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One year after President Trump put more stringent immigration controls in place along the southern US border, the number of migrants has been dropping.

On January 6, 2020, Issues & Insights (I&I) reported (emphases mine):

Last week, 18 people crossed the border illegally into Arizona hoping they could exploit a loophole in U.S. asylum policy to stay in the country. Instead, they found themselves shipped back to Mexico while their asylum claims are reviewed

The 18 migrants were sent back to Mexico thanks to a policy President Donald Trump implemented that goes by the official name of “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), but more colloquially known as “Remain in Mexico.” First adopted a year ago, the administration has been working with Mexico to steadily expand it. The Nogales port of entry south of Tucson, Arizona, where the 18 were sent, is the site seventh to be included.

Before this policy went into effect, illegal immigrant families knew that if they crossed the border and claimed asylum, they’d effectively get a free pass. Immigration officials would release them into the U.S. within 20 days, on the promise that they would show up for their court date months in the future. Few bother to return. This policy was dubbed “Catch and Release” for a reason.

Now, they must wait in Mexico while immigration judges review their cases.

This has happened without the ‘wall’ (generally, a tall steel and cement-reinforced fence) in place, although that will be built, too.

Results have been incredible:

The number of apprehensions at the southwest border plummeted from 144,000 in May 2019 to just 42,649 in November – the last month for which the government has data. The number of families caught crossing illegally went from 84,486 in May to a mere 9,000 in November.

As the El Paso Times put it, “the policy has proved to be a virtual wall.”

The article, citing the Wall Street Journal, says that successes have occurred elsewhere, too:

Border crossings plummeted in most other areas of the border over the same period.

The I&I article says that the Trump administration has used a multi-pronged approach to border control, including international co-operation and tighter asylum application rules:

Last July, the administration issued a rule denying asylum to anyone who crossed another country before getting to the U.S. border if they didn’t seek asylum in that country first. This policy directly attacks the migrant caravans traversing Mexico. The administration has also struck deals with Central American countries that let the U.S. return asylum seekers to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

The administration has tightened up what counts as a “credible fear” claim for asylum seekers. At one detention facility, the number passing the credible fear claim plunged from 97% to just 10%.

Trump’s threat to impose stiff tariffs on Mexico unless it got serious about border control also made a huge difference, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suddenly sending troops to detain migrants.

Also:

A Government Accountability Office report released in December found that arrests climbed 34% from 2015 to 2018, detentions went up 35%, and removals rose 13%.

Who benefits from these changes?

Americans who have been shut out of the job market:

As we noted in this space recently, it’s been Americans who’ve gained work filling jobs that would have been taken by illegals.

In August 2019, ICE removed many illegals from Mississippi who were working at chicken processing factories. Americans applied for the jobs in droves, as Breitbart reported on August 13:

Roughly 150 locals attended an August 12 job fair to apply for jobs at the Koch Foods’ plants in Mississippi.

The fair was run after the August 7 removal of 243 alleged illegal migrants in two of the company’s chicken processing plants, according to local authorities.

Neil Monro’s article for Breitbart notes that Americans earn more once illegal workers are removed from employment:

… wages have spiked upwards for Americans when employers were forced to give up their illegal workforces.

Black employment also improves when illegals are no longer working. This welcome development will boost the American president’s favourability further, as the following tweet and replies to it indicate (click on original tweet to read more):

President Trump is doing the right thing.

I was unsure about his ‘wall’ idea in 2016, but, living overseas, had no idea how bad the southern border problem was.

As is so often said about him, ‘Promises made. Promises kept.’

What a relief for the American people: a president who truly does have their interests at heart.

The increasingly vocal call for action to resolve the climate emergency — some say ‘crisis’ — involves more than climate.

It would involve a whole new way of life for the West: widespread Socialism.

Issues & Insights (I&I) had a good article, published on January 7, 2020: ‘Climate Hysteria Is A Backdoor For Imposing Personal Interests On The Public’.

Excerpts follow below.

We should hope that Western governments, such as President Trump’s, resist such calls to collectivise us and, and with that, restrict our choices in life.

Food and farmland

We all know about the calls from climate change campaigners for all of us to become at least partial vegetarians, yet, there’s a bit of hypocrisy here with regard to their personal meat consumption (emphases mine):

None were easily found at the last United Nations climate conference in Madrid, where U.N. bureaucrats chow(ed) down on burgers – while attacking meat.”

I bet those burgers were tasty, too.

With our increased immigration numbers in Europe, we find that some nations, particularly the UK, have a housing shortage. If the trend for more immigration continues, more resources (e.g. water) will be needed along with increases in schools and medical facilities, to name but two.

Yet, at least one prominent Briton says we need to turn farmland into nature preserves. How can this make sense when, surely, we will also need more food?

Ian Boyd, a former chief scientific adviser for the government, is claiming, according to a recent British Guardian report, that “half of the nation’s farmland needs to be transformed into woodlands and natural habitat to fight the climate crisis and restore wildlife.”

“We need a large, radical transformation and we need to do it quickly, in the next decade” said the good professor.

Communal housing

Across the pond, a UCLA professor, Kian Goh, wants to do away with private family housing in favour of communal housing:

“If we want to keep cities safe in the face of climate change, we need to seriously question the ideal of private homeownership,” says the subhead of piece published in The Nation two days before Christmas …

“The idea of cooperative living,” (which clearly means “communal” living and therefore is socialism-based) “in both financial and social terms,” writes Goh, “needs room to breathe and grow.”

Obviously there’s no room for the freedom to choose in Goh’s world.

For those who are unaware, this was the mainstay of 20th century housing in the Soviet Union. I couldn’t find any photos to share with you, but I have seen enough documentaries on Soviet living to know that these flats were dreary, noisy and cramped. Furthermore, kitchen and bathroom facilities were shared, which meant that there was little privacy. One also had to guard against theft; food was often kept in the private rooms of these buildings.

This way of living dated back to the days following the Bolshevik-led Russian Revolution, which began in 1917 and ended in 1923.

An article from Reviews in History, ‘Gender and Housing in Soviet Russia: Private Life in a Public Space’, explains:

early Bolshevik thinkers initially imagined a Communist state that would simultaneously provide housing for all citizens and relieve women of the burdens of household labour by transferring domestic chores to socialized kitchens, laundries and childrearing institutions. Organized and financially supported by the government, such facilities would also uphold another Bolshevik aim, that of creating a collectivist society. The municipalisation of housing immediately after the Revolution signalled the inauguration of a new byt by increasing the supply of available living space and essentially decreeing that people of divergent class backgrounds cohabitate

Providing a shared kitchen and collective childcare, this type of dwelling was seen to hold the potential to radically reconstruct bourgeois living arrangements, which, according to Bolshevik thinkers like Aleksandra Kollontai, had enslaved women. Communal housing was also perceived to be the best solution for relieving the relentless shortage of space and enforcing collectivism.

Wikipedia’s entry for the communal apartment explains that the building design was often impractical and could be risky when a group of people who did not care about each other were placed together:

Space in communal apartments was divided into common spaces and private rooms “mathematically or bureaucratically,” with little to no attention paid to the physical space of the existing structures. Most apartments were partitioned in a dysfunctional manner, creating “strange spaces, long corridors, and so-called black entrances through labyrinthine inner courtyards.”[13] Entire families lived in a single overcrowded room, with little hope of changing their situation.[14]

The bit about light switches is surreal:

Residents were meant to share the kitchen, bathroom and corridors amongst themselves, but even these spaces could be divided. For example, each family might have their own kitchen table, gas burner, doorbell, and even light switch, preferring to walk down the hall to use their light switch to turn on the bathroom lights rather than using a closer switch belonging to another resident.[15] Furthermore, the hallways were often poorly lit, because each family had control of one of the lights hanging in the corridor, and would only turn it on for their own benefit. Though communal apartments were relatively small, residents had to wait at times to use the bathroom or kitchen sink. The kitchen was the primary place the residents interacted with one another, “sharing their joys and sorrows,” and scheduling shared responsibilities. Wary of theft, residents rarely left groceries in the kitchen unless they put locks on the kitchen cabinets. However, they often stored their toiletries in the kitchen as opposed to the bathroom, because other residents could more easily use things left unattended in the bathroom. Laundry was left to dry in both the kitchen and the bathroom.[16]

One never knew what one was going to encounter in a communal apartment building.

The government forced disparate people to live there:

the communal apartment residents were placed together at random, as a result of the distribution of scarce living space by a governing body. These residents had little commitment to communal living or to each other.[17] In spite of the haphazard nature of their cohabitation, residents had to navigate communal living, which required shared responsibilities and reliance on one another.

Every resident or family group was assigned communal duties:

Duty schedules were posted in the kitchen or corridors, typically assigning one family to be “on duty” at any given moment. The family on duty would be responsible for cleaning the common spaces by sweeping and mopping the kitchen every few days, cleaning the bathroom and taking out the trash. The length of time a family was scheduled to work usually depended on the size of the family, and the rotation followed the order of the rooms in the apartment.[18]

There were drunks living among decent people:

Communal living posed unique challenges; one author tells of an incident when a drunk neighbor passed out on the floor in front of the entrance to their room and urinated, to the horror of her mother, who was entertaining foreign guests when the “little yellow stream slowly made its way through the door of the room.” She relates this incident to the experience of communal living, “both intimate and public, with a mixture of ease and fear in the presence of foreigners and neighbors.” [19]

Everyone knew your business and your daily routine:

Neighbors are forced to interact with each other, and they know nearly everything about each other, their schedules and daily routines, profession, habits, relationships and opinions, prohibiting any sense of privacy in the communal apartment.[20]

The communal kitchen was an epicenter of the communal life in the apartment, with its news and gossips, joys and dramas, friendly shared salt and nasty practical jokes.

Spying for the authorities was common, too:

Spying was especially prevalent in the communal apartment, because of the extremely close quarters people lived in. It was not unusual for a neighbor to look or listen into another resident’s room or the common room and to gossip about others.[21] Furthermore, the communal apartment was “a breeding ground of police informants,” [22] people were encouraged to denounce their neighbors, and often did so to ensure safety for themselves or to gain their neighbor’s room for themselves after they had them evicted or imprisoned.[23]

Sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it?

No doubt the aforementioned Dr Kian Goh would say he has a better idea in mind.

However, collectivism never has worked and never will, from the 19th century days of religious or ideological sects searching for utopia to the 1970s communes.

Furthermore, our betters — those in government and captains of industry — would not be living like this. They would continue to live in relative freedom and privacy. This is for the little people, the plebs, the ones they detest: you (most probably) and me.

Wealth redistribution

The I&I article mentioned …

a woman described as an “environmental strategist”

… who railed against what she called ‘fossil fuel capitalists’, demanding reparations and redistribution of wealth:

“We will demand reparations for the harm that they caused,” she tweeted. “Together we will redistribute trillions of dollars to fund a #GreenNewDeal.”

According to Townhall, the woman – who was given a microphone and stage clearly to stir up emotions, and has common ground with Joe “Put Fossil Fuel Executives In Jail” Biden –  also said “let me hear your vigor for ending racism while you do it” and “we need to make them pay today.” So again we find evidence that the goal isn’t to stop Earth from overheating, but to fulfill a left-wing wish list.

Greta agrees

Greta Thunberg agrees that the climate emergency is about implementing socialism.

I&I quoted her speech at the COP in Madrid last December:

Last month, she told her thrilled-to-be-scolded followers that the climate crisis is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice and of political will. Colonial, racist and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all.”

There you have it — straight from the Green Goddess herself.

The I&I article concludes on climate fanatics:

We should be appalled at the dishonesty that’s at the rotten core of climate fanaticism. But we’re not, because its disciples learned from some of the most deceitful and vicious characters throughout history.

I can’t say better than that.

Be forewarned. Get informed.

The furore surrounding the notional climate emergency is far from what it appears to be on the surface.

Happy New Year!

Happy new decade!

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

O tempora, o mores!

1960s

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

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

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

Cinema and television reflected this change.

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

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

1970s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1980s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1990s

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

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

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

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

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

And how …

2000s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2010s

Hope came in the May 2010 general election.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is everybody HAPPY? I certainly am!

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

Theresa May became Prime Minister later that summer.

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

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

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

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

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

You couldn’t do that now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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