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How many people know about the Battle of Lepanto?

In the 1970s, when Western education was still decent, I took a year of World History in high school. If we covered it, it must have been a footnote.

I read about it in depth only six years ago, when someone from the West Indies had a WordPress blog, since deleted. The writer was Catholic and explained the religious, historical and cultural significance of October 7, 1571, the date of the victory over the Ottoman Empire.

The victory was important to Mediterranean Europe. Inland, the Battle of Vienna took place just over a century later, on September 12, 1683, led by the indomitable King Jan (John) III Sobieski of Poland. Lepanto was to the Mediterranean what Vienna was to the rest of Europe.

On to the Battle of Lepanto and October 7, which Catholics venerate as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. In 2017, Polish Catholics assembled nationwide to pray the Rosary on that day. The Daily Mail has more (emphases mine):

Hundreds of thousands of Polish Catholics are expected to descend Saturday on the country’s borders to recite the rosary “to save Poland and the world” from the dangers facing them, organisers say, but others claim the event is aimed at protecting Europe from what they term a Muslim onslaught.

The episcopate insists that the “Rosary to the Borders” is a purely religious initiative, but some Catholics view it as a weapon against “Islamisation.”

The date was not chosen at random. October 7 is when Catholics celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, marking the 1571 victory of Christianity over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto.

A victory attributed to the recital of the rosary “that saved Europe from Islamisation”, the Solo Dios Basta foundation said on the website of the event it is organising.

Many Poles see Islam as a threat. The conservative government, which enjoys the backing of a sizeable portion of the population, refuses to welcome migrants to Poland, which has very few Muslims of its own.

Twenty-two border dioceses will take part in the event, whose faithful will congregate in some 200 churches for a lecture and mass before travelling to the border to say the rosary.

The goal is to have as many prayer points as possible along the 3,511 kilometres (about 2,200 miles) that make up Poland’s borders with Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and the Baltic Sea.

Fishing boats will join in at sea, while kayaks and sailboats will form a chain along rivers and lakes. Prayers will also be said at the chapels of a few international airports …

The goal is to pray for world peace, according to Father Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

“The initiative obviously received the approval of Poland’s bishops,” he told AFP, emphasising that it would be wrong to view the event as a prayer against the arrival of Muslim refugees.

“It is not a matter of closing ourselves off to others. On the contrary, the point of bringing the rosary to the borders is to break down walls and open ourselves up to Russians, Belarussians, Slovaks, Ukrainians and Germans,” he said

In 2018, on October 7, Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, appeared on a talk show saying that the influx of immigrants arriving by boat are not true refugees. He estimates that only 10 per cent are. He recommends taking in only women and young children. He objects to turning Italy’s public housing over to immigrants arriving by boat and says that local and regional governments should continue to reserve these flats and houses for Italians. Currently, Angela Merkel is trying to transfer immigrants who had arrived in Germany via Italy back to Italy:

RMC (French talk radio) had a lengthy segment on immigration from Africa on the morning of Monday, October 8. Opinion was strongly divided as to whether and how many more immigrants France — especially Paris — should accommodate. It was a lively discussion with no conclusion. One point that did stand out was that French people were being pushed down the queue for social housing for recently-arrived immigrants. So, the French housing situation is like Italy’s, which is like Germany’s and Sweden’s.

Besides the religious and 21st century significance of the Battle of Lepanto, there is a historic one. It took place at a time when the invasion of hordes of groups of people — not just those from the Ottoman Empire — were invading not only Europe but also Asia.

I had always wondered how these groups had been stopped. A considered essay, ‘The Significance of Lepanto’, explains what happened from that point through to the 18th century.

First, we need to consider the main group of players in Europe’s Holy League. These nation-states also controlled various parts of the Mediterranean, including islands such as Corsica, Cyprus and Crete. Trade and strategic ports were important to the Spanish, the Venetians and to the Vatican, which also controlled territory in this part of the world:

The Battle of Lepanto has a major place in the symbolism of the Western-Islamic relationship, and Niccolò Capponi’s recently published Victory of the West: The Story of the Battle of Lepanto treats the battle as a major encounter between the Islamic Ottoman empire and the forces of Western Christendom.

Lepanto was the last great battle that could be described as a simple clash between Christendom and Islam. Fought on October 7, 1571, it saw the fleet of the Ottoman empire pitted against an alliance of Spain, Venice and various other minor players to form a Holy League under the leadership of Don Juan of Austria, the illegitimate half-brother of Philip II of Spain.

The battle was the response of the Christian powers to the invasion of the Venetian possession of Cyprus. At stake was control of the Mediterranean. If the Ottomans had won then there was a real possibility that an invasion of Italy could have followed so that the Ottoman sultan, already claiming to be emperor of the Romans, would have been in possession of both New and Old Rome. The Pope could have become as much a tool of the Ottoman sultan as his Orthodox counterpart the Patriarch of Constantinople already was.

Yet, as Capponi points out, the Holy League was hardly a model of Christian solidarity. The Spanish and the Venetians had different strategic objectives—the Spanish were concerned primarily with Italy, North Africa and the Western Mediterranean, while Venice was anxious to recover Cyprus and protect its interests in the eastern Mediterranean. The Spanish were not keen for a battle that might lose them precious resources, particularly as Philip II, with interests as well in northern Europe, was usually on the verge of bankruptcy. The Spanish were also concerned that the Venetians were in the process of cutting a deal with the Ottomans. Just a few days before the battle there was a conflict between the Spanish and Venetians that almost tore the fleet apart. Nevertheless the alliance held and the League fleet scored a stunning success.

Lepanto reshaped the religious bent of the Mediterranean:

The cultural shape of the lands around the Mediterranean was confirmed with a largely Islamic East and South staring across the waters at a Christian North and West.

The Ottoman Empire gradually lost territory and influence from that point until it collapsed with the Great War (1914-1918). That said, we are still dealing with the aftermath a century later:

The Ottoman empire, like the ancient Roman empire and the Byzantine empire before it, was left with the task of defending its ever diminishing borders over the next three centuries. When it did finally “fall” after the First World War the ramifications were enormous, and we are still attempting to cope with them from Bosnia to Iraq.

The Europeans defeated the Ottomans because of advanced naval battle tactics and weaponry. They also had more advanced trade and inventions, such as the printing press, which the Ottomans were slow to adopt:

The League won because it used innovative tactics. The usual form that galley warfare took was to ram the enemy ships and then take them by storm. The Venetian ships attempted a new and different tactic. Using a larger and modified form of galley known as galleasses, they filled these ships with cannons and attempted to blow as many of the Ottoman galleys as possible out of the water. League ships carried many more cannon and its troops made much greater use of firearms. Many of the Ottoman troops preferred to use bows, although these were not necessarily inferior to the clumsy arquebus of that time …

In the longer term, however, the future belonged to the new commercial instruments of the West rather than to the bureaucratic machinery of the Ottomans. In her study of seventeenth-century Crete, A Shared World, Molly Green demonstrates that the commercial techniques and practices used by the Venetians were much more sophisticated and developed than those of the Ottoman regime that replaced them in mid-century. It was also the case that the Ottomans were slow to take to make use of printing, with the “printing revolution” that swept the West in the sixteenth century not really taking off in the Islamic world until the nineteenth century.

Europe and Asia had been beset by invaders for centuries, especially during the perilous Dark Ages.

In Europe, during the latter days of the Roman Empire:

Rome, and the Roman empire, had to face an almost continuous set of threats, beginning with the Celts, then moving through to the Germans, Huns, Avars, Arabs and Turks. The Ottoman Turks simply delivered the coup de grâce to what had become little more than a living corpse.

In Asia:

China built its “great wall” to protect itself from nomadic predators, while the damage inflicted by the Mongols on the settled Islamic world, including the sack of Baghdad, was staggering.

These invasions happened because invading tribes of people envied the civilisation of settled societies:

A settled civilisation, by creating a measure of comfort and a settled way of life, makes itself a target for those living outside their boundaries who are drawn by what it has to offer.

Large-scale invasions ended in the 18th century, probably thanks to the Chinese:

the Qing Chinese empire in the eighteenth century successfully conquered and subdued the last of the great nomadic empires of Eurasia. For the first time in millennia no barbarian horsemen, no Huns, no Avars, no Mongols, surged across the great plains of Eurasia to sack and pillage Europe, China and the great civilisations of the Islamic world and India.

When a new barbarian empire emerged powerful enough to threaten the Ottomans, and by this I mean the Russian empire, it was successfully checked by the jealousy of the other European powers. It was also into this world … of empires that were not revitalised by new sets of barbarians, in the Middle East, in India and in China, that the European empires were able to make such inroads from the eighteenth century onwards.

Lepanto, as with so many other advances of that era, helped to usher in modernity to Europe with an emphasis on trade rather than war:

Lepanto can be seen as symbolic of that transition, described by the nineteenth-century French liberal philosopher Benjamin Constant, from the age of war to the age of commerce. Or as others might say, it can be considered as the birth of modernity. Even the overwhelming use of firepower can be found in the pages of Constant as a feature of the utilitarian approach to warfare favoured by commercial nations. The irony was that the somewhat ramshackle empires of sixteenth-century Europe, with their disorganised finances and administrative apparatuses much inferior to those of the Ottomans, would within 300 years come to dominate the world not because of their superior asabiya or virtue but because of their capacity to create modern efficient institutions far superior to the slave bureaucracy of the Ottomans, and because of their ability to deliver superior firepower.

This new European and commercial form of empire supplanted an older, more traditional imperial form. What this meant was that the old rules of empire, of an imperial expansion dictated by the need to conquer to attain booty and slaves and a decline governed by the need to protect its settled possessions from new predators, would give way to a new set of rules. These are the rules of the export and import of capital, as described by Niall Ferguson in his recent studies of the English and American empires.

Looking at present day developments in Europe, there does seem to be an envy of others to have what we Europeans have without contributing to our respective nations. When well-intended private and state generosity is met with Marxist-driven violence and disregard for the host citizenry, it is no wonder that many think of Lepanto.

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This post concludes a series on Spygate.

Please see Part 1 for a list of people involved and how they know each other. The same names will be appearing in this and other related posts.

Part 2 covers events from 2015 and the first half of 2016.

Part 3 reviews what happened during the summer that year.

Part 4 covers events from September through November 8, 2016.

Last weekend, The_War_Economy posted a brilliant Twitter thread of 246 tweets with accompanying sources.

His thread is called SPYFALL, available in Thread Reader and individual tweets.

I have been excerpting and summarising SPYFALL this week as well as adding some of my own information so that those of us reading about Spygate can better comprehend its various elements.

When summarising SPYFALL, I will include the relevant tweet number in parentheses which will have a link to the source material.

Emphases mine below.

Today’s conclusion covers events from the 2016 transition period through to Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.

November 2016

While Trump and his transition team were getting organised, the Obama administration wasted no time in working against them. Nor did Christopher Steele:

On November 11, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie stood down from Trump’s transition team. Mike Pence assumed leadership of the team. Meanwhile, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul attended a talk by Russian ambassador Kislyak (202):

On November 16, John Kerry had returned from Antarctica and was in Marrakesh for a UN climate conference. In Washington (206):

ODNI’s Clapper handed in his resignation, and Schumer chose Feinstein to take over the Senate Judiciary Committee, allowing Mark Warner to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On November 15, Admiral Mike Rogers stood down from Trump’s transition team (204). At least one news report suggested he was too much of a Chris Christie ally.

However, Mike Rogers had one more thing to do, which is why I said in Part 4 that he had been invaluable to Trump:

At this point, Republican senator and anti-Trumper John McCain (Arizona) entered the Steele Dossier/UK intelligence nexus:

On November 22, the FBI interviewed either the DoJ’s Bruce Ohr or his wife Nellie Ohr, employed by Fusion GPS in 2016 (212).

December 2016

The FBI ramped things up against the president-elect early in the month (214):

FBI’s Comey put more resources into the counter-intelligence operation into Trump as Randall Coleman resigns and Luke Harding meets with Steele.

The Clinton campaign paid their final fees to law firm Perkins Coie, which received $5.6 million between June and December 2016 (215).

Christopher Steele had given Sir Alex Younger a copy of the infamous dossier (216):

Alex Younger gives a speech at the Secret Intelligence Services Headquarters in London, after he had received the dossier from Steele directly. The dossier was also passed throughout UK’s intelligence services, including GCHQ, who provided their assessment to the NSA.

On December 5, the FBI interviewed one of the Ohrs again (217).

A few days later, John McCain met with James Comey (218):

and handed in the dossier. This was either on December 8, 9 or after the 13th. Who knows? He may have even met Glenn Simpson during this. It’s multiple choice!

On December 9, Obama ordered a review of Russian interference in US elections going back to 2008 (219), the year he was elected to the presidency.

On December 12, the FBI interviewed the Ohrs again and (220):

At the same time, Evelyn Farkas published the article “Here’s What America Needs to Know About Trump and Russia”.

More about Russian meddling on both sides of the Atlantic appeared in the days that followed:

On December 20, the Ohrs went in for another FBI interview (225).

On December 23, Lawfare’s Matt Tait – ex-GCHQ – wrote an article for Politico called ‘Putin’s Way of War‘ (226).

On October 28, Obama took diplomatic action against Russia, which involved a phone conversation between Ambassador Kisylak and General Mike Flynn, a member of Trump’s transition team. This would rebound on Flynn a short time later. Even today, his case is still ongoing and he is relying on the goodness of others to survive:

The FBI said there was nothing wrong with Flynn talking with Kislyak. They were right. As a member of the transition team, he was within his rights to do so:

January 2017

President-elect Trump was clearly unhappy at the intelligence community, Obama people and Democrats opposing his upcoming inauguration.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) offered a memorable riposte:

Last chance efforts to damage Trump were in play, which included the Steele dossier. The most influential names from Spygate were coming together as one:

On January 6 (235):

the ODNI published the unclassified version of their report on Russian influence in the 2016 United States Presidential election, which both the FBI and the CIA had high confidence in. The NSA? Not so much.

That day, Comey decided to brief Trump about the Steele dossier (236):

… neglecting to tell him who paid for it, but said that CNN was looking for a hook. And then, by coincidence, ODNI’s Clapper appeared on CNN for an interview and told Tapper about the dossier.

Up to that point, the dossier looked like a solid card to play against Trump, until BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal got involved. Hilarious, for Trump supporters, anyway!

That said, although the DoJ‘s inspector general Michael Horowitz opened up an investigation into his department on January 12 (239), it was business as usual for Trump’s adversaries in Washington:

On January 17, outgoing US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power used her final speech to verbally attack Russia (242).

Then came Inauguration Day, January 20:

Thus concludes Spygate as The_War_Economy detailed it in SPYFALL.

Thank you very much, The_War_Economy, for your brilliant work!

It was a year ago at this time in May that I visited one of London’s best kept secrets, Pollock’s Toy Museum.

I’d not heard of it until a good friend of mine suggested it as a place I could take my two American friends who were in town during the Whit Sun (Pentecost) Bank Holiday weekend. (Incidentally, this particular weekend was renamed some time ago to Spring Bank Holiday. But, I digress.)

My friends asked to go to a place that was non-touristy. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue, and, for that, I am ever grateful to my friend for the suggestion. He had been there as a boy.

If you want information only about the museum, skip the History part which follows and go to The Pollock’s Toy Museum experience section near the end.

History

The museum

How Pollack’s got to be a museum and in its current location near Goodge Street Tube station is a real rabbit hole.

The museum’s website glosses over a number of moves and transitions. No doubt most visitors aren’t that interested in the finer details:

Pollock’s was originally a shop and printers, dating back to the 1850’s, based in Hoxton, then a poor quarter of London. Benjamin Pollock’s hand printed, constructed and coloured much of the toy theatre material housed in the museum today.

The museum was created and the shop stock re-designed during the 1950’s and 60’s by Marguerite Fawdry It came to it’s current location in the late 1960’s where it has remained. The collection has been built up by purchases, donations from friends, family and the public. It is an independent family run concern. It is run more for the benefit of the public and to display the collection than for profit.

The museum’s Wikipedia page states:

The museum was started in 1956 in a single attic room at 44 Monmouth Street, near Covent Garden, above Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop, where Pollock’s Toy Theatres were also sold. As the enterprise flourished, other rooms were taken over for the museum and the ground floor became a toyshop. By 1969 the collection had outgrown the Monmouth Street premises and Pollock’s Toy Museum moved to 1 Scala Street, with a museum shop on the ground floor to contribute to its support. The museum continues today to be run by the grandson of the founder Marguerite Fawdry.[2]

I then ran across a December 2014 page at ArenaPAL, ‘Behind the Scenes at the Pollocks Toy Theatre Shop Factory Workshop’, which begins with this (emphasis in the original):

‘If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock’s’ …wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in an essay which immortalised Pollock’s Toy Shop – a business that was started in 1856 and still runs today from Covent Garden in London.

Robert Louis Stevenson? I will get to his role in a moment.

ArenaPAL‘s page has interesting photographs from the mid-1940s, showing a little boy admiring one of the toy theatres and men in the workshop building them out of Bakelite and wood.

The text went on to say (emphases mine below):

Pollock’s speciality was in fact the sale and manufacture of Toy Theatres – otherwise known as Juvenile Drama. Traditionally the kits comprised a paperboard stage and accompanying set design with cut out characters according to the play being sold – and sometimes the likeness of popular actors of the time. The miniature production would be performed to family and friends using an abridged script and, until the introduction of the television, was one of the most popular forms of home entertainment in Europe. Toy theatre has seen a resurgence in recent years and there are numerous international toy theatre festivals throughout the Americas and Europe.

That, I did not know.

The museum has a lot of these toy theatres of varying sizes and with different scripts.

Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop

The Wikipedia page on Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop clears up much of the confusion. A summary and excerpts follow.

The original shop was in Hoxton (east London). Its proprietor was:

John Redington (1819–1876), who described himself as a “Printer, Bookbinder and Stationer; Tobacconist; and Dealer in miscellaneous articles” …

The premises were located at 73 Hoxton Street. In 1851, Redington opened a theatrical print warehouse there:

Redington was an agent for the toy theatre publisher John Kilby Green, and when Green died in 1860 Redington bought up his engraved copper plates. Redington ran the Hoxton Street business until his death in 1876, following which his widow, youngest son William, and daughter Eliza carried on with the business; but soon only Eliza Redington was left to run the print business.[2]

In 1877, Eliza Redington married Benjamin Pollock. The couple ran the shop together. They also had eight children — four boys and four girls.

Pollock was still using Green’s and Redington’s plates and theatre sheets, although:

with the imprint changed to ‘B. Pollock’.[5]

The shop was in an excellent location. The Britannia Theatre was across the street.

Despite that, Pollock wasn’t exactly making a fortune. In the 1880s, he began making toy theatres:

or the ‘juvenile drama’ as it was called at the time, selling toy theatre drops and characters from contemporary dramas for “a penny plain, twopence coloured”. Pollock generally republished older plays by using existing plates, simply changing the names of the actors. His version of Cinderella, for example, which could be bought from Pollock in the 1880s, used plates from 1844.[6]

Pollock’s business was not a success as tastes in the 1880s changed towards magic lantern shows and other innovations

Magic lanterns were early slide shows. The museum has a collection of these.

Robert Louis Stevenson

One day in 1884, Robert Louis Stevenson paid Pollock a visit at his shop. Stevenson’s subsequent essay about his visit proved to be a boon for Pollock’s business.

A considered article from 2009 about that visit appears on Spitalfields Life, ‘Benjamin Pollock, a penny plain, tuppence coloured’.

It says that Stevenson was an only child who enjoyed juvenile drama — toy theatres — at home growing up. He was also aware that as toy theatre manufacturers died and others inherited their materials, the names also changed:

the theatres of his childhood that he purchased in a shop on Leith Walk in Edinburgh were produced by Skelt’s Juvenile Drama and the names on the printing plates were altered with successive owners, “This national monument, after changing its name to Park’s, Webb’s, Reddington’s and last of all to Pollock’s, has now become, for the most part, a memory”, he wrote.

Assembling the theatres was more fun than putting on the play:

… even Stevenson admitted “The purchase and the first half hour at home, that was the summit.” As a child, I think the making of them was the greater part of the pleasure, cutting out the figures and glueing it all together. “I cannot deny the joy that attended the illumination, nor can I quite forget that child, who forgoing pleasure, stoops to tuppence coloured.” Stevenson wrote.

Pollock’s in the 20th century

Wikipedia says that the First World War altered Pollock’s intended line of succession, as his son William died in active duty. Pollock’s daughter Louise helped her father run the business.

One year before he died:

The theatre historian and writer George Speaight was first associated with Pollock’s when he gave a toy theatre performance of The Corsican Brothers at The George Inn in Southwark for Pollock’s 80th birthday in 1936. Speaight was already gaining a reputation for his juvenile drama performances using characters and settings obtained from Pollock’s.[10]

Pollock died in 1937. The Spitalfields Life article says:

toy theatres had become an anachronism and the business was in terminal decline. Yet such was the celebrity that Stevenson had brought, Benjamin Pollock received the unique accolade for a Hoxton shopkeeper of an obituary in the Times.

After Pollock’s death, Louise continued with the business, assisted by her sister Selina. In 1944, they sold the business. Shortly afterwards:

the building was destroyed by an enemy bomb.

Today, a plaque is on a brick post outside of the Hoxton Street location. Spitalfields Life has a photo. The site has council flats on it now.

Wikipedia says that, before the bomb hit, bookseller Alan Keen had bought the shop’s stock from Louise and Selina. Keen ran his business in the Adelphi Building just off The Strand — theatre district — and called it Benjamin Pollock Limited.

In 1946, Keen appointed the aforementioned George Speaight as shop manager. Speaight was associated with the shop — and, later, the museum — for the rest of his life.

Keen popularised his toy theatres by using classic films of the postwar years and their famous stars:

Keen modernised the stock to appeal to a contemporary audience with a toy theatre version of the 1948 Laurence Olivier film of Hamlet devised by Speaight[13] among other innovations. A supporter of the shop at this time was the actor Ralph Richardson, who wrote introductions to the plays.[9]

Unfortunately, nothing could return toy theatres to their previous success. In 1950, Keen had to move the premises to Little Russell Street in Bloomsbury. The following year, Benjamin Pollock Limited went into receivership.

In 1955, a BBC journalist, Marguerite Fawdry, was looking for wire character slides for her son’s toy theatre. She ended up buying not only the stock but also the business. She rented a shop at 44 Monmouth Street — in Seven Dials near Holborn (quite a smart street of boutiques and restaurants these days). In 1956, she opened Pollock’s Toy Museum in part of the shop. In 1957, she purchased the plates from Skelt’s, as George Skelt had recently died. Robert Louis Stevenson had Skelt toy theatres as a child, so this was an important acquisition for the company.

In 1969, the rent in Monmouth Street was too high for the business to survive. Fawdry moved Pollock’s to 1 Scala Street near Goodge Street Station.

In 1980, Fawdry maintained the museum in Scala Street and moved the business to the newly renovated Covent Garden Piazza.

In 1988, Fawdry sold the business to brothers Christopher and Peter Baldwin. Peter Baldwin had a collection of toy theatres and was best known for his role as Derek Walton in the long-running evening soap opera, Coronation Street. He had also managed the shop between acting jobs. A lady by the name of Louise Heard was working in the shop at this time. She, too, would play a role in developing the business.

In 2008, Christopher Baldwin retired. Louise Heard became co-owner along with Peter Baldwin. In 2010, the two opened a second Pollock’s Toy Shop at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.

In 2015, Peter Baldwin died. Louise Heard continues to run both shops. Wikipedia tells us:

Today the shop produces its own range of toy theatres by contemporary artists such as Kate Baylay and Clive Hicks-Jenkins[19] which have been displayed at Liberty, Fortnum & Mason and the Royal Opera House. It sells reproduction and original toy theatres from around the world in addition to books, puppets, music boxes and other traditional toys.[9]

The museum and trust

Marguerite Fawdry’s grandson Eddy Fawdry currently runs the museum.

There is a Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust which helped to populate the inventory at the museum. They are no longer interested in receiving toy donations, only stories. Their main web page also states:

The trust’s collection remains there, although we have been prevented from having free use of it for the benefit of the public, as our trust deed requires us to do.

However, the museum’s contact page states:

Please note that if you come across a site calling itself Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust, this is not the museum, please ignore it.

The Trust are no longer connected to the museum but continue as a sort of strange purpose less entity!

The Pollock’s Toy Museum experience

I will never forget going to Pollock’s Toy Museum.

First, some practical information.

Getting there

By Tube, alight at Goodge Street Station.

When you exit the station at street level, take a left. At the corner, take another left. When you get to the next corner, take another left. That’s three lefts in total. The museum is at the end of the first block on the opposite side. You cannot miss its colourful exterior!

Admission and opening times

The museum is closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

If you want to go this weekend, it will have to be Saturday. But, don’t worry, it is likely to be quiet.

Their Contact page has more details on opening hours and admission prices.

Normal admission is £7 per person, with discounts for seniors and children. Credit cards accepted.

Other notes

There is no tour guide or attendant. Once you pay, you’re on your own.

The museum is in two old adjoining buildings — one from the 1780s and the other from the 1880s — with narrow staircases, which isn’t good for anyone with mobility issues.

The museum’s content is also not recommended for young children:

We recommend it for slightly older children and adults of all ages.

Nor would I recommend it to anyone who is triggered by weird looking toys. Seriously, anyone falling into that category will have nightmares.

It will take between 90 minutes and two hours to complete the museum in full. By that, I mean reading all the brief typewritten notes with the exhibits.

There are chairs in some rooms for those who need to sit down.

There is a restroom near the reception area.

Admission

We had a rather eccentric thirtysomething man at the entrance.

There were three of us and he gave us only one pamphlet to the museum.

My friends, who paid for me (thank you!), asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to give us two more pamphlets?’

He paused, looked at us and grudgingly gave us two more.

He had no personality at all, and I think he had a ‘problem’ of sorts. It’s a charitable act giving people like him a job.

The same went for the young woman who had taken his place by the time we left. I don’t think she could feasibly work anywhere else, either.

My friends said ‘Goodbye!’ on the way out and she just stared at us. Finally, she muttered ‘Goodbye’.

The pamphlet

The pamphlet is really helpful in guiding you from room to room.

Of course, they cannot list every type of exhibit, but the text only gives you a good summary of what you’re going to see.

That said, look carefully as you are going around, because there are some unmentioned gems on the walls and in the display cases.

Touring the museum

Everything is chocka with exhibits.

The first little room before the first staircase has mostly American toys from the 19th and early 20th centuries. All are described, including the provenance of the metal of the money boxes.

The first staircase shows that toys weren’t meant to be sources of fun and jollity. There are a number of 19th century — maybe slightly older — education aids for young children, who were expected to learn, not play. These large boards have pictures on them with a variety of small squares with aphorisms and other short items to memorise. The one I recall most vividly — and not mentioned in the pamphlet — is an Italian board depicting a schoolroom scene. A very comely schoolmistress is sitting behind a desk. A long switch is next to her. A little boy is sobbing his eyes out. The other children are quietly doing their schoolwork. Some of these boards depict scientific concepts children were meant to learn. I felt rather stupid looking at them. I’m not sure I learned those until a later stage at primary school.

If you pause on the landing and look opposite, you’ll see — if I remember rightly — Buzz Lightyear. That’s the most modern toy on display.

Things got more normal in the first room on the first floorthe boys’ den. There are Dinky toys (cars, delivery vehicles), train sets and tin soldiers. There are also a number of futuristic toys from the postwar era. Near the window are 19th century optical toys.

Going up the stairs to the second floor, you’ll see early board games as well as some modern ones. There are also some boys’ comic books that are at least a century old and folk toys from the Subcontinent.

The main room on the second floor is devoted to toy theatres, many of them from Pollock’s. You can also see a photo of Pollock there.

By the time you’re on the third floor, you’ve moved from the 1880s building into the one dating from the 1780s. The first room is devoted to dolls. You can see why they were out of the reach of most little girls two centuries ago. These are quite exquisite — and were very expensive. Don’t miss the 4,000 year old toy mouse from the banks of the Nile!

The next room has toy soldiers and teddy bears interspersed with a grand collection of dolls houses. I did not know that the late Victorians and Edwardians thought that little boys should have a masculine equivalent of a doll to comfort them; that’s where the idea of the teddy bear originated. The dolls houses are fascinating, even for men. One English father built his daughter a replica of the family home, complete with vehicles in the drive. The windows on the house open, and everything is exactly as it was in real life. She must have loved that.

The next room has more dolls from the first part of the 20th century. One of these is a black doll that belonged to a London girl who was from the West Indies. It’s got a great family story associated with it, the finer details of which I cannot remember well enough. Be sure to check it out.

There are also tea sets, prams, farm carts and more.

Again, nearly every room has an international collection, so it’s worthwhile looking at everything. The staircase leading down to the gift shop has a lot of toys from Africa and China.

The gift shop is okay, nothing to write home about.

The restroom is on the way out, just past the gift shop. It’s nice and clean.

Any visitor or Londoner who hasn’t visited Pollock’s Toy Museum should certainly consider adding it to their list of activities for a day out.

I want to go again. I think I’ll treat my English friend to an afternoon out.

For more information and photos, see TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews. That said, I disagree with everyone who says it needs updating. Egads. It most certainly does not! This is about the history of toys, not the latest trends. For that, head to Hamley’s, the toy shop in Regent’s Street.

In December 2017 and January 2018, I wrote about the FBI/DOJ schemes to undermine Donald Trump’s campaign and subsequent presidency.

The first burst of information emerged early in December:

December 1 and 2: update on the weekend’s news

At that point, Americans discovered that an FBI investigator, Peter Strzok, had been a Hillary supporter in 2016, was part of the group investigating the ‘matter’ of her email server, then went to work as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation before he was removed from Mueller’s team in the summer of 2017. That news had only been revealed in December.

An FBI/DOJ lawyer, Lisa Page, worked for former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and was also assigned to Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation for a time. She and Strzok developed a close working relationship.

When this became public, it was thought the two were having an extra-marital affair. As time went on, this became less certain. Nevertheless, last year:

Strzok and Page exchanged upwards of 50,000 text messages, many of which have since been recovered. Before that point, however, one of the first sections of texts discovered discussed Strzok’s mention to Page of an ‘insurance policy’:

News in brief — December 12-14, 2017

The ‘insurance policy’ was meant to thwart the Trump presidency:

By January 2018, the DOJ’s inspector general Michael Horowitz had 50,000 of the texts but was missing five months’ more:

Be prepared for 2018 news: part 3 — FBI’s missing texts

I included a message from Q in that post. Q says these missing texts could cast doubt on the FBI and DOJ and put in jeopardy criminal cases from the Obama years:

Then a new batch of texts came to light, which revealed that Strzok and Page discussed an existing ‘secret society’ that would undermine Trump:

Be prepared for 2018 news: part 4 — ‘secret society’ and more on missing FBI texts

After Mueller dismissed Strzok from his team, the latter was assigned to the FBI’s HR department.

Page continued as an FBI lawyer with other, unspecified responsibilities.

On April 11, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) discovered that, according to FBI director Christopher Wray, both Strzok and Page still had their security clearances. The Conservative Treehouse has a full report with supporting documents. Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

Senator Paul inquired with the FBI Director about whether reassigned FBI Agent Peter Strzok and DOJ/FBI Attorney Lisa Page still retained their Top Secret FBI clearances.

According to Senator Paul, the FBI director would not respond to specific agent inquiry, however, Wray did affirm that all existing FBI officials retain Top Secret clearances.

In essence, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, despite being removed from investigative authority over their role in the political efforts to target President Trump, retain employment within the DOJ/FBI apparatus in an unknown capacity and thereby their clearances.

This information by Rand Paul dovetails into an increasingly obvious storyline where Lisa Page and Peter Strzok remain employed because they are cooperating with the internal investigation by Inspector General Michael Horowitz and parallel federal prosecutor John Huber.

Similarly, former FBI chief legal counsel James Baker retained his:

In addition to Page and Strzok, former FBI chief legal counsel James Baker and former DOJ-NSD Deputy Bruce Ohr have been removed from their roles yet still remain inside the FBI and DOJ respectively. Those four are joined by the FBI Asst. Director in charge of Counterintelligence, Bill Priestap. However, despite Priestap’s centrality to the 2015/2016 corrupt FBI activity -including the Trump operation- Priestap remains untouched.

After FBI Asst Director Andrew McCabe was fired the subsequent information revealed what happened inside the groupMcCabe lied to FBI and IG investigators about his coordinating leaks to media. McCabe’s story conflicted with the account of his office attorney, Lisa Page.  {Go Deep}

To validate the truthfulness of her position Lisa Page provided FBI investigators with access to her text messages which showed conversations about McCabe directing leaks by Page and FBI communications Director Michael Kortan.  After the Page messages confirmed her version of the events; eventually McCabe admitted to misleading investigators.

Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker and Bruce Ohr have all been removed from responsibilities within the DOJ and FBI yet all still remain inside the organization.  FBI Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap, who was Peter Strzok’s’ boss throughout the corrupt group activity, remains in his role today.

By April 20, things started to unravel at the FBI. Vox has the whole story, but this tweet summarises the situation, saying that Trump will have the best laugh:

By April 25, it was thought that more Strzok-Page texts had been uncovered, although not made public. Q sent out a message (image courtesy of Reddit’s Q research board, greatawakening):

That day, Republican congressmen Devin Nunes (California) and Mark Meadows (North Carolina) appeared on Hannity calling for the release of the texts. The summary to the video linked here says:

Rep. Devin Nunes accuses the Justice Department of slow-walking the release of documents; he and Rep. Mark Meadows speak out on ‘Hannity.’

The next day:

The Last Refuge — Sundance from The Conservative Treehouse — posted a Twitter thread which discusses the newly released, yet redacted, texts. Only Strzok’s were made public. Excerpts follow:

Sundance also posted about this text release on his site, The Conservative Treehouse. Points of interest include the following (red emphases in the original):

♦[May 17th, 2017] Lisa Page mentions reviewing Benjamin Wittes Lawfare website (James Comey BFF and leak conduit) for “arguments to chronicle” on behalf of Special counsel advocacy.

NOTE: This is interesting because Lawfare Blog also mentions the “Insurance Policy”.

Important – May 17th, 2017 is the date of the Special Counsel Mueller appointment.

♦[May 17th, 2017] Date of Mueller appointment. Discussions of team being assembled. Strzok notes “emailing with Aaron”.  Well that’s Aaron Ze[ble]y former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s Chief of Staff who was selected for Special Counsel position. He’s also a partner at WilmerHale, and Strzok mentions to Page that she might find herself working at WilmerHale if she plays her cards right.

The fact that Agent Strzok was emailing with “Aaron” Ze[ble]y prior to the official appointment of the special counsel team should likely raise a few eyebrows.   Of course within this time-frame of the messaging released, the redactions increase.  Go figure.

Toward the end of the release a more thorough picture emerges of who was selecting Robert Mueller’s team and why. Andrew McCabe was key player along with James Baker

Page had broken off her texting with Strzok in 2017, long before the American public was aware of either of them. The Conservative Treehouse interprets her last text as follows:

Page’s final “never write to me again” doesn’t seem like a hostile snub. Seems more like a signal/coded message to a friend: “We’re scr*wed. Every (wo)man for himself. I’m looking out for myself. You should too.”

That day, Q posted the following message (1288). Emphases in the original:

Q !xowAT4Z3VQ ID: 5086f0 1218147 📁
Focus only on the FBI [for now].
Jim Rybicki, chief of staff and senior counselor – FIRED.
James Baker, general counsel – FIRED.
Andrew McCabe, deputy director – FIRED.
James Comey, director – FIRED.
Bill Priestap, Head of Counterintelligence and Strzok’s boss – Cooperating witness [power removed].
Peter Strzok, Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence – cooperating witness [power removed].
Lisa Page, attorney with the FBI‘s Office of the General Counsel – cooperating witness [power removed].
Conspiracy?
Think about the above.
Only the above.
Get the picture?
Q

By April 29, The Conservative Treehouse stated — wisely — that there was no romantic relationship between Page and Strzok:

There is zero evidence of a romantic relationship between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page; and no, a complete chronological review doesn’t indicate the romantic stuff was withheld. By looking at the messaging chronologically, studying the date and times, there’s nothing to indicate segments of romantic stuff was removed. What does appear obvious in many redactions, and likely some removals of messages, is an intentional effort to remove content that would be of an embarrassing professional nature to Ms. Lisa Page.

It is more than likely the “affair narrative” was likely created by investigators as part of an agreement on content control to explain withholding some information and message redactions. Investigators would not want those being investigated to know the scale of the evidence trail. Regardless, except for the useful story, the romantic angle is irrelevant.

In looking at the ensuing congressional report, Sundance offered this analysis (excerpted, emphasis in the original):

[Congressional Report – Page 18, Item #3, second paragraph] “The DOJ OIG obtained the initial batch of text messages on July 20, 2017.”   It is clear that Ms. Page underwent a period of (no less than) three solid days of extensive initial questioning by FBI (INSD) and DOJ (OIG) officials. [Which ended on/around July 20th, 2017.]

July 20th, 2017 is a key date.  A critical point-of-reference to move forward and review action.  It is absolutely clear [BEYOND CERTAIN], that INSD (Inspection Division) and OIG (Inspector General) knew of every single participant in the Page-Strzok engagement team by the end of July 2017.

Along with Page and Strzok, James Baker was also involved in the leaks (emphases mine):

The officials outlined in media leaks, direct or indirect, included: Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker (FBI Chief Legal Counsel), Andrew McCabe (Deputy Director), and Michael Kortan (FBI Office of Public Affairs). There are also discussions of other people leaking.

Indeed, one of the more stunning aspects of a full review was the scale of groups’ leaks to the media and how those leaks were used to frame the continued narrative about their ongoing efforts.

The messages show media leaks from 2015 all the way past the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Their discussions with the media were so frequent that Page and Strzok referred to media publications as “that’s your story”, or “that’s your article”, and enjoyed talking about the internal and external effect of the published accounts therein.

As for James Baker:

It does not appear accidental that FBI Chief Legal Counsel James Baker was allowed, by INSD and OIG investigators, to remain in place, *until* Baker was notified of being called to testify to congress (December 21, 2017)… then INSD yanked him back; and FBI Director Christopher Wray removed Baker from responsibility.

James Baker remains inside the FBI today; in some unknown capacity. James Baker is also in the text messages as “JB”, “Jim”, “GC” (General Counsel), and “James”. He was also an interoffice mentor/role-model of sorts for DOJ assigned Special Counsel Lisa Page. Both Page and Strzok had a great deal of respect and admiration for Baker.

From the messages we can clearly see that James Baker is a key figure amid everything that was happeningLikely Baker’s cooperation with investigators is the biggest risk to James Comey and Andrew McCabe due to Baker’s knowledge of situations, decisions, non-decisions and events.

Ultimately (emphasis in the original):

Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Bruce Ohr and James Baker have all been clearly identified by investigative releases as participating in gross misconduct at the DOJ and FBI.  All four of them have been removed from their responsibilities, yet each of them remains employed within the FBI or DOJ.

It is highly likely all four of them are cooperating with INSD and OIG investigators.

Sundance surmises that those in the know who are not co-operating are as follows:

FBI Communications Director Mike Kortan (quit), DOJ-NSD Deputy Asst. Attorney General David Laufman (quit), AG Loretta Lynch (replaced), AAG Sally Yates (fired), DOJ-NSD Asst Attorney General Mary McCord (quit), FBI Director James Comey (fired), Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (fired), FBI Chief-of-staff James Rybicki (quit).

Big news emerged on Friday, May 4. The New York Times reported (emphases mine):

WASHINGTON — Two top F.B.I. aides who worked alongside the former director James B. Comey as he navigated one of the most politically tumultuous periods in the bureau’s history resigned on Friday.

One of them, James A. Baker, was one of Mr. Comey’s closest confidants. He served as the F.B.I.’s top lawyer until December when he was reassigned as the new director, Christopher A. Wray, began installing his own advisers. Mr. Baker had been investigated by the Justice Department on suspicion of sharing classified information with reporters. He has not been charged.

The other aide, Lisa Page, advised Mr. Comey while serving directly under his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. She was assailed by conservatives after texts that she had exchanged with the agent overseeing the investigation into links between President Trump’s campaign and Russia were made public. In the messages, they expressed anti-Trump views but took aim at Hillary Clinton and other political figures as well.

The decisions by Mr. Baker and Ms. Page to leave the bureau were unrelated. Mr. Baker said in a telephone interview that he would be joining the Brookings Institution to write for Lawfare, its blog focused on national security law.

Sundance at the Conservative Treehouse had mentioned Lawfare, as cited above. Lawfare was helpful to those in the FBI and DOJ in giving them narrative points and discussing the ‘insurance policy’.

The Daily Caller had more on the story:

The FBI attorney who exchanged anti-Trump text messages with another bureau official resigned on Friday, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The FBI confirmed that the lawyer, Lisa Page, tendered her resignation.

Page has faced months of scrutiny over the text messages, which she exchanged with Peter Strzok, the former deputy chief of the FBI’s counterintelligence division.

The exchanges show a deep hostility to President Donald Trump at a time when the two officials were working on the FBI’s investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government. Some of the texts show Strzok and Page cryptically discussing how to proceed with the investigation, which was opened on July 31, 2016

Both Strzok and Page also served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which began on May 17, 2017.

Page worked for several weeks on the Mueller team before returning to her position as one of McCabe’s counselors. Strzok worked on the Mueller investigation until July 28, 2017, when Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general, notified Mueller of the scandalous text messages.

Page is also a central player in Horowitz’s investigation of McCabe. She is the FBI official who McCabe instructed to speak to The Wall Street Journal regarding an October 2016 article about the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. McCabe authorized Page to leak to The Journal “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership,” Horowitz determined.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe on March 16:

based upon a recommendation from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

Horowitz released his report about McCabe on April 13:

that alleged McCabe gave inaccurate and incomplete statements about his authorization of the media leaks. The report, which dinged McCabe for a “lack of candor,” said he initially denied to both the OPR and the inspector general that he authorized Page to speak with The Journal.

The Daily Caller reported that Horowitz’s next findings would focus more closely on Strzok and Page.

That day, Q posted an update to the aforementioned message (1288) in a new one (1316). Emphases in the original:

Q !2jsTvXXmXs 64 📁

[Updated]
James Baker – FIRED [reported today – resigned [false]] / removed Jan/FIRED 4.21
Lisa Page – FIRED [reported today – resigned [false]]
Testimony received.
Tracking_y.
[Added]
Mike Kortan, FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs – FIRED [cooperating under ‘resigned’ title]
Josh Campbell, Special Assistant to James Comey – FIRED
[DOJ]
David Laufman, Chief of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section [NAT SECHRC email invest] – FIRED/FORCE
John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General – Head of DOJ’s National Security Division – FIRED/FORCE
Sally Yates, Deputy Attorney General & Acting Attorney General – FIRED
Mary McCord, Acting Assistant Attorney General – Acting Head of DOJ’s National Security Division – FIRED/FORCE
Bruce Ohr, Associate Deputy Attorney General – Demoted 2x – cooperating witness [power removed]
Rachel Brand, Associate Attorney General – No. 3 official behind Deputy AG Rosenstein – FIRED/FORCE
Cross against House/Senate resignations/final term announcements + CEO departures.
CONSPIRACY?
FAKE NEWS?
THE SWAMP IS BEING DRAINED.
TRUST THE PLAN.
JUSTICE.
Q

From that, it is interesting to see that, for public consumption, Page and Baker ‘resigned’, yet, both, according to Q, were actually ‘FIRED’. Q also notes: ‘Testimony received’.

Hmm.

Two of the other people — namely Mike Kortan and Rachel Brand — had reportedly ‘resigned’, too. Q’s take is that both were similarly FIRED.

The important point in Q’s message going forward are the last five lines before sign-off. What concerned Americans suspected wasn’t a conspiracy theory but actual conspiracy. Action has been taken, and the Swamp draining has begun.

Much more to follow once the next inspector general report is published.

Until then, trust the plan as the Trump administration enters the phase where it metes justice.

In the first half of 2017, Trump supporters — myself included — were enthusiastic about Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as attorney general.

On February 10, I wrote about child molesters and traffickers:

Can Jeff Sessions make pizza great again?

Although perverts and traffickers are always being arrested, under Sessions’s watch, the number began to increase exponentially. Great news!

Another big problem was MS-13. On April 10, I posted:

Attorney General Sessions sends message to MS-13: ‘We will find you’

From those two targets, we see that Sessions’s DOJ was making a move on people all of us can agree fall into the category of criminal.

However, there is another type of criminal: Washington DC politicians who work against the interests of the United States and, within that group, the subset which has been trying to bring down President Donald Trump since November 9, 2016, the day after the election. George True’s guest post of April 15, 2018 explains how serious this is:

Guest post: a reader’s perspective on the Deep State and Mueller investigation

That Jeff Sessions does not consider the DC Swamp rats to be criminals is problematic.

My other 2018 posts about him have reflected this:

Trump tweets frustration with slow investigation (February 24 – 28, 2018)

Increasing outcry for Sleepy Sessions to go (April 19)

Guest post: a reader’s perspective on Jeff Sessions’s priorities (George True, April 20 and Rosenstein’s presidential cufflinks)

Jeff Sessions began recusing himself from Swamp rat investigations early in 2017.

As a result, he has made life extremely difficult for President Trump and his associates. The coup continues apace.

January 10, 2017 — first hint of recusal

As early as January 2017, Sessions said he would recuse himself from any campaign issues involving Hillary Clinton.

On January 10, the Los Angeles Times reported (emphases mine):

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick to be the next attorney general, testified before Congress on Tuesday that he would recuse himself from any investigations and prosecutions involving Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Sessions and Trump called during the fall campaign for Clinton to be investigated and prosecuted for her use of a private email server, despite determinations by the FBI and Justice Department that her actions did not warrant charges. Since his election, Trump has said he did not support such an investigation or prosecution. 

Sessions said he had made comments during the “contentious” campaign about Clinton’s use of the email server and her family’s charitable foundation that could place his objectivity in question.

“I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from any questions involving those kind of investigations that involve Secretary Hillary Clinton,” the Alabama Republican told senators on the Judiciary Committee.

March 2, 2017 – first recusal statement

After Sessions was appointed attorney general, he formally recused himself from campaign investigations.

On March 2, he gave a statement, excerpted below:

During the course of the confirmation proceedings on my nomination to be Attorney General, I advised the Senate Judiciary Committee that ‘[i]f a specific matter arose where I believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, I would consult with Department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed.’ 

During the course of the last several weeks, I have met with the relevant senior career Department officials to discuss whether I should recuse myself from any matters arising from the campaigns for President of the United States

Having concluded those meetings today, I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States

Quartz provided the background:

US attorney general Jeff Sessions, responding to mounting pressure from Democrats and from his own party, announced that he is recusing himself from any current or future investigations into the 2016 US presidential campaigns. The decision followed reports that he had spoken twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the US. Russia, of course, is widely believed by US intelligence agencies to have meddled in the election.

Sessions, a former Republican senator and an advisor to US president Donald Trump during the race, had testified during his Senate confirmation hearing in January that he had not had communications with the Russians during the campaign. At his press conference today (March 2), Sessions spoke about one of the meetings, recalling that it ending in a tense confrontation about Ukraine.

Business Insider provided more detail:

The attorney general recused himself on March 2 after reports emerged that Sessions had twice met with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during the course of the election, contradicting statements he made during his Senate confirmation hearing, in which he said under oath that he did not have contacts with Russians during the campaign

Following the bombshell report, Democrats swiftly demanded Sessions’ resignation, while a growing group of Republicans called on the attorney general to recuse himself from campaign-related investigations.

During questioning by Sen. Ron Wyden later in the hearing, Sessions said that there were no classified reasons for his recusal, as former FBI Director James Comey suggested in his Senate testimony last week. Sessions also claimed that he had informally recused himself since he was confirmed to lead the Justice Department. 

I basically recused myself the first day I got into the office because I never accessed files, I never learned the names of investigators, I never met with them, I never asked for any documentation,” Sessions told Wyden. “The documentation — what little I received — was mostly already in the media.” 

Months later, the Los Angeles Times noted:

In March, Sessions announced he was recusing himself from any investigation into charges that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion between Russians and Trump’s campaign. Following his announcement, reports surfaced that Trump was irate that Sessions had recused himself from any investigation.

Fake news or a grain of truth in that last sentence?

I’m writing up what happened to HR McMaster, which I will post here in due course, and found that these rumours and reports turned out to be true.

June 13, 2017 – second recusal statement

On June 13, 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported Sessions’s second formal recusal, this time into Russian collusion:

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions insists his recusal from any investigation into Russian collusion in last year’s election was simple: It’s the law.

In an opening statement before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Sessions cited a Department of Justice regulation that he said mandated him stepping aside …

“I recused myself not because of any asserted wrongdoing on my part during the campaign,” Sessions said. “But because a Department of Justice regulation, 28 CFR 45.2, required it.”

“That regulation states, in effect, that department employees should not participate in investigations of a campaign if they have served as a campaign advisor,” said Sessions.

Throughout much of the 2016 election, Sessions served as a senior advisor to Trump’s campaign.

July 2017 — a vexed Trump unloads

On July 19, three New York Times reporters — Peter Baker, Michael S Schmidt and Maggie Haberman — published an interview (and transcript) with President Trump at the White House.

Trump did not mince words. The article led with this:

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”

In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.

However, the topic did not come up until later in the interview. On this and other subjects, this has to be one of the best interviews ever. On Robert Mueller, Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, Trump had this to say:

SCHMIDT: What do you understand to be the four corners of what Mueller [Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation] can look at, if he steps—— [crosstalk]

TRUMP: I don’t know. Nobody has contacted me about anything.

_________

TRUMP: Because I have done nothing wrong. A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.

BAKER: Can we put that on the record?

TRUMP: Because so far, the only — yeah, you can put it down.

SCHMIDT: Was that [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions’s mistake or [Deputy Attorney General Rod J.] Rosenstein’s mistake?

________

TRUMP: Look, Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job, he recuses himself.

BAKER: Was that a mistake?

TRUMP: Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

HABERMAN: He gave you no heads up at all, in any sense?

TRUMP: Zero. So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, “Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.” It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy.

HABERMAN: Rosenstein.

TRUMP: Who is he? And Jeff hardly knew. He’s from Baltimore.

________

TRUMP: Yeah, what Jeff Sessions did was he recused himself right after, right after he became attorney general. And I said, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” I would have — then I said, “Who’s your deputy?” So his deputy he hardly knew, and that’s Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he’s from Baltimore. Now, he, we went through a lot of things. We were interviewing replacements at the F.B.I. Did you know Mueller was one of the people that was being interviewed?

HABERMAN: I did, actually.

TRUMP: He was sitting in that chair. We had a wonderful meeting.

HABERMAN: Day before, right?

SCHMIDT: Did he want the job?

TRUMP: The day before! Of course, he was up here, and he wanted the job.

HABERMAN: And he made that clear to you? He would have——

________

TRUMP: So, now what happens is, he leaves the office. Rosenstein leaves the office. The next day, he is appointed special counsel. I said, what the hell is this all about? Talk about conflicts? But he was interviewing for the job. There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point. So Jeff Sessions, Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers.

HABERMAN: You mean at the hearing?

TRUMP: Yeah, he gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t. He then becomes attorney general, and he then announces he’s going to recuse himself. Why wouldn’t he have told me that before?

HABERMAN: Why do you think it was? What do you think it was?

TRUMP: I don’t know.

BAKER: What would cause you — what would be the line beyond which if Mueller went, you would say, “That’s too far, we would need to dismiss him”?

TRUMP: Look, there are so many conflicts that everybody has. Then Rosenstein becomes extremely angry because of Comey’s Wednesday press conference, where he said that he would do the same thing he did a year ago with Hillary Clinton, and Rosenstein became extremely angry at that because, as a prosecutor, he knows that Comey did the wrong thing. Totally wrong thing. And he gives me a letter, O.K., he gives me a letter about Comey. And by the way, that was a tough letter, O.K. Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, O.K. But he gives me a very strong letter, and now he’s involved in the case. Well, that’s a conflict of interest. Do you know how many conflicts of interests there are? But then, then Comey also says that he did something in order to get the special prose— special counsel. He leaked. The reason he leaked. So, he illegally leaked.

Trump took to Twitter to express his vexation with Sessions, who was on an MS-13 mission in El Salvador at the time (see his priorities!):

So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?

On July 27, Sessions told Tucker Carlson (Fox News) how ‘hurtful’ the President’s tweets were. Note that he defended his recusals:

He never should have taken the job!

Mueller conflicts of interest

To go into all the conflicts of interest in this investigation would take ages. Uranium One is the biggest, and it involves Russia, Mueller and Rosenstein.

That said, the public were angry at the way Big Media — especially CNN — were reporting the Mueller investigation.

On July 24, a contributor to The_Donald posted a testy thread, the title of which is:

FAKE NEWS CNN defending Sessions’ recusal while DEAD SILENT about Mueller needing to recuse for the same reasons. MUELLER IS MORE CONFLICTED THAN SESSIONS! REPORT THE TRUTH!

By way of reply, someone posted a link to a Crime and Consequences article, ‘My View: Mueller is Conflicted Out‘. The premise of the article is that Robert Mueller cannot continue to serve as Special Counsel under 28 USC Section 528 and 28 CFR Section 45.2. You can read the article for the detail.

The author provides an excellent summary of Mueller, James Comey and more. The following continues to be discussed today, particularly in light of Comey’s recent book launch and associated interviews:

Jim Comey and Bob Mueller have been friends for about 15 years

Comey now finds himself smack-dab at the center of the Russian investigation over which Mueller presides. Questions swirl around Comey — about whether the President wanted/hinted/hoped/asked/directed/or something else the investigation of National Security Adviser Gen. Flynn to be stopped/abandoned/slowed/soft-peddled/something else. This is probably the central element of the obstruction of justice case Mr. Trump’s opponents would like to see made against him.

Questions also swirl about Comey’s notes about this conversation, why he gave them to a private individual (Prof. Dan Richman of Columbia Law) to convey to the press. Additional questions have arisen about whether this curious and seemingly devious means of putting contents of the notes in the public domain (leaking, in other words) was designed specifically to bring about the appointment of a Special Counsel outside the President’s direct reach — and, indeed, whether Comey wanted, expected or intended his friend Mueller to get the job.

There is much to be said of all this, none of it very happy-making. But one thing that can be said with considerable clarity if not comfort is that, under the governing rules (set forth above), Mueller has a long-term relationship with Comey that “may result in a personal…conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof.”

He is therefore disqualified. I hope and believe that Mueller, whom I believe to be an honest man and a partisan of the rule of law, will see this for himself. If he doesn’t, I hope Rod Rosenstein will.

As I’ve said in many other contexts, I like rule-orientation and fear self-justification, a ubiquitous flaw in even the best of men. There is no way Comey is not a central witness in this investigation (if not a subject). Even less is there a way Mueller can be expected to evaluate Comey’s credibility with the fresh neutrality, arm’s-length curiosity, and objective sharp eye his job demands.

Whether Mueller’s departure would work out well or badly for Mr. Trump is not knowable (it is also decidedly not the subject of this post). My point is about the application of stated rules to the facts at hand. Let the chips fall where they may, the application is clear: Mueller cannot remain as Special Counsel.

That article was from June 2017. Nearly one year later, nothing has changed. Mueller’s still in situ.

On September 20, Law & Crime‘s Rachel Stockman asked why Rosenstein wasn’t recusing himself from the Mueller probe. Because Sessions recused himself, Rosenstein is the DOJ’s link to Mueller (emphases in the original, those in purple mine):

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein is overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation after Jeff Sessions recused himself. However, there are some concerns about his ability to adequately supervise an investigation that he has now become a part of. On Tuesday night, The Wall Street Journal broke the story that over the summer, Mueller’s investigators interviewed Rosentein about President Donald Trump‘s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The Journal claims the FBI’s handling of the interview “could be a sign that Mr. Mueller’s team doesn’t view Mr. Rosenstein as a central witness in its probe, as the deputy attorney general hasn’t withdrawn himself from overseeing it since that interview.” That could very well be the case, but the optics don’t look good. A spokesperson for Rosenstein said “if there comes a time when he needs to recuse, he will. However, nothing has changed.” Well, now might be the time …

Rosenstein, as a federal lawyer and a DOJ employee, is guided by both local D.C. ethics rules and Justice Department guidelines. Both would prohibit him from overseeing an investigation if he is a person of interest or a target

However, legal experts emphasize that we don’t know yet whether Rosenstein is a target of the investigation for his role in writing that infamous memo giving Trump “justification” for firing Comey.  Did Rosenstein cooperate in a lie to the public?  18 USC 1512(c)(2) says that obstruction happens when a person “corruptly… impedes [an] official proceeding or attempts to do so.”

“Creating a false narrative for firing Comey could be such an attempt. The definition of ‘official proceeding; includes “a proceeding before a Federal Government agency which is authorized by law.’ That language is broad enough to encompass the FBI and the Comey investigation,” Gillers said.

Now, the hope is that if the investigation starts honing in on Rosenstein, Mueller would advise him that he needed to recuse himself.  BUT there is this added wrinkle: Mueller may have an incentive in wanting to keep Rosentein as his supervisor. Trump’s team has hinted more than once that he might fire Mueller. Federal law says that technically Trump can’t do the firing. Instead, the U.S. Attorney General (or in this case Rosenstein since Sessions recused himself) would have to do it. From all indications, Rosenstein would probably not demure to such a demand from Trump …

In the end, we must rely on Mueller’s integrity, and pray that if Rosenstein was in legal jeopardy, Mueller would do the right thing and ask him to take himself off the investigation. In the wake of James Comey’s breach in DOJ policy, asking us to trust our public officials seems like a scary thought. With so much at stake, so many unknowns, and the world watching, Mr. Rosenstein needs to think long and hard about recusing himself. 

Well, Rosey’s still managing the Mueller investigation.

September 2017 – calls for unrecusal

By September, there were calls for Sessions to unrecuse himself. Here’s Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch:

By December, there was doubt as to whether Sessions should have recused at all:

On December 18, Alan Dershowitz offered the clearest rationale for an unrecusal. Emphases mine below.

He told Fox & Friends (video at the link):

Sessions could un-recuse himself, because the law allows anyone who’s recused themselves to un-recuse if there are new developments or circumstances.

And Dershowitz said the reason Sessions can do this, is because Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should recuse himself.

Rosenstein is a “key witness” after writing the memo justifying Jim Comey’s firing.

November 2017 – question over possible Uranium One recusal

On November 2, Breitbart reported that Rep. Mark Gaetz (R – Florida) told them that Sessions would recuse over Uranium One (H/T: Conservative Treehouse). Bold emphasis in the original, those in purple mine:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a small group of lawmakers in late September he was recused from appointing a special counsel to look into potential corruption surrounding the Uranium One deal and Fusion GPS’s work on the Trump dossier, according to one of the lawmakers present.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told Breitbart News on Wednesday that he and other House Judiciary Committee Republicans had met with Sessions at the Justice Department on September 28 in advance of an upcoming committee hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein later this month.

Gaetz said that when he asked Sessions to appoint a special counsel to investigate the 2010 Uranium One deal and Fusion GPS, the attorney general stood up, said he could not discuss the matter because he had recused himself, and walked out of the room, leaving them with a group of Rosenstein staffers “who showed no interest.”

“He said that anything that had to do with 2016 election, or Russia, or the candidates in the 2016 election, fell under the scope of his recusal, and he left the room,” Gaetz said.

“It was Sessions’ position that his recusal on the Russia matter divorced him from any oversight on Uranium One and Fusion GPS. That’s troubling. Sessions’ recusal is a function of his involvement in the Trump campaign. In no world does that impact his judgment as it relates to Fusion GPS and Uranium One. But he views the recusal more broadly. That’s troubling because that puts Rosenstein in charge,” he said.

Gaetz said Rosenstein’s staffers provided “no answers” and “no timeline for answers.”

This is why many of us have been saying that Sessions must resign or, as such time as the Senate will approve a replacement, be fired.

Yet, investigative journalist Sara Carter told Fox’s Sean Hannity that the report was not true:

I hope Sara Carter is correct.

November 2017 – Sessions critics told they are disloyal

Sleepy’s critics are constantly being told by his supporters that by being critical of him they are being critical of Trump! False!

As much as I liked Imperator_Rex — currently Vachel Lindsay — on Twitter, the logic that he and others employ with this stance is wrong. Here’s a taster from a rather long thread of his from November 3:

Who knows what’s happening with The Storm? All the people we want to see brought to justice have been going on book tours (Hillary, Comey), giving speeches overseas (Obama) and leading a normal life (e.g. John Podesta).

Re 36, no, it’s not because Trump ‘wants’ Sessions there, it’s because the only way Trump can get a replacement for him is if he (Sessions) resigns (vacancy rules apply).

The Senate told Trump in 2017 that they will not approve any new cabinet members, making it impossible for Trump to fire Sessions. Nor will the Senate allow Trump to appoint someone new when the Senate is not in session. Consequently, the Senate has not been declaring any formal recess.

Trump’s hands are tied, unless Sessions resigns.

Even then, Trump has to have a replacement in mind.

It certainly won’t be Rosenstein.

Re 37, saying that Sessions critics are disloyal to Trump is egregious. We care deeply about President Trump. That’s why we want Sessions out of the way, so that Swamp rats can be dealt with the way the Founding Fathers intended.

Again, we have only Sara Carter’s word for that.

December 2017 – Former FBI director Kallstrom says Mueller should recuse

On December 4, former FBI director James Kallstrom told Breitbart that Robert Mueller should recuse himself:

“Bob Mueller should have never been offered nor accepted the job as special counsel as he has a huge conflict of interest,” Jim Kallstrom tells Breitbart News …

Not only do observers describe Mueller and the man he recommended to replace him as FBI director, James Comey, as close or even best friends, but the special counsel pursues an investigation heavily involving the bureau he once led. How one maintains detachment in leading a team that includes numerous anti-Trump partisans in a probe involving one’s close friend and the former bureau for which Mueller served as director goes unexplained.

Other problems Kallstrom sees include the means by which investigators obtained information and what constituted probable cause to obtain it.

“The Obama administration apparently, had the advantage of using electronic surveillance, collecting information on the Trump campaign,” Kallstrom explains. “That collection, in my view, may be found to be unlawful.”

If the surveillance and investigatory methods prove unlawful, Kallstrom notes that this puts Mueller in an awkward position of looking into his close friend and perhaps the bureau that both men once led.

“If they used the phony dossier as the predicate for the FISA order they obtained, that could be a huge problem,” Kallstrom tells Breitbart News. “If they knew the information was phony, that is a felony. If they did not know it was phony, they were incompetent.”

January 2018 – White House tried to talk Sessions out of recusal

On January 5, 2018, Fox News reported that White House officials tried to talk Sessions out of recusing himself in 2017 (emphases mine):

President Trump instructed three senior White House officials to talk Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of recusing himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into potential ties between Russia and members of the Trump campaign, multiple sources told Fox News on Friday.

Trump called on White House counsel Don McGahn, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer to stop Sessions from recusing himself.

Spicer has denied the allegation.

The push to convince Sessions allegedly took place over the course of a number of telephone calls that covered a variety of other topics, the well-placed sources told Fox.

On Thursday, The New York Times first reported that Trump had directed McGahn to contact Sessions this past March. According to The Associated Press, two anonymous sources confirmed that McGahn unsuccessfully lobbied Sessions to continue to oversee the Russia investigation.

Sessions supporters will have trouble with ‘multiple sources’ and ‘anonymous sources’, but every single presidential administration has had them.

My upcoming McMaster chronicle shows that, nearly every time one of these sources spoke to the media, they were telling the truth.

March – Sessions took recusal advice from Obama lawyers

Just when the Sessions situation couldn’t seem more intolerable, the Gateway Pundit reported on March 14 that the attorney general took recusal advice from Obama adminstration lawyers (emphases in the original):

On Wednesday night FOX News contributor and legal expert Gregg Jarrett told Sean Hannity that Sessions used the WRONG LAW when announcing his recusal. He took advice from OBAMA OFFICIALS and they misled him.

Gregg Jarrett: He betrayed the president. He knew when he was sworn in that he was going to recuse himself and the very next day he put the recusal in motion. He never told the president about that. And by the way he cited the regulation in his recusal… He cited the wrong law. It didn’t apply.

Sara Carter: I think he was being advised badly at the time.

Gregg Jarrett: Yeah, by Obama’s holdovers. Who in the world would believe them?

Good grief! He cited the wrong law!

The DOJ regulation Sessions cited — 28 CFR 45.2— says “no DOJ employee may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.”

As Andrew McCarthy at National Review reported, “The regulation he cited applies to a different type of investigation.”

Once again the question must be asked: Who did deep state catch Jeff Sessions in bed with?

My thoughts exactly.

April 2018 – Congress asks Sessions to investigate Swamp

On April 18, members of Congress wrote to Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray and United States Attorney John Huber requesting that they issue a criminal referral for a long list of Swamp dwellers, including FBI Director James Comey, Hillary Clinton and others – including FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, for a laundry list of potential crimes surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

You can read the letter in full at Scribd.

ZeroHedge has more (emphases in the original):

Recall that Sessions paired special prosecutor John Huber with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz – falling short of a second Special Counsel, but empowering Horowitz to fully investigate allegations of FBI FISA abuse with subpoena power and other methods he was formerly unable to utilize.

The GOP letter’s primary focus appears to be James Comey, while the charges for all include obstruction, perjury, corruption, unauthorized removal of classified documents, contributions and donations by foreign nationals and other allegations.

The letter also demands that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “be recused from any examination of FISA abuse,” and recommends that “neither U.S. Attorney John Huber nor a special counsel (if appointed) should report to Rosenstein.”  

April 2018 – possible partial recusal in Cohen investigation

Early in April, the home, office and hotel room of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen were ransacked.

It’s possible that Sessions could recuse himself from this, too — at least partially.

On April 24, Gateway Pundit carried a news story, ‘WTH? AG Sessions Will Not Recuse Himself From Cohen Investigation — Only on Certain Issues‘ (emphases in the original):

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided not to recuse himself from the investigation into Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Don’t get too excited because Sessions will consider stepping back on specific matters tied into the Cohen probe …

On Tuesday, GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin sent a letter to AG Sessions demanding to know his involvement in the FBI raid of Cohen.

“We would like to know if you approved, were consulted, or had any involvement in this decision by the Department of Justice,” Zeldin asked in a letter to AG Sessions about the FBI raid of Cohen on April 9th.

Gateway Pundit cited a Reuters article which says that Sessions discussed the matter at a Senate appropriations subcommittee meeting about the proposed 2019 budget for the Justice Department. Please read it, because it’s got all the classic Sessions recusal statements.

Conclusion

To date, Sessions’s recusals look increasingly like refusals to do the AG job in its entirety.

Jeff Sessions is up for the chop. It’s just a matter of time and circumstance. After the Cohen raid, Trump is even unhappier with the AG and the DOJ than he was a year ago at this time.

Little Alfie Evans, born on May 9, 2016, died in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

He spent much of his short life in a ‘semi-vegetative’ state:

and has a degenerative neurological condition doctors had not definitively diagnosed.

Specialists say his brain has been “eroded”.

Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, had been in courts in the UK and Europe in an effort to save their son.

On Monday, April 16, the couple’s lawyer asked British Court of Appeals judges to allow the child to travel to Italy for life-saving treatment, but three judges — Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan — ruled against the appeal.

Earlier this year, in February (emphases mine):

Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.

Alfie’s parents want to move their son from Alder Hey to a hospital in Rome.

The couple said Italian doctors are willing to treat the little boy and an air ambulance is available.

But Mr Justice Hayden said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.

Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions.

Supreme Court justices and European Court of Human Rights judges refused to intervene.

They are now arguing that Alfie is being wrongly “detained” at Alder Hey and have made a habeas corpus application.

A writ of habeas corpus – Latin for “you may have the body” – is a legal manoeuvre which requires a court to examine the legality of a detention …

Mr Justice Hayden dismissed that habeas corpus claim last week.

Appeal judges upheld Mr Justice Hayden’s decision but said doctors should keep treating Alfie pending a Supreme Court decision.

By April 24, Alfie, at Alder Hey and off life support, was still alive:

Doctors have been left “gobsmacked” after Alfie Evans’ life-support was withdrawn but he continued to live, his father has said.

Tom Evans said it was obvious that the youngster was breathing unassisted “within a few minutes” of life-support being withdrawn on Monday night …

Speaking outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Tuesday morning, his father said Alfie’s life-support should be reinstated due to his remarkable progress.

“He is still working, he’s doing as good as he can,” he told reporters …

“Because he’s been doing it for nine hours totally unexpected, the doctors are gobsmacked and I do believe he will need some form of life-support in the next couple of hours and I think he ought to be respected and given that.”

Alfie’s parents want treatment to continue and want to fly him to a hospital in Rome.

The Italian government had already taken care of foreseeable issues:

His case has been highlighted by the Pope, who expressed support for the couple, and he has been granted Italian citizenship.

Amazing.

Alfie’s father had to persuade Alder Hey doctors to give the little mite oxygen and water. Why wouldn’t they have done that of their own accord?

Mr Evans said that he had a “lengthy talk” with doctors and pleaded with them to give his son oxygen.

“They left him for six hours without food, water and oxygen,” he said.

“I felt blessed when they confirmed they were going to give him his water and his oxygen.

“He’s now on oxygen. It’s not changing his breathing but it’s oxygenating his body.”

Also on April 24, LifeNews.com reported that the air ambulance was actually at the hospital ready to transport little Alfie to Rome:

An air ambulance has arrived outside the hospital where little Alfie Evans is located. Alfie has breathed on his own and has survived for over 18 hours after the Children’s Hospital yanked his life support.

Alfie has defied doctors’ expectations to this point and his parents are headed back to court to fight for his life further. They are hoping to be able to get life support restored and also want to be able to take him to Italy, which granted him citizenship yesterday

As one British media outlet reports, “Paul Diamond, who will represent the parents this afternoon, is expected to argue that it cannot be in Alfie’s best interests to be left at Alder Hey Hospital and that he should instead be flown overseas – with an air ambulance already ready and waiting.”

He will argue that Alfie should be allowed to travel to Italy where doctors are ready to care for him,” according to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC). The organization said the aircraft was on hand to transport the little boy to a hospital in the country. “The court and the hospital should welcome the intervention of the Italian government and let Alfie travel to Italy.”

A representative of the Italian Embassy would attend the hearing.

The pope tweeted:

It didn’t matter. Later that day, LifeNews.com posted an update:

The judge in the case just prohibited Alfie’s family from taking him to Italy for care and treatment and potential experimental treatment for his rare degenerative neurological disorder.

The article went on to say that many people were critical of the courts’ callous decisions, including physicians and healthcare experts:

Today, a British doctors group, The Medical Ethics Alliance, expressed its horror over the treatment of Alfie Evans that it called a “medical tyranny.”

And Italy’s Healthcare Chief has slammed the decisions by UK courts to treat Alfie the way that they have. The President of the Italian National Institute of Health lambasted the UK High Court’s decision yesterday on Alfie Evans’ that resulted it the children’s hospital being allowed to remove life support over Alfie’s parents’ objections.

On Wednesday, April 25, news emerged (BT.com) that, despite everything being in place — including a German air ambulance — Mr Justice Hayden, ruling from Manchester, would not allow Alfie to travel to Italy; Alfie could only return to his home from Alder Hey. Yet, hope continued as the case would be heard again that afternoon:

A spokeswoman for the Christian Legal Centre, representing Alfie’s parents, said the case is due to be heard at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday a judge ruled the boy may be allowed home from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, but will not be allowed to go to Rome for further treatment.

The 23-month-old confounded doctors’ expectations when he continued to live after life-support was withdrawn on Monday night, his father, Tom Evans, said.

“The court of appeal have reached out to us and said they are going to set back three judges to hear the case,” Mr Evans told reporters outside hospital on Tuesday night.

In reality, he could be in Italy right now. We all know the military air force are ready to take him and a team of doctors are there.

We’ve also got a German air ambulance team, who attempted to take him in the first place, ready… the reality is these people are eager to get him out of the country and I’m not giving up because Alfie’s breathing away, he’s not suffering.”

This is where the story gets stranger:

At an earlier High Court hearing in Manchester, Mr Justice Hayden described Alfie as “courageous” and a “warrior”, but said the case had now reached its “final chapter”.

He rejected claims by Mr Evans that his son was “significantly better” than first thought because he had been breathing unaided for 20 hours after doctors first withdrew life support.

Instead, the judge said the best Alfie’s parents could hope for was to “explore” the options of removing him from intensive care either to a ward, a hospice or his home.

But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a “sea change” in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the “worst case” they would try to take the boy abroad.

Mr Justice Hayden ruled out the family’s wishes to take the child to the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome, following interventions from the Pope and the Italian authorities.

Meanwhile, the child’s story attracted the attention of the Polish president:

Merseyside Police announced they were monitoring social media, which attracted critical responses:

However, Wednesday’s hearing produced no positive news and was the final legal challenge. BT.com reported:

The parents of Alfie Evans have failed in an 11th-hour attempt to persuade judges to let them move the terminally-ill youngster to a foreign hospital …

A High Court judge ruled against them on Tuesday and three Court of Appeal judges dismissed a challenge to that decision on Wednesday.

Lawyers representing Alder Hey bosses said Alfie’s condition was irreversible and there was no evidence that it had changed.

They said the fact that he had continued to breathe unaided might have surprised members of the public but had not surprised specialists.

Barrister Michael Mylonas QC, who led Alder Hey’s legal team, said it had never been suggested that Alfie would die as soon as life-support treatment stopped.

He said the couple’s challenge should be dismissed.

Barrister Sophia Roper, who represents Alfie and takes instructions from a court-appointed guardian, agreed.

Lord Justice McFarlane, who headed the appeal court panel of judges, said Alfie’s parents were trying to take “one last chance”.

But he said there was no prospect of the couple’s challenge succeeding.

He said Alfie was in “the middle” of a palliative care plan.

The two other appeal judges, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Coulson, agreed.

Lady Justice King said there was “acceptance” that Alfie was dying.

It is unclear to the average person why a baby with his parents around him would need a court-appointed guardian.

A greater question remains: why would a court forbid loving parents to take their child out of the country for medical treatment when a) transport is at the hospital and b) doctors are on standby at the final destination? It is very strange.

On the morning of Thursday, April 26, BT.com reported that, despite the court’s decision the previous day, Alfie’s father was not giving up on his son’s life:

The parents of Alfie Evans are expected to meet doctors to discuss taking their terminally ill son home.

Speaking outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Thursday, his father Tom Evans, 21, said he hoped to have a “positive” meeting with medical staff

Mr Evans told reporters: “He’s been off a ventilator for three days now, there’s been no deterioration.

“He hasn’t woke up, he’s still a little bit weak, but what we ask for is to go home to sustain his life.”

He said the family still had “appeals to explore”.

Mr Evans added: “All I ask for now is for this meeting to be a positive one, and I hope to have Alfie, on the terms of mine and Alder Hey, to be home within a day or two.

If the meeting doesn’t go well today, well then, I’ll go back to court.”

He accused doctors at the hospital of being “wrong” about their diagnosis: “Alfie lives, comfortably, happily, without ventilation, without any form of ventilation.

That must be enough for you now to consider that Alfie may prove you wrong.”

Alfie and his parents attracted much local support:

The hospital was unhappy:

Police remained outside the hospital on Thursday, after Alder Hey said its staff had experienced “unprecedented personal abuse”.

In an open letter, the hospital chairman Sir David Henshaw and chief executive Louise Shepherd: “Having to carry on our usual day-to-day work in a hospital that has required a significant police presence just to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe is completely unacceptable.”

What else was the public to think other than that human rights were at stake, seeing court-controlled families?

Furthermore, why wouldn’t a physician would agree to let a baby and his parents travel to another country if they could get life-saving treatment?

Of course people are going to be upset. After all of this stonewalling, emotions were running high.

Public doubt and bemusement about Alfie’s situation only increased on the morning of Friday, April 27, when an NHS physician appeared on ITV’s This Morning. CNSnews.com has the story (emphases in the original):

Forcing 23 month-old Alfie Evans to die by starvation “is not killing,” Dr. Ranj Singh argued on U.K.’s “This Morning” ITV program Friday, Express reports.

Withdrawing life-support and refusing to allow Alfie’s parents to take him home, feed and care for him, is, instead merely “redirecting care,” Dr. Singh said:

This is not the killing of a child – this is redirecting care to make them more comfortable.”

… Dr. Singh doubled down on his claim, framing the withdrawal of life support as a way to make patients more comfortable and give them “the most dignifying life”:

“Withdrawing life support is not killing someone. It is redirecting care to make them more comfortable and give them the most dignifying life that you can.”

Dr. Singh also said pro-life Alfie supporters outside the Alder Hey Hospital protesting to save Alfie’s life are behaving “disgustingly”:

“There’s a small proportion who have – I will say it – behaved disgustingly.”

Perhaps, but it is hard to have empathy for a medical institution who will not allow a patient to seek treatment elsewhere.

That day, LifeNews.com reported that the Evans family had asked for protests to ease so that Alfie’s parents could work with the hospital for his release (emphases mine):

As LifeNews reported, Alfie Evans’ father Tom Evans called for supporters of Alfie and his family to “stand down” so they can begin “building a bridge” with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and its staff.  The statement from Alfie’s father was surprising given the animosity that had developed between the Evans family and the hospital

But perhaps seeing that there is little opportunity left to fight for Alfie’s rights and their right to take him abroad or take him home or sensing a need to appease the hospital to bring him home, Tom Evans is now striking a conciliatory tone.

Now, Alfie’s uncle Daniel Evans has posted on Facebook that he believes things are progressing to a point where Alfie could go home soon.

Evans also hinted that protests could continue if Alder Hey officials don’t send Alfie home. Daniel Evans said Alfie’s dad Tom didn’t want to approach the press or have any further protests, but added that this would be “until something changes with the hospital.”

He wrote: “I have seen that people are believing this is the end of Alfie’s army? Tom has released a statement that states he will not approach media or want any protests. This will be until something changes with the hospital but we hope and pray it doesn’t.”

He continued: “They aim to get him where they have always desperately wanted him HOME. And with today’s positive meeting this could be a goal complete for Tom and Kate. I will continue to update when necessary.”

On Saturday, April 28, Alfie breathed his last. BT.com reported:

The parents of Alfie Evans have said they are “heartbroken” after their son died on Saturday morning.

The 23-month-old – who was being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool – died at 2.30am, Kate James and Thomas Evans said on Facebook.

The post said: “Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thankyou everyone for all your support.”

Alder Hey offered their condolences — posted on their website. Think of the staff:

In a statement issued on its website, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said: “We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Alfie’s family at this extremely distressing time.

“All of us feel deeply for Alfie, Kate, Tom and his whole family and our thoughts are with them.

“This has been a devastating journey for them and we would ask that their privacy and the privacy of staff at Alder Hey is respected.”

Later that day in Liverpool:

The family of Alfie Evans said they have been left “shattered” by his death, as more than 1,000 supporters gathered to release balloons in his memory.

The terminally ill 23-month-old, who was being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, died at 2.30am on Saturday, his parents Kate James and Thomas Evans said.

Hundreds gathered in Springfield Park, next to the hospital, to release blue and purple balloons in his memory at 2.51pm – exactly 12 hours after he was officially pronounced dead.

Mr Evans and Ms James, both in their early 20s, did not attend the event but Mr Evans’s sister Sarah told the crowd: “I just want to thank you all for coming today

In an editorial for Fox News, Newt Gingrich reminded his readers that life comes from God. He also mentioned another relatively recent British case involving the late, little Charlie Gard. Please read it all. An excerpt follows:

The secular system has asserted its right to define what lives are worth living and is determined to prevent its authority from being questioned. Alfie Evans’ life – like Charlie Gard’s before him – has been determined to be limited by the standards of the secular state, and therefore without value.

These tragic government-imposed death sentences for innocent infants should frighten all of us about increasing secularism in society and the steady shift towards a totalitarian willingness to control our lives – down to and including ending them – on the government’s terms.

This is a direct assault on the core premise of the Declaration of Independence. We Americans asserted that we “are endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” In the American Revolution, in our fight against the British crown, we asserted that rights come from God – not from government.

However, our secular, liberal culture increasingly dismisses the concept of God and asserts that our rights come from a rational contract enforced by government.

In the original American model, we asserted our God-given rights against the power of a potentially tyrannical government. In the emerging left-wing secular order, since there is no God our rights depend on a secular state controlling itself.

Britain is giving us a vivid, tragic sense of how dangerous and heartless government tyranny can be once God is rejected and there is nothing between us and the government.

Ironically, this latest decision was made the same year Stephen Hawking died – 55 years after he was diagnosed with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and told he had only two years to live.

Apparently, the British government learned no lessons from Hawking’s remarkable lifetime of work and achievement, which he pursued despite having to battle an extraordinarily challenging illness

When you read about these two babies being denied life support by a supposedly free government, remember what John Donne warned when he wrote “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

In these two years, we have seen two babies effectively sentenced to death by a government we would once have considered humane. What will the next horror be?

Breitbart has an excellent article not only on Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard but also on other children — mostly in the UK — who ran up against the system. These cases have attracted international attention:

The ill toddler [Alfie] joins a list of other children removed from life support against their parents’ wishes, whose stories have touched the hearts of people around the world and whose fight for their short lives found the support from high-profiled figures such as Pope Francis, Polish President Andrzej Duda, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, and U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

Charlie Gard was treated at London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, known for its clinical excellence. However, they were not only unable to treat the baby’s mitochondrial condition, they also refused — with the aid of the courts — to release him to receive treatment outside of the UK:

The courts ordered the hospital take the child off life support, despite the Gards fundraising over one million pounds for Charlie’s transportation and private hospital care, and numerous figures pledging their help and support including Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump. Baby Charlie died on July 28th, 2017.

During one of the Gards’ many court cases, the family spokesman addressed media to say that Charlie had “effectively being taken prisoner by the NHS and by the State”, asking“Whose child is he? Is he the state’s child? Is he the NHS’s child? Or does this child belong to the parents?”

Earlier this year, on March 7, one-year-old Isaiah Haastrup died at King’s College Hospital in London. Isaiah’s mother had a difficult delivery at the hospital, also known for its clinical excellence:

Within a month of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejecting the Evanses plea to overturn Alder Hey’s decision for the first time, on March 6th, Lanre Haastrup and Takesha Thomas lost their battle at the Strasbourg court to stop King’s College Hospital doctors from removing life support from their son Isaiah.

Isaiah suffered brain damage during his mother’s complicated labourwhich King’s College Hospital admitted it was partly responsible for, due to “specific issues in monitoring” during his birth.

At one point, the hospital was denying Mr. Haastrup visitation of his son when he was near death, administrators claiming the father had ‘verbally abused’ hospital staff in an argument over the withdrawal of baby Isaiah’s life support.

Another British life-support issue occurred with three-year-old Dylan Askin, who was suffering from a rare form of lung cancer:

In 2016, doctors told Kerry Askin that her three-year-old son Dylan would not survive his rare form of lung cancer, influencing the mother to decide to turn off his life support.

Mrs. Askin had her unresponsive son baptised on Good Friday and the family agreed to have him removed from life support.

However, instead of dying, Dylan improved. He’s alive — and well — today:

After life support began to be removed, Mrs. Askin related that “once the muscle relaxant was turned off… we discovered he needed more sedation. Upon doing that he slowly improved!”

By Easter Sunday he was stabilised and discharged just two weeks later from hospital. Two years later, Dylan had beaten his illness.

Then there was the case of Ashya King in 2014, which was really awful:

Though not an end-of-life dispute, 2014 saw an analogous high profile battle over treatment options for five-year-old Ashya King that resulted in a so-called abduction, an international manhunt, and his parents’ arrest.

British doctors in Southampton had diagnosed young Ashya with an aggressive brain tumour. They operated on his brain and told his parents he would need chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Ashya’s parents, Brett and Naghemeh King, thought that would be too much for the youngster. They wanted to take him to to the Czech Republic for proton therapy instead. This is where the drama started:

Doctors stood by their plan of treatment, so shortly after, Aysha’s parents took him from Southampton General Hospital and boarded a ferry to France. The parents were arrested later in Malaga, Spain.

After extradition was denied, a High Court ruling agreed that Aysha could be taken to the Czech Republic for proton therapy.

The proton therapy was highly successful:

Three years later, Ashya was cleared of cancer and according to his father is playing and speaking again.

The Breitbart article also looked at an American case, that of two-year-old Israel Stinson whose life support system was turned off in 2016:

after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed a restraining order barring the hospital from doing so until September 8th.

Incredibly, had consulted Guatemalan doctors prior to going to California. The Guatemalan physicians allegedly said that:

his condition was improving and that he was not brain dead.

American political commentator Lew Rockwell posted an article originally on American Thinker. Columnist Joe Herring wrote about his grandson who has the same condition as Alfie Evans. Unlike Alfie, now with the angels, Herring’s grandson recently turned 17.

Excerpts follow:

I see Joseph’s innocence in Alfie’s eyes, and I struggle with the marked physical resemblance between Alfie and Joseph at that age. I also vividly recall the doctors counseling my daughter to abort her pregnancy, to save her child from suffering.

He will likely live 18 months, certainly no more than three years,” they told us solemnly. Joseph celebrated his 17th birthday in February of this year

In Britain’s socialized medical system, second opinions are typically given by other NHS physicians, chosen not by the parents or the patient, but by the attending physician who gave the first opinion.  Unsurprisingly, second opinions in the NHS rarely overturn the first.  In this case, however, Alfie’s parents were able to force the hospital to release records for outside review.

Unsurprisingly, Alder Hey’s prognosis has not been confirmed by outside medical professionals.  Indeed, numerous outside experts vehemently disagree with Alder Hey’s conclusions.

The disturbing truth is, the physicians of Alder Hey haven’t even attempted to determine the cause of Alfie’s distress, having decided within months of his birth that his life was not worth living.

In closing, a Telegraph reader made an excellent point (25 Apr 2018 11:42PM) on the misplaced hubris of the NHS and the erroneous death decisions the health service makes:

As one has argued…

“With Italian doctors willing to treat Alfie and a plane standing by to take him to Italy, with his parents desperate to take them up on that invitation, the only conceivable reason the UK would refuse to let him go is because they’re terrified that he really might be successfully treated. If they’re wrong on a question of life and death that’s now being scrutinized internationally, no one would ever trust an NHS end-of-life assessment again.”

Discuss.

Who can say fairer than that?

This must stop now.

In the meantime, my prayers and thoughts go to Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James. I thought about them all weekend. May the Lord comfort them in the months and years ahead.

There is only time for a short post today.

Late last year, President Donald Trump explained why he tweets:

Something must be done about the Fake News Media.

It is regrettable that so many of us trust these notional news outlets.

At least Trump keeps us apprised of what is going on. That said, only 50% of CPAC Republicans polled in late February agree:

Trump’s tweets convey more information than traditional presidential fireside chats. Well done! Keep ’em coming!

Those living outside the United States might well ask, ‘Who is Reince Priebus?’

Reince Priebus was the chairman of the Republican Party in 2016 who went on to serve as President Donald Trump’s first chief of staff. General John Kelly is the current chief of staff.

Vanity Fair has an explosive article by Chris Whipple, author of the forthcoming book, The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.

Whipple’s article, adapted from the book, is called “Who Needs a Controversy Over the Inauguration?” It is a must-read for anyone interested in the Trump White House. Whipple, not a Trump fan, talked to Priebus for his book. Admittedly, Priebus was only there for six months, but he saw a lot.

There are a number of things conservative Trump supporters are in denial about, especially Trump’s phone situation and, more importantly, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general. Reince Priebus dispels both of these myths — and others.

Conservative Trump supporters — by which I mean traditional Republicans — are so far in the tank for Jeff Sessions it’s unreal. They need to open their eyes and see the truth. Honestly, they complain about Democrats being in the tank for Obama and Hillary. They have only to look at themselves to see they’ve fallen for the same emotional involvement.

Trump’s phone and the tweets

In 2017, Roger Stone, whom the traditional Republicans loathe for some reason, gave a lot of interviews to Alex Jones of Infowars about Trump’s phone. Stone has known Trump for many years and was accustomed to reaching his friend in the White House from time to time. Last year, Stone told Jones he was unable to do so. He said someone else would pick up Trump’s phone, take messages, then not relay them.

Conservative Trump supporters did not believe this at the time. Perhaps this was why they discounted Stone.

Priebus said that he perceived that Trump’s phone and the tweets were a problem. Priebus wanted to control Trump’s phone usage to prevent him from tweeting.

Priebus told Whipple about the phone situation (emphases mine):

At first Priebus thought he had succeeded in wresting Trump’s phone from him. “I talked about the security threat of having your own cell in the West Wing and got the Secret Service to go along with me to mothball his phone.” Priebus had managed to silence one device. But it turned out Trump had another.

Priebus and the White House staff around him attempted to wrest control of the president’s tweets:

Early on, the staff wrote daily tweets for him: “The team would give the president five or six tweets every day to choose from,” said Priebus, “and some of them would real­ly push the envelope. The idea would be at least they would be tweets that we could see and understand and control. But that didn’t allow the president to be fully in control of his own voice.

No one, not even First Lady Melania Trump, could do it:

After [last year’s] joint session [of Congress] we all talked to him, and Melania said, ‘No tweeting.’ And he said, ‘O.K.—for the next few days.’ We had many discussions involving this issue. We had meetings in the residence. I couldn’t stop it. [But] it’s now part of the American culture and the American presidency.

Priebus now concedes that Trump is right. His tweets serve a purpose in communicating with the American people:

And you know what? In many ways, the president was right. And all of us so-called experts might be totally wrong.

Correct.

Trump WAS angry with Jeff Sessions

This is the thing I believed from the very beginning, that Trump was — and probably still is — angry with Jeff Sessions.

Jeff Sessions’s recusal from investigating anything related to the 2016 campaign, because he worked on aspects of it, really landed Trump and his family — especially Don Jr and Jared Kushner — in hot water with the Mueller investigation into the charges of Russian collusion. The Mueller investigation would not have happened without Sessions’s recusal.

I am frustrated that traditional Republicans cannot see and understand this simple fact. They do not even want to know what Priebus witnessed.

Remember, nearly a year ago now, that Trump fired James Comey. Sessions’s recusal coupled with Comey’s firing landed Trump with Robert Mueller.

While the White House communications team argued about handling the backlash Trump got for firing Comey, Priebus heard dramatic news about Sessions. Priebus told Whipple something he’d never before revealed:

Priebus got an unexpected visit from the White House counsel—a story he has not told publicly before. “Don McGahn came in my office pretty hot, red, out of breath, and said, ‘We’ve got a problem.’ I responded, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘Well, we just got a special counsel, and [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions just resigned.’ I said, ‘What!? What the hell are you talking about?’ ”

It was bad enough that Trump, having fired Comey, would now be the target of a special prosecutor. Even worse, unbeknownst to Priebus, the president, only moments before, had subjected Sessions to a withering tirade in the Oval Office, calling him an “idiot” and blaming Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation for the whole mess. Humiliated, Sessions said he would resign.

Priebus told Whipple that he dashed out to the West Wing parking lot to find Sessions in the back seat of his car waiting to be driven away.

Priebus said he knocked on the car door, then opened it and jumped in to talk with Sessions:

I said, ‘You cannot resign. It’s not possible. We are going to talk about this right now.’ So I dragged him back up to my office from the car. [Vice President Mike] Pence and Bannon came in, and we started talking to him to the point where he decided that he would not resign right then and he would instead think about it.” Later that night, Sessions delivered a resignation letter to the Oval Office, but, Priebus claimed, he ultimately persuaded the president to give it back.

That was not the end of the issue, which resurfaced again during the summer. Trump gave an interview to the New York Times in which he spoke frankly about his attorney general. His tweets were equally as scathing (language alert in this quote):

In June, Trump was still on a tear. He considered dumping special counsel Mueller, according to The New York Times, but was dissuaded from doing so. And by July, Trump was back on Sessions’s case, tweeting insults and calling him “weak.”Priebus was told to get Sessions’s resignation flat out,” said a White House insider. “The president told him, ‘Don’t give me any bullshit. Don’t try to slow me down like you always do. Get the resignation of Jeff Sessions.’ ”

Sessions supporters say we cannot take the word of ‘a White House insider’. The truth of the matter is that every president has ‘a White House insider’. I’ve been reading that phrase for decades.

Priebus reacted wisely, because what he predicted about Rachel Brand (see the quote) happened on Friday, February 9, 2018. Rosenstein is still in place, but Brand might have sensed something. She resigned to take head global governance for Walmart in faraway Arkansas:

Once more, Priebus stalled Trump, recalled a White House insider. “He told the president, ‘If I get this resignation, you are in for a spiral of calamity that makes Comey look like a picnic.’ Rosenstein’s going to resign. [Associate Attorney General] Rachel Brand, the number three, will say, ‘Forget it. I’m not going to be involved with this.’ And it is going to be a total mess.” The president agreed to hold off. (Sessions didn’t comment on the resignation letter and last July publicly stated that he planned to stay on the job “as long as that is appropriate.” Brand, in fact, resigned this month.)

Anthony Scaramucci and Priebus’s resignation

Trump was vexed with Priebus, because, part of his job was to corral the GOPe NeverTrumpers into voting to repeal and replace Obamacare. Whipple reminds us of what happened and includes a quote from Steve Bannon, who also left the Trump administration last year:

Repeal and replace” crashed and burned—not once but twice, the second time when John McCain delivered a dramatic 1:30 a.m. thumbs-down on the Senate floor. The debacle proved that Priebus could not count—or deliver—votes. “When McCain voted against it,” Bannon recalled, “I said to myself, Reince is gone. This is going to be so bad. The president is going to get so lit up.”

And so he did. But Priebus held on, withstanding Trump’s verbal put downs. Then Priebus got on the wrong side of Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. They wanted Bannon gone. Priebus wouldn’t fire him.

The only thing that would make the Wisconsin guy Priebus leave was the unpredictable New Yorker, Anthony Scaramucci, who was hired and stayed only several days that summer:

And then came the last straw: the sudden arrival of a new, flamboyant communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. Priebus had opposed his hiring. Scaramucci immediately turned the West Wing into a circular firing squadHe went on, in a tweet, to all but accuse Priebus of leaking classified information about Scaramucci’s finances (which were publicly available). “When he accused me of a felony,” recalled Priebus, “I thought, What am I doing here? . . . I went in to the president and said, ‘I gotta go.’ ” Trump would say nothing publicly in Priebus’s defense. The president accepted his resignation.

It was even worse, as Priebus expected to work his notice period. President Trump must have been angry with him, because the next day, he announced the appointment of General Kelly as his new chief of staff:

The sudden shake-up was vintage Trump; the timing blindsided Priebus, who stepped off the plane into a drenching rain and was whisked away by car.

Priebus took a break, but landed on his feet as president of a law firm and public speaker:

Conclusion

Although Trump’s base might find the roller coaster of daily drama too much at times, Priebus says Trump clearly enjoys it as long as he wins in the long run:

[Trump] is a man who fears no one and nothing,” continued Priebus, “and there is absolutely nothing he’s intimidated by. . . . And that’s very rare in politics. Most people in politics are people who have sort of an approval addiction. Now, granted, President Trump does too, but he’s willing to weather one storm after the next to get to an end result that most people are not willing to weather. . . . He doesn’t mind the craziness, the drama, or the difficulty, as long as an end goal is in sight. He will endure it.”

I came to that realisation a few weeks ago, before Vanity Fair published Chris Whipple’s article. One day, while reading the latest instalments on White House goings-on, it occurred to me that Trump probably enjoys this, because he is getting briefings and intelligence that the media and public are not.

Perhaps it is time for Trump supporters, myself included, to relax, sit back and enjoy the show.

On Monday, February 12, 2018, Q posted on what he/they term The Inner Circle (message 740):

Q !UW.yye1fxo   No.87

The Inner Circle.
Mika Brzezinski.
Background.
Family/careers.
McLean, Virginia.
The age of tech has hurt their ability to hide/control.
Majority today were ‘born in’ to the circle.
Investigate those in front of the camera who scream the loudest.
These people are really stupid.
End is near.
The media cleanse/JFK.
Q

This is what Mika’s dad, Zbigniew, wanted to see happen to the United States (image courtesy of CBTS_Stream):

The late Zbiegniew Brzezinski was an advisor to Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. He was very much a globalist and elitist. Look at the title: ‘Tactician for the Establishment’.

Reading past the first highlighted section, notice how he leaves ordinary people out of the equation:

“some of the recent upheavals have been led by people who increasingly will have no role to play in the new technocratic society”, the unrest being a mere reaction to becoming “historically obsolete” … “merely the death rattle of the historical irrelevants.”

The next highlighted bit discusses ‘the requisite “new international system”.

The next paragraph begins with Zbig saying that a problem arises in ‘generating the political will necessary’ to implement a change in the way people live, socially and politically. Even worse, he calls on the nation to ‘sacrifice’ (what they are used to)!

He says that a national sacrifice (of a prosperous way of life):

would contribute a great deal to the restoration of optimism, for sacrifice generates optimism. Indulgent, miasmic and passive behavior stimulate pessimism.

What a load of old hogwash. I don’t remember people being unhappy in the West in 1977. We were all hopeful for the future, one that never came.

Yet, it seems as if this has been happening not only in the United States but in other Western — ‘advanced’ societies.

Enter Donald Trump, who becomes the leader of the Free World, who campaigned against what he terms:

the false song of globalism.

He is upsetting the cynical plan of the elites — and the stupid — who want him out of office.

Zbig’s daughter Mika — currently the co-presenter of MSNBC’s Morning Joe — has been in television news for the length of her career. She has had every material blessing in life. I remember hearing her say that she really enjoyed seeing the world with her dad, who would take the family with him on his official trips.

Mika used to like Donald Trump. There was a YouTube compilation, now deleted, of Donald Trump’s appearances on her shows. She used to fawn over him as if she were a little girl.

Then she changed during the 2016 campaign. So did her Morning Joe co-presenter Joe Scarborough.

In 2017, the two started pushing the narrative that President Donald Trump is mentally ill. Rush Limbaugh’s transcript of June 29, 2017 has more. Excerpts follow (emphases mine):

… from TheHill.com: “Morning Joe cohost: Trump May Be Mentally Ill — MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said Thursday President Trump is ‘not well,’ and even possibly ‘mentally ill.’”

So this June 8th, roughly three weeks ago. Brzezinski said, “I think he’s such a narcissist, it’s possible that he is mentally ill in a way. He’s not well. At the very least he’s not well.”

“Brzezinski explained that Trump may be narcissistic because ‘he does not believe the rules apply to him,’ adding that this belief likely led to a sort of ‘ignorance’ and applied it to the 2005 Access Hollywood tape recording in which Trump made lewd comments about women.”

Mika Brzezinski three weeks ago said, “And he’s so narcissistic he does not believe the rules apply to him. That’s where the ignorance label may apply because this is a man who says he can grab women anywhere because he’s famous. The point is, he feels he can say or do things different from the norm because he’s famous, because he’s a celebrity, because he has power.”

Brzezinski’s comments come the same day former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee about his investigation into Russia.” I don’t know if you know this or not, that when Brzezinski and Scarborough announced their engagement — and that was fairly recently — that Trump offered to officiate, and Brzezinski said (raspberry) no. (imitating Mika) “I mean, if Jimmy Carter were in the White House like when my dad was there, but no. No. No way.”

Last summer during the presidential campaign and even during 2015, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were salivating all over Donald Trump. Trump appeared regularly on PMSNBC in the morning, and they loved him and they were sucking up like you can’t believe, and it was like three great friends. Everybody was mad at Mika and Joe for not being objective and acting like they were best buds sucking up to Trump. So something has gone wrong in paradise.

Rush doesn’t know what happened. That said, read the whole transcript, because it is an insider look at not only Mika and Joe but also President Trump. Fascinating.

However, going back further to nearly a year ago — February 22, 2017 — Mika got into a Twitterstorm with people accusing her of telling Americans what to think. She hotly denied it.

RealClearPolitics has the story, along with tweets and a transcript. Mika was angry that the American president was expressing his opinions, which half the nation deeply appreciates:

The hosts of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ comment on President Trump’s efforts to “undermine the media.”

Co-host Mika Brzezinski commented Wednesday morning that she is upset to see President Trump has moved in on the media’s turf when it comes to the area of mind control.

“He is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts,” she said about Trump. “And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think.”

And that, that is our job,” she noted, referring to the media.

Never forget that. I’ve been wanting to write about her for a year but couldn’t quite figure out what context to put it in to make a standalone post.

Q’s now given me that context.

Think about what Mika said. She denied it — but it’s there in the transcript!

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!

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