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As we know, Greta Thunberg has resumed worldwide calls for children to bunk off school on Fridays in order to call attention to climate change.

Alan Jones, an Australian commentator on Sky News, had a pointed message for ‘little turds’ who should ‘get the facts’ before protesting. A partial transcript follows:

I couldn’t agree more.

Here is the partial transcript:

Also — wouldn’t it show more dedication to protesting climate change if the students got up early on a Saturday morning so to do?

Just a thought.

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When Donald Trump discussed human trafficking during his 2016 campaign, I wondered how serious a problem it was.

Surely, no one else talked about it.

Yes, we knew about Jeffrey Epstein, but he seemed to be an outlier.

Since then, we’ve had the NXIVM trial which, thankfully, resulted in prison sentences.

Donald Trump, who lived in New York City for most of his life knew what he was talking about — once again.

Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious death made the headlines over the weekend. I wrote about it here and here.

At long last, people are beginning to wake up to the horrors of human, especially child, trafficking.

Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, is one of them. He has pledged to start linking the dots surrounding this horrifying issue:

He wrote that thread before Epstein died:

The following day:

More power to his elbow in getting the job done!

Corey Lynn – Corey’s Digs has been investigating these issues for quite a while. She has more specifics on Epstein and his associates:

On Sunday, August 11, 2019, the day after Epstein’s death, Fox’s Life, Liberty & Levin featured South African film director and producer Jaco Booyens (pron. ‘Yaco Boyens’), whose recent film, 8 Days, is all about child trafficking. Mark Levin conducted a 32-minute interview with him. The original full length video link which I posted has been truncated to one second. I am grateful to one of my readers for letting me know. I found another video, but not of the full interview. A shorter — 9:50 — segment follows:

A second reader found the nub of the child sex trafficking stats in another interview clip here.

I urge everyone to take the time to watch that same video clip, which is not on YouTube, then read the summary of the full interview below.

It is very important in understanding the gravity of child trafficking.

Jaco Booyens, who now lives in the United States, also has a website about combatting human trafficking: SHAREtogether.org.

A summary of the interview follows.

Booyens made 8 Days because his sister Ilanka was trafficked when both were children in South Africa in 1994 or 1995. At the age of 13, Ilanka had just won a national song competition and was subsequently trafficked to a record company! She was trafficked for six years.

He said that the person who leaves or is abducted to be trafficked is never the same one who returns home. Fortunately, Ilanka now lives in Nashville.

Booyens has used aspects of his sister’s plight in the film.

Levin showed the trailer for 8 Days, which begins with a nice teenage girl who is enthralled because a classmate asks her out on a date. Her parents let her go. Unbeknownst to them, the boy, who is driving the two of them into town for the evening, pulls into a car park and stops the vehicle. Another vehicle pulls up, and a couple of people get out, abduct the girl and drive off. The next eight days are a living hell for the girl — and for her parents, who have no idea what has happened to their daughter.

Booyens said that statistics he has seen show that trafficked children normally die after seven years from drug abuse. Also, one imagines, the horrors they have been subjected to are another factor in premature death.

He came out with more statistics about child trafficking in the United States:

  • Currently, most victims are girls (average age 12), although the number of boys — especially those who are prepubescent — is rising;
  • The situation is now much worse than it was five years ago;
  • A pimp can earn $250k tax free per year off from trafficking one child;
  • 300k children are trafficked every day in the US; 76,000 are trafficked per day in Texas alone, despite Governor Abbott’s best efforts;
  • There is ‘rampant abuse’ in the ‘foster care system’;
  • The US has ‘more slaves today than ever in history’ and he lived through South Africa’s apartheid;
  • All classes are involved at some level: the pimp makes most of his money from executives earning $100k per annum, but ‘a janitor’ can purchase a child’s services from time to time, too;
  • Online recruitment is the norm. Procurers get to know a child and ask all the right questions;
  • It is not unusual for trafficked children to live with their parents and attend school daily;
  • Pimps advertise the children online: ‘You can order children the way you order pizza’.

Booyens says that the porn culture is to blame for child trafficking. Pornography is dehumanising and it objectifies not only women, but children, too.

He said that he has approached left-wing media networks for time to explain this dangerous trend, but they declined. He said that they apparently prefer to complain about Donald Trump, who, he said, has done the most of any US president to actively combat child trafficking. He said that could be a reason why the Left rails against him so much and goes on instead about his breaking up families at the border. On that subject, he said that as many as 30% of ‘families’ at the border aren’t family units at all — but traffickers and their victims. He gave credit to ICE and other law enforcement agencies, whom he said are ‘there to keep us safe’.

So far, only Fox News has agreed to have him on to explain the horrors of trafficking.

Child trafficking is a huge issue, and the Trump administration is doing everything it can to slow it down, then stop it.

All I ask is that people be aware of how destructive trafficking really is.

Booyens said that 8 Days (not to be confused with the sci-fi series) is available on Netflix and on DVD.

I will be returning to lighter subjects in my next post.

On Sunday, July 28, 2019, the best ever Tour de France culminated in Paris.

What made this Tour the best ever?

First, there were surprises every day, one of them being the big name riders abandoning throughout the Tour from the early stages to the closing ones.

Secondly, the Tour organisers arranged very difficult stages, very different to previous tours. Commentators said these were designed to propel France’s Romain Bardet into yellow. Oh, well. At least he finished as King of the Mountains.

Thirdly, a severe weather event pushed France’s Julian Alaphilippe out of the yellow jersey (maillot jaune) after 14 days in succession. His chances of winning the Tour were very good, until Stage 19 on Friday, July 26:

That day, ITV4’s Gary Imlach, commentating, outlined the route and said something about the stage expecting to be completed, barring an ‘act of God’.

This is what the finish line looked like in the Alpine town of Tignes that day:

The Col d’Iseran was scheduled to be the penultimate climb that day. It was exciting stuff.

Team INEOS are the former Team Sky, by the way. Chris Froome was not among their number this year because of injury. Here we see last year’s Tour winner Geraint Thomas go on the attack on the climb to the Col d’Iseran:

The top riders began their descent:

Then, disaster struck around the finish line. Gary Imlach’s aforementioned ‘act of God’ actually happened! Imlach apologised the next day!

We watched this unfold on ITV4. It was just incredible.

Tour officials took the decision to make the Col d’Iseran result their final one for that stage:

That clearly put Egan Bernal in the yellow jersey:

We were amazed. Egan Bernal wore the white jersey as best young rider. He’s only 22. This was his very first Tour de France, which is gruelling, to say the least, for the most experienced riders.

He received the yellow jersey later that day:

Team mate and four-time Tour winner Chris Froome had this to say about the young Colombian:

Saturday’s Stage 20 ending in Val Thorens was shortened — and made more difficult (mostly climbs) — because of the severe weather conditions:

The ‘Devil’ didn’t miss it. He has been on all the Tour stages since 1993!

Vincenzo Nibali won the stage, but Egan Bernal held on to the yellow jersey. Geraint Thomas was in second overall, with Julian Alaphilippe in third:

And that is how history was made. Egan Bernal, the Tour’s first Colombian winner — and one of the youngest winners overall:

These were the overall winners:

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won the overall Combativity Award:

Sunday’s closing stage in Paris was as iconic as ever:

Colombians were out in force in Rambouillet, the starting point:

This was Team INEOS’s champagne moment. Peter Sagan (Team Bora-Hansgrohe) had a bit of fun with them:

Personally, I thought the stage started too late in the day. Whilst the riders had sunglasses, the sunset must have been a distraction, even if it looks good for the City of Paris with regard to tourism:

Colombians, including Egan Bernal’s family, waited at the finish line:

We were delighted that Lotto Soudal’s Caleb Ewan won the stage. To win that stage in Paris is what every Tour rider dreams of — and this was his first ever Tour:

Then, it was time for the podium presentations.

First, Bernal greeted his family:

This must have been the happiest moment of his life thus far:

Steven Kruijswijk came in third overall:

Here’s Romain Bardet (Team AG2R La Mondiale) getting his King of the Mountains jersey:

Can’t wait for next year, especially since the Tour will start in Nice:

Until then, I am delighted for Egan Bernal — and for Team INEOS.

A new series is currently showing about dementia patients: Channel 4’s The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes, about the eponymous experimental restaurant in Bristol headed by Michelin-starred Josh Eggleton.

I missed the first episode about the dementia patients and their families but saw the second episode about the restaurant’s first few days when it opened to the public.

I thought this would be depressing, but it was most encouraging, not unlike the ‘train ride’ therapy I wrote about yesterday.

The patients — staff — of this Bristol establishment have early-onset dementia. Many of them had highly responsible jobs: company owner, mortgage adviser, legal representative, sole trader (plumber), to name but a few.

Seeing people my age and under suffering from dementia was shocking. They were shown being given tests by a doctor before going on the programme. They were unable to answer the most basic of questions.

Not surprisingly, they all felt worthless.

The wife and mother of five who is suffering knows that she has only a few years to live. She is correct. I saw a young Alzheimer’s patient for a few years when visiting a family member in assisted living. On my next visit, he was no longer there. He had gone to his eternal rest. The director of the home told me that younger dementia patients die sooner than older ones. I had not expected to hear that.

The idea for the programme came from Tokyo, as Television Business International reported on September 24, 2018, before filming began:

The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes is from Red Arrow’s CPL Productions, the makers of BAFTA-nominated Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds and Motion Content Group, co-producers of C4’s Dementiaville. It is supported by The Alzheimer’s Society.

A group of Alzheimer’s sufferers will be trained to work in the restaurant for a five-week period, where they will be visited by a host of celebrity diners and members of the public.

With more than 40,000 people living with dementia and aged under 65 in the UK, only a fifth of them continue to work post-diagnosis. A team of experts will oversee the ambitious project to evaluate whether the experiment could potentially change how businesses recruit, employ and retain staff who find themselves living with dementia.

Inspired by a real-life Japanese pop-up restaurant that opened in Tokyo last year, the 5 x 60-minute series attempts to start a wider national conversation about how we think about people who live and work with the increasingly common condition.

I give Josh Eggleton bags of credit for participating and heading the restaurant:

He is correct in saying that this experiment restored the patients’ sense of self worth.

He has a chef trained in dementia who worked with the patients in the kitchen:

This short video shows Sue, the patient with vascular dementia who ran the bar. Josh Eggleton said the experience was nerve-wracking at first but ended up brilliantly. The young man in the film is Eggleton’s dementia-trained chef who has a high genetic probability of getting Pick’s Disease, another form of dementia. Both he and Sue ran together in the London Marathon for charity:

The more abled patients helped the others, such as the former business owner who helped the former legal adviser welcome diners at the front desk. She could not remember what to say and kept asking them if they wanted menus. Finally, she got there with regard to ‘Welcome to The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes. Do you have a reservation?’

The former mortgage advisor runs the till, because her mathematical acuity is still sharp. She just speaks rather slowly.

Here are a few other selected tweets from the second episode:

The doctor in the film explains dementia:

The third of four episodes is on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. If you live in the UK, please tune in!

By chance, I saw this tweet from France 3 television about one of their documentaries:

This clip shows a French patient who has Alzheimer’s. Rose is in assisted living (EHPAD), and her facility has implemented ‘train ride’ therapy.

The video shows a room with a mock SNCF (French railway network) departure board. Rose and her therapist go into another room which is set up as a train compartment. The window is a screen showing a film of the countryside just as one might see it from a train.

There seem to be a few choices of railway scenes for patients: countryside, the sea and so on.

This therapy is used for patients who become troubled or troublesome. In this case, Rose is often on the verge of tears.

Therapists say the ‘train ride’ calms the patients down. They ask the patients what they see as they are ‘travelling’, what they are reminded of and so forth. The experience generates a conversation about what patients remember from their past. Rose’s husband used to work for the SNCF, so she would have taken quite a few train journeys during her marriage.

This a brilliant idea. The therapists interviewed say it came from Italy, where it has been implemented on a larger scale. It is said to be in use not only for Alzheimer’s patients but also other mental diseases and traumas.

I like the creativity going on here, which really seems to work. I hope this brings out more interesting types of therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were in England and Normandy for commemorations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The night before, he hosted Prince Charles and Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall for dinner at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London. The guests at his table were also in Portsmouth the following morning. Theresa May is on the right in the photo:

On Wednesday, June 5, the Royal Family’s Twitter account summarised D-Day’s importance:

Also:

The Allied landings on the Normandy beaches marked the start of a long and costly campaign to liberate north-west Europe from German occupation.

This was the scene in Portsmouth, on England’s south coast that day:

A short time later, veterans who had been involved 75 years ago began taking their seats:

The Queen, who served as a mechanic during the war, arrived:

This is a photograph for the history books:

Warm exchanges took place beforehand:

The Queen stood between Prince Charles and President Trump to watch the proceedings:

She addressed the crowd, referencing her father, George VI:

President Trump read then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s prayer for the troops:

D-Day veterans appeared on the dais to grateful applause.

Actress Celia Imrie (speaking in the next video) compered (emceed) the various performances:

The following ABC News video has the Portsmouth commemorations in their entirety:

The BBC has a set of photographs covering the day’s events.

Afterwards, the Queen, Prince Charles and the Trumps met with veterans who so bravely served in D-Day operations:

Trump also met with British veterans as well as US Navy personnel based in England:

The Queen then bade farewell to the Trumps, who were leaving for Ireland, where the president met with the prime minister there that afternoon:

The Trumps went to Normandy the following day for D-Day ceremonies before returning to Ireland, then onwards to the United States.

The Q Tree has the Trumps’ schedule after Portsmouth for the rest of June 5 (emphasis in the original):

2:50pm BST / 9:50am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Southsea Commons en route to Southsea Castle Landing Zone, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

2:55pm BST / 9:55am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Southsea Castle Landing Zone, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

3:05pm BST / 10:05am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Portsmouth, United Kingdom, en route to Southampton Airport, Southampton, United Kingdom, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

3:25pm BST / 10:25am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Southampton Airport, Southampton, United Kingdom

3:35pm BST / 10:35am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Southampton Airport en route Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland, Southampton, United Kingdom

U.K State Visit Concludes ~

4:50pm IST / 11:50am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

5:00pm IST / 12:00pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon Airport en route to Shannon Airport Terminal, Shannon, Ireland

5:05pm IST / 12:05pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport Terminal, Shannon, Ireland

5:15pm IST / 12:15pm EST THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

5:20pm IST / 12:20pm EST THE PRESIDENT participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

6:00PM IST / 1:00pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon Airport Terminal en route to Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

6:05pm IST / 1:05PM EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

6:15pm IST / 1:15pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon, Airport, en route to Trump International Doonbeg Landing Zone, Doonbeg, Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

6:35pm IST / 1:35pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Trump International Doonbeg Landing Zone, Doonbeg, Ireland

The Clare Champion featured their arrival:

At the end of Tuesday, Trump tweeted:

He and his entourage would fly from Ireland to Colleville-sur-Mer in the département of Calvados of Normandy the following morning.

Speaking of Normandy, two British veterans were preparing to re-enact their jumps from 1944. Here is one of them undergoing a refresher course:

This is what happened on Wednesday, June 6:

This is what the Trumps saw as they landed in France that morning:

The following is an excerpt of President Trump’s speech on Omaha Beach:

The Q Tree has his speech in full on Omaha Beach, excerpted below (emphases mine). More than 60 surviving American D-Day veterans flew to France for this important anniversary. Many more Second World War military survivors also attended:

President Macron, Mrs. Macron, and the people of France; to the First Lady of the United States and members of the United States Congress; to distinguished guests, veterans, and my fellow Americans:

We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar. On these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, 10,000 men shed their blood, and thousands sacrificed their lives, for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty.

Today, we remember those who fell, and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy. They won back this ground for civilization.

To more than 170 veterans of the Second World War who join us today: You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You’re the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Here with you are over 60 veterans who landed on D-Day. Our debt to you is everlasting. Today, we express our undying gratitude.

When you were young, these men enlisted their lives in a Great Crusade — one of the greatest of all times. Their mission is the story of an epic battle and the ferocious, eternal struggle between good and evil.

On the 6th of June, 1944, they joined a liberation force of awesome power and breathtaking scale. After months of planning, the Allies had chosen this ancient coastline to mount their campaign to vanquish the wicked tyranny of the Nazi empire from the face of the Earth.

The battle began in the skies above us. In those first tense midnight hours, 1,000 aircraft roared overhead with 17,000 Allied airborne troops preparing to leap into the darkness beyond these trees.

Then came dawn. The enemy who had occupied these heights saw the largest naval armada in the history of the world. Just a few miles offshore were 7,000 vessels bearing 130,000 warriors. They were the citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.

There were the British, whose nobility and fortitude saw them through the worst of Dunkirk and the London Blitz. The full violence of Nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of British pride.

There were the Canadians, whose robust sense of honor and loyalty compelled them to take up arms alongside Britain from the very, very beginning.

There were the fighting Poles, the tough Norwegians, and the intrepid Aussies. There were the gallant French commandos, soon to be met by thousands of their brave countrymen ready to write a new chapter in the long history of French valor.

And, finally, there were the Americans. They came from the farms of a vast heartland, the streets of glowing cities, and the forges of mighty industrial towns. Before the war, many had never ventured beyond their own community. Now they had come to offer their lives half a world from home.

This beach, codenamed Omaha, was defended by the Nazis with monstrous firepower, thousands and thousands of mines and spikes driven into the sand, so deeply. It was here that tens of thousands of the Americans came

One of those men in [Colonel George] Taylor’s 16th Regiment was Army medic Ray Lambert. Ray was only 23, but he had already earned three Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars fighting in North Africa and Sicily, where he and his brother Bill, no longer with us, served side by side.

In the early morning hours, the two brothers stood together on the deck of the USS Henrico, before boarding two separate Higgins landing craft. “If I don’t make it,” Bill said, “please, please take care of my family.” Ray asked his brother to do the same.

Of the 31 men on Ray’s landing craft, only Ray and 6 others made it to the beach. There were only a few of them left. They came to the sector right here below us. “Easy Red” it was called. Again and again, Ray ran back into the water. He dragged out one man after another. He was shot through the arm. His leg was ripped open by shrapnel. His back was broken. He nearly drowned.

He had been on the beach for hours, bleeding and saving lives, when he finally lost consciousness. He woke up the next day on a cot beside another badly wounded soldier. He looked over and saw his brother Bill. They made it. They made it. They made it.

At 98 years old, Ray is here with us today, with his fourth Purple Heart and his third Silver Star from Omaha. Ray, the free world salutes you. Thank you, Ray.

Trump related a few more real life stories about what is known as the Longest Day, unimaginably harrowing. God was with the Allied troops.

Trump concluded:

The men behind me will tell you that they are just the lucky ones. As one of them recently put it, “All the heroes are buried here.” But we know what these men did. We knew how brave they were. They came here and saved freedom, and then, they went home and showed us all what freedom is all about.

The American sons and daughters who saw us to victory were no less extraordinary in peace. They built families. They built industries. They built a national culture that inspired the entire world. In the decades that followed, America defeated communism, secured civil rights, revolutionized science, launched a man to the moon, and then kept on pushing to new frontiers. And, today, America is stronger than ever before.

Seven decades ago, the warriors of D-Day fought a sinister enemy who spoke of a thousand-year empire. In defeating that evil, they left a legacy that will last not only for a thousand years, but for all time — for as long as the soul knows of duty and honor; for as long as freedom keeps its hold on the human heart.

To the men who sit behind me, and to the boys who rest in the field before me, your example will never, ever grow old. Your legend will never tire. Your spirit — brave, unyielding, and true — will never die.

The blood that they spilled, the tears that they shed, the lives that they gave, the sacrifice that they made, did not just win a battle. It did not just win a war. Those who fought here won a future for our nation. They won the survival of our civilization. And they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries to come.

Today, as we stand together upon this sacred Earth, we pledge that our nations will forever be strong and united. We will forever be together. Our people will forever be bold. Our hearts will forever be loyal. And our children, and their children, will forever and always be free.

May God bless our great veterans. May God bless our Allies. May God bless the heroes of D-Day. And may God bless America.

The Q Tree has full coverage, including this 90-minute video of the day’s commemorations:

This is NBC’s video, which begins with an analysis of D-Day:

French president Emmanuel Macron also addressed the American veterans. I was in France at the time and watched part of his speech on BFMTV. It was highly evocative and really captured the idea of Americana. Whoever wrote it should get a pay rise. I was very moved by it. He spoke, as did Trump, of young soldiers from farms in the Midwest mixing with their comrades from Manhattan and New Jersey, writing their girlfriends farewell letters.

Afterwards, Macron shook hands with all the veterans and spoke with each individually. I’m not a Macron fan at all, but I have to give him credit for that.

Trump tweeted a short video recapping his day in Normandy:

This is the view of the Trumps’ departure, returning to Ireland before flying back to Washington:

Reflecting on D-Day, someone online posted this excellent graphic from Gab:

We should be so grateful for everything that God has given us — especially peace and freedom in the Western world.

However, it would also be prudent to look at how we have squandered the opportunities for our young people in peacetime. The safe space generation is not equipped to deal with the horrors of life such as it is.

May the good Lord grant us the wisdom to get us out of a navel-gazing attitude towards one of genuine progress and ingenuity, such as that of the post-war years.

In closing, let us give thanks to the Greatest Generation for their immense courage and bravery.

On Monday, June 3, 2019, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in London for a three-day State Visit:

The Daily Mail has a full itinerary of the trip.

The president’s adult children accompanied them, along with Cabinet members and senior staff.

America’s first couple stayed at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, Winfield House. The Trump offspring stayed at the Corinthia Hotel in central London.

Monday was packed with events for the Trumps. This video recaps the day, which began by landing at Winfield House, meeting the Queen for lunch at Buckingham Palace, taking tea as guests of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House and being the guests of honour at a State Dinner at the palace:

I was out of the country at the time and wanted to have a record of his trip by posting about it here. I am not sure how much made the media outlets and how it was reported.

One thing that did surprise me — and my better half, who is English — was that the president spoke with the honour guard as he was inspecting them. Both of us were shocked. This is a no-no. Then, Prince Charles did the same. See a brief glimpse at 11:40:

France’s BFMTV showed much more of Trump’s talking to the honour guard. The French commentators were equally surprised.

Meanwhile, the Queen, her daughter-in-law Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Mrs Trump enjoyed a light moment:

Afterwards, the Queen hosted a private lunch and showed the Trumps various items and documents from the Royal Collection pertaining to the United States.

Then it was time to go to Westminster Abbey. The Duke of York — Prince Andrew — accompanied the Trumps, who received a tour of the Abbey from clergy and placed a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Despite its title, the video below does not include tea with Prince Charles but does have extensive coverage from the visit to Westminster Abbey:

 

The State Banquet took place that evening:

Protests took place outside the palace, but guests were undisturbed:

As one would imagine, much preparation went into this dinner:

This is what the ballroom looked like as the Queen’s guests filed in:

Sarah Sanders, who also accompanied the Trumps on their 2018 visit to Windsor Castle, will have another lovely memory of her time as press secretary:

At the State Banquet, the president remembered the events of D-Day and those who bravely fought for freedom:

He also made another faux pas. Like Michelle Obama, he touched the Queen. Unlike Michelle Obama, he did it twice. The Daily Mail reported (emphases mine):

The Special Relationship between Britain and the United States was reaffirmed last night with moving toasts in the Buckingham Palace ballroom as Donald Trump clinked glasses with the Queen and patted her shoulder having called her a ‘great, great woman’.

Amid the splendour and ceremony of a state banquet for 170 dignitaries and guests, the US President thanked the monarch for her ‘gracious hospitality’ and ‘nearly seven decades’ of personal friendship with the United States.

He spoke of the Blitz and the bombing of Buckingham Palace, saying that ‘in their dark hour the people of this nation showed the world what it means to be British’.

He praised the Queen a ‘great, great woman’ recalling her service on the Home Front during the war, and said ‘the bond between our nations was forever sealed in that great crusade’.

He said the Queen embodied ‘the spirit of dignity, duty, and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart’.

Raising his glass the 45th President of the United States said: ‘On behalf of all Americans, I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations and to the long cherished and truly remarkable reign of Her Majesty, the Queen.’

Shortly before retaking his seat Mr Trump appeared briefly to breach royal protocol by placing his hand on the Queen’s back in a gesture of personal thanks. By tradition the Queen should not be touched, but the President’s host seemed unperturbed following his warm personal toast.

In her address, the Queen welcomed the Trumps, celebrated the Special Relationship between the UK and the US, and while Brexit was not mentioned she highlighted how the two countries faced ‘new challenges of the 21st century’. 

The article includes a brilliant set of photos, by the way.

Here is another terrific photograph:

The Queen’s remarks followed:

Mr President,

I am delighted to welcome you and Mrs Trump to Buckingham Palace this evening, just twelve months after our first meeting at Windsor Castle. Visits by American Presidents always remind us of the close and longstanding friendship between the United Kingdom and the United States, and I am so glad that we have another opportunity to demonstrate the immense importance that both our countries attach to our relationship.

In the coming days, you will see some of our most treasured historical buildings, speak to the business leaders whose expertise and innovation drive our economies, and meet members of our Armed Services, past and present. You will also travel to Portsmouth and Normandy to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

On that day – and on many occasions since – the Armed Forces of both our countries fought side-by-side to defend our cherished values of liberty and democracy. Mr President, in your State of the Union Address this year, you paid tribute to some of the American heroes who risked their lives, and we owe an immeasurable debt to the British, American and Allied soldiers who began the liberation of Europe on 6th June 1944.

I paid my first State Visit to your country at the invitation of President Eisenhower. As Supreme Allied Commander, he had ultimate responsibility for the execution of the Normandy landings. In his headquarters in St James’s Square – not far from Buckingham Palace – British and American officers worked closely together to plan the freedom of a continent, and it would be no exaggeration to say that millions of lives depended on their common endeavour.

As we face the new challenges of the Twenty First Century, the anniversary of D-Day reminds us of all that our countries have achieved together. After the shared sacrifices of the Second World War, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions, to ensure that the horrors of conflict would never be repeated. While the world has changed, we are forever mindful of the original purpose of these structures: nations working together to safeguard a hard won peace

Mr President, as we look to the future, I am confident that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite us. Tonight we celebrate an alliance that has helped to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades, and which I believe will endure for many years to come

The Queen then proposed a toast:

At the end of the day, Trump tweeted:

Protests did take place around the country, but a crowd of well wishers was on hand in front of Buckingham Palace to greet him.

Events on Tuesday, June 4 involved talks about trade:

More protests took place in London:

Interestingly, Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump did not shake hands when he and his wife arrived:

The Trumps received a tour of No. 10:

Mrs Trump was with Mr May during the meeting between the president and our outgoing Prime Minister:

Here are clips from the May-Trump press conference:

Meanwhile, a British woman burst the Trump baby balloon. Great news, even if she was arrested:

The Gateway Pundit reported:

“I’m going in..I’m going,” the woman says as she walked up to the baby Trump blimp.

The woman then stabbed the blimp with a pen and a small popping sound is heard followed by gasps from onlookers.

The woman screamed “It’s a national a disgrace! The President of the United States is the best President ever! Shame on you!” after she popped the balloon.

Police quickly moved in for the arrest as the woman walked away.

“It’s going down baby,” the woman said as police approached her and cuffed her.

The woman, whose hand was bleeding, had a fiery exchange with the police and pleaded for them to stop manhandling her.

That evening, the Trumps hosted a dinner for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Winfield House:

The Daily Caller has more photos.

It should be noted that the Trumps did not experience all the trappings of a full State Visit, which includes staying at a royal residence and addressing either house of Parliament.

The Washington Examiner explained:

… royal watchers said the Trumps will be missing out on many of the trappings of a state visit, such as staying at Buckingham Palace. “Not being invited to speak before Parliament is testament to the fact they know he is going to be rude and there’s going to be massive protests,” said Marlene Koenig, an author and expert on British and European royalty.

“They are doing the bare minimum of what they would do for a state visit of a major ally.”

Several honors afforded visiting American presidents or other heads of state will be missing.

He will not get the usual welcome in Horse Guards Parade, the grand parade ground in central London where visiting heads of state are usually invited to inspect the honor guard with the queen before a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace.

Instead, he will follow the example of President George W. Bush, who was given his royal welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in 2003 because of fears protesters would line the route through London

Trump will not get to stay at Buckingham Palace with the Queen. Both Bush and Obama, the only two American presidents to have been granted official state visits, stayed at the royal residence, but Trump has been told that renovations to the east wing of the palace meant its guest rooms were out of service

The run-up to this visit featured speculation about whether Trump would be invited to address the British Parliament.

In the end, the speaker — the figure who presides over the House of Commons and who had previously said Trump’s attendance would run counter to Parliament’s longstanding opposition to sexism and racism — said he had not been asked by British officials to host the president. Presidents Obama, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton all addressed Parliament.

A U.K. official said Trump had not requested to address Parliament. “The president not asking to do that is the norm,” he said. On both sides of the Atlantic, a mutually-convenient cover story of Trump not being asked to be invited in order to avoid being told he will not be invited appears to have been adopted

Previous visits have sometimes reflected the warm relations between individual leaders.

In 1982 the queen invited Ronald Reagan to stay with her at Windsor Castle and took him horse riding. A decade late, Bill and Hillary Clinton were treated to a night aboard the royal yacht Britannia.

And in 2011, Obama grilled sausages with David Cameron in the garden of Number 10 during an event for British and American service personnel.

That said, in summing up his stay in the UK, Trump tweeted:

I will cover the president’s attendance at D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth and in Normandy in tomorrow’s post.

On Friday, May 24, 2019, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she would stand down as Conservative leader immediately and as Prime Minister once the Conservatives have elected a new leader.

The tension at No. 10 must have been palpable that morning, as the email with the text of her speech had no attachment. ITV’s Robert Peston tweeted:

Nonetheless:

The Guardian, among other media outlets, has the full text of her speech (emphases mine below):

Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as Prime Minister, I have striven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few, but for everyone. And to honour the result of the EU referendum. Back in 2016, we gave the British people a choice. Against all predictions, the British people voted to leave the European Union.

I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide. I have done my best to do that. I negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours that protects jobs, our security and our Union. I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so.

I tried three times. I believe it was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high. But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort.

So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen. I have agreed with the Party Chairman and with the Chairman of the 1922 Committee that the process for electing a new leader should begin in the following week. I have kept Her Majesty the Queen fully informed of my intentions, and I will continue to serve as her Prime Minister until the process has concluded.

It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit. It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum. To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not. Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise.

For many years the great humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton – who saved the lives of hundreds of children by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia through the Kindertransport – was my constituent in Maidenhead. At another time of political controversy, a few years before his death, he took me to one side at a local event and gave me a piece of advice. He said, ‘Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.’ He was right.

As we strive to find the compromises we need in our politics – whether to deliver Brexit, or to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland – we must remember what brought us here. Because the referendum was not just a call to leave the EU but for profound change in our country. A call to make the United Kingdom a country that truly works for everyone. I am proud of the progress we have made over the last three years.

We have completed the work that David Cameron and George Osborne started: the deficit is almost eliminated, our national debt is falling and we are bringing an end to austerity. My focus has been on ensuring that the good jobs of the future will be created in communities across the whole country, not just in London and the South East, through our Modern Industrial Strategy.

We have helped more people than ever enjoy the security of a job. We are building more homes and helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder – so young people can enjoy the opportunities their parents did. And we are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality. This is what a decent, moderate and patriotic Conservative Government, on the common ground of British politics, can achieve – even as we tackle the biggest peacetime challenge any government has faced.

I know that the Conservative Party can renew itself in the years ahead. That we can deliver Brexit and serve the British people with policies inspired by our values. Security; freedom; opportunity. Those values have guided me throughout my career.

But the unique privilege of this office is to use this platform to give a voice to the voiceless, to fight the burning injustices that still scar our society. That is why I put proper funding for mental health at the heart of our NHS long-term plan. It is why I am ending the postcode lottery for survivors of domestic abuse. It is why the Race Disparity Audit and gender pay reporting are shining a light on inequality, so it has nowhere to hide. And that is why I set up the independent public inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – to search for the truth, so nothing like it can ever happen again, and so the people who lost their lives that night are never forgotten.

Because this country is a Union. Not just a family of four nations. But a union of people – all of us. Whatever our background, the colour of our skin, or who we love. We stand together. And together we have a great future.

Our politics may be under strain, but there is so much that is good about this country. So much to be proud of. So much to be optimistic about. I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold – the second female Prime Minister but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.

When she got to the last five words of her announcement, she choked up and abruptly turned around before re-entering No. 10:

Here is her statement in full (start at 1:28, sorry for the closeup of Peston):

Brexit defeated Theresa May:

The Sun‘s political editor observed:

Peston called it correctly:

This is important to remember over the next several weeks:

The new Prime Minister should be in place by the time Parliament begins its summer recess. The 1922 Committee is comprised of Conservative MPs and will oversee this process:

Then again … please note:

The Guardian has more (emphases in the original, those in purple mine):

Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis and the vice-chairs of the 1922 Committee, Cheryl Gillan and Charles Walker, have issued a joint statement setting out the process for selecting a successor to Theresa May.

First they thank her for her service to the party as an activist, councillor, MP, a member of the shadow cabinet, party chairman, home secretary and, finally, prime minister.

“She embodies the finest qualities of public service and, with this decision, has once again demonstrated her strong sense of duty and devotion to the national interest,” they say.

They set out the following –

    • The timetable to select a new leader has been decided by the executive of the 1922 committee after consultation with the party board, which includes representatives of the voluntary, parliamentary and professional party.
    • Nominations will close in the week commencing 10 June, before “successive rounds of voting will take place until a final choice of candidates to put to a vote of all party members is determined”.
    • “We expect that process to be concluded by the end of June, allowing for a series of hustings around the UK for members to meet and question the candidates, then cast their votes in time for the result to be announced before Parliament rises for the summer,” they say.

So we should have a new prime minister by mid-July.

They conclude:

We are deeply conscious that the Conservatives are not just selecting the person best placed to become the new leader of our party, but also the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. That is a solemn responsibility, particularly at such an important time for our nation. We will therefore propose that the leadership election and hustings involve opportunities for non-members and people who may not yet vote Conservative to meet the candidates and put their questions to them too.

Peston points out that Graham Brady did not sign the 1922 Committee’s letter, even though he is its chairman. It is possible that Brady wants to throw his hat into the ring as a contender:

I assume the reason the chairman of 1922 committee of Tory MPs Graham Brady hasn’t signed letter setting out timetable for new leader and PM to be in place by 20 July is that he may well be a candidate to replace .

Soon afterwards:

By mid-afternoon:

Jeremy Hunt was the first to formally declare his own candidacy:

I doubt either of these men has a chance. The Conservatives must choose someone who can defeat Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, therefore, I predict Boris Johnson will be the next leader and PM.

May’s predecessor tweeted his appreciation of her service. It did not go down well. One person remembered that he stood down as party leader the morning the referendum results were in — around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 24, 2016:

He gave an empathetic interview to the BBC later in the afternoon:

Let us spare a moment to recall Cameron’s jaunty ‘doo-doo-doo-doo-Right!’ tune after he resigned:

Brexit is powerful, although, despite this tweet, not insurmountable:

I hope the new Spanish government’s concerns turn out to be accurate (emphases mine):

The Spanish government has described May’s decision to resign as “bad news”, warning that it significantly raised the prospect of a hard Brexit, reports the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent Sam Jones.

A hard Brexit in these circumstance seems an almost unstoppable reality,” the government’s spokewoman, Isabel Celaá, said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

Celaá said the announcement would disappoint all those “who want an orderly UK exit from the European Union”. But she said that Spain had contingency measures in place and would do everything possible to “guarantee the best situation” for Spanish citizens and businesses in the UK.

A No Deal Brexit does not mean a disorderly exit from the EU. Plans have been in place for months to implement No Deal processes, as drawn up by civil servants in Whitehall. No Deal was ready for implementation well in advance of Friday, March 29, 2019.

Outside of Brexit, I believe Theresa May was a good prime minister.

As far as Brexit went, however, her downfall started when she presented her deal at Chequers in July 2018. The principal members of her Brexit team at the time resigned. It is rumoured that her ‘deal’ — a treaty — was developed in Berlin by one of her advisers. I have read at least one article about it, but would like to see another source before writing more.

Whoever the next Conservative leader is, I hope he or she is a committed Leaver and will toss the whole of May’s deal into the long grass of history, where it belongs.

Fox’s Empire, the show no one ever heard of, which used to star someone we’d never heard of — until a few months ago — comes to an end in 2020.

Who can argue with this assessment?

Jussie Smollett, who played Jamal Lyon, was reportedly paid $60k per episode.

These days Smollett is likely sitting at home, because of his hoax crime in Chicago.

Vanity Fair summarises the situation well (emphases mine):

Smollett’s troubles began in late January, when the actor was hospitalized following what he claimed was a racist, homophobic attack. Police initially investigated the incident as a possible hate crime, but eventually set their sights on Smollett, arresting him on 16 counts of disorderly conduct. Weeks later, the charges were abruptly dropped—though Smollett and his legal team have continued to battle lawsuits from multiple parties, including the city of Chicago. In the midst of all of this, Smollett’s character was written off of the last couple episodes of Empire’s fifth season.

Deadline explains that Smollett’s character could be written back into the show’s sixth — and final — season, but there are no plans at present to do so:

… Fox Entertainment and now Disney-owned 20th Century Fox TV “negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for Season 6.”

However, with Jamal already written out of the final two episodes of Season 5 months ago as the situation around him grew more convoluted, the network and the studio added on April 30 that “at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire.”

Now there are no more plans for Empire to return to Fox beyond its next upcoming cycle, a fact that would have seemed absurd just a few years ago. In its first and second seasons, the  blockbuster drew big number from almost every facet. In fact, breaking the status quo of steady decline, for a while Empire was on a winning trajectory of growing almost every week in the ratings to hit new highs.

Not surprisingly, Fox Entertainment’s CEO did not discuss Smollett. From The Independent on Tuesday, May 14, 2019:

“We are turning the final season of Empire into a large television event,” Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier told a teleconference on Monday.

“One of the great benefits of announcing a final season is that you actually allow the fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.” 

Collier dodged questions about Smollett’s future in the show. Earlier this year, the actor was accused of allegedly staging an attack in which he said two masked men beat him, hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, doused him with a chemical substance and put a rope around his neck.

The hoax was difficult to believe from the start. First, it took place on the coldest night in recorded weather history. Secondly, no one would ever describe Chicago, a city full of Democrats, as ‘MAGA country’. Stupidity on stilts.

Any Remainers who missed last week’s BBC4 Storyville documentary about Brexit from a Brussels perspective must watch it before voting in the EU election on May 23, 2019.

The two-part documentary was made by Belgian film-maker, Lode Desmet, who spent two years with Guy Verhofstadt and his team in Brussels.

I did not watch it at the time, because it features Verhofstadt, whom I consider to be odious.

At the weekend, I read a British website where two Remainers commented after watching it. Both said they had changed their minds — to NO DEAL! Amazing.

After that, I looked the Storyville documentary up on YouTube, because BBC iPlayer said their videos could not be played at that time. On BBC iPlayer, part one is here and part two is here.

Each part is just under an hour long. I highly recommend them to everyone, particularly Remainers:

 

Conservative MP Mark Francois is absolutely correct:

What follows is part of his article for Brexit Central (emphases mine):

On one occasion – incredibly, bearing in mind he was on camera – one of Verhofstadt’s staffers, exclaimed on hearing that we had agreed to the 585-page so-called “Withdrawal Agreement”, that “We have made them a colony!”. The sheer joy that was evidenced on the faces of the European negotiators when it became apparent that we had acceded to the “Withdrawal Agreement” tells you everything you need to know about why they regarded it as a clear victory over Britain.

Again and again throughout the documentary, the UK’s negotiating tactics are derided by their interlocutors, including the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. The Prime Minister and her team are repeatedly disrespected and only on one occasion – when Dominic Raab took over as the Brexit Secretary – did any of the Europeans appear to believe that we had started to resist …

Verhofstadt and his highly self-satisfied team are then filmed watching the result of the first Meaningful Vote in Parliament in January 2019. When the “Withdrawal Agreement” was defeated by 230 votes (the largest defeat in parliamentary history as it turns out), their disappointment is palpable. The pattern is repeated for MV2 and MV3 – by which time Verhofstadt cannot bear to watch, as he has clearly realised what is going to happen.

I have never doubted that I was right to vote against the “Withdrawal Agreement”, but this dramatic insight only confirmed my deep conviction that we were fighting a surrender to the European Union all along. Indeed, Martin Selmayr, the Secretary General of the European Commission said some time ago (although not in the programme) that “Losing Northern Ireland was the price the UK would pay for Brexit”. It seems on reflection the House of Commons was not prepared to pay this price – and rightly so.

One other thing struck me when I watched the programme – as a patriotic Brit – which was that I could not help but be angered by the sheer arrogance of the people on camera and the utter disdain that they had for our country and its people. I was discussing this only yesterday with a TV producer who is a self-declared Remainer but who told me, in her own words:

I have always been pro-EU and I gladly voted Remain, but when I saw that documentary all I could think was – how dare you talk about us like that, f**k you!

As a media expert, she also volunteered that these people were not in any way self-conscious about being filmed – because they clearly thought that they were doing nothing wrong.

Ultimately:

I would urge every MP and indeed everyone who is thinking of casting a vote in the European Elections on 23rd May (which I hope will be as many people as possible) to watch this programme before deciding how to cast their ballot.

The European elite have completely given themselves away – on camera – and proven once and for all via this programme that 17.4 million people were right all along.

The EU elite do not give a fig about Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They are interested only in our money to fund their lavish Brussels lifestyles.

I am surprised that the BBC even showed this documentary, because it really paints a most unflattering portrait of the EU elite.

Therefore, this is one of those rare times I can honestly say, ‘Thank you, BBC!’

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