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U.K. regulator slammed after finding no evidence of politicians being debanked over views

© Unknown
Nigel Farage
The Financial Conduct Authority has been criticised after its review uncovered no evidence that politicians are being denied bank accounts because of their views. The Financial Times has the story:
A review by the chief U.K. financial regulator has uncovered no evidence that politicians are being denied bank accounts because of their views, according to people briefed on the findings.

The Financial Conduct Authority launched a probe in August, weeks after former U.K. Independence party [UKIP] leader Nigel Farage unleashed a debate on free speech by claiming his accounts with private bank Coutts were about to be closed because his views "did not align" with the lender.

The row over the 'debanking' of Farage sparked complaints from other politicians about their treatment by lenders, prompting the Government to order a review by the FCA. People familiar with the situation said the FCA would publish findings in the coming days showing there were no cases of political views being the "primary" reason for personal account closures across the 34 banks and payment companies that were asked to submit data to the regulator. The FCA declined to comment.

Farage told the Financial Times on Monday night:
"This is farcical. There are plenty of examples of prominent Brexiteers being debanked. The FCA is part of the problem." ...
Farage in July published extracts from a dossier compiled by Coutts about him, as it deliberated about closing his accounts, in which the bank said continuing to serve him would not be "compatible with Coutts" since his views were "at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation".

Comment: An ongoing issue smacking of financial discrimination, Sky News had more to report:
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had been investigating the issue covering the 12 months to June in the wake of the so-called de-banking row that engulfed NatWest Group in relation to its handling of accounts, in its Coutts arm, belonging to former UKIP leader Mr Farage.

The watchdog brought forward the publication of its findings, covering practices at 34 lenders, after an apparent leak to the Financial Times.

The FCA said the evidence it had gathered "suggests that no firm closed an account between July 2022 and June 2023 primarily because of a customer's political views".

It added that it planned to work further with banks, building societies and payment companies to verify the data they supplied and better understand why and when they close accounts due to reputational risk.

Mr Farage reacted by claiming the FCA was part of the problem:
"The FCA says it finds no evidence of politicians being 'de-banked' over political views. This new report is a whitewash and a joke. If we don't have a regulator that is fit for purpose, what hope is there for our banking industry?"
The probe was ordered by the chancellor who warned banks last month that they faced "very large" fines if they closed customer accounts based on their political opinions. The Treasury has also unveiled a package of reforms designed to force banks to be more transparent about account closures.

The FCA's report, however, would seem to suggest the government has jumped the gun.

Coutts boss Peter Flavel resigned, as did NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose after she admitted being the source behind an incorrect BBC story about the row.

It came after Mr Farage obtained a 40-page dossier from Coutts which suggested the closure of his accounts was taken partly because his views did not align with its "values", including his position on LGBTQ+ rights and friendship with former US president Donald Trump.

1.1 million UK adults without bank account

The FCA insisted its work in this area was not done.

The regulator's chief executive Nikhil Rathi said:
"While no bank, building society or payment firm reported to us that they had closed accounts primarily due to someone's political views, further work is needed for us to be sure."
The FCA said it will also examine why there are 1.1 million adults in the UK who do not have a bank account.

Mr Rathi added:
"As we undertake that work, the time is also right for a debate on how we balance access to bank accounts with the threat of financial crime, as well as firms' reasonable risk and commercial appetites.

"An important question for policymakers is whether all individuals, businesses and organisations should have the right to an account, as is the case in some other countries.

"What's more, international comparisons suggest robust digital identities could play an important role not only in countering financial crime but also in aiding financial inclusion."
Economic secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith said of the FCA's report:
"Free speech is a fundamental human right. No ifs, no buts - everyone must be able to express their lawful opinions without fear of losing the vital access to a bank account.

"We have already acted to force banks to explain and delay any decision to close an account to protect freedom of expression - meaning customers will have a 90 day notice period and a clear explanation for any account closure. That will be backed up in legislation this year.

"We note the initial report of the FCA. Clearly there is more to be done to validate the submissions by banks and to ensure that the FCA have thoroughly followed up de-banked customer perspectives."
See also:


Nearly 10 million Ukrainians have fled to EU - commissioner

© Marcus Schreiber/AP
The unending Ukrainian influx to EU
The collective bloc is the biggest host of those leaving the country, according to Thierry Breton's numbers...

The EU migration crisis is a challenge that should be handled not by a single European country or region, but by the entire bloc as it deals with millions of asylum seekers, particularly from Ukraine, Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, has said.

Speaking to Sud Radio on Monday, the official suggested that migration - which has recently been on the rise, especially in Italy - "affects us all," including southern and eastern countries. "We have welcomed ... almost 10 million Ukrainian refugees," he said, adding that the Czech Republic stands out in terms of the number of people it has hosted.

"Four percent of its population - 440,000 Ukrainian migrants for a population of 9 million people. Could you imagine that?" he said, noting that Hungary and Poland have also played a major role in providing shelter to Ukrainians fleeing from hostilities in their home country.

In early March 2022, shortly after the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the EU for the first time in its history invoked the Temporary Protection Directive, which can be used only in exceptional circumstances to deal with a "mass influx of refugees." The legislation guarantees Ukrainians access to accommodation, welfare, and healthcare and gives them the right to enter the labor market, and enroll children in educational institutions.

In terms of absolute numbers, Russia accommodates the most Ukrainian refugees (1.27 million), followed by Germany (1.09 million), and Poland (968,000), according to Statista.


California county district attorney sues Democratic-led Sacramento over inaction on homeless crisis

© Michael Ho Wai Lee/SOPA Images/Sipa USA
Tenderloin District San Francisco
Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho is suing the city government in an attempt to require local officials to "enforce laws around sidewalk obstruction and get people off the streets and into professionally-managed camping sites," according to a recent Wall Street Journal story.

Referring to his lawsuit, which has received criticism from Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Ho said in a press conference this week:
"Living on the streets is not compassionate for the unhoused or the housed. We are giving a voice to those that feel as if their cries for help have fallen on deaf ears."
Steinberg claimed that residents of Sacramento, homeless or otherwise, would not benefit from Ho's lawsuit.
"The frustration that members of our community feel is absolutely justified. But the DA's lawsuit will not clear a single sidewalk nor get a single person off the streets."
Steinberg also called Ho's lawsuit a "performative distraction," per KCRA.

Ho responded directly to Steinberg's claims in an interview with KCRA on Tuesday:
"Frankly, the city has had seven years to deal with our unhoused crisis, and frankly, in those seven years our homeless crisis has increased by 250%. Now is the time to act. I believe that the response as well was that they've been working day and night to enforce the law. I would respectfully disagree with that. They are simply not enforcing the law. And that's what I'm asking them to do: to enforce the law, to keep our cities clean and safe."

Comment: The fragmenting of America is everywhere, courtesy of a government unwilling to address it.

No Entry

India steps up security over Canada's 'murder' allegations

Indian Consulate in Toronto
© Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Pro-India counter protestors counter pro-Khalistan supporters at a demonstration in front of the Indian Consulate in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 8, 2023.
The Indian government has announced the indefinite suspension of services for Canadian nationals, citing "security reasons" for the decision.

This move occurred against the backdrop of a growing diplomatic dispute between the two countries, sparked by allegations of India's involvement in the murder of a Sikh separatist.

"Indian high commission and consulates in Canada are temporarily unable to process visa application as work is disrupted due to security reasons," a foreign ministry spokesperson told media on Thursday, emphasizing that the decision was taken after Indian diplomats received threats on social media platforms. Indian authorities are reviewing the suspension on a daily basis, he added.

Canadian citizens applying for Indian visas in third countries will be temporarily unable to get their visas processed, as this "at some point will involve operations of our high commission in Canada."

Earlier, BLS International, the private company that processes visa applications for India in Canada, posted an announcement on its website. "Important notice from the Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21st September 2023 [Thursday], Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice," the note read.

India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has not made any formal announcement regarding the suspension of visa services and the Indian High Commission in Ottowa's website could not be accessed on Thursday at the time of writing.

The suspension, which effectively bans Canadians from obtaining an Indian visa, followed an MEA advisory on Wednesday asking Indian nationals and students in Canada to exercise caution due to alleged anti-India activities and "politically-condoned hate crimes." Indians account for over 40% of the total number of international students in Canada.

Bad Guys

BLM vs Proud Boys: The shocking hypocrisy of US law

Capitol riot, January 6
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that there are two systems of justice at play in the United States - one for Republicans and the other for Democrats. But how long will the American people tolerate such glaring hypocrisy in their courts?

Between May 2020 and January 6, 2021, the United States experienced two tumultuous events - one at the hands of liberals, the other of conservatives - that resulted in many millions of dollars in property destruction, as well as injuries and loss of life. Yet just one side in those battles suffered severe legal consequences for its actions.

During the Black Lives Matter/Antifa riots that swept the US in the summer of 2020 following the police killing of George Floyd, protesters went on a rampage and stormed various government buildings in Portland, Oregon. One of the attackers, Kevin Benjamin Weier, 35, was arrested for setting fire to the federal courthouse. Many (right-wing) commentators have described that willful destruction of government property, and the assorted acts of violence by other protesters, as seditious acts against the US government.

For over 100 days the protesters kept Portland residents under a state of siege, as Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler seemed unwilling or unable to halt the violence. That should come as no surprise considering that the Portland City Council slashed millions from the police budget, and even ordered the police to stop using tear gas in a futile attempt to appease the mob (Note to Portland: it's impossible to appease a mob). Finally, President Donald Trump shocked liberal sensitivities by sending in federal agents to help restore order and arrest the perpetrators.

So what happened to Antifa member Kevin Benjamin Weier and his motley crew of anarchists? While many protesters around the country had their prison bail paid by Hollywood celebrities, Mr. Weier, whose felony charge made him eligible for 10 years in the slammer, together with a hefty $250,000 fine, was ultimately sentenced to two years' probation and a $200 fine. In other words, about the same slap on the wrist that a Los Angeles shoplifter could expect to receive.

Comment: See also:

Oil Well

So much for the Greens: France betting on coal to ensure winter power supply

france coal power generation
© KaTeznik/Wikipedia
The Cordemais Power Station is the largest coal power station in France, having two coal-fired units with a capacity of 600 MW each.
France may have to keep its last two coal-fired power plants on standby this winter to guarantee security of electricity supply, its national grid operator RTE announced on Tuesday.

According to RTE's outlook of upcoming power needs, the country is heading into this winter in a "much" better situation than a year ago. However, growing demand during the country's long-term energy transition will pressure supply, it warned, adding that in case of a shortage in nuclear-power production or of a lack of renewables, coal plants may have to be on hand.

"We'll need solutions to meet longer imbalances in 2030, given Europe's decarbonization goals," said Thomas Veyrenc, RTE's executive director in charge of strategy. Adding more "flexibilities" such as battery storage and tools to shift demand away from peak hours should be a priority, he stressed.


Arrow Down

British MPs are trying to 'cancel' Russell Brand...but why?

Undermining the presumption of innocence and feeding cancel culture are run of the mill these days, but the timing is very strange.
© Off-Guardian
This Russell Brand story gets stranger and stranger by the day. Last night it was revealed the a senior MP had written letters to multiple social media companies requesting information on Russell Brand's income and covertly pressuring them into either demonetizing or removing his accounts.

[NOTE: Before we continue you may want to read our recent pieces on the Russell Brand case and the UK's new Online Safety Bill.]

The news broke when video-hosting platform Rumble posted a screenshot of their letter, along with their official response, on Twitter.

In the letter, Dame Caroline Dinenage MP - chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee - requests to know "whether Mr Brand is able monetize his content", "whether Rumble intends to join YouTube [in suspending monetization]" and what steps they are taking to "ensure that creators are not able to use the platform to undermine the welfare of victims".

It was later revealed that near-identical letters had been sent to the offices of X(Twitter) and TikTok.

This is, obviously, wrong. At the very least it's massive government overreach and potential ministerial misconduct. It is certainly a breach of privacy, and a flagrant display of disregard for the rule of law.

Forget Russell Brand, whether or not you like him and what he did or didn't do, this is a point of principle.

Right now Brand is nothing but the subject of media-based mudslinging - there has been no trial, no arrest, and no charge. He is entirely innocent in the eyes of the law and remains that way until convicted, this is a vital right enshrined in British law since Magna Carta [emphasis added]:
No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
What would prompt the government to overstep like this?

There's really only one answer to that: The overstep was the whole point.


20 common functions of American life the government wants to regulate, restrict or outright ban

push for global government
Looking at the big picture, the two things that corrupt ruling elites want to see TERMINATED are the Constitution and God Himself

The U.S. government was never meant to be an all-inclusive entity involved in almost every aspect of our lives, the way it is today. So how did we get to this point and what areas of our lives need to be taken back from the illegitimate claims of government in order for us to be able to say we live in a truly free country?

Watch the brief video below, provided by Hillsdale College, comparing the Founders' vision of government under a constitutional republic, to the modern version of government under a "democracy" as defined for us by our oligarchal overlords. The transition from a constitutional republic to a so-called "democracy" where all societal narratives are tightly controlled by a ruling elite has happened so gradually that few people are even aware that the transition has taken place, even though it is now almost totally complete.

Mr. Potato

Texas church blesses drag queens during LGBTQ+ service

lola hangers cathedral of hope
© Jason Janik / Special Contributor
Lola Hangers (left) was among those at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas on Sunday, Sept 17, 2023.
A church in Texas recently held an LGBTQ+ service where several drag queens were blessed, prompting protests from those in opposition outside the church.

On Sunday morning, the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas held a ceremony to bless members of the drag and charity organization, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, with church leaders saying during the service, "Drag queens are often targets of hate and violence. But we know that they are often powerful and resilient people who show us what it means to be truly authentic and expressive," the Dallas Morning News reported.

In a Facebook post accompanying a video of the service, the Cathedral of Hope said, "The term 'family values' has for so long been code language to support misogyny, homophobia, bigotry, and many other ways of hate and exclusion...Take a journey as we explore values that move towards healthy families, meaningful connections, strong communities, and to see the good news of radical love and mercy embodied in us and our beloved Cathedral of Hope."

Comment: See also:

Light Saber

Pennsylvania high school students organize walkout to protest trans bathroom rule: Our rights are 'compromised' 'not a priority to the school'

transgender bathroooms
© Fox News Digital
The proposed policy would require transgender students to use a restroom that corresponds with their biological sex
Hundreds of students from Pennsylvania's Perkiomen Valley School District walked out of class Friday after the local school board failed to enact a policy requiring transgender students to use the restroom corresponding with their biological sex.

"Kids were upset. Girls... we wanted to protect them. They were upset. They didn't want men in their bathroom," John Ott, who organized the walkout, told FOX News on Monday.

His mother Stephanie accused the district of only protecting transgender students and not looking at the "whole picture."

"The safety of females is so important and these students that stood out that walked out, they are to be commended. They have courage and they exercise their First Amendment rights. This is about protecting our children and our privacy and boys and girls. It's simple biology."