Displaying posts published in

February 2017

A Patriotic Spring? After Brexit and Trump, can Geert Wilders pull it off in the Netherlands?Bruce Bawer

While most politicians across Europe – Nigel Farage excepted – responded to Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy with sneers of condescension and greeted his victory with either grudging congratulations or cries of apocalyptic alarm, Geert Wilders was an outspoken Trump cheerleader all along. The day after the American election, the crusading Dutch politician characterized America’s verdict as “a political revolution” and a “stunning and historic achievement” that “sent a powerful message to the world.” He added: “I never doubted Mr. Trump would win. We are witnessing the same uprising on both sides of the Atlantic. The Patriotic Spring is sweeping the Western world.”

Well, let’s hope so. So far the only other evidence of any such Patriotic Spring has been Brexit (and even that’s starting to look shaky, thanks to the court ruling that the British Parliament has to ratify the referendum vote). The next major test of the “Patriotic Spring” will come on March 15, when Wilders’s own Freedom Party (PVV) will compete in the elections for the Tweede Kamer, the more powerful lower house of the Dutch Parliament. Things have changed a lot since the last election, in 2012, when the two big vote-getters were the left-wing Labor Party (PvdA) and the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Wilders’s PVV came in far behind, more or less tied with three other parties, each of which took about a dozen seats out of 150, the rest being distributed among five even smaller parties. In the wake of the 2012 election, the VVD and PvdA formed a coalition government, with VVD head Mark Rutte staying on as Prime Minister.

The new government wasn’t in office for long, however, before Wilders’s PVV skyrocketed in the polls, becoming the nation’s largest party. Next thing you knew – surprise! – the demonization of Wilders kicked into high gear. The pretext: in a speech to supporters, he asked if they wanted more or less of the EU, more or less of the Labor Party, and more or fewer Moroccans. Wilders’s suggestion that the Netherlands might not want to take in limitless numbers of Moroccans outraged pretty much the entire Dutch establishment: the political and media elite savaged him; schoolteachers denounced him in classrooms; clergy decried him from pulpits. Wilders responded by pointing out that three in five Dutch-Moroccan men under age 23 had rap sheets and that Moroccans were 22 times more likely than ethnic Dutchmen to commit violent crimes. But it didn’t help. The slime campaign worked. The PVV’s numbers dropped, and it became the nation’s #3 party.

But not for long. The PVV soon rebounded, and since summer before last, it’s been the Netherlands’s top-polling party, leading the VVD by a comfortable margin and leaving the fast-disappearing PvdA entirely in the dust. After living through their country’s distinctively dramatic post-9/11 history – the assassinations of Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and Theo van Gogh in 2004, the Ayaan Hirsi Ali debacle that ended with her emigration to the U.S. in 2006, and the rise (and international vilification) of Wilders – Dutch voters seem finally to be on the verge of making the PVV the largest party in the Tweede Kamer.

When Normalcy Is Revolution Trump’s often unorthodox style shouldn’t be confused with his otherwise practical and mostly centrist agenda. By Victor Davis Hanson

By 2008, America was politically split nearly 50/50 as it had been in 2000 and 2004. The Democrats took a gamble and nominated Barack Obama, who became the first young, Northern, liberal president since John F. Kennedy narrowly won in 1960.

Democrats had believed that the unique racial heritage, youth, and rhetorical skills of Obama would help him avoid the fate of previous failed Northern liberal candidates Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. Given 21st-century demography, Democrats rejected the conventional wisdom that only a conservative Democrat with a Southern accent could win the popular vote (e.g., Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore).

Moreover, Obama mostly ran on pretty normal Democratic policies rather than a hard-left agenda. His platform included opposition to gay marriage, promises to balance the budget, and a bipartisan foreign policy.

Instead, what followed was a veritable “hope and change” revolution not seen since the 1930s. Obama pursued a staunchly progressive agenda — one that went well beyond the relatively centrist policies upon which he had campaigned. The media cheered and signed on.

Soon, the border effectively was left open. Pen-and-phone executive orders offered immigrant amnesties. The Senate was bypassed on a treaty with Iran and an intervention in Libya.

Political correctness under the Obama administration led to euphemisms that no longer reflected reality.

Poorly conceived reset policy with Russia and a pivot to Asia both failed. The Middle East was aflame.

The Iran deal was sold through an echo chamber of deliberate misrepresentations.

The national debt nearly doubled during Obama’s two terms. Overregulation, higher taxes, near-zero interest rates, and the scapegoating of big businesses slowed economic recovery. Economic growth never reached 3 percent in any year of the Obama presidency — the first time that had happened since Herbert Hoover’s presidency.

The Ultimate Alternate Israel-Palestine Solution By Ted Belman

With a new U.S. president, new ideas are emerging on how to resolve the Israel-Palestine debacle. One of the most promising comes from pro-Israel Palestinians who favor a new Palestinian state – in Jordan.

The GOP unanimously approved a pro-Israel platform at their convention in July 2016 which stipulated:

“The U.S. seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region,”

David Friedman and Jason Greenberg, representing Donald Trump, participated in the drafting and were in complete agreement with the final text.

Gone was any reference to the Palestinian people or to a two-state solution. In addition, the platform included the words “We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier.” If not an “occupier,” then presumably Israel is a sovereign.

Accordingly, the search is on for an alternate solution. Such a solution could take inspiration from the short-lived Feisal/Weizmann Agreement of 1919. The essence of this agreement was that Palestine as it then was, was to be divided into two states, one for the Arabs and one for the Jews. Chaim Weizmann on behalf of the Jews agreed to help develop the Arab state and King Feisal agreed to welcome Jewish settlement in the Jewish state and favored friendly cooperative relations.

Although the British didn’t breathe life into this agreement, they did separate Trans-Jordan from Palestine in 1922 with the Jordan River being the boundary between them. Trans-Jordan (Jordan) thus got 78% of the lands promised to the Jews. The remaining 22% consisting of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean was to be the Jewish state. This was enshrined in the Palestine Mandate signed by the League of Nations in 1922.

On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the “Mandate for Palestine,” confirming the irrevocable right of Jews to settle in Palestine—anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

With respect to the Arabs living in Jewish Palestine, the Congressional Record contained the following:

“(2) That if they will not consent to Jewish government and domination, they shall be required to sell their lands at a just valuation and retire into the Arab territory which has been assigned to them by the League of Nations in the general reconstruction of the countries of the east.

(3) That if they will not consent to Jewish government and domination, under conditions of right and justice, or to sell their lands at a just valuation and to retire into their own countries, they shall be driven from Palestine by force.”

The US was not a member of the League of Nations at this time. In order to be able to protect American interests in Palestine, she entered into the 1924 Anglo-American Convention in which the U.S. bound itself to the terms of the Mandate. This of course meant the recognition of Jewish right to close settlement of Palestine and that all of Palestine was to be the Jewish homeland.

Iran Tests Trump by Majid Rafizadeh

“Regarding the issue of production of ballistic missiles for hitting moving targets, I should say that we are among a handful of countries that have gained the knowhow (in this field)”. – Iranian Brigadier General Salami, January 29, 2017.

Iran has the largest ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East.

“Iran has received Soviet designed Scud-B missiles and it has adapted the design into two independently-built versions; the Shahab 1 and Shahab 2.” – Center for Strategic and International Studies, November 2014

Helpfully, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has put Iran “on notice.”

Right after the executive order from the White House to put a hold on issuing visas to seven countries including Iran, Tehran has test-fired a ballistic missile. The U.S. intelligence community was able to detect Iran’s launch. Iran conducted the launch at a well-known location near the capital, Tehran.

Iran has confirmed firing a ballistic missile. This ballistic missile’s launch would constitute Iran’s ninth test-firing of ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between P5+1 and Iran.

Intriguingly, on the same day that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) test-fired a ballistic missile, Iran’s state media outlet Tasnim News Agency quoted IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Salami who bragged about Iran’s ballistic capabilities and achievements. General Salami boasted that Iran is among few countries that can produce ballistic missiles and strike moving targets. Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Sunday, Brigadier General Salami pointed out:

“Our enemies have stood against us with complex and special tactics and techniques…In order to confront them, we need to take the initiative and employ special methods, techniques and tactics…Regarding the issue of production of ballistic missiles for hitting moving targets, I should say that we are among a handful of countries that have gained the knowhow (in this field)”.

Iran is breaching the UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Security Council resolution 2231 (section 3 of Annex B) “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” In addition, the United Nations Security Council resolution 1929, states:

“Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities.”

Russia, which enjoys close ties with Tehran, is siding with Iranian leaders arguing that Tehran has not violated the UN resolution because Tehran’s ballistic missile is not “capable of delivering nuclear weapons”. Moscow is playing with words.

Bring Russia to the Table and Promote America’s Security The Art of the Deal by Stephen Blank and Peter Huessy

Putin’s Russia is determined to demilitarize NATO in Eastern Europe, end Western economic sanctions, allow the permanent amputation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity including the Crimea, secure Bashar Assad’s rule over all of Syria, and in general establish Moscow in world affairs on a plane of “equal status with Washington”.

This last goal is not going to be acceptable to any US president. It would give Russia a veto on U.S. activity abroad and a free hand in its self-proclaimed sphere of influence. Moreover, it would divide NATO, demoralize the EU, and almost certainly encourage further Russian aggression.

Energy policy is the key. A smart, aggressive, and self-interested energy policy makes America stronger and the world safer.

The US and Europe should agree to hold a major NATO summit in advance of a Trump-Putin sit-down. This move would demonstrate renewed NATO strength and resolve.

The proposed American conventional modernization must embrace the entire zone from the Baltic to the Black Sea. It must be coordinated by the U.S. with its allies. It is thus hoped that by doing so, the conventional modernization will help check Russia’s nuclear threats.

Realistically, the US-Russia rivalry will remain in place — but a “strong and nationalist United States,” writes Victor Davis Hanson, can be a diplomatic, military and economic “hinge” upon which U.S. efforts to “discourage” Putin from doing things unwise can succeed.

The rivalry between the United States and Russia is entering a new era with the election of Donald Trump. While Trump has made no secret of his desire for better relations between the two nations, he has also called for a more muscular and efficient US military.

The new President seeks to modernize the US nuclear deterrent, expand effective missile defenses, and significantly increase conventional military capability, while reforming and revitalizing NATO.

These plans will no doubt rub up against Mr. Putin’s objectives. Putin’s Russia is determined to demilitarize NATO in Eastern Europe, end Western economic sanctions, allow the permanent amputation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity including the Crimea, secure Bashar Assad’s rule over all of Syria, and in general establish Moscow in world affairs on a plane of “equal status with Washington”.

Debate in Dutch Parliament about President Trump by Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders:
President Donald Trump, what a relief! What a relief in comparison with the leftist dictatorship of the fearful cowardly and willfully blind leaders that we have in the rest of Europe and also here in this Chamber. It makes one cry. I tell you, finally America has a President, finally a Western country has a President who not only fulfills his promises, but also states that the security of his own citizens is his primary concern.

I tell you, Foreign Minister, that, in two weeks’ time, President Trump has passed an immigration policy that is more effective than that of your entire cabinet as long as it has existed. As long as it has existed. They did it. And I tell you something else. If we in the Netherlands, in Europe, had done what Mr Trump does – namely close the borders to people from places such as Syria – then these people, including terrorists, would not have come our way and then a lot of innocent people, innocent victims of terrorism in Europe, would still be alive today.

Speaker of the House:
And your question is?

So stop shedding crocodile tears. My question is: Learn from Trump and stop chickening out like cowards.

Foreign Minister Bert Koenders:
I would like to say to Mr Wilders that what he proposes is exactly what is ineffective in the fight against terrorism, namely the famous divide and rule. Ensure that the people in your own society no longer have any rights. Ensure that you look away when it comes to human rights. Ensure that the Iraqis, with whom our soldiers at the moment are fighting against ISIS, have no rights anymore and that the countries, from which terrorists obviously do not come, are the ones on this list.

The chaos we now see in the international world when it comes to air travel, does nothing to do increase the security of our people. On the contrary, it tears people apart. I will tell you one thing from my experience as foreign minister who frequently visits the Middle East: If you want to fight terrorism the worst thing you can do is to trample human rights, conduct a divide-and-rule policy and so-called screen people, whether they be Christians, Jews or Muslims, and not look at what can really protect us. I address you, because we are at the moment at a central point in the Netherlands and the world. We need to fight against terrorism together. If we fail to do it together, but exclude, then I guarantee you that the fight against terrorism will not be effective and that your position is one of insecurity.

A lot of words, but absolutely no content. What this minister, Mrs Merkel and Prime Minister Rutte have done – what is written large on their foreheads – is open borders. Come on in everyone, do come in. Even when you have a fake passport or no identity card, come on in everyone. And we’ve seen what happens then. We have seen that with the asylum influx, the tsunami of asylum seekers, which was already disruptive in itself, terrorists have come along from countries such as Syria – because you agreed with it, because you refused to check them – who, all over Europe, from Paris to Berlin, have murdered innocent people. You’d better stop talking about security! Just stop it. Because of the open borders and bringing people from Islamic countries here, attacks were committed in Europe. Stop the lies!

Switzerland: Chocolate, Watches and Jihad by Judith Bergman

Swiss authorities are currently investigating 480 suspected jihadists in the country.

“Radical imams always preached in the An-Nur Mosque… Those responsible are fanatics. It is no coincidence that so many young people from Winterthur wanted to do jihad”. — Saïda Keller-Messahli, president of Forum for a Progressive Islam.

Switzerland is the answer to those who claim that Islamic terrorism is reserved for those countries that have participated in operations against ISIS or other Muslim terror organizations. Switzerland has done neither, yet its flag figured among sixty other enemy flags shown in an ISIS propaganda video.

“Huge sums of money from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey are flowing to Switzerland… There is a whole network of radically-oriented mosques in Switzerland. The Muslim World League is behind it…. The network is a hub for Salafists. The Swiss authorities make a big mistake of not looking into the mosques.” — Saïda Keller-Messahli.

There are around 70 Turkish mosques financed directly from Turkey through the Diyanet Foundation in Switzerland.

The Swiss government appears to give Qatar, one of the primary propagators of Wahhabi Salafism in the world today, extremely special treatment.

In November 2016, Swiss police arrested the imam of the An’Nour mosque in Winterthur, in the canton of Zürich, for calling for the murder of Muslims who refuse to participate in communal prayer. The young imam, who had come from Ethiopia, had been in Switzerland for only a short time. The Zurich Federation of Islamic Organizations (Vioz) declared it was “shocked”, and suspended the An’Nour mosque from the federation until further notice: “We are shocked that an imam in one of our houses of prayer called for violence.”

There is little cause for “shock”. Already in 2015, Winterthur made headlines in Switzerland as an emerging center for young Muslims with jihadi ambitions. Four people from Winterthur managed to travel to Syria to join ISIS and a fifth was stopped at the airport in Zürich.

In November 2015, Swiss journalist and Syria expert, Kurt Pelda said, “The IS has a cell in Winterthur in the vicinity of the An’Nur Mosque in Hegi, there is no longer any doubt.” He also said that in addition to the five known cases, another man from Winterthur had travelled to Syria as well.

The former president of the Islamic Cultural Association of An’Nur, Atef Sahoun, denied all claims at the time:

“If we discover radical tendencies in one member, then the appropriate person will be immediately excluded. We send them away, no matter who it is”.

Atef Sahoun was arrested for incitement in November 2016, along with the Ethiopian imam, but later released.

Saïda Keller-Messahli, Islam expert and president of Forum for a Progressive Islam, says that the arrested imam from the An’Nour mosque is only “the tip of the iceberg”:

“Radical imams always preached in the An-Nur Mosque… Those responsible are fanatics. It is no coincidence that so many young people from Winterthur wanted to do jihad”.

Voter Fraud a Myth? That’s Not What New York Investigators Found Only one fake voter was refused a ballot. The clerk was the mother of the felon he was impersonating. By Larry Levy

President Trump’s promise to investigate voter fraud has drawn predictable responses from Democrats and the media, who insist there is no such thing and have been fighting for years to prevent any inquiry into the matter. But an investigation in Mr. Trump’s hometown shows that the problem is real.

In 2013 the New York City Department of Investigation—the storied law-enforcement arm of city government, which houses and manages all the city’s inspectors general and investigators—decided to test the system. City investigators posed as 63 ineligible individuals still on the city voter rolls. Each ineligible voter had died, moved out of the jurisdiction, or been convicted of a felony at least two years earlier.

The investigators didn’t go to great lengths to hide their attempted fraudulent votes. In five instances investigators in their 20s or 30s posed as voters age 82 to 94. In some cases the investigators were of different ethnic backgrounds from the voters they were impersonating. Yet each was given a ballot and allowed to cast a vote without question.

In other instances the investigators informed the poll worker that they had moved but didn’t have time to get to their new home on Election Day; all but one was allowed to vote. Only one investigator was flat-out rejected. He had the misfortune of trying to vote at a polling place where the clerk was the mother of the ineligible felon he was impersonating.

Ninety-seven percent of the barely disguised phony voters were allowed to vote unimpeded, and none was referred for criminal charges or officially reported to the Board of Elections. One can only imagine what a sharp operator trying to fix an election could do by flooding polling places with ineligible voters.

Trumpian Shock and Awe Too many political forces are coming to life against the Trump presidency. Dan Henninger see note please

The opposition, namely the media and the “street theater” have no alternative….they are more aw shucks, then anything else….rsk

“Shock and awe,” a term of art from U.S. war doctrine, has been deployed by advocates of Donald Trump to describe the pace of executive actions the past two weeks.

The military originators of this concept, which is famously associated with the Iraq invasion in 2003, said shock and awe was a “doctrine of rapid dominance” whose goal was to affect the will of an adversary “to fight or respond to our strategic policy.”

That is the theory, and it fits the Trump strategic model: Put political actions in motion and force the world to adjust.

The Trump White House believed it was important for the president to fulfill his campaign commitments immediately, whether the border wall or the immigrant ban. Problems or objections could be dealt with later as the details got worked out.

So far, the White House’s shock and awe of executive orders mainly has effected a popular uprising, and not just in the streets.

To be sure, the political system, especially the bureaucracies, needed to be challenged and shaken up. Almost certainly one reason Team Trump didn’t pass the travel order through normal interagency vetting review is they believed—and experience bears them out—that agency lawyers might have tried to dilute or kill it. Instead, the Trump template will dominate their post-order implementation.

But the aftershocks from Mexico and now the executive order on travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries reveal the liabilities in transferring war-fighting doctrine to politics.

A well-understood law of political motion holds that every political act by a U.S. president puts other significant political forces in motion.

Mr. Trump’s partisan opposition, notably the organized squads of street people, was already on hair trigger. But the fallout from the Trump order on immigrant and refugee restrictions may be bringing to life too many disparate forces against him and his young presidency.

Why Hollywood as We Know It Is Already Over by Nick Bilton

With theater attendance at a two-decade low and profits dwindling, the kind of disruption that hit music, publishing, and other industries is already reshaping the entertainment business. From A.I. Aaron Sorkin to C.G.I. actors to algorithmic editing, Nick Bilton investigates what lies ahead.
I. The Raindrop Moment

A few months ago, the vision of Hollywood’s economic future came into terrifyingly full and rare clarity. I was standing on the set of a relatively small production, in Burbank, just north of Los Angeles, talking to a screenwriter about how inefficient the film-and-TV business appeared to have become. Before us, after all, stood some 200 members of the crew, who were milling about in various capacities, checking on lighting or setting up tents, but mainly futzing with their smartphones, passing time, or nibbling on snacks from the craft-service tents. When I commented to the screenwriter that such a scene might give a Silicon Valley venture capitalist a stroke on account of the apparent unused labor and excessive cost involved in staging such a production—which itself was statistically uncertain of success—he merely laughed and rolled his eyes. “You have no idea,” he told me.

After a brief pause, he relayed a recent anecdote, from the set of a network show, that was even more terrifying: The production was shooting a scene in the foyer of a law firm, which the lead rushed into from the rain to utter some line that this screenwriter had composed. After an early take, the director yelled “Cut,” and this screenwriter, as is customary, ambled off to the side with the actor to offer a comment on his delivery. As they stood there chatting, the screenwriter noticed that a tiny droplet of rain remained on the actor’s shoulder. Politely, as they spoke, he brushed it off. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, an employee from the production’s wardrobe department rushed over to berate him. “That is not your job,” she scolded. “That is my job.”

News. Hollywood. Style. Culture.
For more high-profile interviews, stunning photography, and thought-provoking features, subscribe now to Vanity Fair magazine.

The screenwriter was stunned. But he had also worked in Hollywood long enough to understand what she was really saying: quite literally, wiping rain off an actor’s wardrobe was her job—a job that was well paid and protected by a union. And as with the other couple of hundred people on set, only she could perform it.

This raindrop moment, and the countless similar incidents that I’ve observed on sets or heard about from people I’ve met in the industry, may seem harmless and ridiculous enough on its face. But it reinforces an eventuality that seems both increasingly obvious and uncomfortable—one that might occur to you every time you stream Fringe or watch a former ingénue try to re-invent herself as a social-media icon or athleisure-wear founder: Hollywood, as we once knew it, is over.

In the mid-90s, the first time I downloaded an MP3, I realized that the music industry was in grave trouble. People who were my age (I wasn’t old enough to legally drink yet) didn’t want to spend $20 on a whole compact disc when all we coveted was a single song on the album. Moreover, we wanted our music immediately: we preferred to download it (illegally) from Napster or eventually (legally) from iTunes without the hassle of finding the nearest Sam Goody. It turned out that this proclivity for efficiency—customizing your music and facilitating the point of sale—was far from a generational instinct. It explains why the music industry is roughly half the size it was one decade ago.

These preferences weren’t confined to music, either. I also felt the raindrop moment firsthand when I began working at The New York Times, in the early 2000s. Back then, the newspaper’s Web site was treated like a vagrant, banished to a separate building blocks away from the paper’s newsroom on West 43rd Street. Up-and-coming blogs—Gizmodo, Instapundit, and Daily Kos, which were setting the stage for bigger and more advanced entities, such as Business Insider and BuzzFeed—were simultaneously springing up across the country. Yet they were largely ignored by the Times as well as by editors and publishers at other news outlets. More often than not, tech-related advances—including e-readers and free online blogging platforms, such as WordPress and Tumblr—were laughed at as drivel by the entire industry, just as Napster had been years earlier.

Of course, the same logic that had decimated music would undermine print publishing: readers didn’t want to travel to a newsstand to buy a whole newspaper when they were interested only in one story or two. And, in so many cases, they really didn’t care all that much whose byline was at the top of the piece. Subsequently, newspaper advertising revenues fell from $67 billion in 2000 to $19.9 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, the same pummeling occurred in the book-publishing world. Many consumers didn’t want hardcover books for $25 when digital versions were available for $9.99. An algorithm generally provided better suggestions than an actual in-store clerk. And consumers never had to leave home to get the book they wanted. Amazon, knowing this, eviscerated the business. While print sales have finally leveled out (largely through a reliance on science fiction and fantasy), the industry has seen sales fall precipitously over the past decade.


Hollywood, these days, seems remarkably poised for a similar disruption. Its audiences increasingly prefer on-demand content, its labor is costly, and margins are shrinking. Yet when I ask people in Hollywood if they fear such a fate, their response is generally one of defiance. Film executives are smart and nimble, but many also assert that what they do is so specialized that it can’t be compared to the sea changes in other disrupted media. “We’re different,” one producer recently told me. “No one can do what we do.”