Well, in spite of naysayers of all stripes, the Spanish central government finally applied the law and is now in the process of rounding up the seditious gang that brought Catalonia to the edge of doom.
And in spite of the cackling of their minions, like Assange, Financial Times and the New York Times…nothing happened. Nor will it.
Here’s a little secret: Most of the people of Catalonia, including autonomists, have no inclination to follow these nutcases into the void.
Alas, the process was so slow and convoluted that by the time the rule of law was restored in the halls of the Catalonian government, over 2,100 companies had left the region transferring headquarters to the rest of Spain, from Santander and Madrid, to Baleares and Valencia. In October, job creation in Madrid surpassed 30,000 while in Barcelona remained close to nothing. Exacerbating a trend of migration from Catalonia to other parts of Spain.
This requires a little aside: Want it or not, Catalonia is not an economic island. The Catalan economy is joined at the hip with the rest of Spain, and despite the insane cackling of separatists, they do not sustain Spain but benefit from that relationship. Their stupidity has managed to transfer capital from Catalonia to the rest of Spain at unprecedented rates and speed. And Catalans are going to pay dearly for it.
The loss of employment in Barcelona has been a boon to Madrid, Valencia and Baleares. While the Catalan GDP is about to suffer a drop of major crisis proportions, that of Spain will remain fairly stable. Sure, there’ll be some loss of tourism and reduced activity over all, but Spanish hiccup is Catalonia’s pneumonia. So much for the brave separatists. They know about economy as much as they do about genetics or history: Nothing.
Why did it take so long? Why did the Spanish government not react immediately after the ill conceived and illegally enacted law of September 6 that got the ball rolling? Because they had no choice.
Spain had a tumultuous history in the 20th Century. Unresolved issues dating back to the liberal movement that saved Spain from French occupation during the Napoleonic wars persisted in a series of revolutions that swung the country from liberal republicanism to absolutism with clockwork regularity from the early 1800s until Francisco Franco, assisted by Hitler and Mussolini imposed his brand of Fascism to the nation.
Unlike Germany and Italy, occupied, reformed (to a degree) and rebuilt by the Allies, Spain was betrayed and left to rot under one of the most oppressive regimes Europe ever knew.
It only came to an end at the dictator’s death on 20 November 1975. He died as he continued to horrify the world with examples of uncommon barbarism. The execution on 2 March 1974 of Salvador Puig Antich, by the most barbaric method he could rescue from the annals of the middle ages was followed on 27 September 1975 by that of Jose Humberto Baena, Jose Luis Sanchez Bravo, Ramon Garcia Sanz, Juan Paredes Manot “Txiki,” and Angel Otaegi by shooting squad.
These executions left most people with a lingering bad taste in their mouths and a profound aversion to government power.
Mind you. Terrorists and cop killers deserve to die in my book. I will not make apologies for them. But the selection of medieval torture right out of the Inquisition to execute them is an expression not of the barbaric nature of their crimes, but of the barbaric nature of the Franco regime right up to his death.
We all expected Spain to return to some sort of absolutism at his death. Instead, Liberty poured out as if taking a cork out of a well shaken bottle of Champagne, and in 1978 a new Spanish constitution was voted in by an almost unbelievable majority ushering in an era of Democratic government Spain never had enjoyed. To his credit, king Juan Carlos supported this process. As the last President of the Republic in Exile, Dn. Claudio Sánchez Albornoz, told me in 1978: “not bad for a Bourbon.”
An unintended consequence of this reaction is that the Spanish Government is a eunuch. It has very limited legal powers further hampered by a convoluted legal system.
There was no possible immediate response within the realm of legality to the putsch started by a band of criminals in violation of Spanish and Catalan laws!
When the Superior Tribunal of Catalonia declared the proceedings illegal, it depended on the local police, the “Mozos de Escuadra,” to carry out their orders. The Mozos leadership, a collection of corrupt misfits of whom I have written at length, simply refused to carry out the Court’s orders, leaving the Civil Guard, acting in its capacity as Judicial Police under the orders of the Catalonia tribunals (and not as a force of the central government as certain Goebbels wannabes insist) to hold the bag.
They did an excellent job with minimum violence. Lack of any hospitalizations but that of police officers after the events are a testimony to that. But the Central government could still not act.
Until the same gang of dim wits declared independence but did not declare independence while claiming to having declare independence in a closed session that was as illegal under Catalan law as it was ridiculous.
Then, per the constitution, the Central government was permitted to…request clarification in writing, and no more! They did, and following the prescribed period, initiated a limited intervention of the Catalan government [Title VIII, art. 155 of the Spanish Constitution], allowing the Catalonian courts to handle the illegalities.
More of these illegalities are coming to light as their records are audited, and more corrupt officials are going to face a judge while the populace of Catalonia remains relatively calm and awaiting elections on 21 December to restore the autonomic institutions.
My take is that separatists, who never obtained a majority anyhow, will not this time around either. They may, in fact, lose sizeable support. But what if they do? What if separatists get elected by some miracle? Nothing. The Central government will have no choice but to relinquish government to them and end its intervention, awaiting for their actions to warrant another round…or not.
In the meantime, the full scale of the corruption and lawlessness of the Puigdemont-Junqueras gang will become known. They and their associates will face trial and will receive stiff sentences. Not only for their recent seditious actions, but for graft corruption, nepotism and bribery schemes few of the uninformed can even grasp today. On advise of their lawyers they will show contrition and those sentences will be reduced.
Barring a jailhouse rebellion that will never occur, they will be freed after completing some 25% of their reduced sentences…and counting time served during trial will be freed after a few months.
Look for people to scream bloody murder and talk of secret agreements. None of that is true. But in post-Franco Spain, staying in jail requires a special effort. Ask the Jihadists that come and go through the system’s revolving doors with impunity.
Maybe one day people will realize that amendments are, indeed, needed in the 1978 constitution. Until then, both good citizens and criminals can enjoy the amazing freedoms afforded them in the country most unjustly branded totalitarian by a venal press around the world that cares very little for real Justice.
There has been so much falsehood in commentary on internet regarding this speech, that I feel compelled to offer it here in its entirety.
I will later add commentary, but it speaks for itself.
Far from being an indictment of the Trump administration (and under no interpretation it is,) it portrays the difficulties faced by the US and abroad in these difficult times.
I have left the greetings intact, that the whole may be considered in its full context.
George W. Bush speech 19 October 2017
“Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World” event in New York
Thank you all. Thank you. Ok, Padilla gracias. So, I painted Ramon. I wish you were still standing here. It’s a face only a mother could love – no, it’s a fabulous face. I love you Ramon, thank you very much for being here.
And, Grace Jo thank you for your testimony. And, big Tim. I got to know Tim as a result of Presidential Leadership Scholars at the Bush Center along with the Clinton Foundation, with help from 41 and LBJ’s libraries.
I am thrilled that friends of ours from Afghanistan, China, North Korea, and Venezuela are here as well. These are people who have experienced the absence of freedom and they know what it’s like and they know there is a better alternative to tyranny.
Laura and I are thrilled that the Bush Center supporters are here. Bernie [Tom Bernstein], I want to thank you and your committee. I call him Bernie.
It’s amazing to have Secretary Albright share the stage with Condi and Ambassador Haley. For those of you that kind of take things for granted, that’s a big deal. (Laughter and Applause.) Thank you.
We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment. The great democracies face new and serious threats – yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.
Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of free markets, from the strength of democratic alliances, and from the advance of free societies. At one level, this has been a raw calculation of interest. The 20th century featured some of the worst horrors of history because dictators committed them. Free nations are less likely to threaten and fight each other.
And free trade helped make America into a global economic power.
For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.
We know, deep down, that repression is not the wave of the future. We know that the desire for freedom is not confined to, or owned by, any culture; it is the inborn hope of our humanity. We know that free governments are the only way to ensure that the strong are just and the weak are valued. And we know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.
This is not to underestimate the historical obstacles to the development of democratic institutions and a democratic culture. Such problems nearly destroyed our country – and that should encourage a spirit of humility and a patience with others. Freedom is not merely a political menu option, or a foreign policy fad; it should be the defining commitment of our country, and the hope of the world.
That appeal is proved not just by the content of people’s hopes, but a noteworthy hypocrisy: No democracy pretends to be a tyranny. Most tyrannies pretend they are democracies. Democracy remains the definition of political legitimacy. That has not changed, and that will not change.
Yet for years, challenges have been gathering to the principles we hold dear. And, we must take them seriously. Some of these problems are external and obvious. Here in New York City, you know the threat of terrorism all too well. It is being fought even now on distant frontiers and in the hidden world of intelligence and surveillance. There is the frightening, evolving threat of nuclear proliferation and outlaw regimes. And there is an aggressive challenge by Russia and China to the norms and rules of the global order – proposed revisions that always seem to involve less respect for the rights of free nations and less freedom for the individual.
These matters would be difficult under any circumstances. They are further complicated by a trend in western countries away from global engagement and democratic confidence. Parts of Europe have developed an identity crisis. We have seen insolvency, economic stagnation, youth unemployment, anger about immigration, resurgent ethno-nationalism, and deep questions about the meaning and durability of the European Union.
America is not immune from these trends. In recent decades, public confidence in our institutions has declined. Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy. Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.
There are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned, especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning. Some have called this “democratic deconsolidation.” Really, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers, and forgetfulness.
We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.
We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.
We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments – forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge.
In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have a great advantage: To renew our country, we only need to remember our values.
This is part of the reason we meet here today. How do we begin to encourage a new, 21st century American consensus on behalf of democratic freedom and free markets? That’s the question I posed to scholars at the Bush Institute. That is what Pete Wehner and Tom Melia, who are with us today, have answered with “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World,” a Call to Action paper.
The recommendations come in broad categories. Here they are: First, America must harden its own defenses. Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy. And that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats.
America is experiencing the sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions. According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systematic and stealthy, it’s conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions – including cyber-attacks, disinformation and financial influence – should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion.
The second category of recommendations concerns the projection of American leadership – maintaining America’s role in sustaining and defending an international order rooted in freedom and free markets.
Our security and prosperity are only found in wise, sustained, global engagement: In the cultivation of new markets for American goods. In the confrontation of security challenges before they fully materialize and arrive on our shores. In the fostering of global health and development as alternatives to suffering and resentment. In the attraction of talent, energy and enterprise from all over the world. In serving as a shining hope for refugees and a voice for dissidents, human rights defenders, and the oppressed.
We should not be blind to the economic and social dislocations caused by globalization. People are hurting. They are angry. And, they are frustrated. We must hear them and help them. But we can’t wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution. One strength of free societies is their ability to adapt to economic and social disruptions.
And that should be our goal: to prepare American workers for new opportunities, to care in practical, empowering ways for those who may feel left behind. The first step should be to enact policies that encourage robust economic growth by unlocking the potential of the private sector, and for unleashing the creativity and compassion of this country.
A third focus of this document is strengthening democratic citizenship. And here we must put particular emphasis on the values and views of the young.
Our identity as a nation – unlike many other nations – is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility. We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence. We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. Constitution. We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.
And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.
We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.
Finally, the Call to Action calls on the major institutions of our democracy, public and private, to consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust.
For example, our democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate and fair. Our democracy needs religious institutions that demonstrate integrity and champion civil discourse. Our democracy needs institutions of higher learning that are examples of truth and free expression.
In short, it is time for American institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation.
Ten years ago, I attended a Conference on Democracy and Security in Prague. The goal was to put human rights and human freedom at the center of our relationships with repressive governments. The Prague Charter, signed by champions of liberty Vaclav Havel, Natan Sharansky, Jose Maria Aznar, called for the isolation and ostracism of regimes that suppress peaceful opponents by threats or violence.
Little did we know that, a decade later, a crisis of confidence would be developing within the core democracies, making the message of freedom more inhibited and wavering. Little did we know that repressive governments would be undertaking a major effort to encourage division in western societies and to undermine the legitimacy of elections.
Repressive rivals, along with skeptics here at home, misunderstand something important. It is the great advantage of free societies that we creatively adapt to challenges, without the direction of some central authority. Self-correction is the secret strength of freedom. We are a nation with a history of resilience and a genius for renewal.
Right now, one of our worst national problems is a deficit of confidence. But the cause of freedom justifies all our faith and effort. It still inspires men and women in the darkest corners of the world, and it will inspire a rising generation. The American spirit does not say, “We shall manage,” or “We shall make the best of it.” It says, “We shall overcome.” And that is exactly what we will do, with the help of God and one another.
As things in Catalonia are drawing to an ignominious close for the separatists, it is time to do a little recap.
Why this mess?
This latest phase begun in earnest soon after the attacks in Barcelona.
While the world watched in awe at the incredible incapacity bordering on callousness of the Catalan government and their hapless police force, which I reported in real time, the very imbeciles who ignored all warnings and blundered their way through the tragic events decided to exploit the crisis to distract from their corruption and incompetence.
To be sure, this is not a new phenomenon, nor am I making that claim now.
Josep Tarradellas (1899-1988), one of the founding members of ERC and a veteran of the Spanish Republic and the struggle against Franco, became the first president of the Generalitat in 1977, and during the period of adoption of the Spanish Constitution and the establishment of the current autonomous period.
Soon after he left his position to Jordi Pujol, I was reading La Vanguardia at “La Cava Universal” one of my favorite spots on the Ramblas, at Anselmo Clavé Street, in the shade of the Columbus monument. The letter was dated on 16 April 1981, and Tarradellas words ring prophetic today: Pujol, he claimed, was determined to “Hide the failures of his government and lack of moral authority of his minions” by the old trick of “playing the persecuted, the victim.” Sounds familiar?
For 36 years, as the independentist leaders of Catalonia gave abundant proof of their incompetence, immorality and corruption, they faithfully played the cards anticipated by Tarradellas.
It all came to a head in 2015, as police raided Pujol’s house in the midst of a corruption investigation. It turns out the patriots of Catalonia had been stuffing their bank accounts in Andorra for years while beating their chests and proclaiming lofty intentions.
As part of the investigation, police also raided the offices of CDC, Pujol’s political party, then already in the hands of his successor, Artur Mas. As evidence of kickbacks and graft mounted, Mas was quick to fall back into Tarradellas’s “oldest trick”: He claimed the investigation was an effort to derail Catalonian independence!
In September of 2015, in the midst of these corruption scandals, they had parliamentary elections in Catalonia. To distract from the investigations that plagued the independentists…they turned it into an independence plebiscite! And they lost. Artur Mas, Oriol Junqueras and Raul Romeva, pre announcing the delirium in which they are immersed today, celebrated their victory…while the CUP admitted without doubt that more Catalans opposed independence than favored it.
That was the one serious plebiscite on Catalonian independence. And independentists lost it. They got 47.5%, yet they still moved to declare independence in November, a preview of what was to come later. It was all found to be illegal…and proceedings abated, but more later.
At about the same time, the now vice Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Assens, was securing the freedom of Abdelbaki Es-Satty, who went on to recruit the cell that carried out the attacks in Barcelona.
The ruse to invoke Catalan nazi-onanism to distract from the corruption scandal did not work. But through it all, Mas, Puigdemont, Junqueras et al continued to trek to Andorra to deposit their commissions in that banking paradise.
End of Fiscal Paradise
Until January of 2017. To the dismay of corrupt politicians in Catalonia, they began receiving phone calls from Andorra. The fiscal paradise was to be no more. They had to get their heinies there and transfer the accounts to Panama. Andorra La Vieja became suddenly active with Catalans running to move their assets. But soon they learned it was going to get worse. In July of 2017, Andorra criminalized tax evasion, and announced that in January 2018, the banks customer lists would become…public!
Imagine the panic in the hallways of the Generalitat. Talk of independence acquired a new urgency. Better independent that in the pokey, I guess.
A Crisis to Exploit
But Es-Satty, that protégé of the vice Mayor of Barcelona, had plans of his own, which we found out about in August.
The bodies in the Ramblas were still warm when Separatists launched their newest effort. First, by turning the mourning for the victims into an independentist carnival. And new players flocked into Barcelona to participate in the anti-Spain fest under the guise of protesting terrorism.
Terrorists and Other Vermin
As the crowds subsided, on 27 August, a meeting took place at the house of a notorious Trotskyite, Jaume Roures, a multi-millionaire who controls the separatist Catalan media. His contempt for Spain is notorious, as is his contempt for democracy. He recently declared in an interview with leftist newspaper Libération in France, that he makes money “to serve my ideology. (Et de toute façon, je fais de l’argent pour servir mes idées.)”
A who’s who of Spanish and Catalan assholery was present. The organizer, Oriol Soler, accompanied among others by Pablo Iglesias, founder and leader of Podemos, a Trotskyite group financed by Iran and Venezuela and with no representation in Catalonia; Mohammed bin Jaham al-Kuwari, Qatar’s ambassador to Spain and close aid to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Emir of Qatar and longtime sponsor of terrorism.
Marta Pascal, leader of Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català (PDeCAT), saw it as a three-party alliance of the left looking beyond the referendum they already knew to be coming on October 1st, before any laws were passed.
How do we know? Latter day Bolsheviks aren’t as savvy as they think. They were photographed going in… You just cannot trust the abundance of cameras today.
On September 6, in violation of every rule of the Parlament of Catalonia and the Statute of Autonomy, they approved the law that set the current charade in motion. On the same day, Artur Mas, the leader of the gang, and other Generalitat officials, were ordered to pony up 5.2 million Euros to pay for the damages of the previous illegal plebiscite on independence on 9 November 2014. Out of their own pockets, too!
I do not believe in coincidences. That night, facing a boycott by nearly 50% of the deputies, the Parlament adopted the law and damn the torpedoes. Why was it illegal? By their own rules, laws that change the status of Catalonia must have 2/3 approval. The result was 72-60 with 3 abstentions, but they needed 90 for it to have any validity, not counting the Spanish Constitution, approved by near unanimity in Catalonia in 1978. To make matters more interesting, there was no census, no voter’s lists and no conditions to organize any serious election.
Facing hefty fines and corruption probes, the leaders of Junts pel Si and ERC were not about to be deterred.
Let the Russians Join In
Other players now joined the fray. Russian and Iranian bots in social media, assisted by their usual partners in the media begun to paint this charade as a fight for democracy against an abusive power!
People like this:
Notice how they speak of a “crackdown” that never took place as of 2September 20th, and of a “democracy” — the Catalan government — that intimidates judges and by design does away with separation of powers!
On September 22, they all jumped on Google for “censoring” access to voting information websites. It was, in point of fact, an order of the Superior Tribunal of Catalonia, and those sites were taken down in compliance with the law.
But truth would suffer more casualties in this process, always fed buy the Russian machine, happy to see a looming European crisis.
Illegality, Sedition and Church
As expected, the Superior Tribunal of Catalonia declared the whole thing null, and ordered the Mozos, (Catalonian Police) and the Civil Guard and National Police, acting as Judiciary police, to close the voting centers and confiscate voting materials.
The Mozos went to the various voting places, said hello, left everyone unmolested and informed that they had accomplished the mission. Just to be sure, they placed some election centers and materials in churches and Catholic schools, with the complicity of the local Catholic church.
Finally, on October 1st, the Civil Guard and Police were forced to intervene, following orders not of the central government in Madrid, but of the Superior Tribunal in Catalonia!
Not that the independentists care. They were already immersed in a campaign to intimidate the judges into compliance, and one lie more or less made no difference.
The Referendum on October 1st came and went without any of the trappings of a democratic exercise. Stuffed ballot boxes, people voting numerous times (many of them, idiots, smiling for the cameras every time), children voting, most of it caught in cameras while the police were trying to fulfill the court’s order and confiscate the whole shebang.
Immediately, cries of repression and brutality were raised by the usual suspects. All of them proven to be false. Pictures of bloody faces that turned out to be from Italy and Germany as early as 2012; wounded ladies that turned out to be OK and working for the ERC; Old ladies that were posing for pictures with ETA terrorists…in the end, only two people were hospitalized, one of them an old man who suffered a heart attack. Of the more than 800 so-called victims of brutal repression claimed by the Separatists and widely reported in the international press, NONE ever set foot in a hospital. The list included people treated on the scene for anxiety, cigarette smoke inhalation and maybe stepping on a banana peel…Out of theoretically nearly 2.000.000 people who participated in the event. One might say it is the triumph of propaganda over reason. There were, in fact, more police injured than “protesters.” Still, about 39 out of 431 of the police officers wounded needed attention. Most suffered scratches and bites, probably from the hysterical “voters” treated for anxiety.
This should have been the end of the carnival. The referendum failed, blame the “repressive” Spaniards and call it a day. But, as I’ve said, there is good reason for the Catalan authorities to not want a return to normalcy. In a bid to sell the settlement of the affair in a North Korean fashion — pay me or I’ll create havoc — they doubled down; and threats to declare independence anyhow were issued by Puigdemont as if October 1st had been real. Big mistake.
The Jig is Up
First, the European Union, contrary to their expectations, told them to go fly a kite. The Prime Minister of France was no less adamant. The leaders of other European countries followed suit: Nobody wants this crap to extend to, say, Bavaria or Lombardy, except for Vladimir Putin, the Mullahs and their minions.
Finally, King Phillip broke his silence and clearly stated that the seditious Catalans could expect nothing but the application of the Law under the Spanish Constitution. Bad news for them. The King, of course will not speak without clear guarantees that the Government has no other intentions; and once he does, his word cannot be undone. They should have negotiated earlier.
By now, separatists are beginning to get the message, but I fear it’s too late.
As the Trotskyite leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, calls for negotiations mediated by the Catholic Church — an irony that makes us forget that the church is, indeed, a player in this matter — and others are beginning to get the message, the Spanish government is looking into the links of the Catalan National Assembly with terrorist organizations; Major Trapero, (Chief of Catalonian Police or Mozos), together with Jordi Sánchez (President of the Assembly) and Jordi Cuixart (president of Omnium Cultural, Assange’s paymaster), are heading for a sedition trial; Sabadell and Caixa banks, 1 and 2 in Catalonia are moving to Valencia and Baleares and Occidental Catalana is packing it’s bags to Madrid while the Catalan commies have no better idea than to call for a boycott!
If there is one thing I know, is that when the money runs away the game is over. La Caixa, Sabadell and the others are abandoning a sinking ship. Puigdemont is running out of options and also open to Iglesias’ request for church mediation, even PDeCAT got into that game. But President Rajoy refuses to meet with them and tells them the only solution is a return to the Rule of Law. Good for him. Their extortive game is up.
A Trail of Woe
As the separatists run out of options, things do not look good for Catalonia. Spaniards are cancelling orders of Catalan products, the hotels are empty, their firms are leaving ship, unemployment is growing by the hour and the situation promises to hit the Catalan GDP hard. Even the local press is taking notice.
Soon, if Puigdemont, Junqueras and the gang of Mafiosi who control the Catalan government do not see the writing on the wall and surrender to reality, their own followers are going to eat them alive.
Well, most of them. In their wake, these intellectual retards are leaving behind a legacy of corruption and destruction and the reawakened terrorists of Terra Lliure, who promise to keep the Spanish police occupied for a while. They have been associated with CUP for a while, have participated in the harassment of the Civil Guard, and now are promising a return to the good old days of the 1970s. Perhaps they’ll become the lasting face of this hodgepodge of Trotskyites, 1970s nostalgics, Russians, Iranians, Venezuelans and international terrorism.
Good riddance. They can take their Cuban flag with them as Catalonia is restored to its rightful place in Spain.
 In the delusional world of Catalan separatism, he is listed as the 130th President, the first being Berenger de Cruilles in 1359. It is as if some idiot claimed that Boudicca was the first Prime Minister of Great Britain or Vercingetorix the first President of France. But that is par for the game for the intellectually challenged separatists and their brand of revisionism.
 Catalonia Democratic Convergence, the party that kept him as President for 23 years.
I promised in a Twitter thread that I would put more information on my blog about the leader of the Barcelona attacks last month. Well, here we are. And if I thought in the original thread that it was worse than I imagined, it did not get any better. On the contrary, the insanity of the Social Democrats’ stance when it comes to our present predicament is exacerbated in Europe by decades of misguided policies.
To the obvious role played in Barcelona by the irrationality of the independence movement, we must add structural problems in Law Enforcement that tie the hands of those whose job it is to provide security and give the enemy a fertile ground for their activities. But that is the subject of another blog. Let’s get to the character at hand.
To this day, the Catalonian police and press reports insist that Es-Satty had no history of radicalization, and that it was his stay at the Castellón de la Plana prison where he met an inmate serving time for the Madrid bombings who “radicalized him.”
It is a bold faced lie.
And the only reason it is repeated time and again is because it serves the narrative that, somehow, placing these terrorists where they belong is counterproductive. Like that popular canard that affirms the Guantanamo detention center produces terrorists. Nonsense. It merely holds them in a place where they can do no harm.
Abdelbaki es-Satty, the leader of the cell that perpetrated the attacks in Catalonia has a long history, rich in terrorist connections and missed opportunities.
He arrived in Spain from Morocco in 1999 with his mother and a relative at the age of 26, settled near Bilbao and went straight into the Spanish school system. He is not the product of some Madrassa in Pakistan, but of the Moroccan and Spanish educational system, where he became a full blown socialist “freedom fighter.”
In November of 2002, aged 29, he was arrested for the first time. The crime: to attempt to smuggle into Spain an undocumented immigrant with false documents. Nabbed at Ceuta, coming in from Morocco. An ominous precedent as we shall see. In 2003 he was sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of 1,080 Euros
Two years later, in May 2004, he was arrested again, this time for violent crimes in the Basque country. His trial resulted in a sentence of 2 years and 9 months for “malicious wounding” and an additional year for crimes “against the administration of justice,” imposed in 2006 by the Biscay court.
The idiot judge who sentenced him in 2006 to over 3 years in prison for crimes that “denote a danger, a real and sufficient threat to public safety,” left the sentence in suspense because of his five years of residence before the attacks, and the fact that he committed “no further crimes while awaiting sentence…Demonstrates his full integration to Spanish society.”
Now, Spanish law is such that a foreigner convicted of a felony requiring more than a year in prison must be deported at the end of his sentence. The Biscay judge, in staying his sentence, blocked deportation proceedings. The same thing would happen again 8 years later!
I swear. I did not make this up. Not even Woody Allen in the days of “Bananas” could come up with a plot like this.
At the same time the judge was touting Es-Satty’s good intentions, and even earlier, the Spanish National Police was investigating him for ties to Al-Qa’ida.
Seriously. So much for his demonstrated integration to society.
This was part of two National Police (NP) investigations that sprung out of the al-Qa’ida attack on Casa de España in Casablanca, Morocco in May of 2003.
It turns out that Es-Satty was identified as a member of the terrorist gang that carried out that attack, Ansar al Islam, an Al-Qa’ida affiliate. His role: to develop ties with the Spanish underworld to produce fake documents allowing the cell members to move freely throughout Europe. The NP also suspected possible links to the cell that carried out the attacks in Madrid on 11 March 2004.
As part of “Operación Camaleón”, Madrid Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska of the National Audience, determined on 19 October 2005 that “The necessity, proportionality and pertinence of the tapping of the phone…used by Abdelbaki Es Satty can be inferred from the seriousness of the acts to him attributed and founded suspicion that he is a part of the terrorist organization Ansar al Islam.”
For good measure, Judge Grande-Marlaska added: “he can act as an intermediary providing logistic support by maintaining contact with Arab citizens dedicated to document forgery among common criminals with the purpose of facilitating the movement of terrorist elements in the Spanish and European territory.” Clear as a bell.
“Operación Camaleón,” had been started by Judge Baltazar Garzón in 2006 but, as he run into his own troubles, it passed on to Judge Grande-Marlaska who blended it into “Operación Chacal” in June of 2006. Es-Satty continued under investigation.
Guess what? In 2011, a bunch of well trained shysters managed to strike the whole thing, adducing “inaccuracies” that rendered the information obtained from the phone taps…invalid. The inaccuracy was that Es-Satty did not use the phone that the police tapped, and the judge bought it. Spanish police face the same antiquated laws in many countries that have not awakened to the fact that mobile phones are, well, mobile.
At the time he was being investigated, Es-Satty shared lodgings with this guy:
After the hallaballoo, Es-Satty remained in Vilanova i la Geltrú, a small town in Catalonia where a terrorist cell recruited by Fahsi was known to be active. And he continued his illegal activities undisturbed.
Part of the investigation that failed was that, in tapping the wrong phone, policed missed the movements of Es-Satty’s roommate, Belgacem Bellil. An Algerian butcher in Vilanova, was recruited by Fahsi, was indoctrinated at the apartment on Lepanto Street inhabited by Es-Satty, became a close collaborator of Fahsi and responsible for the Al-QaAla community in Vilanova. He was eventually shipped via Brussels and Syria to Iraq, where he blew himself up at the Italian base in Nassiriya killing 28 people, including 19 Italian Carabinieri, in December 2003. But nobody was looking! Or rather, they were not looking in the right place.
The proceedings of Operación Chacal list Es-Satty as a member of the gang, and his close relation, Mustapha Es-Satty was arrested, but freed in 2009. They had arrived in Spain together, from the same town.
In 2007, Es-Satty was stopped by highway police in Granada, near Puerto de la Mora, while driving a van full of used auto parts, and was fined 4,600 Euros he never paid for…driving an overloaded vehicle. He gave an address in Vilanova that turned out to be Fahsi’s old base of operations.
In 2009, the same vehicle, performing the same service, was also stopped in Granada and the driver, Reduanne M., was fined 1,500 Euro which he never paid either. The address he gave in Vilanova did not exist.
At this point we may ask: What were this chaps doing with so many junked parts?
Transporting them to Morocco, of course, and returning with drugs smuggled from Es-Satty’s place in Chaouen province, as we later came to now. The shipping of old auto parts is a common activity among the Moroccan community, affording the perfect cover for drug trafficking.
Between 2007 and 2009, Es-Satty seems to disappear. Versions of where he may have gone vary. Some claim he was in Lybia. Others that he was in Syria. My sources say both. He supposedly claimed to have been visiting his wife and children in Morocco. Others place him in France. For all I know he was in all of the above.
Significantly, though, two of his Ripoll cell members trained in explosives in…Zurich! I vote for all of the above and perhaps a little explosives training by the same Zurich group. Certainly a terrorist more or less in France of Switzerland would have made no difference.
In any case, he was making contributions to the Spanish Social Security from 2002 to 2009, suggesting that wherever he went it was not for long.
Remember how Hezballat funds itself trafficking drugs in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Paraguay? Well, guess what is the next stop in Es-Satty’s career?
He was caught in Ceuta in on 01 January 2010, with 250 lbs of hashish smuggled in from Morocco as he tried to take the ferry to Algeciras.
Imagine that! Now we know what he was doing with the old auto parts.
A known terrorist linked to al-Qa’ida, Ansar al Islam and GICM is caught red handed in an act known to be the most common source for financing terrorism and…nothing.
He was treated as a common criminal, was tried in Ceuta and received a sentence in February of 2012 to four years and one month to be served at the Castellón de la Plana prison.
But he did not serve them all. In fact, he was out in less than two years, but not without breaks. Surprisingly, there are records of 3 different furloughs, even though he should have been considered dangerous and was a known associate of Rachid Aglif, AKA “the rabbit,” cellmate of his at Castellón and one of the terrorists of the Madrid bombings! Yet, the authorities claimed he was a model prisoner and off to trot he went. It does not get better than watching authorities facilitate the work of terrorist couriers.
Who sprung him before he could complete 1/3 of his sentence?
One of his lawyers is now the vice Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Assens, the great defender of illegal occupiers known as “okupas.”
Es-Satty was freed from Castellón on 29 April 2014, with, as the law mandated, an order to deport him. He should have been deported, immediately, but his shysters interposed two recourses, the first at the administrative jurisdiction, alleging that the expulsion violated his “International Rights.” I am not joking.
That one failed, so they shopped for a judge in the “Administrative-Contentious Court” in Castellón, and they found him. In 2015, that idiot judge, Pablo de la Rubia Comos bought this nonsense and blocked the deportation because…wait for it…Es Saty was really, really trying to assimilate in Spain! In fact, the imbecile referred to Es Satty’s “obvious work insertion and efforts to integrate into Spanish society” citing the existence of a labor contract and contributions to Social Security for 6 years, 6 months and 16 days…out of the 16 years he had been in the country! The moron went on to state that the sentence derived from an “isolated incident,” in spite of information that related THREE previous convictions, two to a year or more, and cited European jurisprudence that, contrary to Spanish Law, maintained that in order to expel an alien who has been a long-term resident after a sentence of more than 1½ years…he must present a “real and serious threat to public safety.” Being a terrorist identified in Operación Chacal, drug trafficking and malicious wounding, apparently, did not qualify for being a danger to society.
And so his deportation order was annulled and the government decided NOT to appeal…because “nobody alerted them of the possibility of radicalization of Es Satty.” Not even the National Audience records. Way to go, chumps.
Just to be on the sure side, as an abundance of caution we might say, on 29 November 2014 Es Satty’s lawyers sued requesting asylum in Spain for their client to avoid having to deal with a potential appeal on the deportation order. Of course, they got it, but the file is sealed. And Es Satty became absolutely free to move around in 26 countries completely undisturbed.
Nobody though of checking his house in Morocco:
In the meantime, he was back in Catalonia reestablishing relationships, meeting old acquaintances, rekindling old friendships and…casing locations.
He found a house in Alcanar, not far from the prison he had once inhabited, which he proceeded to occupy illegally — Asens must have assuredly been very proud of his pupil — and set up a bomb factory.
Then he established residence in Ripoll, a town of 10,000, where he was hired as Imam for the two local Mosques. He’d never been an Imam or even a religious man, except for a brief stint at the mosque of Vilanova, but we are told that an Imam is hard to find in those parts…Some parishioners claim he didn’t know how to set the room for prayer and had to be told.
In January 2016 he went to Belgium and tried to organize a terrorist cell there. The cops in the Belgian town of Vilvoorde screened him “intensely” at the request of the local Imam, who suspected him immediately and squealed to the cops. The Vilvoorde police did not contact the National Police, nor Interpol, nor Spain’s National Police. Nope. They contacted Catalonia’s own Mozos — whose utter incompetence is now legendary — requesting information because of the “suspicious activities” of Es-Satty. The imbeciles in Catalonia did not check with their National Police, the National Audience or anybody who might have had information and simply responded that he had no known problems! This, despite of a rap sheet larger than the New York phone book.
But at any rate they kept tabs on Es-Satty to the point that he gave up and in April 2016 headed back to Ripoll saying that he had visited that pesky wife and children in Morocco.
The rest we know: Es Satty set up the cell that carried out the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils and died trying to build a massive “Mother of Satan” bomb in Alcanar. The explosives guys spent days blowing up remnants of his handiwork there. They even found what they think is his ready-to-use explosives belt. One can’t make this shit up.
But there’s more. After the attacks, the Mayor of Ripoll, an idiot by the name of Jordi Munell, declared that “there has never been any problems on integration” in his community, and that “some of the suspects — the galoot thus called the terrorists killed in the attacks — had jobs, cars, mobile phones, computers, plans for the future.” Really. And he hasn’t figured out the future they were planning involved his demise?
This delirium is expressed clearly in the daily El País, with an article that almost needs no explanation:
“Why did ‘Well Integrated’ Moroccans carry out Barcelona Attacks?”
Take a wild guess.
So we come to the end. Far from being an unknown entity radicalized while in prison in 2012, Abdelbaki Es-Satty was a well known terrorist who played the system like a violin, came in and out of prison as if it had a revolving door, and was involved with known terrorist activities in Spain, Morocco and Belgium from 2002 onwards.
His role as supplier of travel documents and money, financed with his drug smuggling operation out of his own plantation in Morocco is a matter of public record that belies the narrative of both the Catalan government and the press.
The war on Islamic National Socialism is a difficult affair. The incompetence of our governments in creating an efficient system to combat them is the tragedy of our times.
This is not a Spanish problem, but a systemic problem throughout Europe and, to a slightly lesser degree, the US. If we are going to defeat the scourge of Islamic terrorism, it is high time we adapt our legal system and communications amongst law enforcement agencies across all kinds of boundaries.
The tentacles of Jihad extend further than most people realize. Contrary to the shrill chorus that sees the phenomenon as purely Islamic in nature, the Islamic National Socialists have allies in Christian lands that find in their common political ideology a basis for a mutually profitable alliance.
In particular in South American countries, long the allies of Middle Eastern Fascism, terrorist organizations find support and, most grievously financing. Indeed, the second largest source of financing for Hezballat is drug trafficking and smuggling between Argentina, Paraguay and Chile, often under the protection of local government officials.
Back in 2003, I attended a meeting with the Commander of US Southern Command at the Coral Gables Country Club. He gave us a most interesting talk about the status on the War on Terror. At the end of the meeting I said to him: “I hope you are keeping an eye on the Tri-Border area.” His laconic answer: “We are.” Nobody else knew what we were referring to. He did.
The “Tri-Border” area is a zone where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay share a common border near the Iguassu Falls on the Parana River.
For decades, it has been a kind of Isle of Tortuga, filled with smugglers and shady characters conducting business across national boundaries. The center of activities, mostly based on illegal trade, is Ciudad del Este, once named “Puerto Stroessner” after the Paraguayan dictator.
This is what it looks like today:
Late in the 90’s it also became a hub for Iranian backed terrorists. They had been quite active in the preceding years, most notably in the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, a few yards away from the home of my dear aunt Raquel in the days of my youth, at the fashionable corner of Arroyo and Suipacha streets.
Followed by the destruction of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994.
To this day, people in Buenos Aires are looking for justice for the hundreds killed there.
These two events, with complicity from some local officials, was Iran’s response to the cancelation of a joint missile development program, the Condor II, designed to bypass international sanctions.
That program was cancelled in 1990 by then newly elected President Carlos Saul Menem, a son of Syrian immigrants, which many believe caused Iran to order Hezballat attacks in Buenos Aires. Menem believes the murder of his own son in 1995 was also the work of Iranians as revenge for the cancellation of the Condor II program.
By then, a full Hezballat base was being established in Paraguay with the purpose of assisting operations in South America and developing resources to ease the monetary pressure on Tehran. Those resources consisted primarily in the development of a drug trafficking operation that grew to become Hezballat’s second source of funds after Iran. In 1998, FBI Director Louis Freeh, already stated that the Tri-Border area was a “free zone for significant criminal activity, including people who are organized to commit acts of terrorism.” The same year, Washington “decertified” Paraguay’s anti-drug fight, citing pervasive corruption and “no successful investigations of significant traffickers.”
Of course, as these things go, Hezballat soon developed ties to Mexican cartels and Colombia’s FARC, at the same time that Iran was pushing for closer ties to Argentina and Venezuela, despite the investigations pending on the Buenos Aires attacks of 1992 and 1994. This did not go unnoticed.
The Israeli Defense Forces focused on the new source of income for the terrorists…
As the militants in Gaza celebrated their new found friends.
And Iran’s President and his allies visited their new friends.
By 2007, the network was so well established that Hezballat bragged about it in the press. And political groups were forming in support of Hezballat. Like Quebracho, an organization fostered from the halls of the Argentine government that made public demonstrations on the streets of Buenos Aires,
And openly celebrated “International Quds Day!
While Iranian and Hezballat agents infiltrated political parties and became government officials themselves!
All of these contacts paid off. By 2009, it became known that Venezuela had issued 10,000 passports to Iranian agents and Hezballat militants, among others.
And the country became a hub for terrorism related drug trafficking on an unprecedented scale.
At the same time the presence of Hezballat in Mexico became public.
By 2013, The IDF issued a damning report on the presence of Hezballat in Mexico. “In 2011,” the report states “the U.S. government seized drug profits linked to Ayman [Saied] Joumaa, a drug trafficker and money launderer, linked to Hezbollah. His network was earning as much as $200 million per month.”
Joumaa, a Lebanese with Colombian documents, run a major drug operation in Colombia, Panama and Lebanon for the benefit of Hezballat.
He was not alone. Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly, an Iranian-Colombian running a money laundering operation in Panama for Colombian and Mexican cartels was finally arrested in Costa Rica.
They were connected with a Lebanese tycoon, Mehrli Ali Abou Mehrli, also arrested, who provided logistics, transportation and financing. “Merhi Ali Abou Merhi operates an extensive maritime shipping business that enables the Joumaa network’s illicit money laundering activity and widespread narcotics trafficking,” said John E. Smith, acting director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. “The Joumaa criminal network is a multi-national money laundering ring whose money laundering activities have benefited Hezbollah,” The Group had “multiple subsidiaries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe including the following 10 designated firms: Abou-Merhi Lines SAL, a shipping line in Lebanon; Abou-Merhi Cruises SAL, a travel agency in Lebanon; Le-Mall-Sidon, a shopping mall in south Lebanon; Queen Stations, a gas station in Lebanon; Orient Queen Homes, a real estate development in Lebanon; maritime shipping subsidiaries in Benin (Abou Merhi Cotonou), Nigeria (Abou Merhi Nigeria), and Germany (Abou Merhi Hamburg); Lebanon Center, a shopping mall in Jordan; and Abou Merhi Charity Institution in Lebanon.”Jorge “Saddam” Rafaat Toumani.
Now we go back to the Tri-Border area. The gang there was run by Jorge Rafaat Toumani, AKA “Saddam” or “King of the Border.” Thomas Wictor tells the story of his demise better than I could, so I refer you to his blog.
But there is more.
Toumani replaced Fernandinho Beira Mar in 2002 as head of the largest drug trafficking group in Paraguay, based in Pedro Juan Caballero, near Ciudad del Este, courtesy of Toumani’s relations to Colombian drug cartels associated with the FARC guerrillas. In 2004, he was caught and tried in Brazil for a shipment of over 800 lbs of cocaine, but nothing came of it. In 2005, Flavio Kayatt, mayor of Punta Porã, a city on the Brazilian side of the border, and one of his secretaries, Helio Peluffo Filho,were witnesses in defense of Tourani. Later, a recording came out of a conversation between, Ezequiel de Souza and Paraguayan Senators Arnaldo Giuzzio and Arnoldo Wiens and minister Luis Rojas, where Toumani’s name came up as the “Boss” of the border. It is hard to find many references in the local press to his terror connections. It seems to be taboo. But it is a well know fact to American law enforcement agencies that he was indeed a front for Hezballat. Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad, known senior Hezballat official in Paraguay acted as liaison between the Iranian embassy and the Hezballat supporters in the area, especially through the Mosque at Punta Porã, attended by Toumani. The demise of Toumani has changed nothing. And in spite of being named in money laundering activities in connection with Toumani and others, Fayad continues to shuffle between Paraguay and Lebanon and Hezballat activities in Paraguay continue unabated.
Thomas Wictor believes commandoes killed Toumani. I have no doubt, after reviewing the videos that whoever killed him were not “rival gangs” as the Paraguayan and Brazilian press claim, but, indeed, professionals of the first order. He raises the possibility of GCC commandoes and, for all I know, he’s right. But there are two other players in the area that we ought to consider. The first one is that in 2005, the US opened a base nearby at Mariscal Estigarribia, adjacent to the international airport there, specifically for conducting anti-terrorism operations, though I find it hard to believe that the Obama administration would have green lighted any operations. The second, and more likely actor, is the IDF, as they have been cooperating with the Paraguayan government in the fight against terrorism for quite some time.
Whatever the case may be, this was not the work of amateurs: 12 bullets to the head, 47 bodyguards notwithstanding.
Things in Colombia are not much better. To the links already mentioned, now we add the “peace treaty” that allows FARC narcomarxists to openly enter the political process there. All of them long time allies of Hezballat, all of them very much committed to waging war on the US. And as the Colombian people, who already rejected a similar plan not long ago make no bones about their misgivings, another declared enemy of the US showed up to push the agreement forward and help ram it down the throats of the Colombian people.
And we are back to Mexico
Between 2008 and 2016, as the US government was busy trying to convince us that ISIS was a JV team that represented no danger, reality continued its course unabated. Hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees later, we know that was not the case. During the same period, Hezballat has grown from a few drug smuggling operation into an organization that stretches its tentacles from Argentina to Mexico, with drug smuggling and terrorist training camps in association with local politicians, activist organizations, terrorist groups and, yes, the Mexican cartels. A network of tunnels, similar to those in Gaza, have now changed the geography of the US border with Mexico. Training camps in Chiapas and, notably, this one near the California border, dot the Mexican landscape.
And as the Cartels resort to terror not previously known outside of the Middle East, and extend their bases to neighboring countries, hordes of terrorists armed with passports from Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, Argentina, Belize and Honduras, just to name a few pour through the US border. We have gotten to a point where the US is perilously close to becoming Israel, as Iran backed terrorist organizations line up our border.
How many of these terrorists infiltrated the US as the Obama administration allowed a sea of humanity to cross the border unchecked? We’ll never know. But I bet more than a few did. And vice versa.
One of the guns left behind by the terrorists that attacked the streets of Paris on 15 November 2015, leaving a trail of corpses behind them, according to ATF reports, was traced to Phoenix, Arizona; another one to Miami. They made their way to ISIS cells in France and Brussels through…you guessed it: Mexico. Perhaps using some of the tunnels Hezballat helped build.
Control of the southern US border is no longer a matter of immigration control. It is not a question of “building walls that separate us.” It is a matter of National Security, and it is high time we get serious about it, before we need to start carting away corpses from our own cities.
As Latin America satraps join forces with our enemies and Iran establishes beach heads at our doorstep:
It’s time to get serious.
 Why Hezballat and not Hezbollah? In many Arab countries, people consider Hezballat’s activities counter to Islam and its name nothing short of blasphemous. Hence the name change from “Party of God,” to “Party of al-Llat” (اللات) akin to calling it the “Party of Baal.”
 A characteristic has been the use of dismembered bodies, headless corpses and disemboweled torsos strewn along the streets of Mexican towns to terrorize the population into submission. While I refuse to use those images, even a cursory search in Google will produce blood curling results.
In Gander I speak of the revolving door through which terrorist move in and out of our judicial system to continue carrying out acts of unspeakable horror.
Part of the problem lies in treating these soldiers of National Socialism as if they were common criminals instead of prisoners of war.
This is the first of a series where I intend to bring to your attention the consequences of that misguided policy, if not the criminality of those who engage in it.
I warn you:
There are hundreds of examples, not all of them Muslim. This is going to be disquieting.
The Faces of Terror
In 2001, a Moroccan man was captured in Afghanistan by US troops and was transported to the brand new facility at Guantanamo Bay. One of the early arrivals, his number there was ISN 72 —although some say 64, what do I know?
When he was captured he was NOT stealing chickens, and gave his name as Reswan Abdesalam, but his fingerprints said otherwise.
Meet Lahsen Ikassrian, born in Targist, Morocco in 1972.
A close associate of Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, AKA Abu Dadah, the head of al-Qa’ida in Spain, mastermind of the Madrid bombings in 2004 (known in Spain simply as 11-M); and a close associate of Abu Mussab al-Suri, of whom we have already spoken at some length, and will again.
At the Combatant Status Review Tribunal, the following was charged:
Detainee is associated with al-Qaida and the Taliban.
The detainee admits being a member of the Taliban.
Detainee was taken to Mazer e-Sharif by Taliban forces.
Detainee admits to associating with Yunnus Shokuri and Radwan Shokuri, both members of al-Qaida affiliated terrorist groups
Detainee engaged in hostilities against the US or its coalition partners.
Detainee admits purchasing a Kalashnikov rifle in Kabul in May or June 2001.
Detainee was observed on the front line and during the retreat in Afghanistan and at Qala-I Junghi prison.
Detainee was injured during the U.S. bombing of Konduz.
Detainee took refuge in an underground hiding area with Taliban forces during the U.S. bombing of Mazar e-Sharif
Detainee was captured by U.S. forces with other Taliban members in Mazar e-Sharif. How do you like the fella so far?
And idiots in the US where bringing suit against the government for what they deemed the “illegal detention: of non-combatants. On what evidence? None whatsoever.
On July 3rd, 2005, this fine gentleman was extradited to Spain for trial, mostly because of bullshit like that spewed by UC Davis’ Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas:
On October 11th, 2006, the Spanish Court acquitted him…because he had been interrogated in Jul 2002 by Spaniards!
One can’t make this stuff up.
Lahsen Ikassrian, convinced more than ever that he could do what he wanted, moved on to loftier activities while leftards rejoiced in their triumph against the evil West:
And off he went to enjoy hookah bars and recruit for A’-Qa’ida and ISIS. A leftard and radical celebrity.
Ten years after the bombing in Madrid with hundreds of victims, a singular idiot. Jordi Evole, had no better idea than to interview this poor fellow painting him as a poor victim of Western islamophobia.
Here’s the link, the interview shows in 33:27 to 46:46. “One day they will pay” — the terrorist said — “but how I do not know.”
He did have a pretty good idea, though, for as he was playing the victim on Spanish TV courtesy of an imbecile, somebody woke up for fifteen minutes, and Spanish Police busted an IS cell in Madrid and Melilla nabbing a bunch of asswipes.
Guess who was the leader? OK. I’ll show you:
But wait! There’s more! In 2009 Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzón opened an investigation into “torture” suffered by this hapless witness caught in the insidious Guantanamo web. The SOB declared to AFP that he would probe “the perpetrators, the instigators, the necessary collaborators and accomplices” to crimes of torture at the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
An investigation triggered by hand-picked documents released by… This jewel:
Adding insult to injury, Judge Garzón then launched an investigation into…The Bush administration! That’ll teach those evil Americans to play fast and loose with innocent folk like Lahsen Ikassrian! The Telegraph went so far as to speculate: “Even if the worst that happens is that former President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and all those who served in their administrations find it advisable not to visit Spain or take international flights that stop off there…”
Beautiful. While the “victim of discrimination” was busy preparing a reign of terror in Spain, the “criminals” were the President and Vice-President of the United States. Imbecility on an industrial scale. Or is it really? One must, of necessity consider the possibility that the sympathies of the European Social Democrats lie squarely to the perpetrators of terror and are thus offended not by the terrorists perpetrating wholesale murder on their streets as they bit like rats on anyone who actually tries to fight them off.
So, let’s recap:
2001: Asswipe Lahsen Ikassrian is captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan and taken as a prisoner of war. (2001)
2002: Spanish authorities question him in Guantanamo.
2005: Based on his association to the Spain’s AQ, extradited to Spain.
2006: Spanish courts acquit him because, God forbid, he was interrogated by Spaniards in foreign soil (Guantanamo)
2009: Ikassrian recruits for Al-Qa’ida and organizes a cell of terrorists in Madrid and Melilla, while suing the Spanish government for damages over his earlier detention and living off of Spain’s welfare system!
2009: Spanish Courts launch investigation of alleged torture on the basis of declarations of this so very credible witness, and on partial documents released by Barak Obama as a political stunt.
2009: Spanish Courts launch investigation of the possible role played by the US administration in those dreadful activities. None of these last two pay any attention to the terrorist activities being conducted by this soldier of Al-Qa’ida under their very noses.
2014: Asswipe Lahsen Ikassrian nabbed by Madrid cops as leader of a terrorist group planning to blow up half of Spain, with tentacles throughout the country. A massacre is narrowly averted.
I’m sure there is a lesson here. And in HUNDREDS of cases like this.
But am currently too furious to state it.
Where are those imbeciles who wanted Guantanamo closed and the vermin released?
The folks at UC Davis, Jordi Evole, Baltazar Garzón and so many others have a lot of questions to answer. Like why they inevitably side with and enable the worst of criminals. Is it political expediency, sympathy, or plain old idiocy?
Last week, as news from the Barcelona terror attack began to spread, I was getting a different picture from my friends of the ground, so I began a series of tweets to communicate them as I received them.
Many have asked me to put them together for easier reading and to translate them into several languages. That is being done now. In the following relation I will respect the original thread, although some typos and spelling errors will be edited and I have added some notes. The original versions remain available on Twitter.
It started Saturday, August 19th, 2017at 5:30 pm (EST) on the 19th with this tweet:
“The events of Barcelona are enough to make one go over there and slap a few people around. Let me tell you why:
In Gander, I speak at length of the Social Democrats inability to realize the threat we are in, and of their utter incompetence. Barcelona proves both points.
On 19 December of 2016, following al-Suri’s strategy, there was an attack at a Christmas market in Germany.
The Spanish police took notice, and sent this letter in December 2016 to the local police forces around the country:
The recipients of that letter included the Mozos de Escuadra, Catalonia’s own police force. But the Mozos are more of a political tool for independentists than a police force. So their answer was this:
‘We have no operative, tactic or strategic information suggesting that there is any threat of terrorism in Catalonia regarding any specific point of interest or potential target.’ Declared Xavier Porcuna, spokesman for the Mozos.
This idiot was “surprised” that the national Police had anything to say, since security in Barcelona was an exclusive responsibility of the Generalidad, and hence, of the Mozos. How dare they interfere!
On 24 April last, I was in Barcelona with a very high ranking officer of the Police (not the stupid Mozos), for this:
There is more I cannot talk about. We all KNEW IS was there, but Catalan politicians would have none of it. They spent their days criticizing Trump’s wall, singing their love of open borders, and declared Barcelona…a Sanctuary City!!!
While their “Antifas” (independentist leftists) campaign against tourism and in favor of refugees.
The press calls those “Antifas”….neighbors! Same as in Charlottesville.
And thus we get to August.
A few days ago, a terrorist bomb making facility blew up in Alcanar, near Barcelona.
Pieces of an ID belonging to one of the Alcanar asswipes were found in the van at the Ramblas two days later. The objective [of the terrorists] was to blow up Sagrada Familia. The great Cathedral designed by Gaudí and an icon filled with thousands of tourists in the heart of town.
The Ramblas attack was Plan B. Think about that.
Most of those arrested were beneficiaries of the welfare state. Catalans were PAYING for the preparation of the attacks. Does any of this sound familiar to you? This is not an immigrant rights issue. This is not a freedom of speech issue. This is not a left or right issue. It is our f*cking survival we are talking about. Ours and that of the real immigrants: The Muslims that were also butchered at the Ramblas, blacks, whites, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists. We are immersed in a struggle against evil, want it or not.
It’s high time we realize that bullsh*t kills. The crap coming out of the mouth of the spokesmen for the Mozos and of politicians like this lowlife, kills:
‘May the struggle of the Arab people grow throughout the continent and spread like power fire top Europe and the United States.’ Remember this the next time an idiot talks to you about the struggle of the poor and downtrodden.
That thread generated hundreds of hate messages from pro-independence Catalan national socialists. Mostly strings of insults with no argument. That is because they have none. So I answered the following day with this thread:
August 21st, 3:24 pm (EST)
“Yesterday we talked a little about the attack in Barcelona. A few Catalan Nationalists did not like that I did not “pay respect” to the Mozos, the Catalan police. So, let’s do that now, and see how they like it.
On the night of August 16th there was a huge explosion at a house in Alcanar, a sleepy beach town in Tarragona, about 2 hours from Barcelona. Mozos responded to the explosion and deemed it immediately an “accidental explosion” due to “an accumulation of gas.” (no shit, Sherlock)
Because the explosion happened in Catalonia and they declared it an accident before anybody investigated, the Spanish Civil Guard, the guys who DO have the experts, WERE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE SITE. The GC from Sand Carlos de la Rapita, arriving soon after the explosion, could do nothing, and the Mozos knew nothing. Beautiful.
Now, that house had been illegally occupied by a bunch of Arabic speaking fellows for a while, who the neighbors saw carrying stuff in and out; but the Mozos decided there had been an accident and no more and that was it, with tragic consequences later. They did not even look, and kept the National Police and the Civil Guard out of the loop.
In the aftermath of the accident they found two corpses. It took them hours to figure out that the two corpses had five feet. The extra foot belonged to a third corpse buried in rubble. They also found a survivor. The Jihadi was then taken to the hospital but, as he was not a suspect in what the Mozos determined had been an accident, HE WAS NOT INTERROGATED. Let that sink in: For A FULL DAY, the Mozos sat on the one person who knew, and did NOTHING. A second opportunity to prevent the attack was missed due to INCOMPETENCE.
Then, the other members of the cell conducted the attacks on the Ramblas. The same Ramblas the Mozos did not want to protect two months earlier, when they had been warned to do so. But it is far from over.
AFTER the attack on the Ramblas, somebody remembered the explosion in Alcanar, and they went back. THEN they discovered a whole section of the house they had not noticed before, full of gas and Acetylene tanks, and learned a lesson in the consequences of imbecility: One of the chaps there stopped to have a cigarette. Bad idea. It’s never a good idea to light a match in an explosives factory.
I said 2 days ago that the bad guys were following the strategies of al-Suri. Well, they were also following Al-Suri’s terrorist cook book, and were trying to build bombs using Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP). That is a nasty and very volatile stuff, and that’s why the terrorists blew up the lab, and that’s why the Mozos, acting in the most stupid manner and still denying access to the real experts, set off a second explosion by lighting a cigar.
Even without interrogating the survivor, had they allowed the Civil Guard explosive experts to enter the site to investigate on the 16th THEY WOULD HAVE KNOWN they had a terrorist cell in their hands.
At the same time, during “Operación Jaula” the dragnet set up to catch the guy who escaped the Ramblas, and still at large as I write this, run over a poor agent of the Mozos. When I reported this incident on Facebook to alert my friends in the area, as it was developing and the van was careening down Casteldefells Avenue in Hospitalet, I received hundreds of insults from Catalans who claimed I was making it up!
They reacted that way, I guess, because the spokesman for the Mozos was announcing at that very moment that no further attacks were expected, that the cell was dismantled and that all efforts were directed at finding the fugitive from the Ramblas!
That car was later abandoned at St. Just, about 7 miles from the Ramblas. A Mozos agent reported he opened fire on the vehicle killing the driver. Except that, in fact, the corpse was on the right seat and had been killed with a knife. NOT ONE of the 10 shots fired ever hit the van, and the dead body in it had nothing to do with the attacks. Again, great police work. That bullsh*t meant that the actual driver had TEN HOURS head start before anybody went looking for him. Efficient police work, eh?
A second car was heading to the Salou Ocean Walk in Cambrills. There are usually hundreds of people there reveling at the end of a day at the beach. It could have been a massacre.
The car met a couple of Mozos who flagged them down (that report I published was real and they were looking for that car), but the car didn’t stop and run over a female officer, losing control and crashing at a nearby roundabout. Five scumbags came out of the car and attacked the surviving officer, a veteran of the Spanish Legion. He fired four shots, and four terrorists dropped dead instantly.
We cannot thank him. His face is blurred in videos and his name will not be released.
The fifth terrorist run away and bumped into another set of Mozos. These were not legionnaires but trained by the Mozos. The last surviving vermin managed to cut a woman’s throat before being hit by 3 of the 11 shots fired by this well trained officers…5 yards away.
Later I’ll tell you how this all started in another foul up in Ripoll. But for now let me recap.
1- Mozos are warned to harden targets in December. They ignore and ridicule the warnings.
2- Several Arabic speaking chaps illegally occupy a house in Alcanar. Despite suspicious movements, NOBODY SAYS ANYTHING, fearful of becoming the target of leftist neighbors.
3- Bad guys collect gas, tanks and acetylene and begin working on a massive TATP bomb and blow themselves up, killing the leader and two more. A survivor is not interrogated, the place is not handed to forensic and explosive experts and a whole day is lost.
4- Attack on the Ramblas. Major FUBAR there, too. Maybe another thread.
5- Mozos declared it’s over. It isn’t. Incident in Hospitalet and St. Just, followed by
6- Attack in Cambrills. One hero veteran of La Legión. The rest can’t shoot a pig in a wine barrel. More dead.
So, when I say they [the Catalan nationalist government] are STUPID and INCOMPETENT CRETINS, it’s no exaggeration or error in judgment.
My heart goes out to the low ranking officers of the Mozos; the poor folk not paid enough nor trained enough for the risks they take, made the worst by a callous and corrupt leadership that betrays them and the people of Catalonia every day.
Yet again, the voices of Catalan National Socialism rose in unison. But so did those who are beginning to tire of the game in Catalonia. That encouraged a third thread:
22 August 2017, 6:05 pm (EST)
“Another day, another splash into insanity. As somewhat expected, Catalan nationalists did not like yesterday’s truth enema. They are going to like what’s coming in the next few weeks even less.
Like how [Catalan authorities] forgot to request controls on the nearby French border. Controls that were finally established by the French government 24 hours later!
Or how the A3 in Cambrills managed to pass through police checks and but for the Grace of God lost control or we would have had many more civilians dead.
Or how the leader of the IS cell was a known terrorist related to previous act of terrorism and with 4 years in jail for drug trafficking and violation of immigration laws and still able to conduct his business under the benign neglect if not apathy of Catalan authorities… and with the support of high ranking members of the government of Barcelona. All of these will become public news. Some are already talking.
The more the Catalan independentists try to dissimulate and hide these problems; the more they mystify, misdirect and attack those who bring the facts to light, the more they expose their callousness and indifference to human life.
Yesterday, hundreds of them bit like rats in three typos in my thread:
It’s not “Sand Carlos de la Rabida” but, they pointed out endlessly, “San Carlos de la Rapita,” or, as the more obtuse suggested, “St. Carles de la Rapita”
The explosion at Alcanar was not in the morning of the 16th, but near midnight. It was 8AM to me and I confess to the crime of getting confused as I was writing the tweet.
The car in Cambrills was not a van, but an Audi A3, as I reported a day earlier as it was happening.
All of these I owned immediately, and all are utterly irrelevant. The spelling or language of a name and whether the Police sat on their thumbs for 1 day or 2 does not change the relevant facts.
Those facts they do not want to discuss. They also have no interest in discussing that the Chief of the Mozos (I shall never write Mossos again), was conducting his investigation while having fun at a soccer game.
Or that the Vice Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Asens, great defender of squatters like the ones in Alcanar, was also the lawyer who represented the terrorist Imam who organized the terrorist cell, and he is also a staunch supporter of Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the Hugo Chavez financed Fascist party that came out of left field a few years ago.
Or that Oriol Junqueras, leader of ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia), has been taken Islamic classes for months in an effort to convert to Islam, further embracing those wonderful men fighting against imperialism, colonialism and for social justice.
No. They want to discuss spelling and typos, because reality is too harsh.
So they honor me by calling me a Fascist and a “catalanophobe”, whatever the heck that means.
As for fascist, I let my record stack up against theirs anytime: Mine is easy to figure out. They are the ones who want speech control, government intrusion and ethnic discrimination, like that cretin, Joaquin Forn Chiairello, Interior Minister of the Generalitat (Consejero del interior), who distinguished Catalans and Spaniards among the dead and who, himself, is a second generation Ecuadoran.
Me? I am a direct descendant of Otger Catalo and 4 of the Conquerors who wrestled Barcelona from the Moors, and of the first Vejer of the Castle of Montjuic in Barcelona, among others.
My ancestors hung on the walls of the Cathedral of Barcelona for all to see. Their bodies, not their portraits.
By that reckoning I am more Catalan than any of those fanatical converts can ever hope to be. And I’ll say it straight: While I have heretofore not given a crap about the independentist movement in Catalonia, now I do. I have been fighting Fascism since I could handle a weapon and a pen, and now I know who they are.
If you, dear reader, are one of them, piss off. I will block anybody who confronts me with anything but a reasoned argument, without further notice.
I will also make extra sure that the iniquities, imbecilities and displays of gross incompetence of your standard bearers is exposed for the world to see the abject idiocy of your cause exposed: You asked for it.
To you, sane Catalans and Spaniards of every province who are tired of this nonsense, I am your new friend. Call on me as needed. I will be there.
It has now been a week since I wrote the first thread, and many newspapers have begun to finally publish the litany of mishaps and errors committed before, during and after the attack on the Ramblas by the infantilistic nationalist leaders of Catalonia and, especially, those of Barcelona. Better late than never.
If the Catalan separatists ever wanted to show their capacity to organize themselves as an independent state, I daresay they have failed miserably: Empty rhetoric and grandstanding may work to whip a crowd on nincompoops into a frenzy, but are not sufficient qualifications to organize a civil society.
By their actions, by showing their callousness, incompetence and stupidity, the nationalist leaders of Catalonia have clearly shown that they are not up to the task.
In Luis del Pino’s eloquent words, it takes adults to forge a state, not these infantilistic morons.
When the waters recede, and calm reasoning replaces the heated arguments of the moment, people may come to realize the National Socialism that inspires and informs the Catalan leadership should be confined to the garbage pile of history.
 Juan Carlos Monedero, one of the founders of a Venezuela financed Spanish political party named after Barak Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan, generated a twitter storm of its own. I will discuss that in an upcoming blog.
 They also claimed it had been a drug manufacturing facility, in spite of the doubts expressed by the intervening magistrate.
 This turned out to be the cadaver of the Imam who recruited and organized the terrorist cell.
 Finally, last week the City Council of Barcelona retracted their earlier policy and voted to build barriers….but nothing has been done yet.
 Indeed, a co-founder with Monedero, the chap who wants Islamo-Fascism to spread like powder to Europe and the US.
 Many pointed out he did not convert to Islam. It is true, and I do not state he did. Reports of his studies, as stated, abound in the Spanish press.
 In a rather humorous twist, many took this reference to the mythical founders of Barcelona, akin to the legend of Romulo and Remo in Rome, literally, entirely missing the point: My ancestry goes back to the conquest of Barcelona, as insinuated in the paragraph following that statement. Perhaps an unintended consequence of their dogmatic training results in a loss of any sense of humor or capacity to understand figurative language.
This originated as a twitter thread, which some have requested I make available. It is not a scholarly paper, but a factual relation of events I witnessed from my perch in the financial industry.
The credit crisis of 2008 is one of the most dreadful events in recent memory. It’s effects, nearly a decade later, are painfully obvious around the world. And yet, the wrong conclusions are touted daily in the face of unemployment and weeks markets from Spain to China.
After the government screwed things up, as usual, it was time to lay it heavy on some scapegoat. Since blaming the Jews is no longer fashionable, the usual opportunists focused on financiers, banks and investors.
Those were, in fact, the first victims of the crisis, not the cause. And the financial products usually targeted for blame were also casualties of the crisis, not its origin. There is nothing wrong with ABSs, MBSs or CMOs. In fact, they are a good thing.
Banks, by definition, cannot make long term loans. Deposits are on demand, and nobody wants to be told upon presenting a check for payment: “sorry, we lent that money out last week and won’t get it back for three years. Come back then.”
Mortgages are long term loans. So several enterprises were created in the US over the years to create a secondary market and make those long term loans viable and more widely available.
These enterprises were:
Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association), created in 1938, as essencialy a Government corporation until 1968, when it became public;
Freddie Mack (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), created as a “government sponsored enterprise” or GSE) in 1970; and
Ginnie Mae (Government National Mortgage Association), also a GSE, created in 1968.
The purpose of all of these was to “promote home ownership” by providing a secondary market for mortgage securities. That is, the packaging of mortgages into marketable securities that would serve a double purpose:
To provide reliable income for investors, mostly retirees, and
To provide funds banks could loan long term for real estate purchases.
Sallie Mae (Student Loan Marketing Association), also a GSE, was later established in 1973, originally designed to do the same for higher education loans. It has now branched into consumer loans as well, and it is a public corporation. Go figure.
Because of its status as a government corporation, Fannie Mae bonds enjoyed a US government guarantee, making it a top quality investment. While the GSEs were not outright government entities but “government sponsored entities” that guarantee was not explicit, but assumed. Hence, their bonds enjoyed an implicit government guarantee, making the also relatively safe investments.
The purpose of the first three was to enable long term loans for home purchasing, so that more people would be able to afford a home as opposed to cash purchases or short term loans. This process is called “securitization” or the bundling of loans into sellable securities. And it worked.
Banks that followed the underwriting rules were able to “endorse” mortgage loans to these entities and continue lending without compromising their capital positions. The availability of long term loans fueled an unprecedented expansion of the US housing market through the 50s and 60s without parallel anywhere else in the world.
Non-conforming loans, where not accepted. Thus, if the purchaser’s income was too low, no dice. Likewise, if the purchasers income was OK but the value of the property too high for the program, other solutions had to be devised. No government guarantees for mansions. Other, private investments wre used for that purpose.
Then the Democrats discovered that these institutions, which had grown to become some of the largest financial enterprises in the world, were both cash cows and political rams to assist them in their incessant pandering.
In other words, not loaning to people who cannot afford repayment is racist and wrong! Vote for us and you will not be denied!
In 1968, the purveyors of this kind of nonsense came up with the “Fair Housing Act.” — whenever a social democrat uses the word “Fair” hit the deck; someone is about to be robbed.
This legislative nonsense was enacted as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and codified at 42 U.S.C. 3601-3619.
The original prohibited “financing of dwellings based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” Opening a can of whoop in litigation: you better watch out who’s loan you don’t approve. And later, it was amended to made it illegal to: “refuse to make a residential real estate loan in a particular area based upon the neighborhood in which the property is physically located;” making “redlining” illegal. And what was redlining? “The illegal practice of a lending institution denying loans or restricting their number for certain areas of a community.” Say, Watts on the day of the riots…
In other words, if you, banks, do not lend to those who cannot afford to repay, we will roast you!
It was amended in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2005, 2007 and, yes, 2008, every time lowering the standards further and forcing banks to ignore common sense in exchange for transferring the risk to Fanny Mae and the GSEs. Indeed, all but the last amendment demanded more and more loans, and forced the GSEs to swallow them while offering investors an “implied government guarantee” to assuage their well founded fears.
Banks did not do this. Congress forced them to. Banks who refused to relax their standards were in violation of the law and could not only be sued, but harassed with an increasing number of administrative tools.
Chief among the proponents of this idiocies in the 1990s was… Barney Frank (D-MA)
And when the shit hit the fan…Barney blamed the banks, those greedy bastards, without batting an eyelash. Sadly, even people who claim to be conservatives dance to this idiot’s tune to this day.
Yet, even today, geniuses to the left and right of the political spectrum are still going at it. They learnt NOTHING.
Ironically, even after all of this, the number of actual non-performance of CMO’s remained low and most paid interest and capital as expected. For all the dismal news from SW Florida and Las Vegas, 95% of prime mortgages ware paid, and defaults peaked at less than 5%. Admittedly, double the 2.5% average at any time.
Even including “sub-prime” loans, that had nothing to do with the institutions mentioned above, and that represent an always riskier market where no guarantees apply, the total number of defaults barely topped 10%.
So, if the performance of mortgage securities did not justify the massive collapse that we all witnessed, what did?
Two words: Sabannes-Oxley.
In 2001, ENRON, a behemoth in the energy sector, collapsed. They were not producers of energy. They were mostly speculators, and their business was primarily in the energy futures market. They had California by the nuts. But they weren’t as good as people thought, so they lost money hand over fist by making the wrong bets… which they hid by playing three-card-monty with a network of off-the-books partnerships where they parked their losses, keeping their shares up with the help of Arthur Andersen, so that their value would not tank while they looked to get out.
This was illegal, of course, but laws never stopped crooks. When the brown stuff hit the fan, the press blame fest began.
It so happens ENRON’s Chairman, Ken Lay, was an acquaintance of George W. Bush, so the press immediately speculated that he would skit. He didn’t. On May 25, 2006, he was convicted of a number of felonies (10 counts of securities fraud).
Lay’s sentencing was scheduled for September 11, 2006. He didn’t make it. On July 5th he keeled over and died, broke, of a heart attack.
The CEO, Jeff Skilling, was also convicted on 25 May 2006. This is his mug shot:
So, contrary to public speculation, “W” did not help either of them, and they landed in the pokey or died on their way there.
Still, there was wild speculation that GWB would pardon them. He never did. He hanged them out to dry, as he should have. But the Democrat narrative still makes a point to remind everyone “the Bushes knew them”!
Yet, nobody talks about Jon Corzine. I guess Lay and Skilling should have been friends with Obama.
In any case, the bean counters that helped create the house of cards, Arthur Andersen, folded like a cheap suit. Or so it appeared. In fact, they just moved headquarters, changed their name to just Andersen… shed off their consulting branch, were found guilty of obstruction of justice, and are now back hoping that nobody remembers.
In response to this, Congress decided to change the accounting rules. The problem was not that criminals had disregarded the law. No! The problem was that we needed new laws! We all need to be protected from the people who ignore the law…by making more laws!
The most destructive aspect of this abomination was a provision that came to be known as “mark to market,” a small change that yielded catastrophic results. Find it here, if you can: https://www.sec.gov/about/laws/soa2002.pdf
Essentially, the accounting change required public companies, including financial ones, to use the market value of assets in balance sheets, rather than their nominal value as has been customary, taking gains or losses if and when they occurred.
Why is this absurd? Because huge numbers of bond issues never quote in markets. They’re bought as packages at discount, and are never offered for sale at any exchange.
How must you then mark in your balance sheet a bond that does not quote in the markets?
Thus, good performing assets were restated to zero value causing enormous paper losses that had nothing to do with the value of those assets or the financial situation of their owners.
Some saw the stuff coming our way. It was big, nasty and brown. I sold everything I owned.
The adjustment caused companies to lose BILLIONS in assets…on paper. Lehman was the first casualty, but ALL financial institutions were reporting huge losses; and so were pension funds, industries, endowments… An equal opportunity mess.
Accounting profits inflated by reserve releases; FDIC insured banks: Pre-tax profits, loss provisions and economic profit (in $millions)
So interbank lending instantly ground to a halt. Nobody wanted to loan anybody any amount for two reasons:
I don’t know if you are going to be here tomorrow to repay.
I don’t know how much I need to keep my own requirements above water.
And as all lending halted, California could not get a 7 day loan to pay salaries. Neither could Caterpillar.
People started selling those bonds to get them out of their books. It killed the carry trade business. By some estimates, 30 TRILLION were wiped off of the M3. So the hedge funds tanked. And all hell broke loose.
By March of 2009, it was clear that Sarbannes-Oxley was to blame. So Congress finally moved to repeal the requirement, and banks had the largest profit in a quarter in history…in spite of losing money. All on paper. But the damage was done.
To add insult to injury, Congress then came up with a brand new knee-jerk reaction to the crisis it created with Sarbannes-Oxley:
Obamination No 2: Dodd-Frank (No 1 was Obamacare, of course) The product of the efforts of two of the most corrupt politicians ever: “Friend of Angelo” (Countrywide) Chris Dodd, and intellectual eunuch “Freddy Mac is God” Barney Frank.
Long, cumbersome, arbitrary and vague as it is, it gets worse. It spawned dozens of thousands of new regulations, causing the largest number of bank failures in the history of this country. It pulverized community banks, and if the number of failures did not set a record, it is because a majority were absorbed into larger banks and kept out of the stats.
As a consequence, “too big to fail” are now bigger and meaner than ever before. Thank Pocahontas, too. Her consumer chapter of the law made it much worse, creating obligations smaller banks could not meet.
Just to spice things up, at this time the FED offered banks unlimited amounts of money at 0% interest, which the Treasury then took paying 3%. A 3% spread, risk free, lending to the government the government’s own money. Kafkian! Billions upon billions of risk free profit!
And that is why most people reading this could not get a mortgage if they sold their souls. Or a business loan.
Community banks were leaving the marketplace and big banks were making a mint with no risk. Why would anyone lend a dime to you?
As the repeal of mark to market heralded the end of the credit crisis…a repeal of Dodd-Frank will make this country’s economy boom like at no other time before. Fasten seatbelts. Trump’s 3% growth & more
The House is already acted. Now it’s the Senate’s turn. Let’s hope they get to it. Soon.
In the end, those who held on to their mortgage bonds in ’08, got paid their interest and eventually got their money back. Those who either panicked and sold or were forced to sell at the wrong time, got fleeced. As it always happens. That’s why one should not invest without understanding the risks, out of greed, or following the advice of a used car salesman turned into an advisor after a two week “training” course at a brokerage house (or bank).
As for the rest of us, we can still see problems out there. The sluggish pace of the recovery, made all the worst by absurd regulations and the destruction of the secondary markets guarantee that most people cannot get a long term loan regardless of their ability to pay.
It has been nearly 20 years now since I delivered this lecture in Orlando, Florida. It is perhaps a testament to the immutability of nonsense that today I can publish it without changing a single word:
Abandonment Theology and the Wall of Separation
by Saul M. Montes-Bradley
Lecture delivered at the Annual Meeting of the
Sons of the Revolution in the State of Florida
19 April 1999
One of the purposes of our organization is “to underscore the wisdom which devised the system of checks and balances that provides opportunity and freedom for all.”
I entertain the notion that we, both individually and as a group, take that mission seriously.
Recently, a Compatriot, sincerely worried about the events in Littleton, Colorado, presented me with chapter II of a book entitled “Abandonment Theology.” The tract purported to state the reason for the “moral decline” that “affects our country” and leads it down the path to tragic events such as the one in the Colorado school. Citing rising crime rates as proof of “God’s anger” towards America, and in support of these theses it cites alarming statistics provided by a certain “David Borton of Wallbuilders, Inc.,” while claiming that falling SAT scores are the inevitable consequence of having “outlawed God in our schools.” It then rails against this alleged outrage which, it claims, was based on “a single decision in 1947 by Justice Black in Everton vs. Board of Education” while stating this decision was in clear contraposition to the idea of a wall between Church and State that the Founding Fathers intended to be “one way” only, based solely — the author claims — on “a letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association.” The author goes on to further claim that this letter was “out of the context” of the debates on the Constitution.
While I am a Doctor in Theology, I do not consider myself a theologian, nor do I intend to bring you into so convoluted territory at this point. And I do not believe that I am uniquely qualified in constitutional matters. However, the author of this libello makes some claims that are not just patently untrue, but dangerous to those freedoms and liberties that I, and we, hold dear, and those must be addressed.
In writing his opinion in Engle vs. Vitale, Justice Black did, I am sure, consider “Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association” (it was, in fact, addressed to “Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and others” of the said Association). Its contents can hardly be considered out of the context of the debates on the Constitution, in spite of having been written “years after the First Amendment had been ratified” — not that many years as it turns out. The letter was written on 01 January 1802, while events were still fresh in Jefferson’s mind.
In any case, I cannot believe that Justice Black’s considerations ended in this single letter, and it is to be assumed that many other legal, historical and moral issues were heavily weighted by such a conscientious man of Law. In the end, it was not just Justice Black, but a majority of the Court, on several occasions, that upheld the issue of separation, their opinion being, as of this date, still the Law of the Land. The independence of the Court’s decisions in these matters is one of the principles we are sworn to uphold.
The Supreme Court’s decision notwithstanding, the author goes on to affirm that, “in Jefferson’s mind,” the “wall of separation” was really a “one-way wall,” and that “Justice Black, without precedent, made it a two-way between Church and State.” At no time does he let us know by what mysterious device he is in knowledge of the intimate thoughts of Jefferson’s mind. Nor does he give any reasoning in support of his statements, preposterous as they may be. It would have been hard indeed to do so, because all evidence points to their falsehood.
Unlike the author of “Abandonment Theology,” I do not claim to know what was on Thomas Jefferson’s mind; this was known but to him and the Almighty.
But Jefferson did give more than one statement referring to the “wall of separation,” which, together with those of other Founding Fathers, will present a clearer picture:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural rights in opposition to his social duties.”
He then continues his idea on another occasion:
“In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the general government. I have therefore undertaken, on occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them, as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State and Church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.”
“The eastern states will be the last to come over, on account of the dominion of the clergy, who have got a smell of union between church and State, and begun to indulge reveries which can never be realized in the present state of science. If, indeed, they could have been prevailed on us to view all advances in sciences as dangereous innovation, and to look back to the opinions and practices of our forefathers; instead of looking forward, for improvement, a promising groundwork would have been laid. But I am in hopes their good sense will dictate to them, that since the mountain will not come to them, they shall better go to the mountain: that they will find their interest in acquiescing in the liberty and science of their country, and that the Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expression of the human mind.”
In a letter to John Adams, Jefferson expands on his observations to the members of the Danbury Baptist Association:
“In coupling Connecticut with you [those of Massachusetts], I mean it politically only, not morally. For having made the Bible the common law of their land they seem to have modeled their morality on the story of Jacob and Laban. But altho’ this hereditary succession to office with you may in some degree be founded in real family merit, yet in a much higher degree it has proceeded from your strict alliance of church and state. These people are canonized in the eyes of the people on the common principle ‘you tickle me, and I will tickle you.’ In Virginia we have nothing of this.”
As if his alleged intention of protecting the church from the state and not the other way around were not made clear in the paragraphs above, he yet returns to the question:
“In truth, the alliance between Church and State in England has never made their judges accomplices in the frauds of the clergy; and even bolder than they are. For instead of being contented with these four surreptitious chapters of Exodus, they have taken the full leap, and declared at once that the whole Bible and Testament in a Lump, make a part of the common law. ante 873: the first judicial declaration of which was by this same Sir Matthew Hale. And thus incorporate into the English code laws made for the Jews alone, and the precepts of the Gospel, intended by their benevolent author as obligatory only in foro concienciæ; and they own the whole with the coercion of municipal law. In doing this, too, they have not even used the Connecticut caution of declaring, as is done in their blue laws, that the laws of God shall be the laws of their land, except where their own contradict them; but they swallow the yea and the nay together. Finally, in answer to Fortescue Alland’s question Why the ten commandments shall not now be a part of the common law of England? We say they are not because they never were made so by legislative authority, the document that has imposed that doubt on him being a manifest forgery.”
On occasion, what Jefferson does not say is equally telling. On 4 August 1818, in a report of the commissions of the University of Virginia, perhaps his dearest institution after the forging of the nation, he says:
“Encouraged, therefore, by the sentiments of the Legislature, manifested in this statute, we present the following tabular statements of the branches of learning which we think should be taught in the University, forming them into groups, each of which are within the powers of a single professo
I. Languages, Ancient: Latin, Greek, Hebrew.
II. Languages, Modern: French, Spanish, Italian, German, Anglo-Saxon.
IV. Physico-Mathematics: Mechanics, Statics, Dynamics, Pneumatics, Accoustics, Optics, Astronomy, Geography.
V. Physics, or Natural Philosophy: Chemistry, Mineralogy.
VI. Botany, Zoology.
VII. Anatomy, Medicine.
VIII. Government, Political Economy, Law of Nature and Nations, History – being interwoven with politics and law.
IX. Law, Municipal.
X. Ideology, General Grammar, Ethics, Rhetoric, Belles Letres, and the fine Arts.”
Nowhere to be seen are religious subjects. Perhaps because Jefferson believed that these were to be taught in religious institutions and had no business in the state’s schools. That was the position that a number of great theologians like Dr. Samuel Lunt Caldwell D.D., LL.D. continued to espouse during the rest of the 1800s.
So much for Jefferson and the one-way wall. Indeed, if the thought ever crossed Jefferson’s mind, it must have been in relation to his stated fear and loathing of church encroachment in the affairs of state. He was, in this respect, in the most impressive company, like that of Dr. Benjamin Franklin:
“There is no doubt but the Claim of Parliament of Authority to make Laws binding on the Colonists in all Cases whatsoever, includes an Authority to change our Religious Constitution, and establish Popery or Mahomedanism if they please in its Stead: but, as you intimate Power does not make Right; and as the Right is nothing and the Power (by our Increase) continually diminishing, the one will soon be as insignificant as the other.”
“I am fully of your Opinion respecting religious Tests; but, tho’ the People of Massachusetts have not in their Constitution kept quite clear of them, yet, if we consider what the people were 100 years ago, we must allow they have gone great Lengths in Liberality of Sentiment on religious Subjects; and we may hope for greater Degrees of Perfection, when their Constitution, some years hence, shall be revised. If Christian Preachers had continued to teach as Christ and his Apostles did, without Salaries, and as the Quakers now do, I imagine Tests would never have existed; for I think they were invented, not so much to secure religion itself, as the Emoluments of it. When a Religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and, when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support, so that its Professors are oblig’d to call for the help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
The issue was, as it was to be expected, amply debated in 1787-89. In speeches, the press, correspondence and the ratification of the Constitution in the States. Again, a picture quite different from that espoused by the “Abandonment Theology” appears:
“… all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding; and that no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to or against his own free will and consent; and that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control, the right of conscience in the free exercise of worship…”
“Tyranny is the exercise of some power over a man, which is not warranted by law, or necessary for the public safety . . . In some nations, legislators have derived much of their power from the influence of religion, or from that implicit belief which an ignorant and superstitious people entertain of the Gods, and their interposition in every transaction of life. The Roman Senate sometimes availed themselves of this engine to carry their decrees and maintain their authority. This was particularly the case, under the aristocracy which succeeded the abolition of the monarchy. The augurs and priests were taken wholly from patrician families. They constituted a distinct order of men — had power to negative any law of the people, by declaring that it was passed during the taking of the auspices. This influence derived from the authority of opinion, was less perceptible, but as tyrannical as a military force. The same influence constitutes, at this day, a principal support of several Governments on the Eastern continent, and perhaps in South America. But in North America, by a singular concurrence of circumstances, the possibility of establishing this influence, as a pillar of Government, is totally precluded.”
Indeed, as of this very day, more than two centuries after Noah Webster’s words, the backward and theocratic institutions of South American nations clearly prove him right. May the Good Lord deliver us from those who would like to see us sink in the barbarian hold of a state church!
And what about the claim that religion in our public schools will serve to “tame the beast” and “restrain” the dark impulses of our students? Again, the debates on the Constitution provide some insight as to the Founders’ opinions:
“Religion. The inefficacy of this restraint on individuals is well known. The conduct of every popular Assembly, acting on oath, the strongest of religious ties, shows that individuals join without remorse in acts against which their consciences would revolt, if proposed to them separately in their closets… Even in its coolest state, it [religion] has been much oftener a native to oppression than a restraint from it… The same security seems requisite for the civil as for the religious rights of individuals. If the same sect forms a majority and have the power, other sects will be sure to be depressed. DIVIDE ET IMPERA, the reprobated axiom of tyranny, is under certain qualifications the only policy by which a republic can be administered on just principles.”
“I will therefore make up the deficiency by adding a few words on the Constitution proposed by our Convention. . . . I will now add what I do not like. First, the omission of a Bill of rights providing clearly and without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press… Let me add that a bill of rights is what people are entitled to against every government on earth, General or particular, and that no just government should refuse or rest on inference.”
“It is true, we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion; but when we are making a constitution, it is to be hoped, for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as part of the national compact?”
“But in this state, we have never thought it expedient to adopt a test-law; and yet I sincerely believe we have as great a proportion of religion and morality, as they have in England, where every person who holds public office, must either be a Saint by law, or a hypocrite by practice. A test-law is the parent of hypocrisy, and the offspring of error, and the spirit of persecution. Legislators have no right to set up an inquisition, and examine into the private opinions of men. Test-laws are useless and ineffectual, unjust and tyrannical; therefore the convention have done wisely in excluding this engine of persecution, and providing that no religious test shall ever be required.”
“The Right of conscience shall be held inviolable; and neither the legislative, executive nor judicial powers of the United States shall have authority to alter, abrogate or infringe any part of the constitutions of the several States, which provide for the preservation of liberty in matters of religion.”
This last paragraph was presented, nearly verbatim, as a proposed amendment to the Convention before the final vote, on 12 December 1787, by Mr. Robert Whitehill, of Pennsylvania, but it was not noted upon and read, so that the articles might eventually be taken collectively as a bill of rights, or separately as an amendment, at a later vote.
This later vote came and, as a bill of rights, the articles were adopted; albeit with some stronger language:
“Article I: Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
That the intent of the Founding Fathers, by their own pen, was to protect the church from undue state intervention as a guarantee of freedom of religion, as well as to protect the state from encroachment at the hands of the clergy is sufficiently clear. That by this device they intended, ultimately, to protect religion from the vagaries of a democratic system’s political seasons may not be so clear. Alexis de Toqueville, in that outstanding study of American political and social institutions, “Democracy in America,” thus summarized the issue:
“Religions intimately united with the governments of the earth have been known to exercise sovereign power founded on terror and faith; but when religion contracts an alliance of this nature, I do not hesitate to affirm that it commits the same error as the man who would sacrifice his future to his present welfare; and that in obtaining a power to which it has no claim, it risks the authority which is rightfully its own. When a religion founds its empire only upon the desire of immortality that lives in every human heart, it may aspire to universal dominion; but when it connects itself with a government, it must adopt maxims which are applicable only to certain nations. Thus, in forming an alliance with a political power, religion augments its authority over a few and forfeits the hope of reigning over all. . . . In proportion as a nation assumes a democratic condition of society and as communities display democratic propensities, it becomes more and more dangerous to connect religion with political institutions; for the time is coming when authority will be bandied from hand to hand, when political theories will succeed one another, and when men, laws, and constitutions will disappear or be modified from day to day, and this not for a season only, but increasingly. Agitation and mutability are inherent in the nature of democratic republics, just as stagnation and sleepiness are the law of absolute monarchies.
If the Americans…who have given up the political world to the attempts of innovators, had not placed religion beyond their reach, where could it take hold in the ebb and flow of human opinions? Where would be that respect that belongs to it? Amid the struggles of faction? And what would become of its immortality, in the midst of universal decay?
The American clergy were the first to perceive this truth and to act in conformity with it. They saw that they must renounce their religious influence if they were to strive for political power, and they chose to give up the support of the state rather than to share its vicissitudes. In America religion is perhaps less powerful than it has been at certain periods among certain nations; but its influence is more lasting.”
Having, I believe, helped to clarify the matter of the Founding Fathers’ position as it relates to the “Wall of Separation” between church and state, we can return to the “Abandonment Theology.”
The chapter then goes on to claim that falling SAT scores are a consequence of “outlawing God in Public Schools.” This is doubly preposterous.
First, because God has not been outlawed in Public Schools, as it has been clarified ad nauseam. Organizedprayer in public schools was justly found to be unconstitutional and that is the extent of the Court’s decisions.
Second, because to assume that organized prayer is the one thing responsible for our children’s success in standardized tests does not bear argument. Were it to be so, I must respectfully submit that we send our teachers home, do away with the educational system altogether and pray instead for knowledge to be given our children by divine intervention. We will all save enormous amounts in property taxes.
This same absolute lack of sense is the cause of the alarmist and ill-founded analysis of dubious statistics taken out of any meaningful context. It does absolutely nothing to improve the lot of our students but, rather, increases the level of confusion and angst in which they must already develop. What the author continually does is assume that two things happening together, one must be the cause of the other. In logic, this kind of reasoning is called a post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) falacy – The cock crows, and the sun comes up, but the cock does not make the rise. When this kind of analysis is used to “explain” horrific events such as Littleton’s as a consequence of our society’s “moral decline” and of the general corruption of values throughout our educational system, it does a disservice to the great majority of the people in the system and to the victims of these events.
To point a finger at all students for “lack of morals and corrupted ways,” because of the actions of an isolated psychopath or a handful of deranged characters is utterly unjust, hurtful to those involved in real incidents, and better left unsaid.
The truth is that millions of children attend school uneventfully every day of every year. That violence, where it exists as more than an isolated event, is the province of those schools located in already violent areas of society, the solution to which lies without rather than within the school system; and that knee-jerk reactions to events while lacking the most rudimentary bit of information about the facts themselves contribute to the problem and do absolutely nothing to help.
Which will not stop those who wallowing in their own sense of compassion cannot give themselves time to think and reason. Nor will it stop those who will opportunistically take advantage of every unguarded moment that offers the lure of Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame, and an opportunity to indulge in that most godly American activity: to make a buck.
Thus, when events such as Littleton take place, some will blame the availability of handguns although none were used. Others will blame the “outlawing of God in Schools” as if the Creator were of such vile disposition as to visit punishment on the innocent for the transgressions of the sinful, and as if such banishment could in fact be implemented (read my lips: there is no such thing), and vociferously rave for mandatory prayer conducted in some sort of hand-holding ceremony by someone, anyone, but all together! Paraphrasing H. L. Mencken, balderdash, and poppycock!
No law ever prevented criminals from getting whatever weapons they set their minds in obtaining, and those in Littleton were no exception. In securing their weapons, these kids violated several state and federal laws. A few more would have made no difference.
And no amount of preaching and praying and Hosannas to Heaven will prevent a psychopath from performing his ghastly deeds, as every mass suicide or murder with religious overtones from Waco to Jonestown to Uganda has proved one sickening time after another.
Both sides are consistently disingenuous. Neither are weapons so readily available to teenagers, nor is God “banned” from school or, for that matter, from anywhere else. Nor, I would argue, can the Father of us all be so banned.
That said, it is only in the passionate defense of the separation of church and state that we will guarantee the ultimate survival of both church and state. And it is by an equally passionate defense of the rest of the covenants of the Bill of Rights that we will guarantee our own survival.
Having been born in Argentina, where I lived through most of my early years, I know what it is to live in a slightly veiled theocracy. My American ancestors, who migrated there in the early XIXth Century, were not free to practice their faith, were not allowed to marry, were not allowed to register the birth of their children and were not allowed to be buried in local cemeteries unless they converted to the local church.
In 1976, we had to endure unspeakable harassment to be able to cremate my grand undle Richard as the practice was condemned by the Church.
As late as 1989, legislators were being publicly threatened with excommunion should they vote favorably for a law allowing divorce.
Until 1997, the elected President had to make a public profession of faith, in accordance with the mandate of the local church, before being allowed to take office.
I was, then, for many years, as my family was before me, deprived of the enjoyment of civil religious rights, and can apodictally state that no task before us is more imperative, nor duty more sacred, than their upholding.
Even when the savagery of isolated events may make us waver in our determination or, perhaps, then more so.
Whether it be the intolerance of the Argentine Catholic Church, or the stranglehold effected by orthodox sects over the Israeli Knesset, or the abuses of the Mullahs in Iran, or the tests imposed by the Anglican Church, it makes no difference. Whenever and wherever religious institutions were allowed to exert direct influence into the affairs of the state, people suffered and, in the end, the system failed.
The admonitions of our Founding Fathers as to the fleeting nature of religious homogeneity in our country were, as usual, quite correct. Within our lifetime, we will see the Protestant denominations become a minority in America (Protestants are already in a minority in the Supreme Court). I wonder if these advocates of religion in the affairs of state are prepared to see their children being forced into religious services not their own. While it would serve them right, I cannot rejoice in the prospect.
And thus, for those who insist in bringing religion into the realm of politics, let Thomas Paine answer from our collective past:
“Here ends the examination of your testimony; (which I call upon no man to abhor, as you have done, but only to read and judge fairly;) to which I subjoin the following remark: “That the setting up and putting down of kings,” most certainly mean, the making of a king, who is not yet so, and the making him no king who is already one. And pray what hath this to do in the present case? We neither mean to set up not to put down, neither to make nor to unmake, but to have nothing to do with them. Wherefore your testimony in whatever light is viewed serves only to dishonor your judgement and for many other reasons had better had been let alone than published. First, because it tends to the decrease and reproach of all religion whatever, and it is of the utmost danger to society, to make it a party in political disputes. Secondly, because it exhibits a body of men, numbers of whom disavow the publishing political testimonies, as being concerned therein and approved thereof. Thirdly, because it hath a tendency to undo that Continental harmony and friendship which yourselves by your late liberal and charitable donations hath lent a hand to establish and the preservation of which, is of the utmost consequence to us all. And here without anger or resentment I bid you farewell. Sincerely wishing, that as men and Christians, ye may always fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil religious right; and be, in your turn, the means of securing it for others; but that example which ye have unwisely set, ofmingling religion with politics, may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.”
 Actually, crime rates in all categories, as reported by legitimate sources (FBI, National Sheriff’s Association, etc.) have fallen to their lowest level in decades. More than 35% in 1998 alone! By the Abandonment Theology’s reckoning, we would be lead to believe that God must have been particularly pleased with our current state of affairs.
 In Everton vs. Board of Education (1947), in fact, the Court upheld bus subsidies granted by the state of New Jersey. The issue at hand was whether the states could subsidize children’s bus fares to public and parochial schools. In the majority opinion, Justice Black noted that the State of New Jersey had, in its subsidies, “aided all its citizens without regard to their religious beliefs.” And he further wrote that the Establishment clause “requires the state to be neutral in its relations with groups of religious believers and non-believers; it does not require the state to be their adversary.” Perhaps in anticipation of a ruling expected in a later case (McCollum vs. Illinois, 1948), Justice Black stressed that, while the state must “accommodate” religion, it cannot “pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.” States cannot “support any religious activities… [or] teach or practice religion.” It was in this context that Justice Black then quoted Jefferson’s letter of 1802 to some members of the Baptist Convention of Danbury. In 1962, Justice Black wrote the decision of Engle vs. Vitale, striking down the practice of reciting a prescribed prayer in a New Hyde Park, New York, school. Citing the same Jefferson letter, he stated that the Establishment clause: “must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the official business of government to compose official prayers for any group of American people to recite as part of a religious program carried out by the government.” Again in 1963, and in the face of a demand from some groups for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decisions, the court took Abington Township v. Schempp; a case it could have refused referring to a school in which the Bible was used to “bring lessons in morality to children.” Justice Tom Clark, a southern conservative, wrote the decision striking down this practice and reaffirming the Court’s position in the earlier decisions.
There are other Supreme Court decisions on the separation of Church and State. The author seems to confuse and reverse the meaning of those he quotes.
 Implying that the separation was to prevent the State from meddling in church affairs, but not the other way around!
 Perhaps, the author, so that he may become informed of Jefferson’s state of mind, resorted to the ancient practice of haruspication, and by carefully reading into chicken livers came to a better understanding of his inner thoughts. Or, perchance, he practiced instead scapulamancy and, by careful study of that chicken’s spealbone or shoulder blade, came to an understanding that eludes us.
 Thomas Jefferson. Letter to Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and others, a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association in the State of Connecticut, 01 January 1802.
 Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address, 04 March 1805.
 Thomas Jefferson, letter to Moses Robinson, Washington, 23 March 1801
 Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, Monticello, Virginia, 12 October 1813.
 Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Cooper, Monticello, Virginia, 10 February 1814.
 Thomas Jefferson, Report of the Commissioners of the University of Virginia, Monticello, Virginia, 04 August 1818.
 Benjamin Franklin, letter to Samuel Mather, London, 07 July 1773. Note the early analysis of the decreasing power of England over the Colonies, as well as the pun on Increase Mather, an ancestor of Samuel’s.
 Benjamin Franklin, letter to Richard Price, Passy, 09 October 1780.
 Samuel Bryan, Reply to Wilson’s Speech, Centinel, Freeman’s Journal, Philadelphia, 24 October 1787.
 Noah Webster, A Citizen of America, Philadelphia, 17 October 1787.
 James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, New York, 24 October 1787
 Thomas Jefferson, reply to Madison, Paris, 20 December 1787
 Lawrence Taliaferro to James Madison, Rose Hill, Orange Co., Virginia, 16 December 1787
 Dissent of the Minority of the Pennsylvania Convention. Pennsylvania Packet, Philadelphia, 18 December 1787.
 Bill of Rights. Articles in addition to, and Amendment of, the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
 Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in America, Alfred Knopf, New York, 1993, Vol. I, p. 308-312.
 Thomas Paine, Common Sense, Dover Publications, 1997, Epistle to the Representatives of the Religious Society of the People called Quakers &tc., p. 57, 58
For months now, I have been witness, with not a small degree of astonishment, to a crescendo of voices opposed to what they term the “danger” of the “imposition” of Sharia law in the US.
Try as I might, I cannot see any logical basis for the claim. Recently, the cacophony has grown to hysterical proportions, with calls for demonstrations and warnings of the end of the world as we know it if Sharia Law is not “banned.”
I have news for the anti-Sharia warriors. It is already banned. It has been since 1789. The second clause of Article 6 of the US Constitution clearly states:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
In other words, unless Sharia Law, by some kind of magical devise, is made a part of the US Constitution, it is not, nor can it be the Law of the land. Neither can Canon Law, the Napoleonic Code, Salic Law nor any other system of laws ever devised or to be devised by the mind of Man.
None, that is, unless, a constitutional amendment manages to garner massive support and is ratified by the legislatures of 38 states; but only after it gets a two thirds majority in the US Senate and House of Representatives.
Surely, a Muslim population of no more than 1% (yep, a whopping 1 percent), not all of whom are particularly endeared to the finer points of Sharia Law, cannot by any rational process be considered to have such overwhelming legislative power.
So, why the hullabaloo?
If Sharia is not—and by any stretch of the imagination cannot be—the law of the land, why would so many be so vocally calling for its banning? There are only two possible answers:
1. These people are dumber than a doorbell. In their unabashed stupidity and ignorance, they actually think that somehow, a minimal fraction of the population can impose a foreign law on the rest of us by means of black magic or other such process. They know not our Constitution, nor the basics of our legal system, and are thus intellectually free to assume that we may one day wake up to a country ruled by the primitive legislation of an alien source.
2. They are moved by basic undiluted bigotry.
That is, their visceral resentment of anything that does not sound, smell or look familiar, including the peculiar tenets of an alien system most Muslims in the US escaped from. Which brings us back to point 1. This is not a new phenomenon, though social media has given it a heretofore unattainable reach. I can hear echoes of those who feared the Irish would bring “Popery” to our shores—in fact, they did, in much larger numbers and only to be diluted into the melting pot. Or that the Jews would eat our babies in strange secret rituals—of course, they didn’t, though there are still lunatics out there that maintain such imbecilities.
All of this is a distraction from real issues, as it has always been.
Terrorism, the scourge of our time, is trivialized by palookas fighting ghosts and antagonizing our natural allies in our real struggle to defeat it. Law abiding, patriotic Muslims, even those serving in our Police and Armed Forces, are made afraid to walk the streets of the cities they are sacrificing so much to protect. And the strategy of Jihadists finds new life in the actions of dupes whose ignorance and bigotry represent a more serious threat to our open society than a thousand goat-humpers screaming Jihad in the wilderness seconds before our Muslim allies dispatch them to the special place in Hell reserved for them.
So, my dear crazies, you can sleep tonight.
No witch doctor will come thirsting for your female parts, no crazed jurist is going to order your hand cut off, and you can hold on to your brew (unless a new Christian revival makes us dry again).