Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beheadings Of Infidels, Halal Sex Products And "Muslims Don't Like Dogs"

A Month of Islam in Europe: June 2014



Austria accused Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of stirring up trouble on June 19, when he urged thousands of cheering supporters in Vienna to reject "assimilation."

Erdogan was rallying support for his candidacy ahead of Turkish presidential elections in August, and expatriate Turks have become a significant bloc of voters after changes to the electoral system now allow them to cast votes abroad.
Around 268,000 people of Turkish origin live in Austria, according to government figures, of whom nearly 115,000 are Turkish citizens.
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who had expressly warned Erdogan not to undermine efforts to integrate Turks into Austrian society, criticized the latest comments:
"These show very clearly that the Turkish premier has brought the election campaign to our country and created unrest with this. We reject this. And I can only say that respect for a host country looks clearly different."
In Graz, the second-largest city in Austria, police on June 5 arrested a 41-year-old Islamic preacher from Chechnya who is believed to be involved in efforts to send Austrians to war in the Middle East.
State prosecutor Hansjoerg Bacher said that the imam is thought to be behind the radicalization and recruitment of eight Chechens resident in Austria, four of whom have died in fighting in Syria.

In Bulgaria, the Kardjali District Court on June 16 rejected a property claim lodged by the office of the Chief Mufti, the spiritual leader of Bulgaria's Muslims, to be awarded ownership of the building housing the Regional Historical Museum. The court found that there was no basis for the claim, and ordered the representatives of the Muslim community to pay 91,062 leva ($63,000) in costs to the state.
This case was the latest in a series of lawsuits by the Chief Mufti's office, filed under the Religious Denominations Act, which allows applications by recognized religious denominations to be awarded property believed to be historically theirs.
The building was originally intended to serve as a Muslim religious school, and it was funded in part by donations from the local Muslim community in 1920s and 1930s. However, the building was never used as a madrassa. Instead, it was nationalized during Bulgaria's communist era and became a museum.
Lawyers for the Kardjali district administration argued that the Chief Mufti's office is not the heir to the local Muslim community because at the time there was no such registered legal entity.
In the southern Bulgarian town of Peshtera, residents are angry over the local mosque's powerful loudspeakers, which are blasting the Islamic call to prayer, the adhan, several times a day.
According to Radio FOCUS, the town is a model of multicultural tolerance, but residents are increasingly irritated by the adhan; the "silent discontent may escalate to petitions and protests," the radio said.

In Britain, a new television channel aimed exclusively at British Muslims, British Muslim TV (BMTV), was launched in early June. The channel, operating under the slogan "Confidently Muslim, Comfortably British," is airing on the British Sky digital platform; the programming content is being exclusively funded and made in the UK.
BMTV will compete with other channels, such as Islam Channel, one of the UK's most prominent and popular English language Muslim satellite channels; Noor TV, Peace TV and Iqra TV, all of which have a South Asian focus and are usually broadcast in Urdu or Bangladeshi; and to Shia Muslim focused channels such as Hidayat TV and Ahlebait TV.
Speaking to Al Arabiya news, the marketing director for BMTV, Wasim Akhtar, said that BMTV aims to be different from the other Muslim channels by being "inclusive of all different views and open to all different types of Muslims. So the channel isn't just about issues of faith, it's about practical Muslim life here in Britain."
In a trial at the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales [Old Bailey], a jury heard how police found 38-year-old Tahira Ahmed after she was decapitated in her west London home, allegedly by her husband, 41-year-old Naveed Ahmed. Tahira had been stabbed, had both her arms broken, and her head cut off. The couple, who have two children aged six and 12, had been married for 14 years.
Also in London, police launched an investigation into the origins of a sign telling dog owners to stay out of a park because it is "an Islamic area now" and "Muslims don't like dogs."
Meanwhile, it emerged that taxpayer money could be used to help fund a new mosque for the Muslim community in Belfast, according to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. The move came after a local pastor named James McConnell denounced Islam as "Satanic" and a "doctrine spawned in hell."
McGuinness said he and First Minister Peter Robinson, who visited the Islamic Centre in south Belfast in June, "absolutely accepted" that the 4,000-strong Muslim community "is entitled to a mosque, if a proper site can be found which is suitable for them."
McGuinness said McConnell's remarks were "shameful" and could affect investments in Belfast. "This will impact, if not handled correctly by us, on our prospects of attracting foreign direct investment," McGuinness said. "The story travelled all round the world, and I think that it was very damaging."
In a bid to reverse negative stereotypes of Muslims in the UK, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Devon and Cornwall in southwestern England launched an advertising campaign in June to promote "positive awareness of Islam."
The campaign involved banners displaying Muslim messages of peace on a fleet of more than 100 city buses. Under the slogan of "loyalty, freedom, equality, respect, peace" the community also launched a website: LoveForAllHatredForNone.org.
A regional president of the group, Muhammad Noman, said: "A true Muslim can never raise his voice in hatred against his fellow citizens, nor against the ruling authority or government of the time. He should remain loyal and fully abide by the laws of the land of which he is a subject."
More news about Islam in Britain during June 2014 can be found here.

In Cyprus on June 3, Turkish Cypriot mufti Talip Atalay recited a prayer at the reopening ceremony of the Taht-el kale mosque in Nicosia, which had been closed for more than 50 years. Atalay visited the mosque after an invitation from the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II as part of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process promoted by the Swedish government.

In the Czech Republic, President Miloš Zeman refused to apologize for comments he made during a speech at the Israeli Embassy in Prague on May 26 at a reception to celebrate Israel's Independence Day.
Quoting several verses from the Koran that call on Muslims to kill Jews, Zeman said that Islam was to blame for the attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels that killed four people. He also said:
"There is a term, political correctness. This term I consider to be a euphemism for political cowardice. Therefore, let me not be cowardly."
The new Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], Iyad Ameen Madani, condemned Zeman's speech, saying, "It is only appropriate that President Miloš Zeman apologizes to the millions of Muslims worldwide for his deeply offensive and hateful anti-Islam statements."
An OIC statement said:
"The Secretary General reiterated that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and that terrorism should not be equated to any race or religion; a stance upheld by all major UN texts on the subject of countering terrorism. He added that the OIC countries share a profound respect for all religions and condemn any message of hatred and intolerance."
On June 10, a spokesman for the Czech government said Zeman would not be apologizing for his statements. "President Zeman definitely does not intend to apologize. For the president would consider it blasphemy to apologize for the quotation of a sacred Islamic text."
The Gates of Vienna blog summed it up this way: "As far as I am aware, Miloš Zeman is the first Western head of state ever to tell the OIC to go jump in a lake. So this is an historic occasion."

In Denmark, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) revealed that at least 100 Danish jihadists (both male and female) have left Denmark to fight in Syria, and that at least 15 of them have been killed.
The information was made public during a June 23 seminar entitled, "Syria and the Danish Prevention Model," organized by the PET's Center for Terror Analysis (CTA). Some 100 representatives from the Danish police, civil society and the media attended the event.
According to the CTA, the majority of Danish jihadists are young Sunni Muslims (aged 16-25), including Danish converts to Islam. The CTA said most of the jihadists have links to Islamic communities in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense.
"Those returning from the conflict have been trained in military skills that can be used to carry out a terrorist attack in Denmark or against Danish interests abroad," CTA said. "They can also use their status to recruit new members to the group and new warriors to the conflict."
On June 14, Danish police raided a mosque in the Vibevej district of Copenhagen after a passerby allegedly saw weapons being carried into the complex. Four men were arrested during the operation.
On June 5, Denmark issued an international arrest warrant for four jihadists who were filmed shooting at effigies of six prominent Danish critics of Islam.
In the video, which was recorded in Syria and first surfaced in August 2013, the men fired their guns at effigies of former PET secret agent Morten Storm, free speech advocate Lars Hedegaard, former MP Naser Khader, the imam Ahmed Akkari, former prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
Danish authorities said that under Danish anti-terror laws the shootings are illegal; they also conceded that some of the jihadists may already be dead.
Meanwhile, Denmark's largest mosque opened on June 19 in the Rovsingsgade district of Copenhagen after receiving a 150 million kroner (€20.1 million, $27.2 million) endowment from Qatar.
Not a single Danish politician of note attended the inauguration ceremony of the 6,700-square-meter (72,000-square-foot) complex, which houses a mosque, a cultural center, a television studio and a fitness center.

In Finland, the Security Intelligence Service (SUPO) on June 19 said it was investigating a suspected Finnish female jihadist who posed with weapons and published threats against Shia Muslims on Facebook.
The photo uploaded to Facebook shows a burqa-clad figure posing with an assault rifle, and brandishing what is claimed to be a suicide bomb. A comment on the page—written in Finnish—says the woman has come to Syria because "there are lots of Shias to kill."
On June 12, a spokesman for SUPO revealed that around 40 people have travelled from Finland to Syria to join Islamist groups there. He also said that around 200 individuals in Finland are believed to be at risk of radicalization.
On June 9, Finnish media reported the death of a 23-year-old jihadist from Espoo, the second-largest city in Finland, who had been fighting in Syria since December 2012. The man, of Somali background, had moved to Finland at the age of two. If the death is confirmed, he would be the third Finnish citizen to die in the fighting in Syria.

In France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls on June 3 increased the government's estimate of the number of French nationals fighting in Syria to 800, including about 30 who have died in the conflict.
Valls told BFMTV that these jihadists pose an unprecedented threat to France. "We have never before faced a challenge of this kind," Valls said. "It is without any doubt the most serious threat we face. We have to ensure the surveillance of hundreds and hundreds of French or European individuals who are today fighting in Syria."

In Iceland, the head of the Muslim Association of Iceland, Ibrahim Sverrir Agnarsson, on June 2 said that final preparations are being made for the design of the country's first mosque, set to be built on a plot of land in the Sogamýri district of Reykjavík.
The future of mosque has been in doubt since May 23, when the leader of the Progressive Party in Reykjavík, Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, said she wanted to reverse the city council's controversial decision to grant the plot of land to the Muslims free of charge. She now says the issue should be voted on in a public referendum. After her remarks, support for the Progressive Party in Reykjavík increased and the party secured two seats in municipal elections that were held on May 31.
The founder of the Muslim Association, Salman Tamimi, said he would file a lawsuit against individuals who left anti-mosque comments on an online article about the mosque controversy published by the newspaper Visir on June 1. Tamimi's lawyer, Helga Vala Helgadóttir, said it was important to take a stand against hate speech.

In Italy, authorities on June 17 said the Italian Navy had rescued almost 600 migrants from boats in the Strait of Sicily between Italy and Africa as part of the Mare Nostrum ["Our Sea"] search and rescue operation, launched in October 2013.
On June 9, roughly 1,300 migrants were ushered to safety at the merchant port of Taranto after being rescued at sea off the coast of Sicily.
More than 50,000 migrants crossed to Italy during the first six months of 2014, more than the total for the whole of 2013.

A jihadist from Luxembourg who died in Syria in December 2013 was claimed as a martyr for ISIS on June 17. A tweet from ISIS described a man identified as "Luxembourg national Abu Huthaifa" as the "first martyr for ISIS from the second richest country in the world."
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn confirmed in May 2014 that two people from the Grand Duchy had joined militants in Syria. One of them was originally from Kosovo, and another was of North African origin. Both were killed, including Abu Huthaifa. Why ISIS was just now claiming his martyrdom remains unclear.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch intelligence service AIVD on June 30 released a new report entitled, "Transformation of Jihadism in the Netherlands," which states that about 130 Dutch jihadists have travelled to Syria, and that nearly 30 have since returned. Approximately 14 Dutch jihadists have died on the battlefield. Most of the Dutch jihadists have joined up with ISIS.

The Dutch-Turkish jihadist known as Yilmaz is one of about 130 Dutch jihadists who have traveled to Syria.
On June 21, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, accused the government of being "asleep" and "naïve" for failing to understand the size of the threat posed by Muslim radicals in the Netherlands. "The threat to the Netherlands is now greater than ever, even more than ten years ago with the Hofstad Group [an Islamist terrorist organization of mostly young Dutch Muslims of mainly North African ancestry], Wilders said. "We now have hundreds of jihadists and thousands of sympathizers. This naïve Cabinet's inaction is inviting an attack in the Netherlands."
Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans on June 16 told the Dutch Parliament that the government was taking "various measures," both in terms of criminal law and administrative law, to prevent Dutch nationals joining up with groups such as ISIS.
Also on June 16, the newspaper Volkskrant reported that AIVD had given the Turkish government the names of more than 100 young men and women who Dutch authorities believe may be planning on going to Syria. The paper said Turkey has agreed to detain and deport them if they attempt to cross the Turkish border en route to Syria.
On June 19, Abdoe Khoulani, a member of the Party of Unity (PvdE), a fundamentalist Muslim political party based in The Hague, expressed support for ISIS on his Facebook page. He wrote: "Long Live ISIS. And insha'Allah [Allah willing] on to Baghdad to fight the riff-raff there."
Khoulani's message was spread on Twitter by Arnoud van Doorn, a former member of the Dutch Freedom Party who converted to Islam and is now a member of the PvdE. Van Doorn said Khoulani was—like John the Baptist quoting the words of Isaiah—a "voice of one crying out in the wilderness" [to prepare the way for the Messiah].
In response to the backlash, Khoulani said his words were simply a call to justice. He added that ISIS is not a terrorist group, but a resistance organization.
Meanwhile, a Dutch company selling halal sex products on June 4 announced an alliance with Europe's largest erotic retailer in an effort to tap into the lucrative Muslim market, potentially worth billions of euros.
The founder of Amsterdam-based El Asira, Abdelaziz Aouragh, said the deal with Frankfurt-listed Beate Uhse came four years after his company first launched a range of erotic products that do not contravene Sharia law.
El Asira, which means "Society" in Arabic, launched its range of products in 2010 to massive acclaim from the local Muslim community. Beate Uhse, based in Flensburg, Germany, approached El Asira in 2012 with a business proposal to sell products jointly in Muslim markets.
"We will take 18 of our Islamic branded products to the market through Beate Uhse," Aouragh told Agence France-Presse. "Considering we're targeting a global market of around 1.8 billion people, the potential is huge."
The two companies are also looking into the possibility of opening a store for halal sex products in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, Aouragh said.

In Norway, the country's first-ever Shia Muslim mosque was inaugurated in Oslo on June 1. One of the main purposes of the Tauheed Islamic Center is "to provide an opportunity to non-Muslims to learn about the universal teachings of Islam." The first official event held at the mosque was a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the death of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution.
Separately, Nemat Ali Shah, the Pakistani imam of the Central Jamaat Ahle-Sunnat mosque, the main Sunni Muslim mosque in Oslo, was recuperating in the hospital after a masked assailant repeatedly hacked him with a small axe or knife in the center of the Norwegian capital on the evening of June 16. Muslims were quick to condemn the attack as an Islamophobic hate crime, but on June 30, Oslo police arrested a fellow Pakistani who allegedly attacked the imam due to a power struggle within the mosque, which has more than 5,000 members mainly of Pakistani origin.
In Slovenia, the local Islamic Community on June 4 announced that construction work on the first Slovenian mosque was about to begin in the capital of city of Ljubljana, nearly ten months after the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony took place in September 2013.
Mufti Nedžad Grabus confirmed that Qatar would cover 70% of the cost of the project. "Without Qatar, the Islamic community [of Slovenia] would not be able to continue with the project," Grabus said.
The mosque and Muslim cultural center, 44 years in the making, will be built north of the city center, on a plot of land that the Muslim community bought from the City of Ljubljana, at a projected cost of €21 million ($28.5 million).

In Spain, the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIE), a Madrid-based Muslim umbrella group, and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Education (ISESCO), a Morocco-based arm of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), held a four-day conference in Madrid aimed at promoting the development of Koran institutes in non-Muslim countries. The event, which was held from June 18-21, was attended by Muslim leaders from Europe and North Africa.
On June 17, the Halal Institute of the Junta Islámica de España, a competing Muslim umbrella group based in Córdoba, held a conference aimed at promoting the "normalization of halal" in European countries. The official conference title was: "Possible Similarities and Differences between European Standards Compared with Halal Standards Demanded by the Arab Countries."
Conference attendees called on the Spanish government to sponsor an official study aimed at finding ways to bring European food standards into compliance with Islamic Sharia law.
Meanwhile, municipal officials in Barcelona denied reports that Qatar had offered to pay €2.2 billion ($3 billion) to convert the city's La Monumental bullring into a forty thousand capacity mosque. The building would include a 300-meter (985-foot) minaret. The mosque would be the third largest in the world, after those in Mecca and Medina.
On June 16, Spanish police in Madrid arrested ten individuals (eight Moroccans, one Argentine and one Bulgarian) on allegations that they were members of an international network that recruited jihadists for ISIS.
The ringleader was a 47-year-old Moroccan national named Lahcen Ikassrien, who was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and released after three-and-a-half years in Guantánamo. In July 2005, the U.S. government handed him over to Spain, where he faced charges of cooperating with al-Qaeda. In October 2006, the Spanish High Court acquitted him on the grounds that no firm evidence existed of his ties to the terrorist group.
Ikassrien, who lives in Madrid, was part of a cell led by Abu Dahdah, a Syrian-born Spaniard who was sentenced to a 27-year prison term in Spain for his part in the September 11, 2001 attacks, and for being one of the founders of al-Qaeda in Spain. In February 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court reduced the Abu Dahdah's penalty to 12 years because it considered that his participation in the 9/11 conspiracy was not proven. He was released in May 2013.

In Sweden, government health inspectors said they found some 60 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Norrköping in eastern Sweden since March, with all 30 girls in one school class found to have undergone the procedure.
FGM has been illegal in Sweden since 1982 and can be punished with up to ten years in prison. Since 1999 it is also a criminal offense under Swedish law if the procedure is performed in a different country.
Most girls who undergo the procedure are between the ages of 4-14 years, but the operation is also carried out on infants. There are no official statistics detailing the extent of FGM in Sweden, or of how many girls are taken to have the procedure conducted abroad.
Meanwhile, the Swedish Parliament on June 17 approved changes to the country's immigration law to "facilitate moving to and from Sweden." The changes reduce the requirements for obtaining permanent residence for students and workers. In addition, individuals whose application for asylum has been rejected now need to wait only four months to become eligible for a work permit. Moreover, immigrants who have already obtained permanent residence in Sweden can retain that status for up to two years after they leave the country.
The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) rejected the proposal. "We should have mobility, but these suggestions give evidence that the government has dropped all reason when it comes to immigration policy," David Lång (SD) wrote in the party's motion.

In Switzerland, the Islamic Cultural Center in Lausanne received a $140,000 donation from the Government of Kuwait to fund the construction of a center for raising awareness about Islam. On June 20, the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported that the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Switzerland, Bader Al-Tunaib, presented the donation to head of the Complex Culturel des Musulmans de Lausanne (CCML), Dr. Mohammad Karmous. A Tunisian with a French passport, Karmous has multiple ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Vatican failed in an attempt to cover up the contents of a prayer by a Muslim cleric at an interfaith "Prayer for Peace" service held in the Vatican garden on June 8. Departing from a pre-approved script, the imam recited verses 284-286 of Sura 2 from the Koran, the latter part of which calls on Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims.
Most non-Muslims non-Arabic speakers did not understand what the imam had said, but that changed when a former Muslim who speaks Arabic translated the full prayer on the indispensable blog, Gates of Vienna. The Vatican initially denied that the imam had said what he said, but then it doctored the video to edit out last part of Verse 2:286.
Gates of Vienna posted a complete video of the imam's prayer, which does indeed (3m54s into the video) ask Allah to "make us victorious over the tribe of the unbelievers." In an interview with Radio Vatican, a German-speaking Jesuit priest named Felix Körner remained unbowed.
Körner defended the imam, saying Verse 2:286 fully accords with Roman Catholic doctrine and is wholly peaceful in intent. "If one hears something in a skewed manner, one is going to have a mistaken understanding of it," he said.
Meanwhile, the Vatican partnered with the Emir of Sharjah (one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates) to present an "unprecedented" art exhibition entitled, "So That You Might Know Each Other," a verse from the Koran. The four month exhibit, which ended on June 14, was designed to serve as a "sign of openness and cooperation between religions."
The 70 exhibits on display at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization included textiles, musical instruments, jewelry, rudimentary weapons, books and manuscripts, many of which were on loan from the Ethnological Museum of the Vatican.
The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle summed it up this way: "The fact that Rome is lending its works for the first time is an act of diplomacy in line with Pope Francis's current policies. While Pope Benedict XVI had distanced himself from other religions, his successor is pursuing a different policy."


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Does stopping corporate inversions require a stick, or a carrot?

Commentary by James Shott
 
The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have recently focused on corporate “inversion” as something needing quick attention. In an inversion, a US company starts or buys into another company in a country with a lower corporate tax rate and then calls the new country home, enabling it to avoid some taxes in the US. Although US companies still pay the same rates on US income, the lower rates apply to income earned abroad.

The Congressional Research Service reports that there have been 47 inversions in the last decade, and Business Week online identified 14 since 2011. The administration brought the issue to the fore with a letter from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew saying that inversions ‘’hollow out the U.S. corporate income tax base.”

The issue has both practical and political importance, highlighting the lower amount of corporate taxes collected, and also providing politicians who may be or become candidates for office a populist issue to exploit, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., considered a potential presidential candidate.

Leaders of both political parties on the Senate Finance Committee – chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah – agree that the tax code needs major reform, however, the two parties have different approaches on exactly how to accomplish that goal.

Peter Merrill, a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, testified before the Finance Committee and discussed how US corporate taxation rules compare to those of other countries. He named two areas of the US tax system that “fall far outside international norms: the high corporate rate, and the worldwide system of taxation,” both of which he said make it more difficult for US companies to compete in global markets. Citing increasing competition from other nations, he said in the last 15 years the number of US companies on the Forbes Global Top 500 list has dropped by a third, from 200 to 135, and noted that the US corporate tax system contributes to this decrease.

The US corporate tax rate is the highest among major economies, Dr. Merrill said, more than 14 points above the average for the other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, and nearly 10 points higher than the average for the other G7 countries. And he noted that while other countries have substantially lowered their tax rates since 1986, the US raised its rate to 35 percent in 1993.

President Barack Obama wants Congress to enact corrective legislation that is retroactive to May, arguing that the proposal will stop companies from rushing into deals to avoid lower taxes. And he accuses these corporations of being economically unpatriotic.

Reuters reported that Mr. Obama said in remarks at Los Angeles Technical College: "Even as corporate profits are higher than ever, there’s a small but growing group of big corporations that are fleeing the country to get out of paying taxes.” And he added, "They’re technically renouncing their U.S. citizenship, they’re declaring their base someplace else even though most of their operations are here. You know some people are calling these companies 'corporate deserters.'”

Other prominent Democrats echoed that sentiment. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., quoted in The Wall Street Journal, characterized these companies as "deserting the U.S. in order to dodge their obligations to the country and American taxpayers."

Senate Finance chairman Wyden wants to make it harder for U.S. companies to move their headquarters abroad, and commented, "… corporations must understand that they won't profit from abandoning the US." Secretary Lew joined that view, calling for a "new sense of economic patriotism."

Attacking companies as “unpatriotic” because the US tax system is punitive and encourages them to move overseas to lower costs is both hypocritical and dumb. They are legally operating within the complex and confounding framework government provides for them, and are trying to maintain profitability in an increasingly competitive global market.

Democrats want action taken now to limit inversions, but there are sound arguments that this will make things worse. Putting duct tape on the tax code instead of rewriting it and making it comprehensible and sensible is why things are such a mess. Comprehensive tax reform is the best solution.


It’s not for nothing that the Democrat Party has been tagged “the tax and spend party.” They go happily along championing high taxes to fund politically popular programs without any apparent clue that their policies frequently do more harm than good.

“Comprehensive tax reform would reduce deductions and lower tax rates for everyone," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The way to encourage businesses to stay in the US and expand, or relocate to the US is to make it desirable for them to do so, and have a tax code that says “we want you here.” That means slashing tax rates to competitive world levels, stop taxing foreign income and eliminating some deductions.

Businesses provide goods and services that people want and need. They also provide jobs that enable people to afford things they want and need, and they pay taxes that support governments at all levels.

Business is the goose that lays the golden egg. Democrats need to understand that instead of beating the goose, they need to nourish it.
Cross-posted from Observations 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Paris's Kristallnacht

Whenever Israel is attacked by terrorist movements and needs to defend itself, "leftist" and Islamist organizations organize anti-Israel protests in Paris. One of the latest took place on July 13.

The event brought together between 10,000 and 30,000 people -- not surprising in a country where "leftist" and Islamist organizations are strong.

The demonstrators shouted hateful and violent slogans against Israel and held Israeli flags on which swastikas replaced the Star of David -- also not surprising. Events organized by "leftists" and by Islamists usually carry such gear.

The demonstrators also shouted purely anti-Semitic slogans; the call for "Death to Jews" was picked up by the crowd. This was the first time since the end of World War II that explicitly anti-Semitic chants were shouted by a large crowd in Paris (During a demonstration in January, protesters shouted, "Jews, France does not belong to you").
Demonstrators shouted, "Hamas will win," in support of the jihadist terrorist organization. This was also the first time that slogans openly favoring a jihadist terrorist organization were shouted by a large crowd in Paris (During earlier demonstrations, protesters shouted "Palestine will win," but did not point to Hamas).

Demonstrators also shouted slogans in favor of a man who had murdered Jewish children: "We are all Mohamed Merah." Merah shot and killed a rabbi and three Jewish children at close range in a schoolyard in Toulouse in 2012; it was the one of the most serious anti-Semitic acts committed in France since the Vichy regime. This was the first time in France that a large crowd proudly identified with a murderer of Jewish children.
The demonstration started in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris (metro station Barbès Rochechouart), close to where Islamic preachers organized street prayers a few months ago; it ended near Place de la Bastille. Dozens of windows of Jewish shops and restaurants along the route were broken and covered with yellow labels saying, "boycott Israel". This was the first time that so many Jewish shops and restaurants were attacked during a demonstration in Paris.

In addition, several hundred protesters armed with iron bars, machetes, axes and firebombs, arriving Place de la Bastille, marched to the nearby Don Isaac Abravanel Synagogue on rue de la Roquette. They shouted, "Let's slay the Jews," "Hitler was right," and "Allahu Akbar".

Only six police officers were on hand, who were quickly overwhelmed. Members of Jewish defense organizations protected the 200 Jews present inside the synagogue. Even after police reinforcements arrived, the synagogue was besieged for nearly two hours. The Jews, prisoners of a potentially lethal horde, were locked inside.


An "anti-Israel" mob attempts to smash through the front gate of the Don Isaac Abravanel Synagogue in Paris, July 13, 2014.
At another nearby synagogue on rue des Tournelles, rioters threw Molotov cocktails and looted the place. When the vandals continued their looting to rue des Rosiers, the heart of the Jewish quarter of Paris, the police struggled to stop them.

This was the first time since World War II that an anti-Semitic pogrom took place in France.

In an attempt to address the distress of the Jewish community, the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, denounced anti-Semitism in general terms. He said he would strengthen the protection of "places of worship," synagogues and mosques -- although no mosque was attacked.

Although the government banned the next demonstration, scheduled for July 19, it took place anyway, and soon turned into a riot.

When thousands of protesters gathered again at the Barbès Rochechouart metro station, the presence of significant police forces prevented protesters from crossing Paris. Organized groups then attacked the police by throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and by using iron bars. Shops were looted. Garbage cans were burned. Bus stations, dozens of them, and billboards were destroyed. Protesters came with pickaxes and ripped the pavement on several streets to throw chunks of asphalt.

Demonstrators tried to burn down the largest textile store in Paris, near Barbès Rochechouart, because it carries a Jewish name, Dreyfus-Marché Saint Pierre. Clashes with police near this store were particularly violent.

Witnesses spoke of the atmosphere of a civil war, and photographers spoke of a "French intifada".

The slogans shouted by the rioters were the same as the previous week: "Death to Jews" mingled with "Death to Israel" and "Long live Hamas." Many who threw stones and Molotov cocktails shouted, "Allahu Akbar," just as the attackers of the synagogue on July 13 had done.

Even though there were no synagogues or Jews nearby, and no protester shouted, "Let's slay the Jews" or "Hitler was right," what happened in Paris on July 19 was as frightful as what had happened the week before.

This was also not the first time that a district of a French city was immersed in an atmosphere of civil war. In October 2005, entire neighborhoods in the suburbs of several major cities were set on fire. In 2010, two districts of Grenoble, in southeast France, were on fire for several days. In May 2013, the Trocadéro area in Paris was ransacked, and two months later, the city of Trappes, near Versailles, experienced hours of insurrection. Dozens of cars and shops were burned. The police precinct was attacked and under siege for hours.

The riots this month were, however, the first time that demonstrations resembling a civil war were carried by people who showed an explicit hatred of Jews and who said they identified with jihadi terrorists. This was the first time that riots in France looked like an Islamic uprising.

Although the events of July 13 and 19 had the support of "leftists" organizations, the vast majority of demonstrators and rioters were Muslims. The majority of the women wore Islamic headscarves. Most men wore a keffiyeh, the checkered Arab scarf, and used it to hide their faces the way Islamists do in the Middle East.

Many protesters on July 13 and 19 came with Palestinian flags, but the flags of Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda and Islamic State [IS], also present, were proudly waved.
The day after the riots, July 20, Prime Minister Manuel Valls again denounced the "danger of anti-Semitism". July 20th was also the anniversary of the "Vel d'Hiv Round-up" -- the mass arrest of Jews in Paris in 1942 by the French police under the supervision of the Nazis. But Valls said nothing about the anti-Semitic and jihadist dimension of the riots. Some conservative politicians criticized the lack of firmness of the government. Leaders of the rightist National Front said that the government was responsible for the violence and had undermined "freedom of expression."

At the exact moment Manuel Valls spoke, rioters started to ransack the suburb with the largest Jewish population on the outskirts of Paris: Sarcelles. All the Jewish stores and many cars were wrecked or set on fire. A group shouting "Allahu Akbar" again tried to burn the town's synagogue. Again, most rioters were Muslim. Again, most shouted, "Death to the Jews."

All French politicians are ready to condemn anti-Semitism in general terms (except members of the National Front); none are ready to call the anti-Semitism that is exploding in France today by its name: Islamic anti-Semitism.

All French politicians, left or right (except members of the National Front), have the same attitude about what happened on July 13, 19 and 20. This attitude can be summed up in one sentence, used by the French President, François Hollande: "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot import itself into France." No French politician would dare say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is already present in France, and that, among Muslim populations, Islamic anti-Semitism is inextricably mixed with an absolute hatred of Israel and Jews.

Almost all French politicians adopt an attitude of appeasement toward the enemies of Israel and Jews. They never define Hamas as an Islamic terrorist organization. They close their eyes to the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish hate speech disseminated by the enemies of Israel in the Middle East, and to the irony that France finances that speech. They act as if they did not see that the hate speech France finances in the Middle East is now spreading throughout France.

The major French media have not said a word about the anti-Semitism and jihadism that permeated the protest of July 13 and the riots of July 19 and 20. All major French television reports of these events presented the protesters and rioters as people who had just wanted to support the "liberation of the Palestinian people". All reports major French television reports on Israel's war against Hamas are made ​​from the point of view of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. No report speaks of Hamas's genocidal Jew hatred or of the use of Arab women and children as human shields. Journalists from major French media outlets act as if they did not know that by adopting a watered-down vision of the protesters and rioters in France, and by describing the war from the point of view of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, they are playing a dangerous game that could lead to more pogroms and even civil war.

The attitude of French politicians reflects the sorry state of French society. All the riots that erupted in France during the last decade were the result of minor incidents, but showed that France is on the verge of a large-scale explosion. French politicians want to avoid a large-scale explosion. They are scared and paralyzed.

French politicians also know that France's Muslim population now amounts to 15% of its total population and that radical Islamist organizations are particularly well established. The Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is the main French Muslim organization; it attracts tens of thousands of people in each of its annual meetings and openly lends political support to Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. French politicians do not want a confrontation with the UOIF.

French politicians also know that more than 750 neighborhoods in France are considered "no go zones" by the police, and that the authorities have lost control of them.
They also know that 70% of all inmates in the French prison system are Muslim , and that self-proclaimed imams and gang leaders have taken over many prisons. They know that these prisons have been transformed into recruiting centers for jihadists, and that regaining control of these prisons is an almost impossible task. Mohamed Merah and Mehdi Nemmouche, the Brussels Jewish Museum killer, became jihadists while in French prisons.

French politicians know, as well, that more than 800 French Muslims are being trained in the Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria.

They know that Muslims vote. Eight million Muslims clearly have greater political weight than do four hundred thousand Jews.

The major French media are also scared and paralyzed. Criticizing radical Islam on French television is now almost impossible. Organizations fighting "Islamophobia" are extremely vigilant and extremely well funded.

Defending Israel on French television is also almost impossible. Members of the Israeli government are never interviewed on French television. Representatives of Palestinian and "pro-Palestinian" organizations are regularly invited and can lie without ever being contradicted.

Reports on right-wing anti-Semitism are abundant. Reports on Islamic Jew-hatred are non-existent.

The Global Anti-Semitism Index recently published by the Anti Defamation League shows that 37% of the French population can be considered anti-Semitic. It is likely that the proportion of anti-Semites among French Muslims is far higher.

A poll for the BBC in 2012 showed that 75% of the French have a negative view of Israel. It is likely that the proportion among French Muslims is, again, far higher.
The prevalent sentiment among French Jews is that a page has been turned. The French Jewish philosopher Shmuel Trigano wrote on July 16th that what is happening is a sign that Jews must leave France, fast. "Recent events are likely to play the role that such events have played in the past for the Jews in many countries: a strong symbolic event gives the signal that the Jews have no future in the country that was theirs".
The prevalent sentiment among French people in general was described by a survey published in January 2014: 74% of the French declared themselves "pessimistic" or "very pessimistic" about the future of the country. 63% said they believe that Islam is "not compatible with the values ​​of a democratic society." 78% said they "distrust" all politicians. 77% said they consider that the information provided by the media is "unreliable."

The words of most of the French politicians could not have strengthened the confidence the French have in their politicians.

The behavior of most French journalists could not have increased the credibility the French have in their media.

And the events that took place in Paris on July 13, 19 and 20 could not have made the French less pessimistic and more confident about the compatibility of Islam with the values of democracy.

Most recently, on July 23, an anti-Israeli protest was organized in Paris. This time, the protest was not banned. It brought together 10,000-20,000 people. 15,000 police officers were present. Thirty socialist MPs were present among the protesters. The media said it was a "peaceful protest." People shouted, "Hamas, Jihad, Resistance." Nazi-era anti-Semitic cartoons appeared on large panels. Again, groups of protesters finished their day at the rue des Rosiers and attacked Jewish shops. Some "peaceful protest".

On July 21, Meyer Habib, a MP representing French citizens living in Israel, said that "an atmosphere of Kristallnacht" spreads over the country. Many French Jews agree.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Shadow Presidency


The Shadow Presidency

 

Presidents are elected to lead not hide in the shadows only to appear when the World is on the brink. Tensions amongst the nations are bordering on reintroduction of the Cold War, which came to a quiet end during the Reagan years. In recent days two events have occurred which could ignite into regional conflicts if their flames are not contained. Israel launched an aggressive raid on the Gaza Strip in response to persistent missile attacks from this location. Hamas’ aggression has been relentless placing Israeli cities under a dome of hysteria without reprieve. International outrage, as usual, is being levied against the Jewish State though they did not initiate the aggression. President Obama briefly displayed his concern by publically denouncing the high level of causalities in Palestinian territories, yet paying lip service to Israel’s right of self-defense. Displaying minimal leadership in this unfolding catastrophe his press release stated categorically that Israel should return to the 2012 peace plan. Mr. President, Israel was following this purported plan, Hamas wasn’t. As the elected head of our nation the President showed the World for the nth time he is a feckless leader detached from reality.

 

On a secondary front the downing of a passenger jet over the Ukraine killing 298 people shocked the conscience of many nations, except for one headed by a shadow. In the most shallow terms President Obama promised retribution to those who perpetrated this tragedy, unfortunately leaving out the means to achieve this end. Surprisingly Samantha Power, our United Nations Ambassador, had the effervescence to do what her boss would not take the game to the Russians. In biting tones her words accused pro-Russian forces of this atrocity and laid out potential sanctions the United States could bring to bear. Leading from behind has been the present Administration’s method of managing World crises. With maximum rhetoric and minimal substance Obama’s speeches have conveyed little to resolve the newest wars amongst nations.

 

Perhaps ghost President would be a better appellation for Obama. Allowing secondary officials to perform primary Executive functions is not a power delegated in the Constitution. House committees are still requesting where the President was during the night of the Benghazi raid. In the IRS scandal the President’s minions claim Obama was first notified of the problem through media sources. We now know the veracity of that notation is untrue. Four year election cycles are done for a reason, to bring competence and confidence to the nation’s highest office. During the last 2 cycles the electorate received much less than they expected.  Harsh times are ahead in the event leadership does not emerged from the corridors of power in the Capital. One thing for certain the paralysis in the White House will not be cured until the end of the present four year cycle.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services. For media content, author support and book critiques contact us. www.daviswritingservices.com

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Israel continues to survive irrational hatred and violent attacks

Commentary by James Shott


Christians and Jews know from studying religious texts that the Hebrews lived in what is now Israel roughly 3,000 years ago, and many independent sources confirm their occupation of that land three millennia ago.

Even the Quran, the Islamic equivalent of the Bible, notes: “Sura 17, The Children of Israel (Banî Israel)” in the Khalifa translation, and perhaps others, as well.

Charles Krauthammer provided context in The Weekly Standard in 1998, commenting that “Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.”

The land occupied by modern Israel is small, about the size of Wales or half the size of Costa Rica, and is located roughly on the site of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah, except that these ancient kingdoms also included what is now the West Bank.

Israel is 263 miles long and varies from 9 miles wide at the narrowest point to 70 miles wide at the widest point. It is a little larger than Connecticut and a little smaller than New Jersey, and is home to approximately 8 million Israelis, 5.5 million of whom are Jews.

Israel is bordered on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, and its contiguous neighbors are Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, with Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran not far away.

Israel is smaller than any of its neighbors, both in geographic size and population. The nations that surround it don’t like Israel or Jewish people. “Death to Israel” is in fact a common sentiment among those nations and their people. This sentiment is reflected in a BBC poll last year showing Israel as the fourth least popular nation on the planet, behind Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea.

This perception is based largely on the fact that there are more voices in the region where Israel and its enemies reside demeaning Israel – those would be the voices of the “Death to Israel” crowd – than there are Israeli voices telling the other side of the story. It is not so different than going to Boston and asking which American League team residents think is the most unpopular, and finding most named the New York Yankees, not the Red Sox.

As the saying goes, the more you tell a lie, the more it is believed, and with the help of dishonest reporting, the lie spreads far and wide.

In fact, while the enemies scream “Death to Israel,” Israel only asks for peace, and has made numerous concessions towards that goal, only to be slapped in the face with violent attacks.

The current fighting follows an unprovoked attack on Israel by Hamas. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Hamas “is the largest and most influential Palestinian militant movement … [and] is a Sunni Islamist group and a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization violently opposed to the state of Israel.”

The murders of three Israeli boys and the murder of one Palestinian boy initially stirred tensions, and Hamas unleashed a barrage of rockets on Israel to kick-start the conflict.

The differences in how the two sides operate could not be starker: Hamas fires rockets aimed at civilian-occupied areas; Israel targets Hamas compounds, militant command centers, weapons storage facilities and tunnels into Israel and Egypt.

Thus far, more casualties have occurred on the Palestinian side of the conflict, due in part to the Israeli Iron Dome defense system used to protect their citizens by intercepting rockets aimed at population centers. Hamas, however, is said to store rockets in homes and schools, and reportedly uses civilians as shields against attacks on the storage areas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the two philosophies: “We are using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."

Such tactics help explain the greater number of casualties among Palestinians, and Hamas turns this into anti-Israel propaganda, helping to propagate Israel negative image worldwide.

Steven P. Bucci, who served America for three decades as an Army Special Forces officer and top Pentagon official, writes that “before the Israelis strike a building, every home in it gets a call on its landline phone, as do all the cell phones associated with the inhabitants of the building — the cells additionally get text messages — telling them that in a few minutes the building will be targeted. Finally, to make sure everyone gets the message, Israel drops a dud bomb—one containing no explosives—onto the roof of the structure. … There is no instance in modern military history where a force has taken greater measures to give the innocents as much chance to get out of the way.”

The broad hatred of Israel and love for its enemies is irrational. Despite this, Israel behaves honorably in defending itself against repeated attacks, holds its own against the haters, and survives.

Cross-posted from Observations

Friday, July 18, 2014

Prayers For The Idf

Yesterday Hamas tried to invade a border Kibbutz in Israel, find the children's home and kill the children.  Israel has decided to stop Hamas once and for all.

No nation would allow tunnels to be built under their border and neither does Israel.
Prayer For The IDF

He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.

Now let us respond: Amen.

Hu Yivarech - A Song for the IDF Soldiers - by DOV


Click here if the video fails to load.


Am Yisrael Chai!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Obama's Pearl Harbor: Alien Invasion


Obama’s Pearl Harbor:  Alien Invasion

 

America has a virtual President who casts an inconsequential shadow on a nation starving for leadership. Invasion USA is now taking place on our southern border with the blessings of Barack Obama. Word has spread throughout Central America, Mexico and elsewhere that American immigration laws are no longer enforced. To support this thesis; deportations are down, border patrols have been diminished, prosecutions of illegals are on a downward slope and Obama has forgotten his oath to protect the borders. The egregious events surrounding Pearl Harbor may look pale when compared to the catastrophe playing out in the south. Illegals are introducing an array of diseases that could be disastrous when seeded within urban populations. Poverty and crime are an integral part of the baggage illegals bring with them as the government plants these people throughout the nation. Citizens are finally comprehending the breadth and depth of the illegal incursion. Protests in California, Illinois, Virginia and elsewhere have deterred  large numbers of illegals from arriving in these jurisdictions. Yet immigration forces are plowing ahead with resettlement schemes which eventually may bring tens of thousands to a city near you.

 

President Obama ultimately wants a path to citizenship for the millions who have decided to make America their home. With gross disregard for established laws Obama continues to deride the Constitution utilizing Executive Orders to complete his endgame: reconfiguring our society. Ramifications of his edicts ripple across the country as the flood of the unwanted make their presence known. Since October of 2013 over three hundred thousand have transgressed our borders, a sub-segment of which are children. Obama has been successful in diverting the nation’s attention away from the border crisis by continuing to stir a dozen other scandals involving his participation. Requests for him to come to the southern border have been numerous. Most recently Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, made such a request. The President felt it was more important to attend a fundraiser than view the mess he created. Obama’s disconnect with reality has been the subject of much discussion in the media. Defenders of the Administration give Obama high marks for attempting to remake America. Opponents see him as an inept man who vantages himself through the miseries of others. The Hispanic invasion of the United States has succeeded. Unlike FDR who led us to victory in WWII President Obama drives the nation further into the hands of the invaders. For this he must be held accountable by the people and Congress. Now is the time people must cry out in one voice enough is enough and impeach the shadow living in the White House under false pretenses.

 

Mark Davis MD, President of Davis Writing Services. www.daviswritingservices.com


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