End of the last best hope? 10

Today we dare to go further than we ventured a few days ago when we wrote about the systematic weakening of America by its elected leader. (The taking down of America, December 1, 2014.)

We declare that Obama and his gang, and the greater part of the political party that put him in power, and the international Left, in alliance with Islam, are deliberately destroying America. That is to say, destroying America as the embodiment in a free republic of the idea of liberty under the rule of law. And are close to succeeding.

It is dumbfounding, gobsmacking, how blatant they are about it. How large their plan is writ across their term in power. How openly they do their dirty deeds. They hardly take any pains to disguise their ugly intentions. And yet how the people of America and the world beyond it have managed not to notice, or fully comprehend, what is happening!

David Solway, writing at PJ Media, assembles the evidence that the general public seems unable or unwilling to see, and ponders the horrible work in progress towards the destruction of America.

In [his book] Marked for Death, Geert Wilders argues that Islam has marked not only him but ultimately every freedom-loving individual and so-called “Islamophobe” for death because of the supremacist nature of its doctrines. What outrages Wilders, in addition to the Islamic threat and the demographic inroads the religion of war is carving into the European urban landscape, is the scandalous complicity of Europe’s governing elites, leading to the eventual subversion of the continent.  Although Wilders does not address American vulnerability in any detailed way, what must surely strike a disinterested observer is the equal complicity with which the commander in chief of the United States is pursuing a program of American decline. On the domestic, economic, military, and foreign policy fronts, Obama is energetically and probably irretrievably weakening the country he has sworn to defend, with surprisingly little concerted opposition, or even awareness, from many politicians or from the still-infatuated members of his constituency.

We think the infatuated members of his constituency, or most of them, are aware – and applaud him for it. They want what he wants.

To start with Islam, it is mind-boggling to observe an American president vigorously facilitating the Islamic imperial agenda in a number of different but equally effective ways. He could not do better — or worse — if he were a transplanted Qatari sheikh. One notes the infamous Cairo address with its bloat of lies and factoids. The UN speeches, such as “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” The elevation of Muslim Brotherhood operatives into sensitive posts in his administration. Islamic outreach through official institutions such as NASA, once designed for space exploration, now, apparently, for Muslim apologetics. Iftar dinners at the White House. Congratulatory letters to mosques and his designation of terror attacks as “workplace violence”, “man-caused disasters” and “traffic incidents”. His concessionary engaging in a secret correspondence with Iran’s anti-American and anti-Semitic Ayatollah Khamenei. The withdrawing of troops from Iraq, thus opening the way for the establishment of the Islamic State. The purging of FBI training manuals of all reference to jihad. And the interviews in which Obama claims that the U.S. is “one of the biggest Muslim nations”. (In actuality, professing Muslims count for 1.5% of the American people, in comparison, for example, to Muslims amounting to 13% of India’s census.)

But it doesn’t stop there. Obama is not only manifestly pro-Islam; he is demonstrably anti-American. His policies across the board are all of a piece. Domestically, his economic projects have been calamitous. Obama has pied-pipered the nation to the brink of fiscal ruin … His racial interventions have set race relations back a generation or more — most recently his urging the Ferguson rioters to “stay on course“.  His attack on the Constitution is systematically undermining the republican nature of the US. Former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey cites the president for violating the Constitution 24 times with regard to Obamacare alone. …

Obama’s refusal to secure the permeable southwestern border is an open invitation to a veritable invasion of illegals and jihadists. His executive order to issue a temporary reprieve on the grounds of prosecutorial discretion, to delay deportation, and to provide work permits for millions of illegals is certain to create dismay, resentment and confrontation on a national scale … His mishandling of the Ebola crisis is only another example of anti-colonial politicking, placing American citizens at risk by allowing flights from infected West African countries into the U.S. The list goes on.

In terms of foreign policy, all of Obama’s actions seem dedicated to weakening American strength and resolve in a hostile world. His innumerable blunders — if that is what they are — whether the result of incompetence or, more likely, intention, …

Intention – we see no reason seriously to doubt it.

… have been scrupulously and abundantly documented in scores of books and hundreds of articles. (As an audience member at a recent Freedom Center symposium joked, Obama is “the most competent president we’ve ever had” — most competent, that is, as a malevolent and destructive force whose blunders are not accidents.) It might almost seem as if Obama’s “crimes and misdemeanors” are acquiring encyclopedic dimensions. Here we need only mention his clear bias against international allies, in particular Israel, his funding of the terrorist organization Hamas, his inability or unwillingness to deal effectively with ISIS, which he notoriously regarded as a jayvee outfit, and, most worrisomely, his pampering of the Iranian mullocracy in its determined march toward nuclear status.

His campaign against the American military is perhaps the most telling if under-the-radar sign of his animus toward his own country. His aim to reduce the military to pre-WWII levels and his sacking of ranking military personnel are especially troubling instances of a malign agenda. As retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, an original member of Delta Force and currently executive vice president of the Family Research Council, has argued, “our military is being devastated at the same time that all of our enemies, all of our potential adversaries are ramping up.” It is time, he insists on Twitter, that “top military MUST stand up to President + reckless policies.” It is hard to understand how a powerful military establishment could allow itself to be serially gutted, unless it is helmed by hand-picked Obama supporters.

For there is no evident, top-brass pushback against a president who has signaled to the enemy a timetable for withdrawal; who has shackled his forces in Afghanistan with so-called “rules of engagement,” putting their lives in jeopardy; whose concept of military propriety is a latte salute and whose concept of diplomatic propriety is chewing gum in the face of a prestigious welcoming delegation of a formidable power. This is a president under whose watch veterans were neglected and abused; who has exchanged an alleged deserter for five mid-to-high tier Taliban terrorists; and who has blithely abandoned servicemen under fire or held in captivity. The American armed forces find themselves in a position analogous to the Turkish military, once the guarantor of the country’s Kemalist experiment, now decimated under the authoritarian stewardship of Obama’s good friend, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose example Obama appears to be emulating.

As a result of Erdogan’s actions, a secular Muslim state has been transformed into an Islamic theopolitical nightmare. What the future augurs for America under Obama’s cataclysmic leadership is equally distressing.

Equally? While we agree with Solway’s argument, and value the useful list of proofs that he has gathered, at this point we murmur a respectful correction: What happens to America is immeasurably more important than what happens to Turkey.

And is he too pessimistic in this next passage? Is America “no longer the world’s only superpower” – or even not a superpower at all any more?

In the conclusion of his seminal book, Geert Wilders warned that the Islamic incursion into the body politic and social matrix of the U.S. is well underway; in the course of time, the nation will have lost itself in the Wilderness. But the gradual emirization of the U.S. is merely one among a host of premonitory indices. The nation’s spirit appears increasingly stagnant. It is drowning in a Noah’s flood of debt, it is coming apart at the racial seams, it is riven by a red/blue ideological conflict that appears unbridgeable, it is no longer the world’s only superpower — indeed, it is moot whether it is still a superpower, and it is considered either a hindrance or an irrelevance on the global proscenium. It is debatable whether the rot has gone too deep to be scoured, or if the recent change in party representation in Congress or a future Republican presidency would amount to anything more than a temporary hiatus. … The rot is not only political but has eaten deep into the culture as well, with growing levels of violence, welfare dependence, historical ignorance and general cynicism. In any event, once a nation has forfeited its pre-eminence, history shows it unlikely to reclaim its former position of authority and grandeur.

Finally he gives more reasons to be pessimistic, and they are all cogent:

Many have pointed out, as has Dinesh D’Souza to persuasive effect in America: Imagine a World without Her, that Obama’s main endeavor is to promote national enfeeblement, an enterprise which the American left, via its political, media, intellectual and academic elites, has been advancing for the last fifty years. When the fundraiser-in-chief is pastured out to the golf course or the United Nations and should the Democrats be returned to power, someone else will replace him to carry on his work. Certainly, should Alinsky-friendly Hillary Clinton or populist fraud and gentrified socialist Elizabeth Warren succeed to the presidency, one could write an early finis to the great American adventure in republican governance.

The question remains partially open. Can the country slip out from under the withering curse laid upon it by a runaway president, his subversive administration and the radically corrupt Democratic Party? Can the Augean Stables of a decaying political, intellectual and media culture be cleansed and fumigated? Can the Republicans connect with their staunchly conservative base to eventually form a credible, unified and revitalized governing party?

In the meantime, with the help of his compliant accomplices, Obama has, both as effect and cause, probably done more damage to American interests, security and patriotic fervor than any single president before him. Indeed, he has done more than any of his predecessors to ensure that America as we once knew her is marked for death.

Beyond hope? Not quite:

One can only hope against hope that the American spirit is still at least subliminally resilient.

The taking down of America 11

President Obama believes that America is arrogant.* If his foreign policy can be explained by anything, it would be his intention to bring America down a peg or ten. Looked at like that, the disasters we see happening in many parts of the world are testimony not to  Obama’s failure, but to his success.

Not that President Obama can have any objection to arrogance as such. He is an arrogant man. He just doesn’t want America to be proud of its superiority. He hates the very idea that it is superior. But while he would not even acknowledge its political-moral superiority as a republic constituted for liberty, he cannot deny that it is economically and militarily stronger than any other country. So he’s been working to change that for the last six years.

The whole world is the worse for his efforts.

This is from Front Page, by Bruce Thornton:

The 6 years of Barack Obama’s foreign policy have seen American influence and power decline across the globe. Traditional rivals like China and Russia are emboldened and on the march in the South China Sea and Ukraine. Iran, branded as the world’s deadliest state sponsor of terrorism, is arrogantly negotiating its way to a nuclear bomb. Bloody autocrats and jihadist gangs in the Middle East scorn our president’s threats and behead our citizens. Countries in which Americans have shed their blood in service to our interests and ideals are in the process of being abandoned to our enemies. And allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia are bullied or ignored. All over the world, a vacuum of power has been created by a foreign policy sacrificed to domestic partisan advantage, and characterized by criminal incompetence.

Incompetence is what it looks like. But if failure is the aim, then either the incompetence is only an appearance, or it is a means to the end.

How we have arrived at this point, the dangers to our security and interests if we don’t change course, and what must be done to recover our international prestige and effectiveness are the themes of Bret Stephens’ America in Retreat. The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. …

A clear sign of American retreat is the precipitous decline in military spending. “In the name of budgetary savings,” Stephens writes, “the Army is returning to its June 1940 size,” and “the Navy put fewer ships at sea at any time since 1916.” The Air Force is scheduled to retire 25,000 airmen and mothball 550 planes. Our nuclear forces are being cut to meet the terms of the 2010 New Start Treaty with Russia, even as its nuclear arsenal has been increasing. Meanwhile Obama … issues empty threats, blustering diktats, and sheer lies that convince world leaders he is a “self-infatuated weakling”.

Unfortunately, 52% of the American people agree that the U.S. “should mind its own business internationally”,  and 65% want to “reduce overseas military commitments”, including a majority of Republicans. This broad consensus that America should retreat from global affairs reflects our age’s bipartisan isolationism, the centerpiece of Stephens’ analysis. This national mood is not a sign of decline, according to Stephens, who documents the enormous advantages America still enjoys globally, from its superiority in research and entrepreneurial vigor, to its healthy demographics and spirit of innovation. But it does bespeak a dangerous withdrawal from the policies that created the postwar Pax Americana – even though this global order policed by the U.S. defeated the murderous, nuclear-armed ideology of Soviet communism, and made possible the astonishing economic expansion that has lifted millions from poverty all over the world. …

For Stephens, isolationism has not been the only danger to American foreign policy success. What he calls “the overdose of ideals”, specifically the “freedom agenda” of the sort George W. Bush tried in Iraq and Afghanistan, has misdirected our efforts and squandered our resources in the pursuit of impossible goals. The success of the Cold War and the subsequent spread of democracy and free-market economies suggested that the world could be not just protected from an evil ideology, but “redeemed” by actively fostering liberal democracy even in countries and regions lacking the necessary network of social mores and political virtues upon which genuine liberal democracy rests. But in attempting to redeem the world, Stephens notes, policy makers “neglected a more prosaic responsibility: to police it”.

The failures to create stability, let alone true democracy, in Iraq and Afghanistan have enabled what Stephens calls the “retreat doctrine”, one to be found in both political parties. Barack Obama is the master of this species of foreign policy, incoherently combining idealistic democracy-promoting rhetoric with actions that further withdraw the U.S. from its responsibility to ensure global order. Under the guise of “nation-building at home,” and in service to traditional leftist doubt about America’s goodness, Obama has retreated in the face of aggression, and encouraged cuts in military spending in order to fund an ever-expanding entitlement state.

But also, equally, in order to make America weaker.

Meanwhile, “Republicans are busy writing their own retreat doctrine in the name of small government, civil liberties, fiscal restraint, ‘realism’,  a creeping sense of Obama-induced national decline, and a deep pessimism about America’s ability to make itself, much less the rest of the world, better.”

The “retreat doctrine” is dangerous because global disorder is a constant contingency. The remainder of Stephens’ book approaches this topic first from the perspective of theory and history, and then from today’s practice. History teaches us that all the substitutes for a liberal dominant global power have failed to prevent the descent into conflict and mass violence. The ideas of a balance of power, collective security, or the presumed peaceful dividend and “harmony of interests” created by global trade did not prevent World War I or its even more devastating sequel. Nor are they any more useful in our own times.

As for today, Stephens identifies several challenges to a global order fragilely held together by the commitment to liberal democracy, open economies, and the free circulation of ideas and trade. The “revisionists” attack this model from various perspectives. Iran sees it as a fomenter of godlessness and hedonism, Russia is moved to oppose it by “revanchism and resentment”,  and China believes that it “is a recipe for bankruptcy and laziness”,  lacking a “sense of purpose, organization, and direction”.  All three see evidence for their various critiques in the failure of the U.S. to exercise its massive power in the face of challenges, and in the willingness of American elites to revel in guilt and self-doubt. These perceptions of national decline invite rivals and enemies to behave as if the U.S. is in fact declining.

The other international players that could worsen disorder are “freelancers” and “free radicals”.  The former include those countries like Israel or Japan who, convinced that America will not act in its own or its allies’ interests, will understandably take action that necessarily entails unforeseen disastrous consequences. Much more dangerous are the “free radicals”, the jihadist gangs rampaging across 3 continents, and the nuclear proliferators like Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan, whose collaboration with each other and rogue regimes like Venezuela endangers the world through provoking even further proliferation on the part of rivals, or by handing off nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations. And then there are “free radicals” like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, who have undermined global order by publicizing the necessarily covert tools, practices, and institutions that undergird and protect it.

Finally, there are the structural weaknesses of the globalized economy and its continuing decline in growth, which may create “breaks” in national economic systems that “will be profoundly disruptive, potentially violent, and inherently unpredictable”. Add America’s retreat from world affairs and reductions in military spending, and in the “nearer term”, Stephens warns, “terrorists, insurgents, pirates, hackers, ‘whistleblowers’,  arms smugglers, and second-rate powers armed with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles will be able to hold the United States inexpensively at risk”,  provoking further American retreat from world affairs and the inevitable increased aggression by our enemies and rivals.

 So what can be done? In his conclusion Stephens applies to foreign affairs the “broken windows” tactics of urban policing that caused rates of violent crimes to plummet over the last few decades. Thus “the immediate goal of U.S. foreign policy should be to arrest the continued slide into a broken-windows world of international disorder”.

This foreign policy would require increasing U.S. military spending to 5% of GDP, with a focus on increasing numbers of troops, planes, and ships rather than on overly sophisticated and expensive new weapons. It would mean stationing U.S. forces near global hotspots to serve as a deterrent and rapid-reaction force to snuff out incipient crises. It would require reciprocity from allies in military spending, who for too long have taken for granted the American defense umbrella. It would focus attention on regions and threats that really matter, particularly the borderlands of free states, in order to protect global good citizens from predators. It means acting quickly and decisively when conflict does arise, rather than wasting time in useless debates and diplomatic gabfests. Finally, it would require that Americans accept that their unprecedented global economic, cultural, and military power confers on us both vulnerability to those who envy and hate us, and responsibility for the global order on which our own security and interests depend.

No matter how understandable our traditional aversion to military and political entanglements abroad, history has made us the global policeman, one committed to human rights, accountability, and political freedom. If we abdicate that position, there is no country powerful, or worthy enough, to take our place.

We agree with that.

And Thornton tantalizes us with this:

Stephens ends with an imagined “scenario” of how a serious global disruption could occur, one grounded in current trends and thus frighteningly believable.

When we’ve found out what that scenario is, which is to say when we’ve read the book, we’ll return to this important subject.

 

*  “In his first nine months in office, President Obama has issued apologies and criticisms of America in speeches in France, England, Turkey, and Cairo; at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the United Nations in New York City. He has apologized for what he deems to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision; for dictating solutions, for acting unilaterally, and for acting without regard for others; for treating other countries as mere proxies, for unjustly interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, and for feeding anti-Muslim sentiments; for committing torture, for dragging our feet on global warming and for selectively promoting democracy.” – Mitt Romney, quoted by PolitiFact.com

A kaleidoscopic shift of the political pattern of Europe 2

New political parties have been rising in many European countries to oppose established policies of both leftist and conservative governments, particularly policies towards the European Union and immigration.

Most of the new parties are on the Right, but recently some have been formed – or have quite suddenly grown from being inconsequential groupings into forces to be reckoned with  – on the Left.

The newly aggressive parties of the Left are mainly in the South, in countries at the receiving end of EU subsidies, angry that the subsidies are not substantial enough.

The new parties of the Right are mainly in the North, in countries at the paying end of the system, angry that they have to subsidize the failing economies of the South.

That sections of the Left should see how badly Europe needs a strategy for survival, should find fault with the EU, and object to unending immigration of dependents into their already hard-pressed welfare states, is a startling development. It means that new political patterns of alignment and opposition are emerging.

In the following article, which we quote from Gatestone, Peter Martino writes about the new parties’ concern with the adverse economic effects of EU membership. He only touches on immigration as a factor in the intensifying discontent which prompts the formation of new political organizations, movements and agendas, but it is in fact quite as hot an issue.

Last week, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) won a landmark victory in the Rochester & Strood by-election. With this win, UKIP secured its second Member of Parliament. The UKIP candidate, Mark Reckless, won 42.1% of the votes, thrashing the Conservatives (34.8%), Labour (16.8%) and the Liberal Democrats (0.9%). It was the first time ever that UKIP stood in Rochester & Strood. The party won votes from all the major parties. The Conservatives lost 14.4% of the votes, Labour 11.7% and the Liberal Democrats a whopping 15.5%.

UKIP is expected to do very well in the British general elections next May. Last month, a poll predicted the party could win up to 25% of the vote in these elections. In the 2010 general elections, the party had only 3.1%.

UKIP stands for the preservation of the Britain’s national identity. It opposes the European Union (EU) and wants Britain to remain a sovereign nation rather than become a state of a federal Europe. The party is also critical of mass immigration, in particular from Eastern Europe. Though Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, carefully avoids the issue of Islam, the party has also become the refuge of voters who worry about Islamization. Above all, however, the party embodies the dissatisfaction of the electorate with the traditional political establishment.

As such, UKIP is part of a broad trend that can currently be perceived all over Western Europe.

In Spain, a poll this week said that Podemos, a brand new party that was established only nine months ago, is currently the largest party in the country with 28.3% of the vote. The governing conservative Partido Popular of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would finish second with 26.3% and the Socialist Party would get only 20.1%. Three years ago, in the November 2011 general elections, the Partido Popular won 44.6% of the votes.

Unlike UKIP, Podemos is a party that clearly belongs to the left of the political spectrum. Podemos (the Spanish for We can) was founded by “anti-capitalist” academics and trade unionists who want to “oppose the dominating EU politics from the left”. Unlike UKIP, Podemos does not want to abolish the EU. On the contrary, since Spain is receiving billions of euros in EU subsidies, a majority of the Spaniards clearly want their country to remain an EU member state.

However, the party opposes the austerity policies that the EU is imposing on Spain as a prerequisite for the continuation of the flow of EU subsidies. Both the Spanish Socialist Party and Prime Minister Rajoy’s Partido Popular are perceived by voters as implementing the same set of EU-prescribed policies.

In this regard, Podemos does resemble UKIP, which also accuses the British political establishment of simply implementing EU mandated policies. In Britain’s case, the dissatisfaction with the EU stems mostly from British taxpayers having to pay billions to the EU, which are then transferred to countries in the south of Europe [such as Spain -ed], where governments use them to fund welfare programs. In this sense, the rise of leftist tax-and-spend parties (or rather tax-other-countries-and-spend parties), such as Podemos, reinforces the rise of parties such as UKIP in the north of Europe.

Indeed, all along the Mediterranean, parties opposing the EU-mandated austerity policies are growing spectacularly.

One of the keynote speakers at Podemos’ recent first-ever party congress was Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s neo-communist party Syriza. In last May’s European elections, Syriza became Greece’s biggest party with 26.5% of the votes, ahead of the governing Nea Demokratia party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Syriza draws on the same kind of sentiments as Podemos and is popular for exactly the same reasons.

The same is true of Italy’s Five Star Movement, led by the comedian Beppe Grillo, which, with 21.2% of the vote, became the country’s second largest party in last May’s European elections.

And the same is even true for the Front National of Marine Le Pen in France. Ms Le Pen claims that without the euro, the EU’s common currency, there would be “no need for austerity”. Drawing on anti-EU sentiments, the Front National became the largest French party in last May’s European elections with 24.8% of the vote.

The popularity of these parties is still rising. A recent poll in France revealed that Marine Le Pen might win the next French presidential elections, not just in the first round, but also in the decisive second round. It is the first time ever that the FN leads in a presidential poll against France’s two major parties, the Socialist PS and the Center-Right UMP.

In the countries to the north, however, the popularity of the parties opposing the EU subsidization of the southern countries is rising equally spectacularly.

In the Netherlands, the anti-establishment Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders is currently the biggest party in the polls. Wilders has consistently opposed the bailing out of countries such as Greece and Spain with Dutch taxpayers’ money.

In neighboring Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a party established last year to oppose eurozone bailouts, is shaking up politics with its astonishing wins in recent state elections.

In Sweden, the Sweden Democrats (SD), opposing both immigration and the EU, won 13% of the vote in last September’s general elections, but their popularity keeps rising. Last week, an SD spokesman said the party is currently expected to win up to 18% of the vote.

All across Europe, the electorate is deeply dissatisfied and disillusioned with both the Conservative and the Social-Democrat parties of the political establishment. Voters no longer see much difference between the traditional political protagonists, who are perceived as imposing an EU agenda that, for various reasons, is seen as bad for the country.

In Europe judging by the polls, political landslides are on the way.

The folly of raising the minimum wage 11

minwage

There should be no minimum wage at all in the interest of a thriving economy.

But if there is going to be such a misconceived thing, it should be very low indeed.

Many minimum wage jobs can be performed by machines. Automation will be hastened by the imposition of a minimum wage.

Minimum wage enforcement can only create unemployment.

It is not what an employee needs that should determine his wage, but how much he can contribute to the business that employs him. If his job earns the business at least three times his wage, he is worth what he is paid. The more he contributes, the more he is worth. If he needs more, he can get it by contributing more. The bigger and better his contribution, the better he’ll do for himself.

This is the way capitalism – what Adam Smith called “the natural order of liberty” – works.

From each according to his need, to each according to his ability.

Posted under Capitalism, Commentary, Economics by Jillian Becker on Friday, November 14, 2014

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Is Ebola more to be feared than fear itself? 2

Bill Whittle talks about the threat of Ebola:

Posted under Africa, Commentary, Defense, Economics, government, Health, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 18, 2014

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Oil: the market triumphs 2

Despite all President Obama’s efforts to prevent it, the US is winning the oil game. Because no human force is stronger than the market.

The knuckleheads of the Left love to hurl the accusation in the faces of conservatives that the presidents Bush “only went to war against Iraq because of oil”. (As if they themselves would never think of driving a gas-fueled car – or would be perfectly content not to.)

The accusation is not true. But perhaps the US should have gone to war against one or more Middle Eastern powers “because of oil”.

Oil is a very good reason to go to war. Would have been, when the Saudis had OPEC hyping the oil price in 1973. The results for the US and Western Europe were dire.

This is from Wikipedia:

In October 1973, OPEC declared an oil embargo in response to the United States’ and Western Europe’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. The result was a rise in oil prices from $3 per barrel to $12 and the commencement of gas rationing. Other factors in the rise in gasoline prices included a market and consumer panic reaction, the peak of oil production in the United States around 1970 and the devaluation of the U.S. dollar. U.S. gas stations put a limit on the amount of gasoline that could be dispensed, closed on Sundays, and limited the days gasoline could be purchased based on license plates.

Even after the embargo concluded, prices continued to rise. The Oil Embargo of 1973 had a lasting effect on the United States. The Federal government got involved first with President Richard Nixon recommending citizens reduce their speed for the sake of conservation, and later Congress issuing a 55 mph limit at the end of 1973. Daylight savings time was extended year round to reduce electrical use in the American home. Smaller, more fuel efficient cars were manufactured. Nixon also formed the Energy Department as a cabinet office. People were asked to decrease their thermostats to 65 degrees and factories changed their main energy supply to coal.

One of the most lasting effects of the 1973 oil embargo was a global economic recession. Unemployment rose to the highest percentage on record while inflation also spiked. Consumer interest in large gas guzzling vehicles fell and production dropped. Although the embargo only lasted a year, during that time oil prices had quadrupled and OPEC nations discovered that their oil could be used as both a political and economic weapon against other nations.

War then would have been a far better answer to the Saudis than meek acceptance buttered with sycophancy.

War and drilling. Drilling wherever there was oil in America and off-shore. Including Alaska. Ignoring the Environmentalists with their philosophy of impoverishment.

Now all is changing. The US is becoming the biggest oil producer in the world. The Saudis and the other Middle Eastern tyrannies have no resource other than the oil discovered under their ground and developed into riches for them, by the infidel. And now they are losing it.

They, and all the evil powers that have wielded oil as a weapon, are taking desperate measures. Which will fail.

This is from Investor’s Business Daily:

With Saudi Arabia ramping up oil production, prices are tumbling, and the world’s petrotyrants — Iran, Russia and Venezuela — are taking a hit. Seems the old high-price, low-production tactic isn’t foolproof.

The Saudis don’t seem to be interested in budging. As prices fell to $83 a barrel for November-delivery crude, they’ve ramped up production even as others call on them to stop.

The first call came from fiscal shambles Venezuela, for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] for a production hike. They were coldly rebuffed.

And on Tuesday, Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal — a Saudi entrepreneur with a lot of non-oil money who sometimes plays gadfly to the regime — warned that the kingdom would fail to balance its own budget if oil prices went below $80. But he, too, was rebuffed.

It all may be because Saudi Arabia has a strategic need to check Iran over its nuclear program and financing of Islamic State terror and to discipline Russia for its support for the Assad regime in Syria.

It’s also almost certainly a response to the great shale revolution in the U.S., which has slashed U.S. dependency on oil exports to 20% from 60% a decade ago.

A Chilean-based entrepreneur told IBD last year that the greatest fear of Saudi Arabia’s king was America’s shale revolution, which was cutting into Saudi’s role as the world’s swing producer of oil.

However it spills out, the Saudi move to raise production may be the most dramatic move to shake events since President Reagan forced the bankruptcy of the Soviet empire by … asking the Saudis to raise production, which they did.

With this most recent move, the petrotyranny model of using oil as a weapon against smaller neighbors and the U.S. is effectively dead. Over the past decade, all of the states that have staked their futures on the power of oil have effectively burned their bridges to other models for building their economies.

When Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez took over in 1998, he scrapped that nation’s high-production, low-price, high-market-share strategy. In its place came a “model” based on high prices for consumers, low output and the expropriation of state oil company profits to pay for bigger government and an expansive welfare state, leaving the company without investment.

Foreign oil properties were also expropriated, including Exxon Mobil’s in 2007. It provided a short-term boost but left the country one of the most unattractive in the world for foreign investment and capital.

Russia, meanwhile, adopted a somewhat similar strategy after its 1998 crash. It focused on becoming a petropower, much to the detriment of the rest of the economy.

Today, more than three-quarters of Russia’s economy is oil-based, leaving it dependent on high oil prices with no balance from other sectors and wasting its most valuable asset: a well-educated workforce.

Instead of diversifying, Russia used energy as a weapon, repeatedly cutting off Ukraine’s natural gas supplies since 2009 in a bid to force its neighbor to toe the Moscow line, as well as to “Finlandize” its eastern and central European neighbors into fearing more energy cutoffs.

Then there’s Iran, whose illegal nuclear program has enjoyed soggy indifference in Europe based on the region’s dependence on Iranian oil.

These three troublemakers share one thing in common: a strategy of high oil prices and low production, plus a willingness to interfere with markets to make them into power games.

But as it turns out, that strategy was another kind of dependency. And the Saudis, egged on by the shale revolution, have just ended it.

Market manipulation is peculiar. In 1998, the Saudis tried to cut output to keep crude prices from falling further. It didn’t work. From that, they learned a valuable right lesson: Nothing is bigger than market forces.

Now, the world’s remaining petrotyrants are about to be schooled as well.

Time for a little quiet celebration. And it doesn’t have to be only a little or very quiet.

Let us crow.

The harm that FDR did – now reinforced 8

The figure of [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt exhibited before the eyes of our people is a fiction. There was no such being as that noble, selfless, hard-headed, wide and farseeing combination of philosopher, philanthropist and warrior which has been fabricated out of pure propaganda and which a small collection of dangerous cliques in this country are using to advance their own evil ends.

Those are the closing words of The Roosevelt Myth by John T. Flynn, published in 1948. Flynn was a Roosevelt White House insider. His book amply proves his conclusion.

Now we quote a recent article by Stephen Moore at the Daily Signal (originally in the Washington Times):

My seventh-grade son recently wrote a U.S. History paper extolling the virtues of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. “It ended the Great Depression,” he wrote with great certainty. He’s only 12 and parroting what the history texts and his teachers told him.

That’s his excuse. What’s Ken Burns’?

Mr. Burns’s docudrama on the Roosevelts — for those who weren’t bored to tears — repeats nearly all the worn-out fairy tales of the FDR presidency, including what I call the most enduring myth of the 20th century, which is that FDR’s avalanche of alphabet-soup government programs ended the Great Depression. Shouldn’t there be a statute of limitations on such lies?

Ask nearly anyone over the age of 80, and they will say that FDR cared about the working man and “gave the country hope”, a point that Mr. Burns emphasizes. Roosevelt exuded empathy, which isn’t a bad thing … but caring doesn’t create jobs or lift gross domestic product.

Nor does spending government money revive growth, despite the theories put into practice by the then-dean of all economists, John Maynard Keynes. Any objective analysis of these facts can lead to no other conclusion. U.S. unemployment averaged a rate of 18 percent during Roosevelt’s first eight years in office. In the decade of the 1930s, U.S. industrial production and national income fell by about almost one-third. In 1940, after year eight years of the New Deal, unemployment was still averaged a god-awful 14 percent.

Think of it this way. The unemployment rate was more than twice as high eight years into the New Deal than it is today, and American workers now are angry as hornets. Imagine, if jobs were twice as scarce today, the pitchforked revolt that would be going on. This is success?

Almost everything FDR did to jump-start growth retarded it. The rise in the minimum wage kept unemployment intolerably high. (Are you listening, Nancy Pelosi?) Roosevelt’s work programs like the Works Progress Administration, National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were so bureaucratic as to have minimal impact on jobs. Raising tax rates to nearly 80 percent on the rich stalled the economy. Social Security is and always was from the start a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme that will eventually sink into bankruptcy unless reformed.

The cruel irony of the New Deal is that the liberals’ honorable intentions to help the poor and the unemployed caused more human suffering [in America] than any other set of ideas in the past century.

The most alarming story of economic ignorance surrounding this New Deal era was the tax increases while the economy was faltering. … FDR signed one of the most financially devastating taxes: “On April 27, 1942, he signed an executive order taxing all personal income above $25,000 [rich back then] at 100 percent. Congress balked at that idea and later lowered it to 90 percent at the top level.” The New Dealers completely ignored the lessons of the 1920s tax cuts, which just a decade before had unfurled an age of super-growth.

Then there was the spending and debt barrage. Federal spending catapulted from $4.65 billion in 1933 to nearly $13.7 billion in 1941. This tripling of the federal budget in just eight years came at a time of almost no inflation (just 13.1 percent cumulative during that period). Budget surpluses during the prosperous Coolidge years became ever-larger deficits under FDR’s fiscal reign. During his first term, more than half the federal budget on average came from borrowed money.

What is maddening is that thanks to this historical fabrication of FDR’s presidency, dutifully repeated by Mr. Burns, we have repeated the mistakes again and again.

Had the history books been properly written, it’s quite possible we would never had to endure the catastrophic failure of Obamanomics and the “stimulus plans” that only stimulated debt. The entire rationale for the Obama economic plan in 2009 was to re-create new New Deal.

Doubly amazing is that at this very moment, the left is writing another fabricated history — of the years we have just lived through. The [leftist] history books are already painting Obama policies as the just-in-time emergency policies that prevented a Second Great Depression. I wonder if 80 years from now, the American people will be as gullible as they are today in believing, as my 12-year-old does, that FDR was an economic savior.

In confirmation of Steve Moore’s contentions, we take two more extracts from The Roosevelt Myth. 

Of the Planned Economy, Flynn writes:

This curiously un-American doctrine was being peddled in America (under the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt) as the bright flower of the liberals. … They did not dare admit that I implied the restoration to the State of a numerous collection of those very powers which we had stripped from the State as the means of giving freedom to men. They called it the Planned Economy. But it was and is fascism by whatever name it is known. … Little by little the government must be made stronger, the, the rights of the citizens must be reduced. Little by little, if the Planned Economy is to be made to work, the free republic must wither. These two ideas – the idea of a free republic and the idea of a Planned Economy – cannot live together.

Elsewhere he quotes from a 1940 address by President Hoover, highly critical of Roosevelt’s New Deal, to warn America where such policies would lead them, explaining what led to the rise of Fascist and Communist dictatorships in Europe: :

In every single case before the rise of totalitarian governments there had been a period dominated by economic planners. Each of these nations had an era under starry-eyed men who believed that they could plan and force the economic life of the people. … They exalted the State as the solvent of all economic problems.

These men thought they were liberals. But they also thought they could have economic dictatorship by bureaucracy and at the same time preserve free speech, orderly justice and free government. They might be called the totalitarian liberals. They were the spiritual fathers of the New Deal. …

These men shifted the relationship of government to free enterprise from that of umpire to controller. Directly or indirectly they politically controlled credit, prices, production of industry, famer and laborer. They developed, pump-primed, and deflated. They controlled private business by government competition, by regulation and by taxes. They met every failure with demands for more and more power and control … Initiative slackened, industry slowed down production.

Then came chronic unemployment and frantic government spending in an effort to support the unemployed. Government debts mounted and finally government credit was undermined. Out of the miseries of their people there grew pressure groups – business, labor, farmers, demanding relief or special privilege. Class hate poisoned cooperation.

It all has a nasty familiar ring to it – because, as Steve Moore asserts, it is a description of what Democratic government is doing now. And yes, it will lead to a collectivist hell if the Democrats, with their present economic policies, are not very soon removed from power.

The riches of ISIS 9

The Islamic State is a state, whether the world likes it or not (and its doesn’t). A state is populated territory governed by an authority which is able to enforce its will internally and hold off its enemies. IS/ISIS/ISIL is fully able to do that. It is doing it. (Though being at war, its borders are not yet firmly established.) It does not require recognition by other states, nor to be a member of the ludicrous United Nations.

What is more, it is a rich state.

From the Heritage Foundation:

The army of radical Islamists [IS/ISIS/ISIL] controls production of 30,000 barrels of oil a day in Iraq and 50,000 barrels in Syria. By selling the oil on the black market at a discounted price of $40 per barrel (compared to about $93 per barrel in the free market), ISIS takes in $3.2 million a day. …

The oil revenue, which amounts to nearly $100 million each month, allows ISIS to fund its military and terrorist attacks — and to attract more recruits from around the world, including America.

According to James Phillips, veteran expert in Middle Eastern affairs at The Heritage Foundation:

ISIS sells oil to consumers in territory it controls, roughly the size of Maryland, inside Syria and Iraq. The terrorist group also sells oil to a network of smugglers that developed in the 1990s during Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s rule; that network smuggled oil out of Iraq into Turkey to avoid sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

ISIS also reportedly sells oil, through middlemen, to the Assad regime in Syria that is trying to quell rebellion there. When it comes to making a fast buck, the Middle East has no shortage of “strange bedfellows” willing to do business with each other.

[This is very likely to be true. It is the sort of thing that happens in the Arab Middle East. In Lebanon in the early 1980s, when war and civil war were raging there, I learnt that certain factions bought their weapons from other factions that they were fighting fiercely every day – JB]

Oil is only one of the sources of revenue for the Islamic State.

This is from Business Insider:

ISIS brings in nearly $12 million a month in revenues from extortion and other shady practices in the Iraqi city of Mosul alone in addition to $1 million to $3 million a day selling oil illegally. …

In a recent interview with Der Spiegel, Brookings Doha Center fellow Charles Lister explains how ISIS uses its control of food and water supplies to further its goals:

Money is key here. It is well-known that the IS is almost entirely self-financed. Its money comes from the control and illicit sale of oil and gas, agricultural products like wheat, the control of water and electricity and from imposing taxes within areas it controls. It is literally earning millions of dollars each week, and a great deal of this money is pumped into social services.

ISIS’s advance throughout northern Iraq has put vast quantities of prime farmland under the control of the militant organization. Large portions of five of Iraq’s most fertile provinces are currently under ISIS control.

These provinces are collectively responsible for producing 40% of the country’s wheat crop. The militants have also raided between 40,000 and 50,000 tons of grain from government silos in the north of the country.

Al Arabiya reported that ISIS has transported at least 700 tons of grain from western Iraq into Syria for milling and refining. ISIS then proceeded to sell the grain to the Iraqi government through third-parties in order to raise further funds.

ISIS has expanded this effort recently by making flour using the grain it stole from government mills throughout Mosul.

A source at Iraq’s Agricultural Ministry told Reuters that ISIS has placed close to 30% of Iraq’s entire farm production at risk.

This scarcity and food insecurity has driven up prices and increased the windfall that ISIS receives from its wheat trade.

Control of water resources and hydroelectric power stations provide further funding for ISIS. The control of massive pieces of infrastructure, such as the Tabqa Dam outside of ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqqah, Syria, along with the group’s short-lived seizure of the Mosul Dam in Iraq, further demonstrates ISIS’s capabilities and ambitions. … The dam generates electricity for Aleppo and the surrounding region. ISIS fighters made sure that the dam’s staff was left relatively unmolested, in order to ensure that the dam remained operational.

ISIS collects taxes on a variety of commercial items, such as trucks and cellphone towers Raqqa’s Credit Bank has transformed into a functioning tax authority, with shop owners paying $20 every two months to ISIS in exchange for utilities and security.

ISIS [also engages] in extortion, carjacking, and kidnapping. Kidnappings have become an especially lucrative source of funding for the organization as the group targets foreigners, and attempts to ransom them.

If kidnappings have “become an especially lucrative source of funding” for the Islamic State, it must be because some of their attempts to ransom the captured foreigners have been successful.

ISIS also seized cash and gold from the banks it captured.

Hundreds of airstrikes by the US Air Force will not destroy the Islamic State. Words of condemnation at international summits will not defeat it. The West has allowed the growth of this savage force, has encouraged Islam to believe that it can conquer the Middle East, Europe, and eventually the world. Islam is crowing its triumphalism. It will take iron resolve, a huge commitment of military forces, persistence, and first and foremost the precise defining of the enemy as Islam, if IS/ISIS/ISIL is to be destroyed.

President Obama has poked the nasty thing with a tentative finger, and reluctantly sanctioned some attacking of it from a dizzy height. He will not call the engagement a war. He has sent a few hundred military personnel to Iraq to … what? Advise someone about something?

He’s hoping other nations will do any real fighting that might be necessary. His fervent wish that America will not be perceived (by whom? his political base? the Nobel Peace Prize Committee?) as leading a coalition of states using military force is so desperate that he includes China, and even Iran in his hopes.

Meanwhile the Islamic State is growing, strengthening, flourishing, mass-murdering, and drawing tides of men from all over the world to join its wild jihad.

The economic jihad 7

At least one Western leader, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, seems at last to have become fully aware that Islam is an existential threat to the West – though even now he does not speak its name. (He deplores ISIL [ISIS, IS], not “Islam”.)  And while he calls on Britons to defend their “values and way of life”, he does not seem to notice that the enemy has breached the defenses, is well entrenched in the land, and working its destruction in the very heart of Britain, the City of London, where Islam is successfully pursuing its economic jihad.

Diane Weber Bederman writes at Canada Free Press:

Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Mahathir told a banking conference in Kuala Lumpur in November 2002: “A universal Islamic banking system is a jihad worth pursuing.”

August 16, 2014, David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain, wrote: “We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology which I believe we will be fighting for the rest of my political lifetime … But it is not an invincible one, as long as we are now ready and able to summon up the political will to defend our own values and way of life with the same determination, courage and tenacity as we have faced danger before in our history. That is how much is at stake here: we have no choice but to rise to the challenge.”

He doesn’t seem to realize there are many types of jihad. All with one aim. To wipe out … Western culture. …

The Sharia Compliant economy is already well-embedded in the West. …

Britain is well into a Sharia parallel economy, leading the West in providing Islamic financial and related professional services. She is the top provider of Sharia-compliant finance, with reported assets of $19 billion …

David Cameron says British Treasury will issue £200 million ($320 million) worth of sukuk (bonds) this year. The objective is to enable the government to borrow from Muslim investors. Money does not come without strings. The Treasury also said some sukuk bond issues may require the British government to restrict its dealings with Israeli-owned companies in order to attract Muslim money. … I wonder what groups will be next….

Apparently, it wasn’t enough that the West, in our naïve desire to show how tolerant we are,allowed a culture that is anathema to everything we believe to make a home for itself amongst us. …  Once Sharia Compliant Funds become entwined in Western economy it will be impossible to disentangle.

Let me give you some numbers. It is projected that Muslim world will be doing 50% of their banking needs with Islamic institutions by 2020. Imagine how that will impact the free world economy. Sharia Compliant Investment or Funds had an estimated $1.6 trillion under management as of the end of 2012, and has a forecasted $6.5 trillion under management by the end of 2020, according to a report by the Kuwait Finance House entitled Overview of the Islamic Financial Landscape. …

According to the Global Islamic Finance Report, in 2011 Britain was the main centre for Islamic finance outside the Muslim world.In 2013 Britain’s Sharia Compliant finance was reported to have assets of $19 billion.

Standard & Poor’s released a report on Feb. 5, 2014 predicting that sukuk (Islamic bond) issuances worldwide will top $100 billion in 2014 thanks to higher demand from the Middle East and growth in Malaysia — the world’s largest market.

Sharia Compliant Investing is so strong in the USA that a conference was held in Chicago to publicize the products. The Chicago Islamic Finance & Economic Conference 2014 provided “the platform for the Islamic Finance sector and the Halal industries to engage in meaningful discussions, market and consumer challenges, and chart the path for the Islamic Economy in the United States and Globally”.

According to their brochure: “Islamic Finances estimated to grow 15-20% from its current value of $1.35 trillion in assets covering commercial banking, funds, Sukuks, Takaful and other segments. The Islamic Economy with over $3.0 trillion encompassing Halal food, finance, clothing, tourism, media & recreation, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics is estimated to grow in double digits in the next five years.”

Bloomberg Islamic Finance Platform (ISLM) provides tools and services for investors who want to be compliant with Shariah law. Then September 19, 2012, Bloomberg launched a new Corporate Sukuk (bond) Index for Islamic Finance.

According to Walied Soliman a lawyer at Ogilvy Renault LLP, Canada,“The market has already matured in the U.K., Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. In fact, Canada is ripe for Islamic finance.” But Mohammad Fadel, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in Islamic law said “the real gold mine could be Canada’s natural resources and what that might attract in terms of institutional money from Islamic countries”.

On top of the money made from these products there is a huge bureaucracy involved in this business. Special advisors make decisions … [and] the same advisors tend to be on all boards. And some of these Shariah law authorities are now being paid handsomely by Barclays, Dow Jones, Standard & Poors, HSBC, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Deutschebank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Credit Suisse.

The author gives the names and connections of four of these advisors. One of them is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Financing terrorism is inevitably part of their agenda:

Serious problems come into play when one takes into consideration zakat – charitable contributions. These same Sharia advisors are often responsible for determining the distribution of zakat, which is 2.5% of income that observant Muslims are obliged to make each year.

She quotes the Qu’ran (9:60) and Reliance of the Traveler (The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law):

Recipients of zakat include the poor, the needy, those who serve the needy, and to free the slaves, but recipients also include ‘those who fight in the way of Allah’ and ‘people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army, or volunteers for jihad without remuneration’.

The largest single source of funds for Islamic terrorism is zakat which typically goes through the Islamic banking system. Using the system of zakat, al-Qaeda was able to receive between $300m and $500m over a decade from wealthy businessmen and bankers representing 20% of Saudi GNP, through a web of charities and companies acting as fronts, with the notable use of Islamic banking institutions. …

If there’s no Sharia investing available [Muslims] invest as others.They remain in the mainstream economy of the country in which they have chosen to live. But once Sharia is introduced, the choices narrow.

Before Baroness Warsi was relieved of duty [as a British cabinet minister] she promoted Sharia Compliant investing in Britain. She said it’s about “increasing options, maximizing the products and services we have to offer” and “making Britain the preferred choice for the Muslim world”.  …  Sharia Compliant Funds … actually reduce free choice for Muslim citizens because they become obligated to purchase these funds and separate themselves economically from the rest of the country. …

Finally, she quotes Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a rare brave Muslim voice often speaking up publicly for Western values:

Sharia-compliant finance only empowers Muslim Sharia Law leaders whose real long term vision is to impose Sharia Law on the world and recreate an Islamic Empire. These leaders want to overpower capital free markets and create their version of an Islamic economy. Bankers and business leaders are being duped.

So will Prime Minister Cameron resolve the contradiction between his determination to resist the advance of Islam in the West and his wanting Britain to lead the world in sharia-compliant banking?

According to the Telegraph, reporting in October 2013, Cameron was very keen on the City of London becoming a world center for sharia-compliant finance:

Britain is set to become the first non-Muslim country to sell a bond that can be bought by Islamic investors in a bid to encourage massive new investment into the City.

David Cameron will say in a speech on Tuesday at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London that the Treasury is drawing up plans to issue a £200m Sukuk, a form of debt that complies with Islamic financial law.

The new sharia-compliant gilt will enable Britain to become the first non-Muslim country to tap the growing pool of Islamic investments that is forecast to top £1.3 trillion by next year.

The Prime Minister will say that it would be a “mistake” to miss the opportunity to encourage more Islamic investment in the UK and that the City of London should rival Dubai as a centre for sharia-compliant finance.

“When Islamic finance is growing 50pc faster than traditional banking and when global Islamic investments are set to grow to £1.3 trillion by 2014, we want to make sure a big proportion of that new investment is made here in Britain,” Mr Cameron will tell an audience of senior officials from Islamic countries.

How much wealth is Britain, and the West in general, prepared to sacrifice in order to “struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology“?

We wait to see.

A Western bank dares to say no to the Muslim Brotherhood 4

British banks, with enthusiastic encouragement from Prime Minister David Cameron, succumbed to the temptation to provide “sharia compliant” loans and generally cater to the demands of the enemy, Islam.

Now one bank, HSBC, has changed its corporate mind about dealing with at least some – perhaps the worst – of its Muslim clients.

This is from Gatestone by Sam Westrop. (Sam Westrop, Douglas Murray, and Melanie Phillips are the leading voices – among very few – who dare to speak out loud, clear, and often against the destructive encroachments of Islam on British law, institutions, and traditions.)

In late July, HSBC, a British multinational bank, closed the bank accounts of Anas Al-Tikriti, a prominent British Islamist activist, and his family. HSBC also closed down the bank accounts of the Cordoba Foundation, of which Tikriti is the Director, and the Finsbury Park Mosque.

In response to enquiries, the bank simply stated that to continue providing services would be outside the bank’s “risk appetite.”

This latest round of bank account closures has come as a surprise to counter-terrorism experts and much of the media, who note that the Cordoba Foundation and the Finsbury Park Mosque have enjoyed strong political support in the past.

Just a few weeks previously, HSBC also closed the accounts of the Ummah Welfare Trust, a leading British Islamist charity that has previously partnered with the Al Salah Islamic Association, described by the U.S. Treasury Department as “one of the largest and best-funded Hamas charitable organisations in the Palestinian territories.” Senior Hamas officials have confirmed that Al Salah is “identified with us”.

Anas Al-Tikriti, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain, had his bank account, along with that of his wife and two children, shut down by HSBC. Tikriti has been described as “one of the shrewdest UK-based Brotherhood activists … [who] has sought to persuade Western governments that they should fund Brotherhood groups as moderate alternatives to al-Qaeda”.

Tikriti is also a vocal supporter of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and he has regularly hosted a program on the Arab TV satellite station, Al-Hiwar, founded by Azzam Tamimi, Hamas’s “special envoy” to the UK. Tamimi, in 2004, told the BBC that he would become a suicide bomber if he “had the opportunity”, and described self-sacrifice for Palestine as “a noble cause”.

In an interview with the Muslim Brotherhood’s official website after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Tikriti affirmed “the right of the Iraqis to engage in legitimate resistance against foreign occupation”.  He also has stated that the decision by the Muslim Council of Britain to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day was a “principled stand”.

In response to HSBC’s closure of his bank account, Tikriti claimed that, “HSBC has targeted my family because of my activity in defence of Gaza against the barbaric aggression of the Zionists” and because of his efforts to “oppose the military coup in Egypt”.

While many would dispute Tikriti’s conclusions, his instincts might be right. The one thing that connects Tikriti with the Cordoba Foundation, the Finsbury Park Mosque and the Ummah Welfare Trust is evidence of their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the designated terrorist group, Hamas.

The Cordoba Foundation, which Tikriti heads, has been described by Prime Minister David Cameron, as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood.” In 2009, Cordoba co-sponsored an event organized by Cageprisoners, a pro-jihadist group, which featured as a guest speaker Anwar Al-Awlaki, who later became a senior leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, before he was killed in a U.S. drone-strike in 2011.

The Cordoba Foundation also works closely with the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, whose website was originally registered to Tikriti’s wife, Malath Shakir, whose bank account was also shut down by HSBC. According to UAE media, the Emirates Centre for Human Rights is part of the global Muslim Brotherhood network.

For human rights! How they make a mockery of Western moral principles.

The most surprising organization to be shut out by HSBC, however, is the Finsbury Park Mosque. The loss of its bank accounts has sparked anger from leading British Muslims and sympathetic parliamentarians.

The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a much easier target for criticism. Ten years ago, the hook-handed Imam of the mosque, Abu Hamza –  recently found guilty of eleven terrorism charges after a five-week trial in New York — was arrested on terrorism charges.

We didn’t hear much about that from the media in the US, did we?

After his arrest, however, the British government, eager to rid the Finsbury Park Mosque of its pro-terror reputation, passed control of the institution to the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), one of the better-known Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the UK, and one with which Anas Al-Tikriti was once closely involved. Tikriti’s lobbying efforts for the government to embrace Muslim Brotherhood groups as “moderate” alternatives to more overtly terrorist organizations appeared to have paid off.

The government seemed oblivious, perhaps wilfully so, that the MAB’s founder, Kemal Helbawi, has proclaimed:

Oh honoured brothers, the Palestinian cause is not a struggle on borders or on land only. Rather, it is an absolute clash of civilisations: a satanic programme led by the Jews and those who support them and a divine programme carried by Hamas and the Islamic Movement in particular and the Islamic peoples in general.

We call it a clash of civilization with barbarism.

To run the Finsbury Park Mosque, the MAB appointed directors such as Mohammed Sawalha, a Hamas official described by a Brotherhood website as being “responsible for the political unit of the international Muslim Brotherhood in the UK.” Sawalha is also “said to have masterminded much of Hamas’s political and military strategy” out of London, as reported by the BBC.

In addition, the current Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque, Sheikh Rajab Zaki, was a key speaker at rallies in support of Mohamed Morsi, the former Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt.

Finsbury Park Mosque continues to promote the Muslim Brotherhood preacher, Jamal Badawi, who has described suicide bombers and Hamas terrorists as “freedom fighters” and “martyrs.” Badawi also advocatesthe right for men to beat their wives, if they show “disregard for [their] marital obligations.”

Badawi has also shared a platform with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, and he is a director of the International Association of Muslim Scholars, which, in 2004, issued a fatwa authorizing the murder of American troops in Iraq. In addition, during the U.S. terror-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation in 2007, Badawi was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Finsbury Park Mosque still enjoys strong support from the local Council and the Metropolitan Police, both of which have sponsored events at the mosque with the support of the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi group that is a prolific publisher of anti-Jewish and anti-Shia material. WAMY is accused by a number of governments of funding terrorism.

Both the police and the local government body have provided several tens of thousands of pounds in grants to the mosque.

Likewise, the Ummah Welfare Trust has enjoyed the support of MPs; and the Cordoba Foundation has als0 received government funding through the Prevent scheme, a fund established by the previous Labour government to combat extremism.

Combat extremism by funding the extremists! What’s that if not insane?

As for Anas Al-Tikriti, in January 2014, he was invited by President Obama to the White House, as part of a delegation led by Iraqi politician Osama Al-Nujaifi, who leads the Mutahidoun bloc, a coalition of Iraqi political parties, the leading member body of which, according to Al Monitor, is the Islamic Party, the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The biggest question now about HSBC’s actions is “why?” Some observers have suggested that the HSBC’s decision in 2012 to hire Stuart Levey, the former under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, might have something to do with it. Others have suggested the possibility that the British government’s review into the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Prime Minister is due to hear during the summer recess, might be already having some effect.

On the face of it, it seems unlikely that the government would pressure HSBC to shut down Muslim Brotherhood bank accounts while allowing the British police to fund and sponsor Finsbury Park Mosque, one of the Brotherhood’s most important institutions.

But the coalition government, much like the Labour government that preceded it, seems always to have embraced a contradictory approach in its efforts to confront British Islamism. The present government, for instance, managed to declare the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation a “Hizb ut-Tahrir front” and at the same time provide it with £70,000 of taxpayer monies.

In addition, after the announcement of the Muslim Brotherhood review in March 2014, the Foreign Office revealed that its advisory group on “freedom of religion” was to include a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan, as a board member.

Tariq Ramadan it is worth noting, is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna.

Regardless of these apparent contradictions, HSBC’s decision to close down these bank accounts is welcome. For far too long, Muslim Brotherhood groups in Britain have escaped censure in spite of their promotion of extremism and their connections to terrorism. Even if the government is dithering, at least the private sector is acting.

Without letting ourselves become too optimistic, we venture to hope that this action by HSBC night start a trend.

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