Day: January 4, 2018

The Last Jedi and the New Atheism


 

This last month premiered the latest chapter in one of the most successful movie franchises in history: Star Wars.  The movie titled Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues George Lucas’s space fantasy, which has captivated millions with diverse themes like good versus evil, the Force, justice, and freedom and characters such as Han Solo, Darth Vader, and Yoda.  The newest installment of the saga focuses on the character of Luke Skywalker as the Last Jedi and the biggest threat to the evil First Order.  Yet Luke’s portrayal in the movie is a representation of the world we will live in if atheism – or its current version, New Atheism – triumphs over faith.

The Last Jedi continues the storyline established for the newest Star Wars trilogy in The Force Awakens as the Resistance looks for, finds, and hopes to recruit Jedi master Luke Skywalker to the cause.  Rey, the new trilogy’s main protagonist, does indeed find Luke in the end of episode VII and in the new movie tries to recruit Luke to fight for the Resistance.  However, the hero of the rebellion is a broken image of his former self.  The Skywalker we see in this movie is not the one from the Return of the Jedi, who held hope for the future, the Force, and redemption and who also had a purpose.  He’s a Skywalker deprived of hope in the Force and the Jedi, rejecting redemption in the case of Kylo Ren, and is without purpose, simply waiting to die.  This Skywalker has the same characteristics our society faces in light of the continued assault on religion and faith by New Atheism.

St. Augustine argued that in ourselves we have longing for fulfillment, true and lasting happiness – in other words, the characteristic that wouldn’t exist in an atheist society.  This characteristic is called hope.  We may have hope in achieving our favorite professions, love with partners, or successes that will shape our entire lives, yet after all of this is fulfilled, we will not be satisfied.  In Luke we see great hope in Jedi teachings, the redemption of Darth Vader, and the creation of a new Jedi temple, thus he has achieved great things.

Nevertheless, suffering comes in with the failure of Ben Solo and the destruction of his fledgling new Jedi order.  But unlike Job, who experiences suffering but as a righteous man never loses faith, Luke loses hope and faith in the divinity that is the Force.  Consequently, we have a broken, disappointed master Jedi devoid of hope and purpose, waiting for death.  But as the movie progresses, we see Luke regain purpose and faith in the Force, ultimately becoming one with the Force, thus achieving the fulfillment of his life and work.  

In The Last Jedi, we see Luke’s atheism on full display as he rejects the Force.  The result is a deep sense of sadness, a loss of hope and purpose, and a profound feeling of emptiness.  This is what we would expect in the purely secular society being offered by the New Atheist.  These are inevitable consequences if we remove  faith in the transcendent and the divine from our society.

A good example is how the Galactic Empire moved to erase the history of the Jedi Order and the Force by depriving the galaxy of hope, thus crushing any threat to its rule.  Nonetheless, in the rebel alliance, the continued use of the phrase “may the Force be with you” is a rallying call of hope that in all this darkness, light will surface and prevail.

If Luke’s hope was devoid of the divine force, he wouldn’t have achieved his fulfillment, much less helped the Resistance at the end of the movie.  In trusting the force, he regains hope and sees that the future of the Jedi was not going to the grave with him; rather, it was going to inspire a new generation of Force-users who would resist and ultimately defeat the First Order.

Some may say atheism does indeed give hope, but it’s a hope constrained within scientism and empiricism – better explained, a hope placed solely in what humanity can control.  As Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical Saved by Hope argued, despite failure, a sense of purposiveness, and suffering, the power of hope in God sustains us.  Luke Skywalker’s initial hopelessness and the subsequent revival of the power of hope give us the strongest indication that atheism’s triumph is society’s downfall.  As in the document from the Second Vatican Council, Joy and Hope, “[t]he future of humanity [the galaxy] lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping.”

Ojel L. Rodriguez Burgos, AKC is a freelance writer and graduate from Kings College, London.

 

This last month premiered the latest chapter in one of the most successful movie franchises in history: Star Wars.  The movie titled Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues George Lucas’s space fantasy, which has captivated millions with diverse themes like good versus evil, the Force, justice, and freedom and characters such as Han Solo, Darth Vader, and Yoda.  The newest installment of the saga focuses on the character of Luke Skywalker as the Last Jedi and the biggest threat to the evil First Order.  Yet Luke’s portrayal in the movie is a representation of the world we will live in if atheism – or its current version, New Atheism – triumphs over faith.

The Last Jedi continues the storyline established for the newest Star Wars trilogy in The Force Awakens as the Resistance looks for, finds, and hopes to recruit Jedi master Luke Skywalker to the cause.  Rey, the new trilogy’s main protagonist, does indeed find Luke in the end of episode VII and in the new movie tries to recruit Luke to fight for the Resistance.  However, the hero of the rebellion is a broken image of his former self.  The Skywalker we see in this movie is not the one from the Return of the Jedi, who held hope for the future, the Force, and redemption and who also had a purpose.  He’s a Skywalker deprived of hope in the Force and the Jedi, rejecting redemption in the case of Kylo Ren, and is without purpose, simply waiting to die.  This Skywalker has the same characteristics our society faces in light of the continued assault on religion and faith by New Atheism.

St. Augustine argued that in ourselves we have longing for fulfillment, true and lasting happiness – in other words, the characteristic that wouldn’t exist in an atheist society.  This characteristic is called hope.  We may have hope in achieving our favorite professions, love with partners, or successes that will shape our entire lives, yet after all of this is fulfilled, we will not be satisfied.  In Luke we see great hope in Jedi teachings, the redemption of Darth Vader, and the creation of a new Jedi temple, thus he has achieved great things.

Nevertheless, suffering comes in with the failure of Ben Solo and the destruction of his fledgling new Jedi order.  But unlike Job, who experiences suffering but as a righteous man never loses faith, Luke loses hope and faith in the divinity that is the Force.  Consequently, we have a broken, disappointed master Jedi devoid of hope and purpose, waiting for death.  But as the movie progresses, we see Luke regain purpose and faith in the Force, ultimately becoming one with the Force, thus achieving the fulfillment of his life and work.  

In The Last Jedi, we see Luke’s atheism on full display as he rejects the Force.  The result is a deep sense of sadness, a loss of hope and purpose, and a profound feeling of emptiness.  This is what we would expect in the purely secular society being offered by the New Atheist.  These are inevitable consequences if we remove  faith in the transcendent and the divine from our society.

A good example is how the Galactic Empire moved to erase the history of the Jedi Order and the Force by depriving the galaxy of hope, thus crushing any threat to its rule.  Nonetheless, in the rebel alliance, the continued use of the phrase “may the Force be with you” is a rallying call of hope that in all this darkness, light will surface and prevail.

If Luke’s hope was devoid of the divine force, he wouldn’t have achieved his fulfillment, much less helped the Resistance at the end of the movie.  In trusting the force, he regains hope and sees that the future of the Jedi was not going to the grave with him; rather, it was going to inspire a new generation of Force-users who would resist and ultimately defeat the First Order.

Some may say atheism does indeed give hope, but it’s a hope constrained within scientism and empiricism – better explained, a hope placed solely in what humanity can control.  As Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical Saved by Hope argued, despite failure, a sense of purposiveness, and suffering, the power of hope in God sustains us.  Luke Skywalker’s initial hopelessness and the subsequent revival of the power of hope give us the strongest indication that atheism’s triumph is society’s downfall.  As in the document from the Second Vatican Council, Joy and Hope, “[t]he future of humanity [the galaxy] lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping.”

Ojel L. Rodriguez Burgos, AKC is a freelance writer and graduate from Kings College, London.



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Trump versus Bannon: Is Trump Right?


The bubbling tensions between President Donald Trump and his former senior adviser Steve Bannon escalated into an all-out street brawl on social media Wednesday, as excerpts from Bannon in the forthcoming book Fire and Fury circulated.  Of course, the president fired back.  Trump always fires back, and it’s absolutely one reason he was nominated, then elected.  But a sober analysis of his tweeting and responses reaches the inescapable conclusion that he responds at times when he should not.

That I, a reluctant Trump-supporter, would say this draws only derision from the universe of supporters who demand 100% fealty.  But hey, even Milo, one of Trump’s early adopters and biggest supporters over the past two years, understands this dynamic.  In explaining his shocking “daddy” reference to the president, Milo stated that it has to do with the fact that while Trump’s “got your back,” he can also sometimes “make you cringe and embarrass you in front of your friends.”

I agree on all points.  So is Trump right to punch back at Bannon?  Well, yes and no.  I submit that I’m in a perfect position to comment, since I was an associate of Bannon in our fight against the Republican establishment, and it’s relevant that our professional relationship was strained when my support for Trump did not measure up to Steve’s demands.  And it’s instructive that where Steve and I disagree, I tend to be in agreement with Trump – and where I disagree with Trump, it’s often where I do agree with Bannon.

For example, Trump was totally wrong, at least in context, when he replied that “Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates” and rubbed salt into the wound by adding that “Steve had very little to do with our historic victory.”

That’s utter nonsense in context.  Yes, technically, Bannon did not join the team until the primary season was over.  But in proper context, Bannon had a major impact on Trump’s primary campaign success as the executive chairman at Breitbart prior.  It’s why he got the Trump job, for crying out loud.  For Trump to dismiss Steve’s contribution now is to make Steve’s shocking hire in the summer of 2016 look ridiculous.

Consider that for years, Breitbart, not to mention Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,  The Drudge Report, and other conservative outlets had been pretty much 100% philosophical matches for Ted Cruz, not to mention big supporters of how Scott Walker turned Wisconsin upside-down.

When all of those outlets went all in for Trump, and not Walker or Cruz, in the primary season, it had a major impact on the race.  They were worth some 2 billion dollars’ worth of free positive coverage to Trump in the primary season alone.  A study I conducted of Limbaugh’s transcripts showed about 500 million dollars’ worth of coverage on just his show.

This P.R. was a massive factor, and for those who want to make the “chicken and egg” argument – which is reasonable – I will remind you that all of those outlets, including Breitbart, were all in for Trump before Trump gained his irresistible momentum, and they are perhaps why and how he ever gained it in the first place.

This is what I had predicted in March of 2015, here and in Breitbart: that the Republican who won the “Limbaugh Breitbart talk radio internet primary” would win the nomination, period.  End of discussion.  Trump was not in the race at the time, but he clearly ended up winning that universe overall by a wide margin.  Cruz was the second fave among those platforms by a wide margin.

Not coincidentally, Trump and Cruz were 1-2 in actual voting as well.  And again, the salient point to this is that Bannon had a helluva lot to do with Trump’s win before he officially joined the campaign.  In fact, at the time, the joke was that Bannon had changed employers but had retained the same job: as “Trump’s campaign manager.”

Then there’s the general election campaign itself.  There is no way to minimize the contributions that both Bannon and Kellyanne Conway made to the efforts.  We’ll never know for sure what might have happened, but we do know that Trump’s polls improved mightily after those two took charge and that in the end, the national pollsters were almost spot-on accurate with the popular vote, even if they missed the Electoral College outcome.

Something improved on Team Trump after Bannon took over, and I refuse to believe that it was coincidence.  Steve Bannon is one of the five people on the planet most responsible for Trump’s win.  Trump is numero uno, of course, but Steve is on that list, along with Drudge; Hannity; and the bumbling, boring Hillary Clinton.  Without the efforts of all five, the outcome would be different.  It was that close, and these people were all that important.

So where was Trump right?  Bannon and Alabama.  Forget the specifics of Roy Moore and the accusers for a second, and keep in mind that in general, Steve Bannon loathes the Republican establishment even more than he loathes the Democratic left.  And he guides the content at Breitbart consistently with that emphasis.

The fact is, the despicable Mitch McConnell should’ve never stuck his nose, and his super-PAC money, into that primary in the first place on behalf of Luther Strange.  Trump should not have endorsed him, and Moore should have never entered.  Mo Brooks was a perfectly suitable candidate who would almost always vote for Trump’s agenda, who could’ve beaten Strange – and any Democrat.

Remember: there are ten Democrat senators in Trump states facing election in 2018, and those are easier primaries to win without an establishment incumbent to deal with.  Moreover, the risk of handing the gavel to Chuck Schumer is lessened, not increased, by focusing on these.

But Bannon wants to “burn it all down,” meaning primarily the Republican establishment.  I prefer overwhelming the establishment with numbers by winning the easier primaries.

As for Bannon’s accusations regarding some of Trump’s family and other Trump supporters vis-à-vis Russia and some other issues, time will tell whether he is right or not.  I have no particular insight into those issues, only predicting that the entire Russia collusion story will end up as nothing. 

In the meantime, a Trump versus Bannon fight is not helpful to anyone who wants to keep the socialist Democrat statists in check.  When the fighting is intramural, we get the disaster of Alabama.  When we keep our eye on the ball, we get the tax reform win.  I want more wins, fewer Alabamas in the coming year. 

Edmund Wright is a longtime contributor to American Thinker, Breitbart, and Newsmax TV and the author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment LostAgain

The bubbling tensions between President Donald Trump and his former senior adviser Steve Bannon escalated into an all-out street brawl on social media Wednesday, as excerpts from Bannon in the forthcoming book Fire and Fury circulated.  Of course, the president fired back.  Trump always fires back, and it’s absolutely one reason he was nominated, then elected.  But a sober analysis of his tweeting and responses reaches the inescapable conclusion that he responds at times when he should not.

That I, a reluctant Trump-supporter, would say this draws only derision from the universe of supporters who demand 100% fealty.  But hey, even Milo, one of Trump’s early adopters and biggest supporters over the past two years, understands this dynamic.  In explaining his shocking “daddy” reference to the president, Milo stated that it has to do with the fact that while Trump’s “got your back,” he can also sometimes “make you cringe and embarrass you in front of your friends.”

I agree on all points.  So is Trump right to punch back at Bannon?  Well, yes and no.  I submit that I’m in a perfect position to comment, since I was an associate of Bannon in our fight against the Republican establishment, and it’s relevant that our professional relationship was strained when my support for Trump did not measure up to Steve’s demands.  And it’s instructive that where Steve and I disagree, I tend to be in agreement with Trump – and where I disagree with Trump, it’s often where I do agree with Bannon.

For example, Trump was totally wrong, at least in context, when he replied that “Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates” and rubbed salt into the wound by adding that “Steve had very little to do with our historic victory.”

That’s utter nonsense in context.  Yes, technically, Bannon did not join the team until the primary season was over.  But in proper context, Bannon had a major impact on Trump’s primary campaign success as the executive chairman at Breitbart prior.  It’s why he got the Trump job, for crying out loud.  For Trump to dismiss Steve’s contribution now is to make Steve’s shocking hire in the summer of 2016 look ridiculous.

Consider that for years, Breitbart, not to mention Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,  The Drudge Report, and other conservative outlets had been pretty much 100% philosophical matches for Ted Cruz, not to mention big supporters of how Scott Walker turned Wisconsin upside-down.

When all of those outlets went all in for Trump, and not Walker or Cruz, in the primary season, it had a major impact on the race.  They were worth some 2 billion dollars’ worth of free positive coverage to Trump in the primary season alone.  A study I conducted of Limbaugh’s transcripts showed about 500 million dollars’ worth of coverage on just his show.

This P.R. was a massive factor, and for those who want to make the “chicken and egg” argument – which is reasonable – I will remind you that all of those outlets, including Breitbart, were all in for Trump before Trump gained his irresistible momentum, and they are perhaps why and how he ever gained it in the first place.

This is what I had predicted in March of 2015, here and in Breitbart: that the Republican who won the “Limbaugh Breitbart talk radio internet primary” would win the nomination, period.  End of discussion.  Trump was not in the race at the time, but he clearly ended up winning that universe overall by a wide margin.  Cruz was the second fave among those platforms by a wide margin.

Not coincidentally, Trump and Cruz were 1-2 in actual voting as well.  And again, the salient point to this is that Bannon had a helluva lot to do with Trump’s win before he officially joined the campaign.  In fact, at the time, the joke was that Bannon had changed employers but had retained the same job: as “Trump’s campaign manager.”

Then there’s the general election campaign itself.  There is no way to minimize the contributions that both Bannon and Kellyanne Conway made to the efforts.  We’ll never know for sure what might have happened, but we do know that Trump’s polls improved mightily after those two took charge and that in the end, the national pollsters were almost spot-on accurate with the popular vote, even if they missed the Electoral College outcome.

Something improved on Team Trump after Bannon took over, and I refuse to believe that it was coincidence.  Steve Bannon is one of the five people on the planet most responsible for Trump’s win.  Trump is numero uno, of course, but Steve is on that list, along with Drudge; Hannity; and the bumbling, boring Hillary Clinton.  Without the efforts of all five, the outcome would be different.  It was that close, and these people were all that important.

So where was Trump right?  Bannon and Alabama.  Forget the specifics of Roy Moore and the accusers for a second, and keep in mind that in general, Steve Bannon loathes the Republican establishment even more than he loathes the Democratic left.  And he guides the content at Breitbart consistently with that emphasis.

The fact is, the despicable Mitch McConnell should’ve never stuck his nose, and his super-PAC money, into that primary in the first place on behalf of Luther Strange.  Trump should not have endorsed him, and Moore should have never entered.  Mo Brooks was a perfectly suitable candidate who would almost always vote for Trump’s agenda, who could’ve beaten Strange – and any Democrat.

Remember: there are ten Democrat senators in Trump states facing election in 2018, and those are easier primaries to win without an establishment incumbent to deal with.  Moreover, the risk of handing the gavel to Chuck Schumer is lessened, not increased, by focusing on these.

But Bannon wants to “burn it all down,” meaning primarily the Republican establishment.  I prefer overwhelming the establishment with numbers by winning the easier primaries.

As for Bannon’s accusations regarding some of Trump’s family and other Trump supporters vis-à-vis Russia and some other issues, time will tell whether he is right or not.  I have no particular insight into those issues, only predicting that the entire Russia collusion story will end up as nothing. 

In the meantime, a Trump versus Bannon fight is not helpful to anyone who wants to keep the socialist Democrat statists in check.  When the fighting is intramural, we get the disaster of Alabama.  When we keep our eye on the ball, we get the tax reform win.  I want more wins, fewer Alabamas in the coming year. 

Edmund Wright is a longtime contributor to American Thinker, Breitbart, and Newsmax TV and the author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment LostAgain



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Five Myths about Jihadi Radicalization


“You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth,” Winston Churchill famously stated.  The Islamist tiger in the United States is ready to pounce, and until Americans understand this enemy, we cannot even begin to fight back.  Dispelling myths about jihadist radicalization is only the beginning.

Myth #1: Poor, uneducated, downtrodden youths are more likely to become jihadists.

Many school administrators, local politicians, and community members believe that young adults have a greater chance of becoming jihadists if they hail from an underprivileged, deprived neighborhood.  Their solution is to fundraise for after-school programs and free lunches, believing that this will keep the youth “out of trouble.”  This 1960s thinking will not solve the jihadist problem because it is not about money or more programs.  It is about an extreme ideology and belief system.

According to a 2016 World Bank study, most jihadists grew up in a middle-class family and earned at least a college degree.  “There is no link between poverty or educational levels and radicalization.”

According to the Gatestone Institute, “Britain’s MI5 revealed that ‘two-thirds of the British suspects have a middle-class profile and those who want to be suicide bombers are often the most educated.”

Jihadi leaders who used their fortunes and education for jihad include:

  • Osama bin Laden: estimated net worth $300 million, studied at King Abdulaziz University and summer at Oxford.
  • Ayman al-Zawahiri: head of al-Qaeda, was a medical doctor.
  • Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: the “underwear bomber,” had a degree from University College in London.
  • Omar Saeed Sheik: terrorist who was convicted of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl, attended the London School of Economics.

Fourteen-, fifteen-, and sixteen-year-old girls, all honor students from middle-class families, left London to join ISIS in Syria, where one of them, Kadiza Sultana, was killed in an airstrike.

Myth #2: Radicalized jihadists are deranged, psychopathic criminals.

It seems far-fetched for an American adolescent to willingly leave home to fight for jihad.  Yet three honor-roll high school girls from an upper-class Colorado neighborhood joined ISIS online and planned to board an airliner headed east when they were intercepted (rescued) by the FBI.  In addition, a straight-A, all-American couple (one of whom was a popular cheerleader) planned to celebrate their honeymoon in Syria with ISIS before they were convicted of terrorism.  A single American mother of two planned to join the caliphate, leaving her children as orphans, until undercover FBI agents arrested her.

A RAND Corporation study found that “terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated[,] or afflicted by mental disease.  Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy.  Terrorist leaders tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”

Psychiatrist and George Washington University professor Dr. Jerrold Post stated, “[N]ormal people, not psychopaths or criminals, generally become radicalized.  Unexceptional people are moved to exceptional violence.”  Crazy people are more likely to be victims of jihadists than members of a terrorist organization.  Yearning for emotional security, purpose, and a routine, many teens are manipulated into believing in fundamentalist Islam and make some very bad decisions.

Myth #3: People are driven to terrorism by religious inequality and lack of social justice.

Jihadi recruiters create strategies to manipulate vulnerable youths by using religious, political, or psychological lures.  College students are particularly vulnerable and may become enamored with a charismatic professor, a political or religious club member, or chat room recruiters.

Social media are the most common avenue for jihadi recruiting.  Quantum Researchers found many reasons for joining jihad, none of which involves social injustice, discrimination, or inequality.  Lonely, isolated teens unsure of their identity, searching for redemption or vindication from sin; thrill-seekers searching for adventure; and justice-seekers hoping to right a wrong are ripe for indoctrination.

Myth #4: Lone wolves are individuals who radicalize themselves online in their basements.

The term “lone wolf” means that the perpetrator of the terrorist attack did so without any affiliation or influence from a larger group, completely on his own.  Terror does not occur in a vacuum.  With opportunities online, in mosques, in schools, at open lectures, and at social events, people don’t become radicalized on their own.

The FBI created the term “known wolves” because suspects were being watched or were on the radar, but police were not aware of behavior warranting arrest.

Extremists do not suddenly become terrorists by reading an article online or meeting someone at an event.  Radicalization is a process that requires an internal and external element together.

First, internally, there may be an emptiness, loneliness, or incompleteness that provides the recruiter the opportunity to exploit the youth who is looking for some relief.  Second, the external element is a radical recruiter, imam, or mosque member who approaches the prospective jihadi.  When the internal and external elements meet, the opportunity to radicalize occurs.  A so-called “lone wolf” may be internally exposed, usually online in a chat room, but must meet a handler to bring him through the radicalization process.

Myth #5: All people have the same values and want the same things.

Which bumper sticker works better for you: “death is art” or “coexist”?

It depends on your values.  Most Western leaders ignore, rationalize, or deny sharia law and the Quran, as if they will change or become negotiable.  But it is undeniable that radical Muslims will never compromise on their endgame as written: complete and total Islamist supremacy.  “Allahu akbar!” means “Our god is greater” (than yours), therefore jihadists seek to convince all non-Muslims, or infidels, to follow sharia law.

All people do not want the same things in life or in death.  Islamists believe they are doing the “right thing” by cleansing the world of the infidel.  When the martyr (shaheed) dies, it is believed that 70 members of his family will receive a “get into heaven free card.”  The so-called martyr himself will receive hero status and 72 virgins.  These extreme jihadist Muslims look forward to death when they can look beyond life on Earth.  Seeking the highest rewards after death, as specifically prescribed in the Quran, is one of the highest Muslim honors.  All of life’s decisions are prescribed by the Quran.

By dispelling myths and understanding ourselves, our adversaries, and the dangers before us, we can better face the security challenges ahead.  Remember the wisdom of Winston Churchill: “[o]ne ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”  Good advice.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Preventing Radicalization in Our Neighborhoods.  To pre-order the book, go to www.backyardcaliphate.com.

“You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth,” Winston Churchill famously stated.  The Islamist tiger in the United States is ready to pounce, and until Americans understand this enemy, we cannot even begin to fight back.  Dispelling myths about jihadist radicalization is only the beginning.

Myth #1: Poor, uneducated, downtrodden youths are more likely to become jihadists.

Many school administrators, local politicians, and community members believe that young adults have a greater chance of becoming jihadists if they hail from an underprivileged, deprived neighborhood.  Their solution is to fundraise for after-school programs and free lunches, believing that this will keep the youth “out of trouble.”  This 1960s thinking will not solve the jihadist problem because it is not about money or more programs.  It is about an extreme ideology and belief system.

According to a 2016 World Bank study, most jihadists grew up in a middle-class family and earned at least a college degree.  “There is no link between poverty or educational levels and radicalization.”

According to the Gatestone Institute, “Britain’s MI5 revealed that ‘two-thirds of the British suspects have a middle-class profile and those who want to be suicide bombers are often the most educated.”

Jihadi leaders who used their fortunes and education for jihad include:

  • Osama bin Laden: estimated net worth $300 million, studied at King Abdulaziz University and summer at Oxford.
  • Ayman al-Zawahiri: head of al-Qaeda, was a medical doctor.
  • Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: the “underwear bomber,” had a degree from University College in London.
  • Omar Saeed Sheik: terrorist who was convicted of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl, attended the London School of Economics.

Fourteen-, fifteen-, and sixteen-year-old girls, all honor students from middle-class families, left London to join ISIS in Syria, where one of them, Kadiza Sultana, was killed in an airstrike.

Myth #2: Radicalized jihadists are deranged, psychopathic criminals.

It seems far-fetched for an American adolescent to willingly leave home to fight for jihad.  Yet three honor-roll high school girls from an upper-class Colorado neighborhood joined ISIS online and planned to board an airliner headed east when they were intercepted (rescued) by the FBI.  In addition, a straight-A, all-American couple (one of whom was a popular cheerleader) planned to celebrate their honeymoon in Syria with ISIS before they were convicted of terrorism.  A single American mother of two planned to join the caliphate, leaving her children as orphans, until undercover FBI agents arrested her.

A RAND Corporation study found that “terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated[,] or afflicted by mental disease.  Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy.  Terrorist leaders tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”

Psychiatrist and George Washington University professor Dr. Jerrold Post stated, “[N]ormal people, not psychopaths or criminals, generally become radicalized.  Unexceptional people are moved to exceptional violence.”  Crazy people are more likely to be victims of jihadists than members of a terrorist organization.  Yearning for emotional security, purpose, and a routine, many teens are manipulated into believing in fundamentalist Islam and make some very bad decisions.

Myth #3: People are driven to terrorism by religious inequality and lack of social justice.

Jihadi recruiters create strategies to manipulate vulnerable youths by using religious, political, or psychological lures.  College students are particularly vulnerable and may become enamored with a charismatic professor, a political or religious club member, or chat room recruiters.

Social media are the most common avenue for jihadi recruiting.  Quantum Researchers found many reasons for joining jihad, none of which involves social injustice, discrimination, or inequality.  Lonely, isolated teens unsure of their identity, searching for redemption or vindication from sin; thrill-seekers searching for adventure; and justice-seekers hoping to right a wrong are ripe for indoctrination.

Myth #4: Lone wolves are individuals who radicalize themselves online in their basements.

The term “lone wolf” means that the perpetrator of the terrorist attack did so without any affiliation or influence from a larger group, completely on his own.  Terror does not occur in a vacuum.  With opportunities online, in mosques, in schools, at open lectures, and at social events, people don’t become radicalized on their own.

The FBI created the term “known wolves” because suspects were being watched or were on the radar, but police were not aware of behavior warranting arrest.

Extremists do not suddenly become terrorists by reading an article online or meeting someone at an event.  Radicalization is a process that requires an internal and external element together.

First, internally, there may be an emptiness, loneliness, or incompleteness that provides the recruiter the opportunity to exploit the youth who is looking for some relief.  Second, the external element is a radical recruiter, imam, or mosque member who approaches the prospective jihadi.  When the internal and external elements meet, the opportunity to radicalize occurs.  A so-called “lone wolf” may be internally exposed, usually online in a chat room, but must meet a handler to bring him through the radicalization process.

Myth #5: All people have the same values and want the same things.

Which bumper sticker works better for you: “death is art” or “coexist”?

It depends on your values.  Most Western leaders ignore, rationalize, or deny sharia law and the Quran, as if they will change or become negotiable.  But it is undeniable that radical Muslims will never compromise on their endgame as written: complete and total Islamist supremacy.  “Allahu akbar!” means “Our god is greater” (than yours), therefore jihadists seek to convince all non-Muslims, or infidels, to follow sharia law.

All people do not want the same things in life or in death.  Islamists believe they are doing the “right thing” by cleansing the world of the infidel.  When the martyr (shaheed) dies, it is believed that 70 members of his family will receive a “get into heaven free card.”  The so-called martyr himself will receive hero status and 72 virgins.  These extreme jihadist Muslims look forward to death when they can look beyond life on Earth.  Seeking the highest rewards after death, as specifically prescribed in the Quran, is one of the highest Muslim honors.  All of life’s decisions are prescribed by the Quran.

By dispelling myths and understanding ourselves, our adversaries, and the dangers before us, we can better face the security challenges ahead.  Remember the wisdom of Winston Churchill: “[o]ne ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”  Good advice.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Preventing Radicalization in Our Neighborhoods.  To pre-order the book, go to www.backyardcaliphate.com.



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Jail Hillary and Huma, Not Kristian Saucier


Most Americans are not familiar with the name of Kristian Saucier, but they should be.  He is the U.S. Navy sailor sentenced to prison for taking pictures inside the nuclear submarine he served in.  He was not a spy for a foreign power.  He had no intent, to coin a phrase, to do anything with these photos except keep them as personal memories of his proud and honorable service.

A [U.S.] Navy sailor was sentenced on Friday to a year in prison for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine while it was in port in Connecticut.


Kristian Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, appeared in federal court in Bridgeport, where a judge also ordered him to serve six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring during a three-year period of supervised release after the prison time.  He pleaded guilty in May to unauthorized detention of defense information and had faced five to six years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.


Saucier admitted to taking six photos of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria in 2009 when it was in Groton and he was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the submarine.  The photos showed the nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel[,] and the maneuvering compartment, prosecutors said.


Saucier took the photos knowing they were classified, but did so only to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy, his lawyers said.  He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.

No doubt Saucier watched with bitterly ironic interest as the email scandals involving former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and aide Huma Abedin unfolded with tales of private servers, mishandled classified emails, smashed devices, and scrubbed hard drives.  After all that, despite laying out a case for Hillary’s indictment and incarceration, FBI director James Comey, who was writing her exoneration memo before even conducting a sham of an investigation, said no prosecutor worth his salt would bring a case because Hillary lacked “intent” even though the law regarding mishandling of classified information does not require intent.

Yet prosecutors did not require “intent” to prosecute Kristian Saucier, did they, Mr. Comey?  He was neither “grossly negligent” or “extremely careless,” but rather taking a few pictures to show his grandchildren.  His life turned upside-down, he watches Hillary and Huma get a free pass up to this point, poster children for the Clinton adage that laws are for the little people.

Saucier took six photos for his memory book, whereas Huma Abedin was forwarding classified material that she and her boss, Hillary Clinton, were mishandling to a laptop Abedin’s sexual predator husband, Anthony Weiner, had access to and emails containing State Department passwords to a Yahoo email account foreign actors had hacked:

Huma Abedin forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account before every single Yahoo account was hacked, a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of emails released as part of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch shows.


Abedin, the top aide to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, used her insecure personal email provider to conduct sensitive work.  This guarantees that an account with high-level correspondence in Clinton’s State Department was impacted by one or more of a series of breaches – at least one of which was perpetrated by a “state-sponsored actor.”


The U.S. later charged Russian intelligence agent Igor Sushchin with hacking 500 million Yahoo email accounts.  The initial hack occurred in 2014 and allowed his associates to access accounts into 2015 and 2016 by using forged cookies.  Sushchin also worked for the Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, which paid former [p]resident Bill Clinton $500,000 for a June 2010 speech in Moscow.

Which put America’s national security at risk: Saucier’s photos or Hillary’s and Huma’s handling of classified emails?  Saucier is understandably bitter at the double standard applied in his low-level case, which ruined his life, while Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton remain free:

A former U.S. Navy sailor has fallen on hard times after serving a year in jail for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear submarine, and says a tweet by President Trump on Tuesday morning has restored his hope for a pardon.


Kristian Saucier, of Arlington, Vt., told Fox News in an interview Tuesday he is on the verge of losing his home, which is in foreclosure, and is unable to pay all his bills, despite working at least 70 hours a week as a trash collector[.] …


Trump – who raised the possibility of pardoning Saucier a year ago but had not since mentioned the case publicly, tweeted on Tuesday morning: “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on the submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others.”


Saucier told Fox News the tweet fills him with renewed hope the president may come through with a pardon.  The felony conviction, paired with a dishonorable discharge and stripping of veteran disability benefits, ha[s] made it difficult for Saucier to earn enough money to support his family.


“We’re hopeful with that tweet today,” said Saucier, referring to himself and his wife, Sadie.  “He mentioned me quite a few times when he was campaigning, and said it was a double standard how Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin were handled.  I mishandled low-level class information and they went after me with the full weight of the government.  Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin flagrantly mishandled high-level information, making it available to a pedophile, and they get away with it.”

Hopefully, they will not continue to get away with it.  Huma Abedin is a felon, as is her boss, Hillary Clinton.  They have benefited from a criminal conspiracy to cover up their crimes and bring down duly elected President Trump, a conspiracy involving James Comey; deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe; FBI agent Peter Strzok, who interviewed both Hillary and Huma; FBI counsel James Baker; DOJ official Bruce Ohr; and even Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  The question is not whether we need another special counsel, but how many more, if you throw in Uranium One and the fake dossier Hillary and the DNC paid for.  Infrastructure?  How about adding a Clinton wing at Leavenworth?

And one more thing: Kristian Saucier should be pardoned in a public White House ceremony.  The parents of traitor Bowe Bergdahl were welcomed by President Obama.  Unlike Bergdahl, who walks free while counting his back pay, Kristian Saucier, as Susan Rice might say, genuinely served his country with honor and distinction.

Saucier made a mistake.  Hillary and Huma committed crimes.  The only pictures in their future should be frontal and profile shots with their inmate numbers underneath.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investors Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications. 

Most Americans are not familiar with the name of Kristian Saucier, but they should be.  He is the U.S. Navy sailor sentenced to prison for taking pictures inside the nuclear submarine he served in.  He was not a spy for a foreign power.  He had no intent, to coin a phrase, to do anything with these photos except keep them as personal memories of his proud and honorable service.

A [U.S.] Navy sailor was sentenced on Friday to a year in prison for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine while it was in port in Connecticut.


Kristian Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, appeared in federal court in Bridgeport, where a judge also ordered him to serve six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring during a three-year period of supervised release after the prison time.  He pleaded guilty in May to unauthorized detention of defense information and had faced five to six years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.


Saucier admitted to taking six photos of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria in 2009 when it was in Groton and he was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the submarine.  The photos showed the nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel[,] and the maneuvering compartment, prosecutors said.


Saucier took the photos knowing they were classified, but did so only to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy, his lawyers said.  He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.

No doubt Saucier watched with bitterly ironic interest as the email scandals involving former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and aide Huma Abedin unfolded with tales of private servers, mishandled classified emails, smashed devices, and scrubbed hard drives.  After all that, despite laying out a case for Hillary’s indictment and incarceration, FBI director James Comey, who was writing her exoneration memo before even conducting a sham of an investigation, said no prosecutor worth his salt would bring a case because Hillary lacked “intent” even though the law regarding mishandling of classified information does not require intent.

Yet prosecutors did not require “intent” to prosecute Kristian Saucier, did they, Mr. Comey?  He was neither “grossly negligent” or “extremely careless,” but rather taking a few pictures to show his grandchildren.  His life turned upside-down, he watches Hillary and Huma get a free pass up to this point, poster children for the Clinton adage that laws are for the little people.

Saucier took six photos for his memory book, whereas Huma Abedin was forwarding classified material that she and her boss, Hillary Clinton, were mishandling to a laptop Abedin’s sexual predator husband, Anthony Weiner, had access to and emails containing State Department passwords to a Yahoo email account foreign actors had hacked:

Huma Abedin forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account before every single Yahoo account was hacked, a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of emails released as part of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch shows.


Abedin, the top aide to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, used her insecure personal email provider to conduct sensitive work.  This guarantees that an account with high-level correspondence in Clinton’s State Department was impacted by one or more of a series of breaches – at least one of which was perpetrated by a “state-sponsored actor.”


The U.S. later charged Russian intelligence agent Igor Sushchin with hacking 500 million Yahoo email accounts.  The initial hack occurred in 2014 and allowed his associates to access accounts into 2015 and 2016 by using forged cookies.  Sushchin also worked for the Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, which paid former [p]resident Bill Clinton $500,000 for a June 2010 speech in Moscow.

Which put America’s national security at risk: Saucier’s photos or Hillary’s and Huma’s handling of classified emails?  Saucier is understandably bitter at the double standard applied in his low-level case, which ruined his life, while Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton remain free:

A former U.S. Navy sailor has fallen on hard times after serving a year in jail for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear submarine, and says a tweet by President Trump on Tuesday morning has restored his hope for a pardon.


Kristian Saucier, of Arlington, Vt., told Fox News in an interview Tuesday he is on the verge of losing his home, which is in foreclosure, and is unable to pay all his bills, despite working at least 70 hours a week as a trash collector[.] …


Trump – who raised the possibility of pardoning Saucier a year ago but had not since mentioned the case publicly, tweeted on Tuesday morning: “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on the submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others.”


Saucier told Fox News the tweet fills him with renewed hope the president may come through with a pardon.  The felony conviction, paired with a dishonorable discharge and stripping of veteran disability benefits, ha[s] made it difficult for Saucier to earn enough money to support his family.


“We’re hopeful with that tweet today,” said Saucier, referring to himself and his wife, Sadie.  “He mentioned me quite a few times when he was campaigning, and said it was a double standard how Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin were handled.  I mishandled low-level class information and they went after me with the full weight of the government.  Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin flagrantly mishandled high-level information, making it available to a pedophile, and they get away with it.”

Hopefully, they will not continue to get away with it.  Huma Abedin is a felon, as is her boss, Hillary Clinton.  They have benefited from a criminal conspiracy to cover up their crimes and bring down duly elected President Trump, a conspiracy involving James Comey; deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe; FBI agent Peter Strzok, who interviewed both Hillary and Huma; FBI counsel James Baker; DOJ official Bruce Ohr; and even Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  The question is not whether we need another special counsel, but how many more, if you throw in Uranium One and the fake dossier Hillary and the DNC paid for.  Infrastructure?  How about adding a Clinton wing at Leavenworth?

And one more thing: Kristian Saucier should be pardoned in a public White House ceremony.  The parents of traitor Bowe Bergdahl were welcomed by President Obama.  Unlike Bergdahl, who walks free while counting his back pay, Kristian Saucier, as Susan Rice might say, genuinely served his country with honor and distinction.

Saucier made a mistake.  Hillary and Huma committed crimes.  The only pictures in their future should be frontal and profile shots with their inmate numbers underneath.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investors Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications. 



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The Bloodless War against American Exceptionalism


 

Unprecedented social and political conflict was laid bare in 2017, the likes of which have seldom been seen before.  Our American social fabric is in tatters.  We are looking less enlightened and more divided than at any time since the Civil War.  Progressives on both seaboards are in a battle for political supremacy over old-school thinkers.  Boundaries are analogous to a resurrection of the Mason-Dixon line, except it’s now the East and West Coasts versus the rest of America.  Comparing more recent history, we look even less unified than we did in the 1960s – which says something painful about our current political climate.  What’s it all about?

It’s about cognitive dissonance and the hatred of one prominent man: our courageous president, Donald Trump.  Because of a startling election victory and the president’s penchant for keeping promises, hideous lies, innuendo, and insults fly from liberal and conservative mouths alike.  Mainly powered by vitriolic progressive henchmen, this election was largely misunderstood by the over-privileged and their cronies.  Zero tolerance for opposing opinions has been widespread.  Meanwhile, the world laughs at the comedic chasing down of an imaginary Russian menace.

As parents, we have sacrificed to put our young people through college and graduate school only to have them emerge with damaged attitudes and socialist beliefs.  Some poorly advised students unwisely shouldered huge college loans.  When they failed to make good on their promissory notes in a fashion commensurate with their earning power, they believed that society should rescue them from their irresponsible choices.  Bernie lost the primary, their socialist ideals crumbled, and they turned to his opponent for consolation.

In the previous century, American citizens would have graciously accepted the election results and moved on with their lives.  Instead of raucous protest, they went back to raising their children and quietly making positive changes within their communities.  Generally, only a few kooks dove off the deep end to lead marches against the establishment.  In bygone days, none acted out like the maniacal banshees currently screaming at the heavens over their lost election.  This achieves nothing, but it demonstrates how foolishly self-involved they are in their attempts to derail this president.

Our new president’s modus operandi continues to prick the softer psyches of the social justice warriors who insist on brutal intervention against those who do not agree with them.  They believe that Trump is taking us backward, but they do not realize how the previous administration was leading us into financial ruin, perpetual social unrest, and quite possibly a world war.  Their belief that the “popular vote” was more important than the Electoral College is a damning commentary on their ignorance.  The Founders understood the need for balance and fairness while extending inclusivity to a vast and diverse national population.  Now it is more critical than ever.

The media are largely to blame.  Their ideological hyperbole is like a plague that never quite disappears.  Frankly, I’m amazed that so many journalists have such little regard for truth-telling and for following the old journalistic code of honoring objectivity.  In many ways, it is akin to a physician’s code of “do no harm.”  But these media are doing harm by siding with any party.  Originally, they were intended to be watchdogs for our Republic – not opinion-generators or facilitators of rage.  Unfortunately, the left’s “in your face” political pedanticism rages on, fueled by dishonesty and revenge.

Academics are the most seriously afflicted.  Many have morphed into disruptive archetypal leaders.  Simpering young progressives, coddled by their egotistical superiors, are propagating radical social engineering while provoking hatred against those who disagree.  Their ill conceived prejudices and selfish forms of social justice are twisted, relentless, and unforgiving.  Delighted with their egocentric superiority, they see themselves as overlords of the “peasant class.”  Why?  It’s because they possess an expensive education.  Such feudalistic attitudes have been rejected time and again over the millennia.  This is why Trump was elected.  By traditional definition, he is not a politician.  However, he is playing by the cutthroat rules invented by the left.  Ironically, leftists don’t like the turnabout, stating that his attitudes are “unpresidential.”

At the beginning of President Trump’s administration, several friends informed me that if I supported the Republican Party or any of its ideals, our relationship would end.  I do not support, nor have I ever supported anyone based on religious, racial, or political affiliation.  Neither will I be intimidated.  My proposal is this: let’s elect diverse leaders with common sense, who will put their countrymen first, demonstrating sympathy to others but only when Americans of all stripes regain an equal footing in their own nation.  Progressivism erodes the sand from beneath our feet.

As we have become painfully aware, social media are spectacularly effective at getting one’s opinion published but have escalated the war.  Those who hurl their negative opinions across the internet are often unprincipled instigators of unrest.  Contributing nothing constructive, they trade in ignorant name-calling, taunts, and obscenities – no facts.  In the adult world, this is unacceptable.  Civil discussion is preferable to street fights.  This is a bloodless war, but nonetheless damaging to our national cohesion.

Faceless internet attacks are one thing, but personal attacks are quite another.  The incendiary rhetoric I’ve personally experienced is amusing but sad.  My main progressive demons are two people whom I formerly admired and loved.  One is an academic, now steeped in anti-American policy, while the other was my best friend of thirty-five years.  Both are blind to anything short of the deification of our previous commander-in-chief, plus both have an unfounded adoration for his female acolyte, who miserably lost the election due to her dishonest intentions.  The academic has unmitigated anger issues and teaches impressionable college students with Alinskyite precision.  Hiding behind the internet for over a year, these two have regularly lobbed hateful emotional bombs from various venues.  Do they honestly believe that these cowardly devices will succeed in changing the course of our nation or my mind?

To paraphrase Nelson Mandela as he expressed his state of mind when he left captivity: “[a]s I walked out of the prison gates toward freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be imprisoned.”  Mandela was dedicated to forgiveness, which was his ultimate key to a lifetime of success and admiration.  My progressive friends’ personal prisons are lamentable.  Perhaps they and their wayward army will eventually learn that guerrilla tactics are futile against staunchly rooted American exceptionalism.  It’s all about choices, forgiveness, and working together toward positive outcomes.  We must pray that the new year of 2018 will provide balance, prosperity, and global peace.

 

Unprecedented social and political conflict was laid bare in 2017, the likes of which have seldom been seen before.  Our American social fabric is in tatters.  We are looking less enlightened and more divided than at any time since the Civil War.  Progressives on both seaboards are in a battle for political supremacy over old-school thinkers.  Boundaries are analogous to a resurrection of the Mason-Dixon line, except it’s now the East and West Coasts versus the rest of America.  Comparing more recent history, we look even less unified than we did in the 1960s – which says something painful about our current political climate.  What’s it all about?

It’s about cognitive dissonance and the hatred of one prominent man: our courageous president, Donald Trump.  Because of a startling election victory and the president’s penchant for keeping promises, hideous lies, innuendo, and insults fly from liberal and conservative mouths alike.  Mainly powered by vitriolic progressive henchmen, this election was largely misunderstood by the over-privileged and their cronies.  Zero tolerance for opposing opinions has been widespread.  Meanwhile, the world laughs at the comedic chasing down of an imaginary Russian menace.

As parents, we have sacrificed to put our young people through college and graduate school only to have them emerge with damaged attitudes and socialist beliefs.  Some poorly advised students unwisely shouldered huge college loans.  When they failed to make good on their promissory notes in a fashion commensurate with their earning power, they believed that society should rescue them from their irresponsible choices.  Bernie lost the primary, their socialist ideals crumbled, and they turned to his opponent for consolation.

In the previous century, American citizens would have graciously accepted the election results and moved on with their lives.  Instead of raucous protest, they went back to raising their children and quietly making positive changes within their communities.  Generally, only a few kooks dove off the deep end to lead marches against the establishment.  In bygone days, none acted out like the maniacal banshees currently screaming at the heavens over their lost election.  This achieves nothing, but it demonstrates how foolishly self-involved they are in their attempts to derail this president.

Our new president’s modus operandi continues to prick the softer psyches of the social justice warriors who insist on brutal intervention against those who do not agree with them.  They believe that Trump is taking us backward, but they do not realize how the previous administration was leading us into financial ruin, perpetual social unrest, and quite possibly a world war.  Their belief that the “popular vote” was more important than the Electoral College is a damning commentary on their ignorance.  The Founders understood the need for balance and fairness while extending inclusivity to a vast and diverse national population.  Now it is more critical than ever.

The media are largely to blame.  Their ideological hyperbole is like a plague that never quite disappears.  Frankly, I’m amazed that so many journalists have such little regard for truth-telling and for following the old journalistic code of honoring objectivity.  In many ways, it is akin to a physician’s code of “do no harm.”  But these media are doing harm by siding with any party.  Originally, they were intended to be watchdogs for our Republic – not opinion-generators or facilitators of rage.  Unfortunately, the left’s “in your face” political pedanticism rages on, fueled by dishonesty and revenge.

Academics are the most seriously afflicted.  Many have morphed into disruptive archetypal leaders.  Simpering young progressives, coddled by their egotistical superiors, are propagating radical social engineering while provoking hatred against those who disagree.  Their ill conceived prejudices and selfish forms of social justice are twisted, relentless, and unforgiving.  Delighted with their egocentric superiority, they see themselves as overlords of the “peasant class.”  Why?  It’s because they possess an expensive education.  Such feudalistic attitudes have been rejected time and again over the millennia.  This is why Trump was elected.  By traditional definition, he is not a politician.  However, he is playing by the cutthroat rules invented by the left.  Ironically, leftists don’t like the turnabout, stating that his attitudes are “unpresidential.”

At the beginning of President Trump’s administration, several friends informed me that if I supported the Republican Party or any of its ideals, our relationship would end.  I do not support, nor have I ever supported anyone based on religious, racial, or political affiliation.  Neither will I be intimidated.  My proposal is this: let’s elect diverse leaders with common sense, who will put their countrymen first, demonstrating sympathy to others but only when Americans of all stripes regain an equal footing in their own nation.  Progressivism erodes the sand from beneath our feet.

As we have become painfully aware, social media are spectacularly effective at getting one’s opinion published but have escalated the war.  Those who hurl their negative opinions across the internet are often unprincipled instigators of unrest.  Contributing nothing constructive, they trade in ignorant name-calling, taunts, and obscenities – no facts.  In the adult world, this is unacceptable.  Civil discussion is preferable to street fights.  This is a bloodless war, but nonetheless damaging to our national cohesion.

Faceless internet attacks are one thing, but personal attacks are quite another.  The incendiary rhetoric I’ve personally experienced is amusing but sad.  My main progressive demons are two people whom I formerly admired and loved.  One is an academic, now steeped in anti-American policy, while the other was my best friend of thirty-five years.  Both are blind to anything short of the deification of our previous commander-in-chief, plus both have an unfounded adoration for his female acolyte, who miserably lost the election due to her dishonest intentions.  The academic has unmitigated anger issues and teaches impressionable college students with Alinskyite precision.  Hiding behind the internet for over a year, these two have regularly lobbed hateful emotional bombs from various venues.  Do they honestly believe that these cowardly devices will succeed in changing the course of our nation or my mind?

To paraphrase Nelson Mandela as he expressed his state of mind when he left captivity: “[a]s I walked out of the prison gates toward freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be imprisoned.”  Mandela was dedicated to forgiveness, which was his ultimate key to a lifetime of success and admiration.  My progressive friends’ personal prisons are lamentable.  Perhaps they and their wayward army will eventually learn that guerrilla tactics are futile against staunchly rooted American exceptionalism.  It’s all about choices, forgiveness, and working together toward positive outcomes.  We must pray that the new year of 2018 will provide balance, prosperity, and global peace.



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