American Elephants


President Trump Has Announced that the United States Recognizes that Jerusalem is the Capitol of Israel. by The Elephant's Child

The nation of Israel designated Jerusalem as its capitol city in 1950. When President Trump announced that the U.S. government recognizes Jerusalem  as the capitol city of Israel and would begin preparations for moving our embassy there, the international community instantly had the vapors. And this is 2017. Roundly condemned as injurious to prospects for Israeli-Palestine peace and detrimental to America’s interests. The Middle East Forum reports:

Thus, the intense anger expressed by Palestinian and Arab leaders toward the proposed relocation isn’t rooted in concerns that Palestinian claims to disputed territory will be compromised. Indeed, it doesn’t appear to be rooted in any concerns of ordinary Palestinians. According to a recent poll, just 12% of Palestinians in the West Bank and 25% in Gaza consider the location of the U.S. embassy a “very important” issue.
As Marshall J. Breger, a professor of law at the Catholic University of America, explained in a 1994 Middle East Quarterly article, Muslim religious and cultural attachments to Jerusalem are not very deep. Contrary to mainstream media depictions of the city as the “third holiest” in Islam, Jerusalem is not mentioned by name in the Qur’an, was never visited by the Prophet Muhammad, and was never the capital of any Arab-Islamic polity.

Daniel Pipes concluded that “the Muslim interest is not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it is in denying control of the city to anyone else. Islam carries the expectation that a land once under Muslim control (Dar al-Islam) is an endowment (waqf) that must inevitably revert to Muslim rule.”

It’s fairly clear that there is no “Peace Process.” The Palestinians simply want the nation of Israel dead with all its inhabitants. Well, except when they need a medical operation for a stricken child, or someone needs some other skilled operation unavailable elsewhere.  Palestinian leaders have launched an aggressive campaign to delegitimize Israel  in the International world, culminating in a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in the west. The Obama administration’s turn against Israel gave a burst of approval for the delegitimation campaign. A good many in the West just do not want the Jews to have full control over the  “eternal city.” The growing Muslim population in Europe reflects the growing dependence of left-wing parties on the Muslim vote.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unprecedented visit to Jerusalem last July, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign ministry officially recognized Israeli sovereignty over West Jerusalem in April. President Trump’s action is simply a recognition of the real world. Israel is a sovereign nation, and Jerusalem is its capitol. The image at the top is the American embassy in Tel Aviv.

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Defense Secretary James Mattis: 95% of ISIS Eradicated Under Trump. by The Elephant's Child

Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced this last week that 95% of ISIS bases and hideouts have been eradicated. Good News indeed. Deciding that you actually do intend to defeat them makes a difference. Obama seemed concerned that he might be blamed for something. ISIS fighters have been surrendering saying they haven’t been paid and haven’t been fed, and little things like that seem to matter.

Good for our coalition. Hope they all got a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, and the gratitude of a nation giving thanks.



How the EU went Wrong and Why they did. by The Elephant's Child

George W. Bush gave a speech last Thursday at “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In the World” event in New York City. Politico called it a speech on Trumpism, but they were perhaps a bit hasty with their definition. But then, any opportunity to accuse Trump of designated awfulness, is the goal of the current news media.  I had admired George Bush for his ability to avoid speaking out on politics as a past president, especially in not commenting on Obama who had canceled all his executive orders, which must be galling.   I know it’s hard, but we really don’t want to hear from past presidents or past candidates. Their time is past.

We’re having some trouble with definitions, and throwing way too many “isms” around:  nationalism and nativism, for example. The Left, big on wide open borders, prefers to define nativism something evil, as if favoring your own citizens over illegal immigrants is reprehensible? Look up the definition of nativism. Other troublesome words are bigotry, prejudice, civility and incivility, and immigrant and migrant. ABC recently called illegal aliens (illegal: not according to law, alien: owing allegiance to some other nation) to avoid using such negative language, “undocumented citizens.” No, they’re not.

We are living in a time when the difference between undocumented citizens, immigrants and migrants is increasingly important. Europe, because of their cradle-to-grave social welfare benefits, has a declining birthrate. Because they have a declining birthrate, without enough young people working to pay for the cradle-to-grave social welfare benefits they so generously offered in order to get elected, they thought by inviting more immigrants to work and pay for the benefits, they could still prosper. “Poor” Americans have more living space than ordinary Europeans who are not poor. And more amenities.

The inviting immigrants in was a mistake for Europeans. They were feeling sorry for those in Middle Eastern refugee camps, and the well-meant invitation quickly became a flow of migrants from every hell-hole on the planet, and many ordinary countries that just didn’t have the presumed wealth of Europe.

Charles Hill explained how modernity went astray, based on a system that made room for wide cultural diversity based on a judicial doctrine of “the equality of states.”      (Do read Hill’s whole piece linked just above. It’s not long.)

The EU would become a new form of trans-national entity that would eschew war, abolish sovereign borders, exalt diplomacy, and supersede the Westphalian system by offering the world a compelling model of how to dismantle the state by devolving some of its powers downward according to the concept of “subsidiarity” while pulling other powers up into a pan-European bureaucracy in Brussels which, however defined, would not be a state. The EU assured that it was entirely un-religious and noted the care with which the text of its voluminous constitution – unratified – avoided any reference to Europe’s Christian heritage.

Put simply, the EU made itself the epitome of the Modern Age by relentless secularization. Islamism, emerging from the post-World War I collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate, made itself the vanguard of jihadist religion’s rise to become the implacable adversary of modernity. If Europe is where the siege is to take place, the drawbridge already is up:

Ambassador Hill adds: “Transatlantic unity has been the keystone of the defense and extension of freedom in wartime for a hundred years and must remain so.”

It is not the EU but NATO that has been the key to transatlantic solidarity. Strengthening NATO as a military alliance with political consequences in support of a reformed EU must be at the core of American policy. NATO’s role “out of area” will be vital along with continued efforts to integrate like-minded partners to the extent possible: Russia, Israel, the Gulf Arab states. The Modern Age itself is at stake.



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.



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.




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