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Four years ago at this time, I was lukewarm about Kevin McCarthy, the Republican (Minority) Leader in America’s House of Representatives.

He represents California’s 23rd District, so he knows a lot about the state’s politics.

He wasn’t too keen on Donald Trump in 2016, but, since then, he got on board the Trump Train and makes a lot of sense.

Below are some of his latest and greatest tweets.

The 2020 results for the House

Six days after the 2020 election, he tweeted:

He also had a go at Nancy Pelosi’s predictions about the election results. She was so wrong:

2020 election censorship

On Wednesday, December 9, YouTube posted a statement: ‘Supporting the 2020 U.S. Election’.

It reads in part (emphases mine):

Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect. Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections. For example, we will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. We will begin enforcing this policy today, and will ramp up in the weeks to come. As always, news coverage and commentary on these issues can remain on our site if there’s sufficient education, documentary, scientific or artistic context.

While only a small portion of watch time is election-related content, YouTube continues to be an important source of election news. On average 88% of the videos in top 10 search results related to elections came from authoritative news sources (amongst the rest are things like newsy late-night shows, creator videos and commentary). And the most viewed channels and videos are from news channels like NBC and CBS.

NBC and CBS weren’t biased, were they?

Kevin McCarthy was quick to respond. He’s absolutely right. There was nothing like this in 2016:

Praise for Trump’s historic five peace deals in four months

On Thursday, December 10, the Trump administration made history once again, with yet another exceptional peace deal, where people said none could be done.

Yes, Donald Trump is the Peace President:

I couldn’t agree more:

China

A week ago, I wrote on Orphans of Liberty about the revelations that a female Chinese spy was active in California and the Midwest for several years (see the part on China). The principal politician involved was Rep. Eric Swalwell. The Chinese national, Fang ‘Christine’ Fang, met him when he was councillor for a San Francisco Bay area town, Dublin City. At the time, she was a student at California State University East Bay and affiliated with the Chinese Student Association.

Swalwell was first elected to US Congress in 2012. He was re-elected in 2014. Fang was his ‘bundler’ for campaign contributions. That was ideal for her and for China. She ended up placing a few political interns in his offices, including one in Washington, DC.

Fang overplayed her hand in the months to come. By 2015 — and this was during Obama’s second term — the FBI was on to her. They gave Swalwell a defence briefing about Fang and he put an end to his association with her.

Nonetheless, Swalwell has served on the House Intelligence Committee for several years. He is still serving on the House Intelligence Committee.

Furthermore, few people are more vocally anti-Trump than Eric Swalwell. He was one of the principal peddlers of the ‘Russian collusion’ narrative.

Kevin McCarthy nailed it with this tweet from Tuesday, December 8:

The following day, he explained to Laura Ingraham of Fox News that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi nominated him to that committee. Did Madam Speaker know about Swalwell’s connections? If so, she never should have nominated him:

On Monday, December 14, he also had a go at Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, about Swalwell. Schiff, also a Democrat, is another US legislator from California:

This is his message for the next session of Congress, when the Speaker of the House position is once again up for grabs:

Coronavirus lockdowns

For me, however, this is Kevin McCarthy’s best tweet:

Yes, they do, indeed.

In August, he tweeted:

Yet, the longer lockdowns and restrictions go on, the more people are likely to believe small business closures, particularly those in the hospitality sector, are a way of letting either big firms or the Chinese in to buy vacant property.

Yesterday, Howie Carr interviewed a restaurant owner from the North End in Boston who has a long-established restaurant that is opening and closing at the whims of city officials and the Massachusetts governor. The man was fighting back tears. This is not easy — at all. He said he does not know what is going on but he says that all the benefit is going to big corporations rather than to him and his brother as well as other small business owners.

When I found McCarthy’s ‘lockdowns destroy livelihoods’ tweet, I’d also spotted a prescient comment from someone who has been an ex-Democrat since 2008. The comment is excerpted below:

Why are all the Dem leaders so blatantly cold & heartless & PUNITIVE towards destroying people’s lives…while continuing to party in their own lives

Why would Cuomo & DeBlasio let NY turn into a ghost town? and Newsome & Garcetti let the great state of California & the once grand city of Los Angeles die a slow death to the point of driving even Silicon Valley & Elon Musk to skedaddle out to greener & nicer pastures taking all their jobs & moola with them??? Why??

and then it hit me……there is a strategythe Dems want the businesses to fail; they want the small business people to fail…they want to kill their golden goose…WHY? Democrats have always been big supporters of Eminent Domain…I could not believe it when I found out years ago it is usually the Dems behind confisicating people’s land, homes, businesses…not really repubs…they believe in their right to do that…for the “greater good”

so my theory goes Dem leaders want to suffocate the small business & real estate & workers to the point of blight & where they give up, lose their businesses & property, have their business licenses & credentials taken away from them, etc

and then Dems claim all the property & real estate, small businesses under eminent domain or some other concocted device…take what they want …demolish the rest & start selling the locations & properties to FOREIGN INVESTORS…namely CHINA, CHINA, CHINA

Does anyone doubt that CHINA (given we are speaking about Dems, throw in Iran, etc) would love to own Los Angeles & New York City?

THIS is what I believe is the method to their madness…let things get as bad as they conceivably can without being too obvious…and then one by one Foreign money will appear & buy up the fire sales…& then recreate in their own image a “New America” with Dems in charge of who gets what & at what price.

That is very plausible, very plausible. And, if it is, it won’t just be true in the United States. What about the many European countries experiencing endless lockdowns and restrictions?

The Democrats — either at state or federal level — are not helping the normal American who has worked hard to make his or her living.

McCarthy retweeted this:

As he told Maria Bartiromo of Fox News, Nancy Pelosi used this despicable strategy to hurt President Trump. Instead, it hurt millions of Americans:

Civil rights

On civil rights, McCarthy knows the history of the Republican Party, which has championed them from the 19th century:

After the 2020 election, McCarthy pointed out the diversity among the Republican winners:

Oldies but goodies from 2018 up to 2020

In 2018, McCarthy proved that a goodly number of Democrat congressmen don’t care whether illegals vote in a US election:

Nearly three weeks later — and three weeks before the mid-term election that year — Newt Gingrich lauded McCarthy for his stance on immigration: ‘Here’s a leader with a plan to genuinely control our southern border. He needs our support’.

California politics is part of this, too:

When House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., introduced the Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act he set the stage for a vital national debate on important questions

When contrasted with the open borders bill of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. – which every Democratic Senate incumbent has co-sponsored – the choice between the two parties is clear.

Republicans will control the border. Democrats will throw the border wide open to anyone who wants to enter.

On October 23 that year, Fox News reported that two men threw a large rock through the window of McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield, California. The men then burglarised the equipment inside:

McCarthy posted four photographs documenting the alleged episode on Instagram — three showing the individuals he identified as possible suspects, and one providing a clear view of a massive slab of rock lying on the floor amid shattered glass.

“Does anyone know these two guys?” McCarthy wrote on the social media site, next to images of two people spotted near his office.

The Bakersfield Police Department did not comment on the alleged incident when reached by Fox News and said it would have more information on Tuesday.

McCarthy, like several other congressional Republicans, has faced threats and harassment in the past several weeks. In August, protesters in Sacramento chanting “No justice, no peace” disrupted McCarthy’s event at the Public Policy Institute of California.

Ironically, on Thursday, McCarthy retweeted President Trump’s “#JobsNotMobs” slogan, underscoring the deteriorating level of civility in politics ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

After the November 6 election that year, McCarthy was approved by a vote of 159-43 to become the new House Minority Leader.

McCarthy is someone who appeals to all Republicans. Trump, however, also wanted a more controversial figure to also represent his interests — Jim Jordan from Ohio, a wrestler during his university days:

Jim Jordan did not get his appointment as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee until March 20, 2020. That said, Doug Collins (R-Georgia) did an excellent job defending the president during his impeachment hearings.

During Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) shutdown early in 2019, McCarthy wanted Congress in session:

During that time, he also made it clear that he supports small government:

At the end of January 2019, in an effort for tighter border legislation, McCarthy gave a speech about the many Americans who had been the victims of crime at the hands of illegals. It was so moving that he received a bipartisan standing ovation.

A few days later, he upheld the right to life in criticising Virginia’s Democrat governor Ralph Northam for his egregious racist behaviour and stance on abortion:

Sadly, Northam’s still there.

On February 19, 2019, he posited that Adam Schiff should have recused himself from investigating Trump’s notional ‘Russian collusion’ because Schiff met with Glenn Simpson, the founder of GPS Fusion, the opposition research firm behind the Democrat-funded Steele dossier at the Aspen Security Forum in July 2018.

The matter persisted through the end of March that year, but Schiff is still the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

In April, he warned Americans of the Democrat plan to regulate the Internet. He countered that Republicans want to keep the Internet free and open.

Two months later, he pointed out that YouTube considers itself a publisher, not a platform. It should be noted that a publisher can choose what to publish, a platform — which YouTube claims to be — cannot.

Kevin McCarthy also managed to raise a lot of money for President Trump’s 2020 campaign, starting in 2019:

McCarthy had a strategy to win a House majority in 2020. Sadly, that didn’t work — and historically, it’s very difficult — BUT at least the Republicans did not lose any seats (see the first tweet in this post).

In late October 2019, McCarthy rightly criticised the secrecy that Adam Schiff engineered around the preparations for Trump’s impeachment. Republicans were not allowed to see some of the evidence.

McCarthy refused to give it legitimacy:

On December 6, 2019, McCarthy brought Pelosi’s forked tongue approach to the attention of all Americans:

In January 2020, McCarthy set an all-time annual fundraising record for the Republicans:

On February 5, 2020, McCarthy announced that Trump was ‘acquitted for life’:

He defended Attorney General Bill Barr (who is leaving his post this month) against 2,000 former DoJ — Department of Justice — employees who wanted him to resign.

In June, he saw the agenda that lies behind people who want to topple statues and destroy police stations, public housing as well as churches:

Later this past summer, he appeared in a moving campaign ad for President Trump:

In a change from four or more years ago, McCarthy stated that he did not want an endorsement from the Chamber of Commerce. That is because the Chamber of Commerce rejected Trump in 2020 and endorsed Democrats instead. Now please revisit the ex-Dem’s comment earlier in this post about what could happen to the property that businesses going bust from coronavirus leave behind. It is entirely possible that those properties could be sold to a foreign entity or to big real estate developers.

On Wednesday, November 4, the day after the election, he tweeted, ‘Americans rejected socialism and voted for freedom’, which was true at state and federal levels. Team Trump continues to contest the presidential results.

McCarthy wants the battle for truth to continue. On November 6, he told Laura Ingraham of Fox News, ‘Republicans will not be silenced’.

I have enjoyed what I have seen and heard from Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California over the past four years. I hope he continues like this, because, if he does, he would make an excellent Speaker of the House someday.

The investigation into President Trump’s vote count in the US election continues.

Several avenues appear to be closed at this point, e.g. in Pennsylvania.

However, the state of Georgia is still under the spotlight.

One of the lawyers helping out Team Trump is Lin Wood, who, earlier this year helped 18-year-old Nicholas Sandmann win a huge lawsuit against the Washington Post. Nicholas Sandmann was the high school student in Covington, Kentucky who was verbally attacked after the 2019 March for Life in Washington, DC. The media had a field day and accused the student of provoking the verbal attacker, who turned out to be an activist.

The story was on television and in the newspapers for days. Those reports carried many false statements about Sandmann, which put him, his family and his school in potential danger for some time.

In the end, on July 24, 2020, Nicholas Sandmann thanked Lin Wood and fellow lawyer Todd McMurtry for the wildly successful result:

Lin Wood tweeted:

When he is not practising law, Lucian Lincoln Wood Jr goes on gator patrol in Georgia, where he lives.

He also owns four dogs:

Three weeks before the election, he asked:

After the election, Wood began casting his gimlet eye on the questionable results in Georgia, which has a Republican governor.

He says he has reason to believe there in Chinese influence at the state’s uppermost echelon.

He pressed on with the alleged irregularities, concluding:

Wood began to focus on the voting machines used in Georgia and 32 other US states:

Those machines are not used in Texas:

Wood had more (also see this):

Two days later, on Wednesday, November 11, he tweeted the following, also featured in Gateway Pundit:

He also warned of an online disinformation campaign.

He remembered American veterans and their fallen comrades:

He also renewed a call to the state’s governor to take action by convening the state legislature:

That afternoon, he appeared on the popular radio programme, syndicated nationwide, The Howie Carr Show (start at 22 minutes at the audio link). He spoke with Howie at length about the election. Gateway Pundit has excerpts of their conversation (emphases in the original):

Attorney Lin Wood: Time and effort I’ve been putting into this but really it reflects almost round the clock efforts by members of the legal profession and ordinary people. People of this country that are all determined and not only uncovered the truth but exposed the truth. And when all is known I’m 100% confident that Donald Trump will be President of the United States for four more years. And I’m just this confident that Joe Biden and the people like him that been trying to steal this election and committed crimes for years they will all go to jail.

Howie Carr: What leads you to be so optimistic? There’s time but we are coming up on dates of voter certification.

Lin Wood: I believe in We the People. This was a well planned, almost for two decades attack to overthrow our government. Was it well done in the sense to hide the fraud? Sure. But it was too massive!… The process will show that they themselves killed several people in this country.

These are other tweets highlighting other points which he mentioned to Howie Carr:

Early the next day, he posted one of his uplifting messages:

He posted more, blaming China. Gateway Pundit has the following tweet and more:

He also tweeted an agreement between the Democrats and Georgia’s Secretary of State, also a Republican. Hmm:

Early on Saturday, November 14, he had this to say about the raid on a server facility in Germany, related to the implicated voting machines. The included tweet is from Republican congressman Louis Gohmert from Texas:

On that subject, he had this to say about the 2016 and 2018 elections:

He had positive thoughts:

He reiterated what he thinks Georgia’s governor should do:

Wood spoke again with Howie Carr on Monday, November 16. Howie asked him how positive he was compared with last week.

Wood responded that he was 100% the week before (November 11) and was 105% positive this week (audio here, which includes a separate interview with another lawyer, former US Attorney Joe DiGenova, who is also investigating voter fraud for Team Trump):

On Tuesday, November 17, he tweeted a link to an article on Doug Ross’s website:

Doug Ross studied graphs from the New York Times showing Pennsylvania’s and Georgia’s ballot tabulation. Ross says (highlights in purple mine):

The charts below are derived from The New York Times‘ real-time election feeds (e.g., here). They show “DNA-level” evidence of vote fraud that was systematically used to overcome massive Trump leads with “vote flips” to Biden.

The twin charts below depict the shifts in votes starting on election day. The X-axis is the date/time and the Y-axis represents the change in votes (positive values denote shifts for Trump, negative values represent shifts for Biden, in hundreds).

Notice the similarities in PA and GA? How the right sides of the graph show virtually no movement for Trump; and very predictable vote movements to Biden. How predictable?

Below are excerpts of spreadsheets that show what was happening on the right side of each chart. Vote flips in the same-sized bundles (6,000 in PA and 4,800 in GA) were injected into the system to overcome Trump’s lead in both states. You can click either image above to see all of the data.

The highlighted cells show where the vote counts — stunningly obvious in retrospect — were manipulated to benefit Biden.

Note the vote flips, represented by the highlighted cells, that occurred in both PA and GA. In PA, late vote flips in bundles of around 6,000 were clear anomalies to slowly overcome Trump’s lead. In GA, the bundles were in 4,800 vote swaps.

Again, these are just excerpts. You can see the workbooks for yourself here: just click for Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Scroll down until you start hitting the highlighted cells.

Sorry, Democrats: this is what we call DNA-level statistical proof of fraud.

L Lin Wood Jr is still receiving correspondence from voters and poll watchers in Georgia:

He also doubts whether Georgia’s recount, which is supposed to include an audit, is progressing as it should:

While he continues to investigate, he has a message for Trump supporters:

I hope Lin Wood wins for President Trump and all Americans, the same way he did for Nicholas Sandmann.

May God bless him and his endeavours for the truth.

Before I get to Joe Biden’s behaviour around the opposite sex, I have an update on Tony Bobulinski’s interview with Tucker Carlson.

I featured half of it in yesterday’s post, but here is the full interview:

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway tweeted a summary of it. I’ll begin with her commentary where I left off:

On last night’s show, Tucker said that he asked one of his staff members to send some Hunter Biden-related documents to him in Los Angeles, where he has been filming. The staff member, based in New York, sent them through a well-known, reputable courier service. Unfortunately, an empty package reached Carlson. (I hope they have a copy in New York.)

When notified of the empty envelope, the courier company investigated every step of the way but came up empty-handed.

En route, the package was opened and contents removed. The company interviewed every possible person who could have handled it. They also searched a van and plane, but nothing showed up. The company is not only deeply apologetic, but also deeply disturbed that this could have happened:

I agree. Someone is watching.

Here’s Tucker’s full show from Wednesday, October 28. I’m not sure how long it will be up, so watch it while you can. The last five minutes are about how to pronounce Kamala, as in Harris. Some say KAM-a-la, others say KAHM-a-la. The vice presidential candidate herself pronounces it halfway between the two.

Now on to the main topic.

Gropin’ Joe

During his vice presidency, Joe Biden swore in US Senators. Watch Biden caress Senator Christopher Coons’s daughter Maggie:

That video went viral:

Maybe he’s just a tactile person? It looks as if Hillary wants him to get off. Outside of Maggie Coons, the rest are likely to be married women. Even if they weren’t, it looks highly inappropriate — and weird:

The woman on the left in the photo collage above is a reporter, Amie Parnes:

Four years ago, the lefty media buzzed with anti-Trump groping stories, but the real groper was Biden. A Daily Mail article from October 18, 2016, has more on Biden, including photos.

The article features a photo of Stephanie Carter, the wife of the then-defense secretary Ash Carter. She and Biden were standing behind the podium as Ash Carter was speaking! Biden had his hands firmly on her shoulders and looked as if he were kissing her hair. (Also see The Daily Caller‘s take.)

Carter was not bothered:

‘Oh, I laughed. I laughed. I laughed,’ Carter said after the fact. He told the ‘Today’ show, ‘They know each other extremely well, and we’re great friends with the Bidens.’

Returning to Maggie Coons above, the article says:

Biden placed his hands on the shoulder of Coons’ daughter and whispered in Maggie Coons’ ear during the ceremony, attracting enough chatter in DC that Senator Coons got asked about it during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

‘I have to ask, ’cause a lot of people have been speculating about it, does she think the vice president is creepy?’ host Chris Wallace asked point-blank.

‘No, Chris,’ Coons responded. ‘She doesn’t think the vice president is creepy.’

Senator Coons also vouched for what Biden said at the time. ”I could hear him. He was leaning forward and whispering some encouragement to her about how when he was sworn in his own daughter Ashley was 13 and she felt awkward and uncomfortable.’

Biden feels at liberty to touch women, regardless of age. There is another photo of him caressing an older lady’s chin with this accompanying caption:

Biden has also been known to flash his charm on mature women during swearing in ceremonies, including chatting up Sen. John Barrasso’s mom.

The article carried this short video compilation of Biden’s ‘greatest hits’, as it were. Hillary features in this too, in another scene at an airport. She’s patting his arm rather insistently — as in ‘get off’ — while smiling:

Here’s the Hillary sequence all on its own:

Here is the full swearing in of Sen. Kelly Ayotte. This one has audio. He asks Kelly Ayotte’s daughter how old she is. After the swearing in, he can’t keep his hands off her. I don’t particularly agree with the title of this video — others do — but Biden shouldn’t be touching children like that:

In 2018, Biden campaigned for Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin and the gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers. He said Tony had met his future wife when both of them were in kindergarten:

The Daily Caller has the story (emphases mine):

“By the way, running for governor is a team sport! No way out,” Biden said. “He met Kathy in kindergarten. In kindergarten. She was too young to resist. She should’ve known better but she did it anyway.”

Biden did not explain what he meant by the joke, instead planting a kiss on Kathy’s forehead. The audience laughed and smiled along with Biden’s joke.

Here is a strange photo, dating from Joe’s earlier days as US Senator for Delaware:

Obama

He and Obama had a somewhat unusual friendship.

On June 28, 2016, People reported that Obama made a friendship bracelet for his vice president:

That stuff’s hard,” Obama concluded in the video for BuzzFeed, which has partnered with a nonprofit, nonpartisan app called TurboVote to help make the voter registration process smooth sailing. “But you know what isn’t? Registering to vote. I hope you all understand that you have the power to shape our country’s course. Don’t take that for granted.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a meeting with my vice president,” Obama added, proudly holding up a friendship bracelet with the name “Joe” on it.

Biden returned the favour on Obama’s birthday that year:

This next tweet is just a bit of fun:

Republicans react differently

Not everyone has been as understanding of Joe Biden’s behaviour as establishment Democrats are.

In the next video, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions bats Biden’s hand away from his granddaughter. Before that, however, Biden rests his hand on a teen’s waist and is tempted to reach further:

Secret Service agents’ stories

In 2014, veteran journalist Ronald Kessler wrote a book about Secret Service agents’ experiences, The First Family Detail.

On August 1 that year, a few days before its release, US News & World Report received an advance copy. Regarding Joe Biden, their article says:

Agents say that, whether at the vice president’s residence or at his home in Delaware, Biden has a habit of swimming in his pool nude,” Kessler writes in the book – due for release Aug. 5.

Female Secret Service agents find that offensive,” he writes.

Biden likes to be revered as everyday Joe,” an unnamed agent told Kessler. “But the reality is no agents want to go on his detail because Biden makes agents’ lives so tough.”

In addition to the alleged skinny-dipping, agents are reportedly irritated by frequent last-minute trips to Delaware.

A Biden spokeswoman would not address the claims on the record. A spokesperson for the Secret Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf thought that criticising skinny dipping was out of date:

… let me tell you that virtually no one in the Washington, D.C., political press is scandalized by skinny dipping. But every time it emerges that someone in public life has swam naked, there is widespread, disingenuous playacting on the question. You’d suddenly think that Maude Flanders was managing the newsroom. While I have no idea if the reporting in the new book on the Secret Service is credible, outlets treating it as credible enough to report have been distracted by skinny-dipping from what is indisputably more important news.

He forgets that the press corps weren’t there; female Secret Service agents were the ones guarding him. They had every right to be offended.

In 2017, Gateway Pundit reported that Secret Service agents were relieved that Biden was no longer vice president because his behaviour towards women was so raunchy.

A former Secret Service agent described it as ‘Weinstein-level stuff’, it was so bad (emphases in the original, those in purple mine):

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the agent asserted that,  “We had to cancel the VP Christmas get together at the Vice President’s house because Biden would grope all of our wives and girlfriend’s asses.” The annual party was for agents and Navy personnel who were tasked with protecting the Biden family.

“He would mess with every single woman or teen. It was horrible,” the agent said.

According to the source, a Secret Service agent once got suspended for a week in 2009 for shoving Biden after he cupped his girlfriend’s breast while the couple was taking a photo with him. The situation got so heated, the source told Cassandra Fairbanks, that others had to step in to prevent the agent from hitting the then-Vice President.

Additionally, the agent claims that Biden would walk around the VP residence naked at night. “I mean, stark naked… Weinstein level stuff,” he added.

He said that the men on duty would frequently stand in front of female agents and Navy women that were present “like a damn guardian.” On some occasions, they would make up reasons to get the women away from where he was.

The agent said he was specifically concerned about women in the Navy.

“They weren’t allowed to disobey him at all, but we’d take them away under pretend auspices,” the agent stated.

The official Vice Presidential residence is the Queen Anne style house at One Observatory Circle in Washington, DC, which is located on the northeast grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory. The property is maintained and cared for by the service branch.

As for skinny dipping at his home in Delaware:

Our source confirmed this sentiment, adding that “it was especially an issue at his Delaware house that he would go to every weekend.”

“He would only get naked when Jill was absent,” he added.

Biden has also long been criticized for his contact with women and girls in photos and videos, and was even referred to as “Creepy Uncle Joe Biden” by the Washington Post.

The agent said that this type of thing did not go on when Republicans were in charge:

The agent also worked under the Bush administration, and added that Vice President Dick Cheney “never grabbed any butts or breasts.”

Lucy Flores, 2014 Democrat candidate

In 2019, Lucy Flores, recounted her encounter with Biden while she was running for lieutenant governor of Nevada in 2014. She wrote a first-person article for The Cut: ‘An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden’. (Breitbart‘s John Nolte wrote about this story shortly after her article appeared.)

Excerpts follow (emphases mine):

when my campaign heard from Vice-President Joe Biden’s office that he was looking to help me and other Democrats in the state, I was grateful and flattered. His team offered to bring him to a campaign rally in an effort to help boost voter turnout. We set the date for November 1, just three days before election day

I found my way to the holding room for the speakers, where everyone was chatting, taking photos, and getting ready to speak to the hundreds of voters in the audience. Just before the speeches, we were ushered to the side of the stage where we were lined up by order of introduction. As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. “Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?”

I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual fuck? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. There is a Spanish saying, “tragame tierra,” it means, “earth, swallow me whole.” I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience

Biden was the second-most powerful man in the country and, arguably, one of the most powerful men in the world. He was there to promote me as the right person for the lieutenant governor job. Instead, he made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused. The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners — and I felt powerless to do anything about it.

She then wrote about some of the material I have posted above, which has been making the rounds for the past four years, and more:

Time passed and pictures started to surface of Vice-President Biden getting uncomfortably close with women and young girls. Biden nuzzling the neck of the Defense secretary’s wife; Biden kissing a senator’s wife on the lips; Biden whispering in women’s ears; Biden snuggling female constituents. I saw obvious discomfort in the women’s faces, and Biden, I’m sure, never thought twice about how it made them feel. I knew I couldn’t say anything publicly about what those pictures surfaced for me; my anger and my resentment grew.

Had I never seen those pictures, I may have been able to give Biden the benefit of the doubt. Had there not been multiple articles written over the years about the exact same thing — calling his creepy behavior an “open secret” — perhaps it would feel less offensive. And yet despite the steady stream of pictures and the occasional article, Biden retained his title of America’s Favorite Uncle. On occasion that title was downgraded to America’s Creepy Uncle but that in and of itself implied a certain level of acceptance. After all, how many families just tolerate or keep their young children away from the creepy uncle without ever acknowledging that there should be zero tolerance for a man who persistently invades others’ personal space and makes people feel uneasy and gross? In this case, it shows a lack of empathy for the women and young girls whose space he is invading, and ignores the power imbalance that exists between Biden and the women he chooses to get cozy with.

A male friend told Flores not to say anything about her encounter:

When I spoke to a male friend who is also a political operative in Biden’s orbit — the first man who had heard the story outside of my staff and close friends years ago — he did what no one else had and made me question myself and wonder if I was doing the right thing. He reminded me that Biden has significant resources and argued points that made me question my memory, even though I’ve replayed that scene in my mind a thousand times. He reminded me that my credibility would be attacked and that I should be prepared for the type of “back and forth” that could occur. (When reached by New York Magazine, a representative for Vice-President Joe Biden declined to comment.)

I’m not suggesting that Biden broke any laws, but the transgressions that society deems minor (or doesn’t even see as transgressions) often feel considerable to the person on the receiving end. That imbalance of power and attention is the whole point — and the whole problem.

In the end, Lucy Flores did speak up and out:

Trump’s winning campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tweeted:

No one can dispute this:

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t take Joe’s groping seriously.

You can find more photos and GIFs of Joe Biden in action here.

Democratic primary campaign videos

He was still at it on the campaign trail before winning the nomination this year.

These are incidents from 2019:

Gateway Pundit wrote about another:

Their article says, in part:

No video has been posted yet, but it fits a pattern seen on numerous videos of Biden making sexual comments to pre-teen and adolescent girls about staying away from boys, or keeping boys away or not dating until they are thirty. That is in addition to the numerous videotaped incidents of Biden groping young girls.

Here’s one where he held onto a woman’s hands:

Poor woman:

This is the last set of videos from 2019. The one with the kids is from Wilmington, Delaware:

He told them the story of Cornpop:

This video from Texas is where he can’t remember ‘God’:

Hillary Clinton told People magazine that year that we have to ‘get over it’. Joe’s gropes are no biggie.

Lucy Flores nailed it: Joe Biden he thinks he’s so powerful that he can get away with anything. And does.

Francis’s papacy has been a strange one from the start.

However, over the last year, his meet-and-greets have produced further odd behaviours.

Either he is messing with faithful Catholics or he doesn’t feel worthy of the papacy.

I mention the latter, because as the video immediately following shows, he doesn’t seem to want to receive the respect of the faithful. A bit like a bad guy telling a good woman:

You don’t want to love me. Honest. Just go away.

The papal ring

Centuries ago, visitors to the Pope kissed his foot rather than a ring.

Everyone knows that kissing the papal ring is a deep sign of respect for the office of Pope.

However, on March 25, 2019, the Pope appeared to be playing chicken with worshippers after a Mass in Loreto, Italy.

Here’s the video, which independent journalist Ezra Levant revived on New Year’s Day, for reasons explained in the next section of this post:

Either let people kiss the ring or announce in the beginning that handshakes are preferred. Who would have objected? No one.

In the event, he kept pulling his hand away. It’s really disgusting to watch. They approach reverently. After all, it’s not every day that one meets Pontifex. He waited until they were really close to his hand then yanked it out of their reach. He smiled at them, as if he were playing a game — one that he always wins.

For some, it must have been bewildering, even embarrassing, as the BBC reported (emphases mine):

During a 53-second period, Francis snapped his hand away from 19 people trying to bow and kiss his ring. One particularly unfortunate man ended up kissing his own hand after the pope suddenly withdrew from the greeting.

How sad for him.

However, the Beeb said that this 53-second period followed a ten-minute period of greeting those assembled:

Official Vatican TV footage shows that Francis stood in a receiving line for around 13 minutes and received (by my count) at least 113 monks, nuns, and parishioners – either individually or in pairs.

No one appeared to offer any instruction on how to greet him. During the first 10 minutes, 14 people shook Francis’s hand without bowing down to kiss his ring.

In this time, 41 people bowed down towards Francis’ hands, either making the symbolic gesture of kissing his ring, or actually kissing the ring itself.

The Pope did not protest.

Nine went even further. They bowed and kissed his ring, and then embraced him as well (one particularly devout monk outmatched everyone else by kissing both of the Pope’s hands.)

Then:

After the first 10 minutes, the Pope’s behaviour changed.

That’s when he began withdrawing his hand.

Although the BBC article stated was titled ‘Pope’s ring-kissing controversy not what it seems’, nothing in it explained why that was the case.

On March 28, ITV reported the reason in the damage control that the Vatican had to undertake:

Pope Francis has set the record straight as to why he pulled his hand away from worshippers eager to kiss his ring, saying the reason was “very simple: hygiene”.

After greeting a long line of faithful at the Holy House of Loreto, an Italian pilgrimage site, the Pope reportedly started feeling concerned about the spread of germs.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti explained the bizarre footage, saying the Pope was concerned about hygiene when he began pulling his hand away to discourage people from kissing his ring.

“The Holy Father told me that the motivation was very simple: hygiene,” Gisotti said to reporters, adding: “He wants to avoid the risk of contagion for the people, not for him.”

Gisotti also said that Francis is fine with ring-kissing in small groups.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to just have said so in the beginning? He would have seen how many people were there.

Does he have ambivalent feelings about wearing the Ring of the Fisherman?

On March 26 — two days before the hygiene statement emerged — The Guardian reported the following:

“Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he does not. It’s really as simple as that,” said a close aide to the pope who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The aide added he was “amused” by all the reaction.

I thought as much.

A Guardian opinion piece on March 27 reinforced this impression:

as so often with Francis, the messages are mixed: according to the Vatican, he sometimes doesn’t mind his ring (the so-called “fisherman’s ring”, which recalls St Peter, who Catholics believe was the first pope), and at other times he doesn’t like it at all. Which makes it a bit tricky for people like those gathered in Loreto the other day: to kiss or not to kiss? It seemed like some sort of strange parlour game, with some people seemingly allowed to touch his hand with their lips, while others had it snatched away.

On March 28, the Catholic Herald confirmed the pope’s ambiguity about his ring.

Let’s keep in mind that Francis has no problem kissing non-Catholics, though:

Not surprisingly, the faithful are unhappy with the contradictory behaviour — and him. We might not endorse each of the following comments in full but can nonetheless empathise with their feelings:

The slapped woman, following the anti-violence sermon

On New Year’s Eve, the Pope had a bit of a walkabout in Saint Peter’s Square.

Earlier that day, he had celebrated a Mass for the World Day of Peace.

Oh, the irony.

During the walkabout, a woman grabbed his arm. We know nothing about her, except that she felt passionately about meeting Pontifex, ‘the bridge’ between Catholics and Christ. She might have travelled thousands of miles to be there at that moment. We also do not know what she said to him. We might never know. In any event, she did not want him to pass her by.

This is what happened. He slapped her hand twice, turned on his heel and stormed off to another part of the crowd:

Comments on this tweet were overwhelmingly sympathetic to the pontiff.

However, comments on another tweet with the same video criticised his reaction. I particularly agree with the first one:

Yes, he apologised in a sermon condemning violence against women the next day. In the post-Vatican II world, Catholics call New Year’s Day The Solemnity of Mary rather than the traditional Naming of Jesus.

The Daily Mail has part of the transcript and photos of his encounter the evening before:

He contended that if we want a better world in the new year, we should treat women with dignity. He added that involving women in decision-making is key to making humanity more peaceful and united.

In his homily during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis decried ‘how many times women’s bodies are sacrificed on the profane altar of advertisements, of profit, of pornography.’ He lamented that while women are in his words ‘the sources of life,’ they are continually offended, beaten, raped, forced into prostitution’ or forced to have abortions.

Francis praised women as ‘donors and mediators of peace,’ and urged that they should become ‘fully associated’ with decision-making in order to make the world more united and at peace.

‘A conquest for women is a conquest for the whole of humanity,’ he said.

Oh, well, at least he apologised before Mass:

‘We lose patience many times,’ Francis confessed.

‘It happens to me too. I apologise for the bad example given yesterday,’ the head of the Catholic church said before celebrating Mass at the Vatican.

Still, with everything going on in Hong Kong, one would think he would have been more sensitive emotionally to that lady. If she is from there, it is hard to blame her for being fraught. She might have wanted to give him a general prayer intention.

Seminarians are taught how to interact with the public. He has been a clergyman long enough to know how to handle unexpected situations.

Then again, he was never much good with the mothers in Argentina when their children went missing during the military junta known as the Dirty War (1976-1983). It was a dangerous and sorrowful time for them. They gathered one day a week at the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires and were known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. As a prominent priest in Buenos Aires, he was of no help to them — or even one father — in interceding with the government at that time, even when contacted (see 1977 letter to the father of Estela de la Cuadra).

As of 2013, he made no move to open up Church archives to see if they show any information about the Dirty War and missing persons, often taken to prison camps or killed.

In 2018, he merely offered a prayer for the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

For someone so interested in social justice — and women, apparently — one would think the Pope, an Argentinian, could do much better.

One year after President Trump put more stringent immigration controls in place along the southern US border, the number of migrants has been dropping.

On January 6, 2020, Issues & Insights (I&I) reported (emphases mine):

Last week, 18 people crossed the border illegally into Arizona hoping they could exploit a loophole in U.S. asylum policy to stay in the country. Instead, they found themselves shipped back to Mexico while their asylum claims are reviewed

The 18 migrants were sent back to Mexico thanks to a policy President Donald Trump implemented that goes by the official name of “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), but more colloquially known as “Remain in Mexico.” First adopted a year ago, the administration has been working with Mexico to steadily expand it. The Nogales port of entry south of Tucson, Arizona, where the 18 were sent, is the site seventh to be included.

Before this policy went into effect, illegal immigrant families knew that if they crossed the border and claimed asylum, they’d effectively get a free pass. Immigration officials would release them into the U.S. within 20 days, on the promise that they would show up for their court date months in the future. Few bother to return. This policy was dubbed “Catch and Release” for a reason.

Now, they must wait in Mexico while immigration judges review their cases.

This has happened without the ‘wall’ (generally, a tall steel and cement-reinforced fence) in place, although that will be built, too.

Results have been incredible:

The number of apprehensions at the southwest border plummeted from 144,000 in May 2019 to just 42,649 in November – the last month for which the government has data. The number of families caught crossing illegally went from 84,486 in May to a mere 9,000 in November.

As the El Paso Times put it, “the policy has proved to be a virtual wall.”

The article, citing the Wall Street Journal, says that successes have occurred elsewhere, too:

Border crossings plummeted in most other areas of the border over the same period.

The I&I article says that the Trump administration has used a multi-pronged approach to border control, including international co-operation and tighter asylum application rules:

Last July, the administration issued a rule denying asylum to anyone who crossed another country before getting to the U.S. border if they didn’t seek asylum in that country first. This policy directly attacks the migrant caravans traversing Mexico. The administration has also struck deals with Central American countries that let the U.S. return asylum seekers to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

The administration has tightened up what counts as a “credible fear” claim for asylum seekers. At one detention facility, the number passing the credible fear claim plunged from 97% to just 10%.

Trump’s threat to impose stiff tariffs on Mexico unless it got serious about border control also made a huge difference, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suddenly sending troops to detain migrants.

Also:

A Government Accountability Office report released in December found that arrests climbed 34% from 2015 to 2018, detentions went up 35%, and removals rose 13%.

Who benefits from these changes?

Americans who have been shut out of the job market:

As we noted in this space recently, it’s been Americans who’ve gained work filling jobs that would have been taken by illegals.

In August 2019, ICE removed many illegals from Mississippi who were working at chicken processing factories. Americans applied for the jobs in droves, as Breitbart reported on August 13:

Roughly 150 locals attended an August 12 job fair to apply for jobs at the Koch Foods’ plants in Mississippi.

The fair was run after the August 7 removal of 243 alleged illegal migrants in two of the company’s chicken processing plants, according to local authorities.

Neil Monro’s article for Breitbart notes that Americans earn more once illegal workers are removed from employment:

… wages have spiked upwards for Americans when employers were forced to give up their illegal workforces.

Black employment also improves when illegals are no longer working. This welcome development will boost the American president’s favourability further, as the following tweet and replies to it indicate (click on original tweet to read more):

President Trump is doing the right thing.

I was unsure about his ‘wall’ idea in 2016, but, living overseas, had no idea how bad the southern border problem was.

As is so often said about him, ‘Promises made. Promises kept.’

What a relief for the American people: a president who truly does have their interests at heart.

Boris Johnson issued a brief but rousing address to the nation on New Year’s Eve.

He looks forward to an ‘exhilarating decade’ ahead as we enter the 2020s:

People admire his enthusiasm, gumption and optimism, so lacking in the past few Prime Ministers — and Britain as a whole.

I wish him all the best as he attempts to unite the nation, particularly post-Brexit.

I am also pleased that protecting Christians is on his agenda, dating back to his days as Foreign Secretary under Theresa May. The following tweet is from last July, when the Conservative leadership race was going on:

He also mentioned the subject in his first Christmas address to the nation, which is more than the Archbishop of Canterbury managed in his New Year’s greeting.

May God bless our Prime Minister in 2020!

This year, Boris Johnson spent his Christmas as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

On Christmas Eve, the Conservative Party released this entertaining video of Boris and his father Stanley making mince pies. Boris explains how mince pies are a perfect metaphor for Brexit. There’s nothing ‘sensitive’ about this video. In fact, ‘Mince pies (with Boris)’ is great fun. Watch:

Boris has a lot of support:

Shortly before Christmas, the Prime Minister spent a day in Estonia and served a festive lunch to British troops stationed there. The Express reported:

The Prime Minister dished out turkey and Yorkshire puddings to servicemen at the Tapa military base near the capital Tallinn on a one-day trip to the Baltic state.

The base is home to 850 British troops from the Queen’s Royal Hussars who lead the Nato battlegroup along with personnel from Estonia, France and Denmark.

He said the troops were the “most vivid and powerful possible symbol and expression” of Britain’s commitment to the security and stability of the whole of Europe.

He said: “It’s an incredible thing for me to come to Estonia because when I was a kid – when I was your age – Estonia was part of the Soviet Union and we’re now here helping to protect Estonia’s security.

On Christmas Eve, Boris issued a Christmas message that only he could deliver in such a natural way, partly humorous and partly serious. This is another must-see, especially as he made a firm point about opposing the persecution of Christians (subtitled version here):

He said (emphases mine):

Today of all days, I want us to remember those Christians around the world who are facing persecution.

For them, Christmas Day will be marked in private, in secret, perhaps even in a prison cell.

As Prime Minister, that’s something I want to change. We stand with Christians everywhere, in solidarity, and will defend your right to practise your faith.

On Christmas Eve, The Express explained:

A source from No 10 said the Prime Minister wishes to “look at how we can lead on the issue around the world”.

They revealed: “It’s something he came across a lot when he was foreign secretary.

“It has been an issue he has taken seriously personally since he left [the Foreign and Commonwealth Office].”

In May, a report from the former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt found that the persecution of Christians in some parts of the world was a near “genocide” levels.

The review was led by the Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen.

It is estimated that one in three people suffered from religious persecution, with Christians being the most persecuted group.

According to the review, Christianity faced being “wiped out” from regions of the Middle East.

Figures show that Christians in Palestine represent less than 1.5 percent of the population.

These figures drop even more critically in Iraq where numbers have fallen from 1.5 million in 2003, to less than 120,000.

The Prime Minister thanked NHS staff, police and other first responders for being on the front lines during the Christmas period, sacrificing time with family and friends.

On a lighter note, he began his video with this:

Hi folks, Boris Johnson here, taking a moment to wish you all a merry little Christmas.

He ended with this:

Mr Johnson signed off breezily, urging people to enjoy the next few days, adding: “Try not to have too many arguments with the in-laws – or anyone else.”

Brilliant!

The Express reported that Boris and serious girlfriend Carrie Symonds spent Christmas at No. 10 with their Welsh rescue dog Dilyn. The article says that, according to The Times, the couple will be jetting off to Mustique for the New Year as guests of the Von Bismarck family who have a home there.

The Queen’s Chrismas Day message to the nation was as thought-provoking as ever:

The Express has a transcript. Note that the Queen says that 2020 is the start of a new decade — not 2021, as pedants say (emphases mine):

as we all look forward to the start of a new decade, it’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.

The new decade, beginning in a few days’ time, is further confirmed on Twitter:

Contrary to what the media has reported this month, she kept family issues out of the speech.

On Christmas Eve, the Mail‘s Richard Kay wrote:

After so many broadcasts the Queen, of course, is comfortably familiar in front of the camera, but even so this year she will quite possibly deliver her most difficult, her most painful and perhaps, from the monarchy’s point of view, her most crucial Christmas message ever.

Sure.

In reality, the Queen focussed on the notable anniversaries in 2019:

As a child, I never imagined that one day a man would walk on the moon. Yet this year we marked the 50th anniversary of the famous Apollo 11 mission.

As those historic pictures were beamed back to Earth, millions of us sat transfixed to our television screens, as we watched Neil Armstrong taking a small step for man and a giant leap for mankind – and, indeed, for womankind. It’s a reminder for us all that giant leaps often start with small steps.

This year we marked another important anniversary: D-Day. On 6th June 1944, some 156,000 British, Canadian and American forces landed in northern France. It was the largest ever seaborne invasion and was delayed due to bad weather …

Since the end of the Second World War, many charities, groups and organisations have worked to promote peace and unity around the world, bringing together those who have been on opposing sides.

On that subject, The Express reported her words and what lay behind them:

“It was the largest ever seabourne invasion and was delayed due to bad weather.

“I well remember the look of concern on my father’s face.

“He knew the secret D-Day plans but could of course share that burden with no one.”

This subtle nod to her father also seems to reflect on the burden of loneliness which wearing the crown can entail at times.

Mentions of family were happy ones:

Two hundred years on from the birth of my great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, Prince Philip and I have been delighted to welcome our eighth great-grandchild into our family.

The broadcast included a clip of Prince George stirring up Christmas pudding:

As Defender of the Faith in the United Kingdom, the Queen always mentions the Reason for the Season, dispensing pragmatic wisdom when speaking of our Lord:

Of course, at the heart of the Christmas story lies the birth of a child: a seemingly small and insignificant step overlooked by many in Bethlehem.

But in time, through his teaching and by his example, Jesus Christ would show the world how small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.

Many of us already try to follow in his footsteps. The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.

As Christmas dawned, church congregations around the world joined in singing It Came Upon The Midnight Clear. Like many timeless carols, it speaks not just of the coming of Jesus Christ into a divided world, many years ago, but also of the relevance, even today, of the angel’s message of peace and goodwill.

It’s a timely reminder of what positive things can be achieved when people set aside past differences and come together in the spirit of friendship and reconciliation. And, as we all look forward to the start of a new decade, it’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.

And so, I wish you all a very happy Christmas.

The broadcast, which airs at 3 p.m. GMT every year, closed with the choir at Windsor Castle singing the famous carol, accompanied by a military band.

I wonder if outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn saw the speech, which he said was broadcast in the morning:

On Christmas Day at Sandringham in Norfolk, the Royal Family look forward to a church service and family lunch.

Normally, the Royal children do not attend the service. However, Princess Charlotte and Prince George made their first appearance this year (top photo on the left in the second tweet):

I hope that the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, had a very happy birthday:

This year’s Christmas speech by the Queen proved the media wrong once again. Why do we lean on their every word?

Instead, let us heed her words about small steps being significant in creating great transformation.

The State Opening of Parliament on Thursday, December 19, 2019 is the last we will see for a while.

We had a State Opening of Parliament on Monday, October 14, after the last prorogation.

Two State Openings in one year — and so close together — is a highly unusual situation.

I watched both on television. The symbols and pageantry are tremendous.

Parliament’s website states:

The Queen’s Speech sets out the government’s agenda for the next session of Parliament and outlines proposed policies and laws …

State Opening is the main ceremonial event of the parliamentary calendar, drawing a significant audience online, on television and in person.

In the days preceding the State Opening, both Houses of Parliament — the Lords as well as the Commons — swore in all members individually for this new session following the General Election of Thursday, December 12:

Once complete, the State Opening could take place.

It is the only time the three elements of British government are brought together in one place, in the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Commons and the Lords:

Yeoman warders from the Tower of London do a symbolic inspection — centuries ago, it was a real inspection — to ensure there are no saboteurs or explosives lurking:

This recalls the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, involving a handful of rebellious Catholics, the most famous of which was Guy (Guido) Fawkes, although Robert Catesby was their leader. They attempted to blow up the House of Lords. The explosives were already there.

Today, after the inspection, each of the Yeoman Warders (‘Beefeaters’) is rewarded with half a pint of port.

Meanwhile, the Queen prepares to leave Buckingham Palace for the short ride to the Palace of Westminster. Prince Charles accompanied his mother for both State Openings this year, as Prince Philip has retired from public duties:

October’s State Opening was much more formal. The Queen wore a crown and was dressed in a full length white gown with an ermine cape:

This time, she wore a dressy coat and a hat. Her mode of transport was a Bentley rather than a carriage. The photo on the left shows her walking with Prince Charles in the Royal Gallery in the Palace of Westminster, eventually into the House of Lords to deliver her speech, written by her government:

While the Queen is preparing to give the speech, Black Rod walks from the House of Lords to the House of Commons to summon MPs to the Lords to hear the monarch. We have seen quite a lot of Sally Clarke, the first female Black Rod, this year.

This video explains Black Rod’s duties, which are more than ceremonial:

When Black Rod arrives at the House of Commons, the door is slammed in her face. This symbolises:

the Commons’ independence from the monarchy. Black Rod then strikes the door loudly three times with his ebony staff, or rod, before it is opened, and the 250 Members of the House of Commons follow him back to the Lords Chamber, to stand at the opposite end to The Queen’s Throne.

The video in the second tweet shows the route MPs take to the House of Lords, with Black Rod leading them. The first video dispels the myth that the Lords wear their ceremonial robes every time they meet:

MPs stand in the back of the House of Lords to listen to the Queen’s Speech, which the Lord Chancellor presents to her in a special silk pouch.

During the State Opening, one MP is ‘held hostage’ at Buckingham Palace. I do not know who the two MPs were this year:

Afterwards, MPs return to the Commons:

When the Queen leaves, a new parliamentary session starts and Parliament gets back to work. Members of both Houses debate the content of the speech and agree a reply, known as the ‘Address in Reply to Her Majesty’s Gracious Speech’.

Each House continues to debate the planned legislative programme for several days, looking at different subject areas. The Queen’s Speech is voted on by the Commons, but no vote is taken in the Lords.

Friday, December 20, was MPs’ last day in session before Christmas recess. Brexit was at the top of the agenda.

They approved the second reading of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal from October:

They also approved the timetable — programme motion — for the second reading:

They meet again on Tuesday, January 7, 2020:

We have much to look forward to in the New Year.

It was a relief to see the return of regular scheduling on BBC Parliament.

Thursday, December 19, 2019 was the first real day of debate in the new parliamentary session which followed the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech, which laid out the new majority Conservative government’s plans.

The Conservative and DUP (Democratic Unionist Party, Northern Ireland) were the most conciliatory towards their opponents. I wonder if that is because both parties seem to embody the greatest expression of faith.

When the swearing in went on earlier in the week, all of the Conservative MPs, past and present, knew which Bible on which they wanted to be sworn in. A friend told me that Savid Javid, our Chancellor of the Exchequer, took a different oath, but Home Secretary Priti Patel took the traditional one.

By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader (for now), took a neutral oath that omitted ‘so help me God’. Another Labour MP, Liz Kendall, announced that she is ‘godless’ but ‘not a pagan’:

The DUP’s Jim Shannon, representing Strangford, thanked ‘the Lord my Saviour’ for the election results, including his own re-election.

Just before Shannon spoke, a new SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) MP from Northern Ireland, Colum Eastwood, gave his eloquent (even if I disagree with it) maiden speech in the House of Commons. He did not stammer or falter. The SDLP are diametrically opposed to the DUP. The SDLP represent the Republic of Ireland’s interests, and the DUP represent Ulster Unionists.

Colum Eastwood spoke of the lingering bitterness from the Troubles which continues to reach the courts:

This Conservative Government is obsessed with the idea of granting amnesty to soldiers who committed grievous wrongs and heinous crimes in Northern Ireland. Not only is it an affront to victims and survivors who lost loved ones at the hands of British Army personnel, any attempt to change the law will grant effective immunity to members of paramilitary organisations who murdered and maimed people in our communities.

There is nothing vexatious about seeking truth, justice and accountability for those who lost loved ones. The threshold for criminal prosecution is itself a check on the exercise of legal powers. Those brought before the courts do not face charges on a whim, it’s the result of gathered evidence and a determination by the independent PPS that a prosecution is in the public interest. I am sick of the myth that former soldiers are being pursued for nothing – these are serious crimes with a substantial body of evidence.

[A] Uniform should offer no shield to accountability before the law. The sensitive balance of legacy investigations and institutions should not be offset by headline grabbing promises from a militaristic government.

The SDLP successfully derailed similar proposals from Peter Hain, backed by Sinn Féin. The legacy of our past must be dealt with comprehensively and ethically. We will oppose any proposals aimed at erasing the ability of victims and survivors to access truth, justice and accountability.

Jim Shannon responded by saying that he had served in the Ulster Defence Regiment. That was between 1973 and 1977, at a very heated time of the Troubles, which neither side wants to see repeated.

Shannon told the MPs and Deputy Speaker of the House that he had spoken to Colum Eastwood earlier, explaining that, although they are on opposite sides of the political and cultural spectrum, there will be issues on which they will agree. Shannon said that he would find a way to work together with Eastwood on these issues to achieve common cause. I am sure that Jim Shannon will make every effort.

In another speech, returning Conservative MP Victoria Prentis, representing Banbury, said that Christmas should be a time of self-reflection and self-improvement. She suggested that MPs should use the time well to improve their discourse before Parliament reconvenes in the New Year. It was a wise sentiment, especially with the previous tensions from October 2019 concerning Brexit.

The Conservative and DUP MPs remembered that the run up to Christmas is a time of goodwill — to all. Victoria Prentis spoke perfectly when she said that we should continue any personal improvements gleaned from Christmas into the New Year.

Let’s start as we mean to go on. Christmas should be a time of deep reflection and ongoing renewal.

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