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OPINION

“Mud River Swamp” by Sydney Williams

“Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) “Walking,” a lecture, 1851

In “The Sound of Music,” Julie Andrews sings, “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” Just as truthfully, but less poetically, one could say that from Mud River Swamp, comes the cacophony of an untutored symphony – “In all swamps, the hum of mosquitoes drowns this modern hum of society,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in his Journal. Like all swamps, the Mud River Swamp abounds with nature in its roughly twenty acres. The evensong of peepers is a harbinger of spring. Every so often, during late winter nights, come the howl of coyotes and the hoots of the Eastern Screech Owl. On spring mornings, we wake to the song of the Catbird. But it is during spring, summer and early fall days when the swamp comes audibly alive. (It is at night when beavers build, skunks hunt and predators prey, but they do so discreetly.) With daylight comes the voices of birds, insects and frogs, comprising an undisciplined, but intoxicating, orchestra. Flutes and Clarinets compete with Violins and Cellos, only to be interrupted by French Horns and the clash of Cymbals. Combined, they produce a sound that would make Beethoven wince; but, to one who is musically challenged, there is magic in the variety of sounds.

The word “swamp” is often spoken with a sneer. We think of the one in Washington that needs draining, or the demeaning term “swamp Yankees,” which refers to tight-fisted New Englanders. For others, the word conjures thoughts of slime, unpleasant smells, places difficult to penetrate and land that has no commercial value. But it was from swamps that life sprang. Water represents life’s genesis. From the Old Testament, we learn of the importance of the Tigris-Euphrates wetlands, and of the Fertile Crescent, which curves north and west from the Persian Gulf, through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, to the Nile Valley. It was from this part of the world that human history was first recorded.

Thoreau, an admirer of swamps, wrote: “I derive more of my subsistence from the swamps which surround my native town than from the cultivated gardens in the village.” He added, “…hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.” In his most famous work, Walden, he acknowledges swamps’ critical role in nature mankind’s dependence: “Without the wetland, the world would fall apart. The wetland feeds and holds together the skeleton of the body of nature.”

“A swamp,” noted David Carroll in his 1999 book, Swampwalker’s Journal, “is a wetland forest of tall trees, living or dead, standing in still-water pools or in drifting floods of water, or rising from seasonally saturated earth.” All swamps, whether coastal or inland, have in common sufficient water and poor drainage. We see many dead trees in swamps – a boon for woodpeckers whose homes bedeck their trunks. They are fit for insects, like ants, that feed on the tissues that connect roots to the crown. It is the oxygen-depleted water of swamps that causes the roots of most trees to die. An exception is the Alder. In his book, The Secret Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben noted this phenomenon: “Their secret [Alders] is a system of air ducts inside their roots. These [ducts] transport oxygen to the tiniest tips, a bit like divers who are connected to the surface via a breathing tube.” Swamps are transition areas that provide natural and valuable ecological services, like flood control, water purification and carbon storage; they serve as wildlife habitats. Coastal swamps are spawning areas for fish. The largest swamp in the world is the Pantanal floodplain of the Amazon River, which lies mostly in Brazil, but also reaches into Bolivia and Paraguay. It encompasses 70,000 square miles, roughly the size of North Dakota. In the United States, the Atchafalaya Swamp, at the lower end of the Mississippi, is the U.S.’s largest swamp. Most famous of our swamps is the Everglades, a six thousand square mile system that comprises the slow-flowing “River of Grass,” which has its origin in the Kissimmee River near Orlando and empties into the Straits of Florida, which connect the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.

My swamp, to inaccurately use the possessive, is the Mud River Swamp.[1] It consists of about twenty acres, located within Essex Meadows’ one hundred acres. The Mud River is no more than a trickle when it descends from the Preserve, a thousand-acre property of protected forest that abuts Essex Meadows. The twenty-foot drop over a hundred-feet is grandiloquently called a cascade. The stream then relaxes, as it gently meanders and widens out, among Willows and Alders, Skunk Cabbage and mosses that comprise the Mud River Swamp.

The Mud River heads east and then north where it intersects with the Fall River, about two miles away. The Fall River wends east another mile or so, until it enters the Connecticut at North Cove in Essex. At its headwaters, I watch the brook slip over the rocks in the cascade, knowing that its waters will mix with those of the Connecticut, a river that runs four-hundred miles from the Canadian border. I think of the beavers that build their dams, to give themselves a home, and I wonder at the fish that swim in it. I rejoice in the birds whose songs mingle with the sound of trickling waters and the deer that drink from them, and I am thankful for the otters and muskrats that play along their banks.

Water is where life began. Bill Nye, the science guy, says that in our search for alien life, “the presence of water is key.” In his Journal quoted above, David Carroll writes: “Although I know of the oceanic origins of life on earth, it is in swamps and marshes that I feel my keenest sense of life’s past, my sharpest intimations of life’s journey in time, and my own moment within the ongoing.” Swamps are ancient, something P.G. Wodehouse knew. He had Bertie Wooster muse in The Inimitable Jeeves, “…on the occasions when Aunt is calling to Aunt, like mastodons bellowing across medieval swamps…”

There is death in swamps. There has to be. Life is symbiotic. Many living creatures live off the flesh of another. And, unlike one or two of my grandchildren, others happily dine on vegetables, like grasses, plants and berries. The coyote, the largest predator that has been known to feed in our swamp, eats muskrats, otters, ducks, snakes, frogs, turtles and even a beaver. His victims, in turn, eat smaller creatures, like minnows, worms and insects. There is a symbiosis to nature. Even the smallest creature deserves our attention and concern, as Shakespeare reminded us in Measure for Measure:

“The poor beetle, which we tread upon,

In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great,

As when a giant dies.”

My swamp is a way-place for migrating birds, as well as home for dozens of avian species who build nests within its trees and bulrushes. On a recent bird walk, on a chilly day in May, we identified thirty species, either by sight or sound. And that did not include a Mallard Drake that I often watch protecting his nesting hen. We did not see the Red-tailed hawk I often see searching for mice or chipmunks, nor did we sight the owl we sometimes hear at night. We did, though, see or hear Red-winged Blackbirds, Yellow Warblers, Downey Woodpeckers and Cedar Waxwings, among others.

Swamps are like our cities. Thousands of species and millions of individuals live within their borders. Most of the sounds we hear are either mating calls or warnings to intruders. Violence and murder are common in swamps, perhaps more so than in cities. But greed, hatred, jealousy or revenge are never the motives. The death of one means sustenance to another. Thoreau saw that, and he inverted Christian orthodoxy, claiming that in the midst of death we are in life.

“Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) “Walking,” a lecture, 1851

In “The Sound of Music,” Julie Andrews sings, “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” Just as truthfully, but less poetically, one could say that from Mud River Swamp, comes the cacophony of an untutored symphony – “In all swamps, the hum of mosquitoes drowns this modern hum of society,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in his Journal. Like all swamps, the Mud River Swamp abounds with nature in its roughly twenty acres. The evensong of peepers is a harbinger of spring. Every so often, during late winter nights, come the howl of coyotes and the hoots of the Eastern Screech Owl. On spring mornings, we wake to the song of the Catbird. But it is during spring, summer and early fall days when the swamp comes audibly alive. (It is at night when beavers build, skunks hunt and predators prey, but they do so discreetly.) With daylight comes the voices of birds, insects and frogs, comprising an undisciplined, but intoxicating, orchestra. Flutes and Clarinets compete with Violins and Cellos, only to be interrupted by French Horns and the clash of Cymbals. Combined, they produce a sound that would make Beethoven wince; but, to one who is musically challenged, there is magic in the variety of sounds.

The word “swamp” is often spoken with a sneer. We think of the one in Washington that needs draining, or the demeaning term “swamp Yankees,” which refers to tight-fisted New Englanders. For others, the word conjures thoughts of slime, unpleasant smells, places difficult to penetrate and land that has no commercial value. But it was from swamps that life sprang. Water represents life’s genesis. From the Old Testament, we learn of the importance of the Tigris-Euphrates wetlands, and of the Fertile Crescent, which curves north and west from the Persian Gulf, through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, to the Nile Valley. It was from this part of the world that human history was first recorded.

Thoreau, an admirer of swamps, wrote: “I derive more of my subsistence from the swamps which surround my native town than from the cultivated gardens in the village.” He added, “…hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.” In his most famous work, Walden, he acknowledges swamps’ critical role in nature mankind’s dependence: “Without the wetland, the world would fall apart. The wetland feeds and holds together the skeleton of the body of nature.”

“A swamp,” noted David Carroll in his 1999 book, Swampwalker’s Journal, “is a wetland forest of tall trees, living or dead, standing in still-water pools or in drifting floods of water, or rising from seasonally saturated earth.” All swamps, whether coastal or inland, have in common sufficient water and poor drainage. We see many dead trees in swamps – a boon for woodpeckers whose homes bedeck their trunks. They are fit for insects, like ants, that feed on the tissues that connect roots to the crown. It is the oxygen-depleted water of swamps that causes the roots of most trees to die. An exception is the Alder. In his book, The Secret Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben noted this phenomenon: “Their secret [Alders] is a system of air ducts inside their roots. These [ducts] transport oxygen to the tiniest tips, a bit like divers who are connected to the surface via a breathing tube.” Swamps are transition areas that provide natural and valuable ecological services, like flood control, water purification and carbon storage; they serve as wildlife habitats. Coastal swamps are spawning areas for fish. The largest swamp in the world is the Pantanal floodplain of the Amazon River, which lies mostly in Brazil, but also reaches into Bolivia and Paraguay. It encompasses 70,000 square miles, roughly the size of North Dakota. In the United States, the Atchafalaya Swamp, at the lower end of the Mississippi, is the U.S.’s largest swamp. Most famous of our swamps is the Everglades, a six thousand square mile system that comprises the slow-flowing “River of Grass,” which has its origin in the Kissimmee River near Orlando and empties into the Straits of Florida, which connect the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.

“Comey’s Firing – a ‘Man Bites Dog’ Story?” Sydney Williams

“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is lost, [but] our analysis is that Comey’s

letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be [sic], stopped our momentum.”

Hillary Clinton in a call to donors,

As reported in the NY Times, Nov. 15, 2016

It had been universally acknowledged that FBI Director James Comey over-played his hand last July when he, essentially, indicted Mrs. Clinton, but then exonerated her. In doing so, he acted as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury. He did it again on October 28, when he re-opened the investigation. His meeting with the President regarding Mr. Flynn was the day after the latter had been fired. Then, with crocodile tears, he claimed to be “mildly nauseous” that he might have “swayed” the election; but, he assured us, he would do it all over again. He played first for the Left, and then for the Right. He may be a qualified investigator, but his power grab was reminiscent of J. Edgar Hoover.

When I first heard that he had been fired, I thought it a “dog bites man” story, something expected. However, the righteous indignation from the supercilious and hypocritical Left has turned it into a “man bites dog” story. Rarely have so many morally bereft politicians, along with their obsequious media accomplices, invoked so virtuously their vexations.

One could argue that the optics in Comey’s firing were bad. But when, with the press Mr. Trump has received, would have been a good time? Perhaps he could have alerted Congressional leaders as to his intentions? But surely that information would have leaked. Could he have prepared his staff, so that a replacement could have been named within a day or two? Perhaps. But, to Washington’s establishment, Mr. Trump is a pariah, an outcast who arrived at the White House without their help; and he belittles them – unforgivable sins for those who work along the banks of the Potomac.

Democrats have made much of the fact that the FBI is investigating possible “collusion” of the Trump team with the Russians. That investigation will go on regardless of Director Comey presence. Four Congressional committees are looking into the same allegations, suggesting redundancies, especially since some investigations have been underway for almost a year, without any proof of “collusion.” The hiring of Robert Mueller should assuage members of the “Resistance,” though the process will be long and won’t necessarily find an answer. Delay, however, will be injurious to Republicans’ agenda.

This strategy of the Left entails risk for democracy. The goal is to render Mr. Trump rudderless, to cause him to resign or be impeached. They take pleasure in the effects their efforts have produced. Should they succeed, they will widen divisions. They will hurt institutions. My guess is they misinterpret the consequences of what they do. Thanks to Harry Reid and, now, Mitch McConnell, implementation of the “nuclear option” has already meant that political bipartisanship and reconciliation are less likely. Would a forced resignation of a duly elected President for political and retaliatory purposes help heal our wounds? I think not. It would aggravate them. It’s a perilous game they have chosen to play.

Tis The Season Of Anti-Semitism by Abraham H. Miller

Abraham H. Miller Emeritus Professor, University of Cincinnati

It’s been a good season for anti-Semites. Jewish students graduating CUNY will have as their last memory of the school some inspiring words from professional anti-Semite Linda Sarsour, who believes a Jewish homeland has no place in the community of nations, Sharia should be law, and Zionist women cannot be feminists.

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has been involved in a long string of anti-Semitic controversies, finally did something even the British Labour Party could not ignore. He called Hitler a Zionist.

But Livingstone was merely suspended from party membership, not expelled. And why should he have been? After all, he was merely echoing sentiments that many in his party seem to hold.

In the Middle East, as the Palestine Authority seeks to loosen Hamas’ grip on Gaza by refusing to pay its electricity bills, the UN has stepped in to tell Israel that it is its obligation, as the occupying party, to intervene and supply its sworn existential enemy with power for free. Israel, of course, has not occupied Gaza since 2005.

In the Alice in Wonderland world of the UN, Israel is still occupying Gaza, but its presence in a united Jerusalem does not legally exist. Israel’s excavations in Jerusalem that underscore the Jewish presence there for millennia and contradict Islamic make-believe history are ordered to cease. Israel will not comply.

Whatever the anti-Semitic UN does in its pandering to Islamic nonsense, generated by the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and has been so for over three thousand years. As one Israeli official put it, our history is embedded in every stone.

And if this were not enough to lacerate Jewish sensitivities in a single week, the more than 2,000,000 New York Jews were being treated to a political campaign that simultaneously weaponized and politicized anti-Semitism.

Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a candidate for New York City Council, was running a campaign steeped in anti-Semitic tropes of the exploitive, greedy Jew. Lopez-Pierre lashed out at his rival Mark Levine for being white and Jewish, undoubtedly a double-edged sin in the leftist world where all ethnicities are to be celebrated unless you are white and Jewish.

Lopez-Pierre, without so much as a scintilla of evidence, argued that greedy Jewish developers with Israeli money were responsible for 80% of the gentrification of Harlem that was displacing blacks and Latinos. And following the pattern of all racists, all members of a group are responsible for the bad deeds (real or imaginary) of any other members of the group. This, of course, was the deranged mentality of the Southern lynch mob!

Among anti-Semitic stereotypes, the Shylock trope resonates well, but apparently cooler heads convinced Lopez-Pierre, who never had a chance of winning, to fold his smutty tent and leave the electoral field to real candidates.

For the Russians Before They Were Against the Russians by Daniel J. Flynn

Bernie Sanders, among others, has lived long enough to become a genuine McCarthyite.

Twenty-nine years ago, Bernie Sanders spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. Now he sounds like a Martin Dies Democrat.

“President Trump, in a reckless and dangerous manner, has revealed highly classified information to the Russians at a meeting in the Oval Office,” Vermont’s junior senator declared this week, “information that could expose extremely important sources and methods of intelligence gathering in the fight against ISIS.”

If only the Russians still engaged in a cold war against the United States instead of a hot war against ISIS, the Kremlin’s meddling might receive a pass. It certainly did for many decades.

“Who is to say that [Ted] Hall’s decision and those of [Klaus] Fuchs, Morris Cohen, [Julius] Rosenberg, and others who gave atomic secrets to the Soviets did not contribute significantly to what John Lewis Gaddis has called ‘the long peace’ that followed World War II?” wondered UC-San Diego Professor Michael E. Parrish. Many Are the Crimes author Ellen Schrecker infamously rejected the tag of traitor for Americans aiding the Russians; she insisted they merely “did not subscribe to traditional forms of patriotism.”

To quote a thinker more revered in those circles than Trump, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

Schrecker recently took to the pages of the Nation to discuss the possibility of a sequel of sorts to the McCarthy era during the Trump Administration. She appears wrong even when right. A witch hunt has indeed arrived. Donald Trump recognized as much in tweeting, “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.” It just didn’t come the way the I-was-for-the-Russians-before-I-was-against-them wing of the Democratic Party imagined it would.

Trump did not provide nuclear secrets to the Russians, as Julius Rosenberg did. He did not give the Russians the formula for printing American greenbacks that allowed them to counterfeit our currency, as Harry Dexter White did. He did not intentionally shape international agreements, as Alger Hiss did at Yalta and in San Francisco at the founding of the United Nations, to benefit the Russians. Trump allegedly discussed the plans of a common enemy. Surely if Franklin Roosevelt could share information about a common enemy with Joseph Stalin, then Donald Trump doing so with Vladimir Putin’s emissary does not violate any norms.

Trump, not the 535 members of Congress or the nine Supreme Court Justices or the 16 members of the New York Times editorial board, serves as commander in chief. One can argue that the president should not share certain pieces of information with certain countries. But questioning the wisdom of an act differs from questioning its legality. Beyond the classification system’s genesis stemming from an executive order, Article II of the Constitution vests the power to conduct foreign policy with the president. In combatting the terrorists’ war on the West, reasons abound for allies, even ones made so by a common enemy, to share information — not the least of which involves an expectation that the foreign government reciprocates.

To call the creation of a special counsel to investigate the Trump administration’s Russian ties “quite a coup” reveals a literal truth beneath the metaphor. The opposition party can perform the heavy lifting of winning back Congress, or, alternatively, it can bring the administration’s agenda to a sclerotic halt by pressuring for the creation of a special prosecutor.

Clausewitz called war “politics by other means.” In our passive-aggressive society, a special prosecutor is politics by other means.

MY SAY: AN IDEA FOR A NEW TELEVISION SERIES

Main Characters-

1.A woman – let’s call her Carola, who lost a national election who colludes with the media and an octogenarian Hungarian gray eminence to bring down the legally elected President. Her henchman is her husband with whom she ran a corrupt foundation that enriched them and cemented relations with the world’s tyrants in exchange for big bucks.

2. Editors of two major print publications, and a senior correspondent at a television news channel who agree to peddle half truths and fake news to stoke up scandals which hint of corruption, obstruction of justice, and leaking of “classified information” to foreign antagonists. They rig polling to suggest that even his own party is abandoning the besieged President.

3.A mole in the White House who leaks information on meetings to the above through a friend in the previous administration.

4. Two harridans in Congress from California who begin the murmurings of “impeachment” and the 25th Amendment to remove the president.

5. A young DNC staffer who is the source of the WikiLeaks exposure of the woman WikiLeaks exposure of Carola’s emails. He is tragically killed by being shot in the back. Nothing is stolen, but the local police take his laptop, and declare this a robbery. The media ignore this story.

6.A special prosecutor is chosen-a poker face former official. Will he conduct and impartial investigation?

End of Season 1 of House of Curs

From Isolated in Prison to Magna Cum Laude By Marilyn Penn

In “Bonfire of the Vanities,” Tom Wolfe satirized the tendency of prosecutors and the media to label every black child victimized by crime an honor student He must be smiling at the legacy that tendency has spawned which can be seen in the title of this piece. It is a portion of a NYT headline for an article about an ex-con who recently graduated and is pictured smiling and shaking hands with another graduate, both in the full regalia of cap and gown. (Walking the Long Road From Isolated in Prison to Magna Cum Laude, Katharine Q Seelye, NYT 5/14/17). Kyle Gathers, now 31, has spent the better part of ten years in prison, two in isolation, for drug-dealing and shootings. Since being released, he enrolled in a program at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, specializing in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology; it is this program to which the title refers.

In googling such programs, I discovered that they vary from two to four semesters for which students earn a certificate or technical certificate. It is laudable that Mr. Gathers seems to have turned his life around and is now qualified to get a bona fide job and become a law-abiding member of society. It is ludicrous to apply the honorific of magna cum laude to this endeavor. It is universally accepted that students must have a GPA between 3.8 – 3.9 and be in the top 3- 5% of their graduating class in order to qualify for this honor. Until recently, this was reserved for students who completed a B.A. , B.S. or equivalent degree. Now it is used for students who complete two semesters of a technical course and perhaps soon it will apply to those who get certified as cosmeticians, hairdressers, manicurists and health care aides.

Even though achieving members of society have been told to check their privilege, we don’t call every college graduate “doctor” just as we don’t use the terms “Officer, senator, justice or maestro” indiscriminately. By buying in to the charade that students who complete a non-academic program are deserving of the ceremonial trappings of academe, we devalue the achievement of those who have earned those merit badges the hard way – appropriately. The tradition of wearing caps and gowns dates back to 12th century early European universities in which clerics, who were the scholars of that time, wore their robes for warmth in unheated buildings. The caps, known as mortarboards, reputedly derive from the birettas worn by scholarly clerics to signify their intelligence and superior accomplishment. In succeeding centuries, this garb became popular for other educated people down into the 21rst century But since both the clothing and the honorifics are symbols of academic scholarship, they don’t belong in completion ceremonies for technical certification. The sombrero is a Spanish hat adapted in the 15th century from those worn by Mongolian horsemen for several previous centuries. Yet wearing one on Halloween has been deemed an act of cultural appropriation by today’s snowflakes and their academic leadership. Their voices have not been raised to protest the use of clothing and terminology traditionally reserved for high scholarship in ceremonies for technical certification. This is not only cultural appropriation – it is more specifically fraudulent misrepresentation.

MY SAY: THE DECLARATION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL MAY 15, 1948

This occurred three years after World War Two ended. When it was over one in every three Jews in the world were killed. Today, Israel, with a population of 8,304,088 (.11% pof the planet’s population) is a thriving democracy with advanced and state of the arts scientific and medical institution which makes outsize contributions to the health, safety and welfare of the entire world. Happy Birthday to Israel- a miracle nation.rsk

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel

ACCORDINGLY WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.

WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People’s Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People’s Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called “Israel”.

Ayn Rand, Altruism, and Jihad By Eileen F. Toplansky

In fathoming the failure of Europeans to protect their own interests against the onslaught of Islamic jihadism, one is reminded of Ayn Rand’s quotation that “[r]eason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them[.]”

Bruce Bawer, an astute observer of the European scene, wonders how “Marine Le Pen lost in a landslide” given all the jihadist assaults against the French people and the very culture of France. Bawer offers three possibilities that include:

European guilt about past imperial histories and a “need to atone.”
the postmodern belief that “no culture is better than any other – and it’s racist to say otherwise.”
the influence of the mainstream media, which routinely “soft pedals the Islamic roots of terror”
the fact that “some people don’t want to learn the truth”

In the Autumn 2004 issue of the Wilson Quarterly, Christopher Clausen writes that “for many Europeans in the past 20 years, now-distant memories of both world wars have hardened into a self-righteous conviction that peace outweighs any value that might conflict with it, almost regardless of the threat or provocation.”

Consequently, there is an exquisite disregard in deliberately ignoring the “grim possibility that their children and grandchildren might end up by living under shariah law, if, in fact, they are allowed to live at all.” Consider that London presently has 100 sharia courts that are “based on the rejection of the inviolability of human rights: the values of freedom and equality that are the basis of English Common Law.” Moreover, “a third of UK Muslims do not feel ‘part of British culture.'”

As further evidence of the ultimate intent of Islamists, Saudi religious scholars include the following in the nine-volume English translation of the Quran.

[D]iscard (all) the obligations (covenants, etc.) … to fight against all the Mushrikun as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizya (a tax levied on the non-Muslims who do not embrace Islam and are under the protection of an Islamic government) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.

As Nonie Darwish has pointed out, 64% of the Quran is devoted to denigrating commentary about kafirs, or non-Muslims.

And yet, while the above quoted words of the Quran should “forever silence any fantasies regarding Islam’s peaceful disposition toward the non-Muslim,” the West continues to avoid the obvious. But as Ayn Rand has noted, “[y]ou can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

Hence, France continues to decompose in front of our eyes. Yves Mamou writes that “everything that represents state institutions … is now subjected to violence based on essentially sectarian and sometimes ethnic excesses, fueled by an incredible hatred of our country[.]” Ultimately, France “and all of European society must assimilate Islamic social norms, not the other way around.”

Newly elected President Macron symbolizes the multicultural manifesto when he maintains that “French culture doesn’t exist in and of itself; there is no such thing as a single French culture. There is culture in France and it is diverse and multiple.” Is it then inevitable that “France is going to have to live with terrorism,” as former prime minister Manuel Valls proclaimed?

Coupled with the ongoing Islamic push is the leftist destructive bent. Thus, “Belgium is unique” in that it is the “first nation blending appeasement to Islam and a suicidal form of nihilism[.]” It is not coincidental that in Belgium, “euthanasia is out of control.” With a record number of people killed by lethal injection, it is equally disturbing that “Belgium is the country with the highest per capita number of volunteers for the Caliphate.”

MY SAY: THE SUMMER AND SUNSHINE REPUBLICANS

Thomas Paine, a founding father of our nation ( 1737-1809) famously wrote: ” These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

The leftist media and their acolytes are now shrieking about President (not theirs) Donald Trump and his firing of James Comey. More troubling is the number of “summer and sunshine” Republicans who are wringing their hands and speaking in hushed tones of impeachment. I don’t deride their patriotism but marvel at their buckling knees.

Donald Trump makes it easy for the them. He twitters and sputters, and he is often crude with a tin ear for public relations, but he has broken no law….and James Comey deserved to be fired.

Tom Bailey writes in Spiked online http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/comey-hero-of-the-resistance-please/19810#.WRbggcYpCUk

Before the firing, however, Democrats were condemning Comey, and even calling for his head. A few days before the presidential election, Comey wrote a letter to Congress saying the FBI would reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Back then, Schumer said he’d lost confidence in Comey. Democratic lawmakers were outraged by his actions. Democrat representative Steve Cohen even called for him to resign.

Comey’s decision to reopen the Clinton investigation gave him top billing on the Democrat establishment’s list of extenuating circumstances that cost it the election. He was the man who cost Clinton her crown. Clinton herself partly blamed him for her loss.

He was a Trumpist in a federal windbreaker jacket, people suggested. Some even said the FBI itself was politically compromised and out to get the Clintons. As a writer for the liberal magazine Mother Jones argued, ‘The FBI is full of middle-aged white guys’ with an anti-Clinton bent, due to their listening to ‘lots of Rush Limbaugh’.

Now, post-firing, as if he were entering the federal witness protection programme, Comey is viewed entirely differently; he’s becoming an almost legendary figure. He’s no longer a Trump stooge – he’s a fallen member of the #Resistance. He’s been reimagined as the man who was about to bring down Trump.”

Our Fragile Civilization By Richard Fernandez

Mark Steyn argued that exclusively blaming the other political side for your troubles can provide false comfort. When everything is falling apart the problem is probably bigger than any one point of view. “The point about civilizational collapse is that it’s a civilization that’s collapsing, not merely your political arrangements.” Take the ransomware attacks which paralyzed Britain’s national health service which forced the cancellation of operations and other medical treatments. “A global cyberattack leveraging hacking tools widely believed by researchers to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency hit international shipper FedEx, disrupted Britain’s health system and infected computers in dozens of other countries on Friday.” Everybody was affected. It didn’t matter how you voted.

The incident revealed at least ten NHS trusts still relied on the Windows XP. The instrusion allegedly relied on NSA tools stolen during the Obama administration from a contractor. “According to one source, that includes more than 75 percent of the hacking tools belonging to the Tailored Access Operations. TAO is an elite hacking unit that develops and deploys some of the world’s most sophisticated software exploits.”

An unnamed US official told the paper that Martin allegedly hoarded more than 75 percent of the TAO’s library of hacking tools. It’s hard to envision a scenario under which a theft of that much classified material by a single individual would be possible.

When Shadow Brokers appeared in October, it published hundreds of TAO-developed exploits, including one that, for years, had exploited what was then a critical unknown vulnerability in a widely used firewall sold by Cisco Systems. Last month, the person or group said it was shutting down in a post that dumped 61 Windows-formatted binary files. Whether Martin was somehow involved with Shadow Brokers or was a compulsive hoarder working alone, the events underscore serious security lapses inside the NSA.

It was a long time coming. The defection of Edward Snowden, the Office of Personnel Management data breach and the now infamous Hillary hacks all predated Trump though the vulnerabilities will probably continue under him. The list of commercial data breaches is also stunningly long. “It is estimated that in 2015 alone, 707 million records were exposed as a result of data breaches”. These suggest that too many of our systems may be built on rotten props or false assumptions. The ice looked solid enough until the weight of civilization stepped on it and things fell through.

One of the weaknesses of the anti-Trump resistance is their inability to address the factors which brought the current administration into existence. Too many think it’s all about one man. This may explain why the Resistance to the Resistance has been surprisingly hard to push off the Hill and why Bernie Sanders is the most popular Democratic politician in America. The key insight into the problem is that people didn’t vote for Trump but against Hillary, PC, and the ending of their world. Charles Sykes in New York Times noted this element of sheer reaction. “Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters don’t have to defend his specific actions as long as they make liberal heads explode”.

A hundred years ago the liberal project seemed easily attainable. “I have seen the future and it works,” wrote Lincoln Steffens, yet it’s proved surprisingly hard to close the sale. The reason why the masses should reject such a brilliant vision were hard to explain. Despite Leftist fears their foes were never more than a coalition of amateurs with no particular ideology. The alt-right didn’t even know it was alt-right until they were properly analyzed and labeled. CONTINUE AT SITE