American Elephants


Westerners Don’t Understand How Very Different Life Is In Iran by The Elephant's Child

iran-leisure-ski-snow-1426282008-2260Winter snow brings out the skiers in Iran, and there are ski resorts in the Elburz mountains outside Tehran — but winter fun is a little different there. Police have been deployed to enforce the segregation of male and female skiers.

General Hossein Sajadinia, the commander of the Greater Tehran police force, promised that his officers would “prevent any immoral offences by the skiers”.

He told local media that a “ski police unit” had been equipped with new uniforms to “withstand the mountainous conditions and yet be flexible enough to arrest offenders while chasing them on the slopes”.

Young Iranians meet and mix on the mountains, where some women push back their veils while dining in ski slope restaurants and shisha cafes.

General Sajadinia said they have sent a number of women officers to learn how to ski so they can carry out their assigned duties of dealing with women who defy the Islamic hijab, or anyone who plays loud music — especially when mixing with the opposite sex or committing sexual harassment. The ski slopes are segregated and women are not allowed to ski in the absence of a husband, father or brother.

A week ago, a court in Isfahan banned hiking by mixed gender people both by foreign tourists and local visitors. The trend, the court said was “an affront to the religious and revolutionary values of the Islamic Republic. Hassan Rouhani’s government is being criticized by hardliners for the lax social codes appearing in the country. Here’s a lonely ski policeman.

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But Appearances! What Might People Think? What If They Blamed Us? by The Elephant's Child

San-Bernadino-Shooting-AerialTashfeen Malik, who with her husband carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, CA, passed three background checks by U.S. immigration officials as she moved from Pakistan to the United States. She had made many posts on social media about her support for violent jihad. She said she wanted to be part of it. So why…?

It seems, according to a whistleblower’s comments to ABC News that once again, political correctness  has trumped common sense.

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end the secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, according to a former senior department official.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

One current and one former senior counter-terrorism official confirmed Cohen’s account about the refusal of DHS to change its policy about the public social media posts of all foreign applicants.

A DHS spokesman said that a review of the broader policy is underway.

A former senior counter-terrorism official, who participated in the 2014 discussion, said, “Why the State Department and Homeland Security Department have not leveraged the power of social media is beyond me.”

“They felt looking at public postings [of foreign U.S. visa applicants] was an invasion of their privacy,” the official told ABC News. “The arguments being made were, and are still, in bad faith.”

The whistleblower said “It was primarily a question of optics. There were concerns from a privacy and civil liberties perspective that while this was not illegal, that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly.”

The obsession with political correctness, social justice, appearances rather than doing the right thing is breathtaking. There is no such thing as “social justice.” There is only one kind of justice which is enumerated in the laws of the United States, the Constitution, the actions of the courts and the laws of the states. How anyone feels about the laws is irrelevant.

Political correctness deals with what other people think. Also irrelevant. The Left is awash in political correctness, and as we have recently seen, so are our colleges and universities. Appearances again refers to how something looks to others. What is missing here is truth, legality, accuracy, dependability, honor, reliability, honesty — that sort of thing.

Conservatives often complain the those on the Left are concerned only with feelings. If you feel that it’s not fair that someone can say things that you disagree with, that someone earning more money than you do just isn’t fair, or that it’s not fair that someone earns only the minimum wage, you’re probably a Leftie. The missing factors, truth, or dependability play out in the Left’s lack of concern for graft, self-enrichment with public money, casual treatment of national secrets, lying to the public, which are common on the Left.  That sort of stuff is not a big deal, or it’s just what everybody does.

I’m pretty big on  the truth, legal and reliable bit. There is a moral dimension to truth and lying which involves the intent to mislead. We act on the information we receive, and the consequences of being misled can be dire indeed. When the president misleads the nation, it is a very big deal. When the Democrats’ anointed nominee is under investigation by the FBI, for putting top-secret documents on her own computer, exposed to any hacker,  is known to be a compulsive liar, and not only lied to the parents of the Americans killed in Benghazi, but then denied the lies she told them — we are deep into the weeds. There’s a reason why the economies of Democrat-run states are in the toilet. Yet such things are not supposed to matter.

If our country is being run on the basis of appearances and political correctness, and we are being misled about it all, we are in very deep trouble indeed.



Impressions From Last Night’s Debate by The Elephant's Child

20151219_blp903I mostly listened to the debate last night on the radio. My CNN connection kept going haywire, so I only saw a small bit on CNN. Apparently that makes a difference. Whatever their political viewpoint, viewers could not help but be impressed with the quality of the Republican field. The discussion was serious, well-informed and lengthy. The candidates were well informed on national security, and on how to deal with ISIS, Syria, Russia, Iran and domestic terrorism with real differences of opinion, which is as it should be.

Several pundits declared Donald Trump the debate winner, but I thought it was clear that he was just not prepared to go beyond his usual bombast. He did manage to tell the audience innumerable times that he was leading the polls, he had the highest approval, he was winning. He just doesn’t understand the very complicated situation, and has no strategy at all.   “I have 41% in the polls” is a brag, not a qualification.

Lindsey Graham was terrific in the earlier debate. He had just been to Iraq again, and spoke to the situation on the ground informed by the troops on the ground.

Carly Fiorina is clearly one of the best informed, and gives the most responsive and responsible answers to questions — yet has not really managed to break through to the top, where she belongs. Her tenure at HP was impressive. She handled some really difficult circumstances with courage, put the company on a path to success, and frankly has a better record of experience than most of the other candidates. I have wondered if , since Republicans are uniformly unimpressed with the “first woman to” idea, and invested in merit and qualifications just can’t get past the fact that candidates for President of the United States have always been men.

Chris Christie excels at tough-talking campaigning. He can be very assertive and very believable. John Kasich corrected from his angry, grumpy appearance at the last debate. Jeb Bush was better, but not breakthrough better.

I am far from picking a candidate, and in spite of the media’s insistence on making this all a horse race and proclaiming winners and losers, most Americans are just getting acquainted with the candidates. I was really enthusiastic at the beginning with so many governors who had real accomplishments in the running — but Scott Walker, Rick Perry and  Bobby Jindal have all dropped out. I am not enthusiastic about one-term senators. Been there, done that. And it didn’t work out well.

 



Some Straight Talk About Some Big Problems! by The Elephant's Child

In the wake of the Paris attacks, Europe is struggling to cope with the vast invasion of “Syrian refugees,”most of whom are not actually from Syria.” The northern Italian region of Lombardy has passed regulations forbidding access into hospitals and public buildings to anyone wearing face-covering garments, such as the burqa and niqab; this is the first regional law to explicitly outlaw Islamic face coverings in Italy.

Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni announced the new regulation for access to regional structures, prompted in particular by the Northern League after the November 13 jihadist attacks in Paris. The text makes reference to national legislation already in place, which prohibits people from going about in public dressed in a way that prevents facial recognition without a “justifiable motive.”

The secretary of the Lombard League, Paul Grima, said that current legislation is not respected or enforced,“ as thousands of Muslim women go about undisturbed with their faces completely covered by the burqa or the niqab, making it impossible to identify them.”

The new regulation, which will take effect on January 1, 2016, authorizes personnel to stop people from entering public buildings if their faces are not clearly visible, and thus prohibits not only the burqa, but also helmets and other headgear.

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Here’s a good explanation of traditional Muslim headgear, which is useful as we continue to see increasing numbers of Muslims here. In a very open country such as our own, such face-covering can become problematic. I see Muslim women in Hijab occasionally in a Seattle suburban grocery store, and once encountered a woman in full Burqa, and was surprised to see that it included gloves, so the hands were covered. States have had to rule on requirements for driver’s licenses, and I don’t know what the rules are for entrance into guarded buildings, or for voter registration.

It comes up whenever there is a terrorist attack, In the case of the San Bernardino shooting, there were protests over photographs of Tashfeen Malik without her face covered. (See just below) There are often reports of ISIS fighters using Muslim face covering garb to avoid detection.

In the United States this is particularly difficult because of the First Amendment to the Constitution regarding freedom of religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting  an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” That amendment, designed to prohibit the State from establishing a state religion, such as in England where the wars of religion between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France had caused so many years of bloody fighting, has continued to cause difficulty into the modern age with wider interpretation. Militant atheists have sued to prevent Christian crosses from appearing on any federal building or land, money, or in any representation whatsoever— as if the crosses on the graves of Christians at Arlington National Cemetery are an “establishment of religion.” With the direct assaults on the Constitution by Democrats in their own political quest for some other Utopia, it’s a big problem.

I believe that the establishment clause refers directly to creating a state required religion, but it is continuously problematic for the Supreme Court, and different courts are faced with the same problem over and over.

With Muslim immigration a whole new chapter opens.  Thousands of Muslims are seeking new lives in America; some simply want American citizenship and the right to practice their religion, yet  others are seeking to destroy. How do we tell the difference? For the Muslim American, the traditional exercise of Islamic Law—Sharia, in the traditional sense, is problematic. Honor killings will send the perpetrator to prison for life, or get the death penalty. Face-covering is unacceptable in all sorts of situations. Wife beating will get a jail term. Homosexuality is accepted, not a cause for execution. Any expectation of adopting Sharia as law in any part of this country would transform America in totally unacceptable ways. These are big, big questions that are deserving of far more serious thought than Donald Trump’s glib, thoughtless announcement to grab media attention, that he would ban all Muslim immigration.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has courageously called for the reform and moderation of Islam. He has taken measures within Egypt such as regulating mosque sermons and changing school textbooks to help halt the glorifying of hatred and violence. He even attended a Christmas Mass and spoke at the Coptic Orthodox Christmas service in Cairo, and wished the Christians a merry Christmas.

At the same time, ISIS is attempting to return to the Sixth Century, and Iran is declaring “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” as government policy. That’s where we are.
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Concern Over Terrorism is a Preoccupation of Right-Wing Troglodytes by The Elephant's Child

kirc70wl1dnhqclmcaekIt has been reported that Obama told the National Security Council and the FBI to ‘downplay‘ any terrorist angle of the attack in San Bernardino. Sources indicated tension between President Obama and FBI Director James Comey about the nature of the attack in San Bernardino that left 14 civilians dead, and 17 wounded.

The FBI instantly believed that the shooting was a clear act of terrorism, but the White House moved quickly to squash the terror classification.

This source added that as soon as the shooting took place, Obama convened a meeting with the National Security Council and the heads of other federal enforcement agencies to discuss a public relations strategy.

Part of the reason for trying to avoid the designation of the shootings as terrorism is because it threatens to upset the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria. A case of Islamic terrorism in the U.S. would put additional pressure on the administration to play a much more active role in the conflict.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s initial statement about responding aggressively to any Islamophobia was probably an outgrowth of that meeting, but someone reminded her of the First Amendment and she backed off.

“Because it threatens to upset the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria.” What strategy? The White House strategy seems to be doing as little as possible, while looking as if they are doing something, so they can pass the whole problem off to the next administration.

Obama spent his childhood in Malaysia, and undoubtedly never played Army as lots of little boys did. When kids were playing games and sports and learning about strategy, he was busy with his Choom Gang. I suspect that he never read any military history or military novels, and probably never saw any military movies. I wonder if he even saw  Saving Private Ryan? I may be way out in left field here, but telling the enemy just when you will be leaving the country, readjusting the Rules of Engagement so they are more ‘fair’ to the other side, and consequently losing more of your own men is an exhibition of a complete lack of understanding of the nature of war.

Obama made it very clear from the first that he was deeply opposed to the Iraq War, and to the War in Afghanistan. He clearly thought that our response to 9/11 should have been limited to getting bin Laden. Yet the Rules of Engagement he imposed in Afghanistan meant that twice as many American troops were killed under his administration than there had been under Bush. He lied to the American people and to Congress about releasing Gitmo detainees for Bowe Bergdahl, yet thought that the American people would be delighted at getting one of their boys back.

In his Oval Office speech, Obama admitted that the attacks were an act of terrorism, but hedged by saying the war is not on Islam, but on ISIS ISIL

He added that sending ‘boots on the ground’ into Syria or Iraq would be a huge mistake, though he had authorized 50 Special Forces into northern Syria, Kurdish territory.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the troops didn’t really count because they are not part of a combat mission.

It has long been clear that this president does not accept blame for anything. He seems incapable of saying that something was his fault and he made a mistake. That’s odd enough on its own, but the rest of it is just bizarre. He agrees to some bombing of ISIS, but most bombing runs return to base with their bombs intact because they couldn’t get permission to bomb the target. A hell of a way to conduct a war.

A former Department of Homeland Security agent says that an investigation he was conducting into a fundamentalist Islamic group operating in this country, might have helped to stop the Jihadi in San Bernardino, but the State Department and the HSA Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties shut down his investigation.  The ostensible reason was because the federal government did not want to profile Islamic groups.

In the process of shutting down Haney’s inquiry, the feds also deleted his files, which included information on an organization with ties to Farook’s mosque, San Bernardino’s Deobandi movement-affiliated Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamia.

And Farook’s wife and accomplice, Tashfeen Malik, went to school at Pakistan’s al-Huda, which also has ties to the Deobandi movement. …

Talighi Jamaat has been linked to a number of attempted terrorist attacks targeting the U.S.

The Left’s new attack line is that people on the right are unfairly and unduly concerned about Moslem terrorism. The second attack line is that the Islamic State wants American boots on the ground. We are “playing right into their hands.”I keep noticing that the Left all says the same words as instructed by their talking points. They don’t even pretend that it was an idea that just occurred to them. Constant repitition will accomplish their ends.



President Obama Spoke to the Nation From the Oval Office. by The Elephant's Child

obamacarePresident Obama spoke to the nation from the Oval Office, intending to assure the public that he is absolutely correct in his strategy for, um, fighting ISIS; great tragedy in San Bernardino, killing a diverse group of Americans, which proves we need more gun laws, and though these two killers may have been radicalized by false notions of Islam, we mustn’t blame any Muslims because Islam is a religion of peace. Blaming Muslims would be a denial of our true American values,

His strategy, which is absolutely correct, is bombing ISIS ISIL with such strict rules of engagement that most flights never release their bombs. We cannot risk killing any civilians, so don’t go bombing any trucks that might be driven by a civilian. That would be a denial of our true American values. Remember that he killed Osama bin Laden. He has sent in Special Forces, all 50 of them, to train someone there how to fight ISIS ISIL We tried that before, but it ended up costing about a million dollars per fighter, and there ended up being only five of them left, anyway.

Above all, Obama promised that we weren’t going to have any war boots on the ground, because he wasn’t going to be George W. Bush and do any stupid stuff.  Our present policy of admitting large numbers of Syrian refugees from an assortment of Middle Eastern countries will not change because Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims mostly vote Democrat.

Here is an actual transcript of the speech. Obama said that we will defeat the real threat of terrorism, but didn’t explain how the “real threat” differs from the present threat, and we will “destroy” ISIS ISIL or any other organization that threatens the country. He just didn’t say how.

The President spoke at a podium in the Oval Office, not from his chair with his feet on the desk, as pictured above.  It was a formal speech to the nation,  only the third time he has addressed the nation from the Oval Office. He apparently thought it was important to say the same old things once again.  I may not have been entirely fair here.



If You Can’t Call a Terrorist a Terrorist, Just What Can You Call Him? Or Her? by The Elephant's Child

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On November 12, President Obama said ISIS had been “contained.”The very next day ISIS launched a deadly attack in Paris that left 130 people dead. There appears to be a scandal developing within the intelligence community about the suppression of intelligence, or the disregard of intelligence about the rise of ISIS that did not fit the view of the Obama administration. a new report says there’s unprecedented isis mobilization-in-the-us According to Townhall, George Washington University’s Program on Extremism released a report that showed “unprecedented” ISIS related mobilization in the United States.

Seventy-one individuals have been charged with ISIS-related activities since March 2014. Fifty-six have been arrested in 2015 alone, a record number of terrorism-related arrests for any year since 9/11.   […]

The profiles of individuals involved in ISIS-related activities in the U.S. differ widely in race, age, social class, education, and family background. Their motivations are equally diverse and defy easy analysis.    […]

ISIS-related radicalization is by no means limited to social media. While instances of purely web-driven, individual radicalization are numerous, in several cases U.S.-based individuals initially cultivated and later strengthened their interest in ISIS’s narrative through face-to-face relationships. In most cases online and offline dynamics complement one another.The spectrum of U.S.-based sympathizers’ actual involvement with ISIS varies significantly, ranging from those who are merely inspired by its message to those few who reached mid-level leadership positions within the group.     […]

The 71 indictments are merely the tip of the iceberg, as U.S. authorities estimate that the number of individuals linked to ISIS is much larger. Our researchers identified a few dozen individuals with reported ISIS links who have not been charged. Similar to those in the legal system, the “At-Large” cohort have no common profile.

Among them, for example, are three teenage girls from the suburbs of Denver, two Somali-American sisters aged 15 and 17, and their 16-year-old friend of Sudanese descent. The trio lived a normal and comfortable life among their unsuspecting families and peers.

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