Dave’s Dozen: 12 Brief Observations on the News

In an effort to be less essay-y, here’s the first in a series of bite-sized comments and observations about events in the news.

1.

Mr. Trump seems to have no intention of moderating his practice of popping off on Twitter. At some point soon after the inauguration, one of these 2:00 a.m., 120-character spleen ventings  is going to trigger a market crash or major international incident. Mark my words. However . . .

2.

As regular readers of this blog well know, I’m no Trump fan. But I must admit that his cabinet appointments have been very good, in my view. If he makes a comparably good nomination to the Supreme Court, then his administration will be off to an encouraging start.

3.

The Obama Administration has used it’s final weeks in office to undermine and further isolate Israel. Here’s a big inconvenient truth . . .

As I’ve pointed out before, all conflict in the Middle East—including the ongoing horror show in Syria—is rooted in the 1500-year-old Sunni-Shiite rift. If the world’s Arabs, Muslims, and UN bureaucrats got their fondest wish and Israel ceased to exist tomorrow, that war would only intensify. With the distraction of Israel removed, Sunni and Shia would continue slaughtering one another in earnest. Imagine a hundred Aleppos.

But sure, Mr. Kerry . . . stubborn Israel is the “obstacle to peace” in the region.

3.

 

Yes, the Russians had a preferred outcome in the recent U.S. presidential election. So did the Chinese. And the French, British, Micronesians and North Koreans. In fact every rational nation-state on earth roots for a side in every U.S. presidential election, in accordance with their own national interests.

The Russians clearly favored Trump although their broader goal is simply weakening our nation by undermining public confidence in the system. The Chinese were pulling for Clinton (a sketchy relationship between the dictatorial Chinese regime and the Clintons goes way back.

That said, Mrs. Clinton lost because she was an unappealing candidate and ran a crappy, incompetent campaign. Full stop.

But yes, the major parties in our previous election gave us a choice between a candidate in bed with the Chinese and and one sympathetic to Putin. That’s a lose-lose proposition for the U.S..

Speaking of meddling in the elections of sovereign foriegn nations . . .

4.

Did you know that Mr. Obama’s campaign organization dispatched a team of his best advertising and social media gurus to Israel in 2015, in an effort to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu? They did. He failed. But he tried.

5.

The infamous “Russian Hack” of the recent presidential election was basically two compromised email accounts, those of long-time Clinton associate John Podesta and the DNC.

What most Americans don’t recall (or never heard about at all because the mainstream media downplayed it) was a massive and successful Chinese cyberattack on the actual U.S. government back in 2015.

That attack exposed reams of personal information, including social security numbers, of roughly 4 million current and former federal employees. There was no high profile expulsion of Chinese diplomats after this embarassing breech came to light.

Indeed, there was no publically disernable response at all.

Want to see something deliciously awkward? Here’s ABC White House correspondent John Karl asking Mr. Obama’s spokesman why the Russian hack was treated as a big deal while the much more serious Chinese attacks were a non-issue.

6.

For a brief history of cyberattacks on the U.S by foriegn governments, Reporter Sheryl Attkisson’s “Eight Facts of the ‘Russian Hacks‘” is most illuminating (and troubling).

7.

Back when I was convinced Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, I believed that meant a war with crazy Russia was a small but increasingly real possiblity; but that military conflict with crazy China would be unlikely. I’m convinced Trump’s surprise victory reverses that equation.

Odds of conflict with Russia lower. Odds of onflict with China, higher.

8.

Riots and looting broke out across Mexico last week when the government raised the price of gas. History reveals this is the inescapable result in any nation in which the government seizes the power to set prices and wages.

9.

Watched the Golden Globes and it confirmed what I already knew. Left-wing Hollywood is nearly delirious with secret, giddy delight at the opportunity to courageously “speak truth to power” again.

It’s been eight long years since the world’s most pampered, privileged, and coddled people could signal their virtue to one another by shaking an angry fist at the White House and wagging a shaming finger at the rest of us.

Many of these frequently use their formidible creative gifts to hack furiously at the civilizational branch upon which we all sit.

And Meryl Streep is their queen. . .

10.

NRO’s David French, on Streep’s speech, neatly encapsulates my thoughts:

“I have no particular affection for Trump, but I positively loathe the condescension, alarmism, ignorance, and self-regard of the wealthy Hollywood Left, and each of those elements was on full display in Streep’s speech.”

Please read the whole thing. French makes some very important points.

Also re: Ms. Streep . . . When you’re a Progressive and you’ve lost Piers Morgan, you know you’re on thin ice.

A Human Tsunami of Islamic Culture

In this photo provided by UNHCR officials and taken on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Syrian refugees cross the border toward Iraq at Peshkhabour border point at Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has set up an emergency transit camp in Irbil, where around 2,000 refugees are camping out and UNHCR officials say some thousands of refugees have been streaming into northern Iraq, many coming across a newly-constructed pontoon bridge over the Tigris River at Peshkhabour. (AP Photo/HO)

AP Photo

Note: I was in the middle of drafting this—a follow up to an earlier post about the Middle Eastern refugee crisis—when the Paris attacks unfolded.

As I impolitely pointed out in my previous post, any nation’s willingness to accept small numbers of asylum seekers or shrug at illegal immigration will invariably be rewarded with the opportunity to welcome many, many more. MANY. MORE.

sweden_small_map

Sweden: A country so cold, many of its inhabitants moved to Minnesota in the 1800s for better weather.

A few facts for your consideration.

As I write, more than 160,000 asylum seekers—the overwhelming majority of them single Muslim men under 30—have arrived in Sweden so far this year. That’s more than 1.6% of Sweden’s population. For perspective, that would be like a wave of 5.1 million Middle Eastern immigrants arriving on U.S. shores.

For Sweden, this new Islamic wave lands on top of the more than 500,000 Muslims who have immigrated to Sweden over the last few decades. They are drawn by the stability of the culture; Sweden’s liberal approach to immigration; the live-and-let-live nature of the Swedish people; and most of all, the generous suite of social welfare benefits.

Sweden’s Muslim “No-Go Zones”

Sweden’s idealistic open borders experiment has come with a terrible price tag for it’s citizens. Economic realities have forced the nation to drastically scale back it’s socialism. And in major cities such as Malmo, large portions have become Islamic strongholds in which non-Muslims, particularly Jews, dare not set foot.

As a recent piece about Sweden in Investors Business Daily pointed out:

There are Muslim enclaves where postal, fire and other essential services — even police officers themselves —require police protection. A police report released last month identifies 55 of these “no-go zones” in Sweden . . . They formed as large Muslim populations emigrating to politically correct and tolerant European states refuse to assimilate and set up virtual states within a state where the authorities fear to tread.

Rape Culture

Like night follows day, an explosion of rape crime follows the Islamification of cities like Malmo.

In the decades since Sweden collectively decided that inviting hundreds of thousands of poor Muslims to call Sweden home violent crime has increased by 300% and rapes by 1,472%. Sweden is now second only to Lesotho in Southern Africa in the number of rapes per capita.

This is just Sweden. These same patterns are being replicated across the continent of Europe and the U.K..

Rotherham

“Horror” is an understatement.

Did you hear about the Rotherham, U.K. sex slavery scandal last year? It’s quite possible you didn’t, as it got pathetically little coverage in our media. (Didn’t fit the preferred narrative.)

Rotherham is one of the many heavily Islamified cities in the UK . Last year it was revealed that over a period of more than 16 years at least 1,400 young, non-muslim girls—some as young as 11—had been abducted, “broken,” and abused in the most unspeakable ways while local officials turned a blind eye.

Why? Fear of being labeled “racist.” The liberal disease of political correctness paralyzed those with the responsibility and power to stop the horror.

As a damning and heartbreaking recounting of the scandal in Human Events magazine noted:

What happened in the town of Rotherham, South Yorkshire is almost beyond belief.  It’s also the most absolute and horrifying failure of the same multiculturalist ideology that holds sway over much of U.S. government.  To put it bluntly, pedophile gangs went on a 16-year rampage that claimed over 1400 victims, and the government strenuously resisted noticing, because most of the perpetrators were Pakistani Muslims, and officials didn’t want to appear insensitive.

In some cases, parents who tried to rescue their children from abusers were themselves arrested. Police officers even dismissed the rape of children by saying that sex had been consensual.

I have been reminded of Rotherham’s negligent leaders recently as I’ve seen accusations and smears  thrown at those who have questioned the wisdom of granting asylum to the throngs now pouring out of the Middle East.

Point to facts like those I’ve touched on in these two blog posts and you tend to get called names. Paranoid. Xenophobic. Heartless. And most hurtful of all, “Un-Chrstian.”

If you care deeply about the poor and oppressed, as I do, that’s a troubling accusation.

It’s also wrongheaded. It’s just that I know that the only viable answer for the world’s poor is to have the gospel transform their home countries and cultures.

In the next and final post on this subject, I’ll lay out the important differences between the compassion-driven responsibilities of individual Christians toward the plight of the world’s war-threatened poor, and those of any government that strives to do the “right” thing.

The West’s Refugee Dilemma

 

In this moment of history, many of my fellow believers are arguing passionately that the nations of Europe (and the U.S., too) should continue accepting and settling every poor person who makes it to their shores. I’d like to explore that assertion but it will require a couple of long posts to do so. Stay with me. This is important stuff.

wwjd-bracelet

Do they make these in nation size?

A nation can choose to be a welfare state. A nation can choose to have open borders. But no nation can choose both. Not for long anyway. So observed famed economist Milton Friedman many years ago.

The validity of Friedman’s assertion is now being tested in Europe before our eyes. Friedman, math and common sense all argue:

As a nation, to provide a social welfare safety net of services for the poor AND welcome the poor of the world to your soil is tantamount to economic and cultural suicide.

As I write, refugees by the hundreds of thousands are pouring across Europe’s largely open borders and into the generous social welfare safety nets those liberal nations provide for their residents.

The British newspaper, The Independent, published the stunning data visualization below to illustrate the scale and scope of what has taken place over the last few months—and very importantly, where they’re coming from. Each moving dot represents 25 individuals.

If image doesn’t load, CLICK HERE.

One of the striking things about this map is WHERE these refugees are coming from. The narrative is the they’re all coming from Syria and Iraq where ISIS’ reign of hell is rampaging. That’s clearly no longer the case.

By October 20, the number of refugees passing through Greece had surpassed 500,000. This literal exodus indeed began as a result of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq and Syria, which in turn is a direct result of President Obama’s foolish, catasrophic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq (as I pointed out in this blog post). But once it became clear that Europe was going to accept refugees, the flood gates opened from all over that half of the world.

Each one of those moving marks represents 25, heartbreaking individual stories. Real people, with real needs, hurts, dreams and aspirations.

However, viewed as a whole, these immigration flows create a self-reinforcing, self-amplifying cycle. Welcoming refugees triggers more and increasing refugee movement. Accept a trickle and invite a flood.

This is precisely what we saw here in the U.S. between 2012 and 2014.. As soon as the Obama Administration made it clear that underage illegals immigrants would be allowed to stay here and helped to establish residency, a tsunami of children and youth began rushing toward the Rio Grande from Central America.

As this PBS report explains, prior to 2012 an average of 8,000 children were intercepted at the border each year. Then word got out that the White House had ordered immigration officials to stop enforcing the laws on the books, especially where minors were concerned.

Many within the American Church—from Unitarians to Southern Baptists—cheered this move as a more compassionate, more humane, more Christian policy.

However, news travels fast. And the law of unintended consequences is merciless.

Minor Migrants 2014

Soon poor mothers across Guatemala, Honduras, and elsewhere were sending their unaccompanied children north, asking them to run a gauntlet of vicious narco traficantes, human traffickers, pedophiles, abusers, jungles and deserts.

We know that in the first half of 2014, roughly 60,000 minors actually made it to U.S. soil. What we will never know is how many did not make it. How many died along the way? How many were pressed into child labor or into the service of the drug cartels?

Accept a trickle and invite a flood.

Here’s a hard truth. Those who, with the best of righteous intentions, advocate for governmental acceptance of the trickle must own their responsibility for the deaths caused by the flood.

Of course, American liberals never, ever take responsibility for the catastrophic unintended consequences of their poorly thought out do-gooding. But my fellow Christians and I should. But back now to Europe . . .

Today many of the same voices of faith are saying the governments of Europe must accept and care for every Middle Eastern and African immigrant that arrives on their shores. They are explicitly claiming that it is the “Christian” thing to do and that governments ought always do the Christian thing.

In other words, many people believe the governments of Europe should put on a giant WWJD bracelet. But is that true?

I believe it is both possible and necessary to distinguish between what an individual Christian should do and what the government of a nation-state should do. Not only is it possible—it’s vital.

I know this sounds heretical, but a government can’t be a good Christian. And I don’t believe it should try.

I’ll explain in my next post.

How 9/11 Happened

Fourteen years later, the best guide to understanding how the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. were planned and executed remains Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

TheLoomingTower

 

It is a masterwork of research, journalism and storytelling. It is also a powerful inoculation against the brain-warping disease of “9/11 Trutherism.” I use the word “inoculation” with purpose. Apparently once infected, there is no cure. I’ve never encountered a 9/11 Truther who could be persuaded of anything real, rational or logical, no matter how patently obvious. There is no rebuttal to “That’s just what they want you to think.”

Say It

Clearly, being a capital P Progressive means never having to admit you were wrong. Even when you are utterly, completely, gob-smackingly wrong.

This fact comes to mind when hearing President Obama’s declared intention to go after ISIS. You see, whatever this president endeavors to do in that part of the world, it will surely prove to be far harder and far costlier than it would have been had he not prematurely yanked virtually all U.S. forces out Iraq early in his presidency.

In fact, this endeavor almost certainly wouldn’t have even been necessary if he had done the responsible thing and kept a formable military presence in place in Iraq (much as we’ve done in South Korea.) ISIS arose in the vacuum created by Mr. Obama’s impetuous, foolhardy pull out.

In Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosul and other key cities in northern Iraq, brave U.S. soldiers drove Al Qaeda in Iraq (now rebranded as ISIS) out — house-by-house, block-by-block — often at the cost of many U.S. lives. But, through the expenditure of precious blood and treasure, they succeeded in driving them out.

What is now known as The Second Battle of Fallujah involved the deadliest street fighting the Marines had seen since Vietnam’s Hue City in 1968. The bravery exhibited during Fallujah II has become part of Marine Corps lore. Ninety-two Americans died in the fighting to crush the Islamist stronghold there.

And this Commander-in-Chief abandoned it without a thought.

Then, back in January–before anyone had heard of ISIL or ISIS–Fallujah fell back into Islamist hands once more. And the journalists who had cheered Mr. Obama’s “undoing of “W’s” mistake could scarcely be bothered to report it. At least until heads literally started rolling.

A few evenings ago the President of the United States addressed the nation regarding his plan to deal with ISIS.  What follows is the speech he did NOT make. But should have:

 

My fellow Americans,

I’m sorry. I was wrong.

Blinded by a liberal groupthink narrative that took as an article of faith that George W. Bush was an imbecile and that everything he did must be undone, I have squandered the sacrifices made by our combat troops and rendered the deaths of thousands of our noblest souls meaningless.

What is more, by my short-sighted, irresponsible actions, I have doomed tens of thousands of Iraqi Shia, Christians, Yazidis and others to misery, homelessness, slavery and death. 

The current leader of the group perpetrating these crimes against humanity and beheading innocents on video, is a man I chose to release from our Camp Bucca prison in Iraq in 2009.

Again, I’m sorry. I was wrong.

President Abraham Lincoln, comparisons to whom I have very deliberately attempted to cultivate for myself, once made this statement: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

I have been given enormous power and my character has not been up to the test. Please forgive me.

Good night. And may God bless the United States of America, what remains of her.

A Little (Recent) Israeli History

It was nine years ago last week–August 19, 2005 to be precise–that Israel voluntarily turned control of the Gaza strip back over the Palestinian leadership.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shocked the world and Israel’s body politic by announcing that not only would Israel withdraw it’s substantial military and police presence from “occupied” Gaza, the goverment would also forcibly remove the residents of all Israeli settlements.

2014111143913608580_20Sharon had grown tired of waiting for the Palestinians to get serious about negotiating a two-state, live-and-let-live solution. (Spoiler alert: The Palestinians don’t want to live-and-let-live. They want Israel destroyed.) What’s more, Israel was being vilified globally for being an “occupier” in Gaza.

So, Sharon proposed a radical move. A unilateral, no preconditions, no quid pro quo withdrawal from Gaza. The withdrawal would also serve as an grand experiment. Namely, if Israel’s good faith in withdrawing in little Gaza was rewarded with some peace and quiet, perhaps it could pave the way for a future withdrawal from all or part of the “occupied” West Bank.

It was massively controversial within Israel–and even within Sharon’s own governing coalition. In fact, then-cabinet-member Benjamin Netanyahu resigned in protest, warning that the withdrawal meant allowing the creation of a terrorist base of operations for attacking Israel that could be constantly supplied via the Red Sea or Egypt’s desolate, lawless Sinai desert.

Netanyahu’s objections have obviously proven well-founded. Almost immediately Hamas took control and began to receive aid from Israel’s mortal enemies such as Iran and Syria. Hamas also began hijacking the billions of dollars of annual aid poured into dysfunctional Gaza by the international community.

For example, instead of building infrastructure or creating an self-sustaining economy to lift the suffering people of Gaza out of poverty and dependence, Hamas commandeered aid funds and poured them into creating invasion tunnels. Just one tunnel discovered in the recent ground fighting is said to have cost $10 million and required two years and 800 tons of concrete to build.

There are scores of similar tunnels leaipc_169_2eding into Israel.

I point all of this out to pose a simple question: Given what Israel has experienced since withdrawing from Gaza, how motivated should they be to withdraw from the West Bank at any point in the future?

Answer that question with this additional thought in mind. Israel is massively dependent on tourism for it’s economic health. For several days a few weeks ago, all international air traffic in and out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport was halted because a missile fired from Gaza had gotten close to the airport. If that moratorium had continued it would have dealt a crippling blow to Israel’s economy.

Ben Gurion Airport is about three miles away from the theoretical dashed line on maps that represents the edge of the West Bank.

My point is, the day that Hamas missile sailed too close to Tel Aviv airport is the day the chances that Israel would ever leave the West Bank died. Israel will never withdraw from the West Bank territories. It cannot. Not as long as, in the words of Golda Meier, “the Palestinians hate the Israelis more then the love their children.”