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Many years ago, this little boy lived in Queens:

Today, the man lives at the White House.

Friday, January 19, 2018, marks the end of President Donald Trump’s first year in office. Below are incredible achievements he and his administration have made, despite the most hateful efforts on the part of Democrats, the media and Republicans to oppose him and even end his presidency.

This is a long post of the Trump administration’s achievements. It has most of the news Big Media won’t tell you. They’re too busy nattering about how many scoops of ice cream, hamburgers and Diet Cokes he consumes.

If you prefer a short version, the GOP can oblige (scroll down past the Fake News Awards).

Health

Last week the president, aged 71, had a health examination, which Rear Admiral Dr Ronny Jackson conducted:

The president requested — and received — a cognitive examination in addition to a physical.

Contrary to media reports, he isn’t crumbling under the pressure of the presidency:

Foreign policy

Because so many people around the world still think Trump will start World War III, below are excerpts of what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on December 15. Emphases mine below.

North Korea

The main strategy involves economic sanctions:

We have put in place now over the past many months the most comprehensive set of economic sanctions that I think have ever been assembled through two very comprehensive UN Security Council resolutions with the support, notably, of both China and Russia, clearly indications of how they view the seriousness of the threat as well.

These sanctions now have banned all coal exports from the North – from North Korea. They have ended their textile exports. They have put limits and will bring to an end the export of forced labor. They have also limited the imports of fuel and reduced all imports, each – with each action increasing the pressure on North Korea.

We do know that these are having effects on the North. This is evidence in terms of what we see happening with fuel prices for North Korean citizens, which initially jumped 90 percent. They’re now back to where they’re up only 50 percent. We also know there are shortages beginning to appear, and there’s also, though appearing on the shelves of North Koreans, products which previously had been exported. So now they have to be consumed internally.

These are combined with diplomatic sanctions where we have called on nations the world over to not just fully implement the UN Security Council economic sanctions, but where they have a sense and a desire to do so, to also isolate the North Korean regime further by recalling their diplomats, closing their offices, and letting North Korea know that with each one of these provocative tests, they only become more and more isolated.

More than 22 countries have sent North Korea’s diplomats back home. And for some, it may not seem significant, but for small countries that may not have a lot of economic influence, it is yet another important signal. So from nations like Peru to Spain to Italy to Portugal have cut off the diplomacy ties as well. And we know the regime notices when that ambassador comes home because they’re not representing that office elsewhere, further isolating them from their contact with the rest of the world.

China and the Indo-Pacific

The US is working well with China and India on creating a free and open Indo-Pacific region:

So I think with respect to our relationship with China, we now have a very active mechanism in which we can put complex issues on the table. And we have differences, such as the South China Sea and China’s building of structures, militarization of these structures, and how that affects our allies in the region as well in terms of free and open trade. As we’ve said to the Chinese, we hope we can find a way to freeze this particular activity. Whether we can reverse it remains to seen. But it is not an acceptable – it’s not acceptable to us that these islands continue to be developed, and certainly not for military purposes.

In Southeast Asia, we had a – we put forth a policy here not too long ago of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and this was built on the back of some of our views about China’s One Belt, One Road policy. China’s One Belt, One Road, we understand, is a policy they have to continue their economic development, and our policies do not seek to contain China’s economic development. But China’s economic development, in our view, should take place in the system of international rules and norms, and One Belt, One Road seems to want to define its own rules and norms. I like to quote Secretary Mattis’ comment on One Belt, One Road. For China, he said: Well, the U.S. and the rest of the world has many belts and many roads, and no one country gets to decide what they are. So a free and open Indo-Pacific means all countries have access to continue their economic development and free access for trade through the region.

As part of the free and open Indo-Pacific, we have elevated our engagement with India. We’ve long had a trilateral relationship in the Indo-Pacific between Japan, Australia, and the U.S., and we’re now working towards whether this will become a quad relationship to include India because of the importance of India’s rising economy as well and I think shared national security concerns that we have with India.

ISIS

Obama’s ‘JV team’ is defeated in Iraq, and good progress continues in Syria:

In moving to the defeat ISIS campaign quickly, in Iraq and Syria, as the President entered office, he took a significant policy shift in the war to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria and ordered aggressive new strategies and empowered our military commanders on the ground to carry out battlefield decisions in a way that would win the war on the battlefield. After fully activating the DOD approach of buy, with, and through others, with his authorities the military has, in fact, begun to make significant gains. And as we know today, Prime Minister Abadi recently declared ISIS defeated in Iraq. We are still defeating ISIS in Syria, but significant progress has been made.

As a result of the military success, we in the State Department have really had to run fast to catch up with the military success with the diplomatic plans as to what comes after the defeat of ISIS, and we’ve executed much of this through the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, a coalition of 74 members, 68 countries and including organizations such as NATO, INTERPOL, EU, and others.

Seven and a half million people have now been freed of ISIS’ clutches in Iraq and Syria; 95 percent of territory previously controlled by their caliphate has now been liberated. Our efforts now are to stabilize these areas after liberation to avoid a re-emergence of ISIS but also to avoid a re-emergence of local conflicts between various groups.

So our work with the DOD is to deconflict the battlefield and to stabilize areas, and we’ve had success working with Jordan and with Russia in Syria to create de-escalation zones that prevent the re-emergence of a civil war – all directed towards moving the talks in Syria to Geneva to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for a new Syrian constitution and elections be overseen by the United Nations in which all Syrian diaspora will vote. So this includes the voting of Syrians who have been displaced because of the fighting, whether it be due to the civil war or subsequently due to ISIS’ emergence.

A very important joint statement was issued by President Trump and President Putin on the margins of APEC in Danang, Vietnam, in which both leaders affirmed their commitment to this process as the way forward to ensure a unified, whole, democratic, and free Syria. Talks have begun in Geneva again with a reformed opposition representation. And we have asked Russia to ensure the regime participates in these talks, and the regime has been present at the talks. And now, we need to keep everyone at the table. We will continue to work with Russia in areas where we can and Syria to continue to promote a de-escalation of the violence, stabilization of the areas, and a resolution for Syria that will be a product of the Geneva process.

In Iraq, the liberation of all areas is now complete, and in both the campaigns we’ve now recaptured the caliphate’s capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. I think the early engagement in Iraq with Arab neighbors has been important to the future of Iraq also being sustained with its democratic government and sustaining Iraq as a unified country. Having Arab neighbors engage early as the war to defeat ISIS progressed, importantly with the historic visit because it’s been more than three decades since the Arab world had relationships with Baghdad, the Saudis were the first to engage and have created now economic talks and consultative committees. They’ve reopened two border crossings, they’re resuming flights between Baghdad and between Riyadh, sending an important message to all Iraqis that – and reminding them that Iraqis are Arab, and you should re-engage and reunite with the Arab world.

Central and South America

The State Department is working well with nations in Central and South America:

So lastly, in the Western Hemisphere, the things that we’ve been concerned with are obviously migration from Central America, from Mexico, transcriminal organizations, the narcotics trade in particular, which also supports human trafficking trade. But we do see many other opportunities with Central and South America. We have developed strong transcriminal organization dialogues with Mexico. We’re hosting another round this week at the ministerial level. We co-hosted an event in Miami this year to – on Central American security and prosperity. And we are working together on the situation in Venezuela, both through the OAS and through the Lima Group.

Economy

On December 14, 2017, Reuters reported that the economy was on a roll. Retailers had an unexpectedly good November, with a 0.8% increase in sales. October’s sales showed a 0.5% increase, surpassing the previously reported 0.2%.

Also:

Retail sales accelerated 5.8 percent on an annual basis. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing only 0.3 percent in November.

The dollar .DXY rose against a basket of currencies after the release of the data, while prices for U.S. Treasuries fell. U.S. stocks were trading higher.

In 2018:

2018 could be historic:

Stock market

The stock market has never been healthier:

In 2018:

Industrial production

Contrary to what naysayers predicted, 2017 saw an increase in industrial production:

Energy

For the first time in 60 years — 1957the United States became a net gas exporter, thanks to exports of LNG (liquid natural gas). That means America’s trade imbalance got that much smaller.

On November 27, 2017, Shale reported that the Rust Belt could boom again thanks to the Marcellus and Utica Shale development:

which has proven to be an answer to the prayers of communities up and down the Ohio River. These communities are now reporting that union halls are empty due to a surge of oil- and natural gas-related work. Shale has not only been a game-changer — it’s been a life-changer for thousands of families in some of the hardest hit regions of the country. Manufacturing is starting to come back, and we are even making and shipping domestically produced steel again along the Ohio River. It’s hard to imagine now, but the Rust Belt may soon shed its longtime persona and emerge as a new hub where domestically produced products proudly display “Made in America.”

For the past few years, the building and construction trade unions have been aggressively fighting against fringe environmental activists and the “keep it in the ground” agenda. From a political perspective, this trend played out on the national stage in November: For the first time in years, a majority of Ohio union households voted Republican in a presidential election. President Trump won the union vote by 9 percent over Hillary Clinton in the Buckeye State. Why? Because the building and construction trades are going back to work thanks to shale development, which Trump unabashedly supports.

Please take the time to read the rest of the article, which is really encouraging. Thousands of people are back to work.

In early July, just in time for Independence Day, gas prices were the lowest since 2005. Politico reported:

AAA said Monday that the national average of $2.23 per gallon was the cheapest gas has been all year.

A further drop took place just before Christmas.

Unemployment

On December 14, Reuters reported:

the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropping to near a 44-1/2-year low last week.

2017 was the best year for employment figures since … 1973!

This was good news for the whole country:

Deregulation

On December 14, The Conservative Treehouse posted an excellent article explaining the Trump administration’s progress on promised deregulation.

In the following tweet, you see two stacks of paper. The small one represents the amount of regulation in the United States in 1960, and the gigantic one is today’s:

This costs small businesses an astounding amount of money:

Mick Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, says that huge progress was made in 2017:

The Conservative Treehouse article says:

Notably, President Trump said his administration plans to keep regulations that have been beneficial to our nation. Those will remain on the books, he said, specifically ones tailored for protecting workers, ensuring clean water and air, and protecting our country’s natural beauty. But POTUS described each unnecessary page in the stacks as representing hidden tax and harmful burdens for workers and businesses. “Unnecessary regulations,” he said, “threaten our entire Constitutional system, not just the U.S. economy.”

Tax cuts

On December 19, Trump tweeted:

Democrats are downplaying this legislation, but it immediately had a huge effect in the United States:

On December 20 — when the bill passed — a number of large companies made announcements about bonuses and investment:

Comcast announced it would give $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 eligible employees and:

invest $50 billion over the next five years in infrastructure “based on the passage of tax reform”.

Boeing announced:

$300M employee-related and charitable investment as a result of legislation to support our heroes, our homes and our future.

AT&T said it would give $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 employees and:

invest $1.0 billion.

FedEx said the new tax plan would add to their earnings, fund the pension plan and facilitate hiring more employees.

First Third Bancorp raised their hourly minimum wage to $15 and gave employees $1,000 bonuses.

Wells Fargo also raised their hourly minimum wage to $15 and said it would aim to give $400m in philanthropic donations in 2018.

On January 17, 2018, Apple announced it would be hiring 20,000 more people in the United States and open a new campus. The company also gave employees $2,500 bonuses in the form of restricted stock units. It will be investing $350 billion over the next five years in the US. Trump applauded the move.

Other corporations also reacted positively to the new legislation.

Veterans Affairs

Dr David Shulkin has done sterling work this year on improving the healthcare, housing, wellbeing and job prospects for American veterans. His full report is here.

The Veterans Administration has been a shambles for decades. Much work remains to be done, but in one year it has undergone many positive changes and reforms.

Trump’s supporters

Unlike past presidents, Trump’s base has probably increased over the past year:

Among Trump voters, the mood is buoyant. I understand CNN broadcast this clip only at 4:50 a.m. and at 7:50 p.m. (better pic/video here):

Fox News also interviewed Ohio voters. I bet they broadcast this clip more often than CNN did theirs:

Conclusion

I’ll let the president say it in his own inimitable way (includes video):

AMERICA will once again be a NATION that thinks big, dreams bigger, and always reaches for the stars. YOU are the ones who will shape America’s destiny. YOU are the ones who will restore our prosperity. And YOU are the ones who are MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Trump gave that speech in Pennsylvania on January 18.

Reach for the stars, Americans! MAGA!

On Wednesday, January 17, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his first ever Fake News Awards.

He did not announce them by voice, but RSBN did a great job going through every item:

On Monday, January 15, Politico quoted ‘experts’ — including Republicans — who said that Fake News Awards could violate White House and ethics rules.

That’s rich. Big Media are violating ethics rules every day by reporting falsehoods lies.

The president’s tweet appeared later than scheduled. The Washington Post was quick to pounce before …

… and after …

But, once again, Fakey winner WaPo was wrong.

The GOP (Republican Party) page crashed from all the traffic:

This generated a greater American buzz than big-ticket award ceremonies:

Gateway Pundit reported (emphases mine):

Internet giants Google, Twitter and AOL publish the most popular trending subjects. And Wednesday night the most popular subject on all three sites was Trump’s Fake News Awards.

Even the trendy celeb news site TMZ covered it:

President Donald Trump came through on presenting “The Fakies” … his 2017 Fake News Awards. He teased it up as “The Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year” … and here are the HUGE winners (losers?) in his words. No shocker, CNN took the most trophies. 

The tweet below has a screenshot of the winners, as posted on Legal Insurrection:

The GOP rightly introduced the results — including sources — with this:

2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative.

That is true.

Paul Krugman discredited

How wrong could Paul Krugman be? This is what happens when personal bias obliterates objectivity:

Donald J Thump — of Thump: The First Bundred Days — tweeted:

Here’s a page from the book, for children — and adults — alike:

Nothing for CNN’s Acosta

CNN’s Jim Acosta did not receive a Fakey:

He was told to leave after a press briefing in the Oval Office the other day in front of President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.

Of course, Acosta paints himself to be a victim:

That was far from his first offence against Trump and his administration, which dates back to the post-election transition period in 2016.

Regarding this incident and Acosta’s history, The Conservative Treehouse sums it up perfectly:

CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta has a history of rude journalistic behavior and disrespect that has never before been allowed in the White House.

… the CNN journalist exhibited a level of disrespectful behavior that should lead to his White House press credentials being revoked permanently.

In a lesser offence, last year, Acosta insisted that CNN reports the truth:

This is how Big Media see themselves:

How public sees media

This is the most accurate description summing up the media:

Praying Medic has a good take on Big Media stories from the past year, starting at No. 12:

Someone replied with this item about MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow:

Fake news remembered

Many of us remember not only the fake news but also the omissions from the news cycle in 2016:

Fake news can cost lives.

What will it take for these ridiculously overpaid so-and-sos to stop it?

Regular readers know that I have covered several exposés from James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas about the media and Democrat activists.

Their last one was about the Washington Post, in November 2017.

Their new one is all about Twitter.

On January 17, 2018, Twitter was among the big social media companies appearing before the United States Senate:

In practice, ‘extremist propaganda’ often refers to messages and news supporting President Donald Trump.

It also includes the president himself:

More detail follows.

James O’Keefe asks Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey a question:

Here are a few more teasers about Twitter (language alert), handy to forward to friends and family who don’t have time to watch the longer videos:

Twitter dislikes patriots:

Okay, O’Keefe meant ‘rogue’, but note that Twitter is not questioning the video content:

Twitter users complained. In return, the company manipulated the trending hashtag results:

Twitter cannot look at everything, but, rest assured, they have a few hundred people looking at obscene images. Do they keep those images? Where do the images go next? Hmm. Sounds potentially nefarious, but, then, people should not be sending that type of stuff in the first place.

Without further ado, Project Veritas issued the first video (8:16 minutes) on January 10. It is an interview with Clay Haynes, senior network security engineer, who discusses helping the DOJ with any potential enquiries regarding Trump (written summary):

The second video (15:14 minutes), issued on January 11, features policy manager Olinda Hassan discussing censorship of ‘sh*tty people’. Pranay Singh, direct messaging engineer, explains how they do it. Mihai Florea, a software engineer, admits that half of Twitter employees want to delete Trump’s account for good; the other half want to keep it. Mo Norai, a former content review agent, says that Twitter is between 90% to 99% anti-Trump (written summary):

The third and final video (9:37 minutes) was posted on January 15. It features Pranay Singh, direct messaging engineer, discussing obscene images and messages (written summary):

One thing that has struck viewers of these videos is the number of foreigners in them, pervasive throughout Silicon Valley. They might be easier to work with where matters of censorship are concerned. Still, one cannot help but take exception to someone whose homeland is not the United States referring to Twitter users representing half the American population as ‘sh*tty people’.

By the way, O’Keefe’s new book, American Pravda, discusses the four Project Veritas media exposés. His publisher, Macmillan, has a summary which says, in part:

The book not only contests the false narratives frequently put forth by corporate media, it documents the consequences of telling the truth in a world that does not necessarily want to hear it. O’Keefe’s enemies attack with lawsuits, smear campaigns, political prosecutions, and false charges in an effort to shut down Project Veritas. For O’Keefe, every one of these attacks is a sign of success.

American Pravda puts the myths and misconceptions surrounding O’Keefe’s activities to rest and will make you rethink every word you hear and read in the so-called mainstream press.

O’Keefe recently told Alex Jones that he always needs new undercover journalists but warned that it is hard, potentially dangerous, work that most people would not be able to do:

American Pravda also has examples of social media users buoying support for President Trump during the 2016 election. He devotes a whole chapter to the contributors at The_Donald, known as ‘weaponised autists’ (link from The_Donald has a three-page excerpt). A lot of them came from 4chan, which is where the term originated.

If you haven’t read or heard much about this story, it’s not surprising. Alternatively, perhaps you heard or read something about it that is inaccurate, with omissions.

Twitter’s platform is great. Twitter’s censorship is not.

N.B.: Language alert and red pills below. Controversial. Not for the faint of heart.

On Wednesday, January 10, 2018, in discussing immigration, President Donald Trump allegedly made a remark about immigration from ‘sh*thole countries’, according to Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

The conversation, including several others, took place behind closed doors in the Oval Office.

Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia) attended the meeting and said that only Dick Durbin heard it. Perdue discussed the issue with ABC’s George Stephanopolous:

As usual, media and politicians have been harping on this ever since.

Never-Trumper Mia Love (R-Utah) issued a statement:

Allegedly, Trump asked why there couldn’t be more immigration to the United States from countries like Norway. Why did he mention that nation in particular? Because he had welcomed the Norwegian prime minister to the White House that day:

This is Trump’s explanation:

Media reports said that Haiti, in particular, was singled out:

Trump retweeted an important fact revealing Dick Durbin’s hypocrisy:

Durbin also made a false claim about a Republican during the Obama years:

On Friday, January 12, Trump honoured Martin Luther King Jr Day:

Housing and Urban Development secretary — the retired brain surgeon from the slums of Detroit — Dr Ben Carson is on the left and Isaac Newton Farris Jr, a nephew of Martin Luther King Jr, is on his right. Vice President Mike Pence is behind them. Several other people attended this event, during which:

President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 267 into law on January 8. Named the “Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act,” the law redesignates a National Historic Site in Georgia—the state where King was born—as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park.

This was Trump’s message to the nation on Monday, in which he reviewed Martin Luther King Jr’s beliefs and ideals and how important they were to the Civil Rights movement — and to Americans today:

On Saturday, Martin Luther King Jr’s niece, Alveda King, gave an interview to Fox & Friends, explaining what Trump meant by his remark just days before:

“Racism is just a word that is being bandied about and thrown… at the president unjustly,” she said. “President Trump is not a racist.”

King said that, in his reported remarks, Trump was not disparaging Africans or Haitians but instead calling attention to the fact many of their governments are inadequate and corrupt.

“Some of their own leaders have taken advantage of them,” she said.

She also criticized American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan, who repeatedly shouted “are you a racist” at the president during the King Birthplace park signing ceremony.

Years ago, minorities viewed Trump as their ally:

Here’s the irony about the mention of Haiti:

Donald Trump may or may not have called Haiti a “s***hole” – everyone freaks out. UN peacekeepers actively ran a child sex ring in Haiti – nobody bats an eye.

If we’re going to talk about Haiti, who exploited it more than Billary Clinton via their (in)famous foundation?

Yet, Hillary got pious when reacting to Trump …

… which elicited many critical reactions, including this one …

… and this one:

If we’re going to talk about other countries of this nature, look at what ended up in 2016’s Podesta WikiLeaks. This is from Gabe Podesta, John’s son:

The media went nuts and said ‘sh*thole’ more times than you can shake a stick. CNN even wrote the word on a whiteboard.

On a Trump-supporting news site, Gateway Pundit, lead writer Jim Hoft applauded (bold in the original):

That’s our president.

And THAT’S why we love him!

President Trump responded today to the “Gang of Six” immigration plan.
Could not have said it better myself.

Dilbert’s Scott Adams translated the words into normal American parlance:

Poor countries with bad schools that have favored immigration status.

Adams also posited that leakers of sh*thole comments are the real race baiters:

Although, not surprisingly, many Americans were shocked by this fake news, others started to point out the fallacy in Democrats’ — including media’s — thinking. One Twitter user calls it The Sh*thole Conundrum:

Those countries aren’t sh*tholes.

Illegal aliens can’t go home because their country is a sh*thole.

Regardless of language used, The_Donald‘s readers agreed with Trump, including this person:

people trying to act like this is offensive, but its honestly the truth and I don’t even like trump that much

That same thread had the following comment:

MASH : Make America a Sh*t Hole, the Dem 2018 campaign slogan. Not to be confused with get-out-the-vote arm, SHARD, Sh*t Holes Are Reliably Democrat.

It seems that person was not the only one thinking that, because the online world started filling up with examples of Democrat-run cities:

I was amazed to find the photo on the right shows Houston.

A US Navy veteran from St Louis, Missouri, rightly took issue with the state of Durbin’s nearby Illinois constituency, which he has been serving since 1983, first as congressman and now senator. Watch:

Here are four more incredible films about Dick Durbin’s East St Louis. For those unaware, the empty lots in the residential parts of town are where houses were razed. Watch:

Dick Durbin should be ashamed of himself. But, that’s impossible. He’s a Democrat.

Twitter really lit up this past weekend.

A new hashtag — #FusionCollusion — started as a place for people to post on Fusion GPS’s phony Russian dossier and has now gone beyond it to discuss spying by the Obama administration for political purposes and the Clintons’ scandals. A few representative tweets follow:

Other accounts not tweeting on #FusionCollusion were also active.

President Donald Trump retweeted a reminder of a news story from 2016:

No, of course, Hillary’s emails aren’t missing:

WikiLeaks brought up an old Clinton Foundation story related to Haiti:

Patriotic actor James Woods had a go at Bill Clinton — so much so that Gateway Pundit actually has an article about it. You’ll have to read this tweet yourselves, but here are more:

On Friday, January 12, 2018, the DOJ announced has taken action on someone involved in shady business with Russia:

Former President of Maryland-Based Transportation Company Indicted on 11 Counts Related to Foreign Bribery, Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

Executive Allegedly Paid Bribes to a Russian Official So His Company Could Win Highly Sensitive Nuclear Fuel Transportation Contracts

An indictment against a former co-president of a Maryland-based transportation company that provides services for the transportation of nuclear materials to customers in the United States and abroad, was unsealed today for his alleged role in a scheme that involved the bribery of an official at a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation …

Mark Lambert, 54, of Mount Airy, Maryland, was charged in an 11-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering.  The charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX. 

The case against Lambert is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Theodore D. Chuang of the District of Maryland. 

According to the indictment, beginning at least as early as 2009 and continuing until October 2014, Lambert conspired with others at “Transportation Corporation A” to make corrupt and fraudulent bribery and kickback payments to offshore bank accounts associated with shell companies, at the direction of, and for the benefit of, a Russian official, Vadim Mikerin, in order to secure improper business advantages and obtain and retain business with TENEX.   In order to effectuate and conceal the corrupt and fraudulent bribe payments, Lambert and others allegedly caused fake invoices to be prepared, purportedly from TENEX to Transportation Corporation A, that described services that were never provided, and then Lambert and others caused Transportation Corporation A to wire the corrupt payments for those purported services to shell companies in Latvia, Cyprus and Switzerland.  Lambert and others also allegedly used code words like “lucky figures,” “LF,” “lucky numbers,” and “cake” to describe the payments in emails to the Russian official at his personal email account.  The indictment also alleges that Lambert and others caused Transportation Corporation A to overbill TENEX by building the cost of the corrupt payments into their invoices, and TENEX thus overpaid for Transportation Corporation A’s services. 

In October 2017, The Hill reported on this company — unnamed:

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

This is how the media reported on it last year:

Incidentally, the reasons for Paul Manafort’s arrest pre-date the Trump campaign and are entirely unrelated to it.

But as much as the media made out of Manafort’s arrest, this uranium business is a real scandal, potentially threatening national security:

I predict public awareness of these issues to grow over the coming weeks.

I hope The Storm is soon to be upon us. I will keep you posted.

As we can see below, CNN has their priorities right:

Anyone wanting real news has to go hunting for it:

Then there was the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, January 13, 2018, warning of a ballistic missile threat — ‘this is not a drill’:

There’s something deeper behind this incident (language alert):

Here is a better image of the boxed text (from 4chan or 8chan), which is from an Air Force Fusion Analyst at Hickham in Hawaii. Particularly concerning are these sentences:

The false alert was not a mistake. We were informed it was to be a drill, but then all information was put out that the threat was real.

I overheard them [Governor’s office] state that this ‘Demonstrated weakness in the Trump admin and a refusal to protect his people.’

We don’t really know what to do or what’s going on. Which is really bothersome because it’s literally my job to process all information going in and out of this place for reports. I don’t know what to do or what’s going to happen to me.

If this was designed to upset people, it worked:

Breitbart’s Nick Nolte responded:

As did Fox News’s Greg Gutfeld:

Something is definitely wrong:

Correct:

The head of the FCC says his agency will investigate:

They should also revisit the siren incident in 2017, when Obama was still in the White House. Note the time and date:

In the meantime, CNN can resume normal service and criticise the Trumps for not owning a dog.

——————————————————————————————

UPDATE: ‘Worker who sent out Hawaii missile alert is reassigned’ (New York Post, January 14, 2018)

The Hawaii public employee who plunged the state into chaos by accidentally sending out an incoming-missile emergency alert Saturday has been reassigned, according to reports.

The unnamed emergency department worker will not be fired because he made an honest mistake, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Rapoza told the Washington Post

The agency has already put in place new safeguards to prevent such a misfire — including a “cancel” button that will immediately send out corrective alerts if an erroneous warning is issued, officials said Sunday.

Further reading:

‘Hawaii releases timeline of what transpired after false ballistic missile warning’

Bible boy_reading_bibleThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy have omitted — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 14:24-28

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria

24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.

————————————————————————————————–

Last week’s post was about the stoning of Paul in Lystra, his genuinely miraculous recovery, his journey with Barnabas to Derbe — home of Timothy — then back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia to appoint elders for each church and, with prayer and fasting, commend them to God.

All of this was in Pisidia, part of Anatolia — Asia Minor.

At this point, they were embarking on their lengthy return to Jerusalem, returning to other places where they had converted Gentiles and create a church body (rather than a building).

They left the region of Pisidia and travelled south to the coastal region of Pamphylia (verse 24). The main city was Perga, on the coast. This was a return trip. Paul and Barnabas established a church there (Acts 13:13-14a). They returned to preach the word once more (verse 25). Matthew Henry explains they wanted to make more converts:

making a second offer, to see if they were now better disposed than they were before to receive the gospel. What success they had there we are not told …

From Perga, they travelled to Attalia (present day Antalya). The Church is still alive and well, even though this is part of Turkey:

Some of the bishops attributed to the episcopal see of Attalea in Pamphylia may instead have been bishops of Attalea in Lydia (Yanantepe), since Lequien lists them under both sees.[11][12] No longer a residential bishopric, Attalea in Pamphylia is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[13]

Then Paul and Barnabas crossed the Mediterranean Sea to return to Antioch (verse 26), the Syrian city where Barnabas had established a church which grew to such an extent that he asked for Paul’s help (Acts 11). They found a thriving church:

where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled.

What a beautiful way St Luke, the author of Acts, had with words.

In Antioch (Syria), Paul and Barnabas shared the grace and Spirit-filled story of their journeys, the conversions, the persecution and the new churches. Particularly important was the opening of the Church to Gentiles (verse 27). No doubt, there was also a lot of preaching and prayer. We do not know how many of the congregation they met with. Henry has several possibilities:

It is probable that there were more Christians at Antioch than ordinarily met, or could meet, in one place, but on this occasion they called together the leading men of them; as the heads of the tribes are often called the congregation of Israel, so the ministers and principal members of the church at Antioch are called the church. Or perhaps as many of the people as the place would hold came together on this occasion. Or some met at one time, or in one place, and others at another.

John MacArthur has an interesting take, reminding us that our two preachers would have given God every glory and thanks for those churches:

Can you imagine when they hustled up the hills and arrived at Antioch and nobody had heard from them for a year and a half to two years? These are the two most beloved people in the church and they arrived and they probably looked emaciated and scrawny and scarred all up from beatings with rods and whips and stone. I mean they were a mess, and they arrived and what a joyous time. Can you imagine what a joyous time? You probably say, “I bet they had a testimonial banquet. Probably gave them a little plaque that said, ‘For successful missionary effort above and beyond the call of duty, Paul and Barnabas.” No such thing. Verse 27, “When they come and gathered the church together they reviewed all that they had done.” Is that what it says? Oh, it doesn’t say that. All that God had done with them. You know what they saw themselves as? Tools. God was the master carpenter.

Paul and Barnabas stayed with their disciples — and friends — some time in Antioch. Henry posits that this was:

longer than perhaps at first they intended, not because they feared their enemies, but because they loved their friends, and were loth to part from them.

That gives me the impression that they met as many church members and new converts as they could during that time. What a blessing that must have been for everyone.

MacArthur concludes:

If I came to the end of my life and if God said to me, “John, anything You want me to say I’d like to say” you know what I’d like Him to say? “John, you did it. I gave it to you to do and you did it.” That’s what I want here. Well – what? Done. I mean I want to do it. I like that. Paul came to the end of his life and says, “I’m ready to die. I did it. Finished the course, fought the good fight, kept the faith. Okay, Lord. I’m ready. I did it.”

Boy, I’ll tell ya, if we all did it what would be done? Do it, will ya? Whatever it is God is calling you to do, do it. You’ve got to have these characteristics – know your gifts, be bold, divine power, humility, persistence, follow-up, commitment, and give Him all the glory and do it.

Next time: Acts 15:1-3

On Sunday, January 7, 2018, Peter Sutherland died at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

He had been ill since he suffered a heart attack in September 2016. The Irish Times reports:

“He was substantially impacted by this and was in hospitals in London and Dublin since then. Despite great efforts by his medical staff and his own indomitable spirt, he succumbed to an infection,” the family said.

The paper had a thorough obituary, which began with his background:

Peter Sutherland, the former European commissioner, attorney general and chairman of Goldman Sachs International, has died. He was 71.

Mr Sutherland served in a number of senior positions in the worlds of law, business and government during his career. Most recently, he was the United Nations special representative for international migration.

In a long career, he also held the positions of director general of the World Trade Organisation; chairman of the London School of Economics; a member of the UN commission on human security; chairman of the European Institute of Public Administration and chairman of British Petroleum.

Born in Dublin in April 1946, Mr Sutherland was educated at Gonzaga College in Ranelagh before going on to study law at University College Dublin. He worked as a senior counsel for more than a decade before being appointed attorney general in 1981 by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition, the first of two spells in the role.

Many of us in the UK will remember him as a globalist, particularly with regard to migration policies. A number of YouTube videos discuss his views. In fact, he was considered to be the ‘father of globalisation’.

He disliked European culture and wanted more immigration from non-European countries.

In 2012, the BBC reported that he disliked Britain’s immigration policy, which was and is quite open, then and now:

He also suggested the UK government’s immigration policy had no basis in international law.

He was being quizzed by the Lords EU home affairs sub-committee which is investigating global migration.

Mr Sutherland, who is non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former chairman of oil giant BP, heads the Global Forum on Migration and Development , which brings together representatives of 160 nations to share policy ideas.

He told the House of Lords committee migration was a “crucial dynamic for economic growth” in some EU nations “however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states”.

An ageing or declining native population in countries like Germany or southern EU states was the “key argument and, I hesitate to the use word because people have attacked it, for the development of multicultural states”, he added.

“It’s impossible to consider that the degree of homogeneity which is implied by the other argument can survive because states have to become more open states, in terms of the people who inhabit them. Just as the United Kingdom has demonstrated.”

He also said that European countries were biased against immigrants:

The United States, or Australia and New Zealand, are migrant societies and therefore they accommodate more readily those from other backgrounds than we do ourselves, who still nurse a sense of our homogeneity and difference from others.

And that’s precisely what the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine.

Never mind the countless millions of immigrants European countries take in every year. He made it sound as if we are insular, which could not be further from the truth.

It turns out he was a devout Catholic. In 2015, he became president of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).

People like Peter Sutherland don’t have to live with the consequences of their policies. The Irish Times obit says he attended Mass at Brompton Oratory in London, which implies he lived in one of the richest boroughs of the capital — Kensington and Chelsea.

Peter Sutherland did average Europeans a great disservice. That’s putting it politely.

Last year, I wrote an extensive post on Plough Monday, which is the first Monday after Epiphany:

The English tradition of Plough Monday

I thought I had covered the waterfront with regard to this ancient festival but found more history about the day that signalled a return to full time agricultural work on the Tuesday.

Ploughing matches

When Plough Monday was widely celebrated, some farmers would have had their ploughs blessed at church on Sunday. Other villages had a communal plough at the church which was blessed annually.

In some areas, ploughing matches took place, which gathered crowds of onlookers. The Cottage at the End of a Lane has an old colour photo of one such contest, likely to have been in Suffolk.

The author points out:

The men who walked 10 miles a day in all weathers back in the day would have smiled to see people nowadays doing it for fun or to keep the memory alive. Most of them welcomed the arrival of tractors.

I bet they did.

Traditional poems

The Cottage at the End of a Lane also has a traditional poem:

Plough deep while sluggards sleep:
and you shall have corn to sell and keep.

Turn out for Plough Monday
Up, fellows now
Buckle the horses 
And Follow the plough. 

Plough Monday started with chores before everyone moved on to festivities. This was to show willingness to work hard in the year ahead. As I mentioned in last year’s post, a kitchen maid was given a cockerel for Shrovetide before Lent. A contest between the maids in the kitchen and the men in the fields took place to see if the maids could keep their cockerels. If one of the men was able to get some of his farming implements by the fireside before the kitchen maid got her kettle on, then she forfeited her cockerel — ‘cocke’ in the poem which follows.

In the 1500s, a gentleman farmer by the name of Thomas Tusser penned these lines, featured on Legendary Dartmoor:

Good huswives, whom God hath enriched ynough,

forget not the feasts that belong to the plough:

The meaning is only to joy and to be glad,

for comfort with labour is fit to be had…

Plough Monday, nest after that twelftide is past,

bids out with the plough, the worst husband is last:

If plowman get hatchet, or whip to the skreene,

maids loseth their cocke, if no water be seen.

Thomas Tusser (1524-1580) was born in Essex, the county to the east of London. He was part of the choir at St Paul’s Cathedral before studying at Eton and going up to King’s College, then to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, for his university education.

He spent ten years serving as a musician for William Paget, 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesart, before marrying and farming in Cattawade, Suffolk, near the River Stour. His first wife was sickly, and he abandoned farming so they could move to Ipswich. After her death, he remarried and resumed farming, with interruptions for illness or escaping the plague of 1572-1573. When he died in London in 1580, he owned a small estate at at Chesterton, Cambridgeshire. According to contemporary accounts, he not only farmed arable land but also raised livestock. He did not make much money and lived frugally.

Tusser wrote many agricultural poems which laid out the best traditional methods of farming and raising livestock, most famously in A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie, first published in 1557. In 1573, he expanded his original work and published Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry.

Tusser most likely saw his fair share of Plough Mondays.

Devon customs

Legendary Dartmoor‘s post, ‘Plough Monday’, reveals a local custom that invokes ‘The Spirit of the Harvest’:

In order to add some extra clout to the devotions to the ‘Spirit of the Harvest’ it was also imperative to plough the ‘neck‘ or ‘corn dolly‘ which was taken from the previous harvest into the first furrow ploughed either on or just after Plough Monday. To do this would ensure a good harvest but to fail to observe this tradition was to invite ‘tare and rook’ to decimate the growing crop.

Another is more modern:

I don’t know if it was just a family thing but I can remember uncle always sprinkled a, “drap o’ firejuice,” on the plough shares before the first furrow was cut. It must have been a pretty serious belief because it was unheard of for any relation of old ‘John Barleycorn’ to go anywhere but down his throat.

This is encouraging:

It appears that the tradition of Plough Monday died out on the moor around the late 1900’s but the church blessing has been revived by some Young Farmer’s clubs.

Regional celebrations

In 2018, Plough Monday was January 8.

Durham

Durham held their festivities on Sunday, January 7 (photo at the link):

Come and join us in our drawing of the Plough from Durham Market Place to the Palace Green to be received by the Dean of Durham Cathedral.

There we’ll welcome in the traditional start of the agricultural year with Morris and Sword Dancing, Music and Ceremony!

Celebrations for Plough Sunday, a traditional English festival, are being revived in Durham this weekend. Drawing a plough into the Cathedral, they will be invited inside by the Dean, who will give them a commemorative four pence in a re-enactment of Plough Sunday celebrations that took place in 1413.

The afternoon will continue with a music session and bar at the John Duck, Claypath.

All welcome!

That sounds very traditional.

Balsham

In Cambridgeshire, the village of Balsham revived Plough Monday festivities in 1972.

The Balsham Ploughmen site has their whole modern-day story. Incredibly, Plough Monday has been celebrated there every year since to raise money for charity.

In 1972, the original organisers studied the village plough, built between 1680-1720, and constructed a new one based on the design of the old one using 100-year-old wood.

The organisers and a team of volunteers go to houses and pubs to collect money and sell raffle tickets:

Money is collected at each stop and along the streets, from one end of the village to the other and there is a raffle at the finishing pub. However, the chief means of fundraising, which justifies such activity in what is usually one of the coldest nights of the winter, is the traditional “horseplay”. There is a great deal of banter among the Ploughmen, Cambridge Morris Men and the followers.

The cries of “pity the poor ole ploughboy” together with the rattle of collecting tins and the jingle of the Morris Men’s bells signals that Plough Monday is with us again.

Then:

The day following Plough Monday has evolved into “Harrowing Tuesday” when Ploughmen, members of the team and their families traditionally meet for lunch of bangers and mash and discuss the events of the previous evening – the name does tend to reflect the fragile state of the team rather than an agricultural reference.

The Balsham Ploughmen have been highly successful:

Plough Monday 2017 has broken all fundraising records!

We were once again out and about on 9th January 2017 with the Cambridge Morris Men fundraising for Balsham 2nd Brownies, Buttercups Community Pre-School and a village defibrillator …

This year’s total was a massive £3,219.50!

I hope they had another great success this year.

It is marvellous that people in England still care about Plough Monday, an ancient tradition that deserves to keep going for generations to come.

This week I learned of another old English tradition, St Distaff’s Day — the day after Epiphany.

While there is no St Distaff — a facetious name — January 7 was the day when women returned to spinning wool, flax or other fibres after the twelve days of Christmas.

A distaff is a ‘roc’ or ‘rock’ — a rod or dowel — used in spinning. It was used before spinning wheels were invented. It holds the unspun fibres and keeps them untangled. Wikipedia has an excellent entry with ancient illustrations of distaffs.

January 7 is also known as Distaff Day or Roc Day.

As spinning was a female occupation, the English language has two words emanating from it: spinster (never-married woman) and distaff (referring to the matrilineal branch of a family, e.g. ‘distaff half’ for ‘wife’). A distaff race means that all the horses running are female.

Breathing in books has a poem by Robert Herrick (1591-1674), which he wrote for January 7. It involves a custom of:

high jinks in which men and women engage in a battle of the sexes with the men trying to steal away and burn the women’s flax while the women respond by trying to throw water over the men (not much fun in January in my opinion!). However, [Steve] Roud [author of The English Year] points out that other, later, sources all seem very similar and vague and it seems likely that they all used Herrick’s poem as their sole source on the tradition.

This is Herrick’s poem:

St. Distaff’s Day or the Morrow After Twelfth Day

Partly work and partly play,
Ye must on S. Distaff’s day
From the plough soon free your team;
Then come home and fother them.
If the maids a spinning go,
Burn the flax, and fire the tow:
Scorch their plackets, but beware,
That ye singe no maiden-hair.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give S. Distaff all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good night;
And next morrow, every one
To his own vocation.

In closing, the Monday after Epiphany is Plough Monday, which sometimes coincides with St Distaff’s Day, depending on the calendar year.

Tomorrow: More Plough Monday traditions

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