And What if They Only Moved the U.S. Embassy Eastward?

Beyond the Cusp

The current United States Embassy building was opened back in 1966 and is probably electronically challenged with dated wiring and deficient ability for upgrades and very likely would be replaced soon in order to implement a great amount, one might say groundbreaking, upgrades to its capabilities with modern meeting facilities, internal wiring to integrate greater networking and other modernizations and security upgrades bringing the United States Embassy into the twenty-first century. The United States Embassy is half a century old and was built with an outlook for future technology which probably included cathode ray tubes, not flat screens, old word-processing equipment and not computers and interconnectedness beyond the imagination fifty years ago. The building probably had been upgraded as far as it was capable and still leaves much to be desired. The embassy is currently located at 71 Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv, Israel. What if the United States built…

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A Silly Question

999999The sixteen offending countries that ban people because of their nationality/ethnicity/religion are are Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Dry Bones- Israel’s Political Comic Strip Since 1973

The EU vs. the Nation State?

Attention is beginning to focus on elections due to take place in three separate European countries in 2017. The outcomes in the Netherlands, France and Germany will determine the likely future of the European Union (EU).

In the Netherlands, on March 15, all 150 members of the country’s House of Representatives will face the ballot box. The nation is currently led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose VVD party holds 40 seats in the legislative chamber, ruling in a coalition with the Dutch Labour party, which holds 35 seats.

In contrast, the Party for Freedom – Partij Voor de Vrijheid (PVV) – led by Geert Wilders, currently holds 12 seats.

According to an opinion poll, issued on December 21, Wilders’s party has leapt to 24% in the polls, while Rutte’s party has slid to 15%. Were an election to happen now, this would translate to 23 MPs for Rutte’s VVD, and 36 MPs for Wilders’s PVV.

Given the strict formula of proportional representation in the Netherlands, however, coalition governments are the norm. Should Wilders’s PVV come first in March, he will likely need to negotiate with one of his staunchest critics to form a government.

In France, two rounds of voting in the presidential elections are set to take place on April 23 and May 7 – with the two leading candidates from the first round facing each other in a runoff in the second round.

The most likely candidates to make it through to the second round, François Fillon, of the centre-right Les Républicains, and Marine Le Pen, of the populist Front National, remain tied in first-round polling.

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The Islamists of Sweden

In Sweden, there are a number of Muslim organizations that together constitute what is known as “Muslim civil society” (Muslimska civilsamhället). What is important, when discussing Muslim civil society in Sweden, is their political influence, their ideology and their structure.

IFIS

One of the most important organizations in Sweden’s Muslim civil society is the Islamic Association of Sweden (Islamiska Förbundet i Sverige — IFIS), established in 1981. Some of the goals of IFIS, which you can read about on their website, are to “influence and form opinions on issues that concern the Muslim group and its interests in Sweden” and “increase participation, influence and representation of Muslims in public institutions and bodies”. In other words, IFIS works as a lobby organization for Muslims in Sweden.

It is a lobby organization that has been successful.

Former IFIS chairman Abdirizak Waberi represented the second largest party, the Moderate Party, in parliament between 2010 and 2014, when this party was in government. When Waberi sat in parliament, he was a member of the defense committee, which decides the policies for the Swedish Armed Forces.

Waberi’s time in parliament was a remarkable experience for many Swedes. In several interviews before 2010, Waberi said he believed in a literal interpretation of the Koran. In an interview from 2006, he supported the idea that men could have four wives. In another interview from 2009, he said that he does not shake the hand of a woman; that men and women should not dance with each other, and that he would rather live in a country with Islamic sharia law. After these interviews, clearly revealing that Waberi is an Islamist, and that he got to represent Sweden’s second-largest party in parliament, apparently without Swedish media or anyone else providing scrutiny over his past statements.

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The Telegraph – Brexit Bulletin

  Good afternoon.

Next month will be very busy for Europe. Theresa May will be hoping to be able to trigger Article 50 and the official Brexit process then, while Europe’s leaders plan to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community. These celebrations won’t matter for Britain too much, as it wasn’t part of the signing and joined later in 1973.

As Europe looks back, it’s tempting to wonder what would have happened if Britain had joined from the beginning. Although Philip Johnston has pondered a bolder scenario – what if it had not joined at all in 1973 and remained an independent neighbour? “The received wisdom is that we would now be an economic basket case on the fringes of a prosperous superpower,” he writes in today’s paper. “Yet there is no certainty of this.”

Mr Johnston suggests that Britain would have saved billions of pounds in membership fees, and have enjoyed the freedom to strike trade deals with emerging economies around the world. “This might have been to our considerable advantage: in the years since we joined the accumulated trade deficit with EU member states is about £500 billion.”

Eschewing membership of the political bloc could have boosted Britain’s international standing, he suggests. “Being part of a supranational body, especially after the Maastricht treaty forged much closer economic and political ties, diminished our sense of independence. It was intended to, of course; but while other EU countries were content with that, the British never were. So had we stayed out we would probably have had a very good relationship with the EU – certainly better than the one we are likely to end up with when the bruising Brexit negotiations are concluded.”

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