ON THE CUSP OF A SECOND CIVIL WAR!

 

By Rush Limbaugh

America is under attack from within. Our culture, our history, our founding are under the most direct assault I have seen in my life. And I’m sure it’s the same with you. We haven’t seen anything like this. You might even get away with saying that we are on the cusp of a second civil war. Some of you might say that we are already into it, that it has already begun. However you characterize it, though, we are under attack from within. And it’s being bought and paid for by people from outside America, in addition to inside.

I’m thinking of people like George Soros and any other number of international financiers whose objective it is to take the United States out and down as a superpower, to literally erase the United States as a powerful or super powerful nation.

Now, folks, in order to defend America, which I believe is incumbent upon all of us, in order to defend America, you have to begin knowing our history. If you’re gonna defend the United States of America, you have to know our history. You have to know the purpose of the United States of America. You have to know unequivocally and proudly the United States’ place in history. And that is why erasing and distorting our history is crucial for the left to succeed.

None of this that is happening on the left is random. None of the riots, none of the protests. They are not the result of the left being offended by individual acts. Antifa didn’t show up in Charlottesville because they found out something was going to happen that offended them. They showed up in Charlottesville to create mayhem and cause hell. They showed up in Ferguson, Missouri, to do the same thing.

They showed up in Baltimore to do the same thing — and wherever they show up today and tomorrow and next week, it’s by design, on purpose, has an objective and an agenda. And that agenda is to erase American history. That agenda is to distort, erase, and impugn our history. It is crucial if they are to succeed. Because, you see, if enough Americans can be persuaded that America, as founded, is unjust — if enough Americans can be persuaded that America, as founded, is inherently racist and immoral and illegitimate — then it will be all that much easier to erase America as founded.

The two go hand in hand, which is the objective of all of these groups on the left. Whatever they’re called and wherever they go and however they organize and whatever their day-to-day purpose, their objective is to erase the history of America. It’s to restate it, to recharacterize it in such a way as to convince a majority of Americans that their country is illegitimate and has been from the get-go — is unjust and racist and bigoted and has been from the get-go.

If enough Americans can be persuaded of all of that — that America is inherently racist, that America is and has been a lie — then it’s over. That is the objective, and we are in the midst of it. Sometimes you’re so close to the forest you don’t see the trees. That’s what we are in the midst of here: An ongoing effort to erase America by discrediting the entire premise of our culture, our history, our founding. The objective is to create in as many American minds as possible that America as founded is not worth defending. Serious times.

This is a very, very serious effort that is underway. Sadly, it has a lot of allies. It has a lot of people helping it that ought to be opposing it, but they are choosing what they think is the path of least resistance, which is defined by the media. You’ve got several Republicans who I believe are unwittingly participating in the effort to cast America as indefensible, particularly with Donald Trump as president. Trump as president is, in their view…

The attacks on Trump, the characterization of his presidency, is designed to show how really flawed America is. That somebody like this could be elected, that means it’s time to get rid of the Constitution. That means it’s time to get… Whatever made Trump possible, it’s time to change it and get rid of it. This is very, very serious stuff happening here, and it has the aid and support of the media, which means it has the aid and support of the worldwide left and the Democrat Party.

America’s profound morality, kindness, widespread prosperity, and design for equal opportunity should be self-evident. But that assumes that factual, historically accurate reporting in education is taking place, and we know that it isn’t. It is a shame and a near crime that the profound morality and greatness and kindness and widespread prosperity and equal opportunity that is America isn’t known. It is a crime that those characteristics of our country are in the process being recast and erased. We are getting hysterically inaccurate reporting.

We have been in the midst of hysterically inaccurate education for generations. America is unique. America copied no other country. Every other country was a copycat of others, with governments that denied individual freedom, denied opportunity, denied sovereignty. That’s what was copied. Tyranny was copied, nation to nation, people to people. That is the history of humanity: Living in tyranny, living under authoritarianism, living in poverty, living in sickness — until the United States came along, which copied nothing.

The United States and its founders rejected all of that tyranny, oppression, poverty. In America, the individual was the supreme power. That is being erased under the premise that the individual is corrupt. The individual is likely a racist or a transphobe or a homophobe or some other ill-prepared sack of humanity, and so we need to overcome the corruption that is the individual, that incomparable embrace of humanity that is the United States of America.

There’s no place on this planet that human beings would rather be than the United States of America. And yet people born and raised in this country have been persuaded that America is a sinkhole, a hellhole, a sewer, a garbage dump, or a dungeon, and they’re in the process of actually creating all of that — under the guise that civil rights, equality, and liberty. The incomparable embrace of humanity that is the United States is under attack. Leftists, Democrats seek control over 100% of the population. They accomplish this with lies, such as the Affordable Health Care Act.

They accomplish it with one lie after another. The lies being told today are the lies designed to convince people their country is not worth maintaining as it is, their country is not worth maintaining as founded because it was founded as racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic (you know the drill), immoral and illegitimate. Ignorant people will not remain free for very long. The media is working on a path parallel with school systems to actively and passively distort information to wipe out from the vestiges of our history and our memory any collection of stories that testify to the greatness of America and her people.

Ignorant people will not remain free for very long. The media is working on a path parallel with school systems, and now major corporations are joining in this effort. Free, informed speech is punished, diversity of thought is punished and discouraged — and it’s all coming to a head now, folks. This mop is made to appear much bigger than it really is. This mob tried to elect Hillary Clinton and failed. The media is directing all of this call it a soap opera or a movement or a strategy. And let me tell you, the media and these mobs? They’re not just into removing statues, folks.

They’re not in this just to remove Republicans, and they’re not in this just to remove Donald Trump. The campaign here is to convince you that your country isn’t worth defending. The campaign here is to convince you your country is deeply flawed from the outset and needs to be completely remade, reconstituted, outside the framework of a constitutional republic. “That has failed! We must discard that and reconstitute ourselves as an authoritarian, benevolent” that’s what they think it would be “tyranny.” The campaign is to concentrate power and to end the era of the individual and individual liberty.

This is a very important theme I’m leading off the program with today, folks. I don’t often do monologues or sermon-like things, but this was… We’re in the midst of something extremely crucial. This really does involve the future of the country as founded. I’ve known for years it’s under siege, under attack. I know the left. I know their motivations. I know their objectives. I know who funds them. I know how they’ve educated people.

But it’s now plain as day for anybody in the world to see, that they are attempting to seriously convince as many Americans as possible there’s nothing defensible about this country. It needs to be torn down and rebuilt. It’s not savable. This country is too flawed, it is too flawed, it’s too far gone. There’s not enough goodness and decency to grab hold of and reform. This is why education has dumbed people down. This is why so few people know genuine American history. So few people actually understand what I mentioned at the beginning of this.

You have to know American history. You have to know the purpose. You have to know America’s place in history. You have to know why 56 men risked their lives and their fortunes and their sacred honor to declare independence from the tyranny of the day. You have to know why they did that. You have to know what they faced. You have to have a deep appreciation for your individual personal liberty. You have to have a deep appreciation for the history of the world — which is that until the United States came along, that didn’t exist as a charter of government.

There were people that had individual liberty and freedom. They ran tyrannical countries, they ran authoritarian countries, they ran dungeons, or they were wealthy elite. But the vast majority of human beings who have lived on this planet have never come close to knowing what life is like in the United States of America. But around the world today and since our founding, everybody alive does know and tries to get here — temporarily, permanently, what have you.

And yet all of it is under assault and being rewritten with the theme being that this country is not worth it, that it is deeply flawed. America is not worth defending. It’s inherently racist and unjust. And here’s the real irony. This bunch of people down in Charlottesville, this ragtag bunch of Nazis and Klan members and white supremacists? There’s not enough of those people to affect any kind of change whatsoever. Not systemic change. Not enough of those people to elect enough people to matter. There aren’t enough of those people to matter, period.

They are not the problem. They don’t have power in America today. They don’t have any, compared to the people opposing them. How many people show up at a Klan rally these days if they have one? The media doesn’t show you because it’s so tiny. The media wants you to think the Klan elected Donald Trump. The media wants you to think the Klan, the Nazis, and the white supremacists elected Donald Trump and that Steve Bannon put ’em all together and grew them. There aren’t enough of those people to elect a member of Congress, much less a president.

They are not the problem. The problem is on the other side. The problem comes from people who do have power — and what power they have! They have the power to shut down free speech on campus. They have the power to totally corrupt the movie, the book, the music and TV industries. They have real power! The anarchists, the anti-Americans, the Antifa, the Occupy Wall Street, the Black Lives Matter, the United States mainstream media, the Democrat Party, they have power. They are leading the effort that is attempting to teach that America is unjust and immoral and illegal.

These little hapless people marching around wearing white hoods couldn’t stop diddly-squat. They don’t have any power. They’ve been shamed into practically nonexistence. Yet they are hoisted up. They are portrayed as the people running this country — or the people who used to run this country and they ran it for all these years, and now they are losing it, justifiably, and they are panicked and causing trouble. They don’t have any power compared to the people that I’m talking about. You think the Klan can compare to the mainstream media?

You think the Nazis, however many of them there are — or few — can compare to the media and academia and Hollywood? It’s a joke! The same thing with the Nazis and the same thing with the white supremacists. But when you talk Black Lives Matter, when you talk Occupy Wall Street or any of these other left-wing groups that end up rioting and protesting, they are the military wing of the people with power in this country. These people run the Washington establishment. You don’t find in you Klansmen there, and you don’t find any Nazis there, because there aren’t enough of those people to matter a hill of beans.

But yet look how they are portrayed. None of these people run institutions of higher learning. None of these people are in charge of massive amounts of money donated by other wealthy people and then redistributed to advance the leftist cause. They don’t have anything like that. They’re not the people to worry about. And yet, turn on the news, and the only people to worry about — and the reason why America must be reconstituted, the reason why America is unjust and illegitimate — is because of a bunch of people who wouldn’t fill a phone booth in a proportional illustration of the population of this country.

In the process, the American people are being misdirected and told to fear the wrong people. At the same time, they’re being told to believe and appreciate “the right people,” and the right people are the people who really wield the power and who really have, as their objectives, to undermine and overthrow the Constitution of this country and create something different that will end up nullifying the whole concept of individual liberty and freedom. You already see this on the internet. The internet is unregulated, and that’s good.

But look what has happened here. Do you think the Klan can hold a candle to PayPal? Can the Nazis hold a candle to Facebook? Can white supremacists in any way compete in terms of power with Twitter? There’s no way. So those websites have all decided amongst themselves — the CEOs of those websites have unilaterally decided — they are not gonna allow any speech they don’t like. Now, they do this under the guise of banning hate speech from the Nazis and related websites, white supremacist websites and so forth. And it’s applauded.

But these guys are admitting the only reason they’re doing it is ’cause they don’t like these guys and they don’t want to have to see them their sites. What if they wake up tomorrow and don’t like you? They are in effect saying that due to their own sensibilities of what’s right and wrong and just and unjust, they are gonna decide who has the ability to think and say whatever is thought and said on their platforms. Do you agree with that or not? Do you think that’s okay?

Do you say, “Well, Rush, I gotta side with ’em. I don’t think the storm troopers ought to have a website, and I don’t think the supremacists ought to…” Okay, fine. Remember, they don’t have any power to do diddly-squat. All they can do is offend you and make you mad. They don’t have any power to do anything. But do you think that three people — Zuckerberg and whoever the other two are that run PayPal and Facebook, Twitter, whatever. Do you think they ought to be able to wake up one day and just decide? But they’re doing it — under the guise, by the way, of cleansing and pursuing and sanctifying.

That’s not what they’re doing.

They are limiting speech.

I saw some idiot Democrat on TV the other day. Oh! No! It was one of the cofounders of Black Lives Matter. A woman. Do you know what she said? “The Constitution prohibits hate speech.” I heard that, and I thought, “You know, there are going to be a lot of people that agree with it, ’cause they don’t know, because they’ve been taught that ‘hate speech’ is bad.” Who defines, by the way, “hate speech”? Like, I think I’m the victim of hate speech every day. There’s some hate speech on me in — what is it? The Washington Post today. I think it’s the Washington Post.

Yep, there’s hate speech on me today in the Washington Post. People speak of me with hate every day in mainstream news organizations. But here’s the founder of Black Lives Matter: “The Constitution prohibits hate speech.” No. In fact, what the Constitution does is allows it. The First Amendment specifically permits it! That’s the point of the First Amendment, the free speech clause. There isn’t any limit that a government can put on it — other than calling “fire” in a crowded theater, of course, that kind of thing.

But political speech, specifically referenced in the founding documents, there isn’t any limit on it. Hate speech, the speech you hate and disagree with, that is the speech protected. And the age-old theory has been the way you drown it out is with mountains and mountains and mountains of more free speech that condemns, that ridicules, that relegates.

But that’s not how the left goes about it. The left gets offended and says, “You don’t have the right to offend me. I’m shutting you up or down.” And people applaud it. Those are the people have the power in America today, folks. The people that run universities that you’re spending $25,000 a semester to send your kid to. The Drive-By Media. Your local school board, the Hollywood entertainment industry, that’s real power. That’s where the power is. And it’s all aligned and arrayed on one side.

Donald Trump is coming up against it. Who do you think’s winning that battle? Who’s winning that battle of power? And then you want to tell me they want to tell me that we need to really fear this bunch of lunatics in the Klan and this bunch of hapless half-wits in the white supremacy movement? Seriously?

POLYGAMY AND MISOGYNY OF ISLAM




 

Saudi Arabia has recently become embroiled in a debate over the idea that polygamy can provide a solution to the problem of single women in the kingdom, with some proponents saying men should take three wives – a single woman, a widow, and a divorcee – thus alleviating the burden of spinsters on society.

The hashtag “#One Third Of Saudi Women Are Unmarried” trends on Twitter in Saudi Arabia sparking fiery debate. A similar hashtag is trending on wider Arab social media. A Saudi group of marriage officiants started a WhatsApp group named Polygamy and within a month 2,000 women have joined.

Statistics in the country regarding the phenomenon vary greatly, even among government ministries. In 2014, the Saudi Planning Ministry reported three million single men and women, double the number from 2010. The Saudi General Authority for Statistics reported in 2016 that the number of single women above the age of 15 was approximately 2.3 million, but noted that unmarried women aged 32 or older only numbered 230,000. Saudi law, which forbids women from driving, permits polygamy – as does Islam.

Hawazin Mirza, a lecturer at King ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz University in Jeddah, took to national television earlier this year to promote the establishment of a polygamy academy. Mirza’s institution promises that within a single month, any man requesting its services would be provided with three wives – a single woman, a divorcee, and a widow. If such a marriage would prove itself a decade later, the husband would be provided with a fourth wife – free of charge. In return, the man would be expected to attend a six-month marriage prep course.

Abdallah Omar Khayat told us that while women may feel that the idea of polygamy is loathsome, it has become a social and moral need, required in the interest of the homeland and of the citizens. He conceded that a man’s first wife will always considers herself abandoned and unwanted after her husband marries a second woman, and that her existence is only valued to the point that she may raise their children. According to Khayat, these are thoughts that Satan creates in her imagination! “Polygamy is one of the ways that can lead to eliminating spinsterhood,” concludes Khayat.

There are however, several voices of dissent within the country, particularly from more liberal women. Samar Al-Muqrin told us polygamy as a solution to the proliferation of singlehood reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the institution of marriage. According to Al-Muqrin, such ways of thinking stem from the idea that marriage concerns sex alone, and not a shared life which cannot have more than two people in it. She adds that many women today are not marrying out of choice because they do not want to throw themselves into the arms of just any man, no matter what he looks like.

Salma Al-Qusheiri told us Mirza’s proposal for a polygamy academy is oppressive and misogynistic. “While the world around us advances and tries to develop day by day … in our society we do the opposite!” she told us. According to Al-Qusheiri, polygamy is nothing but legal adultery that no sane person who has reached adulthood would consider. Mirza, who as a lecturer at a university should know better, is turning “Saudi woman into cheap – very cheap – merchandise – [and all] in the name of Islam,” Al-Qusheiri told us.

Fahd Al-Ahmari took a slightly different view, claiming polygamy poses health threats, particularly to the husband. The reason for this is he is now expected to provide for several families at once – both from a financial and emotional aspect. She brings proof of her claim, noting a 2015 study conducted at a Saudi hospital and medical research center that showed men with multiple wives suffer from heart problems four times more than the rest of the male population.

Muslims aren’t being oppressed by critics of Islam, but they are oppressed by Islam. Muslims who don’t oppress women are being persecuted by those who do and that’s where the persecution comes from. Islamic gangs are using violence and intimidation to enforce Shariah law in Europe. 

A threatening video of an armed man in a hood has been circulating in the Muslim community. The pistol-waving raghead declares: Here, in Germany, certain Muslimas and Muslims who look like women do unspeakable things. You know it; I know it; everybody knows it. Muslimas who flirt with infidels and marry them, Muslimas who have chosen the wrong path and those creatures who call themselves Muslims – given half a chance, we will set all of them straight. Having sworn on the Quran, we go out onto the streets. This is our declaration of intent; do not say that you were not warned; do not say that you did not know.”

The rough justice meted out by Berlin’s shariah enforcers was described to us by a female victim. The woman described how Muslims recorded her walking down the street with a non-Muslim man and later showed up at her house. She managed to conceal herself but the man was seized and brutally beaten, losing most of his teeth.

“Why does my private life concern [them] at all?” she asked. “I don’t know them. I don’t want to. I’m not their sister or daughter. My private life is no one else’s business.”

‘Transgressions’ can include acts as simple as attending mainstream German schools, where sex education classes are part of the curriculum. Many women and girls who would prefer to adopt a more Western lifestyle say they keep to some of the trappings of Islamic tradition to try and escape the Muslims’ attention, but covering up is not always an adequate precaution.

“Even in a hijab, I was called a prostitute, for instance, for wearing eye make-up. And I thought: ‘Who am I trying to please?’” said one girl. “To gain everyone’s respect, you need to put on a headscarf, lower your eyes, and never leave home. But who would want such a life?” asked another. Both agreed they could not stand the hypocrisy of leading a double life.

Recently, a judge in Germany acquitted a Turkish drug dealer of raping one of his customers last August. He had forced himself on her for four hours and left her incapacitated for weeks. He told the judge that in the culture from where he came, what she had experienced as rape might be considered merely wild sex. What culture is this?

Every month in Turkey, at least forty women are killed, two hundred women are exposed to sexual violence, and one hundred children are molested. Many children are sexually abused for years, and often attempt suicide.

63% percent of femicide is committed by husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers or sons.  Stupid courts state that the murder of women in Turkey is spurred more than half the time by women! It is supposedly their fault: they actually wanted to make decisions about their lives, such as getting a divorce, before they were murdered. Worse, nearly a third of those are classified by authorities as suspicious murders, perpetrated by unknown assailants.

Torturing women to death is also increasingly widespread, as well as killing young children along with their mothers. One case involved a man who slit the throats of his ex-wife and their five-year-old daughter.

As above, crimes against girls and women are often shrugged off by Turkey’s criminal justice system. One case in point is of a man acquitted by a judge in Eskisehir; the man was accused by his cousin of repeated rape and death threats, from the time the victim was 13 years old. After a nine-month trial and massive evidence against him, the man was acquitted.

Although crimes against women take place all over the world, practices such as sexual enslavement and stoning to death are far more widespread in Islamic societies, where they are also socially and legally tolerated — as rooted in Islamic scripture. The Quran, for instance, allows men to beat his wives.

Tragically, Europe, when Muslims are the perpetrators, seems to be adopting the sharia approach to rape.

A man who raped a 10-year-old boy at a swimming pool in Austria has had his conviction overturned after judges found he may have believed the child consented. Police said the 20-year-old Iraqi refugee, who has not been named, assaulted his victim in a toilet cubicle at the Theresienbad swimming pool in Vienna. The child reported the rape to a lifeguard and his attacker was arrested at the scene, reportedly telling officers in initial interviews that he was experiencing a sexual emergency after not having sex in four months. In June, he was jailed for a minimum of six years for rape and aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, and ordered to pay €4,700 (£3,700) compensation to the boy’s family. The victim’s mother told us her son had been screaming and crying every night since the attack and had talked of suicide.

A young left-wing German politician has admitted she lied to police about the racial background of three men who raped her in case it triggered reprisals against refugees in her country. Selin Gören, the national spokeswoman of the left-wing youth movement Solid, was attacked by three men in the city of Mannheim where she works as a refugee activist. The 24-year-old was ambushed late at night in a playground where she was forced to perform a sex act on her attackers. After the assault, she went straight to the police — but she did not tell them the ethnic make-up of the men, that they were speaking Arabic or Farsi. Selin, aware of the backlash that migrants suffered after the events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve – when hundreds of women were sexually assaulted and robbed by marauding gangs of immigrant youths – instead said she was robbed and said her attackers spoke German. Now she has told us why she lied, because she did not want to stoke more hatred against migrants in Germany.

These examples are merely a sampling of what is becoming commonplace across Europe. In the name of human rights, inclusion, diversity and equality, enlightened activists and judicial authorities are apologizing for and excusing Muslim criminals for behavior that would not be tolerated from anyone else, and that should not be tolerated.

By overlooking or justifying Islamic atrocities, Europeans are not only endangering innocent women and children; they are actually encouraging rape and other forms of violence. Meanwhile, they are also complicit in destroying Western values.

If one such value is multiculturalism, sadly — contrary to progressive belief — not all cultures are necessarily equal. Those cultures in which women and children as are viewed as property deserve no respect, and certainly not preferential treatment.

Do these judges work for sharia courts or for secular European courts? What kind of a message do these judges give to Muslim and other criminals in Europe with their decisions? These court rulings are an open call to Muslim men in Europe to rape women, children, anyone they like. What will a society be like to live in if the courts will be on the side of the rapists and they will not be held accountable?

Why not publicize that if people decide to move to a country, they must respect the citizens and laws of that country? Bringing the primitive aspects of one’s culture to a host country should not be encouraged or tolerated. Rape is always rape, assault is always assault, no matter who the perpetrator is. Western countries must stop tolerating Muslim criminals because of their religion. That is not wise public policy or even justice. Cultures and religions that do not respect women and others do not deserve to be respected.

Unfortunately, these extremely basic truths haven been largely ignored. The politically correct multiculturalists have created an environment in which some Europeans have forgotten what it means to stand up for reason, truth and justice- perhaps out of fear of being called racist; or the very misguided desire to prevent a backlash against Muslims. It would be nice if Muslims would help to prevent the frontlash.

By tolerating Muslim criminals in the name of human rights, tolerance, inclusion, diversity, or equality, however, these judges or activists are actually destroying those values. By taking the side of the rapists and becoming complicit in their crimes, they are encouraging rapists and turning everyone — including children — into potential victims. Trying to justify rapes and other crimes committed by Muslims is an attack against the safety and dignity of everyone.

EU is covering up the taharrush epidemic now. Taharrush gamea, harassment collective, is the sexual assault of women in public by large groups of Muslims. The term gained prominence in EU due to millions of rapefugees.

Typically acting under the protective cover of large gatherings, Muslims encircle a woman, while outer rings of Muslims form to deter rescuers. The attackers may pretend to be rescuers, adding to the confusion. Women have reported groping, penetration of the vagina and anus with fingers, hair pulling, having their clothes removed, being pulled in different directions, and being beaten, bitten, raped and robbed. Women find themselves in a Muslim circle of hell, Muhammad’s ring of fire, courtesy of Merkel who invited those apes to EU.

Taharrush is a symptom of a misogynous Muslim ideology in which women are regarded as fair game for groping or even punishment for being in public. The attacks last from a few minutes to over an hour. The men are usually in their 20s and 30s. Victims have been aged seven to seventy.  Taharrush reminds you of harpooning a whale.

One victim described how a circle of men formed around her: The last thing I heard was “don’t worry,” followed by screaming … At first they tried to rip my bag out of my hands; I then felt hands all over my body, tearing down my trousers and long jacket; they were undoing its clips. … They pulled my trousers and pants down, but couldn’t get them all the way down because I was wearing boots that they couldn’t manage to get off … I felt hands touch me from all directions, and I was moved, almost carried, inside the circle as people continued saying: “don’t worry.” They were saying that while violating me …

Perpetrators regularly claim to be helping the women when in fact they are attacking them, which increases the difficulty for rescuers. The women may try to fight people coming to their assistance, not knowing who to trust. People genuinely trying to help can find themselves being beaten and sexually assaulted too.

Female genital mutilation is the cutting or removal of the clitoris and the labia, as a way of eliminating a Muslima’s sexual desire and pleasure, to guarantee that she be a virgin before marriage and remain faithful to her raghead afterwards. FGM has no health benefits, and it harms Muslimas in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of Muslimas’ bodies. Generally speaking, risks increase with increasing severity of the procedure. Procedures are mostly carried out on young Muslimas sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult Muslimas.

The influx of migrants from Islam into Occident has led to a dramatic and dangerous increase of FGM in Europe, UK, and USA. At least one Muslima each hour is subjected to this excruciating procedure in UK alone, 30 years after it was outlawed. One million Muslimas in Europe have undergone FGM, while many others are at risk of being forced to undergo it. In Germany, for example, a clinic was opened in 2013 to provide both physical and psychological treatment to victims of the procedure; an estimated 50,000 Muslimas in the country had been affected by it, with approximately 20,000 in Berlin. Called the Desert Flower Center, the endeavor was spearheaded and funded by Somali-born supermodel Waris Dirie, a prominent anti-FGM activist.

SPAIN LOST TO ISLAM AND KLEPTOCRACY


 

Spain is Europe’s hub for Islamist terror and the time has come for Jews to head for Israel and safety. Rabbi Meir Bar-Hen delivered the grim, personal message in the aftermath of the terror attack in Barcelona that claimed 14 lives and left over 100 more injured.

Bar-Hen told us: I tell my congregants: Don’t think we’re here for good, and I encourage them to buy property in Israel. This place is lost. Don’t repeat the mistake of Algerian Jews, of Venezuelan Jews. Better (get out) early than late. Europe is lost. Part of the problem exposed by the attacks is a large Muslim community in Europe with radical fringes. Once terrorists and their enablers are living among you, it’s very difficult to get rid of them. They only get stronger.

This is not the first call for Jews to reconsider their future in Europe. The flight of Jews from mainland Europe has been rising in the wake of a sharp rise in antisemitism that should be a warning to the rest of the population.

Evidence shows that Jewish migration to Israel has doubled in the last two years, with many more opting to flee to America and even Britain in the wake of a rise in antisemitic attacks.This is not just a problem for Jews, but for the whole of European society.

Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute, told us: You know something has gone awfully wrong when you get phone calls from friends and family in Israel who are worried about your personal safety in Europe’s capital.

The rain of bribes in Spain brings many political corruption scandals. The heavy rain of bribes in Spain stays mainly in the plain of politics! Hardly a week goes by in Spain without a new corruption case breaking. Politicians across the political spectrum, from party treasurers to local councilors are always embroiled in graft scandals. Not to mention bankers, real estate bigwigs, and the Spanish royal family. On average, ten people are arrested each day in Spain as part of corruption investigations and the country now ranks as one of the most corrupt in Europe.

Key figures in Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party fixed public tenders worth billions of euros. The scandals have the scale, ambition, and shock value of the Godfather, plus a gang leader, Francisco Correa, who prided himself on the nickname Don Vito after Marlon Brando’s character in Coppola’s classic. Gürtel was the codename given to the investigation. It means strap in German, and the Spanish word for strap is correa.

A growing number of Spanish politicians and business leaders are ending their careers in an unexpected place: behind bars. Since the country’s transition to democracy in the late 1970s, those sitting on the defendant’s bench have included top business people, ministers, regional presidents, mayors, and even Princess Cristina, the king’s sister. In the past few months alone, the entrepreneur Iñaki Urdangarín (Cristina’s husband and King Felipe VI’s brother-in-law) and former International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato were among those sentenced to prison.

Mariano Rajoy was the first sitting prime minister to appear as a witness in a Spanish court when he gave evidence in a massive corruption case involving the illegal financing of his Popular Party (PP). In Spain justice walks slowly, but it rarely stops.

For years, corruption has been ranked as the second biggest cause for concern after unemployment. The combination of a never-ending series of graft scandals and a devastating economic crisis has led many to question hitherto esteemed Spanish institutions and shaken up the political landscape. Yet even the harshest critics of the establishment praise the work of rank-and-file judges. The leader of the far-left party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, recently hailed prosecutors and magistrates for protecting the dignity of the country.

Putting Spain’s elite in jail hasn’t been easy. Insiders describe a daunting task in which they have to put up with scarce resources, overcome political and media pressure, deal with a judicial hierarchy chosen for its ideological proximity to politicians, and outmaneuver a government capable of hampering investigations.

These sort of cases get going by means of heroism. While the independence and impartiality of individual judges and prosecutors have been broadly undisputed to date, much controversy surrounds the issue of the structural independence of the governing bodies of the judiciary and the prosecutorial service — the primary concern being the appearance that partisan interests could penetrate judicial decision-making processes.

Ignacio González, the PP’s president of the Madrid region until 2015, was arrested and detained as part of an investigation into a public water company. He’s accused of profiting from investments made in Latin America through the state-owned firm that has an annual budget of €1 billion. González’s brother and around a dozen former public officials and businessmen have also been detained.

The chief prosecutor is appointed by the government and his subordinates are expected to obey his orders. Judges obey no one but the law. However, the governing body of magistrates — the Consejo General del Poder Judicial (General Council of the Judiciary, or CGPJ) — is selected by members of parliament. The CGPJ then chooses the judicial hierarchy, including the magistrates at the Supreme Court.

The judicial hierarchy is appointed for its ideological or political closeness to politicians. The system is badly designed and generates some concerns, to say the least.  Many comfy posts for judges depend on the arbitrary will of the government, meaning politicians have jobs to give to friendly judges.

Imagine that you are the justice minister and I’m in my office, buried in mountains of paper, and you call me. You tell me ‘Basil, you’re great, why don’t you go to the ministry or to an embassy to write legal reports … you’re going to earn as much as you do or more, you’re going to leave the black hole you’re in, you’re going to have a chauffeur’ … it changes your life.”

Spanish judges who aren’t independent are that way simply because they don’t want to be.  It would have been better for the country to address its corruption problem with preventive measures. Justice is like medicine. When you need to have surgery, it means things have become a little complicated. It’s like there was a hidden Spain which you and I know nothing about, a dirty world where they seem to be playing in the sewers.

 

Nevertheless, extremely corrupt Mariano Rajoy believes the time is right for Spain to reclaim its place at the EU’s top table, reversing more than a decade of decaying Spanish influence in Brussels just in time for Brexit negotiations. After an economic crisis that wiped 10 percent off its economic output, and almost a year of political instability following two inconclusive elections, Spain now has a fully functioning government and one of the strongest growth rates in EU. Corrupt Rajoy now touts his country as a reliable partner for EU, offer advice on how to fight populism by delivering growth, and defend the role of moderate parties in shoring up the European project.

Spain, which last played a prominent role on the larger European stage in the first years of the 21st century, returns to a different kind of Europe, riven by crises and doubts. It is hardly clear what domestic stability and any renewed influence could be used to accomplish at the European level, beyond making a stronger play for top jobs in Brussels and strengthening the ranks of firmly pro-EU countries. The cloud of a Catalan push for independence could also prematurely end a period of relative domestic tranquility.

Still for the time being, the extremely corrupt government is presenting this Spain as a solid bastion of pro-European values and moderate policies the EU can count on in these uncertain times. Corrupt ministers are marketing Spain as a case study on how to boost the economy and reign in extremism at a time of rising populism across the Continent and political uncertainty. Spain is almost alone in Europe in having no anti-EU political forces in parliament, and corrupt Rajoy doesn’t have to call an election until 2020, though his corrupt Popular Party only has a third of the seats in parliament, potentially limiting his ability to negotiate in Brussels.

 “Our international presence was affected by the long period of interim government,” Rajoy told us. “We now have to catch up … and the circumstances are especially favorable for it.”

We have left behind a period in which Spain was perceived as a problem for Europe. Now it is the project of European building that is going through a problematic phase and it is Spain that is ready to contribute to relaunch it. The European Commission and the European Council have asked corrupt Spain to play a bigger role in EU affairs.

The most obvious symptom of its declining influence in Brussels is the lack of Spanish officials in key EU posts — quite a come-down for a country that had three corrupt presidents of the European Parliament between 1989 and 2007, not to mention Javier Solana in the post of EU foreign policy chief from 1999 to 2009 and Pedro Solbes and Joaquín Almunia in top economic jobs in the Commission from 1999 to 2014. Spain’s current representative on the Commission, Miguel Arias Cañete, is the more junior of two commissioners dealing with the energy portfolio.

A survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations showed that of the six largest EU member countries, Spain played the most marginal role in EU affairs. Pundits in Spain pin the responsibility for this state of affairs not just on corrupt Rajoy’s government, but previous corrupt Spanish prime ministers too.

Spain’s clout in Brussels started declining during the second mandate of the conservative José María Aznar (1996-2004) when he changed foreign policy direction and supported the war in Iraq, alienating France and Germany. The situation continued to deteriorate under the Socialist leadership of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (2004-2011), with his focus on the United Nations and lack of interest in forging alliances on the Continent.

One problem facing Spain as it seeks to make up for lost time in Brussels is the absence of a leader like Felipe González. Spain joined the EU in 1986 under Felipe González, a time widely seen as the peak of Spanish influence in the EU. This had much to do with González’s personality and his talent in face-to-face meetings, which allowed him to forge strong alliances with the likes of Germany’s Helmut Kohl.

TRUMP IS RUNNING HIS ADMINISTRATION LIKE A WELL-OILED CORPORATION

 

Bannon’s departure has been met with a collective shrug by Trump’s most committed supporters who argue their hero became an obstacle to the administration’s agenda.

Americans who voted for Trump told us Bannon’s departure was the removal of an unnecessary distraction for the Trump presidency, while others saw his role as largely inconsequential and possibly overblown. Many expect Trump to stay the course without him. Bannon was becoming too big of a story and taking the spotlight from President Trump.When that happens, your days are numbered. Trump will be fine.

Bannon had a brief tenure in Trump’s inner circle, having joined the Republican businessman’s presidential campaign as its chief executive less than three months before the Nov. 8 election. Bannon wasn’t with Trump for too long so it’s no big loss.

Bannon, 63, played a key role in some of Trump’s most contentious policy moves including the travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations, departure from the Paris climate accord, and rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Bannon joined a string of senior officials who have left the Trump administration in the past five weeks, leading to the appointment of retired Marine general John Kelly as the new White House chief of staff. Trump is running his administration like a well-oiled corporation. All these shakeups mean is that Trump is doing his job. He’s a businessman and is doing what’s best for the organization.

While Trump was making billions of dollars building skyscrapers, developing golf courses and starring on a hit reality TV show, members of Congress were slowly working their way up the political ladder — interning at think tanks and congressional offices, taking some small government job, then running for the House or Senate, and, hopefully, marrying a woman with a large inheritance.

A stunning number of senators and congressmen are supported by rich wives — Sens. John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Richard Blumenthal, John Kerry and Ron Wyden, and Reps. Michael McCaul, Scott Peters and Paul Ryan, to name a few. Is there any other profession with as high a percentage of men sponging off their wives’ inheritances?

Since the financial crisis erupted almost a decade ago, the United States has been focused on climbing out of a deep hole. Today we’re back on solid ground, but there is an undercurrent of worry that modest growth is the best we can do.

The United States doesn’t have to settle for lackluster growth. But it does have to get moving. The arrival of a new administration and a new Congress is a fresh chance to find common ground—and the private sector can be the connective tissue that brings both parties together around a new agenda for revving up growth.

Many CEOs sense danger as many Americans no longer believe they have a chance to move up the ladder. The message is that it’s time to focus on building an economy that works for everyone. What’s more, business leaders are eager to roll up their sleeves to tackle the challenge.

Key priorities can help shake off stagnation and create more widely shared prosperity. An ocean of ink has already been spilled about topics such as taxes, regulation, entitlements, and debt, but it’s critical to shift the focus onto accelerating growth. These initiatives can collectively raise GDP growth to 3.0 percent, or even 3.5 percent—levels not seen since the 1990s.

Two of the biggest opportunities involve harnessing the forces of digital technology and globalization. This is somewhat ironic, since these two forces have deepened many of the disparities we see across the economy. Trade, in particular, has taken a beating of late. But the way to address those who have been left behind is to harness the growth opportunities digitization and globalization bring by getting more small businesses, more workers, and more parts of the country to participate and benefit.

The United States has to reverse its persistent productivity slowdown, and improving the digital capabilities of lagging sectors and firms is an important piece of that puzzle. This effort can go hand in hand with encouraging more small firms to pursue opportunities in global markets. Today, fewer than 1 percent of US companies export, a far lower share than in any other advanced economy. Becoming an exporter was once daunting for small businesses, but the Internet has made borders less formidable. The United States can retool customs requirements and encourage small businesses to take advantage of digital e-commerce platforms to serve overseas customers.

Globalization may have left some regions behind, but deeper engagement with global investors may help them catch up. Over the past decade, the top one-third of US cities captured 55 percent of all inward foreign direct investment, while the bottom third accounted for only 7 percent. Many of the regions that lost manufacturing jobs still have experienced workers, technical know-how, and industrial facilities. They are attractive destinations—and connecting them with foreign investors can help them script a second act.

The three remaining priorities in our growth agenda involve putting America’s financial capital, human capital, and natural resources to work more effectively. First, we need to focus on the 80 percent of the population who live in the nation’s cities or surrounding metro areas. Investing in transportation infrastructure and affordable housing could make a huge difference to their productivity, their disposable income, and their quality of life. Second, the United States needs to build a more responsive labor market with more career paths outside the traditional degree track.

Policy makers and the private sector need to work together to establish more apprenticeships and training programs and to leverage technology solutions to connect people with employment opportunities more efficiently. Finally, the United States can ride a wave of innovation to make the energy sector more productive, speeding the allocation of capital to the most promising opportunities. Making the entire economy more energy efficient would spur capital investment and create household savings that could spur demand growth.

Bringing these initiatives to fruition requires investing in the future. Raising the currently anemic level of public investment could pay for itself if these initiatives kick-start growth. But that’s not to say the only answer is trillions of taxpayer dollars. Some of these initiatives simply call for modernizing rules, convening, and matchmaking. There is a great deal of private capital on the sidelines, and investors are hungry for opportunities.

In a slow-growth world, everyone is left fighting to protect their slice of a smaller pie. But when the economy returns to firing on all cylinders, income gains tend to be more broad based. This could go a long way toward healing the nation’s divides.

The current period of slow growth has produced a school of thought that says America’s best days are behind it. We strongly disagree. The United States is still one of the most resilient and innovative economies in the world. Pursuing an ambitious growth strategy and investing wisely could position it to confound the pessimists once again.

 

The U.S. presidential elections were won by ordinary people using common sense. These people defeated the political elites and the political establishment. They defeated arrogant mediocracy, as well as many influential and powerful interest groups. They defeated the world of political correctness, the world of hypocrisy and the world of elitist social engineering.

We consider dangerous the repeatedly pronounced allegations that the ordinary people cannot be trusted to make political decisions. The implicit and not openly proclaimed aristocracy of the wise reveals an allergy to the idea of democracy itself. For these aristocrats or elites it is not so much Trump they fear as the system that allowed him to get to the White House. This reactionary turn against democracy explains the victory of Trump and confirms why democracy is more important today than it has ever been. Such an attitude seems to me more dangerous than Trump.

Americans are saying good riddance to the ugly 2016 campaign. Many believe that Donald Trump, having won, will cease the shock-jock talk and govern as the pragmatic businessman he purports to be. Most experts predict that Trump, like every president before him, he will be constrained by the Congress, judiciary, warring bureaucracies, and uncontrollable foreign powers. Thus did Harry Truman famously say of the general succeeding him, “Poor Ike: He’ll say do this and do that and nothing at all will happen.” Opponents and many supporters alike hope the same will be true of a splenetic, impulsive President Trump.

However, the truth is our long, national nightmare is far from over, regardless of Trump’s performance, because the demographic and economic shifts that caused this year’s political earthquake remain. The widespread resentment of political correctness, open borders, and globalization will only increase as the elites who control the levers of power push back or co-opt the Trump administration. No doubt international banks, multinational corporations, transnational foundations, non-governmental and international organizations, and their intellectual publicity agents in think tanks, universities, and the media have already started to plan how to frustrate dangerous atavistic nationalism in Europe and now America. So what appears now to be a populist victory over globalization may turn out to have been the pathetic yawp of believers in a dying American Civil Religion (ACR) that has morphed since the end of the Cold War into an abortive Global Civil Religion.

The Trump campaign is the logical outcome of a civil religion that identifies the United States as a new Promised Land inhabited by a new Chosen People blessed by the Almighty with power and prosperity. Now, civil faith is a powerful glue that can help a large, diverse people cohere in good times and bad. But once untethered from the Biblical message that even (or especially) a chosen people come under judgment when they abandon God’s commandments, civil religious solipsism based on vox populi vox dei theology becomes destructive, even suicidal.

Is that the case with the worldly, egoistical Trump? He says his favorite Bible verse is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” the lex talionis which he probably considers a mandate for vengeance (but in fact sternly limits it because “vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord”). Not that Trump was unchurched. His family attended Marble Collegiate in New York City, a Presbyterian congregation presided over by Norman Vincent Peale, the best-selling author of The Power of Positive Thinking. Donald might have learned no theology from Peale or his strong-willed father, but he evidently absorbed a prosperity gospel that, so far as it goes, is very compatible with ACR. But the evidence of Trump’s spiritual life is still thin, and the campaign taught us nothing. Rarely do candidates get more specific than “God bless America,” lest they sound sectarian, and they appeal to specific constituencies only through issues (such as the strong pro-life stand taken by Trump in the third debate).

Civil religion was the general belief in a transcendent, spiritual reality guiding the nation through space and time like God led the Israelites, a cult embodied in myth, ritual and symbol, and a vaguely Unitarian faith ritually invoked by its presidents and other leaders. That transcendent, spiritual reality is what distinguishes civil religion from nationalism and other secular ideologies. Americans never worshiped their government, a fact made palpable by the checks and balances of their Constitution. Rather they worshiped the deity who made them one out of many (e pluribus unum), a new order for the ages (novus ordo seclorum), and blessed their undertakings (annuit coeptis). Consider it a divine right republicanism that replaced divine right of kings.

However, at least three ACRs, or competing orthodoxies, evolved over time as the nation grew into a world power and various sectors came to dominate its economy’s commanding heights. During the nineteenth century, when most white Americans were farmers, merchants, craftsmen, and professionals (in short, proprietors), a Classical ACR preached prudence, frugality, federalism, modest self-government, and a foreign policy focused only on expansion in North America. The Civil War brought wrenching change, but the same list of virtues animated American politics down to the 1890s. By then, however, industrialization, urbanization, and mass immigration radically changed American economics, social composition, and dominant culture. People who were once self-employed went to the cities and turned into dependent employees of big corporations. Pathologies familiar to us today such as racial and ethnic strife, drug and alcohol addiction, and crime and killing tormented the cities. Political, academic, and clerical elites adjusted to industrialization by presiding over a new “church,” a Progressive ACR in which bureaucratic regulation, public spending, overseas imperialism, and crusades to make the world safe for democracy—forbidden fruit under the old dispensation—became holy sacraments. To be sure, Woodrow Wilson’s utopian project ended in carnage and disillusionment and was followed a decade later by that plague of locusts, the Great Depression. So Americans stumbled through twenty years confused about their ACR, conflicted as to what God intended their sacred nation to do in the twentieth century.

Not even Franklin Roosevelt’s dogged revival of Progressive ACR during World War II sufficed to answer that question. The outbreak of Cold War did. After 1945 the United States exercised a veritable hegemony over much of Eurasia, the Americas, and the oceans between. So when the Soviet Union threatened rather than joined the U.S.-led new world order, the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations rallied a broad consensus behind a militant ACR. God called Americans to lead the Free World and rewarded them for it with unprecedented prosperity. From the late 1940s to the early 1970s even the working classes saw their wages, security, political clout, and dignity soar to unprecedented heights. They in return formed the patriotic base who willingly paid taxes, waved flags, and gave their sons to the military. They believed their elites when they promised nothing less than a united humanity and perfect society, a New Jerusalem and heaven-on-earth sure to arrive on that glorious day the Communist bloc collapsed.

What middle-class and blue-collar Americans did not perceive was the ascent during those decades of the post-industrial financial sector to the commanding heights of the once national, now increasingly global, economy. That sector counted on free flows of capital, goods, ideas, and people across borders and thus had contempt for national sovereignty and messy democracy. Fast forward to the twenty-first century. Trump voters may be distinguished by various, sometimes contradictory, traits to be expected of 47% of the electorate. But it is safe to say nearly all are nostalgic or subconscious believers in the Progressive ACR which stipulated American exceptionalism and used to provide them with opportunity and affirmation of their traditional values. Some may even be nostalgic or subconscious believers in the old Classical ACR. President Benjamin Harrison, elected in 1888, admonished Americans that riches were not what exalted them. “It is a pure, clean, high, intellectual, moral, and God-fearing citizenship that is our glory and security as a Nation.” The centerpiece of his moral economy was the tariff because it protected the jobs and elevated the wages of workers. “God forbid,” said Harrison, “that the day should ever come when, in the American mind, the thought of man as a ‘consumer’ shall submerge the old American thought of man as a creature of God, endowed with ‘unalienable rights.’”

The Trump phenomenon burst through this year because the Progressive and financial elites tried to shove extreme agendas down the throats of threatened people whose real wages had stagnated for thirty-five years, and because the “end of history” Global Civil Religion promised after the Cold War was over has failed. But the Trump election does not signal the beginning of some whole new era. It is likely the last hurrah (to quote Ronald Reagan’s prophecy about Marxism) of “a chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.”

BIG TRAIN ACCIDENTS IN INDIA

http://s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20170820&t=2&i=1197816978&r=LYNXNPED7J039&w=1280

 

Modi told us all rail and steel industries must be privatized now. India began investigating on Sunday a train crash in which 23 people were killed, the fourth major accident over the past year on the world’s fourth biggest rail network which is grappling with chronic under-investment and over-crowding.

Modi is mad as hell and he cannot take it from state companies anymore. The cause of the derailment about 130 km north of the capital New Delhi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is not known. Thirteen coaches of the train came off the tracks as it was heading to the Hindu holy city of Haridwar.

Rescue operations had ended and a safety commissioner would launch an investigation later on Sunday. The driver of the train would be one of the first people to be questioned. The train driver had slammed on the brakes after spotting maintenance work on the tracks that had not been properly signaled.

Train crashes are all too common in India after decades of poor investment and rising demand, which usually mean packed trains are running on creaking infrastructure. Saturday’s accident is at least the fourth major accident this year and the third in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. A crash in November in Uttar Pradesh killed 150 people.

The network is in the middle of a $130 billion, five-year modernization. In addition, the government launched a $15 billion safety overhaul in February after the surge in accidents blamed on defective tracks. But the overhaul is facing delays as the state steel company cannot not meet the huge demand for new rails.

India exports software, Pakistan exports terrorists! Today more than ever no country is an island entire of itself. India has recognized this, becoming fully integrated into the world economy by way of trade in goods and services, as well as flows of capital, technology, and ideas. And, of course, India’s uniquely large and widespread diaspora is playing a unique role in strengthening its ties with the world.

It is a world in which India today occupies a special position. Whereas many countries – advanced and developing economies alike – are experiencing a growing sense of economic anxiety and even gloom, India is a beacon of hope, positive change, and economic dynamism.

Competitive dynamics are forcing companies to spend more on customer acquisition. Firms are looking at the end-state versus the current state, and based on certain indicators they are willing to take an educated guess that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Since India does not have any firewalls unlike China, Indian entrepreneurs have no option but to up their game, focus more on quality and constantly innovate in order to compete successfully with global players like Amazon and Uber who are investing heavily in India. Other important steps include developing domestic capital and focusing on localization, panelists added.

For the past three years, India has had a reforms- oriented and free enterprise-oriented government and several steps towards reforms and growth have been initiated. In the long term, demonetization will have a very strong positive impact on India’s GDP. The biggest reform, is the goods and services tax (GST). The objective of GST is to replace all taxes levied by the federal government and the states with one central tax.

In order to realize the true potential of India, Indians need to do things differently — be it products, processes or business models – in a manner that is suitable to India but can also make a mark globally. India doesn’t need to go through the same cycles as the West but can leapfrog in many areas. The most efficient way to deliver change at scale is to bring about changes at the policy level. However, once a new policy is formulated, there should be a 100% commitment to that policy and there should not be too many riders. One should not have to keep looking at the fine print.

There is a rise of professional entrepreneurs who have a large appetite for taking risks. During the past 10 years, most small and medium businesses (SMEs) have seen their return on equity decline from high double digits to high single digits or at best 14% to 15%. This is forcing them to rethink their business models. Most of these are family businesses, and with the younger generation getting more involved these businesses are now becoming more service-based and productivity-based as compared to the earlier manufacturing and working-capital based entities.

There are very few companies like Freshdesk, Zoho and InMobi which bring innovation to fix business processes and solve actual business problems. India has seen a lot of consumer tech startups. We now need more action in the enterprise space. In this space it is very difficult to get support by way of advice and mentorship, and proving valuations is extremely tough.

There are three factors as critical for building sustainable and world class not-for-profit organizations: Strong emphasis on governance, finding scalable solutions, and relentless focus on quality and excellence.  Cultivating leadership capability is critical. In business one talks of leadership development all the time. We need to do the same in social development, too. Indians need to aggressively recruit top talent and then invest in their development.

Even as India embraces the digital revolution, it is important for it to devise its own models and policies and not simply follow the lead of other countries. Adoption of digital technologies by mature economies has to be seen in the context of their ageing population. Their aim is to ensure that productivity gains due to new technologies outweigh the contractions due to decline in population.

There is a wide disparity in India when it comes it diffusion of digital technologies among different demographics, especially the elderly, the uneducated, and the less affluent populations. Universal digital education and accessibility to digital resources is crucial for a successful digital economy.

After years of sitting on piles of cash, Indian information technology (IT) services firms are suddenly dispensing some of it to their shareholders by way of buybacks. In mid-February, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest IT services firm, which has a cash pile of around Rs.40,000 crore ($6 billion), announced that it would buy back equity shares worth up to Rs.16,000 crore ($2.4 billion). This is TCS’ first buyback scheme since it went public 13 years ago and also the biggest share repurchase program in the country. A few weeks before TCS’ announcement, Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions, which has the bulk of its workforce in India, declared a dividend payout and a share buyback of $3.4 billion.  HCL Technologies said it would buy back Rs.3,500 crore ($340 million) of shares. Others like Wipro and Tech Mahindra are expected to follow suit. On April 13, announcing its results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, Infosys said that up to Rs. 13,000 crore ($2 billion) is expected to be paid out to shareholders during 2018 in dividends, share buybacks or both. In addition, the company expects to pay out up to 70% of free cash flow next year in the same combination. Currently, Infosys pays out up to 50% of post-tax profits in dividends.

The buybacks are a move to boost share price and soothe investor sentiments. They are also designed to make them less attractive to predators. After years of giving high returns, the industry has been delivering below expectations; most Indian IT services firms have been performing below the Sensex, the benchmark stock index. Recent developments like U.S. President Donald Trump’s election and the ensuing controversy surrounding outsourcing and H1-B visas, and technology disruptions caused by digital transformation and automation are in fact threatening the very fundamentals of the $108 billion IT-BPO exports industry. That industry put India on the world map because of its high-quality, low-cost tech talent and a successfully executed offshore-global delivery model. (Indian IT firms use the H-1B temporary work visas in large numbers to fly their engineers to client sites in the U.S., which is their largest market accounting for over 60% of exports.) There are also pressures from other quarters, such as Brexit and the consequent delays in decision making; slowdowns in the banking and financial services sector, and reduced discretionary IT spending.

For several years now, experts have been predicting that the dream run of the Indian IT services industry will soon be over. By all indications, that time has actually dawned now. But this is not the first time that the industry is looking down a long dark tunnel. The Asian Crisis of 1997, the dot-com bubble burst of 2001 and the economic crisis of 2008 were all trying times. Each time, the industry managed to bounce back. So what is different this time around?

The current protectionist regime in the U.S. and the anti-trade mood will result in legislations that may cause some temporary but not very large setbacks. The real problem for India IT services companies is that they occupy positions of very low strategic relevance with their clients.

Several emerging technologies are changing how companies compete, the way they engage with customers and even the nature of work inside the firm. Big Data and analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics are all top of the mind not just for CTOs in corporations but also for all CXOs. When we talk to senior executives, they do not ask us to explain the difference between supervised and unsupervised learning in machine learning. Instead, they ask specific questions about how will machine learning have an impact on predicting customer response to products in retail financial services? Or, how can data mining be used to identify opportunities in new product development by analyzing and classifying patterns from transaction data?

But Indian IT companies are operating on a different model altogether. They expect the clients to tell them what they want from these emergent paradigms and offer to find out a cost effective way of doing it. They are not ready to deal with the ‘what aspects of business can I transform with technology’ question, which is of high strategic relevance.

Essentially, Indian IT firms have been stuck in the middle; they are not low-end providers anymore with low costs, neither have they been able to propel themselves to become high-end providers performing core work and high-margin services. At the same time, on the technology side, automation threatens to render obsolete much of the labor arbitrage work on the lower end; while political changes such as protectionism compound the problem.

Keeping pace with technology and the changing requirements of clients is the most difficult challenge that the Indian IT industry is facing today. The current situation is very unique and we are possibly going through the most interesting phase of evolution in terms of IT services. We see that creative destruction has become a norm for many businesses. Re-skilling people is a big challenge, especially when you have a large workforce. The short supply of skilled labor will be one big inhibitor. Endpoints of the Internet of Things will grow at a CAGR of 32.9% from 2015 through 2020, reaching an installed base of 20.4 billion units. This will drive a lot changes in the business models and business opportunities which need to be tapped. And though tactical innovation is the strength of Indians, in my view, the cultural aspect around innovation is the most difficult change organizations will struggle with.

Indian IT firms could survive the many challenges earlier — whether it was shortage of skills, fluctuating currency, macro-economic factors, growing competition from multinationals and pressure from clients to build skills such as domain expertise, program management and consulting capabilities — because they had the benefit of the TINA (there is no alternative) factor.

But that is no longer true. Now, there are several point solutions available which are part of the enterprise resource planning ecosystem. Many business process providers offer specific business processes as well as cross industry processes on demand. Cloud and software-as–a-service (SaaS) companies are changing delivery and payment parameters. The industry is facing structural changes. All aspects of a solution — what clients are buying, in what format they are buying, how they want to pay, what value they expect, competition — are undergoing change simultaneously. The gaps between what clients are looking for and what the Indian IT firms have to offer is widening. The industry has not faced such issues before.

Even as global IT spending is growing, it’s not coming to India. Instead, most of it is going to other companies. Look at the growth of firms like Salesforce.com, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Workday. Even cloud divisions of Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics have been doing well and so are numerous firms like Tableau, Marketo, etc. There are around 200 or 250 companies which came from nowhere and are today in the range of $200 million to $1 billion.

Indian IT firms were successful in riding multiple waves like the shift from mainframe to client-server, Y2K, internet and e-commerce, social media and the mobile because the core skills needed to succeed didn’t change dramatically — essentially good programming skills plus the ability to manage large teams across geographies. While the programming languages and platforms did change, the ability of Indian companies to train large numbers of software professionals in new programming languages in short timeframes allowed them to stay ahead.

However, the latest wave embracing big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence requires fundamentally different skills. It’s more research-intensive. Many existing employees can’t be re-trained for these requirements. And India’s engineering education will be unable to meet these needs, at least not immediately. More than half of the 3.9 million people employed in the Indian IT sector will become irrelevant in the next three to four years.

The current scenario is a perfect storm created by three forces. The first is digital transformation of clients with applications and infrastructure moving to the cloud and clients asking for new services like mobility, analytics and cyber security which cannot be delivered using the traditional dual shore model. The second is automation of knowledge work, which is seeing traditional manpower intensive offshore services like applications management, infrastructure support and testing becoming automated and reducing or, in some cases, eliminating the need for manpower. Third are the forces of protectionism that is leading to tightening of visas and making cross-border movement of people extremely arduous.

Each of three forces can have severe ramifications for the Indian IT services industry. Digital transformation can take away as much as 20% of existing services volumes, automation can eliminate 30% of manpower and protectionism can reduce revenue opportunities and profitability by at least 10%.

Clearly, the rules have changed for Indian IT firms. The big question is: Can they in fact get back into the game? Only if they differentiate themselves. There are two strategies. One, become a partner that can guide CEOs with strategic initiatives like digital transformation. This will require them to be part of the “what to do” and “why do it” conversations and not just “how to do it.” Two, specialize and build deep expertise in certain areas. For example, CMOs are increasingly spending on IT including custom IT implementations. Another such area is Big Data and analytics. Organizing into divisions or perhaps into sub-brands, each with deep expertise, is the way to go.

While Indian IT firms have been making investments over the past five years in emerging technologies, they now need to scale up those efforts and do so quickly. They need to increase the investments in those areas drastically, and hire top talent from established Western firms and startups alike. At the same time, they also need to leverage acquisitions of small firms and/or build alliances to rapidly increase access to those capabilities and be part of an ecosystem.

Indian firms need to be innovative, agile and flexible. Thinking out of the box will differentiate the winners. They must be able to predict the changes faster and adapt themselves to leverage it much ahead of others.

The most important imperative is to re-skill employees for the new digital challenges at a rapid place. The winners will be those who use technology to enable just-in-time and on-the-job learning and are able to equip their workforce with skills needed to pivot their own careers as well as the organization.

Since Indian IT companies have grown mainly in the era of client-pushed business growth, their corporate functions such as strategy, planning, market research and strategic marketing are not very strong. They need to ramp-up on all these fronts. They need to invest much more on sales and marketing, grow their selling sophistication and competitive positioning. They also need to embrace a truly global delivery model where 40% of resources are placed in on-shore, near shore and other alternate geographies.

While the possible tightening of the H-1B visas in the U.S. is giving most Indian IT firms the jitters, they can in fact turn this temporary adversity to long-term advantage if they can acquire some additional capabilities. First they need to invest in the ability to translate business needs into software features – these are professionals that can talk to users and translate their needs into a set of software features and then create a system of codification that can transfer this to the offshore production location. Such codification capability improved both the output and quality of work and lessened the need for onshore managers.

The blended rate that Indian IT firms offer their clients usually combines a mix of offshore and onshore wages at 70:30 or 80:20 ratios. By developing this capability, Aron says, the onshore presence can be reduced to 2% to 3% of total project capacity. By deepening this capability, Indian IT majors can actually make this a long-term competitive advantage and wean themselves away from the need for large numbers of H-1Bs.

Another way to reduce dependence on H-1B visas is to focus more seriously for business from ASEAN, Middle East and Africa and other emerging markets. Currently, the bulk of their overseas client revenues come from the U.S. and Europe. In ASEAN, the Middle East and Africa, a wave of automation is beginning to take place. IT spending in many of these countries is set to increase by 8% to 22% according to some industry reports. Many of these countries do not have local firms with the ability to strategize and provide consulting services and sell them on top of an ‘IT stack’ – a set of technology solutions that will make the strategies work. The time is right for Indian IT majors to take on these markets.

Of course, the challenge for Indian IT firms is that they need to make all these above suggested changes even while continuing to deliver the services that bring them the revenues at present. Some of them have already started making their moves. TCS, for instance, has been on a massive re-skilling exercise and has trained more than half of its 380,000 employees on digital platforms. Tech Mahindra is looking at its DAVID (digital, automation, verticalization, innovation and disruption) offering to keep pace with the evolving needs of its clients. It is also looking to collaborate and crowd-source instead of trying to build everything in-house and is working with more than 15 startups.

The idea is that we don’t just do what we are told, but in every single project, no matter what it is, no matter how mundane, no matter what area it is in, you do something innovative. You find some problem and you solve that problem, you go beyond the charter of the project and do something innovative to delight the client, and do something that they did not expect. Something bigger than what you were thinking about. The direction is right. Now it remains to be seen if Indian IT reaches the destination.

USS INDIANAPOLIS LOCATED IN THE PHILIPPINE SEA

Wreckage from the USS Indianapolis was discovered on Aug. 18 by the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel, which is owned by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen. The Indianapolis was found 5,500 meters below the surface, resting on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean.

“To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role during World War II is truly humbling,” Mr. Allen said. “As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances.  While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming.” 

The Indianapolis was tragically lost in the final days of World War II when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the early morning hours of July 30, 1945. The Indianapolis sank in 12 minutes, making it impossible to deploy much of its life-saving equipment. Prior to the attack, the Indianapolis had just completed its secret mission of delivering components of one of the two nuclear weapons that were dropped on Japan. Of the 1,196 sailors and Marines onboard, only 317 survived.

“Even in the worst defeats and disasters there is valor and sacrifice that deserve to never be forgotten,” said Sam Cox, Director of the Naval History and Heritage Command. “They can serve as inspiration to current and future Sailors enduring situations of mortal peril. There are also lessons learned, and in the case of the Indianapolis, lessons re-learned, that need to be preserved and passed on, so the same mistakes can be prevented, and lives saved.”

“For more than two decades I’ve been working with the survivors. To a man, they have longed for the day when their ship would be found, solving their final mystery,” said Capt. William Toti (Ret), spokesperson for the survivors of the USS Indianapolis. “They all know this is now a war memorial, and are grateful for the respect and dignity that Paul Allen and his team have paid to one of the most tangible manifestations of the pain and sacrifice of our World War II veterans.”

As the naval flagship of the Fifth Fleet, the sunken Indianapolis was the object of many previous search efforts. Mr. Allen had recently acquired and retrofitted the 250-foot R/V Petrel with state-of-the-art subsea equipment capable of diving to 6,000 meters (or three and a half miles).  

“The Petrel and its capabilities, the technology it has and the research we’ve done, are the culmination of years of dedication and hard work,” said Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Mr. Allen.  “We’ve assembled and integrated this technology, assets and unique capability into an operating platform which is now one among very few on the planet.”

The other key factor in the discovery was information that surfaced in 2016 by Dr. Richard Hulver, historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command, which led to a new search area to the west of the original presumed position.

By finally identifying a naval landing craft that had recorded a sighting of the USS Indianapolis the night that it was torpedoed, the research team developed a new position and estimated search, which was still a daunting 600 square miles of open ocean. 

Allen-led expeditions have also resulted in the discovery of the Japanese battleship Musashi (March 2015) and the Italian WWII destroyer Artigliere (March 2017). His team was also responsible for retrieving and restoring the ship’s bell from the HMS Hood for presentation to the British Navy in honor of its heroic service. Mr. Allen’s expedition team was recently transferred to the newly acquired and retrofitted R/V Petrel specifically for continuing exploration and research efforts.

The 16-person expedition team on the R/V Petrel will continue the process of surveying the full site as weather permits and will be conducting a live tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks. The USS Indianapolis remains the property of the U.S. Navy and its location will remain confidential and restricted by the Navy. The crew of the R/V Petrel has been collaborating with Navy authorities throughout its search operations and will continue to work on plans to honor the 22 crew members still alive today, as well as the families of all those who served on the highly decorated cruiser. 

Four decades after co-founding Microsoft, entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen is still exploring the frontiers of technology and human knowledge, and acting to change the future.  Mr. Allen is working to save endangered species; combat climate change; improve ocean health; share art, history and film; develop new technology; tackle epidemics; research how the human brain works; and build sustainable communities.

Mr. Allen is deeply committed to honoring our past and the lessons it provides to our future. He has created public spaces including the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Collection, MoPOP and the Living Computer Museum + Lab —where people learn and interact with historic, cultural and musical heritage. The inaugural Seattle Art Fair helped put the city on the map as one of the premier art destinations in the country. He also thinks globally, making impact investments that will help developing countries expand their health and infrastructure and nurture a diversified economy.

Many of his ventures were seeded in his youth, and reflect the depth and diversity of his passions.  Honoring his father’s service in World War II, Mr. Allen is especially interested in collecting and protecting the artifacts that speak to the heroism and service of that day. His recently acquired Research Vessel Petrel provides a platform to search for historic artifacts that have been lost at sea.

ROUND THE WORLD YACHT RACE

 

Once around the world was not enough. The 70-foot racing yacht Visit Seattlenamesake of Seattle’s official destination marketing organization and second-time race sponsor – is setting sail again to compete against 11 teams in the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race that leaves Liverpool August 20. The race spans 40,000 nautical miles and includes visits to 13 international ports over the next 11 months.

Following an exciting showing in the 2015-16 race, Visit Seattle is thrilled to once again promote the Emerald City as a sought-after international tourist destination and business hub while cheering on Nicola “Nikki” Henderson, the youngest captain in Clipper Round the World history. Nikki’s crew of amateur sailors includes five from Seattle, including Shannon Dean, a 54-year-old nurse, and Marek Omilian, a 53-year-old consultant, who will sail eight legs over the next 11 months.

Visit Seattle’s sail and hull display Seattle’s destination brand colors and logos from co-sponsor the Seattle Sports Commission, as well as host port partner the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina and hotel partner the Seattle Marriott Waterfront.

“The ongoing partnership between Visit Seattle and Clipper Round the World shines a global spotlight on Seattle as a world-class visitor destination and center of business innovation,” said Tom Norwalk, President & CEO of Visit Seattle. “Each port of call presents an opportunity to connect and engage with potential visitors and business partners. And, as the drama of the race unfolds on the world stage, the Visit Seattle brand flies full sail while our intrepid crew embraces the spirit of adventure.”

“Participating as a sponsor of the Clipper Race is about so much more than logos on a yacht,” said Ralph Morton, Executive Director, Seattle Sports Commission. “It is an authentic platform for our city with its own distinct maritime history to extend a “Visit Seattle” invitation around the globe during this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.”

In April 2018, Seattle will welcome all Clipper Round the World yachts, including Visit Seattle, as they enter the Puget Sound and the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina from Qingdao, China before heading to Panama.

“The Seattle stopover certainly made its mark on our international race crew, friends, family and business partners during the last race and I am pleased that we will return to the Emerald City once again,” said Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. “Like our race crews, the people of Seattle have a strong sense of adventure and the support received from the city and its residents as the fleet raced around the world was fantastic. The welcome and hospitality provided by locals and businesses during the race’s visit to Seattle was first-class and has put the city firmly on the map as a popular race destination to visit and do business with and we hope to build on the relationships created.”

Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman welcomes the race’s return saying: “The Port of Seattle is a proud sponsor and host of the Clipper Race at our Bell Harbor Marina in April 2018. The Port’s involvement in this unique international maritime competition is to highlight the Port’s contribution to putting Seattle on the world stage – providing global connections by air and sea. Seattle is a world-class destination for the adventure-seeking sailor due to its stunning waterways and cultural richness that has created an ecologically-minded and entrepreneurial community.”

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors. Approximately 40 percent of the crewmembers are novices and have never sailed prior to completing their comprehensive training program ahead of their adventure. Following the success of the Clipper Race partnership, 14 crew members from Washington State, including five from Seattle, have signed up to participate in the 2017-2018 race edition.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which has UNICEF as the official Charity Partner, is the world’s greatest ocean adventure and regarded as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. The race spans 40,000 nautical miles, beginning in August 2017, takes almost a year to complete and consists of 12 teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of ocean-racing yachts.