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On August 1, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence presided over the  Honorable Carry Ceremony for 55 returned remains of US soldiers from the Korean War.

On Tuesday, August 14, President Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, explained what will happen next.

What follows are excerpts from that day’s press briefing. Emphases mine below.

MS. SANDERS: Good afternoon. The images from the Honorable Carry Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor this month made us all proud to be Americans.

President Trump is committed to getting the almost 8,000 left behind from the Korean War home, and bringing closure to the families who have been waiting for more than 60 years. The process of identifying and verifying the remains is challenging but one that this administration is committed to.

Overseeing this process is Kelly McKeague, the Director of the Defense for POW and MIA Accounting Agency. Leading DOD’s worldwide operation of research, investigation, recovery, and identification, and supporting functions, Director McKeague strives to provide the fullest possible accounting of our missing personnel.

The Director, along with his colleagues, Dr. John Byrd, the Defense POW and MIA Accounting Agency Laboratory Director, and Dr. Timothy McMahon, Director of DOD DNA Operations, have joined us today to offer remarks and take your questions on this topic …

Kelly McKeague then spoke. He noted that the 55 cases returned do not 55 soldiers’ corpses but rather a collection of remains, which might or might not be human (e.g. personal effects):

MR. MCKEAGUE: Thank you, Sarah. Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

The August 1st repatriation and homecoming in Hawaii of the remains of the Korean War unaccounted for was a poignant manifestation of the commitments secured by President Trump and pledged by Chairman Kim at the Singapore Summit.

For the families of the 7,700 still unaccounted for from the Korean War, this first step in fulfilling this commitment has undoubtedly provided a seed of hope.

Last week, over 700 of these family members gathered in Arlington, Virginia to receive government updates, and they were resoundingly appreciative of the successful advocacy of the President and his administration.

Two of those family members who attended, Charles and Larry McDaniel, were the recipients of the dog tag their father, Master Sgt. Charles McDaniel, of Indiana. It was the sole personal effect returned by the North Koreans.

The remains of those 55 cases are well into the painstaking multi-faceted analyses by Dr. John Byrd and his forensic science team in Hawaii. And in the coming weeks, Dr. Tim McMahon and his dedicated DNA specialists in Delaware will begin their meticulous testing.

The met[tle] of our scientists and the capabilities of our labs will be challenged. But in the months and years ahead, they will make identifications from these remains and give families long-sought answers.

We are guardedly optimistic the 1 August repatriation is the first tangible action of others with which we will be able to account for more of our missing from the Korean War.

The second aspect of the Korean — of the Singapore commitment was the recovery of remains in North Korea, which DPRK officials reaffirmed last month. We are in the midst of exploring next steps as well as discussions with the Korean People’s Army for the express purpose of resuming joint field operations and having additional repatriations.

But our mission to search for, find, and account for missing Department of Defense personnel from World War II through Operation Iraqi Freedom is one not limited to the Korean Peninsula.

Today, 186 personnel from DPA and private partners are deployed in seven nations. And yesterday, 50 of those members returned from Laos and the Philippines.

Our global mission is humanitarian in every respect, because the impact of a missing American to their family is not constrained by time or generations. And it leaves an enduring pain and void. This is why former enemies, like Vietnam, used cooperation on the POW/MIA mission as a bridge to normalization in today’s thriving bilateral relationship with the United States.

The fact that the United States of America vigorously pursues the fullest-possible accounting of our missing reflects our values as a nation.

The sacred obligation, if not moral imperative, remains a high priority for the Department of Defense. Inherent to the exceptional teamwork, resources, and resoluteness provided by multiple agencies is a solemn vow that those were sent off in harm’s way and are missing will not be forgotten. And their families will receive answers to their decades of uncertainty.

John Byrd, in responding to Major Garrett of CBS News, further confirmed that the 55 boxes contain the partial remains of more than 55 soldiers. He also explained the forthcoming painstaking forensic analysis:

DR. BYRD: … what our lab specializes in is making identifications in circumstances where you have very little to work with. And so I’m confident that we’re going to do well with the remains in these 55 boxes over the coming months and maybe the next several years.

When you look at what’s at stake, we’re going to be doing a lot of DNA sampling. And that’s what Dr. McMahon’s lab does, is they process the samples and then they go into a mass database where they can be compared to all of the other samples that we’ve generated from remains from North Korea, and also compared to the family members.

And so it takes some time to get the samples processed through the lab at AFMES; it takes some time to get them into the mass comparison. But once they’re in there, we’ll start looking for the quick identifications that can be made where you have compelling matches that show themselves early on.

We also look for comparisons to dental records that can be distinctive. We look for individuals that are unusual, in the sense of being very tall, very short, very old. Anything that distinguishes somebody, we can usually get a good clue and identify them faster.

But because of the preservation of the remains, that will just sort of guide the kinds of methods that we can bring to bear on the case. And the case will be very DNA — or very DNA-intensive in terms of the way that we’re going to go about this.

Q And did the number of 55, is that — what does that number represent

DR. BYRD: It’s the number of boxes.

Q Is that 55 individuals?

DR. BYRD: No. It’s the number of boxes that the remains came in. And at no time did we expect there to be one body, one box. Nor did the North Koreans try to pitch it that way to us when we were in Wonsan.

The question arose whether the remains of soldiers of other nationalities were included in the 55 boxes. It is highly possible that not all of these remains are 100% American:

MR. MCKEAGUE: We have a high confidence. So in the early ‘90s, for five years, the North Koreans would repatriate, unilaterally, remains that they had recovered. Out of those 208 boxes over those five years, we estimated, after DNA sampling, 400 individuals.

Now, from that, 200 were Americans. So the likelihood is — you’re correct, there may be some of U.N.-sending forces, there may be some South Korean soldiers — remains, as well as Chinese and North Korean.

What our laboratories — both DNA and the forensic laboratory have the technology and the capabilities by which to differentiate those remains over the course of the next several years.

McKeague explained to another reporter that the US halted the joint search for remains in 2005 (under Bush II), because of the increased nuclear threat from North Korea. He also emphasised that the searches and returns requiring co-operation from both countries:

MR. MCKEAGUE: So for 10 years, we operated between 1996 and 2005, over time conducting 33 joint activities with the North Koreans. Security is primarily our responsibility for our personnel. We also pay attention to communications — having communications abilities as well as having an ability to medevac our personnel should they get hurt.

What we would be looking for from the North Koreans is, again, a commitment from them that communications, medical evacuation requirements can be met, and more importantly, that we can conduct these joint operations in a collaborative way, as we had done for 10 years.

It all comes down, back into 2005, to their behavior on the international stage. The President, rightfully so, was concerned that their nuclear activities, their missile activities, were countermanding and counterproductive to our joint operations, which is why we suspended —

In his talks with the North Koreans, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been working to resume the searches, which are considered to be a humanitarian mission:

MR. MCKEAGUE: … So, Secretary Pompeo, in getting a reaffirmation from the North Koreans last month, affirmed that they do want to establish communications with us and to conduct joint operations. We have not started those negotiations. We will do so. It is on a separate track.

However, as you well pointed out, it could be drawn into the greater geopolitical stream. But for now, we’re treating it as a military-to-military contact, but more importantly, as a humanitarian endeavor that’s separate and distinct from anything else.

And, by the way, the 45 countries that we work with all rightfully recognize this as a humanitarian endeavor, including countries like Russia and China, where we have tremendous cooperation with them.

A reporter asked whether the search for the remaining missing in Vietnam was closed:

MR. MCKEAGUE: It has. So, right now, there are close to 1,700 — 1,600 that remain missing and unaccounted for. Within that set of unaccounted for is what we call “last known alive.” It’s a small subset of individuals who, for whatever reason, were seen alive at a certain point during the war and will remain unaccounted for.

Our priority with the Vietnamese is to get at that subset — small subset. I think it’s down to 25 — not necessarily prisoners of war, but again, last known alive at the time that they were seen.

Another reporter asked whether animal remains had been inadvertently included in the 55 boxes or whether everything pertained to humans:

DR. BYRD: Yes, we did a cursory inspection of the remains in Wonsan before we loaded them onto our military aircraft just to ensure that at least some of what was in each box was human. When we got to Osan, in South Korea, we spent two days going through every box in detail, conducting what we call a field forensic review. The purpose of that review is to ensure that every item is consistent with being human. And if there were any animal remains, we would have pulled them at that point. As it was, we did not find any animal remains.

No one knows at this point the number of soldiers whose remains could be in the 55 boxes. It will take some time to find out:

DR. BYRD: … You know, there is a scientific process to estimate that. And I wish it were very fast, because I think a lot of people would really like to know. The families would love to know that information. But unfortunately, it’s going to take months of analysis to start to get a refined estimate.

Although there is no future timetable at present, it is hoped that the searches will continue now in light of the successful Singapore Summit in June:

DR. BYRD: Okay, so the first question, as Mr. McKeague mentioned, we’re in the process of planning next steps. So we can’t say we have any timeline today for bringing back more remains. We’re hopeful that we will be in the not-too-distant future.

I will say, though, in terms of having worked there — I worked there in the past, during the 1996 to 2000 — five years. I spent a lot of time in the field there. And then I went into Wonsan with our team on July 27th, and there was a very different feel to it this time. It was a much more friendly, welcoming, and collegial approach this time compared to the way it used to be.

I hope that the explanations from the White House press briefing go some way to answering various questions about the remains of soldiers from the Korean War.

I also hope to post the next instalment of Forbidden Bible Verses tomorrow.

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Yesterday’s post was about American soldiers’ remains from the Korean War.

On Wednesday, August 1, in Hawaii, Vice President Mike Pence presided over the latest return of 55 remains from that war, which never officially ended. For a number of American families, the past six decades have been troubling, as they cannot be sure whether their loved ones’ remains will ever be recovered.

The Singapore Summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim produced this latest return of remains:

This video has the full Honorable Carry Ceremony:

The Vice President was honoured to preside over the ceremony:

The following tweets summarise his tribute:

President Trump tweeted his appreciation:

The vice president and Mrs Pence had special guests accompany them:

Fox News has more:

The vice president said that when Sanfilippo was 4 years old she lost her father in the Korean War during a recon mission, and that when Downes was just 3 years old he lost his father operating radar on a B-26 bomber …

Fox News’ Pete Hegseth, who was traveling with Pence in Air Force Two, recalled the touching stories of the heroes’ now-grown children.

“We picked up probably the two most important passengers on that plane: a man and woman who were 4 and 3 years old — little girl and little boy in the 1950s  — when they sent their fathers, then young men, both pilots, both first lieutenants, both went to fight in the Korean War,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”

“They dedicated their lives for the last 60 years finding out what happened to their fathers, what happened though those patriots, warriors who went to fight for us, for every generation of Americans,” Hegseth continued.

I hope they find peace and closure.

The remains now need to be analysed in order to identify them — a painstaking process that will take weeks, if not months.

Many more remains are still in North Korea, yet to be discovered. I pray that they are discovered soon. This long and painful chapter of history must come to a close — as does the Korean War.

On Monday, June 18, 2018 President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-3, National Space Traffic Management Policy:

It’s incredible to imagine that activity in outer space has progressed to this extent:

The future space operating environment will also be shaped by a significant increase in the volume and diversity of commercial activity in space. Emerging commercial ventures such as satellite servicing, debris removal, in-space manufacturing, and tourism, as well as new technologies enabling small satellites and very large constellations of satellites, are increasingly outpacing efforts to develop and implement government policies and processes to address these new activities.

To maintain U.S. leadership in space, we must develop a new approach to space traffic management (STM) that addresses current and future operational risks. This new approach must set priorities for space situational awareness (SSA) and STM innovation in science and technology (S&T), incorporate national security considerations, encourage growth of the U.S. commercial space sector, establish an updated STM architecture, and promote space safety standards and best practices across the international community.

The United States recognizes that spaceflight safety is a global challenge and will continue to encourage safe and responsible behavior in space while emphasizing the need for international transparency and STM data sharing. Through this national policy for STM and other national space strategies and policies, the United States will enhance safety and ensure continued leadership, preeminence, and freedom of action in space.

The White House offered a summary of Trump’s efforts to make space great again (emphasis in the original):

A RENEWED VIGOR FOR SPACE: The new Space Policy Directive builds on the President’s efforts to reinstate the United States leadership role in space.

  • On May 24, 2018, the President signed Space Policy Directive – 2 to reform United States commercial space regulatory framework, seeking to ensure our place as a leader in space commerce.
  • On March 23, 2018, President Trump unveiled a National Space Strategy that laid out an approach to ensuring that the United States is strong and competitive in the space environment.
  • On December 11, 2017, the President signed Space Policy Directive – 1, instructing NASA to return United States astronauts to the Moon, followed by human missions to Mars.
  • On June 30 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order reviving the National Space Council for the first time in 24 years.

Trump met with the National Space Council on Monday. He said, in part (emphases mine):

We’re going to have the Space Force.

One year ago, I revived the National Space Council and put exactly the right man in charge, and that’s our friend, Mike Pence. He feels very strongly about this. And in December, I signed a historic directive that will return Americans to the moon for the first time since 1972, if you can believe that. (Applause.)

Always remembering it’s about that, but it’s also about jobs and the economy. This is a great thing we’re doing.

This time, we will do more than plant our flag and leave our footprints. We will establish a long-term presence, expand our economy, and build the foundation for the eventual mission to Mars — which is actually going to happen very quickly. And, you know, I’ve always said that rich guys seem to like rockets. So all of those rich guys that are dying for our real estate to launch their rockets, we won’t charge you too much. Just go ahead. If you beat us to Mars, we’ll be very happy and you’ll be even more famous.

Here is a video clip (full White House video here). Mike Pence is at the president’s side and transport secretary Elaine Chao is in the background:

Trump plans to create a new branch of the military — Space Force:

Vice President Pence then introduced the meeting, which included reports from the National Space Council as well as updates from Cabinet secretaries who are also working with the Council. The User Advisory Group met for the first time on June 19.

Democrats said that it couldn’t be done, that space was essentially dead for the United States — and, now, Trump is making space great again!

Thursday, May 10, 2018, was a busy day for President Trump.

It began in the early hours with the welcome home to three Americans who had been detained in North Korea.

It ended with a rally in Elkhart, Indiana, where Trump set the tone for the 2018 mid-term elections.

At the rally, Trump quipped about the long day:

“At 2.a.m. early this morning and by the way I got back to the White House at 4:30 a.m. and somebody said, ‘Oh that’s ok you can just cancel Indiana tonight.’ I said, you just don’t know the people of Indiana. I don’t have the courage to cancel,” he added.

The COO of Donald J. Trump for President was there:

Elkhart is near South Bend, which is home to the University of Notre Dame. The small city is best known for the production of RVs (recreational vehicles). Elkhart still has a small-town look, including a traditional Main Street.

It was a good location for a Trump rally, as the greater South Bend area is known as Michiana, encompassing this part of northern Indiana and the southwestern border with Michigan. It is also fairly close (by American standards) to Chicago. Elkhart is readily accessible by rail, which further added to its appeal.

Incidentally, Obama also liked Elkhart:

While Michiana is filled with Democrat voters, 7,000 Trump fans were inside North Side Middle School’s auditorium for the rally, with 10,000 listening to proceedings outdoors.

You can get a full perspective of the packed venue here. To be one of the lucky ones inside a Trump rally, you need to get there early, even 24 hours in advance. Heaven only knows where everyone parked. Yet, people were patient, and some probably made new friends. Meanwhile, the media were setting up their equipment inside the auditorium.

Traffic warnings and road closures made the news. Obama had been in South Bend twice before during his tenure (2009 and 2016), so locals are used to presidential disruption. Protesters were also present.

Regardless of political preference, some local residents made sure they could get a view of the airport when Trump arrived. Local businesses also put up displays welcoming the president; Democrat or Republican, it is ‘an honour’.

Local lawmakers either attended or spoke at the rally.

Trump arrived at South Bend International Airport shortly after 6 p.m.

The NBC affiliate, located at Notre Dame, posted a video of Air Force One:

Meanwhile, back in Elkhart, one woman was delighted that CNN’s Jim Acosta took a photo of her:

Not everyone was so enthusiastic about CNN, however:

The crowd was revved.

Vice President Mike Pence, former governor of Indiana, attended. He and his wife Karen flew in on Air Force Two:

The crowd gave him a rousing ovation:

He addressed the audience:

He pointed to the jobs success in Elkhart:

And introduced the president:

Before state office holders and Pence spoke, the rally, which started at 7 p.m., began in the traditional way:

Trump began speaking at 7:29 p.m.

Highlights follow. Each tweet linked below has a video clip.

The president acknowledged the crowd:

He spoke about the world’s renewed respect for the United States:

.: “We are unlocking new opportunities for prosperity and for peace. All of these changes are happening because America is being respected again.”

He discussed North Korea:

.: “On June 12th, in Singapore, I’ll be meeting with Kim Jong Un to pursue a future of peace and security for the world.”

Weakness:

.: “You know what gets you into nuclear wars and you know what gets you into other wars? Weakness.”

Jobs:

Trump: “Here at home. The great news keeps rolling in. 3.3 million new jobs since the election.”

Record employment for blacks:

.: “African American unemployment has reached the lowest level in the history of our country.”

Strong borders:

.: “We believe that a strong nation must have strong borders.”

Patriotism:

.: “We have pride in our history and respect for our great American flag.”

Fair trade:

.: “We want trade deals that are fair and, by the way, reciprocal.”

The new embassy in Jerusalem, which opened on Monday, May 14:

.: “Next week we will finally open the American Embassy in Jerusalem.”

And Iran:

.: “We’re putting the harshest, strongest, most stringent sanctions on Iran.”

He also criticised Joe Donnelly, the state’s Democrat senator for that district who refused to vote for the tax cut and Obamacare repeal.

Trump invited the Republican candidate for Senate onto the platform:

CBS affiliate WSBT had a good summary of the rally speeches, including soundbites from Mike Braun’s:

… he said “one of the neatest experiences of my life is spending 30 minutes riding with the president. You wouldn’t believe the advice you get.”

But also told the crowd he’s a businessman and an outsider just like the President — who he calls “his inspiration.”

“When I started this journey, almost a year ago, I traveled the states, spent a lot of time in the north. Wanted to make sure this was going to end up with a good result,” said Braun. “Wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t inspired by what this man did in 2016. He cleared the field systematically and really that was the inspiration for doing it.”

Braun said he will “retire Joe Donnelly.”

Local reporter Taurean Small from ABC57 summarised Trump’s talking points well:

The rally ended at 8:30 p.m.:

Here is RSBN’s video of the rally:

Their reporters were happy (The Conservative Treehouse has more videos from them):

Then it was time for President Trump to return to Washington.

This was the motorcade on the way back to the airport:

And finally, as Mike and Karen Pence headed downstate to Indianapolis:

He tweeted Fox News’s video of his hour-long speech along with his thanks for the crowd’s enthusiasm:

Trump is off and running for MAGA candidates this year. As the year progresses, he will have even more great news to report.

Early in the morning of Thursday, May 10, 2018 (US time), three American citizens arrived on US soil after having been held captive in North Korea.

It was a stunning, historic event not only for them, but also for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and, certainly, President Donald Trump:

CNN reported (emphases mine):

The Americans — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kimwere freed while Pompeo was on a visit to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to discuss President Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

The three men issued a joint statement thanking Trump.

“We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home,” the trio said in the statement which the State Department supplied to journalists traveling with Pompeo.

Kim Dong Chul has been in North Korean custody since late 2015, but the other two detainees were arrested last spring, after Trump’s inauguration as tensions between Washington and Pyongyang were beginning to ramp up.

The White House has often brought up their cases when discussing North Korea issues. As both sides began laying the groundwork for the Trump and Kim’s meeting — which would be the first-ever between a sitting US President and North Korean leaderthe Trump administration made it clear that releasing the three Americans would be viewed as a gesture of good will.

Aboard the plane leaving North Korea, Pompeo said he was “thrilled to have them back.”

Pompeo told the small contingent of reporters traveling with him that the detainees appear to be in good health, or at least as healthy as can be considering the circumstances surrounding their detention

The state-run Korea Central News Agency said that Kim decided to release the Americans at Trump’s suggestion. It added that Pompeo and Kim “reached a satisfactory consensus on the issues discussed” and described the talks as “very beneficial.”

Press pool releases, courtesy of Hunter Walker White House Correspondent Yahoo News, were as follows.

This was the order of arrival:

According to staff, at about 2:00 a.m., Vice President Pences helicopter will arrive at Andrews first followed by POTUS. Mike Pompeos plane will come next followed by a medical plane bearing the freed Americans.

The President and First Lady arrived shortly after 2 a.m. on May 10:

Marine One landed at Andrews Air Force Base at approximately 2:18 a.m.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disembarked at about 2:22 am and walked into the terminal. The President didnt respond to shouted questions about whether he had any message ahead of the returnees arrival or whether he had spoken with Kim Jong Un.
Mike Pompeos plane is due to land imminently. —

Trump waited for the appropriate time to leave Marine One. Note the Tylenol® and Diet Coke on the cabinet:

As for the returning Americans:

After coming to Andrews and meeting with the President, the returnees will be going on to Walter Reed for further evaluation and medical treatment. The White House is referring any questions about their medical condition to the State Department.

Reuters has a 41-minute video of the planes landing and the subsequent welcome home for the three men.

The event was carried live around the world, especially South Korea:

Going back to the landings, Mike Pompeo energetically dashed down the steps:

Later, one of the released prisoners gave him a heartfelt hug:

In another tweet, the Washington Post‘s Anna Fifield added:

Kim Dong-chul … was detained a year before the 2016 election so he probably didn’t know until yesterday that Donald Trump is president.

President and Mrs Trump boarded the plane carrying the three men:

They spoke to the men:

And helped guide them to the door:

 

Then it was time to disembark:

I cannot begin to imagine the joy and relief they must have felt:

Afterwards:

Not to be forgotten was someone Obama’s State Department — under John Kerry — did not care much about and told his parents there was not much they could do. Thanks to Rex Tillerson and President Trump, North Korea released Otto Warmbier, who had been in a coma for over a year in prison. He died on June 19, 2017, six days after he arrived back home in Ohio:

Who can say better than this? This is a short, excellent White House video compilation, by the way:

Vice President Mike Pence received three insights into the detainees’ experience.

The first was his and his wife Karen’s conversations with the men:

Another came from Mike Pompeo:

The third came when one of the three handed Pence a note with verses from Psalm 126 on the reverse. Note that their faith never faltered. Below is the index card (full image courtesy of The Conservative Treehouse):

The Conservative Treehouse has more (emphasis in the original):

Kim Dong Chul, Kim Sang Duk, Kim Hak Soon are the names of the three detainees who were released.  Two of the captives, Hak-Soon and Sang Duk, belong to the Pyongyang Univ of Science & Technology and were detained in Apr & May 2017: they had been held for a year. The third, Kim Dong Chul, is an ordained minister held since 2015 when he was commuting from China and was serving a 10-year sentence on espionage charges.

In closing, the White House released a pleasantly bi-partisan set of statements applauding the release of the detainees. Media kudos are also included.

I’ll leave you with the first statement:

The Family of Freed American Tony Kim: “We are very grateful for the release of our husband and father, Tony Kim, and the other two American detainees. We want to thank all of those who have worked toward and contributed to his return home. We also want to thank the President for engaging directly with North Korea. Mostly, we thank God for Tony’s safe return.”

May God bless the three released Americans and their families richly.

May He also abundantly bless all those who secured their release.

Some reading this would be delighted if President Donald Trump were toppled from office.

With the recent revelations during the past two weeks, it does not appear as if this will happen (thank goodness), but the coup is real.

In July, I wrote about a South African — now American — Evangelical pastor who held a 24/7 prayer vigil at his church praying for Trump’s safety.

Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne is no tin-foil hat wearer. The danger is real.

Cascade Free Zone has an excellent article, ‘The Deep State Coup’, which is brilliantly written and informative. I highly recommend it.

Brief excerpts and a summary follow. Emphases mine below.

The coup has been going on since the November 8, 2016 election. The means and accusations were in place long before then — e.g. the Russian dossier. Note that the dossier is still in active play and old accusations about Trump and women are making the news cycle once again. Impeachment stories feature strongly as do news items about the president’s mental state.

Now:

We are approaching the end of the first-phase of the coup. This is a non-military coup, but what we are witnessing clearly fits the definition of “the overt seizure of the state by an elite within the state apparatus”.

Renowned patriot author and speaker Matt Bracken, in a series of postings and interviews, has outlined the basic mechanics of the coup.   Central figures include former FBI director James Comey and the Independent Counsel Robert Mueller, assistant US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and current  acting director of the FBI Andrew McCabe.  Motivation for all of them is self-preservation.  As we have learned Clinton-World was a very corrupt place and the list of self-serving deals and those who benefited from them includes all of the key plotters.  None of them believed there was any chance Hillary would lose and leave them exposedShe didThey are.

Here is an illustration of the plot:

The Special Counsel investigation of Russian collusion — led by Robert Mueller — has not found the president guilty of anything.

Meanwhile, several Democrats have found themselves embroiled in impropriety.

So have law enforcement organisations, such as the FBI:

Americans of a certain generation have to strip away the years of propaganda indoctrination that the FBI are “the good guys” and look closely at what they do. The DOJ are their partners in all this, together they are the muscle of the Deep State plotters.

As for the wiretapping — the word the New York Times used in a headline — of Trump Tower last year:

This was clearly an illegal use of the most powerful wiretapping tool in the US law enforcement arsenal. FISA warrants were created to help prevent terrorism, not to ensure election of Deep State approved candidates. It has been criminally misused by the Obama administration to spy on political opponents and blackmail them with the illicitly obtained knowledge.

This goes further than deposing Trump. This is meant to also prevent his successor, Vice President Mike Pence, from taking his place:

the Deep State agenda is not merely to remove Trump, but also to remove Pence, Ryan, McConnell and whoever else stands in their way. Discussion of “do-over elections” is a serious topic there, as is simply removing every person until a flexible insider is found to run things.

Good grief. If that isn’t a totalitarian notion, what is?

There are minor — yet seemingly powerful — players, too. Saul Montes-Bradley has a good Twitter thread, excerpted below, spelling edited (photos in the thread):

(3) Two major events occupied out time last year during the campaign: The Clinton investigation over Hillary’s corrupt and felonious handling of her office as Secretary of State, and the,”Steele Dossier,” that abhorrent and at times sophomoric attempt to besmirch candidate Trump.

(6) I have tried to keep abreast of events as they developed, from the collusion of a venal press with the DNC, to the shenanigans of FBI agents in the Mueller probe.

(8) But it is much, much worse.

And all is coming together now.

Let’s bring a few more names to the forefront.

Does anyone remember Aaron Zebley? …

(9) Zebley was Mueller’s Chief of Staff at the FBI before becoming a Senior Counselor in the National Security Division at the Department of Justice.

Before that he was Special Agent of the FBI in the Counterterrorism Division for seven years.

(10) In between his two tours at the FBI, Zebley served as an Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) in the National Security and Terrorism Unit in Alexandria, Virginia.

If he is any measure, no wonder the fight against terrorism was an utter failure for years!

(11) In March 2014, he joined the law firm Wilmer Hale. “Aaron’s experience at the FBI, DoJ and the US Attorney’s Office will add to our internal investigations, crisis management and cybersecurity capabilities,” crowed his new managing partner …

wilmerhale.com/pages/publicat…

(12) Guess who this upstanding shyster represented there?

Justin Cooper

(13) Yep.

The cretin who set up the Hilldebeast private email server in her basement and then took a hammer to the blackberries she claimed she did not use!

The one who handled classified information without a security clearance.

(14) [Zebley] … went from defending Cooper to the Russia investigation under Mueller, working with McCabe and Strzok, who were supposed to have investigated Cooper

Go figure.

(15) There’s always room for a couple more … in this caper.

Enter Andrew Weissman, for one.

(16) he returned to the Bureau in 2015 (amazing how many of these vermin found their way back to the bureau in 2015, isn’t it.)

This time as Chief of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Fraud, mind you.

(20) There are quite a number more.

Like Jeannie Rhea, a shyster in Mueller’s team, who defended Ben Rhodes, finally a focus of the investigation into the “unmasking” caper.

She and 8 others donated to the Hilldebeast’s campaign.

(21) Or Rudy Contreras, judge who presided over @GenFlynn’s plea agreement without telling anybody he was on the FISA court that authorized the tapping of Trump’s phones and God knows why, suddenly remembered and recused himself.

ONE DAY AFTER THE PLEA.

Did he find religion?

(22) And then of course, there’s good ‘ol Bruce Ohr, former Associate Deputy Attorney General, AND Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.

“Former” since Trump demoted him four days ago

(23) Why was he demoted?

Oh, well, he forgot to declare a minor detail to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigating a tiny thingy called the “Trump Dossier.”

What did he forget?

(24) Nothing much. Just that he had “ties” to Fusion GPS and its founder, Glenn Simpson.
It gets better. Simpson had introduced him to Christopher Steele (though some sources he has known Steele for 10 years!).

(25) Steele, yes, the chap who concocted that abomination paid for by the DNC to smear candidate Trump.

Ohr met with Steele SEVERAL TIMES during the campaign, just as this thing was going on, and back with Simpson soon after the election.

What a coincidence!

(26) In fact, Simpson and Ohr met “around Thanksgiving” to discuss “the anti-Trump dossier, the Russia investigation and what Simpson considered the “distressing development of Trump’s victory.”

Distressing, indeed. And after all that work, too!

(27) But that’s not all.

Who was working with Steele in the cooking of the infamous dossier but Ohr’s better half, his wife, Nellie.

What do you know, SHE was HIRED by Fusion GPS in 2016!

Her area of expertise? You guessed it: Russia, Russia Russia.

(28) Ohr didn’t declare any of this. Oops! Forgot.

It was discovered by the HPSCI, but only after threatening Director Wray and Deputy Dog Rosenstein with finding them in contempt …

(29) And this in spite of the obstruction of … Adam Schiff, who tried every which way to stop the committee.

Uncharacteristically, he is now silent over this.

Cat ate his tongue.

(30) Who else had his nose in this?

Peter Strzokwho interrogated @GenFlynn without a lawyer and without disclosing his conflicts of interest.

(31) Now, as the Dimms like to remind us, there is under Federal law the crime of conspiracy to perform a criminal act.

Indeed, if it turns out that these band of 3rd world misfits conspired to undermine the investigation into the Clinton mishandling of classified information

(32) AND to pervert the 2016 elections AND to undermine the legitimately elected President of the United states, while endangering the country creating conflicts with foreign powers

(33) …not to mention other beauties like egregious violations of the Hatch Act, lying to Congress, falsifying informationthey should be in a world of trouble

(34) Meanwhile, five have already been demoted or suspended pending investigation, one has been recused and, suddenly, it looks as if the … charge against @GenFlynn might well end up dismissed as the only evidence against him is the tainted word of a felon.
Poisoned fruit

(35) What upsets me the most, especially today, is that the FBI these vermin corrupted into a political police doing the dirty job of the DNC, neglected its counter espionage functions and endangered us all.

(37) I said months ago that the Dimms may come to regret ever having demanded this investigation.

It looks like that was an understatement.

They swallowed the hook, line and sinker.

Amateur hour is over.

Somebody WAS looking.

FINIS

Ultimately, the coup will fail. In fact, it looks as if many of the players are imploding. More will follow suit.

We can only hope that they are fully investigated and, where possible, prosecuted and sentenced.

Yesterday’s post discussed the events that took place Friday, December 1, 2017.

Today’s entry serves as an update on the weekend’s news. I won’t be recapping much of what I wrote about Friday, so you might want to read that post before continuing here.

ABC’s Brian Ross

ABC’s veteran reporter Brian Ross was suspended for four weeks without pay for his fake news of Friday that caused the US stock market to dip for an hour:

President Donald Trump was delighted:

But he was not yet finished:

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, father of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is a past Republican presidential candidate and former Fox News show host:

This lawyer and writer for The Federalist listed more of Ross’s huge blunders:

Mueller investigation — Peter Strzok

One of Robert Mueller’s top investigators has been sacked from his team investigating the Trump campaign’s notional Russian collusion:

One could not make this up:

 

You can read clips from more articles on that subject here (image courtesy of a Reddit contributor).

Trump chimed in:

Advice came in for the new FBI director, Christopher Wray:

Judicial Watch has been keen for the McAuliffe/Clinton scandal to be investigated:

Their November 21 article begins with this summary:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 79 pages of Justice Department documents concerning ethics issues related to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s involvement with his wife’s political campaign. The documents include an email showing Mrs. McCabe was recruited for a Virginia state senate race in February 2015 by then-Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam’s office.

The news that Clinton used a private email server broke five days later, on March 2, 2015. Five days after that, former Clinton Foundation board member and Democrat party fundraiser, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, met with the McCabes. She announced her candidacy on March 12. Soon afterward, Clinton/McAuliffe-aligned political groups donated nearly $700,000 (40% of the campaign’s total funds) to McCabe’s wife for her campaign.

Most Trump supporters knew about that during the 2016 campaign, but it got little media coverage.

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton has been doing great work in exposing Swamp scandals. See here, here and here.

This is very serious. Can one imagine a Republican getting away with such a thing?

Where’s the justice?

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn has been made to look like a criminal for lying to the FBI, but we have senior US officials — present and former — who have committed crimes. The American people are told there is nothing to see.

Congressman Steve Smith (R-Georgia) summarised the situation well:

Trump is, rightly, on the warpath:

Is he having a go at his Attorney General Jeff ‘Sleepy’ Sessions?

Sleepy will be leaving soon, probably early in 2018.

His immediate recusal from this probe, because it was connected with the Trump campaign and he was part of the campaign, caused a lot of grief for a lot of people, including the spring-summer campaign manager Paul Manafort, whom the Mueller team treated terribly — including a middle-of-the-night FBI raid on his and his wife’s home while they were asleep.

What Manafort has been indicted for isn’t even related to the Trump campaign but to work he did in Ukraine years before.

See how justly Manafort has been treated:

Obama still acts as if he’s in office

But wait, there’s more.

Never has there been a US president who hasn’t let his successor be in charge.

But not Obama:

Even if he was only referring to climate change, he should do the decent thing.

On December 2, the Washington Examiner reported:

While speaking to a group of business leaders in Paris, former President Barack Obama said there is a “temporary absence of American leadership” when it comes to tackling climate change.

“I grant you that at the moment we have a temporary absence of American leadership on the issue,” the former president noted, which was met with laughter from the room full of French former ministers and CEOs at the invite-only event, according to Reuters.

Obama also recently visited China:

Swamp tries to trap CIA director Pompeo

On December 2, the CIA director Mike Pompeo — a Trump appointee — was a guest at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

TrumpSoldier has a detailed Twitter thread on Pompeo’s appearance, video clips and still photos included. A summary with most of the tweets follows. I corrected a few original typos below.

The Reagan National Defense Forum (RNDF) sounds conservative until one looks at who is on the steering committee (see point 4), including the CEO/Publisher of the Washington Post, a few Obama appointees, anti-Trump Republican senator John McCain and former Clinton adviser and CIA director Leon Panetta. Fox News’s Bret Baier conducted an interview on stage with Pompeo and Panetta (emphases mine below):

5) Mike Pompeo was going into swamp territory and now everything makes sense to me as you will soon see.

6) The slogan for the RNDF is “Investing in Peace Through Strength” I like Peace through Strength but the “investing” part sets off alarm bells. I am not going to investigate who funds them but I imagine it’s not pretty.

7) The RNDF is an organization that is run by active and retired swamp creatures whose main purpose is influencing and shaping policy.

8) Mike sat down with Panetta and his lackey Bret Baier for an hour and they discussed world events from a security perspective. It was light hearted and fun and that is all part of the set up.

9) Mike Pompeo is relaxed, joking and having fun. Panetta even tries to connect with him as “two Italians”. Bret’s ambush questions are strategically placed for maximum effect.

10) The Triggering!
Baier asks Mike Pompeo about Saudi Arabia: Panetta and decades of swamp failure are brought face to face with the dramatic sudden success of Trump Administration Foreign Policy.

11) Everything was jovial up to this point (at about 30 minutes in) Panetta’s reactions became really serious and concerned and his responses became lectures. An old swamp thing cut off from power flailing for relevance.

12) The Soft Ball
Baer asks Mike Pompeo how he shares intelligence with Trump.

No real answer, by the way. Good.

14) The Ambush!
Mike Pompeo asked about #FakeNews stores regarding the mental state of President Trump: “It’s Absurd” (watch and listen closely)

15) Remember everyone is laughing and having a good time up to this point and on cue as the question is asked Panetta laughs. It was the perfect set up!

16) You can see the moment when Mike senses the trap he licks his lips and smiles ever so slightly. He is ready!

17) Mike breaks character, reveals his power level, and suddenly kills the room! Panetta nervously begins laughing some more to try to lighten the mood. I would have loved to see Baier’s face as he absorbed this stare. I guarantee he looked down and away.

18) The next order of business to to try to get Pompeo to listen to the wisdom of a “very concerned” Panetta regarding the danger of #TrumpTweets

19) #TrumpTweets are Dangerous!
Mike Pompeo doesn’t think so. He uses them strategically.

In fact, The Hill reported on this interview:

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that President Trump’s Twitter habits have actually helped his agency gather and understand intelligence

 “I’ve actually seen it help us,” he said. “I have seen things the president has put on his Twitter account actually have a real-world impact on our capacity to understand what’s going on in other places in the world.”

“That is, our adversaries responded to those tweets in ways that were helpful to us to understand command and control issues, who’s listening to what messages, how those messages are resonating around the world.”

Back now to the Twitter thread. Baier was eager to pursue this line of questioning, even though Pompeo wanted to move on to other topics. Panetta also pressed Pompeo on Trump’s tweets, expressing ‘concern’.

22) Note Mike’s body language and comments he really is trying to politely end the conversation but they keep pushing

23) THE KILL
CIA Director Mike Pompeo reminds old swamp creature (Leon Panetta) that he is a failure and irrelevant.

24) After you are done laughing consider how deadly serious this was. It was a carefully orchestrated trap completely scripted and gamed out in advance and Mike came up aces!

25) Pompeo’s ruthless defense of Donald Trump speaks volumes about his loyalty and dedication to the cause. His defense of #TrumpTweets confirms that they are highly strategic and coordinated with the CIA. This frightens everyone… but us.

No doubt this week’s narrative will be about Trump’s mental health again.

The Left’s dirty game

For over a year, the media and other Democrats have been saying that it was wrong for the Trump team to speak to the Russians prior to the inauguration.

It is legal and something that every president-elect’s transition team does.

As for contact with Russia during the campaign, to date, Mueller’s team has found nothing, except for the abortive meeting with the Russian lawyer. Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner left soon after it started. President Trump was unaware of it at the time.

My post yesterday listed three meetings that campaign advisers to then-candidate Obama had with Hamas and FARC. When he was still president-elect in January 2009, he met with the president of Mexico.

The Democrats — including the media — are being very dishonest with this anti-Trump narrative which is dividing the country.

In January 2017, Obama’s press secretary Mark Toner said there was no problem with the Trump team speaking with the Russian ambassador:

That text comes from the transcript of January 13. This is what precedes it:

QUESTION: — reports starting yesterday, but then more of them this morning, about contact between the incoming national security advisor and the Russian ambassador. I’m just wondering, from the State Department’s point of view, is this something that’s of concern at all? Or – I’ll just leave it there and then follow up.

MR TONER: Again, not necessarily – I’ve seen the reports. I don’t think they’ve been confirmed or corroborated yet. But that’s – as he’s part of the transition team, that’s really for them to speak to in how they are engaging. I mean —

QUESTION: Right, but —

MR TONER: — the president-elect is also engaged on his own with many world leaders.

 

Lt Gen Michael Flynn

Now a word about the embattled Lt General Michael Flynn.

On Saturday, December 2, Trump tweeted:

And:

The Conservative Treehouse has a good analysis and timeline of Flynn and the Russian ambassador, including Flynn’s dismissal. Excerpts follow (emphases in the original):

Many people have asked the question why would Michael Flynn have lied about talking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the first place?

It’s a great question.

The Occam’s Razor answer is the toxic political environment that existed in January 2017, where the administration was being hammered by a tsunami of media narratives and political opposition claiming that any scintilla of contact with anything Russian meant that Putin and Trump were “colluding” BFFs,…. and Flynn didn’t want to fuel that nonsense.

That’s really the only reason to mislead about Russian contacts.

And/or once Vice-President Mike Pence made the statement that Flynn had no contact with anyone from Russia etc. any contradictory statement from Flynn would make Pence appear compromised; so Flynn had to stick to it without clarification.

Sunday January 15th – VP-elect Mike Pence appears on Face The Nation. [Transcript Here] …

[*NOTE* Notice the narrative questioning at the time (early Jan) was framed that ‘any contact’ with Russians was evidence of meddling/election-collusion with Russians.]

Friday January 20th – Inauguration

Tuesday January 24th – Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was interviewed at the WH by the FBI.  [Either Flynn contradicts Pence, or he tells a lie, those were his options.]

Afterwards, having received a report of the interview, Department of Justice (DOJ) employee, Sally Yates — since fired — had discussions about Flynn with other senior Obama holdovers still working there. This was what brought about the charge that Flynn lied to the FBI.

Another part of this story is that Flynn had talked to the Russian ambassador in December 2016 about the sanctions that Obama had imposed on Russia.

The following comes from The Last Refuge, the founder and author of The Conservative Treehouse (emphases mine below):

11. So on December 29th, sanctions day, Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak… Essentially, saying ‘chill out, we’ll get through this’ etc.

14. We arrive at Sunday January 15th. VP-Elect Mike Pence appears on Sunday talks to discuss political stuff and the Trump administration.

15. On that Sunday 1/15/17 Pence appeared on CBS Face the nation (John Dickerson)

16. What does Dickerson start off with? Of course – The Vast Russian Hacking Election conspiracy: “did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?”

17. Amid the questioning, there is no distinction between *BEFORE* the election, and during the President-Elect transition period (ie. *AFTER* the election). It’s just one long framed question about “contact” and “collusion” etc.

18. And with that framework VP-Elect Pence says: “Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”

19. VP-Pence says “of course not”, ie NO CONTACT. In doing so, and without pointing out the transition team would have ordinary and customary contact, Pence has now painted Flynn into a corner.

20. Flynn has had contact (ordinary and appropriate contact), but VP-Elect Pence gave an emphatic: “Of course not.”

22. The January 24th [FBI] interview is where the “Flynn Lied” to the FBI came from.

23. At the time of the interview the media cycle was filled with intelligence leaks. During that interview Flynn had two options: Option #1) tell investigators he did have conversations with Kislyak in December – and as a consequence contradict VP Pence.

24. Option #2) tell investigators he did not have conversations with the Russians (Kislyak) and align with VP Pence statement a week prior.

Option #1 puts the criticism and Russia story on VP Pence for lying to CBS. (He didn’t, because the question was vague on timing but that didn’t matter amid the frenzy) and as an outcome weaken the incoming administration 4 days after inauguration.

26. Option #2 puts himself at risk; but protects VP Pence and avoids the immediacy of a narrative against the White House and new administration.

27. Likely Flynn knew the FBI was up to no good because they probably already knew the answer to the question (wiretapping). But these decisions were about politics amid the frenzied media swarm. The downstream sh[*]t-storm on Pence would have been brutal.

28. The very next day, Wed Jan 25th, Sally Yates (DOJ) gets an after action report on the FBI questioning of Flynn.

37. Note the presumption here is that Flynn had lied to VP Pence. However, there is nothing to indicate that angle/aspect is or was actually correct. Specifically, there is ample evidence the ‘lie to Pence’, evolved from a storyline -driven by necessity- to save face for Pence.

38. The administration was now boxed in. Flynn lied to protect Pence’s political posture/integrity/position, (ie. Military Leadership Training 101: never compromise your leadership), but was now confronted by Sally Yates. FUBAR!!

Conclusion — thus far

It seems this past weekend served, in part, as a watershed moment.

As I write, Trump’s Twitter account has over 43m subscribers. Imagine factoring in millions of others, e.g. yours truly, who don’t subscribe but check it at least once a day.

Tens of millions of people are reading and passing his tweets along to millions more every day.

Over time, that’s a lot of red pills being handed out.

Trump is taking this time to get the American people psychologically prepared for The Storm / the Silent War.

I have read several online commenters saying that they never realised how corrupt America is until they read about the Strzok dismissal and the crookedness of this Mueller investigation which, so far, has cost around $5m in taxpayer money.

Meanwhile, actual criminals who served at federal level are on the loose. Where’s the DOJ? Where’s the justice?

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas team released a third American Pravda video on the New York Times on October 17, 2017.

You can see previous videos by clicking the American Pravda link above.

The third video features an interview with Desiree Shoe, senior home page editor. She’s an American who works in London. The interviewers are British. Considering that she is married, she’s a bit flirty with them (plays with her hair a lot). Must be the accents.

That aside, there is much Trump Derangement Syndrome:

If you don’t want to watch the 13-minute video, Project Veritas have a summary of the interview and Shoe’s quotes. Excerpts follow.

We discover that Trump is good for getting new subscribers to the paper. The NYT have labelled this phenomenon the ‘Trump bump’:

The New York Times senior homepage editor goes on to explain the positive effect of Trump’s victory: “Since the election, like you know…Speaking on, you know, for The New York Times, our subscriptions have sky-rocketed since…I mean, they call it the Trump bump.”

When asked if the NYT is turning itself into a ‘click paper’, she responds:

I mean, you’re not wrong. Like, I would love to be able to speak my mind completely about…If I ever leave the Times I’ll go back to you guys and tell you exactly what I think. But, I mean, there’s stuff like…And this is what I was trying to say is like the last couple years it’s changed for the bad.

Shoe admits that the paper does lean leftward:

The New York Times is not…I mean, it’s widely understood to be liberal-leaning. But, American newspapers are not supposed to claim a bias, they’re supposed to be objective.

That sounds reasonable, but clearly, she is adamantly against President Donald Trump:

I feel like Trump is…is just a…is sort of an idiot in a lot of ways. Just an oblivious idiot.

Going back to 2016:

I think one of the things that maybe journalists were thinking about is like…Oh, if we write about him, about how insanely crazy he is and how ludicrous his policies are, then maybe people will read it and be like, oh wow, we shouldn’t vote for him.

That said, Shoe opposes impeachment because she really loathes Mike Pence:

If you impeach him, then Pence becomes President, Mike Pence, who’s f***ing horrible…I think maybe, possibly worse than Trump.

He’s extremely, extremely religious. He [Pence] at one point backed a bill that hinted at conversion therapy for gay people…Which is like electrocution, stuff like that.

(Sigh.)

After the video came out, Shoe quickly protected her Twitter account. Someone created an archive.

Shoe has worked for the NYT since 2009. To date, there has been no fallout from this video. However, it is interesting to see, once again, that the paper’s ethical guidelines on impartiality are being violated.

Enough bad news for one week.

Let’s look at the solar eclipse as seen at the White House.

The day before, First Lady Melania Trump wore a dress suggesting the sun’s rays:

On Monday, August 21, 2017, she wore black:

President Donald Trump dared to look at the sun — momentarily:

The First Couple then donned appropriate eyewear:

First Son Barron, 11, joined his parents:

Vice President Mike Pence was at the Naval Observatory:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions marvelled at the sight of the eclipse:

Here’s a dramatic photo:

The solar eclipse had one detractor. What on earth is wrong with these people?

Someone said this was the best eclipse ever. Clever.

The eclipse was visible from coast to coast, from Madras, Oregon to Columbia, South Carolina. Melissa Chan wrote about more about the event for Time:

The rare celestial spectacle on Aug. 21 has a trajectory exclusive to the U.S. for the first time since the nation’s birth in 1776. It’s also the first total eclipse of the sun that will be visible from the contiguous U.S. since 1979.

For those who do not know, 1776 was the year of American independence.

The Atlantic examined the biblical significance of eclipses as signs of judgement in both the Old and the New Testament, notably at the Crucifixion.

Eclipses are far from being rare occurrences. The Atlantic article says they take place every year and a half. What makes them rare is that they occur in different places, so one is likely to see only one or two in a lifetime. The eclipse of 2010 was visible in the South Pacific. Perhaps some of my readers saw it.

The Atlantic points out that eclipses provoke powerful reactions:

Eclipse viewers are susceptible to emotional responses to solar eclipses, whether they view them as natural phenomena or heavenly wonders. Feelings of fear and awe fall along the same spectrum, and the splendor of astronomical events can sometimes blur the lines.

An Infowars reporter, Millie Weaver, has been crossing the United States doing reports on Flyover Country. She was in Spring City, Tennessee for the eclipse. This is a wonderful video which explores the beauty — and unity — that she and people from the South experienced:

Afterwards, she interviewed two university students from Alabama (near the end of the video). One quipped about the sun being returned to them because Trump negotiated a deal. It turns out that, centuries ago, rulers would tell their people that they could have the sun back after an eclipse if they did what they were told to do.

Americans who missed this eclipse don’t have long to wait for the next one. It will be on April 8, 2024 and will be visible from Maine to Texas, via the industrial heartland states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.

It is quite possible that Trump will be the first American president to be in office during two solar eclipses in the US.

You can read more about the 2017 eclipse at Time and at the NASA site.

In several countries, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. In 2017, it took place on June 18.

Father’s Day history

This special day for dads started in the United States, however, contrary to what we might think, it was not a greeting cards company invention. The Sun reports:

There are a few stories with regards to the beginning of Father’s Day.

According to one tale, it first began because of a woman named Grace Golden Clayton from Fairmount, West Virginia.

An orphan, Grace lobbied her local Methodist ministers for a church service to honour fathers in 1908.

The story goes that she was inspired to do this after a mining disaster killed 362 local men.

Their deaths orphaned more than 1,000 children and Grace wanted to pay tribute to the children’s dead fathers – as well as her own.

Another story involves the daughter of a civil war veteran, Sonora Smart Dodd, from Arkansas.

While listening to a sermon for Mother’s Day, Sonora became convinced of the need to celebrate dads too.

She then campaigned to her religious leaders for a special service dedicated to fathers.

In 1966, President Johnson designated that the third Sunday in June should be Father’s Day.

Six years later, the Father’s Day was made a permanent national holiday in the US, when, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed it into law.

It is great to know that the origins were connected with women churchgoers who lobbied their clergymen for recognition of paters familias.

Even in the notionally patriarchal 19th and 20th centuries, fathers were not considered as worthy as mothers of having their own special day.

President Trump

President Donald Trump and his family spent Father’s Day at Camp David, their first stay at this presidential retreat near Washington, DC.

Although the First Family were low-key in their tweets about the President — see here and here — a Trump supporter found two photos perfect for his Father’s Day:

Vice President Pence

Vice President Mike Pence and his family spent part of last week in their home state of Indiana.

New pets

Whilst there, they bought two new pets, a kitten:

and a puppy. The latter was a present to the Vice President:

Hazel and Harley join the other Pence pets, including the popular rabbit, Marlon Bundo:

I say ‘popular’, because BOTUS, as the media have dubbed Bundo, overshadowed both Ivanka Trump and HR McMaster on May 9, when the Pences welcomed military families at the Vice President’s office. Webgrio has a great set of photographs and an accompanying article, excerpts of which follow:

Ivanka Trump had some competition for attention at the White House Tuesday – and they matched in white with black spots.

The first daughter, wearing a polka dotted dress, spoke to a group of military families for an event marking National Military Appreciation Month, hosted by Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen.

Upstaging Ivanka in the audience of small children was the Pence family pet: the white bunny with black spots, Marlon Bundo …

Karen Pence tweeted a photo of herself about to enter an event with military families at the White House – and she brought a special guest, the BOTUS, Marlon Bundo …

White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster spoke at the event after Ivanka Trump saying, ”OK, that’s the toughest act to follow.’ But then the rabbit appeared …

The article says that even Pence couldn’t hold the children’s interest after his wife left with BOTUS in her arms.

BOTUS Bundo trended heavily on Twitter that week:

BOTUS is the subject of a colouring book which made its way as far as the Asia-Pacific:

Let’s hope the Pence menagerie can make friends with the bees at the Vice President’s residence:

A time to remember

For the Pences, Father’s Day was a time to remember.

Karen Pence tweeted an old family photo:

The Vice President honoured his late father:

A Pence supporter chose to remember the Scalise family, who spent Father’s Day in the hospital. Congressman Steve Scalise was the primary victim of a crazed man from Illinois who, on Wednesday, June 14, fired a gun at Republicans practising for the annual Congressional baseball game, a charity event. Scalise is expected to be in hospital for weeks as he recovers from a damaging bullet to the pelvis.

I will have more soon on the man who attempted to take the life of Congressman Scalise.

Interestingly, the Illinois man’s family will have no more Father’s Days as law enforcement officers intervened and — rightly — fatally shot him.

Life is precious and God-given. Therefore, let’s make every day a time to honour and remember our parents. We never know what tomorrow will bring.

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