Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Muslim politicians in the Western world come in two general varieties: those rare ones who are candid about their desire to transform the West in accordance with the dictates of their faith, and those, far greater in number, who prefer to disguise that ambition. The first category includes people like Abdirizak Waberi, a Swedish MP turned Islamic school principal who has actually admitted he believes in “banning music and dancing, prohibiting boys and girls from socializing, and allowing men to beat their four wives with sticks when they became disobedient,” and Brussels city councilman Redouane Ahrouch, who openly advocates for sharia government and recently called for a separation of the sexes on that city’s public transport.

In the second category are Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, who while striving to pose as a progressive allows his mask to slip now and then (recently, he told an interviewer that “every Muslim is a bit of a salafist”), and London mayor Sadiq Khan, another faux liberal who has, in fact, ordered police to put less emphasis on monitoring potential terrorists and more emphasis on harassing Islam critics. And let’s not forget Minnesota’s (and the DNC’s) own Keith Ellison, who poses as a standard-issue Democrat but belonged for a decade to the Nation of Islam, speaks at CAIR events, and has ties to several pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic groups.

Also belonging to the latter category is Somali-born Bashe Musse, a Norwegian Labor Party politician who has been a member of the Oslo City Council since 2011. During the last couple of weeks he’s been making headlines because of a Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) report on “dumping.” What’s dumping? Like honor killing and female genital mutilation, it’s a common practice in Europe’s Muslims communities. Instead of sending their kids to regular neighborhood schools, many Muslim parents in Europe send their children off to madrasses – Koran schools – in the countries from which they, the parents, emigrated. The children stay in these schools for years at a time, memorizing the Islamic holy book while their agemates back in Europe learn math, science, and literature.

“Dumping” is eyebrow-raising for more than one reason. Many of these kids’ parents were allowed into Europe in the first place because they professed to be refugees from oppression in their homelands. The fact that they’re shipping their kids off to schools in those same countries gives the lie to those claims. The parents also often maintain that they’re proud to be French, Swedish, or whatever, and that they’re striving to assimilate into their adopted nations. But the whole point of sending these kids to madrasses in the Muslim world is to shield them from what the parents consider the baleful influence of Western civilization.

Last year, NRK produced, as noted, a report on Somali madrasses in which children from Norway have been enrolled. Many viewers considered the revelations eye-popping. In fact it was old news. In a 2004 study, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Norway’s Human Rights Service (HRS) documented, in extraordinary and devastating detail, the grim reality of daily life in these institutions, where the conditions are almost always primitive and where the atmosphere is less that of a First World school than of a Third World prison. NRK’s report, which contained interviews with children living in Norway who had attended the Somali madrasses, confirmed HRS’s findings: at those “schools,” the children had been tied up, whipped, beaten, and subjected to other sorts of brutal treatment that would ordinarily be considered torture.

Which brings us to Bashe Musse, who in addition to being an Oslo city councilman is also the official chief spokesperson for Norway’s Somali community, the largest non-Western immigrant group in the country. After NRK’s report aired last year, he claimed to be shocked by its contents. But on May 29 of this year, NRK reported that in an interview aired on Somali TV, Musse had dismissed the children’s testimony about the madrasses and regretted that such lies, as he called them, had been “sold to the Norwegian people” by the Norwegian media, which he characterized as “one-sided.”

When confronted by NRK with a transcript of his comments to Somali TV, Musse insisted that the person who had translated his words from Somali into Norwegian had fouled up, entirely misrepresenting his views. NRK thereupon engaged the services of another translator, whose product was essentially identical to that of the first translator. It then presented the transcript to various government officials. Frode Jacobsen, head of the Oslo Labor Party, said he was “surprised and shocked” by Musse’s “double communication,” which he described as “very unfortunate.” Norway’s Minister of Integration, Jan Tore Sanner, also expressed concern, but did not call for any action against Musse. The Progress Party’s immigration spokesman, Jon Helgheim, went quite a bit further, scorning Musse as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and urging that the Labour Party discipline him in some way. But as far as I have been able to determine, no one in a position of power has demanded Musse’s resignation or removal from the City Council.

Lying to infidels, of course, has a name in Arabic – taqiyya – and it is one of the chief weapons of Islam in its eternal conflict with non-believers. Among its more celebrated practitioners is “Euro-Islam” proponent, Oxford professor, accused serial rapist, and current jailbird Tariq Ramadan, who is known to routinely say one thing to Western audiences in French or English and another to Muslim audiences n Arabic. Indeed, Caroline Fourest’s book about him is entitled Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan. To employ taqiyya, as Musse appears to have done, is to demonstrate definitively that one is not on the side of the West but that one is a double agent – a partisan, a person whose true loyalty lies, shall we say, elsewhere.

Within a few hours of being caught dead to rights on NRK as a practitioner of doublespeak, Musse made an announcement. Did he resign? Of course not. He declared that NRK had represented him to the Norwegian public as a liar and, what’s more, had painted an unflattering picture of Somalia.  Accordingly, he had contacted a lawyer, Arild Humlen, to ascertain what legal rights he had in the matter. 

What makes this story important, needless to say, is that Musse is not an outlier. Far from it. Increasingly, all over the West, Muslims hold elected positions, some of them at a very high level. It is considered to be racist, or at the very least to be in terribly bad taste, to question whether they can be loyal at once to their totalizing, all-encompassing religion and to their officially secular country and its (still) mostly non-Muslim inhabitants. Once those poiticians are caught engaging in taqiyya, of course, there is no further reason for doubt on this score.

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Bill Nye, the Cow Fart Guy

Bill Nye might be the last man on earth who still wants a carbon tax.

It seems like centuries ago that the left saw a carbon tax as a great excuse to start up a new world order based on communism and the fleecing of trillions of dollars from the productive western world. Now, the idea of a carbon tax is best left to the UN, a few kooky Canadians and Bill Nye the Netflix Series Guy.

His most recent interview with the lefties at The Daily Beast has Nye explaining how this time, this new carbon tax scheme he’s promoting will be good for conservatives.

“[T]his is what we can do and it’s a win-win: to have a fee on carbon.”

BRILLIANT!

Except that carbon is a key component of all known life on our planet Earth and the element represents approximately 45-50% of all dry biomass.

Yeah, conservatives love taxing the very fibers of our beings.

What else can we expect from Bill Nye, who thinks that more old people should be dying in order to combat global warming? Sorry grandma, we’ll be giving you the Death Panel special so that we can save the dung beetles and naked mole rats.

The Interview

Speaking with the lefties, dingbat Nye said last week:

“So if you are raising livestock and producing a lot of carbon dioxide with your farm equipment and the exhaust from the animals, then you would pay a fee on that and it would be reflected in the price of meat, reflected in the price of fish, reflected in the price of peanuts.”

…so… exactly like a carbon tax. Farmers are already paying high tax on their equipment, and they’re paying tax on the land, and on the animals, and paying tax when they buy feed, and paying tax when they use their earnings to buy their family a nice car. All those taxes are also reflected in the price of fish and the price of peanuts.

Rush Limbaugh turned his golden microphone to the issue before the weekend, saying that he always used to joke about “taxes on cow farts” and now Bill Nye is the one out there proposing exactly that.

How To Irritate Bill Nye

During the course of the interview, Nye seemed upset that he still wasn’t the scientific overlord of the whole world. For someone painted as a scientific expert in so many fields, it’s worth remembering that he only holds an engineering degree. Not that engineering is a walk in the part, but there are hundreds of thousands of engineers out there and he’s the only one lecturing us all on cow farts.

During the interview, he gave us the secret on how to annoy him — by spreading silly information online.

“That anyone can get an online or social media discussion going about whether or not the Earth is flat is really extraordinary. That just shows that I have failed. My life’s work has been wasted.”

I’ve met people who believe up and down that their Gemini star chart will tell them how their love life will evolve, but haven’t met a single flat earther yet. If it wasn’t for Mike Hughes of “flying a self-built rocket ship into the air to prove that NASA is lying to us” fame, I wouldn’t think that any person truly held the flat earth belief.

And still, my money is on that Hughes is mentally ill.

At least Bill Nye’s mental illness makes him capable of living without supervision.

Ugh, Conservatives Ruin Everything!!

But unfortunately for Bill Nye, and fortunately for the rest of us who care about the amount of tax leaving our wallets on a yearly basis, he doesn’t believe that we’re stupid enough to go along with his cow fart plan.

“But conservatives now are against such a thing because they’re against any regulation, any tax or any government involvement in anything. But again, it won’t last, and a carbon fee would be a fantastic thing for the world.”

  • Conservatives hate regulation
  • Nye wants to tax the most common element on earth
  • Conservatives are dumb for resisting this regulation

They must be handing out “science guy” trophies to anyone these days. Bill Nye on Netflix will fit in just perfectly with the new shows Obama signed on to produce… in the list of things that I will never, ever watch.

Source: Daily Beast

The post Bill Nye, the Cow Fart Guy appeared first on Joe For America.

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Normandy Visit: Saluting The Greatest Generation

The week of May 8 to 15 closed a chapter in my life whose first pages were written in France before I made my 1947 debut, in New York City. My father’s first cousin, William Friedman, authored those pages by deed. Bill enlisted in the Army in 1938 and made the first of his three first-day World War II landings Nov. 8, 1942, in Oran, Algeria, with the First Division, whose storied nickname was the Big Red One. The North African campaign cost Bill the top joint on the middle finger of his right hand. On July 1, 1943 Bill and his comrades landed in Sicily. Bill was transferred to the Tenth Mountain Division for the winter of 1944, and then returned to the Big Red One, to prepare for the invasion of Normandy.

Like most veterans Bill rarely spoke of his war days. He opened up to me a few times, once showing me letters he had written from France in 1944; then 27, he wrote that he did not expect to see 28. Bill first told his D-Day story to me around the time he attended the 40thanniversary commemoration at which President Reagan gave his legendary speech (14:25) about the men of Pointe du Hoc, the 225 Army Rangers who scaled the 300-foot high sheer cliff overlooking Omaha Beach in search of German artillery pieces. Starting with 250 in the boats, the Rangers ended the ferocious battle with 90 able to fight. But they did get the guns — not on the cliff summit, where none but dummy guns stood, but half a mile inland; the Rangers used thermite grenades to melt the barrel interiors and then smashed the gun-sights with the butt of their rifles. Mission accomplished.

But it was ten years later, when Bill co-represented the Big Red One at the 50thanniversary celebration, and greeted President Clinton, that he told more of his story. Bill recalled the interminable voyage across the stormy English Channel; he stood in the third row of his landing craft. As they approached the drop-off point in heavy seas the soldiers could hear the clatter of machine-gun bullets slamming into the prow of the ship. His regiment (the 16th) landed at Easy Red sector, the most heavily defended area, along with the neighboring Dog Green sector, of the beach that was to become known as “Bloody Omaha.” The First was chosen for this location because it was America’s most battle-hardened division.

Bill was interviewed for several TV specials. And then he sat down for interviews with soldier-author Tim Kilvert-Jones, writing the foreword for TK-J’s 1999 book, Omaha Beach: V Corps’ Battle for the Normandy Beachhead.

I am standing on Omaha Beach, May 14, 2018, holding open the Kilvert-Jones book, showing Bill’s Foreword to my fellow tourists. The photo at left is of Captain Friedman, 1943. The photo at right shows Colonel Friedman (USA, ret.) greeting President Clinton at 1994’s 50thanniversary D-Day celebration. Bill is second from right.

Bill described his first 24 hours at Normandy. Nearing the beach, 0810 hours, he saw chaos:

Landing craft on their sides, turned the wrong way.… I had gone off the ramp into deep water. It was up to my chest. As we moved forward I must have been on a ridge of sand because the men around me began to go under and I had to help them stay above the waves. After going about 6 to 8 feet, I felt firm ground beneath me… I then moved quickly to the shingle and just lay down and joined that great big pile of men on the shale. We were totally immobilized. I did not know what to do, or where to go. I remember looking at the sea and the water was red, there were bodies and equipment just rolling in the surf….

Along the line of men on the shingle I saw men jerking as they were hit with the impact of bullets and shrapnel. Somehow it didn’t count. I was reassured because I was shoulder to shoulder with other men. There was something reassuring about having warm, familiar human bodies next to you… even if they were dead…you were not alone… they provided comfort and sometimes even cover from the bullets… At one point I was still lying down and shouting in the ear of the Regimental S4. He was a major. My mouth was next to his ear; it was so noisy that he could not hear me otherwise. While I was trying to make myself heard above the din, a bullet struck him dead. It had hit him in the centre [sic] of his helmet… our faces were inches away when it happened… it could have been me.

Shortly after Bill landed, the commander of his group, Colonel George Taylor landed. Taylor took one look at the carnage and said, “Two kinds of people are staying on this beach, the dead and those who are going to die… now let’s get the Hell out of here!

Taylor’s men had found a hidden defile, somehow not known to the Germans, who poured withering fire down exits E1 and E3, the visible paths up from the beach, on either side of the defile.

Bill picked up his story after his unit reached the top of the bluffs:

Colonel Taylor sent me to find General Huebner.… I found the General and I said “Colonel Taylor sends his respects, and presented my report.” The general [sic] had tears in his eyes and all he could say was “you did it… you did it!” He was deeply moved by the all too-evident sacrifice. Later that night I fell asleep in a farmyard around Colleville. I recall a sense of being purged.

I had been frightened in battle before D-Day and again many times afterwards. But that day I was not frightened. I was simply convinced that we had absolutely no influence or control over our fate. No action we could take would have stopped a bullet. It was surreal.

When I was awakened next morning it was by French women who gave me some Camembert cheese to eat and Calvados to drink. I had survived D-Day.

Bill fought with the Big Red One until the fall of Aachen, inside the Siegfried Line, on October 21. He was recalled because his mother, widowed in 1943, was seriously ill. (Rose Friedman, a concert pianist, recovered and lived another 23 years.) Bill stayed in the Army, and was sent to Korea in the fall of 1950. He was at the Yalu River when the Chinese counterattack was launched. In all, Bill saw four years of combat. In addition to the Purple Heart, Bill was awarded two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantryman’s Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the highest decorations given by the governments of France and the Republic of Korea. A captain on D-Day, he left the Army in 1961 a full colonel. Bill passed away in 2002, age 85; on his last trip he took me and his wife to what then was the D-Day Museum in New Orleans; it later became the National World War II Museum. Bill was laid to rest at Arlington, with full military honors.

Our group visits all five of the D-Day beach landings, which line up, west to east, on the Normandy peninsula: Utah and Omaha (Americans), Gold (British), Juno (Canadian), and Sword (British). Pointe du Hoc, offering a panoramic view of the peninsula, sits between Utah and Omaha beaches.

My Normandy visit, needless to say, was considerably less suspenseful. I wanted to make the trip so that I could stand at the waterline of Easy Red sector and see the landscape (minus the hell of war) my cousin saw. At low tide it is several hundred yards to the bluffs; at high tide, perhaps one hundred. Looking down from the top, where the Normandy American Cemetery (2:54) holds the graves of 9,387 Americans, one can see how high up the German defenders were. The bluffs at their highest are about 50 meters — 165 feet high; this is more than half the height of the Ponte du Hoccliff, and the slope is steeper than it appears to the naked eye, covered as it is with foliage. We see the American Cemetery Memorial (4:30) with its glorious chapel.

Our ace French guide, Pierre-Samuel Natanson, dispensed fascinating details of the many critical battles during the two-month Normandy campaign. I learned more in five days than I could in five months of reading about the battle. Seeing the battlefields leaves one with visuals that are worth the proverbial one thousand words.

Our visit to Utah Beach includes Saint-Mère-église (2:11), the church immortalized for filmgoers in The Longest Day (1962). The parachute from which an unlucky parachutist famously dangled was actually on the back side of the church; and there were two stranded paratroopers. Alas, Hollywood history favors cool pictures. The Battle of Frière Bridge (2:28) saw airborne troops knock out five enemy tanks, thus taking control of the bridge and providing an exit for troops on Utah Beach. We visit the Airborne Museum (2:04) honoring the 82ndand 101stairborne divisions. Finally we see Chateau Bernaville, where Gen. Erwin Rommel was once hosted. Rommel, in charge of defending Normandy, overseer of the Atlantic Wall fortifications the Germans built that ran from Norway to the France-Spain border, had predicted that the primary landing would be there. He wanted his fabled Panzer armored divisions stationed just behind the shore guns. He said that if the Allies escaped the beaches they would win. Fortunately, Hitler rejected his counsel. For the Big Red One, Normandy was revenge for the defeat Rommel’s Afrika Corps inflicted in Feb. 1943 on the Americans at Kasserine Pass.

We do a driving tour of Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches. We begin at Pegasus Bridge (depicted: the modern, restored bridge), site of a spectacular three-glider landing, with pinpoint accuracy by superb pilots, landing without benefit of powered flight. The Battle of Pegasus Bridge seized for the Allies a key crossing point. We visit the Pegasus Bridge Museum, and see a Horsa glider, workhorse for the British during the War. We visit the Grand Bunker Museum (1:08) at Ouisterham. The Cinéma Circulaire at the Normandy World War II Museum shows a film of the battle on nine huge panels at once. The day ends with a stop at Longues-Sur-Merto see a fortified German artillery piece. Our final touring day covers the many sites of the Falaise Pocket (Falaise is French for cliff), where in late August 1944 the Allies ended the Battle of Normandy in a furious multi-day battle, one of the most sanguinary of the two month campaign. Atop Hill 262 (named for its actual height in meters — about 859 feet) we get a panoramic view of the sites involved in the complex serial engagements, virtually impossible to visualize without seeing the big picture. We see the Falaise Castle, located in the town that was birthplace for William The Conqueror, whose triumph at the Battle of Hastings (1066) brought Norman culture to Saxon England.

But for me the highlight of our group’s visit comes at a farm named Brécourt Manor, near the town of Sainte Marie du Mont. It was the setting for a key American battle after breaking out from Utah Beach, the other American landing site on June 6. The battle, depicted in Episode 2 of the popular Band of Brothers TV series, saw Americans destroy four German howitzers.

The rest of the story, told to us by the current owner, who was a boy back then, turned ugly when a soldier made a grievous error upon entering the farmhouse. He accidentally shot and seriously wounded the father. Fortunately, prompt medical attention, and nearly a year’s stay in a London hospital, enabled the man to recover. He returned home, and in 1949 was elected town mayor. In 1962 he presided over a ceremony honoring the liberation of the town. I told the farmer that I had two reasons for visiting Normandy. First was to honor my cousin, whose extraordinary service enabled me to live a freer, better life than would otherwise have been the case. Second, I wanted to thank the locals for the care their ancestors gave my cousin and his comrades.

Next year will mark the 75thanniversary of D-Day. It will be the last major celebration of the largest naval invasion force in history, one that succeeded against overwhelming odds.

Normandy has many charms that complement the war sites and memorials. The lovely countryside has recovered from the ghastly destruction of 1944. The magnificent cathedral of Mont-San-Michel (1:42) towers over the countryside. Blending medieval, Gothic, and Baroque architectures accumulated over a millennium, it towers over its tidal basin — to see the view you must ascend 350 stone steps. At various times a fort and prison as well as a cathedral, it has survived the second highest tides on the planet. Caen’s abbeys were less fortunate; they survive as fragments — the Normandy battle saw 70 percent of the town destroyed. Bayeux Cathedral has its charms, but the highlight of our visit to Bayeux is the famous Bayeux Tapestry (22:40). My favorite panel is 38, depicting what looks to my gimlet eye like four medieval go-go dancers.

Churches, chateaux and country houses glow in the afternoon sun. Perhaps best of all, we lucked out on the weather, mostly sunny, rare for the region in May (or anytime). The people were charming and hospitable to Americans, not the case in myriad places around the planet. And then there is la cuisine Normande.

Bill was quite the gustatory gourmet. I too, enjoyed Camembert — Normandy’s signature cheese — and Calvados. Thanks to Bill.

John C. Wohlstetter is author of Sleepwalking With the Bomb (2d Ed. 2014).

The post Normandy Visit: Saluting The Greatest Generation appeared first on The American Spectator.

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The outer space octopus theory

Here’s something fun for Wednesday evening. What with the recent news that the government wants to spend money looking for extraterrestrials, what if we already have some aliens living right under our noses? (Well… under our boats anyway.) Another scientific study has been released offering the controversial claim that there’s a decent chance the octopus (and the rest of the cephalopods) arrived on Earth in the form of frozen eggs 250 million years ago and actually evolved on another world. (Express UK)

The paper suggests that the explanation for the sudden flourishing of life during the Cambrian era – often referred to as the Cambrian Explosion – lies in the stars, as a result of the Earth being bombarded by clouds of organic molecules.

But the scientists go on to make an even more extraordinary claim concerning octopuses, which seem to have evolved on Earth quite rapidly something like 270 million years ago, 250 million years after the Cambrian explosion…

“One plausible explanation, in our view, is that the new genes are likely new extraterrestrial imports to Earth – most plausibly as an already coherent group of functioning genes within (say) cryopreserved and matrix protected fertilized Octopus eggs.

“Thus the possibility that cryopreserved Squid and/or Octopus eggs, arrived in icy bolides several hundred million years ago should not be discounted as that would be a parsimonious cosmic explanation for the Octopus’ sudden emergence on Earth circa 270 million years ago.”

This wasn’t the first group to suggest it. In 2015 another research group reached a similar conclusion. The more you read into it, the less crazy it sounds. As we’ve studied the various animals on the planet in ever deeper detail, the octopus really doesn’t seem to fit in with everything else.

They’re an invertebrate, but they have 10,000 more protein-coding genes than a human being. They have problem-solving skills, they use tools and have been observed constructing a shelter out of things like broken coconut shells. (Not just using a shelter they find, the way crabs do, but actually building something.) And where did that instant camouflage ability come from? Their nervous system is almost entirely unique among animals.

And they just don’t look right. Most of the animals you see on the land, in the water or in the air follow a basic pattern. There’s a central body with four protruding limbs and a head of some sort. Even the animals like snakes that don’t appear to have legs have vestigial limbs inside. The insects made the switch to six legs but the basic layout is still the same. (Don’t get me started on the centipedes. They’re probably from another world also.) And then there are the cephalopods. Eight to ten limbs sticking out of a central mass with a huge brain, eyes with structures resembling a camera (like ours, actually) and a host of other differences.

If you happen to be a fan of the theory of panspermia, is it really such a crazy idea? Dormant cells get blown out into space on some other planet, hitch a ride on some rocks and debris and survive in a dormant state until they crash land someplace else where they can take root. Maybe that explains why the octopus is just so darn weird.

In any event, if you want to amuse yourself for a couple of minutes, check out this octopus changing color and texture dozens of times in a row to match his environment as he moves along the ocean floor. It’s beyond amazing.

The post The outer space octopus theory appeared first on Hot Air.

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‘Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire’ by Bret Baier

From the publisher: In his acclaimed bestseller Three Days in January , Bret Baier illuminated the extraordinary leadership of President Dwight Eisenhower at the dawn of the Cold War. Now in his highly anticipated new history, Three Days in Moscow , Baier explores the dramatic endgame of America’s long struggle with the Soviet Union and President Ronald Reagan’s central role in shaping the world we live in today.

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What did we learn from Alfie Evans?

One such answer would be an “Alfie’s Law”, requiring the State to leave primary care of children with their parents. The Alfie case was extraordinary in many respects, not least because of the enormous outpouring of sympathy for the boy and his parents.

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The real reason tech billionaires are prepping for doomsday

Getty/Salon

Getty/Salon

If you pay attention to what Silicon Valley’s best and brightest are up to, you know about tech survivalism. The digital elite are preparing for the Apocalypse, and have been for a while.

As Evan Osnos wrote in his New Yorker feature,  “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich,”

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.

The Guardian noted that the end-of-days obsession could be traced back to a single source, a sort of ur-text of rich-guy panic: a 1999 book called "The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive during the Collapse of the Welfare State." It was written by James Dale Davidson, a private investment advisor, and Lord Rees-Moog, a British newspaper editor.

You can probably already guess at what the book says. More or less, it’s a pastiche of extolling the virtues of how the rich are superior, persecuted by the state, and how digital realms can and will liberate them and make them sovereign individuals. It’s a familiar trope: Ayn Rand had John Galt spew the same list of self-serving ideas sixty years ago in “Atlas Shrugged.”

That an elite caste of people would find inspiration in these kinds of ideas is unsurprising. But there’s a more obvious reason that rich people are doomsday preppers: because that ideology mirrors their politics and their sociological views of people.

Aristocracy is the faith that a few individuals are better than the herd. Aristocracy justifies great wealth. Aristocracy says that most humans are inherently evil and will turn on each other. The mob needs strong rulers to stay sane. If authority breaks down, the rabid animals will run wild.

And the tech industry is a special subset of rich people. Our society runs on technology. Very few of us understand it, or build it personally; we rely on a select priesthood to handle that necessity. These conditions guarantee an elitist mindset. Even if Silicon Valley wasn't wealthy, they'd still be stocking up on Krugerrands and beaver pelts. The money just gives them more space to indulge Ahab-like paranoia.

Additionally, the digerati tend to view human beings as automatons: easily exchangeable and swappable data points, resources to be exploited. If I wanted to design a system to deliberately turn out an alienated, distanced elite, I'd build Silicon Valley.

To use the language of philosophy, tech-bro survivalism is overdetermined. Imagine you're an obscenely wealthy app magnate. Even if you're skeptical about Armageddon, you probably already believe you're a separate species from the rest of mankind. Letting everyone else go to hell is second nature.

The irony of being a wealthy tech-prepper should be obvious. The rich are only rich because society is skewed to favor them. They are free to enjoy their gains because the majority of us pay for roads, fire trucks, and the electrical grid. Society can do without Elon Musk, but Elon Musk is dependent on society.

Tech-preppers think Doomsday will mean a war of all against all. But there's no evidence of this.

In 2009, Rebecca Solnit wrote "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster." In it, Solnit debunks the "thin veneer of civilization" theory — the notion that authority and a strict social order are all that are keeping us from descending into barbarism.

In that book, Solnit studied the unusual solidarity demonstrated in catastrophes as varied as the 1906 San Francisco and 2008 Tang Shan earthquakes, the 2003 European heat wave, and the 1917 Halifax munitions explosion. And she found the same result, every time. When chaos arrives, the human reaction is cooperation and innovation.

"Disaster," Solnit wrote, "is when the shackles of conventional belief and role fall away and the possibilities open up.” This “unshackling” arrives in unusual ways. On 9/11, half a million people were ferried from Lower Manhattan by a spontaneous rescue armada of individual boats.

Solnit argued disaster solidarity is what led many survivors of the 1940 London Blitz to regard the bombing as a high point in their lives. Catastrophe creates communal feeling where none existed before. Given our evolution as nomadic social animals, this makes sense. Homo sapiens spent 300,000 years as equal creatures facing danger together. The current order, with a few rich and many poor, is relatively new in the history of our species.

If human societies draw together in times of peril, what are the tech-preppers concerned about?

I think we can guess. Deconstruct the fantastical fables these people tell each another. They're not concerned about ecological catastrophe, I promise you.

What are their real fears? I quote from Osnos' article:

“I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”

“Everybody’s trying to get out, and they’re stuck in traffic. … Every time I drove through that stretch of road, I would think, I need to own a motorcycle because everybody else is screwed.”

[Marvin Liao] decided that his caches of water and food were not enough. “What if someone comes and takes this?” he asked me.

“I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”

“When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos,”

"I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”

“The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.”

The fears vary, but many worry that, as artificial intelligence takes away a growing share of jobs, there will be a backlash against Silicon Valley … “Is the country going to turn against the wealthy? Is it going to turn against technological innovation? Is it going to turn into civil disorder?”

"Anyone who’s in this community knows people who are worried that America is heading toward something like the Russian Revolution …”

What are the tech-preppers really worried about? Not death by fire, quake, or ice. Not the rising seas, or the zombie plague, not the return of Christ or rogue comets. Seen clearly, the calamity that the wealthy fear is democracy returning to the United States. Every tall tale they tell involves the specter of the mob.

The tech-preppers understand, at a deep level, that their ill-gotten gains are predicated on an unjust system. Deep in the brain, where reptile impulses live, tech-bros know hoarding is wrong. Human beings — even very wealthy human beings — have a bone-deep sense of injustice. We know a free-loader.

Why don't we give them the world they want? I invite the tech-preppers to fully indulge their fantasies: leave, and never return, never darken our doors again. Instead of frustrating their hobby, we should enable it. To your scattered bunkers go, await the end of days. The legends of the fall are the first hope of an eventual spring.

 

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“Patrick Melrose”: Benedict Cumberbatch’s darkness fix

Showtime/Ollie Upton

Showtime/Ollie Upton

As varied and sprawling as an actor’s filmography may be, we have a tendency to link them to specific part or types of parts. This means that regardless of how many very disparate roles Benedict Cumberbatch has played over the years most people will see him as the modernized Sherlock Holmes or, lately Doctor Stephen Strange, aka that wizard from “Avengers: Infinity War.”

While Cumberbatch doesn’t give off the impression that he minds associations with high-concept properties, the projects he takes between them speak volumes about how he wants to be viewed in the long term — as a dramatic virtuoso, not merely star.

In Showtime’s “Patrick Melrose,” a five-part miniseries airing Saturdays at 9 p.m., he gets right to making his case for the former designation even as he displays an awareness of celebrity’s value. This is evidenced in his chosen entry into Edward St. Aubyn’s stories: “Bad News,” the second of St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels and the series’ first installment.

Saturday’s opening hour shows the twenty-something son of an aristocrat holing up in Manhattan’s Drake Hotel in 1982,and pummeling himself with all variety of drugs and booze. Quaaludes, Black Beauties, heroin, cocaine, whiskey, anything he can shoot up or swallow, using one intoxicant to mitigate the effects of another.

And “Bad News” is a taxing proposition for Cumberbatch, since on top of bludgeoning his mind and body into oblivion Patrick must attempt, to the best of his ability, to appear respectable at times. His monstrous father David (Hugo Weaving), has died, bringing an assortment of family friends out of the woodwork, most of them terrible excuses for human beings themselves.

Far worse are the loud, angry, cruel voices bouncing around inside his skull, all of which Cumberbatch acts out or reacts to, much to the disturbance, fright and confusion of the people around him. When he can hold himself together he mutes them with a mordant, unforgiving wit. When he can’t — when the pharmaceuticals kick in, he slurs and shivers, he screams and sweats. In the midst of an awkward conversation with a family friend he excuses himself to smears his incapacitated body down a hallway in a pathetic attempt to escape.

Much of the episode amounts to a solo piece for Cumberbatch, obscenely comical at instants, pathetic and heartbreaking, awards-season bait of the highest degree. This is a compliment. Not pandering, just fact: Cumberbatch truly is that extraordinary in these episodes.

The actor calls Patrick one of two roles on his “acting bucket list.” The other his Hamlet, which he checked off in 2015 when he played the Prince of Denmark at the Barbican in London. “Patrick Melrose” calls upon different muscles than the Bard’s famous tragic figure, though Patrick is an entirely different creature of sorrow.

“Patrick Melrose,” which Cumberbatch executive produces in addition to top-lining the cast, could have been an entirely forgettable enterprise, another entry in the poor rich kid entertainment pantheon that plays to decreasing amounts of sympathy as time goes by.

Instead it succeeds because of St. Aubyn’s lacerating, unmerciful and highly descriptive prose, all of which Benedict takes into his flesh, and because St. Aubyn has very little to offer in the way of sympathy or credit to the upper class from whence he comes. Like Patrick, St. Aubyn’s father came from English nobility but only has a title and a perverse relationship with masculinity and worth to show for it.

He knows this world well enough to lacerate its weak spots, where the rot has compromised the structure; the apex example is Princess Margaret (Harriet Walter) depicted as an unpleasant, unhappy crone hating life even as champagne and fireworks sparkle all around her. Walter’s role is a minor one, but it says it all.

Through Patrick, it’s plain to see St. Aubyn resents what’s been done to him even as he celebrates the resilience it’s created within.  As far as that goes — that is, as a tale of lasting damage — “Patrick Melrose” bears a touch of resemblance other tragedies. Insofar as it offers the opportunity to unblinkingly observe a man’s life from childhood through 40s, from the onset of repeated traumas that, as a friend aptly puts it “split the world in half,” through his debased junky phase and onward through sobriety, recovery and setbacks, it’s a marvel.

To be honest, it’s also not the easiest viewing experience, especially if you lack awareness of the depths to which Cumberbatch and St. Aubyn push Patrick. Watching Cumberbatch race through so many character shades proves dizzying in that first hour. But in return, subsequent episodes allow the viewer to appreciate his periods of steadiness and calm, some of it obviously painful to Patrick even though he knows the alternative, though intoxicating to remember, would end in death.

Weaving dominates the second episode, “Never Mind,” which rewinds to 1967, when nine-year-old Patrick (played by Sebastian Maltz) is summering with his family in France. It is there where he suffers the full force of his father’s brutality, mostly implied instead of shown. Weaving’s ability to weaponize fear through the faintest smile comes through again and again, along with Jennifer Jason Leigh’s realization of the sublimated torment Patrick’s mother Eleanor endures.

David is enabled by a gallery of ghastly souls, few as caustic as the social chameleon Nicholas Pratt (Pip Torrens) or as discontented as Bridget Watson-Scott (Holliday Grainger at her minxy finest when we first meet her). But even a few of these accessories receive a measure of benediction in David Nicholls’ screenplay, particularly Indira Varma’s Anne Moore, and American ridiculed for displaying a mote of care for him.

Nicholls makes optimal use of St. Aubyn’s silvery language throughout the script. But Edward Berger’s direction and James Friend’s cinematography ensure the visual experience speaks as loudly and purposefully the people in Patrick’s world.

When his life is submerged in intoxication, real or allegorical (wealth and status are dangerous drugs in themselves here), the colors are brighter and the world is a glory. Even dim hallways glow with the loveliest blue. Sobriety, meanwhile, appears fuzzier and drained of color, telegraphing the sentiment that ugliness is part of the price of living in a state of clarity and truth.

Nestled within all of its grimness lurk touches of grace, some more obvious than others. “Everything’s a miracle, man,” a man observes to Patrick at one point – a man who, like him, should have been dead many times over. But that brief moment claims the full weight of hope, even if it’s in passing.  The story earns it as surely as Cumberbatch warrants all the accolades coming his way.

What remains to be seen, beyond the question of whether he scores an Emmy nomination, is whether the actor will actually appear for the ceremony if he does. He hasn’t always attended in the past. Considering how extensively his range showed up in “Patrick Melrose,” maybe this time he’ll actually will. That is, if he doesn’t deem such a self-congratulatory society demonstration to be too garish.

Moms were behind these huge careers

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Leicester 1-1 Manchester United Barclays Premier League RESULT: Jamie Vardy goal in 11th straight game breaks record

If you’re wearing golden boots, the expectation is that you will deliver. Jamie Vardy took that questionable sartorial decision yesterday evening. However, he also did the necessary deed and extraordinary tale gathered yet another chapter. He already …

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