You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Europe’ tag.

A week is a long time in politics, as the saying goes.

Much happened during the past five days, beginning with the Queen’s Speech and culminating with Boris’s new Brexit deal.

Promises made — and kept

But, first, delivering a new Brexit deal was what Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Please watch the first six minutes:

This week, he delivered on that pledge.

Queen’s Speech

From the end of September to last weekend, the anti-Boris brigade wondered whether the Queen’s Speech would go ahead on Monday, October 14:

Much to Remainers’ dismay, it did indeed take place:

With regard to the Queen not wearing the Imperial Crown, this is why:

You can read the full text of proposed legislation for the next (now current) session of Parliament — including supporting facts — here. Preserving the Union and getting Brexit done are the top two priorities. Proposed legislation for this session involves the NHS, the environment, policing and the railways, among other issues. The BBC has a good summary.

It should be noted that the government — political party — in power writes the speech for the monarch.

Advance copies are issued, but they have to remain under embargo until afterwards. Therefore, media pundits pretend they do not know what the Queen is going to say as they have to create a news story for the folks at home:

On the day, Black Rod goes to the House of Commons to summon MPs to the House of Lords for the speech:

MPs are summoned by a House of Lords official, known as Black Rod. Before entering the Commons, Black Rod has the doors shut in their face, symbolising the chamber’s independence from the monarchy.

During the speech, the Queen sets out the laws the government wants Parliament to approve. By convention, it is announced by the monarch in the presence of MPs, peers and other dignitaries in the House of Lords.

Afterwards, the House of Commons then needs to vote on whether to accept the contents of the speech. MPs normally spend five days debating whether to approve it. It is thought that they will vote on Monday or Tuesday next week.

I watched this week’s tiresome ‘debates’, which were dominated by opposition MPs’ petty speeches. One railed on about the cost of school uniforms and said that a proposed subsidy should have been included in the speech. For that reason, she does not want to approve it.

Five days of ‘debate’ over a 1,073-word speech that took around ten minutes to deliver. The mind boggles.

Brexit negotiations

Last week, Boris spent time in meetings with Ireland’s Taoiseach — Prime Minister — Leo Varadkar:

Many MPs, including some Remainers, were optimistic.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), with whom the Conservatives have had a confidence and supply agreement since the 2017 election, because of Theresa May’s decreased majority, were cautiously optimistic:

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay met with our EU negotiator Michel Barnier last Friday:

On Monday, the day of the Queen’s Speech, Barclay’s optimism continued:

Intensive rounds of meetings ensued this week:

Barclay returned to London on Wednesday to provide an update:

Then, it was back to the Continent for more meetings that lasted into the morning of Thursday, October 17.

At 9 a.m. (BST), there was finally a Brexit breakthrough, after Boris spoke to Cabinet members about it:

It was made public just after 10:30:

Jean-Claude Juncker said there was no need now for ‘prolongation’:

Boris was allowed to address EU leaders before they began their summit:

He also gave a joint press conference with Juncker:

I watched the news last night (a rare occurrence, but this was a historic moment). All the film clips showed the EU leaders greeting Boris as if he were a hero — hugs, hearty handshakes, the lot. See the 6:49 mark in the following video:

EU leaders approved the deal after he left:

A ‘Tournedos Rossini of a deal’

When Parliament’s session began yesterday morning, Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg gave an enthusiastic speech about Boris’s deal, calling it a ‘Tournedos Rossini of a deal’:

He also said (emphasis mine):

It takes out the undemocratic backstop, delivers on what the Prime Minister promised he would do. In 85 days achieved something that could not be achieved in three years.

Every single member who stood on a manifesto saying that they would respect the will of the people in the referendum can support this with confidence.

I believe him.

Unfortunately, the DUP will not be voting for it on Saturday, unless, by the time you read this, something or someone has changed their minds:

To compound the situation, hardcore anti-Boris and anti-Brexit Remainers have tricks up their sleeves.

Saturday’s session in the Commons will not be easy. I suspect that this week’s EU negotiations will appear like a walk in the park by comparison.

More next week.

Interestingly, whilst the Conservatives were at their annual party conference, the opposition benches were largely empty.

Strange. Last week, they voted against proroguing Parliament from Monday through Wednesday because they had serious work to get on with.

Or so they said.

As it turned out, only a handful of the diligent, hardworking opposition MPs showed up on those days.

On Tuesday, October 1, a Brexit-related session headed by George Eustice, the minister for DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) covered the draft Common Agricultural Policy from July 24 which would be used for Brexit. The end of the debate is here. It’s a pity that only the opposition agricultural ministers and a couple of other MPs attended:

On Wednesday, October 2, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab headed PMQs — Prime Minister’s Questions — as Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his rousing speech in Manchester to the party faithful.

That morning, the Labour Whips issued a directive to their MPs not to ask Urgent Questions that day:

It was even worse when the afternoon’s proceedings began.

Recall — as if we could forget — that the opposition claim to be the champions of the vulnerable, especially women.

So, it was particularly galling to see that very few of them turned up for the second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill:

Only a few Liberal Democrat MPs attended that afternoon. Labour produced more, but could have done much better.

Good grief.

Apparently, this bill and some others have been carried over post-Queen’s Speech on October 14:

Therefore, if this is true, the opposition knew full well that they could have easily prorogued for three days during the Conservative Party Conference but chose not to out of sheer spite. Ditto the Supreme Court when they cancelled Boris’s prorogation.

The main and most moving speech of the debate was that of Labour MP Rosie Duffield. Her testimony of a recent relationship is well worth sharing with your daughters or nieces.

Women cannot be too careful when getting involved in a long-term relationship. If this can happen to an MP, it can happen to anyone. Please watch:

This bill is Theresa May’s. She brought it forward as a backbencher, therefore, before she became Prime Minister in 2016. How slowly the wheels of legislation turn.

Theresa May also gave an impassioned speech for the bill near the end.

Debate continues after October 14.

Attendance improved when Boris appeared on Thursday, October 3, to discuss a new proposal for Brussels, sent to Jean-Claude Juncker the day before:

Note the final paragraph about the Northern Ireland backstop on the first page:

This is the European Commission’s announcement about the letter (click on the image to enlarge text):

Many MPs who offered comments following Boris’s address commented positively. Even most Remainers accepted the proposal, albeit with a request for more details, which will be forthcoming. Only two or three diehard Remainers spoke out against it.

Several MPs hoped that the EU commissioners were watching the positive reaction.

Guido Fawkes has more, including this video of Boris’s speech:

Guido gives us the transcript of Boris’s five elements concerning the abolition of the proposed backstop, the crux of the leaving date delay thus far (italics in the original):

  1. In the first place all our actions are based on our shared determination to sustain the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, the fundamental basis of governance in Northern Ireland the protection of which is the highest priority of all.

  2. And from this follows the second principle – namely that we shall of course uphold all the longstanding areas of co-operation between the UK and our friends in Ireland including the rights of all those living in Northern Ireland, North/South co-operation and the Common Travel Area, which predates both the Good Friday Agreement and the European Union itself.

  3. Third, we propose the potential creation of a regulatory zone on the island of Ireland covering all goods, including agri-food. For as long as it exists, this zone would eliminate all regulatory checks for trade in goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

  4. But fourth, unlike the so-called backstop, such a regulatory zone would be sustained with the consent of the people of Northern Ireland, as expressed through the Assembly and Executive. They will give their consent during the transition period as a condition for these arrangements entering into force. Thereafter, the Assembly will vote again every four years – and if consent were withheld, these arrangements would then lapse after one year.

  5. Fifth, it has always been a point of principle for this government that at the end of the transition period, the UK should leave the EU Customs Union whole and entire restoring sovereign control over our trade policy and opening the way for free trade deals with all our friends around the world.

In short: no hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. Instead, there would be a regulatory zone covering all goods, including foodstuffs. Northern Ireland’s Assembly and Executive would vote on the arrangements in the near future and every four years after that. (I do not know how that will work if Stormont is not sitting, but, no doubt, the government can find a way.)

I’m guardedly hopeful that Boris is onto something positive with this. It won’t please Brexit Party members, but we were never going to get an absolute No Deal. I’m hoping that David Davis’s Canada ++ arrangement can be revived. Theresa May insisted that his plans be superseded by her Withdrawal Agreement in July 2018, no ifs, ands or buts. Davis resigned as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on July 8 that year. It was all downhill from there.

Davis has not tweeted his reaction, but another staunch Leave MP, John Redwood, offered his thoughts on Boris’s proposal:

Unfortunately, the Twitter replies to that were very angry, indeed.

It is essential to keep in mind that trade and other agreements will be in transition once we leave the EU.

It’s not as if everything will change dramatically on November 1 (God willing) or whenever we leave.

The transition period is likely to last anywhere from two to four years, depending on negotiations.

As for prescription drug shortages, some of which are occurring now in the UK and being blamed on Brexit: several EU countries have been experiencing similar shortages of essential medication for several months now. France and the Netherlands are among those nations. We cannot blame Brexit for that.

British journalist and television presenter Piers Morgan recently gave an interview to Ben Shapiro about the Left.

He says:

The Left have become unbearable.

This video, which is subtitled and runs just under two minutes and thirty seconds, is excellent. I am not necessarily a Piers Morgan fan but agree with everything he says here:

Being in media, he begins with comedians hosting awards shows. Because people cannot make — and take — jokes anymore, said shows lack hosts or are being cancelled.

Even it that is no big deal, Morgan takes the totalitarian measures of the Left further, calling them a type of ‘fascism’ (his word). He says that if you do not live your life in the way leftists dictate, they go after you in a number of ways, from personal abuse to making sure you lose your job.

Consequently, he says, ordinary people are rebelling by electing populist — he says ‘popularist’, possibly purposely — politicians who are willing to confront the Left. He cites President Trump and says this is happening in Europe, too. (Incidentally, Hungary’s Viktor Orban became prime minister long before Trump was elected. Orban assumed office in 2010, six years before the American president was elected. That said, western Europe has seen a continuing drift towards conservative and populist political parties.)

Here’s the interview in full:

In conclusion, it would be good if Piers Morgan and millions of other people would stop using the word ‘liberal’ to describe leftists. Liberal refers to classical liberalism: free markets and small government.

Let’s call these people what they are: leftists — the most illiberal of people.

Tomorrow, I will post a powerful video on child sex trafficking in the United States, which I highly recommend.

First, let’s see what is happening with the Jeffrey Epstein case after his death on Saturday, August 10, 2019.

The day before, 2,024 pages of court documents were released to the public.

Suspicions

As I write on Monday morning (BST), it is no wonder that people suspect there is a two-tiered justice system.

The story is being covered here in Britain as well as France.

If you missed my post yesterday, London’s Paul Joseph Watson summarises the Epstein death on Saturday, August 10, 2019 and the questions that have arisen as a result. This video is around four minutes long:

People are questioning the orange prison uniform shown in a photo circulating in various media outlets, because in many US prisons, inmates wear brown:

Others also question whether he could have committed suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan:

A former MCC inmate spoke to two reporters from the New York Post and said that suicide would be impossible:

An excerpt follows from the article. He, too, refers to brown uniforms (emphases mine below):

Between the floor and the ceiling is like eight or nine feet. There’s no way for you to connect to anything.

You have sheets, but they’re paper level, not strong enough. He was 200 pounds — it would never happen.

When you’re on suicide watch, they put you in this white smock, a straight jacket. They know a person cannot be injurious to themselves.

The clothing they give you is a jump-in uniform. Everything is a dark brown color.

Could he have done it from the bed? No sir. There’s a steel frame, but you can’t move it. There’s no light fixture. There’s no bars.

They don’t give you enough in there that could successfully create an instrument of death. You want to write a letter, they give you rubber pens and maybe once a week a piece of paper.

Nothing hard or made of metal.

There’s up to 80 people there. They could put two in cell. It’s one or two, but I’ll never believe this guy had a cellmate. He was too blown up.

An autopsy has been performed, but results are being withheld ‘pending further information’:

Here is the preliminary statement in full (click on blue text to read it in full):

The ZeroHedge article linked to in Dr Janda’s tweet says:

On a side note, the private pathologist, demanded by Epstein’s attorneys, Dr. Michael Baden, was the city’s chief medical examiner in the late 1970s and has been called as an expert witness in high-profile cases including by the defense at O.J. Simpson’s 1994 murder trial.

Of course, this unusual delay will merely spur further uncertainty and the all around ‘conspiracy theory’ feel to this whole debacle.

What are the odds that Epstein’s body gets misplaced? Or accidentally cremated?

On Sunday, August 11, the New York Post (NYP) reported:

Sources tell The Post that a determination will likely come by early next week.

“Today, a medical examiner performed the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson in a statement Sunday night …

Attempts to reach Dr. Baden, the city’s former chief medical examiner and a deputy chief medical examiner for Suffolk County, were not successful Sunday night. It was not immediately clear who he was working for at the time of the autopsy.

Another NYP article, ‘Epstein’s guards were working “extreme” OT at short-staffed lockup’, states:

The two Manhattan jail guards who allegedly failed to monitor Jeffrey Epstein before he died had been working “extreme” overtime shifts amid a severe staffing shortage at the facility, reports said Sunday.

The unidentified jailers at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center violated procedure by failing to check on Epstein every 30 minutes before he apparently committed suicide in his cell, sources told Reuters.

One guard was working his fifth straight day of overtime and the other was toiling under mandatory overtime, a person familiar with operations at the lower-Manhattan lockup told The Associated Press.

The guards also violated procedure by leaving the convicted pedophile without a cellmate, the New York Times reported.

There’s no surveillance video of Epstein’s death, which apparently occurred when the 66-year-old pervert appeared to hang himself Saturday morning, law-enforcement officials told The Post.

Although there are cameras in the 9 South wing at the MCC, they are trained on areas outside the cells and not inside, according to officials familiar with the setup.

According to Reuters, Epstein’s victims are allegedly preparing to sue his estate this week:

Two of Epstein’s lawyers are allegedly lawyering up themselves:

Trump tweets

On Saturday, President Trump retweeted this …

… and this:

He followed those retweets with one of his own:

Media

President Trump was correct in tweeting about the media.

Google ‘trends’ showed this:

And while a sensible editorial from Bernard Kerik, the first deputy and commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, 1995-2000, appeared on The Hill: ‘Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide makes no sense’

The fact that one of the country’s highest-profile federal prisoners could even commit suicide defies all logic and belief. 

His death raises doubts about officials’ actions. The FBI says it will investigate; Attorney General William Barr says he is “appalled” by what happened; members of Congress such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are demanding answers. Indeed we all need answers, before we lose all faith in our justice system.

But the most basic question, in my mind, is why Epstein was in solitary confinement in the first place — something so totally inappropriate for a prisoner already at risk of suicide

… the rest of the media denounced ‘conspiracy theories’ surrounding the high profile prisoner’s death, as Sohrab Amari reported for the NYP:

Within hours of the story breaking, writers at mainstream outlets went patrolling the Internet for “conspiracy theories” to debunk, usually with that tone of superiority and self-satisfaction that so endears the blue-check Twitterati to the American public.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death in US jails,” scolded The Daily Beast’s Justin Miller. “ ‘Suicide watch’ is just that, ‘watch,’ or observation, usually periodic. Stop speculating Epstein was murdered.” The headline on a story by Miller’s colleague Kelly Weill read: “Conspiracy Theories Erupt After Jeffrey Epstein’s Death.” (Talk about begging the question.)

“It would be easy to treat this frenzied reaction to Epstein’s death as a sad case study in how conspiratorial thinking has bled into mainstream discourse,” lectured The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins. “But finger-wagging feels inadequate at this moment.”

Among other examples of this lamentable rise in paranoia, Coppins cited one of my tweets. In it, I had recounted how a Manhattan restaurateur I know predicted that “they’ll never let Epstein live” — “they” being our shady ruling class. “Regular people,” I added, “are wiser than us pundits.”

If Coppins had bothered to contact me for comment before writing critically of my remarks — as is standard journalistic practice — I would have told him that, of course, I don’t necessarily believe the restaurateur was right. But at the time I heard him say it, I was inclined to dismiss the restaurateur’s cynicism about our system. “What does he know?” I thought. “Of course, Epstein will live to testify.” …

Speaking of which, shouldn’t the reporters who are busy lamenting our nation’s conspiratorial cast of mind wait for the facts to come out? After all, at least three local and federal probes have just gotten underway. The Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons have been careful to append the adjective “apparent” to the noun “suicide” in their statements on the matter. As Will Chamberlain of Human Events noted, the no-conspiracy journalists are “ahead of the facts.”

It’s all especially rich, given the fact that many of these same journalists have spent the past two years feverishly promoting the “collusion” theory. Here’s Coppins writing in 2017: “As evidence piles up pointing to the possibility that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, Republican lawmakers have largely ignored Democrats’ calls for urgent action.”

Trump and Epstein

The Left are hard at it promoting the idea that Donald Trump, well before running for president, was a close friend of Epstein’s. There is no convincing them of the contrary.

That, too, is conspiracy theory, isn’t it?

On Monday, July 9, two days after Epstein’s arrest, ZeroHedge posted an article stating the contrary: ‘Trump Was “Only One” To Help Prosecutor In 2009 Epstein Case’.

That year, Epstein began serving 13 months in prison for sex with a 14-year old girl. He was released in 2010. Florida attorney Bradley Edwards was the man who was serving subpoenas which resulted in Epstein’s conviction. Edwards says that Donald Trump never had to be subpoenaed. He spoke freely to Edwards. From the ZeroHedge article (emphases in the original):

Following a 2018 financial settlement between Florida attorney Bradley Edwards – who represented one of Epstein’s accusers, only to be later sued by Epstein, Edwards claimed that Donald Trump was the ‘only person’ who provided assistance when Edwards served subpoenas and notices to high-profile individuals connected to Epstein.

Edwards: The only thing that I can say about President Trump is that he is the only person who, in 2009 when I served a lot of subpoenas on a lot of people, or at least gave notice to some pretty connected people, that I want to talk to them, is the only person who picked up the phone and said, let’s just talk.  I’ll give you as much time as you want.  I’ll tell you what you need to know, and was very helpful, in the information that he gave, and gave no indication whatsoever that he was involved in anything untoward whatsoever, but had good information. That checked out and that helped us and we didn’t have to take a deposition of him in 2009.

However, the Left was — and is still — sure that Trump had a nefarious connection to Epstein. Contrast that with Bill Clinton’s known 26 flights on Epstein’s plane.

As much as they wanted to find incriminating evidence, Fusion GPS, Vice.com and Radar came up with nothing Trump-related:

While trying to tie Trump to Epstein in an attempt to push the narrative to at least two reporters, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS – the firm behind the unsubstantiated “Trump-Russia” dossier, found that the Trump-Epstein link appears purely social, according to the Washington Timeswhich writes “Journalist sources told The Washington Times that Simpson pushed the idea of a close relationship between Mr. Trump and Jeffrey Epstein,” adding “Ken Silverstein, the reporter who ultimately wrote an Epstein-Trump report, confirmed to The Times that Fusion had sourced the story.”

Mr. Silverstein, who wrote the Vice.Com story, was asked by The Washington Times if Fusion pushed the Epstein-Trump story.

Since you asked, yes, they helped me with that, Mr. Silverstein said. But as you can see, I could not make a strong case for Trump being super close to Epstein, so they could hardly have been thrilled with that story. [In my humble opinion], that was the best story written about Trumps ties to Epstein, but I failed to nail him. Trump’s ties were mild compared to Bill Clinton’s. –Washington Times

In January 2016, Vice.com ran Silverstein’s story on Trump’s ties to Epstein, which framed them as more social – including dinner parties, two plane trips, and Epstein hanging out at Trump’s Mar-a-lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. As Radar reported last April, “According to an investigation by Radar, Trump was among dozens of renowned New Yorkers who knew Epstein socially but ostracized him after Palm Beach police uncovered the financiers sleazy double life,” adding that Trump “once barred child molester Jeffrey Epstein from his famed Mar-a-lago club after the presidential candidate caught him hitting on a young girl.”

Epstein’s is not a ‘So what?’ story

Some do not care whether Epstein died.

However, Epstein had no co-defendant named in his latest case. Effectively, his case is dead, although victims can still sue his estate.

Epstein received a short sentence ten years ago as Trump’s former Secretary for Labor, Alex Acosta, explained during his confirmation hearing before he got the job. On July 9, Vicky Ward, a journalist who followed Epstein’s activities for years, wrote an article for the Daily Beast, ‘Jeffrey Epstein’s Sick Story Played Out For Years In Plain Sight’. In it, she discusses Acosta (emphases mine):

Epstein’s name, I was told, had been raised by the Trump transition team when Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. attorney in Miami who’d infamously cut Epstein a non-prosecution plea deal back in 2007, was being interviewed for the job of labor secretary. The plea deal put a hard stop to a separate federal investigation of alleged sex crimes with minors and trafficking.

“Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.) …

After the one meeting with then-U.S. Attorney Acosta, where presumably “intelligence” was mentioned, the indictment was shelved and, instead, Epstein signed a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors, pleading guilty to one count of solicitation of prostitution and one count of procurement of minors for prostitution, which earned him a cushy 13 months in county jail, from where he was allowed to leave to work at his office and go for walks

The deal granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators.” Most significantly, federal prosecutors agreed to keep the deal secret from Epstein’s victims, which meant they would not know to challenge it in court. As it turned out, this actually broke the law, because victims have a right to know of such developments, under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

The Miami Herald — and independent journalist Mike Cernovich — were successful in getting the case reopened this year. Vicky Ward explains the Miami Herald‘s role:

So kudos, then, to the Miami Herald journalist Julie K. Brown, who many years after the fact went back and interviewed some of Epstein’s alleged victims in her brilliant three-part series “Perversion of Justice.” It was Brown who told the stories of teenagers in trailer parks outside Palm Beach who needed money for shoes or just to live, who went to give Epstein massages and so much more. Brown and her editors actually took the women seriously.

It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried.

Given the political sentiment, it’s unsurprising that the FBI should feel newly emboldened to investigate Epstein—basing some of their work on Brown’s excellent reporting.

The story in the indictment that was unsealed earlier Monday was eerily familiar to all of us who have been paying attention to Epstein’s sick story. What is different, finally, after 16 years, is the reaction, which is, at last, appropriate. 

One of the young women who spoke to me 16 years ago emailed Monday evening. “Shocked and elated,” she said. “Fingers crossed they all finally go down.” Amen to that.

Yet, going back to Epstein’s release in 2010, celebrities and journalists attended a dinner at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, as Alexandra Wolfe wrote for Real Clear Politics on April 2, 2011, in ‘Celebs Close Ranks Around a Pedophile’:

Alexandra Wolfe is a former contributing editor to Conde Nast Portfolio. She has written for publications including the New York Times, New York magazine, the New York Observer, and the Wall Street Journal, where she wrote design and lifestyle features for the Weekend Journal section. Before that, she was a reporter at the New York Observer. She is currently working on a book called American Coddle, about America’s culture of entitlement.

Despite the pedophile mogul’s conviction for soliciting underage prostitution, his circle—a who’s who of the rich and powerful, from Bill Clinton to Katie Couric—is standing by their man. Renowned scientists whose research Epstein funded also back the billionaire, writes Alexandra Wolfe.

On the evening of December 2nd, 2010, a handful of America’s media and entertainment elite—including TV anchors Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos, comedienne Chelsea Handler, and director Woody Allen—convened around the dinner table of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. It wasn’t just any dining room, but part of a sprawling nine-story townhouse that once housed an entire preparatory school. And it wasn’t just any sex offender, but an enigmatic billionaire who had flown the likes of former President Bill Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak around the world on his own Boeing 727. Last spring, Epstein completed a 13-month sentence for soliciting prostitution from a minor in Palm Beach. Now he was hosting a party for his close friend, Britain’s Prince Andrew, fourth in line to the throne

Sure enough, that December night no one mentioned that their handsome host, a gray-haired 58-year-old financier with tanned skin and a joker smile, had just doled out millions of dollars in civil settlements to 17 [Published reports say 7…LS] girls who allege that he paid them to perform erotic massages and demeaning sexual acts when they were underage. They are among the 40 victims turned up by an FBI investigation. But at the time, this particular swath of Epstein’s elite Rolodex had no idea that the feted royal would soon renounce Epstein as a friend, nor that the royal’s ex-wife, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, would hysterically apologize for letting Epstein pay off some of her debts.

Oh, my.

Let’s look at Epstein’s destinations, which extended to cities in Europe:

Does anyone now not think that this is part of the reason these same people oppose Donald Trump, who made the issue of human trafficking, especially for sex, one of his campaign issues on which he has been acting during his presidency?

Three years ago, I wondered, ‘Is human trafficking really a thing?’ Trump, ever sober, knew then that it is a very serious thing, indeed.

More on child sex trafficking tomorrow.

Prime Minister Theresa May went to Brussels on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

Another trip to Brussels for her, another Brexit extension for us. This one is called a ‘flextension’. It expires on Halloween. You couldn’t make it up:

There will be a progress check on June 30, but that is likely to be a mere formality:

It would be nice if this actually were the final deadline, unlike others, such as March 29 and April 12 …

… but the Brexit timetable continues to roll on and on and on:

Sadly, No Deal preparations have now stopped:

Emmanuel Macron and his EU team tried their best to block an extension, but the EU project is much bigger than Macron:

His scheduled press conference did not take place late Wednesday. Someone higher up in the EU is displeased with him:

Meanwhile, talks with Labour have not been going well. No surprise there:

The flextension is unhelpful for the UK:

That said, MPs will be happy …

… just like schoolchildren:

More Brexit news will appear as and when.

On Friday, March 29, 2019, Britain is — or was — supposed to leave the European Union.

That date has now been extended to April 12 and possibly further, should Parliament agree to participate in EU elections this summer.

It was not supposed to end like this. Brexit was supposed to happen by March 29, as Prime Minister Theresa May had pledged it would.

My personal suspicion is that Remainer MPs have been running down the clock for months so that the PM would be forced to go to Brussels to get an extension from the EU.

This week, anything could happen. It is doubtful a third vote on the PM’s deal — a softer Brexit — will pass. It is also unknown whether we will see a no deal exit, even though I’d be quite happy with that:

This week, we will see all sorts of Remainer MP amendments which Remainer Speaker of the House John Bercow will table for a vote.

It should be noted that the Leader of the Opposition, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, was in Brussels on Thursday, April 22, at the same time as Theresa May. Hmm. What will he be announcing this week?

What follows are possible routes Brexit negotiations could take.

Incidentally, I wrote this on Friday, March 22, based on available information at the time.

The reason for a possible Brexit delay

As you read the rest of this post, it is important to keep in mind the figures on this graphic from Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North East Somerset and member of the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG). The important item is the last one, visible only if you click on the image:

From that last item, you can see that the overwhelming majority of MPs are Remainers.

Extension dates

As it stands, the PM walked away from her discussion in Brussels with an immediate extension to Friday, April 12:

However, if she gets momentum with Parliament on a way forward, that could be extended to May 22:

This is a good summary:

There is also the possibility that, if Parliament decided to go down a route whereby the UK could get an even longer extension, then we would take part in EU elections. Personally, I hope this does not happen.

The following comments from a thread at PoliticalBetting.com explain more. MV3 — Meaningful Vote 3 — is the third vote MPs will have on Theresa May’s exit plan on Tuesday, March 26. HOC is House of Commons:

F: … the need for an enabling bill for the Euro elections is why the date is April 12th. It is a prerequesite for a longer extension. If MV3 fails then voting against a Euro elections bill means voting for No Deal.

B: I am so pleased we are on the same page Foxy

It has been a battle over the last few days and this morning especially, to explain the 12th April was selected by the EU as it is the last date before the campaign for the EU elections and we have to take part if we want an extension of any kind

It is up to the HOC, but I am truly dismayed at how journalists, media and politicians are not explaining this in detail, as it was one of the most important issues coming from the EU

Also:

P: But according to Wiki at least the repeal of the European Elections Act hasn’t been enacted yet. Therefore if we wish to hold elections we can presumably do so under the old act that is still legally current legislation. We just need to commit to do so as the law is still on the books. 

Political parties are preparing to take part in EU elections, as is top Leave campaigner, Nigel Farage, MEP and former UKIP leader:

Possible MV3 result

In order for MV3 to take place, PM May must amend her deal.

As she has not succeeded in getting her deal passed in the previous two Meaningful Votes, it is uncertain whether Tuesday’s vote, even with changes, will be any different — especially if MPs can vote freely and not follow a party line. That could spell bad news for Leavers:

Also:

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn spent time in Brussels with Martin Selmayr, the Secretary-General of the EU commission. The Labour plan appears to entail joining a UK-EU customs union that would exclude other countries. Yet, Selmayr celebrated the European Economic Area Agreement (EEAA), which would also oblige the UK to follow EU rules, even if we were no longer formally in the EU. Selmayr conveniently leaves that out of his tweet:

A hiccup could result in one less vote for the PM’s deal because of the following:

In principle, should MV3 fail, May would go for a no deal exit on March 29:

However, the EU extension and further negotiations between the PM and Parliament could change that:

Confusion reigns

One thing of which we can be certain: May’s trip to Brussels has delayed Brexit.

The EU extension to Brexit was subject to unanimous approval of the 27 member nations. Given Matteo Salvini’s criticism of the EU, it seemed that Italy would vote against. Ditto Poland. But no:

The only real public comments came from France’s president, Emmanuel Macron:

At the end of last week, even May’s own cabinet members were in a state of confusion, although to be fair, they have been known for leaking:

May seems to be more conciliatory since her announcement on Wednesday night at No. 10, wherein she was critical of MPs for not moving Brexit along. On Thursday, after her day in Brussels:

All possibilities on the table

The chart below shows all the complex possibilities surrounding Brexit at the moment.

Click on the graphic and it will automatically open in a new tab. Then click on the image to enlarge the text:

Deal or no deal?

The border situation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is a primary sticking point in Brexit negotiations and parliamentary voting.

Currently, the border is open. With no deal, Remainers say it would be closed.

However, that might not be the case — even as far as the EU is concerned.

While former Conservative MP Michael Portillo threw cold water on no deal on Thursday:

On Friday, good news emerged from no less than Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel:

Leave supporters can but hope that Mrs May is able to get the UK out of the EU by April 12.

More to follow when significant developments occur.

Forbidden Bible Verses will appear tomorrow.

This year, Epiphany fell on a Sunday.

I was delighted to go to church and find the tree lit and the two Nativity scenes still in situ. The vicar announced from the pulpit, ‘The season is not over until Epiphany’, even though the churchwardens wanted to take all the Christmas decorations down on Saturday, January 5. Instead, they will come down on Monday, the 7th.

There are two old traditional European festive days that follow Epiphany.

One is St Distaff’s Day, or Roc Day, which is always on January 7. It has no religious significance, but is centuries old and is still a part of life in Europe where textiles and fibers are spun:

St Distaff’s Day — Distaff Day: January 7

The second is Plough Monday, still celebrated in a few English towns, which is the first Monday after Epiphany. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, the local church and parish community were involved. Afterwards, it returned to its secular roots:

The English tradition of Plough Monday

Plough Monday — the Monday after Epiphany

In 2019, the two coincide. Imagine what fun was had centuries ago when people celebrated both traditions on the same day.

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.

Well done, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), for using Scripture to refute cries for another immigration amnesty.

Lamar Smith wrote a column for Breitbart, posted on July 11, 2018. Any bleeding hearts saying that the Bible supports uncontrolled immigration would do well to read ‘Rep. Lamar Smith: Scripture Opposes Amnesty‘. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

First, St Paul told Christians that they should obey the law:

The Scriptures clearly indicate that God charges civil authorities with preserving order, protecting citizens, and punishing wrongdoers. A prime passage is Romans 13:1-7: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” Neither God nor the Bible ever rewards lawlessness (1 Timothy 1: 8-10).

Secondly, the Bible does not advocate amnesty:

Consider Leviticus 19:33-34, frequently cited by amnesty advocates: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

The law God laid down for Israel allowed legal distinctions to be drawn between natives and non-natives.

Also, the Hebrew term for “sojourn,” as well as the dictionary definition, means “temporary stay.” A related term used in some scriptural translations is “stranger.” So this passage offers no scriptural sanction for allowing millions of illegal immigrants to remain permanently in the United States. In the New Testament, the word “stranger” denotes one who is simply unknown (The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible), not someone who is a foreigner.

Finally, the Bible mentions borders in a number of places. God mandated such borders. Smith cited the following references, which I’m quoting in full:

And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death.  Exodus 19:12

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
    when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders[a] of the peoples
    according to the number of the sons of God.[b]  Deuteronomy 32:8

Do not move the ancient landmark
    that your fathers have set. Proverbs 22:28

In conclusion:

Americans need not apologize for wanting to uphold the rule of law. We have every right to be a sovereign nation. Our nation has a wonderful tradition of welcoming newcomers. Furthermore, we admit more than one million legal immigrants a year, far more than any other country.

There is a difference, though, between those who play by the rules and come in the right way and those who don’t. And the Bible’s commentary on strangers and foreigners makes that clear.

Europeans can — and should — refer to those verses as well, particularly given the immigration crisis that started in 2015 and, unfortunately, continues apace.

Last week, SpouseMouse went to London and, on the way back, stopped by Leonidas for a box of chocolates and received a free 250g bag of their Easter eggs, given to customers who spend £20 or more.

These are so good, that it’s worth mentioning to my European readers. Even if you cannot get a free bag this year, make a note to buy a box for next Easter. In 2018, a 250g box cost £6.15 or €6.95, which, given the incredibly high quality of Leonidas chocolate and fillings, is remarkable value for money.

This page shows how many different Easter eggs they have (scroll to the bottom).

Hands down, Leonidas is the best luxury chocolate on the market — and the best value for money — in the world.

We have been fans of Leonidas for many years. Their chocolate is sublime and the fillings are uniquely unctuous. A box goes a long way, because the quality of the product is so satisfying.

I would recommend that those who enjoy chocolates from the major Belgian luxury chocolatier buy a box of Leonidas and taste for themselves. In store, the staff are accustomed to putting together customised boxes. They are also very courteous.

Leonidas is a great hostess present and all-occasion gift. Be sure to buy some for yourselves, too.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

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

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

Join 1,371 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

December 2019
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

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

Blog Stats

  • 1,542,840 hits