American Elephants


We Mostly Do Not Understand How Differently Other People Think by The Elephant's Child

Perceptions. We’re mostly inclined to believe that other people think pretty much as we do, and are surprised to find out that there are true believers in something radically different. And even when we grasp that they really do believe, and don’t believe that they are wrong, but that you are—it’s still a little hard to get your mind around it. Aside from Maxine Waters, who has now announced that Vice President Pence should also be impeached—(do you think she is just grandstanding for attention, or does she really believe her nonsense?)

Many Americans believe that Europe is well on the way to becoming Islamic. Only 45% of Europeans believe that the massive influx of asylum seekers is a cause for alarm, but 71 percent of Germans listed climate change as their greatest cause of personal concern. Looming less important than fluctuations in the Earth’s climate are things like new wars, the threat of terror attacks, or crime (which 63% fear). Apparently they do not associate the massive influx of asylum seekers, with the rapes and sexual attacks, and terror attacks. Must be a very strong societal emphasis on compassion or empathy going on. Birth rates in Europe are very low as well, and far below a replacement rate.

The results of the study come at a time when Germany is facing an unprecedented Islamist terror threat, with a new report showing that more than half (54 per cent) of plots in the nation have involved asylum seekers and refugees since 2014, and the onset of the migrant crisis.

And on Wednesday it was revealed that the influx of a million migrants in 2015  — who arrived after Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Europe’s borders — has already left a huge mark on Germany’s demographics.

Chancellor Angela Merkel stood out as a credible environmentalist when she attacked Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which scientists largely agreed would have little or no effect on the climate by 2100. A boost for the coming elections.

The study comes at a time when Germany is facing what would seem to be a major terrorist threat. The report shows 54 percent of attacks in the country have involved asylum seekers and refugees, ever since 2014 and the onset of the migrant crisis. Yet they are more frightened by the threat that the climate might get a degree or two warmer. Terror attacks like Manchester or the cases in Sweden don’t seem to bother them, and they are not influenced by the Eastern European countries like Poland and Hungary who are defying the EU demand that they accept asylum seekers. It would seem to us like a major case of denial. It’s hard to understand how differently others can see the world around them.

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As We Celebrate Independence Day, Give Some Thought to Those Who are Fighting on Our Behalf by The Elephant's Child

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi said that ISIS is close to defeat in Mosul and close to being driven out of Iraq, after Iraq’s military seized a mosque in the city were the extremist group’s leader first proclaimed a caliphate. Col. Ryan Dillon, the Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S. led coalition said that the fighting should be over in a matter of days, and then it would take time to clear the area of Islamic State holdouts. Progress has been steady, but there is still tough fighting ahead.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters that the flow of foreign fighters to the Islamic State that had peaked at about 1,500 volunteers per month has declined to fewer than 100.

More than 60 countries have been contributing to an INTERPOL database information about citizens known to have fought for ISIS. McGurk said the list is up to 14,000 names “and continues to grow.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. is going to focus on killing remaining foreign fighters in the Islamic State. “Because the foreign fighters are the strategic threat should they return home to Tunis, to Kuala Lumpur, to Paris, to Detroit, wherever. Those foreign fighters are a threat,” he said. “So by taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don’t simply transplant this problem from one location to another.”

More can be found here.

As we turn our attention to the Fourth of July and fireworks, picnics and barbecues, we do need to remember that some Americans under arms are still fighting to free us from ISIS and it’s terrorism.



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 Complete Denial of Reality by The Elephant's Child

Heather MacDonald, in a new article at City Journal explains how “the New York city council would require the New York Police Department to reveal the details of every surveillance technology the department uses to detect terrorism and crime. Ninety days before the NYPD intends to implement a new surveillance technology, it would have to post on the Internet a technical description of how the new tool works, and how the department plans to use it. The public would have 45 days to comment on the proposed technology; the police commissioner would then have 45 days to respond to the public comments before he could actually start using the new capacity. Existing technologies would also have to be retroactively submitted to public review.”

What is wrong with this simple idea? Is this a public demonstration of the decline of the New York public schools? Have the folks in this very Democratic City lost the ability to think? Very possibly. Heather MacDonald adds that “perhaps aware that this moment many not be ideal for promoting what would be, in effect, a terrorists’ manual on how to evade discovery in New York City.”

“The bill’s supporters have,” Mac Donald writes, “hilariously taken to casting it as a pro-illegal alien, anti-Trump gesture. New York is a ‘sanctuary city, now in open resistance to the Trump administration.’ two members of the Brennan Center for Justice wrote in an op-ed advocating for the so-called Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act. The Brennan Center wrote the POST Act for council members; the center has pushed similar bills across the country, including in Seattle and Oakland, two cities that have been particularly vulnerable to ‘anti-fascist’ violence.) The city council press release claims that the bill ‘strengthens New York City’s commitment as a sanctuary city…as the Trump administration seeks to increase surveillance across America.”

One would think that the memory of 9/11 would still be on citizens’ minds, that they would realize that a huge and prominent American city like New York is a highly desirable target for terrorists.  Instead it is an outgrowth of some confused anti-Trump fervor. Trump is a fascist, so we must do away with any government surveillance,  policing, oppose all government secrecy, end any broken-windows policing because under Trump we might have a national surveillance state. What? Another attack in London, in France and Belgium. Sexual assaults by Muslim migrants are up by 1000% in Sweden, and they try to hide it. I’m not quite clear on just where the idea of Trump as the dictator of a national surveillance state comes from, but no anti-Trump idea goes too far. You’ve probably noticed that they are somewhat unhinged.

The NYPD does not need special permission to watch suspects on the street, nor to install cameras to observe the public. The Fourth Amendment does not apply to things in the open. Police need legal permission to tap phone lines, but not anything in the open or on the streets.

At Commentary Magazine, Jonathan Foreman writes of the British problem: Jurists who came of age in the 1960s have been inclined since 2001 “to see terrorism as an ordinary criminal problem being exploited by malign officials and politicians to make assaults on individual rights and to take part in “illegal” foreign wars.” He says it has been almost impossible to extradite ISIS or al-Qaeda-linked Islamists from the UK. English judges believe that few if any foreign countries—apart from perhaps Sweden or Norway—are likely to give terrorist suspects a fair trial, or able to guarantee that such suspects will be spared torture and abuse.”

The UK’s progressive media elite’s primary, reflexive response to a terrorist attack is to express worry about an imminent, violent anti-Muslim “backlash” on the part of a bigoted and ignorant indigenous working class. Is that what we have going on here?  What part of the dead children in Manchester can they simply not get through their heads? Or London Bridge, or hundreds of other attacks across the UK and Europe?

The European Union announced this week that it would begin proceedings to punish Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic for their refusal to accept refugees and migrants under a 2015 scheme the EU commission created. The mission’s aim was to relieve Greece and Italy of the burden from migrant waves arriving from the Middle East and Africa, largely facilitated by European rescues of migrants in the Mediterranean. The EU was arrogating quite a bit of authority to themselves. The people have different ideas. The truth is that the majority in nearly every European country says that migration from Muslim countries into Europe should be slowed down or stopped entirely. In Poland, over 90 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “all immigration from majority Muslim nations should be stopped.”

You  have a situation where public sentiment runs strongly one way and that of the political class is something completely different. The waves of Muslim migration in Europe are a serious problem, and the public is fed up. Politicians here remain oblivious. We need to be fully aware of Europe’s problems, because we will undoubtedly face some of the same problems here. We have had terrorist attacks, and we will have more. Facebook would seem to be a channel for Islamic radicalization materials. We need to do some serious rethinking about some of our assumptions.  It’s hard to know when we are being really stupid, if we are not paying attention. We can’t deal with problems that we refuse to admit exist.



Is It Time for Candles and Teddy Bears or Time For Something More Serious? by The Elephant's Child

During Ariana Grande’s “One Love Manchester” benefit concert for the victims, Katy Perry attempted to say something helpful.

“It’s not easy to always choose love, is it, especially in moments like this… but love conquers fear and love conquers hate, and this love you choose will give you strength, and it’s our greatest power.

There was more, but this gets the gist. No. Love doesn’t conquer all. We have whole governments across the world who cannot speak clearly or accurately about Islamic jihad. We in the West had our wars of religion—an Inquisition, a Reformation, and the American Revolution and Constitution to end the rule of Kings and proclaim in our First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That has not meant that everything has been completely peaceful on the religion front, but it has had an influence round the world. Still, Westerners have become hesitant to criticize any religion in any way, which makes us unprepared for suspicion or attack.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others who were convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and of planning a series of attacks against New York City landmarks. He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He is a contributing editor of National Review. When he writes about Islam and Sharia Law, you want to pay attention. He has studied deeply.

His article today is especially worth your time and attention. It begins:  “Islamists want to impose sharia law on the West—which means all Islamists are ‘extremists‘ — The Western schizophrenia about radical Islam is on full display in Britain, in the aftermath of the latest jihadist atrocity, the third in just the past three months.”Please read the whole thing.

Our political elites have a hard time with it. They just don’t see immigration, refugees, or illegal immigrants as much of a problem. This is where European countries have been. Only 4% of Congressional Democrats think it’s much of a problem, four times as many Congressional Republicans do, but still only 16%. The American people are far, far more concerned.

After three brutal attacks, British officialdom have suddenly started paying attention. British intelligence agencies have identified 23,000 potential jihadis living in Britain, according to the Times of London on Saturday. Of this ‘pool’ of potential terrorists, 3,000 are suspected of posing an “imminent threat” and are being investigated accordingly. The other 20,000 have been involved with past investigations and are categorized as a “residual risk.

What a dreadful situation. Does it then take three attacks in short order, 22 dead kids, to make people sit up and take notice? Armed policemen are patrolling British streets again. Ramadan seems to be a significant time for attacks. Over at American Thinker, Ed Straker assembled a selection of  comments about Manchester and London Bridge from all over, and a variety of people, to demonstrate the utter vacuity of serious thought.

There isn’t much serious thought going on, especially in our universities. Lots of blather about “hate speech” and race. Suddenly, black students are demanding segregation, separate dorms and facilities, even separate graduation exercises. Students refuse to listen to noted scholars because they have been told that the speakers are racists or bigots or just shouldn’t be listened to, though in every case, students would have deeply benefitted by learning something new. So it isn’t just the language about Islam, it is a matter of language in general.  The problems at our colleges and universities are a matter of inability to identify what is going on or understand what an appropriate response might be.

Everybody is afraid of protesters or boycotts. Businesses don’t want to be known for taking a position that might prompt some adverse attention. On the other hand, some business executives want to be known as prominent  environmentalists, or prominent opponents of fossil fuels, or other hot button issues. Ordinary people have opinions too, and we don’t have to listen to unwanted lectures from those who supposedly want our business.

There are plenty of articles out there proclaiming the end of Europe as we knew it. They have signed their own death warrant by admitting so many “refugees.” They are discovering that the refugees who claimed to be “children” are not only not children but ISIS fighters. (You couldn’t tell?) In some countries like Sweden, so many women are attacked that the government tries to cover up, and they don’t seem to know what to do. They are trying desperately to find the correct pacifying language, to find a way to tamp the trouble down. Is it all too late?



The Art of Political War And the Art of a Political Response by The Elephant's Child

Republicans prefer their presidential candidates to be experienced governors who are practiced at dealing with difficult legislatures, lots of state agencies and troublesome problems that pop up unexpectedly—so when they are elected they can move into the White House more or less knowing what they are doing.

Democrats prefer glamorous candidates that they can admire. They fell in love with FDR, Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Obama. Republicans seldom go to that extreme, though they have liked some better than others.

We elected Donald Trump, who, having spent his life in a very liberal New York City, is not as intense a Republican, or perhaps only lately a Republican. Nevertheless, he saw something disturbingly wrong with the Obama administration’s America, and he wants to fix it —  hence the “Make America Great Again” baseball caps and the “draining the swamp rhetoric.” He hit a chord in vast numbers of angry American voters.

The White House and the presidential job were a bit startling to this Chief Executive Officer of his own empire, It’s far more intense than he had expected. Democrats in the Senate slow-walked every appointment that they could. Maxine Waters got in front of every available camera to insist on impeaching the president. Selecting the best person for each cabinet post means lots of interviews, lots of recommendations to sort through, and at 120 days he has finally completed the appointments.

I can sort of imagine the problems. He has his campaign staff with him, but many of the most important cabinet officers are still new to him. Each of them must start right in with a brand new office of old Washington hands, some willing, many unfriendly leftovers. Many of the appointments seem to be outstanding. Nikki Haley has hit the ground running at the UN. Some of the new people aren’t Republicans at all. Suspicions abound. Old familiar staff and family and new staff are sizing each other up and trying to decide if they can possibly work together.

Congress is moving at a slow crawl. The news media is hostile and trying to make a catastrophe out of every word by, about and from the President. The Democrats cannot accept the verdict of the American people and are trying to bring down this president. There are “Never Trumpers” among the Republicans. The Democrats really struck pay-dirt when they found the 5 year old tape of the presidential candidate  making “locker-room comments” about women attracted to celebrities. Someone remarked that it was a “class issue”, and because of that comment, the elites determined that he was lower class, and thereby beyond the pale. Uneeded complications.

Trump is meeting with a wide variety of our most repellent foreign leaders in coming days, at his invitation. I think he just wants to size them up himself, rather than just rely on what he is being told. Some are disturbed that he is willing to meet with these heads of state.

The new staff is still sorting itself out and not satisfactorily. Some will be replaced, which will lead to further attacks from the Democrats. Staff dissension will be sorted out, communication will improve, and progress will be made. Bite your tongue. Allow the White House time to sort out the newness,  they are under attack in an unexpected war. We’ve got an outstanding bunch of people there. Use your annoyance and anger to attack the left’s unrelenting venom.

Democrats are unaccustomed to any possibility that Republicans might actually respond. They remind us frequently that Mitch McConnell said early in Obama’s first term that his number one goal was to make sure that Obama was a one-term president, and how rude and crass a comment! That was apparently the whole of the Republican attack on the new Democrat president. Republicans are far too polite to really go on offense. They need your help. Hang in there. Praise the successes, and try not to criticize the flops too much. They need your encouragement, not  your criticism. It’s still very early on.

 

 



The Other Side of Hate Speech — In Israel. by The Elephant's Child

From The Jerusalem Post:

“Sometimes we are privileged to meet rare and inspiring people, people whose life experiences are so different from our own that hearing about them provides us with a new understanding of the human spirit, a new way to see things, and a new way to think. Yahya Mahamed is one such person. Tall, dark and slim, the first thing one notices about him is his smile.”

“I grew up in Umm el-Fahm, the third-largest Arab city in Israel. It’s a very problematic place. The Islamic Movement runs the municipality. This means they have power over everything: schools, services, who gets hired… and they are very anti-Israel. ISIS logos and swastikas are common,” he says.

“Violence is the norm in Umm el-Fahm,” he continues.
“Bullets are shot into the air, and several people have been hit by them. The police aren’t where they need to be. If they were, it would greatly improve quality of life and safety for the city.” It would also help dispel the accepted view that the job of the police is to oppress the residents, he adds.

Mahamed was raised to perceive Israel as an oppressive, evil regime. “I remember being a child and watching television with my mother. The only thing on was Palestine, Israel oppressing Palestine, Israelis killing Arabs, Arabs killing Israelis. Nothing else. My whole world was the conflict; in school, on TV, in the community. I was an Arab and therefore a

Mahamed’s story is a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Middle East. He identifies as a proud Israeli Arab. He was given the illusion that one could have either Israel or Palestine but not both. He was taught that Israel only existed because it took land from the Palestinians.  That he was given no education, only propaganda. He was taught in school that Hitler did a good thing and left a small group of Jews alive so that the world would know why he killed the rest. In the Israeli town where he grew up, there is no one to give an alternative viewpoint.

Do read his whole story. He is only correcting what even Israeli Arabs are taught—with the facts. And he takes his story around the world with him in spite of the death threats and danger. He remains in his Arab-Israeli town, but he removes the ISIS graffiti and the swastikas because they normalize terror and hate.”We need to take away the hate” he says. An inspiring young man.

Learning what we don’t know is important.




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