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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brooks explained his position as follows:

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

President Trump is not wrong:

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

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

Earlier that day …

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

Miller probably meant this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trouble for Michigan’s Republican electors

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

Gateway Pundit reported and included tweets:

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

The police would not allow the Republicans in:

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

The police told the Republican electors:

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile — Michigan: audit of Antrim County voting equipment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What an ordeal.

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

Also, on the same topic:

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

Georgia Dems gear up for January state run-off

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

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

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

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

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

Ongoing violence has its part to play

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

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

For violence solves nothing, so they say.

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information follows:

Rather sagely, a lady replied:

As did another:

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

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

The article states (emphases mine):

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

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

She added:

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

The BuzzFeed article continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note that China was mentioned.

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

Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

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

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

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

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

The Pennslyvania Federal Court stated:

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

Furthermore:

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

The AIER article went on to say:

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, the article’s author says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting:

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

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

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

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

I could not agree more.

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

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

What will happen? A repeat of March and April?

My head is spinning at the prospect.

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

Good grief.

Then there is the matter of testing.

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

Sunderland is in the latest coronavirus hotspot area.

Understandably, residents are anxious to get PCR tests.

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

The queues are for people who have booked a test:

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

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

As Tim Worstall said on September 17:

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

Also:

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

I could not agree more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the introduction (emphases mine):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the early hours of November 9, 2016, I used to ponder my notion of an ideal American president.

In a nutshell, he would do all the things the middle and working classes needed for the United States to thrive once again.

He would confound high-brow economists who said, ‘[Effective economic solution] cannot be done.’

Fortunately, the United States has had that great man — my ideal — in President Donald Trump since January 22, 2017.

President Trump has accomplished what egg-headed experts — the brightest minds in the world — deemed ‘impossible’.

His accomplishments are too many to list here, but here’s a summary:

One of my readers, Daughn, had this to say about the president’s appeal on another site (emphases mine):

All the guys who were the academics, the ones who went to Harvard Biz/Yale Law, couldn’t deliver 3% GDP in the past decade.

And moms and dads paid for their mistakes. Red states were hollowed out. Our factories = gone. Homes = foreclosed.

It left America vulnerable, and it’s THEIR fault.

Chickens home to roost.

Even worse……

All the guys at Brookings/Council on Foreign Relations screwed up in the Middle East, couldn’t win a damn war in Afghanistan with trillions of dollars to spend and 20 yrs to do it.

And moms and dads in red states buried their sons and daughters.

Trump paid attention to the electricians, the guys who drive the trucks, the women who cut hair for a living….. they’re a whole lot smarter than those who were supposed to be leading the country.

The establishment of both parties has failed.

That’s an excellent summary, explaining why the much maligned president has been gaining ground since 2017.

Could we call him the People’s President? I think so.

With the coronavirus situation, President Trump has suspended his rallies for the time being. That does not mean we will not be seeing him out and about, though.

On Thursday, March 5, Fox News invited him to take part in a Town Hall forum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Joe Biden’s birthplace.

It was the most watched cable news show in history (i.e. going back to the late 1970s):

Dr Dawn Michael makes an excellent point. Dems must have been watching, otherwise the figures would not have been as high.

Martha McCallum and Bret Baier presented the Town Hall, available here in full. What an exceptional 57 minutes — well worth watching:

I’m not alone in my opinion. This lady analyses election data. She has done sterling work so far in 2020. Here is what she had to say about the Town Hall:

The president was very conversational in his answers but didn’t miss a beat:

I don’t know who chose Scranton — Trump’s campaign team or Fox News — but it was perfect:

Those who do not have time to watch the show in full might enjoy viewing the highlights:

The president enjoyed the evening as much as the audience did:

Then it was back to the White House:

I am so grateful that I have my ideal president — the People’s President — during my lifetime.

Tens of millions of Americans would agree.

I will have more on the 2020 campaign soon.

In the meantime: MAGA!

Happy New Year!

Happy new decade!

I enjoy, albeit with trepidation at times, looking back at the decades I’ve lived through and charting the change from beginning to end.

O tempora, o mores!

1960s

In 1960, growing up in the United States, I remember that things were still quite formal. Most people took care in the way they spoke and in their appearance. They were careful to conduct their households in a respectable manner. By the middle of the decade, that began to change but not too noticeably.

By 1968, a social revolution was underway, including sexually. What was once private became public. Attire reflected that. Women began wearing skirts above the knee. Men’s clothes became more form-fitting.

Sloppiness and drugs became fashionable with the advent of hippies. Even though they were a small minority, they received a lot of media coverage. A slogan connected with them — ‘If it feels good, do it’ — began to pervade society at large.

Cinema and television reflected this change.

At home, Americans moved from watching westerns to tuning into a zany comedy hour. In 1960, Gunsmoke was the most viewed programme. In 1969, it was Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Gunsmoke had moved to sixth place in the Nielsen ratings.

Film genres and themes also shifted. In 1960, the great epics were popular, with Spartacus the highest grossing film and Exodus coming third. Psycho was second. In 1969, while Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was in the top slot, Midnight Cowboy was at No. 3, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice was No. 6 and an X-rated movie, I Am Curious (Yellow) was No. 12. It would have been unthinkable in 1960 that an urban drama about homosexuality, a movie about swingers and one that was pornographic would have been so popular nine years later.

1970s

The cultural shift continued in the 1970s. American magazines and newspapers devoted many column inches to social drop-outs experimenting with communal living. Swingers were becoming popular in suburbia. Again, those were two small sub-groups of society, but everyone — even the most respectable — knew about these two phenomena.

Pop music got bolder, more sexualised. I remember in high school that we talked a lot about sex and could hardly wait to start dating so that we could experiment. Our parents wondered what was wrong with us. The idea of sin and the forbidden went out the window. ‘If it feels good, do it’ had spread to the middle classes. Previously forbidden carnal acts were encouraged as being completely ‘natural’. This furthered the evolution of a shame-free society. Today, I read that some teenagers don’t kiss on a first date; instead they engage in oral sex.

Interestingly, one of the most suggestive singers of the decade, Eric Carmen of the Raspberries, laments where this has led today:

I remember neighbours of ours getting divorced. The wife said that she could earn her own living now, thank you very much. The husband was heartbroken. We felt sorry for their two children. Until then, my family and I personally did not know any couples who got divorced. It just didn’t happen to everyday individuals. However, divorce rates continued to rise and, these days, no one bats an eyelid.

More women started working. What began as a liberating elective would turn out to be a mandatory means of survival in marriage in the years that followed. Few of us knew that then, though.

Returning to music, it was a great decade for youngsters. FM radio produced rather excellent stations devoted to little known genres that never reached Top 40 AM stations. Through them, we discovered prog rock from Britain: Yes, Rick Wakeman, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, to name but three musical greats. There were many more, too numerous to mention here.

Near the end of the decade we had disco. Saturday Night Fever was a huge box office hit and propelled John Travolta from television (Welcome Back Kotter) to cinema fame.

The most popular television sitcoms, such as Welcome Back Kotter, were all set in metropolitan areas. In terms of television in general, The Waltons was probably the only show with a rural setting.

Halfway through the decade, I spent a year in France, which was much quieter than the US socially and still quite formal, even though the more leftist state university students were generally unkempt and unwashed. In many respects, the country was a bridge between the 1960s and the 1970s in the nicest possible way.

1980s

Leaving university, I recall that many of my friends latched onto the Reagan zeitgeist and became conservatives.

They turned into their parents and lost the fun-loving verve they once had. I stayed single the longest, so was more acutely aware of a shift into respectability and suburban living.

I lived in a major US city then, earning my own way in life. For relaxation, I used to go to matinees at the weekend. The price of admission was cheaper and the cinemas were nearly empty, giving me the impression I had the big screen all to myself.

I saw a lot of world films in the first part of that decade, some from Brazil and Australia but mostly Britain and France. French film became a passion. Even one of the UHF television channels showed French films from the 1950s. Bliss.

As far as music was concerned, my favourite FM station played British and European singles apart from reggae on Sunday afternoons. More bliss.

Then, around 1986, something began to change. Although my favourite radio station stayed the same, the movie theatres weren’t showing as many foreign films. Within a couple of years, they stopped showing them altogether. One of my lifelines had vanished, sadly. The American films that replaced them were not very good, either, so I stopped going to the cinema.

Everything became very one-dimensional. America, somehow, had lost the link with the zeitgeist of European culture, which it never recovered. It used to be that people in the 1960s and early 1970s made a two- or three-week trip to western Europe to see the historic sites they learned about in school. It was what we today would call a bucket list item.

Fortunately, by the end of the decade, employment events intervened — and further improved — for me.

1990s

Living in England, I realised that I had an insatiable appetite for history and politics. I learned a lot about both thanks to a gift subscription to The Spectator, which I had read about in English lit class in high school. It’s been around since 1828.

In 1990s, my in-laws told me that Margaret Thatcher’s time was up. She had become too full of herself. We had high hopes for John Major.

I remember the 1992 election, which Major won handily. I could not understand the rage of my female colleagues who expected Neil Kinnock to win. They stayed up all night drinking, waiting for a Labour government that never came. The next day, at work, they were hungover, tearful — and, above all, angry. Why did they think he stood a chance? Perhaps I had been reading too much of The Spectator, but I had no doubt that Major would continue as Prime Minister.

By 1997, most of us felt change was needed. The Conservative MPs on the front bench seemed like tired, bloated bureaucrats. None of them had an original idea. Most seemed to be lining their own pockets. I was most consterned by Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley, who started closing A&E (Accident and Emergency) services at local hospitals. What was she thinking?

When Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997, nearly everyone I knew rejoiced. Change was coming.

And how …

2000s

The first few years of Labour were fine. I was enjoying my work too much to pay any attention.

By 2005, I longed for a Conservative government, especially when Gordon Brown became PM with no general election.

After that, Labour became unbearable, banging on about people’s personal lives and habits. The smoking ban came into force in the summer of 2007. Ministers assured us in television interviews that private members clubs and hotels would be exempt. No, not at all. It was a blanket ban everywhere.

It was during this decade that London elected its first mayor, Ken Livingstone. He served two terms and introduced the city-wide congestion charge for motor vehicles, which we called the Kengestion Charge. My colleagues at the time reminded me that, as head of the old GLA (Greater London Authority), he was known as Red Ken.

Boris Johnson succeeded him, also serving two terms. His administration made the streets tidy again and also lowered crime.

By 2006, I started looking more closely at the EU and the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who seemed to rule our lives. I agreed with those disgruntled Britons who wanted a referendum on our membership.

Most of all, however, I was sick and tired of Labour, to the point of despair.

I also asked my far better half to cancel my gift subscription to the The Spectator, as it had changed its editorial line considerably after Boris Johnson left as editor. Although more people now read it, it is a former shadow of itself. I would not call it neither conservative nor traditional at all any more.

2010s

Hope came in the May 2010 general election.

The Conservatives had to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. It was the David Cameron and Nick Clegg Show, but at least Labour were out of the picture after 13 years.

David Cameron referred to himself as the ‘heir to Blair’. It took me some time to see it, but he was not wrong.

He set out to reform the Conservative Party and alienated older, faithful members in their local associations. CCHQ suddenly did not need their help.

On a broader level, Cameron will probably be best remembered for opening up marriage to same-sex couples and for offering us the EU referendum, billed by all parties as a ‘once in a lifetime’ choice which they all pledged to implement.

A number of televised debates took place in 2016. I watched them all. Some of my friends were less than convinced by the Leave proposition. The one clincher was Brexit The Movie, which is an hour-long eye-opener about the Brussels gravy train and better than any of the debates, no matter how good:

I stayed up until the early hours of the morning of Friday, June 24, 2016 to watch the result. When it was clear that Leave had won, I went to bed. The next day, my far better half and I woke up to Cameron resigning because he did not like the result. We had a celebratory lunch in London and went to a party that evening that had been planned months earlier. I remember the apprehension we both felt about sounding out the other party guests as to their views on the EU. We later discovered that were not alone. Finally, someone there broke the ice upon his arrival by exclaiming:

Is everybody HAPPY? I certainly am!

At that point, we were free to talk about Brexit.

Theresa May became Prime Minister later that summer.

Across the pond, another sea change was happening: Donald Trump’s candidacy. It was even more of a shock when he won. A startled nation awoke to find that Hillary Clinton was not their president.

The conflicts about Brexit and Trump continue today. Opponents to both have grown ever more vehement.

On September 20, 2019, the British website Spiked issued a thought-provoking documentary on Trump and Brexit. It’s 26-minutes long and well worth watching. To cover Brexit, their reporters interviewed residents of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. To cover the Trump phenomenon, they interviewed Pennsylvania journalist Salena Zito and residents of Erie, which was once a major industrial powerhouse in that state. It has fallen on very hard times, indeed:

The major theme running through both is, as they put it, ‘change’, which I believe they should have called ‘self determination’ and ‘recovering the aspirational dream’.

One thing that struck me was the interview with the owner of a gym in Erie. He said that his father raised seven children on a janitor’s salary:

You couldn’t do that now.

Too right. Both parents now have to work — unlike in the 1960s — and few households can support more than two or three children.

People in Britain and the United States want to work and save more of their hard-earned cash. They also want good job opportunities for their children.

A fisherman in Southend said that, because of EU rules, he is restricted to an ever-smaller part of waters in which to fish. The number of fishing boats has continued to decline, he added, and the number of fisherman has also dropped dramatically. That is why he, and many others in Southend, voted Leave in 2016.

The decade closed with Boris Johnson’s landslide victory on December 12. Historian David Starkey explores what this means for the nation in this 57-minute documentary from The Sun, ably conducted by a young reporter:

Starkey explores the evolution of Parliament since Victorian times, when it became the institution we know today. As many Northern constituencies flipped from Labour to Conservative, Starkey says that Boris’s pledge to revitalise the North will mean little unless he espouses their values of patriotism, which, he says, has been a dirty word for many years.

He says that Boris could well become a figure like Charles II, who restored the monarchy beginning in 1660. Many of their personality traits are similar, he notes, particularly their penchant for bringing a nation together and reforming it at the same time. It is well worth watching when you have the opportunity.

There is much more to Starkey’s interview than summarised here. He talks about the people of the North, Labour, Jeremy Corbyn, David Cameron, Tony Blair and, significantly, Benjamin Disraeli. Starkey hopes that the PM will study his Victorian predecessor’s successes closely.

With that, I must close for now. There are many developments over the past 60 years that I have not mentioned. This is merely to give an idea about the direction that Western society took as the decades rolled on.

Welcome to 2020. Let’s hope it brings many good tidings. I wish all of us the very best.

Last week, a tweet appeared about a barbershop in Pennsylvania that promotes childrens’ reading:

In the short video, the barber mentors the boy as he reads his book.

This is an excellent idea.

City Cuts in Kutztown sounds like a classic barbershop for men of all ages — including young readers.

Kudos to them. Perhaps more barbers could copy their example.

On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, President Trump appeared at a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, in support of Republican candidate for Senate, Lou Barletta:

It was yet another high-energy Trump rally, inside …

… and outside:

Fortunately, jumbotrons were provided for those who could not get in:

Trump always thanks the crowds via Twitter:

This year, he is emphasising the importance of voting in the mid-terms (content — Trump’s speech — will be available if you click on the tweet, which will open in a new tab):

This is one of Trump’s new angles:

Millie Weaver of Infowars interviewed several self-proclaimed ex-Democrats after the rally. This is an instructive 10-and-a-half minute video, especially for my readers who do not live in the United States:

Most of the people interviewed had voted Democrat in several elections, had voted for Obama at least once and came to realise the Democrats were not making America great again. They came to realise that Donald Trump was the only candidate who spoke out and up for them. One teenage girl noticed that Erie was starting to look better again since he became president.

A union man said he supports Trump because the unions weren’t preserving American jobs for their members. He said that he had seen more and more jobs go overseas.

A teenage girl, possibly just out of high school, said that she started to research Trump because the negative coverage about him piqued her interest. She discovered that Trump wasn’t at all the person the media portrayed. Her mother says she managed to ‘red pill’ the whole family.

Others reported that they lost close relationships with family and friends for supporting Trump. How sad.

A black man said that he was sick of the identity politics that the Dems go in for; he judges candidates by what they say and do and refuses to support Democrats just because he is an ethnic minority.

A young university student says that he was left-wing until he started looking at the Dem stance on gun control. He says that the Second Amendment is fundamental to American rights as citizens.

More and more people are waking up to the dirty tricks that the Democrats play. On Thursday, October 11, The Hill reported that Tucker Carlson’s book, Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution, toppled Watergate journalist Bob Woodward’s Fear from the top spot on the New York Times best-seller list. That is excellent news indeed.

The president tweeted his congratulations at the weekend:

The Hill noted:

Carlson consistently finishes in the top 3 from a ratings perspective in the cable news race along with Fox’s Sean Hannity and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. In the third quarter of this year, Carlson averaged 2.78 million viewers.

Carlson’s one of the good guys. Unfortunately, most pundits, presenters and reporters in Big Media are anything but. LoveBreedsAccountability says that most media people are helping to inflame violence against respectable Americans:

The violent, angry grassroots Democrats we’re seeing attack people and break laws, are inspired and enabled by the media. And because they’re liberals, they’re that awkward combination of ridiculous, terrifying and hilarious that make for great campaign ads. So President Trump and the GOP are using those mobs as evidence of why you should vote Republican in the midterms. And it’s working. The midterms are shaping up to be a lot more competitive than anyone thought, and so the media is pushing back hard against the “mob” characterization.

The post included a video clip from the Washington Free Beacon‘s Andrew Kugle who observed that the media are now trying to excise the word ‘mob’ from their coverage:

There’s also this comment from another Twitter user:

Indeed.

Eric Holder, Obama’s first attorney general, is the latest to suggest violence against Republicans:

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), who was shot and seriously injured at a practice session for the annual Congressional baseball game in June 2017, tweeted:

It took months for Scalise to recover from the injuries inflicted upon him by a shooter from Illinois. Therefore, he knows whereof he speaks.

The GOP has released a new ad with a montage of left-wing violence against not only Americans but also Canadians. Breitbart reports:

The new GOP ad also features a recording of a leftist man attacking a woman demonstrating against abortion in Toronto, Canada.

Democrats and their news media allies took umbrage with Trump’s aforementioned description of them, expressing support for left-wing and partisan Democrat activists who harass Republican politicians and their supporters.

However, this year has been very bad for Republicans, including women (emphasis mine):

Various Republicans have accused Democrats of inciting politically motivated violence — deliberately or negligently — through rhetoric. Sen. Rand Paul’s wife, Kelley Paul, recently told Breitbart News that she now sleeps with a loaded gun by her bed as a security precaution following threats against her husband, herself, and her family.

It cannot be emphasised how important it is for decent Americans to go out and vote in the mid-terms.

Vote Republican: the future of the United States and the world depends on it.

Sal from New Media Central recently tweeted about the Democrats’ hypocrisy on elections, noting their persistent attacks about Russian collusion in the 2016 election and their push to get non-citizens registered to vote in the US:

It makes no sense until we consider one thing.

Democrats need non-citizens’ votes.

This was an issue long before 2016. You can find out by doing an online search with these words: Democrat says we need non-citizens to vote.

Pennsylvania

GOPUSA, representing the Republican Party, posted an eye-opening article about Pennsylvania from the Washington Times, dated July 13, 2018 (emphases mine):

Abdel showed up at his local Pennsylvania motor vehicle office to take his driver’s license test — and walked out having registered to vote, even though he is not a citizen.

He said his command of English isn’t good and the computer system was unclear, but he somehow managed to sign up even though he knew he shouldn’t.

Then there was Angelo, who figured he could vote because he joined the U.S. military, even though he wasn’t a citizen. He, too, signed up at the Pennsylvania motor vehicle bureau and registered as a Democrat. He then voted nearly every year from 2001 through 2014.

He finally wrote to Allegheny County asking to be stricken from the rolls, saying he had been ineligible all along.

Angelo and Abdel are some of the more than 130 people the county has nixed from its voter lists in recent years after discovering they weren’t U.S. citizens and should never have been allowed to register, much less vote, according to a report being released Thursday from the Public Interest Legal Foundation.

Non-citizens applying for US citizenship often walk back their previous voter registration:

only when they did try to seek citizenship or some other immigration benefit — and learned that illegal registration or voting, both felonies, could be hurdles for their applications.

Voter registration at the motor vehicle office started at the federal level — i.e. across the US — in 1993, during Bill Clinton’s presidency:

Under the 1993 federal “motor voter” law, people who show up to renew licenses or transact other business at motor vehicle bureaus are supposed to be asked if they want to register to vote. The form relies on the honor system for people to swear they are citizens.

The goal of the law was to boost election participation — but it also muddied voting lists.

Indeed.

Texas

Not every state with illegal voters wants to strike them from the rolls.

On June 7, GOPUSA reported on Houston’s rolls. Houston is a Democrat city:

Ann Harris Bennett, registrar for Harris County in Texas, is battling to keep secret the names of non-citizens who signed up to vote and, in some cases, may have even cast ballots. In a federal court filing last week she said people can be removed for other reasons, but there is no requirement she erase names of people even after they tell her they aren’t citizens.

“Once a person is officially registered to vote, a state may only remove them from the voting list if: the person dies, changes residence, asks to be removed from the list, or becomes ineligible under state law because of criminal conviction or mental incapacity,” Ms. Bennett said in court papers. The National Voter Registration Act “does not create any obligation for a state to conduct a list maintenance program to remove the names of voters who may be ineligible due to lack of citizenship.”

Maryland

In 2013, Think Progress posted an article, ‘Why You Have Nothing to Fear From Non-Citizen Voting’, which concerned an election in Takoma Park, Maryland:

Non-citizens may soon be voting in our nation’s biggest city — at least in local elections — and that’s got voter suppression groups like the Election Law Center sounding the alarm. Don’t listen to them.

As New York City considers whether to expand the franchise to non-citizens, it’s instructive to look at the experience other municipalities, like Takoma Park, Maryland, have had with non-citizen voting.

ThinkProgress spoke with two experts on non-citizen voting: Montgomery County (MD) Council member George Leventhal and Maryland State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D). Both individuals helped initiate Takoma Park’s non-citizen voting policy in 1991.

The city-wide referendum was approved, putting the non-citizen voting policy into place in 1992. The referendum passed because of redistricting. Many non-citizens resided within the redrawn district boundaries.

Regardless, it isn’t right, even if it’s only in local elections and even if non-citizen voting numbers continue to be low.

California

The latest city to adopt non-citizen voting is San Francisco, after three goes at a referendum. Keep voting on the same thing and the Noes will turn into Yesses.

As in Takoma Park, Maryland, this measure is only for local elections — school board, in this instance — but how many ineligible voters are also voting nationally?

Conclusion

I don’t have a solution to illegal voting, other than Pennsylvania’s example of purging electoral rolls of ineligible voters.

Many Americans clamour for voter ID.

That won’t work, either. Who, in a corrupt district, is going to check voter ID? No one.

P.S. – population count and political influence

There is another dimension to the Democrats’ love of illegal aliens, which is to increase population not only for Congressional representation but also Electoral College votes:

This is what Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) said:

We’re probably in the neighborhood of about 15 million illegal aliens in America now. 15 million comes out to roughly 20 congressional seats and 20 electoral college votes. Each congressional seat has roughly 700,000 to 800,000 people in it. [Emphasis added]

So, if you count illegal aliens in the Census for the purposes of distributing political power, that’s the number of congressmen per state or … the number of electoral college votes per state, you’re talking about … 20 electoral college votes and congressmen that are taken from states that follow our laws, that help our border patrol agents, and help our ICE agents … shifting those 20 congressional seats and 20 electoral college seats to states like California that have large numbers of illegal aliens in them. [Emphasis added]

I personally believe that’s wrong, on a policy level, but I also believe it violates the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution because it dilutes the voting power of citizens who live in states that don’t harbor an enormous number of illegal aliens. [Emphasis added]

—————————————————————————————–

P.P.S. — On a lighter note, here’s another great tweet from Sal:

The video is excellent — please watch his float go by!

On Saturday, January 6, 2018, Newsbusters posted an article about a BBC interview with Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury, which is about President Donald Trump.

Incidentally, the book is currently available for free online. As such availability likely violates copyright law, I have not posted the link.

Nicholas Fondacaro’s article, ‘Wolff Touts Book “Will Finally Bring Down…This Presidency”’ recaps a BBC interview Wolff gave to the BBC’s Nick Robinson last Saturday. Excerpts follow (emphases in the original):

In an interview with BBC Radio on Saturday, Michael Wolff, the author of the dubiously sourced gossip book targeting President Trump, boasted to host Nick Robinson that “the story” that he told, “will finally end…this presidency” once and for all …

Now, all of this is fascinating, it’s an insight, it’s gossip some of it, it may not be enough to stop him from being president. Whereas, the allegations about Russia may be,” Robinson prefaced. “Do you believe that anything in the book will actually change the chances of the allegations of collusion with Russia being found to be true and therefore leading to the impeachment of the President?

Wolff said:

You know, I think one of the interesting effects of the book so far is a very clear emperor-has-no-clothes effect. That, the story that I have told seems to present this presidency in such a way that it says he can’t do his job. The emperor has no clothes. Suddenly everywhere people are going: ‘Oh my God, it’s true, he has no clothes.’ That’s the background to the perception and the understanding that will finally end this – that will end this presidency.

As retired courtroom lawyer Lionel says, such talk is potentially dangerous:

Incredibly, Wolff told Robinson that Trump hardly has any staff and that he will do little as president. Despite stellar economic results in 2017, Wolff said:

The economy is booming possibly because you’ll have someone who’s not capable of actually implementing any policies or regulation.

In a way, that makes no sense.

In another, such a statement implies that the economy does better with less government interference.

Trump’s insistence on rolling back Obama era regulations has helped the economy improve. Trump was also busy last year negotiating various trade initiatives, such as coal.

In June, the New York Post published an article on coal by Salena Zito, who does an excellent job of covering small town life in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

‘Don’t be so quick to dismiss Trump’s coal mining initiative’ is an eye-opener. For the first time in a decade, a new coal mine opened in Acosta, Pennsylvania. Trump sent his congratulations via video shown to local residents (emphases mine below):

The Acosta Deep Mine in Somerset County marks a dramatic upturn for the area. And while President Trump cannot claim that he brought the industry back here personally (this new mine was already being developed before the election), he is an effective cheerleader for folks who’ve been discounted by the political elite.

“We will begin by employing 70 to 100 miners and we hope to open a total of three new mines in the next 18 months — and that will mean additional hiring,” said George Dethlefsen, CEO of Corsa Coal, which owns the mine.

More than 400 people applied for the first wave of jobs that will pay from $50,000 to $100,000, Dethlefsen said.

In a region where the median household income is $29,050, and nearly 12 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, the economic injection is huge.

It also creates a ripple effect: For every new job generated by the mine, even more jobs like waitresses, hotel workers, barbers or grocery workers are needed to support the community.

Absolutely.

Furthermore, the coal mined in Acosta is being used for steel production:

The coal from this mine is not going to be used for energy — instead, it will be used for the production of steel for the next 15 years. (According to the World Steel Association, coal is used to make 70 percent of the steel today.)

Every single one of us relies on steel in our daily lives. It’s found in our cars, bikes and public transportation. Those wind turbines so loved by environmentalists? Made of steel. The utensils we use to eat? Steel. Medical devices used to save lives? Steel.

Roads, bridges, appliances and even iPhones and computers all contain steel.

Exactly.

This is a great move.

And there is more good news on the coal front. In July, The Conservative Treehouse reported on the increase in American coal exports. This came as news to me:

U.S. EIA data shows a gain of 60.3% so far this year in exports of both steam coal (used to generate electricity) and coking coal (metallurgical coal used for steel manufacturing) as a direct consequence of President Trump’s common sense energy policy.

Interestingly, the largest destinations for the growth in American coal export are the U.K. (+175%) and a doubling of tonnage to both France (+100%), and Asia (+100%). High transport costs to ship coal to the EU are being offset by U.S. coal manufacturing efficiencies and improvements in mining productivity.

Reuters has more:

“Simply to know that coal no longer has to fight the government – that has to have some effect on investment decisions and in the outlook by companies, producers and utilities that use coal,” said Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association.

Shaylyn Hynes, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Energy Department, said: “These numbers clearly show that the Trump Administration’s policies are helping to revive an industry that was the target of costly and job killing overregulation from Washington for far too long.”

Coal could also be a major economic weapon used against North Korea, one of China’s principal coal suppliers.

Recall that China’s president Xi Jinping met with Trump at Mar a Lago on April 6 and 7, 2017. On April 11, Reuters reported:

Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product.

To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes, said three trading sources with direct knowledge of the order …

The Trump administration has been pressuring China to do more to rein in North Korea, which sends the vast majority of its exports to its giant neighbor across the Yellow Sea …

North Korea is a significant supplier of coal to China, especially of the type used for steel making, known as coking coal.

To make up for the shortfall from North Korea, China has ramped up imports from the United States in an unexpected boon for U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declared he wants to revive his country’s struggling coal sector.

Eikon data shows no U.S. coking coal was exported to China between late 2014 and 2016, but shipments soared to over 400,000 tonnes by late February.

This trend was exacerbated after cyclone Debbie knocked out supplies from the world’s top coking coal region in Australia’s state of Queensland, forcing Chinese steel makers to buy even more U.S. cargoes.

I digressed from Wolff. However, he and his fellow ilk in the media deserve to have their collars felt by the authorities. What Wolff is doing with his book and what the media have been doing with fake news could be construed as advocating the overthrow of government, or, as Lionel tweeted, sedition.

Last week, I wrote about Jill Stein’s divisive petitions for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — states which Donald Trump won.

Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette tweeted the following information on December 6:

Many of us were surprised no one in authority in Michigan said this in the first place. Stein got approximately 1% of the vote in every state. She never had legal standing.

Anyway:

TRO — temporary restraining order.

And:

An ABC affiliate in Michigan, WLOX, has an excellent summary from the Associated Press of what happened in the Stein recount states, some of which is referred to below.

Wisconsin

As of December 5, 23 of 72 counties have finished their recount. In those counties, Trump gained 105 votes and Hillary Clinton lost 41 votes. Overall, Trump won by approximately 22,000 votes.

On Friday, December 9, a federal judge will hear a lawsuit filed last week by a Trump voter and two super PACs seeking to stop the recount.

Michigan

In addition to the tweets from AG Schuette, Trump won Michigan by approximately 10,700 votes.

This was the state’s third recount. The first two caused the delay in Michigan posting the election result for several days.

The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) discusses the difficulty of counting votes in Detroit:

If anyone thought a Michigan ballot recount was going to end up being a net positive for Hillary Clinton, they are intellectually disconnected from understanding the reality of how fraudulent the most democrat precincts are in Wayne County (Detroit) Michigan.

CTH cites an article from the Detroit News that states:

Michigan’s largest county voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 610 of 1,680 precincts during a countywide canvass of vote results late last month.

Most of those are in heavily Democratic Detroit, where the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not match those of voting machine printout reports in 59 percent of precincts, 392 of 662.

According to state law, precincts whose poll books don’t match with ballots can’t be recounted. If that happens, original election results stand. 

As to who pays for this utter waste of time and resources, although the Republican-majority Michigan legislature just approved a measure requiring candidates who won less than 5% of the vote to pay the cost of the recount, Democrats point out this measure came into play after Stein filed for the recount. They do not think she should have to pay for it. The cost would be in the millions of dollars. Stein has the money. She can pay and she should. That is why she was raising funds on Thanksgiving Day.

Pennsylvania

If Michigan’s recount is called off, it looks as if Pennsylvania’s would be, too.

So far, Trump’s lead there has shrunk by about 20,000 votes. He now leads Clinton by 44,000 votes. The margin is still enough to avoid a recount of the entire state. If such a recount had to proceed, it would probably not be finished in time for the Electoral College vote on December 19.

Pennsylvania law states that one must have concrete evidence that voting irregularity occurred. Stein merely stated that the state’s election system is ‘a national disgrace’. Well, anyone can say that. The recounts in certain counties went ahead, however, based on petitions from Pennsylvanians about their local districts.

The Billy Penn site reports that little changed in Philadelphia’s recount:

The great Philadelphia recount has ended, and Hillary Clinton got five more votes than she had in her previous total …

Donald Trump’s number stayed the same, as did the totals for Independent candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein after the City Commissioners Office recounted votes in 75 of Philadelphia’s more than 1600 voting divisions. The recount had been launched by 250-plus Philadelphia residents answering the call of Stein, who asked for three petitioners in each of Pennsylvania’s voting district to file recounts to assist in her attempts to get a statewide recount through a Commonwealth Court and then Federal Court lawsuit.

Stein’s camp had planned on using the district-level recounts as possible evidence for hacking or fraud. The recount turned up no instances of fraud or hacking here, City Commissioner Al Schmidt said, emphasizing the difficulty of hacking voting machines that aren’t connected to the internet …

The five extra votes for Clinton, he said, came from paper provisional or absentee ballots that were undetected by the optical scanner that counted votes in the days following the election. Schmidt said this can happen when people don’t mark their choices clearly on paper ballots or, ridiculous as it sounds, use a green highlighter instead of a pen or pencil …

On Monday, December 5, Stein announced in front of Trump Tower that she was going to file a federal lawsuit for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania. This will be heard on Friday, December 9. The Michigan decision might well have an impact on the result in the Pennsylvania hearing. However, if Stein wins the case, a statewide recount would begin.

Nevada

The Independent candidate Rocky De La Fuente, who finished in Nevada with under 1% of the vote, has paid $14,000 for a partial recount, mostly affecting Las Vegas’s 92 precincts. The other eight precincts are elsewhere in the state.

If the total recount shows a 1% discrepancy for De La Fuente or Clinton, a statewide recount goes ahead. The partial recount is expected to be complete by the end of the week.

————————————————————————————

I’ll provide a final update when it becomes available.

One year after it premiered in the United States on the Food Network, Save My Bakery is now showing on the channel’s sister station in the UK.

SpouseMouse and I have been enjoying the programme. For me, the bakeries featured are a blast from the past. SpouseMouse is bemused by what passes for a ‘bakery’ in the United States. ‘First, there are no breads or rolls. Secondly, most of what’s on offer looks as if it were intended for a bake sale.’ I try to explain that that is the nature of neighbourhood bakeries. Although nothing was fancy, everything was a favourite.

Kerry Vincent is the Australian makeover lady who helps beleaguered bakeries out of a hole. She focussed her efforts on Pennsylvania, particularly establishments in or near Philadelphia.

Her brusque manner is offputting as is her penchant for fondant-covered cakes which did not feature in the establishments shown (initially) or in the ones I frequented as a child. Hmm.

However, she does seem to be good at conflict resolution. In every one of these shows, the bakery owners are at odds with their children or younger employees with regard to overcoming an impasse in sales.

I am still thinking about the episode at Schenk’s Bakery in Philadelphia. Their website has a thank you to Vincent for remaking their shop and offering advice on their products. I hope they continue to prosper.

Schenk’s cake line used to feature three cakes which Vincent advised against: pound cake, Washington cake and Goldenrod cake.

The last two came as a revelation. I’d not heard of them before. I was very disappointed that Vincent did not help the Schenks to keep these items on sale by improving the texture and flavour. Washington and Goldenrod cakes are historical artifacts.

Pound cake

But, first, let’s look at pound cake, one of the few cakes which does not need icing. Not so long ago, most grandmothers made pound cake. Mine did and hers was still the best I’ve ever tasted. The best part is the crunchy exterior, the product of the amount of butter in the batter.

In researching pound cake recipes, I was surprised to see how huge they are and that they are now made in ring tins. My grandmother used to make hers in much smaller quantities in a well greased loaf tin. The top used to split ever so slightly, giving a craggy appearance with extra crunch.

A loaf tin pound cake will probably serve a dozen people. The texture is dense and rich, similar to a French quatre-quarts (‘four quarters’, equal weights of eggs, butter, flour and sugar). A little goes a long way.

Since I’ve been on the ketogenic diet, I don’t make it anymore. However, those who enjoy traditional cakes will find it worthwhile practising making it. I would recommend several tries, because it can be challenging getting the consistency light enough. For this reason, I would suggest cutting the following recipes in half and using a loaf tin. King Arthur Flour’s site has the traditional recipe and Chef In Training has one for a coconut version.

Vincent did approve of a remake of the Schenks pound cake, to which they added orange flavouring and topped with sliced almonds. It looked delicious!

The Goldenrod

The Goldenrod, or Golden Rod, was popular in the late 1890s through to the early part of the 20th century.

It is — or was — probably the only full-size triangular cake in existence. This photo from a 1906 cookbook, courtesy of Resurrected Recipes, shows the special tins used:

These tins are not available today, however, using a loaf tin would probably do the trick. Cutting the rounded top off the finished product then neatly slicing diagonally down the middle should produce a good result.

Resurrected Recipes compares and contrasts the recipes for the Goldenrod with another popular cake of the same period, the Waldorf Triangle. Both look easy enough to bake.

The Goldenrod must have orange flavouring in the batter. Vincent said that the Schenks’ version could have used more of it. Why did she not help them with such a small improvement? If I were in the area, I would have loved trying it.

This is another missed opportunity; the bakery could have introduced the Goldenrod to a new generation.

It is also interesting that the Schenks frosted one side with white icing, piped it along the top ridge and frosted the other side with chocolate icing. One wonders if that decoration was particular to Philadelphia or to Mr Schenk’s father who emigrated from Germany and founded the bakery in 1938. Resurrected Recipes tells us that this cake was also popular with German bakers.

Washington Cake

This cake has undergone several reiterations since Martha Washington first made her Great Cake to share with guests on Twelfth Night (Epiphany) 1798.

Her husband George had announced before Christmas 1797 that he would not be serving a third term as America’s first President. He returned to his home in Mount Vernon for the holidays.

Mrs Washington’s great cake was modelled on the traditional English recipe for Christmas cake. It was a pound cake made with currants and spices.

The cook-historian Tori Avey tells us that after Washington’s death, a Manhattan shopowner named Mary Simpson made Washington Cake every year on his birthday, February 22. She was popularly known as Mary Washington, as she claimed to have been one of his slaves. Customers flooded in to buy a slice of cake and a small glass of punch or cup of coffee.

In the 19th century, American bakers created variations of the Washington Cake. One used cherries, recalling Parson Weems’s legend of young George cutting down his father’s cherry tree. When Washington State was incorporated into the Union, their version had apples, the fruit for which the state is known.

Avey says that Philadelphia had its own version, which emerged in the 1950s. The Schenks made this variation, which was a spiced cake with chocolate and scalloped-edged white icing.

Kerry Vincent didn’t like their Washington Cake. Admittedly, the one shown was poorly frosted. However, whether it was the amount of spice in the cake or the frosting, she said it had to go. Unfortunately, the Schenks agreed.

Another opportunity missed! Why not improve it and introduce it to people — especially children — who have never tried it?

Suggestion for the Schenks

My better half and I suggest that the Schenks offer one of these types of cakes — pound, Goldenrod and Washington — on special once a month at the weekend. Make sure Washington Cake in on sale during Presidents’ Day weekend in February.

Have a sign up — ‘This week’s special’ — and tell everyone how good it is. Have some samples on the counter. Let people try it.

It would be a shame to lose these historical recipes for the sake of a few minor improvements to flavour and appearance.

Kerry Vincent

Hmm. She’s an acquired taste, certainly.

However, after having researched her biography, I can understand how her background shaped her outlook on baking and life.

Zap2It has a fascinating, if brief, interview with Vincent. We discover that, like many Australians living on sheep stations (ranches), she went to school via radio. I remember reading about this method of education in geography class when I was eight years old. Households had pedal radios — operated by foot pedal — which, when used with a telephone line, could enable any Australian youngster to communicate with the teacher. Parents were responsible for reviewing homework!

She also told Zap2It that her mother taught her how to bake at a very young age. One of the first lessons young Kerry Flynn learned was how to test an oven. Mrs Flynn told her to stick her hand in it to get a true feel for the temperature. Vincent does the same today because:

I don’t even believe the calibrated oven because it is never calibrated. Shove your hand in, and feel this, and close your eyes, and that’s the temperature you need for a sponge [cake] and the rest of the baking.

At the age of 8, Kerry won first prize in an adult baking competition at Albany Fair in Western Australia.

As a young woman, Vincent was a Western Australia state finalist in the 1964 Miss Australia Quest. She went on to a career in modelling hats and as a cigarette girl:

The fashion co-ordinator at the Perth department store Boans wanted her for millinery: “She said, ‘I could put a jerry [chamber pot] on your head and it would look good.’ ” For tobacco brands Rothmans and Dunhill, Kerry wore navy and white, pillbox hats and white boots, and moved from trackside to cocktail party as a promotional girl. “It was elegant then; you smoked with a pair of long satin gloves and a holder.”

In 1973, whilst on a working holiday in London, she met the love of her life, Doug Vincent, an American oil engineer, in a pub. They married in 1974 and live in Oklahoma.

Vincent’s baking and sugar-crafting career has taken her around the world, winning her accolades from the rich and famous to hundreds of aspiring home bakers.

The Pennsylvania bakers who took part in Save My Bakery say that Vincent’s bark is worse than her bite.

Stephen Riccelli of Schubert’s Bakery in Nazareth said:

I think she’s a very nice lady but I also think she may not have been the best fit for our bakery.

I agree. She never understood the Moravian cake which isn’t exactly patisserie but has deep historical and cultural roots in that part of the Lehigh Valley.

Richard Wilcox of Phatso’s Bakery in Chester told his local newspaper:

The host’s venomous demeanor is just a front, Wilcox said, explaining that Vincent was very helpful and pleasant off camera.

“Kerry is a wonderful lady,” he said. “We had a very pleasant time working with her. She was not the same person when the cameras were off.”

Vincent clearly did not understand the slang word ‘phat’ — beautiful, excellent — which can be used to describe anything from food to women.

It was also a play on words, as Wilcox called his younger son Fatso as a toddler. He gave the name to the bakery. Vincent wanted to change it!

I’m glad to read that Wilcox saved his past awards and put them back on the wall of his bakery.

Vincent insists that America’s tastes are changing. Possibly.

However, there is always room for enduring American, cross-generational favourites. May they — and family-owned bakeries — long continue.

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