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The Revd Billy Graham departed this mortal coil on February 21, 2018, aged 99.

Only the good Lord knows how many people he converted or awakened to Christianity. If he spoke in person to 250 million people around the world during his ministry, imagine the hundreds of millions of people watching his televised Crusades and specials or listening to him on radio. What he accomplished over his 80 years as a preacher was so extraordinary that it might not be repeated for generations to come.

CBS News reported that Graham was (emphases mine):

the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history

Spokesman Mark DeMoss said Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday morning.

Tributes from American presidents

President Donald Trump tweeted and followed up with a formal statement later that day:

President Trump’s statement reads as follows:

Melania and I join millions of people around the world in mourning the passing of Billy Graham. Our prayers are with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all who worked closely with Reverend Graham in his lifelong ministry.

Billy’s acceptance of Jesus Christ around his seventeenth birthday not only changed his life—it changed our country and the world. He was one of the towering figures of the last 100 years—an American hero whose life and leadership truly earned him the title “God’s Ambassador.”

Billy’s unshakeable belief in the power of God’s word to transform hearts gave hope to all who listened to his simple message: “God loves you.” He carried this message around the world through his crusades, bringing entire generations to faith in Jesus Christ.

In the wake of the September 11th attacks in 2001, America turned to Billy Graham at the National Cathedral, who told us, “God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest.”

Reverend Graham would be the first to say that he did not do it alone. Before her passing, his wife Ruth was by his side through it all—a true partner, a wonderful mother, and a fellow missionary soul. He also built an international team and institution that will continue to carry on Christ’s message.

Melania and I were privileged to get to know Reverend Graham and his extraordinary family over the last several years, and we are deeply grateful for their love and support.

Billy Graham was truly one of a kind. Christians and people of all faiths and backgrounds will miss him dearly. We are thinking of him today, finally at home in Heaven.

George H W Bush also issued a statement:

Billy Graham was America’s pastor. His faith in Christ and his totally honest evangelical spirit inspired people across the country and around the world,” Bush said. “I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man. I was privileged to have him as a personal friend. He would come to Maine to visit with Barbara and me, and he was a great sport. He loved going really fast in my boat. I guess you could say we had that in common. Then we would come home and talk about life. He was a mentor to several of my children, including the former president of the United States. We will miss our good friend forever.

It’s true. There was never a whiff of scandal around Billy Graham. God blessed him abundantly, and the Holy Spirit worked through him until the end.

CBS News discussed the long line of past presidents Graham met with:

from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, but always denied any role in setting policy saying, “I don’t advise them, I pray with them,” CBS News reported. Lyndon Johnson looked up to his close friend, the pastor. Richard Nixon asked for his counsel during Watergate. The elder Bush called Graham to the White House the night before he launched the first Gulf War. Younger President Bush has credited Graham with turning him away from drinking and towards embracing God.

These are the names of those 12 past presidents from at least the early 1950s through to the present day: Harry S Truman, Dwight D Eisenhower, John F Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Richard M Nixon, Gerald R Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, William J Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama. That’s a mighty long list.

And he met with President Trump.

That’s 13 presidents in all.

Obama was the first sitting president to visit Graham at his home in North Carolina. That was in 2010, three years after Graham’s wife Ruth went to her heavenly rest.

CBS reported that Graham also became friends with Martin Luther King Jr about a decade before the civil rights movement took root:

In 1952 he stopped segregating his crusades and began a friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“All the problems of America tonight and of the world stem from the fact that we as the human race have sinned against Almighty God,” he said in May 1997.

Such was the impact of Billy Graham’s life that flags flew at half mast in Washington DC from February 21 to March 2, the day of his funeral and burial:

Tributes from clergy

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, remembered his family’s respect for Graham’s ministry:

As anyone growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s can tell you, it was hard not to notice and be impressed by the Reverend Billy Graham,” Dolan said in a statement. “There was no question that the Dolans were a Catholic family, firm in our faith, but in our household there was always respect and admiration for Billy Graham and the work he was doing to bring people to God. Whether it was one of his famous Crusades, radio programs, television specials, or meeting and counseling the presidents, Billy Graham seemed to be everywhere, always with the same message: Jesus is your Savior, and wants you to be happy with Him forever. As an historian, my admiration for him only grew as I studied our nation’s religious past, and came to appreciate even more the tremendous role he played in the American evangelical movement. May the Lord that Billy Graham loved so passionately now grant him eternal rest.

One of Graham’s grandsons, the Revd Tullian Tchividjian, noted his grandfather’s universal appeal:

My granddad wasn’t just Christian-famous, he was famous-famous, he was crossover famous.

Unfortunately, Tchividjian succumbed to temptation in his own ministry. He resigned his pastorate at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale after admitting to an extramarital affair. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) deposed him from their South Florida Presbytery as being ‘unfit for Christian ministry‘. A subsequent pastorate and outreach ministry also failed because of more sexual impropriety. In 2015, Tchividjian divorced his first wife Kim after 21 years of marriage. He married his second wife Stacie the following year. Hmm. What a contrast to his grandfather.

Honour of lying in state in Capitol Rotunda

Billy Graham was honoured greatly prior to his funeral:

This is a good photo of the exterior of the Capitol Building from Billy’s son’s — Franklin Graham’s — Samaritan’s Purse ministry:

A memorial service took place. Pictured is one of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s daughters, Lynda Bird. I remember when she and her husband married in 1967:

President Trump spoke at the service:

What follows is the text of President Trump’s address. It’s very moving — probably written by the incomparable Stephen Miller — and really expresses not only who Billy Graham was but how much he appealed to his audiences. I remember watching his Crusades when I was a child. During the first one I watched at the age of seven, I approached the television set when he made his call for people to come forward!

11:21 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell. And, most importantly, thank you to the entire Graham family for honoring us with your presence here today. Thank you.

In the spring of 1934, Billy Graham’s father allowed a group of Charlotte businessmen to use a portion of the family’s dairy farm to gather for a day of prayer.

On that day, the men prayed for the city. They prayed that, “Out of Charlotte, the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.”

We are here today, more than 80 years later, because that prayer was truly answered.

Billy Graham was 15 years old at the time. Just a few months later, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

That choice didn’t just change Billy’s life — it changed our lives. It changed our country, and it changed, in fact, the entire world.

The North Carolina farm boy walked out of those fields, into a great and beautiful history.

And I remember that, because my father said to me, “Come on, son” — and, by the way, he said, “Come on, mom. Let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee Stadium.” And it was something very special.

But Americans came in droves to hear that great young preacher. Fred Trump was a big fan. Fred Trump was my father.

In London, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogota, Moscow, New Delhi, Saigon, Johannesburg, and scores of other places all over the world, Reverend Graham shared the power of God’s word with more than 200 million people, in person, and countless others through television and radio where people loved to watch and listen.

In 1978, with the support of the Catholic Bishop who would soon become Pope John Paul II, Reverend Graham went to Poland and spoke of the meaning of the cross to a people suffering under the soulless oppression of communism.

Billy Graham carried his message around the world, but his heart, as Franklin will tell you, was always in America.

He took his message to the poorest places, to the downtrodden and to the brokenhearted, to inmates in prison, and to the overlooked and the neglected. He felt a great passion for those that were neglected.

Everywhere he went, Reverend Graham delivered the same beautiful message: God loves you. That was his message. God loves you.

We can only imagine the number of lives touched by the preaching and the prayers of Billy Graham –- the hearts he changed, the sorrows he eased, and the joy he brought to so many. The testimony is endless.

Today, we give thanks for this extraordinary life. And it’s very fitting that we do so right here in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol, where the memory of the American people is enshrined.

Here in this room, we are reminded that America is a nation sustained by prayer. The painting to my left is of the pilgrims as they embarked for America, holding fast to the Bible and bowing their heads in prayer.

Along these walls, we see the faces of Americans who prayed as they stood on the Lexington Green, who prayed as they headed west, prayed as they headed into battle, and prayed as they marched for justice, and always marched for victory.

Around us stand the statues of heroes who led the nation in prayer during the great and difficult times, from Washington to Lincoln to Eisenhower to King.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America. Thank you very much.


11:28 A.M. EST

That evening, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hosted a dinner for the Grahams. Franklin Graham is sitting to the left of Mrs Trump (her right):

The funeral

Billy Graham’s funeral took place in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday, March 2.

His grandson Roy provided the story behind the evangelist’s simple wooden casket. Recommended video:

This was the scene under a tent at the Billy Graham Library before the funeral:

The Trumps and the Pences walked together:

The Charlotte Observer reported:

His funeral service under a massive tent at the Billy Graham Library in his hometown of Charlotte drew more than 2,000 guests, including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, governors, senators, religious leaders, celebrities and longtime Graham family friends. It was the kind of star-studded turnout that would have made Graham blush, suggested some of the speakers, who lauded this pastor to presidents and everyday people for always trying to steer the attention away from himself and toward Jesus Christ.

Family members escorted Graham’s plain wooden casket into the 28,000-square-foot tent, which was meant to harken back to Graham’s 1949 crusade in a “canvas cathedral” in downtown Los Angeles that shot him to national attention.

The service lasted the planned 90 minutes. Franklin Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association — BGEA — as well as his own Samaritan’s Purse, gave the address:

My father’s greatest longing has been granted,” the younger Graham said. “He’s in the presence of God” …

Franklin Graham recalled his father’s love of his late wife, Ruth, his sense of humor and joy in his grandchildren. “The Billy Graham that the world saw on TV, and in the big stadiums, is the same Billy Graham we saw at home,” he said. “There weren’t two Billy Grahams.”

But Graham said the late evangelist also believed in heaven and hell, and in the Bible as the infallible word of God: “He didn’t understand it all, but he sure believed it all.”

In an era of political correctness, he added, some “want you to believe there are many roads to God. It’s just not true.

“Daddy, I won’t see you on this earth again,” he ended, gazing at the casket before him, “but I will see you again, and maybe soon.”

The article concludes by stating that the Graham family and the BGEA consider the funeral to be the Last Crusade. They hope it will stimulate new interest in the Gospel.

The videos of the funeral service follow:

More on Billy Graham to follow.


Despite appearances and horrific news stories from the first weekend of November 2017, the big picture is that President Donald Trump and the American people continue to win — as he would say — ‘big league’.

On November 5, American Intelligence Media posted an article, ‘Trump Conquers the New World Order‘. An excerpt follows which takes aim at Bush I:

Folks, we are winning.

The White House mafia bosses that have come after Daddy Bush have all kowtowed to George senior as though he were King George of England. His deep cover C. I. A. leadership role in the assassination of J.F.K. has been thoroughly exposed as has his fleecing of the U.S.S.R. via his C.I.A. covert activities, the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, the Iran/Contra Scandal, the attacks on 911, and many, many other crimes that the corrupt FBI, DOJ, and Congress has refused to honestly investigate and swiftly prosecute.

They thought their evil would outlast We the People. But the Bush-Obama-Clinton criminal cartel has failed. Time is on our side, not theirs. Their entrenched and corrupt bureaucracies, agencies, and covert operations will be exposed, scaled back, defunded, and shut down over Trump’s eight years in office. The criminals will age, wither, and die, leaving only the carcass of their sins to be judged by history and a far higher power than our own.

The rest of the article looks at several policy stances Trump should adopt to ensure that, once made great again, America stays that way.

Most people are wrapped up in the Texas church shooting on Sunday, November 5. Rightly so, but highly significant things took place on a broader scale.

Antifa — November 4

The violent November 4 events that Antifa and similar groups planned were a damp squib. At the most, a few dozen showed up in major cities across the country.

One of three things must have happened. Money could have dried up; unpaid protesters do not attend these events. Or, they are afraid to be charged with an imprisonable offence; some protesters arrested on Inauguration Day are pending trial. The third possibility is that Antifa will start terrorising small towns and rural areas in ‘lone wolf’ attacks. I put the words in quotes, because nothing these days happens without involvement from an invisible third party. Yes, I am thinking of the Texas church massacre. Trump was right to focus on a mental problem in that case.

My sympathies go to the survivors, especially to those in church who saw their family members and friends die in cold blood. I also am praying for the pastor, away that particular day, only to discover that his cherished teenage daughter was among those who died.

Hollywood accusations

Although no new Hollywood sexual harrassment or assault claims surfaced this past weekend, the accusations that started about Harvey Weinstein in October put Kevin Spacey under scrutiny.

Spacey was still a topic of conversation in various online fora, expecially as House of Cards was cancelled after the accusation surfaced.

These accusations have people thinking about the wider sexual depravity going on in Hollywood and elsewhere. We know that the Trump administration wants to get rid of human trafficking, especially where children are involved. Hundreds of men involved in this deeply harmful business have been arrested since the inauguration in January. The low-hanging fruit is going, going, going.

Although Weinstein and Spacey are not part of that picture, accusations against them have planted an optic in the American mind about perversion and taking advantage of the innocent and vulnerable of whatever age. Americans want it stopped.

This has also opened up relevant news stories concerning powerful people in the UK and France.

The Democrats — Nancy Pelosi

On Sunday, November 5, Senator Nancy Pelosi said on CNN’s State of the Union that impeaching Trump is:

not someplace that I think we should go.


Pelosi was reportedly privately critical of an ad put out by billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer calling for the impeachment of Trump, with the House leader believing the key to the Democrats retaking the House in 2018 to be avoiding the distractions surrounding the White House.

Pelosi sounded Trumpian, when she said on the programme:

I believe that whatever we do, we have a responsibility to first and foremost to unify the nation.

She no doubt knows something big is about to happen.

The Democrats — Donna Brazile

Former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile has written a new book about the 2016 campaign, saying that the Democrat primary was rigged against Bernie Sanders.

She also wrote that she wanted to replace Hillary Clinton with Joe Biden.

On Sunday, she appeared on George Stephanopoulos’s programme to discuss the book:

She says she also feared for her life after Seth Rich’s murder in July 2016 in Washington, DC. Rich’s murder remains unsolved. Rich, a DNC employee and Bernie Sanders supporter at the time of his death, likely leaked emails from his workplace to WikiLeaks. Of course, anyone who brought up this possible connection last year was told they were a conspiracy theorist. Now Brazile is talking about it.

On Saturday, November 4, Hillary Clinton’s supporters quickly posted their ‘Open Letter from Hillary for America 2016‘, which says in part:

We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.

Donna came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time. We were grateful to her for doing so. She is a longtime friend and colleague of many of us and has been an important leader in our party. But we do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book …

Finally, we are pretty tired of people who were not part of our campaign telling the world what it was like to be on the inside of our campaign and how we felt about it. We loved our candidate and each other and it remains our honor to have been part of the effort to make Hillary Clinton the 45th President of the United States.

Signatories on the letter include two names to watch for in the coming weeks: Hillary’s closest companion Huma Abedin and campaign supremo John Podesta.

Republicans — Bush père et fils

A new book about Bushes I and II, The Last Republicans by Mark K. Updegrove, discusses their disdain for Trump — and, by extension, the American people. The book hits the shelves on November 14.

On November 4, Newsweek reported:

Both former President Bushes had choice words for current President Donald Trump in a new book scheduled to be published later this month, with the elder Bush reportedly calling the billionaire commander-in-chief a “blowhard” and flatly stating he does not “like” him …

Furthermore, both ex-presidents admitted they did not vote for Trump. The elder Bush pulled the lever for Democrat Hillary Clinton while the younger told Updegrove he voted for “none of the above.”

George W. Bush took umbrage with Trump’s divisive brand of political machinery, a common accusation the current president faced along the campaign trail as throughout his first year in office.

“You can either exploit the anger, incite it,” he said, “or you can come up with ideas to deal with it.”

Trump ran as an anti-establishment Republican, made famous by his “drain the swamp” promise and slogan, and the younger Bush president admitted his brother and former GOP presidential candidate Jeb “didn’t fit with the mood.”

“If you’re angry with the powers that be you’re angry with the so-called establishment,“ Bush said, “and there’s nothing more established than having a father and brother that have been president.”

Don’t we know it!

And aren’t we glad they are gone!

Normally, as the article explains, former presidents do not comment on a sitting president. The Bushes had nothing to say about Obama during his eight years in office but, now that Trump is in, the gloves are off.

The Republican Party is technically Trump’s now to shape and define as he sees fit.

Incidentally, Jeb!, Bush II’s brother, never had a chance in 2016 and spent a lot of time extolling his mother Barbara to the point that Trump said during one of the Republican primary debates:

Maybe she should be running, then.

Democrats — the Podesta brothers

It will be interesting to see what happens to John and Tony Podesta. On October 30, Tony resigned from the Podesta Group, a powerful lobbying and public affairs firm in DC.

In August 2016, an article in the Huffington Post discussed the Podesta Group’s activities. Medea Benjamin’s article, ‘Hillary Clinton, The Podesta Group And The Saudi Regime: A Fatal Menage A Trois’ was updated on September 1, 2017.

It begins as follows:

If I told you that Democratic Party lobbyist Tony Podesta, whose brother John Podesta chairs Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is a registered foreign agent on the Saudi government’s payroll, you’d probably think I was a Trump-thumping, conspiratorial nutcase. But it’s true.

The lobby firm created by both Tony and John Podesta in 1988 receives $140,000 a month from the Saudi government, a government that beheads nonviolent dissidents, uses torture to extract forced confessions, doesn’t allow women to drive, and bombs schools, hospitals and residential neighborhoods in neighboring Yemen.

The Podesta Group’s March 2016 filing, required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, shows that Tony Podesta himself oversees the Saudi account. At the same time, Tony Podesta is also a top campaign contributor and bundler for Hillary Clinton. So while one brother runs the campaign, the other brother funds it with earnings that come, in part, from the Saudis.

John and Tony Podesta have been heavyweights in DC insider politics for decades. John Podesta served as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, founded the influential DC think tank Center for American Progress (which regularly touts Saudi “reforms”), and was counselor to President Obama. Tony Podesta was dubbed by the New York Times as “one of Washington’s biggest players“ whose clients “are going to get a blueprint for how to succeed in official Washington.”

The Clinton Foundation has had a close relationship with the Saudis:

The Podesta-Clinton-Saudi connection should be seen in light of the recent media exposes revealing the tawdry pay-to-play nature of the Clinton Foundation. Top on the list of foreign donors to the foundation is Saudi Arabia, which contributed between $10 million and $25 million.

For that, the Saudis received arms and military aircraft deals while Hillary was Secretary of State.

The article concludes:

The Podesta Group should be blacklisted from contributing to Clinton’s campaign until they drop the monarchy as a client and return their ill-gotten gains. If Hillary Clinton wants to be a meaningful symbol for human rights and women’s empowerment, her campaign must live up to the values she claims to represent, and this would be one step in the right direction.

The Clinton Foundation and the Middle East

On August 21, 2016, the New York Times published ‘Foundation Ties Bedevil Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign’.

Excerpts follow:

The Clinton Foundation has accepted tens of millions of dollars from countries that the State Department — before, during and after Mrs. Clinton’s time as secretary — criticized for their records on sex discrimination and other human-rights issues. The countries include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Brunei and Algeria …

… Mr. Trump has seized on emails released over the past several weeks from Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, in which a handful of donors are mentioned.

Some emails and other records described donors seeking and in some cases obtaining meetings with State Department officials. None showed Mrs. Clinton making decisions in favor of any contributors, but her allies fear that additional emails might come out and provide more fodder for Mr. Trump.

Craig Minassian, a spokesman for the foundation, said the decision to forgo corporate and foreign money had nothing to do with the emails. The foundation will continue to raise money from American individuals and charities …

But Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative group that has sued to obtain records from Mrs. Clinton’s time at the State Department, said that “the damage is done” …

A Bloomberg poll in June showed that 72 percent of voters said it bothered them either a lot or a little that the Clinton Foundation took money from foreign countries while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. In a CNN/ORC International Poll the same month, 38 percent of voters said Mr. Clinton should completely step down from the foundation, while 60 percent said he should be able to continue working with the foundation if his wife became president. Mr. Clinton said Thursday he would leave the foundation’s board if Mrs. Clinton won.

Trump is sitting on more than Hillary’s emails right now. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson must know a lot. Live action is surely coming Hillary’s way soon.

Saudi Arabia’s purge of princes

On Sunday, October 29, news emerged that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, had returned from a ‘secret trip’ to Saudi Arabia.

The Washington Examiner reported:

The trip to the Middle Eastern country marks the third time President Trump’s son-in-law has visited this year …

“The Senior Advisor to the President, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy, and the Special Representative for International Negotiations recently returned from Saudi Arabia,” a White House official told Politico in a statement. “The Senior Advisor has also been in frequent contact with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Saudi Arabia” …

The White House did not share who Kushner met with while in Saudi Arabia, though he has a good relationship with crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who is also in his 30s.

Trump has called for a peace deal between Israel and Palestine. Kushner, who is Jewish, has worked to broker an agreement between both parties.

On November 4, Trump tweeted:

But, it appears that, before peace or business deals could be made, something had to happen in Saudi Arabia:

This is unheard of. The AP reports that the House of Saud normally deals with such matters discreetly. Yet, those arrested are being held at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, which has no rooms available until December 1. Other five-star hotels were also reported to be holding detainees.

The AP report says that the arrests are a clear sign that King Salman is giving Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman full permission to reform Saudi Arabia.

The AP also stated it was unclear whether Trump knew beforehand of the purge of princes. Trump had spoken to King Salman earlier on Saturday but the White House made no mention of the impending arrests.

My gut sense is that the crown prince is, in many ways, a younger version of the US president.

There is also reason to think that other countries will undergo a massive purge, with the United States being next. However, that is a subject for a future post.

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, President Donald Trump authorised the release of approximately 2,800 documents concerning the assassination of John F Kennedy. These are available on the National Archives site.

Over 1,000 documents are pending review, being withheld for up to six months, as they are sensitive either to national security or persons who are still alive. The White House announcement stated (emphases mine):

The remaining records will be released with agency-proposed redactions on a rolling basis in the coming weeks. The President has demanded unprecedented transparency from the agencies and directed them to minimize redactions without delay. The National Archives will therefore release more records, with redactions only in the rarest of circumstances, by the deadline of April 26, 2018.

Many people have wondered if this was the right time. This date was mandated by the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, signed into law on October 26, 1992, in the last few months of Bush I’s (George Herbert Walker Bush’s) presidency. Wikipedia tells us:

The Act requires that each assassination record be publicly disclosed in full and be made available in the collection no later than the date that is 25 years after the date of enactment of the Act (which was October 26, 2017), unless the President of the United States certifies that: (1) continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations; and (2) the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

It is worth remembering that Bush I was CIA director under Ronald Reagan. He is probably the only person alive who knows what actually happened on November 22, 1963. It is ironic that the act passed under his administration, however, the year before — 1991 — Oliver Stone’s JFK was shown in cinemas around the world. It posited that the CIA and FBI conspired to assassinate Kennedy. The influence of Stone’s film was huge:

The final report of the Act’s Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) partially credited the conclusions in Oliver Stone‘s 1991 film JFK with the passage of the Act.[2]

The day the files were released, The Guardian published an article by Philip Shenon, a former Washington and foreign correspondent for the New York Times, who wrote A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination. Excerpts from ‘Files will shed light on a JFK shooting conspiracy – but not the one you think’ follow.

I was a young child when the assassination occurred. Unlike Bush I, who seems to be the only American who does not remember what he was doing when he heard the news, I recall exactly where I was. I also remember the cast of characters that poured out of the woodwork in the months that followed. My parents and their friends spent a lot of time talking about these people popping up in the news.

The Warren Commission did not clear anything up. This is why the conspiracy theory has persisted. We are now getting some answers, thanks to President Trump’s authorisation. As Philip Shenon notes:

The authors of the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act said they were alarmed, in particular, by the cloud of suspicion kicked up by Stone’s film

Thanks to other files that the US government has declassified over the years, people discovered that a cover up started almost immediately:

The first act came on Sunday 24 November, the day [Jack] Ruby gunned down [Lee Harvey] Oswald at Dallas police headquarters, when an FBI agent in the bureau’s field office across town was ordered to destroy a threatening handwritten note that Oswald had hand-delivered to the office earlier that month – apparently a protest over the FBI’s aggressive surveillance of his family.

Shenon tells us what happened to the note:

the agent took the note into the men’s room, tore it into pieces and flushed it down the toilet. Years later, the agent admitted to congressional investigators that he and his supervisor had panicked at the thought that the note would been seen as proof that that the FBI had botched the opportunity to save the president’s life.

Details surrounding the assassination have tied people in knots for 54 years. But Shenon says those are nothing compared to:

the well-documented, proven conspiracy within the highest reaches of the US government – a criminal conspiracy from the start, involving the destruction of top-secret documents and photographs, the silencing of witnesses and whistleblowers, and the wholesale suborning of perjury – to cover up the truth about what the government had known in advance about Oswald and the clear threat he had posed to one man: President Kennedy.

The word “cover-up” is not hyperbole. Remarkably enough, it is the word that the CIA itself applies to what happened immediately after the assassination. In a once-classified internal report that became public in 2014, the spy agency’s in-house historian acknowledged that the CIA had engaged in a “cover-up” (albeit a “benign cover-up”, he insisted) to hide evidence from the Warren commission and later government investigations. The cover-up was intended to keep investigators focused exclusively on evidence that proved “what the Agency believed at the time was the ‘best truth’that Lee Harvey Oswald, for as yet undetermined motives, had acted alone in killing Kennedy”.

Shenon looked into what the Warren Commission did:

I was saddened and surprised by a central conclusion that I reached by the end of my research: the Kennedy assassination did not have to happen. It could have been prevented – easily – if the CIA and FBI had just acted on the intelligence in their own files in November 1963. Yes, Oswald was a violent, delusional misfit. But he was not the pure “lone wolf” portrayed by the initial government accounts of the assassination – the image that the government was desperate to present after Kennedy’s murder, since it suggested nothing could have been done to stop him.

He tells us:

Both agencies had strong reason to believe that Oswald, a self-proclaimed Marxist who had years of rifle practice in the Marine Corps, would be a danger when Kennedy’s motorcade passed through Dallas on 22 November 1963.

Shenon’s position on Oswald and the shooting is more or less along government lines. He thinks that it was a ‘horrifying coincidence’ that Oswald just happened to be a rather new employee at the Texas School Book Depository.

Shenon says it is distressing that the agencies did not act on the information they had on Oswald. Yet, JFK said he wanted to break the CIA into ‘a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds’. My post the other day discussed other aspects of what was going on in Washington DC at the time, including the scandals surrounding Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was close to being indicted. JFK planned to drop him from his re-election ticket in 1964.

The KGB thought that LBJ was behind the assassination:

Unions did not seem too fond of JFK. One of the released documents is a communication dated November 26, 1963, concerning union officials in San Juan, Puerto Rico (full version here). It reads in part:

Ana Maria Del Valle, Secretary – Treasurer, HRWU, was approached by Miguel Cruz, Organizer for Local 901, Teamsters Union (TU), who made a statement “Now that we’ve taken care of President Kennedy, we’ll have no trouble in taking over things.”

… Details: at SJ, PR. Possible connection between Jack Ruby and Teamsters Union (TU).

An FBI memo from May 1963 states that a trial involving a union took place there. Jimmy Hoffa, head of the Teamsters at the time, was going to sit in and had made hotel reservations.

I will post more on the JFK files — past and present releases — this week.

On August 18, Time published an indirect appeal for Internet censorship by wringing its hands over online trolls.

Before going into what they got wrong, here’s what they did correctly. They rightly pointed out that many people — real life examples are in the article — can truly be hurt by reading negative or threatening comments about themselves.

Furthermore, there is a practice called doxxing — revealing personal data about an individual online — which is very serious. Such comments and data need censoring. They are being censored. I have never read any comments — and I’ve read tens of thousands since 2005 — which go that far.

Here’s what the article got wrong. Time clearly infers that conservatives are to blame for hateful comments. In some cases, that might be true. However, by and large, the most aggressive, foul and hurtful comments come from leftists.

Yesterday’s post, which discussed the Bernie-turned-Trump supporting Reddit moderator — now sacked — revealed two leftist moderators’ foul language, which was too offensive to reprint here.

People can look at any left-of-centre comment thread and find the most offensive and crudest accusations of conservatives. The same is true in the UK.

So, Time is largely wrong in hanging online incivility around the necks of conservatives.

The site is also wrong in saying trolling began with 2014’s Gamergate.

It took off in earnest in 2008 when the Obama campaign not only hired online trolls to verbally shoot down McCain/Palin supporters in comments sections but encouraged activists to insult Sarah Palin in the most vulgar way in public.

Paid trolls attract unpaid trolls, which made the 2008 discourse all the more disgusting.

In October 2008, at least four Democrat activists sported tee shirts that called the vice presidential candidate one of the worst words in the English language. That link has a photo and the story, both of which someone at a rally in Philadelphia emailed to Wake up Americans. I’m glad that page is still up so that I can share it with you eight years later.

The rest of this post has off-colour and crude language from Democrats. Be warned.

I shall heavily censor what the email said (emphases mine):

I was at a Sarah Palin event in Philadelphia, at the Park Hyatt Hotel – late Saturday afternoon (Oct. 11th). If you are easily grossed out by the “C” word, I am sorry. But as Andrea says below, if McCain supporters wore a shirt that said

[any number of highly insulting things about Obama, spelled out to give equivalency]

they would either be thrown off the premises, have their heads kicked in, or even be detained at the local police station (I know this for a fact: I just had on a McCain button at a recent Obama event and I didn’t think I was going to get out alive).

Sorry the picture is not clearer. But these four young people were right in front of the hotel. They have on the nicest shirts. There were worse. There was group as well carrying around a fake dead fetus – exclaiming that “abortion should have been the path for Bristol(?) Palin”. And quite a few smoke bombs, etc. etc.

I also had some nice words thrown at me.

There were about 500 organized protesters. And about 500 not so organized at this event. The police and hotel security and secret service were letting me all the way up to the hotel steps. In a few cases … a few protesters got into the lobby.

In my family, the “C” word is about as bad as you can get.

Was this reported on the Philadelphia News. No!. Was anyone outraged? No! All that was on the Philadelphia local news last night was: Obama was at several rallies in Philadelphia earlier in the day (but went home Saturday night to be with his children). Obama and Palin were in Philly on the same day. And was there any mention of Palin – No! In the Sports section of the local evening news at 11:00PM, they did mention that Palin was at the Philadelphia Flyers game “dropping the first (hockey) puck”. The guy said it with a smirk. Then he added that Sarah Palin WAS NOT going home to spend the evening with her children.

Oh, that’s rich, coming from an equal rights Democrat news presenter.

Around that same time, Michelle Malkin posted a round-up of the foul and violent threats made against Palin and anti-Bush events and websites. I’ll look at the anti-Bush items in a moment.

But, never mind that. Malkin cited two Democrats’ false accusations against Republicans:

Paul Krugman is trembling: “Something very ugly is taking shape on the political scene: as McCain’s chances fade, the crowds at his rallies are, by all accounts, increasingly gripped by insane rage…What happens when Obama is elected? It will be even worse than it was in the Clinton years. For sure there will be crazy accusations, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some violence.”

Frank Rich decries “Weimar-like rage” and the “violent escalation of rhetoric.”

Then Malkin went into what leftists — today’s Democrats — had to say about Palin:

Let’s talk about “insane rage” and “violent escalation.”

This is insane rage — Madonna bashing Sarah Palin and shrieking “I will kick her ass:”

This is insane rage — Sandra Bernhard bashing Sarah Palin and cursing her head off with hate warping her crazed face:

This is violent escalation — Palin-hating artwork designating her an “M.I.L.P.” (Mother I’d Like to Punch). Hat tip: Edge of Forever

Malkin points out from other resources that Democrat violence against Republicans — online and offline — actually started in 2004, when Bush was still in office.

The Obamedia diaper-wetters are gripped with fear over a few over-the-line catcalls at McCain-Palin rallies.

But, as Glenn Reynolds notes, they’ve looked the other way at the last four years of anti-Bush assassination chic — a subject I covered extensively in Unhinged and on this blog:





She follows that with a very long list of arrests of anti-Bush people in violent incidents, including (emphases in bold in the original, those in purple mine):

Gainsville, Fla., Democrat David P. McCally was charged with battery after he allegedly barged into a local GOP office, assaulted a cardboard cutout of President Bush, and punched a local Republican chairman in September 2004. (Credit: Alachua County Jail.)

In March 2004, Carol Lang, a campus secretary at City College in New York, reportedly assaulted a police officer trying to arrest unruly anti-war protesters. Police arrested Lang and charged her with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, and obstructing governmental administration. (Credit: New York Police Department.)

Nathan Winkler of Tampa, Fla., was arrested and charged with aggravated stalking in March 2005 for allegedly terrorizing a mother who had a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker on her car. Click on the video here to listen to an excerpt of the mother’s frantic call to 911. Winkler reportedly had a handmade sign in his window that read, “Never forget Bush’s illegal oil war murdered thousands in Iraq.” (Credit: Tampa Police  Department.)

In closing, Time‘s Joel Stein is mistaken. It would appear his appeal is for censorship of conservative views. However, he forgot or ignored the violence from Democrat candidates’ supporters.

It was true in 2004, became more widespread in 2008, continued in 2012 and is alive and well in 2016.

Censorship? Democrats should remove the plank from their own collective eye first.

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