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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Germans Revolt Against Muslims--Is This A Blueprint For Americans? Obama Importing Tens Of Thousands Of Illegals. How Many Are Muslims?

There is a mounting public backlash over what many perceive as the government's indifference to the growing influence of Islam in German society. This backlash represents a potentially significant turning point.
Despite efforts by German politicians and the media to portray PEGIDA as neo-Nazi, the group has taken great pains to distance itself from Germany's extreme right. The group says that it is "apolitical" and that its main objective is to preserve what is left of Germany's Judeo-Christian culture and values.
"Many people in Germany have legitimate concerns about the spread of radical Islamic ideology, which promotes violence against non-Muslims, robs women and girls of their natural rights, and seeks to require the application of Sharia law.... Because the rule of law, tolerance and freedom of religion are fundamental Western values, the PEGIDA movement must leave no doubt that it is precisely these values that it seeks to defend." — Bernd Lucke, leader, Alternative for Germany Party and professor of macroeconomics, Hamburg University.
Thousands of German citizens have been taking to the streets to protest the growing "Islamization" of their country.
The protests are part of a burgeoning grassroots movement made up of ordinary citizens who are calling for an end to runaway immigration and the spread of Islamic Sharia law in Germany.
The guardians of German multiculturalism are fighting back: they are seeking to delegitimize the protesters by branding them as "neo-Nazis" and by claiming that the Islamization of Germany is a myth contrived by misinformed citizens.
But there is a mounting public backlash over what many perceive as the government's indifference to the growing influence of Islam in German society. This backlash represents a potentially significant turning point—one that implies that the days of unrestrained German multiculturalism may be coming to an end.
The latest protest took place in the eastern German city of Dresden on December 8, when more than 10,000 people defied freezing temperatures to express their displeasure with Germany's lenient asylum policies.
Germany—which is facing an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers, including many from Muslim countries—is now the second most popular destination in the world for migrants, after the United States.
The Dresden protest was organized by a new citizens initiative, "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West," better known by its German abbreviation, PEGIDA, short for "Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes."
PEGIDA, which has been organizing so-called "evening walks" (Abendspaziergang) through downtown Dresden every Monday evening since October, has seen the number of protesters increase exponentially from week to week.

PEGIDA on a Monday "evening walk" in Dresden, November 10, 2014. (Image source: Filmproduktionen video screenshot)

Similar anti-Islamization protests have been held in the western German cities of Hannover, Kassel and Düsseldorf, where 400 people showed up on December 8 for demonstration organized by a PEGIDA offshoot, named DÜGIDA.
These protests are similar to, but separate from, other mass demonstrations organized in Cologne and other German cities by a group called Hooligans against Salafists, or HoGeSa.
PEGIDA was launched by Lutz Bachmann, a 41-year-old Dresden native with no background in politics, after government officials in the eastern German state of Saxony announced that they would be opening more than a dozen new shelters to house some 2,000 refugees.
Bachmann says that he is not opposed to legitimate asylum seekers, but that he is against so-called economic refugees who are taking advantage of Germany's generous asylum laws in order to benefit from the country's cradle-to-grave social welfare system. According to Bachmann, most of the asylum seekers in Saxony are males who have left their families behind in war-torn Muslim countries.
Despite efforts by German politicians and the media to portray PEGIDA as neo-Nazi, the group has taken great pains to distance itself from Germany's extreme right. PEGIDA's motto is "We are the people!" (Wir sind das Volk!), the same slogan used by East Germans to bring down the Berlin Wall in 1989. The group says that it is "apolitical" and that its main objective is to preserve what is left of Germany's Judeo-Christian culture and values.
Ahead of the march on December 8, PEGIDA posted the following call to action:
"Dear friends, dear fellow citizens, dear patriots! Monday is PEGIDA Day and today too we want to show that we are peaceful. Bring your friends and neighbors and let us show the counter-demonstrators that we are not xenophobic."
Placards displayed by protesters in Dresden included slogans such as "Against Religious Fanaticism," "United against a Holy War on German Soil," "Homeland Security Rather than Islamization," and "For the Future of our Children." There was no visible sign of neo-Nazi propaganda at the event.
On December 10, PEGIDA published a "Position Paper" outlining what the group is "for" and "against" in 19 bullet points. These include:
  • "1. PEGIDA is FOR the acceptance of asylum seekers from war zones, or those who are subject to political and religious persecution. This is a human duty!"
  • "2. PEGIDA is FOR amending the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany to include a list of the right and the responsibility for immigrants to integrate."
  • "9. PEGIDA is FOR a zero-tolerance policy vis-à-vis asylum seekers and migrants who commit crimes in Germany."
  • "13. PEGIDA is FOR maintaining and protecting our Judeo-Christian Western culture."
  • "16. PEGIDA is AGAINST the establishment of parallel societies/parallel legal systems in our midst, such as Sharia Law, Sharia Police, and Sharia Courts, etc."
  • "18. PEGIDA is AGAINST religious radicalism, regardless of whether it is religiously or politically motivated."
  • "19. PEGIDA is AGAINST hate preachers, regardless of religious affiliation."
In a classic case of shooting the messenger rather than heeding the message, German politicians have dismissed PEGIDA protesters as ignorant and racist.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière characterized PEGIDA as "shameless," adding: "We have no danger of Islamization, certainly not in Saxony or Dresden with 2.2% immigrant population."
In an interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said:
"There are limits to the political battle of ideas. All political parties should clearly distance themselves from these protests. We cannot be silent if a xenophobic atmosphere is being built on the backs of people who have lost everything and come to us for help: We have to be clear that the demonstrators are not the majority."
A politician with the ruling Christian Democratic Union [CDU], Wolfgang Bosbach, warned that the protests represented the "anchoring of radical views in the heart of society."
But Bachmann says the protests will continue until there are changes to Germany's asylum policies. "We do not want to launch a political party or start a revolution," he said. "But we need to talk openly about the asylum issue."
Meanwhile, the Christian Social Union [CSU], the Bavarian partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU, has watered down a demand that migrants settling in Germany on a permanent basis should speak German at home.
The "politically incorrect" proposal appeared in a draft policy paper on December 7. Following an outcry, the proposal was quickly amended to read that migrants who want to live in Germany permanently should be "motivated," rather than "obliged," to speak German "in daily life," rather than "in public and within the family."
In October, it emerged that so many asylum seekers were converging on Bavaria that they needed to be housed in tents normally used for the annual Oktoberfest.
In September, the governor of Bavaria and leader of the CSU party, Horst Seehofer, called for the return of border controls with Austria to stem the tide of refugees seeking asylum in Germany.
The Schengen Agreement, which entered into effect in 1995, abolished internal borders within the European Union, enabling passport-free movement between most countries within the bloc.
Although international law holds that migrants are supposed to claim asylum in the first country they reach, many are taking advantage of Europe's open borders to claim asylum in Germany after first passing through Italy and Austria.
Seehofer also lashed out at Italian authorities, who he said are not doing enough to stop the flow of migrants entering the EU through Italy, after crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Africa. In an interview, he said:
"Italy is in clear violation of the Schengen accords. If this does not stop, Germany has seriously to consider stopping this violation via border controls. We must set quotas for refugees in Europe. And we have to deal with the fact that refugees need to be shared out among EU members fairly."
Bavarian officials estimate that at least 33,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the state during 2014, twice the number of arrivals registered in 2013.
In an effort to stem the flow of asylum seekers, the CSU has demanded that the central government begin cracking down on so-called welfare tourism. The CSU is concerned that the problem of runaway immigration is prompting traditional supporters of the party to defect to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), an upstart political party formed in 2013.
The AfD—which wants Germany to leave the euro single currency and promotes a tough line on immigration—received 4.7% of the vote in the September 2013 federal election, narrowly failing to reach the 5% threshold needed for representation in Germany's national parliament.
Since then, support for the AfD has surged. The party has extended its gains in regional elections, and also won nine seats in European Parliament elections in May 2014. A pollpublished in September 2014 found that one in ten German voters now support the AfD.
Germany's political establishment has worked hard to discredit the AfD. But if the party continues to siphon voters away from the mainstream parties, the AfD will be in a position to influence the debate over the future of German multiculturalism.
The AfD has already come out in support of the PEGIDA protests in Dresden. AfD spokesman Konrad Adam said the party has a "fundamental sympathy for the PEGIDA movement."
AfD leader Bernd Lucke, a professor of macroeconomics at Hamburg University, summed it up this way:
"Many people in Germany have legitimate concerns about the spread of radical Islamic ideology, which promotes violence against non-Muslims, robs women and girls of their natural rights, and seeks to require the application of Sharia law. That citizens are expressing these concerns in nonviolent demonstrations is good and right. It is a sign that these people do not feel that their concerns are being taken seriously by politicians. It is an incentive for all politicians to act more decisively at a time when political Islam is challenging and calling into question our rule of law.
"That PEGIDA protesters have advertised their goals in an exclusively peaceful manner is to be welcomed. Because the rule of law, tolerance and freedom of religion are fundamental Western values, the PEGIDA movement must leave no doubt that it is precisely these values that it seeks to defend."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

Yes Virginia, Some Americans Are More Equal Than Others!

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The whole country has heard the saga of the president’s sore throat. Many people who have a similar problem – or a true emergency – might compare his treatment with theirs.
For a complaint of an apparently mild sore throat lasting a couple weeks, the president reportedly got an ENT consult, a fiberoptic ENT examination and a CT scan of the neck because some “swelling” was noticed. The scan was done on a Saturday afternoon to suit the president’s convenience. According to an article in the Arizona Daily Star, an opening occurred in the presidential schedule when rain caused the cancellation of his golf game. Then a diagnosis of acid reflux was announced, and unspecified “appropriate” treatment was prescribed.
Now suppose you, as a beneficiary of Obamacare, developed this symptom. There would be no motorcade to an iconic medical center. Instead, you would need to seek an appointment with your PCP (primary care provider). Several weeks later, you might see the first available “provider” – probably a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
To become a patient in the “medical home,” you would need an electronic health record (EHR). It would document your complete “health” history, including an extensive sexual, drug, alcohol and smoking history. Many practices now ask about gun ownership and even about how any guns are stored.
Although EHRs are not very good at “interoperability” (sharing with other medical facilities), they are available to very large number of “authorized” users (such as law enforcement, government planners, insurers and researchers) and quite vulnerable to hackers. Most patients have no opportunity to opt out of a health information exchange. Once in the record, an item may be impossible to remove, even if it is a serious error. Physicians are required by law to retain records and make them available to licensure boards, attorneys, courts and law enforcement. They cannot “lose” records, as regularly happens in government agencies, with impunity. And don’t even think about lying, or asking your doctor to lie. Making a misstatement in a health record is a federal felony.
This president, in contrast, has managed to keep much of his past a secret.
Once you are an established patient, a provider will regularly see to “prevention” measures: scolding you about your weight or smoking, checking your hemoglobin A1c for diabetes and nagging you to get a flu shot. Then there might be a few minutes for your problem.
Sore throat? There will be a protocol for that. When I was a staff physician at the Veterans Administration hospital, we did an expensive study on the use of algorithms for common conditions by nurse practitioners. We had one for sore throat. To culture or not to culture? To give antibiotics or not? To test for mononucleosis or not?
We didn’t have CT scans back then, but I am certain they would not have been on the sore throat algorithm. Anything that is sore might be swollen, and simple swelling is not an indication for a CT scan. That would be overuse of scarce resources.
The provider will probably shine a flashlight on your throat, possibly feel for lymph nodes and maybe do a rapid Strep screen. Then you’ll get something for symptomatic relief and perchance an antibiotic. If someone thinks of acid reflux (not diagnosable by CT), you, too, will be on the purple pill – and get another smoking lecture.
If the provider thinks you might need a consultant or a CT scan, she will hesitate. She has to worry about penalties for “overutilization,” in addition to deciding whether to endure the preauthorization hassle, which likely means hours on the phone. If approved, say after multiple courses of treatment fail, you will get the scan only at the convenience of the provider, no matter what you have to cancel.
Your provider might miss something, but she’ll be doing what is best on average and most cost-effective, as determined by government-approved experts.
When Obamacare talks about eliminating “disparities,” it does not mean the special treatment for the political elite.
Remember that on George Orwell’s socialist “Animal Farm,” all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren Speaks Clearly About The US-Israeli Relationship

Author(s):  Gary Rosenblatt
Source:     Article date: December 10th, 2014

During his four-year tenure as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, marked by an often-stormy relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama, Michael Oren was the consummate diplomat. He was dignified, thoughtful, articulate, knowledgeable and tactful.
But those days are over.
Fourteen months after returning to Israel, where he is lecturing at the IDC Herzliya College and writing a book about his experiences in Washington, the 59-year-old Oren is speaking out about his deep concerns over Israel’s standing in the world, and particularly its relationship with its most important ally, the U.S.
In a dialogue at The Plaza here last week at the annual Scholar-Statesman dinner of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he and another former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Tel Aviv University President Itamar Rabinovich, were the honorees, Oren said that “this administration [in Washington] has a worldview that is not in accord with any Israeli government,” not just the current one. Describing the Obama administration as “ideological” on the Mideast, with the president’s 2009 outreach-to-the-Arab-world Cairo speech as its source, Oren said the White House views east Jerusalem communities like Gilo, for example, as not necessarily part of the Jewish state, a position he said no Israeli government would accept.
(Gilo is over the Green Line but part of the Jerusalem municipality, with a largely Jewish population.)
After the March 17 elections, Israel’s next government “likely will move to the right,” Oren predicted, “and America may be going a different way.”
Though he said the U.S.-Israel relationship is crucial — “we [Washington and Jerusalem] have no choice but to be allies” — he asserted on several occasions that “Israel has to take responsibility for itself.”
It was clear, if not explicitly stated, that Oren feels the Obama administration has not lived up to its “no daylight” pledge to be in sync with Israel on key strategic and diplomatic issues. (On security matters, it should be noted, Israeli officials give the U.S. high marks on cooperation. The relative quiet on the West Bank and support for Iron Dome during the Gaza war are examples.)
But the sentiment that the president views Israel at times as a stubborn child, if not an adversary, rather than a major ally adds to the speculation that Oren’s first-person memoir, which in part will deal with his 2009-2013 stint in D.C., will be highly critical of the president’s dealings with Israel.
The book is almost completed and is due out next June.
Asked by moderator Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute, about the West’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, Oren first noted that Israel’s “margin for error is exactly zero” on this issue, given Iran’s longstanding threat to destroy the Jewish state.
Then, his voice rising, he said that if you believe that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is indeed the moderate he claims to be, if you believe that Iran has reversed its policy of being the world’s leading exporter of terror, if you believe that its leaders have changed their long pattern of lying about the nuclear program, and if you believe the West is capable of and willing to respond militarily to prevent the production of a nuclear bomb, then yes, you should support the U.S. effort to reach an agreement with Iran.
“But if your children and grandchildren’s’ lives depended on it, you may reach a different conclusion,” he asserted, adding: “We [the Jewish people] have not come back after 2,000 years to disappear.”
(During the course of the discussion, Rabinovich and Oren largely agreed on key points, but Rabinovich sounded less emotional, more diplomatic. In discussing how to improve relations with the White House, for example, he said the next Israeli prime minister should be up front with Obama and encourage him to work together to improve relations. On Iran, Rabinovich said the U.S. seemed “too eager” in the negotiations, giving Iran a critical advantage.)
‘Solution’ Not Possible Now
Oren, a native of New Jersey who made aliyah more than 30 years ago, was a surprise choice as ambassador when he was tapped for the job five years ago. He was not a professional diplomat but came from the academic world, building a solid reputation as an historian and author. His books on the 1967 conflict, “Six Days of War,” and history of the U.S. involvement in the Mideast since 1776, “Power, Faith and Fantasy,” were widely acclaimed. His years as ambassador were marked by tensions between Netanyahu and Obama, though Oren received high marks for making Israel’s case in the U.S.
He offered an historian’s perspective at the Scholar-Statesman program when he said that the chaos in the Arab world we are witnessing now is “the unraveling of the post-World War I plan for the region.” When the allies carved up the region based on geography rather than by affinity groups, he said, they created states that cannot sustain themselves.
As for the prospect of peace with the Palestinians, he said he is “very skeptical,” adding, “I’ve erased the wold ‘solution’ from my vocabulary.”
What can be achieved, he said, is “a two-state situation” that calls for “movement” with the Palestinians incrementally. He spoke of “managing the conflict” and seeking to enhance the lives of Israelis and Palestinians through cooperation in trade, exports, etc., until conditions improve enough to explore a real peace.
Amplifying those thoughts this past weekend at the Saban Forum on the Mideast, sponsored annually by the Brookings Institute in Washington, Oren asserted that “the left in Israel has crashed because it has not yet internalized that the Palestinians are not part of the negotiations, and aren’t interested in being so. The Palestinians have chosen a different path, the destructive path of delegitimization of Israel.
“On the other hand,” he added, “the right doesn’t yet have the courage to admit that Israel isn’t able to protect its identity and its alliance with the U.S., while ruling 2.5 million Palestinians.
“Inaction isn’t an option,” he said. “Israel needs to take its fate into its own hands, and to come out with a political initiative that will serve its interests.”
Many believe that Oren has his sights on a political career in Israel and that his experience in seeking to improve the relationship with the U.S. will stand him in good stead.
An ‘Overdraft’ With Washington
In a follow-up interview the day after the Scholar-Statesman event, Oren was critical of Israel’s lack of a viable narrative regarding the Palestinians. “We have outsourced our security” to the Palestinians, he told me. “They’re calling the shots, and we need to come up with an initiative of our own.” He favors setting out a plan for Israel’s borders that “would include as many Jews as possible” and end Israel’s rule over 2.5 million Palestinians.
Oren worries that the Palestinian Authority’s planned diplomatic initiative at the United Nations is “insufficiently appreciated” as “a strategic threat” by Israel and its supporters. The Palestinian effort to take its case to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, arguing that Israel commits war crimes, and to seek statehood at the UN, would not only delegitimize Jerusalem diplomatically but also hurt it economically, he said.
Will the U.S. stand by Israel? Oren compares the U.S.-Israel relationship to a bank account where Israel has to make deposits and is then able to write a check. He said that Israeli deposits, like agreeing to a 10-month halt on settlements a few years ago, endorsing a two-state solution and taking part in peace talks, resulted in U.S. support for Israel in its wars with Hezbollah (2006) and Hamas (2008-2009).
“Last summer we had an overdraft, an empty bank account,” he said, referring to the most recent Hamas war, with its heavy civilian casualties in Gaza, coming after Secretary of State Kerry’s failed peace initiative. He said Israel needs “space and time,” adding that he would be wary of any new settlement building plans by Israel on disputed land, certain to further darken the mood in Washington.
Discussing his memoir in general terms, he said it will include his family history — his dad is a World War II hero — and his wife Sally’s journey from her San Francisco youth as a fan and muse of rock groups like Jefferson Airplane, to settling in Israel. There will be sections on the U.S.-Israel alliance, media coverage of Israel, and the American Jewish community, where, he said, “the biggest challenge” in promoting support for Israel among younger Jews, “is apathy.”
If Oren’s book lives up to its promise as an insider’s critique of American Mideast policy during the Obama years, it will be worth the wait.

The White House Denies (They Lie About Everything) But Sanctions Are On The Way Against Israel. You Can Take It To The Bank!

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama
TEL AVIV – While the White House has dismissed as “unfounded” reports the Obama administration is contemplating sanctions on Israel, the Palestinian Authority told WND it is already receiving signals the U.S. president may not support Israel at the United Nations and in the international community.
A senior PA negotiator, speaking on condition his name be withheld, said that despite the Obama administration’s public protestations, the U.S. made no private protests recently over a Palestinian plan to seek recognition of a state at the United Nations and in international bodies.
The Palestinian claim contrasts with media reports last month that Secretary of State John Kerry called PA President Mahmoud Abbas to warn him the U.S. would sanction the Palestinians if they continue their attempt to seek unilateral recognition in international organizations.
“There have been no talks of any real U.S. sanctions on the Palestinian Authority for unilateral recognition,” said the PA negotiator.
The negotiator stopped short of claiming the Obama administration would actually endorse the unilateral recognition at the U.N.
The PA continues full speed ahead at seeking recognition of a Palestinian state in the international community.
On Tuesday, the French parliament was set to vote on a highly symbolic motion urging the government to recognize a Palestinian state. In October, Sweden’s government became the first major Western European state to recognize “Palestine.”
Other unilateral recognition measures are scheduled in Belgium, Portugal, Denmark and the European Parliament.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed reports the Obama administration held meetings discussing possible sanctions on Israel over so-called settlement expansions in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
“Reports that [we] might be contemplating sanctions against Israel are completely unfounded and without merit,” Earnest said Monday.
Earnest acknowledged the Obama administration held talks with Israel over disagreements about “settlement” construction.
“We’ve made our views known very clearly about our frustration with Israel,” he said. “It’s clearly in the interest of the Israeli people and the Palestinian people to try to resolve differences. … The settlement activity is counterproductive.”
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress sent a letter to the White House demanding an explanation of the reports of sanctions against Israel.
“Recent reports suggest that your administration has held classified meetings over the past several weeks to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions against Israel for its decision to construct homes in East Jerusalem,” said the letter sent Friday and signed by 48 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome,” the letter continued.
Last week, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported the Obama administration was “examining taking action against the construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” including withholding support at the U.N. or financial sanctions on the so-called settlements.