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Alarming news comes from Mexico:

Those are tunnels running under the US/Mexico border. They have been there for many years and are used to smuggle drugs.

On April 19, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Mexican cartels have diversified into deadlier drugs in the coronavirus crisis. Raw materials come from China, but cartels now want to be able to produce them in-house (emphases mine):

Cartels are increasingly shifting away from drugs that require planting and growing seasons, like heroin and marijuana, in favor of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which can be cooked 24/7 throughout the year, are up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and produce a greater profit margin.

Though some clandestine labs that make fentanyl from scratch have popped up sporadically in Mexico, cartels are still very much reliant upon Chinese companies to get the precursor drugs.

Huge amounts of these mail-order components can be traced to a single, state-subsidized company in Wuhan that shut down after the outbreak earlier this year, said Louise Shelley, director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University, which monitors Chinese websites selling fentanyl.

The quarantine of Wuhan and all the chaos there definitely affected the fentanyl trade, particularly between China and Mexico,” said Ben Westhoff, author of “Fentanyl, Inc.”

The main reason China has been the main supplier is the main reason China is the supplier of everything — it does it so cheaply,” Westhoff said. “There was really no cost incentive for the cartels to develop this themselves.”

But costs have been rising and, as in many legitimate industries, the coronavirus is bringing about changes.

Advertised prices across China for precursors of fentanyl, methamphetamine and cutting agents have risen between 25% and 400% since late February, said Logan Pauley, an analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a Washington-based security research nonprofit. So even as drug precursor plants in China are slowly reopening after the worst of the coronavirus crisis there, some cartels have been taking steps to decrease their reliance on overseas suppliers by enlisting scientists to make their own precursor chemicals.

Because of the coronavirus they’re starting to do it in house,” added Westhoff.

In the meantime, the good news is that the Mexico-to-US supply chain has been ‘gummed up’:

Meanwhile, the gummed up situation on the U.S.-Mexico border resembles a stalled chess match where nobody, especially the traffickers, wants to make a wrong move, said Kyle Williamson, special agent in charge of the DEA’s El Paso field division.

They’re in a pause right now,” Williamson said. “They don’t want to get sloppy and take a lot of risks.”

Nonetheless, illicit drugs are still being smuggled across the border, and in some places, such as Los Angeles County, there is vulnerability as law enforcement officers have been reassigned to patrol duties:

… the pandemic also has limited law enforcement’s effectiveness, as departments cope with drug investigators working remotely, falling ill and navigating a new landscape in which their own activities have become more conspicuous. In Los Angeles County, half of the narcotics detectives have been put on patrol duty, potentially imperiling long-term investigations.

In Texas, it’s a different story:

Capt. Chris Sandoval, who oversees special investigations for the Houston-based Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said there’s a new saying among his detectives: “Not even the dope dealers can hide from the coronavirus.”

One can but hope.

The move towards deadlier drugs, however, could pose a much more serious long term problem.

Along with every other country, Britain entered a lockdown so as not to overwhelm the health system during the coronavirus outbreak.

Ours has been running since the evening of Monday, March 23.

It is now time for the government and medical officials to consider winding it down in phases.

There are two reasons for this, outside of economic considerations:

1/ The emergency Nightingale hospital for coronavirus patients had 40 as of April 18;

2/ Private hospitals that the NHS seconded for coronavirus patients are empty.

On April 18, the Mail on Sunday reported that those private hospitals have staff doing nothing while their previously scheduled operations on private patients have been cancelled (emphases mine):

Senior clinicians at private hospitals claim hundreds of the country’s best doctors have been left ‘twiddling their thumbs’ during the outbreak – putting people’s health at risk from other illnesses and postponed operations.

Last month, 8,000 beds in private hospitals across the country were taken under public control. NHS England said 20,000 fully qualified staff in the hospitals, including 700 doctors, were needed to battle Covid-19.

But on Saturday night, one London-based consultant orthopaedic surgeon said: ‘What we are seeing at the moment is a sinful and shocking mass of empty private hospitals and empty beds.

‘Most of them are gathering dust, with a whole load of doctors twiddling their thumbs. And it’s costing the NHS millions.’

The surgeon said only ‘emergency’ and ‘time-critical’ operations were being allowed at his hospital, adding: ‘I have a waiting list of 25 people who need major operations right now. One with severe arthritis is crying out in pain every night, unable to sleep.

‘I was asked, “Is there anything you can do?” I had to say “Nothing”, and advised her to take painkillers.’

A second medic said his hospital was ‘fairly empty and under used’ while another said he was ‘pretty bored’. ‘I am unsure if the hospitals are being used in the most efficient way,’ he admitted.

A fourth doctor said private hospitals in north London were ‘largely empty’ despite repeated offers to help out with patients from overrun NHS wards.

At least four private hospitals are currently treating coronavirus patients. But the numbers are likely to be very low as there have only been 15 Covid-19 deaths between them, according to official figures.

In March, this was a good strategy. In April, less so:

Another doctor added: ‘Preparing for an epidemic is a very difficult balance. If you get it right, it’s by pure luck.’ 

However, he warned that more people could end up dying early of illnesses like cancer and heart disease: ‘At what point does the cost of this ‘medical lockdown’ to people’s health outweigh the benefits?’

Just so.

Things have turned out better than we in Britain expected. That is excellent news. Overall, the NHS has not been overwhelmed to breaking point with COVID-19 patients.

On the other hand, I read anecdotally daily of people, like the aforementioned lady with severe arthritis, who are waiting for operations for other ailments and diseases.

It’s time to let the private hospitals treat the previously scheduled patients.

It is also time for the government to phase out the lockdown beginning in May, before our economy plummets totally and more people become gravely ill or die.

As seen at Guido Fawkes — ‘Coronavirus May Infect’ — from commenter House of Cads on Sunday, April 20, 2020. Sorry, there’s no hyperlink:

As it’s Sunday, which in times past used to be the main day for religion, before the Church of NHS and the Thursday Adventists came along, maybe we should have a quick prayer.

————————————

Our NHS, which art the best health service in the world,

Hallowed be thy name, budget, staffing level and administrative structures.

Thy Police State come

Then it will be done

In the UK as it is in China.

Give us this day our daily bread, milk and just one form of exercise,

And forgive us our trespasses into the two metre social distancing zone;

as we forgive them that trespass against us, but only after a severe fine or imprisonment.

And lead us not into economic meltdown,

But deliver us from an unknown and unquantified peril,

For thine is the wisdom, informed by 100% accurate mathematical modelling

The power to make us worry

For ever and ever

Amen

As with all good satire, that’s amusing and oh-so-true in equal measure.

On Friday April 18, a news story from the BBC about an NHS procurement director circulated on the BBC news channel.

The man, unnamed, wanted to contact Burberry and Barbour directly to obtain much-needed PPE.

I heard it reported more than once. The story even popped up on the national coronavirus briefing at the weekend.

On Saturday, April 19, the Mail on Sunday‘s deputy political editor Harry Cole exposed the BBC story as FAKE NEWS.

Click on the image below or here to read the article in full:

Incidentally, Sarah Smith (pictured), who presented the story is the daughter of the late Labour leader John Smith, who died in May 1994. (Tony Blair succeeded him.) Her mother is a life peer: Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill. But I digress.

As Harry Cole says, the story got several airings on the BBC News channel, then, suddenly, there was nothing more. A newsreader read a retraction at 7:10 a.m. on Saturday.

Unbeknownst to Cole — and most of the viewing public, myself included — the BBC retracted the story on its website late on Friday, the same day it appeared:

The ‘correction’ says, in part:

We should clarify that the person concerned is not the boss of an NHS trust but is part of a network of organisations helping to source personal protective equipment for some NHS trusts.

The mistake was caused by a misunderstanding of the person’s role in the fight against the pandemic.

Cole was able to find out the identity of the mystery man, who works at The Oxford Academic Health Science Network, which is currently helping to source PPE:

He was later identified by the BBC News at One as ‘senior health expert’ Paul Durrands. Mr Durrands, who has a doctorate in philosophy and molecular plant pathology …

Since 2011:

he has been the chief operating officer of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, a publicly funded ‘innovation exchange’.

It is understood he has been helping NHS trusts seek PPE, but is not and never has been a major NHS trust boss. He did not respond to requests for comment last night.

The BBC are not on the government’s side unless it’s a Labour one.

They have really pushed the boat out in their anti-Conservative coronavirus coverage, which never covers anything good the government has done thus far.

One gets only noxious narratives from the BBC and, now, fake news. Yet, they have a special segment a few afternoons a week wherein a reporter debunks various online fake news items about the coronavirus. They should take a close look at themselves in the mirror first.

It is a pity that every British household is obliged to pay an annual licence fee to keep this broken outfit going.

Bible ancient-futurenetThe 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 omit — 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.

Romans 2:25-29

25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded[a] as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically[b] uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code[c] and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

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Last week’s post discussed Paul’s criticism of the hypocrisy of the Jews of his era. They preached the law but did not obey it themselves.

Romans 2:24 says:

24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Harsh words. We can also apply Paul’s criticisms to ourselves as Christians substituting ‘atheists’ or ‘agnostics’ for ‘Gentiles’.

Paul ends with a few verses on circumcision, which, for Jewish males, is as important as baptism is for Christians. Paul points out that a Gentile, uncircumcised, who obeys natural law can be a better person in God’s eyes than a circumcised Jew who flouts the law of God.

Therefore, circumcision, Paul says, is worth something only if the circumcised man obeys God’s precepts; otherwise, it is worth nothing at all and becomes uncircumcision (verse 25).

At that time, some Gentiles worshipped in synagogues and obeyed some of the Mosaic laws, not necessarily circumcision (verse 26). These Gentiles rejected paganism and loved God. They are called ‘God-fearing’ in Scripture. Cornelius, the first Gentile to convert to Christianity thanks to Peter, was one of them.

Matthew Henry reminds us about Acts 10 (emphases mine):

The case of Cornelius will clear it. Though he was a Gentile, and uncircumcised, yet, being a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house (Acts 10:2), he was accepted, Acts 10:4. Doubtless, there were many such instances: and they were the uncircumcision, that kept the righteousness of the law; and of such he says, (1.) That they were accepted with God, as if they had been circumcised. Their uncircumcision was counted for circumcision. Circumcision was indeed to the Jews a commanded duty, but it was not to all the world a necessary condition of justification and salvation.

Paul says that uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law and worship in synagogues are better than Jews who received the law as their birthright, were circumcised yet disobey the law. Through their conduct, those Gentiles ‘condemn’ the Jews (verse 27).

Henry explains that many Jews of that era did not think they needed to obey God’s law. Having it was sufficient. They were wrong:

That their obedience was a great aggravation of the disobedience of the Jews, who had the letter of the law, Romans 2:27. Judge thee, that is, help to add to thy condemnation, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress. Observe, To carnal professors the law is but the letter; they read it as a bare writing, but are not ruled by it as a law. They did transgress, not only notwithstanding the letter and circumcision, but by it, that is, they thereby hardened themselves in sin. External privileges, if they do not do us good, do us hurt. The obedience of those that enjoy less means, and make a less profession, will help to condemn those that enjoy greater means, and make a greater profession, but do not live up to it.

Paul takes his argument further, saying that Jewishness depends not on outward signs, such as circumcision, but upon what is in one’s heart and displayed in one’s conduct (verse 28). If one is truly a Jew, then one is circumcised in the heart and ruled by the Spirit. Furthermore, such a Jew seeks God’s favour, not man’s (verse 29).

Displaying outward signs of Jewishness was not enough, Paul said. One had to have the law written on one’s heart and in one’s mind.

Henry offers this analysis:

(1.) It is not that which is outward in the flesh and in the letter. This is not to drive us off from the observance of external institutions (they are good in their place), but from trusting to them and resting in them as sufficient to bring us to heaven, taking up with a name to live, without being alive indeed. He is not a Jew, that is, shall not be accepted of God as the seed of believing Abraham, nor owned as having answered the intention of the law. To be Abraham’s children is to do the works of Abraham, John 8:39,40. (2.) It is that which is inward, of the heart, and in the spirit. It is the heart that God looks at, the circumcising of the heart that renders us acceptable to him. See Deuteronomy 30:6. This is the circumcision that is not made with hands, Colossians 2:11,12. Casting away the body of sin. So it is in the spirit, in our spirit as the subject, and wrought by God’s Spirit as the author of it. (3.) The praise thereof, though it be not of men, who judge according to outward appearance, yet it is of God, that is, God himself will own and accept and crown this sincerity; for he seeth not as man seeth. Fair pretences and a plausible profession may deceive men: but God cannot be so deceived; he sees through shows to realities. This is alike true of Christianity. He is not a Christian that is one outwardly, nor is that baptism which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Christian that is one inwardly, and baptism is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God.

John MacArthur has a similar perspective. Obeying God’s law is what counts:

the Jew thought, just because I’m circumcised, I’m okay. It’s a perfect parallel to baptism … And the Jew felt, because I have the mark of the covenant, I’m okay. And here Paul says, if you don’t keep it, it doesn’t mean anything

It was the sign of God’s promise. It was the sign of God’s blessing. It was the sign of God’s protection and care and love, but it didn’t mean a thing if he didn’t keep the law. That message is also repeated in the fifth chapter of Galatians. He says, “I testify to every man that is circumcised that he’s a debtor to keep the law.” If you’re circumcised, it doesn’t mean you’re free from the law. It just means you’re in the covenant and you’ve got to keep it all. You want to know the truth of it? And this is the most interesting thought, I don’t know if you ever thought of it, circumcision was a symbol of the fact that men were condemned, not that they were saved. Because if you were circumcised it said you were in the covenant and the covenant was that you had to keep the law. So it was a sign of your lostness, not your redemption. It was a constant reminder that you had to keep God’s law, you were in the covenant. You had to keep God’s law. And you couldn’t keep God’s law so you were lost. But to them, just being circumcised was their security.

In fact, the rabbis said. I’ll quote some of the rabbis. “No circumcised man will see hell.” Rabbi Joel Kut Rabin said, “Circumcision saves us from hell.” In the midrash, it says, “God swore to Abraham that no one who was circumcised would be sent to hell. Abraham sits before the gate of hell and never allows any circumcised Israelite to enter.” Now they believed they were saved by that. All that was was a constant reminder that they were responsible to the covenant. It was an outward sign of an inward responsibility. It was an outward sign of an inward obligation and duty before God.

In Jeremiah 6:9 it says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine. Turn back thine hand. Like a grape, gather into the baskets. To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised and they cannot hearken.” Circumcised became then the concept of a spiritual reality, or the symbol of a spiritual reality. God wanted ears that were circumcised, that is, obedient to the covenant. Later on in chapter 9 he talks about circumcising the heart. God wanted an obedient ear to hear the truth of God and God wanted an obedient heart to respond to the truth of God.

Now look at verse 26. And he looks at the same issue from an opposite angle. “Therefore if the uncircumcision — that’s the Gentiles, the ones that aren’t circumcised — keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?” In other words, a Gentile who keeps the law of God is going to be included in the covenant blessing even if he isn’t circumcised. And he’s only reinforcing verse 25, circumcision doesn’t mean anything. If you break the law, it isn’t going to help you. And if you keep the law, it isn’t necessary. The point being, circumcision is not necessary. Everything depends on whether you keep the law. Everything depends on obedience.

You go back to chapter 2, verse 6. God will render to every man according to his circumcision. Is that what it says? “According to (his what?) his deeds,” his works. So circumcision, mark this, has no inherent value. It has no efficacy. It has no power to redeem. It is only a symbol. And not a symbol that everything is okay, but a symbol that everything is not okay because it reminds me that I’m obligated to keep the whole law. There is no security in that symbol. There is only insecurity, because man can’t keep the law whether he’s circumcised or not. And in chapter 4 we’ll get into this in more detail when he shows how Abraham was righteous before he was ever circumcised, so that his circumcision had nothing to do with whether or not he was righteous.

Now a fatal shot in verse 27. And here is the last verse that deals with their security, the fatal shot. “And shall not uncircumcision — that’s the Gentile by nature, Gentiles by nature — if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter in circumcision dost transgress the law?” You know what that says? An obedient Gentile will be the judge of a disobedient, a disobedient Jew. Oh that is… They don’t want to hear that. The Gentile will not really assume the role of a judge. That’s not the idea here. God is the judge. But the Gentile will assume the role of a witness for the prosecution. Why? Listen to this. If a Jew comes into the court and says, “Hey, I mean, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.” All God has to say is, “You see this uncircumcised Gentile, he did what was right and he didn’t know what you knew, therefore he is living testimony of your guilt.” You see? It’s an interesting argument on Paul’s part.

The obedience of an uncircumcised Gentile is proof of the responsibility of a circumcised Jew. They held on to circumcision like people do to infant baptism

Baptism does not confer automatic salvation in and of itself. We must obey God’s precepts through the help of Jesus, our only Mediator and Advocate with the Father.

Next time — Romans 3:1-22a

Readings follow for the Third Sunday of Easter, April 26, 2020.

These are for Year A in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

Emphases below are mine.

First reading

Peter’s first sermon at the first Pentecost continues.

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

2:14a: But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them,

2:36 “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

2:39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

2:40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

2:41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Psalm

David penned this psalm of general thanksgiving to God; He hears and answers all those who are in distress.

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

116:1 I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.

116:2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

116:3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.

116:4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, save my life!”

116:12 What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me?

116:13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,

116:14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones.

116:16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.

116:17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the LORD.

116:18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,

116:19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

Epistle

Readings from 1 Peter continue. The converts were persecuted. He gives them spiritual encouragement during their time of temporal difficulties.

1 Peter 1:17-23

1:17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.

1:18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold,

1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.

1:20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.

1:21 Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

1:22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.

1:23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Gospel

Last week’s reading was the end of John’s Gospel. We now turn to Luke’s Resurrection story of the road to Emmaus, more about which in this post:

The road to Emmaus — a great Easter story

Luke 24:13-35

24:13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,

24:14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.

24:15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them,

24:16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

24:17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.

24:18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”

24:19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,

24:20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.

24:21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.

24:22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning,

24:23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.

24:24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”

24:25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!

24:26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”

24:27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

24:28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.

24:29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.

24:30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.

24:31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

24:32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

24:33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.

24:34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”

24:35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Eastertide is the best time of the Church year. Embrace it. Enjoy it.

May this season lift our hearts and minds, even if we cannot gather together for worship.

Admittedly, the Western world, including the United States, has been in dire straits with the coronavirus lockdown.

Kentucky ran into trouble on Holy Saturday, April 11. Louisville’s mayor wanted the licence plate numbers of drivers going to worship on Easter — April 12 — the greatest feast of the Church year, to be registered with the authorities:

The Daily Caller reported that the mayor was opposed (emphases mine):

A federal judge granted a restraining order against a Kentucky mayor who promised to record the license plates of Easter church goers, calling the order “unconstitutional.”

U.S. District Court Judge Justin Walker granted the temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer from blocking Easter drive-in-services at On Fire Church, the non-profit public interest law firm First Liberty Institute announced in a Saturday press release.

Judge Walker:

condemned Fischer’s order in a memorandum opinion that compared the order to a report from the satirical publication, “The Onion.”

“That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion,” Walker said.

“But two days ago, citing the need for social distancing during the current pandemic, Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer ordered Christians not to attend Sunday services, even if they remained in their cars to worship –and even though it’s Easter.”

The Mayor’s decision is stunning,” the opinion concludes. “And it is,’beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”

Yet, the Democrat governor of Kentucky agreed with the mayor of Louisville:

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear had announced that the state would enforce stay-at-home measure by recording the license plates of any person attending Easter services.

“This is a time and weekend, a whole week for multiple faiths, that is about faith. It’s about knowing we have faced as people – as Christians, as Jews, as members of many faiths – many difficult, dark times, and we have prevailed,” Beshear said Friday.

“We know that the weeks or the months ahead will be difficult. We know that there are going to be tougher days before there are easier days.”

“This is the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else,” Beshear added.

On April 10 — Good Friday — the US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) urged the mayor of Louisville to respect Easter worship, according to Kentucky Today:

The publication obtained a letter in which McConnell told Fischer that it is “important that we continue to respect and protect the constitutional rights of our citizens.”

“When the government permits people in vehicles to gather in parking lots for secular purposes but prohibits them from doing so for religious purposes, it raises the specter that the government is singling religious people out for disfavored treatment,” McConnell wrote, according to Kentucky Today.

“I believe churches should be following CDC guidelines on mitigating the transmission of COVID-19 and support temporary government regulations consistent with that guideline,” he added. “Religious organizations share the national responsibility to right the disease’s spread.”

Unfortunately, Attorney General William Barr waited until after Easter to take action: more here.

There was a similar case in Mississippi:

Never mind that these people were sitting in their cars, not in pews:

Meanwhile:

Forget the video, see the second tweet, which has an important message from the prominent American trial attorney Robert Barnes. State governors cannot take away basic constitutional rights:

Think about it. The United States and the rest of the Western world are at an important crossroads here with regard to religious freedom and civil liberties.

Is it a case of ‘just a few states across the pond’ or is it all of us, regardless of where we live?

This is something to reflect upon in the coming weeks.

It appears that crime in Nassau County, New York — Long Island — has plummeted during the coronavirus outbreak.

The NCPD, as they are known, have been acknowledging fund-raising events …

… and they have also been celebrating birthdays. A five-year-old was among that number:

… as was a Korean War veteran who turned 90. Many happy returns to young Eugene and to Herb Berger in these times when birthday parties are strictly, well, umm, verboten:

News of Mr Berger’s special birthday hit the White House too. Dan Scavino, President Trump’s Director of Social Media, also has a video.

Speaking of birthdays, congratulations to the Nassau County Police Department on their 95th anniversary:

Happy anniversary! Keep up the good work.

Didn’t their uniforms look smart back then?

It’s bad enough being laid off during the coronavirus outbreak.

Imagine how bad it is when the emergency paycheck funding pot is empty and the Democrat-dominated House won’t vote to replenish it. Here is the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky):

So do I.

The following video from James Corden’s show features Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) at home around Easter. It’s a must watch. She has brand new, gleaming stainless steel freezers full of ice cream. I cannot believe she had the nerve to post this herself, yet she did:

That photo was taken at the Pelosi family estate in California.

How nice for them.

President Trump had a go at her over the inaction with regard to emergency paycheck funding:

He reminded people that Pelosi encouraged Californians to go to San Francisco for Chinese New Year celebrations:

There was intense Democrat reaction to Trump’s closing the border with China, where air traffic was concerned:

Also:

On the other side of the world, and related to this, an Australian MP points out what China was doing with regard to airspace:

And remember this from the WHO a week before?

Whatever is going on with the WHO, President Trump was right to withhold funds for the time being.

But Pelosi isn’t having any of it.

On April 17, Moonbattery reported:

Confirming yet again that the Democrat Party is not on America’s side, Nancy Pelosi set aside her designer ice cream long enough to rage over Trump sensibly suspending funding to the malign World Health Organization:

“This decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged,” Pelosi said. …

Pelosi’s comments come after the president announced Tuesday that the United States would immediately halt funding for the health organization, saying it had put “political correctness over lifesaving measures,” noting that the U.S. would undertake a 60-to-90 day investigation into why the “China-centric” WHO had caused “so much death” by “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus spread.

The United States is the world’s largest donor to the WHO, a UN organisation (emphases mine):

The United States is the WHO’s largest single donor, and the State Department had previously planned to provide the agency $893 million in the current two-year funding period. Trump said the United States contributes roughly $400 million to $500 million per year to WHO, while China offers only about $40 million.

Pelosi has her own interests at heart:

Why should Americans pay for a Chinese propaganda platform when we have our own urgent needs? Maybe because Pelosi is heavily invested in China.

Readers might also be interested in this:

The World Health Organization in Europe is asking government officials to restrict access to alcohol as citizens continue widespread lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As Moonbattery points out:

Even Stalin let his slaves drink vodka. The technocrats of the WHO make the communist dictator look like a libertarian.

Enough said.

However, it isn’t only Democrats opposing President Trump’s pandemic policies.

The Bushes are at it, too:

President Trump called it correctly then and he continues to take correct decisions now.

Given the current circumstances, this is probably the right thing to do, especially as an April 13 Ipsos poll found that eight out of ten Americans want a moratorium on immigration:

As for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic:

Even New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo had to give the federal government credit:

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how CNN and MSNBC know exactly when to pull the plug on the daily coronavirus briefings, a reporter explains all:

Returning to Nancy Pelosi, the Trump campaign team have made a short advert about her and her ice cream:

Excellent work.

Land O Lakes has changed its logo.

The Native American maiden is no longer.

The Left campaigned for her removal over the years. They finally got their way:

Maybe the new head of the company felt the same way?

It appears that way. A woman CEO and president gets rid of packaging featuring a female Native American. Hmm.

On Thursday, April 15, the Minnesota Reformer reported on the logo for America’s top brand of butter, which is approaching its centenary (emphases mine):

We need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture — and nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products,” President and CEO Beth Ford said in a statement in February …

The release made no mention of why the company decided to remove the character from their packaging. The entire Land O’Lakes website seems to have been scrubbed of any mention of the iconic mascot.

A spokeswoman for Land O’Lakes did not respond to a request for comment submitted Monday.

For Native Americans who have long criticized the use of Indian mascots, the change is a welcome one.

“It’s a great move,” said Adrienne Keene, a professor at Brown University, author of the popular Native Appropriations blog and citizen of the Cherokee Nation. “It makes me really happy to think that there’s now going to be an entire generation of folks that are growing up without having to see that every time they walk in the grocery store.”

But Keene thinks the company missed an important opportunity in not explaining why they removed the image of the Indian maiden from their brand.

It could have been a very strong and positive message to have publicly said, ‘We realized after a hundred years that our image was harmful and so we decided to remove it,’” Keene said. “In our current cultural moment, that’s something people would really respond to.”

This is how Mia, the Indian maiden, came to be:

The Indian maiden first appeared on Land O’Lakes packaging in 1928, seven years after the Minnesota Cooperative Creameries Association — as it was first called — was founded by 320 farmers in St. Paul.

Arthur C. Hanson, an illustrator for the ad firm Brown and Bigelow, came up with the original design evoking rural Minnesota with a blue lake, green pine trees and a Native woman center stage in a buckskin dress and feather headdress.

It imbued the Land O’Lakes brand with a sense of naturalness, nostalgia and American authenticity, a tactic used by thousands of companies to sell everything from butter to cigarettes to motorcycles, as a recent exhibition at the Smithsonian shows. Keene noted in one blog post that she could create an entire breakfast menu plus snacks using ingredients with Native mascots.

The packaging was redesigned in the 1950s by Patrick DesJarlait, a highly-successful Ojibwe artist from Red Lake. He said he was interested in “fostering a sense of Indian pride” across the Midwest

Robert DesJarlait, the artist’s son, says he’s glad Land O’Lakes removed the Indian maiden his father helped create but also continues to be proud of his father’s legacy, which includes creating the Hamm’s Beer bear and being one of the first Native modernist painters.

“It was a source of pride for people to have a Native artist doing that kind of work,” said DesJarlait, who’s also an artist. “He was breaking a lot of barriers . . .Back in the 50s, nobody even thought about stereotypical imagery. Today it’s a stereotype, but it’s also a source of cultural pride. It’s a paradox in that way.”

DesJarlait and Keene said people have come to better understand the impact of these representations.

“The conversation has shifted so much. We have scientific, psychological research that shows the harms of these types of representations,” she said.

The American Psychological Association in 2005 called for all American Indian mascots to be retired, citing a large body of social science research showing how racial stereotypes and inaccurate representations harm Native young people’s self-esteem and social identity.

And, yes, there were boys who folded the carton so that her knees became something else.

Well, I thought that Mia was pretty. Keene says that the image portrayed her as being:

pure, sexually available and something to be conquered like nature.

I disagree totally. But, then, my mind doesn’t run in that direction.

Farewell then, Mia.

It was nice knowing you, even though the butter is overly priced for what it is.

Store own brands are a lot cheaper and of much higher quality.

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