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For the last week and a half, the biggest news in the US presidential election has been Hunter Biden’s laptop.

This is the October Surprise, the bombshell that breaks during a general election year in the United States.

Around April 12, 2019, Joe Biden’s son Hunter dropped off a laptop at a repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware. The owner sent him an invoice after repairing the device.

Hunter Biden never picked up the laptop. Nor did he pay the bill.

As is usual with most things dropped off for repair, the law stipulates that the shop owner can take possession of them. Delaware law says this happens after 90 days. Sometime afterwards, the owner began looking at the contents.

Larry C Johnson, who knows the owner’s father, has an excellent story on Gateway Pundit about what happened next. A summary follows.

As news emerged about Ukraine later that year, the owner was alarmed by the contents on the laptop. He contacted his father, a decorated Vietnam veteran, for advice. His father said that the FBI needed to know about the laptop.

In September, the owner travelled to New Mexico with the evidence. There, he went to the FBI. The FBI were not interested.

The owner returned home. Nothing happened for two months, then he received a visit from the FBI office in Wilmington, Delaware. The owner offered to give them the hard drive, but they did not take it. Two weeks later, they returned to serve him with a subpoena, with which he complied. He also gave them the hard drive and the laptop.

However, he had previously made a copy of the hard drive. After not having heard anything more from the FBI, he contacted the office of former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, to offer a copy of the hard drive to him. Giuliani accepted the offer and shared the contents with the New York Post.

It turns out that not only is there information on Biden’s business dealings, including mentions of his father, but also some horrific videos that few people have seen because they are that shocking.

Rudy Giuliani has been giving interviews about the laptop. He and a small group of people have seen the contents.

This is from last Thursday, October 15:

He gave an interview to Steve Crowder the next day:

At the weekend, the New York Post (NYP) came out with a number of exposés about the contents of the laptop.

President Trump approved:

On Friday, October 17, the NYP reported Joe Biden’s reaction to those exposés (more here):

It wasn’t ’til 7:45 p.m. Friday at the Detroit airport that the former vice president briefly stopped for questions and CBS reporter Bo Erickson asked about the damning emails found on Hunter’s laptop, which was abandoned last April at a Mac repair shop.

“I have no response,” snapped Joe. “Another smear campaign. Right up your alley.”

A video of Joe’s remarks on Erickson’s Twitter account has been viewed 6 million times.

The left-leaning media outlets claim the story is ‘Russian disinformation’:

Russian disinformation? This is how the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, etc., run protection for the Biden campaign. They have ignored or maligned our stories, and claimed the emails were “hacked.”

Another NYP report said that Facebook and Twitter censored the paper’s article on the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine. True, they did:

The Post obtained a 2015 email indicating that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, thanked Hunter Biden for “giving an opportunity” to meet his father, who was then serving as vice president under Barack Obama.

The elder Biden has previously said he has “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”

The controversy further escalated after Facebook and Twitter began cracking down on the spreading of the article on social media.

“While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone tweeted Wednesday. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”

Twitter claimed in a statement that it had taken action against the article in keeping with the company’s “Hacked Materials Policy” and prevented users from sharing the report. The company rolled back its overzealous crackdown amid backlash, which included a mea culpa from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

The Gateway Pundit reminded readers of their 2019 report about a press conference that a Ukranian parliamentarian held regarding a second laptop with information connected to the Bidens (emphasis in the original):

Ukrainian Pariamentarian Andriy Derkach (pictured) held a much publicized press conference last October in Ukraine.

In his press conference Derkach revealed that Joe Biden was paid $900,000 for lobbying efforts from Burisma Holdings in Ukraine.

Derkach even brought charts and images as proof during his presentation.

This is the same organization that paid Hunter Biden over $50,000 a month to sit on their board in an obvious pay-for-play maneuver.

Cristina Laila reported on this development back in October last year…

Fox News came out with news about Biden’s ties to China, also censored on social media:

Then there was the Daily Mail story on Hunter Biden’s alleged connections with Kazakhstan. Their reporter, Guy Adams, wrote (emphases mine):

in 2014, when Joe, as Vice President, was helping to implement U.S. policy in Ukraine, Hunter took a highly-paid job with a Ukranian energy company called Burisma (of which more later).

Around the same time, he built murky and contentious connections with Russia, helping his investment advisory firm Rosemont Seneca receive some $3.5m from the billionaire widow of former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhov (best known on these shores for once donating £138,000 to Sadiq Khan’s Mayor’s Fund for London).

Then there was a somewhat dubious episode in China, where Hunter arranged for an entrepreneur called Jonathan Li, with whom he was setting up an investment fund, to hold a meeting (and enjoy a very public handshake) with Joe in a Beijing hotel lobby during an official visit.

Such ventures, in regions of the world hardly known for their probity, have always smelled distinctly whiffy. So what, then, ought we to make of the revelation that, when his father was Vice President, Biden Jr was doing business in a fourth cash-soaked but highly corrupt country?

Namely: Kazakhstan.

The Mail can reveal that between 2012 and 2014, Hunter worked as a sort of go-between for Kenes Rakishev, a self-styled ‘international businessman, investor and entrepreneur’ with close family connections to the kleptocratic regime of his homeland’s despotic former president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

(Nazarbayev is a name readers may be familiar with: he’s the dictator famed for taking Prince Andrew on occasional goose hunts.)

Emails passed to this newspaper via anti-corruption campaigners from the Central Asian country reveal that Biden Jr held extensive meetings with Rakishev, who was looking to invest a portion of his personal fortune in New York and Washington DC. He also travelled to the Kazakh capital of Astana to hold business discussions.

Hunter Biden then attempted to persuade Rakishev to buy into a Nevadan mining company, brokering a series of meetings with the firm, before convincing him to invest a cool million dollars with Alexandra Forbes Kerry, the film-maker daughter of Democrat Senator and former Presidential candidate John Kerry.

Rakishev, who wrote messages in broken English, appears to have become intimate with the Vice President’s son, calling Hunter ‘my brother!’ and ‘my brother from another mother!’.

They shared gossip about their family holidays and dined together at luxury restaurants in New York and Washington DC (‘I’m on vacation with family [at] Lake Michigan . . . trying to spend some much needed time with my wife and daughters. It’s my 20th anniversary of marriage tomorrow,’ Hunter told Rakishev in July 2013).

It may even be that Joe Biden himself was dragged into the oligarch’s orbit. An unverified photograph, published on the website of an anti-corruption group called the Kazakhstani Initiative on Asset Recovery, appears to show Hunter introducing his Dad to both Rakishev and one Karim Massimov, the former Kazakh Prime Minister.

So who exactly is Rakishev? …

Rakishev, for his part, is married to the daughter of a former mayor of the country’s capital city (recently re-named ‘Nursultan,’ after the elderly despot), who later served as its Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. All in all it was an intriguing nexus.

Fast forward to 2012 and Rakishev had just joined Forbes magazine’s top-15 list of Kazakhstan’s ‘most influential’ tycoons, with estimated assets of some $332 million. Like many an oligarch in possession of a huge fortune, Rakishev was now looking for a safe place to park it, so had come to America in search of new places to invest his hard-earned roubles.

Sadly, things hadn’t gone entirely smoothly. For in the highly-regulated world of Western capitalism, Rakishev discovered that blue-chip investment partners were often reluctant to take his cash.

To blame? The fact that no one was entirely sure where his wealth actually came from

The United States Department of Justice then took an interest in Rakishev. It soon dragged him into an investigation of potential breaches the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act related to ‘an investment in the oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan’.

Though Rakishev immediately denied all wrongdoing, and no charges were ever filed, in September 2013 he decided to hire a notoriously expensive U.S. law firm called Greenberg Traurig to deal with incoming fire related to the probe

It was, doubtless, a very annoying (and expensive) business; not to mention highly frustrating for a man who had perhaps grown used to getting his own way. Which is perhaps what persuaded him to take meetings with Hunter Biden, a member of one of America’s most powerful political dynasties.

In May 2012, he was emailed by Hunter’s business partner Devon Archer, a lawyer and former Abercrombie & Fitch model. ‘Can you have dinner with me, Hunter Biden, Alex [Forbes Kerry] and team on Wednesday next week in NYC? I want to let Hunter know when he should come up from DC to see you on Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing you!’

Rakishev replied: ‘Hi Devon! I would be happy to have a dinner with you and all our friends! Thank you very much for invitations! Take care my brother!’

By July, Hunter had travelled to Astana to discuss business opportunities. ‘I wanted to check in with you and see what our next steps are to follow up on our visit to Kazakhstan,’ he wrote in an email to Rakishev sent shortly afterwards. ‘Let me know if you need anything from me.’

Three months later, Biden was helping Rakishev hold discussions about investing in Prospect Global Resources, a potash mining firm based in eastern Arizona.

Although the emails the Mail has seen show that the talks eventually broke down, he remained on friendly terms: ‘I wanted to reach back out to you and continue our conversations,’ Hunter wrote to Kulibayev on November 25, 2012. ‘I understand you and Timur evaluated PGRX but it was not a good fit at this time. Thank you for taking a look at it and for the quick feedback as well. Let me know when you’d like to connect.’

The duo remained in close contact throughout the following year, discussing a range of business ventures.

Then, in late October 2013, Biden’s partner Archer arranged a conference call between Rakishev and the aforementioned Alex Forbes Kerry, who was by then attempting to raise cash to launch a film production firm.

Immediately after the call that December, Rakishev emailed with happy news: ‘Thank you my brother from another mother! Thanks you very much my brother! We decided to invest 1 mln [million]! Give them my email!’

Ms Forbes Kerry, who has never publicly acknowledged her debt to Rakishev, finalised the deal in January 2014. The following month, she and Biden met Rakishev for dinner in Washington DC.

‘It was a pleasure to meet you with Devon and Hunter the other day,’ she told him by email afterwards. ‘I want to thank you for the beautiful watch! I am sorry I didn’t open it at the table. I misunderstood and thought it was a baby present so I only opened it when I was at home. It is absolutely beautiful and you are so generous . . . Please come to New York soon and bring your family. We will host you and your team.’

Rakishev responded that he intended to take up that offer in September. ‘Let’s be in touch!’ he wrote.

Sadly, at the time of this happy exchange, Biden’s marriage was in the process of breaking down

After that, Ukraine seemed to be Biden’s main focus.

SkyNews Australia has taken a deep dive into the Biden laptop story.

RealClearPolitics has looked into Hunter’s career path and Joe Biden’s influence in his getting jobs.

Now people are going back into newspaper archives to see what has been written about the two. Joe was a US Senator for Delaware for many years before he became Obama’s vice president. MBNA is located in Delaware. Joe helped Hunter get his first job out of university in the late 1990s at MBNA. It paid a six-figure salary. This is what happened a few years later:

Americans have been wondering why the FBI did not act sooner over Joe Biden’s dealings when he was vice president and now, during his candidacy for the White House.

As the Bidens are Catholics, it is not surprising that Church Militant is writing about this story:

Christine Miles published the article in Church Militant on October 20. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

A Chinese whistleblower is working with Rudy Giuliani’s group on this:

DingGang Wang, a member of Miles Guo’s team, which has worked with Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani for many months, said in a Sept. 24 broadcast for Lude Media — two weeks before the New York Post bombshell — that he has reviewed the contents of a laptop owned by Hunter Biden.

This is what he said in September:

He explained:

“Who filmed these?” he asked. “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) did it!”

Wang indicates there is much more compromising material on the laptop, and that the CCP is using the child porn videos as blackmail against Joe Biden, whom they hope is elected president.

“The message of the CCP is: Don’t ever think I don’t have your secrets in possession,” Wang explained. “To give you this hard drive is to let you know that, don’t forget, we have evidence of your crimes. You have to win this election.”

Sexual blackmail is a classic tactic of the communists, and was routinely used by the KGBIn addition to the famed “honeytrap,” wherein female KGB agents seduced American men and caught their misdeeds on tape, there is evidence General Secretary Yuri Andropov created pedophile rings in order to blackmail businessmen and political leaders.

The tactic is also used in communist China.

The article goes on to say:

The New York Post confirmed porn was found on Hunter’s laptop: “A computer camera roll of nearly 25,000 images is loaded with sexually explicit selfies and porn (which The Post is not publishing) … .”

Hunter Biden’s attorney has acknowledged the laptop belongs to his client in an email requesting that it be returned to his client.

One of Hunter’s former business partners, Bevan Cooney, independently verified the authenticity of the emails, a number of which included him.

The New York Post spent a week independently verifying and authenticating the laptop’s ownership.

Tucker Carlson of Fox News also confirmed that his own team independently authenticated the contents of the laptop.

“This afternoon we received nonpublic information that proves, conclusively, this was indeed Hunter Biden’s laptop, period,” Carlson said during a broadcast last week. “The materials on the hard drive of that computer that no one but Hunter Biden could’ve known about or have replicated. This is not a Russian hoax.”

“We are saying this definitively. We are not speculating,” he added. “The laptop in question is real. It belonged to Hunter Biden.”

The Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, has confirmed that this is not a Russian hoax:

The Secret Service have been involved in matching dates and locations to their own logs:

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) says his staff have independently authenticated the emails.

Rudy Giuliani has turned over evidence to the Delaware State Police:

Giuliani also discusses the Bidens’ shady dealings in the second half of the following video:

Revolver has a summary of the interview, with information about the photos and a bit about what Giuliani told NewsMax:

there is no indication that Joe reported Hunter to the police. Delaware state law requires all persons with knowledge of child abuse to report it to the police, although the state Supreme Court has suggested that mandatory reporting only applies to teachers, doctors, and similar professionals.

Joe Biden’s inaction after such a horrifying admission from his own son would be appalling, but not surprising. Joe Biden has been an enabler for his entire 47 years in politics. Joe Biden enabled Hunter’s drug use and inappropriate behavior — just like he enabled NAFTA, just like he enabled the rise of China, and just like he enabled the credit-card association MBNA in his home state of Delaware. Biden has been an indulgent father toward his son, not only with respect to his drug use, but more importantly with his corrupt arrangements with foreign oligarchs.

In the interview, Giuliani suggested that Joe’s behavior towards his son might go beyond enabling to abuse. “Joe Biden used his son for twenty years as a Bag Man and he knew he was a drug addict,” Rudy told NewsMax host Greg Kelly. He continued, “This kid has a crack problem because his father put him in situations he shouldn’t be in.”

Giuliani tweeted:

Meanwhile, the aforementioned former business associate of Hunter Biden’s, Bevan Cooney, has been in an Oregon federal prison for over a year. Recently, Cooney provided two Breitbart journalists with access to his personal emails, a number of which concern his business dealings. On Tuesday, October 20, Cooney was moved to another detention facility:

On Tuesday, several days after emails Cooney provided to Breitbart News senior contributor Peter Schweizer and journalist Matthew Tyrmand became public, federal agents moved him from his cell to protect him. Tyrmand, who is in contact with members of Cooney’s family, told Breitbart News that Cooney was moved from his cell in a federal prison in Oregon around 11:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday. Tyrmand said that Cooney spoke with family members multiple times on Tuesday, which he said is “much more than usual” …

Cooney provided Schweizer and Tyrmand with written authorization to access his Gmail account, and to publish all newsworthy information from his trove of 26,000 emails. Some of them are personal and unrelated to the Biden corruption, but many of them—including ones already published last week and this week on Breitbart News and elsewhere—demonstrate a culture of corruption surrounding the Biden family.

The first story published on Breitbart News last week, by Schweizer and author Seamus Bruner, detailed how Hunter Biden and his associates secured high-level White House meetings for Chinese Communist Party-connected elites visiting Washington from China. That included, per those Chinese elites, a secret unreported meeting with then-Vice President Joe Biden himself. Other emails that surfaced on One News Network showed a deeper relationship between the Bidens and the ex-wife of the former Moscow mayor Elena Baturina. More emails surfaced Monday in another Breitbart News report showing how Hunter Biden’s business associate viewed his relationship with his father, Joe Biden—a “direct administration pipeline”—as a form of “currency” to trade on and make more money. More stories are in the works.

Vice President Mike Pence says that now is the time for Joe Biden to start answering questions about the emails, although the candidate did not make any public appearances until Thursday in the second and final presidential debate:

While Americans would like to get answers — before the election — President Trump is putting the heat on Attorney General William Barr to investigate this matter:

I have not watched this video, but Rudy Giuliani explains what the Bidens have been doing for the past 30 years.

While many Americans have been taking advantage of early voting, many others have not yet voted.

It would be nice if the media could do a decent job, but they do not. Therefore, information is hard to come by.

The media prefer emotional appeals, rather than facts, when discussing presidential candidates.

Maria Shriver is the niece of the late John F and Bobby Kennedy as well as the former Mrs Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is what she has to say on Joe Biden:

Another soft touch came from Gamespot, describing the virtual Biden campaign in a video game called Animal Crossing: New Horizons:

The Joe Biden campaign put some serious work into its island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The Democratic presidential nominee can be seen walking around his field office, a polling place, and much more in the meticulously designed ‘Biden HQ.’ He’ll shout one of his campaign slogans, “no malarkey” if you speak to his character. And that’s a fact, Jack …

The island has Joe Biden yard signs, a field office with a basement full of trains (one of Joe Biden’s nicknames is ‘Amtrak Joe’ since he often commuted by train), a polling place with voter information, and an ice cream stand in front of Nook’s Cranny. There are a lot of fun spaces on the island, including Joe Biden fliers (made with custom designs) on the ground in places.

The lack of left-leaning media coverage has had the desired effect: a minor dip of two percentage points in Biden’s popularity.

The reality about Joe Biden is much different.

Tony Bobulinski, a US Navy veteran and former business associate of Hunter Biden’s, gave a press conference before the US presidential debate on Thursday, October 22. He was a special guest of President Trump and spent his own money to get to the debate, held in Nashville:

Bobulinski did not take questions from the press, as he said that he would be meeting separately with members of the US Senate and the FBI today (Friday).

As evidence, he showed reporters three mobile phones which only he has handled. He read out a statement with dates and events of his involvement with Hunter. The Epoch Times (paywall) has a short summary:

… two hours before the debate, Mr. Bobulinski himself, a Navy veteran and a Democrat, gave a surprise press conference and made a statement that was like rolling a hand grenade into the debate. He made it clear—specifying date and location—that he personally had been in a meeting with Joe and Hunter Biden to discuss their business dealings with the Chinese—in effect that Joe Biden had lied to America.

He had more, implying the Biden were indeed a crime family with international connections that could endanger our national security.

More on the Bidens next week.

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

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

More information follows:

Rather sagely, a lady replied:

As did another:

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

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

The article states (emphases mine):

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

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

She added:

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

The BuzzFeed article continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note that China was mentioned.

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

Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

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

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

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

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

The Pennslyvania Federal Court stated:

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

Furthermore:

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

The AIER article went on to say:

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, the article’s author says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting:

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

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

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

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

I could not agree more.

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

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

What will happen? A repeat of March and April?

My head is spinning at the prospect.

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

Good grief.

Then there is the matter of testing.

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

Sunderland is in the latest coronavirus hotspot area.

Understandably, residents are anxious to get PCR tests.

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

The queues are for people who have booked a test:

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

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

As Tim Worstall said on September 17:

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

Also:

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

I could not agree more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the introduction (emphases mine):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For some time, I have suspected that China was behind the lockdowns in Western nations.

An American attorney and researcher, Michael P Senger, has been researching this topic for months.

On September 15, he reported his findings for Tablet: ‘China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign’. Please circulate the link amongst your family and friends.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

China’s lockdown in mid-January, Senger says, was in accordance with their national policy of fangkong:

the same hybrid of health and security policy that inspired the reeducation and “quarantine” of over 1 million Uighur Muslims “infected with extremism in Xinjiang. The World Health Organization’s representative in China noted that “trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science … The lockdown of 11 million people is unprecedented in public health history, so it is certainly not a recommendation the WHO has made.”

The CCP confined 57 million Hubei residents to their homes. At the time, human rights observers expressed concerns. As one expert told The New York Times, “the shutdown would almost certainly lead to human rights violations and would be patently unconstitutional in the United States.”

By the end of the month, Dr Tedros from the WHO praised China for its successful lockdown:

Yet only six days in, the lockdown—“unprecedented in public health history”—had produced no results, so Tedros was praising human rights abuses with nothing to show for them.

Then came the video clips on social media which went viral:

One video purportedly showed a SWAT team catching a man with a butterfly net for removing his mask. But in hindsight, this crisis theater is somewhat comical; in the infamous video, the “spontaneously collapsing” man extends his arms to catch himself.

The Chinese government also issued images showing they were on top of the coronavirus situation:

Official Chinese accounts widely shared an image of a hospital wing supposedly constructed in one day, but which actually showed an apartment 600 miles away.

Remember how China’s cases started declining in February?

Beginning in February, the CCP reported an exponential decline in coronavirus cases, until March 19 when they announced their lockdown had eliminated domestic cases entirely.

After that, there were no more Chinese data forthcoming.

Why anyone thought the Chinese were being truthful is astounding:

The CCP has shaped scientific narratives by consistently promoting the falsehood that “China controlled the virus.” Of course, “China controlled the virus” is a baldfaced lie. China expelled journalists in March and its infection data is manifestly forged; U.S. intelligence has confirmed China’s data is intentionally misrepresented.

Yet, from this, came the push for lockdowns worldwide — along with a campaign against hydroxychloroquine, which, if used early enough and combined with azithromycin or zinc, can alleviate the debilitating symptoms of the virus.

Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet, even gave an interview to China Central Television:

In a May interview for China Central Television, Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the esteemed medical journal The Lancet, emphatically praised China’s lockdowns, saying: “It was not only the right thing to do, but it also showed other countries how they should respond in the face of such an acute threat. So, I think we have a great deal to thank China for …”

Horton’s praise is telling in light of the infamous retraction of a Lancet study on hydroxochloroquine and reports that promising journal articles on herd immunity have gone unpublished. In August, Horton doubled down in a full-throated piece that had surprisingly little to do with health:

The “century of humiliation,” when China was dominated by a colonially-minded west and Japan, only came to an end with the Communist victory in the civil war in 1949Every contemporary Chinese leader, including Xi Jinping, has seen their task as protecting the territorial security won by Mao and the economic security achieved by Deng.

Good grief. That explains a lot.

The WHO, not surprisingly, led the way for lockdowns, praising, in their words, the:

uncompromising and rigorous use of non-pharmaceutical measures to contain transmission of the COVID-19 virus in multiple settings

which, the organisation said:

provides vital lessons for the global response.

The New York Times, which, nearly a century ago, praised the Stalin regime, jumped on board the Chinese bandwagon:

China ‘took one of the most ancient strategies and rolled out one of the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease-containment efforts in history.’

China was ready to promote lockdown via bogus social media accounts:

Within China, the CCP has long paid hundreds of thousands of social media propagandists and also pays for posts on an a la carte basis, totaling hundreds of millions of propaganda comments each year. More recently, these activities have gone global and escalated dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic. Social media companies have proven somewhat unserious about the gravity of the problem. When the State Department provided a sample of 250,000 accounts likely involved in coronavirus disinformation, Twitter refused to take action. These activities affect countries with little say in social media governance; a recent study found thousands of inauthentic accounts still promoting Serbian-Chinese friendship after Twitter deleted thousands of others. A former Facebook employee wrote “I have blood on my hands” due to the company’s routinely discounting malicious political activity despite its “disproportionate impact.”

It should not come as a surprise that Italy was the first European nation to implement lockdown. The country has been a part of China’s expansive Belt and Road Initiative. Many Chinese work in the north making luxury goods, brand names we all know.

The Chinese travelled to Italy to advise:

Chinese experts arrived in Italy on March 12 and two days later advised a tighter lockdown: “There are still too many people and behaviors on the street to improve.” On March 19, they repeated that Italy’s lockdown was “not strict enough,” saying: “Here in Milan, the hardest hit area by COVID-19, there isn’t a very strict lockdown … We need every citizen to be involved in the fight of COVID-19 and follow this policy.”

During that time, China ran a social media propaganda campaign in Italy:

From March 11 to 23, roughly 46% of tweets with the hashtag #forzaCinaeItalia (Go China, go Italy) and 37% of those with the hashtag #grazieCina (thank you China) came from bots.

However, these were not automated bots, as Senger explains. They were fake accounts that were carefully managed:

Social media and analytics companies generally only detect obvious automated activity, while fake, personally managed accounts can be created with ease. This works out well for the CCP, which has always preferred the human touch.

He cites one account which was all about promoting lockdown until George Floyd’s death, at which point the account switched to promoting BLM:

On March 12, Twitter user @manisha_kataki posted a video showing Chinese workers disinfecting streets, apparently admiring China’s strategy: “At this rate, China will be back in action very soon, may be much faster than the world expects.” As The New York Times’ Paul Mozur noted, this tweet was not shocking, funny, or newsworthy, yet it was shared hundreds of thousands of times. This caught the attention of Israeli company Next Dim, which flagged the activity as likely state-sponsored.

Senger has a collage of the user’s tweets, which insulted countries that had not yet adopted lockdown.

That was not the only Twitter account. There were others, which, interestingly, also tweeted about racial division.

Hence, it was a natural progression to go from promoting lockdown to BLM:

Many of these same accounts also frequently discuss racial divisions. Later in 2020, they show strong support for Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, especially those surrounding the death of George Floyd. Racial justice is an issue of real concern to many citizens, both in America and throughout the world. But knowing that the CCP supported these protests, it’s worth pondering the likelihood that the frugal Xi would not be spending billions of dollars per year on foreign propaganda—and stepping up those activities—if he weren’t seeing results.

Although the aforementioned New York Times article by Paul Mozur caught the attention of Twitter, which suspended 170,000 accounts, Senger says that:

many of the suspect accounts are still active, and a search for hundreds of similar examples can be easily repeated with one click.

State and national leaders who were late to lock down, never did lock down or lifted their restrictions came under China’s Twitter fire via these accounts:

When South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem famously refused to issue a statewide lockdown, suspicious accounts began filling her Twitter feed with abuse and graphic language to pressure her to do so.

Kristi Noem stood her ground and never locked down South Dakota.

Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp was the first to lift a state lockdown. When Kemp honoured the late Rep John Lewis, he received a barrage of abuse on Twitter:

conspicuous, vulgar language that often invoked his anti-lockdown stance.

Senger alleges that Boris Johnson was a target of Chinese propaganda which ended up with him locking down the UK:

Initially, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also opted for herd immunity. But on March 13, suspicious accounts began storming his Twitter feed and likening his plan to genocide. This language almost never appears in Johnson’s feed before March 12, and several of the accounts were hardly active before then. Britain locked down on March 23.

I have wondered why Sweden took the wise decision not to implement a lockdown. It turns out there is a disagreement between Sweden and China:

Sweden’s skepticism toward the CCP predates COVID-19. In January, Beijing threatened Swedish trade ties over an award given to Gui Congyou, a Swedish publisher detained in China. Sweden did not back down and later refused to follow China’s lockdown model, opting for a herd immunity strategy. Thus, Sweden became a prime target of a Chinese campaign portraying it as weak against the COVID threat.

The account names and trending hashtags fit with the targeted nations to sound plausible. Italy had the aforementioned #forzaCinaeItalia. The United States had @AmerLiberal as one of the CCP-sponsored accounts:

@AmerLiberal, appears to be a model CCP propaganda account, showing strong support for China’s human rights abuses—including in Xinjiang and Hong Kong—and antipathy for China’s key rivals, India and the United States. The account strongly supports global lockdowns.

Conservative Americans have known for some time China has been funding certain US research programmes:

For decades, the CCP has co-opted scientists through its unparalleled overseas influence network, the United Front Work Department, which expanded dramatically under Xi. In June, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that 189 of its grantees had received undisclosed funding from foreign governments. In 93% of cases, including that of Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard’s chemistry department, the undisclosed funding came from China. Likewise, the National Science Foundation, a smaller organization, reported 16–20 cases of undisclosed foreign financial ties; all but two were with China.

Michael P Senger has a Twitter feed, which is also worth reading.

On the ties to China and related propaganda, here are tweets from an informative thread of his:

I had not seen that video until today. That said, in April or May, the BBC News channel ran regular reports from China around dinnertime in the UK. One young couple interviewed said, whilst smiling, that the lockdown, which had ended by then, showed that the Chinese government cared about its people and that the restrictions were for ‘health’ and the common good. Of course!

Here is a collage of CCP-sponsored tweets:

Many countries have them, including France.

Some might wonder about the severe lockdown in Victoria State, Australia, best known for the city of Melbourne. This tweet has a collage of Australian tweets thanking Victoria’s governor, Dan Andrews. Senger’s text reads:

Andrews’ long-time staffer attended a high-level CCP academy. An MP leading Andrews’ Belt & Road negotiations with Beijing lauded China’s handling of COVID.

That explains a lot, too.

Bill Gates also approves of strict lockdowns that violate civil liberties (see second tweet):

Oh. My. Word.

I rather liked this short exchange after the thread:

That means us.

So, please be sociable and circulate Michael P Senger’s links and tweets. Thank you.

Alarming news comes from Mexico:

Those are tunnels running under the US/Mexico border. They have been there for many years and are used to smuggle drugs.

On April 19, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Mexican cartels have diversified into deadlier drugs in the coronavirus crisis. Raw materials come from China, but cartels now want to be able to produce them in-house (emphases mine):

Cartels are increasingly shifting away from drugs that require planting and growing seasons, like heroin and marijuana, in favor of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which can be cooked 24/7 throughout the year, are up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and produce a greater profit margin.

Though some clandestine labs that make fentanyl from scratch have popped up sporadically in Mexico, cartels are still very much reliant upon Chinese companies to get the precursor drugs.

Huge amounts of these mail-order components can be traced to a single, state-subsidized company in Wuhan that shut down after the outbreak earlier this year, said Louise Shelley, director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University, which monitors Chinese websites selling fentanyl.

The quarantine of Wuhan and all the chaos there definitely affected the fentanyl trade, particularly between China and Mexico,” said Ben Westhoff, author of “Fentanyl, Inc.”

The main reason China has been the main supplier is the main reason China is the supplier of everything — it does it so cheaply,” Westhoff said. “There was really no cost incentive for the cartels to develop this themselves.”

But costs have been rising and, as in many legitimate industries, the coronavirus is bringing about changes.

Advertised prices across China for precursors of fentanyl, methamphetamine and cutting agents have risen between 25% and 400% since late February, said Logan Pauley, an analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a Washington-based security research nonprofit. So even as drug precursor plants in China are slowly reopening after the worst of the coronavirus crisis there, some cartels have been taking steps to decrease their reliance on overseas suppliers by enlisting scientists to make their own precursor chemicals.

Because of the coronavirus they’re starting to do it in house,” added Westhoff.

In the meantime, the good news is that the Mexico-to-US supply chain has been ‘gummed up’:

Meanwhile, the gummed up situation on the U.S.-Mexico border resembles a stalled chess match where nobody, especially the traffickers, wants to make a wrong move, said Kyle Williamson, special agent in charge of the DEA’s El Paso field division.

They’re in a pause right now,” Williamson said. “They don’t want to get sloppy and take a lot of risks.”

Nonetheless, illicit drugs are still being smuggled across the border, and in some places, such as Los Angeles County, there is vulnerability as law enforcement officers have been reassigned to patrol duties:

… the pandemic also has limited law enforcement’s effectiveness, as departments cope with drug investigators working remotely, falling ill and navigating a new landscape in which their own activities have become more conspicuous. In Los Angeles County, half of the narcotics detectives have been put on patrol duty, potentially imperiling long-term investigations.

In Texas, it’s a different story:

Capt. Chris Sandoval, who oversees special investigations for the Houston-based Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said there’s a new saying among his detectives: “Not even the dope dealers can hide from the coronavirus.”

One can but hope.

The move towards deadlier drugs, however, could pose a much more serious long term problem.

It’s bad enough being laid off during the coronavirus outbreak.

Imagine how bad it is when the emergency paycheck funding pot is empty and the Democrat-dominated House won’t vote to replenish it. Here is the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky):

So do I.

The following video from James Corden’s show features Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) at home around Easter. It’s a must watch. She has brand new, gleaming stainless steel freezers full of ice cream. I cannot believe she had the nerve to post this herself, yet she did:

That photo was taken at the Pelosi family estate in California.

How nice for them.

President Trump had a go at her over the inaction with regard to emergency paycheck funding:

He reminded people that Pelosi encouraged Californians to go to San Francisco for Chinese New Year celebrations:

There was intense Democrat reaction to Trump’s closing the border with China, where air traffic was concerned:

Also:

On the other side of the world, and related to this, an Australian MP points out what China was doing with regard to airspace:

And remember this from the WHO a week before?

Whatever is going on with the WHO, President Trump was right to withhold funds for the time being.

But Pelosi isn’t having any of it.

On April 17, Moonbattery reported:

Confirming yet again that the Democrat Party is not on America’s side, Nancy Pelosi set aside her designer ice cream long enough to rage over Trump sensibly suspending funding to the malign World Health Organization:

“This decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged,” Pelosi said. …

Pelosi’s comments come after the president announced Tuesday that the United States would immediately halt funding for the health organization, saying it had put “political correctness over lifesaving measures,” noting that the U.S. would undertake a 60-to-90 day investigation into why the “China-centric” WHO had caused “so much death” by “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus spread.

The United States is the world’s largest donor to the WHO, a UN organisation (emphases mine):

The United States is the WHO’s largest single donor, and the State Department had previously planned to provide the agency $893 million in the current two-year funding period. Trump said the United States contributes roughly $400 million to $500 million per year to WHO, while China offers only about $40 million.

Pelosi has her own interests at heart:

Why should Americans pay for a Chinese propaganda platform when we have our own urgent needs? Maybe because Pelosi is heavily invested in China.

Readers might also be interested in this:

The World Health Organization in Europe is asking government officials to restrict access to alcohol as citizens continue widespread lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As Moonbattery points out:

Even Stalin let his slaves drink vodka. The technocrats of the WHO make the communist dictator look like a libertarian.

Enough said.

However, it isn’t only Democrats opposing President Trump’s pandemic policies.

The Bushes are at it, too:

President Trump called it correctly then and he continues to take correct decisions now.

Given the current circumstances, this is probably the right thing to do, especially as an April 13 Ipsos poll found that eight out of ten Americans want a moratorium on immigration:

As for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic:

Even New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo had to give the federal government credit:

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how CNN and MSNBC know exactly when to pull the plug on the daily coronavirus briefings, a reporter explains all:

Returning to Nancy Pelosi, the Trump campaign team have made a short advert about her and her ice cream:

Excellent work.

It looks as if Italy might be readjusting its death rates from coronavirus.

China’s seem to have gone down. This is because they have no longer been reporting ‘mild’ coronavirus cases since February.

On Friday, March 20, 2020, Breitbart reported on the news that China allegedly had no new coronavirus cases that day (emphases mine):

The Communist Party of China triumphantly proclaimed on Thursday that it had logged its first day without a single domestic Wuhan coronavirus infection, earning the applause of gullible mainstream media outlets and its puppets at the World Health Organization (WHO).

Those celebrating, in addition to disregarding the clear signs that the claim may not be true – like reports of Wuhan hospitals turning away residents with coronavirus symptoms, or a suspicious increase in “pneumonia” death certificates at funeral homes not counted as coronavirus – have failed to note that China made a significant change in how it counted coronavirus cases in February.

That month, the National Health Commission ordered doctors not to count individuals confirmed to be infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, but exhibiting no or “mild” symptoms, in the official count of coronavirus cases.

“The changes to the classification of asymptomatic coronavirus cases emerged on Jan. 29, in a set of guidance from China’s National Health Commission,” the New York Times reported in mid-February. “Health officials said that they would reclassify patients who had tested positive for the new coronavirus but did not have symptoms, and take them out of the total count of confirmed cases.”

The Times noted that China had “closely guarded the demographic details about the fatalities, creating uncertainty about who is most susceptible.”

The National Health Commission did not define what a “mild” coronavirus case looks like, in contrast to severe cases that would count in China’s official tally. A study published in China two weeks later found that as many as 80 percent of coronavirus cases are “mild,” suggesting that Beijing had suddenly decided to document only 20 percent of its coronavirus cases, if using the same standard that the Chinese researchers did.

Cue Barry Manilow, because, to most of the world, ‘it’s a miracle’. News of this appeared in January:

The decision calls into question China’s “milestone” announcement of no new cases, one of several proclamations of victory from the Chinese Communist Party. In January, about a week after telling the world the novel coronavirus existed, Beijing claimed a miraculous drop in the number of cases in Wuhan, the central metropolis where the virus originated.

Meanwhile, Italy’s coronavirus case and death rates have been rising.

Italy looks bad, and China is capitalising on that. Be sure to read the comments following this tweet:

If so, it is worth keeping in mind that many Chinese live in northern Italy:

On Saturday, March 21, The Telegraph reported that Italy says it has overestimated its number of coronavirus deaths:

It’s unclear how accurate this report is, judging from the replies to the tweet.

One thing is for certain, however. People are now beginning to wonder if all of us were sold a pup with the coronavirus hysteria:

Did China put pressure on Italy to recalculate their coronavirus deaths? Who knows?

How many of these figures can we trust?

These reports are going to get people’s backs up. Celebrities aren’t garnering everyone’s sympathies, either:

This leads to people being unhappy with confinement, curfews and other restrictions:

I agree. Open it all up.

Message to Boris Johnson and the Chief Medical Officer’s team — please go back to the original advisories on hand-washing and social distancing. This is a farce.

On Monday, February 25, 2019, President Donald Trump left for Hanoi, where he is meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea:

The Governors’ Ball was held the evening before at the White House. Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, US Trade Representative Ambassador Bob Lighthizer, Attorney General Bill Barr and his wife Christine Barr also attended:

President Trump made the following remarks about his trip to Vietnam to broker peace with North Korea:

He began by discussing last week’s highly successful trade talks with China, which resulted in an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). Emphases mine below:

I see Steve Mnuchin’s here and Ambassador Lighthizer, we’ve just had a big meeting with China, we just put out a statement and we’re doing very well with China. It was a long weekend; they decided to stay for two and half more days. They’ll probably be leaving late tonight. They’re going back and if all works well, we’re going to have some very big news over the next week or two. And it’s really been terrific. I tell you that the whole relationship has been outstanding. We’ve put ourselves into a position of strength for the first time in about 35 years, or probably a lot more than that

China is everywhere and I think you’d really amazed with what you see. Maybe. Let’s see what happens. We still have a little ways to go. Would you say that’s correct, Mr Ambassador? We have a little bit. But I want thank you, Bob, you’ve been working 24 hours around the clock and I will say this publicly, when I was able to be lucky enough to win the presidency I called Bob Lighthizer because for years people have known he’s the greatest trader that we have on this type of trade – we have many different types of trade – and I really understand now why. Thank you very much. Fantastic.

Also, I was going to leave very early tomorrow, but now I’m going to do it a little bit later. I had an option to do it at six in the morning or 11 and I chose 11. I can spend a little bit of time with you tomorrow morning because you’re having a breakfast and I’ll come to the breakfast. But literally, I said what kind of an option is that, I can leave at six in the morning or 11? They said you can leave at six or anywhere between 11 and 12. I said I’ll take 11 to 12. But you’re having a breakfast so I’ll be with you at the breakfast.

Then he spoke about North Korea:

But we’ll be leaving for Hanoi, Vietnam, and we’ll be meeting with Kim Jong-un. It’s a very interesting thing to say but I’ve developed a very, very good relationship. We’ll see what that means but he’s never had a relationship with anybody from this country and hasn’t had lots of relationships anywhere.

The media sometimes will say, well, what have they given up? We’ve given up nothing. The sanctions are on, everything’s on, but we have a special feeling and I think it’s going to lead to something very good and maybe now. I think ultimately it will, but maybe not, and I’m not pushing for speed but we’re not removing the sanctions. And we’re going to have, I think, a very interesting two and half days in Vietnam and we have a chance for the total denuclearisation of an area of the world that was very dangerous.

When I first came in, or really more particularly at the end of the last administration, there were rockets going up, there were missiles going up, there were bombs going off, there were massive cannons being tested. If you ever saw the picture of the beach, I’ve never seen anything like it where you had literally thousands of cannons on the beach shooting out into the waters. And there was nuclear testing. In fact, they thought it was earthquakes. They said there are massive earthquakes and then they realised it was North Korea. They said wow, it’s maybe not an earthquake. Now there’s no testing, there’s no rockets, there’s no nuclear testing and we get along well, very well, so it will be very interesting to see.

As I tell Chairman Kim, he has a chance to have a country that is so vibrant economically. Maybe one of the most in the world. He’s got a location that’s unbelievable. As a real estate person, I’ve always done well with location, but he’s right between China, Russia and on the other side South Korea, so they can’t touch each other unless they go through North Korea. And I say, you have one of the greatest locations, they have incredible people, hardworking people, smart, energetic, and I think it could be really one of the great financial and economic countries anywhere in the world. So I tell him that but I said you can’t do that if you’re going to keep nuclear. If you do nuclear, that can’t ever happen.

And we see eye to eye, I believe, but you’ll be seeing it more and more over the next couple of days, one way or the other. What’s going to happen, I can’t tell you. I think eventually it would but I can’t tell you and I’m not in a rush, I don’t want to rush anybody, I just don’t want testing. As long as there’s no testing, we’re happy. So we’ve done really something, I think, very special with respect to North Korea and it’s a long flight and I’ll be back at the end of the week. But we have two very interesting days planned and I think it’s a very important thing.

Prime Minister Abe of Japan said he can’t believe what’s happened in such a short period of time because rockets were being fired over Japan: rockets and missiles both. And now that hasn’t happened in long time, 16 months, 17 months, no more testing, no more rockets, no more checking to see whether or not this stuff works. So you’ll be seeing it and I think it’s going to be very interesting for people but there’s a chance to do something very, very special. It’s very exciting.

And likewise, if we can do a great economic deal, it will be the largest trade deal ever made by far if you look at it, our deal with China, and we truly are very close. So those are a couple of very interesting things. But our country’s doing incredibly well economically. We’ve pick up in terms of value worth $18 trillion. Now China – I don’t want this – but China has lost about $44 trillion. So they were catching us, catching us, catching us, and now we’ve zoomed out. And I can say this: as long as I’m president, they’re not going catch us, and they’re going to do well – but I want them to do well, they’re not going to catch us.

So I just want to give a toast to the incredible people in this room and to our unbelievable country. We have a very, very special country. I want to thank our First Lady for having done – this is such a beautiful job. Melania, thank you very much. And I would like to ask Governor Bullock to come up please from a very special place that I like very much for the obvious reason. And perhaps you could give a toast, please. Thank you, governor …

Governor Steve Bullock from Montana gave the toast.

A prayer was then said.

The White House published a statement about the meeting between the two leaders:

  • On February 27 and 28, 2019, President Donald J. Trump will meet with Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Chairman Kim Jong Un for a second summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • This summit aims to make further progress on the commitments the two leaders made in Singapore:  transformed relations, a lasting and stable peace, and the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  • The President has made clear that should North Korea follow through on its commitment to complete denuclearization, we will work to ensure there are economic development options.
  • The United States and partners are prepared to explore how to mobilize investment, improve infrastructure, enhance food security, and more in the DPRK.
    • Robust economic development under Chairman Kim is at the core of President Trump’s vision for a bright future for United States–DPRK relations.

I hope that Kim has started feeding his starving people in the countryside. Man cannot live on a diet of dirt and dung.

More to follow.

Politically and culturally, the whole of this year in the US has been a build-up to the mid-term elections.

I barely scratched the surface of everything I wanted to cover in this regard, so I might use that material to analyse the results in the days to come.

Two things are clear.

One: this is a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency.

Two: the Democrat Party is dying. (I refuse to write ‘Democratic’, because they do not live up to it.)

That said, it is incumbent on independents and Republicans to go out and vote on Tuesday, November 6. Here are Cuban immigrants’ views:

The US needs another monster Republican vote to overcome voter fraud.

What follows are my final thoughts before Election Day, written at the end of October.

Trump and young black conservatives

By the time you read this, President Trump will have welcomed a large group of young black conservatives to the White House:

On October 23, the New York Post reported that the first ever Young Black Leadership Summit is sponsored by Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a conservative student organisation founded by Charlie Kirk (see tweets throughout this post). Candace Owens is TPUSA’s Director of Communications and has been pivotal in getting Kanye West to speak out about his support for President Trump.

The Post‘s article says, in part (emphases mine):

Owens, who was gaining traction as a black YouTube star with right political leanings, wanted to hold a forum for young black Americans who were “conservative curious,” as she once was, from day one.

“So my mission was always really clear when Charlie and I met. One of the first things he asked me was, ‘What do you want to do?’ And I said, really, in plain words, ‘I’d like to lead the black revolution against the Democrat Party,’” Owens told The Post.

While Owens joined the group in November, the plan to hold a conference for young black people got a shot of dragon energy in April.

Just days before he would put on the MAGA hat and pronounce his love for Trump, rapper Kanye West tweeted, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” the first online suggestion that he was more Republican-leaning.

Kirk said that West’s tweet made both Owens and Turning Point more prominent.

“And kind of gave more reinforcement to the idea of a black leadership summit because during that moment we saw hundreds of blacks across the country come out and say to Candace, ‘Oh my goodness, this is an amazing thing that you’re doing, we love you, we’re afraid to voice our mind,” Kirk explained to The Post. “Candace and I wondered, ‘I wonder how many there really are?’”

Turns out there are at least 350 to 400 young black people interested in hearing Trump speak.

Kanye was not at the conference and by Monday, October 29, had pulled away from the Turning Point organisation over a disagreement about Blexit (black exit) merchandise marketing.

That said, the crowd attending President Trump’s address to them was highly enthusiastic:

This is news bad for the Dems:

Border security

ICE have a tough job, especially as they are under-manned patrolling the southern border. That said, they rack up some incredible accomplishments, as TPUSA’s Charlie Kirk tweets:

Think about that, especially when Democrats, the media and other leftists plea for us to ‘think about the children!’

When it comes to illegal entry, there are a lot of bad, exploitative people crossing the border. When I think of the children among them, I think of the human and sex trafficking victims, exploited people.

Obama, when he was a senator, also said that the rule of law must be respected with regard to crossing the border:

The ‘caravan’

While the world still believes the Trump campaign is guilty of colluding with Russia two years ago at this time, there is little news associating the human caravan in Mexico — happening right before the election — with foreign interests.

Vice President Pence said it is being ‘financed by Venezuela’ which is a nuanced way of saying that foreign powers that own and influence the impoverished nation are behind it. The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) explains:

Announcing the migrant caravan is “financed by Venezuela” is a direct notification the Central American invasion force is being funded by Russia and China.  Venezuela doesn’t have any money to sustain its own operational government – let alone a 10,000 person convoy.  Venezuela is entirely reliant upon massive investment from Russia and China.

In fact China owns 49% of Venezuela’s state run PDVSA energy production. A collateral system where Beijing takes oil as payment for prior loans the Maduro regime cannot pay back.  With the crippling treasury department sanctions President Trump put on Venezuela last year, Trump has punched Maduro and Xi-Jinping hard.

With Mike Pence pointing a finger at Venezuela the politics behind the invasion force begin to make much more sense. The invasion objective takes on a geopolitical angle directly targeting a series of U.S. policies that are against the interests of Russia and China.

The post goes on to say that Trump and Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin have sanctioned Venezuela and limited their ability to expand state oil revenue. China cannot trade directly with Venezuela at the risk of losing access to the US banking system. China continues lending to Venezuela, which will have little chance of repaying the loans.

Furthermore, the US has withdrawn $900m in aid from Pakistan in an effort to stop them enabling extremism in Afghanistan. As China is Pakistan’s main trading partner, Pakistan looks to them to fill the aid gap, unless the World Bank decides to bail them out.

Russia is being squeezed as the US increases its influence in the energy markets in Europe. European nations that were getting their energy supplies from Russia are increasingly turning towards the US for LNG, oil and coal.

The CTH post has more details, but, from this, we see that it is entirely plausible for Vice President Pence to conclude that ‘Venezuela’ is behind the human caravan just before the mid-terms. If so, this constitutes election meddling by a foreign power.

On that note, the Gateway Pundit reported that tens of thousands of migrants are already pouring across the southern border into the United States — including Chinese citizens:

Thousands of illegal aliens are swarming the Texas border this month in advance of the migrant caravan marching through Mexico, prompting Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr., the Customs and Border Patrol Sector Chief of the Rio Grande Valley, to beg for help dealing with the onslaught of illegal aliens, gang members and drug cartel smugglers. Just on Saturday over 700 illegal aliens were caught, with over 12,000 caught in the past three weeks. In addition, safe houses have been busted and drug smugglers intercepted by the overstretched CBP in the Rio Grande Valley.

16,000 “family units” were reported caught in the last month in the RGV sector by CBP. All these illegals take manpower and resources to detain, process, house, clothe, feed, and give medical treatment.

Padilla sent out several tweets this weekend with the message, “We need “, in conjunction with video reports by on scene Fox News Channel reporter Griff Jenkins …

In his interview Sunday with Jenkins about the migrant caravan marching through Mexico, Padilla said that just the day before his sector reported 700 illegal aliens caught at the border, 8 human smuggling cases, one dead body recovered, a potential river drowning (body not surfaced yet), over 700 pounds of marijuana and 68 pounds of peyote seized–all on Saturday.

In a separate report, Jenkins noted a group of illegal aliens from China were caught.

This migration is being orchestrated. It is not a spontaneous ‘humanitarian’ movement. It is designed to provoke Trump into taking violent action before November 6.

Nationalism

Nationalism has been a dirty word for nearly 20 years, unless a Democrat uses it favourably. Then it’s okay:

At a recent campaign rally, President Trump described himself as a ‘nationalist’ in the MAGA sense. On October 23, CNN’s Jim Acosta, the son of immigrants, took him to task for it in the Oval Office. Trump replied that he is tired of seeing the US pay more than its fair share when it comes to NATO and trade. Trump’s answer is excellent and measured, especially to a journo who should have had his White House press privileges revoked last year:

Selected state races

Here is an update on a few state races.

North Dakota

On October 17, I wrote about the deleterious effect the Dems’ antics during the Kavanaugh hearings had on American voters. I mentioned North Dakota, where Heidi Heitkamp is running for re-election against Kevin Cramer. Up until the Kavanaugh hearings, she looked comfortable. Now, not so much. She also had to suspend campaigning after her team released an ad which identified victims of sexual assault:

Worse was to come. That day, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released an expose of her and her campaign team. Her campaign workers say that, if the Democrats win a majority, her political stance will move further to the left. Currently, she tries to present herself as a centrist, even refusing an appearance from Obama, so as not to offend Trump Democrats who might vote for her. However, it’s all for show:

Michigan

Another Democrat senator running for re-election is Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow. Her GOP opponent is a young veteran and West Point graduate, John James. Unfortunately, only lately has James’s campaign been getting much traction. That’s because he is a political outsider:

Here’s a short, honest advert from James. I hope he wins:

Florida

Andrew Gillum is the Democrat candidate running for governor in Florida.

He has influential money behind him, as the Tampa Bay Times reported on July 23, which was during primary season:

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer’s group NextGen America made waves last month when it announced it is backing Democrat Andrew Gillum in the Florida governor’s race.

This week, the group is putting some more money where its mouth is.

NextGen America is making a six-figure digital ad buy in support of Gillum, pushing two new ads on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other online platforms, according to a release obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

“We know that young voters are online, and a strong and smart digital campaign will be key to pushing Andrew Gillum across the finish line on August 28th,” Steyer, the president of NextGen America, said in the release.

Gillum won the Dem nomination, but questions arose soon afterwards:

Gillum admits the following is true and that he has a ’15-year relationship’ with another influential donor:

On September 3, this appeared:

In that interview, the show’s host Chuck Todd summarised Gillum’s platform:

You ran as an unabashed progressive Democrat. You’re for Medicare for all, you talk about getting rid of ICE …

No wonder those two billionaires are supporting him. That’s exactly what they want.

On October 14, online host Bill Mitchell did a little social media stumping for Gillum’s Republican opponent:

Meanwhile, Breitbart was digging into Gillum’s background. On October 17, they gave us more information about the Soros connection (bold emphasis in the original, the one in purple mine):

Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum graduated from an Oakland, California-based training school for progressive revolutionaries that has spawned a list of activists who have gone on to become the who’s who of the far-left leadership world, with many taking senior positions at organizations financed by billionaire George Soros.

In scores of cases, graduates of the Rockwood Leadership Institute founded or directed notorious Soros-financed activist groups, such as Black Lives Matter, Media Matters for America, MoveOn.org and the Tides Foundation, one of the nation’s largest funders of progressive groups.

Soros’s own Open Society Foundations sent top staff to Rockwood for training. Notorious radicals Van Jones and Linda Sarsour are among the many famous names listed as alums.

Gillum graduated from Rockwood in 2012, yet he told independent journalist Joe Biggs (see above tweet), that he has a ’15-year relationship’ with Soros. Interesting.

Breitbart‘s article describes how Soros donates to Gillum’s campaign (emphases mine):

Soros, meanwhile, has directly donated to organizations seeking to get Gillum elected. Days before Gillum’s Aug. 28 primary, Soros joined with billionaire Tom Steyer to lead a group of donors making a $650,000 infusion into Gillum’s coffers.

Soros also contributed to The Collective, a little-known but increasingly influential political organization that says it is seeking to build a “black political power” movement. The Collective reportedly injected nearly $2 million into Gillum’s campaign, funding television and radio ads, get-out-the-vote drives, and playing a key role in helping Gillum defeat his Democratic opponents, some of whom were better-funded and had more statewide name recognition. The group announced plans to continue backing Gillum during the current general election campaign.

On October 20, Breitbart reported voting irregularities among Gillum’s siblings:

Leon County voting records show Marcus Gillum voted by absentee in the 2012 general election, absentee in the 2014 primary election, and early voted in the 2016 general election.

But the trouble is, months before he cast that 2016 ballot in Florida, Marcus Gillum, in an affidavit for an unrelated court case, swore under oath he was a resident of Chicago.

Also, according to records, Marcus Gillum is still currently registered to vote in Leon County at a home that his brother, gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, sold over three years ago. The Leon County Property Appraiser indicates that Andrew Gillum sold 5325 St. Ives Lane on February 27th, 2015.

Furthermore, Florida Department of Motor Vehicle records show that Marcus Gillum has not had a valid Florida drivers license since 2011

This information was presented to Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley. “Based on this information I will initiate an investigation into potential voter ineligibility,” Earley said.

Earley also added that fraudulent voting is actually very difficult to prevent.

“It could be that (ineligible voters) consider Leon County to be their place of residence,” Earley said. “But the reality is until they notify us that it isn’t their residence, or we are notified by a different jurisdiction we have nothing to go on to remove them as an active voter.”

But voting irregularities involving Andrew Gillum’s siblings may not be confined to his brother Marcus. Voter records indicate that Monique Gillum, Andrew Gillum’s sister, voted in Florida despite questions about residency.

Monique Gillum voted absentee in the 2012 general election, absentee in 2014 primary election, early voted in the 2016 general election, and voted in the 2018 primary election.

However, like her brother Marcus, voting records also show that Monique Gillum is still currently registered to vote at the St. Ives address. However, the mailing address she provided to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections is a P.O Box in New York City.

Public records show Monique Gillum does have a current Florida drivers license with a Tallahassee address. However, the address is different from the two provided to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections.

Also, other records, including work she did as a registered lobbyist for the Southern Poverty Law Center, indicate that Monique resided in Montgomery, Alabama from 2014 to 2016 …

Hmm.

On October 23, news emerged that Gillum’s ticket to the musical Hamilton came from an undercover FBI agent:

The Miami Herald broke the story, which also involves Gillum’s aforementioned brother Marcus:

Undercover FBI agents paid for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s hotel room and his ticket to the Broadway musical “Hamilton” during a 2016 trip to New York City, according to a bombshell trove of records that raises new questions two weeks before the Nov. 6 election for Florida governor.

Among the records released Tuesday: photos, a video and dozens of text messages between Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, former lobbyist Adam Corey and an undercover FBI agent. They appear to contradict Gillum’s explanation for the expenses, which have been made a major issue by his Republican rival, Ron DeSantis.

Gillum’s campaign has maintained — and continued to do so Tuesday after the records were released — that Gillum’s brother, Marcus, handed him the ticket the night of the show.

But text messages at the time of the trip show Gillum was told the tickets came from “Mike Miller,” an FBI agent looking into city corruption who was posing as a developer …

The campaign has not said how Marcus Gillum, who lives in Chicago, came by such a sought-after Broadway ticket, or whether Andrew Gillum asked his brother about it.

“These messages only confirm what we have said all along,”Andrew Gillum said on Facebook Live on Tuesday. “We did go to see ‘Hamilton.’ I did get my ticket to ‘Hamilton’ from my brother. At the time, we believed that they were reserved by friends of Adam’s, Mike Miller.

“And when I got there after work, got my ticket, we went in there and saw it, assumed my brother paid for it, and so far as I know, that was the deal” …

Once a close friend of Gillum’s, Corey is at the center of the FBI’s long-running probe into corruption in Tallahassee. No one has been charged, and Gillum has said that agents assured him he was neither a target nor a focus of the probe.

Gillum has repeatedly given vague answers to questions about who paid for the New York City trip. His avoidance of a direct answer became pronounced during a Sunday debate on CNN between DeSantis and Gillum.

“Did you pay for the ‘Hamilton’ tickets?” DeSantis asked.

But there’s more. The new information raises a question over how the trip to New York was financed:

They show that undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen were working for months to get an out-of-state meeting with Gillum, and that Gillum appeared willing to oblige them.

In June 2016, Corey texted Miller, the undercover agent, telling him that he would discuss options with Gillum.

“I just want to make it a good trip and Sweets and B will be booked on something else if we don’t lock something down,” Miller replied.

“Mike Sweets” and “Brian Butler” were the two other undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen

… they met in New York, while Gillum was attending a conference on behalf of the People for the American Way Foundation, a liberal advocacy group that employed him.

Text messages show Miller paid for the airfare and hotel room for Gillum’s brother, Marcus.

“Send me the mayor and his brother’s information and I will have my girl book their flights,” Miller wrote.

Corey replied that Gillum had already booked his flight, but he would send his brother’s information “ASAP.”

“Just tell them to let me know what their flights cost and I will cover it,” Miller said.

The ethics complaint was filed against Gillum in June this year, and Gillum met with investigators in early September

Tuesday’s document dump was the type of event Democrats feared when Gillum won the party’s nomination in August but hoped would never come. Though supporters generally dismissed the significance of the texts and emails between Gillum and Corey, one Democratic consultant acknowledged that anyone on the fence about Gillum could be deflated.

The timing of the release — exactly two weeks before Election Day and on the second day of early voting — comes during a key period for the Democratic Party, when voters typically begin showing up to the polls in large numbers and making up the advantage Republicans build during absentee voting …

On October 31, Project Veritas issued a damning video of Gillum’s campaign and a written summary. Gillum is left wing, not just left-of-centre. Omar Smith, the main campaign worker interviewed, said Gillum promises things he will not be able to accomplish. Be prepared for untoward remarks about Floridians:

James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, went to follow up. Omar Smith, the main speaker in the video, has asked that these videos not be circulated. This is bad news for Gillum:

From 1968 …

In closing, this 50-year-old poster about voting helped Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew win an election in a highly turbulent year in the US (Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, Bobby Kennedy’s assassination and the riots by radicals during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago). It’s no surprise that Republicans won that year:

It has the same message that Republicans are trying to get out today, especially taking other people along so that they, too, can vote.

Fifty years on, here is the unofficial, but no less powerful, Republican slogan circulating online:

President Trump has tweeted several times recently, including in the tweet below with a short video from his Houston rally, promising what Republicans will continue to do to shore up the US:

PROMISES MADE. PROMISES KEPT.

How many people know about the Battle of Lepanto?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lepanto reshaped the religious bent of the Mediterranean:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Asia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My past two posts have been about the US, North Korea and China.

The first post discussed developments that immediately followed the US-North Korea Singapore Summit held on Monday, June 12, 2018.

Yesterday’s concerned Mike Pompeo’s meetings in North Korea and Japan early in July as well as the trade war between the US and China.

Today’s entry looks at events from the past month.

On July 19, news emerged that China was nearly doubling the amounts of crude oil they were sending to North Korea, possibly jeopardising UN sanctions. From OilPrice.com via South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper (emphases mine):

The surge in Chinese shipments to North Korea is raising additional concerns that China could undermine the international sanctions against Kim’s regime.

Pipeline volumes of between 30,000 tons to 40,000 tons are enough in the summer to keep the pipeline from China to North Korea unclogged, while this volume is around 80,000 tons in the winter, Chosun Ilbo’s source said. Although it’s summer, China has recently increased the oil flow to the winter levels, the source told the South Korean outlet …

If China sends 80,000 tons of oil to North Korea every month, this volume already brings the amount to 960,000 tons a year—above the 525,000 tons limit for a 12-month period in the sanctions, Chosun Ilbo argues.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley met with the UN Security Council the next day. The crude oil shipments were one of Pompeo’s first topics. He reminded the UN of the collective responsibility member nations have in enforcing sanctions. From the State Department transcript:

Right now, North Korea is illegally smuggling petroleum products into the country at a level that far exceeds the quotas established by the United Nations. These illegal ship-to-ship transfers are the most prominent means by which this is happening.

These transfers happened at least 89 times in the first five months of this year and they continue to occur. The United States reminds every UN member-state of its responsibility to stop illegal ship-to-ship transfers, and we urge them to step up their enforcement efforts as well.

We must also crack down on other forms of sanctions evasion, including the smuggling of coal by sea, smuggling by overland borders, and the presence of North Korean guest workers in certain countries. North Korean cyber thefts and other criminal activities are also generating significant revenues for the regime, and they must be stopped.

President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects of denuclearization of North Korea. So do I, as progress is happening. It is the Trump administration’s hope that one day the DPRK could be in our midst here at the United Nations – not as a pariah, but as a friend. Imagine UN Security Council meetings in which the DPRK nuclear and missile programs were not the agenda time and time again. We’ll be able to focus our energy on so many urgent problems that face our world.

I believe this reality is possible, and so does President Trump. But it will take full enforcement of sanctions for us to get there. It will also take Chairman Kim following through on his personal commitments that he made to President Trump in Singapore. The path ahead is not easy; it will take time. But our hopes for a safer world for all of us and a brighter future for North Korea remains our objective, and that hope endures.

That day, President Trump signed into law House Resolution (HR) 2061, the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorisation Act of 2017:

At the end of the month, things began happening in North Korea, not all of which made sense.

On July 23, North Korea began dismantling key facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station:

However, on July 25, Mike Pompeo said the country was still producing fuel for nuclear bombs:

Asked at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing whether North Korea was still making bomb fuel, Pompeo responded to Democratic Senator Ed Markey by saying: “Yes, that’s correct … Yes, they continue to produce fissile material.”

Pompeo declined to respond when asked whether North Korea was continuing to pursue submarine-launched ballistic missiles or whether its nuclear program was advancing generally.

He said he would be happy to answer the latter question if necessary in a classified setting, but suggested public statements on the issue would not help “a complex negotiation with a difficult adversary.”

The following day, a new North Korean military chief of staff was appointed:

On July 27, as North Korea pledged, remains of US soldiers from the Korean War landed in Hawaii. US Air Force veteran flying ace Chuck Yeager tweeted a tribute:

On August 1, Vice President Mike Pence presided over a ceremony and reception of the fallen soldiers’ remains in Hawaii, their return being part of the Singapore Summit agreement.

Meanwhile, interesting discussions took place between South Korea and China regarding the Korean War Armistice. Noon in Korea has an excellent Twitter thread from July 31, excerpted below:

Excellent news! The Korean War could finally come to an end!

Meanwhile, back in China — North Korea’s controller — an article on American Thinker excerpted another from the Financial Times, which says the Chinese think that President Trump is ‘a genius’. On July 29, American Thinker‘s Monica Showalter wrote:

Has anyone ever called the Chinese ‘stupid’? Not those guys.

So now they’re reading President Trump, and unlike the childish Eurotrash of western Europe, they see a shrewd, wily, chess-playing, Sun Tzu-grade genius, who could easily checkmate them, and they’ve got a lot of reasons for thinking so.

That’s the report from a European policy-domo, who actually went to Beijing and asked the local leaders what they were seeing.

Instapundit also has excerpts from the FT article, written by the European Council of Foreign Relations President Mark Leonard:

I have just spent a week in Beijing talking to officials and intellectuals, many of whom are awed by his skill as a strategist and tactician. . . .

Few Chinese think that Mr Trump’s primary concern is to rebalance the bilateral trade deficit. If it were, they say, he would have aligned with the EU, Japan and Canada against China rather than scooping up America’s allies in his tariff dragnet. They think the US president’s goal is nothing less than remaking the global order

In Chinese eyes, Mr Trump’s response is a form of “creative destruction”. He is systematically destroying the existing institutions — from the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement to Nato and the Iran nuclear deal — as a first step towards renegotiating the world order on terms more favourable to Washington.

Once the order is destroyed, the Chinese elite believes, Mr Trump will move to stage two: renegotiating America’s relationship with other powers. Because the US is still the most powerful country in the world, it will be able to negotiate with other countries from a position of strength if it deals with them one at a time rather than through multilateral institutions that empower the weak at the expense of the strong.

My interlocutors say that Mr Trump is the US first president for more than 40 years to bash China on three fronts simultaneously: trade, military and ideology. They describe him as a master tactician, focusing on one issue at a time, and extracting as many concessions as he can. They speak of the skilful way Mr Trump has treated President Xi Jinping. “Look at how he handled North Korea,” one says. “He got Xi Jinping to agree to UN sanctions [half a dozen] times, creating an economic stranglehold on the country. China almost turned North Korea into a sworn enemy of the country.” But they also see him as a strategist, willing to declare a truce in each area when there are no more concessions to be had, and then start again with a new front.

Why don’t Westerners view Trump the same way the Chinese do?

Nevertheless, China isn’t going to go down without a fight.

On August 4, Trump posted a series of tweets about the success his tariffs on Chinese goods. This was the first:

The Conservative Treehouse correctly predicted what lay ahead:

Do not be surprised if North Korea launches another provocative missile test soon. Watch China, not N.Korea. It’s Chairman Xi’s people in the DPRK who are taking action. Kim Jong-Un is an expendable proxy regime. The war is the U.S. -vs- China trade and economic confrontation. North Korea is the Potemkin backdrop for the Beijing puppeteer.

The following day, Reuters reported:

China’s state media on Monday lashed out at the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump in an usually direct attack, accusing him of “starring in his own carefully orchestrated street fighter-style deceitful drama”.

Trump’s wish for others to play along with his drama is “wishful thinking,” the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper said in an editorial.

The editorial said the United States had escalated trade friction with China, and turned international trade into “zero-sum game”.

“Governing a country is not like doing business,” the editorial said, arguing that Trump’s actions imperiled the national credibility of the United States.

The Conservative Treehouse explained what was going on:

Each time China takes aggressive action (red dragon) China projects a panda face through silence and non-response to opinion of that action;…. and the action continues. The red dragon has a tendency to say one necessary thing publicly, while manipulating another necessary thing privately.  The Art of War.

President Trump is the first U.S. President to understand how the red dragon hides behind the panda mask

It is specifically because Trump understands Panda is a mask that President Trump messages warmth toward the Chinese people, and pours vociferous praise upon Xi Jinping, while simultaneously confronting the geopolitical doctrine of the Xi regime.

In essence Trump is mirroring the behavior of China while confronting their economic duplicity.

On August 6, ZeroHedge confirmed Trump’s strategy in an article about the continuing decline of China’s currency, the renminbi: ‘China Is Now Left With Just Three Options, And They Are All Equally Bad’ (emphases in the original):

  1. intervene in currency markets to offset market pressures risking a new wave of reserve depletion;
  2. raise interest rates to defend the currency causing monetary tightening and risking economic weakness; or
  3. let the currency depreciate beyond the above critical levels along with market pressures risking capital outflows and a more abrupt move

It goes without saying that all three choices have severely adverse consequences for the market and the global economy, and yet Donald Trump would be delighted with any of the three. After all, recall what One River CIO Eric Peters … laid out what may be the best long-term foreign policy recommendation for Trump, or any other administration: crash China…

Engineering a decade of rolling Chinese financial crises would be the most effective foreign policy the US could run.” Forget about the South China Sea, don’t bother with more aircraft carriers, just let Beijing try to cope with their financial system.

“And we’re 80% of the way there – we instigated a trade war, implemented a massive fiscal stimulus, which created the room to raise interest rates. The combined policy mix makes capital want to leave at the same time it makes the dollar more attractive and effectively shuts down new investment inflows to China.”

On August 7, ZeroHedge discussed the aforementioned dismantling of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and disparaged the lack of Big Media coverage on it, especially as the dismantling goes beyond what the US and North Korea negotiated:

activity at the launch pad appears to go beyond that commitment.

ZeroHedge said:

As we previously noted, these stories of supposed North Korean betrayal by NBC, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal are egregious cases of distorting news by pushing a predetermined policy line. But those news outlets, far from being outliers, are merely reflecting the norms of the entire corporate news system

As we concluded previously, a media complex so determined to discredit negotiations with North Korea and so unfettered by political-diplomatic reality seriously threatens the ability of the United States to deliver on any agreement with Pyongyang. That means alternative media must make more aggressive efforts to challenge the corporate press’s coverage... and today’s news seems positive (but we will see what spin it gets).

Last weekend, North Korea and the United States held working meetings in Panmunjom. Mike Pompeo was not there, although it is now thought he could be making another trip to North Korea.

On Monday, August 13, representatives from North and South Korea met in the city. It is now thought that a summit between the two countries could be held in September.

On August 15, Yonhap News Agency reported that South Korea’s:

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday used his Liberation Day address to pitch his Korea peace drive, calling for railway, energy and economic cooperation with the North as a cornerstone for Northeast Asian peace and prosperity.

Speaking at a ceremony marking Korea’s independence from the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule 73 years ago on the day, he renewed his commitment to end the division of the Koreas, saying “true liberation” can only be achieved when the two countries establish a lasting peace and economic community.

On August 16, CNBC reported that a fresh round of trade talks between the US and China could take place later in August. This was good news for the Dow Jones.

Coming next week:

These families have been separated for over 60 years.

All of these news stories lead to a conclusion best voiced by entrepreneur and media host, Jon Taffer:

I couldn’t agree more, Jon! This is an exciting, positive time in world history! What’s not to like?

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