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9/11’s meaning then and now

Today is the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, known as “9/11”.

From October 2001 to October 2003, I worked closely with the National Park Service and with the families of the Flight 93 victims on protecting the crash site, two solid hard-working years, so that it could eventually become a national memorial without worries of losing the physical sense of what the surrounding ground looked like the moment the plane flipped upside down and did a nose-dive into Tim Lambert’s spruce grove.

And for those two years no one ever blamed the victims of 9/11. Nor did anyone try to scapegoat anyone else for 9/11. Solemnly we focused hard on protecting the landscape so that future generations would know and remember not only what happened, but why and by whom. Like a battlefield, which most Americans properly see it as.

However, for a lot of Americans today, the ‘why’ and and ‘whom’ parts of 9/11 are now strangely flipped around.

In a recent conference about 9/11, panelists blamed guns, the NRA, whites, Christians, and a lack of open borders for 9/11. No, I am not making this up. Blaming the American victims of 9/11 is the actual state of mind among many liberal leaders today. At the conference, they refused to mention Islam, Muslim terrorists, or hijacked planes. Instead, they used the event to call attention to their favorite failed policy goals, not to heal the wounded nation or to discuss lessons learned about how to avoid a repeat of 9/11.

And let’s be honest: Open borders will lead to not just one more 9/11, but many more acts of mass terror against Americans. You could fairly argue that the coast-to-coast illegal alien crime wave already is a form of terrorism, or that the liberal policy assault on law enforcement and the resulting mass shootings is a form of terrorism. But what is meant here, and what is the worst, are carefully planned and targeted acts of mass murder. Like what happened on 9/11.

Eighteen years ago 9/11 heightened our awareness. It made Americans feel vulnerable. It taught us that our best intentions and most open-minded policies are seen by most people outside of America as signs of weakness, of decadence, of a lack of willpower to survive, and they were then exploited to our disadvantage. Our federal government at the time properly took revenge on the Taliban and al-Qaeda, mostly hiding in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But then that same government mistakenly tried to implement a repeat of the World War II Marshall Plan, where America re-built the nations we had invaded and occupied. The post-9/11 attempted rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan was overly optimistic, because these Muslim countries are not European. They share none of the values or culture of WWII Europe, and they are immune to our culture and values.

And so now, instead of learning lessons from 9/11 and using them to protect America, we have an entire American political party that has inverted 9/11 and turned it into another forum and stage for promoting policies that have zero to do with 9/11 or preventing something similar from happening again.

Today in America, to one political party, the military veterans who fought to protect America by taking the fight to Iraq and Afghanistan are now the threat to America, not orthodox Muslims following the Koran to the letter of the law. And the patriotic friends of those veterans are the threat to America; the religious Christian friends and family of those veterans are the threat to America; and the hunters and target shooting friends of those veterans are also the threat to America.

Everyone but the actual perpetrators of 9/11, and their supporters like US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, are that political party’s scapegoats for 9/11.

For radical Muslim Ilhan Omar, on 9/11 “Somebody did something.” That’s it, that is her whole take on 9/11, and her political party agrees with her.

And now her political party is coming hard after you and me.

Looks like a whole lot of people missed the lessons-learned part of 9/11. Probably because they don’t care about them. And that right there is the real lesson learned for the rest of us: 9/11 only means something to people who actually care about America staying America.

 

Trump and that French Fire Water

President Trump tweets his immediate concern for extinguishing the blazing Notre Dame cathedral in France yesterday, and the next thing ya know, half of France is supposedly upset with him. And just to prove that there really is a little Wizard of Oz man behind that fake news curtain directing fake anger at Trump, both official and semi-official French outlets vented their displeasure and mockery of his comment.

All these French critics proved is that President Trump cares more for the Notre Dame cathedral, and for France as a free Western nation, than do the French themselves.

France has actually been on fire for years, and instead of extinguishing their own self-arson, they have poured gasoline on the flames through deliberate official action and inaction. By importing millions of openly hostile, imperialistic, non-conforming, non-integrating foreigners, France has injected a death serum into its own veins. We know this injection feels like France’s veins are on fire because of all the street level battles that have followed.

Islamic terror is real, and Islamic culture war against France and Catholic churches is real, but it is the least of France’s problems. Rather, it is the culture war against traditional French identity and values facilitated by the watered-down French Vichy intelligentsia itself (Trump’s loudest critics yesterday) that is the greatest threat to France.

Think of the official response to the 2015 Bataclan massacre in Paris by Muslim terrorists, who after the initial gunfire then walked among and picked through the dead and dying to find survivors they could further maim and sadistically torture: “Any person who thinks this event (and all the others like it) is about Islam vs. France is a bad person. No, the actual terrorists are not to blame; we French are all to blame.” It is complete nonsense, and it allowed France’s famous openness and freedom to be further stifled by an official clamp-down on pro-Western, pro-France activists.

Here in America, yesterday I listened to fake news talking weasel head Shep Smith of Fox News also shamefully carry water for the terrorists and arsonists.

If President Trump could walk on the water he recommended for the Notre Dame fire, his critics would complain that he can’t swim, and if he called for help while drowning in it, they would arrest him for disturbing the peace. Trump and his fellow pro-West leaders can do nothing correct in the eyes of his opponents. While the Bataclan dead bodies served up a big warning sign, it is difficult to create a better image of France’s nose-dive toward self destruction than the burning Notre Dame cathedral, and the French anti-France response afterwards.

Dear France, do you want to survive? If yes, then take all your fancy vino and pour it into a giant moat around your southern borders to keep the invaders out, or save it up for putting out the inevitable fires that are coming to your cities and towns.

France, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the cross, all on fire

Bataclan massacre in Paris by religious Muslim terrorists. These bloody bodies were swept under the rug by French officials and their establishment media allies

About that New Zealand mosque massacre…

Once again, liberal ideas have resulted in terrible results, and yet, the people who promote those ideas blame everyone else for their failures. Now it is a mass shooting in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The massacre did not happen in a vacuum.

New Zealand has the same kind of stupid, ineffective “gun control” that anti-firearm activists have demanded for everyone everywhere: No handguns, mass registration with the goal of eventual mass confiscation for a gun-free society (except for the police and security services controlled by the liberals). Had the members of that mosque had access to handguns, like our concealed carry laws permit here in America, then they could have defended themselves against the lone attacker. But nope, anti-gun activists require these bodies and blood in the street in order to make the emotional case for yet more anti-freedom, anti-safety gun elimination.

Sorry, mosque members. I am sorry that you were martyred by the same leftists who have brought so much destruction to everyone else across the planet.

And then, so many questions come to mind, like:

Did that mosque serve as a launching point for public or private anti-Christian, anti-Jew hatred and bigotry, as so many other mosques do around the world?

Did that mosque have members who were actively engaged in denigrating and materially undermining Christianity and Western countries from within, as so many mosques do? Did they take advantage of New Zealand’s freedom and democracy to achieve non-democratic results?

Was that mosque a security risk for New Zealand? Does it harbor violent terrorists or proponents of Islamic terrorism?

Was the mosque officially silent about the non-stop bloodbath perpetrated by Islamic jihadists against innocent people around the world, notably Christians living peacefully in Paris and London and Antwerp?

Was the mosque officially silent about the obvious danger that Islamic jihad represents to the entire world?

Did that mosque serve as a center for spreading Islamic terrorism, as so many other mosques do around the world?

These questions and many similar ones must be asked, because if any of them are affirmative, then the massacre could be construed or even understood as an act of self-defense by the perpetrator, acting on behalf of his vulnerable countrymen who are paralyzed by leftist political correctness and an inactive government run by people willing to sacrifice the entire nation on the altar of “understanding” a fascist, totalitarian ideology that is mutually exclusive with the openness and tolerance New Zealand and every other Western nation stands for.

Here in America, Muslima Terrorista Suprema Linda Sarsour used the massacre to publicly explain exactly what is at the heart of this civilizational conflict. She explicitly blamed “white Christians” as the source of all evil on Earth and of being the biggest threat to all civilizations. In other words, when some mosque somewhere gets a taste of its own medicine, suddenly jihad against Christians and whites is openly justified. As if jihad against Christians and Christianity has not been ongoing for 1,300 years! No wonder Westerners are phobic of Islam; they are afraid for very good reasons.

Here in Harrisburg, the local JCC issued a Marxist screed about the shooting, decrying, among other ridiculous things, “Islamophobia” and “bigotry” (no, not the explicit anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Hindu bigotry of the Koran). One wonders if the regular, normal, hard working members of the many various JCCs and Jewish Federations around America will ever tire of underwriting the Marxist march of their institutional professionals, who seem to specialize in delivering sappy Yiddish entertainment to elderly  people and Marxist-everything-else for everyone else. In the past it was Margie Adelmann, now it is Jen Ross, the “professional Jews” who represent the very worst of secularism and controlling, destructive leftism. Neither of them was or is responsive to JCC members who want them to stop politicizing everything in the name of Marxism and political correctness.

They, too, are on a jihad, parallel with Linda Sarsour, the rest of us be damned.

Book Review: The Uneven Road, by Lord Belhaven

The Uneven Road (1955), by Lord Belhaven

I read this fascinating book twice, and I recommend you read it at least once. Heck, just the old black and white photos of mysterious holy cities, like al Q’ara, (taken with early hand-held cameras from a bi-plane in the 1920s and 1930s) and traditional Arab tribesmen, both even today far out of reach of Westerners, are worth the five or ten bucks it’ll cost you to buy it on eBay or Amazon. For just five bucks you can get one of these fascinating and educational books, and have a most enjoyable weekend reading, and learning. Find me another great, safe, healthy mind trip for five bucks, please.

Why review a book published in 1955, about the now dead Brutish Empire? What made the British Empire so grand, so great? Setting aside the natural feelings of those locals who were subject to British rule, for better and for worse, one cannot help but marvel at the remarkable discipline, planning, administrative organization the British brought to their empire. Any nation today would be well served to get one tenth that level of service from its own government.

And why would a book published in 1955 be interesting today? For one thing, history has a tendency to repeat itself, or to repeat versions of itself — things that happened in the past seem to happen all over again. If we who are living now can harness the lessons of the past, then we can avoid the mistakes of the past, too; or at least so goes the best thinking. Certainly one must know history in order to know what happened, and how to identify when the same forces are at work once again.

In order to understand where we are today, we must look at what decisions and resulting actions got us here, and why those choices were made (come to think of it, I recently read another similarly aged but highly useful book titled Why England Slept, written in the 1940s and 1950s, then authored and published in 1962 by some then-nobody named John F. Kennedy). The Uneven Road does an excellent job of explaining much of the Middle East and East Africa through one man’s colorful and risky exploits from a military and diplomatic hot seat along the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, and then into the Italian Alps. Judging by current events, little has changed in the former.

As the title implies, the author took an uneven road in his long life, following completely neither his traditional Scottish upbringing nor his adopted British devotion to Empire. As he says in so many ways throughout the book, Lord Belhaven is a lot like his forebears, individualistic, strong, self-driven men who admired authority and convention as much as they bucked them and tried to fit into them on their own terms. Or one might say, Lord Belhaven and his ancestors tried to make convention in their own image. As an American, to me this independence streak is a highly laudable trait, even if it did damage to the already impressive careers of Belhaven and his father and grandfather.

The author is both very open-minded for his time, gleefully throwing off class and religious barriers that today seem so unbelievably feudal, especially to Americans (and familiar to those Americans who enjoyed the Downton Abbey series) with our hodge-podge zero-caste-system, but which were quite dominant in his early years. He is also representative of some persistent silly views that are also peculiar to certain groups of people where he is from, even today. To me, an American, whether I agree or not, this is all part of being a natural, well-rounded human being, and a sign of being interesting. Everyone has prejudices and sharp-edged opinions, and everyone is entitled to them. No one is perfect, our author does not claim to be perfect, nor does he engage in the vacuous virtue signaling which so sharply defines today’s Western civilization. More to the point, neither you nor I are anywhere near perfect or nearly as exciting as Lord Belhaven, and only very few people you or I have met or ever will meet are going to be nearly as interesting as Lord Belhaven.

Writing as a soldier, administrator, diplomat, lonely husband and then divorcee, and amateur historian/ethnologist/archaeologist, Belhaven is a gentleman, and also a manly man. He is the old archetypical British\Scottish aristocrat patriot, both swashbuckling and under steely self control, a thing of the past which, my gosh, we now could use much more of in our own time. He is clearly a warrior, and an effective one at that, and yet much of his book is stories about how he was not such a great warrior, or how he was charged with establishing peace in lawless places through diplomacy, and yet relied upon deadly warfare.

As he reminds us, especially with the burning of the village of Jol Madram, diplomacy without the real threat and the occasional implementation of brutal violence is simply indecisive inaction, a weakness that inevitably invites more lawlessness or aggression. For Belhaven, there is no foolish, circular “conflict resolution” without resolving the conflict to concrete terms he likes and which work for the most people. Instead of getting “triggered” and fainting into a safe space when confronted with adversity, Belhaven the man of action responds by putting his finger on the trigger of his revolver and explaining just how things are going to get back to full function, or else. In a Western world today of namby pamby political correctness and feminized men, reading this book I could not help but think How refreshing! And also, Where the hell did our masculinity go?

The author’s voice is forthright, unafraid, honest, and though a few times I may disagree with his views, I keep thinking as the pages are turned, “Now here is a man I could respect and like!” Would that Western Civilization today had many more men like Alex Hamilton, aka Lord Belhaven.

Spanning the 1920s through World War II, and published toward the end of the British Empire, The Uneven Road is one more fascinating on-the-ground report in a line of the “Hell, I was there” genre of personal adventure histories written by British military and political officers across the British Empire, upon which the sun did not truly set until the 1960s. The Uneven Road is one of the last from the frontier, and in my experience it is one of the better written and certainly the most personally reflective. In some ways it is a companion piece (maybe even a necessity) to books written by or about others who traveled, explored, dug archaeological treasures, politicked, and fought in and around the Arab Peninsula, such as Lawrence, Philby, Ingrams, Jacobs, and others.

There are many, many examples of these personal field reports and histories from the 1790s through the 1960s.  Some are famous, most are obscure, some are kind of boring, and many carry an overt agenda, and yet almost all are illuminating about life among the British Empire’s boots-on-the-ground administrators and soldiers, as well as the occasionally momentous political events of the day. The fact that these personal histories exist at all, and that they are often well written, says a lot about the high caliber of the British and Scots of that time, both the writers abroad and the readership waiting back home. The Uneven Road meets or exceeds all these standards.

While other major cultural “encounters” and confrontations have been largely or absolutely settled in the same time period, in key ways that are of great interest to the modern reader, this book is about East-meets-West, a contest that has only grown sharper and more defined a full hundred-plus years after it fully got under way, as described in these pages. 

Britain: A Culture of Selfless Patriotic Duty

One need not read a book to hear or know about England’s long established culture of patriotic duty and self sacrifice for king and country, but reading this book will help the interested reader gain real appreciation for both the depth of feeling most Britons had then, and for the real personal cost it then meant later on in their lives. The unbelievable battlefield losses in World War One and WW II greatly changed England’s culture, resulting in a legacy of pacifism, fear of inevitable conflict, and self-defeat we see officially operating today.

Throughout the first half of his fine book, Belhaven off and on artfully weaves an analysis full of personal anecdotes of British military culture, including how wealthy aristocracy would often take a vow of poverty (as opposed to running a family business or a valuable property) to serve in the military, for the simple satisfaction of providing patriotic service to the nation. The following quote only touches on this, but it covers enough other turf to qualify for mention here:

“One Saturday, towards the end of our last term at Sandhurst, Tony Keogh and I were both excused [from] work because of minor injuries. Tony Keogh was a dour Wellingtonian, whose ambition was to give a lifetime’s service to Waziristan on the northwest frontier of India, a country which his father had been the first to survey.” (page 40)

Waziristan of the 1920s is today several different ‘stans, including parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It included then as it does now all of the intolerant, violent religious fanatics who still make it such a special place. From the 1880s through the 1940s, British troop losses there were big. Can you imagine being the first person to scientifically survey a significant portion of the planet, this very rugged, remote place specifically, surrounded by such danger? And then bear a son who simply wants to pick right up where you left off? Such was the tough, brave stuff the British were made of, once.

<sigh>

And it was that same patriotic fervor and absolute selfless commitment that made such brave soldiers for World War I and then World War II, and then resulted in the pacifism of modern Britain, when few men returned home:

“Toll for the brave!” that most perfect of slow marches – how often had we marched to its slow, sharp rhythm. When I hear the tune now I can see, as I saw then, the high, shining fence of bayonets, the straight, erect lines moving forward with irresistible menace and force, the very symbol and image of war. And all with its glint of youth unafraid, unconquerable. Toll for the brave indeed; few who marched that day have pottered on as I have done for fifty years.” (Page 40)

<sigh>

His description of his surprise at winning the Sword of Honour at Sandhurst is both funny, and then sad, as his stiff-upper-lip military father refuses to acknowledge it until two years afterward, and only then sarcastically. That sword becomes a snapshot of his challenged relationship with his father and also a symbol of British culture.

Report from the Frontier: “It was impossible to be bored in Aden”

If India and Africa provided the greatest quantity of opportunity and adventure (the British defeat of France’s fleet at the Nile, the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ search by naturalist-explorers Burton and Speke for the source of the Nile, the Mahdi, the Zulu Wars, Islandlwana, Rorke’s Drift, the Boer Wars, and so on) for these far-flung representatives of Her Majesty’s Service, it was the Near East and Middle East that created the most vivid and gripping images consumed widely by the public, even today.

Think of “Lawrence of Arabia” and all the thrilling weight that phrase still carries a hundred years later. And so just a decade-plus after a charismatic young Brit, T.E. Lawrence, led the Arab revolt against Ottoman Turk rule throughout the Near and Middle East, it is primarily on and around the Arabian Peninsula that Lord Belhaven’s book takes us. It is an often militarized and occasionally one-man-army journey by foot, camel, horse, donkey, bi-plane, and boats of various type and size, including some pleasure craft of his own construction.

Based in Aden and sallying forth through abandoned ruins from hidden, unknown, lost civilizations to high mountain forts inhabited by fierce tribes, Belhaven fearlessly and luckily does his best to bring order to the fractured tribal chaos of the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, what today is known as Yemen and known then as the British Protectorate of Aden. Like most Brits of his time, Belhaven was an Arabist, an Arabophile who simply looked past the stark differences of Mohammedanism compared to his own culture of gentle mercy and forgiveness, stricken as he so clearly was by exotic Arab ways. His gunfights, in which he was sometimes greatly outnumbered, the aerial bombings, and his knife-edge nose-to-nose confrontations with cutthroat highway gangs and treacherous tribes are the stuff of legend; his fishing and hunting trips during working hours are not, though he does describe them in obvious joy and often at his own expense.

Though in a serious tone Belhaven opens up about his family life in the first third of the book, in the rest he makes it clear that he knew how to have fun and push British foreign office sensibilities beyond their traditional staid demeanor.

Belhaven gets extra credit for a dry wit and self-deprecating humor applied from several miles up. He does not take himself too seriously, or even seriously at all, at times, even as the bullets are flying and his life hangs by a thread. This bon vivant tone heartily leavens the serious life-and-death situations he describes, including shooting himself in the foot in the heat of battle, and nearly shooting his Somali hunting guide who chases a large leopard out of a cave and into Belhaven’s face, not to mention his rear line and front line experiences in World War Two.

One of the artifacts of time and place is the author’s fascination with genetics, a hot (and also destructive) topic of that era. Repeatedly marveling at the “pure” inbreeding of certain tribes along the southern Arabian Peninsula, the author relied upon simplistic, romantic, and plainly incorrect notions of genetics. But this is to be chalked up to the general and long lasting British awe and love for the colorfully fierce Arab nomads of that region. Whatever they did, no matter how backwards or weird, was very cool. Who can blame him for thinking thus? Were you or I to live out there today, we would find it just as alien and compelling as he did, and it would all be just as cool now as then.

Insights into his own family struggles with intimacy and finances, and the perhaps unrealistic lifestyle expectations accompanying title, are illuminating for those wondering how the famous British aristocracy slowly crumbled from the inside and out.

When it comes to archaeology, what is not mentioned is louder than what he might have written. Lord Belhaven apparently had an eye for long lost antiquities easily unearthed with the toe of a boot in the loose sand of some long lost civilization in the middle of the blistering desert. In a tempestuous sea of worldwide archaeological looting by British nobles, scientists and adventurers, Belhaven’s personal interest in a few old broken, abandoned things lying in the dirt was strangely singled out for criticism by a couple of bespectacled Peabody types in imperial administration back home. Belhaven makes no mention of any of this in his book, and maintains his focus on big picture civilizational development. As he should, in the tradition of the fighting naturalist-archaeologist hero; a kind of Indiana Jones.

Detailed references to carved alabaster amid the sands, and marble ruins, lost cities, dams, water works also occasionally appearing and then disappearing amidst the shifting sand dunes add an element of authentic mystery that is harnessed in the Indiana Jones and The Mummy movies. Except that Belhaven was actually there, and saw and explored those ancient mysteries with his own eyes.

Will a couple of “Aw, shucks” ruin all the “Atta Boys” in this book?

Though he does not explicitly set out to do so, the author’s plainly spoken recollections invite the reader to share the author’s unspoken pangs of loss over decreasing British influence and culture.

In 1955 the author was in good company, with his views on race (a word he uses many times with several different meanings), skin color, religion, and social class, even as he was clearly departing from those long-held views. Bigotry and class snobbery were then becoming a thing of the distant past, a change which Belhaven mostly embraces and in many ways led in his own “black sheep” personal way. Those anachronisms particular to that time period he retains were either common figures of speech, cultural crutches, or concrete functions of Caucasian minority survival in otherwise hostile foreign places.

We today may not agree with him or his use of some words, but he usually explains himself well, and so we can often understand his thinking. Understand is the key word here, and it does not mean or infer acceptance or approval. And if the reader wonders why I, myself, am insufficient in my condemnations of the author’s few lapses, may I suggest one consider the word “tolerance,” or the phrase “open minded,” or that almost extinct word “understand.” In other words, that was then, this is now, these are different times than then, and once again, everyone has opinions and views that others find “offensive” or uncomfortable. Get over it, get over yourself, learn to tolerate differences in opinion, and move on. I did, and you can, too.

In an educated and open society such as ours, everyone is entitled to an opinion, even a wrong opinion, and even a bad one. God knows, today’s self-righteous book-burning censors falsely accusing everyone else of political heresy and racism have plenty of bad and wrong opinions themselves. In the past, people have been and should continue to be able to disagree with one another without taking silly offense at the simplest of differences, and then retreating to corners and brandishing the war colors. Goodness gracious, people, put away the guillotines! Give people some space to be wrong, or to explain why they thought they were right. And that maturity is what a reader must bring with them to get the most on this trip through time.

For example, in a book full of many humorous and comical stories, anecdotes and quick turns of phrases, there are a couple references to race and genetics, captured so perfectly in The Uneven Road, that really shine a light onto the important evolutionary changes of thinking and attitude about race and skin color happening in the pivotal 1950s. Recall that Belhaven is a born aristocrat:

“I found the whole subject of breeding, as it was accounted in our curious society, absurd; if a man married the crossing-sweeper’s daughter, no one bothered to find out about her breeding; her father’s trade was enough to condemn the match. When it was discovered that he was a rich Jew, who swept crossings through eccentricity, opposition could be relaxed, particularly if he kept race-horses and was a member of the Carlton.” (P. 29)

One page later Belhaven hilariously describes how his Eton school class failed a basic introductory genetics course on mice, with the best and wildly cheered answer to the teacher’s question being a boy’s half-assertion-half-question that inbreeding causes parents to eat their young.

Fast forward sixteen years and Belhaven, now working as a British Political Agent in the Arabian Peninsula, writes: “I have sat in their gathering of Princes, in their Chief’s lamp-lit reception-room and watched them, their skins shining like polished gun metal in war-paint of oil and indigo, a dull sheen of gold and silver in their great daggers, curved with the curve of the moon; the remnant of a great nation indeed, virile, unconquered by arms or by time, handsome and courageous. And marvelling, I have remembered that these men among whom I sat married always, by long custom amounting almost to law, among their own family; so through the millennia they have achieved an extraordinary purity of breeding…for a period of five thousand years…”  (P. 86, emphasis added)

And so, as much as Belhaven mocked his fellow students on their failure to grasp the essentials of healthy, necessary genetic diversity among mice and humans, he then later includes himself in their unfortunate company by endorsing the worst sort of human inbreeding, still going on even today in the Arabian Peninsula. This is the intellectual price one might pay for getting emotionally involved with something, as did Belhaven and all of his fellow Arabists. However, it remains fact that none in that time could have remotely foreseen that a surprisingly large number of parents across the Middle East would today encourage their own children to engage in suicide bombings and attacks. Talk about parents eating their young…

Just coming out of the real, actual Lawrence of Arabia time, an amazing time of high military and political adventure, and his living and working in that exact location with many of the same people, Belhaven’s near infatuation with all things Arab and Islam were then and are now understandable. His views on the Middle East were widely shared among his fellow Brits and Scots at that time. Even today many British still cling to detached, romantic notions of Arabia and Sharia-compliant beheadings and stonings, though having now painfully absorbed nearly half of the Arab world into London and having watched the other half wage sadistic war amongst themselves at home, and against Western Civilization abroad, has been shifting those old romantic notions into some other cold, hard, realizations.

Similarly, his views on Jews and Judaism range from the ground-breaking class acceptance (done with excellent humor at the expense of his fellow Brits; see above) to the old traditional British snobby disdain. He was only a little less tough on the Church of England. One must wonder what Belhaven would have written had he lived to see most American Jews and the Church of England and the current Pope all almost wholeheartedly embrace Marxism and anti-Western anarchy. If there is a resurrection of the dead, I want to be right beside Belhaven, so I can be the first to hear his colorful, insightful reaction to these unfortunate, really unbelievable facts.

One thing Belhaven did not live to see was the now-modern state of Israel, the then-nascent version of which he refuses to name in his book, but which he negatively alludes to several times. This is the old fashioned British Arabist coming through. Of the Jews of Yemen he has a brief but historically important and also humorous first hand encounter and report; but he then fails to mention their subsequent unjust inclusion among the nearly one million innocent Jewish refugees ethnically cleansed by his cool Arab friends from their ancient, very pre-Islamic communities across North Africa, the Near East, and the Middle East.

“So we came near to the end of our stay in Sa’na. Champion [Sir Reginald Champion, then Civil Secretary to Aden and later its Governor] and I called on the head of the large Jewish community in the city. Although considered by the Arabs to be an inferior race, the Jews of the Yemen were well treated by the Imam [Imam Yehia, a Shia leader who later lost the Arabian Peninsula to the Wahhabi al-Saud family, and whose spiritual descendants today are the once-again rebellious Hauthis]…Now there are no Jews left, they have all gone to Palestine, a Promised Land without either the milk of human kindness or the honey of their expectations…” (P. 104)

Hello, Lord Belhaven, reality is calling now, just as it did in 1955. The Yemenite Jews did not just casually get up and leave their homes in Yemen of 2,000 years for Israel out of a desire for better falafel or flush toilets; they were universally axe murdered and driven out of their homes by the same Muslims you so admire, the lucky survivors arriving in Israel with the shirts on their backs, their family homes and businesses stolen and occupied, their bank accounts looted, their personal property removed by force, like all the other Jews from every other Arab country at the same time. So why Belhaven ignores these facts to get in some shots on Israel is, again, likely a question of the impact of that romantic infatuation with remote alien cultures. Were he alive today, he would probably be a Christian Zionist like another famous and contemporaneous British Arabist, Col. Meinertzhagen (who when introduced in private to Adolf Hitler responded to the perfunctory ‘Heil Hitler‘ with his own ‘Heil Meinertzhagen‘).

Did Belhaven write some occasionally harsh stuff? Maybe so, certainly by today’s standards. But so what. Get over it. On balance, this book is 99.999% fascinating, illuminating, educational, and important history. Why judge and then dismiss the entire work based on a couple anachronisms from his own day?

As briefly mentioned above, one of the big challenges our younger generations are failing at is their tendency to immediately be offended by, and then harshly judge and dismiss, older generations by applying current standards. Instead of trying to understand how the previous generations thought, and why they fought way back when. Surely there must have been compelling reasons for the many momentous decisions that were made and then chiseled into stone or cast in bronze. Not everything back then is “racist,” which has become as hollow a crutch word as can be found. As old statues, symbols from important self-inflicted internal wars across America, are pulled down by screaming, infantile, anti-history mobs, one cannot help but wonder if the screamers will ever be interested in why the statue was erected in the first place. Or do they aim to simply re-write history (irrespective of the actual facts, causes and effects) to suit whatever political purpose suits them at some future time? I would rather have Belhaven’s honest accounting than a dishonest re-writing of who we are and how we got here.

In sum, whatever “Aw, shucks” Belhaven may have earned in a few spots here or there, they are far outweighed by the many “Atta Boys” he racks up over and over throughout this excellent book. For those younger folks who are actually and truly interested in understanding history, and how people’s views on race, religion, and income\ social standing changed over time in Britain and America, and how the Arabian Peninsula yet remains completely unchanged, The Uneven Road is a refreshingly honest and educational Exhibit A at the crucial time of the post-war 1950s.

Obscurity often means fascinating

Many years ago, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when it was an actual newspaper that reported much actual news, instead of having the entire paper be one editorial after another masquerading as news, which it does today, the New York Times published a series of articles based on the simple methodology of having a news reporter (another extinct species the younger generations have never seen) open the New York City phone book (‘And what, too, is that?’ the younger generations ask) and randomly place his or her finger on the page. This was done ten times over the course of a bit over a year, as I recall. Whoever’s name was there over the finger nail got a call from the finger’s news reporter, who then did a detailed report on that person’s life. As the subsequent reports showed, despite living almost entirely quietly and privately in the big anonymous city, each and every one of those randomly selected people had nonetheless led a fascinating and often deeply compelling life.

And so, here now we have similarly plucked out of historical obscurity a book long out of print and probably originally of interest to few beyond aging British soldiers and Foreign Service dignitaries. Yes, here in Lord Belhaven we have a man whom very few have heard of, and as he is an aristocrat he is presently out of favor for having violated some social construct or…thing, even though he was a reflective, self-deprecating, risk taking and self-sacrificing humble public servant who enjoyed breaking with his own social norms and elevating many downtrodden. His life was more than fascinating, it was bigger than life, as we say. It was certainly bigger than my life or anyone else’s life I know of, and I know some pretty adventurous people in military and law enforcement, as well as international hunters. And today outside of Britain and America’s special forces operating abroad, very few public officials do anything close to what Belhaven did. And given the opportunity, few today would take it. Pity.

It was people like Lord Belhaven who put the “great” in Great Britain. Given how far and wide Hollywood looks for true-to-life stories, why no one has done a movie based on this book or on Belhaven’s life is one of those mysteries that highlights how shallow Hollywood is. Because it is true that Indiana Jones was mere Hollywood fiction, whereas Lord Belhaven was for real.

Vegas

Los Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock may have converted to islam, and then conducted his mass murder as a political statement.

He may have already been a kook, without having converted to islam, and been just as determined to make some sort of bizarre crazy man statement.

Either way, one thing is certain, he is (was) one of an increasing number of angry Americans ready to step over societal boundaries to make a point.

We have seen increased violence from liberals, posing as “anti hate” street police who beat the hell out of anyone they disagree with. Kind of like the Sharia morality police across the Muslim world. These street thugs (“activists” to CNN and NPR) have the media and academia on their side, mainstreaming them, making them look more respectable, more justified.

Liberals have even gone so far to say that knowingly importing violent jihadist “refugees” brings a certain amount of expected violence, that is somehow statistically acceptable.

While the racist right may not be anywhere near the kind of bogey man the establishment media makes them to be, there is no question that they, too, are now increasing in number and in intensity.

After eight years of Obama’s divisive identity politics, America is polarized, and people with personalities already prone to extremes are picking their side and lining up.

Hate to say it, but after 18 months of liberal street violence, a murderous attack on Republican lawmakers, several Muslim attacks (night club, campus, community center, etc.), and now this guy, it appears that America is heading into uncharted territory.

Yes, the control freaks will use this as an excuse for gun control demands. Forget it. No gun control can or ever will prevent criminals from committing violence, just as some hypothetical limit on liberalism would not induce liberals to be less maniacal and violent. No, 350,000,000 people will not give up their gun rights, or their free speech rights, so some control freak politicians can feel good about themselves.

Fact is, crazy and angry people are going to act on their craziness and their anger, and in a free society like America, this is a sad fact. In this heated climate, where we are treated to daily demands that president Trump be murdered by Obama loyalists, this stuff is going to happen more.

My heart breaks for the innocent people gunned down and injured by this madman.

My heart breaks for America, an oasis of peace and prosperity increasingly challenged by a group of power-hungry politicians and their violent street thugs. With the help of the mainstream media, they have normalized violence here.

9-11, still happening in slow motion

“Nine Eleven” evokes images of smoky towers in lower Manhattan, and still photos of planes rocketing toward the towers, and people throwing themselves from the windows to escape the flames, heat, and toxic black smoke.

Finally, the twin towers fell, or rather collapsed, not long after the Muslim hijackers from Saudi Arabia had sacrificed themselves and the passengers on the planes.

Their goal was to attack America, as did their fellow hijackers on other planes that day. Flight 93 went down here in Pennsylvania, and it was my role to try to purchase or protect with conservation easements that landscape around the crash site. Working with staff from the National Park Service was mostly fun, sometimes frustrating, but in the end, the site was secured and the area set aside as a memorial.

Other memorials have been established at the Pentagon and in Manhattan.

But what is a memorial worth if the lesson it memorializes is lost?

After 9-11, our mainstream media did everything it could to cast Muslims as the actual victims of 9-11, not the perpetrators. Certainly not all Muslims can be painted with that hijacker’s brush that day, but it is a fact that throughout the Muslim world the day’s fiery images were greeted with shouts of joy and celebration. Including here in America.

Jihad groups like CAIR quickly went on offense, playing to defensive notions. CAIR and other groups played upon big-hearted Americans’ sense of fairness and justice. And so they demanded that we not only forget that 9-11 was by and for Muslims, but that we actually embrace Islam so that we could come to understand that it is actually a great belief system. Anti-Christian groups like CAIR actually used 9-11 to achieve greater inroads against Christians in America and against Christianity globally.

So far their approach has kind of worked. For example, the mainstream media refuses to report how the Muslim Students Association at a major university is actually holding a big celebratory bake sale today. You have to go one or two layers down into media sources to find this infuriating fact. Another example is that key Trump administration appointees are still cozying up with CAIR and other jihadist groups, in the hopes of makey-nicey public appearances translating into a protection scam on the ground, like the mafia used to do.

“Nice country you got here. Shame it’s so…Islamophobic. We’d hate for some Muslims to take all this Islamophobia stuff the wrong way and start cutting off American heads here…” goes the CAIR sales pitch. And so the State Department and Homeland Security Department are continuing the failed Obama policies, which allowed civilizational jihad to continue.

A new report shows that the government of Saudi Arabia funded a dry-run of the 9-11 events, helping its jihadists perfect their hijacking methods. Why we have not occupied Saudi Arabia and confiscated their oil reserves as punishment and reparations for the damage they caused America is a mystery. Any other self-respecting nation would do that. Like it or not, Russia does that kind of response. And it works.

So here we are, 16 years after 9-11, and the net result is that we are still under attack, just as we were that day. Except this attack is slower, quieter, and playing on our silly notions of fairness and justice, which are being bent and used back against us.

To millions of Americans, the 9-11 memorials are a huge red flag. They are a “WAKE THE HELL UP, AMERICA, YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK” sign, neon on a dark night. As any national memorial should be.

But do Americans have elected leaders who understand what it takes to remember 9-11 in a meaningful way, learn the lesson from that day, and apply that lesson to our laws and policies; that is the question.

Until that question is affirmatively answered in a way that protects and supports America, the answer is that 9-11 continues in slow motion.

 

Anti-Jewish activity in your town? Thank Obama

Over the past week a spate of vandalism and bomb threats against Jewish community facilities and cemeteries nationwide have not only scared people, understandably, but brought out the very worst from within the American Jewish community. Hate to say it.

Yesterday morning I was walking into the Harrisburg JCC at about 10:00 am. It is two blocks from my home and I am a member there; at around ten in the morning the gym is practically vacant. It is perfect time alone for me to do physical therapy on my knee and do some body-wide muscle conditioning. After all, keeping off all the weight I lost in hunting season is only possible if I keep on moving. When the gym is empty, I can do my routine unimpeded.

As I walked into the building, staff told me to turn around and walk out as a bomb threat had been phoned in, and everyone was being sent outside.

What followed over the next twelve hours is simply shameful. Disgusting, really, and self-defeating.

Constant emails, texts, and FakeBook posts from members of the Jewish community flooded in to the newspaper, TV news, and Harrisburg residents, every single one of them blaming Trump and his supporters for the bomb threat. Even today the emails continue to fly, with people blaming “ethnic nationalism,” ie the patriotic pride people like me felt when trump ran and then got elected.

Even US senator Al Franken got in on it, headlining a Democrat fundraising email that somehow found its way to me. Sorry, goofball Franken, I won’t be donating.

There is no evidence that Trump or his voters have anything to do with the vandalism and threats, and yet so many American Jews keep publicly demanding that there is an association.

Folks, if you really want to upset people, keep poking them in the eye. Keep telling them how horrible they are, how racist they are, how antisemitic they are, how “intolerant” they are, when in fact they are none of those things, and in fact are the best friends Jews ever had. At some point you will burn out your fellow American and they will become tired of being unfairly maligned.

The overwhelming proportion of the people making these unfounded accusations are liberal Jews who emphatically embraced Obama, who overlooked all of his failures and bigoted associations. Obama was surrounded socially and professionally by a huge number of proud anti-semites. Not the least of which is his spiritual guide, Jesse Wright, who is also racist against whites.

During the past eight years, under Obama’s disastrous watch, the federal government willfully ignored federal law and allowed millions of illegal aliens to simply walk into America. Some fake notion of fairness was the public excuse, but the private purpose was to artificially bolster Democrat voter rolls with new recruits.

Well, among these illegal invaders are declared Islamic extremists associated with ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hizbulla. All of these groups have pledged openly to bring destruction to America and to American Jews specifically. What happened over the past week is most likely a result of these kooks beginning to implement their plans. After all, Trump is incredibly supportive of Israel and Jews, and that upsets the kooks more than anything.

And Trump is starting to weed them out, and they know they have to act soon.

So if you are really looking for someone to blame for this spate of anti-Jewish activity, you can blame Obama, the guy who happily allowed the anti-Jewish kooks to walk right in to America.  Either as illegal aliens or as un-vetted refugees from Muslim countries torn apart by intolerance.

The problem is, most American Jews are so liberal that they are committed more to one single political party than they are to their own safety. So they will continue to protect their political allies like Obama, and blame their political opponents, and not their actual, known enemies.

Someone somewhere said Jews are smart. Sorry, I am not buying it. There is nothing more stupid than self-destruction.

UPDATE: At least eight bomb calls and several email threats to Jewish institutions around America were made by one guy, according to the FBI. A young man who was a former reporter is accused of a significant portion of those crimes. Was he a “Trumpie” as my lawyer friend Devon said he would be? Was a he a “white nationalist” as so many others said? The answer is No. The man is a super leftwing black Muslim anti-Trump activist. But hey, at least he votes, so he gets some credit there. But he also appears to be seriously disturbed. How many other threatening calls and emails come from leftists is unknown yet, but it is probably most of them.

A Million Pretty Butterflies, a Million Angry Hornets

Though many people see me as a tough guy, I am not immune to emotional pain and frustration, and the past two weeks have been filled with plenty of both, and so I have danced around the issues that keep popping up in order to avoid publicly dealing with these hurtful events.

Most events are Islam-inspired, Islam-directed, Islam-implemented murders in America and France.

The mass media and social media is run by hardened political partisans who will not discuss Hillary Clinton’s illegal actions or her illegal political whitewashing by the Obama administration, who will not accurately inform the public about who is committing violence against French citizens and American police officers, and who instead direct their efforts at undermining everything that Western Civilization has stood for, lo, these past thousand years, if not past three hundred.

For example, The Mirror, a major newspaper of record in Britain, continues to describe how a white truck drove through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, France. No real disclosure of the fact that the young Arab man was a radical Muslim. Nope; the truck drove itself. Can’t admit those motives!

For example, a young African American radical, former member of the Nation of Islam, active Black Panther member, who murders three police officers and seriously injures another four in Baton Rouge is described as a Marine. Not a former Marine, but a Marine, as if he is an active duty Marine. As if Marines routinely murder police officers. Nope, they cannot correctly ascribe his insane motives, unless the media can smear the military.

For example, Black Lives Matter – inspired murderers are described as indirect-indirect-indirect victims of police brutality, not the radical, violent, anarchist traitors they are.

For example, racist Black Lives Matter violence is routinely described as non-violent protests, despite the fact that Black Lives Matter is most accurately described as “The Klan With a Tan,” because their members are the most racist, most bigoted, most violent activists presently on American streets, in public libraries, and in university buildings across America. And what does that say about their supporters and defenders? Bigots all, each and every one.

Last week I was in New York City, surrounded by a million pretty little butterflies, young people with multiplicities of tattoos, hair colors, piercings, uncommon clothes, impractical shoes, and other accoutrements they believe really set them apart as individuals.

They were walking, sitting, talking, protesting, many striking up dramatic poses with cigarettes, and arms akimbo, men striking angular body arrangements, usually with wrists dramatically flapping.

All this self-expression is based on an utter materialism at odds with the preponderance of their social behavior and leftist political views that demonize everything required to clothe and feed them.

Who cares, they think, they are living in a pampered un-reality of Twitter hashtags and imaginary grievances.

Such a slavish shallowness exists completely at odds with the hard realities surrounding these young people. But America’s material success has put these kids to sleep. Heck, material success has even allowed them to turn against America and blame her for a whole litany of imaginary and ridiculous crimes.

These kids are America’s future.

Meanwhile, it’s serious people in suits, in offices, and driving trucks and trains and planes that keep everything moving forward for the pretty little butterflies, content as they are to flit from one flowery cafe to another, dependent as they are on everything being made for and delivered to them by someone else.

What worries me is that buzzing around the edges of our comfy little world, and getting closer all the time, is a horde of a million angry hornets.

Hornets are incredibly carnivorous and aggressive, though some hornet species lay their eggs on the host body and fly away. A month or a year later, their eggs hatch and their little babies burrow inside, and then eat their way out from inside of the now-dying host.

See a metaphor here, dear reader?

Western civilization is filled to the brim with soft, gentle, kind, clueless little pretty butterflies. They gently fly and float from one soft spot to another, incorrectly believing the whole world is like this. New York City just has a concentration of them.

Meanwhile, misdirected leaders in Western Civilization have allowed the horde of angry hornets to come inside our cozy little home, and they refuse to spray the cloud of angry hornets buzzing furiously around us with deadly bug spray, before we all get stung. Most of our leaders are themselves sweet little butterflies, living in a cocoon of armed guards and high fences, while themselves denouncing private gun ownership and strong walls keeping our tax-paying citizens safe.

Human civilizations come and go. History demonstrates they always do. Today’s powerhouse nation becomes tomorrow’s lunch for a more powerful opponent. Refugees stream from one place to another, fleeing bloody murder and rapine and slavery. That is history, but it is also happening right now in the Middle East and North Africa, places run by Muslims.

That stuff is coming to Western Civilization.

The million angry hornets will eat the million gentle, pretty little butterflies.

Orlando shooting = immigration policy overhaul

The Muslim shooter of 49 innocent Americans in Orlando made his political and personal positions clear for a long time, in tweets, videos, facebook posts, and then recorded telephone 911 calls from the bloody floor of the bar he shot up.

Omar Mateen stated up front for months that he was a follower of ISIS, and he was following the plain dictates of Islam.

The Koran explicitly lists the cruel punishments for gays and infidels, and Omar Mateen followed through like a good Muslim.

The mainstream media is doing everything they can to digress, ignore, avoid, and pretend that the cause of this horrendous event is anything but what it is: Another Islamic attack on Americans.

Islam is a philosophy incompatible with Western civilization. Oh, Americans have big hearts, and we are always trying to find ways to make everyone under the sun feel welcome. But that should not involve committing national suicide. That is the very definition of political correctness.

Trying to punish law-abiding Americans for the actions of insane immigrants and followers of insane belief systems makes no sense, and we will not abide efforts by liberals like US Senator Bob Casey to strip Americans of their Constitutional rights.

The irony is that the Left wants to strip us of our rights for committing thought crimes, ie “hate crimes,” while the actual haters are allowed to roam freely among us, committing crimes in the name of their inhuman belief system.

The failure of the Left in its response to the Orlando shooting is overwhelming. America is being split into citizens who see plainly what is wrong, ie anti-gay violence by religiously correct Muslims, and those who ignore the obvious outcomes of their defective immigration policies.

Today’s talk with Dickinson College students

Thank you to Professor Andrea Leiber, among others, at Dickinson College, just about every year I am invited to come speak to a class about environmental issues.

Usually it is more enjoyable to go right into the Question & Answer period, because it’s there that we get the most essential points.  Usually stuff like “Statistically, most of you will get married and about half of you will become divorced.  Many of you will get fired from a job.  Don’t fight with your boss.  Pursue things that make you happy,” and so on.

These are college students who may not have ever heard facts and ideas like this before.

Today I brought a hand-out, below, that we went over before getting into the Q&A.  The students, naturally, found these items tremendously provocative, which is good.  That is the point.  The goal is to challenge them and get them to think hard, outside their comfort zones.  Kids, thank you for being so interested in our topics.  I appreciate at least not being ignored.

Here is what was handed out:

Dickinson Five points:

1) your generation is becoming infantile. Don’t be offended. That’s a cop-out. Engage the world. Debate people on substantive issues. “You offend me” is bullsh*t. Don’t deal in bullsh*t. Be real.

2) listen to Rush Limbaugh. Or Hannity. Or Glen Beck. Add diverse thinking to your daily dose of diversity. Or, stop deceiving yourself that you truly embrace diversity. Listening to ideas you’re new to or unhappy about gets you outside the box. Think outside the box. Political correctness is a box.

3) climate change is not a religion, or a cult, or a science, so stop treating it that way.  For 35 years we’ve been told a brand new, unproven, nascent science was already settled. Really? On what basis? By whom? Anthropogenic climate change is a corrupted political movement based on Marxism. It’s not science, yet.

4)  Learn the American Constitution. It’s the basis of your life whether or not you presently understand it. It’s under assault. Eg 2nd amendment is fundamental to a free people and gun control has zero to do with crime control, FEC FCC regulation of internet, NSA spying, IRS political assault on political speech, Hillary’s private emails to conduct national security, loss of religious conscience.

5) Islam is at war with western civilization. America’s next big war will probably be with orthodox Muslims over individual liberty and freedom. Do not allow political correctness to stop you from asking questions and from saying what you believe.

Are you against Christianity but ok with Islam? Why?

Are you upset about the Israeli “occupation” but are ok with the Arab occupation of Jewish and Christian homes, farms and businesses? Why?

Be brave or kiss America and your iPhone goodbye.

Get off Facebook, have a beer [or soda] and grilled hotdogs with your real friends, instead.

Grow a small garden.

Camp out often.

Be self reliant.

Don’t let others’ expectations shape your future.

Get a gun and learn how to shoot it and store it.

Don’t smoke pot. Facebook is pot. It’s already killing your brain. Don’t add more.

Don’t be a hypocrite or have double standards. Be real.