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Watford, England, a quick ride from London, was the setting for the 70th anniversary of NATO.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the host and, despite a few squabbles, everything went well.

Watford residents were probably the most consterned, not to mention inconvenienced.

On November 13, Hertfordshire Police began warning about the residents’ inability to circulate fully between Monday and Wednesday this week. The BBC reported (emphases mine):

Police in Hertfordshire are suggesting people work from home to avoid disruption caused by a meeting of world leaders in Watford next month.

Heads of state will congregate at the Grove Hotel on Wednesday, 4 December as part of Nato’s 70th anniversary summit.

Several roads and footpaths will be shut and the Grand Union Canal will be closed to both boats and pedestrians.

The force said it aimed to keep the impact to an “absolute minimum”.

The meeting is part of the London anniversary summit which Nato said will be “an opportunity for leaders to address current and emerging security challenges”.

Hertfordshire Constabulary has been liaising with the Metropolitan Police and other agencies to take measures to “minimise the impact on the community”.

Closures will be in place for all, or some, of the time between 06:00 GMT on 2 December and 20:00 GMT on 4 December but there will be access for emergency and essential services.

I heard from someone who has friends there that Watford ‘looked like a war zone’ with concrete bollards at the end of certain streets. Thankfully, it’s all over now.

On Monday, December 2, the Watford Observer reported on the road closures in town and included photos of security at The Grove, where Bilderberg met a few years ago in June. The Grove was once home to the Earls of Clarendon. Today, it is a pricey hotel and conference centre with a golf course.

One Observer reader commented:

I hope Herts tax payers aren’t paying for the extra security. The Bilderberg meeting cost us half a million.

The skies were busy:

As Conservative Party leader, Boris is in the midst of an election campaign. Voting day is Thursday, December 12. Therefore, given President Donald Trump’s universal unpopularity here, journalists believed that Boris would minimise his appearances and private meetings with him.

President Trump had his own concerns, as Democrats continued impeachment hearings on December 4:

This week it is the turn of the House Judiciary Committee:

Returning to NATO, The Sun has a good summary of the participants in and schedule for this year’s summit.

Boris interrupted his attendance with a few election campaign appearances:

This is a great photograph from Wednesday, December 4:

Before the summit began, The Spectator encapsulated the contentious tone that French president Emmanuel Macron had established:

This week is seminal for Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron. Boris, in Watford, is hosting one of the most important Nato summits for years. Its significance is not because it marks the Alliance’s 70th anniversary, but because of President Macron’s ‘disruptive’ and trenchant criticism of the Atlantic Alliance as close to ‘brain dead’, which has touched a nerve. The French President went on to reiterate his remarks at an Elysée press conference, with a visibly uncomfortable Nato Secretary General, three weeks later. Macron attacked the ‘strident and unacceptable disconnection’ from world threats during the last two Nato summits as being ‘uniquely devoted’, in his sarcastic words, ‘to finding solutions to how to lighten the United States’ financial costs’. All this, says Macron, while major strategic questions such as relations with Russia, Turkey and ‘who is the enemy?’ remain unanswered.

The Trumps arrived early Monday morning at Stansted Airport in Essex, not far from London. The Daily Mail has several photos of the Trumps’ arrival.

Ambassador Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson hosted the couple at Winfield House in Regent’s Park, the US ambassador’s palatial residence. American heiress Barbara Hutton had the neo-Georgian mansion custom built in 1936. After the Second World War, she sold it to the US Government for one dollar.

This was the scene on Monday night as the Trumps returned to Winfield House after a reception at No. 10 Downing Street. Amazingly, an NHS lorry just beat the motorcade. The ongoing false accusations of Labour against Boris planning on ‘selling the NHS’ to the United States made this all the more ironic:

President Trump has been rightly exercised over the refusal of nearly all NATO nations to pay their share, leaving the US to largely foot the bill:

In January, NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg agreed with Trump’s strategy:

Even James Mattis, who left the Trump administration as he and the president did not see eye to eye, admits that his former boss has improved NATO:

On Tuesday morning, the US president hit the ground running, beginning by co-hosting a breakfast at Winfield House with Jens Stoltenberg for principal NATO leaders and cabinet members:

He gave an extensive interview afterwards, covering 17 topics. Sky News has a good summary, some of which is excerpted below.

On the upcoming British election, he said:

On the NHS, he said:

I have nothing to do with it. Never even thought about it, honestly.

I don’t even know where that rumour started.

We have absolutely nothing to do with it, and we wouldn’t want to. If you handed it to us on a silver platter, we’d want nothing to do with it.

On Jeremy Corbyn:

I know nothing about the gentleman.

On France and, indirectly, Emmanuel Macron:

Nobody needs NATO more than France.

France is not doing well economically at all, they are struggling. It’s a tough statement to make when you have such difficulty in France.

You look at what happened with the Yellow Vests, they’ve had a rough year, you can’t go around making statements like that about NATO. It’s very disrespectful.

That’s why I think when France makes a statement like they do about NATO that’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.

On upcoming US and French taxes:

Well look, I’m not in love with those companies – Facebook, Google and all of them, Twitter – though I guess I do pretty well with Twitter on the other side – but I’m not necessarily in love with those companies. But they’re our companies, they’re American companies, I want to tax those companies.

They’re not going to be taxed by France. So France is going to put a tax on, it was totally out of the blue, they just had an idea, Emmanuel had an idea, let’s tax those companies, well they’re American companies. I’m not going to let people take advantage of American companies because if anyone’s going to take advantage of American companies it’s going to be us, it’s not going to be France.

And so we’re taxing, as you know, we’re taxing their wines, and everything else and we have a very, very big tax to put on them. Plus we have a tax going on on Airbus and that would be a good thing for Boeing but we’re only going to do that if it’s necessary.

But they’re American companies. I don’t want France taxing American companies. If they’re going to be taxed it’s going to be the United States that will tax them.

On North Korea and Kim Jong-Un:

Likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he? That’s why I call him rocket man.

We have a very good relationship and we’ll see what happens. It may work or not. But in the meantime, it’s been a long time. President Obama said it’s the number one problem and it would have been war. You’d be in a war right now if it weren’t for me.

If I weren’t president, you’d be in a war right now in Asia. And who knows where that leads? That brings in a lot of other countries.”

On Mr Kim, he added: ‘You know my relationship with Kim Jong Un is really good but that doesn’t mean he won’t abide by the agreement we signed. You have to understand, you have to go look at the first agreement that we signed. It said he will denuclearise. That’s what it said. I hope he lives up to the agreement but we’re going to find out.’

ZeroHedge had another remark from the US president on his French counterpart:

‘I do see France breaking off. I’m looking at him and I’m saying he [Macron] needs protection more than anybody and I see him breaking off, so I’m a little surprised at that,’ Trump said.

Returning to the NHS, here’s a video of Trump saying he’s not interested:

Labour supporters continue to circulate an old video saying he is. If the video you see does not look like the one immediately above, then it’s old — and obsolete.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall welcomed the Trumps to Clarence House for tea.

They then went to Buckingham Palace, where the Queen hosted a reception for NATO leaders:

The Daily Mail has extensive photos of both the reception and tea at Clarence House.

I cannot help but feel sorry for Her Majesty being squashed by Jens and Boris. Why could they not have given her some breathing room?

During the reception, Justin from Canada made his views known about Trump. He later admitted that he was talking about his meeting with the US president, which ended up being 40 minutes late because of the extended press conference:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, also in attendance, hoped to corner Trump to tell him not to engage in any trade negotiations regarding the NHS. In the event, Corbyn was on one side of the room and Trump on the other. They never met.

Meanwhile, several dozen radical protesters demonstrated outside:

Then it was on to No. 10, where Boris hosted a reception for NATO leaders. Some news reports said that Boris wasn’t there to greet them, but other news accounts said that he had been delayed by ten minutes in returning from Buckingham Palace.

In any event, since when does the Prime Minister personally open the door? It’s always a policeman or woman who handles that.

The Trumps looked ill at ease when they arrived, despite a choir singing Christmas carols in the background. Had they already found out about Justin from Canada’s hot mic moment at Buckingham Palace?

On Wednesday morning, Trump arrived at The Grove for the final day of the summit:

It is said that the president left early. He was there for the photo op. Perhaps he simply cancelled a second press conference. What more did he have to say?

The US president had his own hot mic moment that day:

In another NATO hot mic moment, President Donald Trump was recorded saying it was “funny” when he called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “two-faced.”

Interestingly, Boris’s key adviser, Dominic Cummings, was spotted sitting on the sidelines that day:

No doubt the residents of Watford were happy to see the sun go down that day, heralding a return to normality for them:

The summit went well, as the Estonian and Dutch prime ministers respectively tweeted:

President Trump was happy, too:

Back in the UK, later that day, questions for Boris still persisted about the NHS:

Politics aside, our Prime Minister can be pleased with his role in hosting the 70th NATO summit, which took place without incident.

Thursday, November 28, 2019, proved to be a memorable Thanksgiving in the United States and elsewhere — in Hong Kong.

This year’s Thanksgiving came later than usual. Country Living has an interesting article on how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt fixed the date for this American holiday. The article also says:

This year, the month of November begins on a Friday, which means the fourth Thursday of the month falls on Nov. 28—it’s the first time Thanksgiving has been this late since 2013.

The turkey pardon took place on Tuesday, November 26, at the White House. It is a relatively new tradition which began in 1989 under Bush I:

Americans could vote for either Bread or Butter to be pardoned:

This is the farmer who raised them:

Both turkeys went to Gobbler’s Rest at Virginia Tech, where pardoned turkeys and their mates go to enjoy a pampered retirement. Agricultural students study them for research purposes.

The event includes invitations to people in the media and elsewhere who are friends of the current president. This year, Judge Jeanine of Fox News was among the supporters who attended.

President Trump gave a speech that day, which included this:

… it was George H.W. Bush who first issued an official pardon.

In keeping with that tradition, today I will issue a pardon to a pair of very handsome birds: Butter and his alternate, Bread. (Laughter.) …

Their names were chosen by the students of Harrells Christian Academy in North Carolina. Great state.

Bread and Butter were raised in Tar Heel State by farmer Wellie Jackson, who’s here with us with his wife Tara and their lovely family. And I want to thank you very much. Great job. Great job. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

He made a few impeachment jokes:

Thankfully, Bread and Butter have been specially raised by the Jacksons to remain calm under any condition, which will be very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday. (Laughter and applause.) It’s true. Hundreds of people have. It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey. (Laughter.)

On a serious note, President Trump had these words for the holiday:

This Thanksgiving, we bow our heads in gratitude for the newfound prosperity and spirit that’s taking place all across America. The country has never been more successful. Our military has been rebuilt. We captured the number-one terrorist in the world and killed the number-one terrorist in the world — al-Baghdadi. And I want to thank our military because there’s nothing like our military. (Applause.)

And I want to thank almighty God for the — shedding his grace on our nation. Our nation is special and we especially send our love to members of the United States Armed Forces serving all around the world. We are forever thankful for those who wear our nation’s uniform and the families who support them. The families are so important. They can never be the same without those great families. Because of their selfless service, millions of our follow Americans are celebrating another wonderful Thanksgiving in safety and in peace.

And it’s just a very special country, a very special place — the Rose Garden at the White House. If you’re looking back here, that’s the Oval Office. Some of you haven’t been here before. But every time we walk onto the grounds of the White House, we realize how special it is.

So now we reach the moment Bread and Butter have been waiting for so patiently — their presidential pardons. Melania and I wish all Americans a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. We love you all.

On Thursday, in the world of nature, Alaskan moose shared their own Thanksgiving meal:

Meanwhile, in the Lower 48, two beautiful turkeys enjoyed the day in freedom:

The skies had been busy with scheduled flights getting Americans home for Thanksgiving:

President Trump issued greetings:

Meanwhile, half a world away, Hong Kong residents held a Thanksgiving Day rally in appreciation of the signing of the Hong Kong Rights and Democracy Act:

Demonstrators carried photos of a mock-up Rocky picture recently tweeted from the president’s Twitter account:

Back in the United States, kids of all ages were delighted when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade television broadcast began.

New Yorkers enjoy it, too:

The New York Police Department have a huge role to play in ensuring all goes well:

For anyone wishing to distract children during the holiday period, here’s the 2019 parade in full: all two hours of it. I used to love watching this as a kid, so I’m sure yours will, too. The huge balloons of cartoon characters are amazing. Highly recommended:

Moving on to the Trumps, here is the latest photo of First Son, 13-year-old Barron, who now seems to be taller than his father:

Newsweek — now only online, no longer in print — blasted the US president: ‘How is Trump spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, golfing and more’.

The Trumps gathered together at Mar a Lago in Palm Beach. There was only one official item scheduled for Thursday:

Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted:

That evening, President Trump embarked on a secret Thanksgiving mission. He left Palm Beach for Joint Base Andrews:

Trump was on his way to Afghanistan to celebrate Thanksgiving with American troops:

This is a splendid photo of his arrival at Baghram Air Force Base in Afghanistan:

The Afghani president was also in attendance:

President Ashraf Ghani stood just behind President Trump during his remarks:

The troops were delighted to see their Commander in Chief and share dinner with him:

Then it was time to return home:

The next day’s shopping revenues were superlative — and the best ever for online sales. Americans can thank Trump for that:

Thank Trump, America!

The sensible among you are grateful. That I know.

May our good Lord continue to guide the American president through the daily drama that his enemies dish up. They will not win.

——————————————————————–

UPDATE — The Newsweek reporter who wrote the aforementioned article has been fired. On Saturday, November 30, the Washington Examiner reported:

The Newsweek reporter who wrote an inaccurate story about President Trump’s Thanksgiving Day plans has been fired. The outlet’s original story claimed the president only planned on tweeting and golfing during his holiday break, neglecting to mention his trip to Afghanistan.

Newsweek’s Jessica Kwong, whose Twitter handle identifies her as a political reporter “covering Trump administration and family,” initially published the article Thursday morning, before the president’s trip to Afghanistan was announced publicly …

Hours after the president’s trip was announced, Newsweek edited Kwong’s story and added a note at the bottom of it. The beginning of the story now focuses on the president’s trip and his speech to the troops, while the new headline reads, “How is Trump spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, golfing — and surprising U.S. troops in Afghanistan.”

The note at the end of the story reads, “This story has been substantially updated and edited at 6:17 p.m. EST to reflect the president’s surprise trip to Afghanistan. Additional reporting by James Crowley.”

— —
UPDATE: Kwong put some of the blame for the story on her editor. Read more here.
— —

That article has a statement from Newsweek:

Newsweek investigated the failures that led to the publication of the inaccurate report that President Trump spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan,” a Newsweek representative previously told the Washington Examiner. “The story has been corrected, and the journalist responsible has been terminated. We will continue to review our processes and, if required, take further action.”

Newsweek did not answer additional questions about the editor’s status with the outlet or if they would face any consequences over the publication of the story.

For a change, below are three stories one can file under ‘happy news’.

This little fellow from England has taken his first steps at the age of four. He has a rare form of cerebral palsy and recently underwent an operation to reduce the spasticity in his legs. The video is subtitled, so you can read more about him. The joy on his face is a sight to behold. God is good:

Speaking of walking, the little boy thrown from the third floor of the Mall of America on April 12 is once again fully ambulatory. I bet his and his family’s Thanksgiving was extra special this year. God is good:

On November 23, Fox News reported (emphases mine):

The 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a Mall of America third-floor balcony and survived is “walking perfectly” and could be off his medication soon.

The family of Landen Hoffman gave an update about the boy on a GoFundMe page, saying the open wound on his belly had “finally scabbed over and new skin is growing.”

“Mom has been doing everything she can to speed up the healing of his wound and working toward getting off some of his medications,” the post said.

Hoffman was hospitalized with two broken arms, a broken leg and fractures to his face and skull when Emmanuel Aranda, 24, tossed him about 40 feet during a random attack at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. on April 12.

He was forced to undergo 15 separate medical procedures and surgeries due to the injuries and “severe complications.” He returned home months later.

Now, Hoffman [is] said to be enjoying life and is going to kindergarten with his twin brother and sister.

“He gets out of the car every morning happy and blows kisses all the way in! He’s a strong, happy boy,” the post added. “When his mommy asks him if she can look at his wound or asks how he’s doing, he always responds with ‘Mom, I’m healed, you don’t need to ask me anymore.’ Landen loves life and Jesus!”

It continued: “He tells people all the time when they get hurt, don’t worry, I fell off a cliff, but Angels caught me and Jesus loves me, so I’m ok and you will be too!”

Bless his heart.

And, finally, did you know the adorable baby portraits on the Gerber baby food jars are of real infants? Ann Turner Cook, the model for the original portrait, turned 93 last week:

ABC News reported on an Instagram post celebrating the occasion:

“For over 90 years, it’s been our pleasure to welcome countless babies to our ever-growing Gerber family,” the caption said. “Our dedication to each and every generation of little ones has long been part of our heritage, and we’ll always take time to celebrate a true classic!”

The iconic charcoal sketch was first created by Cook’s neighbor, Dorothy Hope Smith, who specialized in children’s portraits and submitted the sketch to Gerber, according to the company.

The irresistible baby first appeared on Gerber products in 1928 and became the company’s official trademark in 1931.

Many happy returns, Ms Cook!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers!

Thursday, November 28, 2019 is the nation’s day for turkey, Macy’s Parade and football.

It’s a hectic day for anyone — likely to be a woman — who prepares Thanksgiving dinner. By the end of Thursday, home cooks are understandably tired.

Some are tired all year round from household chores.

However, there is an upside to these tiresome tasks, as New York City’s WOR radio talk show host, Mark Simone, explains in the following list:

So, it’s not all bad.

In fact, it’s all good.

For that reason, let us say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all His blessings.

Of course, Thanksgiving is meant to be about leftovers and tasty treats that last through the weekend. Anyone who needs a few quick food ideas should read an excellent Thanksgiving recipe thread led by one of my readers, Daughn at the Q Tree. Daughn begins by sharing personal Thanksgiving anecdotes guaranteed to warm the heart.

For those who like a bit of political discussion with relatives and friends over roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, take the Nolan Chart test: a quick ten-question survey guaranteed to stimulate conversation. As ever, I tested as a centrist.

Wherever you are in the world and however you choose to spend it, have a very happy Thanksgiving Day!

This week’s posts have largely been about last Saturday’s televised interview that Prince Andrew gave to BBC Newsnight‘s Emily Maitlis.

My post from Tuesday has a link to the full interview, and for those wondering why the public sentiment is so against him, here are several reasons. Yesterday’s post featured his announcement to retire from public life and subtitled video clips from the interview.

Today’s looks at the reasons why Prince Andrew maintained his friendship with the late Jeffrey Epstein. The following quotes are taken from the transcript as published in The Express. Emily Maitlis is ‘Interviewer’.

It’s quite a read, according to this Sunday Times journalist:

How they met

It appears that Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s erstwhile girlfriend, introduced the two (emphases mine):

Well I met through his girlfriend back in 1999 who…and I’d known her since she was at university in the UK and it would be, to some extent, a stretch to say that as it were we were close friends. I mean we were friends because of other people and I had a lot of opportunity to go to the United States but I didn’t have much time with him.

I suppose I saw him once or twice a year, perhaps maybe maximum of three times a year and quite often if I was in the United States and doing things and if he wasn’t there, he would say “well, why don’t you come and use my houses?” so I said “that’s very kind, thank you very much indeed”.

But it would be a considerable stretch to say that he was a very, very close friend. But he had the most extraordinary ability to bring extraordinary people together and that’s the bit that I remember as going to the dinner parties where you would meet academics, politicians, people from the United Nations, I mean it was a cosmopolitan group of what I would describe as US eminents.

Interviewer: Was that his appeal then?

Prince Andrew: Yeah.

Maitlis asked the prince if the two of them enjoyed partying:

because you were perceived by the public as being the party prince, was that something you shared?

Prince Andrew: Well, I think that’s also a bit of a stretch. I don‘t know why I’ve collected that title because I don’t…I never have really partied. I was single for quite a long time in the early 80s but then after I got married I was very happy and I’ve never really felt the need to go and party and certainly going to Jeffrey’s was not about partying, absolutely not.

This might help jog his memory:

And what about this?

Back to the interview.

Maitlis asked if he trusted Epstein:

Yes, I think I probably did but again, I mean I don’t go into a friendship looking for the wrong thing, if you understand what I mean. I’m an engaging person, I want to be able to engage, I want to find out, I want to learn and so you have to remember that I was transitioning out of the Navy at the time and in the transition I wanted to find out more about what was going on because in the Navy it’s a pretty isolated business because you’re out at sea the whole time and I was going to become the special representative for international trade and investment.

So I wanted to know more about what was going on in the international business world and so that was another reason for going there. And the opportunities that I had to go to Wall Street and other places to learn whilst I was there were absolutely vital.

Epstein’s visits to the UK

Emily Maitlis then asked about Epstein’s visits to the UK as his guest:

Interviewer: He was your guest as well, in 2000 Epstein was a guest at Windsor Castle and at Sandringham, he was brought right into the heart of the royal family at your invitation.

Prince Andrew: But certainly at my invitation, not at the royal family’s invitation but remember that it was his girlfriend that was the key element in this. He was the, as it were, plus one, to some extent in that aspect.

Interviewer: Am I right in thinking you threw a birthday party for Epstein’s girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell at Sandringham?

Prince Andrew: No, it was a shooting weekend.

Interviewer: A shooting weekend.

Prince Andrew: Just a straightforward, a straightforward shooting weekend.

Interviewer: But during these times that he was a guest at Windsor Castle, at Sandringham, the shooting weekend…

Prince Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: We now know that he was and had been procuring young girls for sex trafficking.

All above board in Epstein’s houses?

Prince Andrew then said that he never noticed anything abnormal about Epstein’s houses other than the number of people at all times of day.

He was also a patron of the Full Stop campaign for the UK’s NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) early after the Millennium, a position he held until 2009.

Oh, the irony.

Prince Andrew: We now know that, at the time there was no indication to me or anybody else that that was what he was doing and certainly when I saw him either in the United States…oh no when I saw him in the United States or when I was staying in his houses in the United States, there was no indication, absolutely no indication. And if there was, you have to remember that at the time I was Patron of the NSPCC’s Full Stop campaign so I was close up with what was going on in those time about getting rid of abuse to children so I knew what the things were to look for but I never saw them.

Interviewer: So you would have made that connection because you stayed with him, you were a visitor, a guest on many occasions at his homes and nothing struck you as suspicious

Prince Andrew: Nothing.

Interviewer: …during that whole time.

Prince Andrew: Nothing.

Could it be a matter of perception? In an appearance this week on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Lady Colin Campbell (second tweet) made a dubious distinction:

Moving along:

Interviewer: Just for the record, you’ve been on his private plane.

Prince Andrew: Yes.

Interviewer: You’ve been to stay on his private island.

Prince Andrew: Yes.

Interviewer: You’ve stayed at his home in Palm Beach.

Prince Andrew: Yes.

Interviewer: You visited Ghislaine Maxwell’s house in Belgravia in London.

Prince Andrew: Yes.

Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party — 2006

Maitlis asked Prince Andrew about inviting Epstein to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party:

Interviewer: So in 2006 in May an arrest warrant was issued for Epstein for sexual assault of a minor.

Prince Andrew: Yes.

Interviewer: In July he was invited to Windsor Castle to your daughter, Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday, why would you do that?

Prince Andrew: Because I was asking Ghislaine. But even so, at the time I don’t think I…certainly I wasn’t aware when the invitation was issued what was going on in the United States and I wasn’t aware until the media picked up on it because he never said anything about it.

Interviewer: He never discussed with you the fact that an arrest warrant had been issued?

Prince Andrew: No.

Interviewer: So he came to that party knowing police were investigating him.

Prince Andrew: Well I’m not quite sure, was it police? I don’t know, you see, this is the problem, I really don’t know.

Interviewer: It was the Palm Beach Police at the time.

Prince Andrew: But I mean I’m afraid, you see this is the problem is that an awful lot of this was going on in the United States and I wasn’t a party to it and I knew nothing about it.

Epstein’s 2008 conviction

The prince said that contact with Epstein was in abeyance for a few years:

Interviewer: In 2008 he was convicted of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution, he was jailed, this was your friend, how did you feel about it?

Prince Andrew: Well I ceased contact with him after I was aware that he was under investigation and that was later in 2006 and I wasn’t in touch with him again until 2010. So just it was one of those things that somebody’s going through that sort of thing well I’m terribly sorry I can’t be…see you.

The 2010 dinner party

To celebrate his freedom, Epstein threw a private dinner party in December 2010. Prince Andrew was a guest of honour:

Interviewer: He was released in July, within months by December of 2010 you went to stay with him at his New York mansion, why? Why were you staying with a convicted sex offender?

Prince Andrew: Right, I have always…ever since this has happened and since this has become, as it were, public knowledge that I was there, I’ve questioned myself as to why did I go and what was I doing and was it the right thing to do? Now, I went there with the sole purpose of saying to him that because he had been convicted, it was inappropriate for us to be seen together.

And I had a number of people counsel me in both directions, either to go and see him or not to go and see him and I took the judgement call that because this was serious and I felt that doing it over the telephone was the chicken’s way of doing it. I had to go and see him and talk to him.

And I went to see him and I was doing a number of other things in New York at the time and we had an opportunity to go for a walk in the park and that was the conversation coincidentally that was photographed which was when I said to him, I said “look, because of what has happened, I don’t think it is appropriate that we should remain in contact” and by mutual agreement during that walk in the park we decided that we would part company and I left, I think it was the next day and to this day I never had any contact with him from that day forward.

Interviewer: What did he say when you told him that you were breaking up the friendship?

Prince Andrew: He was what I would describe as understanding, he didn’t go into any great depth in the conversation about what I was…what he was doing, except to say that he’d accepted, whatever it was, a plea bargain, he’d served his time and he was carrying on with his life if you see what I mean and I said “yes but I’m afraid to say that that’s as maybe but with all the attendant scrutiny on me then I don’t think it is a wise thing to do”.

Interviewer: Who advised you then that it was a good idea to go and break up the friendship? Did that come from the palace, was Her Majesty, the Queen involved?

Prince Andrew: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, that came from…so there were a number of people who…so some people from my staff, some people from friends and family I was talking to and I took the decision that it was I had to show leadership and I had to go and see him and I had to tell him “that’s it”.

Interviewer: That was December of 2010.

Prince Andrew: Yep. 

Interviewer: He threw a party to celebrate his release and you were invited as the guest of honour.

Prince Andrew: No, I didn’t go. Oh, in 2010, there certainly wasn’t a party to celebrate his release in December because it was a small dinner party, there were only 8 or 10 of us I think at the dinner. If there was a party then I’d know nothing about that.

Interviewer: You were invited to that dinner as a guest of honour.

Prince Andrew: Well I was there so there was a dinner, I don’t think it was quite as you might put it but yeah, okay I was there for…I was there at a dinner, yeah.

However, it was not as if the prince stayed in a hotel or with other friends and went to Epstein’s only to dine. No, he was a houseguest of his:

Interviewer: I’m just trying to work this out because you said you went to break up the relationship and yet you stayed at that New York mansion several days. I’m wondering how long?

Prince Andrew: But I was doing a number of other things while I was there.

Interviewer: But you were staying at the house

Prince Andrew: Yes.

Interviewer: …of a convicted sex offender.

Prince Andrew: It was a convenient place to stay. I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times. At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.

Interviewer: Because during that time, those few days, witnesses say they saw many young girls coming and going at the time. There is video footage of Epstein accompanied by young girls and you were there staying in his house, catching up with friends.

Prince Andrew: I never…I mean if there were then I wasn’t a party to any of that. I never saw them. I mean you have to understand that his house, I described it more as almost as a railway station if you know what I mean in the sense that there were people coming in and out of that house all the time.

What they were doing and why they were there I had nothing to do with. So I’m afraid I can’t make any comment on that because I really don’t know.

Why he was friends with Epstein

Prince Andrew explained why he maintained his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein:

Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful. He himself not, as it were, as close as you might think, we weren’t that close. So therefore I mean yes I would go and stay in his house but that was because of his girlfriend, not because of him.

Also:

As far as Mr Epstein was concerned, it was the wrong decision to go and see him in 2010. As far as my association with him was concerned, it had some seriously beneficial outcomes in areas that have nothing and have nothing to do with what I would describe as what we’re talking about today.

On balance, could I have avoided ever meeting him? Probably not and that’s because of my friendship with Ghislaine, it was…it was…it was inevitable that we would have come across each other. Do I regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes.

There’s a lot more those interested can read on their own.

Update

This is what happened on Monday and Tuesday before the prince announced his retirement from public life for the foreseeable future.

It appears that the Queen did give the go-ahead for this interview. On Tuesday, November 19, The Express reported that, although she is standing by her son, his charities’ supporters are not:

THE Queen has thrown her support behind Prince Andrew. It comes despite worldwide criticism over his TV interview on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal and a backlash from supporters of his charity patronages.

Sources confirmed that the 93-year-old monarch granted her approval for the Duke of York to give an interview to BBC Newsnight and stands by him. She signalled her backing as Andrew made it clear last night that he “regrets” the whole scenario and not expressing sympathy for the paedophile’s victims. And it emerged yesterday that key sponsors and supporters of Andrew’s charities are reviewing their involvement with him.

Sky News reported on KPMG on Monday:

However, The Express article says that KPMG might have taken the decision prior to the fateful interview:

Royal sources stressed KPMG’s decision was taken before the furore over Andrew’s interview with Newsnight. But the eighth in line to the throne, 59, has been embroiled in controversy since the summer, when previously sealed evidence, including claims about him cavorting with young women in the pay of Epstein, was released.

Another partner of Pitch@Palace, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, has indicated it is considering ending its work with the duke.

The article also said that the University of Huddersfield will keep the prince on as chancellor (patron), as the students only ‘discussed’ a petition for him to stand down.

Palace officials are concerned, because the Royal Family is supposed to stay out of the limelight during a general election campaign:

During campaigns, the Royal Family continue normal duties, but are usually urged to be careful to avoid doing anything that will attract controversy and distract attention from the politicians.

Labour supporters have said Andrew’s problems have disadvantaged their party particularly because it is behind in the polls and needs maximum media attention to have a chance of catching up.

The media have been asking politicians their views on the interview. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wisely refuses to be drawn in. Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates, when asked for their opinions, have been critical of the prince.

At the end of the article, Royal Family author Phil Dampier posted an editorial blaming the present situation on the lack of seasoned courtiers currently advising the Queen:

She has lost some experienced advisers in the past couple of years. It seems likely as Buckingham Palace has said she was made aware of it, that she allowed him to get on with it without worrying too much about the details. She has always indulged Andrew and at 93 and 98 she and Prince Philip don’t have the same grip on the family that they used to have

But in the past few years the Queen has appeared to exercise less authority over her family, not least when her private secretary Christopher Geidt was forced out in 2017, apparently because of opposition from other members of the family and their households.

The fallout from this interview is just another sign of the looser grip she is exercising now that we are in a period when the monarchy is gradually preparing itself for a handover to Prince Charles.

Another article in The Express says that when Prince Philip stepped away from public life a few years ago, the fabric of the Royal Family began to unravel:

The Royal Family is missing the involvement of Prince Philip, with royal commentators warning Prince Andrew’s calamitous BBC interview is evidence the Queen has “lost control” of Buckingham Palace. The Duke of Edinburgh, who at 98 no longer plays an active royal role, was widely considered to be “the disciplinarian in the family” and one commentator has said his departure from royal duties has led to a series of royal upsets.

This includes rifts between brothers William and Harry, Meghan Markle’s claims she is struggling with adjusting to royal life and now Prince Andrew’s “car crash interview”.

Veteran courtiers have suggested if Philip was still actively involved, there would have been “no way on this Earth” he would have allowed Andrew to be interviewed.

The Mirror’s Royal Editor Russel Myers has said in the past, the Duke of Edinburgh has warned against media interviews.

Currently, the duke is at Sandringham for health reasons, The Express says:

The Duke of Edinburgh has been staying during the past weeks at Wood Farm, a five-bedroom house on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, where he spends his days reading and “pottering around”, according to a royal insider.

They told The Sun: “A few weeks ago Philip had a bit of a wobble and hasn’t felt so energetic

“Until recently he has been very active — carriage riding, fishing at Balmoral and driving around royal estates — although he no longer drives on public roads following his crash in January …“

I wish the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh all the best. They are a very close couple, each other’s best friend.

However, the spotlight remains on their son. A November 19 report in The Express discusses David McClure, author of Royal Legacy, who wonders how Prince Andrew can fund his lavish lifestyle:

The Duke of York has two large properties including a £13 million chalet in Switzerland ski resort Verbier and the 30-room Royal Lodge in Windsor Park.

He travels extensively and while nowadays this is mostly for the work in the past he has enjoyed regular skiing trips, jaunts in St Tropez and golfing holidays.

McClure said:

There is a mystery as to what he lives on and where his money comes from.

“Andrew’s situation raises the wider issue of the lack of meaningful employment opportunities for middle-ranking royals.

Traditionally the armed services have been the port of call for princes like him.

But he left the navy at the age of 41 in 2001 and since then he has struggled to find a proper role in life.”

The Times reported Prince Andrew’s main income comes directly from Queen Elizabeth II  and is used to maintain his office at Buckingham Palace and pay for his private secretary.

This money comes from the income the Queen receives from her property portfolio The Duchy of Lancaster and amounts to around £249,000 a year.

This year the duchy’s profits amounted to £21.7 million.

Will we ever know? I wonder.

On Tuesday, November 5, 2019, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas team posted a ‘hot mic’ video about ABC’s 2016 cover-up of Jeffrey Epstein. This is a must-watch:

In August 2019, ABC’s Amy Robach expressed her frustration to an ABC colleague about the network’s spiking the news story. Project Veritas has more (emphases mine):

Newly revealed footage leaked by an ABC insider has exposed how network executives rejected allegations against Jeffrey Epstein years ago, even though there was content regarding the merit of those claims in-hand.

Amy Robach, ‘Good Morning America’ Co-Host and Breaking News Anchor at ABC, explains how a witness came forward years ago with information pertaining to Epstein, but Disney-owned ABC News refused to air the material for years. Robach vents her anger in a “hot mic” moment with an off-camera producer, explaining that ABC quashed the story in its early stages. “I’ve had this interview with Virginia Roberts (Now Virginia Guiffre) [alleged Epstein victim]. We would not put it on the air. Um, first of all, I was told “Who’s Jeffrey Epstein. No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.”

This was in 2016, during the presidential election campaign. Hillary Clinton was the Democrat candidate, and the footage, Robach says, would have implicated former president Bill Clinton. If aired, that could well have put an end to Hillary’s campaign. We all know she was supposed to win.

Robach says she and her team encouraged Virginia Roberts Giuffre to come out of the shadows and discuss her horrific years with Epstein, which she did.

At this point in 2016, ABC was weeks away from getting an interview with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — Wills and Kate:

She continues, “The Palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways.”

Robach does not think Epstein committed suicide, as was widely reported:

Robach goes on to express she believes that Epstein was killed in prison saying, “So do I think he was killed? 100% Yes, I do…He made his whole living blackmailing people… Yup, there were a lot of men in those planes. A lot of men who visited that Island, a lot of powerful men who came into that apartment.”

Robach repeats a prophetic statement purportedly made by Attorney Brad Edwards “…[T]here will come a day when we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known,” and [d]isgustedly Robach states “I had it all three years ago.”

Later on November 5, Robach and ABC issued their own statements. The images below come courtesy of Project Veritas:

The Project Veritas went viral that day:

There were another 500,000 views three hours later:

This exposé might not have been covered in much of the Western world that day, but at least it made Australia’s news …

… and Fox News in the US:

It’s hard to disagree with that.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Sanders’s father, adds:

Later, CNN covered the story but without a reference to Project Veritas, only ‘an activist group’.

On November 6, The Daily Caller reported that ABC was looking for the person who leaked the video. The article explains how CBS could be connected:

ABC News has launched an investigation to determine who leaked the video of anchor Amy Robach alleging that the network killed her story on Jeffrey Epstein, it said in a statement Wednesday …

ABC News is trying to determine who leaked the video to Project Veritas, according to a statement from the outlet, journalist Yashar Ali wrote Wednesday.

“We take violations of company policy very seriously, and we’re pursuing all avenues to determine the source of the leak,” a spokesperson for ABC News said according to Ali.

ABC News also allegedly knows the former employee who had access to the video of Robach, two sources with knowledge of the situation told Ali. The outlet is still unsure if that person leaked the footage to Project Veritas or if they shared it with others who leaked it.

The former employee is now allegedly working at CBS News, the sources said, according to Ali. CBS News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Daily Caller article includes part of Ali’s Twitter thread on the developing story:

Not only is there a possible CBS connection but a possible Disney one, too:

The petition is gathering strength:

I wish James O’Keefe and his team the best of luck with this and other exposés:

We know if conservatives were covering up major news stories about highly corrupt and destructive people, it would be all over the news 24/7 for months — and worse:

This story is developing:

Again, best wishes to all concerned who are helping Project Veritas.

On Sunday, October 27, 2019, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden was denied Holy Communion at Mass in South Carolina because he has publicly supported abortion.

Fox News reported that Biden, a self-described ‘practising Catholic’, had no comment on being refused the Sacrament:

“I’m not going to discuss that,” Biden told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell in an on-air phone interview on Tuesday.

Biden and his wife attended Mass at the St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence during a campaign stop, but he was denied Holy Communion — seen by Catholics as receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ — after the pastor took issue with Biden’s support of a woman’s right to an abortion.

The pastor of St Anthony’s was quite open about the refusal:

“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Rev. Robert Morey said in a statement on Monday. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching. As a priest, it is my responsibility to minister to those souls entrusted to my care, and I must do so even in the most difficult situations. I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers.”

Good for him. It was unlikely to have been an easy decision to make, considering the former vice president’s status as a political celebrity.

A Catholic pastor, Fr Ryan of St Mary’s in Huntingburg, Indiana, explains the finer points of refusing Holy Communion:

However, Biden is on public record for his support of abortion ‘rights’. Note in particular the first tweet below. The Scripture citation is 1 Corinthians 11:29:

Every Catholic knows what the rules are for Holy Communion.

Joe Biden should have learned from John Kerry in 2004.

That said, perhaps supporting abortion means more to the two of them than receiving Communion.

Now there’s something to think about.

CNN calls itself ‘the most trusted name in news’.

It might have been 40 years ago, when it actually reported news.

Since 2015, however, CNN’s chief Jeff Zucker has issued a policy of anti-Trump editorialising all the time.

On October 14, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas posted a 19-minute video full of interviews with CNN employees, most of whom complain that Jeff Zucker has gone far enough, perhaps too far, with the anti-Trump narrative. Please take time this weekend to watch this fascinating undercover exposé:

Employees interviewed say that Zucker has a mandatory 9 a.m. telephone call issuing the day’s anti-Trump theme. Most often, this is impeachment, impeachment, impeachment.

The interviewees are not Trump supporters, but even they say this is taking away from CNN’s ability — and their own desire — to cover real news, not editorials.

Staff members say that Zucker helped create the Trump media ‘monster’ by overpublicising him since 2015.

The White House has seen the film, as a campaign lawyer mentions the main CNN whistleblower Cary Poarch in writing. The letter below, dated October 16, 2019, gives notice that Donald J Trump for President, Inc., intends to take legal action against the network:

The day before, Trump tweeted:

Oh, if only.

James O’Keefe has experienced Twitter labelling portions of the Project Veritas video as ‘sensitive content’:

Twitter also omitted the Project Veritas video from their trending list, as O’Keefe explains in the next video:

This is the link to the video of Cary Poarch and Sean Hannity. This Fox News article has a brief summary of the interview.

By the time the Hannity interview took place, Poarch was no longer with the network. Hannity described him as a ‘contractor’ and ‘former satellite uplink technician at CNN’s Washington, D.C. bureau’. Poarch told Hannity that he had problems sleeping at night because of CNN’s extreme bias.

Poarch said he was a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 and voted for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson that year.

He told Hannity that he and his boss discussed his resignation, which, at the time, they agreed would be voluntary. However, the Project Veritas video circulated so widely and so quickly that the network terminated his employment that day.

The next video, from October 17, features a CNN employee saying that the House of Representatives abuses its power everyday, yet Congressmen and Congresswomen are trying to impeach President Trump for no justifiable reason:

Not everyone at CNN agrees with that assessment. The next video shows an employee saying that the anti-Trump coverage will only go away if the president dies! Pathological:

There have also been sexual shenanigans going on at CNN:

This is a terrible state of affairs but one many of us already suspected.

I congratulate Project Veritas for finally being able to expose CNN.

William ‘Bill’ Pelham Barr is America’s current attorney general.

He has been in various government positions since the Reagan years in the 1980s.

Prior to that, he was a member of the CIA between 1973 and 1977, after having served as a summer intern in 1971 and 1972.

Between 1982 and 1983, he served in the Reagan White House as Deputy Assistant Director for Legal Policy on a domestic level.

He built his legal career at the law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge from 1978 to 1982, resuming after he left his position with Reagan in 1983. He remained with the firm until 1989.

During the George HW Bush years, he began working as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel in 1989. In 1990, he became deputy attorney general before being promoted the following year to acting attorney general. Later in 1991, he was appointed attorney general after an unusually smooth two-day confirmation hearing. He served in that capacity until 1993.

In 1994, he re-entered the private sector and worked for GTE Corporation as executive vice president and general counsel.

In 2009, he joined the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, then left to work as a consultant for various corporations, advising them on government enforcement matters and regulatory litigation issues. He rejoined Kirkland & Ellis in 2017.

During President Trump’s first two years in office, Barr, unsolicited, came to his aid, defending the president’s outspoken statements, including those about Hillary Clinton. In another unsolicited move, Barr sent a 20-page memo to the Department of Justice criticising the Mueller investigation, even though Robert Mueller and his wife are close friends of Barr and his wife.

In December 2018, Trump nominated Barr for the attorney general position to succeed Jeff Sessions. He was sworn in on Valentine’s Day 2019.

As for his personal life, both his father and mother were educators. His mother, Mary Margaret Ahern, lectured at Columbia University. She brought her son up as a Roman Catholic. She must have had a strong influence in matters religious at home, because Barr’s father, Donald, converted from Judaism and became a Catholic. He is probably best known for being headmaster at the Dalton School in Manhattan in the early 1970s.

Barr attended Columbia University, earning his BA in government in 1971 and an MA in government and Chinese studies in 1973.

He earned his law degree in 1977 at George Washington University Law School, graduating with highest honours.

Barr married Christine Moynihan in 1973. The Barrs have three daughters, all of whom have government jobs.

Barr is an avid bagpiper and is a past member of the City of Washington Pipe Band.

——————————————————————————

On Friday, October 11, 2019, William Barr spoke at the University of Notre Dame, just outside of South Bend, Indiana.

He addressed the university’s law school and de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture.

These are the headlines:

I am most grateful to one of my readers, GA/FL, who supplied me with the link to the transcript of his talk at Notre Dame.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

Barr began by explaining what America’s Founding Fathers had in mind for religious freedom. This differs to the false secularist narrative so prevalent today:

From the Founding Era onward, there was strong consensus about the centrality of religious liberty in the United States.

The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety. It reflects the Framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.

In his renowned 1785 pamphlet, “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments,” James Madison described religious liberty as “a right towards men” but “a duty towards the Creator,” and a “duty….precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”

It has been over 230 years since that small group of colonial lawyers led a revolution and launched what they viewed as a great experiment, establishing a society fundamentally different than those that had gone before.

They crafted a magnificent charter of freedom – the United States Constitution – which provides for limited government, while leaving “the People” broadly at liberty to pursue our lives both as individuals and through free associations.

This quantum leap in liberty has been the mainspring of unprecedented human progress, not only for Americans, but for people around the world.

He went on to say that this philosophy began to change in the late 20th century, continuing on to the present day. I was particularly struck by the ever rising rates of illegitimate births, statistics that rarely see the light of day:

I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years religion has been under increasing attack.

On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square.

On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.

By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground.

In 1965, the illegitimacy rate was eight percent. In 1992, when I was last Attorney General, it was 25 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. In many of our large urban areas, it is around 70 percent.

Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.

As you all know, over 70,000 people die a year from drug overdoses. That is more casualities in a year than we experienced during the entire Vietnam War.

I will not dwell on all the bitter results of the new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery. And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy.

Among these militant secularists are many so-called “progressives.” But where is the progress?

We are told we are living in a post-Christian era. But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And what is a system of values that can sustain human social life?

The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion.

Scholarship suggests that religion has been integral to the development and thriving of Homo sapiens since we emerged roughly 50,000 years ago. It is just for the past few hundred years we have experimented in living without religion.

We hear much today about our humane values. But, in the final analysis, what undergirds these values? What commands our adherence to them?

What we call “values” today are really nothing more than mere sentimentality, still drawing on the vapor trails of Christianity.

He cautioned that we should not consider this to be a short-term trend. It is becoming ever pervasive, with serious effects:

We have all thought that after a while the “pendulum will swing back.”

But today we face something different that may mean that we cannot count on the pendulum swinging back.

First is the force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the “progressives,” have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

These instruments are used not only to affirmatively promote secular orthodoxy, but also drown out and silence opposing voices, and to attack viciously and hold up to ridicule any dissenters.

One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion, including inquisitions and excommunication.

Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake – social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.

The pervasiveness and power of our high-tech popular culture fuels apostasy in another way. It provides an unprecedented degree of distraction

But, as Blaise Pascal observed, instead of grappling with these questions, humans can be easily distracted from thinking about the “final things.”

He also warned about our increasing dependence on government to resolve moral and social problems. Previously, individuals took it upon themselves to rectify their personal lives for the better:

But today – in the face of all the increasing pathologies – instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the State in the role of alleviator of bad consequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.

So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.

The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children.

The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage. While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on which we depend.

Interestingly, this idea of the State as the alleviator of bad consequences has given rise to a new moral system that goes hand-in-hand with the secularization of society. It can be called the system of “macro-morality.” It is in some ways an inversion of Christian morality.

Christianity teaches a micro-morality. We transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation.

The new secular religion teaches macro-morality. One’s morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather on their commitment to political causes and collective action to address social problems.

This system allows us to not worry so much about the strictures on our private lives, while we find salvation on the picket-line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by demonstrating for this cause or that.

And there is more to the story. We are using law as a weapon:

A third phenomenon which makes it difficult for the pendulum to swing back is the way law is being used as a battering ram to break down traditional moral values and to establish moral relativism as a new orthodoxy.

Law is being used as weapon in a couple of ways.

First, either through legislation but more frequently through judicial interpretation, secularists have been continually seeking to eliminate laws that reflect traditional moral norms.

At first, this involved rolling back laws that prohibited certain kinds of conduct. Thus, the watershed decision legalizing abortion. And since then, the legalization of euthanasia. The list goes on.

More recently, we have seen the law used aggressively to force religious people and entities to subscribe to practices and policies that are antithetical to their faith.

The problem is not that religion is being forced on others. The problem is that irreligion and secular values are being forced on people of faith.

This reminds me of how some Roman emperors could not leave their loyal Christian subjects in peace but would mandate that they violate their conscience by offering religious sacrifice to the emperor as a god.

Similarly, militant secularists today do not have a live and let live spirit – they are not content to leave religious people alone to practice their faith. Instead, they seem to take a delight in compelling people to violate their conscience.

For example, the last Administration sought to force religious employers, including Catholic religious orders, to violate their sincerely held religious views by funding contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in their health plans. Similarly, California has sought to require pro-life pregnancy centers to provide notices of abortion rights.

This refusal to accommodate the free exercise of religion is relatively recent. Just 25 years ago, there was broad consensus in our society that our laws should accommodate religious belief.

In 1993, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – RFRA. The purpose of the statute was to promote maximum accommodation to religion when the government adopted broad policies that could impinge on religious practice.

At the time, RFRA was not controversial. It was introduced by Chuck Schumer with 170 cosponsors in the House, and was introduced by Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch with 59 additional cosponsors in the Senate. It passed by voice vote in the House and by a vote of 97-3 in the Senate.

Recently, as the process of secularization has accelerated, RFRA has come under assault, and the idea of religious accommodation has fallen out of favor.

Because this Administration firmly supports accommodation of religion, the battleground has shifted to the states. Some state governments are now attempting to compel religious individuals and entities to subscribe to practices, or to espouse viewpoints, that are incompatible with their religion.

This is not restricted to adults. American schools are making certain sex education and identity politics courses mandatory, even for young children:

The first front relates to the content of public school curriculum. Many states are adopting curriculum that is incompatible with traditional religious principles according to which parents are attempting to raise their children. They often do so without any opt out for religious families.

Thus, for example, New Jersey recently passed a law requiring public schools to adopt an LGBT curriculum that many feel is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching. Similar laws have been passed in California and Illinois. And the Orange County Board of Education in California issued an opinion that “parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

Indeed, in some cases, the schools may not even warn parents about lessons they plan to teach on controversial subjects relating to sexual behavior and relationships.

This puts parents who dissent from the secular orthodoxy to a difficult choice: Try to scrape together the money for private school or home schooling, or allow their children to be inculcated with messages that they fundamentally reject.

Some states are also restricting funds to religious schools:

A second axis of attack in the realm of education are state policies designed to starve religious schools of generally-available funds and encouraging students to choose secular options. Montana, for example, created a program that provided tax credits to those who donated to a scholarship program that underprivileged students could use to attend private school. The point of the program was to provide greater parental and student choice in education and to provide better educations to needy youth.

But Montana expressly excluded religiously-affiliated private schools from the program. And when that exclusion was challenged in court by parents who wanted to use the scholarships to attend a nondenominational Christian school, the Montana Supreme Court required the state to eliminate the program rather than allow parents to use scholarships for religious schools.

It justified this action by pointing to a provision in Montana’s State Constitution commonly referred to as a “Blaine Amendment.” Blaine Amendments were passed at a time of rampant anti-Catholic animus in this country, and typically disqualify religious institutions from receiving any direct or indirect payments from a state’s funds.

The case is now in the Supreme Court, and we filed a brief explaining why Montana’s Blaine Amendment violates the First Amendment.

Barr said that the only solution to this dangerous trend is go back to Judeo-Christian basics by addressing moral education at home, rather than depending on government institutions:

We understand that only by transforming ourselves can we transform the world beyond ourselves.

This is tough work. It is hard to resist the constant seductions of our contemporary society. This is where we need grace, prayer, and the help of our church.

Beyond this, we must place greater emphasis on the moral education of our children.

Education is not vocational training. It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the faculties to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it.

We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.

The times are hostile to this. Public agencies, including public schools, are becoming secularized and increasingly are actively promoting moral relativism.

If ever there was a need for a resurgence of Catholic education – and more generally religiously-affiliated schools – it is today.

In conclusion, Barr spoke these lines during the middle of his speech. However, they are to me the most enduring now and in future:

For anyone who has a religious faith, by far the most important part of exercising that faith is the teaching of that religion to our children. The passing on of the faith. There is no greater gift we can give our children and no greater expression of love.

I couldn’t agree more.

Yesterday, I ran across four articles of interest.

The coup

The starting point is James Howard Kunstler’s October 15 essay, ‘Wait For It’, which is about the ongoing American coup, the latest development being President Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine and the Democrats’ ‘whistleblower’ (emphases mine):

For one thing, he-she-it is not a “whistleblower” at all; was only labeled that via legalistic legerdemain to avoid revealing the origin of this affair as a CIA cover-your-ass operation. Did Mr. Schiff actually think he could conceal this figure’s identity in a senate impeachment trial, when it came to that — for what else is impeachment aimed at? Anonymous sources are not admissible under American due process of law. Mr. Schiff must have missed that class in law school.

All of this hocus-pocus suggests to me that there is no “whistleblower,” that it is a phantom confabulation of gossip threads that unraveled the moment Mr. Trump released the transcript of his phone call to Ukraine’s president Zelensky, aborting Mr. Schiff’s game plan. The ensuing weeks of congressional Keystone Kops buffoonery since then appears to conceal a futile effort by Mr. Schiff and his confederates to find some fall guy willing to pretend that he-she-it is the “whistleblower”

One marvels at Rep. Schiff’s tactical idiocy. But just imagine the panicked consternation it must be triggering among his Democratic colleagues. Notice that Mrs. Pelosi has been hiding out during this latest phase of the action. She may sense that there is nothing left to do but allow Mr. Schiff to twist slowly slowly in the wind, as he has hung himself out to dry. She should have known better since every previous declaration of conclusive evidence by Mr. Schiff over the past three years has proved to be false, knowingly and mendaciously so.

One also clearly senses that all the smoke-and-mirrors are a desperate attempt to divert attention from a soon-to-drop DOJ Inspector General’s report which, by the way, will only be an overture to much more damaging action likely to come from Mr. Barr’s proceeding. After all, IG Horowitz was not allowed under the rules to compel the testimony of persons outside the Department of Justice, which would now include Andrew McCabe, James Comey, and many others at the center of the RussiaGate prank

That lame admission will not avail to protect him or the CIA, an agency that is behind the administrative civil war. It has been a rogue agency for a long long time, but may have finally overplayed its hand, along with the newer adjunct agencies that have been stitched onto it since 9/11/01 — the dark network that goes by the name Intelligence Community. So many shoes are ready to drop on them that the din might drown out all the John Philip Sousa marches ever played in the lobby at Langley, let alone the thin trilling of a fake whistleblower.

Apart from these fateful developments the prize for the week’s most transparently disingenuous bit of media agitprop goes to Saturday’s New York Times puff piece on former FBI Director Jim Comey, which actually sets him up for federal indictment on something like sedition or treason.

Did you notice that the photo-caption states: James Comey plans to spend the next 13 months working to drive President Trump from power. Oh, really? By what means, exactly? Single-handedly or with whom? And how did the strategy he kicked off in 2016 work out? In case Mr. Barr is looking for some way to attribute motive to the actions that he’s investigating, he may need to seek no further. Also, consider that The New York Times and its editor-in-chief Dean Baquet, and publisher A.G. Sulzberger may be named as unindicted co-conspirators in the three-year campaign of sedition (freedom of the press, of course). Alert the shareholders.

I should emphasise that Jim Kunstler is not a Trump supporter, but even the Democrats’ continuing attempts at getting a legitimately elected president out of office have been making him think a bit more about the coup.

The ‘revolution in reverse’

The comments to Kunstler’s article were as wide-ranging and fascinating as ever.

Someone linked to an October 10 essay on Tzarism.com called ‘The Hi-Tech Traditionalist: A Revolution In Reverse: The Uprising Of The American Elites Against The American People’. The author, Dr Baruch Pletner, is a polyglot:

The Hi-Tech Traditionalist – Baruch Pletner is an entrepreneur, a scientist, an inventor, and a private pilot. He is passionate about education, the outdoors, and the war on globalism. Baruch holds a PhD degree from the Technion in Haifa, Israel and an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston.

He points out that the leftist revolution taking place in the United States is the inverse of what usually happens in an uprising:

The great Bolshevik revolutions of the last century in Russia, in China, and in Cuba all followed a familiar pattern: a group of young, energetic, endlessly corruptible, but not yet corrupt outsiders take on, in the name of the people, a tired corrupt establishment. A civil war ensues in which the people side with the revolutionaries because they (mistakenly) think that things can never be worse. Revolutionaries win, slaughter the establishment elites, and proceed to rob and enslave the people in even more outrageous fashion. Soon enough the old guard revolutionaries become every bit as corrupt as the ones they have replaced if not more so and the cycle repeats itself.

In America, the situation is rather farcically backwards. In America, the corrupt establishment elites have decided to stage a Bolshevik coup against the American people rather than the other way around. A Tsar fully in command of his own kingdom staging a coup against his own people is a bizarre development to say the least, and yet, here we are in 2019 America. Like always, there are reasons. First and foremost among them is the sheer scope of the nepotism and corruption of the American elites in business, government, technology, and the intelligence services. This scope has very likely far exceeded anything previously known in human history. Had the dimensions of the robbery perpetrated by the American ruling classes against the American people become widely known earlier, America could well have experienced a more typical revolution, one by the people against the elites.

There are other reasons, he says, which date from the late 1980s. Continuing on from the previous paragraph, he tells us:

Well aware of the possibility if not probability of such an outcome, the people who run America put in place a plan to make it all but impossible. The plan involved the gradually escalating erosion of the limits on government powers put in place by the Constitution with a parallel erosion in the God-given rights guaranteed every American by the same document. This was a fully bipartisan effort, put in place immediately after president Reagan departed office. It is sufficient to observe the exponential increase in government versus private sector employment in America from 1988 to 2019 to fully grasp this point. Stopping immigration from countries that have (or at least used to have) a tradition of personal freedom and limited government while throwing open the spigots for immigration from countries that have neither was the second part of the same plan. The destruction of family values and Christianity in America was the third.

Then there were the social, guilt-inducing conditioning of the majority of the American populace, who have no control over their skin colour. As such:

Americans allowed themselves to become squeezed out of well-paying jobs by the elites-induced trifecta of low and high-skilled immigration and automation, with nary a whisper in protest.

Then, he says, along came Donald Trump. In the eyes of the elite, President Trump must be stopped:

Trying to pin on Trump their own sins of sexual corruption, nepotism, embezzlement, etc. has not been a well-thought out strategy on the part of the American power elites simply because it enabled him to begin educating the American public as to the breathtaking scope of their own criminality. Now, on the verge of Trump’s inevitable reelection, they are left with only one option: a coup d’etat against the American people, the American Constitution, and the American Republic itself.

Since the elites still very much permeate every hall of power in America, this is a one-off deal in which the rulers of a country set out to violently overthrow the very political structure of the country they are ruling, but, as they say, it is what it is. The cover may be different, but the playbook is the same, so we are already being exposed to the oldies but goodies of escalating agitprop (weaponized lies and propaganda), suppression of unwanted elements (cancel culture), and paid snitching (whistleblowing). Now we are entering into a new phase, that of secret trials with a predetermined outcome.

He means impeachment hearings, which he goes on to discuss, adding:

… what follows next will not be pretty. Having obtained an illegal impeachment that has no chance in the Senate, the powers that be in America will use this “impeachment” to force Trump off the 2020 ballot by any means possible, including things that now sound crazy like setting up a parallel Supreme Court having declared the Constitution illegitimate because it was written by white males some of whom supported slavery and ratified without African American and other minority votes.

Needless to say, such actions may well precipitate an armed conflict we know of as civil war, but that would not be an unexpected outcome for the elites. We know now that the American intelligence services all work for the elites and not for the people. They will fight on their side in the coming war. What we don’t know is to what degree the armed forces have been infiltrated, especially the mid-level officer corps.

That is my concern, too.

The New York Times and Carlos Slim’s fortune

Someone else responding to Kunstler’s piece posted a 2015 Ann Coulter article for Townhall, ‘Carlos Slim: The New York Times’ Sugar Daddy’.

Ann Coulter observed the editorial shift in the New York Times since Carlos Slim rescued the failing newspaper in 2008.

Back in 2004—before the Times became Slim’s pimp—a Times article stated: “Clearly . . . the nation’s southern border is under siege.”2 But that was before Carlos Slim saved the Times from bankruptcy. Ten years later, with a border crisis even worse than in 2004, and Latin Americans pouring across the border, the Times indignantly demanded that Obama “go big” on immigration and give “millions of immigrants permission to stay.”

And, going back further to the Clinton administration, the NYT used to point out porous border problems:

In 1997—the pre-Slim days—the Times had editorialized: “Fighting illegal immigration is a difficult and important job. But Congress should do it in a way that will deter illegal entry at the border.”39 Another editorial that year complained that the Immigration and Naturalization Service had “done a poor job of keeping out illegal aliens, deporting criminals [and] processing requests for asylum.” This wasn’t even Bush-bashing—Clinton was president!

Coulter explains how Slim makes his money off the American taxpayer, which involves much more than enlightened citizens buying copies of the New York Times:

One of the ways Slim makes money off of illegal immigration in the United States is by overcharging Mexicans to call home, especially during World Cup soccer season. Slim takes a percentage of all cell phone calls into Mexico—and Telmex’s “interconnection rates” are astronomical. International roaming rates are 37 percent higher in Mexico than the average of all OECD countries.

But the main way illegal immigrants benefit Slim is through their remissions. Monopolistic pricing is of little value in a poor country. A monopoly on air in Burundi would not produce the world’s richest man. Luckily for Slim, Mexico is located right next to one of the wealthiest nations in the world. The OECD estimates that Slim’s suffocating telecommunications monopoly costs Mexican consumers $26 billion a year, with more than half of that coming from Slim gouging his customers. They would have $20 billion less to spend without 40 million Mexicans living in the United States.

According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Mexican immigrants or those of Mexican descent send at least $20 billion out of America back to their relatives in Mexico each year.29 No wonder immigrants are so reliant on welfare—they’re sending so much of it out of the country! Twenty billion dollars is significantly more—about a quarter more—than the amount of money the United States sends to Mexico in direct foreign aid. The $20 billion being sent to immigrants’ grandmothers in Chiapas is forever eliminated from the American economy—unavailable for investment in American companies, the purchase of American products, or hiring American workers. That’s a cost of immigration that Americans are never told about.

These billions of dollars being drained out of the U.S. economy every year would be bad enough if the money were coming exclusively from cheap-labor employers like Sheldon Adelson. But it’s worse than that. It comes from American taxpayers. Not only do taxpayers have to support Americans who lose their jobs to low-wage immigrant laborers, taxpayers support the immigrants, too. Seventy-five percent of immigrant families from Mexico are on government assistance.

Putting two and two together, we can more easily understand the New York Times‘s editorial line under Slim and the billionaire’s desire to see more Mexicans enter the United States illegally:

That’s why, in 2014, Slim was exhorting Mexican youth to cross illegally into the United States for jobs. The stated purpose of Obama’s open defiance of American immigration laws was to avoid punishing “children” who were brought to the United States by their parents. Slim didn’t care about that. (Then again, neither did Obama.) He just wanted more Mexicans working in America and sending dollars back to him. As the CEO of the “Carlos Slim Foundation” explained, “[O]ur goal is to reduce the access barriers for them to reach this potential . . . to build not just them but their families, so they’re able to contribute to the economy”—i.e., the Mexican economy owned by Carlos Slim.

The ‘invisible government’

Truthdig has an article by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, ‘Our Invisible Government’, which is, in part, a book review of Stephen Kinzer’s new book, Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control.

I will not be excerpting Hedges’s article except for this:

Kinzer builds his book around Sidney Gottlieb, an elusive, quirky and powerful operative in the CIA who in his quest for mind control—something he and others in the CIA had convinced themselves the Soviets had mastered—oversaw medical experiments that had been originated by his German and Japanese collaborators. These experiments were coded-named Bluebird and later Artichoke, which Kinzer calls “one of the most violently abusive projects ever sponsored by an agency of the United States government.” The torture sessions often permanently shattered the minds of his subjects. Victims were kidnapped (later this would be called “extraordinary rendition”) and sent to clandestine centers around the globe—now known as “black sites”—or were picked from the prison population abroad and at home. Those forced into taking part in these experiments included impoverished African Americans at the Addiction Research Center in Lexington, Ky. Many of the victims were labeled “expendables,” meaning they could be murdered after the experiments and disappeared. The corpses were usually burned. Anyone who was powerless, or could be made powerless, was a potential target. Mentally handicapped children at the Walter E. Fernald State School in Massachusetts, for example, were fed cereal laced with uranium and radioactive calcium and their induced sicknesses were monitored. Gottlieb oversaw the administering of LSD and other drugs to induce psychotic states at the federal prison in Atlanta and a youth correctional facility in Bordentown, N.J. None of his subjects consented to being a human guinea pig, and many ended up psychologically impaired for life. The Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, being held in the Atlanta penitentiary, was told he would be part of an experiment on curing schizophrenia but then was surreptitiously given LSD nearly every day for 15 months. CIA scientists also conducted experiments on terminally ill patients at an annex of Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Gottlieb searched for years for a cocktail of drugs that, in Kinzer’s words, would draw “prisoners away from their identities, induce them to reveal secrets, and perhaps even program them to commit acts against their will.” It was a vain quest. But with each failure he and the CIA became ever more zealous, working closely with former German Gen. Walter Schreiber, the onetime surgeon general of the Nazi army who had “approved experiments at the Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, and Dachau concentration camps in which inmates were frozen, injected with mescaline and other drugs, and cut open so the progress of gangrene on their bones could be monitored.” Kinzer adds that according to one American researcher, the experiments “usually resulted in a slow and agonizing death.”

Gottlieb had a habit of secretly lacing the drinks of colleagues with LSD to see their reaction. Some never recovered. One of his victims was Frank Olson, a CIA scientist who was appalled by the brutal interrogations he witnessed and planned to resign from the CIA. Gottlieb and his secretive group of torturers and assassins were terrified Olson would go public. Olson was found dead in 1953 on a sidewalk in Manhattan after allegedly diving through a hotel window. His son Eric had his father’s body exhumed in 1994 and turned over to James Starrs, a forensic pathologist at George Washington University in the District of Columbia. “Starrs had found no glass shards on the victim’s head or neck, as might be expected if he had dived through a window,” Kinzer writes. “Most intriguingly, although Olson had reportedly landed on his back, the skull above his left eye was disfigured.”

“I would venture to say that this hematoma is singular evidence of the possibility that Dr. Olson was struck a stunning blow to the head by some person or instrument prior to his exiting through the window of room 1018A,” Starrs concluded.

Starrs was later more emphatic: “I think Frank Olson was intentionally, deliberately, with malice aforethought, thrown out of that window.”

As awful as that is, the rest of the article has details of even more gruesome and demonic ‘experiments’, which those interested may read at their leisure.

Conclusion

We have much to pray for in the coming months: the safety of Donald Trump and his family, the thwarting of evil deeds from our notional betters and the return of a moral society, which is the only way to conserve the freedoms we know in the West. Those, too, must be restored, with Big Government — the malicious Nanny State — being thrown out.

Also, please spare a prayer for Brexit. What has been going on in Parliament and the upper courts of law since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister has been chilling, to say the least.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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