American Elephants

Christmas is Coming: The Geese Are Getting Fat… by The Elephant's Child

A mysterious light switch allows unsuspecting New Yorkers to turn on over 50,000 Christmas lights. From Improv Everywhere:

For our latest mission, we placed a 7-foot-tall light switch in New York City’s Father Demo Square. When a random New Yorker flipped the switch, the entire square lit up with Christmas lights. In addition to lights on the trees, benches, and fences around the park, a mob of performers wearing lights wrapped around their clothes lit up as well. The performers were instructed to turn on their lights and freeze in place when the switch was flipped on.

(h/t: AmericanDigest)

Treat Serious Subjects with a Degree of Respect by The Elephant's Child

Muslim-PrayerThe media’s freakout over Donald Trump and especially his insistence that he will ban Muslims from the United States continues apace. Steven Hayward summed it up nicely at Powerline.

But let’s face it: the institution with the most at stake in Trump’s continued success is . . . the media. Here’s a not so secret fact of modern journalism: covering presidential campaigns is really boring. Most leading candidates are fairly disciplined, and stick to a standard stump speech. They don’t make a lot of national news, with the exception of having to respond to events (or in this case, respond to Trump). If you’re covering Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio right now, you aren’t getting much broadcast airtime or front-page space. Covering Trump has to be the best thing since the invention of movable type: you never know what he’s going to say.  …

All he has to do to capture the news cycle is to pick up the phone and make some outrageous statement.

Our new Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s response to the San Bernardino massacre, was that she would be concerned about a rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric. Politically incorrect speech, which is of course, free speech —protected by the First Amendment. She later backed down. There were innumerable cries about Trump’s statement being totally unconstitutional, but several law professors specializing in First Amendment law explained carefully that we can legally forbid entry to anyone.

On the other hand, there is a religious test for refugees. In theory, as I understand it, a refugee is someone admitted above and beyond the quota for the year on the basis that they face persecution and danger in their native country because of their religion. This is a real problem for Christians in the Middle East whose lives are threatened.

The suggestion that we might target Muslims is assumed to be a “hate crime”  largely by the Democratic Party.  Despite the liberal narrative, it is Jews, not Muslims who are the greatest victims of what the FBI calls religiously targeted hate crimes in America. 57% of anti-religious hate crimes targeted Jews, 16% targeted Muslims. Anti-Christian or anti-Protestant bias came in third at 8.6%.

The problem for the West seems to be Sharia Law, handed down by the Prophet as rules that govern every aspect of life for believing Muslims. We speak of “radical Islam” but that seems to mean only that adherents are expected to follow its tenets to the letter. The penalty for rejecting Islam is death. The penalty for speaking any words that can be interpreted as critical of the Prophet is death. Those who are “not radicalized” feel that the passage of centuries has perhaps changed or  modified things somewhat, or has it?

Others say that Islam is not a religion but an ideology. Osama bin Laden was radicalized by the work of Sayud Qtub who came to believe that the misfortunes facing Muslims were because Allah had turned his face away from Muslims because the people had not followed Shariah closely enough, and failed to eliminate those who would not submit.

British police have come forward to say that Trump is right because Muslim areas of Britain are “so radicalized” they are no-go areas. While we debate Trump’s statements, France has closed three mosques, in which they found hundreds of weapons. Nine people have been arrested and another 22 have been banned. They have also kicked in the doors of 2,235 homes and taken 232 people into custody or placed them  under house arrest.

From The Daily Mail: ISIS army of scientists set to wage chemical and biological war on the West. They claim to have already smuggled weapons of mass destruction into the European Union. The terror organization has recruited experts with chemistry, physics and Computer science degrees to wage war with future attacks.

Obama said that America must enlist Muslim communities to combat terrorism. Former FBI Counterterrorism Agent John Guandolo said that since 9/11, “we collectively have received nearly zero help from the Muslim community,” In the Wall Street Journal Yesterday, Khurram Dara, an attorney and author of The Crescent Directive and Contracting Fear wrote that “after San Bernardino, American Muslims have to come to terms with an ever more apparent truth; that we and our mainstream Muslim brethren, are the only ones who can lead a winning fight against the radicalism crippling our faith.”

This is all a deep and troubling conundrum, and worth far more study and thought than a would-be politician popping off to get the day’s most notable news bite.


Wealth, Poverty, and the Role of Politics by The Elephant's Child

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses poverty around the world and in the United States. Poverty in America, he says, is not severe, compared to the rest of the world. Many of the poor in the United States have one or two cars, central heating and cell phones.

The real problem for the poor is the destruction of the family, which Dr, Sowell argues dramatically increased once Great Society welfare policies were introduced in the 1960s.

“The World Has Never Been a Level Playing Field.”

Published on December 8, 2015

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