Archive for September 2017

Cartoons and Video of the Day

September 30, 2017

Latma TV via YouTube

 

H/t Power Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

H/t Freedom is Just Another Word

 

H/t Vermont Loon Watch

 

Madrid struggles to close Catalonia polling stations on eve of referendum

September 30, 2017

Source: Madrid struggles to close Catalonia polling stations on eve of referendum — RT News

 

Catalonia is gearing up for an independence referendum on Sunday despite attempts to hinder the process by the government in Madrid, which considers it illegal. Police trying to seal polling stations have faced resistance from occupiers keen to vote.

Catalans have staged numerous protests and occupied polling stations to secure their right to vote. Over six thousand ballot boxes will be used, and there are more than 2,300 polling stations across the region.

The referendum was not authorized by the federal authorities and Spain’s Constitutional Court has ruled that it is illegal. Police have been ordered to remove people occupying polling stations, located in schools and other facilities, Reuters reports citing a government source.

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Screenshot from Google Play

The federal authorities said on Saturday that police had sealed off 1,300 of 2,315 schools in Catalonia which had been designated as polling stations, according to Reuters.

Prior to the vote, Madrid launched a crackdown on Catalonia, local government buildings were raided and top-ranking Catalonian officials, including Junior Economy Minister Josep Maria Jové, were arrested over referendum documents.

The government also wanted to take direct control over the local police force in a bid to halt the upcoming vote. The action was denounced it as “intervention attempt” by Catalonia’s Interior Minister, Joaquim Forn, who also said that the local police refused to comply with the order.

The Spanish government forced Google to block an application which provided information to the citizens on where and how to vote. Madrid also ordered the shutdown of all polling stations and deployed thousands of its troops to the region.

On Saturday, the Civil Guard raided the Center of Telecommunications and Technologies of Information (CTTI) to switch off applications that could be used to count the results.

READ MORE: Catalan president gives instructions on Twitter after referendum website blocked

However, to make sure the vote happens locals staged numerous sit-ins at schools and other sites that are supposed to serve as polling stations.

“What you see here was not planned beforehand. We are all neighbors of this area of the city and we are defending the place where we want to vote on Sunday. If you turn around you will see more people, when the doors of this school open-we will just swap places in order to keep defending this voting place,” Juan Sebastian, one of the locals staying at a school, told RT.

“Due to the threat of the sealing of schools, people from the educational community have organized themselves, not only here, but all over Catalonia, to make sure we can vote freely on Sunday,” Miguel Angel Torrijos, a father of one of the school children, told RT’s Ruptly news video agency.

People across the region have been protesting the crackdown on the vote. Earlier this week, farmers staged a protest in Barcelona, flying Catalonian flags on their tractors and chanting “we will vote.”

On Thursday, Catalan firefighters unfurled a giant banner in front of the Museum of Catalan History in Barcelona, depicting a ballot box with the words “love democracy” written across it.

The Spanish government still says the referendum is illegal and vows that it will not allow this to happen.

“I insist: there will be no referendum on October 1st,” government spokesperson Inigo Mendez de Vigo said on Friday during a press conference following the weekly cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, not everyone is happy over the upcoming referendum. On Saturday, the day before the vote, a protest was held in Barcelona to protest against the referendum.

Crowds gathered outside the Catalan government headquarters in Barcelona Thursday to protest against Sunday’s vote.

Activists held a mock referendum in the Spanish capital, Madrid, on Friday, giving residents the opportunity to “vote” on whether they want “Catalonia to remain part of Spain” and place their “ballots” into an improvised ballot box. Hundreds of anti-referendum activists took part.

As the division in Spanish society grows, Spain’s European partners are apparently not eager to intervene.

“I believe this is a Spanish problem in which [sic] we can do little. It’s a problem of respecting Spanish laws that Spaniards have to resolve,” Antonio Tajani, European Parliament President said answering journalists’ questions on whether any form of mediation could be offered.

Member of the European Parliament Stelios Kouloglou believes that the EU should intervene as the actions of the Spanish federal government are unreasonable, he told RT. Kouloglou will observe Sunday’s vote and has spoken with Catalan officials, who complained about “very brutal violations of the democratic rights” by Madrid.

“The EU should interfere not to take sides…but just to say that those measures taken by the government of Madrid are not acceptable,” Kouloglou said.

Illegal Alien Sentenced for Stealing Identities to Collect $800K in Tax Refunds

September 30, 2017

Illegal Alien Sentenced for Stealing Identities to Collect $800K in Tax Refunds, BreitbartJohn Binder, September 29, 2017

(The DOJ press release on which the article is based is dated September 27, 2017, so the information is current. Please see also,
Feds Slap Tree Company With $95 Million Penalty For Hiring Illegal Aliens. I don’t recall such actions by the Obama Justice Department.– DM)

Following Adissa’s release from federal prison, he will be handed over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency for deportation.

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An illegal alien living in the sanctuary city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced for stealing Americans’ identities to collect more than $800,000 in tax refunds.

Abdou Koudos Adissa, an illegal alien from the Republic of Benin, was sentenced to four years in federal prison for his part in a tax fraud scheme, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

According to court records, Adissa was convicted of conspiring to commit access device fraud in March for his involvement in the tax scheme that ran from February to June 2014. During that time, Adissa was a part of a group that stole Americans’ identities to file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.

Adissa’s co-conspirators filed the fraudulent tax returns, stealing more than $800,000 in refunds which was then deposited onto Green Dot pre-paid debit accounts. That money was eventually sent to Nigeria through Western Union.

When federal officials raided Adissa’s apartment in Philadelphia, they found 106 of the Green Dot cards. The illegal alien registered all the debit cards using stolen American IDs before giving co-conspirators the cards’ direct deposit information so they would be able to direct the fraudulent tax refunds to the cards.

Adissa called Western Union some 63 times to transfer the stolen $800,000 to Nigeria.

Following Adissa’s release from federal prison, he will be handed over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency for deportation.

The Quiet Islamic Conquest of Spain

September 30, 2017

The Quiet Islamic Conquest of Spain, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, September 30, 2017

Islamic rogue regimes, such as Iran, have also been able to infiltrate Spanish political parties. According to an investigation, Tehran gave money to Podemos, the leftist party which emerged as a new contender in the Spanish political arena.

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“Evicted five centuries ago by crusading Christians, the Arabs are back in Spain, using their oil dollars to buy land that was seized from their ancestors by the sword”. — James M. Markham, The New York Times, 1981.

The Madrid daily ABC wrote that 800 mosques in Spain are out of control. The Spanish daily La Razon charged that Gulf donors, such as Qatar, were a source of Spain’s Islamization. The Saudis also launched a new Spanish television channel, Córdoba TV, as did Iran.

They dream of, and work to, regain the “lost Caliphate” of Spain. Some Islamists do it with bombs and car-ramming attacks. Others, more surreptitiously, do it with money and dawa, Islamic propaganda. The second way may be even more effective than the first.

The ceremony in 2003 was announced with bombastic headlines: “After a wait of more than 500 years, Spanish Muslims, have finally succeeded in building a mosque of their own in the shadow of the Alhambra, once the symbol of Islamic power in Europe”. A troupe from al Jazeera was sent to follow the event: a muezzin climbed to the minaret of the Great Mosque of Granada to call the faithful to prayer for the first time in five centuries.

From Osama bin Laden to the self-proclaimed Caliph, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, all the leaders of the global jihad — including the terror cell that killed 17 people in Barcelona — have mentioned Spain among the lands to be conquered by Islam. There is, however, not only jihad. There is also “the quiet conquest“, as it has been dubbed by the French magazine, Valeurs Actuelles. The quiet conquest is a sinuous attempt to re-Islamize Spain through cultural centers, mega-mosques, proselytizing, conversions and financial investments. This pacific attempt to elicit submission has been underway for some time and has been backed by a flow of money from countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. According to a former commander of British forces in Iraq, General Jonathan Shaw, these two countries in particular have ignited a “time bomb” by funding the global spread of radical Islam.

The New York Times first detailed in 1981 that, “evicted five centuries ago by crusading Christians, the Arabs are back in Spain, using their oil dollars to buy land that was seized from their ancestors by the sword”. Spain back then did not even recognize the State of Israel, and the Spanish monarchy regularly visited Saudi Prince Fahd while he was relaxing in the south of Spain. After that, it was Kuwait’s turn: “During the late 1980’s, when Spain was booming, Kuwait came shopping for corporations and investments”.

Since then, the Arab monarchies have targeted Spain with huge investments. Some emblematic buildings in Madrid and Barcelona, not to mention the Costa del Sol, are now owned by Arab investment groups, from the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid to the W Hotel in Barcelona. In Marbella, just a few meters away from the King Fahd Mosque, there is the Alanda Hotel, which offers halal food and services to meet the demands of the Muslim clients. In 2011, the International Petroleum Investment Company, controlled by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, purchased Cepsa, the second-largest Spanish company in the oil sector.

Last January, Spain’s King Felipe VI visited Saudi Arabia and announced that Spain would boost economic, trade and investment relations with the Islamic kingdom. Before that, in 2012, Saudi Aramco awarded Spanish companies projects worth $700 million. Spain and Qatar are now discussing the formation a $1 billion joint investment fund that would help the Gulf state invest in Latin America. The Arab Emirates’ media called Spain “a hotspot for investment from the Arab world”. After Qatar, it was the Oman’s turn to invest in the Spanish market: Oman just agreed to invest up to $120 million in a uranium mine in Spain, to be used for Omani nuclear energy plants.

Demographically, Muslims are witnessing a shocking population increase in Spain. In 1990, Muslims in the country numbered 100,000. By 2010, the number had increased to 1.5 million. In 2017, the number was nearly two million. It is a growth of 1,900% in 27 years.

Today there are 1,400 mosques in Spain. According to the Observatory of Religious Pluralism in Spain (an initiative of the Ministry of Justice), “this figure represents 21% of all places of worship for all religions present in Spain”.

The most prolific funder of mosques in Spain is Saudi Arabia. In 1985, using only its own money, the Saudi kingdom opened the Islamic Cultural Center in Madrid, Europe’s largest mosque, followed by the Islamic Center of Malaga, which the Saudis financed with 22 million euros (today the Madrid area has 112 mosques and Islamic cultural centers). As Gatestone’s Soeren Kern detailed, the Saudis have built mosques everywhere, from Marbella to Fuengirola.

Islamic rogue regimes, such as Iran, have also been able to infiltrate Spanish political parties. According to an investigation, Tehran gave money to Podemos, the leftist party which emerged as a new contender in the Spanish political arena.

The Madrid daily ABC wrote that 800 mosques in Spain are out of control. The Spanish daily La Razon charged that Gulf donors, such as Qatar, were a source of Spain’s Islamization. The Saudis also launched a new Spanish television channel, Córdoba TV, as did Iran.

The details of this religious proliferation are detailed The Spain of Allah, a book by Ignacio Cembrero. While the number of Catholic churches in Spain has not undergone much variation for many years, Muslim mosques have been growing at a rate of 20% percent annually. Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani has also offered to buy La Monumental Arena in Barcelona to turn it into Europe’s biggest mosque. The United Arab Emirates funded the construction of the Great Mosque of Granada.

Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani has offered to buy La Monumental Arena in Barcelona, with its nearly 20,000 seats, to turn it into Europe’s biggest mosque. (Image source: Sergi Larripa/Wikimedia Commons)

They dream of, and work to, regain the “lost Caliphate” of Spain. Some Islamists do it with bombs and car-ramming attacks. Others, more surreptitiously, do it with money and dawa, Islamic propaganda. The second way may be even more effective than the first.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Feds Slap Tree Company With $95 Million Penalty For Hiring Illegal Aliens

September 30, 2017

Feds Slap Tree Company With $95 Million Penalty For Hiring Illegal Aliens, Daily Caller, Will Racke, September 29, 2017

AUBURN, AL – APRIL 23: Crews from the Asplundh tree service inspect a oak tree after it was cut down on April 23, 2013 at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn University decided to remove the dying oaks after they were poisoned by a rival fan shortly after the 2010 Iron Bowl. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

“Today’s judgment sends a strong, clear message to employers who scheme to hire and retain a workforce of illegal immigrants: we will find you and hold you accountable,” acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement. “Violators who manipulate hiring laws are a pull factor for illegal immigration, and we will continue to take action to remove this magnet.”

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A national tree services company will have to pay a record fine after admitting that it engaged in a scheme to hire illegal aliens, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Asplundh Tree Expert Co., a suburban Philadelphia-based contractor that trims and removes trees around power lines, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal criminal charge and was ordered to pay a total of $95 million, the biggest penalty ever levied in an immigration case.

Federal Judge John R. Padova ordered the company to pay a criminal forfeiture judgment of $80 million, plus a $15 million civil penalty to satisfy additional civil claims for failure to follow immigration law.

Asplundh hired thousands of unauthorized workers between 2010 and 2014, using knowingly fraudulent identification documents, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia. Prosecutors said the company’s upper management was “willfully blind,” while mid-level regional supervisors knowingly violated immigration law and hired illegal aliens.

Asplundh allegedly used word of mouth referrals instead of a systematic application process, allowing supervisors to hire a compliant workforce of illegal laborers.

“This decentralized model tacitly perpetuated fraudulent hiring practices that, in turn, maximized productivity and profit,” prosecutors said in a statement. “With a motivated work force, including unauthorized aliens willing to be relocated and respond to weather related events around the nation, Asplundh had crews which were easily mobilized that enabled them to dominate the market. Asplundh provided all the incentives to managers to skirt immigration law.”

Asplundh employs 30,000 workers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to the Associated Press. The company was the subject of a six-year audit by investigators with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which discovered in 2009 that company managers were accepting sham driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers, green cards and other fake identification documents.

Three Asplundh managers, including a vice president, had previous pleaded guilty to felony charges in the case, the AP reported.

“Today’s judgment sends a strong, clear message to employers who scheme to hire and retain a workforce of illegal immigrants: we will find you and hold you accountable,” acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement. “Violators who manipulate hiring laws are a pull factor for illegal immigration, and we will continue to take action to remove this magnet.”

Is the Argument for Regime Change in Iran Well Founded?

September 30, 2017

Is the Argument for Regime Change in Iran Well Founded? American ThinkerShahriar Kia, September 30, 2017

(Nearly all of the comments associated with the American Thinker article contend that Iran under its current regime is a wonderful, happy place, all opposition to which is a vile Jewish-Israeli conspiracy. — DM)

During his first address to the UN General Assembly in September, President Donald Trump offered a perspective on the people and the regime of Iran that starkly differed from that of his predecessors. He accurately attested that “The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want to change.” He described the Iran nuclear deal as “an embarrassment,” called off the Iranian regime for its export of “violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” and underlined that “Iran’s people are what their leaders fear most.”

These remarks from the president of the United States are a positive signal after three decades of failed appeasement toward the mullahs ruling Iran. And the testament to the fact are the reactions of Iranian officials, which betray their fear and consternation.

In a meeting with the Assembly of Experts, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime called Trump’s speech “foolish, extremely ugly and hideous” and “gangster and cowboy language fraught with sheer lies.”

“Mr. Trump said the wrong things in the wrong place to the wrong people,” Rouhani said to the state television.

The question that remains is whether President Trump’s remarks at the UNGA were simply a reaction to the failure of the appeasement policy, or was it the result of the natural course of events and the geopolitical dynamics governing the Middle East? Has the explosion in connectivity and social media services been effective in conveying the message of the Iranian people, who want the world to know about their desire for freedom and human rights?

Without a doubt, all of these parameters have been effective. But what are the real foundations of Washington’s new approach to the desires of the Iranian people for regime change?

Uprisings

The first factor that challenges the power of the ruling regime is the looming threat of uprisings. From an economic and social perspective, there has always been a potential for nationwide uprisings in Iran.

The first big occurrence of widespread protests was in 1981 when more than 500,000 people took to the streets of Tehran and demanded the overthrow of the theocratic regime. The protest was brutally suppressed and ruthless executions of protestors and dissidents ensued.

In the summer of 1988 alone, 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members of the opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed in the span of a few months and were buried in secret graves.

In 1999 and 2009, uprisings erupted again. While the regime smothered both instances with a brutal crackdown, yet the potential for another uprising remains, and the ashes wait to be stirred once again.

Presently, sporadic protests are slowly building up across the country and gaining momentum. An example is the staged protests against the Arman and Caspian foundations, two financial organizations run by the Revolutionary Guards, which have been plundering the people’s wealth at an unprecedented scale. Following the start of Rouhani’s second term as president, social dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs has increased.

Infighting

The second factor that is weakening the regime is the ongoing power struggle between the Supreme Leader and other factions within the regime. So long as the country’s constitution is based on the “guardianship of the jurist,” every key decision will be made by the Supreme Leader. The Supreme Leader is also the commander in chief, which leaves the president with no substantial power.

This religious dictatorship is founded on fundamentalist interpretations of Islam and sees its survival as bound to domestic suppression and foreign terrorism. However, the mullahs’ crimes in the past four decades have intensified the hatred of the Iranian people toward them.

Earlier this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation revisited the mass execution of 30,000 Iranian political prisoners in 1988 in her report to the Secretary-General. Moreover, activists and international human rights organizations have called for an independent investigation into this crime against humanity, placing the Iranian regime in another political and social dead end.

A War of Attrition in the Middle East

The Iranian regime is stuck in three long regional wars, involving Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. Some analysts and politicians perceive the Iranian regime’s meddling in these three countries as a sign of power and stability. However, contrary to what Khamenei and other regime officials have insisted on time and again, if they abandon their intervention in the countries of the Middle East, they’ll be fighting their wars in the streets of Tehran. Therefore, the sole purpose of the Iranian regime’s regional forays is to avoid its collapse. The regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile project is for the same purpose.

The Coalition of Arab Countries and U.S. Against Iran’s Regional Ambitions

The coalition of Arab countries and the U.S., the imposition of further sanctions against the Iranian regime’s regional meddling, and the end of the golden era of the Obama administration have faced the regime of Tehran with further challenges. Officials in the new U.S. administration rightly insist that the real threat of Iran comes not only from its nuclear ambitions but also from its ballistic missile program, its chaos mongering in the region and its human rights abuses. The only durable solution to those collective threats is regime change in Iran.

The Existence of a Reliable Alternative to Replace the Regime in Iran

What makes the replacement of a tyrannical regime viable is the presence of a recognized alternative that has a distinct political, social and economic platform for the future, which enjoys the support of the international community. The existence of such a resistance and its international recognition is one of the main parameters that will pave the way for uprisings against the ruling dictatorship.

Iran currently has a democratic alternative, led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman who opposes fundamentalism and bases her faith on tolerance.Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan has been praised and acknowledged by many political personalities, jurists, parliamentarians, and human rights activists across the world.

Three decades of appeasement toward Tehran has not moderated the behavior of the Iranian regime — it has made it worse. However, the foundations for change in Iran exist. What makes regime change in Iran unique is the fact that it requires no foreign intervention. The people of Iran and their organized resistance have the potential to bring about change from Inside Iran.

Who by fire

September 30, 2017