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It has been one year since Nancy Pelosi had her hair done in a San Francisco salon and walked around maskless, violating California’s coronavirus regulations which mandated that salons be closed.

Unfortunately, Erica Kious had to close her business, eSalonSF. Kious had rented a chair to an independent hairdresser who did Pelosi’s hair, yet she got all the grief.

Kious has since joined forces with Heritage Action’s Save Our Paychecks Tour, intended to raise awareness of how coronavirus regulations have put small companies out of business. She spoke at their launch in Fresno on Tuesday, August 10:

Fox News reported on Kious’s talk (emphases mine):

“I thought if I ever lost my business, I would have lost it in an earthquake,” Kious said Tuesday at Heritage Action’s Save Our Paychecks Tour kick-off event in Fresno. Never did I ever think that I would have lost everything I worked for by leftist politics. Gone.”

Fox News obtained surveillance video last summer of Pelosi visiting the salon for a hair wash and blowout, despite local ordinances keeping salons closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi, D-Calif. later claimed she was “set up,” which Kious denied. 

“I never set her up. That was a lie. I’ve had cameras in there since I opened. I didn’t put them in there I didn’t turn them on. They’re on all the time,” said Kious, who noted she was traveling when she saw the video footage of Pelosi. 

The former owner said Pelosi was serviced by an independent stylist who rents chairs in her salon. Kious said she decided to share the now-viral security camera footage when she found the Speaker indoors without a mask in what she called a “hurtful” display of hypocrisy. 

“I went through the exact footage of her walking through my reception area with no mask,” Kious said Tuesday. “I literally felt like she took a knife and stabbed me in the stomach. … I know inside me what she did was wrong, completely wrong” …

At the time of the incident in 2020, Kious described the harassment she received:

“I started to just get a ton of phone calls, text messages, emails, all my Yelp reviews … saying that they hope I go under and that I fail,” Kious said at the time. “So just a lot of negativity towards my business.”

Tens of thousands of small businesses in California closed last year, with more closing in 2021:

Nearly 40,000 small businesses closed in California by September 2020, which was around the time of Pelosi’s visit, according to Heritage Action, a conservative grassroots organization. Thousands more have closed since.

The Western Journal reported that Kious now rents a chair in another hairdresser’s salon in Fresno:

Kious said she doesn’t plan to start another salon and now rents a chair from Bree Gentry, a Fresno salon owner, according to The Daily Signal.

Gentry said her own survival was uncertain.

“I’m proud to say that you have a space to stand in today because we also survived 2020, 2021, and we weren’t sure we were going to make it. It got a little shaky,” Gentry said.

How sad to have to move from San Francisco to Fresno with nothing because of left-wing harassment. At least Kious found steady work and is making a living for herself and her children:

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is enjoying her stash of designer ice cream. I bet that Kious can only dream of affording such luxuries on a regular basis.

In June, I read a fascinating obituary in the Telegraph about an American, Ann Russell Miller, whose life journey took her from being a socialite to a Carmelite.

This lady lacked nothing in her life and gave it all up for the Lord.

The article has photographs of her throughout her life, which are equally fascinating. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

Early life

Ann Russell was born in San Francisco on October 20, 1928 and was an only child. Her father was the chairman of Southern Pacific, the railway line that served much of the western United States.

The Telegraph describes her as being ‘petite and vivacious’. Her parents sent her to the Spence School in New York. She returned to the Bay Area for higher education at Mills College in Oakland.

In 1948, she married Richard Miller when she was 20 years old. Miller’s family had founded Pacific Gas & Electric.

On her wedding day, a young man told her he would wait for her, which he did (see below):

In the reception line at her wedding, a rival admirer, George “Corky” Bowles, kissed Ann on the cheek and told her: “I will wait for you.”

Married life

Ann bore Richard ten children: five daughters and five sons. She had the first five by the age of 27.

She was splendidly Catholic: a woman who partied but also prayed.

(As a side note, people express empathy for me when I tell them I was raised a Catholic: ‘Oh, that must have been terrible’. I say that it was great fun. Today, I cannot be anything other than Anglican, which is even better because one can go straight to the Source, as it were.)

The Telegraph tells us:

She smoked, drank, played cards and spent five hours a day on the telephone, though she did once give up the instrument for Lent.

She devoted her life to charity but not without personal extravagance:

she was friends with Nancy Reagan and Loretta Young, the film star [also a devout Catholic], and sat on the board of 22 charitable organisations. She had her hair done four times a week by Elizabeth Arden, covered her parasols with Hermès scarves and had her spectacles coordinated with her outfits.

She and her husband also hosted frequent dinner parties:

Forty guests regularly sat down to dinner at the nine-bedroom house overlooking San Francisco Bay where she and her husband Richard made their lives.

Deciding on the convent

In 1984, Ann Russell Miller became a widow. Richard Miller died of cancer that year.

She knew her plans for the next phase of her life included entering the convent, so she told her children of her decision:

At two separate lunches at Trader Vic’s, for her five sons and her five daughters, Ann Russell Miller – a devout, not to say dogmatic Roman Catholic – told her children of her decision to take the veil. She had decided, she said, to devote the rest of her life to taking care of her soul.

She spent the next few years divesting herself of her material possessions:

She spent the next years doing all she wanted to do and in giving away all her wealth (the house was bought by one of the members of the rock group Metallica).

In 1988, George ‘Corky’ Bowles, the man who told her he would wait for her, took her on a cruise in the Mediterranean, even though he knew she wanted to enter the convent:

One evening under the stars, he slowly knelt on the deck of the yacht and asked Ann Russell Miller to marry him.

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous,” she said.

In 1989, on her 61st birthday, she threw a lavish farewell party:

at the Hilton for her 800 closest friends. Guests listened to music by two orchestras and nibbled at a coquille of seafood as Ann Russell Miller moved through the crowd, trailing a helium balloon bearing the words “Here I am.”

Convent life

The day after her farewell party, Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and headed for the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

This cloistered order is also known as the Discalced Carmelites. ‘Discalced’ means ‘shoeless’. The nuns wear sandals.

(Another side note: I know a Discalced Carmelite, a woman I met at university.)

News of the socialite’s arrival at the Chicago convent travelled quickly. Reporters contacted the Mother Superior who gave a wise reply to their enquiries:

the Mother Superior replied shortly that there was no story in a nun entering a convent, but there might be in someone remaining there.

Indeed.

Ann Russell Miller never went beyond the convent walls and assumed the most basic life buoyed by prayer. Upon taking her vows, she became Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity:

after five years as a postulant she was allowed to take her final vows and join the other 17 resident sisters.

Sister Mary Joseph now slept on a thin mattress and a bed made of planks. She wore a brown habit, black veil and sandals, and spent 23½ hours of the day in silence. The order is a secluded one, so she never again went out into the world.

That said, she still kept in touch with her friends by fax.

In keeping with convent rules, she was allowed only one visitor per month:

even then meetings were conducted with her sat behind two sets of bars.

Her son Mark tweeted that she never met many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He also revealed that his mother retained her spark:

Sister Mary Joseph, said Mark Miller, often had to ask forgiveness for being late for her duties and for breaking the rules by throwing sticks for the nuns’ German Shepherd.

She still had one property, which she her daughters administered for her:

Through some of her daughters, she also retained control of a rural family property from which she banned those of her children who divorced and remarried.

What an unusual story for:

one of the “Rockefellers of the West Coast”, as a friend put it, a hard-partying, high-diving, fast-driving socialite with a shoe collection that made Imelda Marcos’s seem “pitiful in comparison”.

May Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity rest in peace with the Lord.

On Friday, I wrote about Sheffield’s Nine O’Clock Service, a cause célèbre in 1995, adherents of which are now seeking financial compensation for the psychological abuse they endured.

I cited two articles from The Times as sources.

However, I have older Nine O’Clock Service (NOS) sources which present more nuanced information about the group which had between 300 and 500 members.

The first is an article in The Independent. It is dated 2011, however, the wording in it — e.g. ‘last year’ — indicates that it is from 1996.

The article contradicts some of what The Times alleged last week.

Brain’s resignation

For a start, The Independent reported that the then-Bishop of Sheffield, the Right Revd David Lunn, wanted Chris Brain to stand down as vicar immediately when the scandal broke in August 1995 and that the Archbishop of York had already banned him from carrying out priestly duties (emphases mine):

The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev David Lunn, demanded Mr Brain resign after he confessed to having sexual relationships with young women in the congregation.

He quit last November after initially refusing to bow to the criticism heaped on him when the scandal broke.

The Archbishop of York had already banned Mr Brain from acting as an ordained priest.

Brain was quite fragile at the time and sought treatment:

Within days of the revelations Mr Brain checked himself into a psychiatric ward of Cheadle Royal Psychiatric Hospital, Cheshire.

Meanwhile, the women who were his victims could ring a telephone hotline:

Women who were manipulated by him and called a telephone hotline were told the matter would almost certainly be dealt with within the church and only be passed on to the police if there was an allegation of rape.

The Wikipedia entry for the NOS says that the Diocese of Sheffield tried to help the members — and Brain — to recover:

The Diocese of Sheffield, through a seconded pastoral team led by Rachel Ross, the Reverend Andrew Teal and the Reverend Peter Craig-Wild, attempted to manage the pastoral care both of Brain and members of the community wounded by the scandal.

Brain was originally a musician who played in night clubs. He then got involved with St Thomas’s Church in Sheffield and was ordained for his success in leading NOS.

By early 1996, he was ready to re-establish his previous career:

In February, Mr Brain’s solicitor announced the disgraced clergyman had left Britain for America, where he was hoping to make a comeback in music and the media.

NOS resurrected on Easter Day 1996

The Independent‘s article reported that the NOS held a service on Easter in 1996.

Members of the NOS were still getting together, even after the scandal broke.

The service was held in a chapel in Sheffield:

The Easter service was moved from the city’s Ponds Forge complex, where priest Chris Brain once orchestrated rock concert-style gatherings in a basement room.

It was staged instead in a simple chapel in the city, without the lasers and rave music popularised by Mr Brain. The Archdeacon of Sheffield, the Ven Stephen Lowe, conducted a “meditative service”.

There were doubts about restarting the group eight months after the Church of England was rocked by scandal when Mr Brain was accused of sexually abusing more than 20 women members.

Yesterday’s congregation was drawn from remnants of the Nine O’Clock Service which broke up after women complained about being assaulted by Brain.

Diocesan communications officer Canon Roy Arnold said: “I can confirm that former members of the Nine O’Clock Service met together in a Sheffield church for a celebration of the Holy Communion. It was a quiet, meditative service.

Since the activities of the Nine O’Clock Service came to an end last August following the disclosures about their leader Chris Brain, a number of members have continued to meet together for worship and other matters.

They now have an elected church council and the Diocese of Sheffield is at present in the process of appointing a chaplain for the group,” he said.

There were hopes at the time that the NOS could return to its original style of service without the psychological trauma:

Mr Arnold did not rule out the possibility that the rock-style services could be re-introduced. “The scandal was about Chris Brain and not about reaching out in a new and exciting way to a generation lost to the church,” he said. Members of the Nine O’Clock Service have vowed to distance themselves from the controversy last year and have devised a new service.

Last month, alleged victims of Mr Brain held a bonfire ritual to help them overcome the trauma. They lit a fire in the middle of a church hall and set off fireworks in a “releasing ritual”.

An advert in the Church Times for a chaplain for the group has drawn applications from all over the country. But according to churchwarden Alan Gibson, Mr Brain’s successor would not be allowed the same powers he had enjoyed.

“We are not looking for a leader, we are not looking for a guru. We are looking for a facilitator who will tie us more closely with the Church of England,” Mr Gibson said.

Wikipedia says:

A remnant of the community continued to meet, under different leadership, for some years afterwards in Sheffield.

The evolution of the NOS

Sometime in the 1980s, a group of 10 people from St Thomas’s Church began organising NOS services. From there, it grew enormously.

Young, unchurched origins

Wikipedia states:

Beginning as a simple alternative format service under the leadership of Chris Brain, the group responsible for it developed a leadership structure that was endorsed by the leadership of St Thomas’ Church. The average age of the members was 24 for much of NOS’s life. The membership was significantly from non-church backgrounds.

Starting with about 10 people who worked on designing and creating the services, the congregation grew to almost 600 members while resident at St Thomas’ Church. Main themes included care for the planet and concern about its abuse, simple lifestyle and development of relationships with non-churched people.

By 1988, Bishop Lunn authorised the group’s move to Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Rotunda, a sports complex that can accommodate 2,600 people.

The Planetary Mass

One of their big services at Ponds Forge was The Planetary Mass, also known as the Rave Mass:

The Planetary Mass at Pond’s Forge was marked by both bold liturgical experimentation and naive hopefulness.

An unorthodox Dominican-turned-Episcopal priest, Matthew Fox, found out about the service and was eager to bring a form of it to San Francisco.

Matthew Fox also had his problems with the Church. He had been a professor at several Catholic colleges in the United States. When Pope Benedict was still Cardinal Ratzinger and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he began delving into Fox’s writings and asked the Dominicans to investigate. The Dominicans found nothing objectionable, even though Fox was not propagating Catholic teaching. However, because Fox did not believe in Original Sin, Ratzinger forbade him from teaching for a year. By 1993, the Dominicans changed their minds about Fox and dismissed him from the order for ‘disobedience’. He became an Episcopal priest in 1994 and still practises in the Episcopal Diocese of California. He developed the Techno Cosmic Mass — now the Cosmic Mass — which made its debut in San Francisco and has since been performed 100 times since.

Before creating the Techno Cosmic Mass, Fox scheduled a performance of The Planetary Mass in 1994 in San Francisco.

The Christian Research Institute has an article about it. Fox invited 35 members of the NOS to fly in and participate.

The format is environmentalist and pagan:

Inside, at the center of the room was placed an oversized circular altar and a smaller crescent table. Surrounding the tables were a series of concentric circles, tracks marked off in tape, around which the Rave Mass team would walk and dance. Atop the eclipse altar sat a chalice, protected by a clear Plexiglas pyramid.

Above the eclipse altar was an impressive screen — a large sphere of white cloth onto which the organizers projected images of revolving planets, decaying forests, human pulses, and faces.

Several young people emerged from the shadows carrying small flames.

“These people are not pyromaniacs,” said Matthew Wright, 31, who served as a liturgical emcee. “As you can see, they’re using the flames to pray and invite the Spirit into this place.”

Wright encouraged people to approach the flamebearers and use the flames to pray. The flamebearers held the flames inches from people’s faces, slowly lowered the flames to foot level, then slowly raised the flames back to eye level. Some people gently waved their arms at waist level, almost like charismatic Christians. Others stretched their arms high above their heads, then bowed fully before the small flames.

A scantily-clad Briton led a dance piece:

The music cranked up to a pulsating dance beat. The 35 young Brits — including one young woman in a short skirt and a negligee top — led the room in energetic dancing to this bouncy anthem:

Now we feel your lifeforce rising

Raise the passion 10 by 10

Now we breathe you, Christ, inside us

Feel the freedom pushing on!

Chris Brain was also in attendance to celebrate the service. This would have been before the scandal broke in Sheffield:

A young woman read an unspecified passage of Scripture, listing some of the evils that will exclude people from the kingdom of God, including adultery, uncleanness, lust, and sorcery.

Then a video set the Scripture reading in a corporate context. For adultery, the video portrayed the contrast between Third World debt and Third World aid. For lust, it showed images of pollution. For sorcery, it showed the creature almost everybody loves to hate: a TV preacher begging for donations.

The organizers also adapted a reading from chapter 1 of the Gospel of John through the Cosmic Christ filter. The reading repeatedly referred to “the Word” as “it” rather than “he.”

“This is the Word of Christ,” Rev. Brain said.

“Thank you, Eternal Voice,” the congregation responded.

This was how the Communion part of the service went:

After Fox’s homily, Brain celebrated communion — of a sort. Women dancers in four corners of the room turned in circles repeatedly throughout the prayers and communion. Assistants presented fire, water, and soil. Brain immersed his hands in the soil, saying he was washing them. He thanked Mother God for the gift of air.

Brain repeated Jesus’ words about partaking of communion in his memory. Otherwise, Brain spoke no words of consecration, which may not matter to those Protestants who believe the Lord’s Supper is a memorial service, but matters immensely to Anglicans, who affirm what is called consubstantiation. Most Anglicans do not believe the bread and wine literally become the flesh and blood of Christ, but they do believe in a “real presence” of Christ in the elements of the sacrament.

There’s supposed to be a “real presence” in the Rave Mass, too, but it’s the presence of the Cosmic Christ as lifeforce, not the personal historical figure who died on a cross and rose again.

Bishop Swing from San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral attended. By then, one Planetary Mass had already been performed inside the cathedral:

At a news conference, Swing described the service as “the church singing a new song.”

Enough said. How I wish we had St Paul with us today. He would have read them the riot act, straight out of 1 Corinthians.

How the NOS was organised weekly

In Sheffield, organising the weekly NOS began early in the morning and ended late at night.

The University of Huddersfield Repository has a link to an abstract called ‘The Nine O’Clock Service: Mixing Club Culture And Postmodern Christianity’.

Rupert Till’s abstract presents the difficulty in using St Thomas’s Church and explains how the group had to use Ponds Forge:

8. The church service before NOS would end at about 8.15pm, giving NOS about half an hour to clear the church, remove seats, set up equipment, and prepare. They would rehearse services in the afternoon, take everything down and then set it up in the gap between services. Although St Thomas church were regarded as generous in giving NOS time on a Sunday, NOS had to work within heavy constraints, and eventually moved to their own building where they would meet at 8:00 p.m.

 9. As were all of the band for most of the time, carefully situated as they were in dark lighting in the right-hand corner of the church.

11. Members of NOS would record television shows that might have interesting video images. Useful clips would be transferred to new tapes and looped so that a short clip of clouds passing would become a five-minute tape of clouds passing. NOS had a large room with walls covered in shelves full of these tapes of deconstructed decontextualised video images with loop tapes, source tapes, documentaries, and recordings of services. The sampling of secular music and images was a key feature of NOS arts, a deliberate process of reclaiming secular developments in the arts for sacred purposes.

12. A typical NOS Sunday began at five in the morning. A trucking team moved 10 tons of equipment to the church from storage to the empty sports hall. A crew of about 30 would appear by seven to set up the equipment. Late in the morning, some of the artistic team would appear to begin preparing for rehearsals. The ‘performers’ would arrive later to rehearse. After the service, perhaps 10.30 p.m., a team would begin to take down equipment, which would be returned to storage by 3:00 a.m. Unseen would be the hours of rehearsal and preparation midweek, with the highest of standards maintained.

Rupert Till says that the congregation varied in age but were solidly middle class:

17. Despite trying to project an image of authentic, underground, club culture-influenced young people, NOS members were largely aged 18–40, white, middle-class and well educated, and many were generation X Christians dissatisfied with conventional church. DJs and club kids were supported by barristers, theologians, teachers, doctors, and social workers.

The 1995 scandal, he says, involved a subgroup of the NOS:

16. It is perhaps no accident that sex was the organisation’s downfall, choosing as they did to investigate postmodern sexuality in a secretive subgroup, knowing that this was one area that the Christian church would not allow them to explore openly.

I hope this type of church service is dead and buried in the Church of England.

However, I fear it will make a comeback, especially as senior Anglican clergy seek to revamp their denomination post-pandemic. That’s a whole other topic for another time.

This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson postponed Freedom Day from June 21 to July 19, 2021.

Although a vote on this passed comfortably on Wednesday, June 16 — 489 to 60 — the number of rebel MPs, mostly Conservative, increased compared with previous votes on coronavirus restrictions. This page shows who voted No.

Boris and Matt Hancock might want to rethink their dependence on the lefty scientists of SAGE, but will they?

SAGE are effectively running this nation … into the ground.

Chesham & Amersham by-election upset

In addition, on Thursday, June 17, the Conservatives lost a by-election in Chesham & Amersham in leafy Buckinghamshire, not far from London. It had been a safe Conservative seat since the 1970s. A journalist from the Financial Times tweeted that he was sure they would win it once again:

In reality, it was a hat made out of fabric. Jim Pickard took three small bites of it, washed down with water. Sensible, as it could have been made in the world’s largest manufacturing country (no prizes for guessing correctly). H/T Guido Fawkes:

Now they have a Liberal Democrat MP, the lady pictured below standing next to party leader Ed Davey MP. The reply to the tweet blames the win on local opposition to a high speed railway (HS2) and to extending lockdown:

However, the Lib Dems never really opposed HS2:

The by-election took place because Dame Cheryl Gillan MP died on April 4. Despite a long term illness, she was an active participant in parliamentary debates until the end.

According to a Guido Fawkes reader, this was the vote tally on Thursday compared with 2019’s general election:

2019 results:

Conservative 30,850

Lib Dems 14,627

Labour 7,166

2021 Votes:

Conservative 13,489

Lib Dems 21,517

Labour 622

The only consolation is that the Labour vote sank like a stone:

Coronavirus cases rise in Cornwall after G7 summit

The virus lives and is on the rise in Cornwall:

In addition to the G7 and half term, another factor could be the warm weather last Sunday, attracting people to beaches.

Guido Fawkes has maps and the figures (emphasis in the original):

Last week, both St. Ives and the Carbis Bay area had two positive cases respectively. Now, St. Ives has 36 cases, and Carbis Bay has 15. That’s a 1,700% increase in the former, and a 650% rise in the latter…

One of Guido’s readers replied that a hotel and university are responsible (emphases mine below):

Tosh. The rise in St Ives/Carbis Bay happened before G7 kicked off and was down to the staff in one hotel and is linked back to the plastic University at the top of Penryn.

Cases, however, are only positive tests. Not all should require hospitalisation.

Wednesday’s vote in Parliament

On Wednesday, June 16, Matt Hancock opened the debate on coronaivirus restrictions in the House of Commons.

He said, in part:

Thanks to the protection of the vaccination programme, huge advances in treatments like dexamethasone, which was discovered a year ago today, and the resolve of the British people in following the rules that this House has laid down, we have been able to take the first three steps on our road map, removing restrictions and restoring colour to the nation, but we have always said that we would take each step at a time and look at the data and our four tests before deciding whether to proceed. The regulations before the House today put into effect our decision to pause step 4 on our roadmap until 19 July. Before outlining the regulations that will put this into effect, I would like to set out why we made this difficult but essential decision.

Unfortunately, there has been a significant change since we started on our journey down the road map in February. A new variant has given the virus extra legs, both because it spreads more easily and because there is some evidence that the risk of hospitalisation is higher than for the alpha variant, which was, of course, previously dominant in this country. The delta variant now accounts for 96% of new cases. The number of cases is rising and hospitalisations are starting to rise, too—they are up 48% over the past week. The number of deaths in England is thankfully not rising and remains very low, but, as I told the House on Monday, we do not yet know the extent to which the link between hospitalisations and deaths has been broken, so we propose to give the NHS a few more crucial weeks to get those remaining jabs into the arms of those who need them.

Mark Harper (Con) intervened:

Can I just ask my right hon. Friend what we expect to achieve in the four weeks? I think I am right in saying that there are 1.3 million people in priority groups one to nine who have yet to have a second dose of the vaccination. The good point is that that means we have vaccinated 96% of people in those groups, but I just wonder—after four weeks, I doubt that we will get to 100%, so there will still be a significant number of people in those groups not vaccinated with two doses, and at that point, there is still going to be some risk. My worry, and the worry of others, is that we are going to get to this point in four weeks’ time and we will just be back here all over again extending the restrictions. That is what we are concerned about.

Hancock said he was sure that four weeks would be sufficient. He’s said that before.

Steve Baker (Con) also intervened:

Is not the problem with the two-week checkpoint that it creates another moment of hope for people who still feel even these restrictions very acutely, and that if we create hope and then shift the goalposts again, people will continue to deepen their despair? What will he say to those people?

Hancock said the public understood the reasons for the delay.

After Hancock finished speaking, it was the turn of the Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth (Lab) to respond.

Ashworth largely agreed with the Government’s extension to Freedom Day, but he rightly posed questions, such as this one:

Will we continue wearing masks?

At which point, Desmond Swayne (Con), who wears a silk scarf instead of a mask, shouted:

No!

Steve Brine (Con), former Public Health minister, intervened, recalling a bad flu year:

The right hon. Gentleman is right: we had a battle royal with influenza in the first year that I was in the job, but the difference was that we did not have any non-pharmaceutical interventions. Our interventions were about the take-up of the vaccine—yes, for children as well as for adults, especially the vulnerable. One of our chief advisers, the deputy chief medical officer then, one Professor Chris Whitty, never suggested masks, let alone closing schools—just a really good roll-out of the flu vaccine. We lost 22,000 people that year. Never were those numbers rolled on BBC News; never did we know the R number, but there was a point where we accepted an element of risk in society. I guess that was the point of my earlier intervention on the hon. Gentleman: what element of risk is he prepared to accept? Because that is what it comes down to—our own mortality is part of the human condition.

Ashworth replied, in part:

I do not want to see it done by some of the wider restrictions and lockdowns that we have heard about. That is why I would be interested to know whether the Department has developed plans for restrictions this winter and whether the Secretary of State has been discussing that with Whitehall colleagues.

Mark Harper intervened again:

On the point about the restrictions, I know that those discussions are going on because I have seen documents from within Government with very detailed suggestions about what measures may continue. I asked the Secretary of State about this when he was in the Commons earlier this week, and he did not rule out bringing in restrictions this winter. That is partly why some Conservative Members are very concerned and why we are not going to vote for these regulations today. However, I want to take the right hon. Gentleman back to his comments on what Chris Hopson said about the fact that the NHS is very busy at the moment. There is a danger here. I am very sympathetic to colleagues who work in the NHS, who have done a fantastic job, but we cannot get to a point where we restrict and manage society in order to manage NHS waiting lists. That is not the right way round. The NHS is there to serve society. If we need to enable it to do that, we have to think of a way of doing it other than putting restrictions on the rest of society. That is not a sustainable or a desirable position, but it is the logical consequence of what Chris Hopson was saying earlier this month.

Here’s the video, which begins with Ashworth sitting down to give way to Harper:

Ashworth replied, beginning with this:

Even though we will find ourselves in different Lobbies this evening, I think there is more in common between us than perhaps one might expect. I do not want restrictions to remain in place for any longer than they need to. I want to move to a system where we are trying to push down covid infection rates by, yes, rolling out vaccination as far and as fast as possible to everybody, but also putting in place the proper framework so that those who are ill or a contact of someone who has been ill with covid is able to isolate themselves.

He took more interventions from Conservative MPs, then concluded:

The House is being asked to extend these restrictions, but there are a number of pressing issues. First, many of us have been contacted by business people in our constituencies who are deeply concerned about the extension of these restrictions. For my constituency in Leicester, which has been living under a form of restrictions more severe than other parts of the country, other than perhaps parts of Greater Manchester, this has been particularly devastating. I hope that the Government will be putting in place full support for businesses such as mine in Leicester and Greater Manchester and elsewhere.

The second issue, which we have touched on a little bit, is whether these restrictions will ever end, or whether the Prime Minister has trapped us in Hotel California, where we can never leave. He has talked about 19 July as the terminus date, but the explanatory notes themselves say that the four tests will apply on 19 July, and that these four weeks will be used to gather more data.

Hancock said later on that July 19 is still the terminus date and that data would be examined in two weeks’ time.

The general debate took off from there, with Sir Desmond Swayne (Con), the original rebel, the first to speak. He criticised SAGE and one of its members, Susan Michie, the Communist:

I never believed that it was proportionate, even from the outset, for Ministers to take such liberties with our liberty. I always thought that it was wrong for them to take our freedoms, even though they believed that they were acting in our best interests in an emergency, but by any measure that emergency has now passed and yet freedoms are still withheld and the Government will not allow us to assess for ourselves the risks that we are prepared to encounter in our ordinary, everyday lives. The Government do not trust the people whom they govern.

Many members of SAGE—a misnomer if ever there was one—have been out busily undermining public morale. One of them even shared her dystopian vision that we must all remain masked and distanced in perpetuity—a shocking, horrible prospect. The fact is that once the consequences of this virus in terms of their financial and health impacts have long been addressed, the moral impact will remain. The Government have set a disastrous precedent in terms of the future of liberty on these islands. I could understand it if we were a communist party, but this is the party that inherited the true wisdom of the Whig tradition. This is the party of Margaret Thatcher, who said that liberty was indivisible. This is the party that only recently elected a leader whom we believed was a libertarian. There is much on which we are going to have to reflect.

Here is the video of his remarks:

Smoking also came up in the debate:

Sir Charles Walker (Con), another early rebel, spoke. He wants a reform of SAGE. Excerpts follow:

I wish to try to be constructive about how we can improve SAGE. As you know, Mr Deputy Speaker, SAGE has huge power over our lives. It has power over whom we hug and hold. It has power over which businesses open and which businesses close. In essence, it has power over who keeps their job and who loses their job. We, too, in this place have great power, but our power is matched by accountability.

Accountability is very important in the exercising of power, so I want to suggest some reforms to SAGE—some quite technical reforms. First, there is a need for greater financial transparency from members of SAGE in line with that expected of Members of Parliament. For example, I think when we look at SAGE members, we should be able to see what their annual income is—not only from their substantive job, but from their pensions accrued or the pensions they might well be in receipt of. This is something that is freely available for all Members of Parliament. I think we should also know and constituents should know if they have any significant shareholdings in companies, in the same way that our constituents know if we have significant shareholdings in companies. We could also look at whether they get other forms of income—from rent, for example

in the case of young people, many SAGE experts say that young people should be working from home. We know that young people are now tied to their small kitchen table or in their bedroom in miserable environments—the new dark satanic mills—and working endless hours in appalling circumstances, because people with nice gardens and comfortable homes think that is what they should be doing.

There should also be far greater personal accountability. There should be no more, “Here is Sir Mark Walport—of SAGE, but here in a personal capacity”. Nonsense! He is there because he is a member of SAGE. We should also have elections to SAGE, so we could see Sir Mark Walport, Professor Susan Michie, John Edmunds and regular talking heads in our TV studios challenged by people with a different perspective—people such as Professor Karol Sikora, Professor Paul Dolan, who is an expert on human behaviour and quality of life, and Professor Ellen Townsend, who has a huge interest in the welfare of children and adolescents who are now being plagued by anxiety and eating disorders …

So here it is: full financial disclosure from members of SAGE and full elections, or they advise the Government, and if they do not want to do that, but want to advise TV studios, they do that, but they do not do both.

Here is the video of his speech in full:

Graham Stringer (Lab), also a rebel, spoke next. He rightly said that MPs do not have enough scientific data to make an informed decision about restrictions. Excerpts follow:

As ever, it is an honour to follow the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Sir Charles Walker). On his interesting point about SAGE, we could do with full disclosure from the Government about all the facts that they have available to them on covid. In the Science and Technology Committee this morning, we were told that vaccinations have saved 14,000 lives. I have no doubt that that is an accurate figure, but there are many figures that have not been given. As we said the last time we debated this issue, only one side of the equation is given. Let me ask this question: how many lives have been lost in order to save capacity in the NHS? When it comes to looking at people untested and untreated for cancer, heart disease and other diseases, we will find that the figures are of a similar, if not greater, magnitude than the number of people who have died from covid …

There is a great deal more information that we require in order to make a rational decision about whether the lockdown should continue. I agree with the right hon. Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) that what we have here is the Government asking for emergency powers when there is no longer an emergency

The Government have refused on a number of occasions to give out that information. They have run a campaign to scare people into accepting their decisions

One of the things that has annoyed me most in the last 15 months is when the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care say, “We instruct you”—meaning the population—“to do various things,” when there is nothing in the legislation that would give the Secretary of State or the Prime Minister the ability to instruct individuals. We live in a liberal democracy in which we pass laws that are enforced by the police, and then the courts make a decision if there is a prosecution, not one in which the Secretary of State acts like some kind of uniformed Minister of the Interior.

I will vote against the regulations today. We need a more direct debate on the issue and we need what Members have searched for—a straightforward comparison, with real statistics, of what risks everybody faces.

Steve Baker (Con) agreed with Mark Harper about society and the NHS:

I refer the House to the declarations that I have made relating to the Covid Recovery Group.

No one can deny the brilliance of the Government’s—the NHS’s—vaccination programme. By mid-April, the over-50s and the vulnerable had had their first vaccination, and overwhelmingly they have now had their second. That is reflected in the Office for National Statistics antibody data, which shows extraordinary levels for anyone over 50. Antibodies are there in that population, which is vulnerable to the disease.

That brings me to the best case that the Government could make for the regulations before the House, which is that the ability of the NHS to provide other healthcare could be compromised by admissions from a younger population, because a small percentage of a big number is still a big number. But the huge problem with that is that it concedes the point that our liberties can be used to manage the capacity of the NHS. I cannot concede that. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper) said, that is not the way in which we should be going as a society. If the restrictions that we are extending had been proposed for that purpose in the past, we would never have accepted them.

In Wycombe, people have of course been dutifully washing their hands, covering their faces and keeping social distancing rules, yet early in this pandemic, I remember one dear, sweet, older lady was beside herself with anxiety at the thought of having to go about her ordinary life with her face covered, and look at us now, taking it for granted. This is not normal. This is the dystopia that I stood here and forecast on the day we went into lockdown

One of the most important things that we have learned from Mr Cummings’ leaked WhatsApp messages is that it seems that the Government have been significantly influenced by polling. I fear we have had a real doom loop here between polling and policy making, which has driven us into a disastrous position. We now must not tolerate lockdowns being perpetually on the table. We must not tolerate a situation going on where we and the police are unclear about what the law is and how it should be applied. Imagine that you can hug but not dance—what madness is this? We cannot tolerate a situation any more in which a Government social scientist told the author of the book “A State of Fear” that the Government had used unethical techniques of behavioural science to deliver a policy which he said, in his own words, “smacks of totalitarianism”.

We have transformed this society for the worst. We have it put in place a culture and habits that will take years to shake off and that distance people from one another and diminish their quality of life and the quality of relationships that they have with one another. High streets are in danger of becoming haunted alleyways. We are in danger of hollowing out and destroying the entertainment industry—much of what makes life worth living. Today’s vote will go through—it is a foregone conclusion—but as my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) implied, if the Conservative party does not stand for freedom under the rule of law, in my view, it stands for nothing. We have got to have a turning point. We have got to recapture a spirit of freedom.

Mark Harper spoke later on, at which point the Labour benches were empty. It is important for Britons reading this post to look at what he has uncovered. The Government continue to be dishonest not only with MPs but also the public:

Well said!

Please also note the following about winter. Meanwhile, Democrat-run New York and California are now open:

May our merciful God help the UK out of this unholy mess.

On Monday, May 17, 2021, a number of interesting news items appeared.

World Economic Forum cancels 2021 meeting

The World Economic Forum, the brainchild of Klaus ‘The Great Reset’ Schwab, is cancelling their 2021 meeting in Singapore:

MoneyControl reports:

With COVID-19 cases surging across the globe, World Economic Forum on May 17 announced the cancellation of its annual meeting in Singapore.

The World Economic Forum has been preparing a Special Annual Meeting in Singapore, which was supposed to take place just three months from now. The next Annual Meeting will instead take place in the first half of 2022. Though final location and date will be determined based on an assessment of the situation later this summer …

“It was a difficult decision, particularly in view of the great interest of our partners to come together not just virtually but in person, and to contribute to a more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable world. But ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority,” WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab said.

The WEF event had already been rescheduled twice and had been moved to Singapore from its usual location of Davos, Switzerland. The event brings together politicians and business leaders from around the world.

Good news.

California can no longer lock down churches during coronavirus crisis

There’s more good news, this time from California. Governor Newsom can no longer issue coronavirus — and other — diktats preventing church worship:

LifeNews reports that:

a California District Court entered an order approving Liberty Counsel’s settlement of the lawsuit on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry against California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The full and final settlement was approved today the District Court and thus is the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship.

Once entered by the District Court, this full settlement will be the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship. Under the agreed state-wide permanent injunction, all California churches may hold worship without discriminatory restrictions.

Under the settlement, California may no longer impose discriminatory restrictions upon houses of worship. The governor must also pay Liberty Counsel $1,350,000 to reimburse attorney’s fees and costs.

The settlement references several Supreme Court opinions, including Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom, that include a long list of similar nonreligious activity the High Court set forth as comparable gatherings. These include grocery stores, warehouses, big box stores, transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, and much more. In other words, churches and places of worship may never again have discriminatory restrictions placed on them that are not equally applied to a long list of “critical infrastructure” or “essential services” as outlined in several Supreme Court precedents cited in the settlement agreement.

Excellent result.

Diner owner posts COVID-19 snitch list

Diner owner Craig Kenady of Washington State got tired of lockdown and decided to reopen his business, That One Place.

It wasn’t long before concerned Karens began complaining on Washington’s snitch site about the reopening. Kenady decided to print the list of complaints, complete with names, and post it at the entrance to his diner.

The town where he lives, Port Orchard, has a population of 13,000. Most people know each other.

PJ Media has the story, complete with photos, including the snitch list of complaints.

They also have excerpts of his interview with Seattle’s KIRO 7. He said:

The only motivation was is that I feel if they’re going to call and complain about us, then their neighbors deserve to know. We all, in our small community, deserve to know who we can trust or not.

That’s what started it. We felt that it was the right thing.

On Monday afternoon, Howie Carr interviewed him. Well worth a listen. Kenady has no regrets whatsoever.

Oxford University says imperial measurements must be ‘decolonised’

The Daily Mail reported that, in the aftermath of American-inspired protests last summer, Oxford University is in the process of decolonising certain aspects of its curriculum, including imperial measurements:

The University has suggested imperial measurements, including the mile, inch, pound and ounce, should be ‘decolonised’ due to its links to the British Empire.

Decolonising plans by Oxford’s maths, physics and life sciences departments suggest the teaching of the measurements in the curriculum may change, according to The Telegraph.

It comes after a pledge from Oxford’s vice-chancellor Louise Richardson to embed teaching on colonialism and the Empire into courses and ‘diversify’ the maths and life sciences curriculum.

The UK had these measurements long before it had an empire.

The libertarian site Spiked responded with this (emphases mine):

What British colonialism has to do with policing in 21st-century America is anyone’s guess. But this rage against imperial measurements is even more confusing. Imperial measurements, like all measurements, are simply a way of assessing distance, weight and height.

Just because they are called ‘imperial’ and were used in the British Empire doesn’t mean they are stained forever by racism. As one tweeter pointed out, the metric system is hardly without fault either in this regard, given it was spread around the world thanks to Napoleon’s imperial expansion.

The decolonisation movement presents itself as a serious intellectual and political endeavour. It isn’t. It is a project of historical offence-taking that is apparently without end. As the goings on at Oxford demonstrate, if you give these activists an inch they will take a mile.

Prince Harry deplores America’s First Amendment

Fox News carried a story about Prince Harry (great meme here) and his dislike of freedom of expression in the United States.

The article says:

Prince Harry is facing a wave of backlash after calling the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “bonkers” during a podcast appearance last week. 

The Duke of Sussex made the comments on an episode of Dax Shepard and Monica Padman’s “Armchair Expert” podcast … 

He specifically took issue with the paparazzi.

“I don’t want to start sort of going down the First Amendment route because that’s a huge subject and one in which I don’t understand because I’ve only been here a short period of time,” Harry said. “But, you can find a loophole in anything. And you can capitalize or exploit what’s not said rather than uphold what is said.”

“I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers,” he continued.

Harry’s comments ignited a wave of criticism online.

Fox News also included tweets about his interview.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) tweeted:

Nigel Farage rightly warned the prince about criticising America in an ill-advised way:

That’s true.

After Larry King retired from CNN, Piers Morgan took over his slot.

Once Piers Morgan began criticising the Second Amendment, his ratings tanked and the show was cancelled. Newsweek has the story, written after he was ousted from Good Morning Britain earlier this year:

The presenter hosted a CNN talk show from 2011 to 2014. In Piers Morgan Live (formerly known as Piers Morgan Tonight), he interviewed politicians, celebrities and members of the public.

His first guest in the prime-time slot—which was previously occupied by broadcasting giant Larry King, who died in January—was Winfrey.

Morgan’s show was canceled on February 23, 2014, after a run of disappointing ratings, which he blamed on his stance on divisive issues such as gun control.

“It’s been a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings,” Morgan told The New York Times at the time.

“Look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarising, and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,” he added. “That’s run its course.”

In the U.K. Morgan is also well known for being embroiled in a phone-hacking investigation—and for being sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror in 2004 over the publication of hoax pictures claiming to show British soldiers abusing an Iraqi prisoner.

He was interviewed by U.K. police officers investigating hacking in December 2013. CNN said this had no impact on its move two months later to axe his show.

The Sun reports the same:

While the show started off with respectable ratings, audience figures soon dropped, with some media outlets reporting that the British host failed to connect with an American audience.

Morgan struggled to match the ratings garnered by his predecessor, the Guardian reported.

By February 2014, viewership dropped to the lowest seen since he took over from King

CNN’s Allison Gollust said: “The decision had nothing to do with the hacking interview – not at all.”

The final episode of Piers Morgan Live aired on March 28, 2014.

Piers Morgan is still derided in both countries.

Prince Harry, take note.

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

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

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

Below are some of his latest and greatest tweets.

The 2020 results for the House

Six days after the 2020 election, he tweeted:

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

2020 election censorship

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

It reads in part (emphases mine):

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

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

NBC and CBS weren’t biased, were they?

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

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

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

Yes, Donald Trump is the Peace President:

I couldn’t agree more:

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus lockdowns

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

Yes, they do, indeed.

In August, he tweeted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCarthy retweeted this:

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

Civil rights

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

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

Oldies but goodies from 2018 up to 2020

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

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

California politics is part of this, too:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, Northam’s still there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCarthy refused to give it legitimacy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yesterday’s post summed up the week’s coronavirus news in the UK.

It was all rather interesting, ranging from vaccine distribution in Coventry to Sky News’s Kay Burley being sent to Coventry and back to London — for a six-month suspension. Gosh. Talk about ‘being sent to Coventry’, i.e. ostracised.

More snippets from this week follow in the coronavirus crisis.

Remember medical statistics history — Prof Carl Heneghan

Prof Carl Heneghan from Oxford warns that we should not forget statistics pre-Covid. Let us cast our minds back to one year ago, 2019:

Most respiratory infections have gone down from this time last year.

COVID-19 is the only new addition with a dramatic upward spike.

An American physician speaks out

Dr Brian Lenzkes, an internist from San Diego, California, offered an interesting thread on coronavirus censorship in the medical community.

But, first, let me begin with the following madness which he rightly exposed. Influenza has disappeared? Pull the other. A San Diego County health official says so — because people are wearing masks:

Yet, there are no tests for flu.

Dr Lenzkes has excellent tweets about diet and coronavirus, among them the following thread about censorship on the subject:

Note the fifth tweet:

Meanwhile, non-COVID patients are losing their well-being

In Britain, the National Health Service has become the National Covid Service (NCS).

Many patients with other serious conditions are losing out on critical care. This lady has lost her sight because of the NCS:

WHY?

Surely, after over 70 years, the NHS, sorry, NCS, can — and should — do much better.

Helen is only one of thousands who have gone without the care they needed.

The unvaccinated deserve nothing?

The chairman of the Oxted and Limpsfield (Surrey) RAFA — Royal Air Force Association — tweeted that those without the coronavirus vaccine should be denied service. In his opinion, there is no excuse:

Wow.

Many of us recall when the RAF fought for our freedom:

A London plumbing firm could mandate the vaccine for customers

Disappointingly, some service providers plan to discriminate against the unvaccinated.

This is Charlie Mullins, who heads London’s famous plumbing firm, Pimlico Plumbers. He gave this interview from his second home in Marbella:

Meanwhile, in Canada …

On Wednesday, December 9, the deputy premier of Ontario made a statement about coronavirus vaccines.

They are not mandatory, but if you don’t get vaccinated, your life will not return to normal:

However, the vaccine does not guarantee immunity

In any case, the vaccines do not guarantee immunity. They purport only to make the coronavirus episode less severe, much like the flu vaccine. Isn’t there a preventive solution, e.g. Vitamin D supplements, natural summer sunshine, a good diet, that could prevent the virus taking hold? I think we should be told:

In the US, overall death figures are low

Yes, despite what we read in the media, in 2020, the United States has a low overall death toll compared with previous years:

This woman is indignant over the lockdown(s) which have seen many shops in the Palisades Center in West Nyack, New York close (occasional language alert):

Londoners could be entering the dreaded Tier 3

The same nihilistic restrictions are going on in England, with the threat of London entering Tier 3.

This was yesterday’s headline in the London Evening Standard:

In conclusion

This is about the size of it. ‘Submit and obey’? Not on your Nelly:

Let’s remember:

In conclusion, the aforementioned Dr Lenzkes quoted the late Rod Serling from the original Twilight Zone:

It’s interesting that some did not think the warnings were strong enough:

Rod Serling and others warned the way they were able to do — based on their knowledge at the time.

Why do we ignore history?

Thanksgiving bloglibumneduHappy Thanksgiving to all my American readers … 

… wherever you might be experiencing lockdown.

I wish all of you a good day, however different it might be in 2020.

Lately, I’ve been watching Howie Carr every weekday on YouTube to find out how the election results are going.

Even now, Joe Biden is not yet president-elect. For the media, he is more like the president-select (all credit to Howie).

President Trump still occupies that spot, at least until January 2021, at least.

As I wrote this post, he rightly had a go at General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis:

He highlighted Wisconsin’s suspicious election results …

… and pointed out a fact about the 27 House races that notional experts said Republicans would lose. Republicans won all 27:

He rightly celebrated the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching 30,000 for the first time in history. Never let it be said that this was Joe Biden’s doing. It was Donald Trump’s policies that made this beautiful record landmark possible.

This is the ninth stock market record in 2020 and the 48th of the Trump administration:

President Trump pardoned the Thanksgiving turkey, a tradition that began in the 1860s during Abraham Lincoln’s administration when his son made friends with a turkey the Lincolns were planning to eat for Thanksgiving.

This year, a beautiful bird, Corn, came from Ames, Iowa, with his friend Cob — Corn and Cob, corncob — for the ceremony. They returned to Ames afterwards with the farmer who bred them:

Now back to Howie Carr, who also covers the latest coronavirus news on a daily basis.

Pity Americans who have to put up with Dr Anthony Fauci. Even Britons roll their eyes at his advice.

A disgusted English friend of mine scorned Fauci’s ‘don’t kill Granny’ advice. I shook my head at ‘a quarter of a million deaths’, which were revised downward drastically during the summer as being deaths with COVID and not of COVID. There’s a big difference:

Back to the ‘killing Granny’ narrative — this is the other side of the story for many elderly with younger family members:

Too right.

Here’s another choice morsel from Fauci:

I would love to know what Fauci is doing for Thanksgiving, but he doesn’t have a Twitter account and it is too painful listening to his idiocy.

As I write on Tuesday, Howie has been reading out the American resistance to lockdowns and restrictions from news articles. These detail how the great and the good have been dictating, sometimes under penalty of law, how people like you and me should live our lives with an illness that has the same fatality rates as the flu. Note that this does not mean coronavirus is synonymous with flu.

Never mind Fauci. American governors have become more brazen and authoritarian with every passing day, no more so than at one of the sacrosanct, inviolable national holidays: Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated this year on Thursday, November 26.

Let us make the rounds, coast to coast, to see what these governors have been doing, starting on what used to be known as the Eastern seaboard.

Massachusetts

Republican — actually, RINO — governor Charlie Baker (Joe Biden calls him Charlie Parker) has been issuing various prohibitions for ages.

This is his advice to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (as it is officially known) for Thanksgiving, the kick-off to the holiday season, which ends in the US on New Year’s Day. I enjoyed the response to Baker’s advice — well said:

New York

Let’s move somewhat south to New York State.

Howie Carr plays the best clips of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo’s monologues sound as if they are clips from horror movies until Howie says that they’re the governor’s pronouncements. Scary.

I don’t have any of those audio clips, but Cuomo’s tweets about Thanksgiving are unintentionally amusing.

Before I go there, however, let’s look back to the beginning of the month, two days before the election on Tuesday, November 3.

There was a massive Trump car rally on the bridge named for his father, Mario Cuomo.

As far as I am concerned, the Governor Mario M Cuomo Bridge will always be the TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE.

This was held in the rain. I embraced the enthusiasm and wished I could have been there:

The current Gov Cuomo, a Dem, as was his father, does not like the fact that President Trump has been able to announce two coronavirus vaccines:

On Friday, November 20, a group of business owners in Buffalo, upstate near Canada, told sheriffs and one or more notional health inspectors to get lost.

Gateway Pundit reported, in part, that the business owners were in a gym. Gyms are/were currently closed because of the Chi-vi (emphases mine below):

Business owners in Buffalo, New York fed up with Cuomo’s authoritarian Covid lockdown orders asserted their Constitutional rights and kicked out sheriffs and “health inspectors” on Friday night.

50 business owners gathered inside of a shuttered gym in Buffalo, New York Friday night when two sheriffs and a so-called ‘health inspector’ showed up to harass the group in response to an “anonymous tip.”

The business owners shouted down and kicked out the health inspector and the told the sheriffs to come back with a warrant.

Well done!

The story comes from the Buffalo News.

This brings us to Thanksgiving.

Cuomo warned New Yorkers to stay at home within their own households, so much so that the New York Post reported that there are big window decals with a photo of Cuomo snooping in people’s homes, accompanied by an image of a turkey.

Interestingly, the company that makes the decals is also located in Buffalo:

One upstate company wants Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be the biggest turkey at your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

The Buffalo-based design firm Custom 716 is selling stickers of the governor’s face that can be put on a window to make it look like Cuomo is peering inside — presumably to make sure not too many people are there to celebrate the holiday this year.

The sticker is a clear way of ripping Cuomo for demanding that New York families avoid gathering in large groups for the holiday out of fears of spreading COVID-19.

“Great for all gatherings, sure to get laughs, great for your business or your home!” they write about the $10 sticker on their firm’s website.

“$10 and I will mail it to you for free, or pick up is available. Located in North Tonawanda, NY,” the description reads, offering a promo code allowing customers to bypass the $8.05 shipping and handling fee.

Cuomo has been begging New Yorkers to spend Turkey Day alone, warning the coronavirus’s rapid spread has increased in part thanks to small, indoor gatherings in recent months as the weather has turned slightly chillier.

“It’s your family, it’s your home, it’s your table — these are all environments where you feel safe and that’s the beauty of Thanksgiving,” he said during a phone conference briefing with reporters Thursday.

“Your safe zone is not a safe zone, your safe zone is dangerous this year.”

When you hear the audio of him saying that (thanks to Howie), it sends chills down the spine.

Fortunately:

politicians and law enforcement agents across the state … argue it’s nearly impossible to enforce caps on indoor, private gatherings.

At the time, Cuomo included himself in that diktat:

However, a few days later, Andrew Cuomo announced big plans for a family get together. Hmm, interesting:

Here’s a tweet, including a photo of the snoop decal from Buffalo. Note the ‘for thee, but not for me’ response from someone living in Governor Pritzker’s fiefdom of Illinois (see below):

Howie Carr said on Tuesday, November 24 that Cuomo got so much blow back from New Yorkers that his family’s plans for a communal turkey dinner changed. One of his daughters would not be attending (H/T Gateway Pundit):

Aww.

Also:

His daughter, wearing a tee shirt with ‘New York tough’ emblazoned across it, tweeted:

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo abruptly canceled his Thanksgiving plans Monday, less than two hours after revealing he planned to spend the holiday with his mother and two of his daughters.

During a radio interview Monday around 3:45 p.m., Cuomo revealed his “current plan” for the holiday: His 89-year-old mother, Matilda, and two of his three daughters, Michaela and Cara, are planning on joining him in Albany.

By 5:30 p.m., Cuomo nixed the gathering entirely.

Good.

Hypocrisy is most unbecoming.

New Jersey

Just west of New York, across the Hudson River, New Jersey’s governor Phil Murphy was accosted by angry diners when he was eating out with his family and appearing without a mask. New Jersey has had a particularly arduous lockdown.

Remember, Phil Murphy won’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from. The taxpayers are footing his bill:

Murphy, who, Howie Carr says, attended the same high school and college as Massachusetts’s Charlie Baker, is still trying to frighten his state’s residents:

His wife is at it, too:

I couldn’t agree more about the gaslighting.

North Carolina

Moving several hundred miles south, North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper approves of business closures in Greensboro:

On Monday, November 23, he issued a Thanksgiving sermonette on the ‘stay at home’ theme, most of which follows. Like the UK, he has a colour-based ‘tier’ designation:

With that sort of warning, what North Carolina resident could possibly want to go through with (gasp) a family or friend oriented Thanksgiving dinner?

Amazingly, people in North Carolina have not been able to attend church — or any sort of celebration — for nine months. He has the nerve to tell them to keep it up ‘just a bit longer’ — for November 2021. Good grief:

Governor Cooper has even better news for the run-up to Christmas:

Excellent response.

Illinois

Let’s travel around 1,000 miles northwest to Illinois.

Governor JB Pritzker comes from a family of real estate moguls. As one would expect, he can escape Illinois, lovely as it is, to take a break at family properties elsewhere.

Last summer, he defied his own executive order to take part in a protest in Chicago. Pritzker is the man in the blue and white checked shirt in the second photo below:

More recently, Howie Carr said that Pritzker’s immediate family have been spotted at their Florida farm which has horses that his children can ride. Howie, now a Florida resident, lives in the vicinity.

Hmm.

A Republican congressman from Illinois called out Pritzker:

Someone replied:

Fortunately, Pritzker’s and Illinois’s directives, such as these …

… are being ignored. Just look at Chicago’s O’Hare airport:

Well done!

Gee, 20 years on, the TSA still have their checkpoint. Why didn’t President Trump ever repeal the Patriot Act? ‘There’s a there there’, no doubt.

For those Illinois residents who will not be travelling for Thanksgiving, there is no absolution if you live in Chicago. On November 15, a spokeswoman from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said, ‘You are the problem; you are putting everyone at risk’ (see the 11-second mark):

Yet, anecdotally, the vast majority of Chicagoans are wearing masks:

Speaking of masks:

Chicago — the Windy City — which is also darned chilly at this time of year, is pushing OUTDOOR dining in a TWO-sided tent!

You could not make this advice up:

As for Thanksgiving dinners, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has cancelled them. She is pictured in the photo above with Governor Pritzker at a June 2020 protest. Note that CNN has not shown the official US COVID-19 death count, which is still at ‘with’ + ‘of’, as it was last summer:

Interestingly, during lockdown in April, Madame Mayor felt compelled to get her hair cut when she had told ordinary Chicagoans that hairdressing was non-essential. See the Daily Mail report from April 12, complete with photo of her with her hairdresser, no social distancing required.

Washington

Let’s leave the Midwest for the West Coast, starting in the most northern state, Washington, home to Seattle, the site of much summer mayhem.

Governor Jay Inslee, who did not oppose said summer mayhem, is now telling Washington residents not to get together for Thanksgiving. This advert is unbelievable:

COVID-19 can find you everywhere! Woo-oo!

Inslee thanks Washington residents for not celebrating one of America’s two most historic holidays this year. The reply is excellent:

Oregon

The state immediately south of Washington is Oregon.

There Governor Kate Brown is all in for the deadly coronavirus narrative, especially at Thanksgiving:

On Monday, November 23, she asked for Oregonians to snitch on each other at Thanksgiving.

Hot Air has the story, first reported in the Washington Times. Reporter Jazz Shaw says:

I guess nobody told Oregon Governor Kate Brown about the old rule regarding snitches and stitches. With the holidays fast approaching and an increasing number of citizens growing tired of government mandates forbidding them from gathering with friends and family to celebrate, Brown is concerned that people may simply ignore her orders and gather around the feast table anyway. So what’s an autocratic executive to do? The answer is as simple as pumpkin pie. She’d like people to keep an eye out for large gatherings in their neighborhood and call the police if they see any suspiciously large, turkey-related activity going on. That’s an idea that’s sure to put everyone in the holiday spirit, right? (Washington Times)

This must be one of the snottiest adverts about family ever made. See what you think. A photo of the governor follows (she’s not the one with the pink gloves):

Let us not forget that Portland has had mayhem going on since June. Every doggone night for months on end:

California

The most blatant nose-thumbing has come from California’s governor Gavin Newsom, who with the co-operation of mayors and county officials has kept the Golden State under lockdown for most of the year, with most counties at the top two highest tier levels during that time.

The status holds true, if not worse, even now:

Meanwhile, Governor Newsom has been releasing prisoners sporadically because they are in danger of catching COVID-19. Forget about law-abiding citizens:

One used to think California voters were being silly in continuing to vote in Democrats.

However, in recent years, a growing number of Americans think that Democrats have won so many elections because of voter fraud:

With regard to the curfew, at least one protest took place. This is from Huntington Beach:

Protests last summer in the state were acceptable to most, but the anti-lockdown and anti-curfew ones attract comment. Fortunately, some can discern the truth:

Newsom has seemingly bought into the mask narrative, even though that policy has not improved his state’s figures:

Exactly. Probably more adjusted statistics. We have them in the UK, too.

However, right now, more Californians are interested in Newsom’s social life during lockdown:

With regard to masks …

No one cares that the Newsom family is self-isolating for a fortnight:

The tweets kept coming and coming:

Newsom isn’t alone, it seems, in rule breaking. Is this the California state legislature? Yes, it is:

By the way, masks are probably not a good conversational topic for Thanksgiving. See this brief exchange:

But I digress.

The three-star French Laundry in Yountville (Napa Valley) is one of the world’s most famous restaurants.

In the 1920s, it was used as a French steam laundry, hence the name.

In the 1970s, the then-mayor of Yountville Don Schmitt and his wife Sally turned the building into a restaurant.

In 1994, the French chef Thomas Keller bought the restaurant and made it into the legend it is today.

Friends invited Gavin Newsom to the French Laundry for a birthday celebration on November 6 during California’s lockdown.

Talk about ‘for me, but not for thee’.

The Daily Caller reported:

Photos show the maskless governor of California dining indoors at one of the highest rated restaurants in the world despite his restrictive coronavirus guidelines for the citizens of California.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom can be seen dining at the Michelin-starred French Laundry on the evening of November 6, according to photos obtained by Fox LA. The restaurant, located in California’s Napa Valley, is considered “the pinnacle of California dining” and has been ranked the best restaurant in the world numerous times, according to various outlets.

Newsom has said the restaurant was outdoors, but FoxLA reported that the room’s glass sliding doors had been closed, making the dinner party indoors. Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The group was so loud that customers complained:

“While we were there we realized there was a very loud party going on in a room 20 feet from us,” the woman who took the photos told FoxLA. “It was a bit annoying since you’re spending hard-earned money to go there. It got louder and louder and so they had some sliding glass doors that they were able to close, so then it was a closed-off room but you could still hear them with how loud they were.”

She continued: “I just happened to look over and realize hey is that Gavin Newsom, who is that? And I did ask one of the waitresses and she confirmed it was, so I was able to take a couple of photos, I was able to document this especially since nobody was wearing a mask. It was a very large group of people shoulder to shoulder, something that he’s always telling us not to do so yeah it was a bit annoying for sure.”

Newsom has urged California residents to wear face masks “in between bites” at restaurants and announced Monday that California is “pulling an emergency brake” and mandating the most restrictive tier of coronavirus restrictions for more than two dozen California counties

The governor also warned that he would announce more COVID restrictions Friday ahead of Thanksgiving.

Newsom apologized Tuesday for attending the dinner party, calling it a “bad mistake” and saying that he became uncomfortable after arriving when he realized that the group was larger than he expected, according to FoxLA.

But the woman who took the photos said Newsom did not appear uncomfortable.

“I was surprised because it didn’t look like he was uncomfortable being there until the very end until people were looking at him and staring at him as he was leaving the room,” she told FoxLA.

Not surprisingly, the dinner made a splash in California’s media:

A few days ago, the California IBank had the nerve to tweet this. I applaud the reply:

That is so true.

Words fail me.

On Thanksgiving, when in doubt, eat more and add more butter.

I hope that those celebrating Thanksgiving can enjoy their dinner the best they can — with hearty gratitude. (Things could always be worse.)

That’s Paul-ine (not as in the female name Pauline), reminiscent of the Apostle Paul.

By resisting California’s local and state government, the Revd John MacArthur is walking into St Paul’s territory.

When I last wrote about the travails of Pastor MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, he was still in battle with Los Angeles County. That was in mid-August.

His and his church’s fortunes have not improved since then.

Before going into Grace Community Church’s struggle in detail, an unfortunate situation has resulted from the coronavirus. This is universal and separate, going on throughout Western countries.

It might have happened by accident or by design, through lockdown.

However, the unchurched or the formerly-churched who wished to find comfort and succour in a church community because of a pandemic were unable to do so because of lockdown.

Some Christians often say, ‘Church is everywhere you look or what you make of it personally. If you don’t, it’s your own fault’.

Those from a Calvinist tradition strongly maintain that church is not a building. The Church of Scotland holds to that tenet. Their attitude is: ‘Lockdown? So what?’ Someone from the PCA (Presbyterian Church of America) lambasted John MacArthur here a few weeks ago.

For the rest of us, however, that belief does not hold true. In fact, not being able to worship in person in community, particularly at a difficult time, can be deeply unsettling at a time when people feel the desire for a spiritual — and physical — connection more than ever.

RedState, much improved since the departure of Erick Erickson, posted an article by Kira Davis: ‘The Church Has Spectacularly Failed the COVID Test … and the Faithful’.

Ms Davis met up with a friend of hers in California. Her friend was clearly upset about not being able to go to church during lockdown. She said she thought perhaps she was having a crisis of faith.

Ms Davis diagnosed her friend’s problem differently (emphases mine below):

Listening to her in person made me realize a couple of things. For one, she wasn’t really expressing a loss of faith. She was expressing a loss of connection. Having suddenly been disconnected from all the things that kept her grounded and the community that regularly helped her explore her relationship with God, she was left floating without an anchor.

The second thing I realized is that people are suffering under lockdowns much more than we may think. My friend has a beautiful family and they’ve been able to continue working through COVID shutdowns. She has a lot to be thankful for and on the outside she might strike one as very adjusted. That is the veneer she — like many of us — has had to adopt in order to keep life as normal as possible for her children.

Davis rightly chose to put the blame where it properly lies — with our clergy. I don’t live in the United States, but even those of us in other Western countries have experienced limitations on our fellowship. In England, at least, we need to sign in to attend a religious service, wear face coverings, observe social distancing, bring our own liturgical printouts/Bibles, realise we mustn’t sing and remember to greet from a two-metre distance.

At least we can worship indoors.

In California, the state mandates outside worship, more on which later:

Church leadership has fooled itself into believing that YouTube services and drive-by food donations count as “serving” the community. Even as churches begin to accept limited permission from the state to meet, we have to make reservations and worship outside in order to enjoy the privilege of religious freedom.

Our world is currently burning around us. There are no answers to the current state of our national angst without the Church and yet the Church has voluntarily put on a muzzle. People are desperate for answers, even more desperate for connection. These are the two things we are best at.

Too right!

During normal times — the rest of our lives, bar 2020 — priests and pastors have been telling us that we must attend church for the state of our souls:

Every pastor will tell you at one point or another that we humans are born with a God-shaped hole in our hearts and we spend our entire lives searching to fill it.

Yep. Except when there’s a pandemic.

During this crisis, those same clergy — men and women– have scurried from sight, just when so many of us need them:

There are a lot of holey hearts out there right now. Space abhors a vacuum. Something will fill those empty spaces and the Church has been willingly sidelined. We no longer have community — our most powerful draw — to offer. What is left to fill the vacuum? Rage without resolution, bitterness without forgiveness, punishment without grace. Alcohol, drugs, loneliness, resentmentall of these things are filling those lost empty hearts out there without much challenge from the institutions God has appointed to lead and to serve.

With John MacArthur in mind, Davis then zeroes in on the current conflict between Church and State. She nails it perfectly:

Whatever their personal feelings about John MacArthur may be, California churches should be supporting his move to defy a state authority that has thwarted our human and constitutional right to assemble and worship. Every Sunday, we’ve heard our pastors proudly and loudly share stories of how Jesus was a revolutionary, a direct conduit of the counter culture of the Kingdom. We brag about this aspect of our God, even as we cower before state authorities who have no interest in keeping our tax-exempt sanctuaries thriving because God…the Church…is always and always has been direct competition to the gods of the state. We don’t even pay them taxes. We are worthless to them and it is beyond tragic how our pastoral leadership has, for the most part, confirmed as much.

She concludes:

The specter of losing our church properties to fines or penalties scares us more than our brethren (people like my friend) losing their faith and their communities. It is not lost on me that Peter obviously later redeemed himself by becoming one of the most influential Christians in human history. It is also not lost on me that the ultimate price Peter paid for his eventual obedience to the name of Jesus was to be crucified in an extraordinarily brutal fashion.

California church leaders aren’t even willing to incur a fine in the name of Jesus.

Nope.

Fortunately, at the age of 81, with a full life of ministry dating back to the late 1960s, John MacArthur has decided to don St Paul’s mantle.

No doubt, he and his godly wife Patricia have prayed together over this issue since July.

On September 16, MacArthur told Laura Ingraham of Fox News that he and his church were still under threat of fines or imprisonment. He said, ‘Bring it on’:

That day, RedState‘s Alex Parker compared him to Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry in The Enforcer: ‘Pastor John MacArthur Backs Down Not an Inch: If California Wants to Jail Him, “Bring It On”‘. Citations follow below.

It’s hard not to cheer along with the congregation at this announcement of his from August 9, because the only legitimate way to assemble en masse these days is through ‘peaceful protest’:

Returning to his interview with Laura Ingraham, he expressed his deep admiration for Paul the Apostle:

We received a letter with a threat that we could be fined or I could go to jail for a maximum of six months. Of course, my biblical hero apart from the Lord Jesus Christ is the apostle Paul, and when he went into a town, he didn’t ask what the hotel was like, he asked what the jail was like because he knew that’s where he was gonna spend his time. So I don’t mind being a little apostolic if they want to tuck me in a jail.

He also reminded Ingraham and her audience of the COVID-19 figures and the absurdity of prohibiting state-wide public worship:

We believe that the governor, the county, the city, and the health department are going against the Constitution,” MacArthur said in the Tuesday night appearance on Fox News. “And just to remove one obvious question, the rate of COVID in California is 1/100 of 1%. So 1/100 of 1% of 40 million people have COVID and that eliminates freedom to worship from the entire state.

He told Ingraham that President Trump is also on his side. Excellent news, even if MacArthur is self-avowedly apolitical:

I am so thankful that President Trump has told me personally that he supports the church as essential and the churches need to stay open. So, with the Constitution on our side and the president’s backing, we’re open.

A few days earlier, on Sunday, September 13, MacArthur appeared at the pulpit to resounding, if not deafening, applause and cheers. If you had heard only the audio, you would have thought that President Trump were standing there.

MacArthur had a long list of demands from the State of California to read to his congregation:

He thanked them and said, by way of compliment:

You people are out of control. Thank you, thank you.

The requirements follow.

Keep in mind that thousands of worshippers attend Grace Community Church each Sunday:

– No indoor meetings;

– Registration of every person on church property;

– Screening and temperature checks upon entry;

– Six feet of social distancing mandated, including in the car park and in restrooms;

– Every other parking space must be left vacant;

– Everyone must be masked;

– Restrooms must have monitors;

– Floors must have tape markings;

– Restrooms to be used during the service, rather than afterwards to prevent queues;

– Hymnbooks, Holy Communion and Bibles are forbidden;

– No one can shake hands;

– Mandatory seat covers must be in place;

– Services must be shortened (congregation laughs);

– Worship must take place in a tent with a maximum of 350 people;

Anyone who comes in contact with someone outside of their family afterwards for more than 15 minutes must self-quarantine for two weeks.

A lot of those sound like what we have in England.

MacArthur concluded:

Obviously, this is not constitutional but, more importantly, it goes against the will of the Lord of the Church.

On Thursday, September 24, Ryan Helfenbein of the Falkirk Center interiewed John MacArthur at length (26 minutes). This is the second of a two-part series on COVID-19 and the Church:

Ryan Hefelbein asks him about his critics decrying his reopening of Grace Community Church.

MacArthur says that Scripture says that the members of the Church are called out to meet together. There is no such thing as an ungathered church.

The notion that the church is scattered is an un-scriptural belief:

That is a foolish statement to make.

MacArthur and his legal counsel had appeared in court that day — September 24 — and presented the enduring infinitesimally low statistic of contracting, let alone dying from, coronavirus, especially between the ages of 30 and 60:

On the basis of statistics alone, this [lockdown] is completely arbitrary.

He says that, even though he is cautious, he believes that whether we live or die depends upon the:

purposes of God.

MacArthur says that his mission in life is to make sure that as many people as possible hear the word of God.

He said that there was only one person, a physician, who had COVID-19. The doctor recovered.

As such, word got around the congregation. MacArthur said that many wondered if the alarm surrounding the pandemic was justified. Through nothing of his own doing, people began to return to church. That would have been in July. Prior to that, he and his assistants had been doing online worship broadcasts in several different languages.

He said:

The Church should never close its doors.

He spoke about the irony of our clergy lauding the heroes of the Reformation (Martin Luther, John Knox), yet they will never run that risk of being in danger — especially surrounding a virus. He pulled a face, disapprovingly.

He took exception to the vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris comparing COVID-19 to the Second World War:

Last I knew, no one was bombing LA.

Nice one!

MacArthur said that more and more people have been attending his church’s services every week. That’s probably because there is nowhere else for them to worship normally.

He dismissed ‘conspiracy theorists’ but posited an ongoing ‘conspiracy’ in California and elsewhere in the West — pre-COVID — undoing the tenets of the Gospel as expressed in the Book of Romans:

This culture has done a massive work on destroying the law of God in the heart.

He said that the only remaining bulwark is the Church, but, that, too, has been restrained, not only this year but over the past few decades:

What the hell is going to keep this culture from going to Hell at warp speed?

He said that the only solution is to:

keep preaching, living godly lives, confronting these things

Ryan Helfenbein asked if the coronavirus had changed him.

He replied that, no, it hadn’t. The word of God and his ministry had not changed. Yet, the culture has certainly changed.

Incredibly, he ventured into politics, which is somewhat of an unknown frontier for him, because in past sermons he says he was not interested in the subject. Yet, today, he says that the parties have divided along moral lines (19 minutes in):

For a Christian, a real Christian, I do not believe they can vote Democratic …

Not only do Christians have to uphold righteousness, they must take the side of those that uphold religious righteousness … God wants you to take the stand for righteousness’s sake …

He reiterated not to vote for a platform — the Democrats’ — which goes against God’s will as expressed in the Bible:

Certainly not to vote for that, otherwise you have complicityMurder and perversion is not an option for a Christian on any level. I think it’s come down to that.

He says that the Republican platform — not necessarily the personal lives of their candidates — is on the side of biblical morality.

True to form, MacArthur has a can of Fresca by his side on the desk. He loves Fresca. So did my late maternal grandmother.

Fresca has a weird taste, but if you grew up with it, as I did, it brings back fond memories.

Returning to a serious note, MacArthur reminds us that Jesus Christ is King of Kings and the Ruler of the world. MacArthur warns us about the different forms of wrath that can be wrought against a culture.

In Romans 1:24-26 and 28, he says, that God will deliver persistent sinners unto their own devices: serious sin, including sexual immorality. Essentially, God gave them over to a ‘reprobate mind’ i.e, insanity.

He believes that, by and large, we are now ‘in a reprobate mind’ — not all of us, but too many — and that God has unleashed judgement. However, MacArthur says the judgement is temporary, provided that we, as a people, repent.

MacArthur ended by saying:

The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

Part 1 of the interview is here.

Yesterday, I saw the following tweet on Guido Fawkes, Britain’s top website for all things political.

He rarely tweets about President Trump or MAGA, so I was intrigued:

Naturally, I went to read Guido’s post, which simply featured this 3:37-minute long video:

Ricky Rebel and his team of talent, including The Deplorable Choir, defused hostility and turned it into a rousing dance party in the streets:

On AUG 22, 2020, a violent #BlackLivesMatter mob swarmed the Trump Unity Bridge in Beverly Hills. The Trump Unity Bridge responded to #BLM with a DANCE OFF to their unifying theme song MAGA / YMCA!

They rewrote the lyrics to the Village People’s YMCA to fit the positive unity of Trump supporters. The lyrics are in the video. Stay tuned until the end to read the clever credits, which are also in the YouTube description.

This is great fun to watch — and gutsy.

That’s the way to do it. Well done!

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