You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Abraham Lincoln’ tag.

There were so many insights on coronavirus last week that I couldn’t fit them all in.

On Friday, I summarised Michael P Senger’s article about China’s role in the coronavirus crisis.

More information follows:

Rather sagely, a lady replied:

As did another:

The day before, there was the confession from a Facebook whistleblower about online political persuasion:

The article, dated September 14, features quotes from former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang.

The article states (emphases mine):

The 6,600-word memo, written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion. In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes, though she did not always conclude who was behind them.

“In the three years I’ve spent at Facebook, I’ve found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions,” wrote Zhang, who declined to talk to BuzzFeed News. Her LinkedIn profile said she “worked as the data scientist for the Facebook Site Integrity fake engagement team” and dealt with “bots influencing elections and the like.”

She added:

I have personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversight, and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally that I’ve lost count.

The BuzzFeed article continues:

The memo is a damning account of Facebook’s failures. It’s the story of Facebook abdicating responsibility for malign activities on its platform that could affect the political fate of nations outside the United States or Western Europe. It’s also the story of a junior employee wielding extraordinary moderation powers that affected millions of people without any real institutional support, and the personal torment that followed.

“I know that I have blood on my hands by now,” Zhang wrote.

According to the article, Facebook allegedly delayed taking action on the following:

  • It took Facebook’s leaders nine months to act on a coordinated campaign “that used thousands of inauthentic assets to boost President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras on a massive scale to mislead the Honduran people.” Two weeks after Facebook took action against the perpetrators in July, they returned, leading to a game of “whack-a-mole” between Zhang and the operatives behind the fake accounts, which are still active.
  • In Azerbaijan, Zhang discovered the ruling political party “utilized thousands of inauthentic assets… to harass the opposition en masse.” Facebook began looking into the issue a year after Zhang reported it. The investigation is ongoing.
  • Zhang and her colleagues removed “10.5 million fake reactions and fans from high-profile politicians in Brazil and the US in the 2018 elections.”
  • In February 2019, a NATO researcher informed Facebook that “he’d obtained Russian inauthentic activity on a high-profile U.S. political figure that we didn’t catch.” Zhang removed the activity, “dousing the immediate fire,” she wrote.
  • In Ukraine, Zhang “found inauthentic scripted activity” supporting both former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a pro–European Union politician and former presidential candidate, as well as Volodymyr Groysman, a former prime minister and ally of former president Petro Poroshenko. “Volodymyr Zelensky and his faction was the only major group not affected,” Zhang said of the current Ukrainian president.
  • Zhang discovered inauthentic activity — a Facebook term for engagement from bot accounts and coordinated manual accounts— in Bolivia and Ecuador but chose “not to prioritize it,” due to her workload. The amount of power she had as a mid-level employee to make decisions about a country’s political outcomes took a toll on her health.
  • After becoming aware of coordinated manipulation on the Spanish Health Ministry’s Facebook page during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zhang helped find and remove 672,000 fake accounts “acting on similar targets globally” including in the US.
  • In India, she worked to remove “a politically-sophisticated network of more than a thousand actors working to influence” the local elections taking place in Delhi in February. Facebook never publicly disclosed this network or that it had taken it down.

The BuzzFeed article reports that Facebook’s spokesperson Liz Bourgeois said:

It’s highly involved work that these teams do as their full-time remit. Working against coordinated inauthentic behavior is our priority, but we’re also addressing the problems of spam and fake engagement. We investigate each issue carefully, including those that Ms. Zhang raises, before we take action or go out and make claims publicly as a company.

BuzzFeed says that it did not reproduce Ms Zhang’s full text because it contains personal information.

The article added:

In her post, Zhang said she did not want it to go public for fear of disrupting Facebook’s efforts to prevent problems around the upcoming 2020 US presidential election, and due to concerns about her own safety. BuzzFeed News is publishing parts of her memo that are clearly in the public interest.

“I consider myself to have been put in an impossible spot – caught between my loyalties to the company and my loyalties to the world as a whole,” she said. “The last thing I want to do is distract from our efforts for the upcoming U.S. elections, yet I know this post will likely do so internally.”

Zhang said she turned down a $64,000 severance package from the company to avoid signing a nondisparagement agreement. Doing so allowed her to speak out internally, and she used that freedom to reckon with the power that she had to police political speech.

“There was so much violating behavior worldwide that it was left to my personal assessment of which cases to further investigate, to file tasks, and escalate for prioritization afterwards,” she wrote.

That power contrasted with what she said seemed to be a lack of desire from senior leadership to protect democratic processes in smaller countries. Facebook, Zhang said, prioritized regions including the US and Western Europe, and often only acted when she repeatedly pressed the issue publicly in comments on Workplace, the company’s internal, employee-only message board.

“With no oversight whatsoever, I was left in a situation where I was trusted with immense influence in my spare time,” she wrote. “A manager on Strategic Response mused to myself that most of the world outside the West was effectively the Wild West with myself as the part-time dictator – he meant the statement as a compliment, but it illustrated the immense pressures upon me.”

A former Facebook engineer who knew her told BuzzFeed News that Zhang was skilled at discovering fake account networks on the platform.

The second half of the article is also worth reading — and circulating.

Michael P Senger, the author of the article I cited on Friday, tweeted coronavirus-related news about Pennsylvania’s continued lockdown:

Note that China was mentioned.

The title of Stacy Rudin’s article for the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) is ‘Federal Court Holds “Stay at Home” Orders and Mandatory Business Closures Unconstitutional’.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

For six months, Americans in 43 states have lived under unprecedented executive orders restricting freedoms as basic as whether they can work, leave their homes, and expose their faces in public. These mandates are not duly enacted laws — they are orders issued by one of the three branches of government. They constitute a system of one-person rulesomething none of us expected could ever happen in the United Statesand no one, apart from the 43 newfound state dictators, is sure when it will expire.

Today, after six months of this, a Pennsylvania Federal Court in Butler County v. Wolf reviewed the indefinite “emergency” restrictions imposed by the executive branch of Pennsylvania government, declaring limitations on gathering size, “stay-at-home orders,” and mandatory business closures unconstitutional. Refusing to accept the alleged need for a “new normal,” the Court stated that an “independent judiciary [is needed] to serve as a check on the exercise of emergency government power.”

About time. The Judicial Branch is coming to save us.

The article is worth circulating. It goes into American history, beginning with the Constitution in the 18th century and citing President Lincoln in the 19th.

The Pennslyvania Federal Court stated:

There is no question that our founders abhorred the concept of one-person rule. They decried government by fiat. Absent a robust system of checks and balances, the guarantees of liberty set forth in the Constitution are just ink on parchment.

Furthermore:

In times of crisis, even a vigilant public may let down its guard over its constitutional liberties only to find that liberties, once relinquished, are hard to recoup and that restrictions — while expedient in the face of an emergency situation — may persist long after immediate danger has passed.

The AIER article went on to say:

We cannot allow our freedom to become “ink on parchment.” Many of our governors seek to do just that — they won’t even designate an endpoint to their “emergency” powers. When does the “emergency” end? This should be easy to say — X number of deaths per million, X number of deaths over X number of weeks — yet they will not say it. They want us to live under the constant threat of house arrest and livelihood deprivation, even though all we ever agreed to was a two-week effort to “flatten the curve.” We never agreed to an indefinite or permanent “new normal,” or to do whatever our wise governor dreams up and declares necessary to “eliminate infections.”

The article thanked Judge Stickman, speaking for the Pennsylvania Federal Court:

Thank you, Judge Stickman, for recognizing our predicament, and for taking the first step towards restoring our freedom today by reminding those with authoritarian leanings that “governors cannot be given carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists.” The response to an emergency cannot undermine our system of constitutional liberties, or the system of checks and balances protecting those liberties. Liberty before “governor-guaranteed safety” — this is the American way, famously stated by Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Pennsylvania’s Governor Wolf appeared to back down (italics in the original):

Incredibly, Governor Wolf responded that his stay-at-home orders are “not actually orders at all, but merely recommendations,” and that they are constitutional because they do not “shock the conscience.”

Yet, the article’s author says:

I’m willing to bet that Pennsylvania citizens would beg to differ.

The Court’s decision stated that large populations were never quarantined (some local populations, e.g. St Louis, were during the Spanish Flu).

Not only that, the judges traced the origin of the virus to China:

In analyzing the constitutionality of “lockdowns,” the Court first traced the origin of the concept to its source — Wuhan, China — and recognized that population-wide lockdowns are “unprecedented in American law.” Even during the Spanish Flu, the deadliest pandemic in history by far, “nothing remotely approximating lockdowns were imposed.” Although the United States has faced many epidemics and pandemics, “there have never previously been lockdowns of entire populations — much less for lengthy and indefinite periods of time.” Quarantines are legally recognized, but refer to the isolation of sick people and those known to have been directly exposed to sick people. They are statutorily limited to the duration of the incubation period of the disease — a period which Governor Wolf’s “lockdown” plainly exceeded.

Not only have lockdowns never been imposed in American history, but they are not even mentioned in recent pandemic management guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). In its 2017 guidelines for managing pandemics, the CDC recommends numerous protective measures such as hand washing, limited-duration school closures, and cancellations of mass gatherings, but nothing “even approximating the imposition of statewide (or even community-wide) stay at home orders or the closure of all [‘non-essential’] businesses.” Even for pandemics of “Very High Severity,” the CDC recommends only voluntary isolation of sick persons and their household members. “This is a far, far cry from a statewide lockdown such as the one imposed by [Governor Wolf’s] stay-at-home order.”

The article goes on to discuss small and medium business issues, which are of primary importance today. The court decided, in their own words (emphasis here in the original):

The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal’ where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures. Rather, the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency. Actions taken by Defendants crossed those lines. It is the duty of the Court to declare those actions unconstitutional.

In related news Daniel Levitt, who works for tech firms in Silicon Valley, tweeted:

Ah, but increased testing is taking care of that issue. Hmm.

A podcast host from Ohio found that the WHO never stated that quarantine stopped influenza. Coronavirus is not influenza, yet it seems to share some of the same characteristics. Even more interesting is that, with the presence of COVID-19, influenza — the big worry of the cold weather season — seems to have disappeared south of the Equator.

Interesting:

It’s all a bit of a mystery, but Kyle Lamb goes on to answer questions:

Does Kyle Lamb know more than our respective chief scientific officers? Perhaps. Perhaps not. In any event, he has gone further by probing the subject, which is more than our chief scientific officers have done.

Meanwhile, in the UK, an NHS GP pleads with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change course on lockdowns. Here’s yet another newspaper article mentioning a time period of a fortnight (yawn).

I pity the remaining vulnerable, especially the elderly. Click the image to see the article in full:

I could not agree more.

Message to the NHS: get on with it! You’ve had since May.

Since the summer, England’s Nightingale Hospitals have been stood down for lack of use:

What will happen? A repeat of March and April?

My head is spinning at the prospect.

Once again, private care will turn out to be no better:

Good grief.

Then there is the matter of testing.

This thread is about the North East of England. The author is Professor of Industrial Economics Nottingham University Business School and states clearly that he is expressing his own views:

Sunderland is in the latest coronavirus hotspot area.

Understandably, residents are anxious to get PCR tests.

Yet, the queue was two miles long at the local testing centre:

The queues are for people who have booked a test:

It’s the same in London, as per Tom Copley, the Deputy Mayor of London for Housing. Again, you need a code (obtained online) in order to get a test:

After all these months, this is unbelievable, especially from a notionally Conservative government.

As Tim Worstall said on September 17:

You’ve had 6 months to get testing sorted out. It’s possible to do basic tests – basic note – for £1 a piece with reagent dosed paper hankies.

Also:

seriously, why do we give, or have taken from us, 35% of everything to a structure that can’t even manage this?

I could not agree more.

In closing, Dr Li-Meng Yan, a physician and virologist who also holds a PhD, is a Chinese whistleblower who worked at a WHO lab in Hong Kong. She is now out of the country in a secret location but has given at least two interviews in the past week.

The first was on Friday, September 11, on ITV’s Loose Women, a lunchtime chat show in Britain:

She explained that she had access to a lot of secret information about COVID-19 and could no longer keep quiet, even if it meant losing her social credit score, which she did. She said she had been warned at the outset ‘not to cross the line’ because ‘she could be disappeared’. She said that the Chinese government deleted everything about her that had appeared online. One wonders if her bank account was also frozen. It happens.

She told the show’s panel that the virus was engineered in a lab and that it is not a natural virus.

She said that the Chinese government has downplayed her role in Hong Kong and is discrediting her.

The panel asked her why China would do such a thing and she replied that she had no insight into the government’s ‘evil thinking’, then added that whatever they did ‘worked’: meaning — although she left this unstated — illness, death, panic, lockdown and economic damage.

I am glad that Loose Women interviewed her, because the show gets good ratings. Consequently, a lot of women in Britain will have found out more about the Chi-vi, as I call it.

On Tuesday, September 15, she appeared on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, to present the same details:

Tucker wasn’t quite sure what to think. He acknowledged he does not have the scientific background to probe further.

A tip of the hat to my cyberfriend Wolf for the next part of this story.

Dr Yan, along with three other researchers, published a scientific paper on Monday, September 14: ‘Unusual Features of the SARS-Cov-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route’.

This is the introduction (emphases mine):

Yan, Li-Meng; Kang, Shu; Guan, Jie; Hu, Shanchang

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has led to over 910,000 deaths worldwide and unprecedented decimation of the global economy. Despite its tremendous impact, the origin of SARS-CoV-2 has remained mysterious and controversial. The natural origin theory, although widely accepted, lacks substantial support. The alternative theory that the virus may have come from a research laboratory is, however, strictly censored on peer-reviewed scientific journals. Nonetheless, SARS-CoV-2 shows biological characteristics that are inconsistent with a naturally occurring, zoonotic virus. In this report, we describe the genomic, structural, medical, and literature evidence, which, when considered together, strongly contradicts the natural origin theory. The evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 should be a laboratory product created by using bat coronaviruses ZC45 and/or ZXC21 as a template and/or backbone. Building upon the evidence, we further postulate a synthetic route for SARS-CoV-2, demonstrating that the laboratory-creation of this coronavirus is convenient and can be accomplished in approximately six months. Our work emphasizes the need for an independent investigation into the relevant research laboratories. It also argues for a critical look into certain recently published data, which, albeit problematic, was used to support and claim a natural origin of SARS-CoV-2. From a public health perspective, these actions are necessary as knowledge of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 and of how the virus entered the human population are of pivotal importance in the fundamental control of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as in preventing similar, future pandemics.

ZeroHedge posted excerpts from the paper, which is way above my pay grade. The article ends with a reminder from ZeroHedge that they were suspended from Twitter months ago for alleging the same theory:

As a reminder, Zero Hedge was banned from Twitter on Jan 31 for making just this allegation, following a hit-piece written by an alleged pedophile (who was later fired for plagiarism) and countless so-called “scientists” screaming that our take was fake news and nothing but propaganda. Five months later Twitter admitted it had made a mistake, stating “we made an error in our enforcement action in this case.”

Speaking of Twitter, on September 15, ZeroHedge also reported that Dr Yan’s Twitter account was quickly suspended, days after she created it this month (emphases in the original):

On Sunday afternoon we asked how long before the twitter account of the “rogue” Chinese virologist, Dr. Li-Meng Yan, who yesterday “shocked” the world of establishment scientists and other China sycophants, by publishing a “smoking gun” scientific paper demonstrating that the Covid-19 virus was manmade, is “silenced.”

We now have the answer: less than two days. A cursory check of Dr Yan’s twitter page reveals that the account has been suspended as of this moment …

If Yan was wrong, why not just let other scientists respond in the open to the all too valid arguments presented in Dr. Yan’s paper? Isn’t that what “science” is all about? Why just shut her up?

Because if we have already crossed the tipping point when anyone who proposes an “inconvenient” explanation for an established “truth” has to be immediately censored, then there is little that can be done to salvage the disintegration of a society that once held freedom of speech as paramount …

We hope Twitter will provide a very reasonable and sensible explanation for this unprecedented censorship.

Indeed.

Back now to the contents of the paper that Dr Yan co-authored.

US Army Colonel Lawrence Sellin (Ret.) explained it in layman’s terms for the Gateway Pundit: ‘Dr. Lawrence Sellin: The Unequivocal Evidence Chinese Scientist Dr. Li-Meng Yan Provides Proof COVID-19 was Created by China’s Military’.

Dr Sellin gives us the overview, which is still scientific (emphases in the original):

China has claimed that a bat coronavirus named RaTG13 is the closest relative to the COVID-19 virus, but RaTG13 is not actually a virus because no biological samples exist. It is only a genomic sequence of a virus for which there are now serious questions about its accuracy.

Dr. Yan suggests that RaTG13 may have been used to divert the world’s attention away from the true source of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She claims that the COVID-19 virus originated in laboratories overseen by China’s People’s Liberation Army, using bat coronaviruses ZC45 and/or ZXC21 collected from Zhoushan, China and used as the viral “backbone” for genetic engineering.

Those bat coronaviruses were originally isolated and characterized between July 2015 and February 2017 under the supervision of the Third Military Medical University (Chongqing, China) and the Research Institute for Medicine of Nanjing Command (Nanjing, China).

The article goes on to explain how the receptor binding motif (RBM), which defines the coronavirus’ ability to bind to the specific human angiotensin converting enzyme-2 receptor (ACE2) underwent genetic manipulation.

That critical segment of the COVID-19 virus is bounded by two “restriction sites” not found in any related bat coronaviruses, which allow researchers to easily splice, that is, cut and paste components of other viruses into the viral backbone.

The presence of those restriction sites is a known marker for genetic manipulation.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 virus contains a furin polybasic cleavage site with an amino acid sequence of proline-arginine-arginine-alanine or PRRA that facilitates membrane fusion between the virus and the human cell and widely known for its ability to enhance pathogenicity and transmissibility.

Such a sequence is not found in any other related bat coronavirus and, so far, there is no natural evolutionary pathway identified that could explain the appearance of that PRRA segment.

In contrast, techniques for the artificial insertion of such a furin polybasic cleavage site by genetic engineering have been used for over ten years.

Dr. Yan and her colleagues note that the two arginine amino acids in that PRRA segment are coded by the nucleotide sequence CGG-CGG, which rarely appears in tandem and strongly suggests that this furin cleavage site is the result of genetic engineering.

In addition, the presence of a “FauI” restriction site at the furin polybasic cleavage site is also an indication of genetic manipulation.

Goodness me. We have these scientific allegations and all the UK government is thinking of is a second lockdown.

It is sad that we will not be reading or hearing about this paper in the media. Once again, please circulate the links with family and friends. Thank you.

Recently, The Atlantic published an anti-Trump article saying he has no regard for military veterans.

The article also has other falsehoods in it about President Trump’s time in the White House, supplied by anonymous sources:

First Lady Melania Trump tweeted:

The Atlantic wants to help Joe Biden win, of course:

President Trump is angry with Fox News for pressing on with the lies. This Twitter user says that the reporter in question is married to another journalist who works for NPR, which is pro-Democrat:

I’ll get to that story tomorrow.

Trump’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is angry about The Atlantic‘s article:

Former ambassador John Bolton, who has written an anti-Trump book, also says that The Atlantic‘s article is wrong. The American president did not show up at a military cemetery in France in 2018 for a memorial ceremony because his security detail would not allow it. Breitbart carried the story:

Bolton, who has emerged as an adversary of the president since leaving the administration last fall, wrote in his tell-all book about Trump that the visit to the cemetery by helicopter had been canceled because of weather. Driving, Bolton wrote, was not an option because of the “unacceptable risk” of being stuck in traffic if an emergency arose. He criticized the media for falsely reporting that Trump skipped his visit because he was “afraid of the rain.”

He also denied the accusations about the president’s words:

On Friday, Bolton confirmed his account in an interview with the Times, and added that he never heard Trump say “losers” or “suckers”:

He got support from an unlikely source on Friday when John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser who has broken with him and called him unfit for office, said he was on the trip in question and never heard Mr. Trump make those remarks. “I didn’t hear that,” Mr. Bolton said in an interview. “I’m not saying he didn’t say them later in the day or another time but I was there for that discussion.”

History tells us that the Democrats used the same tactic with Abraham Lincoln, who was also a Republican:

Let us fast-forward to 2007 to Donald Trump, real estate mogul and proprietor of the golf club at Mar-a-Lago. He welcomed veterans every Monday and said that their wives were in tears:

Veterans have been on to Obama’s vice president Biden for some time, as this video from March shows. Biden had no Secret Service detail earlier this year because he was not the official nominee at the time:

Fast forward to the present day. These three disabled veterans say that President Trump has done more for minorities and the military than any other US president. The retired Marine says that he was a staunch Democrat, but no longer because of what the Democrats have been doing over the past several years and because President Trump has cleaned up the Department of Veterans Affairs, enabling them to get the health care they need:

This US Army veteran says that Joe Biden doesn’t care about American troops and would cut military funding. He says that President Trump has always been there for all the armed forces:

This man is a retired paratrooper and tells of all the reforms President Trump has put into the Department of Veterans Affairs and the military, making both stronger than ever. He says that The Atlantic is ‘a disgrace to journalism’ and ‘fake news’:

This veteran says that Joe Biden and the Democrats want to ‘burn down’ America and turn it into ‘a socialist crap-hole’, but ‘we’re not going to let that happen’. He staunchly supports President Trump:

This veteran is also pro-Trump. Contrary to what the Democrats and their water-carrying buddies in the media said in 2016, Trump has started no wars and is trying to get troops out of Afghanistan:

This veteran also supports Trump for the same reason:

I hope these tweets help put to rest the lies that have been circulating about President Trump.

Hats off to OAN’s Jack Posobiec, a Navy veteran, for starting the #VetsBackTrump trend on Twitter.

The 2020 Republican National Convention is the best television I’ve ever watched outside of certain food show competitions.

I have so many tweets to share that I have linked to several in addition to posting them below.

Changes had to be made to the format because of coronavirus restrictions. At the weekend, I had doubts as to how interesting it would be. I am pleased to say that I was wrong.

There were no comperes (MCs) introducing each speaker at the Andrew W Mellon Auditorium, just speakers walking out in a dignified manner on the stage and addressing Americans at home with powerful messages, some of which were very personal.

There were no music acts outside of the outstanding renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner on Days 1 and 3 as well as a closing act on Day 4. Good.

I thought I’d miss the crowd of delegates and other attendees, but it was enough to see the former at the roll call on Day 1.

The Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC, is magnificent. I’d not seen it before, but it made the perfect setting for the dozens of speakers who told their personal stories.

And the flags that served as the backdrop in the auditorium were beautiful, made from the finest fabric. They added greatly to an already spectacular atmosphere.

I watched proceedings on C-SPAN, which has a video for each day. Below that are lists of individual speakers and their videos. This enables the viewer to watch either in full or in part. There are also tabs at the top of the page for each individual day’s videos.

Because of the time difference, I haven’t been able to watch Day 4 in its entirety but have covered it here for the sake of completion.

Highlights follow.

That said, every speech was excellent.

Background

The Democratic National Convention was held last week in Joe Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, as well as other locations, because of coronavirus restrictions.

BBC Parliament broadcast the last day of the convention on Sunday, August 23. I watched it while doing other things.

Wow. I have never seen a more boring and a more stilted political convention. It sounded as if everything had been scripted at the last minute and no one had time to rehearse their lines. Even a Teleprompter could not help. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Seinfeld fame presented. Her scripted jokes fell flat and her delivery was dreadful. Mike Bloomberg’s speech also had jokes in it; his delivery was equally dire.

The theme, as one would expect from Democrats, was, once again, Change. I thought that eight years of Obama was supposed to be the ‘change Americans can believe in’. Apparently not. Democrats say that President Trump built on his predecessor’s success. Okay. In that case, we don’t need further change, right?

Not exactly.

Joe Biden said in his acceptance speech that he wants to ‘change’ America ‘for decades to come’. Hmm. Interesting.

He wants to raise taxes of all Americans to the tune of $3 trillion. That’s a lot of change right there.

He wants every American to wear a mask until October ‘at least’ to curb coronavirus. Imagine if this guy gets in. What a disaster. I have a lot of Biden material to share with you. That will come in the latter stages of the presidential campaign, all being well.

Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, said that the ongoing protests, which have been running for nearly 100 days now, ‘are not going to stop, nor should they’. What? Even if she and Biden win the election? She must know they will lose in November:

This is what the protesters want. As I said in 2016, they want a revolution. They’re Bolsheviks:

Hillary says that Joe Biden should not concede the election, even if he loses. She, too, must think he doesn’t have a chance, even though it’s only August.

Note Hillary’s appearance. It seems to change. Weird. I’ve included a tweet with other photos of her:

Joe Biden did not get the usual post-convention bounce in the polls, which is telling:

Day 1 — Monday, August 24

Every day opened with a convocation prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, including the words ‘under God’, which the Democrats omitted last week.

This is the only day where there is a morning session. It was held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Only delegates and party officials were in attendance. Ronna Romney McDaniel (Mitt’s niece) presided, as Chair of the Republican National Committee. She did an excellent job.

It was a sea change from the 2016 convention, which was riven on the morning of the first day by never-Trumpers who did not want him nominated.

This year, every state’s delegates unanimously voted for President Trump’s renomination.

Ronna McDaniel proceeded with the roll call, as voted for by the delegates, but stopped after Minnesota, concluding with remarks from former governor Scott Walker for Wisconsin. She formally announced the nomination of President Trump, who then gave a speech:

He spoke for 52 minutes, during which time he expressed his deep concern about postal votes. He is right to be concerned. It has produced fraudulent results in the past. There is no reason to think it won’t happen again this year.

He is also mostly right in saying that this is the most important election in American history. I might just modify that to ‘since 1860’, when coincidentally, the first Republican — Abraham Lincoln — was elected:

That evening, speeches began from the unbelievably stately Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan delivered his opening prayer from New York City with the Statue of Liberty in the background:

Cancer survivor Natalie Harp talked about the film It’s a Wonderful Life where James Stewart’s character George Bailey did so much good by saving Bedford Falls from becoming Pottersville. She said Pottersville would have been what would have happened to the US under Hillary. There are similarities between George Bailey and Donald Trump. I have often thought about that over the past four years and was delighted that she brought it up:

Maximo Alvarez, the founder and president of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors in Florida, warned that Americans must not allow their country to move towards communism. He said that his father emigrated from Spain to Cuba, then from Cuba to the United States. His father told him that America was the last possible refuge for people who love freedom. If America is destroyed, there is no other place to go:

Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina closed the evening with a measured speech on race relations and the current protests. He said that he was elected to represent a majority-white district where, he said, paraphrasing Dr Martin Luther King, voters judged him on his character, not the colour of his skin. He eloquently dismantled all the Democrats’ radical arguments:

The Federalist‘s Sean Davis, a Trump supporter, tweeted:

Democrats rang C-SPAN afterwards to give their views.

Rick from Lorain, Ohio, said he was switching from the Democrats to Republicans, because the Republicans focussed on God whereas the Democrats left God out of their convention:

More Democrats rang in during the subsequent days to say they had switched parties.

C-SPAN’s ratings for the RNC were much higher than for the DNC. The New York Post has more on the story.

Day 2 — Tuesday, August 25

The theme of Day 2 was Land of Opportunity.

The Revd Norma Urrabazo gave a stirring opening prayer:

Myron Lizer, Navajo Nation Vice President, was the first to speak. He spoke from Shiprock, New Mexico. He said that President Trump has done more than previous administrations to listen to and act on the needs of Native Americans:

Next was the story of the president’s pardon of Jon Ponder, who founded an organisation, Hope for Prisoners, with rehabilitation programmes for former prisoners:

It’s an amazing story. Ponder, a committed Christian, is best friends with the FBI agent who arrested him.

Cris Peterson, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin, explained how fewer government regulations and more help to farmers enabled her family’s Four Cubs Farm to purchase state of the art milking equipment. Fascinating video:

The Democrat mayor of Eveleth, Minnesota, said he is supporting President Trump this year. He says that the Democrats have become too radical and that their ecological policies would ruin the prosperity of his town:

Nick Sandmann, who was accosted in 2019 at the Lincoln Memorial, spoke of that day and how he refuses to be cancelled. His lawyer Lin Wood won a huge payout for him against the Washington Post. Nick plans to go on to law school after finishing university:

Some of the stories came from President Lincoln’s boyhood home in Spencer County, Indiana. Mike Pence narrated this sequence:

There was a naturalisation ceremony, filmed earlier, which President Trump attended:

There were many more outstanding speeches, including those from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump.

The evening ended with a long speech at the White House from Melania Trump, who was dressed in quasi-military designer attire:

These are the YouTube ratings for Day 2:

Day 3 — Wednesday, August 26

The theme of Day 3 was Land of Heroes and included people from various walks of life, from the military to first responders to lorry drivers keeping goods on the move during the coronavirus pandemic.

This rabbi’s prayer was perfect, as was his delivery:

A disabled veteran movingly recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Governor Kristi Noem from South Dakota was the first to speak. She spoke of her state’s success during the pandemic — no lockdown and very low case/death figures:

Noem rightly criticised the unchecked lawlessness going on in Democrat-run American cities:

MSNBC was none too happy, but it’s the truth:

President Trump’s newish press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, a young wife and mother, told her moving story of breast cancer and subsequent breast reconstruction. She also spoke of the admiration she has for Trump’s pro-life stance:

Madison Cawthorne is a disabled man (injured in a car accident) who is running for US Congress in North Carolina. He gave a spirited speech about America’s Founding Fathers, especially James Madison:

When he finished his speech, two friends came on stage to help him stand up. At 6’3″, he said he misses being able to stand up and see over the crowd.

A PBS journalist was unimpressed by his standing up. WHY? Look at the idiotic reasoning:

My favourite speech of the week came from Sister Deirdre Byrne, MD, of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, a medically-oriented religious order for women.

Sister Deirdre entered the order in 2002. Prior to that, she had a career as a physician and is a retired US Army Colonel!

She spoke of her admiration of President Trump’s love of the unborn. She said that a Biden presidency would put an end to the safeguards of the unborn. The Biden-Harris ticket approves of abortion at the point of birth, essentially, infanticide:

Lara Trump, Eric’s wife, spoke.

Eric passed make-up brushes to her as she was getting ready:

In her speech, she said that one mustn’t believe all one reads in the media and that this applied very much to the Trump family. She wasn’t sure what her future in-laws would be like when Eric first introduced them to her. She said that she was given a very warm welcome from the start. She says she admires their values of hard work and determination, with which she was also raised:

Clarence Henderson told about his experiences as a young man growing up in the segregated South. He recited the pro-voting and pro-civil rights amendments, all of which Republicans were responsible for passing, not Democrats. Well worth a listen. This man knows of what he speaks:

Former Acting Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell spoke. I hope his words lead to something big:

President Trump watched from the sidelines:

Mike Pence rounded off the evening with a long speech from Fort McHenry in Baltimore. The Star-Spangled Banner tells the story of the battle between America and the British in 1814 which took place there:

Well said:

Afterwards, ex-Democrat Helen from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, rang C-SPAN to say that she had switched parties and that she loved Melania Trump’s speech. She also deeply admires President Trump and will be voting for him this year:

Carol from Charleston, South Carolina, called to say that she finds Melania Trump ‘classy’ and ‘so intelligent’. Carol said she was a Hillary voter four years ago but has been surprised by what President Trump has accomplished since his election. She says she will ‘trust’ Melania and will vote for Trump:

Here are the ratings:

Day 4 — Thursday, August 27

Earlier in the day, NASA announced that the first black, female astronaut is scheduled to be on next year’s mission to the International Space Station:

C-SPAN posted their Day 4 video on YouTube:

The theme was A Land of Greatness.

The final night is, of course, the biggest one of the convention. Although President Trump spoke at length on Day 1 after receiving a unanimous vote from the delegates, Day 4 was when he gave what is considered his formal — and second (final) — acceptance speech.

These proceedings are about an hour longer than those from the previous days.

The Revd Franklin Graham (Billy’s son) gave a heartfelt prayer, asking for help for those affected by tropical storm Laura, for healing with regard to the protests, for protection of the Trumps and the Pences as well as continued guidance:

A young brother and sister from a military family recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Beautiful.

Ja’Ron Smith, Deputy Assistant to the President, spoke of his working class upbringing, his parents’ American values and of President Trump. He said that, growing up, he believed all the anti-Republican clichés. As he got to know more Republicans, he changed his mind. He never dreamt that he would be working for a president. He says that no one has done more for black interests than President Trump:

The people interviewed below head up their respective housing associations in New York City. They do not like Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy of putting illegal immigrants into public housing before native New Yorkers, some of whom have been on waiting lists for ten years. They greatly appreciate what Dr Ben Carson has been doing as head of HUD (Housing and Urban Development), which has helped identify and fix anomalies in public housing:

Alice Johnson spoke of her gratitude for President Trump’s First Step Act from 2018, which has to do with prison reform. That year, Trump commuted Johnson’s life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drugs offence and granted her a full pardon today (Friday):

Ivanka Trump spoke of her father’s commitment to the American people:

President Trump spoke of the greatness of America and her people …

… while emphasising that the United States has clear internal enemies:

I fully agree with this:

The programme of events ended with a magnificent fireworks display, which was much better than the Democrats’ in Wilmington the Thursday before:

Unfortunately, as the guests left the White House, protesters awaited them:

Congressman Brian Mast, below, who is black, even got harassed by protesters. He politely answered their questions. They did not like his answers about pursuing ‘due process’ where necessary:

I can’t help but admire a husband who carries his wife’s shoes!

On the downside, when that couple reached their hotel, The Willard, the doors were locked. Even an employee outside couldn’t help them. They had to walk all the way around to the parking garage entrance and get in from there. All the while, they were harassed by protesters, who addressed the man as ‘Mr Anger’. The couple remained resolute and silent, with neutral expressions on their faces. I bet those were two of the longest minutes in their lives.

But that was nothing compared to the treatment that Brandon Straka, the ex-Democrat who founded the #WalkAway movement, received. Terrible.

Remember, the group attacking him is for gay rights. Maybe that doesn’t matter when a gay supports President Trump:

At least the police were nearby for Senator Rand Paul (Ron’s son) and his wife:

This morning (Friday), Rand Paul told Fox News what a traumatic several minutes that was for him and his wife, even with the police. He said the mob kept on growing. He also said that they had picked the wrong man, because he was one of the senators who supported the abolition of no-knock police raids, one of which was responsible for the death of Brionna Taylor. He said ‘the irony of that was lost’ on the protesters:

Meanwhile, this is what Joe Biden thought of the president’s speech:

I am not sure what planet Joe is on to say that, but it might not matter too much because he’s collapsed in the polls:

If you hear the media once again say that the Republicans’ message was ‘dark’, as they did in 2016, don’t believe them for a moment.

This was the finest convention I’ve ever seen, even better than 2016’s.

Kudos to everyone who organised it and who spoke. A lot of hard work went into those four days, spread across four locations as well as some people’s homes.

I’ve never seen such a professional production with so much sincerity and hope.

In 2016, President Trump made promises. From his election to now, he has fulfilled those promises. Promises made. Promises kept.

Onwards and upwards! MAGA 2020!

President Trump had a busy schedule at the end of May 2019, which included a return trip to Japan.

This time it was a State Visit.

As he and First Lady Melania would be out of the country on Memorial Day weekend, they visited Arlington Cemetery before their departure:

On May 25, the first day of the State Visit to Japan, Trump met with that nation’s business leaders, too many to list here:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie hosted the Trumps for dinner that night. Abe had not forgotten his guest’s favourite dessert:

Abe was delighted to welcome back his friend:

The next day, the two world leaders played golf:

Their wives toured the Mori Building Digital Art Museum:

The QTree explained the significance of the following day’s welcome by the new Emperor and Empress of Japan — a first for both couples:

… our President and FLOTUS become the first guests of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako at the Imperial Palace.

There are three components to the state visit: (1) The guest arrival and formal greeting by the Emperor and Empress. (2) The ceremonial anthems of both nations and the presentation of the imperial guard.  (3) A “state call” or discussion of diplomatic matters between the Emperor, Empress and their honored guests.

During the official state call component there is an exchange of gifts.

1) Formal greeting by the Emperor and Empress …

2) The ceremonial anthems of both nations and the presentation of the imperial guard.

The ‘inside palace’ greeting and introduction was not covered by international media. However, due to the significance of the visit (first of imperial era of Reiwa) it was broadcast on local Japanese media (below).

Body language and facial expressions can’t be faked. They are all VERY PLEASED AND HONORED to meet one another. Such a proud moment for both nations.

(3) A “state call” or discussion of diplomatic matters between the Emperor, Empress and their honored guests in video below.

Then, there was the customary exchange of gifts. The Japanese emperor is an accomplished violin and viola player, as evidenced below in this video from 2007:

The accompanying press pool report states (emphases mine):

The President presented the Emperor an American-made viola in a custom case and a signed photo of American composer Aaron Copland. This vintage 1938 viola was handmade in Charleston, West Virginia. The President also presented the Emperor with a signed and framed photo of the President.

The First Lady presented the Empress with a custom White House desk set featuring a pen made of Harvard tree wood. The Empress herself studied Economics at Harvard. This fountain pen was handcrafted from a red oak tree that still stands in Old Harvard Yard. The First Lady also presented the Empress with a signed and framed photo of the First Lady.

The Emperor presented the President with a traditional Japanese pottery and porcelain bowl as well as a signed and framed photo of His Majesty the Emperor.

The Empress presented the First Lady with an ornamental Japanese lacquer box with traditional design as well as a framed and signed photo of Her Majesty the Empress.

Note: It is long-standing custom of the Imperial Palace that their Majesties the Emperor and Empress exchange signed, framed photographs with their guests on the occasion of a State Visit.

Afterwards, Trump and Abe held discussions on trade and security:

Their wives attended a cultural presentation:

Upon his return, Trump tweeted:

While the Trumps were in Japan, on May 25, actor Jon Voight tweeted:

The president faces the same threats as Lincoln did. He is in danger every day from people who desperately want to remove him from office, either by death or by impeachment. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says Trump belongs in prison.

The Mueller Report left the door open to more scheming by Democrats.

The coup is not yet over.

Therefore, on May 30, the Revd Franklin Graham issued a national appeal for prayer for the president on Sunday, June 2:

That day, another friend of the president’s explained to Fox News that this appeal had nothing to do with politics but the real fight of good versus evil:

Other pastors on social media had to remind their detractors that they had prayed for past presidents, too:

On Friday, May 31, a mass shooting took place in Virginia Beach. After golfing on Sunday, June 2, the president visited the Revd David Platt’s McLean Bible Church in Virginia, where he joined congregants in praying silently for the victims of the shooting.

The New York Post reported:

While he did not talk during the service, Trump stood behind pastor David Platt as he offered a prayer for the 12 killed in Friday’s mass shooting.

The president was there to “visit with the Pastor and pray for the victims and community of Virginia Beach,” said Judd Deere, the White House’s deputy press secretary.

Trump arrived at about 2:20 p.m. and his motorcade left a little over 15 minutes later.

DeWayne Craddock, 40, slaughtered 12 at Virginia Beach’s municipal building Friday — just hours after quitting his job as a civil engineer.

In turn, Platt prayed for the president:

I do not know where Platt stands on his stance of private redistribution of wealth he was promoting back in 2012, but I am grateful that he prayed for President Trump.

Considering the prayers, the threats that the president endures daily and Jon Voight’s comparison of him with Lincoln, it was amazing that he and the first lady went to Ford’s Theatre that night for an awards presentation. Ford’s Theatre was the site of Lincoln’s assassination:

I am very glad I was out of the country at the time. Otherwise I would have been worried about his safety.

Yet, thankfully, God continues to watch over President Trump, who flew to London that night with the first lady and his family (apart from Barron).

More on that trip tomorrow.

What a week for interesting news going all the way back to Abraham Lincoln!

Here’s a selection of what was in the media. Emphases mine below.

Prolonged childhood problematic

Charlotte Gill, a young woman writing for The Spectator, deplores games such as Pokémon Go and Candy Crush as well as games franchises, e.g. Nintendo. These products distract too much from real life which young adults should be embracing:

I genuinely believed that my generation would get over Pokémon – that there would be a collective ‘growing up’ – but I was wrong. Data shows that 49 percent of Pokémon Go users are 25 or over

Such games are viewed as ‘a bit of fun’ – a nice distraction from the world. After all, who thinks about Isis when they’re searching for Pokémon? But I can see a wider issue about Generation Y and its obsessions; a huge denial about being adults. Frankly, it’s all a bit sad.

The trouble with all these baby hobbies is that they distract twentysomethings from doing something good with their lives. And, I know, we all deserve to have downtime and can even turn passions, like gaming, into a career. But for many young people, these enterprises become hugely absorbing, and steal the best years of their lives. The irony is that they will not know that this is happening; franchises with cute, sweet animals come across as harmless and nostalgic.

As a generation, we need to grow up. The world is becoming a more frightening, competitive place all the time; it has never been more important for young people to buck up, get some skills, even set up their own businesses, instead of indulging in the toys and franchises we should have left behind years ago …

The strange thing about all of these pursuits is that young people take pride in them. They think it’s funny to be trivial. It’s ironic, they say. In reality, it seems ignorant. Girlfriends complain to me about men who won’t commit in relationships; it’s no wonder, given that they live in a society that wants to immortalise childhood

Such pastimes are bread and circuses on a small scale. We could be approaching Idiocracy sooner than we think.

London Tube: attempted murder – terrorism or state of mind?

In December 2015, Muhiddin Mire attempted to slit a man’s throat at Leytonstone Tube station in east London.

He was given a life sentence on Monday, August 1 and will have to serve a minimum of eight-and-a-half years.

Law enforcement, barristers and doctors disagreed as to whether the cause was extremism or his mental state. During the attack, he yelled:

This is for my Syrian brothers. I’m going to spill your blood.

Police said that, given some of the content on Mire’s phone, he could have been influenced by extremist propaganda. However, the court heard that he was also suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attack. Was his state of mind exacerbated by the extremist material?

In any event, he will start his sentence at Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire.

Over the past few weeks I have read several letters to the editor in the UK and in France from mental health workers on recent terrorist/extremist attacks. These people are asking for an investigation into any psychotropic medication that those carrying out the attacks might have taken in the weeks and months beforehand.

It is a legitimate question, one that needs further investigation, especially in light of the American lady who met with a tragic and terrible death in Russell Square the night of August 3. Although police are no longer considering terrorism as a motive:

The Met Police’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Mark Rowley, said the investigation was increasingly pointing to the attack being “triggered by mental health issues”.

A 19-year-old is in police custody. Originally from Somalia, he lived in Norway before moving to the UK. Police say he is a Norwegian national.

Sky’s report proves what my late mother often said about London — it is the crossroads of the world. It’s worth reading to see the variety of names and nationalities.

Saturday night scare in London’s Camden Town

On Saturday, July 30, an alert member of the public contacted the Metropolitan Police about a suspicious vehicle in Camden Town, London’s nexus for young adults and hipsters.

At 10:50 p.m. police evacuated several pubs and clubs. The Mirror was one of two (that I can see) news outlets to carry the story. Their story pointed out:

It was a major operation on one of London’s busiest high streets at its peak time.

The Met sent in one of their police robots to investigate the car. The London Evening Standard story has a photo.

Fortunately, the car presented no threat. Police allowed night spots to reopen around midnight.

Well done to the quick reaction of the member of the public and the police.

Burger chain, bogus papers and bugs

The UK has several trendy burger chains, one of which is Byron. Its founders sold the business to an investment firm, Hutton Collins, for £100m in 2013.

On July 27, news emerged that immigration officials carried out a raid on several branches. That was on July 4. A Spanish newspaper in London, El Iberico, reported the story before MSM did. Over the past week, leftists bombarded certain branches of Byron with bugs and protests.

The Home Office had contacted Byron to say officials would be going in to their premises on July 4. Byron management sent notifications out to staff that health and safety training was going to take place that morning. As such, staff attendance was mandatory. The restaurant chain refused to comment on whether the health and safety training was set up under false pretence.

The Guardian published Byron’s statement on the incident:

It said: “We can confirm that several of Byron’s London restaurants were visited by representatives of the Home Office. These visits resulted in the removal of members of staff who are suspected by the Home Office of not having the right to work in the UK, and of possessing fraudulent personal and right to work documentation that is in breach of immigration and employment regulation.”

A Home Office source told the newspaper that 35 people were arrested in connection with the raid. They had come from Brazil, Nepal, Egypt and Albania.

The Left went into overdrive online and on the ground.

On Friday, July 29, two central London branches of the chain had to close. Activists smuggled in bags of insects into the Holborn and Shaftesbury Avenue sites. The Guardian reported:

In a joint statement published on Facebook, London Black Revs and Malcolm X Movement said the direct action was in response to the chain’s “despicable actions in the past weeks having entrapped waiters, back of house staff and chefs in collaboration with UK Border Agency”.

“Many thousands of live cockroaches, locusts and crickets [have been released] into these restaurants. We apologise to customers and staff for any irritation, however, we had to act as forced deportations such as this and others are unacceptable, we must defend these people and their families from such dehumanised treatment,” the statement said.

Obviously, these people do not believe in borders. No doubt, there are any number of anarchists among them.

The activists invited Huck‘s Michael Segalov along for the occasion:

On Thursday evening my phone vibrated, a number I’d never seen before had sent me a text.

“Dear Journalist, this is a tip-off”, it read, “info: 8000 locust, 2000 crickets, 4000 cockroaches. See you tomorrow night.”

The bug barrage went as planned. Customers scarpered. Those who were there might have left in panic, without paying. The rest of the night was one of lost income and massive clean-up. The manager of one of the branches was, quite rightly, angry. Segalov wrote:

I get it, sort of. This was his place of work, which was now a shambles, it wasn’t his fault that the raids had happened (he probably didn’t even know they were planned) and now his team were going to spend the night chasing crickets and picking cockroaches out the red-onion relish.

Outside, a female passerby reminded him that staff and the manager were going to have to deal with the mess, no one else. That said, this woman and Segalov think it was still worthwhile.

Why? The people arrested had forged paperwork. They entered the country illegally.

A huge protest of no-borders lefties took place on Monday, August 1 outside the Holborn branch. The Evening Standard reported that the branch was closed after they heard 1,300 protesters might attend. Police were on the scene. The Standard reported:

Byron said in a statement: “In response to the recent Home Office investigation, we would like to reiterate the following.

“Byron was unaware that any of our workers were in possession of counterfeit documentation until the Home Office brought it to our attention. 

“We carry out rigorous ‘right to work’ checks, but sophisticated counterfeit documentation was used in order to pass these checks.

“We have cooperated fully and acted upon the Home Office’s requests and processes throughout the course of their investigations: it is our legal obligation to do so. 

“We have also worked hard to ensure minimal impact on our customers while this operation was underway.”

Well stated.

Taking legitimate citizens’ jobs through forged papers is theft.

Jean-Claude Juncker’s little black book

The EU’s most disliked bureaucrat, Jean-Claude Juncker, told Belgium’s Le Soir that he has a little black book with all his enemies’ names in it.

The Guardian reported on the interview. Le Petit Maurice, as Juncker calls his notebook, serves as more of an aide-memoire than anything else. He thinks it is also a useful deterrent:

He would tell people attacking him: “Be careful. Little Maurice is waiting for you.”

On UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, Juncker:

claimed he respected the Ukip leader and found him “very funny” and erudite.

Yet, he said that he had not embraced Farage during the last European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg:

I whispered something in his ear that was not a compliment. The photos gave the impression that I embraced him.

Juncker has no plans to go anywhere. Juncker has no regard for European citizens. He wants an EU army to cope with the migration crisis, a perfect way to impose more control over us. He is upset that EU countries have not taken in more migrants and despises the reimposition of border controls in the Schengen Zone. I wrote at the end of May:

People like Jean-Claude Juncker are the reason why many Britons will vote for Brexit. Juncker and Co’s arrogance is unsurpassed.

In June, two days before the EU Referendum, I reminded readers of two of his most outrageous quotes:

On EU monetary policy

“I’m ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious … I am for secret, dark debates”

On British calls for a referendum over Lisbon Treaty

“Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?”

Jean-Claude Juncker: another reason to be happy Brexit won.

The Khan controversy

For my readers who do not live in the United States, an attorney by the name of Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention last week in Philadelphia, flanked by his wife in traditional dress.

The Khans came to the US from Afghanistan via the United Arab Emirates, where their son, Humayun, was born. The family became American citizens once they were eligible.

Humayun became a captain in the US Army and was killed in 2004 in Iraq when he was investigating a car fitted with an explosive device. Americans can be grateful for his honourable and courageous service.

At the DNC, Khizr Khan sharply took issue with Donald Trump’s policy on restricting or temporarily banning Muslim immigration until Homeland Security figures out what is going on.

Trump politely responded in television news interviews by saying the Khans would have been vetted — current policy — and admitted, were he in the Oval Office. However, the polemic continued from Democrats and Republicans, including Khan and Trump.

On July 31, Trump tweeted:

I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!

Charles Hurt defended Trump’s position in a July 31 article for The Hill. Hillary supporters should note the following:

Stop for a moment and ask yourself how exactly the Clinton campaign arrived at the decision to trot out the Khan family in the middle of their highly-choreographed, exhaustively produced convention?

Were they just looking to give voice to the parents of a soldier? That would be a first. Did they want parents of anyone who had died abroad in the defense of their country? Gee, why not pick the parents of one of the fallen warriors who died defending the U.S. consulate in Benghazi? Oh, that’s right. They would have called Hillary Clinton a liar. Can’t have that.

No. Politicians like Hillary Clinton do not see people like Capt. Humayun Khan as a soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice on a foreign battlefield in defense of his country

Politicians like Hillary Clinton see him only a demographic, a dispensable political pawn to be scooted around an electoral map, the way generals used to move armies across giant maps of the lands they were invading.

Here’s the kicker:

Perhaps a better testimony from Khizr Khan would have been for him to talk about how Hillary Clinton was in the U.S. Senate when she voted to invade Iraq. Years later, after that position became politically unpopular, she changed her mind and joined new political forces to vacate all the land across Iraq that so many great American patriots like Capt. Humayun Khan had died for.

It was her vote that sent Capt. Khan to his death. And then it was her decisions later to render that sacrifice worthless.

Of course, the media will run and run with this one, whilst continuing to deprecate Patricia Smith who spoke at the Republican National Convention about her son Sean who died during Benghazi. Mrs Smith is right in saying that Hillary Clinton must come out with the truth. Mrs Smith said she was not even allowed to talk to people at the State Department; they told her she was not ‘immediate family’!

Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his stepbrother

And finally, a fascinating letter from Abraham Lincoln to his stepbrother John Daniel Johnston appeared on Real Clear Life this week.

Lincoln’s stepbrother had asked him for $80 in 1850, the year the letter was written. $80 in today’s money is a sizeable $2,424.24!

Lincoln minced no words in refusing the request. He reminded Johnston this was not the first time he had given him money:

but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again. Now this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not lazy, and still you are an idler … This habit of uselessly wasting time, is the whole difficulty; and it is vastly important to you, and still more so to your children, that you should break this habit. It is more important to them, because they have longer to live, and can keep out of an idle habit before they are in it easier than they can get out after they are in.

A shorter version should be printed on billboards (hoardings, for my British readers) and posters. It should be displayed on public thoroughfares and in schools. We have way too much idleness today. Idleness brings trouble. Remember when our parents and grandparents used to say, ‘The devil makes work for idle hands’?

He went on to acknowledge Johnston’s kindness to him and proposed that, if Johnson worked over the next five months, Lincoln would match the sum of his earnings dollar for dollar.

Kindle owners can find a book of Lincoln’s letters on Amazon. Maybe that has a follow-up.

—————————————————————-

That’s all the news you might have missed over the past seven days.

Have a great weekend! May it be non-newsworthy except in the best possible way.

We live in a fallen world.

No matter how unbelievers try to paint things, we will not know a temporal utopia, either corporately or personally.

The academic year is drawing to a close for American students, some of whom are preparing for university in the autumn or for graduates looking for a job.

Anyone who has been through those experiences, no matter how long ago, remembers the associated vulnerability and anxiety.

Those going to university might well have received rejection letters from some institutions before getting the prized acceptance envelope. Some might wonder how it was they were not accepted at their first choice. Sometimes, no matter how well we do on tests or interviews, there are certain kinds of student a university looks for. (Sorry about the preposition there.) Some young people will fit in better than others — ideologically, especially.

The same is true of companies interviewing candidates on the ‘milk run’. By all means, prepare to the n-th degree for an interview, but be aware that no matter how well you do, there is always the possibility that — through no fault of yours — someone else might get that prized job.

I was struck by a graphic from Inspiration Boost which enumerated the failures of one of America’s most famous presidents — Abraham Lincoln:

Lincoln's famous failures Inspiration Boost 122-Lincolns-Famous-Failures

One of my readers — Pastor Ashcraft of Mustard Seed Budget — featured the graphic on his site in a post called ‘Pray, pray, pray again’.  He writes:

My heart goes out to atheists, agnostics and struggling Christians whose experience with prayer has been negative. Typically, they gave it a try, and nothing happened. No answer. Just silence.

I wish to gently suggest that in many cases, nothing went wrong. You just need to keep praying. The Bible talks directly and indirectly about persevering in prayer.

It is important to remember that even successful people fail. Some might fail a lot before becoming successful.

Failure’s best mates are Loss, Betrayal and Rejection. Excessive Introspection is also in Failure’s circle of acquaintances.

We can prepare only so much for universities, jobs and — later on — promotions. Some are meant to be ours and some are not.

Some years ago I found the rejection letter I received from a famous American university a few decades before. They were my first choice. I was heartbroken.

When I reread the letter more recently, it turned out to be an occasion of thanksgiving for me. Had they not rejected me, I would not be leading the life I do today — including writing this blog.

I did pray at that moment and thanked God for that failure. It might have made all the difference to me, including finding my treasured and beloved SpouseMouse.

In closing, whilst I would advise every young person to humbly be the best he can be — a ‘world beater’, as the phrase was a few decades ago — we need to be cognisant that not everyone will find our qualities and characteristics useful or admirable.

It doesn’t matter. Something better always lies just around the corner.

So, to borrow Pastor Ashcraft’s phrase —

pray, pray, pray again.

A happy Thanksgiving to my American readers, wherever you might be today.

In case you missed my 2009 posts on the subject, here is one dated November 25 and the other from November 26.

Last year, I ran across a thought-provoking post from Gregory Koukl of Stand to Reason Radio.  It is a transcript of a 1994 broadcast he gave about this special day.

He discusses Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving, which we’ll get to in a moment.  But, first, here is what Koukl said after he read out the proclamation (emphases mine throughout):

We have set aside the day. On that day all over this country the post offices are closed, banks are closed, people observe the national holiday. But are they observing the holiday that Abraham Lincoln instituted in 1863? No, not quite.

Abraham Lincoln, in his official capacity as president, acknowledged that we owe everything to God. He called on us to humble ourselves in penitence for our disobedience, confess our sins with contrition, ask for God’s mercy and give Him praise for his love, for all of His care for us. This is not the Thanksgiving our country now officially observes, for it is de facto illegal for those under the color of governmental authority to take the initiative to honor God in this way.

Yes, as wonderful as Thanksgiving celebrations are, they are largely a secular affair.  Food, football and, for the kids, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  How many people attend church services on this day or say special prayers at home as a family?  I haven’t mentioned solemn civic commemorations nationwide, as Koukl notes:

We can’t do that anymore …

My point is to show how far removed the present atmosphere of the so-called “separation of church and state” is from what was understood by our forefathers. The current practice is not the original notion of non-establishment that the Bill of Rights mandates, and Lincoln’s comments make this clear.

Notice how natural it was for someone like the president of our country–many would say the greatest president our country has ever seen (and probably the saddest)–in the midst of an agonizing trial of national proportions–the civil war–to call the nation to repentance, prayer, and thanksgiving to God.

What a man. And what a change we have gone through since then to now.

Last year, I reproduced George Washington’s Proclamation of General Thanksgiving from 1789.  President Washington mandated a day of general thanksgiving and prayer — for the peaceful government which the newly-independent nation enjoyed, civil and religious liberty, the support of its foreign allies and for general prosperity — all of which he acknowledged came through God’s grace.

Koukl introduces the background to Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving, which truly established it an annual national holiday:

In mid-1863 the tide of the war had just turned. Gettysburg was the turning point in early July–the 1st, 2nd , and 3rd of 1963–and on the 4th Vicksburg fell under Grant after a long five or six month siege there. It was a bad week for the South. So there was a big turning point in July and things started going the way of the Union. There was plenty to give thanks for, in a sense. Yet at the same time there was a bloody war continuing, and lives were still being lost. It would two more years of unimaginable carnage before the Civil War would end.

In the midst of this difficult time, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday and he did so with these words. [Read] closely, especially in light of the present atmosphere of so-called separation of church and state.

Koukl took the text below from Roy P Basler’s The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,

Secretary of State

President Lincoln’s is an eloquent reminder of God’s blessings, even in an imperfect, conflict-driven world.  Would that American politicians, following the example of two of the nation’s greatest presidents, encourage this type of reflection more often.

A footnote on William Henry Seward, whom you might recall from history class.  Alaskans can be thankful for his foresight during his service in President Andrew Johnson’s administration:

An outspoken opponent of the spread of slavery in the years leading up to the American Civil War, he was a dominant figure in the Republican Party in its formative years, and was widely regarded as the leading contender for the party’s presidential nomination in 1860 – yet his very outspokenness may have cost him the nomination. Despite his loss, he became a loyal member of Lincoln’s wartime cabinet, and played a role in preventing foreign intervention early in the war.[1] On the night of Lincoln’s assassination, he survived an attempt on his life in the conspirators’ effort to decapitate the Union government. As Johnson’s Secretary of State, he engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia in an act that was ridiculed at the time as “Seward’s Folly“, but which somehow exemplified his character. His contemporary Carl Schurz described Seward as “one of those spirits who sometimes will go ahead of public opinion instead of tamely following its footprints.”[2]

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,486 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

September 2020
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,618,334 hits