A tourist who flew all the way to New York to buy a dress for her wedding wound up getting jilted by a phony Airbnb listing — and was left unable to afford her dream gown.“The one I really want I can’t get,” lamented bilked bride Malissa Blackman, 36.Blackman traveled from her home in Barbados and expected to be staying in a swank rental at 400 Fifth Ave. in Midtown with her mom, two sisters and two bridesmaids.ADVERTISINGBut when she got there, the doorman broke the bad news to her that the digs she’d shelled out $2,000 to use for five nights didn’t exist — and that they weren’t the first people to turn up at the address.“I’m on the street thinking, what the hell? Where are we going to go?” she said.A concierge confirmed to The Post that at least two other groups had shown up looking for the bogus beds this year — including a family of six from Spain and Argentina.Modal TriggerBlackman tries on a dressRichard Harbus“Those poor families come here and then they have nowhere to stay,” said Aguedo Avias.“I tell them I can help them find a hotel, but that the building doesn’t allow Airbnb and no one in the building has a listing on Airbnb.”Blackman then had to cough up another $2,600 for last-minute hotel rooms — exactly what she’d planned to blow on a wedding dress.She saw a gorgeous dress from her favorite designer Hayley Page the next day that would have been perfect for her November nuptials with fiancee Heath.It featured layers of tulle and a “lovely back with lots of straps on it” — but at $2,500, the frock was now out of her price range.She spent the day in tears.“Because of the money situation, we said we’d have to go with a cheaper one,” said Blackman, who is herself a wedding planner back in Barbados.Blackman contacted Airbnb to report the scam and ask for a refund Wednesday, but the site told her she wasn’t eligible — the conman had tricked her into clicking on a fake Airbnb site, so all the fraud happened off its territory.Blackman, a newbie to the room-rental service, said that after contacting the seller over the app, she then emailed the supposed apartment owner.He responded with an “airbnb.com” link to click through for the booking. It took her to what appeared to be the real deal — but she didn’t notice it actually said “airbnb.com-listining-online31215.info.”“For me, who’s never booked Airbnb before, I’d never have known I was not dealing with Airbnb,” she said.An Airbnb spokesman responded that Blackman went against warnings on the site telling users not to email with hosts or transfer money off the platform, and provided screenshots that show her messaging with the fraudster right next to one such alert.But he acknowledged the site’s software isn’t supposed to allow users to share direct email addresses in the first place, and the safeguard failed. He added the listing has been removed, and that it wouldn’t have been there if anyone else had reported it for fraud in the past.“The moment a fake listing is reported, it’s removed. We are investigating the situation at this address and our team is working hard to constantly strengthen our defenses and stay ahead of fraudsters,” said Press Secretary Peter Schottenfels.After The Post inquired about Blackman’s story Friday, Airbnb said it will refund her after all — contrary to its previous missives to the heartbroken bride.But Blackman said it was the first she’d heard of it and by then it was too late, anyway — her trip was almost over and she had already made arrangements to buy a $975 dress.Fortunately, she’s now falling in love with the strapless lace number and she’s looking forward to walking down the aisle in it later this year.She’s just bummed that she wasn’t able to enjoy her Big Apple shopping spree her fellow wedding planner pals had planned out for her.“I feel like from the minute we landed I was so excited and then it just went from one thing to the next … I was bursting out in tears instead,” she said.
WASHINGTON — YOU know who is really sick and tired of Donald Trump winning, to the point where they beg, “Please, Mr. President, sir, it’s too much”? Democrats. The Democrats just got skunked four to nothing in races they excitedly thought they could win because everyone they hang with hates Trump. If Trump is the Antichrist, as they believe, then Georgia was going to be a cakewalk, and Nancy Pelosi was going to be installed as speaker before the midterms by acclamation. But it turned into another soul-s
My husband, Miguel, and I were sipping lattes in a south Florida resort, feeling exhausted and exhilarated, one newborn each in our arms. Just three weeks earlier, our sons had been born via surrogate and this was our first “outing” since the boys had left the hospital.Suddenly, an older gentleman walked up to us. “Beautiful babies,” he said. “Which one of you is the dad?”“We both are,” we responded in unison. I braced for what might come next. But the man simply turned and offered a smile: “Mazel tov!” he exclaimed, “my nephew and his partner did exactly the same thing.” ADVERTISEMENT Advertisement (1 of 1): 0:02When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June 2015, it was seen as a historic victory, one that would finally put gay and straight couples on an equal footing. But in my experience, the real equalizer for gay couples is parenthood.According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, 10 percent of LGBTs are married, while 10 percent of same-sex male couples and 24 percent of lesbian couples are raising children. And while marriage absolutely conveys certain rights, parenthood offers a path to societal acceptance that feels both revolutionary — and a revelation.Back on our first date about six years ago, Miguel and I discovered we are both twins — and would one day like to have twins of our own. But, both being close to 40, we were part of a generation that assumed gay people couldn’t have kids. The limits of biology and stigmas of HIV and homophobia made fatherhood seem impossible.Then, as the years passed, gay parenthood suddenly became viable, as reproductive technologies intended for infertile straight couples were embraced by gay ones eager to form families of their own.Suddenly, Miguel and I had an unexpected path into mainstream society.Assimilation is not something we necessarily had desired, but it actually felt good.We decided to go the surrogacy route — a process that can take years and cost more than $100,000 even without a guaranteed result. Miguel and I aren’t rich, but we devoted our savings and energy in order to achieve our dream.The process wasn’t without its doubts. Friends and family questioned our ability to successfully parent, and I felt a homophobic subtext to their comments. “These kids are going to need a woman around them,” they’d say.Having been raised by a single mom myself, their concerns weighed on me. And yet, we progressed, and by 2016 our surrogate was pregnant.In November, two weeks before the twins were born, Miguel and I married. It was a joyous occasion, but this ceremony, surrounded by our small, supportive family network, did far less to advance LGBT equality than our new parenthood status soon would.With two children, we would be barrier breakers, forcing the world to confront our version of a family.In the small-town hospital where our twins were born, we were nervous that the nurses wouldn’t accept us as the parents, given that our twins were born to a woman neither of us was married to. But instead, they embraced us and gave us a room to share with the boys, an entitlement the hospital automatically affords heterosexual couples.At our building in the Upper East Side, I worried that we’d be judged or even shunned by my fellow residents and the doormen. Instead, my neighbors have invited the boys to play dates, while doormen constantly comment on how fast our kids are growing.I fretted most about the reaction from heterosexual dads, but even this has surprised me.Last month at a playground, Miguel and I cautiously bonded with an alpha-male dad-bro and his son. The father clearly had little experience with gay men, but he opened up as we shared our children’s recent milestones (solid foods, new teeth, a few words) and pushed them on swings. “Hope to see you again,” he said as he finished up.While most interactions have been positive, integrating as a gay parent can be exhausting and even scary. Every day, my husband and I have to “come out” as our sons’ fathers to the world — at doctors’ offices and baby stores and official government agencies that stumble (and then correct) their words when we register for a shot or a stroller or a Social Security card. But, as a result, society is being forced to treat families like mine the same as any other.I’m not saying there won’t be major struggles for us in the future. And I certainly don’t think all gay people should become parents, or even marry for that matter, to feel equal. But it has been surprising to find myself at the age of 45 — a half-black, half-Jewish, gay man — finally accepted, simply because I now have a new identity that transcends all others.I’m a dad. Nothing is more equalizing than that.
Reporters at the New York Times could soon be “vulnerable” to the ax. If the ongoing round of voluntary buyouts being offered to editing staff does not get enough takers, the Gray Lady could begin another round, NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet recently warned his top department editors.“Up until now, the company had not indicated that layoffs would happen if targeted numbers weren’t achieved,” Grant Glickson, president of the NewsGuild, told Media Ink.As part of the NYT’s ongoing restructuring of its editing ranks, 109 copy editors have had their jobs eliminated. There are estimated to be about 50 new jobs available in the restructured editing operation that the Times envisions for its digital- and video-oriented future.When the downsizing was first revealed in late May, a memo from Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn portrayed the cuts as a “streamlining” of the editing process and indicated that some of the savings would be used to hire up to 100 more journalists.But in a mid-June meeting with department heads, Baquet admitted that journalists could be targeted in a new round of layoffs once the editing ranks are culled.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“I just attended a department head meeting with Dean and the rest of the staff,” Metro Editor Wendell Jamieson said in a June 15 memo to his own staff. “While much of the buyout discussions have focused on editors, the buyouts are also available to reporters. Dean made it clear that, should the Times find itself in a layoff situation, reporters will also be vulnerable.” The memo eventually made its way to the NewsGuild, where it triggered a new uproar.The NewsGuild blasted the decision by Times management to do away with copy editors — and potentially expand its layoffs to reporters. “This proves what we have suspected all along,” said Glickson. “The Times ‘restructuring’ of the newsroom is really about the bottom line and not about making the editing process more efficient, as they claim.”The process is speeding along, however, despite the union’s objections. Interviews for copy editors to apply for the new positions are expected to conclude June 27. They are being conducted by 14 top editors — Jamieson, Monica Drake, Nancy Gauss, Steve Kenny, Marc Lacey, Patrick LaForge, Dean Murphy, Caroline Que, Carolyn Ryan, Karron Skog, Dick Stevenson, Archie Tse, Vivian Toy and Susan Wessling. The interview committee will meet June 28 and June 29 to decide who will be called back for a second interview.The second interview process is expected to end by July 10.The buyout window closes July 20 — so there will be a 10-day period in which copy editors who have essentially been job eliminated can then “volunteer” for a buyout.Said one insider, “If you don’t have a job after the interview process is complete, you really have no choice but to take the buyout.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court enters its final week of work before a long summer hiatus with action expected on the Trump administration’s travel ban and a decision due in a separation of church and state case that arises from a Missouri church playground.The biggest news of all, though, would be if Justice Anthony Kennedy were to use the court’s last public session on Monday to announce his retirement.To be sure, Kennedy has given no public sign that he will retire this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy’s departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court.But Kennedy turns 81 next month and has been on the court for nearly 30 years. Several of his former law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down in the next year or so. Kennedy and his clerks were gathering over the weekend for a reunion that was pushed up a year and helped spark talk he might be leaving the court.”Soon we’ll know if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate,” one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, said on Twitter Friday.When the justices take the bench Monday, they are expected to decide the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, which was excluded from a state grant program to pay for soft surfaces on playgrounds run by not-for-profit groups. The case is being closely watched by advocates of school vouchers, who hope the court will make it easier to use state money to pay for private, religious schooling in states that now prohibit it.Missouri has since changed its policy under Republican Gov. Eric Greitens so that churches may now apply for the money.Also expected in the next few days, though there’s no deadline by which the court must decide, is a ruling on whether to allow the administration to immediately enforce a 90-day ban on visitors from six mostly Muslim countries.Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, could play a pivotal role in both the travel ban and church playground cases.In all, six cases that were argued between November and April remain undecided. Three of those, all involving immigrants or foreigners, were heard by an eight-justice court, before Gorsuch joined the bench in April.If the eight justices are evenly divided, those cases could be argued a second time in the fall, with Gorsuch available to provide the tie-breaking vote.
Source: Associated Press
In a year that he would like to forget, which included his acrimonious divorce to Amber Heard, Johnny Depp appeared at a Q&A at the new Cinemageddon stage at Glastonbury. Introducing his 2004 film The Libertine, about a 17th-century poet who notoriously drank himself to an early death, the 54-year-old chose to discuss American politics.”I think [Donald] Trump needs help,” he said. “There are a lot of dark places he could go.”
He added: “I’m not insinuating anything – by the way this will be in the press and it will be horrible – but when was the last time an actor assassinated a president?”
Responding to loud cheers, Depp said: “Don’t worry, I’m not an actor, I lie for a living.”
Speaking about The Libertine, which was maligned by critics, Depp said: “It’s a film that needs to be seen.”
Depp has been working with organisers on the latest addition to Glastonbury’s expansive site, which boasts the biggest screen in the UK and will show films to festivalgoers sitting in remodelled vintage cars.
He helped come up with the showings of the films on Thursday night of the festival, which, in addition to The Libertine, included Withnail & I, and Dead Man, and is curated by the film-maker Julien Temple.
Depp hoped that by giving the film a fresh airing at Glastonbury, people would be able to see it – and its protagonist, John Wilmot – in a new light. He said in a statement:
“This is one of those films that got lost in the shuffle. It’s a film that a lot of people on which worked very hard, and one that I am very proud of. The second Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot, is a man that everyone deserves to know more about. He wasn’t just some drunken jester. He was a sublime wit in the court of King Charles II and an individual of great literary importance.”
In the crowd for The Libertine was former Chancellor Ed Balls, who told The Telegraph that he had never seen The Libertine.
LoginSearchEnlarge player →’Safe spaces’ for Muslims in the United States?Jun. 09, 2017 – 6:31 – Tucker takes on advocate for creating ‘safe spaces’ for Muslims similar in the US to the system that was proposed in Australia #Tucker
After 6 Deadly Islamic Attacks and 130 Deaths in 3 Years – Paris Votes 90% for MacronJim Hoft May 7th, 2017 5:11 pm 513 CommentsAn Islamic State terrorist killed one policeman and injured two others in an attack on the Champs Elysees in central Paris in April 2017.Three police officers were shot, one was killed in the attack.ISIS took credit for the deadly attack.This was the sixth deadly terrorist attack in Paris in the last three years with over 130 dead in Paris alone.And this was the 21st deadly Islamic terrorist attack in France since the deadly Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015.Islamists murdered seventeen people including eight employees at Charlie Hebdo.At least 238 people have died in Islamist attacks in France since January 2015.On Sunday Paris voters chose the moderate status-quo candidate Emmanuel Macron over the fierce defender of France Marine Le Pen.Macron won 90% of the vote in Paris.You can’t fix stupid.
President Trump and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin will work together to end the Syrian civil war and stop the suffering in the battle-scarred country, the White House said Tuesday.The pair spoke by phone in their first known conversation since the US missile strikes on a Syrian air base that sparked new tensions between Washington and Moscow, and the White House said the pair agreed that the suffering in Syria had gone on long enough.“All parties must do what they can to end the violence,” the pair agreed, according to a White House statement.The US will send a representative to ongoing peace talks being held in Kazakhstan, the administration said.Trump and Putin also discussed escalating tensions in North Korea and how the two countries could help defuse the dangerous situation.And they also said they would try to schedule a meeting this July in Germany.The early afternoon discussion was focused on Syria’s six-year conflict, which has left hundreds of thousands dead and displaced millions more.Despite having previously warned against US intervention in Syria, Trump ordered the strikes against Syrian government targets in early April after accusing the regime of using chemical weapons in a deadly attack on civilians.The US action was accompanied by a dramatic shift in the Trump administration’s rhetoric toward Russia, one of the Syrian government’s most important benefactors.Trump, who spent months touting the prospect of warmer ties with Putin, declared after the strikes that the relationship between the US and Russia “may be at an all-time low.”Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley also sharply condemned Moscow’s role in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Yet Trump has continued to hold out the prospect of a stronger relationship with Russia, which was a cornerstone of his foreign policy platform as a presidential candidate.He took to Twitter days after the Syria strikes to say that “things will work out fine” between the US and Russia and “everyone will come to their senses.”Trump and Putin spoke one day before a new round of Russian-led talks on the Syria crisis begins in Kazakhstan.
The elderly woman who jumped to her death from a ritzy Upper East Side apartment building over the weekend was an acclaimed author whose life read like one of her books, police sources said Monday.Jean Stein, 83, lived her life among and wrote books about New York and Hollywood’s elite.She jumped to her death from her 15th-floor bedroom balcony and landed on an eighth-floor terrace at 10 Gracie Square around 10:30 a.m. Sunday, police sources said.Stein suffered from depression and had attempted to kill herself in the past, sources said.Her first marriage was in 1958 to William Vanden Heuvel, a lawyer who worked in the Justice Department under Robert F. Kennedy. They had two daughters.In 1985, she married Torsten Wiesel, who was a co-recipient with David Hubel of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1981. They were married until 2007.
Stein is best known for writing “Edie: American Girl” in 1982, a book about Edie Sedgwick, artist Andy Warhol’s muse.
Just two years ago, in 2016, she published “West of Eden: An American Place,” a tale of Hollywood told through the eyes of insiders, including Lauren Bacall, Arthur Miller, Dennis Hopper, Frank Gehry, Ring Lardner and Joan Didion.
Born in Los Angeles in 1934, Stein came to the Big Apple to attend Miss Hewitt’s Classes, a private school on the Upper East Side that would later become the Hewitt School.
Stein then attended Wellesley College in Boston for two years before switching to the Sorbonne in Paris. At age 19, she met author William Faulkner, then 56, during a vacation in St. Moritz in 1953.
Years later, she told People Magazine that she had a relationship with the married author.
“He had a great influence on my life,” she told the magazine in 1982. “He gave me a sense of values.”
She interviewed Faulkner in 1956 for The Paris Review.
In 1970, Stein published “American Journey, The Times of Robert Kennedy.”
In “West of Eden,” Stein wrote of growing up in her family’s Beverly Hills mansion, known as Misty Mountain: “I had the sense that my world was make-believe.”
PARIS — Researchers with the Japanese anti-virus firm Trend Micro say the campaign of French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron has been targeted by Russia-linked hackers, adding more details to previous suggestions that the centrist politician was being singled out for electronic eavesdropping by the Kremlin.The campaign’s digital chief, Mounir Mahjoubi, confirmed the attempted intrusions in a telephone interview late Monday but said they had all been thwarted.“It’s serious, but nothing was compromised,” he said.The French presidential race is not yet over. Macron faces far-right rival Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential runoff on May 7. Macron favors a strong European Union, while Le Pen wants to pull France out of the bloc, weakening it.Trend Micro said it discovered the campaign by monitoring the creation of rogue, lookalike websites often used by hackers to trick victims into giving up their passwords. The Tokyo-based firm recently detected four Macron-themed fake domains being set up on digital infrastructure used by a group it calls Pawn Storm, according to Trend Micro researcher Feike Hacquebord.
The French are famously frisky. Carnality is so embedded in the culture that affairs are almost de rigueur for politicians (start your engine, Le Pen). The country’s awash in swing clubs, parties, and resorts. There’s even a town called Cap d’Agde, where wearing clothing is frowned upon.Modal TriggerThe pool at Le Diamant Noir hosts “muscle awareness water aerobics.”Le Diamant NoirSo, France is a fitting place for swinging couple Bruno and Sandra Mazaferro to open a campsite for swingers — the country’s third such location, according to the Connexion.At the randy retreat, Le Diamant Noir, naughty games and “muscle awareness water aerobics” get juices flowing. Nightly parties take place where underwear is deemed optional and cuddle corners attract lovers of the great outdoors as well as other people’s spouses. There are “Eyes Wide Shut” bashes and plenty of opportunities for sexual mingling.MORE ON:SWINGERS’A night of erotic freedom’ at NYC’s most exclusive sex partyInside the wildest open-air swingers festival everWife went on ‘revenge date’ after husband signed her up for swingers siteSex club seeks Nashville blessing by vowing to be a churchAs Bruno told the Daily Mail, the point of his operation is to make swinging vacations accessible to everyone (Cap d’Agde and its ilk can get expensive). Hence, day-passes are available, overnight stays start at $32 and you can rent a camper or bring a tent.France isn’t the only option for couples who want to get it on during their getaway. At La Mirage Swingers Complex in Spain, condoms get handed out as freely as pillow mints. Copacabana Hotel & Suites in Costa Rica has two pools — one clothing optional, the other mandatorily nude — and theme nights with names like Wet and Wild. Guests at Desire Resort & Spa, in Mexico, have been known to make sexy time in the nudity-preferred nightclub.What is it like to actually indulge in a swinger’s vacation? According to a blogger who writes under the name LadyDeeNSarge, it’s anything but boring: “Nightly booty showcases — aka theme nights — are truly ‘pleasure-able’ events. Lingerie, masks, feathers, body stockings, leather — whatever the theme is for the night, you can bet its [sic] gonna be HOT hot HOT. I’m ready to participate, goodbye inhibitions, hello inner freak!”
Amid complaints that his aides are saying different things about Syria and his policy is confusing, President Trump emphatically cleared the air.“We’re not going into Syria,” he told me yesterday in an exclusive interview. “Our policy is the same — it hasn’t changed. We’re not going into Syria.”The president, speaking by phone Tuesday, called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “butcher” and a “barbarian” for using sarin gas on his own people, but said last week’s successful missile strike was not the start of a campaign to oust the dictator.“Our big mission is getting rid of ISIS,” Trump said. “That’s where it’s always been. But when you see kids choking to death, you watch their lungs burning out, we had to hit him and hit him hard.”He called the attack, which involved 59 cruise missiles fired from two Navy destroyers, “an act of humanity.”I asked if he, as a new president, found it difficult to make the final decision, knowing the stakes?“It’s very tough to give that final go-ahead when you know you’re talking about human life,” he said. “We went back and forth, and also back and forth about severity. We could have gone bigger in terms of targets and more of them, but we thought this would be the appropriate first shot.”Later, he added, “We hope he won’t do any more gassing.”The interview was scheduled to last 15 minutes, but ran nearly twice as long. Throughout, the president was gracious, energized and focused. He answered every question, and invited me to ask more as aides tried to get him to his next appointment. So I did.How seriously does he take the threats from Russia, and does he think there is still a possibility for cooperation in the region with Vladimir Putin?“We’re not exactly on the same wavelength with Russia, to put it mildly,” Trump answered. “Putin must see what a barbarian this guy is, and it’s a very bad symbol for Russia with this guy gassing children and using barrel bombs.”With Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow as we spoke, Trump said he hoped for Putin’s cooperation, but added, “I don’t know.”
By Patrick J. BuchananBy firing off five dozen Tomahawk missiles at a military airfield, our “America First” president may have plunged us into another Middle East war that his countrymen do not want to fight.Thus far Bashar Assad seems unintimidated. Brushing off the strikes, he has defiantly gone back to bombing the rebels from the same Shayrat air base that the U.S. missiles hit.Trump “will not stop here,” warned U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Sunday. “If he needs to do more, he will.”If Trump fails to back up Haley’s threat, the hawks now cheering him on will begin deriding him as “Donald Obama.”But if he throbs to the war drums of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and orders Syria’s air force destroyed, we could be at war not only with ISIS and al-Qaida, but with Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.A Syrian war would consume Trump’s presidency.Are we ready for that? How would we win such a war without raising a large army and sending it back into the Middle East?Another problem: Trump’s missile attack was unconstitutional. Assad had not attacked or threatened us, and Congress, which alone has the power to authorize war on Syria, has never done so.Indeed, Congress denied President Obama that specific authority in 2013.What was Trump thinking? Here was his strategic rational:“When you kill innocent children, innocent babies — babies, little babies — with a chemical gas … that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. … And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me … my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”Two days later, Trump was still emoting: “Beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”Now, that gas attack was an atrocity, a war crime, and pictures of its tiny victims are heart-rending. But 400,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war, among them thousands of children and infants.Have they been killed by Assad’s forces? Surely, but also by U.S., Russian, Israeli and Turkish planes and drones — and by Kurds, Iranians, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, ISIS, U.S.-backed rebels and Shiite militia.Assad is battling insurgents and jihadists who would slaughter his Alawite brethren and the Christians in Syria just as those Copts were massacred in Egypt on Palm Sunday. Why is Assad more responsible for all the deaths in Syria than those fighting to overthrow and kill him?Have something to say about this column?Visit Pat’s FaceBook page and post your comments….Are we certain Assad personally ordered a gas attack on civilians?For it makes no sense. Why would Assad, who is winning the war and had been told America was no longer demanding his removal, order a nerve gas attack on children, certain to ignite America’s rage, for no military gain?Like the gas attack in 2013, this has the marks of a false flag operation to stampede America into Syria’s civil war.And as in most wars, the first shots fired receive the loudest cheers. But if the president has thrown in with the neocons and War Party, and we are plunging back into the Mideast maelstrom, Trump should know that many of those who helped to nominate and elect him — to keep us out of unnecessary wars — may not be standing by him.We have no vital national interest in Syria’s civil war. It is those doing the fighting who have causes they deem worth dying for.For ISIS, it is the dream of a caliphate. For al-Qaida, it is about driving the Crusaders out of the Dar al Islam. For the Turks, it is, as always, about the Kurds.For Assad, this war is about his survival and that of his regime. For Putin, it is about Russia remaining a great power and not losing its last naval base in the Med. For Iran, this is about preserving a land bridge to its Shiite ally Hezbollah. For Hezbollah it is about not being cut off from the Shiite world and isolated in Lebanon.Because all have vital interests in Syria, all have invested more blood in this conflict than have we. And they are not going to give up their gains or goals in Syria and yield to the Americans without a fight.And if we go to war in Syria, what would we be fighting for?A New World Order? Democracy? Separation of mosque and state? Diversity? Free speech for Muslim heretics? LGBT rights?In 2013, a great national coalition came together to compel Congress to deny Barack Obama authority to take us to war in Syria.We are back at that barricade. An after-Easter battle is shaping up in Congress on the same issue: Is the president authorized to take us into war against Assad and his allies inside Syria?If, after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, we do not want America in yet another Mideast war, the time to stop it is before the War Party has us already in it. That time is now.