Foreign Policy

Boehner on Trump — A Complete Disaster — Takes One To Know One — A Real Big Spender — Boehner The Cry Baby — Two Party Tyranny Continues — Videos

Posted on May 26, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, College, Communications, Congress, Culture, Economics, Education, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Reviews, Security, Strategy, Tax Policy, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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Big Spender

Janis Joplin – Cry Baby

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John Boehner unloads on Trump: A ‘complete disaster’

By Mike DeBonis May 26 at 12:42 PM

Former House speaker John A. Boehner continued a streak of remarkable post-office candor during a Wednesday appearance at a Houston energy conference, telling a luncheon audience that President Trump’s term has — foreign policy aside — been a “complete disaster.”

“Everything else he’s done has been a complete disaster,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said, according to a report in Rigzone, an online energy publication. “He’s still learning how to be president.”

Boehner, who resigned from Congress in October 2015, had praised Trump — a friend and golfing companion from his political years — during the presidential campaign. On Wednesday, he praised Trump’s efforts at getting serious about combating the Islamic State terror group, Rigzone reported, but ended his positive comments there.

Among other remarks, Boehner said Trump should not be allowed to tweet, the publication said.

Dave Schnittger, an aide to Boehner, said Friday the remarks made at the KPMG Global Energy Conference were “reported accurately” by Rigzone.

Boehner has made other public comments critical of his party since leaving office. During the presidential campaign in April 2016, he called then-GOP candidate Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” And in February, he made a prescient prediction that a GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act was “not going to happen” and that “Republicans never, ever agree on health care” — a view he maintained on Wednesday, according to the Rigzone report.

Boehner offered other blunt opinions Wednesday, Rigzone reported. He gave an increasingly pessimistic view that congressional Republicans would pass tax reform, saying “now my odds are 60/40” and that tax reform is “a bunch of happy talk.” And he echoed an emerging piece of D.C. conventional wisdom by calling the border adjustment tax plan favored by Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Boehner’s successor as House speaker, “deader than a doornail.”

And on the various pending investigations into alleged Russian influence on the election and on Trump’s campaign, Boehner said, “they need to get to the bottom of this” but called impeachment a folly pushed by “crazy left-wing Democratic colleagues of mine.”

“Talk of impeachment is the best way to rile up Trump supporters,” he said, according to Rigzone. “Remember, impeachment is not a legal process; it’s a political process.”

Boehner, as he has said in the past, repeated Wednesday that he does not miss his old job: “I wake up every day, drink my morning coffee and say, ‘Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah,’” he said, according to Rigzone.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/26/john-boehner-unloads-on-trump-a-complete-disaster/?utm_term=.970e0d1d935c

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Ann Coulter — Adios, America — Videos

Posted on May 7, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Book, Books, Business, College, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Corruption, Culture, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Essays, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Illegal, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Movies, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Security, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Television, Terrorism, Tutorials, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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Jesse Watters & Ann Coulter On The Insane MSM & Trumps Second Try At Repealing & Replacing Obamacare

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How Trump Betrayed Ann Coulter on Immigration

The political commentator may be more committed to the Republican nominee’s platform than he is.

Donald Trump has just betrayed Ann Coulter. Which is a dangerous thing to do.This week, Coulter released her new book, In Trump We Trust. As the title suggests, it’s a defense of Trump. But more than that, it’s a defense of Trumpism. Most Trump surrogates contort themselves to defend whatever The Donald says, no matter its ideological content. They’re like communist party functionaries. They get word from the ideologists on high, and regurgitate it as best they can.

Since then, they’ve been allies. But unlike many Trump defenders, Coulter makes clear that her primary allegiance is not to Trump the man. It’s to the nostalgic “Make America White Again” brand of conservatism that she began peddling even before he did. In In Trump We Trust, Coulter calls Trump a “tasteless, publicity-seeking, coarse billionaire” and argues that, “the one thing voters weren’t wild about was his personality.”

The secret of Trump’s success, she argues, has been ideological. He recognized that “Americans,” by which she mostly means Republicans, “are homesick.” They don’t just oppose immigration because they believe it depresses wages and strains government services. They’re homesick for a whiter America, an America that was once truly free because “it’s not in the Anglo-Saxon character either to take orders or to give them.” (Never mind about slavery.) Since 1965, however, when Lyndon Johnson signed legislation allowing more immigration from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, the United States has been, according to Coulter in In Trump We Trust, overrun by “illiterate peasants … who can be instructed to learn certain symbols and bloc-vote for the Democrats.” In response, Democrats, along with rich Republicans, keep the doors open to non-European immigration, and thus America has grown “browner” and “shorter.” (That’s Coulter’s description from Adios America). Corruption rises. So does terrorism and rape.Coulter’s ideological interpretation of Trump’s appeal is plausible. It explains, for instance, why support for Trump correlates more strongly to racial resentment than economic misfortune.

Trump may win votes by moderating his stance on immigration. But that’s not how Coulter sells books.

Coulter’s problem is that on the very week she’s unveiled her immigration-themed defense of Trumpism, Trump himself has begun jettisoning it. On Wednesday night, he admitted that it’s “very, very hard” to deport all the undocumented immigrants in the country and implied that he would be open to some people being allowed to stay legally without becoming citizens, provided they pay back taxes. Suddenly, Trump is flirting with an immigration policy that resembles that of every other Republican who ran for president. Which makes Coulter look like a dupe. On Thursday on his show, Rush Limbaugh had a hearty laugh at her expense.

So far, Coulter has responded in contradictory ways. She’s fired off tweets attacking Trump’s immigration shift. But she’s also downplayed it.

Maybe Coulter, like the other high-profile supporters Trump has burned, will accept her humiliation and resort to defending Trump no matter what he says. Her incentives, however, are different. Unlike most of the folks who appear on television supporting Trump, she has an independent brand. And it’s built on white nationalism. Trump may win votes by moderating his stance on immigration. But that’s not how Coulter sells books.

Coulter also needs an explanation for Trump’s likely defeat, an explanation that will preserve her ability to claim that America’s silent majority believes the things she does. By emphasizing Trump’s immigration flip-flop, Coulter could argue that this issue cost him the white votes he needed to win.

Trumpism—a brand of conservatism defined above all by white racial nostalgia—will survive November’s election. Less clear is whether Trump will remain its champion or become its fall guy. Like many people Trump has done business with, Coulter has learned that trusting Trump is not the wisest of investments.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/how-trump-betrayed-ann-coulter-on-immigration/497618/

Ann Coulter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter smiling, with a blue wallpaper behind her.

Born Ann Hart Coulter
December 8, 1961 (age 55)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Cornell University(BA)
University of Michigan(JD)
Occupation Author, columnist, political commentator
Political party Republican[1]
Website anncoulter.com
Signature
Ann Coulter Signature.png

Ann Hart Coulter (/ˈkltər/; born December 8, 1961) is an American conservativesocial and politicalcommentator, writer, syndicated columnist, and lawyer. She frequently appears on television, radio, and as a speaker at public and private events.

Born in New York City to a conservative family, Coulter was raised in New Canaan, Connecticut. She deepened her conservative interests while studying history at Cornell University, where she helped found The Cornell Review. She subsequently embarked on a career as a law clerk before rising to prominence in the 1990s as an outspoken critic of the Clinton administration. Her first book concerned the Bill Clinton impeachment, and sprang from her experience writing legal briefs for Paula Jones‘s attorneys, as well as columns she wrote about the cases.[2][3]

Coulter has described herself as a polemicist who likes to “stir up the pot,” and does not “pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do,”[4] drawing criticism from the left, and sometimes from the right.[5] Coulter’s syndicated column for Universal Press Syndicate appears in newspapers, and is featured on major conservative websites. As of 2016, Coulter has 12 best-selling books, including most recently Adios, America! and In Trump We Trust.

Early life

Coulter as a senior in high school, 1980.

Ann Hart Coulter was born on December 8, 1961, in New York City, to John Vincent Coulter (1926–2008), an FBI agent of Irish–German heritage,[6] who was a native of Albany, New York; and Nell Husbands Coulter (née Martin; 1928–2009), a native of Paducah, Kentucky.[7][8] All eight of her paternal great-great-grandparents were immigrants.[6] Her family later moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, where Coulter and her two older brothers, James and John, were raised.[9] She was raised in a conservative household in Connecticut by Republican parents, with a father who loved Joseph McCarthy. Coulter says she has identified as a conservative since kindergarten. To prep for arguments, she read books like Barry Goldwater‘s Conscience of a Conservative.[10]

At age 14, Coulter visited her older brother in New York City where he attended law school. While he was in class, he had his little sister read books by Milton Friedman and William E. Simon. When he got home from class, he quizzed Coulter. As a reward, he and his friends took her out to bars on the Upper East Side. Reading Republican books made Coulter dream about working as a writer.[10] She graduated from New Canaan High School in 1980. Coulter’s age was disputed in 2002 while she was arguing that she was not yet 40, yet Washington Post columnist Lloyd Grove cited that she provided a birthdate of December 8, 1961, when registering to vote in New Canaan, Connecticut, prior to the 1980 Presidential election. Meanwhile, a driver’s license issued several years later allegedly listed her birthdate as December 8, 1963. Coulter will not confirm either date, citing privacy concerns.[11]

While attending Cornell University, Coulter helped found The Cornell Review,[12][13] and was a member of the Delta Gamma national sorority.[14] She graduated cum laude from Cornell in 1984 with a B.A. in history, and received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988, where she was an editor of the Michigan Law Review.[15] At Michigan, Coulter was president of the local chapter of the Federalist Society and was trained at the National Journalism Center.[16]

Career

After law school, Coulter served as a law clerk, in Kansas City, for Pasco Bowman II of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.[17] After a short time working in New York City in private practice, where she specialized in corporate law, Coulter left to work for the United States Senate Judiciary Committee after the Republican Partytook control of Congress in 1994. She handled crime and immigration issues for Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan and helped craft legislation designed to expedite the deportation of aliens convicted of felonies.[18] She later became a litigator with the Center for Individual Rights.[19]

In 2000, Coulter considered running for Congress in Connecticut on the Libertarian Party ticket[20] to serve as a spoiler in order to throw the seat to the Democratic candidate and see that Republican Congressman Christopher Shays failed to gain re-election, as a punishment for Shays’ vote against Clinton’s impeachment. The leadership of the Libertarian Party of Connecticut, after meeting with Coulter, declined to endorse her. As a result, her self-described “total sham, media-intensive, third-party Jesse Ventura campaign” did not take place.[21][22] Shays subsequently won the election, and held the seat until 2008.[23]

Coulter’s career is highlighted by the publication of twelve books, as well as the weekly syndicated newspaper column that she publishes. She is particularly known for her polemical style,[24] and describes herself as someone who likes to “stir up the pot. I don’t pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do”.[25] She has been compared to Clare Boothe Luce, one of her idols, for her satirical style.[26] She also makes numerous public appearances, speaking on television and radio talk shows, as well as on collegecampuses, receiving both praise and protest. Coulter typically spends 6–12 weeks of the year on speaking engagement tours, and more when she has a book coming out.[27] In 2010, she made an estimated $500,000 on the speaking circuit, giving speeches on topics of modern conservatism, gay marriage, and what she describes as the hypocrisy of modern American liberalism.[28] During one appearance at the University of Arizona, a pie was thrown at her.[29][30][31] Coulter has, on occasion, in defense of her ideas, responded with inflammatory remarks toward hecklers and protestors who attend her speeches.[32][33]

Books

Coulter is the author of twelve books, many of which have appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list, with a combined 3 million copies sold as of May 2009.[34]

Coulter’s first book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, was published by Regnery Publishing in 1998 and made the New York Times Bestseller list.[2] It details Coulter’s case for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Her second book, Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right, published by Crown Forum in 2002, reached the number one spot on The New York Times non-fiction best seller list.[35] In Slander, Coulter argues that President George W. Bush was given unfair negative media coverage. The factual accuracy of Slander was called into question by then-comedian and author, and now Democratic U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken; he also accused her of citing passages out of context.[36] Others investigated these charges, and also raised questions about the book’s accuracy and presentation of facts.[37][38][39] Coulter responded to criticisms in a column called “Answering My Critics”.[40]

In her third book, Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, also published by Crown Forum, she reexamines the 60-year history of the Cold War—including the career of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Whittaker ChambersAlger Hiss affair, and Ronald Reagan’s challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall“—and argues that liberals were wrong in their Cold War political analyses and policy decisions, and that McCarthy was correct about Soviet agents working for the U.S. government.[41] She also argues that the correct identification of Annie Lee Moss, among others, as communists was misreported by the liberal media.[42]Treason was published in 2003, and spent 13 weeks on the Best Seller list.[43]

Crown Forum published a collection of Coulter’s columns in 2004 as her fourth book, How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter.[44]

Coulter’s fifth book, published by Crown Forum in 2006, is Godless: The Church of Liberalism.[45] In it, she argues, first, that American liberalism rejects the idea of God and reviles people of faith, and second, that it bears all the attributes of a religion itself.[46]Godless debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.[47] Some passages in the book match portions of others’ writings published at an earlier time (including newspaper articles and a Planned Parenthood document), leading John Barrie of iThenticate to assert that Coulter had engaged in “textbook plagiarism”.[48]

Coulter’s If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans (Crown Forum), published in October 2007, and Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America (Crown Forum), published on January 6, 2009, both also achieved best-seller status.[49][50][51]

On June 7, 2011, Crown Forum published her eighth book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America. Coulter said she based this book heavily on the work of Frenchsocial psychologistGustave Le Bon, who wrote on mass psychology, and in it she argues that liberals have mob-like characteristics.[52]

Her ninth book, published September 25, 2012, is Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama. It argues that liberals, and Democrats in particular, have taken undue credit for racial civil rights in America.[53]

Coulter’s tenth book, Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican, was released October 14, 2013. It is her second collection of columns and her first published by Regnery since her first book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors.[54]

Coulter published her eleventh book, Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole on June 1, 2015. The book addresses illegal immigration, amnesty programs, and border security in the United States. [55]

Columns

In the late 1990s, Coulter’s weekly (biweekly from 1999–2000) syndicated column for Universal Press Syndicate began appearing. Her column is featured on six conservative websites: Human Events Online, WorldNetDaily, Townhall.com, VDARE, FrontPageMag, Jewish World Review and her own web site. Her syndicator says, “Ann’s client newspapers stick with her because she has a loyal fan base of conservative readers who look forward to reading her columns in their local newspapers”.[56]

In 1999 Coulter worked as a regular columnist for George magazine.[21][57] Coulter also wrote exclusive weekly columns between 1998 and 2003 and with occasional columns thereafter for the conservative magazine Human Events. In her columns for the magazine, she discusses judicial rulings, Constitutional issues, and legal matters affecting Congress and the executive branch.[58]

In 2001 as a contributing editor and syndicated columnist for National Review Online (NRO), Coulter was asked by editors to make changes to a piece written after the September 11 attacks. On the national television show Politically Incorrect, Coulter accused NRO of censorship and said that she was paid $5 per article. NRO dropped her column and terminated her editorship. Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of NRO, said, “We did not ‘fire’ Ann for what she wrote… we ended the relationship because she behaved with a total lack of professionalism, friendship, and loyalty [concerning the editing disagreement].”[59]

Coulter contracted with USA Today to cover the 2004 Democratic National Convention. She wrote one article that began, “Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston…” and referred to some unspecified female attendees as “corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons”. The newspaper declined to print the article citing an editing dispute over “basic weaknesses in clarity and readability that we found unacceptable”. An explanatory article by the paper went on to say “Coulter told the online edition of Editor & Publisher magazine that ‘USA Today doesn’t like my “tone”, humor, sarcasm, etc., which raises the intriguing question of why they hired me to write for them.'” USA Today replaced Coulter with Jonah Goldberg, and Coulter published it instead on her website.[60][61][62]

In August 2005, the Arizona Daily Star dropped Coulter’s syndicated column, citing reader complaints that “Many readers find her shrill, bombastic, and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives”.[63]

In July 2006, some newspapers replaced Coulter’s column with those of other conservative columnists following the publication of her fourth book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism.[64] After The Augusta Chronicle dropped her column, newspaper editor Michael Ryan explained that “it came to the point where she was the issue rather than what she was writing about”.[65] Ryan also stated that “pulling Ann Coulter’s column hurts; she’s one of the clearest thinkers around”.

She has criticized former president George W. Bush‘s immigration proposals, saying they led to “amnesty”. In a 2007 column, she claimed that the current immigration system was set up to deliberately reduce the percentage of whites in the population. In it, she said:[66]

In 1960, whites were 90 percent of the country. The Census Bureau recently estimated that whites already account for less than two-thirds of the population and will be a minority by 2050. Other estimates put that day much sooner.

One may assume the new majority will not be such compassionate overlords as the white majority has been. If this sort of drastic change were legally imposed on any group other than white Americans, it would be called genocide. Yet whites are called racists merely for mentioning the fact that current immigration law is intentionally designed to reduce their percentage in the population.

Overall, Coulter’s columns are highly critical of liberals and Democrats. In 2006, she wrote:[67]

This year’s Democratic plan for the future is another inane sound bite designed to trick American voters into trusting them with national security.

To wit, they’re claiming there is no connection between the war on terror and the war in Iraq, and while they are all for the war against terror—absolutely in favor of that war—they are adamantly opposed to the Iraq war. You know, the war where the U.S. military is killing thousands upon thousands of terrorists (described in the media as “Iraqi civilians”, even if they are from Jordan, like the now-dead leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi). That war.

Television and radio

Ann Coulter at the 2012 Time 100

Coulter made her first national media appearance in 1996 after she was hired by the then-fledgling network MSNBC as a legal correspondent. She later appeared on CNN and Fox News.[68] Coulter went on to make frequent guest appearances on many television and radio talk shows, including American Morning, The Fifth Estate, Glenn Beck Program, The Mike Gallagher Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Real Time with Bill Maher, Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, The Today Show, Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox and Friends, The Laura Ingraham Show, The View, The Michael Medved Show, and HARDtalk.

In an interview with Bob McKeown on the edition of January 26, 2005, of The Fifth Estate, Coulter came under criticism for her statement, “Canada used to be… one of our most… most loyal friends, and vice versa. I mean, Canada sent troops to Vietnam. Was Vietnam less containable and more of a threat than Saddam Hussein?” McKeown contradicted her with, “No, actually Canada did not send troops to Vietnam.”[69] On the edition of February 18, 2005 of Washington Journal, Coulter justified her statement by referring to the thousands of Canadians who served in the American armed forces during the Vietnam era, either because they volunteered or because they were living in the United States during the war years and got drafted. She said, “The Canadian Government didn’t send troops … but … they came and fought with the Americans. So I was wrong. It turns out there were 10,000 Americans who happened to be born in Canada.” (There were actually between 5,000 and 20,000 Canadians who fought in Vietnam itself, including approximately 80 who were killed.)[70] John Cloud of Time, writing about the incident a few months later, said, “Canada [sent] noncombat troops to Indochina in the 1950s and again to Vietnam in 1972″.[68]

Films

Coulter appeared in three films released during 2004. The first was Feeding the Beast, a made-for-television documentary on the “24-Hour News Revolution”.[71] The other two films were FahrenHYPE 9/11, a direct-to-video documentary rebuttal of Michael Moore‘s Fahrenheit 911, and Is It True What They Say About Ann?, a documentary on Coulter containing clips of interviews and speeches.[72] In 2015, Coulter had a cameo as the Vice President in the made-for-TV movie Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!.

Personal life

Coulter has been engaged several times, but she has never married and has no children.[32] She has dated Spin founder and publisher Bob Guccione, Jr.,[21] and conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza.[73] In October 2007, she began dating Andrew Stein, the former president of the New York City Council, a liberal Democrat. When asked about the relationship, Stein told the paper, “She’s attacked a lot of my friends, but what can I say, opposites attract!”[74] On January 7, 2008, however, Stein told the New York Post that the relationship was over, citing irreconcilable differences.[75]Kellyanne Conway, who refers to Coulter as a friend, told New York Magazine in 2017 that Coulter “started dating her security guard probably ten years ago because she couldn’t see anybody else.”[76]

Coulter owns a house, bought in 2005, in Palm Beach, Florida, a condominium in Manhattan, and an apartment in Los Angeles. She votes in Palm Beach and is not registered to do so in New York or California.[77][78]She is a fan of several jam bands, such as the Grateful Dead, the Dave Matthews Band, and Phish.[79][80] Some of her favorite books are the Bible, Mere Christianity, Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, true crime stories about serial killers, and anything by Dave Barry.[81]

Religious views

Coulter is a Christian and belongs to the Presbyterian denomination.[82][83] Her father was Catholic and her mother was a Protestant.[84] At one public lecture she said, “I don’t care about anything else; Christ died for my sins, and nothing else matters.”[85] She summarized her view of Christianity in a 2004 column, saying, “Jesus’ distinctive message was: People are sinful and need to be redeemed, and this is your lucky day, because I’m here to redeem you even though you don’t deserve it, and I have to get the crap kicked out of me to do it.” She then mocked “the message of Jesus… according to liberals”, summarizing it as “something along the lines of ‘be nice to people,'” which, in turn, she said “is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity.”[86]

Confronting some critics’ views that her content and style of writing is un-Christian-like,[87] Coulter stated that “I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don’t you ever forget it.”[88]She also said, “Christianity fuels everything I write. Being a Christian means that I am called upon to do battle against lies, injustice, cruelty, hypocrisy—you know, all the virtues in the church of liberalism”.[89] In Godless: The Church of Liberalism, Coulter characterized the theory of evolution as bogus science, and contrasted her beliefs to what she called the left’s “obsession with Darwinism and the Darwinian view of the world, which replaces sanctification of life with sanctification of sex and death”.[90] Coulter subscribes to intelligent design, a theory that rejects evolution.[91]

Coulter was accused of anti-semitism in an October 8, 2007, interview with Donny Deutsch on The Big Idea. During the interview, Coulter stated that the United States is a Christian nation, and said that she wants “Jews to be perfected, as they say” (referring to them being converted to Christianity).[92] Deutsch, a practicing Jew, implied that this was an anti-semitic remark, but Coulter said she didn’t consider it to be a hateful comment.[93][94] In response to Coulter’s comments on the show, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and Bradley Burston condemned those comments,[95] and the National Jewish Democratic Council asked media outlets to stop inviting Coulter as a guest commentator.[96] Talk show host Dennis Prager, while disagreeing with her comments, said that they were not “anti-semitic”, noting, “There is nothing in what Ann Coulter said to a Jewish interviewer on CNBC that indicates she hates Jews or wishes them ill, or does damage to the Jewish people or the Jewish state. And if none of those criteria is present, how can someone be labeled anti-Semitic?”[97] Conservative activist David Horowitz also defended Coulter against the allegation.[98]

Coulter again sparked outrage in September 2015, when she tweeted in response to multiple Republican candidates’ references to Israel during a Presidential debate, “How many f—ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?”[99] The Anti-Defamation League referred to the tweets as “ugly, spiteful and anti-Semitic.”[100] In response to accusations of anti-Semitism, she tweeted “I like the Jews, I like fetuses, I like Reagan. Didn’t need to hear applause lines about them all night.”[99]

Political views

Coulter is a conservative columnist. She is a registered Republican and member of the advisory council of GOProud since August 9, 2011.[101]

Coulter supported George W. Bush’s presidency. She endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2008 Republican presidential primary[102] and the 2012 Republican presidential primary and presidential run.[103] In the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries, she endorsed Donald Trump.[104] However, in the wake of the 2017 Shayrat missile strike, Coulter expressed her dismay by tweeting, “Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast.”[105]

Abortion

Coulter believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned and left to the states. She is anti-abortion, but believes there should be an exception if a woman is raped.[106]

Illegal immigration

She strongly opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants, and at the 2013 CPAC said she has now become “a single-issue voter against amnesty”.[107]

Afghanistan War

Although she originally supported the war in Afghanistan during the Bush administration, beginning in 2009 she expressed concern that the war might have turned into another Vietnam, and opposed sending more troops to Afghanistan.[108]

LGBT rights

Coulter opposes same-sex marriage and once supported a federal U.S. constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.[109] She insists that her opposition to same-sex marriage “wasn’t an anti-gay thing” and that “It’s genuinely a pro-marriage position to oppose gay marriage”.[110] In an April 1, 2015, column, Coulter declared that liberals had “won the war on gay marriage (by judicial fiat)”.[111]

She also opposes civil unions[112] and privatizing marriage.[113] When addressed with the issue of rights granted by marriage, she said, “Gays already can visit loved ones in hospitals. They can also visit neighbors, random acquaintances, and total strangers in hospitals—just like everyone else. Gays can also pass on property to whomever they would like”.[114] She disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court‘s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling, stating there was no right to sodomy written in the Constitution and that under federalism each individual state and territory would have to repeal their sodomy laws. She stated she opposed banning same-sex sexual intercourse.[115] She also stated that same-sex sexual intercourse was already protected under the Fourth Amendment, which prevents police from going into your home without a search warrant or court order.[116]

In regard to Romer v. Evans described anti-discrimination laws covering LGBT as “affirmative action benefits.”[117] She also disagreed with repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, stating that it is not an “anti-gay position; it is a pro-military position” because “sexual bonds are disruptive to the military bond”.[118] On April 1, 2015, in a column, Ann Coulter expressed support for Indiana‘s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and said it was an “apocryphal” assertion to claim the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would be used to discriminate against LGBTs.[111] She has also endorsed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act and opposes transgender individuals to use bathroom usage corresponding to their gender identity.[119]

LGBT conservatism

Since the 1990s, Coulter has had many acquaintances in the LGBT community. She considers herself “the Judy Garland of the Right.” In the last few years, Coulter has attracted many LGBT fans, namely gay men and drag queens.[10][120][121]

At the 2007 CPAC, Coulter said, “I do want to point out one thing that has been driving me crazy with the media—how they keep describing Mitt Romney‘s position as being pro-gays, and that’s going to upset the right wingers,” and “Well, you know, screw you! I’m not anti-gay. We’re against gay marriage. I don’t want gays to be discriminated against.” She added, “I don’t know why all gays aren’t Republican. I think we have the pro-gay positions, which is anti-crime and for tax cuts. Gays make a lot of money and they’re victims of crime. No, they are! They should be with us.”[122]

In Coulter’s 2007 book If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans, in the chapter “Gays: No Gay Left Behind!”, she argued that Republican policies were more pro-gay than Democratic policies. Coulter attended the 2010 HomoCon of GOProud, where she commented that same-sex marriage “is not a civil right.”[123] On February 9, 2011, in a column, Coulter described the national Log Cabin Republicans as “ridiculous” and “not conservative at all.” She did however describe the Texas branch of Log Cabin Republicans, for whom she’s been signing books for years, as “comprised of real conservatives.”[124]

At the 2011 CPAC, during her question-and-answer segment, Coulter was asked about GOProud and the controversy over their exclusion from the 2011 CPAC. She boasted how she talked GOProud into dropping its support for same-sex marriage in the party’s platform, saying, “The left is trying to co-opt gays, and I don’t think we should let them. I think they should be on our side,” and “Gays are natural conservatives.”[125] Later that year, Coulter joined advisory board for GOProud. On LogosThe A-List: Dallas she told gay Republican Taylor Garrett that “The gays have got to be pro-life,” and “As soon as they find the gay gene, guess who the liberal yuppies are gonna start aborting?”[126] Coulter has referred to Democractic politicians Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Edwards as “fag(got).”[127]

War on Drugs

Coulter strongly supports continuing the War on Drugs.[128] However, she has said that, if there were not a welfare state, she “wouldn’t care” if drugs were legal.[129]

Coulter spoke about drugs as a guest on Piers Morgan Live, when she said that marijuana users “can’t perform daily functions.”[130]

Political activities and commentary

Ann Coulter has described herself as a “polemicist” who likes to “stir up the pot” and doesn’t “pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do.”[4] While her political activities in the past have included advising a plaintiff suing President Bill Clinton as well as considering a run for Congress, she mostly serves as a political pundit, sometimes creating controversy ranging from rowdy uprisings at some of the colleges where she speaks to protracted discussions in the media. Time magazine’s John Cloud once observed that Coulter “likes to shock reporters by wondering aloud whether America might be better off if women lost the right to vote.”[68] This was in reference to her statement that “it would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950—except Goldwater in ’64—the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted.”[131] Similarly, in an October 2007 interview with the New York Observer, Coulter said:[132]

If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.

It also makes the point, it is kind of embarrassing, the Democratic Party ought to be hanging its head in shame, that it has so much difficulty getting men to vote for it. I mean, you do see it’s the party of women and ‘We’ll pay for health care and tuition and day care—and here, what else can we give you, soccer moms?’

In addition to questioning whether women’s right to vote is a good thing, Coulter has also appeared on Fox News and advocated for a poll tax and a literacy test for voters (this was in 1999, and she reiterated her support of a literacy test in 2015).[133] This is not a viewpoint widely shared by members of the Republican Party.

Paula Jones – Bill Clinton case

Coulter first became a public figure shortly before becoming an unpaid legal adviser for the attorneys representing Paula Jones in her sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton. Coulter’s friend George Conway had been asked to assist Jones’ attorneys, and shortly afterward Coulter, who wrote a column about the Paula Jones case for Human Events, was also asked to help, and she began writing legal briefs for the case.

Coulter later stated that she would come to mistrust the motives of Jones’ head lawyer, Joseph Cammaratta, who by August or September 1997 was advising Jones that her case was weak and to settle, if a favorable settlement could be negotiated.[18][134] From the outset, Jones had sought an apology from Clinton at least as eagerly as she sought a settlement.[135] However, in a later interview Coulter recounted that she herself had believed that the case was strong, that Jones was telling the truth, that Clinton should be held publicly accountable for his misconduct, and that a settlement would give the impression that Jones was merely interested in extorting money from the President.[18]

David Daley, who wrote the interview piece for The Hartford Courant recounted what followed:

Coulter played one particularly key role in keeping the Jones case alive. In Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff’s new book Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter’s Story, Coulter is unmasked as the one who leaked word of Clinton’s “distinguishing characteristic”—his reportedly unusually large penis that Jones said she could recognize and describe—to the news media. Her hope was to foster mistrust between the Clinton and Jones camps and forestall a settlement … I thought if I leaked the distinguishing characteristic it would show bad faith in negotiations. [Clinton lawyer] Bob Bennett would think Jones had leaked it. Cammaratta would know he himself hadn’t leaked it and would get mad at Bennett. It might stall negotiations enough for me to get through to [Jones adviser] Susan Carpenter-McMillan to tell her that I thought settling would hurt Paula, that this would ruin her reputation, and that there were other lawyers working for her. Then 36 hours later, she returned my phone call. I just wanted to help Paula. I really think Paula Jones is a hero. I don’t think I could have taken the abuse she came under. She’s this poor little country girl and she has the most powerful man she’s ever met hitting on her sexually, then denying it and smearing her as president. And she never did anything tacky. It’s not like she was going on TV or trying to make a buck out of it.”[18]

In his book, Isikoff also reported Coulter as saying: “We were terrified that Jones would settle. It was contrary to our purpose of bringing down the President.”[134] After the book came out, Coulter clarified her stated motives, saying:

The only motive for leaking the distinguishing characteristic item that [Isikoff] gives in his book is my self-parodying remark that “it would humiliate the president” and that a settlement would foil our efforts to bring down the president … I suppose you could take the position, as [Isikoff] does, that we were working for Jones because we thought Clinton was a lecherous, lying scumbag, but this argument gets a bit circular. You could also say that Juanita Broaddrick’s secret motive in accusing Clinton of rape is that she hates Clinton because he raped her. The whole reason we didn’t much like Clinton was that we could see he was the sort of man who would haul a low-level government employee like Paula to his hotel room, drop his pants, and say, “Kiss it.” You know: Everything his defense said about him at the impeachment trial. It’s not like we secretly disliked Clinton because of his administration’s position on California’s citrus cartels or something, and then set to work on some crazy scheme to destroy him using a pathological intern as our Mata Hari.[136]

The case went to court after Jones broke with Coulter and her original legal team, and it was dismissed via summary judgment. The judge ruled that even if her allegations proved true, Jones did not show that she had suffered any damages, stating, “… plaintiff has not demonstrated any tangible job detriment or adverse employment action for her refusal to submit to the governor’s alleged advances. The president is therefore entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim of quid pro quo sexual harassment.” The ruling was appealed by Jones’ lawyers. During the pendency of the appeal, Clinton settled with Jones for $850,000 ($151,000 after legal fees) in November 1998, in exchange for Jones’ dismissal of the appeal. By then, the Jones lawsuit had given way to the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

In October 2000, Jones revealed that she would pose for nude pictures in an adult magazine, saying she wanted to use the money to pay taxes and support her grade-school-aged children, in particular saying, “I’m wanting to put them through college and maybe set up a college fund.”[137] Coulter publicly denounced Jones, calling her “the trailer-park trash they said she was” (Coulter had earlier chastened Clinton supporters for calling Jones this name),[138] after Clinton’s former campaign strategist James Carville had made the widely reported remark, “Drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, and you’ll never know what you’ll find,” and called Jones a “fraud, at least to the extent of pretending to be an honorable and moral person.”[137]

Coulter wrote:

Paula surely was given more than a million dollars in free legal assistance from an array of legal talent she will never again encounter in her life, much less have busily working on her behalf. Some of those lawyers never asked for or received a dime for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal work performed at great professional, financial and personal cost to themselves. Others got partial payments out of the settlement. But at least they got her reputation back. And now she’s thrown it away.[139]

Jones claimed not to have been offered any help with a book deal of her own or any other additional financial help after the lawsuit.[137]

2008 presidential election

As the 2008 presidential campaign was getting under way, Coulter drew criticism for statements she made at the 2007 Conservative Political Action Conference about presidential candidate John Edwards:[140][141]

I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m… so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.

The comment was in reference to Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington‘s use of the epithet and his subsequent mandatory “psychological assessment” imposed by ABC executives.[142] It was widely interpreted as meaning that Coulter had called Edwards a “faggot,” but Coulter argued that she did not actually do so, while simultaneously indicating she would not have been wrong to say it.[143] Edwards responded on his web site by characterizing Coulter’s words as “un-American and indefensible,” and asking readers to help him “raise $100,000 in ‘Coulter Cash’ this week to keep this campaign charging ahead and fight back against the politics of bigotry.”[144] He also called her a “she-devil,” adding, “I should not have name-called. But the truth is—forget the names—people like Ann Coulter, they engage in hateful language.”[145] Coulter’s words also drew condemnation from many prominent Republicans and Democrats, as well as groups such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).[144][146][147] Three advertisers (Verizon, Sallie Mae and Netbank) also pulled their advertisements from Coulter’s web site,[148] and several newspapers dropped her column.[149][150] Coulter responded in an e-mail to the New York Times, “C’mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean.”[147] On March 5, 2007, she appeared on Hannity and Colmes and said, “Faggot isn’t offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays. It’s a schoolyard taunt meaning ‘wuss.'”[151] Gay rights advocates were not convinced. “Ann Coulter’s use of this anti-gay slur is vile and unacceptable,” said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, “and the applause from her audience is an important reminder that Coulter’s ugly brand of bigotry is at the root of the discriminatory policies being promoted at this gathering.”[141] A spokesman for Sen. John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, called Coulter’s comments “wildly inappropriate.”[141]

As the campaign waged on, she continued to insert her commentary regarding the candidates, both Democrats and Republicans. In a June 2007 interview, Coulter named Duncan Hunter as her choice for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination, highlighting his views on immigration and specifically his anti-abortion credentials, saying “[t]his is a winning issue for us, protecting little babies.”[152] On January 16, 2008, Coulter began endorsing Governor Mitt Romney as her choice for the 2008 Republican nomination, saying he is “manifestly the best candidate” (contrasting Romney with Republican candidates John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani).[153] By contrast, Coulter was critical of eventual Republican nominee John McCain. On the January 31, 2008, broadcast of Hannity and Colmes, Coulter claimed that if McCain won the Republican nomination for president, she would support and campaign for Hillary Clinton, stating, “[Clinton] is more conservative than McCain.”[154]

Regarding then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama in an April 2, 2008, column, she characterized his book Dreams from My Father as a “dimestore Mein Kampf.” Coulter writes, “He says the reason black people keep to themselves is that it’s ‘easier than spending all your time mad or trying to guess whatever it was that white folks were thinking about you.’ Here’s a little inside scoop about white people: We’re not thinking about you. Especially WASPs. We think everybody is inferior, and we are perfectly charming about it.”[155]

2010 Canadian university tour

Ann Coulter at CPAC in February 2012

In March 2010, Coulter announced that she would be embarking on a speaking tour of three Canadian universities, The University of Western Ontario, the University of Ottawa and the University of Calgary. The tour was organized by the International Free Press Society.[156]

On the eve of Coulter’s first speech at the University of Western Ontario, an e-mail to Coulter from François Houle, provost of the University of Ottawa, was leaked to the media. The e-mail warned that “promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.” Coulter released a public statement alleging that by sending her the e-mail, Houle was promoting hatred against conservatives.[157] During her speech at the University of Western Ontario, she told a Muslim student to “take a camel,” in response to the student’s question about previous comments by Coulter that Muslims should not be allowed on airplanes.[158]

On March 22, the University of Ottawa made international news when liberal protesters conspired to prevent Coulter from speaking. The event was canceled in spite of a massive security presence; Alain Boucher of the Ottawa Police Service said there were ten officers visible at the scene, “plus other resources” nearby.[159] Boucher alleged that Coulter’s security team decided to call off the event, saying, “We gave her options,” including, he said, to “find a bigger venue.” But “they opted to cancel … It’s not up to the Ottawa police to make that decision.”[160] Boucher claimed there were no arrests.[161] CTV News reported, “It was a disaster in terms of just organization, which is probably one of the reasons why it was cancelled,” citing the small number of students tasked with confirming who had signed up to attend Coulter’s talk.[162]

Event organizer and conservative activist Ezra Levant blamed the protest on the letter sent to Coulter by Houle.[163] After the cancellation, Coulter called the University of Ottawa “bush league,” stating:[164]

I go to the best schools, Harvard, the Ivy League, and those kids are too intellectually proud to threaten speakers … I would like to know when this sort of violence, this sort of protest, has been inflicted upon a Muslim—who appear to be, from what I’ve read of the human rights complaints, the only protected group in Canada. I think I’ll give my speech tomorrow night in a burka. That will protect me.

Comments on Islam, Arabs, and terrorism

On September 14, 2001, three days after the September 11 attacks (in which her friend Barbara Olson had been killed), Coulter wrote in her column:

Airports scrupulously apply the same laughably ineffective airport harassment to Suzy Chapstick as to Muslim hijackers. It is preposterous to assume every passenger is a potential crazed homicidal maniac. We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.[165]

This comment resulted in Coulter’s being fired as a columnist by the National Review, which she subsequently referred to as “squeamish girly-boys.”[166] Responding to this comment, Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations remarked in The Chicago Sun Times that before September 11, Coulter “would have faced swift repudiation from her colleagues,” but “now it’s accepted as legitimate commentary.”[167]

David Horowitz, however, saw Coulter’s words as irony:

I began running Coulter columns on Frontpagemag.com shortly after she came up with her most infamous line, which urged America to put jihadists to the sword and convert them to Christianity. Liberals were horrified; I was not. I thought to myself, this is a perfect send-up of what our Islamo-fascist enemies believe—that as infidels we should be put to the sword and converted to Islam. I regarded Coulter’s phillipic (sic) as a Swiftian commentary on liberal illusions of multi-cultural outreach to people who want to rip out our hearts.[168]

One day after the attacks (when death toll estimates were higher than later), Coulter asserted that only Muslims could have been behind the attacks:

Not all Muslims may be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims—at least all terrorists capable of assembling a murderous plot against America that leaves 7,000 people dead in under two hours.[169]

Coulter has been highly critical of the U.S. Department of Transportation and especially its then-secretary Norman Mineta. Her many criticisms include their refusal to use racial profiling as a component of airport screening.[170] After a group of Muslims was expelled from a US Airways flight when other passengers expressed concern, sparking a call for Muslims to boycott the airline because of the ejection from a flight of six imams, Coulter wrote:

If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.[171]

Coulter also cited the 2002 Senate testimony of FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, who was acclaimed for condemning her superiors for refusing to authorize a search warrant for 9-11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui when he refused to consent to a search of his computer. They knew that he was a Muslim in flight school who had overstayed his visa, and the French Intelligence Service had confirmed his affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups. Coulter said she agreed that probable cause existed in the case, but that refusing consent, being in flight school and overstaying a visa should not constitute grounds for a search. Citing a poll which found that 98 percent of Muslims between the ages of 20 and 45 said they would not fight for Britain in the war in Afghanistan, and that 48 percent said they would fight for Osama bin Laden she asserted “any Muslim who has attended a mosque in Europe—certainly in England, where Moussaoui lived—has had ‘affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups,'” so that she parsed Rowley’s position as meaning that “‘probable cause’ existed to search Moussaoui’s computer because he was a Muslim who had lived in England.” Coulter says the poll was “by the “Daily Telegraph“, actually it was by Sunrise, an “Asian” (i.e., Indian subcontinent-oriented) radio station, canvassing the opinions of 500 Muslims in Greater London (not Britain as a whole), mainly of Pakistani origin and aged between 20 and 45. Because “FBI headquarters … refused to engage in racial profiling,” they failed to uncover the 9-11 plot, Coulter asserted. “The FBI allowed thousands of Americans to be slaughtered on the altar of political correctness. What more do liberals want?”[172][173]

Coulter wrote in another column that she had reviewed the civil rights lawsuits against certain airlines to determine which of them had subjected Arabs to the most “egregious discrimination” so that she could fly only that airline. She also said that the airline should be bragging instead of denying any of the charges of discrimination brought against them.[174] In an interview with The Guardian she said, “I think airlines ought to start advertising: ‘We have the most civil rights lawsuits brought against us by Arabs.'” When the interviewer replied by asking what Muslims would do for travel, she responded, “They could use flying carpets.”[131]

One comment that drew criticism from the blogosphere, as well as fellow conservatives,[175] was made during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2006, where she said, referring to the prospect of a nuclear-equipped Iran, “What if they start having one of these bipolar episodes with nuclear weapons? I think our motto should be, post-9-11: Raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.”[176] Coulter had previously written a nearly identical passage in her syndicated column: “… I believe our motto should be, after 9/11: Jihad monkey talks tough; jihad monkey takes the consequences. Sorry, I realize that’s offensive. How about ‘camel jockey‘? What? Now what’d I say? Boy, you tent merchants sure are touchy. Grow up, would you?”[177]

In October 2007, Coulter made further controversial remarks regarding Arabs—in this case Iraqis—when she stated in an interview with The New York Observer:

We’ve killed about 20,000 of them, of terrorists, of militants, of Al Qaeda members, and they’ve gotten a little over 3,000 of ours. That is where the war is being fought, in Iraq. That is where we are fighting Al Qaeda. Sorry we have to use your country, Iraqis, but you let Saddam come to power, and we are going to instill democracy in your country.[178]

In a May 2007 article looking back at the life of recently deceased evangelical Reverend Jerry Falwell, Coulter commented on his (later retracted) statement after the 9/11 attacks that “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America … helped this happen.” In her article, Coulter stated that she disagreed with Falwell’s statement, “because Falwell neglected to specifically include Teddy Kennedy and ‘the Reverend’ Barry Lynn.”[179]

In October 2007, Coulter participated in David Horowitz‘ “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week,” remarking in a speech at the University of Southern California, “The fact of Islamo-Fascism is indisputable. I find it tedious to detail the savagery of the enemy … I want to kill them. Why don’t Democrats?”[180]

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Coulter told Hannity host Sean Hannity that the wife of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev should be jailed for wearing a hijab. Coulter continued by saying “Assimilating immigrants into our culture isn’t really working. They’re assimilating us into their culture.”[181]

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, Coulter said France “needs to move to the next step” in dealing with terror. Coulter said of some immigrants:

They don’t want to live in Muslim countries, and yet they want to change the non-Muslim countries they move to [into] Muslim countries. It may be a small minority of Muslims “and still it’s enough of them that maybe you take a little pause in Muslim immigration for a while.”[182]

Coulter has attributed American gun violence in America to black and Muslim American men, stating that the epidemic of gun-related deaths is “not a gun problem, it’s a demographic problem.”[183]

When asked about the financial crisis in the 2000s, Coulter claimed one reason for it was that “they gave your mortgage to a less qualified minority.”[184]

Ionizing radiation as “cancer vaccine”

On March 16, 2011, discussing the Fukushima I nuclear accidents, Coulter, citing research into radiation hormesis, wrote that there was “burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine.”[185] Her comments were criticized by figures across the political spectrum, from Fox NewsBill O’Reilly (who told Coulter, “You have to be responsible … in something like this, you gotta get the folks out of there, and you have to report worst-case scenarios”)[186] to MSNBC‘s Ed Schulz (who stated that “You would laugh at her if she wasn’t making light of a terrible tragedy.”)[187]

2012 presidential election

During the Republican Party presidential primaries, she supported Mitt Romney over former Speaker of the HouseNewt Gingrich. On an interview during The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, she compared Newt Gingrich’s attacks on the media to Jesse Jackson “accusing people of racism.”[188] On her website, she posted a column titled, “Re-elect Obama: Vote Newt!” arguing that if Newt Gingrich won the Republican nomination, Barack Obama would win re-election.[189] When asked to respond about her criticism, Newt Gingrich dismissed them as “the old order” and cited recent polls showing him ahead of Mitt Romney.[190]

On October 22, 2012, following a presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Coulter published the following tweet from her official Twitter account: “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard,” drawing stiff criticism for her use of a word which some find offensive to describe the president of the United States. The Special Olympics condemned Coulter in a tweet shortly after Coulter’s.[191] On The Alan Colmes Show, Coulter stated that she does not regret her use of the word, saying, “‘Retard’ had been used colloquially to just mean ‘loser’ for 30 years. But no, these aggressive victims have to come out and tell you what words to use.”[192]

After the election, in which Barack Obama won, Ann Coulter wrote a column titled “Romney Was Not the Problem”. In it she argued against the idea that Mitt Romney lost because he failed to get his message across. She also said that Mitt Romney lost because he was running against an incumbent.[193]

2013 CPAC Conference

In March 2013, Coulter was one of the keynote speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she made references to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie‘s weight (“CPAC had to cut back on its speakers this year about 300 pounds”) and progressive activist Sandra Fluke‘s hairdo. (Coulter quipped that Fluke didn’t need birth control pills because “that haircut is birth control enough.”) Coulter advocated against a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants because such new citizens would never vote for Republican candidates: “If amnesty goes through, America becomes California and no Republican will ever win another election.”[194][195]

2016 presidential election

In the summer of 2015, Coulter appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and predicted of all of the Republicans that have announced their candidacy for the presidency, that Donald Trump had the best chance of winning the general election, she was laughed at by the studio audience.[196] Coulter later endorsed Donald Trump in the general election.[197]

VDARE

Coulter has been a contributor to VDARE since 2006.[198]

VDARE is a right wing website and blog founded by anti-immigration activist and paleo-conservativePeter Brimelow.[199] VDARE is considered controversial because of its alleged ties to white supremacist rhetoric and support of scientific racism and white nationalism.[200][201][202][203][204]

Berkeley cancellation

In April 2017, The New York Times reported that the University of California, Berkeley had cancelled Ann Coulter’s speech scheduled for April 27.[205] A university spokesman said they had not discussed a specific date with her and only learned about it by reading news reports.[206] The university administrators cited threats of violence and offered to accommodate her on a later date. Coulter said she saw no way forward, telling The New York Times, “It’s a sad day for free speech.”[207] Both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren publicly called for the university to defend her right to free speech.[207]

Plagiarism accusations

In October 2001, Coulter was accused of plagiarism in her 1998 book High Crimes and Misdemeanors by Michael Chapman, a columnist for the journal Human Events who claims that passages were taken from a supplement he wrote for the journal in 1997 titled “A Case for Impeachment.”[166]

On the July 5, 2016, episode of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, guest John Barrie, the CEO of iParadigms, offers his professional opinion that Coulter plagiarized in her book Godless as well as in many columns over the past year.[208] Barrie ran “Godless” through iThenticate, his company’s machine which is able to scan works and compare them to existing texts. He points to a 25 word section of the text that exactly matches a Planned Parenthood pamphlet and a 33 word section almost duplicating a 1999 article from the Portland Press as some examples of evidence.

Media Matters for America has appealed to Random House publishing to further investigate Coulter’s work.[209] The syndicator of her columns cleared her of the plagiarism charges.[210] Universal Press Syndicate and Crown Books also defended Coulter against the charges.[211]

Columnist Bill Nemitz from the Portland Press Herald accused Coulter of plagiarizing a very specific sentence from his newspaper in her book Godless, but he also acknowledged that one sentence is insufficient grounds for filing suit.[212]

Public perception

General

Sometimes referred to as an “internet queen,”[213] Coulter’s has a high public profile. [214]

Gendered criticism

Known for rejecting “the academic convention of euphemism and circumlocution,”[215] Coulter has been subject to a fair amount of criticism from scholars. Feminist critics have criticized the way that Coulter functions as a thin, blonde, heterosexual woman in the Republican party who prefers mini skirts and heels over a business suit. The argument here is that Coulter plays to misogyny in order to further her goals; she “dominates without threatening (at least not straight men).”[216] These critics also reject Coulter’s opinion that the gains made by women have as far as to create an anti-male society[217] and her call for women to be rejected from the military because they are more vicious than men.[218] Like the famous anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, Coulter uses traditionally masculine rhetoric as reasoning for the need for traditional gender roles, and she carries this idea of feminized dependency into her governmental policies, according to feminist critics.[219]

2016 Comedy Central Roast

In September 2016, Coulter was invited to participate in a roast of Rob Lowe on Comedy Central, as Coulter is often considered a successful satirist.[220] There is speculation that Coulter attended with the primary goal of promoting her newest book at the time, In Trump We Trust, but she ended up becoming the main target of the vitriol, and the roast subsequently went viral. Coulter herself refers to the roast as the “Ann Coulter Roast with Rob Lowe.”[221]

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Posted on April 30, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, European History, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Middle East, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Speech, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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World’s Greatest Memory and Trump’s La la Land | David Stockman’s Warning

Published on Apr 29, 2017

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Stockman: Market Will Not Be Pretty Under Trump

[Ed. Note: To see exactly what this former Reagan insider has to say about Trump and specifically what he believes must be done to drain the swamp, David Stockman is sending out a copy of his book Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back out to any American willing to listen. To learn how to get your free copy CLICK HERE.]

As bonds break a three day win streak and the U.S market hitting new record highs with a trifecta of records, CNBC was roaring about what to expect going forward. The Daily Reckoning contributor David Stockman joined Courtney Reagan to discuss what to expect going forward.

After the CNBC host positioned the critiques offered by David Stockman of the Trump administration she asked whether that would continue given the state of the market. Stockman did not mix words beginning the conversation with, “What’s going on today is complete insanity. The market is apparently pricing in a huge Trump stimulus package, when if you just look at the real world out there the only thing that is going to happen is a fiscal bloodbath and a White House train wreck like never before in U.S history.

How much more evidence do these so called traders need? Trump is lost in Twitter-land and he is out of control. He is turning out to be a complete jackass in the Oval Office. Co-President Bannon is off the deep end on terrorism, travel bans, Mexican walls, immigrant bashing and protectionism.”

David Stockman is a former Reagan Administration official who was the Office of Management and Budget Director. He also served as a two-term Congressman from the great state of Michigan. His latest book, Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back is out now. It offers his insight and exclusive analysis on exactly what the newly elected president must do in order to succeed in the White House. To get your own FREE copy, CLICK HERE to learn how.

“[They are] having nothing to do with the economic agenda and Trump has got an empty economic bench. He’s got no Secretary of the Treasury, no Office of Management and Budget, no Council of Economic Advisor Chairman. By this time, when I was there with the Reagan Administration, the plan was ready to go and he was going to Congress within a couple of days into February. We have a debt ceiling freight train coming down the road which will hit March 15 and then the cash will start running out and the system will be on edge. All of the continuing resolutions expire in April.”

“They are going to spend the year trying to repeal and replace Obamacare and it will be a fiasco. Nothing is going to happen this year. I don’t even think they can pass the budget resolution. There is going to be no tax action this year. If there is any bill next year it is going to be deficit neutral. Which means it is not going to add $15 to earnings like these crazy people expect.”

“Why would you be trading in this market, with this kind of chaos emerging everywhere at twenty six times trailing earnings? That’s where we are. It is completely crazy and it is only a question of how many more days or weeks that this kind of fantasy land can last.”

David Stockman Market In Text 2

Courtney Reagan then pressed back asking, “At what point do you give in and admit that [Trump] is atypical but maybe he could get things done? I mean, look at all of the CEO’s that Trump has met with.” The former Reagan insider remarked that, “CEO’s come and go with every president. They came in with Reagan, they tell a president what they want to hear. These guys are just selling the song and dance about how many jobs they’re going to create in the next five years. They have no clue.”

“If we have a recession in the next five years, which surely we will, because recessions have not been outlawed and we haven’t had one for ten years. None of this stuff is going to happen. This is meaningless. What is meaningful is that Trump is out of control. This tweeting and getting off track on all of this terrorism stuff. This is a sign that there is going to be no governing coalition and that all of this fiscal stimulus expected by Wall Street is a complete fantasy. It can’t happen.”

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When CNBC then turned over the camera to a day trader who asked about the positive sentiment that exists within the market regarding Trump and his plan to deregulate Stockman stayed true to message. “Trump is just putting out press releases and the guise of Executive Orders. All of this stuff is going to get litigated, it goes through a rulemaking process, that takes years. So the relief on regulation will be important, but it way down the road and it won’t be that impactful.”

“The second thing, is we’re at 92 months in this expansion already. It is running out of gas. You can’t expect it to run forever. That is seemingly what is priced in by the market.”

“The third thing is, we have a giant debt and deficit problem. The debt ceiling is coming back into play it will be 20 trillion when it freezes in on March 15th. I’ll tell you this, people aren’t paying attention to the fact that Trump will never get a debt ceiling increase through the Congress without a government shutdown. When that happens it is, “bar the doors” because nobody is expecting it. We need to look at the facts, not the hopes.”

As the CNBC affirmed, it is not clear that the market is just going to drop tomorrow and history will repeat itself, Stockman repositioned. “The market it clearly factoring in a big Trump stimulus and I think anybody down there would admit if it doesn’t happen, if we get zero tax cuts, if we get a fiscal bloodbath in the Washington I am describing – the market is not going to stay where it is today at these absurd multiples of earnings.”

“This is all based on the idea that there is going to be a surge of economic growth and that profits are going to come back from about $89 a share by basis, where they were during the last twelve months, to a potential $110 or $130. My argument is there is not going to be any economic rebound. There is not going to be any profit surge. Therefore the market will be repricing dramatically downward once it is clear.”

Another CNBC analysis asked why – with the positive trends in jobless claims, manufacturing increasing, interest rates at near record lows – would the market not close out the year near record levels? “The market is assuming that profits are going to rebound. That we are not going to have any market dislocation and that nobody is going to be pushing back on Trump. It is hard to understand how people watching the day-to-day action down there could believe that.”

“Everybody is pushing back on Trump, he can’t even get his cabinet approved. He’s going to be bogged down in a Supreme Court fight, he’s going to be bogged down in a fight over a ridiculous travel ban. The idea that there is not going to be pushback is naive. What there is going to be is a train wreck. It is already clear that the people in the White House have no idea what they’re doing and it is only a matter of time before this honeymoon goodwill evaporates and the politicians get down to doing what they do best. Which is to undermine and obstruct anything that might be positive.”

When finally asked whether there is anything positive that would make him turn bullish in the near future he responded affirmably, “No, because Trump is inheriting thirty years of a disaster created by his predecessors. We have to take this $20 trillion of debt seriously. There is $10 trillion more built in under current policy, and that is without a dime of Trump tax cuts, infrastructure or stimulus. There is going to be a tremendous fiscal crisis in the years ahead which will prevent any of the kind of action that the “stimulus junkies” are looking for.

To catch the full interview with David Stockman on CNBC click here. If you would like to claim your own free copy of David Stockman’s bestseller Trumped! Click here to learn how.

Thanks for reading,

Craig Wilson, @craig_wilson7
for the Daily Reckoning

https://dailyreckoning.com/stockman-market-under-trump/

David Stockman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David Stockman
David Stockman by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
In office
January 21, 1981 – August 1, 1985
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Jim McIntyre
Succeeded by Jim Miller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan‘s 4th district
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 21, 1981
Preceded by Edward Hutchinson
Succeeded by Mark Siljander
Personal details
Born David Alan Stockman
November 10, 1946 (age 70)
Fort Hood, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jennifer Blei (1983–present)[1]
Education Michigan State University (BA)
Harvard University
Website Official website

David Alan Stockman (born November 10, 1946) is a former businessman and U.S. politician who served as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985) under President Ronald Reagan.

Early life and education

Stockman was born in Fort Hood, Texas, the son of Allen Stockman, a fruit farmer, and Carol (née Bartz).[2] He is of German descent, and his family’s surname was originally “Stockmann”.[3] He was raised in a conservative family, and his maternal grandfather, William Bartz, was a Republican county treasurer for 30 years.[4][5] Stockman was educated at public schools in Stevensville, Michigan. He graduated from Lakeshore High School in 1964[6] and received a B.A. in History from Michigan State University in 1968. He was a graduate student at Harvard University, 1968–1970 studying theology

Political career

Stockman’s Congressional portrait

He served as special assistant to United States Representative and 1980 U.S. presidential candidate John Anderson of Illinois, 1970–1972, and was executive director, United States House of Representatives Republican Conference, 1972–1975.

Congress

Stockman was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the 95th Congress and was reelected in two subsequent elections, serving from January 3, 1977, until his resignation January 21, 1981, to accept appointment as Director of the Office of Management and Budget for U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Office of Management and Budget

Stockman was one of the most controversial OMB directors ever appointed, also known as the “Father of Reaganomics.” He resigned in August 1985. Committed to the doctrine of supply-side economics, he assisted in the passing of the “Reagan Budget” (the Gramm-Latta Budget), which Stockman hoped would curtail the “welfare state“. He thus gained a reputation as a tough negotiator with House Speaker Tip O’Neill‘s Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Majority Leader Howard Baker‘s Republican-controlled Senate. During this period, Stockman became well known to the public during the contentious political wrangling concerning the role of the federal government in American society.

Stockman’s influence within the Reagan Administration was weakened after the Atlantic Monthly magazine published the infamous 18,246 word article, “The Education of David Stockman”,[7] in its December 1981 issue, based on lengthy interviews Stockman gave to reporter William Greider.

Stockman was quoted as referring to Reagan’s tax act in these terms: “I mean, Kemp-Roth [Reagan’s 1981 tax cut] was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate…. It’s kind of hard to sell ‘trickle down.’ So the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really ‘trickle down.’ Supply-side is ‘trickle-down’ theory.”[7] Of the budget process during his first year on the job, Stockman was quoted as saying, “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers,” which was used as the subtitle of the article.[7]

After “being taken to the woodshed by the president” because of his candor with Greider, Stockman became concerned with the projected trend of increasingly large federal deficits and the rapidly expanding national debt. On 1 August 1985, he resigned from OMB and later wrote a memoir of his experience in the Reagan Administration titled The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed in which he specifically criticized the failure of congressional Republicans to endorse a reduction of government spending to offset large tax decreases to avoid the creation of large deficits and an increasing national debt.

Fiscal legacy

President Jimmy Carter’s last fiscal year budget ended with a $79.0 billion budget deficit (and a national debt of $907,701,000,000 [8] as of September 30, 1980), ending during the period of David Stockman’s and Ronald Reagan’s first year in office, on October 1, 1981.[9] The gross federal national debt had just increased to $1.0 trillion during October 1981 ($998 billion on 30 September 1981, up from $907.7 billion during the last full fiscal year of the Carter administration[8]).

By 30 September 1985, four and a half years into the Reagan administration and shortly after Stockman’s resignation from the OMB during August 1985, the gross federal debt was $1.8 trillion.[8] Stockman’s OMB work within the administration during 1981 until August 1985 was dedicated to negotiating with the Senate and House about the next fiscal year’s budget, executed later during the autumn of 1985, which resulted in the national debt becoming $2.1 trillion at fiscal year end 30 September 1986.[8] Reaganomics had just begun.

In 1981, Stockman received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[10]

Business career

After leaving government, Stockman joined the Wall St. investment bank Salomon Brothers and later became a partner of the New York–based private equity company, the Blackstone Group.[11]:125–127 His record was mixed at Blackstone, with some very good investments, such as American Axle, but also failures, including Haynes International and Republic Technologies.[11]:144–147 During 1999, after Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman curtailed Stockman’s role in managing the investments he had developed,[11]:146 Stockman resigned from Blackstone to start his own private equity fund company, Heartland Industrial Partners, L.P., based in Greenwich, Connecticut.[12]

On the strength of his investment record at Blackstone, Stockman and his partners raised $1.3 billion of equity from institutional and other investors. With Stockman’s guidance, Heartland used a contrarian investment strategy, buying controlling interests in companies operating in sectors of the U.S. economy that were attracting the least amount of new equity: auto parts and textiles. With the help of about $9 billion in Wall Street debt financing, Heartland completed more than 20 transactions in less than 2 years to create four portfolio companies: Springs Industries, Metaldyne, Collins & Aikman, and TriMas. Several major investments performed very poorly, however. Collins & Aikman filed for bankruptcy during 2005 and when Heartland sold Metaldyne to Asahi Tec Corp. during 2006, Heartland lost most of the $340 million of equity it had invested in the business.[13]

Collins & Aikman Corp.

During August 2003, Stockman became CEO of Collins & Aikman Corporation, a Detroit-based manufacturer of automotive interior components. He was ousted from that job days before Collins & Aikman filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on May 17, 2005.

Criminal and civil charges

On March 26, 2007, federal prosecutors in Manhattan indicted Stockman in “a scheme… to defraud [Collins & Aikman]’s investors, banks and creditors by manipulating C&A’s reported revenues and earnings.” The United States Securities and Exchange Commission also brought civil charges against Stockman related to actions that he performed while CEO of Collins & Aikman.[14] Stockman suffered a personal financial loss, over $13 million, along with losses suffered by as many as 15,000 Collins & Aikman employees worldwide.

Stockman said in a statement posted on his law firm’s website that the company’s end was the consequence of an industry decline, not due to fraud.[15] On January 9, 2009, the US Attorney’s Office announced that it did not intend to prosecute Stockman for this case.[16]

Web site

In March 2014 Stockman launched a web based daily periodical, David Stockman’s Contra Corner featuring both his own articles and those from leading contrarian thinkers on geopolitics, economics, and finance.

Personal life

Stockman lives in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City.[12] He is married to Jennifer Blei Stockman and is the father of two children, Rachel and Victoria. Jennifer Blei Stockman is a chairwoman emerita of the Republican Majority for Choice,[17] and President of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Board of Trustees.[18] In 2013, Stockman signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage.[19]

Quotes

  • “[Social Security] has to be means-tested. And Medicare needs to be means-tested […] Let the Bush tax cuts expire. Let the capital gains go back to the same rate as ordinary income.”[20]
  • “The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility. They’re on an anti-tax jihad — one that benefits the prosperous classes.”[21]
  • “I invest in anything that Bernanke can’t destroy, including gold, canned beans, bottled water and flashlight batteries.”[22]
  • “Ninety-two percent of the wealth is owned by five percent of the people.” (Bloomberg TV 2013)
  • “[T]he Republican Party was hijacked by modern imperialists during the Reagan era. As a consequence, the conservative party cannot perform its natural function as watchdog of the public purse because it is constantly seeking legislative action to provision a vast war machine of invasion and occupation.” [23]

Bibliography

  • The Reagan Economic Plan, 1981
  • The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, Harper & Row, 1986, ISBN 9780060155605
  • The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, PublicAffairs, 2013, ISBN 9781586489120
  • Trumped!: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin, and How to Bring it Back, 2016

References

  1. Jump up^ “LOSING THE BATTLES AND WINNING THE WAR”. Lexington Herald-Leader. April 7, 1985.
  2. Jump up^ Hunter, Marjorie (December 12, 1980). “Office of Management and Budget David Alan Stockman; Strong Support From Kemp Chosen by House Republicans Views on Economy”. The New York Times.
  3. Jump up^ “News65”. 19 June 1998.
  4. Jump up^ “The Tuscaloosa News – Google News Archive Search”.
  5. Jump up^ “The Montreal Gazette – Google News Archive Search”.
  6. Jump up^ Heibutzki, Ralph (2012-06-04). “Stockman Surprise Speaker at Lakeshore’s Graduation”. The Herald-Palladium. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b c William Greider (December 1981). “The Education of David Stockman”. The Atlantic Online.
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Treasury Department’s Historical Debt Outstanding – Annual 1950 – 1999
  9. Jump up^ Office of Management and Budget Historical Tablessee Table 1.1 (Excel Spreadsheet)
  10. Jump up^ “Jefferson Awards”. Jefferson Awards.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b c David Carey & John E. Morris (2001). King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone. Crown.
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b “Collins & Aikman seeks to emerge from bankruptcy,” Bloomberg News article by Jeff Bennett, published in the newspaper The Advocate of Stamford and (identical version, perhaps with changes by the local editor in the common business section for both newspapers) in the Greenwich Time on September 5, 2006, page A7, The Advocate
  13. Jump up^ David Carey and Lou Whiteman, “PE firms find buyer for Metaldyne,” The Deal, Sept. 1, 2006.
  14. Jump up^ Levin, Doris (29 March 2007). “Stockman Outsmarts Self in Detroit”. Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  15. Jump up^ “Ex-Collins Chief David Stockman Charged With Fraud (Update10)”. Bloomberg. March 26, 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  16. Jump up^ “Fraud charges dropped against ex-Reagan aide David Stockman”. Chicago Tribune. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  17. Jump up^ About Us Republican Majority for Choice
  18. Jump up^ Trustees, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
  19. Jump up^ [1]
  20. Jump up^ “Why David Stockman Isn’t buying it”. CBS News. March 2, 2012.
  21. Jump up^ Dickinson, Tim (Nov 9, 2011). “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich”. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  22. Jump up^ David Stockman: I Invest In Anything Bernanke Can’t Destroy, John Carney, CNBC, October 6, 2010
  23. Jump up^ Stockman, David (2013). The Great Deformation — the corruption of capitalism in America. PublicAffairs. p. 688. ISBN 978-1586489120.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edward Hutchinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan’s 4th congressional district

1977–1981
Succeeded by
Mark Siljander
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim McIntyre
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
1981–1985
Succeeded by
Jim Miller
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Three Years Behind The Curve Too Late Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Increases Target Federal Funds Rate to .75-1.0% — Financial Repression of Savers Slowly Continues — Videos

Posted on March 15, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crisis, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Language, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, Movies, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Sociology, Speech, Strategy, Television, Trade Policiy, Tutorials, Video, Water, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Yellen Calms Fears Fed’s Policy Trigger Finger Is Getting Itchy

March 15, 2017, 1:00 PM CDT March 15, 2017, 5:02 PM CDT
  • Policy makers still project three total rate hikes for 2017
  • FOMC sticks with ‘gradual’ plan for removing accommodation

Fed Raises Benchmark Lending Rate a Quarter Point

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sought to reassure investors that the central bank’s latest interest-rate increase wasn’t a paradigm shift to a trigger-happy policy driven by fears of faster inflation.

Speaking to reporters after the Fed’s quarter percentage-point move on Wednesday, Yellen said the central bank was willing to tolerate inflation temporarily overshootingits 2 percent goal and that it intended to keep its policy accommodative for “some time.”

“The simple message is the economy’s doing well. We have confidence in the robustness of the economy and its resilience to shocks,” she said.

As a result, the Fed is sticking with its policy of gradually raising interest rates, Yellen said. In their first forecasts in three months, Fed policy makers penciled in two more quarter-point rate increases this year and three in 2018, unchanged from their projections in December.

Today’s decision “does not represent a reassessment of the economic outlook or of the appropriate course for monetary policy,” the Fed chief said.

Speculation of a more aggressive Fed had mounted in recent days after a host of central bank officials, including Yellen herself, went out of their way to telegraph to financial markets that a rate hike was imminent. The expectations were further fueled by news of rising inflation.

Stocks Advance

Stocks rose and bond yields fell as investors viewed the statement from the Federal Open Market Committee and Yellen’s remarks afterward as a sign that the Fed isn’t in a hurry to remove monetary stimulus. The FOMC raised the target range for the federal funds rate to 0.75 percent to 1 percent, as expected, but Yellen’s lack of urgency to snuff out inflation was a surprise.

R.J. Gallo, a fixed-income investment manager at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, said the chorus of Fed speakers before this meeting led investors to expect a move up in the number of projected rate hikes this year, and even upgrades by Fed officials in the levels of inflation and growth they anticipated.

None of that materialized.

“You didn’t get any of those things,” Gallo said, which explains why Treasury yields quickly dropped after the Fed released the FOMC statement and a new set of economic projections. “The expectation that Fed was getting more hawkish had to come out of the market.”

The U.S. economy has mostly met the central bank’s goals of full employment and stable prices, and may get further support if President Donald Trump delivers promised fiscal stimulus. Investor and business confidence has soared since Trump won the presidency in November, buoyed by his vows to cut taxes, lift infrastructure spending and ease regulations.

Still, the data don’t show an economy that’s heating up rapidly — a point Yellen herself made after the third rate hike since the 2007-2009 recession ended. In fact, the economy may have “more room to run,” she said.

Stronger business and consumer confidence hasn’t yet translated into increased investment and spending, said Yellen.

“It’s uncertain just how much sentiment actually impacts spending decisions, and I wouldn’t say at this point that I have seen hard evidence of any change in spending decisions,” said the Fed Chair. “Most of the business people that we’ve talked to also have a wait-and-see attitude.”

Retail sales in February grew at the slowest pace since August, a government report showed earlier Wednesday. The Atlanta Fed’s model for GDP predicts an expansion of 0.9 percent in the first quarter, less than a third the pace Trump is aiming for.

Fiscal Stimulus

Asked about the potential for a fiscal boost, Yellen made clear the Fed is still waiting for more concrete policy plans to emerge from the Trump administration before adapting monetary policy in reaction.

“There is great uncertainty about the timing, the size and the character of policy changes that may be put in place,” Yellen said. “I don’t think that’s a decision or set of decisions that we need to make until we know more about what policy changes will go into effect.”

Yellen disputed suggestions that the Fed was on a collision course with the Trump administration over its plans to foster faster economic growth through tax cuts and deregulation. “We would welcome stronger economic growth in the context of price stability,” she said.

She said she had met Trump briefly and had gotten together a couple of times with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss the economy and financial regulation.

Further underscoring their lack of urgency, Fed officials repeated a commitment to maintain their balance-sheet reinvestment policy until rate increases were well under way. Yellen said officials had discussed the process of reducing the balance sheet gradually, but had made no decisions and would continue to debate the topic.

Policy makers forecast inflation will reach 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter this year, and 2 percent in both 2018 and 2019, according to quarterly median estimates released with the FOMC statement. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation rose 1.9 percent in the 12 months through January, just shy of its target.

Yellen pointed out, though, that core inflation continues to run somewhat further below 2 percent. That rate, which strips out food and energy costs, stood at 1.7 percent in January. The Fed’s new forecast for the core rate at the end of this year edged up to 1.9 percent, from 1.8 percent in December.

“The committee will carefully monitor actual and expected inflation developments relative to its symmetric inflation goal,” the Fed said. Discussing the word symmetric in the statement, Yellen said during her press conference that the Fed was not shooting to push inflation over 2 percent but recognized that it could temporarily go above it. Two percent is a target, she reiterated, not a ceiling.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-15/fed-raises-benchmark-rate-as-inflation-approaches-2-target

Changes in the federal funds rate will always affect the U.S. dollar. When the Federal Reserve increases the federal funds rate, it normally reduces inflationary pressure and works to appreciate the dollar.

Since June 2006, however, the Fed has maintained a federal funds rate of close to 0%. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the federal funds rate fluctuated between 0-0.25%, and is now 0.75%.

The Fed used this monetary policy to help achieve maximum employment and stable prices. Now that the 2008 financial crisis has largely subsided, the Fed will look to increase interest rates to continue to achieve employment and to stabilize prices.

Inflation of the U.S. Dollar

The best way to achieve full employment and stable prices is to set the inflation rate of the dollar at 2%. In 2011, the Fed officially adopted a 2% annual increase in the price index for personal consumption expenditures as its target. When the economy is weak, inflation naturally falls; when the economy is strong, rising wages increase inflation. Keeping inflation at a growth rate of 2% helps the economy grow at a healthy rate.

Adjustments to the federal funds rate can also affect inflation in the United States. The Fed controls the economy by increasing interest rates when the economy is growing too fast. This encourages people to save more and spend less, reducing inflationary pressure. Conversely, when the economy is in a recession or growing too slowly, the Fed reduces interest rates to stimulate spending, which increases inflation.

During the 2008 financial crisis, the low federal funds rate should have increased inflation. Over this period, the federal funds rate was set near 0%, which encouraged spending and would normally increase inflation.

However, inflation is still well below the 2% target, which is contrary to the normal effects of low interest rates. The Fed cites one-off factors, such as falling oil prices and the strengthening dollar, as the reasons why inflation has remained low in a low interest environment.

The Fed believes that these factors will eventually fade and that inflation will increase above the target 2%. To prevent this eventual increase in inflation, hiking the federal funds rate reduces inflationary pressure and cause inflation of the dollar to remain around 2%.

Appreciation of the U.S. Dollar

Increases in the federal funds rate also result in a strengthening of the U.S. dollar. Other ways that the dollar can appreciate include increases in average wages and increases in overall consumption. However, although jobs are being created, wage rates are stagnant.

Without an increase in wage rates to go along with a strengthening job market, consumption won’t increase enough to sustain economic growth. Additionally, consumption remains subdued due to the fact that the labor force participation rate was close to its 35-year low in 2015. The Fed has kept interest rates low because a lower federal funds rate supports business expansions, which leads to more jobs and higher consumption. This has all worked to keep appreciation of the U.S. dollar low.

However, the U.S. is ahead of the other developed markets in terms of its economic recovery. Although the Fed raises rates cautiously, the U.S. could see higher interest rates before the other developed economies.

Overall, under normal economic conditions, increases in the federal funds rate reduce inflation and increase the appreciation of the U.S. dollar.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/101215/how-fed-fund-rate-hikes-affect-us-dollar.asp

Financial repression

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with economic repression, a type of political repression.

Financial repression refers to “policies that result in savers earning returns below the rate of inflation” in order to allow banks to “provide cheap loans to companies and governments, reducing the burden of repayments”.[1] It can be particularly effective at liquidating government debt denominated in domestic currency.[2] It can also lead to a large expansions in debt “to levels evoking comparisons with the excesses that generated Japan’s lost decade and the Asian financial crisis” in 1997.[1]

The term was introduced in 1973 by Stanford economists Edward S. Shaw and Ronald I. McKinnon[3][4] in order to “disparage growth-inhibiting policies in emerging markets“.

Mechanism

Financial repression consists of the following:[5]

  1. Explicit or indirect capping of interest rates, such as on government debt and deposit rates (e.g., Regulation Q).
  2. Government ownership or control of domestic banks and financial institutions with barriers that limit other institutions from entering the market.
  3. High reserve requirements.
  4. Creation or maintenance of a captive domestic market for government debt, achieved by requiring banks to hold government debt via capital requirements, or by prohibiting or disincentivising alternatives.
  5. Government restrictions on the transfer of assets abroad through the imposition of capital controls.

These measures allow governments to issue debt at lower interest rates. A low nominal interest rate can reduce debt servicing costs, while negative real interest rates erodes the real value of government debt.[5] Thus, financial repression is most successful in liquidating debts when accompanied by inflation and can be considered a form of taxation,[6] or alternatively a form of debasement.[7]

The size of the financial repression tax for 24 emerging markets from 1974 to 1987. Their results showed that financial repression exceeded 2% of GDP for seven countries, and greater than 3% for five countries. For five countries (India, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe) it represented approximately 20% of tax revenue. In the case of Mexico financial repression was 6% of GDP, or 40% of tax revenue.[8]

Financial repression is categorized as “macroprudential regulation“—i.e., government efforts to “ensure the health of an entire financial system.[2]

Examples

After World War II

Financial repression “played an important role in reducing debt-to-GDP ratios after World War II” by keeping real interest rates for government debt below 1% for two-thirds of the time between 1945 and 1980, the United States was able to “inflate away” the large debt (122% of GDP) left over from the Great Depression and World War II.[2] In the UK, government debt declined from 216% of GDP in 1945 to 138% ten years later in 1955.[9]

China

China‘s economic growth has been attributed to financial repression thanks to “low returns on savings and the cheap loans that it makes possible”. This has allowed China to rely on savings-financed investments for economic growth. However, because low returns also dampens consumer spending, household expenditures account for “a smaller share of GDP in China than in any other major economy”.[1] However, as of December 2014, the People’s Bank of China “started to undo decades of financial repression” and the government now allows Chinese savers to collect up to a 3.3% return on one-year deposits. At China’s 1.6% inflation rate, this is a “high real-interest rate compared to other major economies”.[1]

After the 2008 economic recession

In a 2011 NBER working paper, Carmen Reinhart and Maria Belen Sbrancia speculate on a possible return by governments to this form of debt reduction in order to deal with high debt levels following the 2008 economic crisis.[5]

“To get access to capital, Austria has restricted capital flows to foreign subsidiaries in central and eastern Europe. Select pension funds have also been transferred to governments in France, Portugal, Ireland and Hungary, enabling them to re-allocate toward sovereign bonds.”[10]

Criticism

Critics[who?] argue that if this view was true, investors (i.e., capital-seeking parties) would be inclined to demand capital in large quantities and would be buying capital goods from this capital. This high demand for capital goods would certainly lead to inflation and thus the central banks would be forced to raise interest rates again. As a boom pepped by low interest rates fails to appear these days in industrialized countries, this is a sign that the low interest rates seem to be necessary to ensure an equilibrium on the capital market, thus to balance capital-supply—i.e., savers—on one side and capital-demand—i.e., investors and the government—on the other. This view argues that interest rates would be even lower if it were not for the high government debt ratio (i.e., capital demand from the government).

Free-market economists argue that financial repression crowds out private-sector investment, thus undermining growth. On the other hand, “postwar politicians clearly decided this was a price worth paying to cut debt and avoid outright default or draconian spending cuts. And the longer the gridlock over fiscal reform rumbles on, the greater the chance that ‘repression’ comes to be seen as the least of all evils”.[11]

Also, financial repression has been called a “stealth tax” that “rewards debtors and punishes savers—especially retirees” because their investments will no longer generate the expected return, which is income for retirees.[10][12] “One of the main goals of financial repression is to keep nominal interest rates lower than they would be in more competitive markets. Other things equal, this reduces the government’s interest expenses for a given stock of debt and contributes to deficit reduction. However, when financial repression produces negative real interest rates (nominal rates below the inflation rate), it reduces or liquidates existing debts and becomes the equivalent of a tax—a transfer from creditors (savers) to borrowers, including the government.”[2]

See also

Reform:

General:

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “China Savers Prioritized Over Banks by PBOC”. Bloomberg. November 25, 2014.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Carmen M. Reinhart, Jacob F. Kirkegaard, and M. Belen Sbrancia, “Financial Repression Redux”, IMF Finance and Development, June 2011, p. 22-26
  3. Jump up^ Shaw, Edward S. Financial Deepening in Economic Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973
  4. Jump up^ McKinnon, Ronald I. Money and Capital in Economic Development. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1973
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c Carmen M. Reinhart and M. Belen Sbrancia, “The Liquidation of Government Debt”, IMF, 2011, p. 19
  6. Jump up^ Reinhart, Carmen M. and Rogoff, Kenneth S., This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2008, p. 143
  7. Jump up^ Bill Gross, “The Caine Mutiny Part 2”, PIMCO
  8. Jump up^ Giovannini, Alberto and de Melo, Martha, “Government Revenue from Financial Repression”, The American Economic Review, Vol. 83, No. 4 Sep. 1993 (pp. 953-963)
  9. Jump up^ “The great repression”. The Economist. 16 June 2011.
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b “Financial Repression 101”. Allianz Global Investors. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Gillian Tett, “Policymakers learn a new and alarming catchphrase”, Financial Times, May 9, 2011
  12. Jump up^ Amerman, Daniel (September 12, 2011). “The 2nd Edge of Modern Financial Repression: Manipulating Inflation Indexes to Steal from Retirees & Public Wor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_repression

Federal funds rate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

10 year treasury compared to the Federal Funds Rate

Federal funds rate and capacity utilization in manufacturing.

In the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis. Reserve balances are amounts held at the Federal Reserve to maintain depository institutions’ reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in financial markets.[1][2]

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence the supply of money in the U.S. economy[3] to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate.

Mechanism

Financial Institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as reserves with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10%[4] of the total value of the bank’s demand accounts (depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for transaction deposits (checking accounts, NOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007-2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The nominal rate is a target set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by open market operations and adjusting the interest paid on required and excess reserve balances. That nominal rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Fed Funds futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media.

Applications

Interbank borrowing is essentially a way for banks to quickly raise money. For example, a bank may want to finance a major industrial effort but may not have the time to wait for deposits or interest (on loan payments) to come in. In such cases the bank will quickly raise this amount from other banks at an interest rate equal to or higher than the Federal funds rate.

Raising the federal funds rate will dissuade banks from taking out such inter-bank loans, which in turn will make cash that much harder to procure. Conversely, dropping the interest rates will encourage banks to borrow money and therefore invest more freely.[5] This interest rate is used as a regulatory tool to control how freely the U.S. economy operates.

By setting a higher discount rate the Federal Bank discourages banks from requisitioning funds from the Federal Bank, yet positions itself as a lender of last resort.

Comparison with LIBOR

Though the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the federal funds rate are concerned with the same action, i.e. interbank loans, they are distinct from one another, as follows:

  • The target federal funds rate is a target interest rate that is set by the FOMC for implementing U.S. monetary policies.
  • The (effective) federal funds rate is achieved through open market operations at the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which deals primarily in domestic securities (U.S. Treasury and federal agencies’ securities).[6]
  • LIBOR is based on a questionnaire where a selection of banks guess the rates at which they could borrow money from other banks.
  • LIBOR may or may not be used to derive business terms. It is not fixed beforehand and is not meant to have macroeconomic ramifications.[7]

Predictions by the market

Considering the wide impact a change in the federal funds rate can have on the value of the dollar and the amount of lending going to new economic activity, the Federal Reserve is closely watched by the market. The prices of Option contracts on fed funds futures (traded on the Chicago Board of Trade) can be used to infer the market’s expectations of future Fed policy changes. Based on CME Group 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, which have long been used to express the market’s views on the likelihood of changes in U.S. monetary policy, the CME Group FedWatch tool allows market participants to view the probability of an upcoming Fed Rate hike. One set of such implied probabilities is published by the Cleveland Fed.

Historical rates

As of December 16, 2008, the most recent change the FOMC has made to the funds target rate is a 75 to 100 basis point cut from 1.0% to a range of zero to 0.25%. According to Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, one reason for this unprecedented move of having a range, rather than a specific rate, was because a rate of 0% could have had problematic implications for money market funds, whose fees could then outpace yields.[8] This followed the 50 basis point cut on October 29, 2008, and the unusually large 75 basis point cut made during a special January 22, 2008 meeting, as well as a 50 basis point cut on January 30, 2008, a 75 basis point cut on March 18, 2008, and a 50 basis point cut on October 8, 2008.[9]

Federal funds rate history and recessions.png

Explanation of federal funds rate decisions

When the Federal Open Market Committee wishes to reduce interest rates they will increase the supply of money by buying government securities. When additional supply is added and everything else remains constant, price normally falls. The price here is the interest rate (cost of money) and specifically refers to the Federal Funds Rate. Conversely, when the Committee wishes to increase the Fed Funds Rate, they will instruct the Desk Manager to sell government securities, thereby taking the money they earn on the proceeds of those sales out of circulation and reducing the money supply. When supply is taken away and everything else remains constant, price (or in this case interest rates) will normally rise.[10]

The Federal Reserve has responded to a potential slow-down by lowering the target federal funds rate during recessions and other periods of lower growth. In fact, the Committee’s lowering has recently predated recessions,[9] in order to stimulate the economy and cushion the fall. Reducing the Fed Funds Rate makes money cheaper, allowing an influx of credit into the economy through all types of loans.

The charts linked below show the relation between S&P 500 and interest rates.

  • July 13, 1990 — Sept 4, 1992: 8.00%–3.00% (Includes 1990–1991 recession)[11][12]
  • Feb 1, 1995 — Nov 17, 1998: 6.00–4.75 [13][14][15]
  • May 16, 2000 — June 25, 2003: 6.50–1.00 (Includes 2001 recession)[16][17][18]
  • June 29, 2006 — (Oct. 29 2008): 5.25–1.00[19]
  • Dec 16, 2008 — 0.0–0.25[20]
  • Dec 16, 2015 — 0.25-0.50[21]
  • Dec 14, 2016 — 0.50-0.75[22]
  • Mar 15, 2017 — 0.75-1.00[23]

Bill Gross of PIMCO suggested that in the prior 15 years ending in 2007, in each instance where the fed funds rate was higher than the nominal GDP growth rate, assets such as stocks and/or housing fell.[24]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Fedpoints: Federal Funds”. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. August 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  2. Jump up^ “The Implementation of Monetary Policy”. The Federal Reserve System: Purposes & Functions (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Board. 24 August 2011. p. 4. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  3. Jump up^ “Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations”. Federal Reserve Bank. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  4. Jump up^ “Reserve Requirements”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  5. Jump up^ “Fed funds rate”. Bankrate, Inc. March 2016.
  6. Jump up^ Cheryl L. Edwards (November 1997). Gerard Sinzdak. “Open Market Operations in the 1990s” (PDF). Federal Reserve Bulletin (PDF).
  7. Jump up^ “BBA LIBOR – Frequently asked questions”. British Bankers’ Association. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16.
  8. Jump up^ “4:56 p.m. US-Closing Stocks”. Associated Press. December 16, 2008.[dead link]
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b “Historical Changes of the Target Federal Funds and Discount Rates, 1971 to present”. New York Federal Reserve Branch. February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008.
  10. Jump up^ David Waring (2008-02-19). “An Explanation of How The Fed Moves Interest Rates”. InformedTrades.com. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  11. Jump up^ “$SPX 1990-06-12 1992-10-04 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  12. Jump up^ “$SPX 1992-08-04 1995-03-01 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  13. Jump up^ “$SPX 1995-01-01 1997-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  14. Jump up^ “$SPX 1996-12-01 1998-10-17 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  15. Jump up^ “$SPX 1998-09-17 2000-06-16 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  16. Jump up^ “$SPX 2000-04-16 2002-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  17. Jump up^ “$SPX 2002-01-01 2003-07-25 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  18. Jump up^ “$SPX 2003-06-25 2006-06-29 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  19. Jump up^ “$SPX 2006-06-29 2008-06-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  20. Jump up^ “Press Release”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2008.
  21. Jump up^ “Open Market Operations”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  22. Jump up^ “Decisions Regarding Monetary Policy Implementation”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System.
  23. Jump up^ Cox, Jeff (2017-03-15). “Fed raises rates at March meeting”. CNBC. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  24. Jump up^ Shaw, Richard (January 7, 2007). “The Bond Yield Curve as an Economic Crystal Ball”. Retrieved 3 April 2011.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_funds_rate

Monetary policy of the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from U.S. monetary policy)
United States M2 money supply
% change in money supply
Money supply changes monthly basis

Monetary policy concerns the actions of a central bank or other regulatory authorities that determine the size and rate of growth of the money supply.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve is in charge of monetary policy, and implements it primarily by performing operations that influence short-term interest rates.

Money supply[edit]

Main article: Money supply

The money supply has different components, generally broken down into “narrow” and “broad” money, reflecting the different degrees of liquidity (‘spendability’) of each different type, as broader forms of money can be converted into narrow forms of money (or may be readily accepted as money by others, such as personal checks).[1]

For example, demand deposits are technically promises to pay on demand, while savings deposits are promises to pay subject to some withdrawal restrictions, and Certificates of Deposit are promises to pay only at certain specified dates; each can be converted into money, but “narrow” forms of money can be converted more readily. The Federal Reserve directly controls only the most narrow form of money, physical cash outstanding along with the reserves of banks throughout the country (known as M0 or the monetary base); the Federal Reserve indirectly influences the supply of other types of money.[1]

Broad money includes money held in deposit balances in banks and other forms created in the financial system. Basic economics also teaches that the money supply shrinks when loans are repaid;[2][3] however, the money supply will not necessarily decrease depending on the creation of new loans and other effects. Other than loans, investment activities of commercial banks and the Federal Reserve also increase and decrease the money supply.[4] Discussion of “money” often confuses the different measures and may lead to misguided commentary on monetary policy and misunderstandings of policy discussions.[5]

Structure of modern US institutions[edit]

Federal Reserve[edit]

Monetary policy in the US is determined and implemented by the US Federal Reserve System, commonly referred to as the Federal Reserve. Established in 1913 by the Federal Reserve Act to provide central banking functions,[6] the Federal Reserve System is a quasi-public institution. Ostensibly, the Federal Reserve Banks are 12 private banking corporations;[7][8][9] they are independent in their day-to-day operations, but legislatively accountable to Congress through the auspices of Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

The Board of Governors is an independent governmental agency consisting of seven officials and their support staff of over 1800 employees headquartered in Washington, D.C.[10] It is independent in the sense that the Board currently operates without official obligation to accept the requests or advice of any elected official with regard to actions on the money supply,[11]and its methods of funding also preserve independence. The Governors are nominated by the President of the United States, and nominations must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.[12]

The presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks are nominated by each bank’s respective Board of Directors, but must also be approved by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is generally considered to have the most important position, followed by the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[12] The Federal Reserve System is primarily funded by interest collected on their portfolio of securities from the US Treasury, and the Fed has broad discretion in drafting its own budget,[13] but, historically, nearly all the interest the Federal Reserve collects is rebated to the government each year.[14]

The Federal Reserve has three main mechanisms for manipulating the money supply. It can buy or sell treasury securities. Selling securities has the effect of reducing the monetary base (because it accepts money in return for purchase of securities), taking that money out of circulation. Purchasing treasury securities increases the monetary base (because it pays out hard currency in exchange for accepting securities). Secondly, the discount rate can be changed. And finally, the Federal Reserve can adjust the reserve requirement, which can affect the money multiplier; the reserve requirement is adjusted only infrequently, and was last adjusted in 1992.[15]

In practice, the Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence short-term interest rates, which is the primary tool of monetary policy. The federal funds rate, for which the Federal Open Market Committee announces a target on a regular basis, reflects one of the key rates for interbank lending. Open market operations change the supply of reserve balances, and the federal funds rate is sensitive to these operations.[16]

In theory, the Federal Reserve has unlimited capacity to influence this rate, and although the federal funds rate is set by banks borrowing and lending funds to each other, the federal funds rate generally stays within a limited range above and below the target (as participants are aware of the Fed’s power to influence this rate).

Assuming a closed economy, where foreign capital or trade does not affect the money supply, when money supply increases, interest rates go down. Businesses and consumers have a lower cost of capital and can increase spending and capital improvement projects. This encourages short-term growth. Conversely, when the money supply falls, interest rates go up, increasing the cost of capital and leading to more conservative spending and investment. The Federal reserve increases interest rates to combat Inflation.

U.S. Treasury[edit]

Private commercial banks[edit]

When money is deposited in a bank, it can then be lent out to another person. If the initial deposit was $100 and the bank lends out $100 to another customer the money supply has increased by $100. However, because the depositor can ask for the money back, banks have to maintain minimum reserves to service customer needs. If the reserve requirement is 10% then, in the earlier example, the bank can lend $90 and thus the money supply increases by only $90. The reserve requirement therefore acts as a limit on this multiplier effect. Because the reserve requirement only applies to the more narrow forms of money creation (corresponding to M1), but does not apply to certain types of deposits (such as time deposits), reserve requirements play a limited role in monetary policy.[17]

Money creation[edit]

Main article: Money creation

Currently, the US government maintains over US$800 billion in cash money (primarily Federal Reserve Notes) in circulation throughout the world,[18][19] up from a sum of less than $30 billion in 1959. Below is an outline of the process which is currently used to control the amount of money in the economy. The amount of money in circulation generally increases to accommodate money demanded by the growth of the country’s production. The process of money creation usually goes as follows:

  1. Banks go through their daily transactions. Of the total money deposited at banks, significant and predictable proportions often remain deposited, and may be referred to as “core deposits.” Banks use the bulk of “non-moving” money (their stable or “core” deposit base) by loaning it out.[20] Banks have a legal obligation to keep a certain fraction of bank deposit money on-hand at all times.[21]
  2. In order to raise additional money to cover excess spending, Congress increases the size of the National Debt by issuing securities typically in the form of a Treasury Bond[22] (see United States Treasury security). It offers the Treasury security for sale, and someone pays cash to the government in exchange. Banks are often the purchasers of these securities, and these securities currently play a crucial role in the process.
  3. The 12-person Federal Open Market Committee, which consists of the heads of the Federal Reserve System (the seven Federal governors and five bank presidents), meets eight times a year to determine how they would like to influence the economy.[23] They create a plan called the country’s “monetary policy” which sets targets for things such as interest rates.[24]
  4. Every business day, the Federal Reserve System engages in Open market operations.[25] If the Federal Reserve wants to increase the money supply, it will buy securities (such as U.S. Treasury Bonds) anonymously from banks in exchange for dollars. If the Federal Reserve wants to decrease the money supply, it will sell securities to the banks in exchange for dollars, taking those dollars out of circulation.[26][27] When the Federal Reserve makes a purchase, it credits the seller’s reserve account (with the Federal Reserve). The money that it deposits into the seller’s account is not transferred from any existing funds, therefore it is at this point that the Federal Reserve has created High-powered money.
  5. By means of open market operations, the Federal Reserve affects the free reserves of commercial banks in the country.[28] Anna Schwartz explains that “if the Federal Reserve increases reserves, a single bank can make loans up to the amount of its excess reserves, creating an equal amount of deposits”.[26][27][29]
  6. Since banks have more free reserves, they may loan out the money, because holding the money would amount to accepting the cost of foregone interest[28][30] When a loan is granted, a person is generally granted the money by adding to the balance on their bank account.[31]
  7. This is how the Federal Reserve’s high-powered money is multiplied into a larger amount of broad money, through bank loans; as written in a particular case study, “as banks increase or decrease loans, the nation’s (broad) money supply increases or decreases.”[3] Once granted these additional funds, the recipient has the option to withdraw physical currency (dollar bills and coins) from the bank, which will reduce the amount of money available for further on-lending (and money creation) in the banking system.[32]
  8. In many cases, account-holders will request cash withdrawals, so banks must keep a supply of cash handy. When they believe they need more cash than they have on hand, banks can make requests for cash with the Federal Reserve. In turn, the Federal Reserve examines these requests and places an order for printed money with the US Treasury Department.[33] The Treasury Department sends these requests to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (to make dollar bills) and the Bureau of the Mint (to stamp the coins).
  9. The U.S. Treasury sells this newly printed money to the Federal Reserve for the cost of printing.[citation needed] This is about 6 cents per bill for any denomination.[34] Aside from printing costs, the Federal Reserve must pledge collateral (typically government securities such as Treasury bonds) to put new money, which does not replace old notes, into circulation.[35]This printed cash can then be distributed to banks, as needed.

Though the Federal Reserve authorizes and distributes the currency printed by the Treasury (the primary component of the narrow monetary base), the broad money supply is primarily created by commercial banks through the money multiplier mechanism.[29][31][36][37] One textbook summarizes the process as follows:

“The Fed” controls the money supply in the United States by controlling the amount of loans made by commercial banks. New loans are usually in the form of increased checking account balances, and since checkable deposits are part of the money supply, the money supply increases when new loans are made …[38]

This type of money is convertible into cash when depositors request cash withdrawals, which will require banks to limit or reduce their lending.[39][32] The vast majority of the broad money supply throughout the world represents current outstanding loans of banks to various debtors.[38][40][41] A very small amount of U.S. currency still exists as “United States Notes“, which have no meaningful economic difference from Federal Reserve notes in their usage, although they departed significantly in their method of issuance into circulation. The currency distributed by the Federal Reserve has been given the official designation of “Federal Reserve Notes.”[42]

Significant effects[edit]

Main article: Monetary policy

In 2005, the Federal Reserve held approximately 9% of the national debt[43] as assets against the liability of printed money. In previous periods, the Federal Reserve has used other debt instruments, such as debt securities issued by private corporations. During periods when the national debt of the United States has declined significantly (such as happened in fiscal years 1999 and 2000), monetary policy and financial markets experts have studied the practical implications of having “too little” government debt: both the Federal Reserve and financial markets use the price information, yield curve and the so-called risk free rate extensively.[44]

Experts are hopeful that other assets could take the place of National Debt as the base asset to back Federal Reserve notes, and Alan Greenspan, long the head of the Federal Reserve, has been quoted as saying, “I am confident that U.S. financial markets, which are the most innovative and efficient in the world, can readily adapt to a paydown of Treasury debt by creating private alternatives with many of the attributes that market participants value in Treasury securities.”[45] In principle, the government could still issue debt securities in significant quantities while having no net debt, and significant quantities of government debt securities are also held by other government agencies.

Although the U.S. government receives income overall from seigniorage, there are costs associated with maintaining the money supply.[41][46] Leading ecological economist and steady-state theorist Herman Daly, claims that “over 95% of our [broad] money supply [in the United States] is created by the private banking system (demand deposits) and bears interest as a condition of its existence,”[41] a conclusion drawn from the Federal Reserve’s ultimate dependence on increased activity in fractional reserve lending when it exercises open market operations.[47]Economist Eric Miller criticizes Daly’s logic because money is created in the banking system in response to demand for the money,[48] which justifies cost.[citation needed]

Thus, use of expansionary open market operations typically generates more debt in the private sector of society (in the form of additional bank deposits).[49] The private banking system charges interest to borrowers as a cost to borrow the money.[3][31][50] The interest costs are borne by those that have borrowed,[3][31] and without this borrowing, open market operations would be unsuccessful in maintaining the broad money supply,[30] though alternative implementations of monetary policy could be used. Depositors of funds in the banking system are paid interest on their savings (or provided other services, such as checking account privileges or physical security for their “cash”), as compensation for “lending” their funds to the bank.

Increases (or contractions) of the money supply corresponds to growth (or contraction) in interest-bearing debt in the country.[3][30][41] The concepts involved in monetary policy may be widely misunderstood in the general public, as evidenced by the volume of literature on topics such as “Federal Reserve conspiracy” and “Federal Reserve fraud.”[51]

Uncertainties

A few of the uncertainties involved in monetary policy decision making are described by the federal reserve:[52]

  • While these policy choices seem reasonably straightforward, monetary policy makers routinely face certain notable uncertainties. First, the actual position of the economy and growth in aggregate demand at any time are only partially known, as key information on spending, production, and prices becomes available only with a lag. Therefore, policy makers must rely on estimates of these economic variables when assessing the appropriate course of policy, aware that they could act on the basis of misleading information. Second, exactly how a given adjustment in the federal funds rate will affect growth in aggregate demand—in terms of both the overall magnitude and the timing of its impact—is never certain. Economic models can provide rules of thumb for how the economy will respond, but these rules of thumb are subject to statistical error. Third, the growth in aggregate supply, often called the growth in potential output, cannot be measured with certainty.
  • In practice, as previously noted, monetary policy makers do not have up-to-the-minute information on the state of the economy and prices. Useful information is limited not only by lags in the collection and availability of key data but also by later revisions, which can alter the picture considerably. Therefore, although monetary policy makers will eventually be able to offset the effects that adverse demand shocks have on the economy, it will be some time before the shock is fully recognized and—given the lag between a policy action and the effect of the action on aggregate demand—an even longer time before it is countered. Add to this the uncertainty about how the economy will respond to an easing or tightening of policy of a given magnitude, and it is not hard to see how the economy and prices can depart from a desired path for a period of time.
  • The statutory goals of maximum employment and stable prices are easier to achieve if the public understands those goals and believes that the Federal Reserve will take effective measures to achieve them.
  • Although the goals of monetary policy are clearly spelled out in law, the means to achieve those goals are not. Changes in the FOMC’s target federal funds rate take some time to affect the economy and prices, and it is often far from obvious whether a selected level of the federal funds rate will achieve those goals.

Opinions of the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve is lauded by some economists, while being the target of scathing criticism by other economists, legislators, and sometimes members of the general public. The former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, is one of the leading academic critics of the Federal Reserve’s policies during the Great Depression.[53]

Achievements

One of the functions of a central bank is to facilitate the transfer of funds through the economy, and the Federal Reserve System is largely responsible for the efficiency in the banking sector. There have also been specific instances which put the Federal Reserve in the spotlight of public attention. For instance, after the stock market crash in 1987, the actions of the Fed are generally believed to have aided in recovery. Also, the Federal Reserve is credited for easing tensions in the business sector with the reassurances given following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.[54]

Criticisms

The Federal Reserve has been the target of various criticisms, involving: accountability, effectiveness, opacity, inadequate banking regulation, and potential market distortion. Federal Reserve policy has also been criticized for directly and indirectly benefiting large banks instead of consumers. For example, regarding the Federal Reserve’s response to the 2007–2010 financial crisis, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz explained how the U.S. Federal Reserve was implementing another monetary policy —creating currency— as a method to combat the liquidity trap.[55]

By creating $600 billion and inserting this directly into banks the Federal Reserve intended to spur banks to finance more domestic loans and refinance mortgages. However, banks instead were spending the money in more profitable areas by investing internationally in emerging markets. Banks were also investing in foreign currencies which Stiglitz and others point out may lead to currency wars while China redirects its currency holdings away from the United States.[56]

Auditing

The Federal Reserve is subject to different requirements for transparency and audits than other government agencies, which its supporters claim is another element of the Fed’s independence. Although the Federal Reserve has been required by law to publish independently audited financial statements since 1999, the Federal Reserve is not audited in the same way as other government agencies. Some confusion can arise because there are many types of audits, including: investigative or fraud audits; and financial audits, which are audits of accounting statements; there are also compliance, operational, and information system audits.

The Federal Reserve’s annual financial statements are audited by an outside auditor. Similar to other government agencies, the Federal Reserve maintains an Office of the Inspector General, whose mandate includes conducting and supervising “independent and objective audits, investigations, inspections, evaluations, and other reviews of Board programs and operations.”[57] The Inspector General’s audits and reviews are available on the Federal Reserve’s website.[58][59]

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has the power to conduct audits, subject to certain areas of operations that are excluded from GAO audits; other areas may be audited at specific Congressional request, and have included bank supervision, government securities activities, and payment system activities.[60][61] The GAO is specifically restricted any authority over monetary policy transactions;[60] the New York Times reported in 1989 that “such transactions are now shielded from outside audit, although the Fed influences interest rates through the purchase of hundreds of billions of dollars in Treasury securities.”[62] As mentioned above, it was in 1999 that the law governing the Federal Reserve was amended to formalize the already-existing annual practice of ordering independent audits of financial statements for the Federal Reserve Banks and the Board;[63] the GAO’s restrictions on auditing monetary policy continued, however.[61]

Congressional oversight on monetary policy operations, foreign transactions, and the FOMC operations is exercised through the requirement for reports and through semi-annual monetary policy hearings.[61] Scholars have conceded that the hearings did not prove an effective means of increasing oversight of the Federal Reserve, perhaps because “Congresspersons prefer to bash an autonomous and secretive Fed for economic misfortune rather than to share the responsibility for that misfortune with a fully accountable Central Bank,” although the Federal Reserve has also consistently lobbied to maintain its independence and freedom of operation.[64]

Fulfillment of wider economic goals

By law, the goals of the Fed’s monetary policy are: high employment, sustainable growth, and stable prices.[65]

Critics say that monetary policy in the United States has not achieved consistent success in meeting the goals that have been delegated to the Federal Reserve System by Congress. Congress began to review more options with regard to macroeconomic influence beginning in 1946 (after World War II), with the Federal Reserve receiving specific mandates in 1977 (after the country suffered a period of stagflation).

Throughout the period of the Federal Reserve following the mandates, the relative weight given to each of these goals has changed, depending on political developments.[citation needed] In particular, the theories of Keynesianism and monetarism have had great influence on both the theory and implementation of monetary policy, and the “prevailing wisdom” or consensus view of the economic and financial communities has changed over the years.[66]

  • Elastic currency (magnitude of the money multiplier): the success of monetary policy is dependent on the ability to strongly influence the supply of money available to the citizens. If a currency is highly “elastic” (that is, has a higher money multiplier, corresponding to a tendency of the financial system to create more broad money for a given quantity of base money), plans to expand the money supply and accommodate growth are easier to implement. Low elasticity was one of many factors that contributed to the depth of the Great Depression: as banks cut lending, the money multiplier fell, and at the same time the Federal Reserve constricted the monetary base. The depression of the late 1920s is generally regarded as being the worst in the country’s history, and the Federal Reserve has been criticized for monetary policy which worsened the depression.[67] Partly to alleviate problems related to the depression, the United States transitioned from a gold standard and now uses a fiat currency; elasticity is believed to have been increased greatly.[68]

The value of $1 over time, in 1776 dollars.[70]

  • Stable prices – While some economists would regard any consistent inflation as a sign of unstable prices,[71] policymakers could be satisfied with 1 or 2%;[72] the consensus of “price stability” constituting long-run inflation of 1-2% is, however, a relatively recent development, and a change that has occurred at other central banks throughout the world. Inflation has averaged a 4.22% increase annually following the mandates applied in 1977; historic inflation since the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 has averaged 3.4%.[73] In contrast, some research indicates that average inflation for the 250 years before the system was near zero percent, though there were likely sharper upward and downward spikes in that timeframe as compared with more recent times.[74] Central banks in some other countries, notably the German Bundesbank, had considerably better records of achieving price stability drawing on experience from the two episodes of hyperinflation and economic collapse under the country’s previous central bank.

Inflation worldwide has fallen significantly since former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker began his tenure in 1979, a period which has been called the Great Moderation; some commentators attribute this to improved monetary policy worldwide, particularly in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.[75][76]BusinessWeek notes that inflation has been relatively low since mid-1980s[77] and it was during this time that Volcker wrote (in 1995), “It is a sobering fact that the prominence of central banks [such as the Federal Reserve] in this century has coincided with a general tendency towards more inflation, not less. By and large, if the overriding objective is price stability, we did better with the nineteenth-century gold standard and passive central banks, with currency boards, or even with ‘free banking.'”.

  • Sustainable growth – The growth of the economy may not be sustainable as the ability for households to save money has been on an overall decline[78] and household debt is consistently rising.[79]

Cause of The Great Depression

Money supply decreased significantly between Black Tuesday and the Bank Holiday in March 1933 when there were massive bank runs

Monetarists who believe that the Great Depression started as an ordinary recession but significant policy mistakes by monetary authorities (especially the Federal Reserve) caused a shrinking of the money supply which greatly exacerbated the economic situation, causing a recession to descend into the Great Depression.

Public confusion

The Federal Reserve has established a library of information on their websites, however, many experts have spoken about the general level of public confusion that still exists on the subject of the economy; this lack of understanding of macroeconomic questions and monetary policy, however, exists in other countries as well. Critics of the Fed widely regard the system as being “opaque“, and one of the Fed’s most vehement opponents of his time, Congressman Louis T. McFadden, even went so far as to say that “Every effort has been made by the Federal Reserve Board to conceal its powers….”[80]

There are, on the other hand, many economists who support the need for an independent central banking authority, and some have established websites that aim to clear up confusion about the economy and the Federal Reserve’s operations. The Federal Reserve website itself publishes various information and instructional materials for a variety of audiences.

Criticism of government interference

Some economists, especially those belonging to the heterodox Austrian School, criticize the idea of even establishing monetary policy, believing that it distorts investment. Friedrich Hayek won the Nobel Prize for his elaboration of the Austrian business cycle theory.

Briefly, the theory holds that an artificial injection of credit, from a source such as a central bank like the Federal Reserve, sends false signals to entrepreneurs to engage in long-term investments due to a favorably low interest rate. However, the surge of investments undertaken represents an artificial boom, or bubble, because the low interest rate was achieved by an artificial expansion of the money supply and not by savings. Hence, the pool of real savings and resources have not increased and do not justify the investments undertaken.

These investments, which are more appropriately called “malinvestments”, are realized to be unsustainable when the artificial credit spigot is shut off and interest rates rise. The malinvestments and unsustainable projects are liquidated, which is the recession. The theory demonstrates that the problem is the artificial boom which causes the malinvestments in the first place, made possible by an artificial injection of credit not from savings.

According to Austrian economics, without government intervention, interest rates will always be an equilibrium between the time-preferences of borrowers and savers, and this equilibrium is simply distorted by government intervention. This distortion, in their view, is the cause of the business cycle. Some Austrian economists—but by no means all—also support full reserve banking, a hypothetical financial/banking system where banks may not lend deposits. Others may advocate free banking, whereby the government abstains from any interference in what individuals may choose to use as money or the extent to which banks create money through the deposit and lending cycle.

Reserve requirement

The Federal Reserve regulates banking, and one regulation under its direct control is the reserve requirement which dictates how much money banks must keep in reserves, as compared to its demand deposits. Banks use their observation that the majority of deposits are not requested by the account holders at the same time.

Currently, the Federal Reserve requires that banks keep 10% of their deposits on hand.[81] Some countries have no nationally mandated reserve requirements—banks use their own resources to determine what to hold in reserve, however their lending is typically constrained by other regulations.[82] Other factors being equal, lower reserve percentages increases the possibility of Bank runs, such as the widespread runs of 1931. Low reserve requirements also allow for larger expansions of the money supply by actions of commercial banks—currently the private banking system has created much of the broad money supply of US dollars through lending activity. Monetary policy reform calling for 100% reserves has been advocated by economists such as: Irving Fisher,[83] Frank Knight,[84] many ecological economists along with economists of the Chicago School and Austrian School. Despite calls for reform, the nearly universal practice of fractional-reserve banking has remained in the United States.

Criticism of private sector involvement

Historically and to the present day, various social and political movements (such as social credit) have criticized the involvement of the private sector in “creating money”, claiming that only the government should have the power to “make money”. Some proponents also support full reserve banking or other non-orthodox approaches to monetary policy. Various terminology may be used, including “debt money”, which may have emotive or political connotations. These are generally considered to be akin to conspiracy theories by mainstream economists and ignored in academic literature on monetary policy.

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monetary_policy_of_the_United_States

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The Rise and Fall of The Roman Empire — Videos

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Will Durant — Why Rome Fell

The Truth About The Fall of Rome: Modern Parallels

Are We Rome? Ben Powell Compares the U.S. with the Roman Empire

Are We Rome

DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay

The Judge on the Decline and Fall of Roman Empire and Future of America

The 7 Signs Of An Empire In Decline

The Roman Empire – Episode 1: The Rise of the Roman Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 2: Legions of Conquest (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 3: Seduction of Power (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 4: Grasp Of An Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 5: Cult Of Order (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 6: The Fall Of The Roman Empire (History Documentary)

The Roman Empire – Episode 7: Letters From The Roman Front (History Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 8: Wrath of the Gods (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 9: The Soldier’s Emperor (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 10: Constantine the Great (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 11: The Barbarian General (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 12: The Puppet Master (Documentary)

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Episode 13: The Last Emperor (Documentary)

[History] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 1, Part 1, Audiobook

[History] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 1, Part 2, Audiobook

[History Audiobook] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 2, Part 1

[History Audiobook] The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 2, Part 2

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

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This article is about the book. For the historical events, see History of the Roman Empire and Fall of the Western Roman Empire. For the historiography spawned by Gibbon’s theories, see Historiography of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. For publication details and chapter listings, see Outline of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Author Edward Gibbon
Country England
Language English
Subject History of the Roman Empire
Publisher Strahan & Cadell, London
Publication date
1776–89
Media type Print
LC Class DG311

Edward Gibbon (1737–1794).

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire[1] is a book of history written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces the trajectory of Western civilization (as well as the Islamic and Mongolian conquests) from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. It was published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings.[2] Volumes II and III were published in 1781;[3][4] volumes IV, V, and VI in 1788–89.[5][6][7] The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe, and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, unusual at the time, its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first “modern historian of ancient Rome”.[8]

Contents

Thesis

Gibbon offers an explanation for the fall of the Roman Empire, a task made difficult by a lack of comprehensive written sources, though he was not the only historian to attempt the task.[9]

According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens.[10] They had become weak, outsourcing their duty to defend their empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, he believed, were unwilling to live a tougher, military lifestyle. In addition, Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for a larger purpose. He also believed that Christianity’s comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers and British citizens of the age steeped in institutional anti-Catholicism, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious Dark Age. It was not until his own era, the “Age of Reason,” with its emphasis on rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress.[11]

Gibbon saw the Praetorian Guard as the primary catalyst of the empire’s initial decay and eventual collapse, a seed planted by Augustus when the empire was established. His writings cite repeated examples of the Praetorian Guard abusing their power with calamitous results, including numerous instances of imperial assassination and incessant demands for increased pay.

He compared the reigns of Diocletian (284–305) and Charles V (1519–1556), noting superficial similarities. Both were plagued by continual war and compelled to excessive taxation to fund wars, both chose to abdicate as Emperors at roughly the same age, and both chose to lead a quiet life upon their retirement. However, Gibbon argues that these similarities are only superficial and that the underlying context and character of the two rulers is markedly different.

Style

Gibbon’s style is frequently distinguished by an ironically detached and somewhat dispassionate yet critical tone. He occasionally lapsed into moralization and aphorism:

[A]s long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.

The influence of the clergy, in an age of superstition, might be usefully employed to assert the rights of mankind; but so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very seldom been seen on the side of the people (Chapter Three p. 52).

History…is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind (ibid. p. 69).

If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery [of gunpowder] with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind (Chapter 65, p. 68).[Page numbers in which edition? clarification needed]

Citations and footnotesen humorous style, and have been called “Gibbon’s table talk.”[12] They provide an entertaining moral commentary on both ancient Rome and 18th-century Great Britain. This technique enabled Gibbon to compare ancient Rome to his own contemporary world. Gibbon’s work advocates a rationalist and progressive view of history.

Gibbon’s citations provide in-depth detail regarding his use of sources for his work, which included documents dating back to ancient Rome. The detail within his asides and his care in noting the importance of each document is a precursor to modern-day historical footnoting methodology.

The work is notable for its erratic but exhaustively documented notes and research. John Bury, following him 113 years later with his own History of the Later Roman Empire, commended the depth and accuracy of Gibbon’s work. Unusually for 18th century historians, Gibbon was not content with second-hand accounts when the primary sources were accessible. “I have always endeavoured”, Gibbon wrote, “to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a passage or a fact were reduced to depend.”[13] The Decline and Fall is a literary monument and a massive step forward in historical method.[14]

Criticism

Numerous tracts were published criticizing his work. In response, Gibbon defended his work with the 1779 publication of, A Vindication … of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.[15] His remarks on Christianity aroused particularly vigorous attacks, but in the mid-twentieth century, at least one author claimed that “church historians allow the substantial justness of [Gibbon’s] main positions.”[16]

Number of Christian martyrs

Gibbon challenged Church history by estimating far smaller numbers of Christian martyrs than had been traditionally accepted. The Church’s version of its early history had rarely been questioned before. Gibbon, however, knew Church writings were secondary sources, and he shunned them in favor of primary sources.

Christianity as a contributor to the fall and to stability: chapters XV, XVI

Volume I was originally published in sections, as was common for large works at the time. The first two were well received and widely praised. The last quarto in Volume I, especially Chapters XV and XVI, was highly controversial, and Gibbon was attacked as a “paganist“. Voltaire was deemed to have influenced Gibbon’s claiming that Christianity was a contributor to the fall of the Roman Empire. As one pro-Christian commenter put it in 1840:

As Christianity advances, disasters befall the [Roman] empire—arts, science, literature, decay—barbarism and all its revolting concomitants are made to seem the consequences of its decisive triumph—and the unwary reader is conducted, with matchless dexterity, to the desired conclusion—the abominable Manicheism of Candide, and, in fact, of all the productions of Voltaire’s historic school—viz., “that instead of being a merciful, ameliorating, and benignant visitation, the religion of Christians would rather seem to be a scourge sent on man by the author of all evil.”[17]

Gibbon thought that Christianity had hastened the Fall, but also ameliorated the results:

As the happiness of a future life is the great object of religion, we may hear without surprise or scandal that the introduction, or at least the abuse of Christianity, had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of military spirit were buried in the cloister: a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion; and the soldiers’ pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both sexes who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity. Faith, zeal, curiosity, and more earthly passions of malice and ambition, kindled the flame of theological discord; the church, and even the state, were distracted by religious factions, whose conflicts were sometimes bloody and always implacable; the attention of the emperors was diverted from camps to synods; the Roman world was oppressed by a new species of tyranny; and the persecuted sects became the secret enemies of their country. Yet party-spirit, however pernicious or absurd, is a principle of union as well as of dissension. The bishops, from eighteen hundred pulpits, inculcated the duty of passive obedience to a lawful and orthodox sovereign; their frequent assemblies and perpetual correspondence maintained the communion of distant churches; and the benevolent temper of the Gospel was strengthened, though confirmed, by the spiritual alliance of the Catholics. The sacred indolence of the monks was devoutly embraced by a servile and effeminate age; but if superstition had not afforded a decent retreat, the same vices would have tempted the unworthy Romans to desert, from baser motives, the standard of the republic. Religious precepts are easily obeyed which indulge and sanctify the natural inclinations of their votaries; but the pure and genuine influence of Christianity may be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect, effects on the barbarian proselytes of the North. If the decline of the Roman empire was hastened by the conversion of Constantine, his victorious religion broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the conquerors (chap. 38).[18]

Tolerant paganismast 200 years, and whose most eminent representative is Gibbon. Gibbon had written:

The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosophers as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.

Drake counters:

With such deft strokes, Gibbon enters into a conspiracy with his readers: unlike the credulous masses, he and we are cosmopolitans who know the uses of religion as an instrument of social control. So doing, Gibbon skirts a serious problem: for three centuries prior to Constantine, the tolerant pagans who people the Decline and Fall were the authors of several major persecutions, in which Christians were the victims. …Gibbon covered this embarrassing hole in his argument with an elegant demur. Rather than deny the obvious, he adroitly masked the question by transforming his Roman magistrates into models of Enlightenment rulers — reluctant persecutors, too sophisticated to be themselves religious zealots.

Misinterpretation of Byzantium

Others such as John Julius Norwich, despite their admiration for his furthering of historical methodology, consider Gibbon’s hostile views on the Byzantine Empire flawed and blame him somewhat for the lack of interest shown in the subject throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.[19] This view might well be admitted by Gibbon himself: “But it is not my intention to expatiate with the same minuteness on the whole series of the Byzantine history.”[20] However the Russian historian George Ostrogorsky writes, “Gibbon and Lebeau were genuine historians — and Gibbon a very great one — and their works, in spite of factual inadequacy, rank high for their presentation of their material.”[21]

Gibbon’s reflections

Gibbon’s initial plan was to write a history “of the decline and fall of the city of Rome”, and only later expanded his scope to the whole Roman Empire.[22]

Although he published other books, Gibbon devoted much of his life to this one work (1772–89). His autobiography Memoirs of My Life and Writings is devoted largely to his reflections on how the book virtually became his life. He compared the publication of each succeeding volume to a newborn child.[23]

Editions

Gibbon continued to revise and change his work even after publication. The complexities of the problem are addressed in Womersley’s introduction and appendices to his complete edition.

  • In-print complete editions
    • J.B. Bury, ed., 7 volumes (London: Methuen, 1909–1914), currently reprinted (New York: AMS Press, 1974). ISBN 0-404-02820-9.
    • Hugh Trevor-Roper, ed., 6 volumes (New York: Everyman’s Library, 1993–1994). The text, including Gibbon’s notes, is from Bury but without his notes. ISBN 0-679-42308-7 (vols. 1–3); ISBN 0-679-43593-X (vols. 4–6).
    • David Womersley, ed., 3 volumes. hardback-(London: Allen Lane, 1994); paperback-(New York: Penguin Books, 2005;1994). Includes the original index, and the Vindication (1779), which Gibbon wrote in response to attacks on his caustic portrayal of Christianity. The 2005 print includes minor revisions and a new chronology. ISBN 0-7139-9124-0 (3360 p.); ISBN 0-14-043393-7 (v.1, 1232 p.); ISBN 0-14-043394-5 (v.2, 1024 pages); ISBN 0-14-043395-3 (v.3, 1360 pages)
  • In-print abridgements
    • David Womersley, ed., 1 volume (New York: Penguin Books, 2000). Includes all footnotes and seventeen of the original seventy-one chapters. ISBN 0-14-043764-9, 848 pages
    • Hans-Friedrich Mueller, ed., one volume abridgment (New York: Random House, 2003). Includes excerpts from all seventy-one chapters. It eliminates footnotes, geographic surveys, details of battle formations, long narratives of military campaigns, ethnographies and genealogies. Based on the Rev. H.H. [Dean] Milman edition of 1845 (see also Gutenberg etext edition). ISBN 0-375-75811-9, (trade paper, 1312 pages); ISBN 0-345-47884-3 (mass market paper, 1536 pages)

Legacy

Many writers have used variations on the series title (including using “Rise and Fall” in place of “Decline and Fall”), especially when dealing with large nations or empires. Piers Brendon notes that Gibbon’s work, “became the essential guide for Britons anxious to plot their own imperial trajectory. They found the key to understanding the British Empire in the ruins of Rome.”[24]

and in film:

and in television:

The title and author are also cited in Noël Coward‘s comedic poem “I Went to a Marvellous Party“.[25] And in the poem “The Foundation of Science Fiction Success“, Isaac Asimov acknowledged that his Foundation series—an epic tale of the fall and rebuilding of a galactic empire—was written “with a tiny bit of cribbin’ / from the works of Edward Gibbon”.[26]

In 1995, an established journal of classical scholarship, Classics Ireland, published punk musician’s Iggy Pop‘s reflections on the applicability of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to the modern world in a short article, Caesar Lives, (Vol. 2, 1995) in which he noted “America is Rome. Of course, why shouldn’t it be? We are all Roman children, for better or worse… I learn much about the way our society really works, because the system-origins – military, religious, political, colonial, agricultural, financial – are all there to be scrutinized in their infancy. I have gained perspective.” [27]

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ sometimes shortened to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  2. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1776). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I. W. Strahan and T. Cadell.
  3. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. II.
  4. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. III.
  5. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. IV. Strahan and Cadell.
  6. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. V. W. Strahan and T. Cadell.
  7. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1788). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. VI.
  8. Jump up^ David S. Potter (2006-05-22). A Companion to the Roman Empire. Wiley. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-631-22644-4.
  9. Jump up^ see for example Henri Pirenne’s (1862–1935) famous thesis published in the early 20th century. As for sources more recent than the ancients, Gibbon certainly drew on Montesquieu‘s short essay, Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence, and on previous work published by Bossuet (1627-1704) in his Histoire universelle à Monseigneur le dauphin (1763). see Pocock, EEG. for Bousset, pp. 65, 145; for Montesquieu, pp. 85–88, 114, 223.
  10. Jump up^ J.G.A. Pocock, “Between Machiavelli and Hume: Gibbon as Civic Humanist and Philosophical Historian,” Daedalus 105,3(1976), 153–169; and in Further reading: Pocock, EEG, 303–304; FDF, 304–306.
  11. Jump up^ J.G.A. Pocock, “Between Machiavelli and Hume: Gibbon as Civic Humanist and Philosophical Historian,” Daedulus 105,3(1976), 153–169; and in Further reading: Pocock, EEG, 303–304; FDF, 304–306.
  12. Jump up^ Saunders, Dero A., ed. (1952). Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. New York: Penguin. p. 23 (Introduction).
  13. Jump up^ Preface to Gibbon’s Volume the Fourth in David Womersley ed., Edward Gibbon – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 2 (New York: Penguin Books, 1994), p. 520.
  14. Jump up^ In the early 20th century, biographer Sir Leslie Stephen [“Gibbon, Edward (1737–1794),” Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 7, (Oxford, 1921), p. 1134.] summarized The History‘s reputation as a work of unmatched erudition, a degree of professional esteem which remains as strong today as it was then:

    The criticisms upon his book…are nearly unanimous. In accuracy, thoroughness, lucidity, and comprehensive grasp of a vast subject, the History is unsurpassable. It is the one English history which may be regarded as definitive. …Whatever its shortcomings, the book is artistically imposing as well as historically unimpeachable as a vast panorama of a great period.

  15. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon (1779). A vindication of some passages in the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire: By the author..Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, in the Strand.
  16. Jump up^ The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. IV, eds. S.M. Jackson, et al. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1952), 483–484. online.
  17. Jump up^ Dublin review: a quarterly and critical journal. Burns, Oates and Washbourne. 1840. pp. 208–. JItKAAAAcAAJ. p. 208 image at Google Books
  18. Jump up^ General Observations On The Fall Of The Roman Empire In The West. Fall In The West — The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. At Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Calvin College Computer Science. http://www.ccel.org/g/gibbon/decline/volume1/chap39.htm
  19. Jump up^ John Julius Norwich, Byzantium (New York: Knopf, 1989); Byzantium: the apogee (London and New York: Viking Press, 1991).
  20. Jump up^ Preface of 1782 online.
  21. Jump up^ Georgije Ostrogorski History of the Byzantine State(1986) p. 5 online
  22. Jump up^ Gibbon, Edward (1781). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 3. chapter 36, footnote 43. If I prosecute this History, I shall not be unmindful of the decline and fall of the city of Rome; an interesting object, to which my plan was originally confined.
  23. Jump up^ Patricia B. Craddock, Edward Gibbon, Luminous Historian. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1989), 249–266.
  24. Jump up^ Piers Brendon, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997 (2008) p. xv
  25. Jump up^ Link to notes on the poem here [1]. Excerpt: “If you have any mind at all, Gibbon’s divine Decline and Fall, Seems pretty flimsy, No more than a whimsy… .”
  26. Jump up^ Asimov, Isaac (October 1954). “The Foundation of S. F. Success”. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. p. 69.
  27. Jump up^ “Classics Ireland”. Ucd.ie. Retrieved September 8, 2010.

Further readingnd Intertextuality in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Newark: Associated University Presses, 1999); ISBN 0-87413-658-X.

  • Craddock, Patricia. “Historical Discovery and Literary Invention in Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall’,” Modern Philology 85,4(May 1988), 569–587.
  • Drake, H.A., “Lambs into Lions: explaining early Christian intolerance,” Past and Present 153(1996), 3–36. Oxford Journals
  • Furet, Francois. “Civilization and Barbarism in Gibbon’s History,” Daedalus 105,3(1976), 209–216.
  • Gay, Peter. Style in History (New York: Basic Books, 1974); ISBN 0-465-08304-8.
  • Ghosh, Peter R. “Gibbon’s Dark Ages: Some Remarks on the Genesis of the Decline and Fall,” Journal of Roman Studies 73(1983), 1–23.
  • Homer-Dixon, Thomas “The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization”, 2007 ISBN 978-0-676-97723-3, Chapter 3 pp. 57–60
  • Kelly, Christopher. “A Grand Tour: Reading Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall’,” Greece & Rome 2nd ser., 44,1 (Apr. 1997), 39–58.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Eighteenth-Century Prelude to Mr. Gibbon,” in Pierre Ducrey et al., eds., Gibbon et Rome à la lumière de l’historiographie moderne (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1977).
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Gibbon from an Italian Point of View,” in G.W. Bowersock et al., eds., Edward Gibbon and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1977).
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “Declines and Falls,” American Scholar 49(Winter 1979), 37–51.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. “After Gibbon’s Decline and Fall,” in Kurt Weitzmann, ed. Age of Spirituality : a symposium (Princeton: 1980); ISBN 0-89142-039-8.
  • Pocock, J.G.A. Barbarism and Religion, 4 vols. all Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Roberts, Charlotte Edward Gibbon and the Shape of History. 2014 Oxford University Press 9780198704836
  • Trevor-Roper, H.R. “Gibbon and the Publication of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776–1976,” Journal of Law and Economics 19,3 (Oct. 1976), 489–505.
  • Womersley, David. The Transformation of ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ (Cambridge: 1988).
  • Womersley, David, ed. Religious Scepticism: Contemporary Responses to Gibbon (Bristol, England: Thoemmes Press, 1997).
  • Wootton, David. “Narrative, Irony, and Faith in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall,” History and Theory 33,4 (Dec., 1994), 77–105.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire

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Michel de Montaigne — Essays — Videos

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PHILOSOPHY – Montaigne

Philosophy – A Guide to Happiness: Montaigne on Self-Esteem

Will Durant — Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)

“That to Study Philosophy is to Learn to Die” Essay by Michel De Montaigne

Essays – Book 1 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 1/3 )

Essays – Book 1 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 2/3 )

Essays – Book 1 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 3/3 )

Essays – Book 2 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 1/5 )

Essays – Book 2 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 2/5 )

Essays – Book 2 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 3/5 )

Essays – Book 2 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 4/5 )

Essays – Book 2 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 5/5 )

Essays – Book 3 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 1/4 )

Essays – Book 3 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 2/4 )

Essays – Book 3 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 3/4 )

Essays – Book 3 by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne – Audiobook ( Part 4/4 )

Documentary – Western Philosophy, Part 1 – Classical Education

Documentary – Western Philosophy, Part 2 – Classical Education

Michel de Montaigne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Montaigne” redirects here. For the Australian singer-songwriter, see Montaigne (musician).
Michel de Montaigne
Michel de Montaigne 1.jpg
Born Michel de Montaigne
28 February 1533
Château de Montaigne, Guyenne, France
Died 13 September 1592 (aged 59)
Château de Montaigne, Guyenne, France
Alma mater College of Guienne
Collège Royal
University of Toulouse
Era Renaissance philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Renaissance humanismRenaissance skepticism
Notable ideas
The essay,
Montaigne’s wheel argument[1]
Signature
Unterschrift des Michel de Montaigne.png

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne (/mɒnˈtn/;[3]French: [miʃɛl ekɛm də mɔ̃tɛɲ]; 28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592) was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes[4] and autobiography with serious intellectual insight; his massive volume Essais (translated literally as “Attempts” or “Trials”) contains some of the most influential essays ever written.

Montaigne had a direct influence on writers all over the world, including Francis Bacon, René Descartes,[5] Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Albert Hirschman, William Hazlitt,[6] Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer,[7] Isaac Asimov, and possibly on the later works of William Shakespeare.

In his own lifetime, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that, “I am myself the matter of my book”, was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. In time, however, Montaigne would come to be recognized as embodying, perhaps better than any other author of his time, the spirit of freely entertaining doubt which began to emerge at that time. He is most famously known for his skeptical remark, “Que sçay-je?” (“What do I know?”, in Middle French; now rendered as Que sais-je? in modern French).

Remarkably modern even to readers today, Montaigne’s attempt to examine the world through the lens of the only thing he can depend on implicitly—his own judgment—makes him more accessible to modern readers than any other author of the Renaissance. Much of modern literary non-fiction has found inspiration in Montaigne and writers of all kinds continue to read him for his masterful balance of intellectual knowledge and personal storytelling.

Life

Château de Montaigne, a house built on the land once owned by Montaigne’s family. His original family home no longer exists, though the tower in which he wrote still stands.

Portrait of Michel de Montaigne by Dumonstier around 1578.

The Tour de Montaigne (Montaigne’s tower), mostly unchanged since the 16th century, where Montaigne’s library was located

Montaigne was born in the Aquitaine region of France, on the family estate Château de Montaigne, in a town now called Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne, close to Bordeaux. The family was very wealthy; his great-grandfather, Ramon Felipe Eyquem, had made a fortune as a herring merchant and had bought the estate in 1477, thus becoming the Lord of Montaigne. His father, Pierre Eyquem, Seigneur of Montaigne, was a French Catholic soldier in Italy for a time and had also been the mayor of Bordeaux.

Although there were several families bearing the patronym “Eyquem” in Guyenne, his family is thought to have had some degree of Marrano (Spanish and Portuguese Jewish) origins.[8] His mother, Antoinette López de Villanueva, was a convert to Protestantism.[9] His maternal grandfather, Pedro Lopez,[10] from Zaragoza, was from a wealthy Marrano (Sephardic Jewish) family who had converted to Catholicism.[11][12][13][14] His maternal grandmother, Honorette Dupuy, was from a Catholic family in Gascony, France.[15]

The coat of arms of Michel Eyquem, Lord of Montaigne

His mother lived a great part of Montaigne’s life near him, and even survived him, but is mentioned only twice in his essays. Montaigne’s relationship with his father, however, is frequently reflected upon and discussed in his essays.

Montaigne’s education began in early childhood and followed a pedagogical plan that his father had developed, refined by the advice of the latter’s humanist friends. Soon after his birth, Montaigne was brought to a small cottage, where he lived the first three years of life in the sole company of a peasant family, in order to, according to the elder Montaigne, “draw the boy close to the people, and to the life conditions of the people, who need our help”.[16] After these first spartan years, Montaigne was brought back to the château. The objective was for Latin to become his first language.

The intellectual education of Montaigne was assigned to a German tutor (a doctor named Horstanus, who could not speak French). His father hired only servants who could speak Latin, and they also were given strict orders always to speak to the boy in Latin. The same rule applied to his mother, father, and servants, who were obliged to use only Latin words he himself employed, and thus acquired a knowledge of the very language his tutor taught him. Montaigne’s Latin education was accompanied by constant intellectual and spiritual stimulation. He was familiarized with Greek by a pedagogical method that employed games, conversation, and exercises of solitary meditation, rather than the more traditional books.

The atmosphere of the boy’s upbringing, although designed by highly refined rules taken under advisement by his father, created in the boy’s life the spirit of “liberty and delight” to “make me relish… duty by an unforced will, and of my own voluntary motion…without any severity or constraint”; yet he would have everything to take advantage of his freedom. And so a musician woke him every morning, playing one instrument or another,[17] and an épinettier (with a zither) was the constant companion to Montaigne and his tutor, playing a tune to alleviate boredom and tiredness.

Around the year 1539, Montaigne was sent to study at a prestigious boarding school in Bordeaux, the Collège de Guyenne, then under the direction of the greatest Latin scholar of the era, George Buchanan, where he mastered the whole curriculum by his thirteenth year. He then began his study of law at the University of Toulouse in 1546 and entered a career in the local legal system. He was a counselor of the Court des Aides of Périgueux and, in 1557, he was appointed counselor of the Parlement in Bordeaux (a high court). From 1561 to 1563 he was courtier at the court of Charles IX; he was present with the king at the siege of Rouen (1562). He was awarded the highest honour of the French nobility, the collar of the Order of St. Michael, something to which he aspired from his youth. While serving at the Bordeaux Parlement, he became very close friends with the humanist poet Étienne de la Boétie, whose death in 1563 deeply affected Montaigne. It has been suggested by Donald M. Frame, in his introduction to The Complete Essays of Montaigne that because of Montaigne’s “imperious need to communicate” after losing Étienne, he began the Essais as his “means of communication” and that “the reader takes the place of the dead friend”.[18]

Montaigne wed Françoise de la Cassaigne in 1565, not of his own free will but by prearrangement and under pressure from his family;[citation needed] they had six daughters, but only the second-born survived childhood.

Following the petition of his father, Montaigne started to work on the first translation of the Catalan monk Raymond Sebond‘s Theologia naturalis, which he published a year after his father’s death in 1568 (In 1595, Sebond’s Prologue was put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum for its declaration that the Bible is not the only source of revealed truth). After this, he inherited the family’s estate, the Château de Montaigne, to which he moved back in 1570, thus becoming the Lord of Montaigne. Another literary accomplishment was Montaigne’s posthumous edition of his friend Boétie’s works.

In 1571, he retired from public life to the Tower of the Château, his so-called “citadel”, in the Dordogne, where he almost totally isolated himself from every social and family affair. Locked up in his library, which contained a collection of some 1,500 works, he began work on his Essais (“Essays”), first published in 1580. On the day of his 38th birthday, as he entered this almost ten-year period of self-imposed reclusion, he had the following inscription crown the bookshelves of his working chamber:

In the year of Christ 1571, at the age of thirty-eight, on the last day of February, his birthday, Michael de Montaigne, long weary of the servitude of the court and of public employments, while still entire, retired to the bosom of the learned virgins, where in calm and freedom from all cares he will spend what little remains of his life, now more than half run out. If the fates permit, he will complete this abode, this sweet ancestral retreat; and he has consecrated it to his freedom, tranquility, and leisure.[19]

During this time of the Wars of Religion in France, Montaigne, a Roman Catholic, acted as a moderating force,[citation needed]respected both by the Catholic King Henry III and the Protestant Henry of Navarre.

In 1578, Montaigne, whose health had always been excellent, started suffering from painful kidney stones, a sickness he had inherited from his father’s family. Throughout this illness, he would have nothing to do with doctors or drugs.[20] From 1580 to 1581, Montaigne traveled in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, partly in search of a cure, establishing himself at Bagni di Lucca where he took the waters. His journey was also a pilgrimage to the Holy House of Loreto, to which he presented a silver relief depicting himself and his wife and daughter kneeling before the Madonna, considering himself fortunate that it should be hung on a wall within the shrine.[21] He kept a fascinating journal recording regional differences and customs[22] and a variety of personal episodes, including the dimensions of the stones he succeeded in ejecting from his bladder. This was published much later, in 1774, after its discovery in a trunk which is displayed in his tower.[23]

During Montaigne’s visit to the Vatican, as he described in his travel journal, the Essais were examined by Sisto Fabri who served as Master of the Sacred Palace under Pope Gregory XIII. After Fabri examined Montaigne’s Essais the text was returned to its author on 20 March 1581. Montaigne had apologized for references to the pagan notion of “fortuna” as well as for writing favorably of Julian the Apostate and of heretical poets, and was released to follow his own conscience in making emendations to the text.[24]

Journey to Italy by Michel de Montaigne 1580–1581

While in the city of Lucca in 1581, he learned that he had been elected mayor of Bordeaux; he returned and served as mayor. He was re-elected in 1583 and served until 1585, again moderating between Catholics and Protestants. The plague broke out in Bordeaux toward the end of his second term in office, in 1585. In 1586, the plague and the Wars of Religion prompted him to leave his château for two years.[20]

Montaigne continued to extend, revise, and oversee the publication of Essais. In 1588 he wrote its third book and also met the writer Marie de Gournay, who admired his work and later edited and published it. Montaigne called her his adopted daughter.[20] King Henry III was assassinated in 1589, and Montaigne then helped to keep Bordeaux loyal to Henry of Navarre, who would go on to become King Henry IV.

Montaigne died of quinsy at the age of 59, in 1592 at the Château de Montaigne. The disease in his case “brought about paralysis of the tongue”,[25] and he had once said “the most fruitful and natural play of the mind is conversation. I find it sweeter than any other action in life; and if I were forced to choose, I think I would rather lose my sight than my hearing and voice.”[26] Remaining in possession of all his other faculties, he requested mass, and died during the celebration of that mass.[27]

He was buried nearby. Later his remains were moved to the church of Saint Antoine at Bordeaux. The church no longer exists: it became the Convent des Feuillants, which has also disappeared.[28] The Bordeaux Tourist Office says that Montaigne is buried at the Musée Aquitaine, Faculté des Lettres, Université Bordeaux 3 Michel de Montaigne, Pessac. His heart is preserved in the parish church of Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne.

The humanities branch of the University of Bordeaux is named after him: Université Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3.

Michel de Montaigne.

Essais

Main article: Essays (Montaigne)

His fame rests on the Essais, a collection of a large number of short subjective treatments of various topics published in 1580, inspired by his studies in the classics, especially by the works of Plutarch and Lucretius.[29] Montaigne’s stated goal is to describe humans, and especially himself, with utter frankness. Montaigne’s writings are studied as literature and philosophy around the world.

Inspired by his consideration of the lives and ideals of the leading figures of his age, he finds the great variety and volatility of human nature to be its most basic features. He describes his own poor memory, his ability to solve problems and mediate conflicts without truly getting emotionally involved, his disdain for the human pursuit of lasting fame, and his attempts to detach himself from worldly things to prepare for his timely death. He writes about his disgust with the religious conflicts of his time. He believed that humans are not able to attain true certainty. The longest of his essays, Apology for Raymond Sebond, contains his famous motto, “What do I know?”

Montaigne considered marriage necessary for the raising of children, but disliked strong feelings of passionate love because he saw them as detrimental to freedom. In education, he favored concrete examples and experience over the teaching of abstract knowledge that has to be accepted uncritically. His essay “On the Education of Children” is dedicated to Diana of Foix.

The Essais exercised important influence on both French and English literature, in thought and style.[30] Francis Bacon‘s Essays, published over a decade later, in 1596, are usually assumed to be directly influenced by Montaigne’s collection, and Montaigne is cited by Bacon alongside other classical sources in later essays.[31]

Montaigne’s influence on psychology

Though not a scientist, Montaigne made observations on topics in psychology.[32] In his essays, he developed and explained his observations of these topics. His thoughts and ideas covered topics such as thought, motivation, fear, happiness, child education, experience, and human action. Montaigne’s ideas have influenced psychology and are a part of psychology’s rich history.

Child education

Child education was among the psychological topics that he wrote about.[32] His essays On the Education of Children, On Pedantry, and On Experience explain the views he had on child education.[33]:61:62:70 Some of his views on child education are still relevant today.[34]

Montaigne’s views on the education of children were opposed to the common educational practices of his day.[33]:63:67He found fault with both what was taught and how it was taught.[33]:62 Much of the education during Montaigne’s time was focused on the reading of the classics and learning through books.[33]:67Montaigne disagreed with learning strictly through books. He believed it was necessary to educate children in a variety of ways. He also disagreed with the way information was being presented to students. It was being presented in a way that encouraged students to take the information that was taught to them as absolute truth. Students were denied the chance to question the information. Therefore, students could not truly learn. Montaigne believed that to truly learn, a student had to take the information and make it their own.

At the foundation Montaigne believed that the selection of a good tutor was important for the student to become well educated.[33]:66 Education by a tutor was to be done at the pace of the student.[33]:67He believed that a tutor should be in dialogue with the student, letting the student speak first. The tutor should also allow for discussions and debates to be had. Through this dialogue, it was meant to create an environment in which students would teach themselves. They would be able to realize their mistakes and make corrections to them as necessary.

Individualized learning was also integral to his theory of child education. He argued that the student combines information he already knows with what is learned, and forms a unique perspective on the newly learned information.[35]:356 Montaigne also thought that tutors should encourage a student’s natural curiosity and allow them to question things.[33]:68He postulated that successful students were those who were encouraged to question new information and study it for themselves, rather than simply accepting what they had heard from the authorities on any given topic. Montaigne believed that a child’s curiosity could serve as an important teaching tool when the child is allowed to explore the things that they are curious about.

Experience was also a key element to learning for Montaigne. Tutors needed to teach students through experience rather than through the mere memorization of knowledge often practised in book learning.[33]:62:67He argued that students would become passive adults; blindly obeying and lacking the ability to think on their own.[35]:354 Nothing of importance would be retained and no abilities would be learned.[33]:62 He believed that learning through experience was superior to learning through the use of books.[34] For this reason he encouraged tutors to educate their students through practice, travel, and human interaction. In doing so, he argued that students would become active learners, who could claim knowledge for themselves.

Montaigne’s views on child education continue to have an influence in the present. Variations of Montaigne’s ideas on education are incorporated into modern learning in some ways. He argued against the popular way of teaching in his day, encouraging individualized learning. He believed in the importance of experience over book learning and memorization. Ultimately, Montaigne postulated that the point of education was to teach a student how to have a successful life by practising an active and socially interactive lifestyle.[35]:355

Related writers and influence

Student taking notes on Montaigne’s Essays at Shimer College.

Thinkers exploring similar ideas to Montaigne include Erasmus, Thomas More, and Guillaume Budé, who all worked about fifty years before Montaigne.[36] Many of Montaigne’s Latin quotations are from Erasmus’ Adagia, and most critically, all of his quotations from Socrates. Plutarch remains perhaps Montaigne’s strongest influence, in terms of substance and style.[37] Montaigne’s quotations from Plutarch in the Essays number well over 500.[38]

Ever since Edward Capell first made the suggestion in 1780, scholars have suggested Montaigne to be an influence on Shakespeare.[39] The latter would have had access to John Florio‘s translation of Montaigne’s Essais, published in English in 1603, and a scene in The Tempest “follows the wording of Florio [translating Of Cannibals] so closely that his indebtedness is unmistakable”.[40] However, most parallels between the two can be explained as commonplaces:[39] as with Cervantes, Shakespeare‘s similarities with writers in other nations could be due simply to their simultaneous study of Latin moral and philosophical writers such as Seneca the Younger, Horace, Ovid and Virgil.

Much of Blaise Pascal‘s skepticism in his Pensées has been traditionally attributed to his reading Montaigne.[41]

The English essayist William Hazlitt expressed boundless admiration for Montaigne, exclaiming that “he was the first who had the courage to say as an author what he felt as a man. … He was neither a pedant nor a bigot. … In treating of men and manners, he spoke of them as he found them, not according to preconceived notions and abstract dogmas”.[42] Beginning most overtly with the essays in the “familiar” style in his own Table-Talk, Hazlitt tried to follow Montaigne’s example.[6]

Ralph Waldo Emerson chose “Montaigne; or, the Skeptic” as a subject of one of his series of lectures entitled Representative Men, alongside other subjects such as Shakespeare and Plato. In “The Skeptic” Emerson writes of his experience reading Montaigne, “It seemed to me as if I had myself written the book, in some former life, so sincerely it spoke to my thought and experience.” Friedrich Nietzsche judged of Montaigne: “That such a man wrote has truly augmented the joy of living on this Earth”.[43] Saint-Beuve advises us that “to restore lucidity and proportion to our judgments, let us read every evening a page of Montaigne.” [44]

The American philosopher Eric Hoffer employed Montaigne both stylistically and in thought. In Hoffer’s memoir, Truth Imagined, he said of Montaigne, “He was writing about me. He knew my innermost thoughts.” The Welsh novelist John Cowper Powys expressed his admiration for Montaigne’s philosophy in his books Suspended Judgements (1916) and The Pleasures of Literature (1938). Judith N. Shklar introduces her book Ordinary Vices (1984), “It is only if we step outside the divinely ruled moral universe that we can really put our minds to the common ills we inflict upon one another each day. That is what Montaigne did and that is why he is the hero of this book. In spirit he is on every one of its pages…”

20th century literary critic Erich Auerbach called Montaigne the first modern man. “Among all his contemporaries,” writes Auerbach (Mimesis, Chapter 12), “he had the clearest conception of the problem of man’s self-orientation; that is, the task of making oneself at home in existence without fixed points of support.” [45]

References

  1. Jump up^ Robert P. Amico, The Problem of the Criterion, Rowman & Littlefield, 1995, p. 42. Primary source: Montaigne, Essais, II, 12: “Pour juger des apparences que nous recevons des subjets, il nous faudroit un instrument judicatoire ; pour verifier cet instrument, il nous y faut de la demonstration ; pour verifier la demonstration, un instrument : nous voilà au rouet [To judge of the appearances that we receive of subjects, we had need have a judicatorie instrument: to verifie this instrument we should have demonstration; and to approve demonstration, an instrument; thus are we ever turning round]” (transl. by Charles Cotton).
  2. Jump up^ FT.com “Small Talk: José Saramago”. “Everything I’ve read has influenced me in some way. Having said that, Kafka, Borges, Gogol, Montaigne, Cervantes are constant companions.”
  3. Jump up^ “Montaigne”. Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
  4. Jump up^ His anecdotes are ‘casual’ only in appearance; Montaigne writes: ‘Neither my anecdotes nor my quotations are always employed simply as examples, for authority, or for ornament…They often carry, off the subject under discussion, the seed of a richer and more daring matter, and they resonate obliquely with a more delicate tone,’ Michel de Montaigne, Essais, Pléiade, Paris (ed. A. Thibaudet) 1937, Bk. 1, ch.40, p. 252 (tr. Charles Rosen)
  5. Jump up^ Buckley, Michael J., At the Origins of Modern Atheism, Yale UP, 1990, p. 69.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Kinnaird, John, William Hazlitt: Critic of Power, Columbia University Press, 1978, p. 274.
  7. Jump up^ from Truth Imagined, memoir by Eric Hoffer.
  8. Jump up^ Sophie Jama, L’Histoire Juive de Montaigne [The Jewish History of Montaigne], Paris, Flammarion, 2001, p. 76.
  9. Jump up^ “His mother was a Jewish Protestant, his father a Catholic who achieved wide culture as well as a considerable fortune.” Civilization, Kenneth Clark, (Harper & Row: 1969), p. 161.
  10. Jump up^ Winkler, Emil (1942). “Zeitschrift für Französische Sprache und Literatur”.
  11. Jump up^ Goitein, Denise R (2008). “Montaigne, Michel de”. Encyclopaedia Judaica. The Gale Group. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
  12. Jump up^ Introduction: Montaigne’s Life and Times, in Apology for Raymond Sebond, By Michel de Montaigne (Roger Ariew), (Hackett: 2003), p. iv: “Michel de Montaigne was born in 1533 at the chateau de Montagine (about 30 miles east of Bordeaux), the son of Pierre Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne, and Antoinette de Louppes (or Lopez), who came from a wealthy (originally Iberian) Jewish family”.
  13. Jump up^ “…the family of Montaigne’s mother, Antoinette de Louppes (Lopez) of Toulouse, was of Spanish Jewish origin….” The Complete Essays of Montaigne, Translated by Donald M. Frame, “Introduction,” p. vii ff., Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1989 ISBN 0-8047-0486-4
  14. Jump up^ Popkin, Richard H (2003-03-20). “The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle”. ISBN 9780195107678.
  15. Jump up^ Green, Toby (2009-03-17). “Inquisition: The Reign of Fear”. ISBN 9781429938532.
  16. Jump up^ Montaigne. Essays, III, 13
  17. Jump up^ Hutchins, Robert Maynard; Hazlitt, W. Carew, eds. (1952). The Essays of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. Great Books of the Western World. twenty-five. Trans. Charles Cotton. Encyclopedia Britannica. p. v. He had his son awakened each morning by ‘the sound of a musical instrument’
  18. Jump up^ Frame, Donald (translator). The Complete Essays of Montaigne. 1958. p. v.
  19. Jump up^ As cited by Richard L. Regosin, ‘Montaigne and His Readers’, in Denis Hollier (ed.) A New History of French Literature, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London 1995, pp. 248–52, p. 249. The Latin original runs: ‘An. Christi 1571 aet. 38, pridie cal. mart., die suo natali, Mich. Montanus, servitii aulici et munerum publicorum jamdudum pertaesus, dum se integer in doctarum virginum recessit sinus, ubi quietus et omnium securus (quan)tillum in tandem superabit decursi multa jam plus parte spatii: si modo fata sinunt exigat istas sedes et dulces latebras, avitasque, libertati suae, tranquillitatique, et otio consecravit.’ as cited in Helmut Pfeiffer, ‘Das Ich als Haushalt:Montaignes ökonomische Politik’, in Rudolf Behrens,Roland Galle (eds.) Historische Anthropologie und Literatur:Romanistische Beträge zu einem neuen Paradigma der Literaturwissenschaft, Königshausen und Neumann, Würzburg, 1995 pp. 69–90 p. 75
  20. ^ Jump up to:a b c  Reynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). “Montaigne, Michel, Seigneur“. Collier’s New Encyclopedia. New York: P.F. Collier & Son Company.
  21. Jump up^ Edward Chaney, The Evolution of the Grand Tour: Anglo-Italian Cultural Relations since the Renaissance, 2nd ed. (London, 2000), p. 89.
  22. Jump up^ Cazeaux, Guillaume (2015). Montaigne et la coutume[Montaigne and the custom]. Milan: Mimésis. ISBN 9788869760044.
  23. Jump up^ Montaigne’s Travel Journal, translated with an introduction by Donald M. Frame and foreword by Guy Davenport, San Francisco, 1983
  24. Jump up^ Treccani.it, L’encicolpedia Italiana, Dizionario Biografico. Accessed 10 August 2013
  25. Jump up^ Montaigne, Michel de, Essays of Michel de Montaigne, tr. Charles Cotton, ed. William Carew Hazlitt, 1877, “The Life of Montaigne” in v. 1. n.p., Kindle edition.
  26. Jump up^ “The Autobiography of Michel De Montaign”, translated, introduced, and edited by Marvin Lowenthal, David R. Godine Publishing, p. 165
  27. Jump up^ “Biographical Note”, Encyclopedia Britannica “Great Books of the Western World”, Vol. 25, p. vi “Montaigne”
  28. Jump up^ Bakewell, Sarah. How to Live – or – A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (2010), pp. 325–26, 365 n. 325.
  29. Jump up^ “Titi Lucretii Cari De rerum natura libri sex (Montaigne.1.4.4)”. Cambridge Digital Library. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  30. Jump up^ Bloom, Harold. The Western Canon.
  31. Jump up^ Bakewell, Sarah (2010). How to live : a life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer. London: Vintage. p. 280. ISBN 9780099485155.
  32. ^ Jump up to:a b King, Brett; Viney, Wayne; Woody, William.A History of Psychology: Ideas and Context, 4th ed., Pearson Education, Inc. 2009, p. 112.
  33. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i Hall, Michael L. Montaigne’s Uses of Classical Learning. “Journal of Education” 1997, Vol. 179 Issue 1, p. 61
  34. ^ Jump up to:a b Ediger, Marlow. Influence of ten leading educators on American education.Education Vol. 118, Issue 2, p. 270
  35. ^ Jump up to:a b c Worley, Virginia. Painting With Impasto: Metaphors, Mirrors, and Reflective Regression in Montagne’s ‘Of the Education of Children.’ Educational Theory, June 2012, Vol. 62 Issue 3, p. 343–70.
  36. Jump up^ Friedrich, Hugo; Desan, Philippe (1991). Montaigne. ISBN 9780520072534.
  37. Jump up^ Friedrich 1991, p. 71.
  38. Jump up^ Billault, Alain (2002). “Plutarch’s Lives“. In Gerald N. Sandy. The Classical Heritage in France. p. 226. ISBN 9789004119161.
  39. ^ Jump up to:a b Olivier, T. (1980). “Shakespeare and Montaigne: A Tendency of Thought”. Theoria. 54: 43–59.
  40. Jump up^ Harmon, Alice (1942). “How Great Was Shakespeare’s Debt to Montaigne?”. PMLA. 57 (4): 988–1008. JSTOR 458873.
  41. Jump up^ Eliot, Thomas Stearns (1958). Introduction to Pascal’s Essays. New York: E. P. Dutton and Co. p. viii.
  42. Jump up^ Quoted from Hazlitt’s “On the Periodical Essayists” in Park, Roy, Hazlitt and the Spirit of the Age, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971, pp. 172–73.
  43. Jump up^ Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, Chapter 3, “Schopenhauer as Educator,” Cambridge University Press, 1988, p. 135
  44. Jump up^ Saint-Beuve, “Montaigne”, “Literary and Philosophical Essays”, Ed. Charles W. Eliot, New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1938.
  45. Jump up^ Auerbach, Erich , Mimesis: Representations of Reality in Western Literature, Princeton UP, 1974, p.311

Further reading

  • Album Montaigne. Iconographie choisie et annotée par Jean Lacouture. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. Éditions Gallimard, 2007. ISBN 9782070118298.
  • Kuznicki, Jason (2008). “Montaigne, Michel (1533–1592)”. In Hamowy, Ronald. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE; Cato Institute. pp. 339–41. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n208. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024.
  • The Autobiography of Michel de Montaigne. Comprising the Life of the Wisest Man of his Times: his Childhood, Youth, and Prime; his Adventures in Love and Marriage, at Court, and in Office, War, Revolution, and Plague; his Travels at Home and Abroad; his Habits, Tastes, Whims, and Opinions. Composed, Prefaced, and Translated from the Essays, Letters, Travel Diary, Family Journal, etc., withholding no signal or curious detail, by Marvin Lowenthal. Houghton Mifflin, 1935.
  • No greater mmonster nor miracle than myself. Charlotte Thomas, ed. 2014. Mercer University Press.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_de_Montaigne

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President Trump Accuses Obama of Wiretapping Trump Tower — Abuse by National Security Agency — What did Obama know and When Did He Know It? — Arrogance and Abuse of Presidential Powers — Obama’s Towergate! — Turnkey Two Party Totalitarian Tyranny of Secret Surveillance Spying Security State — Videos

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Image result for cartoons obama wiretapping trump towerMark Levin Provides ProofObama Admin Wiretapped Trump Tower | Fox & Friends

Published on Mar 5, 2017

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IF THE FEDS DID WIRETAP TRUMP TOWER, IT’S NOT OBAMA WHO SHOULD WORRY

Republican president-elect Donald Trump

Early Saturday morning, President Trump fired off a series of tweets accusing, without evidence, former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower in the month before the election. Trump compared the alleged snooping to “Nixon/Watergate,” and intimated legal action.

Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

What makes the broader allegation so extraordinary isn’t that it is new. Quite the contrary. Various reports that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court granted Justice Department investigators a warrant to probe the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia surfaced in November. What makes Trump’s Twitter tirade so striking is what prompted it, and what it might imply if it’s true.

Anatomy of an Allegation

Baffling as it may be, it appears Trump’s accusation stems from a recent article published on Breitbart, the conservative news outlet formerly run by White House senior adviser Stephen Bannon.

“This is a somewhat stunning, in so far as the president of the United States doesn’t need to get his information about classified activity from Breitbart,” says Cato Institute fellow Julian Sanchez.

That story, “Mark Levin to Congress: Investigate Obama’s ‘Silent Coup’ Vs. Trump,” rehashes comments the titular conservative radio host made Thursday equating the previously reported FISA warrant with a “police state,” and accuses Obama of a politically motivated, covert attempt to undermine Trump and his associates.

It’s unclear just what prompted Levin’s rant, or why Trump glommed onto it. Although no one has confirmed a FISA investigation, or wiretaps in Trump Tower, several news outlets have reported the former’s existence. The most detailed account thus far, from the BBC in January, provided a timeline: The Justice Department sought a FISA warrant in June to intercept communications from two Russian banks suspected of facilitating donations to the Trump campaign. The judge reportedly rejected the warrant, as well as a narrower version sought in July. A new judge granted the order in mid-October, according to the BBC.

However strongly Trump feels that he’s right, he’d better hope he’s wrong.

None of this necessarily makes Trump’s allegations true. Even if a FISA warrant exists, it does not mean Trump Tower is tapped or that Trump specifically is the target. Further complicating things, the existence of a wiretap would not necessarily confirm the existence of a FISA warrant. Almost half of the building’s 58 floors are dedicated to commercial and office space, and any one of them—not to mention the building’s residents—could be the target of an investigation unrelated to international espionage or election tampering.

“If he has evidence that he was wiretapped without a proper FISA order being sought, that would be a huge scandal, and he should produce whatever evidence he’s got,” says Sanchez. “It’s a pretty serious claim, and it’s striking he would make it without anything solid to back it up.”

Republican Senator Ben Sasse called on the president to clarify his claims, stating that “we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust.” Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis strongly denied extra-judicial surveillance of any US citizens to Politico in response to the claims..

Look past the president’s conspiracy theories, though, and one fact stands out: However strongly Trump feels that he’s right, he’d better hope he’s wrong.

Tower of FISA

If nothing else, Trump’s tweets show he doesn’t understand how the FISA system works. If he did, he may have limited himself to tweeting about Arnold Schwartzenegger quitting The Apprentice this morning.

“While the order would have been requested by some part of the executive branch, Obama can’t order anything. Nor can Trump,” says former NSA lawyer April Doss, who stresses that her comments are based only on public information. “The order has to come from the court, and the court operates independently.”

FISA court judges serve seven-year appointments, so the court’s composition doesn’t ebb and flow with the political tides. What’s more, specific laws adopted in the wake of Watergate prevent the very activity Trump accuses Obama of.

“You can’t tap the phones of a political candidate for political purposes,” says Doss.

What you could tap them for? Acting as a foreign power, or as an agent of a foreign power. In other words, spying against US interests with both knowledge and intent.

Clearing that bar is difficult, by design. FISA warrants don’t allow for broad wiretaps of, say, every call going in and out of a specific office in a 58-story Manhattan skyscraper. Federal authorities must demonstrate not just probable cause, but that a given phone line serves primarily to undermine US interests. It’s difficult, for instance, to obtain a warrant to wiretap a shared office, for fear of picking up innocent third-party conversations.

“I have high confidence that a FISA court judge would not have authorized any warrant unless it met all the requirements under the statute,” says Doss.

Trump’s wiretap claims, then, carry presumably inadvertent implications. First, based on previous reporting and the nature of FISA courts, any wiretaps within Trump Tower would be legal. And they would stem from overwhelming evidence that the Trump campaign, or someone within it, has unsavory ties to Russia or another foreign power. Otherwise, it’s unlikely those wiretaps would exist at all.

If federal authorities did have cause to listen in on Trump Tower, though, and they provided enough evidence for a FISA court to approve the snooping, Obama is not the one who ought to worry.

With additional reporting by Andy Greenberg.

This story has been updated to include responses from Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis and GOP Senator Ben Sasse, and to reflect that FISA court judges serve seven-year terms, not lifetime tenure.

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/feds-wiretap-trump-tower-not-obama-worry/

 

Trump asks Congress to probe alleged illicit campaign investigations

AFPMarch 5, 2017
US President Donald Trump pictured during a meeting with parents and teachers at Saint Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida, on March 3, 2017
US President Donald Trump pictured during a meeting with parents and teachers at Saint Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida, on March 3, 2017 (AFP Photo/Nicholas KAMM)
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Washington (AFP) – President Donald Trump is asking Congress to probe “potentially politically motivated investigations” during the 2016 campaign, the White House said Sunday.

The announcement came one day after Trump took to Twitter to accuse his predecessor Barack Obama of tapping his phones ahead of the November election, without providing evidence of the explosive charge.

An Obama spokesman has denied Trump’s accusation as “simply false.”

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In his statement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred to unspecified reports of “potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election” as “very troubling.”

“President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016,” Spicer said.

He added that there would be no more comment on the matter from Trump or the White House.

Trump leveled his charges against Obama early Saturday, at the end of a week in which his administration was battered by controversy over communications between Russian officials and some of his senior aides including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” Trump wrote.

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” he wrote in another tweet, referring to the political scandal that toppled president Richard Nixon in 1974.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-asks-congress-probe-alleged-illicit-campaign-investigations-143333695.html

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald J. Trump on Inauguration Day. Mr. Trump has praised Mr. Obama repeatedly since taking office. But on Saturday, he called his predecessor a “bad (or sick) guy.”CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump on Saturday accused former President Barack Obama of tapping his phones at Trump Tower the month before the election, taking to Twitter to call his predecessor a “bad (or sick) guy.”

Without offering any evidence or providing the source of his information, Mr. Trump fired off a series of Twitter messages claiming that Mr. Obama “had my ‘wires tapped.’ ” He likened the supposed tapping to “Nixon/Watergate” and “McCarthyism.”

A spokesman for Mr. Obama said any suggestion that the former president had ordered such surveillance was “simply false.”

Mr. Trump’s aides declined to clarify whether the president’s explosive allegations were based on briefings from intelligence or law enforcement officials — which could mean that Mr. Trump was revealing previously unknown details about an investigation — or on something else, like a news report.

His decision to lend the power of his office to such a charged claim against his predecessor — without offering any initial proof — was remarkable, even for a leader who has repeatedly shown himself willing to make assertions that are false or based on dubious sources.

It would have been difficult for federal agents, working within the law, to obtain a wiretap order to target Mr. Trump’s phone conversations. It would have meant that the Justice Department had gathered sufficient evidence to persuade a federal judge that there was probable cause to believe he had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign power, depending on whether it was a criminal investigation or a foreign intelligence one.

Former officials pointed to longstanding laws and procedures intended to ensure that presidents cannot wiretap a rival for political purposes.

“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Mr. Obama. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”

But a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what Mr. McGahn believed was an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing some form of surveillance related to Mr. Trump and his associates.

The official offered no evidence to support the notion that such an order exists. If one does, it would be highly unusual for a White House to order the Justice Department to turn over such an investigative document, given the traditional independence of law enforcement matters.

It has been widely reported that there is a federal investigation, which began during the 2016 presidential campaign, into links between Trump associates and the Russians. That issue has dogged Mr. Trump for months.

In one message, which Mr. Trump sent from his Palm Beach, Fla., estate at 6:35 a.m., the president said he had “just found out” that his phones had been tapped before the election. Mr. Trump’s reference to “wires tapped” raised the possibility that he was referring to some other type of electronic surveillance and was using the idea of phone tapping loosely.

Two people close to Mr. Trump said they believed he was referring to a Breitbart News article, which aides said had been passed around among his advisers. Mark Levin, a conservative radio host, had also embraced the theory recently in a push against what right-leaning commentators have been calling the “deep state.”

The Breitbart article, published on Friday, claimed that there was a series of “known steps taken by President Barack Obama’s administration in its last months to undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and, later, his new administration.”

If Mr. Trump was motivated to take to Twitter after reading the Breitbart article or listening to Mr. Levin, he was using a presidential megaphone to spread dark theories of a broad conspiracy aimed at undermining his presidential ambitions, and later his presidency.

Even with the Breitbart article circulating, several of Mr. Trump’s advisers were stunned by the president’s morning Twitter outburst. Those advisers said they were uncertain about what specifically Mr. Trump was referring to; one surmised that he may also have been referring to a months-old news report about a secret surveillance warrant for communications at his New York offices.

One senior law enforcement official from the Obama administration, who has direct knowledge of the F.B.I. investigation into Russia and of government wiretapping, said that it was “100 percent untrue” that the government had wiretapped Mr. Trump. The official, who asked for anonymity to discuss matters related to investigations and intelligence, said the White House owed the American people an explanation for the president’s allegations.

Ben Rhodes, a former top national security aide to Mr. Obama, said in a Twitter message directed at Mr. Trump on Saturday that “no president can order a wiretap” and added, “Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are moving forward with their own investigations into Russia’s efforts to influence the election, and they have said they will examine links between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russians.

Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said on Friday that he believed there were “transcripts” that would help document those contacts, though he said he had not yet seen them.

Photo

Mr. Trump claimed the Obama administration ordered the phoned at his building in New York tapped. CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times

“There are transcripts that provide very helpful, very critical insights into whether or not Russian intelligence or senior Russian political leaders — including Vladimir Putin — were cooperating, were colluding, with the Trump campaign at the highest levels to influence the outcome of our election,” Mr. Coons told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. “I believe they exist.”

In a written statement on Saturday, a spokesman for Mr. Coons said that the senator “did not imply that he is aware of transcripts indicating collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” The spokesman, Sean Coit, said Mr. Coons “simply stated that a full review of all relevant transcripts and intelligence intercepts is necessary to determine if collusion took place.”

The New York Times reported in January that among the associates whose links to Russia are being scrutinized are Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign chairman; Carter Page, a businessman and foreign policy adviser to the campaign; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative who said he was in touch with WikiLeaks at one point before it released a trove of emails from John D. Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, last August. Mr. Stone later said he had communicated with WikiLeaks through an intermediary.

Mr. Trump appeared on Saturday to suggest that warrants had been issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. He claimed that the Obama administration had once been “turned down by court” in its supposed efforts to listen in on conversations by Mr. Trump and his associates.

In the fall, the F.B.I. examined computer data showing an odd stream of activity between a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s biggest banks, whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin. While some F.B.I. officials initially believed that the computer activity indicated an encrypted channel between Moscow and New York, the bureau ultimately moved away from that view. The activity remains unexplained.

There is no confirmed evidence that the F.B.I. obtained a court warrant to wiretap the Trump Organization or was capturing communications directly from the Trump Organization.

During the transition, the F.B.I. — which uses FISA warrants to eavesdrop on the communications of foreign leaders inside the United States — overheard conversations between the Russian ambassador to the United States and Michael T. Flynn, whom Mr. Trump had named national security adviser.

Mr. Trump has pointedly and repeatedly questioned in conversations how it was that Mr. Flynn’s conversations were recorded, and wondered who could have issued a warrant.

After The Washington Post reported that Mr. Flynn and the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, had discussed sanctions that the Obama administration had just imposed on Russia, Mr. Flynn was pushed out of his post by the White House because he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of the calls.

The Breitbart article cited mainstream news reports and concluded — going beyond the public record — that the Obama administration had “obtained authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the N.S.A. rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government.”

Mr. Levin, a day earlier, railed about what he called a “much bigger scandal,” claiming — again with no evidence — that Mr. Obama and his aides had used “the instrumentalities of the federal government, intelligence activity, to surveil members of the Trump campaign and put that information out in the public.”

Several senior members of Mr. Trump’s White House staff, including his spokesman, Sean Spicer, did not respond to an email requesting on-the-record responses to more than a half-dozen questions about Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, denounced the “willingness of the nation’s chief executive to make the most outlandish and destructive claims without providing a scintilla of evidence to support them.”

Even some Republican lawmakers questioned Mr. Trump’s accusations. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a statement demanding that the president reveal everything he knows about any wiretaps or warrants.

“The president today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information,” Mr. Sasse said, adding that “we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust.”

Taping calls seems to hold a spot in Mr. Trump’s consciousness. He spent many years taping his own phone calls as a businessman. During the campaign, Mr. Trump’s staff members told reporters they feared that their offices were being bugged.

But Mr. Trump’s latest allegations represented a sharp change in his tone toward Mr. Obama.

The current president has frequently spoken about how much he admires Mr. Obama for the gracious way he handled the transition. But since taking office, Mr. Trump has frequently clashed with the intelligence agencies over the Russia inquiries, including efforts to examine the attempts by that country to influence the presidential election and the contacts between Mr. Trump’s aides and the Russian government.

In recent days, the president has appeared increasingly angry about leaks of information that he believes are coming from law enforcement and intelligence officials who are holdovers or recently departed from Mr. Obama’s administration.

People close to Mr. Trump have described him as determined to stop those people from sabotaging his administration. One adviser said on Friday that the president had been discussing a possible plan to try to prevent leaks from occurring. The adviser declined to elaborate on what the plan might entail.

Two senior administration officials said Mr. Trump had tried for two days to find a way to be on an offensive footing against the news articles resulting from leaks; one person close to Mr. Trump said his explosive claim was a result of that.

Mr. Trump’s mood was said to be volatile even before he departed for his weekend in Florida, with an episode in which he vented at his staff. The president’s ire was trained in particular on Mr. McGahn, his White House counsel, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump was said to be frustrated about the decision by Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, to recuse himself from participating in any investigations of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mr. Trump has said there were no such connections. Mr. Trump, who did not learn that Mr. Sessions was recusing himself until after the decision was made, told aides that it gave an opening to his critics on the Russia issue.

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American Conservative Union CPAC 2017 — Videos

Posted on February 26, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, Heroes, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Religious, Security, Speech, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for cpac 2017  Trump Speech at CPAC 2017 (FULL) | ABC News

 CPAC 2017 – Dr. Larry Arnn

CPAC 2017 – Dan Schneider

FULL EVENT: President Donald Trump Speech at CPAC 2017 (2/24/2017) Donald Trump Live CPAC Speech

CPAC 2017 – Judge Jeanine Pirro

CPAC 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence’s full #CPAC Speech #CPAC2017

CPAC 2017 – How the Election Has Changed and Expanded the Pro-Life Movement

CPAC 2017 – Mark Levin and Sen. Ted Cruz

Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus Interview at CPAC 2017 | ABC News

CPAC 2017 – Sen. Jim Demint

CPAC 2017 – Ambassador John Bolton

CPAC 2017 – Nigel Farage

CPAC 2017 – Raheem Kassam

CPAC 2017 – Why Government Gets So Much Wrong

CPAC 2017 – When Did WWIII Begin? Part A: Threats at Home

CPAC 2017 – When did World War III Begin? Part B

CPAC 2017 – Armed and Fabulous

CPAC 2017 – Wayne LaPierre, NRA

CPAC 2017 – Chris Cox, NRA-ILA

CPAC 2017 – Prosecutors Gone Wild

CPAC 2017 – Kellyanne Conway

CPAC 2017 – A conversation with Carly Fiorina and Arthur Brooks

CPAC 2017 – The States vs The State Governors

CPAC 2017 – Gov. Pete Ricketts

CPAC 2017 – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

CPAC 2017 – Dan Schneider

CPAC 2017 – FREE stuff vs FREE-dom Panel

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Dore Gold — Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism — Videos

Posted on February 22, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Books, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Education, Faith, Family, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Money, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Rants, Raves, Religious, Terrorism, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

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Book | Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism

Wahhabism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wahhabism (Arabic: الوهابية‎‎, al-Wahhābiya(h)) or Wahhabi mission[1] (/wəˈhɑːbi, wɑː/;[2] Arabic: الدعوة الوهابية‎‎, ad-Da’wa al-Wahhābiya(h) ) is a sect,[3][4][5][6] religious movement or branch of Islam.[7][8][9][10] It has been variously described as “ultraconservative”,[11] “austere”,[7] “fundamentalist”,[12] or “puritan(ical)”[13][14] and as an Islamic “reform movement” to restore “pure monotheistic worship” (tawhid) by devotees,[15] and as a “deviant sectarian movement”,[15] “vile sect”[16] and a distortion of Islam by its opponents.[7][17] The term Wahhabi(ism) is often used polemically and adherents commonly reject its use, preferring to be called Salafi or muwahhid.[18][19][20] The movement emphasises the principle oftawhid[21] (the “uniqueness” and “unity” of God).[22] It claims its principal influences to be Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780–855) and Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328), both belonging to the Hanbalischool,[23] although the extent of their actual influence upon the tenets of the movement has been contested.[24][25]

Wahhabism is named after an eighteenth-century preacher and activist, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).[26] He started a reform movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd,[27] advocating a purging of such widespread Sunni practices as the intercession of saints, and the visitation to their tombs, both of which were practiced all over the Islamic world, but which he considered idolatry (shirk), impurities and innovations in Islam (Bid’ah).[9][22] Eventually he formed a pact with a local leader Muhammad bin Saudoffering political obedience and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement mean “power and glory” and rule of “lands and men.”[28]

The alliance between followers of ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud’s successors (the House of Saud) proved to be a durable one. The House of Saud continued to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect through the waxing and waning of its own political fortunes over the next 150 years, through to its eventual proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and then afterwards, on into modern times. Today Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab’s teachings are the official, state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam[7][29] in Saudi Arabia.[30] With the help of funding from Saudi petroleum exports[31] (and other factors[32]), the movement underwent “explosive growth” beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence.[7] The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism.[33]

The “boundaries” of Wahhabism have been called “difficult to pinpoint”,[34] but in contemporary usage, the terms Wahhabi and Salafi are often used interchangeably, and they are considered to be movements with different roots that have merged since the 1960s.[35][36][37] However, Wahhabism has also been called “a particular orientation within Salafism”,[38] or an ultra-conservative, Saudi brand of Salafism.[39][40] Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary, with one source (Mehrdad Izady) giving a figure of fewer than 5 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia).[30][41]

The majority of mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims worldwide strongly disagree with the interpretation of Wahhabism and consider it a “vile sect”.[16] Islamic scholars, including those from the Al-Azhar University, regularly denounce Wahhabism with terms such as “Satanic faith”.[16] Wahhabism has been accused of being “a source of global terrorism”,[42][43]inspiring the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),[44] and for causing disunity in Muslim communities by labelling Muslims who disagreed with the Wahhabi definition of monotheism as apostates[45] (takfir) and justifying their killing.[46][47][48] It has also been criticized for the destruction of historic shrines of saints, mausoleums, and other Muslim and non-Muslim buildings and artifacts.[49][50][51]

Definitions and etymology

Definitions

Some definitions or uses of the term Wahhabi Islam include:

  • “a corpus of doctrines”, and “a set of attitudes and behavior, derived from the teachings of a particularly severe religious reformist who lived in central Arabia in the mid-eighteenth century” (Gilles Kepel)[52]
  • “pure Islam” (David Commins, paraphrasing supporters’ definition),[17] that does not deviate from Sharia law in any way and should be called Islam and not Wahhabism. (King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the King of the Saudi Arabia)[53]
  • “a misguided creed that fosters intolerance, promotes simplistic theology, and restricts Islam’s capacity for adaption to diverse and shifting circumstances” (David Commins, paraphrasing opponents’ definition)[17]
  • “a conservative reform movement … the creed upon which the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, and [which] has influenced Islamic movements worldwide” (Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world)[54]
  • “a sect dominant in Saudi Arabia and Qatar” with footholds in “India, Africa, and elsewhere”, with a “steadfastly fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in the tradition of Ibn Hanbal” (Cyril Glasse)[21]
  • an “eighteenth-century reformist/revivalist movement for sociomoral reconstruction of society”, “founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab” (Oxford Dictionary of Islam).[55]
  • originally a “literal revivification” of Islamic principles that ignored the spiritual side of Islam, that “rose on the wings of enthusiasm апd longing and then sank down into the lowlands of pharisaic self-righteousness” after gaining power and losing its “longing and humility” (Muhammad Asad)[56]
  • “a political trend” within Islam that “has been adopted for power-sharing purposes”, but cannot be called a sect because “It has no special practices, nor special rites, and no special interpretation of religion that differ from the main body of Sunni Islam” (Abdallah Al Obeid, the former dean of the Islamic University of Medina and member of the Saudi Consultative Council)[34]
  • “the true salafist movement”. Starting out as a theological reform movement, it had “the goal of calling (da’wa) people to restore the ‘real’ meaning of tawhid (oneness of God or monotheism) and to disregard and deconstruct ‘traditional’ disciplines and practices that evolved in Islamic history such as theology and jurisprudence and the traditions of visiting tombs and shrines of venerated individuals.” (Ahmad Moussalli)[57]
  • a term used by opponents of Salafism in hopes of besmirching that movement by suggesting foreign influence and “conjuring up images of Saudi Arabia”. The term is “most frequently used in countries where Salafis are a small minority” of the Muslim community but “have made recent inroads” in “converting” the local population to Salafism. (Quintan Wiktorowicz)[18]
  • a blanket term used inaccurately to refer to “any Islamic movement that has an apparent tendency toward misogyny, militantism, extremism, or strict and literal interpretation of the Quran and hadith” (Natana J. DeLong-Bas)[58]

Etymology

According to Saudi writer Abdul Aziz Qassim and others, it was the Ottomans who “first labelled Abdul Wahhab’s school of Islam in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism”. The British also adopted it and expanded its use in the Middle East.[59]

Naming controversy: Wahhabis, Muwahhidun, and Salafis

Wahhabis do not like – or at least did not like – the term. Ibn Abd-Al-Wahhab was averse to the elevation of scholars and other individuals, including using a person’s name to label an Islamic school.[18][46][60]

According to Robert Lacey “the Wahhabis have always disliked the name customarily given to them” and preferred to be called Muwahhidun (Unitarians).[61] Another preferred term was simply “Muslims” since their creed is “pure Islam”.[62] However, critics complain these terms imply non-Wahhabis are not monotheists or Muslims,[62][63] and the English translation of that term causes confusion with the Christian denomination (Unitarian Universalism).

Other terms Wahhabis have been said to use and/or prefer include ahl al-hadith (“people of hadith”), Salafi Da’wa or al-da’wa ila al-tawhid[64] (“Salafi preaching” or “preaching of monotheism”, for the school rather than the adherents) or Ahl ul-Sunna wal Jama’a (“people of the tradition of Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah”),[38] Ahl al-Sunnah (“People of the Sunna”),[65] or “the reform or Salafi movement of the Sheikh” (the sheikh being ibn Abdul-Wahhab).[66] Early Salafis referred to themselves simply as “Muslims”, believing the neighboring Ottoman Caliphate was al-dawlah al-kufriyya (a heretical nation) and its self-professed Muslim inhabitants actually non-Muslim.[45][67][68][69] The prominent 20th-century Muslim scholar Nasiruddin Albani, who considered himself “of the Salaf,” referred to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab‘s activities as “Najdi da’wah.”[70]

Many, such as writer Quinton Wiktorowicz, urge use of the term Salafi, maintaining that “one would be hard pressed to find individuals who refer to themselves as Wahhabis or organizations that use ‘Wahhabi’ in their title, or refer to their ideology in this manner (unless they are speaking to a Western audience that is unfamiliar with Islamic terminology, and even then usage is limited and often appears as ‘Salafi/Wahhabi’).”[18] A New York Timesjournalist writes that Saudis “abhor” the term Wahhabism, “feeling it sets them apart and contradicts the notion that Islam is a monolithic faith.”[71] Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for example has attacked the term as “a doctrine that doesn’t exist here (Saudi Arabia)” and challenged users of the term to locate any “deviance of the form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia from the teachings of the Quran and Prophetic Hadiths“.[72][73] Ingrid Mattsonargues that, “‘Wahhbism’ is not a sect. It is a social movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islam of rigid cultural practices that had (been) acquired over the centuries.”[74]

On the other hand, according to authors at Global Security and Library of Congress the term is now commonplace and used even by Wahhabi scholars in the Najd,[9][75] a region often called the “heartland” of Wahhabism.[76]Journalist Karen House calls Salafi, “a more politically correct term” for Wahhabi.[77]

In any case, according to Lacey, none of the other terms have caught on, and so like the Christian Quakers, Wahhabis have “remained known by the name first assigned to them by their detractors.”[61]

Wahhabis and Salafis

Many scholars and critics distinguish between Wahhabi and Salafi. According to American scholar Christopher M. Blanchard,[78] Wahhabism refers to “a conservative Islamic creed centered in and emanating from Saudi Arabia,” while Salafiyya is “a more general puritanical Islamic movement that has developed independently at various times and in various places in the Islamic world.”[46]

However, many call Wahhabism a more strict, Saudi form of Salafi.[79][80] Wahhabism is the Saudi version of Salafism, according to Mark Durie, who states Saudi leaders “are active and diligent” using their considerable financial resources “in funding and promoting Salafism all around the world.”[81] Ahmad Moussalli tends to agree Wahhabism is a subset of Salafism, saying “As a rule, all Wahhabis are salafists, but not all salafists are Wahhabis”.[57]

Hamid Algar lists three “elements” Wahhabism and Salafism had in common.

  1. above all disdain for all developments subsequent to al-Salaf al-Salih (the first two or three generations of Islam),
  2. the rejection of Sufism, and
  3. the abandonment of consistent adherence to one of the four or five Sunni Madhhabs (schools of fiqh).

And “two important and interrelated features” that distinguished Salafis from the Wahhabis:

  1. a reliance on attempts at persuasion rather than coercion in order to rally other Muslims to their cause; and
  2. an informed awareness of the political and socio-economic crises confronting the Muslim world.[82]

Hamid Algar and another critic, Khaled Abou El Fadl, argue Saudi oil-export funding “co-opted” the “symbolism and language of Salafism”, during the 1960s and 70s, making them practically indistinguishable by the 1970s,[83]and now the two ideologies have “melded”. Abou El Fadl believes Wahhabism rebranded itself as Salafism knowing it could not “spread in the modern Muslim world” as Wahhabism.[35]

History

The Wahhabi mission started as a revivalist movement in the remote, arid region of Najd. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Al Saud dynasty, and with it Wahhabism, spread to the holy cities of Meccaand Medina. After the discovery of petroleum near the Persian Gulf in 1939, it had access to oil export revenues, revenue that grew to billions of dollars. This money – spent on books, media, schools, universities, mosques, scholarships, fellowships, lucrative jobs for journalists, academics and Islamic scholars – gave Wahhabism a “preeminent position of strength” in Islam around the world.[84]

In the country of Wahhabism’s founding – and by far the largest and most powerful country where it is the state religion – Wahhabi ulama gained control over education, law, public morality and religious institutions in the 20th century, while permitting as a “trade-off” doctrinally objectionable actions such as the import of modern technology and communications, and dealings with non-Muslims, for the sake of the consolidation of the power of its political guardian, the Al Saud dynasty.[85]

However, in the last couple of decades of the twentieth century several crises worked to erode Wahhabi “credibility” in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world – the November 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque by militants; the deployment of US troops in Saudi during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq; and the 9/11 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.[86]

In each case the Wahhabi establishment was called on to support the dynasty’s efforts to suppress religious dissent – and in each case it did[86] – exposing its dependence on the Saudi dynasty and its often unpopular policies.[87][88]

In the West, the end of the Cold War and the anti-communist alliance with conservative, religious Saudi Arabia, and the 9/11 attacks created enormous distrust towards the kingdom and especially its official religion.[89]

Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab

The founder of Wahhabism, Mohammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, was born around 1702-03 in the small oasis town of ‘Uyayna in the Najd region, in what is now central Saudi Arabia.[90] He studied in Basra,[91] in what is now Iraq, and possibly Mecca and Medina while there to perform Hajj, before returning to his home town of ‘Uyayna in 1740. There he worked to spread the call (da’wa) for what he believed was a restoration of true monotheistic worship (Tawhid).[92]

The “pivotal idea” of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching was that people who called themselves Muslims but who participated in alleged innovations were not just misguided or committing a sin, but were “outside the pale of Islam altogether,” as were Muslims who disagreed with his definition. [93]

This included not just lax, unlettered, nomadic Bedu, but Shia, Sunnis such as the Ottomans.[94] Such infidels were not to be killed outright, but to be given a chance to repent first.[95] With the support of the ruler of the town – Uthman ibn Mu’ammar – he carried out some of his religious reforms in ‘Uyayna, including the demolition of the tomb of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, one of the Sahaba (companions) of the prophet Muhammad, and the stoning to death of an adulterous woman. However, a more powerful chief (Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr) pressured Uthman ibn Mu’ammar to expel him from ‘Uyayna.[citation needed]

Alliance with the House of Saud

Further information:

1744–1818

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after unification in 1932

The ruler of nearby town, Muhammad ibn Saud, invited ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab to join him, and in 1744 a pact was made between the two. [96] Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines of the Wahhabi mission, while ibn Abdul Wahhab “would support the ruler, supplying him with ‘glory and power.'” Whoever championed his message, ibn Abdul Wahhab promised, “will, by means of it, rule the lands and men.” [28] Ibn Saud would abandon un-Sharia taxation of local harvests, and in return God might compensate him with booty from conquest and sharia compliant taxes that would exceed what he gave up.[97] The alliance between the Wahhabi mission and Al Saud family has “endured for more than two and half centuries,” surviving defeat and collapse.[96][98] The two families have intermarried multiple times over the years and in today’s Saudi Arabia, the minister of religion is always a member of the Al ash-Sheikh family, i.e., a descendent of Ibn Abdul Wahhab.[99]

According to most sources, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab declared jihad against neighboring tribes, whose practices of praying to saints, making pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, he believed to be the work of idolaters/unbelievers.[47][63][95][100]

One academic disputes this. According to Natana DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was restrained in urging fighting with perceived unbelievers, preferring to preach and persuade rather than attack.[101] [102][103] It was only after the death of Muhammad bin Saud in 1765 that, according to DeLong-Bas, Muhammad bin Saud’s son and successor, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad, used a “convert or die” approach to expand his domain,[104] and when Wahhabis adopted the takfir ideas of Ibn Taymiyya.[105]

However, various scholars, including Simon Ross Valentine, have strongly rejected such a view of Wahhab, arguing that “the image of Abd’al-Wahhab presented by DeLong-Bas is to be seen for what it is, namely a re-writing of history that flies in the face of historical fact”.[106] Conquest expanded through the Arabian Peninsula until it conquered Mecca and Medina the early 19th century.[107][108] It was at this time, according to DeLong-Bas, that Wahhabis embraced the ideas of Ibn Taymiyya, which allow self-professed Muslim who do not follow Islamic law to be declared non-Muslims – to justify their warring and conquering the Muslim Sharifs of Hijaz.[105]

One of their most noteworthy and controversial attacks was on Karbala in 1802. There, according to a Wahhabi chronicler `Uthman b. `Abdullah b. Bishr: “The Muslims” – as the Wahhabis referred to themselves, not feeling the need to distinguish themselves from other Muslims, since they did not believe them to be Muslims –

scaled the walls, entered the city … and killed the majority of its people in the markets and in their homes. [They] destroyed the dome placed over the grave of al-Husayn [and took] whatever they found inside the dome and its surroundings … the grille surrounding the tomb which was encrusted with emeralds, rubies, and other jewels … different types of property, weapons, clothing, carpets, gold, silver, precious copies of the Qur’an.”[109][110]

Wahhabis also massacred the male population and enslaved the women and children of the city of Ta’if in Hejaz in 1803.[111]

Saud bin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud managed to establish his rule over southeastern Syria between 1803 and 1812. However, Egyptian forces acting under the Ottoman Empire and led by Ibrahim Pasha, were eventually successful in counterattacking in a campaign starting from 1811.[112] In 1818 they defeated Al-Saud, leveling the capital Diriyah, executing the Al-Saud emir, exiling the emirate’s political and religious leadership,[98][113] and otherwise unsuccessfully attempted to stamp out not just the House of Saud but the Wahhabi mission as well.[114] A second, smaller Saudi state (Emirate of Nejd) lasted from 1819–1891. Its borders being within Najd, Wahhabism was protected from further Ottoman or Egyptian campaigns by the Najd’s isolation, lack of valuable resources, and that era’s limited communication and transportation.[115]

By the 1880s, at least among townsmen if not Bedouin, Wahhabi strict monotheistic doctrine had become the native religious culture of the Najd.[116]

Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud

Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia

Further information: History of Saudi Arabia

In 1901, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, a fifth generation descendent of Muhammad ibn Saud,[117] began a military campaign that led to the conquest of much of the Arabian peninsula and the founding of present-day Saudi Arabia, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.[118] The result that safeguarded the vision of Islam-based on the tenets of Islam as preached by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhabwas not bloodless, as 40,000 public executions and 350,000 amputations were carried out during its course, according to some estimates.[119][120][121][122]

Under the reign of Abdul-Aziz, “political considerations trumped religious idealism” favored by pious Wahhabis. His political and military success gave the Wahhabi ulama control over religious institutions with jurisdiction over considerable territory, and in later years Wahhabi ideas formed the basis of the rules and laws concerning social affairs, and shaped the kingdom’s judicial and educational policies.[123] But protests from Wahhabi ulama were overridden when it came to consolidating power in Hijaz and al-Hasa, avoiding clashes with the great power of the region (Britain), adopting modern technology, establishing a simple governmental administrative framework, or signing an oil concession with the U.S. [124] The Wahhabi ulama also issued a fatwa affirming that “only the ruler could declare a jihad”[125] (a violation of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching according to DeLong-Bas.[102])

As the realm of Wahhabism expanded under Ibn Saud into areas of Shiite (Al-Hasa, conquered in 1913) and pluralistic Muslim tradition (Hejaz, conquered in 1924–25), Wahhabis pressed for forced conversion of Shia and an eradication of (what they saw as) idolatry. Ibn Saud sought “a more relaxed approach”.[126]

In al-Hasa, efforts to stop the observance of Shia religious holidays and replace teaching and preaching duties of Shia clerics with Wahhabi, lasted only a year.[127]

In Mecca and Jeddah (in Hejaz) prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, playing cards and listening to music on the phonograph was looser than in Najd. Over the objections of Wahhabi ulama, Ibn Saud permitted both the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia at hajj.[128]

Enforcement of the commanding right and forbidding wrong, such as enforcing prayer observance and separation of the sexes, developed a prominent place during the second Saudi emirate, and in 1926 a formal committee for enforcement was founded in Mecca.[21][129] [130]

While Wahhabi warriors swore loyalty to monarchs of Al Saud, there was one major rebellion. King Abdul-Aziz put down rebelling Ikhwan – nomadic tribesmen turned Wahhabi warriors who opposed his “introducing such innovations as telephones, automobiles, and the telegraph” and his “sending his son to a country of unbelievers (Egypt)”. [131] Britain had aided Abdul-Aziz, and when the Ikhwan attacked the British protectorates of Transjordan,Iraq and Kuwait, as a continuation of jihad to expand the Wahhabist realm, Abdul-Aziz struck, killing hundreds before the rebels surrendered in 1929.[132]

Connection with the outside

Before Abdul-Aziz, during most of the second half of the 19th century, there was a strong aversion in Wahhabi lands to mixing with “idolaters” (which included most of the Muslim world). Voluntary contact was considered by Wahhabi clerics to be at least a sin, and if one enjoyed the company of idolaters, and “approved of their religion”, an act of unbelief.[133] Travel outside the pale of Najd to the Ottoman lands “was tightly controlled, if not prohibited altogether”.[134]

Over the course of its history, however, Wahhabism has become more accommodating towards the outside world.[135] In the late 1800s, Wahhabis found Muslims with at least similar beliefs – first with Ahl-i Hadith in India,[136]and later with Islamic revivalists in Arab states (one being Mahmud Sahiri al-Alusi in Baghdad).[137] The revivalists and Wahhabis shared a common interest in Ibn Taymiyya‘s thought, the permissibility of ijtihad, and the need to purify worship practices of innovation.[138] In the 1920s, Rashid Rida, a pioneer Salafist whose periodical al-Manar was widely read in the Muslim world, published an “anthology of Wahhabi treatises,” and a work praising the Ibn Saud as “the savior of the Haramayn [the two holy cities] and a practitioner of authentic Islamic rule”.[139][140]

In a bid “to join the Muslim mainstream and to erase the reputation of extreme sectarianism associated with the Ikhwan,” in 1926 Ibn Saud convened a Muslim congress of representatives of Muslim governments and popular associations.[141] By the early 1950s, the “pressures” on Ibn Saud of controlling the regions of Hejaz and al-Hasa – “outside the Wahhabi heartland” – and of “navigating the currents of regional politics” “punctured the seal” between the Wahhabi heartland and the “land of idolatry” outside.[142][143]

A major current in regional politics at that time was secular nationalism, which, with Gamal Abdul Nasser, was sweeping the Arab world. To combat it, Wahhabi missionary outreach worked closely with Saudi foreign policy initiatives. In May 1962, a conference in Mecca organized by Saudis discussed ways to combat secularism and socialism. In its wake, the World Muslim League was established.[144] To propagate Islam and “repel inimical trends and dogmas”, the League opened branch offices around the globe.[145] It developed closer association between Wahhabis and leading Salafis, and made common cause with the Islamic revivalist Muslim Brotherhood, Ahl-i Hadith and the Jamaat-i Islami, combating Sufism and “innovative” popular religious practices[144] and rejecting the West and Western “ways which were so deleterious of Muslim piety and values.”[146] Missionaries were sent to West Africa, where the League funded schools, distributed religious literature, and gave scholarships to attend Saudi religious universities. One result was the Izala Society which fought Sufism in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.[147]

An event that had a great effect on Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia[148] was the “infiltration of the transnationalist revival movement” in the form of thousands of pious, Islamist Arab Muslim Brotherhood refugees from Egypt following Nasser’s clampdown on the brotherhood[149] (and also from similar nationalist clampdowns in Iraq[150] and Syria[151]), to help staff the new school system of (the largely illiterate) Kingdom.[152]

The Brotherhood’s Islamist ideology differed from the more conservative Wahhabism which preached loyal obedience to the king. The Brotherhood dealt in what one author (Robert Lacey) called “change-promoting concepts” like social justice, and anticolonialism, and gave “a radical, but still apparently safe, religious twist” to the Wahhabi values Saudi students “had absorbed in childhood”. With the Brotherhood’s “hands-on, radical Islam”, jihad became a “practical possibility today”, not just part of history.[153]

The Brethren were ordered by the Saudi clergy and government not to attempt to proselytize or otherwise get involved in religious doctrinal matters within the Kingdom, but nonetheless “took control” of Saudi Arabia’s intellectual life” by publishing books and participating in discussion circles and salons held by princes.[154] In time they took leading roles in key governmental ministries,[155] and had influence on education curriculum.[156] An Islamic university in Medina created in 1961 to train – mostly non-Saudi – proselytizers to Wahhabism,[157] became “a haven” for Muslim Brother refugees from Egypt.[158] The Brothers’ ideas eventually spread throughout the kingdom and had great effect on Wahhabism – although observers differ as to whether this was by “undermining” it[148][159] or “blending” with it.[160][161]

Growth

In the 1950s and 60s within Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi ulama maintained their hold on religious law courts, and presided over the creation of Islamic universities and a public school system which gave students “a heavy dose of religious instruction”.[162] Outside of Saudi the Wahhabi ulama became “less combative” toward the rest of the Muslim world. In confronting the challenge of the West, Wahhabi doctrine “served well” for many Muslims as a “platform” and “gained converts beyond the peninsula.”[162][163]

A number of reasons have been given for this success. The growth in popularity and strength of both Arab nationalism (although Wahhabis opposed any form of nationalism as an ideology, Saudis were Arabs, and their enemy the Ottoman caliphate was ethnically Turkish),[32] and Islamic reform (specifically reform by following the example of those first three generations of Muslims known as the Salaf);[32] the destruction of the Ottoman Empire which sponsored their most effective critics;[164] the destruction of another rival, the Khilafa in Hejaz, in 1925.[32]

Not least in importance was the money Saudi Arabia earned from exporting oil.[84]

Petroleum export era

See also: Petro-Islam

The pumping and export of oil from Saudi Arabia started during World War II, and its earnings helped fund religious activities in the 1950s and 60s. But it was the 1973 oil crisis and quadrupling in the price of oil that both increased the kingdom’s wealth astronomically and enhanced its prestige by demonstrating its international power as a leader of OPEC. By 1980, Saudi Arabia was earning every three days the income from oil it had taken a year to earn before the embargo.[165] Tens of billions of US dollars of this money were spent on books, media, schools, scholarships for students (from primary to post-graduate), fellowships and subsidies to reward journalists, academics and Islamic scholars, the building of hundreds of Islamic centers and universities, and over one thousand schools and one thousand mosques.[166][167] [168] During this time, Wahhabism attained what Gilles Kepel called a “preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam.”[84]

Afghanistan jihad

The “apex of cooperation” between Wahhabis and Muslim revivalist groups was the Afghan jihad.[169]

In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Muslim Brother cleric with ties to Saudi religious institutions,[170] issued a fatwa[171] declaring defensive jihad in Afghanistan against the atheist Soviet Union, “fard ayn”, a personal (or individual) obligation for all Muslims. The edict was supported by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti (highest religious scholar), Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, among others.[172][173]

Between 1982 and 1992 an estimated 35,000 individual Muslim volunteers went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and their Afghan regime. Thousands more attended frontier schools teeming with former and future fighters. Somewhere between 12,000 and 25,000 of these volunteers came from Saudi Arabia.[174] Saudi Arabia and the other conservative Gulf monarchies also provided considerable financial support to the jihad — $600 million a year by 1982.[175]

By 1989, Soviet troops had withdrawn and within a few years the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul had collapsed.[citation needed]

This Saudi/Wahhabi religious triumph further stood out in the Muslim world because many Muslim-majority states (and the PLO) were allied with the Soviet Union and did not support the Afghan jihad.[176] But many jihad volunteers (most famously Osama bin Laden) returning home to Saudi and elsewhere were often radicalized by Islamic militants who were “much more extreme than their Saudi sponsors.”[176]

“Erosion” of Wahhabism

Grand Mosque seizure

Main article: Grand Mosque Seizure

In 1979, 400–500 Islamist insurgents, using smuggled weapons and supplies, took over the Grand mosque in Mecca, called for an overthrow of the monarchy, denounced the Wahhabi ulama as royal puppets, and announced the arrival of the Mahdi of “end time“. The insurgents deviated from Wahhabi doctrine in significant details,[177] but were also associated with leading Wahhabi ulama (Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz knew the insurgent’s leader, Juhayman al-Otaybi).[178] Their seizure of Islam‘s holiest site, the taking hostage of hundreds of hajj pilgrims, and the deaths of hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in crossfire during the two-week-long retaking of the mosque, all shocked the Islamic world[179] and did not enhance the prestige of Al Saud as “custodians” of the mosque.

The incident also damaged all the prestige of the Wahhabi establishment. Saudi leadership sought and received Wahhabi fatawa to approve the military removal of the insurgents and after that to execute them.[180] But Wahhabi clerics also fell under suspicion for involvement with the insurgents.[181] In part as a consequence, Sahwa clerics influenced by Brethren’s ideas were given freer rein. Their ideology was also thought more likely to compete with the recent Islamic revolutionism/third-worldism of the Iranian Revolution.[181]

Although the insurgents were motivated by religious puritanism, the incident was not followed by a crackdown on other religious purists, but by giving greater power to the ulama and religious conservatives to more strictly enforce Islamic codes in myriad ways[182] – from the banning of women’s images in the media to adding even more hours of Islamic studies in school and giving more power and money to the religious police to enforce conservative rules of behaviour.[183][184][185]

1990 Gulf War

In August 1990 Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait. Concerned that Saddam Hussein might push south and seize its own oil fields, Saudis requested military support from the US and allowed tens of thousands of US troops to be based in the Kingdom to fight Iraq.[186]

But what “amounted to seeking infidels’ assistance against a Muslim power” was difficult to justify in terms of Wahhabi doctrine.[187][188]

Again Saudi authorities sought and received a fatwa from leading Wahhabi ulama supporting their action. The fatwa failed to persuade many conservative Muslims and ulama who strongly opposed US presence, including the Muslim Brotherhood-supported the Sahwah “Awakening” movement that began pushing for political change in the Kingdom.[189] Outside the kingdom, Islamist/Islamic revival groups that had long received aid from Saudi and had ties with Wahhabis (Arab jihadists, Pakistani and Afghan Islamists) supported Iraq, not Saudi.[190]

During this time and later, many in the Wahhabi/Salafi movement (such as Osama bin Laden) not only no longer looked to the Saudi monarch as an emir of Islam, but supported his overthrow, focusing on jihad (Salafist jihadists) against the US and (what they believe are) other enemies of Islam.[191][192] (This movement is sometimes called neo-Wahhabi or neo-salafi.[57][193])

After 9/11

The 2001 9/11 attacks on Saudi’s putative ally, the US, that killed almost 3,000 people and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage[194] were assumed by many, at least outside the kingdom, to be “an expression of Wahhabism”, since the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.[195] A backlash in the formerly hospitable US against the kingdom focused on its official religion that came to be considered by “some … a doctrine of terrorism and hate.”[89]

Inside the kingdom, Crown Prince Abdullah addressed the country’s religious, tribal, business and media leadership following the attacks in a series of televised gatherings calling for a strategy to correct what has gone wrong. According to author Robert Lacey, the gatherings and later articles and replies by a top cleric, Abdullah Turki, and two top Al Saud princes, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, served as an occasion to sort out who had the ultimate power in the kingdom – the Al Saud dynasty and not the ulema. It was declared that it has always been the role of executive rulers in Islamic history to exercise power and the job of the religious scholars to advise, never to govern.[196]

In 2003–04, Saudi Arabia saw a wave of Al-Qaeda-related suicide bombings, attacks on Non-Muslim foreigners (about 80% of those employed in the Saudi private sector are foreign workers[197] and constitute about 30% of the country’s population[198]) and gun battles between Saudi security forces and militants. One reaction to the attacks was a trimming back of the Wahhabi establishment’s domination of religion and society. “National Dialogues” were held that “included Shiites, Sufis, liberal reformers, and professional women.”[199] In 2009, as part of what some called an effort to “take on the ulema and reform the clerical establishment”, King Abdullah issued a decree that only “officially approved” religious scholars would be allowed to issue fatwas in Saudi Arabia. The king also expanded the Council of Senior Scholars (containing officially approved religious scholars) to include scholars fromSunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence other than the Hanbali madhabShafi’i, Hanafi and Maliki schools.[200]

Relations with the Muslim Brotherhood have deteriorated steadily. After 9/11, the then interior minister Prince Nayef, blamed the Brotherhood for extremism in the kingdom,[201] and he declared it guilty of “betrayal of pledges and ingratitude” and “the source of all problems in the Islamic world”, after it was elected to power in Egypt.[202] In March 2014 the Saudi government declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist organization”.[186]

In April 2016, Saudi Arabia has stripped its religious police, who enforce Islamic law on the society and known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice), from their power to follow, chase, stop, question, verify identification, or arrest any suspected persons when carrying out duties. They are asked to only report suspicious behaviour to regular police and anti-drug units, who will decide whether to take the matter further.[203][204]

Memoirs of Mr. Hempher

A widely circulated but discredited apocryphal description of the founding of Wahhabism[205][206] known as Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East (other titles have been used),[207] alleges that a British agent named Hempher was responsible for creation of Wahhabism. In the “memoir”, Hempher corrupts Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, manipulating him[208] to preach his new interpretation of Islam for the purpose of sowing dissension and disunity among Muslims so that “We, the English people, … may live in welfare and luxury.”[207]

Practices

As a religious revivalist movement that works to bring Muslims back from what it believes are foreign accretions that have corrupted Islam,[209] and believes that Islam is a complete way of life and so has prescriptions for all aspects of life, Wahhabism is quite strict in what it considers Islamic behavior. As a result, it has been described as the “strictest form of Sunni Islam”.[210]

This does not mean however, that all adherents agree on what is required or forbidden, or that rules have not varied by area or changed over time. In Saudi Arabia the strict religious atmosphere of Wahhabi doctrine is visible in the conformity in dress, public deportment, and public prayer,[211] and makes its presence felt by the wide freedom of action of the “religious police“, clerics in mosques, teachers in schools, and judges (who are religious legal scholars) in Saudi courts.[212]

Commanding right and forbidding wrong

Wahhabism is noted for its policy of “compelling its own followers and other Muslims strictly to observe the religious duties of Islam, such as the five prayers”, and for “enforcement of public morals to a degree not found elsewhere”.[213]

While other Muslims might urge abstention from alcohol, modest dress, and salat prayer, for Wahhabis prayer “that is punctual, ritually correct, and communally performed not only is urged but publicly required of men.” Not only is wine forbidden, but so are “all intoxicating drinks and other stimulants, including tobacco.” Not only is modest dress prescribed, but the type of clothing that should be worn, especially by women (a black abaya, covering all but the eyes and hands) is specified.[75]

Following the preaching and practice of Abdul Wahhab that coercion should be used to enforce following of sharia, an official committee has been empowered to “Command the Good and Forbid the Evil” (the so-called “religious police”)[213][214] in Saudi Arabia – the one country founded with the help of Wahhabi warriors and whose scholars and pious[citation needed] dominate many aspects of the Kingdom’s life. Committee “field officers” enforce strict closing of shops at prayer time, segregation of the sexes, prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol, driving of motor vehicles by women, and other social restrictions.[215]

A large number of practices have been reported forbidden by Saudi Wahhabi officials, preachers or religious police. Practices that have been forbidden as Bida’a (innovation) or shirk and sometimes “punished by flogging” during Wahhabi history include performing or listening to music, dancing, fortune telling, amulets, television programs (unless religious), smoking, playing backgammon, chess, or cards, drawing human or animal figures, acting in a play or writing fiction (both are considered forms of lying), dissecting cadavers (even in criminal investigations and for the purposes of medical research), recorded music played over telephones on hold or the sending of flowers to friends or relatives who are in the hospital.[121][216][217][218][219][220] Common Muslim practices Wahhabis believe are contrary to Islam include listening to music in praise of Muhammad, praying to God while visiting tombs (including the tomb of Muhammad), celebrating mawlid (birthday of the Prophet),[221] the use of ornamentation on or in mosques.[222] The driving of motor vehicles by women is allowed in every country but Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia[223] and the famously strict Taliban practiced dream interpretation is discouraged by Wahhabis.[224]

Wahhabism emphasizes “Thaqafah Islamiyyah” or Islamic culture and the importance of avoiding non-Islamic cultural practices and non-Muslim friendship no matter how innocent these may appear,[225][226] on the grounds that the Sunna forbids imitating non-Muslims.[227] Foreign practices sometimes punished and sometimes simply condemned by Wahhabi preachers as unIslamic, include celebrating foreign days (such as Valentine’s Day[228] orMothers Day[225][227]) shaving, cutting or trimming of beards,[229] giving of flowers,[230] standing up in honor of someone, celebrating birthdays (including the Prophet’s), keeping or petting dogs.[219] Wahhabi scholars have warned against taking non-Muslims as friends, smiling at or wishing them well on their holidays.[71]

Wahhabis are not in unanimous agreement on what is forbidden as sin. Some Wahhabi preachers or activists go further than the official Saudi Arabian Council of Senior Scholars in forbidding (what they believe to be) sin. Several wahhabis have declared football forbidden for a variety of reasons including it is a non-Muslim, foreign practice, because of the revealing uniforms and because of the foreign non-Muslim language used in matches.[231][232] The Saudi Grand Mufti, on the other hand has declared football permissible (halal). [233]

Senior Wahhabi leaders in Saudi Arabia have determined that Islam forbids the traveling or working outside the home by a woman without their husband’s permission – permission which may be revoked at any time – on the grounds that the different physiological structures and biological functions of the different genders mean that each sex is assigned a different role to play in the family.[234] As mentioned before, Wahhabism also forbids the driving of motor vehicles by women. Sexual intercourse out of wedlock may be punished with beheading[235] although sex out of wedlock is permissible with a slave women (Prince Bandar bin Sultan was the product of “a brief encounter” between his father Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz – the Saudi defense minister for many years – and “his slave, a black servingwoman”),[236] or was before slavery was banned in Saudi Arabia in 1962.[237]

Despite this strictness, senior Wahhabi scholars of Islam in the Saudi kingdom have made exceptions in ruling on what is haram. Foreign non-Muslim troops are forbidden in Arabia, except when the king needed them to confront Saddam Hussein in 1990; gender mixing of men and women is forbidden, and fraternization with non-Muslims is discouraged, but not at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Movie theaters and driving by women are forbidden, except at the ARAMCO compound in eastern Saudi, populated by workers for the company that provides almost all the government’s revenue. The exceptions made at KAUST are also in effect at ARAMCO.[238]

More general rules of what is permissible have changed over time. Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud imposed Wahhabi doctrines and practices “in a progressively gentler form” as his early 20th-century conquests expanded his state into urban areas, especially the Hejab.[239] After vigorous debate Wahhabi religious authorities in Saudi Arabia allowed the use of paper money (in 1951), the abolition of slavery (in 1962), education of females (1964), and use of television (1965).[237] Music, the sound of which once might have led to summary execution, is now commonly heard on Saudi radios. [239] Minarets for mosques and use of funeral markers, which were once forbidden, are now allowed. Prayer attendance which was once enforced by flogging, is no longer.[240]

Appearance

The uniformity of dress among men and women in Saudi Arabia (compared to other Muslim countries in the Middle East) has been called a “striking example of Wahhabism’s outward influence on Saudi society”, and an example of the Wahhabi belief that “outward appearances and expressions are directly connected to one’s inward state.”[222] The “long, white flowing thobe” worn by men of Saudi Arabia has been called the “Wahhabi national dress”.[241]Red-and-white checkered or white head scarves known as Ghutrah are worn. In public women are required to wear a black abaya or other black clothing that covers every part of their body other than hands and eyes.

A “badge” of a particularly pious Salafi or Wahhabi man is a robe too short to cover the ankle, an untrimmed beard,[242] and no cord (Agal) to hold the head scarf in place.[243] The warriors of the Ikhwan Wahhabi religious militia wore a white turban in place of an agal.[244]

Wahhabiyya mission

Wahhabi mission, or Dawah Wahhabiyya, is to spread purified Islam through the world, both Muslim and non-Muslim. [245] Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by the Saudi government and charities on mosques, schools, education materials, scholarships, throughout the world to promote Islam and the Wahhabi interpretation of it. Tens of thousands of volunteers[174] and several billion dollars also went in support of the jihad against the atheist communist regime governing Muslim Afghanistan.[175]

Regions

Wahhabism originated in the Najd region, and its conservative practices have stronger support there than in regions in the kingdom to the east or west of it.[246][247][248] Glasse credits the softening of some Wahhabi doctrines and practices on the conquest of the Hejaz region “with its more cosmopolitan traditions and the traffic of pilgrims which the new rulers could not afford to alienate”.[239]

The only other country “whose native population is Wahhabi and that adheres to the Wahhabi creed”, is the small gulf monarchy of Qatar,[249][250] whose version of Wahhabism is notably less strict. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar made significant changes in the 1990s. Women are now allowed to drive and travel independently; non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcohol and pork. The country sponsors a film festival, has “world-class art museums”, hosts Al Jazeera news service, will hold the 2022 football World Cup, and has no religious force that polices public morality. Qatari’s attribute its different interpretation of Islam to the absence of an indigenous clerical class and autonomous bureaucracy (religious affairs authority, endowments, Grand Mufti), the fact that Qatari rulers do not derive their legitimacy from such a class.[250][251]

Views

Adherents to the Wahhabi movement identify as Sunni Muslims.[252] The primary Wahhabi doctrine is affirmation of the uniqueness and unity of God (Tawhid),[22][253] and opposition toshirk (violation of tawhid – “the one unforgivable sin”, according to Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab).[254] They call for adherence to the beliefs and practices of the salaf (exemplary early Muslims). They strongly oppose what they consider to be heteredox doctrines, particularly those held by the vast majority of Sunnis and Shiites,[255] and practices such as the veneration of Prophets and saints in the Islamic tradition. They emphasize reliance on the literal meaning of the Quran and hadith, rejecting rationalistic theology (kalam). Wahhabism has been associated with the practice of takfir (labeling Muslims who disagree with their doctrines as apostates). Adherents of Wahhabism are favourable to derivation of new legal rulings (ijtihad) so long as it is true to the essence of the Quran, Sunnah and understanding of the salaf.[256]

Theology

In theology Wahhabism is closely aligned with the Athari (traditionalist) school, which represents the prevalent theological position of the Hanbali school of law.[257][258] Athari theology is characterized by reliance on the zahir (apparent or literal) meaning of the Quran and hadith, and opposition to the rational argumentation in matters of belief favored by Ash’ari andMaturidi theology.[259][260] However, Wahhabism diverges in some points of theology from other Athari movements.[261] These include a zealous tendency toward takfir, which bears a resemblance to the Kharijites.[261][262] Another distinctive feature is a strong opposition to mysticism.[261] Although it is typically attributed to the influence of Ibn Taymiyyah, Jeffry Halverson argues that Ibn Taymiyyah only opposed what he saw as Sufi excesses and never mysticism in itself, being himself a member of the Qadiriyyah Sufi order.[261] DeLong-Bas writes that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not denounce Sufism or Sufis as a group, but rather attacked specific practices which he saw as inconsistent with the Quran and hadith.[263]

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab considered some beliefs and practices of the Shia to violate the doctrine of monotheism.[264] According to DeLong-Bas, in his polemic against the “extremistRafidah sect of Shiis”, he criticized them for assigning greater authority to their current leaders than to Muhammad in interpreting the Quran and sharia, and for denying the validity of the consensus of the early Muslim community.[264] He also believed that the Shia doctrine of infallibility of the imams constituted associationism with God.[264]

David Commins describes the “pivotal idea” in Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching as being that “Muslims who disagreed with his definition of monotheism were not … misguided Muslims, but outside the pale of Islam altogether.” This put Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching at odds with that of most Muslims through history who believed that the “shahada” profession of faith (“There is no god but God, Muhammad is his messenger”) made one a Muslim, and that shortcomings in that person’s behavior and performance of other obligatory rituals rendered them “a sinner”, but “not an unbeliever.”

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not accept that view. He argued that the criterion for one’s standing as either a Muslim or an unbeliever was correct worship as an expression of belief in one God. … any act or statement that indicates devotion to a being other than God is to associate another creature with God’s power, and that is tantamount to idolatry (shirk). Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included in the category of such acts popular religious practices that made holy men into intercessors with God. That was the core of the controversy between him and his adversaries, including his own brother.[265]

In Ibn Abd al-Wahhab‘s major work, a small book called Kitab al-Tawhid, he states that worship in Islam is limited to conventional acts of worship such as the five daily prayers (salat); fasting for Ramadan (Sawm); Dua(supplication); Istia’dha (seeking protection or refuge); Ist’ana (seeking help), and Istigatha to Allah (seeking benefits and calling upon Allah alone). Worship beyond this – making du’a or tawassul – are acts of shirk and in violation of the tenets of Tawhid (montheism).[266][page needed][267]

Ibn Abd al-Wahahb’s justification for considering majority of Muslims of Arabia to be unbelievers, and for waging war on them, can be summed up as his belief that the original pagans the prophet Muhammad fought “affirmed that God is the creator, the sustainer and the master of all affairs; they gave alms, they performed pilgrimage and they avoided forbidden things from fear of God”. What made them pagans whose blood could be shed and wealth plundered was that “they sacrificed animals to other beings; they sought the help of other beings; they swore vows by other beings.” Someone who does such things even if their lives are otherwise exemplary is not a Muslim but an unbeliever (as Ibn Abd al-Wahahb believed). Once such people have received the call to “true Islam”, understood it and then rejected it, their blood and treasure are forfeit.[268][269]

This disagreement between Wahhabis and non-Wahhabi Muslims over the definition of worship and monotheism has remained much the same since 1740, according to David Commins,[265] although, according to Saudi writer and religious television show host Abdul Aziz Qassim, as of 2014, “there are changes happening within the [Wahhabi] doctrine and among its followers.”[53]

According to another source, defining aspects of Wahhabism include a very literal interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah and a tendency to reinforce local practices of the Najd.[270]

Whether the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included the need for social renewal and “plans for socio-religious reform of society” in the Arabian Peninsula, rather than simply a return to “ritual correctness and moral purity”, is disputed.[271][272]

Jurisprudence (fiqh)

Of the four major sources in Sunni fiqh – the Quran, the Sunna, consensus (ijma), and analogical reasoning (qiyas) – Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s writings emphasized the Quran and Sunna. He used ijma only “in conjunction with its corroboration of the Quran and hadith”[273] (and giving preference to the ijma of Muhammad’s companions rather than the ijma of legal specialists after his time), and qiyas only in cases of extreme necessity.[274] He rejected deference to past juridical opinion (taqlid) in favor of independent reasoning (ijtihad), and opposed using local customs.[275] He urged his followers to “return to the primary sources” of Islam in order “to determine how the Quran and Muhammad dealt with specific situations”,[276] when using ijtihad. According to Edward Mortimer, it was imitation of past juridical opinion in the face of clear contradictory evidence from hadith or Qur’anic text that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab condemned.[277] Natana DeLong-Bas writes that the Wahhabi tendency to consider failure to abide by Islamic law as equivalent to apostasy was based on the ideology of Ibn Taymiyya rather than Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s preaching and emerged after the latter’s death.[278]

According to an expert on law in Saudi Arabia (Frank Vogel), Ibn Abd al-Wahhab himself “produced no unprecedented opinions”. The “Wahhabis’ bitter differences with other Muslims were not over fiqh rules at all, but over aqida, or theological positions”.[279] Scholar David Cummings also states that early disputes with other Muslims did not center on fiqh, and that the belief that the distinctive character of Wahhabism stems from Hanbali legal thought is a “myth”.[280]

Some scholars are ambivalent as to whether Wahhabis belong to the Hanbali legal school. The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World maintains Wahhabis “rejected all jurisprudence that in their opinion did not adhere strictly to the letter of the Qur’an and the hadith”.[281] Cyril Glasse’s New Encyclopedia of Islam states that “strictly speaking”, Wahhabis “do not see themselves as belonging to any school,”[282] and that in doing so they correspond to the ideal aimed at by Ibn Hanbal, and thus they can be said to be of his ‘school’.[283] [284] According to DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab never directly claimed to be a Hanbali jurist, warned his followers about the dangers of adhering unquestionably to fiqh, and did not consider “the opinion of any law school to be binding.”[285] He did, however, follow the Hanbali methodology of judging everything not explicitly forbidden to be permissible, avoiding the use of analogical reasoning, and taking public interest and justice into consideration.[285]

Loyalty and disassociation

According to various sources—scholars,[47][286][287] [288] [289][290] former Saudi students, [291] Arabic-speaking/reading teachers who have had access to Saudi text books, [292] and journalists[293] – Ibn `Abd al Wahhab and his successors preach that theirs is the one true form of Islam. According to a doctrine known as al-wala` wa al-bara` (literally, “loyalty and disassociation”), Abd al-Wahhab argued that it was “imperative for Muslims not to befriend, ally themselves with, or imitate non-Muslims or heretical Muslims”, and that this “enmity and hostility of Muslims toward non-Muslims and heretical had to be visible and unequivocal”.[294][295] Even as late as 2003, entire pages in Saudi textbooks were devoted to explaining to undergraduates that all forms of Islam except Wahhabism were deviation,[292] although, according to one source (Hamid Algar) Wahhabis have “discreetly concealed” this view from other Muslims outside Saudi Arabia “over the years”.[287][296]

In reply, the Saudi Arabian government “has strenuously denied the above allegations”, including that “their government exports religious or cultural extremism or supports extremist religious education.”[297]

Politics

According to ibn Abdal-Wahhab there are three objectives for Islamic government and society: “to believe in Allah, enjoin good behavior, and forbid wrongdoing.” This doctrine has been sustained in missionary literature, sermons, fatwa rulings, and explications of religious doctrine by Wahhabis since the death of ibn Abdal-Wahhab.[75] Ibn Abd al-Wahhab saw a role for the imam, “responsible for religious matters”, and the amir, “in charge of political and military issues”.[298] (In Saudi history the imam has not been a religious preacher or scholar, but Muhammad ibn Saud[299] and subsequent Saudi rulers.[64][300])

He also taught that the Muslim ruler is owed unquestioned allegiance as a religious obligation from his people so long as he leads the community according to the laws of God. A Muslim must present a bayah, or oath of allegiance, to a Muslim ruler during his lifetime to ensure his redemption after death.[75][301] Any counsel given to a ruler from community leaders or ulama should be private, not through public acts such as petitions, demonstrations, etc. [302] [303] (This strict obedience can become problematic if a dynastic dispute arises and someone rebelling against the ruler succeeds and becomes the ruler, as happened in the late 19th century at the end of the second al-Saud state.[304] Is the successful rebel a ruler to be obeyed, or a usurper?[305])

While this gives the king wide power, respecting shari’a does impose limits, such as giving qadi (Islamic judges) independence. This means not interfering in their deliberations, but also not codifying laws, following precedents or establishing a uniform system of law courts – both of which violate the qadi’s independence.[306]

Wahhabis have traditionally given their allegiance to the House of Saud, but a movement of “Salafi jihadis” has developed among those who believe Al Saud has abandoned the laws of God.[191][192] According to Zubair Qamar, while the “standard view” is that “Wahhabis are apolitical and do not oppose the State”, there is/was another “strain” of Wahhabism that “found prominence among a group of Wahhabis after the fall of the second Saudi State in the 1800s”, and post 9/11 is associated with Jordanian/Palestinian scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and “Wahhabi scholars of the ‘Shu’aybi‘ school”.[307]

Wahhabis share the belief of Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic dominion over politics and government and the importance of dawah (proselytizing or preaching of Islam) not just towards non-Muslims but towards erroring Muslims. However Wahhabi preachers are conservative and do not deal with concepts such as social justice, anticolonialism, or economic equality, expounded upon by Islamist Muslims.[308] Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s original pact promised whoever championed his message, ‘will, by means of it, rule and lands and men.'”[28]

Population

One of the more detailed estimates of religious population in the Arabic Gulf is by Mehrdad Izady who estimates, “using cultural and not confessional criteria”, only 4.56 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region, about 4 million from Saudi Arabia, (mostly the Najd), and the rest coming overwhelmingly from the Emirates and Qatar.[30] Most Sunni Qataris are Wahhabis (46.9% of all Qataris)[30] and 44.8% of Emiratis are Wahhabis,[30] 5.7% of Bahrainisare Wahhabis, and 2.2% of Kuwaitis are Wahhabis.[30] They account for roughly 0.5% of the world’s Muslim population.[309]

Notable leaders

There has traditionally been a recognized head of the Wahhabi “religious estate”, often a member of Al ash-Sheikh (a descendant of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) or related to another religious head. For example, Abd al-Latif was the son of Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan.

  • Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) was the founder of the Wahhabi movement.[310][311]
  • Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1752–1826) was the head of Wahhabism after his father retired from public life in 1773. After the fall of the first Saudi emirate, Abd Allah went into exile in Cairo where he died.[310]
  • Sulayman ibn Abd Allah (1780–1818) was a grandson of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and author of an influential treatise that restricted travel to and residing in land of idolaters (i.e. land outside of the Wahhabi area).[310]
  • Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan (1780–1869) was head of the religious estate in the second Saudi emirate.[310]
  • Abd al-Latif ibn Abd al-Rahman (1810–1876) Head of religious estate in 1860 and early 1870s.[310]
  • Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Latif Al ash-Sheikh (1848–1921) was the head of religious estate during period of Rashidi rule and the early years of King Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud.[310]
  • Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al ash-Sheikh (1893–1969) was the head of Wahhabism in mid twentieth century. He has been said to have “dominated the Wahhabi religious estate and enjoyed unrivaled religious authority.”[312]
  • Ghaliyya al-Wahhabiyya was a female military leader who defended Mecca against recapture by Ottoman forces.

In more recent times, a couple of Wahhabi clerics have risen to prominence that have no relation to ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

  • Abdul Aziz Bin Baz (1910–1999), has been called “the most prominent proponent” of Wahhabism during his time.[313]
  • Muhammad ibn al-Uthaymeen (1925–2001), another “giant”. According to David Dean Commins, no one “has emerged” with the same “degree of authority in the Saudi religious establishment” since their deaths.[313]

International influence and propagation

Explanation for influence

Khaled Abou El Fadl attributed the appeal of Wahhabism to some Muslims as stemming from

  • Arab nationalism, which followed the Wahhabi attack on the Ottoman Empire
  • Reformism, which followed a return to Salaf (as-Salaf aṣ-Ṣāliḥ);
  • Destruction of the Hejaz Khilafa in 1925;
  • Control of Mecca and Medina, which gave Wahhabis great influence on Muslim culture and thinking;
  • Oil, which after 1975 allowed Wahhabis to promote their interpretations of Islam using billions from oil export revenue.[314]

Scholar Gilles Kepel, agrees that the tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974–1980 period, provided the source of much influence of Wahhabism in the Islamic World.

… the financial clout of Saudi Arabia had been amply demonstrated during the oil embargo against the United States, following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. This show of international power, along with the nation’s astronomical increase in wealth, allowed Saudi Arabia’s puritanical, conservative Wahhabite faction to attain a preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam. Saudi Arabia’s impact on Muslims throughout the world was less visible than that of Khomeini]s Iran, but the effect was deeper and more enduring. …. it reorganized the religious landscape by promoting those associations and ulemas who followed its lead, and then, by injecting substantial amounts of money into Islamic interests of all sorts, it won over many more converts. Above all, the Saudis raised a new standard – the virtuous Islamic civilization – as foil for the corrupting influence of the West.[84]

Funding factor

Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include “upward of $100 billion”;[315] between $2 and 3 billion per year since 1975 (compared to the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion/year);[316] and “at least $87 billion” from 1987–2007.[317]

Its largesse funded an estimated “90% of the expenses of the entire faith”, throughout the Muslim World, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian.[318] It extended to young and old, from children’s madrasas to high-level scholarship.[319] “Books, scholarships, fellowships, mosques” (for example, “more than 1,500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years”) were paid for.[320] It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.[167] Yahya Birt counts spending on “1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools”.[316][321]

This financial aid has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew,[318] and has caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called “petro-Islam”[322]) to be perceived as the correct interpretation—or the “gold standard” of Islam—in many Muslims’ minds.[323][324]

Militant and political Islam

According to counter-terrorism scholar Thomas F. Lynch III, Sunni extremists perpetrated about 700 terror attacks killing roughly 7,000 people from 1981–2006.[325] What connection, if any, there is between Wahhabism and theJihadi Salafis such as Al-Qaeda who carried out these attacks, is disputed.

Natana De Long-Bas, senior research assistant at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, argues:

The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden did not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab and was not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it came to define Wahhabi Islam during the later years of bin Laden’s lifetime. However “unrepresentative” bin Laden’s global jihad was of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news took Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.[326]

Noah Feldman distinguishes between what he calls the “deeply conservative” Wahhabis and what he calls the “followers of political Islam in the 1980s and 1990s,” such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and later Al-Qaeda leaderAyman al-Zawahiri. While Saudi Wahhabis were “the largest funders of local Muslim Brotherhood chapters and other hard-line Islamists” during this time, they opposed jihadi resistance to Muslim governments and assassination of Muslim leaders because of their belief that “the decision to wage jihad lay with the ruler, not the individual believer”.[327]

Karen Armstrong states that Osama bin Laden, like most extremists, followed the ideology of Sayyid Qutb, not “Wahhabism”.[328]

More recently the self-declared “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been described as both more violent than al-Qaeda and more closely aligned with Wahhabism.

For their guiding principles, the leaders of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, are open and clear about their almost exclusive commitment to the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group’s territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.[329]

According to scholar Bernard Haykel, “for Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself.” Wahhabism is the Islamic State’s “closest religious cognate.”[329]

The Sunni militant groups worldwide that are associated with the Wahhabi ideology include: Al-Shabaab, Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS.[citation needed]

Criticism and controversy

Criticism by other Muslims

Among the criticism, or comments made by critics, of the Wahhabi movement are:

  • That it is not so much strict and uncompromising as aberrant,[330] going beyond the bounds of Islam in its restricted definition of tawhid (monotheism), and much too willing to commit takfir (declare non-Muslim and subject to execution) Muslims it found in violation of Islam[331] (in the second Wahhabi-Saudi jihad/conquest of the Arabian peninsula, an estimated 400,000 were killed or wounded according to some estimates[119][120][121][122]);
  • That bin Saud’s agreement to wage jihad to spread Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s teachings had more to do with traditional Najd practice of raiding – “instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre” – than with religion;[332]
  • That it has no connection to other Islamic revival movements;[333]
  • That unlike other revivalists, its founder Abd ul-Wahhab showed little scholarship – writing little and making even less commentary;[334]
  • That its rejection of the “orthodox” belief in saints, which had become a cardinal doctrine in Sunni Islam very early on,[335][336][337] represents a departure from something which has been an “integral part of Islam … for over a millennium.”[338][339] In this connection, mainstream Sunni scholars also critique the Wahhabi citing of Ibn Taymiyyah as an authority when Ibn Taymiyyah himself adhered to the belief in the existence of saints;[340]
  • That its contention towards visiting the tombs and shrines of prophets and saints and the seeking of their intercession, violate tauhid al-‘ibada (directing all worship to God alone) has no basis in tradition, in consensus or inhadith, and that even if it did, it would not be grounds for excluding practitioners of ziyara and tawassul from Islam;[331]
  • That its use of Ibn Hanbal, Ibn al-Qayyim, and even Ibn Taymiyyah‘s name to support its stance is inappropriate, as it is historically known that all three of these men revered many aspects of Sufism, save that the latter two critiqued certain practices among the Sufis of their time. Those who criticize this aspect of Wahhabism often refer to the group’s use of Ibn Hanbal’s name to be a particularly egregious error, arguing that the jurist’s love for the relics of Muhammad, for the intercession of the Prophet, and for the Sufis of his time is well established in Islamic tradition;[341]
  • That historically Wahhabis have had a suspicious willingness to ally itself with non-Muslim powers (specifically America and Britain), and in particular to ignore the encroachments into Muslim territory of a non-Muslim imperial power (the British) while waging jihad and weakening the Muslim Caliphate of the Ottomans;[342][343] and
  • That Wahhabi strictness in matters of hijab and separation of the sexes has led not to a more pious and virtuous Saudi Arabia, but to a society showing a very un-Islamic lack of respect towards women.

Initial opposition

The first people to oppose Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab were his father Abd al-Wahhab and his brother Salman Ibn Abd al-Wahhab who was an Islamic scholar and qadi. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s brother wrote a book in refutation of his brother’s new teachings, called: “The Final Word from the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sayings of the Scholars Concerning the School of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab”, also known as: “Al-Sawa`iq al-Ilahiyya fi Madhhab al-Wahhabiyya” (“The Divine Thunderbolts Concerning the Wahhabi School”).[344]

In “The Refutation of Wahhabism in Arabic Sources, 1745–1932”,[344] Hamadi Redissi provides original references to the description of Wahhabis as a divisive sect (firqa) and outliers (Kharijites) in communications between Ottomans and Egyptian Khedive Muhammad Ali. Redissi details refutations of Wahhabis by scholars (muftis); among them Ahmed Barakat Tandatawin, who in 1743 describes Wahhabism as ignorance (Jahala).

Shi’a opposition

Al-Baqi’ mausoleum reportedly contained the bodies of Hasan ibn Ali (a grandson ofMuhammad) and Fatimah (the daughter of Muhammad).

In 1801 and 1802, the Saudi Wahhabis under Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud attacked and captured the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq and destroyed the tombs ofHusayn ibn Ali who is the grandson of Muhammad, and Ali (Ali bin Abu Talib), the son-in-law of Muhammad (see: Saudi sponsorship mentioned previously). In 1803 and 1804 the Saudis captured Mecca and Madinah and demolished various tombs of Ahl al-Bayt and Sahabah, ancient monuments, ruins according to Wahhabis, they “removed a number of what were seen as sources or possible gateways to polytheism or shirk” – such as the tomb of Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad. In 1998 the Saudis bulldozed and poured gasoline over the grave of Aminah bint Wahb, the mother of Muhammad, causing resentment throughout the Muslim World.[345][346][347]

Shi’a Muslims complain that Wahhabis and their teachings are a driving force behind sectarian violence and anti-Shia targeted killings in many countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Yemen. Worldwide Saudi run, sponsored mosques and Islamic schools teach Wahhabi version of the Sunni Islam that labels Shia Muslims, Sufis, Christians, Jews and others as either apostates or infidels, thus paving a way for armed jihad against them by any means necessary till their death or submission to the Wahhabi doctrine. Wahhabis consider Shi’ites to be the archenemies of Islam.[348][349]

Wahhabism is a major factor behind the rise of such groups as al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, while also inspiring movements such as the Taliban.[350][351][352]

Sunni opposition

The historical Ajyad Fortress of the Ottoman Empire above was razed in 2002 to in order to permit the construction of the Abraj Al Bait hotel complex in Mecca below.

One early rebuttal of Wahhabism, (by Sunni jurist Ibn Jirjis) argued that “Whoever declares that there is no god but God and prays toward Mecca is a believer”, supplicating the dead is permitted because it is not a form of worship but merely calling out to them, and that worship at graves is not idolatry unless the supplicant believes that buried saints have the power to determine the course of events. These arguments were specifically rejected as heretical by the Wahhabi leader at the