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On March 28, 2021 an hour-long interview with General Thomas McInerney appeared online.

I do not know of the interviewer Nino, but the two seemed to get on well. Both support President Trump and both are sceptical of coronavirus vaccines.

General McInerney, 84, began his career in the Army then joined the Air Force. He completed his initial pilot training in 1960. In 1962, he flew escort missions in the West Berlin Air Corridor during the Berlin Crisis and escort reconnaissance missions over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In April 1963, he was one of the first forward air controllers assigned to South Vietnam with a Vietnamese army division. He was sent to South East Asia on three additional deployments.

After the Vietnam War, he completed studies at the Armed Forces Staff College and graduated from the National War College.

In 1974, he was stationed in London as the air attaché to the U.S. Embassy. Between November 1976 and October 1977, he was assigned to the Royal Air Force Station in Upper Heyford, England, where he was vice commander of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing.

In 1979, he was stationed in Asia, first in the Philippines, where he commanded the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Clark Air Base, then in 1981, in Japan, where he commanded the 313th Air Division at Kadena Air Base.

In 1983, he was transferred to Hawaii, where he served as deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces at Hickam Air Force Base.

In 1985, he returned to Europe. He became commander of 3rd Air Force, Royal Air Force Station in Mildenhall, England. The following year, he became vice commander in chief, Headquarters US Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany.

In 1988, he was reassigned to the United States, serving as commander of Alaskan Air Command,  Alaskan NORAD Region, and Joint Task Force Alaska. In July 1989, when Alaskan Command was activated, he became its commander. In 1990, he commanded the 11th Air Force, the redesignation of Alaskan Air Command.

His last active duty assignment was as assistant vice chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC. He retired from the Air Force in 1994, with the rank of Lieutenant General. Afterwards, he served on the boards of directors for several military contractors.

General McInerney endorsed Donald Trump both in 2016 and 2020. After the 2020 election, he supported the use of the Insurrection Act and all additional powers available. He was quoted as saying that he wanted President Trump:

to declare a national emergency, use the Insurrection Act, declare martial law, suspend habeas corpus, set up military tribunals, and suspend the electoral college [vote for president and vice-president] on December 14 and the presidential inauguration on January 20.

A summary of the General’s interview with Nino follows. As one would expect in a conversation, the subjects ran together, so I have separated them below.

2020 election

At the 13-minute point, he said that Trump had 79 million votes to Biden’s 68 million. At the 15-minute mark, he mentioned the recount in Maricopa County and two more recounts in two other states. He believes that the Supreme Court did not want to hear any cases about the election because Chief Justice John Roberts is ‘compromised’ in some way.

He also thinks that coronavirus was engineered to steal the election and that someone cut a deal with the C C P.

The General said that President Trump should have appointed Sidney Powell as special legal counsel in December.

He said that, as nothing has been done:

Americans have got to take control over their country.

As to why Cyber Command did not report election irregularities on the night to the President, he said

I believe we have a Deep State.

He would like to know the reasons why Trump did not contest the election and made this assertion: 

Trump had a lot of the Deep State around him.

He repeated later in the interview that Trump was surrounded by:

Deep Staters.

When asked about his former Vice President, Mike Pence, he said:

I think he is Deep State. He is part of the problem.

He was disappointed that the military did not do anything with regard to the election. He believes that Germany intercepted Dominion votes but took no action:

I think the military’s asleep at the switch.

He said that the United States needs:

a transparent audit that we’re all comfortable with.

He asserted:

Biden did not win.

He explained that votes exceeded voter rolls in all suspect states, a situation that, on a national level, was previously:

unheard of … a stolen election. 

He said that Biden did not win through properly cast votes and that one would have to throw out mail-in votes as well as:

get the right people to look at them.

He thinks the focus needs to be on clean elections for 2022:

We’ve got to just keep banging away at it …

and if done fairly, Trump gets in for 2024.

As for the Q movement, he said:

I don’t know anything about the Q movement.

Coronavirus

With regard to coronavirus, at the 17:30 mark, the General said:

Do not take the vaccine.

He revealed that has already had one shot.

He explained that the vaccine is a prophylactic mRNA and that there will be no built-in immunity to COVID-20 and COVID-21.

Whether all the military have had it is still unconfirmed, he said.

He was and is clearly against lockdown. He added that a proper hydroxychloroquine protocol would have been sufficient and also suggested ivermectin. He believes that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) lied to President Trump.

He mentioned a Dr Northrop, whom he described as a well renowned physician, who says that Americans should stop taking the vaccine.

The General has strong feelings on this subject:

This is our Normandy, this is our Iwo Jima.

He believes that Dr Fauci:

has been part of this cabal.

He mentioned New York’s Governor Cuomo and deplored the nursing home deaths in that state. 

On the other hand, he added, COVID-19 has a 99.2% survival rate and said of the American response:

We over-reacted.

Potentially, he said, Americans could go to ‘camps’ for refusing vaccines. 

Conclusion

General McInerney said that Americans need to be realistic and resolute:

Hope is not a strategy.

He also foresees difficulties later in 2021, with serious problems starting:

this winter.

My readers wonder why President Trump is not doing more to oppose the Biden administration’s agenda. I am not sure that he can do much, if anything, at this point.

I will have more on the concluding days of the Trump administration next week which might help explain his current circumstances. I haven’t written about those final weeks. They have been too painful to consider.

On Monday, December 14, while the London area worried about moving into severe coronavirus tiers on Wednesday, electors from the 50 US states voted for the next leader of the free world.

Joe Biden won the Electoral College vote 306-232 with no faithless electors, however, the vote still has to be ratified on January 6, 2021, by the new Congress.

Biden gave an acceptance speech, riffing Margaret Thatcher’s of many years ago which featured the Prayer of St Francis:

Guido Fawkes reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) acknowledged Biden’s December 14 win:

Our country has officially a President-elect & a Vice President-elect… The Electoral College has spoken… Today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden.

Newsmax, the new network for disgruntled Fox News viewers, will now refer to the Democrat as President-elect Biden, even though reporters and presenters will continue to cover Team Trump’s election battles.

It will be interesting to see what happens on January 6:

That is what the Trump supporters’ Stop the Steal coalition hopes will happen. They said as much in their press conference after the electors voted and Mitch McConnell announced his congratulations to Biden and Harris:

McConnell doesn’t want any Republicans countering the Electoral College result:

However, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) is ready:

Brooks explained his position as follows:

I’m quite confident that if we only counted lawful votes cast by eligible American citizens, Donald Trump won the Electoral College, and we should not be counting illegal votes and putting in an illegitimate President of the United States.

President Trump is not wrong:

Would Mike Pence be ready to defend the Republic on January 6? He has that power, if he chooses to use it:

But, let’s go back to Monday. A lot happened.

Earlier that day …

President Trump’s adviser and speech writer Stephen Miller (with the dark tie below) spoke about an ‘alternative slate’ of electors:

Miller probably meant this:

I do not know if this would work or not, but former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik says:

The New York Times has a map that shows the result from each state.

In Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania, the electors’ votes went to Biden.

However, Right Side Broadcasting (RSBN) showed a different result for Nevada:

Gateway Pundit reported that Georgia and Pennsylvania — much larger votes — also voted for the incumbent (emphases mine):

Electors in Georgia and Pennsylvania also cast procedural ballots for Trump while the states continue to be contested.

Procedural ballots are cast in states where the result is contested.

Yet, as I mentioned above, the NYT map shows that Biden won those states.

Trouble for Michigan’s Republican electors

Meanwhile, appointed Republican — GOP — electors in Michigan were not allowed to vote. They could not even get in the building.

Gateway Pundit reported and included tweets:

A group of GOP electors on Monday arrived at the Michigan State Capitol to cast their votes for President Trump …

The police would not allow the Republicans in:

The electors are already here, they’ve been checked in,’ the police said as they blocked access to the Capitol.

The police told the Republican electors:

If you have a problem, you can contact the Governor’s office.

Gateway Pundit stated that a Trump elector asked for the Sergeant at Arms. The police replied that he was in a meeting.

With that, the police directed the electors to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office. She’s a Democrat, by the way:

The Republican electors explained that they wanted to vote because Michigan’s result is in dispute and under investigation (see below):

Meanwhile — Michigan: audit of Antrim County voting equipment

However, other big news took place in Michigan that day. A state judge, Kevin J Elsenheimer, ordered the release of the results of the December 4 audit of Dominion voting machines in Antrim County. (If you’ve ever visited Traverse City, famed for its annual Cherry Festival held in July, you’ve been in Antrim County.)

This is a big victory for Team Trump. As The Election Wizard explains:

The results had been shielded by a protective order, but this morning, Judge Elsensheimer removed that order, clearing the way for the audit results to go public.

The judge further ordered that the case move to the discovery phase and mentioned the case could go to trial by April of 2021.

The hearing was conducted by ZOOM and streamed live on YouTube this morning.

The release of the report is a major victory for President Trump and his supporters, who have called into question the Dominion machines.

However, the journey from December 4 to the 14th was an uneasy one for Constitutional Attorney Matthew DePerno of the DePerno Law Firm, who represented William Bailey, a member of the team who audited the county’s voting equipment.

Gateway Pundit reported that Bailey and his team looked at everything:

the 16 Dominion voting machines, tabulators, thumb drives, related software and the Clerk’s ‘master tabulator’ used in the November elections in Antrim County, MI.

The audit — inspection — resulted in a ‘collection’ and took eight hours:

With 16 CF cards (similar to SIM cards), 16 thumb drives, and forensic images of the Dominion voting machines in hand, the IT team was escorted to the local Antrim County Airport by two Antrim County Sheriff vehicles, where they boarded their jet plane with evidence in hand.

On the morning of December 5 — the following day — Matthew DePerno received a worrying phone call about a previous legal case about which he’d never had a complaint:

Mr. DePerno received a call from the MI State Bar warning him that they have opened an investigation into a case he tried over a year ago in Lapeer, MI.

In case anyone wonders if Lapeer is near Antrim County, it is in the opposite direction: south east central. Antrim County is in the north west.

The caller told DePerno that the State Bar of Michigan had requested 6,000 pages of documents related to the case that had never had a single complaint filed about it. DePerno told Gateway Pundit that the call might have been ‘an act of intimidation’ on the part of Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel.

On December 9, DePerno and his client William Bailey awaited the forensic results from the election equipment inspection. While they awaited the outcome, DePerno discovered that he was named in a legal motion regarding Antrim County. It was a protection order filed by AG Dana Nessel to prevent the results of the investigation being made public.

The following day, DePerno filed an emergency order with the aforementioned state judge, Kevin J Elsenheimer, to lift the protection order, which the judge granted on Monday, December 14.

What an ordeal.

Here’s a tweet with a summary of the findings:

Also, on the same topic:

One can only hope that Team Trump can use this information in their legal pursuits.

Georgia Dems gear up for January state run-off

Democrats in Georgia are gearing up for the state senate run-off in early January 2021.

On December 14, Newsmax reported that failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was ready:

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, now the founder of the voting rights organization Fair Fight, said that Democrats are prepared to win the Senate runoff race in January, and that 1.2 million absentee ballots have already been requested.  

“We know from the numbers that we’re in a good place; 1.2 million absentee ballots have been requested thus far,” Abrams told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “Just to put that into context, 1.3 million were requested for all of the general election.”

It is so sad that the United States has sunk this low. I never would have expected it.

Ongoing violence has its part to play

Political violence has been part of America’s urban life since the summer. Granted, it hasn’t been taking place everywhere, but it’s been endemic in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. Other sporadic outbursts of violence have occurred in other American cities, including Washington, DC, and towns, such as Kenosha, Wisconsin.

A former Democrat, who is a retired lawyer, commented on this year’s violence on a website for ex-Dems, ex-Hillary supporters. While I disagree with most of it, the first two lines reminded me of what the Bolsheviks must have thought a little over a century ago:

For violence solves nothing, so they say.

But it does change the status quo, in ways words never can

Think about that, then consider one possibility why the Supreme Court might not want anything to do with defending President Trump. This tweet comes from someone who seems to have an inside track on the election:

However, there is no need to be as senior as a Supreme Court Justice to receive threats:

Therefore, it seemed almost natural that the election would have gone to Joe Biden, because those committing the violence are like so many neighbourhood bullies. Sadly, they are much more serious.

Conclusion

For nearly a century, there has been a saying in Europe:

When America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold.

Good grief, please keep this corruption away from our shores. Thank goodness we have handwritten paper ballots and far fewer mail-in ballots.

Millions of us support President Trump even if we are thousands of miles away.

Andrew Neil’s Spectator TV posted its sixth episode of The Week in 60 Minutes on Thursday, October 8, 2020:

Guests included Prof David Nabarro, World Health Organization special envoy for Covid-19; Andy Preston, mayor of Middlesbrough; Pat Leahy, political editor of the Irish Times and a few Spectator journalists.

The programme began with the status of coronavirus measures in Ireland.

Pat Leahy, political editor of the Irish Times, says that the Irish government was surprised by the recent recommended lockdown which they ultimately rejected. The Irish government were highly critical of the proposed measures, privately and publicly. Leahy explained that the head of the public health advisers has been off work because of compassionate leave, then, last Sunday, he returned and recommended another lockdown. The Irish government took it as, he says, a ‘power play’.

The government objected to the health experts’ very quick meetings amongst themselves and with government officials. Leahy said that the government were ‘annoyed’.

The government did not disagree with the recommended measures per se, but there was a fine balance to be achieved. The minister of finance warned of employment and social consequences, because a number of jobs would not be coming back. He and his staff needed to consider if other measures could be taken instead.

Neil mentioned today’s minimal COVID-19 deaths in Ireland. Leahy agreed and said that the so-called second wave has much less severe than the first. That said, the admissions to hospitals have been rising dramatically. So, there is a question about whether the second wave is different from the first. The Irish government felt they could weigh the statistics, adopting a wait-and-see approach. Leahy said that Dr Leo Varadkar, a physician who was formerly the prime minister and is now the deputy prime minister, essentially threw the nation’s chief medical officer Tony Holohan ‘under the bus’.

Leahy said that the part of Ireland’s problem was assigning decisions to scientists and doctors in the first wave earlier this year. Currently, scientific advice ‘is only one factor’ in the decision making process that the Irish government will take with regard to coronavirus measures. Leahy said that time will tell whether the public will back the government. The economic factors are such that things could change in the weeks to come.

Katy Balls was up next, advocating Swedish models that a number of Conservative MPs back. A number of backbenchers disapprove of Drs Whitty and Vallance.

Conversation then turned to the WHO’s Prof David Nabarro who says we are still in a bit of the first wave and we’re not over it, so we need to learn how to live with the virus without lockdown and the ‘closing down of economies’. What he calls ‘the middle path’ requires holding the virus at bay while allowing the economy to resume in order to make certain we can put safeguards in place, so that we can stop the virus whilst getting local ‘actors’, as well as testing and tracing, involved as much as possible and a common commitment to each other to keep everything as safe as possible. He said that lockdowns serve only to give a health service some breathing space.

Nabarro said that is what South East Asian countries are doing, also Germany and Canada. As lockdown lifts, nations can deal with increased cases ‘elegantly’.

As for Ireland, Nabarro sided halfway with the Irish government and halfway with the scientific advisors. He did caution that public buy-in was necessary for any success.

Nabarro predicted many more weeks of uncertainty but that we would feel ‘much more comfortable’ in the New Year.

Neil asked Nabarro about Prof Sunetra Gupta’s views on a milder lockdown. Nabarro said that the WHO do not advocate lockdowns as an absolute principle. (UK government: please take note!) He cited the damage done to the Caribbean and Pacific tourist industry. As a result, many more people could lapse into poverty.

Neil brought up Scotland’s coming lockdown and a possible one in the North of England.

Kate Andrews had current statistics, comparing them to Sir Patrick Vallance’s alarming case graph from the third week of September. So far, we are not close to Vallance’s projection, but the UK is higher than France’s and Spain’s cases, respectively.

The effect of local lockdowns showed a skyrocketing in positive tests (‘cases’).  According to statistics, it is possible that Leicester should have already been taken out of lockdown.

Kate Andrews showed graphs that revealed that hospitality was responsible for a very low number of cases: around four per cent, not dissimilar to this pie chart, which I cited last Friday.

Nabarro intervened, saying he preferred ‘local integrated responses’, because breaking the virus involves input from every institution, be it a factory or a house of worship. He praised Leicester for its diversity, holding it up as a model for the world.

The Spectator‘s political editor, James Forsyth, came on to comment about the former Labour ‘Red Wall’ in the North. Much of that Red Wall voted for Conservatives in December 2019. Forsyth said that lockdown will be viewed as flooding has been in recent years: even if measures taken are not political, they look as if they ARE political. Northerners see that London and the surrounding Home Counties will not be locked down, and, as a result, will suffer fewer socio-economic casualties.

Andy Preston, the Independent mayor of Middlesbrough, was the next guest. He has been positively incandescent about lockdown. The transmission is a bit choppy, but Preston said that many of his residents didn’t personally know many people who had or died of COVID-19. He added that Middlesbrough’s residents have paid more in tax whilst losing out locally. He felt that ‘the Government is doing stuff to us’.

Preston has asked for a temporary ban on in-house socialising but supports frequenting restaurants. He said that local government and the UK government need to work together on measures.

Preston said that he thought there was an ‘inside group’ of advisers to the government, with no one from Middlesbrough involved.

He said that this type of decision making could go ‘very badly wrong for the country’.

Talk then turned towards the American vice presidential debate. Freddy Gray covered this segment. He said that Mike Pence is ‘a very accomplished performer’, ‘intelligent and he spoke very fluently’. He disclosed that he has never been a Pence fan but predicted that he could be the next Republican nominee in 2024.

Neil said that a Trump-Biden virtual debate would not be the first. Nixon broadcasted in 1960 from Los Angeles. Gray said that no one knew what is going on in Trump’s mind and said that the American president had gone ‘full gonzo’.

Viewers’ questions came next.

The first had to do with successful measures against COVID-19. Nabarro commented on coronavirus success in South East Asia, which he attributed to community buy-in and no delay in taking action, which can result in more problems later.

Another viewer said that England’s mayors needed to come together with regard to England’s lockdown. Andy Preston said he would back Manchester’s Andy Burnham, a former Labour MP.

A third viewer wondered about the vote coming up this week on England’s 10 p.m. curfew. Katy Balls said she doubted whether Labour would oppose the vote, but Conservative rebels might have their chance in the weeks to come to succeed in voting against the Government. (Personally, I don’t think it will happen. Most of the Opposition support lockdown measures and restricting civil liberties.)

James Forsyth says that half the Conservative MPs really detest the Government’s coronavirus restrictions. He cited the communications surrounding them and questioned what the £12bn poured into the ‘test and trace’ programme has actually achieved. He said it was ‘not delivering’.

Andrew Neil asked about the Great Barrington Declaration, which Prof Sunetra Gupta and many other physicians signed a week ago in Massachusetts. Kate Andrews said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there would be a ‘game changer’ with no social restrictions a year from now. As such, time is not a big deal for Boris. Neil said that Boris sounded like Chauncey Gardiner. I don’t like saying this, but I tend to agree with his assessment. Boris seems off the rails right now.

Leahy had the final word, measuring the rising positive tests with closed pubs and other measures. The Irish government, he says, needs to give these new measures time to work, including buy-in from the public to avoid another lockdown. He predicts another two to three weeks.

The final question came to Nabarro about the origin of the virus. He said, in short, that there was no definitive answer. ‘You [have to] bring in independent actors’, therefore, the WHO would need ‘to bring in other staff to help’.

Hmm. Interesting.

Then, in an abrupt change of tone, Nabarro sounded a blast at certain countries, including Belarus and Spain, saying that a second wave could come soon and that no nation should be complacent.

Hmm.

Charles Stanley Wealth Managers sponsored this week’s programme. For that, we are most grateful. Agree or disagree, Spectator TV is manna in a desert of dry, one-way MSM broadcasts.

The 2020 Republican National Convention is the best television I’ve ever watched outside of certain food show competitions.

I have so many tweets to share that I have linked to several in addition to posting them below.

Changes had to be made to the format because of coronavirus restrictions. At the weekend, I had doubts as to how interesting it would be. I am pleased to say that I was wrong.

There were no comperes (MCs) introducing each speaker at the Andrew W Mellon Auditorium, just speakers walking out in a dignified manner on the stage and addressing Americans at home with powerful messages, some of which were very personal.

There were no music acts outside of the outstanding renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner on Days 1 and 3 as well as a closing act on Day 4. Good.

I thought I’d miss the crowd of delegates and other attendees, but it was enough to see the former at the roll call on Day 1.

The Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC, is magnificent. I’d not seen it before, but it made the perfect setting for the dozens of speakers who told their personal stories.

And the flags that served as the backdrop in the auditorium were beautiful, made from the finest fabric. They added greatly to an already spectacular atmosphere.

I watched proceedings on C-SPAN, which has a video for each day. Below that are lists of individual speakers and their videos. This enables the viewer to watch either in full or in part. There are also tabs at the top of the page for each individual day’s videos.

Because of the time difference, I haven’t been able to watch Day 4 in its entirety but have covered it here for the sake of completion.

Highlights follow.

That said, every speech was excellent.

Background

The Democratic National Convention was held last week in Joe Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, as well as other locations, because of coronavirus restrictions.

BBC Parliament broadcast the last day of the convention on Sunday, August 23. I watched it while doing other things.

Wow. I have never seen a more boring and a more stilted political convention. It sounded as if everything had been scripted at the last minute and no one had time to rehearse their lines. Even a Teleprompter could not help. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Seinfeld fame presented. Her scripted jokes fell flat and her delivery was dreadful. Mike Bloomberg’s speech also had jokes in it; his delivery was equally dire.

The theme, as one would expect from Democrats, was, once again, Change. I thought that eight years of Obama was supposed to be the ‘change Americans can believe in’. Apparently not. Democrats say that President Trump built on his predecessor’s success. Okay. In that case, we don’t need further change, right?

Not exactly.

Joe Biden said in his acceptance speech that he wants to ‘change’ America ‘for decades to come’. Hmm. Interesting.

He wants to raise taxes of all Americans to the tune of $3 trillion. That’s a lot of change right there.

He wants every American to wear a mask until October ‘at least’ to curb coronavirus. Imagine if this guy gets in. What a disaster. I have a lot of Biden material to share with you. That will come in the latter stages of the presidential campaign, all being well.

Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, said that the ongoing protests, which have been running for nearly 100 days now, ‘are not going to stop, nor should they’. What? Even if she and Biden win the election? She must know they will lose in November:

This is what the protesters want. As I said in 2016, they want a revolution. They’re Bolsheviks:

Hillary says that Joe Biden should not concede the election, even if he loses. She, too, must think he doesn’t have a chance, even though it’s only August.

Note Hillary’s appearance. It seems to change. Weird. I’ve included a tweet with other photos of her:

Joe Biden did not get the usual post-convention bounce in the polls, which is telling:

Day 1 — Monday, August 24

Every day opened with a convocation prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, including the words ‘under God’, which the Democrats omitted last week.

This is the only day where there is a morning session. It was held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Only delegates and party officials were in attendance. Ronna Romney McDaniel (Mitt’s niece) presided, as Chair of the Republican National Committee. She did an excellent job.

It was a sea change from the 2016 convention, which was riven on the morning of the first day by never-Trumpers who did not want him nominated.

This year, every state’s delegates unanimously voted for President Trump’s renomination.

Ronna McDaniel proceeded with the roll call, as voted for by the delegates, but stopped after Minnesota, concluding with remarks from former governor Scott Walker for Wisconsin. She formally announced the nomination of President Trump, who then gave a speech:

He spoke for 52 minutes, during which time he expressed his deep concern about postal votes. He is right to be concerned. It has produced fraudulent results in the past. There is no reason to think it won’t happen again this year.

He is also mostly right in saying that this is the most important election in American history. I might just modify that to ‘since 1860’, when coincidentally, the first Republican — Abraham Lincoln — was elected:

That evening, speeches began from the unbelievably stately Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan delivered his opening prayer from New York City with the Statue of Liberty in the background:

Cancer survivor Natalie Harp talked about the film It’s a Wonderful Life where James Stewart’s character George Bailey did so much good by saving Bedford Falls from becoming Pottersville. She said Pottersville would have been what would have happened to the US under Hillary. There are similarities between George Bailey and Donald Trump. I have often thought about that over the past four years and was delighted that she brought it up:

Maximo Alvarez, the founder and president of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors in Florida, warned that Americans must not allow their country to move towards communism. He said that his father emigrated from Spain to Cuba, then from Cuba to the United States. His father told him that America was the last possible refuge for people who love freedom. If America is destroyed, there is no other place to go:

Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina closed the evening with a measured speech on race relations and the current protests. He said that he was elected to represent a majority-white district where, he said, paraphrasing Dr Martin Luther King, voters judged him on his character, not the colour of his skin. He eloquently dismantled all the Democrats’ radical arguments:

The Federalist‘s Sean Davis, a Trump supporter, tweeted:

Democrats rang C-SPAN afterwards to give their views.

Rick from Lorain, Ohio, said he was switching from the Democrats to Republicans, because the Republicans focussed on God whereas the Democrats left God out of their convention:

More Democrats rang in during the subsequent days to say they had switched parties.

C-SPAN’s ratings for the RNC were much higher than for the DNC. The New York Post has more on the story.

Day 2 — Tuesday, August 25

The theme of Day 2 was Land of Opportunity.

The Revd Norma Urrabazo gave a stirring opening prayer:

Myron Lizer, Navajo Nation Vice President, was the first to speak. He spoke from Shiprock, New Mexico. He said that President Trump has done more than previous administrations to listen to and act on the needs of Native Americans:

Next was the story of the president’s pardon of Jon Ponder, who founded an organisation, Hope for Prisoners, with rehabilitation programmes for former prisoners:

It’s an amazing story. Ponder, a committed Christian, is best friends with the FBI agent who arrested him.

Cris Peterson, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin, explained how fewer government regulations and more help to farmers enabled her family’s Four Cubs Farm to purchase state of the art milking equipment. Fascinating video:

The Democrat mayor of Eveleth, Minnesota, said he is supporting President Trump this year. He says that the Democrats have become too radical and that their ecological policies would ruin the prosperity of his town:

Nick Sandmann, who was accosted in 2019 at the Lincoln Memorial, spoke of that day and how he refuses to be cancelled. His lawyer Lin Wood won a huge payout for him against the Washington Post. Nick plans to go on to law school after finishing university:

Some of the stories came from President Lincoln’s boyhood home in Spencer County, Indiana. Mike Pence narrated this sequence:

There was a naturalisation ceremony, filmed earlier, which President Trump attended:

There were many more outstanding speeches, including those from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump.

The evening ended with a long speech at the White House from Melania Trump, who was dressed in quasi-military designer attire:

These are the YouTube ratings for Day 2:

Day 3 — Wednesday, August 26

The theme of Day 3 was Land of Heroes and included people from various walks of life, from the military to first responders to lorry drivers keeping goods on the move during the coronavirus pandemic.

This rabbi’s prayer was perfect, as was his delivery:

A disabled veteran movingly recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Governor Kristi Noem from South Dakota was the first to speak. She spoke of her state’s success during the pandemic — no lockdown and very low case/death figures:

Noem rightly criticised the unchecked lawlessness going on in Democrat-run American cities:

MSNBC was none too happy, but it’s the truth:

President Trump’s newish press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, a young wife and mother, told her moving story of breast cancer and subsequent breast reconstruction. She also spoke of the admiration she has for Trump’s pro-life stance:

Madison Cawthorne is a disabled man (injured in a car accident) who is running for US Congress in North Carolina. He gave a spirited speech about America’s Founding Fathers, especially James Madison:

When he finished his speech, two friends came on stage to help him stand up. At 6’3″, he said he misses being able to stand up and see over the crowd.

A PBS journalist was unimpressed by his standing up. WHY? Look at the idiotic reasoning:

My favourite speech of the week came from Sister Deirdre Byrne, MD, of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, a medically-oriented religious order for women.

Sister Deirdre entered the order in 2002. Prior to that, she had a career as a physician and is a retired US Army Colonel!

She spoke of her admiration of President Trump’s love of the unborn. She said that a Biden presidency would put an end to the safeguards of the unborn. The Biden-Harris ticket approves of abortion at the point of birth, essentially, infanticide:

Lara Trump, Eric’s wife, spoke.

Eric passed make-up brushes to her as she was getting ready:

In her speech, she said that one mustn’t believe all one reads in the media and that this applied very much to the Trump family. She wasn’t sure what her future in-laws would be like when Eric first introduced them to her. She said that she was given a very warm welcome from the start. She says she admires their values of hard work and determination, with which she was also raised:

Clarence Henderson told about his experiences as a young man growing up in the segregated South. He recited the pro-voting and pro-civil rights amendments, all of which Republicans were responsible for passing, not Democrats. Well worth a listen. This man knows of what he speaks:

Former Acting Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell spoke. I hope his words lead to something big:

President Trump watched from the sidelines:

Mike Pence rounded off the evening with a long speech from Fort McHenry in Baltimore. The Star-Spangled Banner tells the story of the battle between America and the British in 1814 which took place there:

Well said:

Afterwards, ex-Democrat Helen from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, rang C-SPAN to say that she had switched parties and that she loved Melania Trump’s speech. She also deeply admires President Trump and will be voting for him this year:

Carol from Charleston, South Carolina, called to say that she finds Melania Trump ‘classy’ and ‘so intelligent’. Carol said she was a Hillary voter four years ago but has been surprised by what President Trump has accomplished since his election. She says she will ‘trust’ Melania and will vote for Trump:

Here are the ratings:

Day 4 — Thursday, August 27

Earlier in the day, NASA announced that the first black, female astronaut is scheduled to be on next year’s mission to the International Space Station:

C-SPAN posted their Day 4 video on YouTube:

The theme was A Land of Greatness.

The final night is, of course, the biggest one of the convention. Although President Trump spoke at length on Day 1 after receiving a unanimous vote from the delegates, Day 4 was when he gave what is considered his formal — and second (final) — acceptance speech.

These proceedings are about an hour longer than those from the previous days.

The Revd Franklin Graham (Billy’s son) gave a heartfelt prayer, asking for help for those affected by tropical storm Laura, for healing with regard to the protests, for protection of the Trumps and the Pences as well as continued guidance:

A young brother and sister from a military family recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Beautiful.

Ja’Ron Smith, Deputy Assistant to the President, spoke of his working class upbringing, his parents’ American values and of President Trump. He said that, growing up, he believed all the anti-Republican clichés. As he got to know more Republicans, he changed his mind. He never dreamt that he would be working for a president. He says that no one has done more for black interests than President Trump:

The people interviewed below head up their respective housing associations in New York City. They do not like Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy of putting illegal immigrants into public housing before native New Yorkers, some of whom have been on waiting lists for ten years. They greatly appreciate what Dr Ben Carson has been doing as head of HUD (Housing and Urban Development), which has helped identify and fix anomalies in public housing:

Alice Johnson spoke of her gratitude for President Trump’s First Step Act from 2018, which has to do with prison reform. That year, Trump commuted Johnson’s life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drugs offence and granted her a full pardon today (Friday):

Ivanka Trump spoke of her father’s commitment to the American people:

President Trump spoke of the greatness of America and her people …

… while emphasising that the United States has clear internal enemies:

I fully agree with this:

The programme of events ended with a magnificent fireworks display, which was much better than the Democrats’ in Wilmington the Thursday before:

Unfortunately, as the guests left the White House, protesters awaited them:

Congressman Brian Mast, below, who is black, even got harassed by protesters. He politely answered their questions. They did not like his answers about pursuing ‘due process’ where necessary:

I can’t help but admire a husband who carries his wife’s shoes!

On the downside, when that couple reached their hotel, The Willard, the doors were locked. Even an employee outside couldn’t help them. They had to walk all the way around to the parking garage entrance and get in from there. All the while, they were harassed by protesters, who addressed the man as ‘Mr Anger’. The couple remained resolute and silent, with neutral expressions on their faces. I bet those were two of the longest minutes in their lives.

But that was nothing compared to the treatment that Brandon Straka, the ex-Democrat who founded the #WalkAway movement, received. Terrible.

Remember, the group attacking him is for gay rights. Maybe that doesn’t matter when a gay supports President Trump:

At least the police were nearby for Senator Rand Paul (Ron’s son) and his wife:

This morning (Friday), Rand Paul told Fox News what a traumatic several minutes that was for him and his wife, even with the police. He said the mob kept on growing. He also said that they had picked the wrong man, because he was one of the senators who supported the abolition of no-knock police raids, one of which was responsible for the death of Brionna Taylor. He said ‘the irony of that was lost’ on the protesters:

Meanwhile, this is what Joe Biden thought of the president’s speech:

I am not sure what planet Joe is on to say that, but it might not matter too much because he’s collapsed in the polls:

If you hear the media once again say that the Republicans’ message was ‘dark’, as they did in 2016, don’t believe them for a moment.

This was the finest convention I’ve ever seen, even better than 2016’s.

Kudos to everyone who organised it and who spoke. A lot of hard work went into those four days, spread across four locations as well as some people’s homes.

I’ve never seen such a professional production with so much sincerity and hope.

In 2016, President Trump made promises. From his election to now, he has fulfilled those promises. Promises made. Promises kept.

Onwards and upwards! MAGA 2020!

On the back of exploring what’s on Episcopal priests‘ minds, I am crossing the Atlantic, returning to the UK, to explore what Anglican priests are thinking about.

I will continue both series.

The Revd Marcus Walker, serving in the Diocese of London, deplores the bewilderment and criticism surrounding the recent group photograph of Mike Pence and his coronavirus team in prayer.

Note that they are not praying in public, as detractors have said. Press photographers happened to be present for the meeting.

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer has such a prayer, which can be said during the Litany. Highly useful during the coronavirus scare:

In the time of any common plague or sicknes.

O Almighty God, who in thy wrath didst send a plague upon thine own people in the wildernes for their obstinate rebellion against Moses and Aaron, and also in the time of King David, didst slay with the plague of pestilence threescore and ten thousand, and yet remembring thy mercy didst save the rest: have pitie upon us miserable sinners, who now are visited with great sicknes and mortality, that like as thou didst then accept of an atonement, and didst command the destroying Angell to cease from punishing: so it may now please thee to withdraw from us this plague and grievous sicknes, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Marcus Walker later located his ‘jumbo book of State Prayers’ and noted the following shift in emphasis in them from the 18th to the 19th centuries:

Turning to the opprobrium heaped upon the American vice president and his team, this is what Mr Walker and his readers tweeted:

Nor do I.

The Revd Giles Fraser, formerly a Canon at St Paul’s Cathedral and current Rector at the south London church of St Mary’s, Newington, told the readers of his online magazine Unherd how he has changed the Communion service during the coronavirus outbreak (emphases mine):

I have a cough. I have had it for weeks. A deep hacking affair that brings up nasty thick greenish goo. It’s not the virus — I haven’t got a high temperature or any other symptoms. But it is dramatic enough to clear the seats next to me on the tube.

In church on Sunday, too, I could feel the anxiety radiate out from my coughing away behind the altar into a twitchy congregation. We have suspended sharing the peace for the time being. Instead of shaking hands or kissing, we wave at each other. So, too, we have decided to take communion in one kind only — that is, we share the bread but not the common cup of wine. And in this context, the symbolic handwashing the priest performs before the Eucharist is no longer simply a ritual act. It feels like a necessity. Cleanliness is next to godliness.

As one of my posts explained last week, the Cup can be suspended during health emergencies under a) the Doctrine of Concomitance and b) the 1547 Sacrament Act.

The Doctrine of Concomitance says that Christ’s substance in the Eucharist cannot be divided. The bread and the wine are both the entire real presence of Christ.

Giles Fraser and one of his readers helpfully tweeted about both:

Someone responded — possibly an agnostic — taking to task Christians who are panicking over the coronavirus. He has a point:

It amazes me how those who pontificate so much about life thereafter being so wonderful succumb to panic at the thought of death. Just a pause for thought. The Lord’s supposed to be our protector but only if it means it protects us from death. Come on religious people! Get a grip.

I don’t understand it, either.

On that note, and from a Catholic perspective, Dr CC Pecknold, a professor who also writes for First Things, tweeted about the plague in Venice between 1630 and 1631:

Exactly. However, that is what stubborn secularists, such as those criticising Mike Pence and his coronavirus team, refuse to understand. Christians pray for guidance and relief during troubled times.

There was more to the conversation. Someone was disappointed that the Peace had been suspended in his diocese:

How true.

In closing, after the plague had left Venice, the citizens of that city built a magnificent church in thanksgiving:

Would this happen now were, heaven forfend, the coronavirus to become an epidemic? No. Not at all.

More’s the pity.

In Italy, churches are closing their doors for the next few weeks:

This church in Rome is open but has taken additional precautions:

Meanwhile, let’s continue to pray that we may be guided in the correct practical direction during this pandemic and ask the Lord for it to harm as few people as possible.

I do think these health disasters are ‘come to Jesus moments’. Is anyone out there listening, including some notional Christians? Or are we all going to panic?

CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference — was held during the last few days of February 2020 at the National Harbor resort just outside of Washington, DC.

The American Conservative Union has hosted the event every year since 1974.

CPAC is particularly useful not only as an event with speeches and panel discussions but also as a bellwether to gauge conservative trends and, in years such as this one, political candidates’ viability for the presidency.

Interestingly, CPAC 2016 did not turn out well for then-candidate Donald Trump. Not only did he not attend, his name was not even mentioned. The straw poll conducted that year put Ted Cruz on top of the preferred candidates’ list, with Marco Rubio in second place.

Since he has been president, Trump has addressed the conference every year since 2017.

CPAC isn’t just about well-dressed Republicans. It gets its share of less conventional conservatives, too.

The New York Post featured a report complete with photos on February 29, which said (emphases mine):

In the cavernous convention center, Trump superfans in 10-gallon hats mingled with student rabble-rousers and an army of wonks from the swamp’s countless conservative think tanks.

“What brings me here is my love of America and my inspiration and enthusiasm for President Trump,” declared a strapping 6-foot drag queen who identified herself only as Lady Maga. “I would like to defy the narratives that all conservatives and Trump supporters are bigoted, homophobic people.”

There was also a 12-year-old boy who was allowed to cover along with journalists:

Joining journos once again in the media filing center were 12-year-old Phoenix Legg and his chauffeur/dad, Matt. Now on his fourth CPAC, Legg was in town after hitting a prayer breakfast in South Carolina. As in years past, he was decked in his trademark gray suit and matching fedora.

“I like giving the news through the eyes of a kid and since I’m a kid sometimes people are more willing to talk to me,” said Legg, who has become a mini-legend with the confab’s crowd.

Now and again, CPAC withdraws certain invitations, i.e. one for Mitt Romney. This is because the senator from Utah voted to remove President Trump from office during the Senate impeachment trial. His name was also booed during the conference:

Not surprisingly, Ivanka Trump was among the speakers. As Chair of the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp organises the event:

Virginia resident and mega-MAGA Trump supporter Scott Presler made his debut. He was thrilled to bits:

His parents were in the audience:

Scott enjoys meeting people, especially fellow conservatives:

He has also run neighbourhood clean-up campaigns in Baltimore and San Francisco. Residents of Baltimore really appreciated his and his volunteers’ efforts. Unfortunately, it was quite the opposite in San Francisco. Nonetheless, he met someone who saw the abuse he took from rabid leftists and decided to leave the Democrats behind:

CPAC is attracting increasing numbers of minority attendees and speakers.

The New England Patriots’ Benjamin Watson, a married father of seven, spoke about the importance of family (watch his speech in full):

He also showed a preview of his forthcoming documentary, Divided Hearts of America, which is about abortion, and signed copies of his books:

Townhall journalist Julio Rosas seemed to be everywhere at CPAC:

What a great place to spend one’s birthday:

Scott Presler was on his panel:

Brandon Straka, the ex-Democrat who founded the #WalkAway movement, spoke:

He made more new friends …

… and met up with people he already knew:

He also gave interviews:

John James, who is running for the US Senate in Michigan, made a forceful speech about American opportunity:

Louisiana’s US Senator Steve Scalise, hospitalised for months after a horrific attack by a rabid leftist in 2017, spoke about American healthcare:

Vice President Mike Pence spoke:

But, as expected, President Trump stole the show:

He spoke about Mitt Romney (this was where the boos came in) and successful anti-terror operations in Iran:

He talked about the new deal he made with Afghanistan to end America’s longest running war.

He took verbal swipes at the media and New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer:

He then had a go at the Democrat presidential candidates:

Greta Thunberg didn’t escape his notice, either:

He closed on a serious note, however, and received a standing ovation:

Contrary to 2016, this year I am thrilled about President Trump’s prospects. It’s not over until it’s over, of course, but his campaign manager Brad Parscale is as close to perfect as is humanly possible in his field. Here he is with Lara Trump (Eric’s wife):

I wish the president and his campaign team every success.

On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, President Donald Trump gave his second State of the Union (SOTU) address.

His theme was ‘choose greatness’.

His able speechwriter and adviser, Stephen Miller, wrote an inspiring, fact-filled address.

Special guests

The president had an incredibly varied group of special guests, all of whom were mentioned in his speech and who sat with First Lady Melania Trump:

– a retired astronaut (Buzz Aldrin),

– three Second World War veterans (Herman Zeitchik, Joseph Reilly and Irving Locker),

– two law enforcement officers (DHS investigator Elvin Hernandez and Pittsburgh SWAT team member Timothy Matson),

– a survivor of the Holocaust as well as the Pittsburgh synagogue attack last year (Judah Samet, whose birthday it was),

– a concentration camp survivor (Joshua Kaufman),

– the father of a Navy Seaman who was killed on the USS Cole (Tom Wibberley),

– an Angel Family whose elders were murdered in their home by an illegal immigrant (Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong, and Madison Armstrong),

– two reformed ex-convicts (Alice Johnson and Matthew Charles),

– a lumber mill manager (Roy James),

– a young mother who overcame drug addiction (Ashley Evans),

– two children (cancer survivor Grace Eline and a boy bullied for his name [no relation] Joshua Trump [please pray for this lad]).

On February 4, Big League Politics said that the guest list was Trump’s way of sending a clear message to Democrats about his priorities.

Everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Judah Samet, the Holocaust survivor. What a treat that must have been for him:

Meanwhile, some of the Democrats invited illegal immigrants.

Here is the video. The speech is very long: 1 hour and 22 minutes:

That said, I highly recommend watching the video, because in urging Congress and the American people to ‘choose greatness’, President Trump showed himself to be a unifier. As one viewer at home put it:

Before I go into the speech, it is worth pointing out that not everyone attends, in the event the worst case scenario occurs. This year’s designated survivor was Energy secretary Rick Perry:

Truth v speculation

So many people expected fireworks. Some expected Trump to declare a state of emergency. Others wanted revelations on FISA:

Think about it. The greatest US president in living memory wants to be re-elected in 2020. He’s going to play the long game.

There was also speculation as to whether Trump prepared two different speeches.

Some people think that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) got the wrong speech. She did spend a lot of time perusing whatever she received during Trump’s SOTU delivery.

Recall that Pelosi did not want Trump to deliver his SOTU at all, under spurious grounds of security, when the Secret Service and Homeland Security were already well prepared, as this event is an annual one.

Interestingly, the House of Representatives, which Pelosi heads, has been historically known as ‘the People’s House’, and is not defined by political party. The leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy (R-California), wanted the SOTU to go ahead on January 29.

Technically, Trump could have forced both the House of Representatives and the Senate to convene for the SOTU:

https://media.8ch.net/file_store/ec761245326e36b6ddee5d279cfe656c5e239ea73b1a05cb3d169f1b3ff53063.jpg

Some think that Pelosi might be ill or duly influenced by an outsider.

Nonetheless, Trump remained undeterred, despite Pelosi’s attempts to control the date of the SOTU, which should have taken place on January 29.

On January 28, Pelosi wrote Trump to say that the rescheduled date was Tuesday, February 5. The US president duly accepted in writing that same day.

In the end, she won. But, was it a Pyrrhic victory?

Let us not forget that another shutdown could start on February 15.

Meanwhile, in the Republican-controlled Senate, on the morning of the SOTU, to be delivered that evening, Trump tweeted about Chuck Schumer (D-New York):

Departure for the Capitol

First Lady Melania Trump left the White House separately, as she did in 2018. Up to that time, the first ladies accompanied their husbands:

Meanwhile, the president’s limousine was waiting:

The Trump children, except for Barron, were in attendance.

Note the CIA director’s fabric pattern:

Along with a few other Supreme Court members, Justice Kavanaugh arrived:

As people took their places, Dem presidential hopeful Senator Kamala Harris (California) took it upon herself to give a ‘pre-buttal’ SOTU message on Facebook, which Dem voters did not like one bit.

Democrat identity politics

There was no rerun of last year’s kente cloth and black clothing.

This year, many of the female Democrats wore all white, in tribute to the Suffragettes.

The address

As is customary at SOTUs, the Vice President sits behind the President to his right and the Speaker of the House to his left. Mike Pence had a simple glass of water in front of him whilst Nancy Pelosi had an ornate water display:

Normally, the Speaker introduces the President, but Trump took no chances and immediately began his speech, excerpted below, emphases mine.

Trump received many standing ovations. Townhall has an article with tweets stating when the Dems did not stand, some of which are below. They definitely do not want American greatness, that’s for sure.

He was careful to introduce political and national unity at the beginning:

The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people …

There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage to seize it. Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country.

He mentioned the 75th anniversary of D Day and mentioned his aforementioned special guests who were there on the Normandy beaches:

Here with us tonight are three of those heroes: Private First Class Joseph Reilly, Staff Sergeant Irving Locker, and Sergeant Herman Zeitchik. Gentlemen, we salute you.

He also mentioned the 50th anniversary of the moon landing:

Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin. This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.

The retired astronaut immediately rose to his feet to salute his Commander In Chief:

It’s obvious that Trump really wants national unity:

Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make.

We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.

Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) — AOC — remained seated:

He went on to discuss his administration’s economic success — an incredible feat, considering where the US was in January 2017:

In just over 2 years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom — a boom that has rarely been seen before. We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs — something which almost everyone said was impossible to do, but the fact is, we are just getting started.

Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades, and growing for blue collar workers, who I promised to fight for, faster than anyone else. Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps. The United States economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office, and we are considered far and away the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. Unemployment for Americans with disabilities has also reached an all-time low. More people are working now than at any time in our history –- 157 million.

But someone broke rank. Uh oh:

Trump went on to describe tax cuts, removal of the Obamacare mandate as well as regulatory cuts.

Then he discussed energy production:

We have unleashed a revolution in American energy — the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. And now, for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) was practically the only Dem who applauded:

He spoke about criminal justice reform — the First Step Act — and discussed Alice Johnson:

Alice’s story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing — and the need to remedy this injustice. She served almost 22 years and had expected to be in prison for the rest of her life.

In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence — and she is here with us tonight. Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny …

Inspired by stories like Alice’s, my Administration worked closely with members of both parties to sign the First Step Act into law.

Matthew Charles followed:

We are also joined tonight by Matthew Charles from Tennessee. In 1996, at age 30, Matthew was sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs and related offenses. Over the next two decades, he completed more than 30 Bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored fellow inmates. Now, Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act. Matthew, on behalf of all Americans: welcome home.

Immigration and border security came next:

Tonight, I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country.

The Dems booed.

Trump continued:

No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration. Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards.

Meanwhile, working class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal migration — reduced jobs, lower wages, overburdened schools and hospitals, increased crime, and a depleted social safety net.

Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is cruel. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country.

Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.

Here’s the aforementioned Kamala Harris:

Trump then mentioned the Bissell family:

Here tonight is Debra Bissell. Just three weeks ago, Debra’s parents, Gerald and Sharon, were burglarized and shot to death in their Reno, Nevada, home by an illegal alien. They were in their eighties and are survived by four children, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. Also here tonight are Gerald and Sharon’s granddaughter, Heather, and great‑granddaughter, Madison.

Afterwards, he introduced ICE Special Agent Elvin Hernandez:

When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. At the age of eight, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a Special Agent. Today, he leads investigations into the scourge of international sex trafficking. Elvin says: “If I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I’ve done my job.” Thanks to his work and that of his colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from horror and more than 1,500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars in the last year.

The Dems stood to applaud, although AOC remained seated:

The Dem women did get on their feet for three standing ovations when Trump mentioned females in the workforce and Congress:

No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new jobs created in the last year. All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before — and exactly one century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before.

He discussed trade then healthcare, introducing young Grace Eline:

Last year, Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer. Immediately, she began radiation treatment. At the same time, she rallied her community and raised more than $40,000 for the fight against cancer. When Grace completed treatment last fall, her doctors and nurses cheered with tears in their eyes as she hung up a poster that read: “Last Day of Chemo.” Grace — you are an inspiration to us all.

He briefly discussed his support of school choice, then moved on to the dignity of human life, particularly that of the unborn:

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.

To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

Two days later, on February 7, Congress once again — twice now — defeated that legislation.

Trump discussed the great progress being made internationally.

In talking about Venezuela, he attacked socialism:

We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence –- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders (who has returned to being an Independent), was the most furious. Many years ago, during the Cold War, he and his wife spent their honeymoon in Russia:

He mentioned Tom Wibberley:

Eighteen years ago, terrorists attacked the USS Cole — and last month American forces killed one of the leaders of the attack.

We are honored to be joined tonight by Tom Wibberley, whose son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was one of the 17 sailors we tragically lost. Tom: we vow to always remember the heroes of the USS Cole.

He discussed anti-Semitism and introduced Timothy Matson, Judah Samet, Joshua Kaufman and Herman Zeitchik:

Just months ago, 11 Jewish-Americans were viciously murdered in an anti-semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer. Timothy has just had his 12th surgery — but he made the trip to be here with us tonight. Officer Matson: we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil.

Tonight, we are also joined by Pittsburgh survivor Judah Samet. He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began. But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall — more than seven decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps. Today is Judah’s 81st birthday. Judah says he can still remember the exact moment, nearly 75 years ago, after 10 months in a concentration camp, when he and his family were put on a train, and told they were going to another camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. A soldier appeared. Judah’s family braced for the worst. Then, his father cried out with joy: “It’s the Americans.”

A second Holocaust survivor who is here tonight, Joshua Kaufman, was a prisoner at Dachau Concentration Camp. He remembers watching through a hole in the wall of a cattle car as American soldiers rolled in with tanks. “To me,” Joshua recalls, “the American soldiers were proof that God exists, and they came down from the sky.”

I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War. One of them was Herman Zeitchik. But there is more to Herman’s story. A year after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, Herman was one of those American soldiers who helped liberate Dachau. He was one of the Americans who helped rescue Joshua from that hell on earth. Almost 75 years later, Herman and Joshua are both together in the gallery tonight — seated side-by-side, here in the home of American freedom. Herman and Joshua: your presence this evening honors and uplifts our entire Nation.

Democrat reality

The Democrats, by and large, looked sombre. It could be because of this — from over a year ago:

The Trumps say thank you

The US president tweeted a full video of his speech, then followed up with this:

I have much more to follow on this, but will continue next week.

How great is this?

On Saturday, January 19, 2019, President Trump held the first ever naturalisation ceremony in the Oval Office:

What a day to remember that must have been. Wow.

Here are the fortunate five who made history last Saturday:

The AP was one of a handful to carry this story. It’s a good report, by the way, excerpted below:

The new citizens had the oath of allegiance administered by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and received their naturalization certificates from Vice President Mike Pence, followed by a handshake from Trump.

“By taking this oath, you have forged a sacred bond with this nation, its traditions, its culture and its values. This heritage is now yours to protect, promote and pass down to the next generation and to the next wave of newcomers to our shores,” the president said.

Splendid!

The White House posted a transcript of President Trump’s remarks to the newly minted Americans. Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

Each of you worked hard for this moment. You followed the rules, upheld our laws, and contributed to the strength and success and vitality of our nation. Now each of you stands here today, before your proud and beaming families — look at those families, huh? — in the Oval Office of the White House. A very special place. I look, and sometimes they say, “Wow, this is it.” Right? The Oval Office. So, congratulations.

I’d like to share a few brief words about each of our new citizens.

Estabraq Adel Al Sayyad came with her husband to the United Statesfrom Iraq in 2013. She is the proud mother of two children and is expecting a third. Since coming to America, she has become a teacher’s assistant in our public schools — doing a fantastic job, I might add — preparing the next generation of young Americans to make the most of this magnificent country that she, too, now enjoys. And I want to just congratulate you, Estabraq. Thank you. (Applause.)

Matthew Hemsley is from the United Kingdom. Thank you, Matthew. He is an Anglican pastor who came to the United States in 2006 and earned a master’s degree from Gordon Conwell Seminary in North Carolina. A fine place. His grandmother was an American citizen whose ancestors first came to North America in 1637 — that means you beat us — (laughter) — you beat all of us — as part of the Plymouth Colony. Now the Hemsley family history to the United States is renewed, and the next chapter of their American story begins. Matthew, it’s an honor. Great luck. Great luck. (Applause.)

Yook Young Choi is from South Korea and came to the United States in 1992 to pursue a master’s degree. She earned a PhD from the University of Maryland and is now a professor at Azusa Pacific University. Her husband teaches statistics at George Mason, and — it’s a great school too, by the way — and they are proud parents of two sons. I want to congratulate you, and you’re going to have a great time. Great time. Thank you very much. We really appreciate it. (Applause.) Appreciate you being a member of the family. Thank you.

Robert Castle is from Jamaica, and he immigrated to the United States in 2009 as the husband of a then-active duty service member of the United States Army. Robert is a warehouse supervisor — a strong guy, a smart guy — and they have a beautiful four-year-old son who was born here in the United States. Robert, congratulations. Thank you. (Applause.)

Marcelo Ramos Ramirez is from Bolivia and has a beautiful, lawful permanent resident of the United States, and has been since 2013. He is the co-owner of a staffing company with his son Marcio. The business is thriving. He’s doing really well. And it’s expanding in all different ways. He says, “I know that in the [United States] you can achieve anything that you want, and I am a perfect example.” In another words, he’s making a lot of money. (Laughter.) Marcelo, thank you very much. (Applause.)

You’re all at the beginning of a new and extraordinary adventure. With the rights and freedoms you enjoy as Americans, there is nothing you cannot achieve.

But citizenship is also a profound responsibility. Each year, over 700,000 new Americans take the oath and allegiance, and inherit a legacy of liberty and justice that generations of Americans fought and died to secure …

As Americans, and American citizens, we are bound together in love, and loyalty, and friendship, and affection. We must look out for each other, care for each other, and always act in the best interests of our nation and all citizens living here today. We love each other. We’re proud of each other.

The beauty and majesty of citizenship is that it draws no distinctions of race, or class, or faith, or gender or background. No matter where our story begins, whether we are the first generation or the tenth generation, we are all equal. We are one team and one people proudly saluting one great American flag.

Again, I want to congratulate you and welcome you to the family. It’s a family. It’s a beautiful family

What a moving ceremony that must have been.

I hope that this will become an annual tradition at the White House, at least during the Trump years.

May God bless these new citizens and may He continue to watch over the President, his family and his administration.

Congratulations to President Trump on his second anniversary in the White House.

Sunday, January 20, 2019 was the big day.

The pictures in the following video are good, but I would encourage everyone to listen to what the American president said during his 2016 campaign and in his inauguration address on January 20, 2017 — ‘The American people will no longer be forgotten’:

The chairwoman of the GOP (Republican Party) tweeted a brief list of Trump’s promises kept:

There is so much more. The White House has elaborated on those promises kept in ‘The Historic Results of President Donald J. Trump’s First Two Years in Office’, which includes (emphases mine):

More than 5 million jobs have been created since President Trump’s election and the unemployment rate remains below 4 percent.

  • This is the eighth time this year that the unemployment rate has been below 4 percent.
  • Prior to this year, the unemployment rate had fallen below 4 percent only five times since 1970.
  • The unemployment rate for African Americans in May fell to 5.9 percent, which is the lowest rate on record.
  • Asian and Hispanic-American unemployment rates have reached record lows this year
  • Americans are seeing more money in their pockets thanks to the booming economy.
    • In recent months, workers have seen their largest nominal year over year wage growth in nearly a decade.
    • In 2017, real median household income rose to a post-recession high.
  • President Trump’s policies are helping to lift Americans out of poverty.
    • African-American and Hispanic-American poverty rates reached record lows of 21.2 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively, in 2017.
    • Since the election, 4.6 million Americans have been lifted off of food stamps.
  • Consumer confidence has soared under President Trump, recently reaching an 18-year high
  • Small Business optimism jumped to a record high under President Trump, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
    • The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index broke a 35-year record in August.
  • President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, ushering in the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history.
  • These tax cuts are delivering real results for American families and workers.
    • More than 6 million workers received tax cut bonuses and benefits.
    • More than 100 utility companies have announced lower rates

The under-rated and under-appreciated First Lady Melania Trump, who is a beautiful person inside and out, had this to say:

Vice President Mike Pence summarised the past two years as follows:

Last Thursday, January 17, all three — and who knows how many more hundreds — dodged a highly serious domestic terror threat. The alleged perpetrator, who is from the state of Georgia, was arrested on January 16 after a year’s work between the FBI and local law enforcement.

Please continue to pray for President Trump, his family and his administration:

Yes, that hatred is pointed at ordinary Americans every day in so many ways, from harassment of Trump supporters to law enforcement officers being murdered in cold blood.

In closing, January 21 is Martin Luther King Day in the United States:

Let us pray that we may more closely emulate Dr King’s ideals of valuing personal character over identity politics.

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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