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President Donald Trump’s supporters are in a quandary these days.

Some — myself included — are bemused by the sudden neo-con foreign forays, wishing he had pursued ‘America First’ policies and left the overseas conflicts alone for the time being.

That said, many Americans approve of Trump’s performance so far, as the Rasmussen Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday, April 19, 2017, indicates:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove.

Other polling companies and polling aggregator sites consider Rasmussen to be too ‘right wing’. To them, Rasmussen has this message:

The same pollsters who called the presidential election wrong last November show the president with a worse job approval rating than we do. We called it right in November, so you decide who’s got it right now.

Reassuring those of us who thought he had gone soft on the domestic front, Trump tweeted:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions followed up on Tuesday, April 18, with his announcement regarding America’s gangs, especially MS-13:

Sessions said, in part (emphases mine below):

In February, President Trump issued an executive order to us to interdict and dismantle transnational criminal organizations, and today we’ll be proposing concrete ideas to follow through on President Trump’s directive. 
 
So let me state this clearly. Under President Trump, the Justice Department has zero tolerance for gang violence. Transnational criminal organizations like MS-13 represent one of the gravest threats to American safety.  These organizations enrich themselves by pedaling poison in our communities, trafficking children for sexual exploitation and inflicting horrific violence in the communities where they operate.

MS-13 has become a symbol of this plague that has spread across our country and into our communities.  There are over 30,000 members abroad with their headquarters in the El Salvadoran prison system.  According to the National Gang Intelligence Center, MS-13 now has more than 10,000 members in at least 40 states in this countryup significantly from just a few years ago.  

Because of an open border and years of lax immigration enforcement, MS-13 has been sending both recruiters and members to regenerate gangs that previously had been decimated, and smuggling members across the border as unaccompanied minors.  They are not content to simply ruin the lives of adults – MS-13 recruits in our high schools, our middle schools and even our elementary schools.

Just a few days ago, law enforcement believes that members of MS-13 murdered four young men and dumped their bodies in a park on Long Island.  Last month, it was two teenage girls in Los Angeles who were killed with machetes and baseball bats.  A few weeks ago, the FBI added an MS-13 member to their Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List for a suspected brutal murder with a baseball bat and screwdriver – all purportedly to earn his MS-13 tattoo.  Violence is an initiation rite. They’ve killed mothers alongside their children and vice versa.  They have gang raped and trafficked girls as young as 12 years old.  

We cannot allow this to continue.  We will secure our border, expand immigration enforcement and choke-off supply lines.  If you are a gang member: We will find you.  We will devastate your networks. We will starve your revenue sources, deplete your ranks and seize your profits.  We will not concede a single block or street corner to your vicious tactics.

The Daily Mail has another MS-13 report dated March 2, wherein Houston gang members kidnapped two teenage girls and held them hostage for two weeks. The gang members shot and killed one of them. The other they plied with drugs and drink and took turns sexually assaulting her. They also forcibly tattooed her. The Mail has pictures of the young defendants, who are smiling and waving to the camera. The report states that they are illegal aliens from El Salvador with a deep interest in satanism.

Sessions spoke to Tucker Carlson on Fox News later that day:

Sessions explained that until 2009 — first year of the Obama administration — law enforcement authorities had made significant progress in stemming the growth of gangs such as MS-13. Since then, gang numbers have increased. He blamed this, as he said in his statement above, on lax border policies and sanctuary cities. He also cited the Obama administration’s lax attitude to what are known as the Unaccompanied Alien Child (UAC).

A graph from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) shows that the number of UACs more than doubled between 2008 and 2009 alone, from under 10,000 to approximately 20,000. By 2014, that number had risen to 70,000. The administration took action to reduce the number to 40,000 in 2015, but, in 2016, the number soared once more to over 70,000.

The CIS report — from May 2016 — says:

The initial response of the Obama administration to the surge in 2014 was to present these minors as victims of human trafficking, covered by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008, signed by President Bush and reauthorized during the Obama administration in 2013. TVPRA requires the screening of unaccompanied children as potential victims of human trafficking. The attempt, however, was quickly dropped and the case for smuggling upheld instead. It is true that the vast majority of UACs who are illegally entering the United States are smuggled and not trafficked. (Cases such as those forced to work on egg farms in and around Marion, Ohio, remain the exception.3) …

In July 2014, President Obama expressed his desire to set up a refugee/parole program in Central America.8 What the president suggested was screening children in their home countries to determine whether or not they qualify as refugee applicants, then flying those who do directly to the United States. These in-country screening programs are not common and were used as exceptional humanitarian recourses by the United States following, for instance, the Vietnam War and the 1990 Haiti earthquake …

As for humanitarian parole, parents in the United States need to prove they are able to financially support their child. The parolees are granted work authorization for two years (renewable).

The reason for this initiative’s lack of success is rather simple, as we are reminded by MPI [Migration Policy Institute]: “The United States is home to an estimated 1.3 million Salvadoran, 902,000 Guatemalan, and 534,000 Honduran immigrants. A majority of these immigrants are unauthorized and unlawfully present and therefore could not meet the program’s lawful presence requirements for parents.” MPI also notes that under existing U.S. laws those parents legally present in the United States can (and probably already did) sponsor their children for immigrant visas instead of going through burdensome processes.

In 2016, the Obama administration decided to expand that refugee/parole programme:

Despite the fact that this new addition to the existing (and somewhat unpopular) CAM Refugee/Parole Program was mainly designed in response to the increasing number of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States illegally, this new setting could benefit every person — adults included (“vulnerable families and individuals”) — from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who seeks asylum. The government’s primary concern, however, is still focused on providing children from Central America with a safe alternative to crossing the border on their own.

However:

Whether Central American children meet the definition of refugees, however, raises serious doubts.

When asked to give his opinion as to why children from Central America were coming to the United States, Thomas Homan, executive associate director of Enforcement and Removal Operations within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), replied, “Based on my experience, I think there are some that are skipping fear, but I think there are many more that are taking advantage of the system.”20

The Conservative Treehouse has pulled graphics showing where these UACs ended up (first graphic) and the top cities are for ICE arrests. Notice the pattern between the two.

What happens when UACs arrive in the United States? Whilst not wishing to say that all of the 227,149 who have entered between 2009 and 2015 — according to a Fox News report which cited US Border patrol numbers — are criminals or turn into criminals, their vulnerable status presents ripe fruit for the picking by gangs such as MS-13.

That Fox News article, from September 15, 2016, states:

They remain in federal custody until a sponsor can be located, at which time they are often sent to communities where they are ripe for recruitment by Latin gangs such as the infamous MS-13.

“Our safety standards have increased,” Andrea Helling, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told FoxNews.com. “In the last few months screening procedures of children and sponsors has increased in their intensity which we hadn’t done previously.”

Even so:

Some observers say that, at the least, the process sends a steady stream of loosely supervised youths lacking in language and coping skills right into the waiting arms of criminal gangs. At worst, the unaccompanied minors were already initiated into the gangs before they arrived at the border.

Indeed. The CIS paper states that this is true in many cases:

a report published last year by the Migration Policy Institute on “In-Country Refugee Processing in Central America” concluded that, despite the fact that many of these Central American children are “threatened by gang violence and have clear protection needs, being forced to join a gang or experiencing violence do not generally qualify as a basis for refugee status or fall readily into one of the refugee definition categories.”24

And MS-13 is rapidly expanding across the United States.

Fox News describes the Los Angeles gang’s growth in New York state and, surprisingly, not in the New York City boroughs:

MS-13 is believed to be among the largest street gangs on New York’s Long Island, and more than 250 members have been convicted on federal felony charges since 2003. Federal prosecutors there have pinned more than 20 murders on the violent gang.

The number of UACs in New York had grown rapidly by 2016:

Long Island has received 2,093 unaccompanied children, and between October 2013 and July 2016, all of New York received 12,478 children from Central America. The overwhelming majority of the kids are not criminals and likely have competent sponsors. But some are.

Just one or two miscreants can cause a lot of crime. Imagine adding to already existing criminal numbers in a particular town or county:

In June 2015, MS-13 members and El Salvadoran immigrants Jose Cornejo, 17, Bryan Larios, 18 and Joel Escobar, 17, all of Brentwood, N.Y. were charged with the brutal rape of a 16 year-old girl on a local golf course.

Earlier this week, Joshua Guzman, 15, was shot and killed in the Long Island city of Hempstead. While not an unaccompanied immigrant, the boy’s father, Raul Guzman, told Newsday his son was under pressure to join a gang. Police believe his murder may be related.

Other American states are similarly affected by an influx of UACs and gang activity:

MS-13 has a foothold in numerous other communities, where unaccompanied minors are being sent. Texas, which has seen a spike in MS-13 crime has received 15,999 over the same period. The 2015 Texas Department of Public Safety Gang Threat Assessment found MS-13 boasts some 800 members, and authorities explicitly blamed the flood of unaccompanied children being placed in the state.

“The influx of illegal alien gang members crossing the border into Texas in 2014, along with reports of extremely violent murders committed by its members in the Houston area, positions the gang as one of the most significant gang threats in the state for this upcoming year,” the report stated.

Other areas that have seen an influx in MS-13 crime are Maryland, Texas, and Virginia. Fairfax County, Va. has seen a 160 percent increase in MS-13 related incidents through April compared to the previous year.

From this, it would appear that some of these sponsors are gang members themselves. Also, it would be relatively easy to see where a UAC coming from a gang in Central America could lie and say he was victimised and would have to escape to the US. It would be a ruse to move up in the gang world, one which already would have been arranged by his home base in Central America and the recipient ‘sponsor’ in the United States.

Being in the US would offer greater prestige and richer pickings than staying south of the border. Consider it a promotion, if you will.

It is not beyond belief that we could find a gang network, particularly MS-13, funneling these boys to the US with sponsorship arrangements having been made in advance.

It will be interesting to see what transpires this year through Attorney General Sessions’s efforts.

Tomorrow: the unlikely, yet true, story of MS-13

I have written previously about alternative media’s Mike Cernovich with regard to his recent 60 Minutes interview and its full transcript.

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, Cernovich tweeted:

On Monday, he reported more about his first mainstream news scoop, excerpted below (emphases mine):

Susan Rice, who served as the National Security Adviser under President Obama, has been identified as the official who requested unmasking of incoming Trump officials, Cernovich Media can exclusively report.

The White House Counsel’s office identified Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking after examining Rice’s document log requests. The reports Rice requested to see are kept under tightly-controlled conditions. Each person must log her name before being granted access to them.

Upon learning of Rice’s actions, H. R. McMaster dispatched his close aide Derek Harvey to Capitol Hill to brief Chairman Nunes.

“Unmasking” is the process of identifying individuals whose communications were caught in the dragnet of intelligence gathering. While conducting investigations into terrorism and other related crimes, intelligence analysts incidentally capture conversations about parties not subject to the search warrant. The identities of individuals who are not under investigation are kept confidential, for legal and moral reasons.

James Rosen, a former Bill Clinton adviser who now works for Fox News, says that this is a huge story which could explain why General Mike Flynn had to resign earlier this year. The tweet below says Fox News acknowledged that Cernovich broke the story. I did not see that in the clip, but am posting it anyway so that you can read what Rosen says:

The Daily Caller explained Big Media’s reaction to Cernovich’s scoop and how they reported it:

Mike Cernovich, a journalist who has promoted conspiracy theories and was deemed “fake news” by “60 Minutes,” was the first to break the news that Obama’s former national security advisor Susan Rice made requests to unmask the identities of Trump associates.

Cernovich said in his report Sunday that New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman knew about the Rice requests, and “has chosen to sit on it in an effort to protect the reputation of former President Barack Obama.” A New York Times spokeswoman told The Daily Caller, “Cernovich’s claim regarding Maggie Haberman is 100 percent false.”

Bloomberg’s Eli Lake confirmed Cernovich’s report Monday, but did not include any details about Haberman sitting on the story. Cernovich told TheDC in an interview that Lake also sat on the story over the weekend. Lake tweeted Tuesday, “Reports that I sat on the Susan Rice story are false.”

The Bloomberg story didn’t give Cernovich any credit for his scoop and he said he wasn’t upset as he has more influence than Bloomberg.

Cernovich revealed how he got the story:

Zero Hedge provides a partial transcript of the video (emphases in the original):

I’m showing you the politics of ‘real journalism’.  ‘Real journalism’ is that Bloomberg had it and the New York Times had it but they wouldn’t run it because  they don’t want to run any stories that would make Obama look bad or that will vindicate Trump.  They only want to run stories that make Trump look bad so that’s why they sat on it.

So where did I get the story?  I didn’t get it from the intelligence community.  Everybody’s trying to figure out where I got it from.  I got it from somebody who works in one of those media companies.  I have spies in every media organization.  I got people in news rooms.  I got it from a source within the news room who said ‘Cernovich, they’re sitting on this story, they’re not going to run it, so you can run it’.

If you’re at Bloomberg, I have people in there.  If you’re at the New York Times, I have people in there.  LA Times, Washington Post, you name it, I have my people in there.  I got IT people in every major news room in this country.  The IT people see every email so that’s how I knew it.

On Wednesday, April 5, Cernovich wrote about what happened next:

– Rice said she unmasked but it was legal.

– Fake news does not call Rice a liar for saying she never unmasked anyone, instead….

– Fake news attacks Cernovich’s character.

– Fake news claims Trump said he was “illegally” spied on (not what he said).

Susan Rice

Since Cernovich’s story broke, Susan Rice has given several television interviews this week to friendly outlets, such as MSNBC and PBS.

Rice’s husband, Ian Cameron, was a senior producer of successful news programmes for ABC. Although he is no longer working for them, preferring to spend time with his family, Heavy contacted the network to find out why they were not giving the Rice story much coverage:

Heavy has reached out to ABC News’ PR staff to see whether Cameron still has any link to ABC News, as his LinkedIn profile and past articles say he left the network several years ago. This story will be updated if a response is received.

Fox News is the only channel doing any critical coverage of the story. On April 5, they reported  (emphases mine):

The intelligence reports at the center of the Susan Rice unmasking controversy were detailed, and almost resembled a private investigator’s file, according to a Republican congressman familiar with the documents.

“This is information about their everyday lives,” Rep. Peter King of New York, a member of the House Intelligence committee said. “Sort of like in a divorce case where lawyers are hired, investigators are hired just to find out what the other person is doing from morning until night and then you try to piece it together later on.”

On the House Intelligence Committee, only the Republican chairman, Devin Nunes of California, and the ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, also of California, have personally reviewed the intelligence reports. Some members were given broad outlines.

Nunes has consistently stated that the files caused him deep concern because the unmasking went beyond the former national security adviser Mike Flynn, and the information was not related to Moscow.

Alternative media have been digging deeply. Circa, which has excellent reports on intelligence, posted an article about the Rice controversy on Monday, April 3, the same day that Cernovich’s scoop appeared. Circa analysed what might have occurred with Rice, intelligence information and others in the Obama White House. A brief excerpt follows:

How the information was disseminated beyond Rice will also be a potential focus of congressional oversight, since lawmakers may want to know if it was briefed to Obama or shared with members of her larger circle of advisers, like deputy Ben Rhodes.

Rice has not returned repeated calls for comment from Circa. But in an interview with PBS recently, she said she had no idea what House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes was talking about when he said Obama officials were monitoring Trump associates after the election.

One intelligence professional with detailed knowledge of how the NSA and other intelligence agencies share information with the White House during transitions told Circa that U.S. intelligence reporting on foreign leaders’ perceptions of Trump spiked after his unexpected election win in November, creating a trove of information that could be accessed by the outgoing White House.

More will surely follow in the days and weeks ahead.

Steve Bannon

In closing, I would like to clarify what happened with Steve Bannon, one of President Trump’s closest advisers.

On Wednesday, April 5, The Drudge Report had headlines from Big Media outlets saying that said Bannon had lost his security clearance and was threatening to quit. Cernovich explains why these reports are false: look at who wrote them.

That day, The Conservative Treehouse reported that what really happened. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

First, Steve Bannon continues to attend National Security Council (NSC) meetings:

The hilarity cemented itself when competing media outlets were arguing about Steve Bannon being on the NSC, or being kicked-off the NSC, while Bannon walked past them en route to today’s NSC meeting.  Wait, wha… huh?   Yeah -{Insert Laugh Track HERE}-

Nothing ever happens in a vacuum, and today is no exception.   No, Steve Bannon is not being removed from the Senior advisory role to President Trump and will attend NSC meetings with the President.  Bannon’s security clearance therein remains unchanged.

Secondly, Lt General McMaster is realigning the NSC meetings to emphasise security threats over politics, a holdover from the Obama administration — a big part of the Susan Rice revelations. This is where the Big Media story about Bannon is coming from because:

Bannon is removing himself from the Principal’s Committee of the H.R. McMaster NSC (*note* he never attended the committee meetings, well, that is, he did, once), now that the political weaponization of NSC intelligence operations has been removed; and McMaster has recalibrated the incoming intelligence agencies to remove the political intelligence they were previously used to sending.

This is what McMaster is doing:

HR McMaster, the current National Security Adviser of President Trump, had to reset and re-instruct each of the heads of the intelligence agencies who provide intelligence to the NSC to remove the political intelligence.

McMaster needed to visit with each agency, CIA, NSA, State Department and Defense, to reorient them on what national intelligence the Trump administration wishes to receive within the National Security Council.

President Trump doesn’t want the national intelligence agencies sending him updates on what Senator Schumer had for lunch, where and who he dined with.  Instead President Trump prefers the intelligence agencies focus on global security issues that are actually vital to the national security interests of the country.

H.R McMaster’s instructions toward he intelligence agencies has just freed up thousands of hours of operational intelligence (spying and analysis) to focus on real threats unrelated to domestic politics.  Subsequently with the new direction established, Steve Bannon doesn’t need to be a pre-filter for NSC raw intel any longer. Bannon can now be a consumer of that intelligence, just like President Trump.

Stories on security topics and alternative media will continue after Holy Week and Easter. This year, Palm Sunday falls on April 9.

On Monday, April 3, 2017 President Donald Trump welcomed Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to the White House.

The two had met once before, on Monday, September 19, 2016, during the presidential campaign. Al-Sisi also met with Hillary Clinton that day in a separate exchange. As I explained in my post of September 23, Al-Sisi’s meeting with Trump was much more rewarding. Sensible Egyptians do not like Clinton because she was friendly with the wife of Mohamed Morsi, Al-Sisi’s predecessor, and had sympathies with his regime, which had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ahramonline reported:

the talk was about an exceptional chemistry between the two men, who saw eye to eye on the need to combat militant Islamism and to find a holistic approach to resolving Middle East issues, including the Israeli-Palestine conflict and the instability in Syria and Libya.

I understand from online comments that this month’s historic meeting went uncovered by Big Media, which focussed on Trump’s notionally chaotic White House instead.

However, the Egyptian press gave it careful coverage.

On April 1, 2017, Daily News Egypt reported (emphases mine):

A number of politicians and experts have praised the importance of the five day visit of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to the US capital Washington, DC, where he will meet with US president Donald Trump following an official invitation.

Al-Sisi is also scheduled to meet with a number of US cabinet members and representatives of the decision-making circles in the US, as well as Republican and Democratic members of the US congress and the heads of a number of committees.

The meeting will include reviews on Egypt’s economy and political conditions, discussions over boosting bilateral relations, and ways of increasing investments between both countries …

Regarding topics that Al-Sisi will focus on, the president will review what Egypt has recently achieved, especially with its new national projects. The primary focus will also include challenges Egypt is facing, particularly with terrorism and the circumstances that led to the signing of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

Egyptian pundits looked forward to a cordial, constructive discussion, the newspaper said:

Political science professor Hassan Nafaa told Daily News Egypt that the visit is of great importance for the two countries, as there were tensions between both countries that occurred after the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated regime. He stated that this visit would contribute to more Egyptian-American cooperation.

During the administration of former US president Barack Obama, the relations deteriorated, as he believed the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi by the armed forces in 2013 was a military coup. The US, as a result, cut its military aid to Egypt, but decided to continue payments and shipments of military goods in 2015.

Ahramonline explained:

Relations between the El-Sisi regime and the Barack Obama administration were not particularly comfortable, given the hesitation of the previous US administration in acknowledging the political change that occurred in Egypt in June 2013.

A meeting between El-Sisi and Obama in New York a year later, following the election of El-Sisi to the top executive job in June 2014, secured stable bilateral relations, including strong support from the Obama administration for Egypt in getting an IMF loan last year. However, it failed to move beyond that.

El-Sisi never visited the White House during the Obama administration.

Today, he is hoping to turn a new page in bilateral relations with a new administration.

The media outlet also reported that there is hope that Egypt and the US could resume a relationship the two countries have not enjoyed for 40 years:

According to Egyptian officials involved in the preparation for El-Sisi’s visit, Cairo wants to see advanced security cooperation that goes beyond anything that the two countries have had since the construction of a close alliance in the late 1970s in the wake of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

The following video shows Trump and Al-Sisi speaking of their objectives for the trip and for the future. Al-Sisi’s interpreter addresses Trump as ‘Your Excellency’ more than once. Al-Sisi calls terrorism an ‘evil ideology’ (2:15) and pronounces it the ‘problem of the century’ (4:25). He said he is confident that the Trump administration will ‘resolve this issue’ (4:28). Trump responds, ‘We will do that together. We will fight terrorism and other things and we’re going to be friends for a long, long time’ (4:35):

You can read more from Time‘s Zeke Miller.

Globalist heads no doubt exploded at this news, which, coupled with the expected visit by the King of Jordan, is sure to disrupt their NWO plans in future. Together, these three men could bring peace to the Middle East.

CBS’s Mark Knoller tweeted:

Trump posted photos from the meetings:

The Conservative Treehouse has great close-up photographs of Al-Sisi’s arrival at the White House. Trump is starting a new presidential tradition of greeting official guests at the front door, something his predecessors did not do.

Here is a photo of Al-Sisi’s departure that day:

This is the first time in eight years that an Egyptian president has visited the White House.

On Wednesday, April 5, Al-Sisi gave an interview to Brett Baier of Fox News. The Conservative Treehouse provided a partial transcript, including this:

al-Sisi: “I first saw the campaign of his excellency President Trump, and I listened to his speech of the neccessity of facing and confronting terrorism all over the world; that he is a great personality and a unique individual, and that he will find great success.”

“I fully trust the capabilities of President Trump, and I have full conviction that he can do things, exert efforts, that very few people can do.  And he can succeed in so many fields that others cannot.  I trust him wholeheartedly.  And again, I congratulate you for having him.”

Many older readers will join me in hoping that the two countries can recoup the warm co-operation they had in the 1970s. This looks like a great start.

It is interesting that the King and Queen of Jordan visited the White House on the same day that Al-Sisi gave his interview to Baier.

 

Trump addressed the press concerning this significant meeting between the two leaders. He said, in part:

The King has been a leader in calling for a plan to defeat ISIS once and for all.  And I’m with you on that.  We’re both leaders on that, believe me.  That’s what we speak about today, and that is what we are going to do.  And it will be a shorter fight than a lot of people are thinking about, believe me.  We’ve made tremendous strides as we discussed.

As you know, we had a very, very fine delegation come over from Egypt and also from Iraq, and they said more has been done in the last six weeks than has been done in years with the previous administration.  And believe me, we’re going to keep it that way.

We will destroy ISIS and we will protect civilization.  We have no choice — we will protect civilization. King Abdullah and I also discussed measures to combat the evil ideology that inspires ISIS and plagues our planet.  In addition, we also acknowledge the vital role that Jordan has played in hosting refugees from the conflict in Syria.  We have just announced that the United States will contribute additional funds to Jordan for humanitarian assistance.  This aid will help countries like Jordan host refugees until it is safe for them to return home.  The refugees want to return home.  I know that from so many other instances.  They want to return back to their home.  And that’s a goal of any responsible refugee policy.

Finally, we discussed to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, including peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.  And I’m working very, very hard on trying to finally create peace between the Palestinians and Israel, and I think we’ll be successful.  I hope to be successful, I can tell you that.

The Conservative Treehouse points out:

Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s Fattah al-Sisi have a very close regional relationship.

It would be interesting to find out if they met privately as they were both in Washington on the same day.

While the King of Jordan met with President Trump, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos took First Lady Melania Trump and Queen Rania for a tour of a local school. They visited a science class.

Both the president and first lady were pleased to welcome the King and Queen of Jordan.

I’ll leave the last word to The Conservative Treehouse (emphasis in the original):

Think of the nationalist possibility.  ♦ Fattah al-Sisi (Egypt), ♦ King Abdullah II (Jordan), ♦ Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel), ♦ Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian Authority), ♦ King Salman and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Saudi Arabia), and ♦ U.S. President Donald Trump.  Together they have a remarkable canvas.

In opening remarks to his staff on March 6, 2017, the Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Dr Ben Carson, commented on slaves, saying they were ‘immigrants’.

The media and other ‘experts’ verbally ganged up on the retired brain surgeon, best known for his pioneering surgery on conjoined twins. Those outside the United States will be interested to know that Carson is black and grew up in Detroit.

Yet, Obama made the same comment in 2015, and no one said a word. Why is it that Carson was criticised but Obama was not?

The Daily Caller had an article on the media storm:

“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said during a speech at HUD’s offices.

“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

Liberal pundits blasted Carson’s remarks, saying that it is insensitive to use the term “immigrant” to describe people taken to a new country against their will.

This is what Obama said two years ago at a naturalisation ceremony:

“Certainly, it wasn’t easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves,” Obama said.

“There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more.”

That was not the only time. He spoke at an earlier naturalisation ceremony in 2012:

“We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means — we are a nation of immigrants.  Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else — whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or crossed the Rio Grande,” Obama said at the ceremony.

The Daily Caller looked for media mentions of the 2012 and 2015 speeches. There were none.

Everyone harping on about Carson is simply angry that he is a black Republican in the Trump administration. ‘How dare he?’ they think.

Of course, Carson had to issue a statement. He said this (emphases mine below):

“I think people need to actually look up the world ‘immigrant,’” he said in an interview with Armstrong Williams. “Whether you’re voluntary or involuntary, if you come from outside to the inside, you’re an immigrant. Slaves came here as involuntary immigrants.”

Obama’s family and slavery

It is highly possible that both sides of Obama’s family owned and sold slaves in the past.

In 2009, Cynthia Yockey, a former Democrat turned conservative, wrote ‘Obama’s Kenyan ancestors sold slaves’, which is a remarkably well researched article not just on Obama’s ancestors but also on the nature of the slave trade in general. It continues today and is a Muslim practice in certain countries. This is a good article to share with older children and summarise for younger members of the family.

Yockey wrote about the topic because, on July 12, 2009, Obama visited Ghana. She said that he had to:

hope no one in the state-run media would think to wonder why he didn’t choose Kenya in East Africa, the land of his father and his father’s tribe, the Luo, which also was a major slave-trading center.

She added:

One reason may be that New World blacks would be descended from West Africans. However, I am suspicious that another reason is that on both his mother’s AND his father’s side of the family, Obama is descended from people who owned and/or sold black African slaves. How ironic that Obama received almost universal support from blacks who are here because their ancestors were grabbed up and sold into slavery by other black Africans, including Obama’s father’s tribe.

Yockey notes that, in 2007, the Baltimore Sun fully researched the slavery angle involving Obama’s white side of the family.

Having read the Baltimore Sun article, I want to point out to you this interesting bit near the end:

Author and essayist Debra J. Dickerson wrote in a January salon.com article that she had previously refrained from opining about the senator because “I didn’t have the heart (or the stomach) to point out the obvious: Obama isn’t black.”

” ‘Black,’ in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves,” Dickerson said.

Back now to Cynthia Yockey’s research. She saw that there was an article on About.com — no longer there in 2017 — which was reproduced elsewhere, called ‘Obama’s African Forebears Were Slave Traders’. It describes the thriving Muslim slave trade in Africa in the 18th century:

Muslims encouraged warring tribes, Obama Jr’s Luo ancestors included, to capture “prisoners of war” and sell them into slavery.

Kenya tribe leaders, also exported slaves and ivory that had been exchanged by Africans from the interior for salt, cloth, beads, and metal goods. The slaves were then marched to the coast and shipped to Muslim Zanzibar (an island South of Kenya), to be traded again.

The British ended the practice by law in 1847.

However, Yockey reproduced other articles saying that African Muslims had traded slaves for centuries before that. Furthermore, European buyers had to go through a Muslim slaver to buy black slaves. They could not operate independently.

Yockey’s research uncovered another important point: Muslim slavers from Kenya looked African but, in fact, were Arab, just like the Luo tribe of Obama’s ancestors.

White indentured and enforced servitude

In the history of the United States, black slaves were not the only people who arrived involuntarily. White Britons did, too.

I don’t know if history books still include indentured servitude in their coverage of Colonial history. If not, they should re-introduce it.

One of my best friends has ancestors who arrived in the US in the 17th century as indentured servants.

Indentured and enforced servitude were one up from slavery. However, sometimes slaves were treated better than indentured servants.

Indentured servitude involved someone in debt or other hardship becoming the temporary property of the person to whom he owed a debt or a better off person. The person who acquired them — the master — worked them for a certain number of years, after which the indentured servant became a free person.

However, it should be noted that there were also cases where men just wanted to leave their homeland for a new future in the colonies. They voluntarily sought and signed such agreements.

USHistory.com has an excellent article on indentured servitude, which came at a time of severe unemployment in England and a boom in the new colony of Virginia. These bonded servants worked in the tobacco fields or as house servants. A summary and excerpts follow.

Most indentured servants were men, however, women also signed these agreements. The master paid for their passage to the American colonies and provided them with food, clothing and shelter during the years of their servitude:

Perhaps as many as 300,000 workers migrated under the terms of these agreements. Most were males, generally in their late teens and early twenties, but thousands of women also entered into these agreements and often worked off their debts as domestic servants.

There was also enforced servitude, involving miscreants:

Vagrants, war prisoners, and minor criminals were shipped to America by English authorities, then sold into bondage.

The masters’ treatment varied, just as it did with slavery:

In some areas, slaves were treated more humanely because they were regarded as lifetime investments, while the servant would be gone in a few years.

There were also terms and conditions the servant had to abide by:

The length of servitude could legally be lengthened in cases of bad behavior, especially for those workers who ran away or became pregnant

Masters retained their right to prohibit their servants from marrying and had the authority to sell them to other masters at any time.

The only upside to indentured or enforced servitude was access to the courts and the possibility of owning property, provided one hadn’t died from overwork.

Upon being given their freedom:

many workers were provided with their “freedom dues” — often consisting of new clothes, farm tools and seed; on rare occasions the worker would receive a small plot of land.

Some former servants could not find jobs after being given their freedom. Men in such a position often ventured westward, which, in the 17th century, would have been as far as Kentucky or Tennessee. (The big move to the West did not begin until the 19th century.)

Servitude, slavery and the law

Each colony — later, state — had their own laws governing indentured or enforced servitude and slavery.

The Law Library of Congress has a detailed and interesting article on how colonial and state law applied to indentured servants and to slaves. The article focusses mainly on Virginia but provides a useful overview. Excerpts and a summary follow.

Both practices ended on January 31, 1865 with the Emancipation Proclamation, however:

many laws and judicial precedents that had been established before that date would not be changed until the mid- or late-twentieth century.

Before that happened, most of the laws around these two groups of people involved women, illegitimate children and racial intermingling.

In 1662, Virginia:

passed two laws that pertained solely to women who were slaves or indentured servants and to their illegitimate children. Women servants who produced children by their masters could be punished by having to do two years of servitude with the churchwardens after the expiration of the term with their masters. The law reads, “that each woman servant gott with child by her master shall after her time by indenture or custome is expired be by the churchwardens of the parish where she lived when she was brought to bed of such bastard, sold for two years. . . .”37

The second law, which concerned the birthright of children born of “Negro” or mulatto women, would have a profound effect on the continuance of slavery, especially after the slave trade was abolished—and on the future descendants of these women. Great Britain had a very structured primogeniture system, under which children always claimed lineage through the father, even those born without the legitimacy of marriage. Virginia was one of the first colonies to legislate a change:

Act XII

Negro womens children to serve according to the condition of the mother.

WHEREAS some doubts have arrisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a Negro woman should be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ ffornication with a Negro man or woman, hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the ffines imposed by the former act.38

Because of this law, slave masters were keen to procreate with young female slaves, so they would have a steady supply of slaves to come:

There are a number of court cases concerning slave women who either killed their masters who forced them to have sexual relations or killed the children rather than have the children enslaved.39

Racial mixing, including sexual congress, was not unknown in that era. In 1691, Virginia amended their aforementioned 1692 birthright law, under which a child born to a white woman and a black man was free:

This amendment stated that a free white woman who had a bastard child by a Negro or mulatto man had to pay fifteen pounds sterling within one month of the birth. If she could not pay, she would become an indentured servant for five years. Whether or not the fine was paid, however, the child would be bound in service for thirty years.

Conclusion

Both slaves and indentured servants had a miserable life.

And, there was nothing that Ben Carson had to apologise for, especially as Obama had spoken similarly on two occasions during his time in office.

I hope this brief foray into American history, past and present, has helped to enlighten and fill in gaps on what was known as ‘human chattel’ and immigration, regardless of race or origin.

The Riverwalk has appropriate Bible readings for the Emancipation Proclamation — 152 years on — that we would do well to read and remember today.

Yesterday, I profiled a Millennial who made the journey from the Left to becoming a Trump supporter.

Visit MAGA1776 for the full account in ‘My Story’.

The person contributes to The_Donald under the user ID CorruptionISTreason.

MAGA1776 has several sections tracking Donald Trump’s progress as president. There is also a news section. The latest items concern serious scandals from the Obama adminstration. Each has its own infographic and another user on The_Donald put these all together in one graphic, reproduced below.

These are the real reasons why Democrats — including Tulsi Gabbard, darling of Trump supporters until last week — want Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stand down. They do not want any of this investigated (click to enlarge):

BIGLY THANKS to /u//CorruptionISTreason - Combined Infographic: F&F, Uranium Ore, Iran Ransom, Martyr Transfer, Slush Fund & Tarp Heist

More details about all of these are online. More will come to light as the year progresses.

Fast and Furious

In 2009, Fast and Furious sounded good to millions of Americans. After all, it was supposed to root out Mexican drug cartels. Wikipedia describes the operation, which had also been done under another name during Bush II’s second term. Regardless of when these operations took place:

The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels.[6][8][9]

However, the programme was such a disaster, that millions of other Americans wonder if it was deliberately planned to fail spectacularly.

As Judicial Watch explains:

The ATF ran the Fast and Furious experiment and actually allowed criminals, “straw purchasers,” working for Mexican drug cartels to buy weapons at federally licensed firearms dealers in Phoenix and allowed the guns to be “walked”—possessed without any knowledge of their whereabouts.

However (emphases mine):

The government lost track of most of the weapons and many have been used to murder hundreds of innocent people as well as a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, in Arizona.

Also:

A mainstream newspaper reported that a Muslim terrorist who planned to murder attendees of a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas last year bought a 9-millimeter pistol at a Phoenix gun shop that participated in the ATF’s Fast and Furious program despite drug and assault charges that should have raised red flags. Judicial Watch has thoroughly investigated Fast and Furious and has sued the Obama administration for information about the once-secret operation.

Investigations into Fast and Furious have proven inconclusive and murky.

On June 20, 2012, Obama invoked executive privilege over 1,300 pages of documents that the Department of Justice had not turned over to Congress.

The following week — June 28, 2012 — Eric Holder, then Attorney General:

became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives for refusing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. The vote was 255–67 in favor, with 17 Democrats voting yes and a large number of Democrats walking off the floor in protest and refusing to vote. A civil contempt measure was also voted on and passed, 258–95. The civil contempt vote allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to court with a civil lawsuit to look into the US Justice Department’s refusal to turn over some of the subpoenaed documents and to test Obama’s assertion of executive privilege. Holder dismissed the votes as “the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year,” and the White House called it “political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight”.[19][20]

In September 2016, The Hill wrote about Fast and Furious in light of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death in December 2010.

Asking ‘What alarmed agent Brian Terry?’, The Hill states that, when clearing out Brian’s effects, his brother Kent Terry found notes in a pair of his work boots:

These notes are both confirmed to be those of Agent Terry and according to his family are completely consistent with his handwriting.

Before then, just after Brian Terry’s death:

and directly after his dad had discussed with U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke the three emails Brian had sent to the National Border Patrol Council, fourth amendment search and seizure violations ensued. The government ransacked Brian Terry’s residence without a warrant and removed all electronic media devices. The family received the devices back after approximately one year. The devices were thoroughly and completely wiped clean by the government. Again the persistent question remains: Why?

The agent ran across some curious things in his work, such as multiple weapons caches buried in the desert. His superiors did not seem concerned. Three weeks before his death, The Hill says he confided in his mother:

how concerned he was about “something bad was going to happen”

and that there were

“two bad agents,” as Brian described them to his mom on that same visit home, who “aggressively confronted him”.

Just as bad, possibly worse in some respects, is the alleged international reach of these ‘walked’ weapons — across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Hill states that the nexus of Fast and Furious was the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix:

These weapons have not only been involved in killings of hundreds in Mexico, but were found at Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hideout, and could be linked to the Bataclan terrorist attack in France on Nov. 13, 2015.

‘Could be’. We don’t yet know. However:

Did Agent Terry unknowingly stumble not only upon Operation Fast and Furious but a larger, international gun-running operation as well? A July 1, 2011 meeting at a Border Patrol office in Las Cruces, New Mexico at which Border Patrol Intelligence personnel from all of the area sectors attended, suggests that might have been the case. Was the underlying reason for this meeting what alarmed Brian Terry? Or perhaps because in all of this there are more questions than answers; more people willing to “Let ‘em through” than to thoroughly investigate and more hollow words than meaningful action. Perhaps this is what truly alarmed Agent Brian Terry, and lead to his prescient action regarding his journal notes.

In June 2016, Judicial Watch gave details on the possibility — a certainty to them — that one of the firearms was used in the Bataclan attack:

One of the guns used in the November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks came from Phoenix, Arizona where the Obama administration allowed criminals to buy thousands of weapons illegally in a deadly and futile “gun-walking” operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

A Report of Investigation (ROI) filed by a case agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) tracked the gun used in the Paris attacks to a Phoenix gun owner who sold it illegally, “off book,” Judicial Watch’s law enforcement sources confirm. Federal agents tracing the firearm also found the Phoenix gun owner to be in possession of an unregistered fully automatic weapon, according to law enforcement officials with firsthand knowledge of the investigation.

The investigative follow up of the Paris weapon consisted of tracking a paper trail using a 4473 form, which documents a gun’s ownership history by, among other things, using serial numbers. The Phoenix gun owner that the weapon was traced back to was found to have at least two federal firearms violations—for selling one weapon illegally and possessing an unregistered automatic—but no enforcement or prosecutorial action was taken against the individual“Agents were told, in the process of taking the fully auto, not to anger the seller to prevent him from going public,” a veteran law enforcement official told Judicial Watch.

Yet:

An ATF spokesman, Corey Ray, at the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters told Judicial Watch that “no firearms used in the Paris attacks have been traced” by the agency. When asked about the ROI report linking the weapon used in Paris to Phoenix, Ray said “I’m not familiar with the report you’re referencing.” Judicial Watch also tried contacting the Phoenix ATF office, but multiple calls were not returned.

There we have it.

This is but one reason why Democrats want Sessions to resign — immediately.

There are too many theories about National Security Adviser Lieutenant General (ret’d) Michael Flynn’s resignation on Monday, February 13, 2017 and too much information unknown to the public.

Sure, Flynn’s name has been all over the media for weeks, but more than one element is likely to be involved in his departure. You decide.

Deep State and the Democrats

Just after the New Year, Democrat Charles E Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, told MNSBC’s Rachel Maddow in a discussion about President Trump’s rebuttal of notional Russian hacking:

Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.

There’s also another angle.

The Free Beacon analyses how Obama’s people feared Flynn would reveal more about the former president’s nuclear deal with Iran, so they set out to destroy him (emphases mine):

The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

Leaks from within the White House

Close observers knew it was questionable whether Trump could use the Oval Office after the inauguration.

It was always likely — perhaps probable — that the Oval Office is or was bugged. No doubt, Trump had it swept prior to the inauguration. However, the success of the sweep depends on who did it and how thoroughly:

Then there are Obama appointees still in place because senators were slow in approving Trump’s key cabinet appointments. Rex Tillerson is now in place as Secretary of State. Jeff Sessions is now Attorney General. However, it will take some time for both to make their own staff appointments.

There could also be people close to Trump — his personally appointed staff — who are leaking to the media.

With regard to Flynn specifically, the Washington Post (WaPo) says that the retired general had discussions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak as early as December when he was part of the transition team. He would have been in New York at that point. New York magazine gives a summary:

Several current and former U.S. officials say National Security Adviser Michael Flynn discussed new sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration during conversations with that country’s ambassador in December. That may be illegal, and to make matters worse, it contradicts denials made by senior members of the Trump administration, including Vice-President Mike Pence.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that nine current and former U.S. officials who had access to intercepted communications between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak say that Flynn made explicit references to election-related sanctions. Two said Flynn even urged Russia not to overreact. “Kislyak was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time,” said one former official.

When the Post asked Flynn on Wednesday if he ever discussed sanctions with Kislyak, he said no. Then, on Thursday, his spokesman walked that back, saying Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”

Flynn exchanged phone calls and texts with Kislyak a day before the Obama administration imposed new sanctions and expelled 35 Russian diplomats over the Kremlin’s alleged attempt to meddle in the U.S. election.

Those sanctions came during the Christmas holiday.

As Flynn’s conversations from December have been revealed, it is possible that Trump has a GOPe mole in his midst.

Trump is rightly concerned about who is leaking:

On February 14, WaPo featured quotes from conservatives who voiced their concerns about Trump transition and administration leaks:

“I think this really was the death by a thousand leaks,” Laura Ingraham, a conservative news commentator, said on Fox News. “The leaks that were coming out of this administration and the transition — before the administration — were at a level that I don’t remember seeing for quite some time.”

Not long before Trump tweeted, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said on Fox that “somebody in the nebulous intelligence community” would have had access to the information about Flynn’s calls.

Who tapped the phones? Who is listening to it? Who leaked it? I think those are legitimate questions to ask,” Johnson said Tuesday morning.

The senator said he did not know whether those who leaked the information about Flynn broke the law, but he added: “Leaks of this nature are incredibly damaging to America, to our national security, and we need to look into it.”

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald agrees:

That Flynn lied about what he said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was first revealed by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who has built his career on repeating what his CIA sources tell him. In his January 12 column, Ignatius wrote: “According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking.”

That “senior U.S. government official” committed a serious felony by leaking to Ignatius the communication activities of Flynn. Similar and even more extreme crimes were committed by what the Washington Post called “nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls,” who told the paper for its February 9 article that “Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials.” The New York Times, also citing anonymous U.S. officials, provided even more details about the contents of Flynn’s telephone calls.

That all of these officials committed major crimes can hardly be disputed. In January, CNN reported that Flynn’s calls with the Russians “were captured by routine U.S. eavesdropping targeting the Russian diplomats.” That means that the contents of those calls were “obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of [a] foreign government,” which in turn means that anyone who discloses them — or reports them to the public — is guilty of a felony under the statute.

Yet very few people are calling for a criminal investigation or the prosecution of these leakers, nor demanding the leakers step forward and “face the music” — for very good reason: The officials leaking this information acted justifiably, despite the fact that they violated the law. That’s because the leaks revealed that a high government official, Gen. Flynn, blatantly lied to the public about a material matter — his conversations with Russian diplomats — and the public has the absolute right to know this.

The trust issue

In January, the then-acting Secretary of State Sally Yates warned the White House that Flynn had not been entirely honest with Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

In his press briefing of February 14, Sean Spicer announced:

We’ve been reviewing and evaluating this issue with respect to General Flynn on a daily basis for a few weeks, trying to ascertain the truth.  We got to a point not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue, where a level of trust between the President and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change.

The President was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the Vice President and others.  He was also very concerned in light of sensitive subjects dealt with by that position of national security advisors — like China, North Korea and the Middle East — that the President must have complete and unwavering trust for the person in that position.

The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led the President to ask for General Flynn’s resignation.  Immediately after the Department of Justice notified the White House Counsel of the situation, the White House Counsel briefed the President and a small group of senior advisors.  The White House Counsel reviewed and determined that there is not a legal issue, but rather a trust issue.

During this process it’s important to note that the President did not have his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who he trusts immensely, approved by the Senate.  When the President heard the information as presented by White House Counsel, he instinctively thought that General Flynn did not do anything wrong, and the White House Counsel’s review corroborated that.

… The issue here was that the President got to the point where General Flynn’s relationship — misleading the Vice President and others, or the possibility that he had forgotten critical details of this important conversation had created a critical mass and an unsustainable situation.

That’s why the President decided to ask for his resignation, and he got it

Larry Johnson of No Quarter, who worked for the CIA then the State Department, wrote:

Sad day for Mike Flynn. The only thing he did wrong was not tell Vice President Pence the full truth. That’s it. He was well within his rights as the incoming National Security Advisor to talk to the Russians and to talk about any issue. The only thing he could not do was pass on classified information. That’s it. The people who insist he did something untoward with Russia are either woefully ignorant about the duties of the incoming Director of the NSC or are being deliberately disingenuous.

Another security expert, Richard A Moss, wrote about Flynn’s indiscretion in the way he communicated with the Russian ambassador. From WaPo:

Flynn resigned not because of his communications with the Russians, but rather because of his lack of discretion, misleading Vice President Pence about the nature of the exchanges, and, allegedly, opening himself up to blackmail by the Russians.

Moss goes on to explain how Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon co-ordinated Kissinger’s communications with the Russians during Nixon’s transition period between 1968 and 1969:

Nixon and Kissinger synchronized the two back channels to the Soviets during the 1968 election and the transition period

We know these details not because of the content of reportedly leaked FBI wiretaps, as in the case of Flynn, but because of good record keeping. Kissinger wrote detailed memorandums of his various back-channel exchanges and shared them with the president (and, occasionally, others who had a need to know). In Washington, political warfare is frequently fought on the battlefield of competing memorandums. Kissinger also had his staff make transcripts of his phone conversations, eventually off recordings of the calls, but initially by having a secretary write in shorthand by listening on a telephone with a muted microphone.

Flynn operated differently:

By contrast, Flynn’s inconsistency over the content of his conversations with Kislyak hurt his credibility and brought on scrutiny both inside and outside the White House.

Somewhat strangely for a career intelligence officer, Flynn also used insecure means of communication by talking on open telephone lines to Kislyak. In military-speak, he used poor communications security (COMSEC), which was apparently subject to FBI monitoring — and, hypothetically, foreign intelligence collection

Flynn’s preference for the phone is ironic since Trump said a few weeks ago, “You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way.”

Ultimately, nearly 50 years ago:

Kissinger kept good records and he kept his boss, Nixon, informed. Fundamentally, back channels require the confidence of the person at the top. Kissinger understood this and became the indispensable man for Nixon’s foreign policy.

This year:

Flynn clearly lost the confidence of those at the top and had to go.

It should be noted that, on February 14, WaPo walked back earlier reports on the FBI and Flynn. This is at the end of a different article, not the one Richard A Moss wrote:

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Michael Flynn was the reported object of FBI investigations. This version has been updated.

Accuracy In Media states that the FBI cleared Flynn.

Is this important?

The double standard

We are seeing an egregious double standard in play.

The aforementioned article from The Intercept points out:

What matters is not the motive of the leaker but the effects of the leak. Any leak that results in the exposure of high-level wrongdoing — as this one did — should be praised, not scorned and punished.

However, keep in mind that those cheering Flynn’s resignation were blind to the transgressions on their own side for eight years:

It’s hard to put into words how strange it is to watch the very same people — from both parties, across the ideological spectrum — who called for the heads of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Tom Drake, and so many other Obama-era leakers today heap praise on those who leaked the highly sensitive, classified SIGINT information that brought down Gen. Flynn.

It’s even more surreal to watch Democrats act as though lying to the public is some grave firing offense when President Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, got caught red-handed not only lying to the public but also to Congress — about a domestic surveillance program that courts ruled was illegal. And despite the fact that lying to Congress is a felony, he kept his job until the very last day of the Obama presidency.

Unintended positive consequences

The Intercept goes on to say that this leak and Flynn’s resignation may work for Trump and the American public rather than against them:

numerous leaks have already achieved great good in the three short weeks that Trump has been president.

Trump knows, his staff know and the American public know.

As negative as these events appear right now, they could help Trump to ‘drain the swamp’.

As former CIA analyst and retired U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer told FOX Business Network:

I would put this right at the feet of John Brennan and Jim Clapper and I would go so far as to say the Obama White House was directly involved before they left. Ben Rhodes and those folks… The Democrats are behind this and some of the Republicans are involved with the leaks. So I say ‘Bring it on!’

Flynn’s replacement could be even better

One of the men being discussed as a replacement for Flynn is retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward.

Gateway Pundit reports that Harward served under then-General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis at US Central Command and that he speaks Farsi:

Harward could prove to be a much better candidate than Michael Flynn which would be disastrous for the left who just spent weeks trying to get Flynn removed.

————————————————————————–

Those of us who watched Trump put together his transition team late last year remember that Flynn did consulting work for Turkey and is pro-Erdogan. Geopolitical expert Joel Richardson wrote about that at the time:

… in a Facebook post on Dec. 7, Richardson called for the Trump administration to cut ties with Flynn, because “he’ll be gone within the first year.”

Richardson blasted Flynn for reportedly owning a company that lobbied for an obscure Dutch company with ties to Turkey’s government and President Erdoğan himself. Richardson characterized the hiring of Flynn as a betrayal of Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” by removing lobbyists from government positions.

“On Election Day, Flynn published a fairly lengthy opinion piece, and a very strong opinion piece, in the online news website called The Hill, a real prominent website,” said Richardson. “Specifically, he was urging the U.S. to support Turkey and Turkey’s controversial president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. … Those who follow my program know I am no fan of President Erdoğan. He is a dictator and I am likening him to an emerging Adolf Hitler. … This guy is dangerous.”

Flynn’s temporary replacement is Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr.

To everyone who doubts Trump’s ability to rectify the situation, remember, he is there to win the war. Battles will be lost from time to time. Flynn’s departure is one of them. However, in the words of Machiavelli (H/T: The Conservative Treehouse):

It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.

Onwards and upwards. MAGA!

Yesterday, I was most surprised to discover that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Obama paid Muslim groups not to harm Americans.

The Burning Platform has an article, ‘Paying Them Not To Kill Us’. A summary with quotes follows.

It is possible that Americans are finding out about this only now that Trump is in office. Some of these organisations no longer want DHS money, even though substantial sums have been paid in previous years.

A Trump administration official said that the Obama administration came up with this programme in 2011 as a way of:

“countering Islamic extremism.” The official, who has knowledge of the discussions, was not authorized to speak publicly about the proposal and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Trump administration wants to change the name of the programme, which seems to be part of the reason some groups are now rejecting the money. Currently, 20 per cent of the $10m in earmarked funds has been rejected.

A greater element involved is that the groups sense that Trump will go through with plans and policies that are anti-Islam.

On Friday, February 11, 2017, the Sacramento Bee featured an article on Bayan Claremont, the fourth Muslim group to reject DHS money.

Bayan Claremont would have received $800,000 in federal funds aimed at combating Islamic extremism. This would have covered half the Muslim graduate school’s annual budget. However, Trump’s campaign rhetoric and his recent Executive Order — halted for the moment by the Ninth Circuit — changed their administrators’ minds. Bayan Claremont’s president, Jihad Turk (yes, really), made the announcement on Friday.

The comments following the SacBee article are well worth reading. Americans are astounded and angry that tens of millions of dollars from their taxes have gone to supporting … religion.

Bayan Claremont, incidentally, was founded in 2011. It is part of the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. That said, students from many different Christian denominations attend CST, which is also home to the Episcopal Theological School and Disciples Seminary Foundation.

Among the other groups in the United States which receive DHS’s money are Unity Productions Foundation of Potomac Falls, Virginia, which has declined a $396,585 to produce anti-extremist films; Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities in Dearborn, Michigan, which has rejected $500,000 for youth and health programme development and Ka Joog, a Somali non-profit organisation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which turned down $500,000 for youth programmes.

All this is money saved that the DHS can put into other areas. After all, as Jihad Turk said:

school officials already had reservations about the CVE strategy under Obama because they felt there’s no clear or proven pathway to violence for someone with a particular extreme ideology.

Just so.

In closing, this sounds awfully lot like voluntary protection money — non-imposed jizya.

A week after the 2016 election, Obama boasted that there were no scandals in his administration.

The video above gives us not only his comment but an immediate response from news programmes on various scandals that did indeed occur between January 2009 and early January 2017.

Obamacare and Benghazi came immediately to mind. But what about Fast and Furious? Hillary’s emails, anyone? What about the uncontrolled unrest in Baltimore or Ferguson, near St Louis?

Everyone should read ‘The Complete Collection: Obama’s Scandals, Gaffes and Power-Grabs’ at Grabien News. It must have taken some time to put 745 incidents together by department, complete with sources.

Grabien News readers are a tough lot. Some picked over spelling errors. This one is amusing:

… you need to clean up your own Loisiana spelling on item #40.

The man went on to say:

Obama is a disaster but some of this is nit picking. Should stick to the real issues. When you get so deep in the weeds it detracts from the meaningful and many transgressions of the Obama Years.

Another reader said:

This entire article is biased against Obama in a way which undermines it’s [sic] analysis. This is not to say that Obama is without blame. Far from it. The Obama Administrations [sic] expansion of drones and the killing of civilians, the persecution of whistle blowers, the lack of care at the VA, Libya, etc. are all examples of where the President and his administration has failed us. However, presenting straw men, inflating incidents and dividing them up into dozens of points to increase the number, and injecting your bias to create ‘scandal’ where none exists is a serious problem.

Well, that is exactly what is happening to Donald Trump’s administration. I cannot help but wonder if the same people will be as critical of a list about his administration when the time comes. They will probably add to it.

Anyway, here is but a small sample of Grabien News’s compilation. They have everything in a neat tidy table, by the way. I’m just going to summarise a few in a list:

US Dept of Defense, January 20, 2017:

Ran on promise [since 2008] of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp; didn’t.

US Dept of Homeland Security, March 25, 2014:

The DHS/TSA missed multipled chances to detain [Boston Bomber Tamerlan] Tsarnaev, including once when he was supposed to be pulled aside at JFK Airport.

US Dept of Labor, September 26, 2016:

After technologist Peter Thiel endorsed Donald Trump, Obama’s Department of Labor sued his company Palantir over “racial discrimination” for not hiring enough Asians, despite disproportionately hiring Asians.

US Dept of the Treasury, January 13, 2009:

Obama’s pick to head the Treasury Department, Tim Geithner, was himself a tax scofflaw. He ended up sending an amended return upon being nominated.

US Dept of Transportation, July 1, 2009:

Obama launched the “cash for clunkers,” which aimed to replace existing cars with newer, cleaner cars, but ended up incentivizing the destruction of thousands of perfectly good used cars, thus pricing millions of Americans out of the market.

US Dept of Veterans Affairs, October 20, 2013:

VA hospital delays — which were scrubbed from official records — resulted in the deaths of at least six veterans, but potentially more than 20.

US Supreme Court, January 27, 2010:

Claimed during his 2010 State of the Union that foreigners could finance American campaigns; as Justice Alito mouthed from the audience, “Not true.”

There are hundreds more things — great and small — to enjoy.

Let it never be said, though, that Obama had a scandal-free eight years.

And, let’s remember, his personal records have always been sealed from public view — and remain so today.

America’s Department of Homeland Security could be actively fighting terrorism — had the Obama administration not taken away a valuable tool: a database developed by Philip Haney, author of See Something, Say Nothing, which went on sale on May 24, 2016.

Earlier that year, Haney wrote an article for The Hill, ‘DHS ordered me to scrub records of Muslims with terror ties’. Please read it in full. Obama and his people threw the intelligence community under the bus.

On Christmas Day in 2009, a Nigerian terrorist attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which was to take off from Amsterdam and land in Detroit. Fortunately, the explosives in the man’s underwear failed to detonate and passengers were able to subdue him until police arrested him.

Afterwards, Haney says (emphases mine):

Following the attempted attack, President Obama threw the intelligence community under the bus for its failure to “connect the dots.” He said, “this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.”

Haney, a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, explains:

Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.”  Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.

A few weeks later, in my office at the Port of Atlanta, the television hummed with the inevitable Congressional hearings that follow any terrorist attack. While members of Congress grilled Obama administration officials, demanding why their subordinates were still failing to understand the intelligence they had gathered, I was being forced to delete and scrub the records. And I was well aware that, as a result, it was going to be vastly more difficult to “connect the dots” in the future—especially before an attack occurs.

On June 26, 2016 FaithFreedom.org interviewed Haney. The transcript is lengthy and eye-opening. I recommend people read this for a full understanding of why terror attacks continue. Again, the scrubbed database has a lot to do with it. The interview by Frank Gaffney, a friend of his, centres around Haney’s book, which had been on sale for a month. Excerpts and a summary follow.

Years before Haney entered the DHS, he was an entomologist — a scientist who studies insects. He worked with farmers in the Middle East. To better communicate with them and understand local culture, he learned Arabic, then Koranic Arabic.

His work speciality was studying ants. He published several scientific papers on them.

Knowing Arabic, understanding Middle Eastern culture and studying ant behaviour prepared him for the future, although he did not know that at the time. He told Gaffney:

… two of the qualities of an entomologist that have direct application to counter-terrorism are close attention to detail and observation of behaviour. All living creatures have behaviour patterns that they follow. And in entomology, if you want to learn how to control a pest, you have to know how it behaves. So watching that gives you clues to points along their life cycle that you might be able to intervene and help the farmer reduce his pesticide costs. And attention to detail, that’s another key component of counter-terrorism. That’s what we call connecting the dots. Well, it has direct application in science as well. You connect dots, you make observations, your write things down on your famous clipboard, and pretty soon a picture emerges. Then you do statistical analysis on it. Develop your premise and prove that it was true. Well, the other component is, being a specialist in ants, I simply began to follow the trail and I would find the nest. And in counter-terrorism, you do the same thing.

One of the things that many people in Western countries refuse to do is to connect terrorism with Islam. We speak of ‘moderate Islam’ or may even know Muslims who are more secular than religious. Haney says that the United States, for example, sees a ‘composite’ view of Islam:

the full spectrum from virtual complete disavowal of following shariah all the way up to extremely strict application of shariah. We see that in some of these emerging areas of cities around America where it’s becoming more and more obvious that they’re implementing shariah all the way to, you know, people you might call secular Muslims that don’t appear to observe any of the mandates of shariah. It’s all in a kaleidoscope right here in the United States. We can see every portion of it, every form of expression of shariah that exists in the world is being expressed right here in the America, the whole spectrum.

Haney gives a detailed explanation of the manifestations of jihad, which can differ according to group.

About the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), he explains:

it’s a global organisation and they have very strict rules and regulations they follow. Everything that the Muslim Brotherhood does is based on shariah law. This isn’t a political organisation that happens to be Islamic. This is an Islamic organisation whose highest goal is to implement shariah law. Therefore, of all organisations, they’re going to be most strictly observant of the subtle elements of shariah law. And their role, like in the United States, is to make sure that the Muslim community is doing their utmost to submit to the regulations and guidelines found in shariah law, one step at a time.

Furthermore, the MB have a document which:

states plainly that the global organisation has set up a shura council, a guidance council, here in North America, which means includes Canada, for a very distinct purpose. That very distinct purpose is to bring to the North American Muslim community, create an observant Muslim base. Again, this is in the first paragraph of the first page. The observant Muslim base. That is al-Musima [PH], al-Islamiyah, al-Qaeda, in Arabic. And I’m sure everybody listening heard the third word and have heard that word many times before, al-Qaeda. The observant Muslim, al-Qaeda, in North America. That’s important because al-Qaeda is not actually an organisation. Even though there are some jihad groups we know of as al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda is an abstract concept. It means the base. The base of operation. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal is to have all Muslims in the United States observant and essentially submitted to the standards and guidelines of shariah law. And once they do that, that’s a base and from there, they go out and do promotion of Islam

It’s the same in Europe, by the way.

When 9/11 happened, Haney already understood much about Islam. When DHS was established in May 2003, Haney was a Customs and Border Protection officer but was promoted thanks to his intelligence briefings and analyses:

And I was eventually authorised to get pulled completely out of the agricultural arena and I got put into a unit called the Advanced Targeting Unit. Where we look at incoming passengers for possible links to terrorism. And they told me specifically, we want you to keep doing what you have already been doing, which is develop intelligence and help us connect the dots. Well, that’s exactly what I did. And by 2006, I had produced a report on the Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States. And basically outlined all of the major organisations and all of the leaders of these organisations and put them into our database so that my colleagues in other parts of the country would be able to have access to the same information. We’re all on the same page, and we’re all looking at the same individuals and organisations. And initially, I was considered an asset and we had great success. We had a lot of what we called law enforcement actions based on those reports that I put into the system.

Things changed in 2006, when he wrote an article for FrontPage Magazine called ‘Green Tide Rising: Hamas Ascends’ which now appears as ‘The Ascension of Hamas (What Was)’:

Well, that article I shared with some of my CIA colleagues at a training course that I took. And I say CIA openly, because they said so openly. I thought that they would be interested in an article on Hamas, which, after all, was a globally designated terrorist organisation already. But I was wrong. Instead of reading the article and having a discussion about it, they turned me into headquarters and said that I had accessed classified information to write the article. And they charged me with unethical use of classified information and plus the fact that I posted it on an open source website. And they investigated me for it. The entire investigation took eleven months and ultimately I was exonerated.

Then it got worse with the Obama administration, as mentioned above. But there was more:

I was investigated a total of nine times. Before it was all over, the last nine months of my career, they took my gun, they suspended – revoked my secret clearance. They cut off all access to all systems and sequestered me in a little cubicle while I sat there, day by day, waiting to see what the outcome of these three, last of nine, simultaneous investigations – what would happen. The Department of Justice investigated me for – they said that I had misused a government computer and they convened a grand jury. They were going to charge me on criminal charges. In the end, I retired honourable. July 31st, 2015. They dropped the charges on the DOJ case. And nothing else came of the other administrative investigations. I was exonerated.

One possible adverse consequence of the database scrubbing was the San Bernardino attack late in 2015:

The mosque that Syed Farook attended was part of that Tablighi Jamaat network. The administration deleted sixty-seven records out of the system that I had worked on as a component of the Tablighi case. So the question remains, if those records had not been deleted, it’s very plausible that Syed Farook would have never been able to travel to Saudi Arabia and it’s also just as plausible that his pending fiancée would have never been given a visa. And then we would have stopped the attack.

One useful way to think of Islamic groups and movements, Haney says, is to liken them to the NFL. There are different teams, all competing to ultimately win the Superbowl, however, they are all in the same league and abide by the same playbook:

Well, the thing with the Islamic movement is they have a playbook. It’s called shariah law. They are bound by the constraints of shariah law to behave in a very predictable manner. As I mentioned earlier about behaviour, which is why I brought it up. If you put all these allegories together, we can actually expect what they’re going to do. Because they have to live within the boundaries, the communication system as described by shariah law.

This brings me to an article about President Trump’s new head of DHS, James Kelly. On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 the Washington Examiner reported:

“We have to be convinced that people who come here, there is a reasonable expectation that we know who they are, and what they’re coming here for, and what their backgrounds are,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told reporters Tuesday.

Kelly reiterated that Trump’s order — which suspended most travel from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen — is “not a ban on Muslims,” contrary to Democratic characterizations of the order. “Religious liberty is one of our most fundamental and treasured values,” he said.

Instead, he argued that the 90-day travel suspension is aimed at countries that don’t have the public institutions required to conduct customary background checks. “There are many countries, seven that we’re dealing with right now, that in our view, in my view, don’t have the kind of law enforcement records-keeping, that kind of thing, that can convince us that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says they are and what their background might be,” said Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who led the U.S. military in South America.

Which brings me to Philip Haney’s database. Now that the Obama administration — with its many ties to the Middle East and Islam — is out of the way, someone somewhere must have a copy of the original. As Lame Cherry wrote on February 1, 2017:

the NAMES OF EVERY MUSLIM TERRORIST WHO HAS SLAUGHTERED AMERICANS DURING THE OBAMA YEARS was on that file and who their contacts were, and the Obama regime ordered this entire protocol to be deleted.

Phillip Haney, has reported to Sean Hannity, that before deleting, he forwarded this system to members of Congress, so it apparently still exists, and Mr. Haney noted that Senator Ted Cruz hinted at the existence of this file network in his public statements.

The reality of this is simple in the Trump Administration must recover this database for National Security, as Phillip Haney literally developed a complete dossier on the Muslim Mafia which has infiltrated the United States from government to press, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions must convene a Grand Jury to indict all those involved in this crime of aiding terrorists, and that starts with image Obama, Valerie Jarrett, CIA Director Clapper and Homeland Security heads, Napolitano and Johnson.

Mr. Haney reported that when queried about this file an his name, Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson who was involved in hacking Georgia State voting operations, termed it a political matter and claimed to have never heard of Phillip Haney.

N.B.: Jeff Sessions is not yet Attorney General.

In closing, one cannot help but wonder if — and hope that — there is a role for Philip Haney in the Trump administration. Personally, I would have downloaded a copy of the database to a memory stick and kept it securely at home. Perhaps he did.

Friday, January 20, marked the beginning of the Don of a new era for the United States.

As many have said, it is always darkest before the Don.

What follows are highlights of not only Inauguration Day but the whole weekend.

Far from being austere, as many of us expected, it was wall-to-wall activity from dawn to dusk!

Before the post unfolds, let’s remember that:

It is possible because Big Media are — and have been — plain contrary. That’s an archaic use of contrary, but, in that sense, it means stubborn and resistant to reason.

All credit to Bill Mitchell, he boarded the Trump Train just before or after the Republican National Convention. Even though he objected to Pepe the Frog, the unofficial Trump mascot, he duly apologised on Twitter. Pepe gained traction with Hillary Clinton, who even lambasted the cartoon frog in a campaign speech.

Bill Mitchell hosts and presents YourVoice™ Radio, likely to become more popular over the next four years.

Even more interesting is this quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress, a big Trump supporter:

Thursday, January 19

January 19 was a busy day for the Trump family.

Flight from La Guardia to Joint Base Andrews

Donald Trump’s flight with his family, including his two sisters and brother, would be the last one he would take before becoming president.

Fox 10 Phoenix has a great video of the plane landing at Andrews. The interesting bit starts at 10:55 when someone on board tells ten-year-old Barron to leave the plane first. Not surprisingly, Barron, unusually wearing his hair over his forehead, is reluctant. The future first couple disembark at the 13:00 point. The extensive motorcade departs at 17:07, complete with a first-responder truck and an ambulance. The black Chevy Suburban vans are reinforced just like armoured cars:

Inauguration Luncheon

Once in DC, the Trumps went to the Trump International Hotel (The Old Post Office), where the incoming president held an Inauguration Luncheon to honour Republican Party leaders:

Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial

That afternoon, the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration took place in front of the massive — and grand — Lincoln Memorial, which is considerably larger than one imagines. Seeing it in person is awe-inspiring.

A variety of musical acts, including splendid military bands, performed. Trump gave a speech before a display from Grucci Fireworks ended the event in the early evening. Unfortunately, the last two displays let the whole thing down. ‘USA’ appeared as ‘USR’ and the American flag was, sadly, a blur. It is a pity, because their fireworks show before that was excellent.

This short video from Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media, gives a great summary of the event, including the fireworks. From left to right are Tiffany Trump (mother is Marla Maples Trump), Ivanka (Ivana Trump), the first couple, granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter), Donald Jr (Ivana) with his wife Vanessa and son, then to the far right, Eric (Ivana) and his wife:

The first couple contemplated the larger than life statue of Abraham Lincoln:

The event ended with the new first couple thanking their supporters. Never mind the sentiment from a Twitter user. I wanted to show you just how ‘yuuge’ Lincoln’s statue is:

The Daily Mail has a comprehensive article, complete with photos and a video, about the concert and Trump’s address at the end, just before the fireworks.

Interestingly, Trump had a special meeting afterwards with a 23-year-old single father, Shane Bouvet, from Illinois who had given an interview to the Washington Post just days before. Trump saw the article and made sure he could meet the man, who is struggling to make ends meet. The billionaire had a private conversation with Bouvet and gave him a cheque for $10,000.

Campaign donors dinner

However, the evening had only just begun. A dinner to thank campaign donors took place afterwards at DC’s majestic Union Station. Both the Trumps and the Pences attended and addressed their guests.

Mike Pence opened his remarks by saying the administration would repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump (2:59) said that choosing Mike Pence was one of the best decisions he’s ever made. He then went on to talk about the amazing election results where Republicans won in states they had lost forever. He mentioned Iowa. They had not won there since 1952. He then spoke about his cabinet nominees. The high point, however, was when he thanked Kellyanne Conway (18:28), the first successful female presidential campaign manager in American history. (I don’t understand what these feminists were protesting at the weekend in DC. Surely, Kellyanne’s success and the many women employees at the Trump Organization prove them wrong.)

Then it was time to turn in for some rest. The Pences returned to their house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which they rented and moved to soon after the election.

The first couple and family members spent the night at Blair House, a complex of four buildings for guests of the president.

The photo below shows Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner at Blair House. Kushner will play a principal role as a presidential adviser. Both are practising Jews. Ivanka converted before her wedding. Kushner recently gave up holdings in his family real estate firm to be able to take on his new role:

Inauguration Day

Early in the morning, preparations for the inauguration ceremony began.

Meanwhile, Bikers For Trump were arriving in Washington, DC to form ‘a wall of meat’ in case the new president needed protection. Days earlier, Clinton family friend Dominic Puopolo, 51, was arrested by Miami Beach police for saying that he would be at the inauguration to ‘kill President Trump’.

This photo shows Donald Trump ready to leave Blair House in Washington, DC early in the morning of January 20. Trump’s granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican Party, are to the right of Trump:

Church service

From there, it was on to a morning service on Friday at St John’s Church (Episcopal) — known as the Church of the Presidents — in Lafayette Square, near the White House. The rector, the Reverend Dr. Luis León, greeted the first couple in front of the church.

They were joined by family and prominent well wishers. The first couple are on the far left centre of the photo. The Pences are in the lower left-hand corner:

The aforementioned Pastor Jeffress delivered the sermon:

Meeting at the White House

The first couple left St John’s for the White House, where they had coffee with the Obamas:

Melania Trump gave a large gift from Tiffany & Co to Michelle Obama. Presenting a gift is a tradition from an incoming first lady to a departing one.

Afterwards, it was on to the Capitol building for the swearing-in ceremony:

Inauguration ceremony

Trump quipped at the donor’s dinner the night before that he didn’t care if it rained on Inauguration Day, because at least people would see that his hair was real!

The incoming president awaited his cue inside the Capitol building:

All living former presidents are invited to attend the inauguration and are seated near the front. Former presidents Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalyn, William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary and George W Bush (Bush II) and Laura were in attendance.

George H W Bush (Bush I) and Barbara sent in their acceptance but were hospitalised days earlier. On Tuesday, January 10, he sent Trump a cordial, witty letter of regret.

Although Bush II tweeted the following earlier, at the swearing-in ceremony, he joked ad nauseam with the Clintons, seated next to him and Laura, signifying to the television viewer that he was closer to them than to Trump, his fellow Republican. But we all knew that the Bushes were NeverTrumpers because they said so.

Despite Trump’s sincerity, here’s the hypocrisy of it all. Dan Scavino Jr, rightly, took it sincerely. Then, the live coverage rolled and something else entirely was on display. Trump, no doubt, expected something different based on this (Bush I was the 41st president, by the way):

These were the prayers offered before the inauguration by clergy who were principal Trump supporters:

The Revd Franklin Graham did not hesitate to say there is only one God:

Please note:

Here is the swearing-in by Chief Justice John Roberts. The first couple’s son, Barron, 10, is to the right of the first lady. She held two closed Bibles, the Lincoln Bible (bottom) and Trump’s own, a gift from his mother (top):

Entertainment Weekly reports that Trump’s inauguration received the second highest television ratings for that event. Top-rated was Obama’s first swearing-in, which 37.8m Americans watched in 2009. Trump’s audience was 30.6m. However, Heavy points out that, in 1981, 41.8m people watched Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration. That places Obama in second place and Trump in third. Definitive online viewing figures are unavailable at this time.

Important lines from the inaugural speech included the following. First, on the elites, several of whom were present. Politico reported:

“Their victories have not been your victories,” he said. “Their triumphs have not been your triumphs and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.” He also made a promise: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

Also these (see here, here and here):

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

The closing lines were the following:

To Americans: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. Your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again – and yes, together, WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

However, most important were Trump’s mentions of God, including:

We will be protected by God.

You can view the full speech here or here. You can find the transcript here and here.

WND‘s Garth Kant wrote of the contrast between Trump and his predecessor with regard to the inauguration speech:

Trump mentioned himself just three times in the 1,400 words he delivered in his speech lasting 16 minutes and 20 seconds. He referred to the American people 45 times.

By comparison, Obama, as is his wont, mentioned himself 207 times in 84 minutes while campaigning for Hillary during a November speech ostensibly about her.

And, to make sure it was crystal clear that there has been a sea change not just in style but also in substance, Trump emphatically uttered the Obama administration’s three forbidden words: “radical Islamic terrorism,” which, he promised, “we will eliminate from the face of the earth.”

Kant channelled JFK’s Camelot:

However, the speech wasn’t just about ending American erosion. It was about a bright new beginning. Just as did Kennedy, Trump envisioned a promising future. One in which:

“We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

“We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

“We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”

One could arguably call it Kenndyesque.

Kant was most complimentary of the first daughter but couldn’t say enough about the new first lady:

This was grace personified.

A stately, poised, and stunning elegance were certainly part of it. But there was more. It wasn’t just what she was wearing. It was her bearing. Her perfectly poised demeanor.

And the crowd could clearly sense it, even if they could no more articulate it than to say “wow” over and over, which was what so many were doing.

She was a regal presence.

There was nobility.

Not because of her new station in life, but because of her carriage. The way she carried herself. Full of poise and grace.

Congressional Lunch

Before lunch, President Trump had work to attend to at the Capitol, signing his cabinet nominations into law. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R, WI) is standing next to Barron. At the front are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) and, on the right, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA):

Trump spoke at the lunch and was gracious enough to publicly acknowledge his opponent Hillary Clinton, present with Bill. Trump’s daughter Tiffany sat at their table. You can see all the speeches here.

The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) once again lent their Eagle Lectern for use at the luncheon.

Inaugural parade

The Trumps walked for two minutes in the inaugural parade:

After the walk along Pennsylvania Avenue, the motorcade drove up to the White House, where the Trumps, Pences and family members disembarked and walked to the reviewing stand.

Barron probably found the two-hour event overwhelming at times (I would have), but he enjoyed himself:

The military bands played and marched past, as did a myriad of high school and university bands and special groups representing American history and service.

One of the those groups was the Navajo Code Talkers. Only two were able to make it to the parade. One of my readers, the author of the Pacific Paratrooper blog, wrote about their invaluable role in the Pacific during the Second World War. Well worth a read.

The Talledega College Marching Tornado Band from Alabama participated for the first time. Talledega is an all black college founded by two former slaves after the Civil War. Their band director received threats when he said the college wanted to perform in the parade. Since then, they have received more than $1m in donations which will be dedicated to the band’s needs. Talledega are a special band, because the college has no football team, so they rely on band contests and big parades such as this.

The full video of the parade is below. New York Military Academy, Trump’s alma mater, are at 2:03. Talledega are at 2:09. The Navajo Code Talkers are at 2:14. Virginia Military Institute closed the parade.

But, for Barron, the big highlight was the Rural Tractor Brigade (2:22:00), magnificently souped up. Look at his face (2:23:00). He beams and says, ‘Yesss!’ At 2:24:00, it looks as if Mike Pence sees the lad’s enthusiasm. He probably thought, ‘We’ve got to get him to Indiana for a tractor ride!’ (Separate tractor video here.)

After the parade

President Trump was eager to do some work before attending the evening’s events:

The Daily Mail has more.

Inaugural balls

The president and first lady — and the Pences — attended three inaugural balls.

Two took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The other was held at the National Building Museum.

Donald Trump Jr, his wife Vanessa and daughter Kai were ready to go:

This video shows President Trump and First Lady Melania at one of the balls dancing to My Way:

At the Armed Services Ball, the Trumps and Pences danced with military personnel (starts at 2:21):

There was also a magnificent cake for all to enjoy:

You can read press pool reports here and here.

First lady and first daughters attire

Melania Trump’s stunning inauguration outfit was a Ralph Lauren creation.

The first lady co-designed her striking silk crepe inaugural ballgown with Hervé Pierre, former creative director at Carolina Herrera. This stunning creation will help him launch his own couture house.

Pierre told Women’s Wear Daily:

“It was an amazing experience!” he continued, noting that Trump’s contributions were technical as well as aesthetic. “She knows what she likes. Our conversations were, and are, very easy. She knows about fashion, as a former model. She is aware about constructions, so we have already the same vocabulary when it comes to designing a dress.”

Ivanka Trump’s sparkling gown came from Carolina Herrera’s fashion house. Tiffany Trump purchased her gown from a Hollywood design house, Simin Couture. Ladies will enjoy full size photos and the article in the Daily Mail.

Saturday, January 21

Newspapers from around the world featured the inauguration on their front pages.

Saturday was a day of prayer and work for President Trump.

Prayer came first.

National Prayer Service

The National Prayer Service was held at the National Cathedral (Episcopal) in Washington, DC.

It featured 26 religious leaders. Most were Christian. Others came from world faiths such as Judaism and Islam as well as more diverse groups, such as the Navajo Nation.

The following are short videos and photos from the service:

This girl, Marlana Van Hoose, was born blind and given only a year to live. The video below is from the service. She received a standing ovation afterwardsled by the First Lady!

Marlana is a committed Christian, firm in her faith. God has blessed her with a beautiful voice. She praises Him in song splendidly. She is yet another argument against abortion. May God bless her parents for giving her life and good, loving care.

In the next photo we see the Trumps and the Pences in the front row. May God bless them and keep them safe in the years ahead.

Sunday, January 22

On a lighter note, one of Trump’s grandsons feels at home in the White House:

Later, there was serious work to attend to:

The Conservative Treehouse has an excellent post on this group of people, most of whom hold no political office (emphases in the original):

This afternoon President Trump and Vice-President Pence participated in swearing in the White House Senior Staff.  These are officials who represent the office of the President.  For the first time in modern political history, these are mostly ordinary citizen staff members from outside public office….

…A representative staff of outsiders, reflecting a

representative government for outsiders… Forgotten no more.

President Donald Trump has only selected a group of 30 people for commission to act as officers of the President and representatives of the White House.  Together with their families, the official ceremony to pledge an oath to their office took place this afternoon.

Then:

Like millions around the world, I am praying in thanksgiving for the new president’s safe inauguration. We were very worried something would prevent it from taking place.

Now we look ahead, remaining prayerful for success.

How blessed America is! How blessed the world is!

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.                      2 Chronicles 7:14

In His infinite mercy, God heard our prayers and acknowledged our repentance by giving us Donald Trump. Those were words I never thought I would write, yet, here we are.

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