Stage Right, Enter Brazil

This sounds like the political arena in South America will soon be crowded with vast right wing conspiracies.

Good news for a continent that has had to overcome an economic history that ignored the rule of law and property rights, the two fundamental building blocks of a genuine free state. Perhaps the breakdown of the socialist dream-turned-nightmare, Venezuela, is simply speeding up this process?

Hmmm…given all that’s going on in Europe, it appears this a global move…

The Dogs Bark But the Caravan Moves On

An excellent post from the Diplomad in which he outlines a robust approach to the problem approaching our southern border. If our readers have other suggestions (mayhem not being one), please share:

A couple of days ago I posted a piece on Trump’s foreign policy with a reference to the ancient Arabic saying, “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”

News reports tell us there is another sort of caravan on the move. Some 1000-1200 Central Americans, aided it seems by progressive groups and the Mexican government, are “marching,” driving, hiking, riding a train, whatever, on their way to the USA. It is some self-proclaimed “freedom caravan” that intends to arrive on our border, stream across, and then claim asylum in the USA from the violence in Honduras.

This seems to be a new take on the Moroccan “Green March” of 1975 used against Spain in the Western Sahara. The idea is to defy the superior armed Western power to use force against a “popular” march which seeks only some altruistic goal. Very touching. You will notice these sorts of tactics are not used against certain countries known to shoot without compunction.

Anyhow, this little stunt is outrageous as it is being, as noted, aided by a nominally “friendly” country, Mexico (see my take on Mexico’s friendliness here and here). Not only that but legally the marchers have no case. If they are fleeing Honduras, they can seek asylum in Mexico, the first stop in their “escape.” Mexico has the responsibility to grant them asylum, turn them over to the UN, or return them to their country of origin.

It is the political season in Mexico, and the presidential candidates are trying to outdo each other in “standing up to the gringos.” If this stunt succeeds, there will be a flood of similar “marches” very quickly. We either have a border or we don’t. We either have a regime of laws or we don’t. We either have a country or we don’t. This is an existential threat as much if not more so than any actions by Russia, China, or the jihadi crazies.

We cannot just have the dogs bark. They have to bite.

One of the articles I link above noted that Mexico has over fifty diplomatic and consular missions in the United States; Honduras has about dozen missions here. All of these, the Mexican ones especially, are centers of political and immigration activism. The Mexicans, as I have noted before, have been quite open in their meddling in our internal affairs, including in the last elections.

We need to tell these governments in no uncertain terms that we intend to shut down half of their missions immediately, and will shut down others in accordance with their behavior. We, furthermore, need to tell them that we will cease issuing visas, and even shut the border to normal trade and tourism if these sorts of officially tolerated and sponsored events occur.

This is no joke. Serious as a heart attack.

It’s worth going over there to follow the links in his post.

Thanks to Bill Keezer for the tip.

Israel Finally Goes on Offense Against BDS

Well, they’re not banging heads, but Israel is taking (some) names of the leaders of organizations who promote BDS, making them officially persona non grata in the country. At last.

Here’s the list so far:

Europe

  • AFPS (The Association France Palestine Solidarité)
  • BDS France
  • BDS Italy
  • ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
  • FOA (Friends of Al-Aqsa)
  • IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • Norge (The Palestine Committee of Norway) Palestinakomitee
  • PGS (Palestine Solidarity Association in Sweden)
  • Palestinagrupperna i Sverige
  • PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • War on Want
  • BDS Kampagne

USA

  • AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
  • AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
  • Code Pink
  • JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
  • NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
  • USCPR (US Campaign for Palestinian Rights)

Latin America*

  • BDS Chile

South Africa

  • BDS South Africa International
  • BNC (BDS National Committee)

* What?? No Argentinean groups? Maybe all the Nazis finally expired.

This is a start. But it needs to spread deeper and wider. As does information about the depth of the entrenchment of anti-Semitism in Europe.

Norway is a good example. When Breivik massacred all those kids on Utøya Island in 2011, he killed off many of the next generation’s pro-Palestinian BDS leaders. Mark Humphrys devoted a page of his own investigations into Breivik, and into the history of the AUF, whose youngsters had gathered on the island for summer fun: to bash evil Israel.

The AUF youth camp themselves hosted terrorists:

Fatah Youth went to the camp: “It is with consternation that we have received the dramatic news of an awful terrorist attack against a summer camp ran by our comrades of Norwegian Labor Youth AUF … The Fatah Youth group had taken part in the summer camp in the past on the Island of Utoya … Fatah Youth has participated for almost 15 years in the same summer camp”.

Read Mark’s page to see how remarkably open the AUF is about its hatred of Israel and the responsibility (at least among their leadership) for the deaths of innocent Israelis.

He says some of the children initially thought they were in a game:

Apparently, the children and youths were so full of anti-Israel hatred that some of them thought the shooting might be a simulation of Israeli crimes, meant to teach them how bad Israel is.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

It’s good that Israel is beginning to push back more robustly against this blood libel. Until they provide their own sanctioning of the leaders of BDS, it will only grow.

In some possibly related good news, early last year Canada’s government formally refused to validate BDS. The formal condemnation was introduced in Parliament by the Conservatives but was also broadly supported by the liberals, with an endorsement of the motion by Trudeau.

Some months later, Ottawa University also rejected any support; they voted instead to “to remove all language related to BDS, and replace it with a statement of support for peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs”.

Perhaps the odious BDS movement has peaked and is beginning a deserved roll-back. Israel’s decision to ban its leaders is a good start.

Donald Trump’s Speech at the United Nations

President Donald Trump gave an important speech this morning at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City. The first twenty minutes or so of Mr. Trump’s remarks were mostly boilerplate, although he did get a chance to refer to Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man”, undoubtedly causing even more pearl-clutching among the snowflakes who were so appalled at his use of the same designation on Twitter.

In the last third of his speech the president emphatically denounced Socialism, with a special emphasis on Nicolás Maduro and Venezuela. His remarks on Venezuela seemed to induce an uneasy hush in his audience, followed by a smattering of applause — and I was surprised he got even that.

Throughout his speech Mr. Trump repeatedly stressed the importance of national sovereignty and independence, which must surely have brought on dyspepsia among the globalists at the UN who are trying so mightily to bring him down:

Below is the text of the president’s speech, as provided by the White House website:

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Who Sold Black African Slaves to White Slave Traders?

In the following interview, a writer named Tidiane Ndiaye talks about the African slave trade, and the central role played by African Muslims in taking and selling slaves.

What doubleplus ungood words! Surely that makes Mr. Ndiaye a WAYCIST…? No, wait; he’s not white, so he can’t be! Aieeeee! (head explodes).

Many thanks to Ava Lone translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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Welcoming the Caliphate to Brazil

The following article about Brazil’s new open-borders law was published last night at Vlad Tepes.

New immigration law opens Brazil’s borders to drug trafficking and the Islamic Caliphate

by José Atento

This article deals with the situation of the Islamization of Brazil in light of the new Law of Immigration, approved by the country’s Senate and sent for presidential signing. It highlights steps that have been taken to increase the nonexistent Islamic presence in Brazil into become an influential power. To understand the situation one needs to understand the deterioration of the political landscape of the country, which is briefly discussed in the course of the article (keeping in mind that politics in Brazil has a huge complicating factor: endemic corruption).

During an Islamic conference in Chicago in 2008 I heard the audio of a speech from an Imam in which he described how Brazil would become an Islamic nation within 50 years. I was aware of what was happening in the West but I thought that Brazil would not be in the axis of Islamic interest. I was wrong. After all, Brazil is the powerhouse of South America not just due to the size of the country (remember, Brazil is larger than the US without Alaska) but also due to the size of its economy and influence. It is said that where Brazil goes so goes South America. Indeed.

In 1964 a democratic but USSR-leaning government was overthrown by the Brazilian military under the pretext of keeping Brazil from becoming a “New Cuba.” The military regime remained in power, relinquishing it slowly under pressure from a democratic front that encompassed politicians, civil society and the Brazilian Roman Catholic bishops, most of them adherents of the Liberation Theology. During this time communist-style guerrilla warfare took place and several of the guerrilla leaders ended up deported, mostly to Chile (under Allende), Cuba or France. In 1988, a new Constitution was promulgated and in 1989 presidential elections were held. The guerrilla leaders returned to the country under an amnesty law and joined a number of pro-Socialist parties. The most notable of them was the Labor Party (PT), led by the union leader Lula da Silva, who was compared by many to Lech Walesa and Václav Havel. The difference is that unlike Walesa and Havel, Lula wanted Socialism and Globalism.

The new civilian regime reached its apex during the presidency of Fernando Cardoso (1995-2003), of the also Left-leaning Social Democrats (PSDB). He controlled inflation and led the country to phenomenal growth, even though under accusations of rampant corruption. Lula da Silva was elected in 2003, remaining in power until 2011. He used the economic legacy of his predecessor, creating his own corruption base in an attempt to solidify power. His goal was to keep the Labor Party in permanent control of the Federal Government. He was followed by Dilma Roussef in 2012, but the economy did not survive 8 years of Lula da Silva and corruption that reached unprecedented levels. The corruption was made public by a few young and courageous judges in what has been know as Operation Car Wash. Dilma Roussef was impeached, being replaced by her vice-president, Michel Temer.

It should be mentioned that since Fernando Cardoso’s presidency, Brazil has turned towards the Left and several former guerrilla members have become Ministers of State. It continues up to today under the current president.

Then enters the unholy alliance between the Left and Islam, Brazilian style.

Most of the Left in Brazil is anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and Pro-Palestinian. Add to the equation the inherent animosity against the USA (accused of helping the military in 1964) and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and al-Khadafi, as well as their sympathy for Iran, and you have open doors for any Islamic leader to the high echelons of power.

Since the late 1990s there has been a growing presence of Saudi and UAE support for an exponential effort in building mosques and madrassas, even though the number of Muslims remains small (official records mention fewer than 100,000 whereas Islamic leaders mention two million).

There has been also an increase in the number of visits by Islamic leaders of any kind to government officials at state, municipal and federal levels. There has also been increasing activity dealing with public safety, including the arrest of several Muslims accused of terror plots, as well as increasing activity of Hezbollah in connection with organized crime.

But Islam has not made an impact on the local population as its leaders would like. The only way for a faster growth is by fostering Muslim immigration to Brazil. There has been a concerted effort linking government officials, NGOs (e.g., funded by the likes of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and the Ford Foundation), Christian groups and Islamic leaders to open the doors for more immigrants and refugees. The halal industry is a door, but not to import enough Muslims. Meet the new Law of Immigration.

Senator Aloysio Nunes, himself a former guerrilla fighter, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, is the author of this legislation that, among other things, destroys the borders of the country. The main intention of the Brazilian Left is the “continental integration”, i.e., that South America becomes a single Socialist entity (they have Venezuela as a model, seriously). So, the new legislation targets primarily the free transit of foreigners from bordering countries, giving them full citizenship rights. But anyone who comes to Brazil, even as tourist, can claim the same. The doors are open to anyone, from anywhere.

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Letter from Mexico

Our Mexican correspondent Ramiro González Camarena sends these brief remarks on last week’s election from a south-of-the-border perspective, and includes some of the relevant political context in Mexico.

Ned,

I Just wanted to say hi in this calm moment after the storm. I hope you and Dymphna are doing well and have a bit of peace of mind now. At least I do.

It would be hard for me to explain why, but I’m glad about the outcome of the election. I was terrified at the mere thought of this woman in power, though none of my acquaintances or friends seemed to see this — of course we became the “silent majority of Mexicans” that do not agree with the views she had. Amalia, my wife, has also learnt to keep quiet around friends and acquaintances.

Sometimes it feels as if the middle class of educated youth all over the world had ideologically betrayed the lower classes, by trying to climb up to an elite lifestyle, and had ended up disconnected from reality — too much information and too much denial, I suppose? Too much of an alternate reality via the interwebs, perhaps? I’m afraid I’m only guessing.

I was raised to think it was going to be the other way around, that middle classes would be educated to achieve something better for all. That now sounds like the mantra a SJW repeats to himself every day. Nevertheless I still hope that hard work, ingenuity and not being plain stupid by ignoring the signs of times will give my family something better than what the world has to offer.

By the way, since the political party PRI came to power in 2012, we all knew there were rough times ahead for the Mexican economy. They’ve been causing crises every since — I heard about 1982 when inflation reached 800%, and I lived through 1994 when we lost our family owned bakery yet people in power became richer. So it was only a matter of time.

And I don’t blame the US for what’s happening today, I only think somebody had to end the vicious cycle of people having to illegally emigrate instead of holding their government accountable for the lack of work, awful rural conditions, a stale economy, ever-increasing bureaucrat salaries, taxpayers’ money funding private owned Ferraris, reductions in tech and education budgets, and so on.

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The Other Referendum

While Hungarians were voting “NO” to Brussels-imposed migrant quotas, Colombians were voting “NO” to the peace deal with FARC guerillas brokered by the Cuban government. Our Colombian correspondent Diego sends this brief report on the weekend’s referendum in his country.

Colombians Vote “NO”

by Diego

Probably many people woke up and noticed, among many other things, that “NO” to modern authoritarianism won two great victories. In Hungary (although the turnout didn’t reach the 50% threshold, the “NO” vote was at 95-98%) and in Colombia.

After a very close vote (which the MSM is trying to interpret as a “betrayal of the rural parts of the country”) the “NO” won with approximately 50.2% of the vote in the plebiscite to approve the peace accords signed in Havana.

Soon enough people began blaming other factors — dissatisfaction with Santos’ policies, abstentionism (which was, while still high, not as high as it was for example in the presidential elections that put Mr. Santos into office), and even a storm that prevented people on the Caribbean coast from voting. However, judging by the reactions in social media, I can say that the voters who had no arguments whatsoever were those who supported the President.

Another important phenomenon was the “Ghost No” vote. Such a vote was comprised of people who refused to vote, or cast invalid ballots, hoping to sabotage the plebiscite and keep it from reaching the threshold (13%), or simply not voting out of self-preservation (public employees, paranoid students and similar groups).

This is by no means an exhaustive analysis of yesterday’s vote, but I hope it will serve as a useful outline.

I, for once, will celebrate the fact that in my pessimism regarding this specific plebiscite I have been proved wrong.

See this BBC report for more on the Colombian referendum.

Previous posts by Diego:

2015   Mar   19   The Islamization of South America
        23   On Rome, Russia and Multiculturalism
    May   8   Traicion a la Mejicana
    Aug   14   Latin America: Socialism, Tantrums, and Islam
2016   Jan   4   Jugando con Polvora, Or How the World is About to Burn
    Jun   13   A Response to Post-Modernity
    Aug   22   How Do We Defend the West Against 21st-Century Saracens?
 

The Decline and Fall of the Catholic West

Emmet Scott’s latest essay concerns the decline of the Catholic Church and its relationship to the demographic decline that helped prompt the current “refugee” crisis.

The Decline and Fall of the Catholic West

by Emmet Scott

Recent events have forcefully highlighted, to all but the most wilfully ignorant, that Western Civilization is — especially in Europe — in the midst of an existential crisis. The tides of humanity now pouring into Europe from the Middle East, southern Asia and northern as well as sub-Saharan Africa, will, if the process continues even for another year or so, make the continent virtually unrecognizable in a generation. North America is undergoing its own “Third World” invasion, but, since most of its immigrants derive from Latin America, the situation there is different. Latin Americans are, ultimately, not too different from North Americans culturally. The immigration to Europe, however, is coming overwhelmingly from Sunni Islam, and that makes it an entirely different ball game. We are witnessing nothing less than the birth of the long-predicted Eurabia.

The possibility, even likelihood, that Europe would eventually cease to be “European” has been understood for at least half a century, ever since the commencement of large scale Third World immigration in the 1960s and ‘70s — initially into France and Britain and later into virtually all western European states. Now, whilst it is true that the ruling elites have encouraged this process for economic and ideological reasons, it is also true that a primary cause of the influx has been the massive decline in Europe’s birth rate since the 1970s.

The drop in European (and American) birth rates is a complex and controversial topic and may well have more than a single cause. Nonetheless, one thing is very clear: the process has coincided almost precisely with an unprecedented and rapid abandonment of the Catholic faith amongst the Catholic populations of Europe and America, an abandonment which commenced with the implementation of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, from 1965 onwards. I’ll look at those reforms presently, but for the moment wish merely to look at a few of the statistics.

Until the late 1960s the Catholic Church in Europe and the Americas was experiencing an almost unprecedented growth and expansion, a growth driven primarily by demographics, but also by conversions. In the years leading up to 1965, for example, conversions to Catholicism were running at around 150,000 per year in the United States alone. Catholic seminaries were packed and new ones were being opened every year. Demographics were also favourable: almost all regions of Catholic Europe and the Americas (North and South) had high birth rates. Indeed, during the first half of the twentieth century and even during much of the nineteenth, birthrates among Catholics and in Catholic regions were substantially higher than among Protestants and among those who practiced no religion. Some were extremely high. Quebec, for example, with its conservative French-speaking Catholicism, had one of the highest birth-rates in the world. Catholic parts of Europe presented a similar picture: During the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, for example, the birth-rate in the Catholic south of the Netherlands was almost twice that of the Protestant north. By the mid-1960s the Netherlands was well on the way to becoming a predominantly Catholic country for the first time since the seventeenth century. And the same was true of many traditionally Protestant regions of Europe. The Catholic Church in Scotland, for example, which had been reduced to little more than a remnant by the eighteenth century, experienced a rapid and largely demographically-driven growth during the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. By the mid-1960s Catholics formed a fifth of Scotland’s population, and the numbers were growing rapidly.

Until the mid-1960s Italy was proverbially a family-orientated society. During the latter half of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century the country experienced a massive population increase, and only large-scale emigration to North and South America prevented the country from overtaking France and Germany in terms of population.

But the Catholic population explosion came to a rapid — almost a sudden — end in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and whilst a whole kaleidoscope of opinions regarding this have been expressed and put into print, one fact is undeniable: The demographic nose-dive was accompanied by the wholesale abandonment of the faith by vast numbers of Catholics. One of the best studies to date is entitled “From Empty Pews to Empty Cradles: Fertility Decline Among European Catholics” (by Eli Berman, Laurence R. Iannaccone and Giuseppe Ragusa). The title of the article expresses the major point quite succinctly. From the late 1960s until the present the Catholic Church has experienced a mass apostasy quite unprecedented in its history. In Europe, the apostasy has generally taken the form of rejection of all religion or simple non-practice. The vast majority of Catholics in Italy and Spain, for example, whilst still “Catholic” for statistical purposes, are in fact Catholics in name only and never — or very rarely — attend church services. There has also been some leakage to various strands of evangelical Protestantism and to other faiths such as Buddhism and Islam, but the numbers are not large. In the Americas, however, the situation is quite different: Both in North America and Latin America great numbers of Catholics have converted to evangelical Protestantism since the early 1970s. So enormous has this movement been in Latin America that at least three countries, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, are now predominantly Protestant. Uruguay in South America is also now a majority non-Catholic country, though in this case most Catholics have become secularists or atheists. In 1960, 90% of Latin Americans identified themselves as Catholic: by 2013 that figure had reached 69% and was dropping rapidly. (More recent estimates put the figure at around 63% as of May 2016)

North America presents a similar picture. In spite of massive, mainly-Catholic, Hispanic immigration, the Catholic Church in the United States is currently losing almost half a million adherents every year, some to evangelical churches, many to secularism. Altogether, 41% of those born Catholic in the United States have left the church.

If we seek to identify the cause of Catholicism’s collapse in its traditional European and American heartlands, we need look no further than the Second Vatican Council: For the collapse, both in terms of practice and in terms of birth-rate, began within about five years of the Council’s close and the implementation of its reforms.

What then was the Second Vatican Council, and why was it so devastating?

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How Do We Defend the West Against 21st-Century Saracens?

Our Colombian correspondent Diego sends this brief essay in which, as he said in his email, “I decided to gather my thoughts on a couple of topics.”

Note: Diego has chosen to broach a topic (often enclosed these days in triple-nested parenthetics) that frequently attracts irrational and unpleasant responses in the comments. We’ll allow greater latitude than we usually do, because it is, after all, part of the topic. But there is a limit to how much nastiness and vitriol will pass muster, and where that limit is set is entirely at Dymphna’s and my discretion.

Also: If you include a controversial historical/factual assertion in your comment, make sure you source it. Any triple-parenthesis website will not be considered a reputable source.

How Do We Defend the West Against 21st-Century Saracens?

by Diego

I was browsing through the Internet, and found some… interesting pages. But I must say, that I ended with the same situation of a few months ago with the right-wing student magazine in Colombia.

I have always said something when talking to my close friends about Europe. From my outsider point of view, I can see Europe between a rock and a hard place.

I won’t give names of the websites, but it saddens me to a great extent to see the views expressed by these people actually gaining traction. However, we must remember: Man is not a rational creature, and rational arguments are not enough to convince most people.

The sites in question, ultra-conservative Christian pages (from the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox traditions, but open to all Christians) espouse the idea of “Supersessionism”, or the belief that the Christian Church as thoroughly replaced the Jews as God’s Chosen People.

While I normally do not care about such things (I oppose this belief, but that’s beyond the scope of this text) the constant anti-Israel propaganda spouted under the name of a “True Christian” view can be disgusting at times.

Sadly, this is far from the only case. While Colombians tend to not care about what is happening in the rest of the Western World, I have noticed that among the people forming the bulk of the Counterjihad movement, there is a movement towards being anti-Semitic as well, some even going so far as to claim that, just as Europe belongs to Europeans, Jews should “leave Palestine”! Or openly claiming that “Jews are behind the Islamization of Europe”.

I am afraid, my friends, that we — those who can see that Israel and Judaism are taking a lot of fire from the mujahideen that would otherwise be directed towards the West, and who see that Israel and the Jewish people are one of our most important allies with invaluable experience — are a minority.

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A Response to Post-Modernity

Our Colombian correspondent Diego returns with an essay about the animosity between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity. He reminds us that there can be only one final beneficiary of such sectarian squabbles: the Caliphate.

A Response to Post-Modernity
by Diego

Posmodernidad (Post-Modernity) is the name of a right-wing bi-monthly magazine published by a group of students from various (private) Colombian Universities. When I first saw it (as of its April Issue) it was fairly interesting; however my opinion of the magazine (and the group behind it) changed drastically upon visiting their website.

Soon enough I noticed an ultra-Catholic group. Normally this wouldn’t be much of a bother, but these people took it to a… questionable level. Most (if not all) of the following criticism will be based on their article “Putin’s Christianity”.

I must make this clear, they seem to, at least, be old-fashioned Catholics, before Novus Ordo Missae and “Liberation Theology”, so they deserve at least some of my respect. Now, without further ado…

The main point of the article seems to be to paint Putin as a threat to conservative values in Catholic Europe. To do this, they couldn’t find any better way than to attack him from a religious point of view, spewing out an article of anti-Orthodox propaganda that the 17th-century Polish Church hierarchy would be proud of.

So to these ultra-Catholics today, I must say the following:

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Matt Bracken Interview: “Europe is Going to be Hit First and Worst”

Matthew Bracken is the author of several novels, and more recently the important essay “Tet, Take Two: Islam’s 2016 European Offensive”.

Yesterday Mr. Bracken was interviewed by The Rebel Media. In the following excerpts he discusses the III Percent movement, Western Rifle Shooters, the coming civil wars in Europe, and the final stages of the “long march through the institutions.”

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:

Matthew Bracken was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1957, and attended the University of Virginia, where he received a BA in Russian Studies and was commissioned as a naval officer in 1979. Later in that year he graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, and in 1983 he led a Naval Special Warfare detachment to Beirut, Lebanon. Since then he’s been a welder, boat builder, charter captain, ocean sailor, essayist and novelist. He lives in Florida. Links to his short stories and essays may be found at EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com. For his previous essays, see the Matthew Bracken Archives.

If You’re Going to Steal, Make Sure You Steal BIG

The following op-ed from the German weekly Die Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung discusses the “Panama Papers” scandal, and the difference between the penalties for tax cheating imposed on small players versus those (not) handed out to the big boys.

Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

Good Shelters, Bad Shelters

Why we are looking into Panama, of all places, why companies can keep on cheating, and how the state socks it to us.

The week in Review with Hans Heckel

April 9, 2016

In the cinema classic Arsenic and Old Lace, two charming aunties kill lonesome old men out of pure compassion. Under the pretext of renting a room, they entice the gentlemen into their house. They offer a glass of wine which has been liberally spiced with arsenic, strychnine and potassium chloride, thus bringing the poor soul “closer to God”. They have hit upon an unusual method for disposing of the bodies. They have their mentally ill nephew, Teddy, dig holes in the basement. Teddy thinks he is the expired US president, Teddy Roosevelt, and believes his labors in the basement are constructing the Panama Canal. The aunts tell him that the men have died of contagious Yellow Fever, so he hastens to put them underground.

The play — originally a success on Broadway — appeared in US movie theaters during WWII. No doubt it was intended to divert Americans from the horrors of the war.

Decades later, to our considerable indignation, we learn that thousands of well-to-do people are actually digging their own “Panama Canal” to bury their dubious tax corpses. The report of the unearthed “Panama Papers” is as poisonous to the [political] atmosphere as the old ladies’ wine was to their victims.

Here we go again. Rich people infected by Gold Fever move their loot out of the country without penalty, while revenue agents can strip us little people mercilessly. Politicians, nothing loath, are fanning the flames of our fury — like SPD vice chair, Ralf Stegner, who immediately pushed the suspicion that the “Canal money” might even be financing terrorism.

The cries of politicians in agreement should make us mistrustful. Is the drama surrounding the Panama Papers, when all is said and done, just a black comedy intended to divert us from what is truly horrifying?

Every few years we hear about some new tax shelter which concerned parties empty out with great fanfare. The USA especially makes a big show of it, as we may remember in relation to Switzerland. Strangely, nothing changes in the entire tax flight problem. There is still no legally enforceable international regulation which will permanently suppress this kind of trickery.

Perhaps that is because the Amis themselves have set up tax shelters in Delaware[1] and elsewhere in their own territory, which energetically solicit billions from non-American investors. Under this lacy cover of “tax justice”, is there nothing more than a bare-knuckle brawl of competing shelters? At any rate, it is not only Delaware and Company that have remained unchecked. Global concerns, too, can slip their billions earned in Germany into foreign territories under the inattentive noses of our politicians, while Stegner[2] and colleagues go off on private individuals who smuggle their money to Switzerland or Panama.

The trickery with profits makes use of quite simple devices, such as this: The company creates a subsidiary in the tax shelter. The company’s naming rights are transferred to the subsidiary. From that point on, the company must pay fees to the faux firm in the shelter in order to continue to use its trademark in Germany. The amount of the fees is negotiable and — surprise! — is exactly equal to the firm’s earnings. So the firm, on paper, earns no money. No profit, no tax. The scheme is complete.

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Knife Attack in Paysandú, Uruguay: “I Killed a Jew Because Allah Ordered It”

An adherent of the Religion of Peace stabbed a Jewish leader to death on the streets of Paysandú, Uruguay. Witnesses report that the alleged perpetrator proclaimed did it in the name of Islam, but the police are hedging their bets — all they will say is that the disturbed young man, who may have a history of mental problems, has not admitted a religious motive for his deed.

Many thanks to Fausta for translating this Uruguayan news report, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Transcript:

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