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January 2017

Sense vs. Nonsense Denzel Washington’s Fences confronts Black Lives Matter. By Armond White

Before the Black Lives Matter craze exacerbated contemporary attitudes about race and black social continuity, playwright August Wilson’s Fences articulated a black tribal viewpoint of the ambition, grievance, and assorted religious, sexual, and political beliefs borne by African American experience. The play focused on Troy Maxon, a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh, who regaled his wife, their two sons, his brother, and a best friend of his personal feelings and beliefs, constantly recalling the things he’s gone through as a black American male. (He’s affectionately described as “Uncle Remus. Got more stories than the devil got sinners.”) Maxon’s tough, defensive attitude stemmed largely from his failed athletic career — an abiding frustration explained by the stifling segregation of the Jim Crow era. Maxon is Wilson’s archetypal character, a beyond-eloquent mouthpiece for the bitterness Wilson felt about the existential inequities suffered because of American racism.

Although Fences derives from the black oral tradition, its ideas were by no means obscure or marginalized, but in fact are so familiar to American theatrical practice that the play received two celebrated Broadway productions, the first in 1987 starring James Earl Jones, the second in 2010 starring Denzel Washington. Now Washington directs the film version of Fences (he repeats the role of Maxon) as an established classic of American theatrical literature rather than another Obama Effect film reflecting the opportunistic recent events (denoted by Ferguson and Black Lives Matter) that set a new paradigm for thinking about race.

By these terms, Fences is a conservative movie — which is unfortunate artistically and interesting politically. It feels dialogue-heavy because Washington doesn’t command the cinematic rhythm of movement and imagery that makes the best film adaptations of plays (David Lean’s Blithe Spirit, Sidney Lumet’s Long Day’s Journey into Night) seem perfect, absolutely natural, visual records of behavior. But it is that dialogue — Wilson’s deliberate, elaborately staged poetry, Maxon’s machine-gun rattling of self-shaped philosophies — that gives the play its conservatism.

Although Wilson’s writing was contemporary (he died in 2005), his ten-play output — a cycle set during every decade of the 20th century — chronicled black American history. Each drama used the background of gradual social progress, yet every story was rooted in earthly frustration, high and low spiritual aspiration (best evinced by Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone), and political reality. In portraying the latter, Wilson commemorated how black folks recognized the evidence of ineradicable racism and still got on with their lives. His richest characters, like Maxon, believe in the principles of hard work, self-reliance, personal obligation, and ethical achievement.

These specific, sometimes lyrical African American truths contradict the inexact, sentimental grievance thrown up by Black Lives Matter. Wilson’s conservative narratives, with their heartfelt emphasis on personal relations, demonstrate the difference between entitlement as earned historically by human effort and the empty radical postures assumed by facile cultural inheritance. That’s the source of the conflict between Maxon and his older son, Lyons, an itinerant musician, and his younger son, Cory, a pouting, willful schoolboy.

Fences’ rebuttal to a pseudo-political social movement occurs inadvertently, as a benefit of Wilson’s concern with experience-based black values rather than political fashion. The difference is both temperamental and generational, but it is ironic that Wilson came to prominence during the rise of hip-hop culture; as if he felt the same inspiration as the post–Civil Rights, crack-era generation of America’s damaged black youth who were beginning to articulate and romanticize their own experiences. Fact is, the ingrained traditions of comprehending and surviving racism can be expressed in different idioms. Wilson has said that his writing was inspired by black poet Ishmael Reed, whose own vernacular (part of the 1960s Black Arts Movement) is as different from Wilson’s as it is from Public Enemy and Geto Boys, yet they all work the same territory. They recognize the black ethical history that Black Lives Matter (if not all contemporary liberalism) has abandoned.

Toni Erdmann – A Dissent By Marilyn Penn

If you find the sight of a sixty-something man in a bad wig with false buck teeth a hilarious sight gag, you will like this movie. If you require some actual wit or clever comedic dialogue to make you laugh, you should watch an old Woody Allen film on Netflix and leave Toni Erdmann to the too-easily pleased. The setup for this movie is simple: A father is concerned that his accomplished adult daughter working in Bucharest at a high-powered consulting job is too uptight and missing out on the important things in life. To cure her of this misguided direction, he pays an unexpected visit to her Rumanian apartment – a visit that doesn’t go well. Rather than taking the hint that he’s unwelcome at this time, he decides to stalk his daughter and with the aid of his wig and tooth disguise, pop up at places and events that will embarrass and humiliate her to the breaking point. Despite looking like a deranged derelict, he is invited to join the events and activities that he has crashed with various false identities, leaving this viewer even more amazed than his daughter.

In the first place, the actor doesn’t look different enough with his masquerade – his own hair, teeth and body are sufficiently scruffy to make him a negative stand-out without the props. Secondly, since we have seen a bit of his own rather solitary life with his old dog , his ailing mother and a non-distinguished career as a music teacher, we wonder whether he’s the right person to teach his daughter much of anything. In this movie, being a “prankster’’ is synonymous with liveliness and love of life. From my seat, I saw an overgrown jerk whose adolescent fart pillow was unlikely to have been tolerated by any of the characters who people this film. A highlight of the movie is the daughter’s spontaneous decision to host her small birthday party in the nude and her insistence that to join the party, the guests must get naked too This belongs in the same category as finding wigs and false teeth super-funny; if seeing nude grownups in various stages of awkwardness gives you a giggle, you know where to find it. If it strikes you as too obvious to have symbolic impact, good for your discretionary taste. You might want to watch some reruns of Larry David for more insightful peeks into awkward behavior by clueless adults.

It won’t be a spoiler to tell you that things end up better than anyone deserves and far less funny than reviews have claimed. Perhaps because Germans have a sub-zero reputation for humor, critics have applied the equivalent of grade inflation to their evaluations of any attempt at this genre. Having summoned Larry David, I will now add his partner Jerry Seinfeld to remind everyone that until an episode on Seinfeld, no one had the guts to confess that despite its brilliant reviews, The English Patient was terminally boring. Keep that thought in mind – it’s a lot funnier than anything in Toni Erdmann.

Housing Units and Double Standards Where is Obama’s outrage about the Palestinians building 15,000 illegal housing units? Joseph Puder

The Obama Administrations unprecedented vote to abstain rather than cast the traditional veto on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334, was, in the words of Professor Alan Dershowitz, “nasty” and referring to Obama as pulling a “bait and switch.” In a Fox-News interview, Dershowitz related that President Obama called him to ask for his support. Obama, Dershowitz recalled, said, “I will always have Israel’s back.” Dershowitz added, he indeed “stabbed” Israel in the back. The Obama administration rejection of the traditional U.S. policy toward Israel has to do with a personal vendetta against Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, and anger over the election of Donald Trump as president. There is moreover, a double-standard vis-à-vis housing in the territories.

UNSC Resolution 2334 is a non-binding document and deals with Israeli settlements in “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.” The resolution states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes “flagrant violation” of International law that has “no legal validity,” and demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligation as an “occupying power” under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The December 23, 2016 UNSC resolution obfuscates history and reality. It is reminiscent of the notorious 1975 UN Resolution that equated Zionism (Israel national liberation movement) with racism, this time with the Obama administration’s collusion, albeit, without naming it Zionism. The very term “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” is outrageously false. Israel did not take “Palestinian territory in 1967, it took Jordanian territory, which the Jordanian Arab Legion illegally occupied in 1948. Israel won Judea and Samaria (West Bank) in a defensive war, after being attacked by Jordan. There was never a state of Palestine, nor Palestinian territories. What might have been “Palestinian territories” was rejected by Arab-Palestinians in 1947 during the UN vote on the Partition of (British) Mandatory Palestine. The Palestinian-Arabs, unlike Jewish-Palestinians, rejected the partition, choosing instead to annihilate the nascent Jewish state.

Ambassador Alan Baker, an Israeli expert on International law, former Israeli ambassador to Canada, and director of The Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, pointed out that the Palestinian claim that “settlements are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians (1949) is false. But both the text of that convention, and the post-World War II circumstances under which it was drafted, clearly indicate that it was never intended to refer to situations like Israel’s settlements. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Article 49 relates to situations where populations are coerced into being transferred. There is nothing to link such circumstances to Israel’s settlement policy.

During the negotiations on the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Arab states initiated an addition to the text in order to render it applicable to Israel’s settlement policy. This was indicative of the international community’s acknowledgment that the original 1949 Geneva Convention language was simply not relevant to Israel’s settlements.

The continued reliance by the international community on the Geneva Convention as the basis for determining the illegality of Israel’s settlements fails to take into account the unique nature of the history, legal framework, and negotiating circumstances regarding the West Bank.

A special regime between Israel and the Palestinians is set out in a series of agreements negotiated between 1993 and 1999 that are still valid – that govern all issues between them, settlements included. In this framework there is no specific provision restricting planning, zoning, and continued construction by either party. The Palestinians cannot now invoke the Geneva Convention regime in order to bypass previous internationally acknowledged agreements.”

Naturally, nothing has been said by the Obama administration about the illegal Arab-Palestinian construction of settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Bassam Tawil, a Gatestone Institute scholar based in the Middle East pointed out that, “Apparently, settlements are only a ‘major obstacle to peace’ when they are constructed by Jews. The EU and some Islamic governments and organizations are paying for the construction of illegal Palestinian settlements, while demanding that Israel halt building new homes for Jewish families in Jerusalem neighborhoods or existing settlements in the West Bank. The hypocrisy and raw malice of the EU and the rest of the international community toward the issue of Israeli settlements is blindingly transparent. Yet we are also witnessing the hypocrisy of many in the Western mainstream media, who see with their own eyes the Palestinian settlements rising on every side of Jerusalem, but choose to report only about Jewish building.”

Victor Davis Hanson Dismantles Myths of the 2016 Election Breaking through the media distortions. *****

Victor David Hanson: Thank you very much for having me. I thought I would talk about the mythologies of the election if I could. But before we go, I know you all have had this experience. People have come up to you and said, “Did you have any idea that Trump could win?” Now, everybody lies and said, of course I did. I thought he would be even, but I wasn’t sure. But I had these conversations a lot with Bruce Thornton, and we’d always come to the same conclusion. I don’t know, but there’s something strange out there going on.

And what I meant by that was, when I would walk across the Hoover Institution grounds, anybody who I thought would be voting for Donald Trump would do this. And anybody who wanted to be labeled the maverick, brave, independent scholar, the “go-to” person for the Washington Post, would say, “I’m for Hillary.” And I thought this is really an accurate barometer of what people are thinking, and so I said to my wife Jennifer, “You know every time we have somebody on the farm or we talk to a guy on a tractor, if he speaks English” — and these are all Mexican-American people — “he’s for Trump.” Can’t believe it. People who are not for Trump don’t speak English. And she said, well I have a class with 40 people and there are 38 Hispanics. I said well ask them. You don’t have tenure, but be careful how you ask them. Do it this way: is there anybody in their right mind that would vote for Trump? Seventeen people held their hand up in front of people, and then you saw the statistics that he had two to three points higher minority representation among minority communities than did Romney or McCain. And it was just striking.

The other thing that I think has happened in this election, unfortunately, is — I know I’m not quite unbiased — is that we’ve lost friends and family, relationships. I know that I thought I knew people at the National Review. I’ve been writing there for 14 years, and then I would read things, and I could not believe it. It wasn’t that I disagreed with them or they disagreed with me, it was the level of venom and condescension. I would pick up the Wall Street Journal and read Bret Stephens. I talked to George Will and I could not believe it. And then I talked to people in my family, and the same thing.

But there was one commonality that you may have experienced. That the people who were voting for Hillary or not voting wanted to provoke something. So every time I would see my brother or other brother, they wanted to talk about it. They wanted to put you on the spot. At Hoover when I saw somebody, they wanted to say, “How dare you.” Nobody in this room went up to somebody who they’ve known for a long time and say, “How dare you vote for Hillary.” They may have thought that, but –and it’s thematic of this whole election that Trump’s rallies were supposedly violent, rigged, we know now, by the DNC, and now we see the real violence in the post election. So there were all these bizarre emotions.

One of the things, one other statement before I go into mythologies: This had a lot to do with class. I know people said, “Well how can Trump be a populist. He’s a billionaire.” But he was a billionaire in a way that offended the sensibilities of the coastal corridors. Maybe it was the orange hair or skin or the queen’s accent or his personal tastes and appetites, but whatever it was, people of the elite did not like him for class reasons because he would talk to conservatives and you would look at his agenda and it was pretty conservative, and they’d say, “Well, he doesn’t believe it” or “he was a Democrat.” But they applied a different standard to him that was inexplicable other than they had a class disdain for what he represented.

I thought something was going wrong when I would go up to Palo Alto. I had this unique experience in my life where I live in the second poorest county in the United States, southern Tulare Fresno County, and then I work in one of the most affluent in Stanford-Palo Alto-Menlo Park, and it’s two different worlds. And people up there were convinced that Trump would not only lose but lose in a landslide, and then people out in the foothills of California really thought that he might win in California. I would ride a bike in the month of Michigan, in the month of September in Michigan. I was teaching at Hillsdale. Everybody had a Trump sign, and you would stop and talk to them, and they were just certain he was going to win. I thought this doesn’t make sense. And so I think a lot of you were not as surprised as we otherwise should have been. Because after all, he had no money comparatively speaking. He did not have a ground game. He did not have opposition research. He did not have bundlers. He did not have celebrity endorsements. He did not have establishment. He did not have the media. He had everybody against him. So they say, “Well Hillary won the popular vote.” Yeah, but it’s astounding that he was even close because he had nothing in conventional terms for him other than a message that resonated.

One of the big mythologies of the election was it’s unusual we’ve never had anything this vulgar, this crude in American history. By the standards of American election it was pretty tame. In 1824 basically John Quincy Adams stole the election from Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson got it back in 1828, but if you go back and look at what they called one another. Jackson was supposedly an assassin, a bigamist, his wife was a prostitute supposedly. It reminded me of the Athenian democratic elections and politics where Demosthenes stands up in the De Corona and says, “My opponent, Aeschines, I will not mention the fact that his mother ran a house of prostitution from a cemetery.”

George McGovern called Richard Nixon 12 times in public a Nazi in the 1972 election. 1944, right in the middle of the battles in the Pacific at Leyte Gulf, Franklin Roosevelt said of Thomas Dewey we don’t fight Nazism and fascism overseas just to turn it over to the same people here in the United States. Think of that.

The last time we have seen a Republican fight was Lee Atwater in the ’88 Bush election. Last time somebody wanted to win rather than to lose nobly, and when he got done with Michael Dukakis, he was a wimp and a tank, he had polluted Boston Harbor and he let Willie Horton out thousands of times over again. And that was the last time Republicans said that they were going to do that, and then they stopped so that John McCain wanted to lose nobly like old Ajax, I suppose. Never mentioned Reverend Wright, Jeremiah Wright. You get the impression had Trump run in 2008 we would have never heard the end of Reverend Wright. Had he run in 2012 he would have jumped out and grabbed Candy Crowley’s, I hope, microphone, and he would have reacted.

And I’m mentioning that because that was very important. People you talk to said I’m tired of losing. For people who are wealthy and have connections and influence, losing nobly is an option. But for people at the end of things, a worker out of a job, or somebody who can’t afford to get his teeth fixed, losing is bad. They don’t want to lose. And as one person said to me, if he’s going to lose at least I like him to screw things up. And I think what he meant was we got a Samson now and he’s got his arms around the Philistine pillar, and if he loses, he’s going to tear down the whole damn temple with him. Like that Apple commercial where you run and throw the ball and chain into the screen and smash it. That was a sense of anger that people had over Trump.

New Year’s Terror in Turkey Will the latest terrorist attack bring Turkey and Russia even closer together? Joseph Klein

Turkey experienced another terrorist attack to start off 2017, following a very bloody 2016 during which multiple deadly terrorist attacks took place. A gunman targeted a popular upscale nightclub in Istanbul about 1 AM on Sunday, killing at least 39 New Year’s celebrants and wounding dozens of other people. In addition to the Turkish victims, foreign citizens from such countries as Israel, Belgium, France, Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon and India were among the dead. The attack occurred despite stepped up security that was put into place after American intelligence officers had issued a warning to expect an attack in Turkey during the holiday season. ISIS, directly through its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and via supportive media, has threatened attacks specifically in Turkey

The gunman reportedly screamed “Allahu Akbar” as he carried out his massacre. Turkish intelligence officers believe that the prime suspect is a member of the East Turkestan branch of ISIS. Officials have released a picture of the suspect whom, as of the writing of this article, is on the run and has not yet been identified by name or nationality.

Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdogan, vowed: “As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups and the forces behind them, but also against their economic, political and social attacks.” Noting that the terrorists “aim to create chaos, demoralize our people, and destabilize our country with abominable attacks which target civilians,” President Erdogan added, “We will retain our cool-headedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games.”

World leaders were quick to condemn the attack and send their condolences. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, whom has worked with the Turkish and Iranian governments to negotiate a ceasefire in Syria, sent Turkey’s president a telegram message, stating, “It is hard to imagine a more cynical crime than killing innocent people during New Year celebrations. However, terrorists don’t share moral values. Our common duty is to combat terrorists’ aggression.”

President Putin sent this message against the backdrop of the murder of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, two weeks ago by a terrorist associated with al Qaeda’s Nusra Front (now known as the Fatah al-Sham Front).

Tony Thomas: Warmism’s Martial Plan

Obama declines to bomb an ISIS convoy because burning trucks will boost CO2 emissions … Australia’s defence wallahs fret about rising seas and drowning air bases … alarmist ratbaggery distorts strategy and budgets. Military effectiveness has a new enemy: the climate-scam crowd.
The US military is in flux as President-elect Trump prepares to rid it of Obama’s global-warming overlays. This switch is underway just as the Australian military is starting to adopt Obama-style environmentalism, after a decade’s passive resistance to climate politics.

The ADF has already capitulated to feminists and inclusiveness mavens, with top brass applauding then-Human Rights Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick for her 2014 report castigating the force’s “masculine norms” and “warrior culture”. The ADF was also told by Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert in the Abbott government in March, 2015, to recruit an imam for the benefit of the force’s 100 Muslim recruits. The coming capitulation is to the hyped climate “science” of the ANU Climate Institute and Tim Flannery’s crusading Climate Council.

This essay looks at the status quo with environmentalism in the US military, and the recent flow-ons to Australia.

What happens when the military gets climate-minded played out in Syria a year ago. Russian President Vladimir Putin was annoyed at Turkey shooting down a Russian SU-24 bomber. So he blew the whistle on America’s reluctance to attack Syrian ISIS road tankers carting oil into Turkey. Those black-market oil sales generate the main funding for ISIS.[1]

Showing Russian reconnaissance footage, Putin spoke of “vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon…a living oil pipe day and night.” US reporters wondered why the Obama administration hadn’t ordered US planes to blow up the “living oil pipe”. The public explanation from former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell was that Obama did not want “to create environmental damage” or wreck infrastructure that Syrians would need in peace-time.

In an Obama version of shock and awe, A-10s Warthog ground-attack planes and Spectre gunships did start attacking the tankers, but only after leaflet drops to give the ISIS tanker drivers a considerate 45 minutes to “get out of your trucks now and run away from them.”

Concern about CO2 emissions from exploding ISIS oil tankers is just one facet of Obama’s generalship. Since 2009 he has been issuing progressively-tougher Executive Orders to government agencies, including Defence, demanding that global warming issues be raised to top-priority status. Obama has several times publicly declared climate change to be an equal or greater threat than terrorism, and the Obama/Kerry team recently moved climate change talks from the Oval Office to the “Situation Room,” for military/security discussion of active threats to the US.

Dakota Wood, a retired Marine Corps officer and U.S. Central Command planner, says the Pentagon is introducing climate change, right down to military tactics, techniques and procedures level.

China’s military doctrine is less convoluted: “China’s armed forces uphold combat effectiveness as the sole and fundamental standard and work to build themselves into a people’s military that can fight and win.” Putin, like his Chinese counterparts, has not afflicted the Russian military with climate provisos.

Another serious “threat to national security” posited by Obama is from politicians who deny that various extreme weather events are demonstrations of climate change. Whatever dissent existed among the top US brass about the Obama campaign went mainly unspoken, while more ambitious officers competed publicly to burnish their climate credentials. But in mid-2015, General Martin Dempsey, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made his disgust clear by issuing a 14-page policy statement on military doctrine that contains not one mention of climate change.

Trump’s eagerness to drain Obama’s military swamp is evident from his 74 questions to the Department of Energy. He wants to identify all programs tainted by Obama’s junk science, along with the programs’ bureaucratic champions. The specificity of the questions is impressive, and designed to trump any civil-service obfuscation and passive resistance. The Brits take a perverse pride in Yes, Minister bureaucrats who run rings around their politicians. Trump and his realpolitik appointees intend to (and know how to) beat the bureaucrats.

The US Navy’s so-called “Great Green Fleet” reflects Obama’s priorities, and has some direct Australian flow-ons. The background is the Navy target to run 50% on planet-friendly alternative fuels by 2020, along with many conventional energy-saving measures. In practice, if a fuel stock contains as little as 10% biofuel, it can be fudged into the ‘green’ category.

The Islamization of Germany in 2016 “Germany is no longer safe.” by Soeren Kern *****

Mass migration from the Muslim world is fast-tracking the Islamization of Germany, as evidenced by the proliferation of no-go zones, Sharia courts, polygamy and child marriages. Mass migration has also been responsible for a host of social disruptions, including jihadist attacks, a migrant rape epidemic, a public health crisis, rising crime and a rush by German citizens to purchase weapons for self-defense — and even to abandon Germany altogether.

Development Minister Gerd Müller warned that the biggest refugee movements to Europe are still to come. He said that only 10% of the migrants from the chaos in Iraq and Syria have reached Europe so far: “Eight to ten million migrants are still on the way.”

“There are written instructions … today we are not allowed to say anything negative about the refugees. This is government journalism, and this leads to a situation in which the public loses their trust in us. This is scandalous.” — Wolfgang Herles, Deutschlandfunk public radio.

The Turkish government has sent 970 clerics — most of whom do not speak German — to lead 900 mosques in Germany that are controlled by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), a branch of the Turkish government’s Directorate for Religious Affairs, known in Turkish as Diyanet. Critics accuse Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of using DITIB mosques to prevent Turkish migrants from integrating into German society.

A Cologne police superintendent revealed that he was ordered to remove the term “rape” from an internal police report about the mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. He said that an official at the North-Rhine Westphalia Interior Ministry told him in an angry tone: “This is not rape. Remove this term from your report. Submit a new report.”

The German branch of Open Doors, a non-governmental organization supporting persecuted Christians, reported that thousands of Christians in German refugee shelters are being persecuted by Muslims, sometimes even by their security guards.

A 23-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker wearing a T-shirt with the words “I’m Muslim Don’t Panic” was assaulted by fellow refugees for offending Islam. He was beaten so badly that he was hospitalized.

Half of the three million ethnic Turks living in Germany believe it is more important to follow Islamic Sharia law than German law if the two are in conflict, according to a survey.

A document leaked to Der Spiegel revealed that more than 33,000 migrants who are supposed to be deported are still in Germany, being cared for by German taxpayers. Many of the migrants destroyed their passports and are believed to have lied about their countries of origin to make it impossible for them to be deported.

Migrants committed 142,500 crimes during the first six months of 2016, according to a report by the Federal Criminal Police Office. This is equivalent to 780 crimes committed by migrants every day, or 32.5 crimes each hour, an increase of nearly 40% over 2015. The data includes only those crimes in which a migrant suspect has been caught.

Bild, the largest-circulation newspaper in Germany, warned that the country was “capitulating to Islamic law.”

Germany’s Muslim population surpassed six million in 2016 for the first time ever. Germany now vies with France for the highest Muslim population in Western Europe.

“Tolerance” in Tunisia by Tharwa Boulifi

Tharwa Boulifi, aged 15, lives in Tunisia.

The thing that struck me most is that they had no beards. Terrorism seems to be changing tactics. It no longer shows up as beards, revolvers, religious clothing… But it has started to take over our daily lives: in buses, subways, streets, supermarkets, maybe mostly in the slums. Every day, there, terrorists are being snapped up by ISIS.

“Religion” for me now just means “violence” and “kill.”

The thing is, Muslims generally do not have great arguments, so they just insult us. The subject of religion seems taboo for them: seeing other people — especially those who do not share their same beliefs — criticizing or asking questions about it is considered a humiliation. Discussing Islam means questioning its credibility, and so humiliating it.

Discussing Islam also seems a threat to their psychological safety: having the same beliefs and the same God is a sort of a reassurance and protection. To cast doubt on their religion means breaking into their “comfort zone” — and possibly even raising doubts.

For many, religious tolerance has become a business currency — a way to promote tourism, improve relations with other countries, elevate Tunisia’s image and benefit from the aid of rich countries. But that only makes tolerance a mask worn for personal gain.

The subway is something I do not go on a lot anymore, said the boy. On the subway, said the boy, people still gave me the evil eye; probably the long hair. Last time, a friend phoned; I spoke to him in Arabic. Soon after, a group of young men came up.

One said, “Are you Tunisian?”

“Yes,” I said.

Then, one of them saw the cross.

“Are you a Muslim?” he said.

“The cross is a gift,” I said. Then I told them the truth. “I am atheist,” I said.

I tried to ignore them, but one of them grabbed me by the shoulder.

“Oh really?” he said. “Then where do you think you are going after your death? Who created the universe if it was not Allah? If you do not revere Allah, you must revere Satan.”

New Year Speech to the Muslim World by Nonie Darwish

By Western standards, military rule is shunned as an oppressive form of government, but in the Islamic world it is the only buffer of protection from the tyranny of total sharia law that must be enforced by Islamic theocracies, such as those of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The days of sacrificing the safety and security of citizens of the West for the sake of multiculturalism, are over. In order for multiculturalism to work, it must be a two-way street between people that share common values of respect of each other’s culture. Unfortunately, the West did not get that from Islam.

It really does not matter what is “true Islam”. That is something the Muslim world needs to deal with internally; it does not serve us in the West to try to evaluate what is “true Islam” and what is not.

Your religious leaders, whose salaries are paid by Islamic governments, stand before your media cameras and call on Muslims to stab, slam trucks, kill, rape and humiliate the kafir [non-Muslim] Jews, Christians and Pagans.

Islamic governments and terror groups are two peas in a pod, working together for the same goal: enforcing Allah’s law, sharia, on the world. It is no secret that a Muslim head of state must rule by sharia and must conduct jihad against non-Muslims. Sharia law commands Muslim citizens to remove, by rebellion or assassination, any Muslim leader who does not abide by sharia and support jihadists.

As of today, the West must hold Islamic governments responsible for jihadist actions of their own terrorist citizens. Nothing happens in Muslim countries without the knowledge of their governments. If a Muslim government has no control of its citizens, it should be considered a rogue nation.

Bringing in unvetted refugees from Syria and Iraq is not an act of compassion, but gross negligence. Western governments have failed their citizens for too long in that respect and that will end today.

After all, why should cultures that loathe the West seek to live in the West? As President-elect Trump said, why should America — or any country — not allow in only immigrants who love us and who respect our laws and way of life?

Does Trump Grasp the Reality of ‘Radical Islam’? A Palestinian test case, courtesy of President Obama. By Andrew C. McCarthy

It was the key national-security debate of the 2016 election. Donald Trump won the election, in no small part, because he appeared to be on the right side of it. Appeared is used advisedly: Trump was at least in the general vicinity of the bull’s-eye; his opponent wouldn’t even acknowledge the target existed — except in the most grudging of ways, and only because Trump had forced the issue.

The question boiled down to this: Are you willing to name the enemy?

After a quarter-century of willful blindness, it was at least a start. We should note, moreover, that it’s a start we owe to the president-elect. Washington, meaning both parties, had erected such barriers to a rational public discussion of our enemies that breaking through took Trump’s outsized persona, in all its abrasive turns and its excesses. Comparative anonymities (looking down at my shoes, now) could try terrorism cases and fill shelves with books and pamphlets and columns on the ideology behind the jihad from now until the end of time. But no matter how many terrorist attacks Americans endured, the public examination of the enemy was not going to happen unless a credible candidate for the world’s most important job dramatically shifted the parameters of acceptable discourse.

Trump forced the issue into the light of day. And once he did — voilà! — what was yesterday’s “Islamophobia” became today’s conventional wisdom. In reality, it was never either of these things. The former is an enemy-crafted smear (a wildly successful one) to scare off examination of the enemy; the latter is frequently wrong.

What we Cassandras have really been trying to highlight is a simple fact, as patent as it was unremarkable from the time of Sun Tsu until the 1993 World Trade Center bombing: To defeat the enemy, you must know the enemy — who he is, what motivates him, what he is trying to achieve. Being willing to name the enemy is a start. But it is just a start — the beginning, not the end, of understanding.

In his major campaign speech on the subject, Trump asserted that the enemy is “radical Islamic terrorism.” Terrorism, surely, is the business end of the spear, but “radical Islamic terrorism” is an incomplete portrait. Dangerously incomplete? That depends on whether the term (a) is Trump’s shorthand for a threat he realizes is significantly broader than terrorism, or (b) reflects his actual — and thus insufficient — grasp of the challenge.

The speech provided reasons for hope. For one thing, Trump compared “radical Islamic terrorism” to the 20th-century challenges of fascism, Nazism, and Communism. These were ideological enemies. The capacity to project force was by no means the totality of the threat each represented — which is why it is so foolish to be dismissive of today’s enemy just because jihadist networks cannot compare militarily to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

Furthermore, toward the end of his speech, Trump used “radical Islamic terrorism” interchangeably with “radical Islam.” Ending the spread of radical Islam, he said, must be our objective. He even referred to it as an “ideology” — though he called it an “ideology of death,” which misses the point; it is an ideology of conquest.