American Elephants


Democratic Female Senators And Identity Politics by The Elephant's Child

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs held a hearing last week on political Islam, also referred to as ‘Islamism.’ The committee invited four witnesses: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Asra Q. Nomani, Michael E. Leiter, former director of the U.S National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and John Lenczowski, president of the Institute of World Politics. The hearing called our attention to the dysfunction that we face in addressing the topic.

The two female witnesses were on edge. Earlier that day, a shooter had attacked the Republican baseball team in Alexandria, and only moments before the hearing began a man wearing a Muslim prayer cap had stood up and heckled them, putting Capitol police on high alert. They were expecting tough questions. Both women had been born into deeply conservative Muslim families. Both have been threatened with death by jihadists for things they have said and done. Ayann, who survived genital mutilation and forced marriage, and Asra defied Sharia by having a baby while unmarried. Ayann cannot appear in public without armed guards.

The four female Democratic senators, Clair McCaskill, Missouri; Kamala Harris, California; Heidi Heitcamp,North Dakota; and Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire; are ardent feminists, so the witnesses might have expected sympathetic questions. Senator Claire McCaskill,  announced that she took issue with the theme of the hearing itself. “Anyone who twists or distorts religion to a place of evil is an exception to the rule.” she said. “We should not focus on religion,” she said, adding that she was “worried” that the hearing organized by Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, would “underline that.”

Ayaan and Asra emphasized the meaning of what went down:

[W]hat happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives when it comes to confronting the brutal reality of Islamist extremism and what it means for women in many Muslim communities here at home and around the world.

When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.

[W]hen we speak about Islamist oppression, we bring personal experience to the table in addition to our scholarly expertise. Yet the feminist mantra so popular when it comes to victims of sexual assault — believe women first — isn’t extended to us. Neither is the notion that the personal is political. Our political conclusions are dismissed as personal; our personal experiences dismissed as political.

That’s because in the rubric of identity politics, our status as women of color is canceled out by our ideas, which are labeled “conservative” — as if opposition to violent jihad, sex slavery, genital mutilation or child marriage were a matter of left or right. This not only silences us, it also puts beyond the pale of liberalism a basic concern for human rights and the individual rights of women abused in the name of Islam.

Why?

Partly they fear offending members of a “minority” religion and being labeled racist, bigoted or Islamophobic. There is also the idea, which has tremendous strength on the left, that non-Western women don’t need “saving” — and that the suggestion that they do is patronizing at best. After all, the thinking goes, if women in America still earn less than men for equivalent work, who are we to criticize other cultures?

Obama made a big deal about helping refugees, largely because they were expected to become Democrat voters. Refugees from communist totalitarian states like Cuba and Venezuela, were rejected.  Identity politics, moral relativism or political correctness are more important than real information or some victims are more important than other victims. Things like sex slavery, violent jihad, genital mutilation, honor killings, polygamy or child marriage simply don’t measure up to equal pay for women (federal law since 1963).

They didn’t ask the two women a single question. Not just rude, for the two women were invited guests as well as witnesses who are pro-democracy, pro-free speech, pro-freedom Muslims. What an excellent chance to learn a little more about the Muslim religion and Islamic ideology firsthand.

Mackubin Owens pointed out that “Islamism isn’t a religion. It’s a political system at war with us. Political Islam seems to be the front runner in who is the most oppressed of all?  They cannot be criticized even if it means throwing other favored victim groups under the bus. Islamists punish homosexuals with death by throwing them off tall buildings or stoning, but “Islamophobia” trumps “homophobia.” The problem is distinguishing between Islam as a religion and political Islam as a system for organizing society. This is a pathology that is aimed at effecting the final destruction of the West.  We can’t seem to get our minds around that simple fact.

 



A Trump Voter Feels Betrayed by President Trump by The Elephant's Child

The version from The Onion.



Tucker Carlson Goes All In on DC by The Elephant's Child

I have enjoyed Tucker’s take on all sorts of subjects, but I had not heard him before in a speech, a fairly long and absolutely brilliant speech to the International Association of Fire Fighters. He explains Trump, the Republicans, the Democrats and the atmosphere, habits and situation in the nation’s capitol. It’s not pretty. And Tucker is very good.

This just seems to be a day when videos offer more than the written word. I guess nobody has written anything brilliant at all today. Some days are like that.

The Democrats’ role is to drum up enthusiasm for voting in what they consider their base. This election has really scared them. They are slowly realizing how much power they have lost and how empty their bench is, how old their leaders are, and how much it all went wrong when they were expecting another triumph. Did you see any mourning by Democrats at the shooting in Alexandria at a supposedly bi-partisan baseball game for charity? Did you see Twitter after Scalise was shot? Many felt that he deserved it because he was a racist and KKK enthusiast, I guess because he is from Louisiana? They all deserved to have been shot because they were Republicans. That is simply not sane. It’s not even American. It like something out of Stalin’s Gulag. And alarming.



Trying to Make Sense out of a Senseless Day by The Elephant's Child

What an appalling day. We have worried about the Left’s irresponsible language and baseless accusations as calling for violence. Top that off with Kathy Griffin’s severed head, and the Shakespeare in the Park’s Trump assassination as truly deplorable attempts at some kind of poorly thought out dark humor.

Do you recall the campaign in 2008? Democrats fell in love with Barack Obama. He was tall, slim, nice looking with a good looking family, and best of all — he was black, which absolved the Democrats of their past history of slavery. They wrote songs to him and about him. There were portraits and posters—thousands of posters. “Yes We Can,” “HOPE, “and “CHANGE.”Chris Matthews had a thrill running up his leg. Obama had been in the Illinois Legislature where he mostly abstained from voting, and then in the U.S. Senate, where he mostly rushed around trying to get in every picture of a successful passage of a bill. No noticeable accomplishments.

I don’t think that the Democrats this time, fell in love with Hillary. There just wasn’t that kind of enthusiasm. But they expected her to win without any problem. They were assured of retaining power, and that’s what mattered. Did they just not notice that a great many Republicans thought Hillary should be prosecuted for her defiance of federal  law? For using the taxpayers for her personal piggy bank? That she was a compulsive liar? Apparently not.  I don’t think they had given Donald Trump much consideration, because they were so confident of winning it all. And then he won. It was unthinkable. Impossible in the normal course of things. Losing all the way down to dogcatcher level. It could not be ordinary voting. It had to be something BIG. Obviously Russia. Collusion. Obstruction. They lost not just the presidency, but statehouses, Congress. How were they going to get it all back? Their leaders were all old. Mostly in their 70s. The Republicans in Congress were in their 40s. Kamala Harris, the new one from California, got to be on camera in the Sessions Hearings and was slapped down by the chairman for being rude and refusing to let the Attorney General  answer.

The whole Russia thing appears to be just wishful thinking. Something might turn up, but there’s nothing to impeach Trump for. That seems to be why some nutcase from Illinois wanted to kill himself some Republicans. They want him impeached right now. No crime, no reason? Impeach him for being Trump, the epitome of being awful, he will kill us all, destroy everything. Treason. Resist!

Look, Presidents and Presidential candidates are just ordinary people, with an extra-large dose of self-confidence or self-regard, who have managed to gather some supporters and raise some money. Nobody is entitled. This is not royalty and they work for us, not the other way around. If they do a good job, we will honor them, and if they manage to make the world a little better we will applaud as well. They will go down in history in the list of presidents, and most of us have forgotten the ones who were in office before we were born. There are very few who have been outstanding, but we can always hope.

Donald Trump has orange hair, he tweets, and he says rude things about those who are trying to bring him down. He is getting rid of regulation that has been crippling business, and the economy will improve as a result. He is trying to make the American people safer from Islamic terrorism, as we watch children in England and Europe being killed with suicide bombs. That sort of thing doesn’t penetrate the resistant mind. They are theoretically furious about health care, with no understanding that ObamaCare was going broke and wouldn’t be there for them anyway. They don’t make sense at all.

This post was put up at the Huffington Post, and then withdrawn, but I managed to get a cached version. It’s a remarkable example of the Progressive mind of the “resistance”.

—”Impeachment is No Longer Enough: Donald Trump Must Face Justice

—Then there’s the case of an Antifa activist who was arrested in Harrisburg PA after she deliberately stabbed a police horse in the neck with a flagpole with a nail in the end of it. Who does something like that?

The Fusion PartyAs usual, Victor Davis Hanson does the best job of explaining what is going on.

Pandemonium Can Be a Revivifying Purgative”another from Victor Davis Hanson, always clarifying.

Useless IdiotsLeftists decry President Trump as a fool, but their antics show who the real clowns are. by Stefan Kanfer at City Journal.

Incitement to ViolenceThe Left has raised America’s political temperature to the boiling point. Seth Barron at City Journal



Lightening the Burden of Excessive Regulation by The Elephant's Child

President Donald Trump has made a good beginning on the immense burden of excess regulation on the U.S. economy and on us personally. Experts believe the cost is close to $2 trillion a year on the economy. Eager progressives believed that the way to fix everything would be strong regulations from the wise elite in Washington D.C. Well, you and I know that the elite don’t seem to be exceptionally wise, and in many cases are definitely deficient.

There was a better way of regulating, according to Steve Forbes, back in (of all places) the Clinton administration. Regulators should state the goals, and let the industry figure out the best way of achieving them.

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., recently asked the right question in a hearing on improving our infrastructure: “Can performance-based regulations be more effective than command-and-control regulations in achieving safety goals while imposing less of a burden on industry?”

The answer, of course, is yes and there is now a bill before Congress that would codify this common sense approach, The Revamping American Infrastructure Act of 2017. The proposed legislation would call on federal bureaucrats to “identify those regulations, guidance and policies that in current form establish prescriptive requirements for regulated entities; and are able to be replaced, consistent with Federal law, with outcome-based performance standards.”

Thanks to deregulation in 1980, the [freight railroad] industry morphed from an inefficient, loss-ridden system into the finest, most efficient in the world. Nonetheless, the industry is still weighed down unnecessarily by countless, archaic operational mandates. It is ready to deploy new technologies for inspections such as drones, trackside detection systems and sophisticated X-ray machines that would provide crucial information in real time. Yet the industry must abide by a rigid set of procedures established by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that seems to think the world is still dominated by those legendary steam engines of yore.

Federal regulators wanted to address the problem of accidents caused by human error. To fix it, they wanted to dictate to the railroads the number of of persons  in a crew,  without any data that supported the notion that a second person in the cab would actually reduce the number of human-error accidents. (You remember the goofy regulation that all ingredients,with their calorie count in all pizzas, had to be included in the big sign back of the cash register in all pizza parlors.)

The EPA’s jihad against fossil fuels resulted in their so-called haze rule, supposedly to improve visibility. The rule would have forced the closure of several coal-fired power plants and killed many jobs, with no noticeable improvement in visibility.

Sensible removal of excessive government regulation should be a boon to the economy, and perhaps even reduce the number of government regulators. So far, so good. The Trump administration has made a good start.

 



Victor Davis Hanson Explains the 2016 Election by The Elephant's Child

This is a speech Victor Davis Hanson gave at the David Horowitz Restoration Weekend shortly after the election in 2016 and elaborates on all the myths surrounding the election. So it’s all past history, but good to revisit because it helps to explain where we are now and why.

Democrats are always ready with talking points, insults, accusations, and false claims. They believe firmly that they are entitled to be in charge. As David Horowitz has said “Inside every Progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” They are always ready for battle, and Republicans, unfortunately, just can’t bring themselves to stop being polite.

Victor Hanson skewers most of the Democrats’ accusations and talking points, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I think you will too.



The House Took a Big Step to Fix the Economy Today by The Elephant's Child

While the Washington media was glued to every word emanating from former FBI director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the collapsing hope that the next words would provide the ammunition to finally impeach President Trump, a much bigger story going on in the House was being completely ignored.

The Financial Choice Act, which the House approved by a 233-186 vote (no Democrats voted for it) got no attention at all. Yet this bill can be a very big deal for the economy. It repeals the failed Dodd-Frank banking law, 22,000 pages of regulations, which cost the economy $36 billion in the first six years of its implementation. Dodd-Frank , signed into law by President Obama in the wake of the financial crisis, was supposed to be foster innovation, stop taxpayer bailouts once and for all, and be good for the economy. Instead, it choked competition in banking more than 1,700 banks  have disappeared, the banking industry became more concentrated and did nothing to reduce risk in the financial industry.

According to the American Action Forum, if Dodd-Frank were left in place it would cut the nation’s GDP by nearly $900 billion, and slow any hope of growth dramatically. Dodd-Frank created the unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which has expanded in size and regulatory reach, collecting massive amounts of sensitive financial data on millions of Americans.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank law has been a disaster, responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and slowed economic growth by making credit harder to come by by those who need it most.

Late last year, a U.S. appeals court ruled that the design of the CFPB was unconstitutional because it gave the director “more unilateral authority than any other officer in any of the three branches of the U.S. government, other than the president.”

The House Bill strips out the worst parts of Dodd-Frank, reins in the CFPB, but does not eliminate them both. The Democrats in the Senate are determined to stop this bill completely, whether because of unconcern for the economy or an attempt to save Obama’s “legacy.” The bill will probably be watered down to some form that might overcome a Democrat filibuster. The CFPB needs to be shut down completely, not “reformed.”

 




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