American Elephants


Hungry and Demoralized, ISIS Surrenders in Hawija by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday, off in corners of the internet which was all a-flame with the latest accusers of Harvey Weinstein, there was brief mention of the defeat of of ISIS in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija — one of its last strongholds in Iraq. Around 1,000 militants surrendered among signs that the terrorist group is falling apart and unable to defend its territory.

“They’re giving up,” said Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, who commands the coalition task force fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “Their leaders are abandoning them.”

The fall of Hawija in northern Iraq, after two weeks of fighting, is the latest in a string of defeats for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and suggests the rank-and-file fighters are demoralized as the group struggles to defend what remains of the territory it seized in 2014.

Hawija had been held by about 1,000 militants. As long as they held Hawija they could threaten Kirkuk, a major city east of the town. Coalition airstrikes have been ramping up attacks on the strongholds left in Iraq. Iraqi forces have been built up with help of U.S. arms and equipment, but the decision on when to launch ground operations is made by the Iraqi government.

In July, Iraq announced that Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, was retaken from ISIS after about nine months of intense fighting. Since that decisive battle, the pace of the Islamic State’s decline seems to have quickened.

U.S.-backed forces in Syria have recaptured about three-quarters of Raqqa, the ISIS headquarters, after about four months of fighting in the city.

ISIS reputation for the willingness to fight to the last man and never surrender seems to be gone. Surrendering forces came out with their hands up, saying their leaders have abandoned them. They haven’t been fed and haven’t been paid. Last week the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio demanding his fighters to continue the battle, but they don’t seem to be paying attention.

The fall of Harvey Weinstein may be just as important as the fall of Hawija, but was anyone surprised? Hollywood has long been known as a cesspool. His disgusting trail of victims may be long, but ISIS has been trying to terrorize the world into submission. Beheadings and placing victims in iron cages to drown or burn to death didn’t seem to be a way to entice people to accept Islam. But that is in the far away Middle East, and Weinstein and kneeling football millionaires are here and local.

I don’t know that anyone, at this point, expects the media to act responsibly.

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This Is What Passes for News These Days by The Elephant's Child

There are small mentions of what would seem to be unimportant news items, but if you follow up and see what the Leftists with bylines do with it, it gets pretty funny. Here’s what happened. President Trump declined to hold a “Iftar Dinner” at the White House to celebrate Ramadan. (Translation, nothing happened because there was no dinner and there were no invitations). Can’t let something like that pass without comment (see Islamophobia). The ‘establishment media” promptly tried to turn it into a crisis.

“Amy B. Wang of the Washington Post led the pack” with a claim that Thomas Jefferson held the “first Iftar Dinner” with a June 24 piece titled “Trump just ended a long tradition of celebrating Ramadan at the White House.” She even “recounted the time when the diplomatic envoy from the Bey of Tunis, Sidi Soliman Melli Melli, visited Washington during Ramadan in 1805.”

Jefferson invited the envoy to dinner at the White House at 3:30 PM, the time when dinner was usually served in those days. He was told that Melli Melli could not partake of a meal until after sunset because of Ramadan. It was either cancel the dinner or change the time, which he did. He had no intention of honoring Islam, didn’t ask about any special food. In fact, there was no tradition. Only three presidents in all of American history ever held an Iftar dinner: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  Three presidents out of 45 does not a “tradition” make.  Do recall that Jefferson fought the Barbary pirates. Obama claimed in 2010, that his Ramadan dinner was the first since Jefferson, but his speechwriters were not known for research accuracy.

Interestingly, it seems that Islamic extremists killed more than 1,620 people during this year’s holy month for Muslims, making it one of the bloodiest Ramadans in history. At the end of Ramadan on Saturday, the total number of casualties for the entire holy month reached 3,451 (421 deaths 729 injuries) more than tripling the 1,150 casualties from 2016. ISIS issued many messages urging its followers to carry out deadly attacks in the United State, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Philippines. Except for Russia, they did carry out attacks. Breitbart has a list of all the attacks they have been able to record. It’s a very long list. Does fasting and avoiding sex from dawn to dusk make a person particularly irritable?  Who knew? So — news, fake news, bad research, overreach, dumb journalists. But that’s what passes for news these days.

ADDENDUM: Well, now that I’m fully awake, the math doesn’t add up 421 deaths +729 injuries adds up to 1,150 apparently from last year. If this year is a total of 3,451, that would indeed by a tripling. The error was in the original post, and I just unthinkingly copied it. Sorry about that.



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.

 



Manchester, Muslims, Migrants and the Middle East. by The Elephant's Child

Many of us have wondered why Europeans seem to have welcomed so many migrants from the Middle East. At first, they welcomed the migrants with flowers and food and housing, and even song. Whether this was simply a case of accepting at face value the term “refugees” or “migrants,” and believing that they must help the unfortunate, or just being terminally uninformed, I have no idea. In the wake of the Manchester attack, the thoughts of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble give a glimpse of the thought processes. The growing number of Muslims in Germany, he said, represent a learning opportunity rather than a threat.

“It is fanaticism, not only in Islam, that leads to terrible crimes,” he said, speaking on German public radio station Deutschlandfunk Wednesday evening, when asked about the Islamist attack in which 22 mostly young people, including an eight-year-old girl, lost their lives. …

“The world’s great religions all preach the message that one must look upon others as their sisters and brothers, and that one must live with the other because man cannot live alone,” Schäuble told presenter Christiane Florin.

“‘Islam is part of Germany’ is a sober, factual statement,” the minister remarked, commenting on sentiments voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion – which are not shared by the majority of Germans.

“Anyone who denies this denies reality and is therefore not suited to being a politician, because politics begins with the confrontation of reality,” he added.

The number of refugees in Germany who are capable of committing terrorist acts has quadrupled since 2011, the German Federal Criminal Police Office has said.

Security concerns have heightened in Germany after close to a million refugees arrived in 2015 from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Fears worsened when more than 1,200 women were reportedly assaulted in various German cities on New Year’s Eve in 2015.

Officials say there are 657 refugees capable of committing terror attacks and 388 potential accomplices in such attacks.

The Manchester attack has awakened British officialdom to the threat to their people, and armed military people are guarding the trains in Britain. Hungary has put up a wall, and is accepting no migrants. Other nations are having all sorts of trouble with the migrants who have arrived in their countries. France has ‘no go’ neighborhoods  where even the police will not venture, and numbers of attacks.

The new French President, Emmanuel Macron, wants Islam to have more room in France. Like many European leaders Macron seems to be convinced that the remedy for the demographic deficit and the aging of ethnic European populations is more immigration. Besides, they seem to be more worried about climate change. Macron claimed to be a ‘centrist’, but the outgoing Socialist President François Hollande has spoken of him as a “continuity”, not an alternative. His entire program is socialist. Lots of additional public expenditures, and climate change is defined as the “key issue for the future of the world.”

Our own Secretary of Homeland Security, General John Kelly, remarked today that “if we knew what he knows about terror threats in this country, we’d never leave the house.”

He was interviewed on Fox and Friends on Friday and said that the terror threat is “worse than we realize.” He pointed out four major terror attacks in the last week, by “more or less the same groups,” in Manchester, England, in Egypt where 28 Coptic Christians were slaughtered, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, and in Indonesia.

“It’s everywhere. It’s constant. It’s nonstop. The good news for us in America is we have amazing people protecting us every day. But it can happen here almost any time,” Kelly said.

Here’s Andy McCarthy:

Here is the blunt, inescapable fact: The United States is in a defensive war against what is imprecisely called “radical Islam.” The war proceeds on two tracks: the kinetic militancy of jihadists, and the cultural challenge of anti-Western, anti-constitutional Islamic law and mores. The ideology that catalyzes both tracks is sharia supremacism — the implementation and spreading of sharia, classical Islam’s societal structure and legal code, is the rationale for all jihadist terror and of all the Islamist cultural aggression that slipstreams behind it.

The dividing line is sharia supremacism. On one side of it we find patriotic, pro-American Muslims who are spiritually devout but reject the imposition of sharia on civil and political life; on the other, the Islamists — the sharia supremacists. The challenge posed by the latter is not merely that some percentage of them are jihadists; it is that as a population — or as enclaves that take hold in the West — they are assimilation-resistant, and their ideological havens will breed the jihadists of the future while stifling the Constitution in the here and now.

That is what we have to vet for. That is what the majority of the American people want: Muslims who embrace our way of life invited in, Muslims who threaten our way of life kept out. You can’t get there without subjecting Muslim aliens to more-extensive inspection.

What can we do? Try to be informed, and I guess, be ready with the candles and flowers.

 



A Lesson in Pure Partisanship by The Elephant's Child

More jottings from my notebook:

No date, but the conversation makes the time element fairly clear. This is Chris Matthews at MSNBC explaining partisanship to the uninitiated.

Before I get started today I want to express how grateful I am for the awe-inspiring leadership of my president. Syria is a bloodbath, Iraq is in the hands of terrorists, Israel is on the verge of war with the Palestinians, and Russian troops are in Ukraine.  On top of that we’ve got the Benghazi, IRS, NSA, and VA scandals and our Southern border is rife with diseased children, gang members and Middle Eastern terrorists donning sombreros. All these problems that were created by the Bush administration would have crippled the most stoic of leaders. Yet, last night I saw a news video of President Obama laughing and enjoying himself in Denver as he ate Pizza, drank beer and played billiards. Our president is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, but you’d never know it by looking at him. Today he’s headed to the golf course before attending three different fundraisers. Tomorrow he’s shooting a game of hoops with LeBron James and Barbara Streisand before hosting a $45,000 a seat fundraiser at Steven Spielberg’s East Hampton. Calm, cool and self-assured folks. Those are the characteristics of a leader.

You can probably guess why I copied this down. It was hard writing because I couldn’t stop giggling. It’s all so innocent.



Where Are the Moderate Muslims? by The Elephant's Child

The Script:

After every new Jihadist attack against the West, politicians reassure us that the atrocity does not represent the true nature of mainstream Islam. Of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, they constantly reassure us, the overwhelming majority are as law abiding as any members of any other monotheistic faith. Only a tiny fraction engage in terror. And Islam is a religion of peace. Furthermore, we are told, the great majority of Muslims hold moderate views.

But what does that mean? How moderate are moderate Muslims? Given the threat of radical Islam, it would seem to be a fair question. Let me start to answer it by telling you something of my own story.

I was raised in a middle class Muslim home in Cairo, Egypt. Growing up, I was told, among many other things, the following: That every day that passes on the Islamic nation without a caliphate is a sin. That the failures and miseries of the Muslim world started the moment we Muslims gave up conquests and wars against the infidels. That our prosperity depended on conquering new lands and converting new believers. That anyone who leaves the faith must die. And I also remember how my teachers and my mosque imams reacted to the news of 9/11 when it happened: joy.

My experience was typical, and there is data to prove it: According to the Pew Research Center, 88% of Muslims in Egypt, 62% in Pakistan, 86% in Jordan and 51% in Nigeria believe that any Muslim who chooses to leave Islam should be put to death. Similar, if not identical, numbers are in favor of stoning people who commit adultery, severely punishing those who criticize Muhammad or Islam, and chopping off hands for theft.

All of these practices are a part of the penal code of Islamic law, which is known as Sharia. And 84% of Muslims in South Asia, 77% in Southeast Asia, 74% in the Middle East and North Africa and 64% in Sub-Saharan Africa support Sharia as the law of the land. Less drastic, yet significant, percentages are to be found even among Muslim communities in the West.

So, too, most of the world’s Muslims believe that any acts of violence against Israel, including suicide bombers in buses and restaurants, are justified. Now, does any of this sound moderate to you? Yet if anyone raises these inconvenient truths here in the West, he is sure to be called an Islamophobe, a hater of Islam. Again, my own story is instructive.

In February of 2015, I was yelled at, cursed at, and successfully prevented from speaking at Swarthmore College by students and others who did not agree to what I was saying. Some of them were Muslim women who fit the image of the unveiled, perfect English-speaking, moderate Muslim young woman. Other seeming “moderates” tried and failed to do the same during my speech at Temple University the next day. Some of them, sadly, were students of journalism.

                                  ___________________

For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/courses/polit…

These videos from Prager University are, I believe, invaluable. Short lessons that give you some food for thought, but take up only a few minutes of your time. Hopefully, the information is more likely to stick. This young man makes clear that the idea of “Islamophobia” and the idea that Sharia law is or should be protected by our First Amendment’s freedom of religion, are completely and dangerously false. Islam is badly in need of a Reformation.



Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Remarks on Iran by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal, and the administration will continue to provide the relief from sanctions as called for by the agreement. He added that “Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods.”

Today he explained more thoroughly and more specifically Iran’s role as a leading sponsor of terrorism. He made it abundantly clear that the nuclear deal is not satisfactory, and that the United States government is engaged in a very thorough review of our policies dealing with Iran.

Secretary Tillerson characterized the Iran deal as “another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions,” comparing it to North Korea. He said “we buy them off for a short period of time, and then someone has to deal with it later.” The current administration does not plan to follow that example.

Our policy is still being discussed, there is clearly sharp disagreement within the administration as to how to proceed. The Obama administration’s illusions have left it successors in a difficult position. There are no clear or good options, but we have in this new administration deep experience in dealing with such problems. Today’s tough speech is a good start, to let that part of the world know that there has been a significant change in the American posture. The grown-ups are now in charge.




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