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America’s Department of Homeland Security could be actively fighting terrorism — had the Obama administration not taken away a valuable tool: a database developed by Philip Haney, author of See Something, Say Nothing, which went on sale on May 24, 2016.

Earlier that year, Haney wrote an article for The Hill, ‘DHS ordered me to scrub records of Muslims with terror ties’. Please read it in full. Obama and his people threw the intelligence community under the bus.

On Christmas Day in 2009, a Nigerian terrorist attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which was to take off from Amsterdam and land in Detroit. Fortunately, the explosives in the man’s underwear failed to detonate and passengers were able to subdue him until police arrested him.

Afterwards, Haney says (emphases mine):

Following the attempted attack, President Obama threw the intelligence community under the bus for its failure to “connect the dots.” He said, “this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.”

Haney, a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, explains:

Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.”  Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.

A few weeks later, in my office at the Port of Atlanta, the television hummed with the inevitable Congressional hearings that follow any terrorist attack. While members of Congress grilled Obama administration officials, demanding why their subordinates were still failing to understand the intelligence they had gathered, I was being forced to delete and scrub the records. And I was well aware that, as a result, it was going to be vastly more difficult to “connect the dots” in the future—especially before an attack occurs.

On June 26, 2016 FaithFreedom.org interviewed Haney. The transcript is lengthy and eye-opening. I recommend people read this for a full understanding of why terror attacks continue. Again, the scrubbed database has a lot to do with it. The interview by Frank Gaffney, a friend of his, centres around Haney’s book, which had been on sale for a month. Excerpts and a summary follow.

Years before Haney entered the DHS, he was an entomologist — a scientist who studies insects. He worked with farmers in the Middle East. To better communicate with them and understand local culture, he learned Arabic, then Koranic Arabic.

His work speciality was studying ants. He published several scientific papers on them.

Knowing Arabic, understanding Middle Eastern culture and studying ant behaviour prepared him for the future, although he did not know that at the time. He told Gaffney:

… two of the qualities of an entomologist that have direct application to counter-terrorism are close attention to detail and observation of behaviour. All living creatures have behaviour patterns that they follow. And in entomology, if you want to learn how to control a pest, you have to know how it behaves. So watching that gives you clues to points along their life cycle that you might be able to intervene and help the farmer reduce his pesticide costs. And attention to detail, that’s another key component of counter-terrorism. That’s what we call connecting the dots. Well, it has direct application in science as well. You connect dots, you make observations, your write things down on your famous clipboard, and pretty soon a picture emerges. Then you do statistical analysis on it. Develop your premise and prove that it was true. Well, the other component is, being a specialist in ants, I simply began to follow the trail and I would find the nest. And in counter-terrorism, you do the same thing.

One of the things that many people in Western countries refuse to do is to connect terrorism with Islam. We speak of ‘moderate Islam’ or may even know Muslims who are more secular than religious. Haney says that the United States, for example, sees a ‘composite’ view of Islam:

the full spectrum from virtual complete disavowal of following shariah all the way up to extremely strict application of shariah. We see that in some of these emerging areas of cities around America where it’s becoming more and more obvious that they’re implementing shariah all the way to, you know, people you might call secular Muslims that don’t appear to observe any of the mandates of shariah. It’s all in a kaleidoscope right here in the United States. We can see every portion of it, every form of expression of shariah that exists in the world is being expressed right here in the America, the whole spectrum.

Haney gives a detailed explanation of the manifestations of jihad, which can differ according to group.

About the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), he explains:

it’s a global organisation and they have very strict rules and regulations they follow. Everything that the Muslim Brotherhood does is based on shariah law. This isn’t a political organisation that happens to be Islamic. This is an Islamic organisation whose highest goal is to implement shariah law. Therefore, of all organisations, they’re going to be most strictly observant of the subtle elements of shariah law. And their role, like in the United States, is to make sure that the Muslim community is doing their utmost to submit to the regulations and guidelines found in shariah law, one step at a time.

Furthermore, the MB have a document which:

states plainly that the global organisation has set up a shura council, a guidance council, here in North America, which means includes Canada, for a very distinct purpose. That very distinct purpose is to bring to the North American Muslim community, create an observant Muslim base. Again, this is in the first paragraph of the first page. The observant Muslim base. That is al-Musima [PH], al-Islamiyah, al-Qaeda, in Arabic. And I’m sure everybody listening heard the third word and have heard that word many times before, al-Qaeda. The observant Muslim, al-Qaeda, in North America. That’s important because al-Qaeda is not actually an organisation. Even though there are some jihad groups we know of as al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda is an abstract concept. It means the base. The base of operation. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal is to have all Muslims in the United States observant and essentially submitted to the standards and guidelines of shariah law. And once they do that, that’s a base and from there, they go out and do promotion of Islam

It’s the same in Europe, by the way.

When 9/11 happened, Haney already understood much about Islam. When DHS was established in May 2003, Haney was a Customs and Border Protection officer but was promoted thanks to his intelligence briefings and analyses:

And I was eventually authorised to get pulled completely out of the agricultural arena and I got put into a unit called the Advanced Targeting Unit. Where we look at incoming passengers for possible links to terrorism. And they told me specifically, we want you to keep doing what you have already been doing, which is develop intelligence and help us connect the dots. Well, that’s exactly what I did. And by 2006, I had produced a report on the Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States. And basically outlined all of the major organisations and all of the leaders of these organisations and put them into our database so that my colleagues in other parts of the country would be able to have access to the same information. We’re all on the same page, and we’re all looking at the same individuals and organisations. And initially, I was considered an asset and we had great success. We had a lot of what we called law enforcement actions based on those reports that I put into the system.

Things changed in 2006, when he wrote an article for FrontPage Magazine called ‘Green Tide Rising: Hamas Ascends’ which now appears as ‘The Ascension of Hamas (What Was)’:

Well, that article I shared with some of my CIA colleagues at a training course that I took. And I say CIA openly, because they said so openly. I thought that they would be interested in an article on Hamas, which, after all, was a globally designated terrorist organisation already. But I was wrong. Instead of reading the article and having a discussion about it, they turned me into headquarters and said that I had accessed classified information to write the article. And they charged me with unethical use of classified information and plus the fact that I posted it on an open source website. And they investigated me for it. The entire investigation took eleven months and ultimately I was exonerated.

Then it got worse with the Obama administration, as mentioned above. But there was more:

I was investigated a total of nine times. Before it was all over, the last nine months of my career, they took my gun, they suspended – revoked my secret clearance. They cut off all access to all systems and sequestered me in a little cubicle while I sat there, day by day, waiting to see what the outcome of these three, last of nine, simultaneous investigations – what would happen. The Department of Justice investigated me for – they said that I had misused a government computer and they convened a grand jury. They were going to charge me on criminal charges. In the end, I retired honourable. July 31st, 2015. They dropped the charges on the DOJ case. And nothing else came of the other administrative investigations. I was exonerated.

One possible adverse consequence of the database scrubbing was the San Bernardino attack late in 2015:

The mosque that Syed Farook attended was part of that Tablighi Jamaat network. The administration deleted sixty-seven records out of the system that I had worked on as a component of the Tablighi case. So the question remains, if those records had not been deleted, it’s very plausible that Syed Farook would have never been able to travel to Saudi Arabia and it’s also just as plausible that his pending fiancée would have never been given a visa. And then we would have stopped the attack.

One useful way to think of Islamic groups and movements, Haney says, is to liken them to the NFL. There are different teams, all competing to ultimately win the Superbowl, however, they are all in the same league and abide by the same playbook:

Well, the thing with the Islamic movement is they have a playbook. It’s called shariah law. They are bound by the constraints of shariah law to behave in a very predictable manner. As I mentioned earlier about behaviour, which is why I brought it up. If you put all these allegories together, we can actually expect what they’re going to do. Because they have to live within the boundaries, the communication system as described by shariah law.

This brings me to an article about President Trump’s new head of DHS, James Kelly. On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 the Washington Examiner reported:

“We have to be convinced that people who come here, there is a reasonable expectation that we know who they are, and what they’re coming here for, and what their backgrounds are,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told reporters Tuesday.

Kelly reiterated that Trump’s order — which suspended most travel from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen — is “not a ban on Muslims,” contrary to Democratic characterizations of the order. “Religious liberty is one of our most fundamental and treasured values,” he said.

Instead, he argued that the 90-day travel suspension is aimed at countries that don’t have the public institutions required to conduct customary background checks. “There are many countries, seven that we’re dealing with right now, that in our view, in my view, don’t have the kind of law enforcement records-keeping, that kind of thing, that can convince us that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says they are and what their background might be,” said Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who led the U.S. military in South America.

Which brings me to Philip Haney’s database. Now that the Obama administration — with its many ties to the Middle East and Islam — is out of the way, someone somewhere must have a copy of the original. As Lame Cherry wrote on February 1, 2017:

the NAMES OF EVERY MUSLIM TERRORIST WHO HAS SLAUGHTERED AMERICANS DURING THE OBAMA YEARS was on that file and who their contacts were, and the Obama regime ordered this entire protocol to be deleted.

Phillip Haney, has reported to Sean Hannity, that before deleting, he forwarded this system to members of Congress, so it apparently still exists, and Mr. Haney noted that Senator Ted Cruz hinted at the existence of this file network in his public statements.

The reality of this is simple in the Trump Administration must recover this database for National Security, as Phillip Haney literally developed a complete dossier on the Muslim Mafia which has infiltrated the United States from government to press, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions must convene a Grand Jury to indict all those involved in this crime of aiding terrorists, and that starts with image Obama, Valerie Jarrett, CIA Director Clapper and Homeland Security heads, Napolitano and Johnson.

Mr. Haney reported that when queried about this file an his name, Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson who was involved in hacking Georgia State voting operations, termed it a political matter and claimed to have never heard of Phillip Haney.

N.B.: Jeff Sessions is not yet Attorney General.

In closing, one cannot help but wonder if — and hope that — there is a role for Philip Haney in the Trump administration. Personally, I would have downloaded a copy of the database to a memory stick and kept it securely at home. Perhaps he did.

Acrylic paint has several advantages, among them ease of use and quick drying time.

Unfortunately, it isn’t very good for subtle tones. As a result, the finished canvas often looks sophomoric.

However, for high school art classes, acrylic’s advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Art

I’ve only ever seen two acrylic paintings that were any good. Both were by an amateur artist who exhibited them at an art fair in our area last year.

The artist did well to paint on small canvases which allowed her to use the medium to its best advantage: achieving fine detail.

That sounds contradictory, however, this lady’s paintings — one of a field of poppies, the other of daisies — were marvellous. She must have spent a lot of time on them, because all the leaves of grass were visible and natural, as were the dozens of flower petals. Both were pleasing to the eye and a joy to look at.

It was clear the artist understood and had perfected her brush strokes with the medium.

By contrast, I had a friend many years ago who painted large canvases with acrylic and achieved mediocre results for the most part. He was unable to properly blend one colour into another. That happens to most big-canvas acrylic artists who try to paint portraits or street scenes. Acrylic is best left for the abstract which requires dramatic colour and broad brush strokes.

An example of an acrylic painting follows. Subject matter aside, the brush strokes need work, a common mistake. Art teachers really need to teach students more about brush control, particularly according to paint medium.

The Cannon Tunnel, which connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol Building in Washington DC, is home to an exhibit of artwork by American high school students, winners of the Congressional Art competition. The artwork changes every year.

This photo shows part of the current selection, which, as you can see, is of high quality. I particularly like the masterful detail in the painting of the pair of shoes in the lower left hand corner.

The other painting which is striking is the black Liberty in the upper right hand corner. That student understands brush control, texture and subtlety.

There is a noticeable gap on the wall. An acrylic painting hung there, but a Republican congressman removed it for its subject matter. The amateurish acrylic brush strokes are a greater reason why it should not be there. Bill Clark of CQ Roll Call took this photo of Untitled #1:

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 5: A controversial painting by Missouri student David Pulphus depicting police as animals hangs in the tunnel connecting the U.S. Capitol to the Cannon House Office building as part of the annual student art exhibit on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. The painting was selected as the 2016 Congressional Art Competition winner from Rep. William Lacy Clay's district in the St. Louis area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The depiction of Ferguson, Missouri, comes so close. The technique holds it back.

Roll Call reports:

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter has removed from display in the Cannon tunnel the controversial student art contest painting of police-community relations in Ferguson, Missouri, that depicts police officers as animals.

A Huffington Post reporter first tweeted a photograph of the empty space and said that Hunter removed it.

Hunter took it upon himself to take down the painting, Washington Republican Rep. Dave Reichert’s office later confirmed. It was sponsored by Missouri Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay, who had defended it.

Reichert, who spent 33 years in law enforcement, had criticized the artwork earlier, and gave Hunter a phone call on Friday after finding out about the removal.

Fox News tells us that the Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement which read in part:

“The rehanging of this painting for public view represents more than just protecting the rights of a student artist, it is a proud statement in defense of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression to every American,” the statement said, noting it had been “removed without permission or proper authority” by Hunter. 

Hunter, R-Calif., personally unscrewed and removed the painting last Friday, saying he was angered by its depiction of law enforcement officers. He then delivered the painting to Clay’s office. 

“Lacy can put it back up, I guess, if he wants to,” Hunter told FoxNews.com at the time, “but I’m allowed to take it down.” 

The painting, hanging since June, was done by high school student David Pulphus, who had won Clay’s annual Congressional Art competition. 

However:

After the piece was removed Friday, Ron Hernandez, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, said in a statement they were “very pleased.”

He said: “At a time of our country facing rising crime and a shortage of those willing to work the streets as police officers and deputy sheriffs, we need to make it clear that depictions of law enforcement officers as pigs in our Nation’s Capital is not acceptable.”

One could make a case for both points of view.

However, looking at the other Congressional Art winners on the wall, it does seem as if the painting was chosen for its subject matter rather than its artistry.

Art teachers should spend the first few lessons teaching brush technique. A small canvas will help students greatly in developing the patience — and art — of working with acrylics. Instead, I suspect, they teach colour mixing, perspective and get the students to begin expressing themselves boldly straightaway.

I arrived at this conclusion after attending an evening a few years ago with the since-deceased London Evening Standard art critic Brian Sewell who studied at the Courtauld. He told us that a university art student sought his advice about improving his painting. Sewell advised the student to buy finer brushes — the type used to achieve detail on feathers and fur — and really practice with them before committing to a working canvas. Sewell lamented the lack of today’s training even at Britain’s best art schools. The brushes are on sale, he said, but teachers ignore them, consequently, students are unaware of them. The instructors, he concluded, are not interested in teaching fine art.

Reality

Moving on to Untitled #1‘s subject matter, it is surprising that, after two terms — eight years — of the nation’s first black president at the helm, America has such a racially divisive atmosphere, the likes of which have not been seen since the late 1960s when civil rights laws were just coming into existence.

Sadly, Obama never visited Ferguson. Instead, he sent Attorney General Eric Holder. However, the situation was so violent by then that the president should have made the journey himself. He missed a great opportunity to converse with the residents in person. He could have appealed for calm by giving them more facts behind the events, excerpted below:

Michael Brown robbed a Ferguson, Missouri, convenience store of two handfuls of cigarillos just minutes before Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him on Aug. 9, according to his friend Dorian Johnson’s testimony before a St. Louis County grand jury. Wilson testified Brown’s possession of the cigarillos was the impetus behind the encounter that ultimately led to his death.

Wilson avoided indictment on criminal charges Monday after the grand jury decided there was a lack of probable cause to suggest that he committed a crime. The decision generated widespread outrage, particularly in Ferguson, where police used tear gas to subdue crowds that started fires and destroyed property.

In the days and months after Brown’s death, the convenience store robbery was considered a major factor in determining his and Wilson’s motives during their fatal encounter …

Johnson testified he had planned to pay for the cigarillos, but Brown reached over the counter and grabbed them. Brown walked toward the door and the store clerk rushed around the counter to prevent his exit. He shoved the clerk and left the store. As they walked out, the clerk said he would call the police …

But as Johnson and Brown walked down the middle of Canfield Drive, they encountered Wilson’s police cruiser. Wilson testified he told the pair to move to the sidewalk, prompting a vulgar response from Brown. “It was a very unusual and not expected response from a simple request,” Wilson told the grand jury …

Johnson testified Wilson initiated physical contact, that he never saw Brown throw a punch and that Brown was outside the police cruiser when Wilson shot him.

Wilson testified he acted in self-defense after Brown punched him and attempted to grab his gun. During the struggle for the gun, he said, Brown “had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”

Obama could have also explained that the average citizen looks at each police incident as an isolated event. By contrast, law enforcement officers see things differently. They encounter criminals or strange situations all the time. It’s what they do. They are trained professionals.

A 2015 US Department of Justice report agreed with Wilson’s actions (p. 84 of the PDF). The quotation below explains how difficult it is to fully judge a situation when seconds could mean life or death (emphasis mine):

While Brown did not use a gun on Wilson at the SUV, his aggressive actions would have given Wilson reason to at least question whether he might be armed, as would his subsequent forward advance and reach toward his waistband. This is especially so in light of the rapidly-evolving nature of the incident. Wilson did not have time to determine whether Brown had a gun and was not required to risk being shot himself in order to make a more definitive assessment.

For my readers who do not live in the United States, it is important to understand that American police shoot more white suspects than black. A 2016 study conducted at Harvard revealed the statistics. Emphases in the original below:

The study was conducted by the Harvard University economist Roland G. Fryer Jr., an African-American, who said it produced “the most surprising result of my career.” His team studied over 1,300 police shootings in 10 major police departments over the 2000-2015 span …

When encountering a suspect, police officers were about 16-19% more likely to use their hands on the suspect, push the person into a wall or to the ground, use handcuffs, and draw their weapons, if the suspect was black. They were also 24-25% more likely to point their weapons or use pepper spray or batons on a black suspect.

But when it came to shooting the suspects, police officers were more likely to fire without having first been attacked if the suspects were white. Additionally, the study learned that black and white civilians in the shootings were equally likely to be carrying a weapon.

And while zeroing in on the police department in Houston to get a more detailed picture, Mr. Fryer found that in situations of justifiable use of force, when, for instance, the officer is being attacked by the suspect, officers were 20% less likely to shoot at a black suspect. Accounting for other control factors in tense situations, Mr. Fryer saw similar results that there was either no difference between how blacks and whites were treated or that blacks were less likely to be shot.

Furthermore, police kill more whites and Hispanics than blacks. The Daily Wire has an equally interesting set of statistics from Heather MacDonald, the Thomas W Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Excerpts follow (emphases in the original):

1. Cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. According to data compiled by The Washington Post, 50 percent of the victims of fatal police shootings were white, while 26 percent were black. The majority of these victims had a gun or “were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force,” according to Mac Donald in a speech at Hillsdale College.

2. More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks. According to Mac Donald, 12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide deaths were due to police officers, while only four percent of black homicide deaths were the result of police officers.

“If we’re going to have a ‘Lives Matter’ anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named “White and Hispanic Lives Matter,'” said Mac Donald in her Hillsdale speech.

4. Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than white officers. This is according to a Department of Justice report in 2015 about the Philadelphia Police Department, and is further confirmed that by a study conducted University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway in 2015 that determined black cops were 3.3 times more likely to fire a gun than other cops at a crime scene. 

5. Blacks are more likely to kill cops than be killed by cops. This is according to FBI data, which also found that 40 percent of cop killers are black. According to Mac Donald, the police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black than a cop killing an unarmed black person.

MacDonald concluded that the ‘Ferguson Effect’ has resulted in a 17% murder spike in America’s 50 largest cities (emphases mine):

as a result of cops being more reluctant to police neighborhoods out of fear of being labeled as racists. Additionally, there have been over twice as many cops victimized by fatal shootings in the first three months of 2016.

It should also be noted that, contrary to 50 years ago, the United States has many more minority police officers. They get shot, too.

Master Sgt Debra Clayton lost her life on duty in Orlando on January 9, 2017. She had served 17 years as a law enforcement officer.

Clayton was one of the first responders to the Pulse shooting in June 2016. She was also a loving wife, a devoted mother and a caring neighbour. The photo below comes courtesy of the Orlando Police Department via the Orlando Sentinel:

OPD officer shot and killed; deputy dies in crash

The Sentinel reports that she:

was gunned down Monday morning near a Wal-Mart on John Young Parkway and Princeton Street in Pine Hills while confronting 41-year-old Markeith Loyd, who is wanted for murder.

Markeith Loyd is wanted for the fatal shooting on December 13, 2016 of his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon:

“Markeith Loyd is a suspect this community is familiar with. He should be considered armed and dangerous. He is a suspect in the murder of a pregnant woman in the jurisdiction of the Orange County Sheriff Office,” [police chief John] Mina said.

Dixon’s brother, Ronald Steward, was also shot and critically injured when he tried to come to her aid, investigators said.

Loyd is currently on the run. Interestingly, the admins at Facebook have not suspended his page:

It gets no realer then me,like it or not I’m go keep it 1,000…. I wear no mask,what you see is what you get..

Local ABC affiliate WFTV reported:

A witness to the shooting said the gunman was wearing a shirt that read “security,” but Mina said Loyd was not a security guard.

“(The shooter) was an average-looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything,” witness James Herman told Channel 9. “I was walking down the sidewalk, right past the officer, and I heard her tell him to stop, or whatever, and he shot her. He shot her down. He took off running. It’s unreal.”

Herman said the man continued to shoot behind him as he was running from the scene.

As he was running, he was shooting back, he was shooting backwards,” Herman said. “I hit the ground on the side over here because I wasn’t sure where the shooting was coming from at first.”

Clayton was outside the Walmart when she was approached by a shopper, Herman said. 

The customer walked up to her and said that someone they were looking for, wanted, was in the store in the line to check out,” he said. “She went in there, I guess, to confront him. As she was going back to Walmart, he was coming out, and he shot her.”

May Master Sgt Debra Clayton rest in peace. My condolences to her many friends and family at this difficult time.

What this goes to show is how complex — and dangerous — law enforcement is. I have not been the greatest supporter of the police in the past, but reading about these recent cases has given me pause for thought. Perhaps others feel the same way.

It’s easy for us, so far away from the line of fire, to criticise people who put their lives on the line every day for our safety.

One of my readers, Sackerson, a fellow member of the Martin Scriblerus group, sent me a link earlier today to a marvellous story for the day after Christmas, ‘King of the Birds in Ireland’.

In Ireland, December 26 is referred to as St Stephen’s Day rather than Boxing Day. In Kerry, a boys’ parade takes place every year remembering the King of the Birds.

This is an instructive story for young and old. It begins like this:

On the south coast of Ireland is a secret green wooded valley which faces the blue sea. Among the animals of Ireland it was known as Glen-na-hEan – the valley of the birds – because that is where the birds of Ireland meet from time to time to discuss and organise their affairs and sort out any problems they might have.

Now the most important time they ever met was when they came together to choose their king. On this occasion all the trees in the valley were lined with birds of all kinds. There were little birds like the redbreasted robin and the tiny wren, medium-sized birds such as the wood pigeon and the white dove, the crow and the black and white magpie and of course the bigger birds such as the cormorant, the seagull and the golden eagle with his fierce eyes and razor sharp claws.

The birds discussed the matter all day and late into the night.

But they could not agree as to who should be king …

Find out who won. You might be surprised!

Best wishes to all my American readers for a very happy Thanksgiving!

We have much for which to be thankful on this day.

Wherever you find yourselves in the world on Thursday, may your hearts overflow with love and may you enjoy a delightful dinner!

(Image credit: Folk Wisdom)

Fireworks Barking Park londonevents2011_comOn Sunday, November 20, Churchmouse Campanologist reached its 1,000,000th view!

2016 is turning out to be a banner year for me in so many ways. My Silver Wedding Anniversary, the Cubs winning the World Series after 108 years and Donald Trump winning the presidency all preceded this personal milestone.

Thank you to everyone — long-standing supporters, all subscribers and all readers — for making this possible. Particularly gratifying are my 119 new subscribers since March 17, 2016, this site’s seventh birthday.

The number seven is a significant one in the Bible. It is also significant that the 1,000,000th view came on a Sunday. A lot of prayer has gone into crafting this site. Everything good comes through our Creator, and I will continue with prayers of thanks, especially as my better half and I sit down to roast turkey on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

Thank you to all my readers. May God bless you abundantly!

POSTSCRIPT: The election has slowed down my blog visits to loyal readers. I will be visiting very soon. In the meantime, please accept my sincere apologies for the delay.

A Marine posted the following video at Reddit’s The_Donald on October 15.

It is profoundly sad to see Old Glory desecrated by a group of high schoolers who have no respect for it or for their country.

Their coach and the school should talk about the importance of the flag at a mandatory hour-long class assembly.

I realise this desecration is being done because of a certain trendy, yet ignorant, professional football player whose name will never appear on my site. Why anyone gave him the oxygen of publicity I will never know.

May God bless the man — a veteran with a walking stick! — who cared enough to pick the flag up off the ground. He knows what it represents as well as how many men and women have died to keep it flying.

The comments following this post at The_Donald are edifying. Most of the subreddit’s members are twenty-somethings. They applaud this brave American and criticise the students.

On September 2, left-leaning Clinton water carrier Paul Krugman wrung his hands in the New York Times over lead poisoning, which still poses a problem in the United States.

No one would deny that lead should continue to be reduced, so that America’s poorest children are safe.

Therefore, it was disingenuous for him to say that Republicans just don’t care.

The truth of the matter is that Republicans have next to nothing to do with how the municipalities in question are run.

An NYT commenter put the blame where it firmly belongs — with the Democrats in power at local level (emphasis mine):

“You may think that I’m talking about the water crisis in Flint, Mich., which justifiably caused national outrage early this year, only to fade from the headlines.”

And why did it fade from the headlines? When it became clear that those responsible for the crisis were local Democratic officials and state employees, not the Republican governor. In other words, once the crisis lost its political impact it ‘faded from the headlines’.

Democrats can do no wrong. To make it worse, the families who are at risk from lead poisoning continue to vote for them!

Lead paint was banned in 1978 under Jimmy Carter’s administration. Today’s immediate lead risk appears in natural elements, such as water — e.g. Flint — and soil.

If Democrats at local level really cared, they would put together — then execute — a plan to eradicate lead. But why bother when they are guaranteed election and re-election time and time again by doing nothing?

Here’s a turn-up for the books!

Phew! That’s a relief!

This five-question ‘What Kind of Pie Are You?’ quiz takes less than a minute to complete but it is amazingly accurate in determining personality types.

My result is ‘You Are Cream Pie’:

You’re the perfect combo of simplicity and divinity.
You are a secret hedonist. No one knows how indulgent you can be.
You don’t indulge often, but when you do, you go for the best.
You have expensive taste – even if you aren’t rich.

Those who like you like understated pleasures.
You’re not flashy or trendy, but you have a depth that most people lack.
Interacting with you makes most people feel incredibly satisfied.
You are gentle, super sweet, and in harmony with those around you.

I cannot vouch for the last two lines — which are for others to determine — but the rest is certainly spot on!

Feel free to share your results in the comments below!

If sites such as Breitbart and Alex Jones’s Infowars are as crazy as the Left — Democrats — say they are, why give them any credence in a public address?

Yet, that is precisely what Hillary Clinton did on Thursday, August 25 in her speech in Nevada. I happened to be watching Alex Jones’s show live at the time and, honestly, she made not just his day but his season. He yelled:

BEST SUMMER EVER!!

Michael Krieger from Liberty Blitzkrieg thinks her comments will backfire spectacularly:

Precisely because she is so polarizing, Clinton can only make an opposing movement far stronger by engaging in direct attacks on them. Since she is incapable of being a unifying figure for this country, so the moment she calls out a group as her enemy, many people on the sidelines will suddenly say, well maybe they’re not so bad.

I agree. More and more Americans own a ‘Hillary for Prison’ tee shirt, which they probably bought from Infowars. I wear one, too, although mine is a copy from a place here in the UK. Jones has said he doesn’t mind people copying the design, because he wants as many people as possible to carry the message.

The shirt is now in its third limited edition, incidentally. They just cannot keep enough in stock. The design is slightly modified with each run.

But I digress.

Back to Clinton’s speech. Krieger went on to say:

The other problem with the speech were its laughable and obvious contradictions. For example, she starts off by saying the Trump campaign peddles in conspiracy theories found in the “far dark reaches of the internet.” She goes on to name a few of these “dark reach” sites, spending a lot of time on Infowars and Breitbart. This is where things start to come unglued. If these sites are comparable to supermarket tabloids (as she claimed), why craft an entire speech around targeting them? Why would you spend so much energy on crazy fringe sites?

Just so. It is because she feels threatened by their exposés about her and that millions more people are paying attention to them rather than to Big Media.

Krieger says:

The reason is because they aren’t fringe …

As he points out, if you do a search on her health problems, Infowars articles appear at the top of the list. One Clinton water-carrier tried to get that changed:

New York Times columnist Farah Manjoo recently whined on Twitter about how Infowars was appearing at the top of Google search for Hillary health queries. He publicly called for Google to “fix” the problem. That was Tuesday. Two days later the frontrunner for the Presidency of these United States also attacks Infowars.

Clinton also had a go at Breitbart and went so far as to read out several of their headlines. But, wait, if Breitbart is so discredited, as the Left say it is, why give them power over you by reading out their text? (Emphases in the original below.)

It’s because alternative media is now driving the news cycle and this is extraordinarily dangerous to status quo influence and power. This is simply a fact, whether you like Breitbart or Infowars or not.

The Drudge Report is another media opponent of Clinton. Yet, it was one of the first independent media sites on the Internet to gain popularity. My American friends started reading it as soon as it launched in 1996.

Hillary has said she will ban all of these sites if elected. Does that sound democratic and pluralistic to you? It doesn’t to me.

She is afraid of what they have been publishing about her past and present. It is extensive and highly detailed, going back three decades. Former Clinton insider from Arkansas days, Larry Nichols, is on the Alex Jones Show when he is well enough to give an interview. He is worth reading and listening to. What he doesn’t know about the Clintons could be written on the back of a postage stamp. (By the way, he is dying of cancer, so please join me in keeping him in your prayers.)

It will be very interesting to see how Infowars and Breitbart handle Clinton’s preoccupation with them going forward to November.

Alternative media sites are in the ascendant.

Long may they prosper.

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