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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

Fifty years of designated wilderness

Two weeks ago marked the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act.

It applies to federal designation of remote areas, not to states. States can create their own wild areas, and some do. States closest to human populations and land development seem to also be most assertive about setting aside large areas for people and animals to enjoy.

I enjoy wilderness a lot. Hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, and exploring are all activities I do in designated wilderness.

Every year I hunt Upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains, in a large designated wilderness area. Pitching a tent miles in from the trail head, the only person I see is a hunting partner. Serenity like that is tough to find unless you already live in northern Vermont, Maine, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming or Alaska. It’s a valuable thing, that tranquility.

This summer my young son sat in my lap late at night, watching shooting stars against an already unbelievably starry sky. Loons cried out all around us. A gentle breeze rustled the leaves on the birch trees above us and caused the lake to lap against our rocky shore.

Only by driving a long way north, and then canoeing on a designated wilderness lake, and camping on a designated wilderness island in that lake, were we able to find such peace and quiet. No one else was anywhere around us. We were totally alone, with our camp fires, firewood chores, fishing rods, and deep sleeps in the cold tent.

These are memories likely to make my son smile even as he ages and grapples with responsibilities and challenges of adulthood. We couldn’t do it without wilderness.

Wilderness is a touchstone for a frontier nation like America. Wilderness equals freedom of movement, freedom of action. The same sort of freedoms that instigated insurrection against the British monarchy. American frontiersmen became accustomed to individual liberty unlike anything seen in Western Civilization. They enshrined those liberties in our Constitution.

Sure, there are some frustrations associated with managing wilderness.

Out West, wilderness designation has become a politicized fight over access to valuable minerals under the ground. Access usually involves roads, and roads are the antithesis of a wild experience.

Given the large amount of publicly owned land in the West, I cannot help but wonder if there isn’t some bartering that could go on to resolve these fights. Take multiple use public land and designate it as wilderness, so other areas can responsibly yield their valuable minerals. Plenty of present day public land was once heavily logged, farmed, ranched, and mined, but those scars are long gone.

You can hike all day in a Gold Mine Creek basin and find one tiny miner’s shack from 1902. All other signs have washed away, been covered up by new layers of soil, etc. So there is precedent for taking once-used land and letting it heal to the point where we visitors would swear it is pristine.

Out East, where we have large hardwood forests, occasionally, huge valuable timber falls over in wilderness areas, and the financially hard-pressed locals could surely use the income from retrieving, milling, and selling lumber from those trees. But wilderness rules usually require such behemoths to stay where they lay, symbols of an old forest rarely seen anywhere today. They can be seen as profligate waste, I understand that. I also understand that some now-rare salamanders might only make their homes under these rotting giant logs, and nowhere else.

Seeing the yellow-on-black body of the salamander makes me think of the starry night sky filled with shooting stars. A rare thing of beauty in a world full of bustle, noise, voices, and concrete. For me, I’ll take the salamander.

Like James Foley, I am an Islamophobe

Muslim terrorists beheading people with kitchen knives don’t survive in a vacuum. They don’t spontaneously appear from thin air.

They come from Muslim communities, Middle Eastern and Western. They have tremendous support across great swathes of a 1.2 billion person population. They are, in fact, executing and implementing Islam exactly as the Koran demands.

That’s why there is no Muslim peace movement.  It’s why there is no Muslim demonstration for Israel, Christians, or Yazidis. There are no Muslim-on-Muslim rumbles over jihad.

Instead, there are quiet supporters, indifferent bystanders, and active participants.

Reporter James Foley traveled to Syria to talk about the civilians there. Their challenges. Their aspirations. He was inclined to report on the daily atrocities by Assad’s forces and he was inclined to overlook the revolutionaries’ own barbarity.

Nonetheless, Foley was representative of Western civilization, so the Islamic activists took him prisoner, beat him, mistreated him, and finally cut off his head on video.

I watched his video. Foley was brave, even as his murderer lifted his chin and began sawing away with a knife. He tried to yell as the knife sliced deeply through his neck, it seems as a last act of defiance, because he still did not struggle. The video ends with James’ bloody head placed on his back besides his cuffed hands.

If you’re not phobic about this behavior, then there’s something wrong with you. Being phobic about Islam is a natural reaction among those who love life, justice, fairness, kindness, gentleness, mercy, and brotherhood.

Being called an “Islamophobe” is no bad thing.  It means you’re a sane person of good values. You stand for goodness above evil. Any normal American would be an Islamophobe; there’s zero in common between Islam and America. Nothing. Zilch.

I am an “Islamophobe,” like James Foley, God rest him, a brave American.

 

Invasive plants, your new job

Invasive plants like Tree of Heaven (ailanthus, a tree with orange seed pods that just seem to pop up around your property), Asian bittersweet (little vines that quickly become Tarzan-big vines), mile-a-minute, Japanese honeysuckle, Russian olive, barberry, multiflora rose, parasitic ornamental grape vines, and so on, are all becoming a huge problem in our forests.

Each of these plants displaces and suppresses native, helpful plants.

Out west, there are entire regions where it is actually illegal to have invasive weeds on your property.  If the county conservation staff find those weeds on your land, you can be fined a lot of money.  Why would property rights-driven Westerners embrace a law like that?  Wouldn’t they pooh-pooh plants?

Because invasive weeds carry a substantial financial cost, people who make their living off the land have a healthy abhorrence of these bad plants.  They are so quick to take over the landscape, and provide few to no benefits to people or animals.

Pennsylvania’s native forests are an important source of wildlife habitat, clean air, clean water, scenic beauty, recreation, and income.  Yet, our forests are becoming increasingly overrun by non-native invasive plants and trees.  Ailanthus is especially egregious.  It got its start and continues to spread from public roadsides, where PennDot and the PA Turnpike Commission have failed to control it.  The impact of ailanthus on our forests is becoming a real cost consideration.

It is time to have a public policy and a public agency work more seriously on the challenge posed by invasive weeds.

Long live Kurdistan!

The Kurds are an old ethnic and linguistic group in the Middle East, and they are the largest ethnic group in the region to not have had a homeland in the modern era.

The Kurdish homeland was broken up in the 1920s by the winners of World War I, and the various pieces were rudely tossed into the aggregated melting pots that became Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel.

But as Iraq and Syria have disintegrated, the Kurds there have naturally coalesced into their historic homeland, bolstering their communities.  And they are motivated, powerful warriors, whose culture is highly secularized and pro-West.

The result is that Kurdistan exists in all but name, and this week the Kurds took formal control of Mosul, a huge and symbolic city formerly in Iraq.  Congratulations, Kurds!

What is so intriguing is the Kurds have received zero support from the political Left, who are in love with the murderous culture of hate and evil developed by the so-called “Palestinians,” an ad-hoc ethnically and linguistically diverse group of people mostly emanating from the regional Bedouin.

More or less the Arabs in and around Israel have been turned into international heroes for murdering children and opposing the only indigenous ethnic group there – the Jews.  Never was there a “Palestine,” never was there a “Palestinian people,” and the egregious lying necessary to invent this anti-Israel movement prompted Newt Gingrich to call these Arabs “the invented people” in 2012.

In fact, the so-called “Palestinians” are the best representatives of Islamic imperialism and Arab colonialism, two forces on a collision course with America.

So once again, the Left (the American Friends Service Committee being the worst; how is it that the Quakers of all religious groups became so radicalized that they promote murder and mayhem?) is supporting the bad guys, the violent evil people, the inhuman butchers, and again doing nothing to support the good guys, the Kurds, or the Tibetans for that matter.  When Kurdistan is finally recognized as the free, stand-alone nation it is, it will be a big step forward for the good guys.

Long Live Kurdistan.

Harrisburg Auction Does Well

With the moose head, elk rack, and bison skull in the back of my pickup truck, I can look past Guernsey’s poor organization that kept me and dozens of other buyers standing in line, in the heat, for no apparent reason.

Today’s bidding at the carousel on City Island was surprising. People were paying top dollar for every little item brought before them. Auctions typically have “nests” of buyers who are interested in particular types of things. Today, bidding was highly competitive across the entire audience and from all corners of the room.

Once again, Steve Reed may have screwed up, but it’s rare that screw-ups get redeemed so well. The cit
-tay is raking in big cash. Ironic as it is that the warehouse full of artifacts is literally in the shadow of the anchor, errr, incinerator.

I’m sad to see this part of our city’s history end. But if the address on the crate holding my moose is any indication, it’s a period and way of doing business we need to improve on in the future. The crate says :”To Brian Kelley, Museum, S 19th Street…,” which is the exact location of the city’s incinerator. What kind of a loony bin was being run here?