American Elephants


Islamophobia, Freedom of Religion, Free Speech And Hate Speech by The Elephant's Child

The Canadian  House of Commons has passed a motion that singles out the criticism of Islam as a form of “Islamophobia.” Critics condemn it as an attack on free speech. There’s a lot of that going around these days, especially on college campuses. But also in governments, at all levels. The Left has raised any unpleasant speech to the level of “hate speech,” a fuzzy phrase that doesn’t define the speech, but condemns the speaker as a bad person. To be condemned as fascist, racist, homophobe, Islamophobe, sexist, etc, etc, etc.

This is particularly abhorrent for those who have been elected to office, for going around with the bad person label may mean that you lose your next election, but also that your opponent has some real ammunition to destroy you. But there is no such thing as “hate speech.” There are hateful words, or cruel words, or even language intended to incite violence. But let’s try to be accurate with our language.

The fear of being so labeled has everyone ever so careful with their use of language and avoidance of any suggestion that could end up with the BP label. Words get ultra-careful. Obvious things cannot be said or done. It becomes a careful time with everyone tip-toeing around what in an ordinary time would be a straightforward condemnation or disagreement. On the other hand, tweets, comments and social media, are increasingly rude, foul-mouthed, nasty and increasingly unprintable. The increasing prissiness of official-speak is driving ordinary folk quite bonkers.

The picture illustrating the article is a photo of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau behind a placard saying “Diversity is Canada’s strength” (in two languages). This is also nonsense. Diversity is a current buzzword of the Left, who are trying to divide the people by forcing them to readjust any organization or particularly any photo so there is the proper representation of skin tones and ethnicities—none of which have any importance at all. It’s what’s inside that counts. Is there a diversity of thought, of outlook, of knowledge? Are there nice congenial people or only rude and nasty ones? Are these people with whom you have something in common or strangers? Honest and trustworthy?  The minute you start asking real questions the idea of diversity of skin color gets silly. Doesn’t matter.

The more important question is — why has “diversity” suddenly become the top question or issue? I saw a piece recently where someone was questioning Germany’s troubles with “migrants.” And someone responded “But don’t you understand how important the diversity is to Germany”— or something to that effect. That’s just my memory. And of course the Canadian discussion soon got into the freedom of religion issue regarding Islamophobia. It is not a matter of freedom of religion when the proponents of one form of that religion want everyone else to submit or be killed, and keep demonstrating ever gorier ways that they kill dissenters or just those who are out of line.

I wrote something a few days ago about the increasing extent to which people on the right and those on the left were not speaking the same language, and it is true, and intentional. Language is becoming a tactic and a weapon in our increasing division.To suggest that the Left speaks in the language of feelings and emotions is only the beginning of the differences, which are growing ever closer to all-out war. More to come.



We Have Separate Conversations Going On Here, And We Don’t Seem to Speak the Same Language by The Elephant's Child

Early today I watched a video of the first press briefing for the State Department under new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, for the Trump administration. It was over an hour long, conducted by Mark Toner who has been in the job for a number of years, is very competent, and knows most of the journalists present. I’ve seen excerpts of these things before, but this was the first time I have watched the whole thing.

I found it somewhat astonishing, for the liberal journalists trouble in grasping the distinctions among immigrants, illegal immigrants, refugees and the countries involved. They were really having a hard time understanding why some refugees should be turned away at the border, for example—why would we not allow refugees from Iran who didn’t like the government there. Certainly not all Iranians liked the government, why wouldn’t we accept those people? They clearly just didn’t grasp that we cannot tell or vet those who come from a nation that wants to destroy us, nor can we tell who is a jihadi and who is not.

I’ve been mulling over these language distinctions for some time. for it seems that Journalists just don’t grasp that when the Ayatollah Khomeini leads his people in chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”— that is exactly what he really means, and what his government is working for. That there isn’t really any way to tell the good people from the jihadis, and the next terrorist attack may hit their D.C. neighborhood. They are involved with the news, but they don’t grasp the nature of the world.

Rex Tillerson has said that we have been paying the UN for years to monitor and control North Korea’s experimentation with nuclear weapons and it has not worked at all, so perhaps it is time to try something different. I would add that when Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un had his older step-brother executed in another country, and just recently executed five of his supporters who offended him with anti-aircraft cannons, that something different is probably what is needed. I just don’t get the feeling that these journalists get it, and they are still out wandering around in issues of diversity and social justice. But perhaps I am unjust.

A very large issue is the one of religion. Two federal District Judges, one from Seattle and one from Hawaii, have issued stays on President Trump’s Executive Orders, which issued a 90 day ban on immigration from seven countries selected by the Obama administration because immigrants or refugees from those countries cannot be vetted adequately. Why would we have any special concern for Christian refugees?

The First Amendment to the Constitution says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… That seem so straightforward and clear. Congress cannot make any laws that establish a state religion. ( No Church of England here) Yet that First Amendment has caused an amazing amount of trouble as people try to overthink and over dissect the words. If a Christian cross is displayed on federal land is that “establishing a religion?” Do the Little Sisters of the Poor have to support abortion for their workers in spite of the fact that their religion prohibits abortion?

So the question becomes—what happens if the religion in question wants to destroy the United States of America because our existence conflicts with their religion. Do al-Qaeda and ISIS represent the Islamic religion, or are they something separate? Do they get to try to destroy us because they don’t believe in our Constitution or religions, and we have to refrain from fighting them because of freedom of religion? When you spell out the questions that arise, it clarifies things, but a full discussion becomes ever more necessary. And the questions that arise are litigated and re-litigated.

The Federal District Judge in Seattle and the Federal District Judge in Hawaii are dragging in casual remarks from the difficult election campaign as if that had anything to do with the President’s Executive Order. They can’t do that. The only thing they have to consider are the exact words of the Executive Order. They cannot drag in extraneous things. Federal Judges get a lifetime appointment and cannot be removed by Congress, though they can be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” So this will all have to go to the Supreme Court.

Our Founders were a lot closer to the European Wars of Religion 1524-1646, following the Protestant Reformation. That ended with the Peace of Westphalia, which recognized three separate Christian traditions in the Holy Roman empire: Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism and Calvinism.That was followed by the British Civil Wars or The Wars of the Three Kingdoms: England, Scotland and Ireland. The Reformation of the Church of England, begot Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, and the breakdown of state-controlled religious conformity bred an explosion of radical denominations: Ranters, Baptists, Diggers, Levelers and Quakers. The New England colonies were settled by Puritans, Pennsylvania by Quakers, the Carolinas by Presbyterians, and Virginia by the Church of England, and they changed as they were established in America. All fascinating, but necessary to understand at least a little, when we get into simple questions about freedom of religion.

To circle back to where I started, I got no feeling that the reporters at the State Department briefing had any understanding of the real nature of the religious questions involved. Religion is those backwoods people clinging to their Bibles and guns, or something like that. It undoubtedly plays a major part in our current problems with the mainstream media. Our conversations are not about real things, but about social justice, race, diversity, pronouns, race, safe spaces and snowflakes. We’ve got some very real problems out there and they remain essentially unrecognized.

 



Michael Ramirez Captures the Media by The Elephant's Child

trump-promises



Andrew Klavan’s “One State Solution” by The Elephant's Child

Obama hasn’t managed to get his much vaunted two-state solution, possibly because there has never been a state of Palestine. Israel has pointed out over and over that they would be happy to have a two state solution if the Palestinians will recognize the State of Israel, and stop trying to kill the Israelis. Arabs are citizens of Israel, and participate at all levels of government except the military. Israeli Arabs are the freest Arabs in the Middle East. Andrew Klavan may have a better solution.



About That “Smooth Presidential Transition”… by The Elephant's Child

To quote Andrew Malcolm:

Since Obama vowed to run a smooth presidential transition, what’s the real point of picking a tardy diplomatic scuffle with Putin? What’s the real point of setting Israel (and the annoying Netanyahu) adrift at the United Nations now?

Why issue all these offshore drilling bans and new federal regulations? Why commute more federal prison sentences than a dozen past presidents combined? Why keep releasing Guantanamo terrorists when so many return to their homicidal careers?

Might it be to plant political IEDs for his annoying successor, as Democrats seek to restore their party? For the first time in nearly a century a former president decided to reside in Washington. Obama has rented a mansion and office space where he’ll be easily accessible to media friends for, say, kibitzing his successor – unlike Obama’s predecessor, who went silent for more than a year.

•”California state lawmakers (Democratic operatives) have hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to file lawsuits against the Trump administration to hold it in check, much in the same way Republican attorneys general did to President Obama.”

•”The latest numbers from the U.S. Treasury say that United State’s federal debt has risen by a trillion dollars in President Obama’s final year in office, while Republican controlled both the House and Senate.

The debt at the end of 2016 was $19,976,826,951,047.80, a one-year increase of $1,054,647,941,626.91.”

•”Taxpayers footed the bill for $96 million in mostly personal travel expenses for President Obama and his family over the eight years Obama has occupied the White House, according to a new report from Judicial Watch announced Thursday.

The president’s high-priced trips included the family’s annual vacation to Hawaii, which cost an estimated $3.5 million in flight expenses alone, a $222,000 ski trip to Aspen for Michelle Obama and her daughters, and $450,000 in flight expenses for the family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, the Washington Examiner reported.”

•”President Obama’s lame duck administration poured on thousands more new regulations in 2016 at a rate of 18 for every new law passed, according to a Friday analysis of his team’s expansion of federal authority.

While Congress passed just 211 laws, Obama’s team issued an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, some costing billions of dollars.”

• “Economy-Crippling Executive Actions: With less than a month left in his presidency, Obama has launched an initiative to wipe out coal mining and handicap offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.First, he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with its controversial Stream Protection Rule. By one estimate, that would make mining so difficult it would make 85 percent of the nation’s coal reserves unrecoverable.

Then, on Tuesday, the president designated most government-owned areas in the Arctic Ocean and a large swath off the Atlantic Coast closed to drilling. That would prevent production of huge reserves of oil and gas.”

• “Record Wave of Pardons and Commutations: President Obama on Monday pardoned 78 people and granted another 153 commutations, amounting to the most acts of clemency granted by a U.S. president ever in a single day.”

•”Ramped-up Refugee Resettlements:President Barack Obama is speeding up the “refugee” resettlement process before he turns over the White House keys to his successor, President-elect Donald Trump – in an effort to boost the numbers so high that it is now projected that they will exceed his target of 110,000 for this fiscal year by nearly 600.

According to the Refugee Processing Center, the Obama administration has already welcomed 23,248 individuals to the United States as “refugees” through the first 11 weeks of the 2017 fiscal year – almost doubling the 13,786 who were accepted for the same period in 2016.”

• “Adding a final shameful chapter to a foreign-policy record that already runneth over with them, Barack Obama on Friday abandoned America’s commitment to Israel’s security, and to the vindication of democracy over sharia-supremacist aggression. In an act of cowardly venom, the president had the United States abstain from — and thereby effectively enact — a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlement activity. At least, that’s what the resolution ostensibly does. The reality is much more than that. The resolution undertakes to render our ally indefensible.”



Political Correctness, Progressivism and the Perpetual War on Real Progress by The Elephant's Child

From Angelo Codevilla: “The Rise of Political Correctness” in the Claremont Review of Books:

The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself. Because all progressives, Communists included, claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, progressives end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities. Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being  subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power. Because that power is insecure as long as others are able to question the truth of what progressives say about themselves and the world, lprogressive movements end up struggling not so much to create the promised new realities as to force people to speak and act as if these were real: as if what is correct politically—i.e.,what thoughts serve the party’s interest—were correct factually.

Communist states furnish only the most prominent examples of such attempted groupthink. Progressive parties everywhere have sought to monopolize educational and cultural institutions in order to force those under their thumbs to sing their tunes or to shut up. But having brought about the opposite of the prosperity, health, wisdom or happiness that their ideology advertised, they have been unable to force folks to ignore the gap between political correctness and reality.

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This is a pretty good example of how Democrats use “talking points” to get a message across, which is just another form of propaganda— designed to fit an image in your mind. And it is the media that is repeating the talking points. It’s not just repetitive words, but basic ideas, repeated over and over until they seem normal. And this is the media doing Leftist propaganda, not news.

We are told that we must be concerned about feelings: compassion, sympathy, pity, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, sensitivity, solicitude, generosity, goodwill, humanitarianism, for the refugees from the Middle East. We have to be nice.

Angela Merkel was just being compassionate when she invited refugees to come to Europe. The refugees were welcomed. They welcomed them with flowers and food and housing. Europe, at Angela Merkel’s invitation, was trying to be nice. She may have lost the next German elections already.

The religion of most of the refugees tells them that Western women are infidels, whores, and it’s fine to rape or mistreat them. So you have “No Go” areas where it is not safe to enter, even for police. The ‘refugees’  don’t want to work, they like being supported. They don’t intend to be assimilated. They are demanding the installation of Sharia law. Europe, overall seems incapable of saying ‘No’ firmly.

Same thing is beginning to happen in this country. Obama is shipping refugees in significant numbers to states that usually vote Republican, The states don’t get to turn them down. If you don’t want to welcome refugees, or object to executive orders or regulations, you are a bad person because you don’t have the proper compassion.

Look again at that list of nice words. You will seldom hear an explanation of just what Sharia Law is, nor of the fact that the refugees are not interested in assimilating, nor in becoming Americans.

More than 4.4 million people are on the wait list to immigrate to the United States. They have applied legally, and want to become Americans, yet Obama is flooding the country with “Syrian refugees” who aren’t necessarily even Syrian, and can’t be vetted. The problem is that Sharia Law and the Islamic way of life are completely incompatible with our way of life.

As I have said, humans are by nature tribal. We want to be with those who share the same background, the same heritage and language, the same customs. Commonalities. Shared experiences. It isn’t about race or ethnicity, though that may matter for some. So what? One of my friends plays tournament bridge, and has friends with whom she shares the pleasure of the game. A nearby shopping center has a food court and adjacent tables often feature a knitting circle, and there is a giant chess board with players from all over, and several games going on at the side.

To Quote Angelo Codevilla again:

Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special,”scientific.” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward; the world is not as it should be because society’s basic “structural” feature is ordered badly.

As far as I can tell, the source of greatest anger among humanity at the moment is that Leftists are furious at those who disagree with them about the direction of the country, the importance of the Constitution, and the reach of the federal government. That seems to be the basic “structural” feature that is not as it should be. Leftism or progressivism is a religion, and the Left, collectively, are quite as intolerant as the Islamists in our midst. Yet, collectively, they cannot bring themselves to call Islamic terrorism by name.

Human nature is not as it should be, and must be fixed, so that progressives are in charge and no one disagrees with them.  Baldly stated, it’s really not so attractive at all.



The Middle East Problem by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Dennis Prager with a brief video from Prager University, explaining the Middle East Problem, and why the much vaunted “Two-State Solution” doesn’t work, why Obama’s effort to abstain from voting for the Security Council  resolution is so foolish and so remarkably damaging.

Back before Barack Obama was nominated, Richard Epstein, who knew him at the University of Chicago, wrote that Obama had absolutely fixed ideas that were set in concrete. Once he made up his mind, Epstein said, that was it—set in stone, and unchangeable. The rockets fired into Israel, the attempts at mass murder, the refusal of the so-called Palestinians to consider recognizing the Jewish state  have made no impression. They don’t care that the Jews were there first, and continually.

Nor does the fact that it is quite clear that the Palestinian people want Israel destroyed, make an impression on Obama. The Israelis regularly are trusted by Palestinian parents to perform complicated and life-saving operations on their children. Arabs living in Israel participate fully in Israeli life, serve in government and are the freest Arabs in the Middle East. Curious.




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