fought again. They know him for what he is.

The Grand Vizier knows that he must destroy them, must destroy them all, because they have seen through what he is, and they have seen through the shallow trappings of the golden age of fools. They know that there is more to the world than the might of men and the cornucopias of kings. They know that he is not all-powerful and when he looks at them, a scowl wrinkles his face, because he knows it too.

So he casts a lot, random chance in a random world where chance is supreme and the whim of every ruler outweighs the weight of history. The bills are signed, the laws are passed, the decrees go out, the officers from the vast imperial bureaucracy are assigned to inform every citizen that their new age will be inaugurated with blood. A people who are not a proper part of the multicultural empire of laws must be wiped out in a properly democratic fashion. Crowd-sourced genocide.

And then the Grand Vizier ends up dangling from a rope, the tanks break through to Berlin, the chariots fall into the sea, the mustachioed dictator dies in a bedroom in Moscow his clothes soaked in his own urine-- and everything has gone completely wrong.

It's an old story and a new story. We tell it over and over again because it is always happening. It is our story and the story of the world. It is the story we have accepted from our parents and it is the story that we will pass on to our children. It is the story of the blood sacrifice of the New Age that goes wrong. The sacrifice survives, bloodied and scarred, the New Age goes down to ruin.

Purim exists because Queen Esther asked the Jews of Israel to write of her for generations. The Persian Empire she had become a part of, the sacrifice she made by leaving the physical stream of Jewish history to be repaid by becoming a vital part of its spiritual history, would fall. Not in her time, but it would. The memory would be carried on by the Jews. Purim is that memory.

Jewish holidays celebrate the interconnection of Jewish survival and productivity with G-d.  The Second Commonwealth fell. Israel may fall. A thousand years from now, the world may little resemble anything we can imagine. And yet, somewhere, Jewish children will celebrate Purim as they have for thousands of years. They may even celebrate other holidays, still unimagined, other memories of salvation from horrors yet to come and remembrances of tragedies yet to be experienced. And if we look through history, as Mordechai did through Haman and the Persian Empire, we may be able to see them on the other side, the descendants of those who survived the whips of Egypt, the slave markets of Babylon, the armies of Rome, the sword and the flame, the concentration camp and the suicide bomber, celebrating a million holidays yet to come.