Last week, the Department of Justice announced that in March, a former Philadelphia election official admitted to, and was convicted of, accepting bribes to stuff ballots for three Democrat candidates for Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge. He admitted to inflating the votes in primaries in years 2014 through 2016. He purportedly committed the fraud by standing in a voting booth and voting multiple times. That he acted alone seems unlikely. In Pennsylvania, each polling place must have a minimum of five poll workers to open and operate. They all work for thirteen hours – where were they? This trick could explain why some Philadelphia precincts end up, unabashedly, on election nights with more total votes than registered voters, and an outcome producing 100% of the votes for Democrat candidates. This case is not an isolated incident, as other cases of altering vote counts have been successfully prosecuted.
In Pennsylvania, more insidious than the overt fraud just exposed by the Justice Department, are the myriad subtler ways in which perhaps more systematized election fraud occurs. Out-of-date voter rolls often list multiple names at the same address. Deceased voters may not be immediately purged. Once an individual has voted in Pennsylvania, a poll worker is not permitted to ask for identification. If that individual keeps voting, their name remains on the rolls without question. That’s how dead people vote. That’s how multiple residents at the same address vote. Moreover, if a live voter has recently moved, it is possible they can vote in two different polling places. In the past few years, Pennsylvanians have been successfully prosecuted for: fraudulent use of absentee ballots, either through forgery, or filing without the real voter’s knowledge; duplicate voting; ineligible voting due to lack of citizenship; and, multiple registrations both inside and out of state. These abuses frequently occur in other states as well.
In 2019, Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law that all registered voters could apply for an absentee ballot without having to provide a reason. Previously, one could only vote absentee by stating on the application that one would be out of state on election day or was physically prevented from voting in person. As previously reported, Wolf enacted one of the more stringent COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates in the country – closing the entire state to all but essential workers. Pennsylvania’s primary was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing stay at home mandates. Large parts of Pennsylvania cannot reopen until two days after the new primary date of June 2, 2020, and most polling places have been relocated. Predictably, chaos reigns; the likelihood of fraud has spiked. Moreover, Wolf and election board officials are encouraging voters to vote by write-in ballot. Stay home, they exhort. President Trump has a different message and has correctly pointed out the propensity for fraud and election theft when distance voting is the norm.
The draconian stay-at-home measures and warnings have scared most poll workers and voters alike. As noted above, without a minimum of five poll workers, a poll cannot open. With poll workers’ mass refusals to work, 60% of all existing state poll locations have been closed. The remaining polls have been bunched and moved to public schools – many counties have yet to announce the new locations
Prior to Wolf’s cockamamie change, the procedures for absentee ballot control were tighter, but problems existed. To apply for an absentee ballot, a registered voter had to apply, complete the application with the reason for the request, and mail back to the county Board of Elections, all within a certain time frame prior to the election date. When the ballot was received, it was accompanied with two envelopes: the smaller, unmarked envelope was used to seal the completed ballot, and the larger was to insert the sealed ballot and mail back to the Board of Elections – again within a certain time frame before the election. The weekend before the election, the Judge of Elections for each polling place, would pick up all materials assigned to their poll. Included were the absentee ballots, the books containing the names of registered voters, and a list of all voters who had submitted absentee ballots. The list was posted on a wall and the ballots counted to ensure the numbers matched. They were then separated, and unopened until the polls closed, and the tallies were taken.
When voters first enter the polling place and it is their turn to vote, they sign their name in the spot where they are listed in the registration book. If they have submitted an absentee ballot, it will be marked in the book. The clerk informs the Judge of Elections, and before the voter can vote, their absentee ballot is publicly pulled from the absentee ballot bag, nullified, and their name is crossed off the list. After the polls close, at least two pre-certified poll watchers enter the polling place (one from each party), watch the votes being counted and check the results. Only then are the absentee ballots taken out, the outer envelopes destroyed, the ballots shuffled, and counted. Cumbersome and time consuming, yes. It was far from perfect and problems abounded. Even with these controls in place, there were accusations of lost ballots, applications and ballots arriving too late to be returned by the deadline – especially among the military, and stashes of absentee ballots discovered after the election and too late to be counted. While the pandemic was not a factor when Wolf changed the write-in ballot rules, it is now. And the likelihood for fraud has grown exponentially.
With Democrats in a vast majority, Philadelphia as of one week ago had received 158,000 write-in ballots compared with a presidential election record of 23,000. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, had received more than 225,000 ballots when in a normal primary they receive 10,000. In Montgomery County, a densely populated suburb of Philadelphia, the Board of Elections is also controlled by Democrats. Issues are mounting. Pre-COVID-19 restrictions and warnings, numbers such as these were never anticipated or planned for adequately. Requested write-in applications and ballots have been slow in arriving. As many as 2,000 ballots have arrived in error – such as to party affiliation, wrong county list of candidates and/or with incorrect instructions.
Another fraud-including factor is that the city/county of Philadelphia, and its surrounding suburbs of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery are all sanctuary counties. Investigations by the watchdog group Public Interest Legal Foundation have forced election board officials to admit that illegal residents have registered in high numbers. Estimates place the total of over 100,000.
Additionally, alarm bells should be ringing in every Republican’s heart from an article published in Politico, May 24, 2020, by Holly Otterbein:
Key swing state warns of November election ‘nightmare’.
‘Pennsylvania could determine the presidency. But it might not be clear for days who won the state on Nov. 3.
Election officials throughout the critical battleground, which is implementing no-excuse mail-in voting for the first time ever amid pandemic, say they are unlikely to finish counting those ballots the night of the general election.
If the race is close enough – as it was in 2016, when Donald Trump carried the state by only 44,000 votes – that could mean the status of one of the nation’s biggest swing states could remain up in the air long past Election Day.
“My nightmare is that on Election Day in November, you’re waiting for Montgomery County results to declare Pennsylvania to declare who wins the White House,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence, a Democrat who chairs the Board of Elections there. “The reality is that all of our counties are going to be in that same situation, and it will take a while to actually count the ballots.”
Less than two weeks away from Pennsylvania’s primary, some state election officials said they lack the funding and staff needed to handle the massive influx of mail-in ballots they’ve received for that race.
They also said the fact that they legally can’t start counting those ballots until the morning of Election Day is complicating matters…’
Rewind: ‘ … they legally can’t start counting those ballots until the morning of Election Day…’?!
If the officials start counting on the morning of election day, how is a cross check enacted to ensure that double in-person voting is thwarted? If not stopped, the Democrats seem to be setting the stage for How to steal an election, in November.
On Wednesday night, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that President Donald Trump will sign an executive order regarding social media and Big Tech companies, following his public battle with Twitter after the social media platform added a “fact-check” to his tweets.
“Very critical” is an understatement.
Twitter included a blue “fact-check” on Trump’s tweets attacking Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) for capitalizing on the coronavirus crisis to unilaterally change California voting laws, claiming the president spread utter falsehoods about vote-by-mail. Yet Trump was far from alone in voicing such concerns, and the California Republican Party — which is suing Newsom — cited many experts and news reports demonstrating the abuse vote-by-mail enables.
The president accused Twitter of attempting to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
“[Twitter] is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post. Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”
Is This Twitter Exec With a Long History of Anti-Trump Tirades the Force Behind the Trump ‘Fact-Check’?
Trump continued on Wednesday.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again,” he tweeted. “Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”
Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that….
Twitter’s decision to take sides in a contentious political battle — which has a legal aspect — arguably undermines the argument for its protection under Section 230. But it remains unclear exactly what kind of drastic action Trump can take by executive order on this issue.
The Minneapolis police chief acknowledged Thursday that his department contributed to a so-called “deficit of hope” that plagued his city well before the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody on Memorial Day.
Chief Medaria Arradondo said during a news conference that the Minnesota city has experienced a lot of trauma in the wake of Floyd’s death and that he could not allow others to compound that trauma with looting, robbing and torching buildings in the name of the First Amendment.
“I know that there is currently a deficit of hope in this city and I know as I wear this uniform before you, this department has contributed to that deficit of hope, but I will not allow to continue to increase that deficit by re-traumatizing those folks in our community.”
He continued: “I am committed to restoring peace and security in our community.”
Arradondo’s remarks came hours after the Justice Department said it was making the federal investigation into Floyd’s death a “top priority.” It also promised a “robust” probe by the FBI.
Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead Monday night after he was pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death have weighed on the city.
Chauvin, along with three other police officers involved in the incident, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, were fired from the force Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey demanded the arrest of Chauvin, the police officer seen on camera kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he struggled to breathe.
Frey also called for Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to “act on the evidence before him” and charge the “arresting officer” shown with his knee on Floyd.
“I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Frey asked during a news conference. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now.”
A man was found dead Wednesday night on a sidewalk. Police, who responded to the area of Bloomington and Lake Street at 9:25 p.m., said the initial call was a reported stabbing, but the wound turned out to be from a gunshot.
The man, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The Star Tribune reported local law enforcement officials were still working early Thursday after at least five people were struck by gunfire throughout the night.
In the case of the fatality, the newspaper reported it is believed the man was killed when the owner of a pawn shop opened fire on a man he believed was burglarizing his business.
A 59-year-old man is in custody in connection to Wednesday night’s fatal shooting, but the details of the case were “still being sorted out,” police spokesman John Elder told reporters.
He said the death is being investigated as a homicide.
Demonstrations broke out in the early afternoon Wednesday near the city’s 3rd Precinct station, in the southern part of Minneapolis, where Floyd died on Memorial Day after Chauvin knelt on his neck until he became unresponsive.
City Council VP Andrea Jenkins, in the same news conference as Arradondo on Thursday, condemned the violence in the city overnight.
“You have every absolute right to be angry,” she said. “However, you have no right to perpetrate violence and harm on the very communities that you say that you are standing up for.”
She added: “We need peace and calm in our streets and I’m begging you for that calm.”
Footage from the ground showed protesters milling in streets, some running in and out of nearby stores. A Target, a Cub Foods, a Dollar Tree, and an auto parts store all showed signs of damage and looting. As darkness fell, a fire erupted in the auto parts store before protesters set other fires in the street.
On Thursday morning, blocks of buildings with broken-out windows and other damage were seen.
Frey tweeted for calm early Thursday. “Please, Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy,” he said on Twitter. He also asked for the public’s help in keeping the peace.
Arradondo said the protests on Wednesday night had a “different tenor” than previous demonstrations.
It was the second night of violent protests since the death of Floyd, whom police were seeking to arrest outside a Minneapolis grocery store on a report of a counterfeit bill being passed. A bystander’s cellphone video showed an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes as he eventually becomes unresponsive.
Protesters damage properties at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct in Minneapolis on May 27. The mayor of Minneapolis called Wednesday for criminal charges against the white police officer seen on video kneeling against the neck of a handcuffed black man who complained that he could not breathe and died in police custody. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP)
Frey also asked the governor to deploy the Minnesota National Guard to help with the response to the protests. A spokesperson with the governor’s office told FOX 9 the state has so far deployed 50 to 60 state troopers to assist Minneapolis police.
Arradondo, who urged calm, told FOX 9 there is an internal investigation as well an FBI investigation of Floyd’s death underway.
“Justice historically has never come to fruition through some of the acts we’re seeing tonight, whether it’s the looting, the damage to property or other things,” he said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosted a meeting to discuss the country’s nuclear capabilities, state media said on Sunday, marking his first appearance in three weeks after a previous absence sparked global speculation about his health.
Ruling Workers’ Party officials wore face masks to greet Kim as he entered the meeting of the party’s powerful Central Military Commission, state television showed, but no one including Kim was seen wearing a mask during the meeting.
Amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States, the meeting discussed measures to bolster North Korea’s armed forces and “reliably contain the persistent big or small military threats from the hostile forces,” state news agency KCNA said.
The meeting discussed “increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country and putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation,” adopting “crucial measures for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces,” it said.
Kim has made an unusually small number of outings in the past two months, with his absence from a key anniversary prompting speculation about his condition, as Pyongyang has stepped up measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
North Korea says it has no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but South Korea’s intelligence agency has said it cannot rule out that the North has had an outbreak. [L4N2CO0OL]
U.S.-led negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes have made little progress since late last year, especially after a global battle on the virus began.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, expressed hope on Sunday that the United States and North Korea could resume meaningful dialogue as soon as possible, “and not squander away the hard-earned results of (previous) engagement.”
North Korea’s pledge to boost its nuclear capabilities coincides with news reports that the United States might conduct its first full-fledged nuclear test since 1992, noted Leif-Eric Easley, who teaches international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.
“The intention in Washington for pondering such a move may be to pressure Russia and China to improve arms-control commitments and enforcement,” Easley said. “But not only might this tack encourage more nuclear risk-taking by those countries, it could provide Pyongyang an excuse for its next provocation.”
What do great nations do? They bring out the best in others—not altruistically, but synergistically, through the pursuit of their own strategic interests. That is precisely the direction that President Trump is headed with regards to Greenland when he authorized a $12 million investment in the world’s largest island to develop a “sustainable” economy.”
Just eight months ago, all the usual media personalities derided and mocked the President when the press leaked his ambitions to purchase Greenland. “We could move one of the Red Sox spring training camps there,” Joe Scarborough said on his MSNBC morning show, “and, I don’t know, maybe, I don’t know, maybe move a AAA team, there’s so many opportunities there.”
No one is laughing now—especially since the investment has prompted Greenland’s prime minister, Kim Kielsen, to say the $12 million gift “confirms that our work on building a constructive relationship with the United States is fruitful.”
President Trump’s move to invest $12 million in Greenland’s economy is a substantial step to securing America’s strategic interests on the mineral-rich island. But, in order to follow through, the United States must redirect its resources away from unstrategic, endless wars, and focus on President Trump’s America-first vision for U.S. foreign ambitions.
GREENLAND’S STRATEGIC VALUE
The strategic importance of Greenland, a territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, has been well understood for over 100 years. The U.S., under President Harry S. Truman, even offered $100 million for the land in 1946.
With the recent trend of ice sheets melting in Greenland, there are the makings of lucrative mining opportunities. Beneath the continental glacier of ice is soil that holds the second-largest deposit of rare-earth metals and oxides, vital for production of solar power, wind turbines, and electric cars. There is also what’s believed to be the sixth-largest deposit of uranium in the world.
Greenland is 836,300 square miles. Its acquisition would be a historical event unlike anything witnessed since our country’s third president Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase.
Rare-earth minerals are necessary components of more than 200 products across a wide range of applications, especially high-tech consumer products, such as cell phones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, and flat-screen monitors and televisions. In addition to their commercial value, they hold significant defense applications, such as guidance systems, lasers, radar, and sonar systems.
President Trump is also keenly aware that the potential deal could also assist Denmark, a U.S. ally and NATO member. Governing Greenland is “hurting Denmark very badly because they’re losing almost $700m a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss and strategically for the United States it would be very nice and we’re a big ally of Denmark, we protect Denmark and we help Denmark and we will,” the President said last August.
Developing and stimulating the natural resource economy in Greenland would also improve the lives of the roughly 60,000 residents there, especially given that 16.2% of them who live below the poverty line. Liberated from a restrictive, socialist state like Denmark, and incorporated into the U.S. federal system, their local control would increase substantially while they flourished under new trade and security benefits.
It’s important to note that not securing our interests in the region comes at grave a cost—and not just to our economic security. Greenland sits in the Arctic Circle, a region with land held by eight countries (including Russia). Professor Walter Berbrick, founding director of the U.S. Naval War College’s Arctic Studies Group, called Greenland “the most important strategic location in the Arctic and perhaps the world.”
Just ask Russia and China, which are making their own strides there—threatening America’s position in the Arctic. In 2013, China became an observer state of the Arctic Council, which is made up of the U.S., Canada, Russia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, and governs development issues and territorial rights as the polar ice recedes. Beijing’s claim to being a “near-Arctic” state was disputed by state officials, who have “found this disconcerting because of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] behavior outside the Arctic; it often disregards international norms, as it has in the South China Sea.”
Greenland is 836,300 square miles. Its acquisition would be a historical event unlike anything witnessed since our country’s third president Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase. The U.S. hasn’t had such a diplomatic presence there since 1953—although it has maintained its northernmost military base in northeast Greenland for the last 77 years.
President Trump, as a former real estate tycoon, understands growth—winning as survival. What made America great was this kind of attitude toward expansion, its “manifest destiny” as it’s been called. The President could revive that spirit by expanding our sphere of influence to Greenland. It wouldn’t require a cultural revolution or regime change—just the economic and military power of the U.S. to open and secure access for more freedom in that stagnant Arctic land.
A NEW ERA IN FOREIGN POLICY
The general challenge of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy ambitions has been to resist getting bogged down in foreign interventions, like his predecessors, while still exerting American predominance and interests around the world. He has rightfully rejected the neoconservative and Clintonian (neoliberal) drive of expansionism through regime change wars.
The fatal mistake would be if Trump assumed that he, or any president, could juggle an international race to Greenland’s resources and endless interventionist wars at the same time.
It’s important to realize that an America-first foreign strategy will end up up a tragic waste of time unless President Trump puts a stop to never-ending military missions like the ones in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. As President Trump is well aware, over $6.5 trillion has been spent on the war on terror so far. The President must realize what else could’ve been accomplished with the taxpayers’ money.
In addition to the more well-known war theaters, the United States currently has CIA or military boots on the ground in Chad, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, and Tunisia. The strategic gains from these conflicts are marginal given the cost in blood and treasure being bogged down in these “hell holes.”
The fatal mistake would be if Trump assumed that he, or any president, could juggle an international race to Greenland’s resources and endless interventionist wars at the same time.
Wall Street estimates the price of the island to be $533 billion, while the Washington Post puts the estimate as high as $1.7 trillion. Not only would those funds have to be secured, but to make military use of the island would mean a shift in deployments, adding additional costs for new military infrastructure.
Fortunately for Trump, he’s got the American people on his side, especially against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden when it comes to foreign policy. But the President shouldn’t take that vote for granted.
Barely a quarter of Americans agreed that military interventions make America safer in a poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in September 2019. In a more recent poll, conducted by Concerned Veterans for America, 73% of veterans said they would support removing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan; 71% of veterans said the same thing about Iraq. Relatives of veterans closely mirrored those same polling patterns.
The same poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, shows that Americans increasingly support the U.S. taking a more active role in global affairs—but in a way that doesn’t embroil us in perpetual war.
The fact is that President Trump’s foreign policy efforts have not been an unqualified success thus far. The Afghanistan war lingers on, despite attempted peace talks with the Taliban, and there are U.S. troops in Syria—the bulk of whom are North and South Carolina national guardsmen—guarding oil fields for some unclear reason. President Trump isn’t blinded by anti-interventionist ideology—meaning the threat of war looms.
In order to deliver his 2016 campaign promises, and boost optimism towards our global standing, President Trump should continue to redirect our foreing policy efforts to projects like the Greenland purchase—projects that signal a positive, substantial shift in U.S. foreign policy.
Actress Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli are both headed to prison under the terms of the plea agreement they are expected to take with federal prosecutors for their connection to a widespread college admission scandal.
Under the terms of their agreement, the former “Full House” star and her fashion designer husband are each expected to do less than six months in prison for admitting to paying $500,000 and passing off their two daughters as crew recruits to get them admitted to the University of Southern California.
In the separate plea deals, which need to be signed off on by a federal judge, Loughlin will go to prison for two months, perform 100 hours of community service and be subject to two years of supervised release and a $150,000 fine. Loughlin pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
Giannulli will go to prison for five months with 250 hours of community service, two years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine, according to his agreement. He is expected to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud, authorities said.
“Under the plea agreements filed today, these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process and which are consistent with prior sentences in this case,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement.
The plea deals taken by the couple almost certainly avoided longer prison sentences than if they had gone to trial and been found guilty. Lelling, the lead federal prosecutor in the case, said in October he would seek longer sentences for the two if they lost a trial.
“The longer the case goes, let’s say (Loughlin) goes through trial,” he told local Boston station WCVB at the time. “If it is after trial, we would ask for something substantially higher. If she resolved it before trial, something lower than that.”
Lawyers for Loughlin and Giannulli argued in March to have the case thrown out, saying that FBI investigators concealed evidence that would have helped parents’ claims of innocence, but a federal judge refused to dismiss the charges earlier this month.
Business executive Devin Sloane received a four-month prison sentence in September after pleading guilty to paying a $250,000 bribe to get his son into the USC. Stephen Semprevivo, a Los Angeles businessman who paid $400,000 to get his son into Georgetown as a fake tennis recruit, was also sentenced to four months in prison in September.
Hot Pocketsheiress Michelle Janavs was sentenced to five months in prison in February for pleading guilty to paying scheme mastermind Rick Singer $300,000 to get her daughters into USC.
Prosecutors have also asked for a two-year sentence for a college exam proctor who pleaded guilty in November to accepting nearly $200,000 in bribes to allow cheating on SAT and ACT tests as part of the scandal.
A ban on the sale of menthol flavoured cigarettes, menthol rolling tobacco, and capsule cigarettes came into force as of Wednesday in the UK, obeying a European Union directive, which critics fear is the first step towards a full “prohibition” on tobacco.
On Wednesday, the flavoured cigarettes were banned as a part of the EU Tobacco Product Directive that was transposed into UK law despite the nation leaving the bloc earlier this year. The new law is expected to extend beyond the Brexit transition period, which is set to end on December 31st, 2020.
The nanny state style regulations were supposedly set in place to reduce the number of smokers as well as deter younger people from picking up the habit. European bureaucrats argued that menthol is catered towards novice smokers as a result of its cooling effect, according to The Sun.
The move to ban tobacco products is just the latest restriction to be placed on the industry in Britain. Cigarette companies were previously forced — again by EU diktat — to remove all branding from their products, which was replaced with ominous government health warnings from the National Health Service (NHS), the country’s socialised health care provider.
British shop keepers are also mandated by the government to keep cigarettes hidden from the view of their patrons, and are banned from selling smaller sized packets.
To the director of the smokers’ group Forest, Simon Clark, Brexit is a chance for the United Kingdom to reclaim personal liberties and its ability to craft its own laws.
“Inside or outside the EU, Britain is sleepwalking to prohibition. Policies such as the display ban and plain packaging have tried to denormalise tobacco but the product has always been available to adults who choose to smoke,” Mr Clark wrote.
“Brexit is an opportunity to bring power back to the people. Let’s not waste it by imposing further lifestyle regulations on a population tired of being told what to do,” he added.
The ban will come as a shock to many British smokers, as a recent poll conducted by Populus found that 39 per cent of the country’s 7.4 million smokers were unaware the ban on menthol tobacco products was coming at all.
The ban comes just ahead of the ‘World No Tobacco Day’ on May 31st, a World Health Organization initiative.
Kevin Harvick won The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway, as NASCAR returned to the track after a 10-week hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was points leader Harvick’s second Cup Series win at Darlington and his first of the 2020 season.
The Stewart-Haas driver led 159 of the 292 laps and held off Alex Bowman and Kurt Busch for his 50th career Cup Series win, tying him with Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett for 12th on the all-time wins list.
After a first lap crash that eliminated Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the race settled in to a relatively uneventful affair that was held without practice or qualifying.
Jimmie Johnson wrecked while leading on lap 90, and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron did the same 19 laps later, but there were no major multi-car incidents during the race, which was held without fans in attendance.
The race also marked the return of Ryan Newman, who has been out of action since suffering a brain injury in a dramatic crash at the Daytona 500 in February. Newman finished 15th after starting in 21st position.
The restarted seres will be back at Darlington on Wednesday night for 500-kilometer race as it works to complete a planned 36-race schedule, despite skipping eight during the season suspension.
Trump’s policies have been called a lot of names, but “childish” isn’t one of ‘em
Anyone who’s been around children long enough knows they occasionally come up with unanticipated and timeless pearls of wisdom, moments of clarity cloaked by cute-as-a-button exteriors and tendencies to prefer chocolate chip cookies to healthy broccoli and Brussels sprouts at dinnertime. As we get older it’s often said we grow more child-like in our preferences, and it’s not intended as a compliment. To be labeled “childish” usually infers whatever you’re doing is either unimportant, trivial or annoying.
The dictionary defines “childish” as, “of, like, or appropriate to a child”, or, “silly and immature.”
Democrat nominee-in-waiting Joe Biden visited the Washington Post op-ed page earlier this week to weigh-in on President Donald Trump’s response to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or Wuhan virus and suggested the chief executive’s handling of the crisis was akin to kids playing in a kindergarten yard’s sandbox. Or something like that.
Joseph Simonson reported at The Washington Examiner, “Joe Biden took to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to continue attacking the federal government’s coronavirus policies, which are led by President Trump.
“’[Trump’s] goal is as obvious as it is craven: He hopes to split the country into dueling camps, casting Democrats as doomsayers hoping to keep America grounded and Republicans as freedom fighters trying to liberate the economy,’ the former vice president and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee wrote in a Monday guest piece. ‘It’s a childish [emphasis added] tactic — and a false choice that none of us should fall for.’ …
“’States and cities that have attempted to reopen are discovering that the economy isn’t a light switch you can simply flip on — people need confidence to make it run, and that confidence must be earned by credible leadership and demonstrable safety,’ he wrote about Georgia, which reopened its dine-in restaurants in late April but found that demand has barely ticked upward.”
No one I know ever hinted that reviving an economy that was wholesale wrecked by government decision-makers would be as simple as flipping on a light switch. For a major party candidate to assert this is patently… childish. There must be a deeper motivation here, something besides the plain truth that Biden’s flat run out of things to say these days.
What it is then? Georgia this, Georgia that. Georgia, Georgia, Georgia. Expect Grampa Joe and the Democrat propaganda crew to relentlessly bash on the Peach State in the coming months as a shining example of a reddish purple jurisdiction with a Republican governor who just happened to have won his office by besting Democrat upstart and the vastly unqualified Stacey Abrams, the woman who refused to concede defeat and remove her name from liberal cable news channels’ headlines despite being behind by 50,000 votes after the count was concluded.
Of course Abrams is widely rumored to be near the top of Biden’s veep short list. Instinct and observation indicate Biden is dying to choose her to fill out his ticket. But the party establishment probably isn’t swayed, since Abrams doesn’t have any high-level executive or legislative experience (she served in the Georgia House for ten years and as Minority Leader for six) and it would be an extremely tough sell to bill her as ready to step into the POTUS role on day one behind the visibly faltering and mentally slipping Biden.
Heck, even Barack Obama had been a U.S. senator for a couple years before launching his presidential campaign — and Stacey Abrams ain’t no Obama. True, like “the One”, Abrams is a diehard leftist activist — hence, her appeal to Biden — but she’s not all that articulate and comes across as a lightweight loony nutcase (such as when she delivered the party response to Trump’s State of the Union speech, which thankfully for Democrats, no one watched).
Plus, to put it mildly, she’s not much to look at. Yup, I said it. Democrats and liberals will scream “FOUL!” for even bringing up the appearance angle, but big-time American politics rarely advances those who’d finish last in a beauty contest line-up. Biden could solve that particular dilemma by drafting the much more attractive Kamala Harris — the other prominent black woman supposedly in contention — since Obama himself once said the California Attorney General (at the time) was the “best looking” among her colleagues. If ‘ol back slappin’, hair sniffin’, child repellin’, shoulders massagin’, nude swimmin’ and sexual assault denyin’ Grampa Joe wants a looker, it ain’t gonna be Ms. Abrams.
Which presents a minor dilemma for Joe and his campaign team since they need to check all the appropriate demographic boxes for his number two. The buzz surrounding an Abrams selection would last approximately three hours until people got a glimpse of her on the evening news — and listened to her speak. Talk about a rapid decline. But then again, when the Biden/Abrams ticket loses in November, Democrats could cry and moan about how it was due to nationwide voter suppression (only in the states that went for Trump) and that racist Trump-ian “deplorables” backwards-butt rednecks couldn’t stomach the prospect of voting for a homely black woman.
Never mind Abrams. Biden and crew need a convenient kicking boy on the issue-of-the-hour, coronavirus. Georgia just happens to be it.
After all, Colorado’s reopening mirrored Georgia’s and you don’t see or hear doddering Joe and his fellow Democrats stringing out Democrat Governor Jared Polis for his callous disregard of “science” or testing or whatever it is they’re talking about at the moment. Biden’s — and the media’s — highlighting Georgia is 110% politically motivated, since if they can convince enough folks that Gov. Brian Kemp acted carelessly and jumped the gun, then perhaps they can steal a normally reliable GOP state and make their Electoral College challenge not quite as daunting.
The testing issue also isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Most lay people hear virus “testing” and think it’d be as easy as walking into a clinic, providing a urine sample in one of those little cups and receiving a courtesy phone call within an hour or two with the results. Not so. According to family members familiar with the actual coronavirus test, it involves taking a sample from deep within the nostrils and the process is described as “extremely uncomfortable.”
Necessary, yes, but it’s quite painful and not exactly the type of thing anyone would do unless they’re symptomatic (or your doctor orders it) and reason it’s time to know for sure. Therefore, even if a testing station were right down the block it’s doubtful people would be lining up to endure it, especially when the chances of testing positive aren’t exactly that great (a check revealed there have been about 10 million tests and “only” about 1.4 million confirmed cases).
Are there more people out there with the virus? Emphatically, yes. Even the experts agree there’re exponentially more carriers than confirmed cases. And they keep popping up in places you’d never consider, such as inside the Vice President’s office. So yes, lots of people have the virus, lots more are worried sick about getting it and the public is apprehensive about venturing out like “normal” when no such thing exists any longer.
But for Biden to maintain Trump’s response “divided” the country between heroic freedom fighters and doomsayer Democrats isn’t exactly accurate. It’s not childish at all. And by no means is it a “false choice” either. Simply look at Florida’s success under the stewardship of GOP Governor Ron DeSantis and you’ll see there’s a vast difference between political leadership that trusts people to rely on good judgment and sound advice to stop the spread of the pandemic.
Contrast DeSantis with blue state governors in Connecticut, Virginia, California, New Jersey, Illinois and New York, all of which exercised their petty tyrant powers to shutter businesses (many permanently, as this report indicated) and punish citizens for demanding more freedom. Polls also show Republicans are significantly more likely to support relaxing or ending social distancing mandates. Paul Bedard reported, “In a new Gallup survey, 60% of Republicans said they are avoiding ‘small gatherings,’ down from a peak of 76% at the end of March. Since the survey dates ended May 3, the number is likely down more.
“By comparison, 74% of Democrats are still avoiding small gatherings, down from a high of 84% at the end of March.”
The distinction is easily explainable. Republicans and conservatives don’t live their lives based on an expert’s or governor’s arbitrary opinions or dictates. Democrats are much more receptive to being “ruled.” Case closed.
If Grampa Joe Biden can’t talk about testing (and a lack of it), what else is there to say?
Imagine you’re a Democrat (you can envision yourself as Biden himself if you wish), or, if you are already a member of the party, try to think objectively. You’re positioned in a conference room at headquarters, (or these days, you’re taking part in a Zoom call) with other strategists.
Everyone’s tossing out ideas on how Grampa Joe might improve his political position vis-à-vis Trump during the coronavirus quarantine phase. Invariably the conversation winds down to the “when do we reopen” dilemma and there are no solid answers, other than perhaps to shed doubt on Trump’s statements on the need for and availability of mass testing (note: Trump has recommended all nursing home patients and staff be tested — finally, some common sense on the subject). Bingo! You’ve got your op-ed topic and you hire a ghostwriter to pen something legible from Joe’s typical stream-of-consciousness ramblings.
Since only a tiny fraction of U.S. citizens have been tested, you try and scare the bejesus out of the ones who haven’t been and tell everyone to damn the economic consequences and stay the (heck) away from each other for another month — or until a vaccine is developed, approved and distributed. It’s all you have. Let’s run with it!
Trump Derangement Syndrome won’t be enough for Democrats to win in 2020
While most Democrats we see on TV are more than committed to a campaign strategy of bashing Trump 24/7, a token few voices are recommending party candidates include more substance in their pitches to voters. Seth McLaughlin reported at The Washington Times, “One of the masterminds behind Pete Buttigieg’s rise in national politics said Monday Joseph R. Biden’s path to the White House hinges on presenting voters with a positive alternative vision for the nation, and not getting too wrapped up in ‘Trump derangement syndrome.’
“Lis Smith, a senior advisor to Mr. Buttigieig’s 2020 bid, said the coronavirus has provided Mr. Biden with an opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to campaigning and said she hopes the party learned some lessons from the party’s mistakes in 2016.
“’There is a theory in the Democratic Party that if we just kept giving Donald Trump rope that he would eventually hang himself,’ Ms. Smith said on Political Playbook virtual interview. ‘Well, he didn’t, and I think it is completely wishful thinking to think that he will self-destruct and that we can just run against Trump and Trumpism.’”
From all appearances, Grampa Joe Biden isn’t taking Smith’s advice. Grossly mislabeling the president’s policies and attitudes towards reopening the economy — meaning, Trump is pushing for it — isn’t just childish, it’s ineffective. Biden’s formulated his political career out of pretending to be somebody he’s not (smart, accomplished, empathetic, ahead of the curve), so ripping at Trump is what he does best.
But sitting around in a basement bunker lofting bombs in the Washington Post is a lot closer to Trump Derangement Syndrome than it is to offering concrete proposals. Why doesn’t Joe jump into the issue mosh pit and start throwing some elbows?
Because he doesn’t have a clue what to say, so he defaults to calling Trump “childish.” When should the economy open, Joe? Would everyone be forced to take a test? What happens to those whose tests don’t match your projections?
With the quarantine portion of the weird coronavirus conundrum seemingly winding to a close, politicians like Joe Biden will be compelled to come out of hiding and supply substance rather than submitting op-eds to the Washington Post and calling Trump “childish.” Will Joe offer something more than Trump Derangement Syndrome? Voters want to know.