James O’Keefe, the founder and head of Project Veritas (past videos at the link), has once again produced a sterling undercover video.

This time, he sent an undercover reporter of his to CNN to investigate the Russian collusion accusations against President Donald Trump.

On Monday, June 26, 2017, Laura Loomer of Canada’s Rebel Media tweeted:

Within hours, the Project Veritas video appeared on YouTube.

I highly recommend this subtitled, 8+-minute video (mild language alert), not only to anti-Trump readers but also to those of similar mindset who live outside of the United States, particularly in Europe:

The following synopsis comes from Project Veritas (emphases mine below):

In the recent video footage obtained by Project Veritas, John Bonifield a Sr. Producer at CNN, admits to several beliefs that are in direct conflict with the official CNN narrative that Trump has colluded with Russia, and that Russia has interfered with the 2016 election. Bonifield expresses clear doubts that there is a fire behind the Russia smoke, stating, “I haven’t seen any good enough evidence to show that the President committed a crime.” He also confirms suspicions that CNN staff is ideologically biased against Trump, stating, “I know a lot of people don’t like him and they’d like to see him get kicked out of office…”

Bonifield even further confirms CNN’s bias against the President, stating, “I think the President is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me…you have no real proof.”

Bonifield exposes that Russia has been great for CNN’s ratings, and that orders from CEO Jeff Zucker himself have directed CNN to pursue Russia leads at the expense of other stories. Bonifield states “And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said ‘good job everybody covering the Climate Accords, but we’re done with it let’s get back to Russia.’

He further comments on Russia, “it’s mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any giant proof…if it was something really good, it’d leak.”

This is not fabricated. John Bonifield does indeed work for CNN, his employer for several years.

Quite rightly, O’Keefe channelled his late friend and mentor, Andrew Breitbart, who encouraged more people to make honest and hard-hitting exposés:

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has seen the video:

Freedom of speech is one thing, but when a news organisation purporting to be trustworthy keeps pushing damaging falsehoods for ratings, that’s something else:

Yep.

I know a lot of people offline who believe what CNN says. They, like most of CNN’s viewers, are highly educated. One man told me recently, ‘It’s not a matter of if, but when, Trump’s Russian collusion comes out.’

But, wait, didn’t Obama laugh at the notion that an American election could be rigged? He ridiculed Trump’s claims last year of voter fraud and more. Since then, the fake Russian narrative that somehow they helped Trump win the White House has been front and centre, especially from CNN.

Yesterday, Trump tweeted:

Lou Dobbs of Fox News analysed the web of deceit surrounding the Democrats’ claims about Trump and Russia. Dobbs doesn’t say, but some Republicans also believe this fakery:

Trump had more to say on the topic. Sundance of The Conservative Treehouse put the president’s tweets together:

Over the past week or so, CNN’s obnoxious and belligerent Jim Acosta has been complaining about the White House press briefings and gaggles. Some changes have been made; filming, for example, is no longer guaranteed.

I call Acosta obnoxious because he was particularly rude to Trump last winter when the then president-elect gave a press conference at Trump Tower. Acosta interrupted him several times. Trump got his own back on Acosta weeks later in his first press conference as president.

Those who watch these briefings say that whilst Acosta himself might be ignored, others from CNN are not:

That was nothing compared to what happened next.

CNN discovered it was in hot water for its fake news.

On Friday, June 24, the network had to withdraw a story, one that involved the Russia narrative.

Newsweek has a summary of what happened:

CNN’s announcement of new publishing restrictions on articles about President Donald Trump and Russia, as reported by Buzzfeed, has delighted right-wing media.

Populist website Breitbart reported that the “very fake news scandal” was consuming the network, while Fox News host Sean Hannity taunted CNN’s Jeff Zucker on Twitter …

CNN’s retracted story, which alleged that the Senate Intelligence Committee was probing claims that the chief of a $10 billion Russian investment fund had met with a member of Trump’s transition team days before the president’s inauguration, was based on a single unnamed source …

BuzzFeed reported (language alert):

The now-deleted story was published Thursday and cited a single, unnamed source who claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into a “$10-billion Russian investment fund whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team four days before Trump’s inauguration.”

A source close to the network, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, told BuzzFeed News earlier that the story was a “massive, massive fuck up and people will be disciplined.” The person said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and the head of the company’s human resources department are “directly involved” in an internal investigation examining how the story was handled.

BuzzFeed included this tweet:

On Monday, June 26, three CNN employees resigned (Jeff Zucker, the network’s CEO, is pictured giving the announcement):

That particular BuzzFeed article said, in part:

Three CNN employees have resigned in the wake of the news outlet’s retracted Russia story.

Thomas Frank, the reporter who wrote the story; Eric Lichtblau, who recently joined CNN from the New York Times; and CNN Investigates executive editor Lex Haris have left the news outlet. The Washington Post first reported the resignations, which a CNN source confirmed to BuzzFeed News …

The story, written by investigative reporter Frank, was posted on Thursday and deleted late Friday. More than an hour after BuzzFeed News contacted CNN about the deletion, an editor’s note appeared on CNN website saying that the story “did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted.”

The note also apologized to Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s orbit who had been named in the story (and who later tweeted that the apology was accepted).

The retraction sent CNN scrambling to deal with the fallout over the weekend, even within parts of the news operation that weren’t involved in the retracted report …

Historian and author Thomas Wictor had an interesting exchange with another Twitter user about Eric Lichtblau’s reporting history at the New York Times, including:

And, with further implications for CNN:

Trump tweeted:

This is not the end of the story for CNN — or for other media outlets. Investigative journalist and New York Times best selling author Sharyl Attkisson has just come out with a new book, The Smear, which is all about fake news. She could not have timed it better. I wish her all the best with book sales:

It might well answer the president’s queries:

Monday, June 26, was also notable for the Supreme Court’s temporary approval of Trump’s partial travel ban from earlier this year. The Supreme Court justices will look at the ban formally as a case later this year, probably October.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at that day’s press briefing:

Good afternoon. I want to say at the top that with respect to the Supreme Court decision on the President’s executive order, the President was honored by the 9-0 decision that allows him to use an important tool to protect our nation’s homeland.

His number-one responsibility as Commander-in-Chief is to keep the American people safe, and that’s exactly what this executive order does.

Nationally syndicated talk show host John Cardillo tweeted:

In a statement from the Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions explains why this partial travel ban is necessary for the safety and security of the United States:

I know some people still find this executive order discriminatory, however, it covers only six countries, those which lack adequate security detail and procedures to vet their own citizens, some of whom could be potential terror risks.

With these two significant items of good news, perhaps White House Anon is legit, after all. On June 22, he predicted good things would happen this week.

This is an important example of left-wing hypocrisy:

Is everyone in the United States aware that the FBI is investigating Bernie Sanders for fraud?

NBC’s Chuck Todd didn’t mention it in his interview with Sanders about last week’s special elections in Georgia and South Carolina. I can appreciate that the network is proud that Meet the Press is in its 70th year, but, please, give people the full story:

In May 2016, Burlington College in Vermont had to close. It went broke. Sanders’s wife Jane had been a recent Burlington College president.

On June 22, 2017, Politico published Harry Jaffe’s article, ‘Jane Sanders Lawyers Up’, which recaps the background. Jaffe, who has been following Sanders’s career since the 1970s, is the editor-at-large for Washingtonian magazine and the author of Why Bernie Sanders Matters. Excerpts and a summary follow.

In short:

Investigative reporters had been breaking stories about a federal investigation into allegations that the senator’s wife, Jane Sanders, had committed fraud in obtaining bank loans for the now defunct Burlington College, and that Sanders’s Senate office had weighed in.

In May 2017, Sanders blamed the story on President Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Vermont:

Sanders had never responded to questions about the case, but he took the bait this time. Briefly.

“Well, as you know,” he said, “it would be improp— this implication came from Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Vermont. Let me leave it at that, because it would be improper at this point for me to say anything more.”

Sanders repeated the accusation:

“Yes,” Sanders responded, “it is nonsense. But now that there is a process going on, which was initiated by Trump’s campaign manager, somebody who does this all of the time, has gone after a number of Democrats and progressives in this state. It would be improper at this point for me to add any more to that.”

Investigators are looking into whether Senator Sanders’s office used his influence to obtain a loan from People’s United Bank to help bail out the college.

Sanders is correct in saying that Brady Toensing, an attorney who chaired Trump’s Vermont campaign, notified authorities. Politico reports that Toensing sent a letter in January 2016:

Toensing, in an email to Politico Magazine, notes, “The investigation was started more than a year ago under President Obama, his Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and his United States Attorney, all of whom are Democrats.”

Politico says that Mr and Mrs Sanders are now seeking top lawyers:

Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ longtime top political adviser who heads Sanders’ political organization, Our Revolution, confirms to Politico Magazine that Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up. The couple has retained Rich Cassidy, a well-connected Burlington attorney and Sanders devotee, and Larry Robbins, the renowned Washington-based defense attorney who has represented I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and disgraced former Rep. Bill Jefferson, to represent Jane Sanders in the matter.

It’s now Trump’s Department of Justice that is handling the investigation which could proceed via a US Attorney for Vermont, not yet appointed.

Politico says:

The facts of the case are complicated. They are steeped in Vermont’s peculiar educational culture and the incestuous financial system in Burlington, Sanders’ hometown and political base, where some Sanders backers worry that with Trump’s Justice Department calling the shots, the facts—intricate as they are—may not determine the outcome.

Reporters knew about it a year and a half ago:

On January 10, 2016, in the midst of Sanders’ sudden stardom—just weeks before the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire—the U.S. attorney for Vermont was sent a “Request for an Investigation into Apparent Federal Bank Fraud.”

Backed by six exhibits and a dozen documents, the four-page letter described how Jane Sanders had “orchestrated” the purchase of 33 acres along Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, where her husband had minted his populist political brand as mayor. The deal closed in 2010, when the senator’s wife was president of Burlington College, a tiny, obscure, nontraditional school that always seemed to be struggling for students and funds. The letter alleged that to secure a $10 million loan and execute her grand plan to expand the college, Jane Sanders had falsified and inflated nearly $2 million that she’d claimed donors had pledged to repay the loans.

Sanders had “successfully and intentionally engaged in a fraudulent scheme to actively conceal and misrepresent material facts from a federal financial institution,” the letter alleged. It pressed for a federal investigation into potential bank fraud.

However, Politico says that reporters did not ask the Sanders about the letter or exhibits, because they were too intrigued by his popularity with voters.

Meanwhile:

Beyond the glare, federal investigators and FBI agents started to pull apart the $10 million financial arrangement. They showed up at Burlington College to sift through hard drives, audit reports and spreadsheets. They began to interview donors, board members and past president Carol Moore. “I was contacted and spoke with an FBI agent numerous times last spring, again last summer,” Moore told Vermont Public Radio in May 2017, “and recently, maybe a month ago.”

A second letter followed, alleging Senator Sanders’s office was involved:

A second letter to federal prosecutors in early 2016 alleged that Senator Sanders’ office had pressured the bank to approve the loan application submitted by Jane Sanders. “Improper pressure by a United States Senator is a serious ethical violation,” the letter asserted.

It is surprising how far back this story goes.

Before discussing that, however, let’s look at a bit of history. Burlington College was founded in 1972 by a literature professor, Steward LaCasce, who had envisaged an institution of higher learning without walls and with a high degree of autonomy. He started Burlington in his living room with 14 students. Anyone reading this who was not alive then should know that the early 1970s was still a time of flower power and experimental lifestyles which held a lot of appeal for a niche group.

Although LaCasce’s fledgling institution was not known as Burlington College initially, it got its name once classes moved to a former grocery store in Burlington.

When Jane Sanders was appointed president in 2004, Burlington College had 200 students. She had big plans for the college’s expansion. However, those did not materialise immediately. In the meantime, she was proving unpopular with other faculty and even students:

In the four years since she had taken over, two dozen faculty and staff had left the tiny college. The Student Government Association in late 2008 described a “toxic and disruptive environment on campus.” Nearly half of the students and faculty members signed a petition demanding a meeting about the “crisis in leadership.” Even so, Sanders’ salary rose to $150,000 in 2009, according to college records, as tuition increased by $5,000, to $22,407 in 2011, and enrollment dropped to 156 students.

Despite this, she carried on with the support of college trustees.

In 2010, she decided to act on expansion. She planned to move the college to larger grounds, on the desirable Lake Champlain, no less. The local Roman Catholic diocese needed to sell a magnificent building — a former orphanage and rectory — because they needed to fund settlements from child abuse lawsuits:

The property went on the market for $12.5 million. The Diocese took Burlington College’s offer of $10 million, which seemed to be a bargain.

There was only one problem. Burlington College could not afford it:

… the college was nearly broke. Its annual budget hovered just below $4 million. Even at a discounted rate, the land would be an extravagant purchase. Yet Sanders was able to craft a complex set of deals to finance the acquisition.

So:

The state’s Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency voted to issue $6.5 million in tax exempt bonds. People’s United Bank loaned Burlington College $6.5 million to buy the bonds. The Catholic church loaned the school $3.65 million in a second mortgage. To secure the loans, Sanders assured the bank and the church that the college had $5 million in likely pledges and $2.4 million in confirmed pledges, which she would be able to use to pay off the debt. And finally, the college received a $500,000 bridge loan from Anthony Pomerleau, a wealthy Burlington developer close with Bernie and Jane Sanders.

Yet, landscaping the campus required an additional $6 million:

To many locals, it didn’t add up.

In September 2011, Sanders took reporters on a tour of the new campus, overlooking Lake Champlain.

However, one month later, the board of trustees persuaded her to resign. Financial problems — repayments and unfulfilled pledges — as well as her continuing conflicts with faculty were the principal reasons.

Regardless, it was too late for the college to recover:

Burlington’s free fall accelerated after the board forced out Sanders. The school had moved into the old buildings on its new campus, and though Sanders had budgeted for more than $3 million in renovations, the structures were in need of rehabilitation that would cost substantially more. Unable to increase enrollment to pay for the added costs, the school lost students.

Even selling off parcels of prime lakefront property to developers did not suffice. The college still could not pay off the loans sufficiently.

The bank called in the loan in April 2016. In May, Burlington College closed its doors — for good.

In a 2015 interview on Vermont Public Radio, Jane Sanders insisted she left the college in good financial condition in 2011.

Trump’s campaign manager, Brady Toensing, became interested in Burlington College’s financial difficulties in July 2014, after an alternative newspaper, Seven Days, carried an in-depth piece on it:

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges had put it on probation because of the school’s shaky finances. The college was about to sell off land to defray its mounting debt.

Toensing:

requested loan documents from the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency that had issued the $6.5 million bonds for the land. The August 1 response from the bonding agency produced a trove of documents that detailed how Jane Sanders convinced the bank and the church that Burlington College could pay back its millions of dollars in loans.

Politico says he shared the documents with Seven Days and a non-profit Vermont website, VTDigger.

Interestingly, it was The Daily Caller — based in Washington DC — that first broke the story on March 26, 2015:

under the headline: “Exclusive: Bernie Sanders’ Wife May Have Defrauded State Agency, Bank.”

VTDigger took it from there (emphases mine below):

Morgan True, reporting for VTDigger, went deeper. Examining the pledges Sanders had listed on documents she signed for the loan, True and other reporters found discrepancies and overstatements.

The records showed that Sanders had assured People’s United Bank and the state bonding agency that the college had $2.6 million in pledges to secure the loan. Internal college audits showed that only $676,000 in actual donations came in from 2010 to 2014. Sanders listed two people as having confirmed pledges for more money than they had offered; neither knew their pledges had been used to support the loan. A third donor had offered a $1 million bequest, to be paid upon her death. Instead, the college’s loan application counted it in funds to be paid out over the next few years.

When media contacted her at the time, Jane Sanders gave no comment.

Brady Toensing had what he needed. He:

wrapped these figures and facts into the January 2016 letter to the U.S. attorney and the FDIC, requesting an investigation into what he termed “apparent federal bank fraud.” In March 2016, Toensing doubled down in another letter to federal officials. This time, he made an allegation that struck to the core of Bernie Sanders’ clean-government image. “As a result of my [initial] complaint,” Toensing wrote, “I was recently approached and informed that Senator Bernard Sanders’s office improperly pressured People’s United Bank to approve the loan application submitted by the Senator’s wife, Ms. Sanders.”

Politico says that proving that Bernie Sanders’s office was involved would be difficult at best, adding that proving bank fraud is also challenging:

Charges of bank fraud, say legal experts, are not easy to prove. “It requires that the act be performed knowingly,” says William Lawler, a former federal prosecutor now with the law firm Vinson & Elkins. “Not every mistake is going to rise to the level of a crime.”

As I write, investigators have not yet finished their work. Once they have done so, they will present their findings to federal prosecutors and the relevant lawyers will:

have discretion on whether or not to bring charges.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the DoJ would then decide whether to prosecute. Remember that Jeff Sessions and Bernie Sanders were both in the Senate together for many years. Sessions will also know what Mr and Mrs Sanders said about Trump on the campaign trail and this year.

The story is on hold for now but is trending on Twitter. However, it will be interesting to see how this materialises, especially, if, as Politico suggests, Brady Toensing is a successful nominee for the post of US Attorney for Vermont.

Over the past few months I have been running a series of posts on Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

Percy Dearmer on the earliest church service manuscripts

Percy Dearmer’s interpretation of St Paul on prophecy and tongues

Percy Dearmer on elements of worship in the New Testament

Percy Dearmer: how several prayer books became one liturgical book

Percy Dearmer on Reformation, royalty and the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer: first Anglican Prayer Book ‘too fair-minded’ for a violent era

Percy Dearmer on the effect of Edward VI’s reign on the Church of England

Chapter 7 of Dearmer’s book states that the Second Prayer Book, which came into effect on November 1, 1552, was influenced by Calvinistic and Zwinglian attitudes which prevailed among the powerful clergy and politicians of the day (emphases mine below):

In 1552 Parliament passed the Act above mentioned, which stated that the First Prayer Book was agreeable to the Word of God, but that doubts had arisen (through curiosity rather than any worthy cause), and it would therefore be explained and made perfect. The “explanation” turned out to be the Second Prayer Book, which neither explained nor perfected the First Book, but very seriously altered it.

Oddly, the Church of England never approved the 1552 edition:

This book was therefore thrust upon England under false pretences; nor had it received any sanction from the Church of England.

Dearmer states that Archbishop Thomas Cranmer had lost any influence he had had on the Prayer Book to the zealous John Knox, whose star was rising at the time.

In support of that claim, Dearmer points out that the hated, later removed, Black Rubric was hastily pasted into all copies of the Second Prayer Book before it appeared in churches around the nation. The Black Rubric:

denied any real presence of Christ in the Sacrament. Cranmer could control the party in power no longer. The man who had triumphed at the end was John Knox.

There were other changes that came about in the prayers and various rites, which showed the influence that Knox and his followers had:

Exorcism was omitted from the Baptismal Service but most unreasonably the Scriptural practice of anointing the sick, and the primitive practice of reserving the Sacrament for them at the open Communion, were omitted from the Visitation; and the provision of a special Celebration was omitted from the Burial Service, while the prayers for the departed were made vaguer, largely in the interests of Calvinism.

These men were particularly interested in removing any aspects they considered ‘Romish’ or ‘Mass’-like:

the outward character of the services, in the churches which the Commissioners were fleecing, was most affected by the disappearance of the former rubrics and notes ordering the historic vestments, and by a new rubric stating that neither albe, vestment, nor cope should be worn, but that the bishop should wear a rochet and the priest a surplice only — the innocuous hood and scarf thus sharing the fate of the other vestments.

A rochet — see here and here — is a simple linen outer garment which might or might not have sleeves.

Dearmer says:

Really, the despots of the Anarchy seem to have gone a little mad.

Along with this went another change, an increase in the number of Articles of Religion, done dishonestly:

Already, in May, 1552, the Privy Council had published Forty-two Articles which endeavoured to enforce Zwinglian doctrines upon the English Church. As in the case of the Second Prayer Book, the English Church was not invited to sanction these Articles; but the Council had the effrontery to state on the title-page that they had been agreed upon by the bishops in Convocation.

That number was later reduced to the current Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.

The following year, the Queen Mary began her reign and, as Dearmer explains in Chapter 8:

The Latin services had of course been used in Mary’s reign. She had restored the Sarum rites: the Roman ritual was not introduced among the English Papists till early in the 17th century.

Her half-sister Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558, when Protestantism was restored and, soon afterwards, a Third Prayer Book introduced, more about which in the next instalment.

The three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 8:4-8

Philip Proclaims Christ in Samaria

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city[a] of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.

—————————————————————————————–

My previous entry discussed the first three verses of Acts 8.

In summary, Stephen’s brutal martyrdom — aided and abetted by Paul (verses 1 and 3) — caused the disciples to scatter. The Apostles remained in Jerusalem to minister to the converts there.

Despite Stephen’s martyrdom in Jerusalem, which everyone would have been aware of, those who scattered continued to preach the word (verse 4).

Matthew Henry makes this point about the persecutors (emphases mine below):

The persecution that was designed to extirpate the church was by the overruling providence of God made an occasion of the enlargement of it. Christ had said, I am come to send fire on the earth; and they thought, by scattering those who were kindled with that fire, to have put it out, but instead of this they did but help to spread it.

As for the disciples:

They did not go to hide themselves for fear of suffering, no, nor to show themselves as proud of their sufferings; but they went up and down to scatter the knowledge of Christ in every place where they were scattered. They went every where, into the way of the Gentiles, and the cities of the Samaritans, which before they were forbidden to go into, Matthew 10:5. They did not keep together in a body, though this might have been a strength to them; but they scattered into all parts, not to take their ease, but to find out work. They went evangelizing the world, preaching the word of the gospel; it was this which filled them, and which they endeavoured to fill the country with, those of them that were preachers in their preaching, and others in their common converse.

They knew Samaria and the Samaritans knew about Christ:

They were now in a country where they were no strangers, for Christ and his disciples had conversed much in the regions of Judea; so that they had a foundation laid there for them to build upon; and it would be requisite to let the people there know what that doctrine which Jesus had preached there some time ago was come to, and that it was not lost and forgotten, as perhaps they were made to believe.

This was thanks to the exchange Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:

25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

John MacArthur picks up on the words ‘went about’ in verse 4:

It literally means, “They went through countries and districts.” And it’s used of missionary extensions, and here you have the first missionary effort of the church.

Verse 5 brings us to Philip, the subject of much of Acts 8. Like Stephen, he was one of the first deacons, as Acts 6:5 tells us:

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.

He, again like Stephen, was a Hellenic (Greek) Jew who converted to Christianity.

The Apostles instituted the office of deacon to ensure that food and charity were fairly distributed in the Church in Jerusalem. Acts 6:1 says:

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists[a] arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.

Incidentally, Philip the Deacon — or Evangelist — is different to Philip the Apostle. Philip the Evangelist might have been the founder of the church in Tralles in Anatolia. He also had four daughters who followed him into prophesying (Acts 21:9).

In a third similarity to Stephen, God gave Philip remarkable powers. Acts 6:8 states:

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 8:6-8 describes Philip as being able to accomplish God-given signs and the ability to drive out demons as well as restore the paralysed and lame to full health, all of which brought much happiness to the people of Samaria.

MacArthur describes the history of the uneasy relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans. First, there is the statement in verse 5 that Philip ‘went down’ to Samaria:

Now when it says he went down to Samaria, everybody always thinks, “Well, my map, Samaria is up.” But if you were in Jerusalem, everything is down because Jerusalem is way up on a high plateau and you go down to go to Samaria, down to go to Jericho, down to go to anywhere. And so he went down and north to Samaria. Samaria was an area, and it was also the name of the city, the ancient capital of that whole area, the Northern Kingdom, was Samaria. And so he went to this place.

Now into the history:

In the 8th Century B.C., you remember before that had been split into the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom of Israel. After Solomon, Solomon messed everything up so much that Solomon had brought about a fracture in the kingdom and, of course, following Solomon, the kingdom was split: Jeroboam and Rehoboam in the north and the south. Ten tribes went north, two tribes went south: Judah and Benjamin. The Northern Kingdom, by the 8th Century, was carried off into captivity by the Assyrians. And at that time, there were some Jews left in the lands. Most of them were carried off; some were left. They then moved strangers into the land, and the Jews, not being really committed to their Judaism, intermarried with the strangers that the Assyrians put in the land. Consequently, it became a mongrel race.

In the 5th Century B.C., the Jews who had been carried into Babylonian captivity, the South Kingdom, was Judah, Benjamin. They’d been carried off. After 70 years, Cyrus gave a decree they could come back. Now remember they came back under Ezra and Nehemiah to build the temple again, and the walls. So they all marched back and started their building. Well, all the guys in the North who were now half-breeds came down and said, “We want to help.” They were contemptuously rejected. Remember the story? They didn’t want a thing from those half-breeds who had desecrated their Judaism by intermarrying with Gentiles. And that began the rift, and it’s continued even until the book of Acts, and often times even until today.

MacArthur says that Philip was the first to bridge the gap between evangelist and teaching pastor. Verse 5 tells us that Philip ‘proclaimed’ Christ to the people. In some translations, the word is ‘preached’:

Now this is an interesting thing because the word “preached” in 5 is different than the word “preaching.” One is euaggelizo, one is kerusso. Philip – kerusso; that means he “proclaimed”. He was a public herald. There is a difference between an individual presenting the gospel, and somebody who is a preacher, a herald, a public speaker. Philip was a public speaker and he presented, in preaching – look at it – Christ, unto them.

The people of Samaria understood and appreciated Philip’s public proclamations because they already knew something about Christ:

So, when Philip went there, he presented to them that Christ is Messiah. It was a simple message, and they were ready for it. Now, hang on to this point. You see, they had the background to understand that announcement.

Because of this, they ‘paid attention’ to what he said and did (verse 6):

In verse 6, bang, they responded right off. And these people, the word is “multitudes,” with one accord, they had a wholesale spiritual awakening; gave heed unto those things which Philip spoke.

Furthermore, the miracles proved the truth of Philip’s words:

God confirmed the preaching with miracles, so they would know it was from God.

MacArthur points out that these abilities ended with the Apostolic Age:

We don’t have that power today. Jesus had the power to cast them out with a word. His apostles and these two [Stephen and Philip], whom He gave the gift of miracles, had the power to do it. But today, we are the same level as we are when we come to the sick. We have to pray for their healing. And so with demon possessed people. We can’t walk around saying “Alright all you demons. In the name of Christ, get out.” And I think a lot of people today are frustrated because they try it and it doesn’t work. You know, people say to me “Well, I tired to cast these demons out. It didn’t go.” Well, I’ve done the same thing and I’ve tried and it didn’t go either.

There’s a question of the ability to do miracles here that does not belong to us and we have to pray for these people even as we do sick people, because we can’t just walk up and say, “Be healed.” That gift belonged to this age.

He says that there was only one time when he was sure he had met someone — a woman — possessed by two demons, who came out only when she confessed serious sins from her past to him and another minister with him at the time:

we found that we had to pray, and it all boiled down to her confession of sin before those demons ever left. Because I had worked for two hours and so had Jerry, trying to get rid of this one demon, called Decito. And nothing ever happened until she finally was willing to confess some really filthy things in her life for which she needed relief, the relief that comes in confession, and the cleansing. And then it was gone, no problem.

So again, we cannot go about casting out demons, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly confront them with the need for confession and cleansing that there might be no place for demons to occupy.

Next week’s post will feature more about Philip’s ministry.

Next time: Acts 8:9-13

Wow.

After a two-week break which was largely free from US news, I return to find that things across the pond are as crazy as ever.

First, a reminder that fake news — then known as yellow journalism — existed a century ago:

The New York World — long since defunct — is the press organ that supposedly came up with the eponymous World Series for baseball. Ironically, Joseph Pulitzer — of the esteemed journalism prize — was the paper’s publisher. The World was a leading national ‘voice’ of the Democratic Party. Enough said.

Now onto the week’s news.

Anyone who is sensitive or easily triggered is advised to avoid some of the material in this post, particularly the first few news items. That said, this entry ends on a positive note.

White supremacy ends with white abortion

I really hope the following article is yellow journalism and nothing more but, with all the madness going on, it is difficult to be sure.

An online magazine, Medusa, has an article called ‘Beyond Pro-Choice: The Solution to White Supremacy is White Abortion’. I hope Tucker Carlson is able to get the author, Nicole Valentine, on his Fox News show.

In response, alternative media journalist and author Jack Posobiec tweeted:

Valentine says that white women are not doing enough:

White women: it is time to do your part! Your white children reinforce the white supremacist society that benefits you. If you claim to be progressive, and yet willingly birth white children by your own choice, you are a hypocrite. White women should be encouraged to abort their white children, and to use their freed-up time and resources to assist women of color who have no other choice but to raise their children. Women of color are in need of financial and humanitarian resources. As this white supremacist society continues to imprison black fathers, women of color are forced to stand alone in their plight to raise the next generation of Americans.

But why is that? It is because the welfare state has benefited single mothers since the late 1960s, discouraging traditional marriage and the family. For nearly 50 years, women have been ‘married’ to the government, not a (or the) father of their children.

Valentine continues:

How about adopting children of color who have lost their parents to the destructive white supremacist society that you have enabled and encouraged?

However, that, too, has been criticised both in the United States and the United Kingdom, especially when a white couple does so.

Valentine concludes:

Of course, the best choice is to act preventatively to ensure that white children are not at risk of being born. But in circumstances in which termination and generation are the options, it is best to take advantage of your right to choose, and abort in favor of assisting women of color.

This is her brief autobiography located beneath the comments (photo supplied):

Nicole Valentine

Worship Leader for the Progressive Women’s Christian Ministry at my college, intersectional feminist, dedicated to Jesus and the progressive movement as a whole! Also an advocate for AAPI rights as a woman of color! Jesus, women, and progress: basically my life! White men need not contact.

Not a Christian attitude.

For those wondering what intersectional feminism means, USA Today explains:

If feminism is advocating for women’s rights and equality between the sexes, intersectional feminism is the understanding of how women’s overlapping identities — including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation — impact the way they experience oppression and discrimination.

A white woman is penalized by her gender but has the advantage of race. A black woman is disadvantaged by her gender and her race. A Latina lesbian experiences discrimination because of her ethnicity, her gender and her sexual orientation.

The United States has had a plethora of laws on state and federal books, some of which date back 50+ years, that clearly prohibit racial, sexual as well as age discrimination and, in some cases, favour positive discrimination.

White professors should ‘get out the way’

An article on the American Mathematical Society blog says that whites should step aside from teaching. It should be noted that:

The opinions expressed on this blog are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the American Mathematical Society.

In May 2017, mathematician Piper Harron wrote ‘Get Out The Way’ for the AMS blog. (She wrote a follow-up in June on her own website.) She opened her AMS article with this:

If you are a white cis man (meaning you identify as male and you were assigned male at birth) you almost certainly should resign from your position of power. That’s right, please quit. Too difficult? Well, as a first step, at least get off your hiring committee, your curriculum committee, and make sure you’re replaced by a woman of color or trans person. Don’t have any in your department? HOW SHOCKING.

Remember that you live in a world where people don’t succeed in a vacuum; most success happens on the backs of others who did not consent. You have no idea how successful you would have been if you were still you, but with an additional marginalization (not white, or not male, or not cis gender, or with a disability, etc).

In other words, echoing POTUS 44: ‘You didn’t build this’.

Also:

Remember having white cis women run the world is no kind of solution.

This is because — and she supplies an accompanying chart — 63% of white males and 53% of white females support President Donald Trump.

It is highly unlikely that (m)any whites teaching in a college or university support Donald Trump. Not long ago, I met with a group of professors (white and Hispanic, male and female). None of them supports Trump.

Next?

More calls for president’s assassination — one arrest

As we know, the calls for President Trump to be assassinated have been incessant.

What that man and his family have to endure every day for no good reason is beyond our ken. Please continue to pray for their safety.

With a rewrite of a Shakespearean play which recently ran in Central Park about a Trump assassination, Kathy Griffin’s sick video of his ‘decapitation’ and the attempt on Republican congressman Steve Scalise’s and others’ lives, Johnny Depp decided to ‘joke’ at the Glastonbury music and cinema festival in the west of England.

USA Today reports:

Speaking onstage Thursday at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England, Depp stepped into controversy with jokes aimed at President Trump that addressed presidential assassination.

“Can we bring Trump here?” Depp asked the crowd at the festival.

“I think he needs help,” Depp said, according to video posted online. “This is going to be in the press and it’ll be horrible. But I like that you’re all a part of it. When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” …

The Associated Press reported that Depp then added it’s “been a while, and maybe it’s time.”

Actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Depp’s representative did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment about Depp’s jokes.

For Depp fans currently out of the loop:

The actor has been in the headlines this year following his contentious divorce from ex-wife Amber Heard and a lawsuit with his former business managers. Depp sued the Management Group in January for more than $25 million, charging fraud and negligence.

Sad.

Meanwhile, an Edwardsville, Illinois, man was arrested and charged with threatening to kill President Trump. The Belleville News-Democrat reports:

Joseph Lynn Pickett was charged with threatening the president of the United States on June 15.

U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Vincent Pescitelli said Pickett threatened to “take the life of, to kidnap, and to inflict bodily harm” against Trump on Facebook, according to a criminal complaint filed with the charges. The complaint included screenshots of Pickett’s Facebook posts.

Breaking 911 says:

A judge has ordered Pickett be held without bail.

Both articles have his Facebook comments. Fortunately — perhaps, ‘finally’ — the Secret Service reacted.

Like Depp, Pickett also had his personal problems. The Belleville News-Democrat tells us (emphases mine below):

Until about six to eight months ago, Pickett had been working at Lowe’s in Granite City until he was fired for making threats to a coworker, according to the complaint.

Two Lowe’s employees contacted the St. Louis chapter of the U.S. Secret Service and told them that Pickett had threatening posts on his Facebook page. They also said he had bragged about having weapons.

A financial affadavit submitted to the court says Pickett has not been employed since February. He got by with food stamps and financial support from his father.

Pickett will be detained until his trial, according to court documents. A judge ruled that Pickett should be detained because the court couldn’t ensure the safety of other people in the community and because of “mental instability.”

Good on the Lowe’s employees.

Would the Secret Service had done anything otherwise?

One wonders if the Secret Service would have paid Depp a visit if he still lived in the US.

Trump remembers Scalise at Congressional Picnic

On Thursday, June 22, the Trumps hosted their first Congressional Picnic at the White House, which included Ivanka ‘Vanilla’ (see here and here) Trump and her daughter:

The video below is of President Trump’s remarks:

In his short speech, Trump remembered Steve Scalise, in hospital for the foreseeable future, after the shooting on Wednesday, June 14:

On June 22, the Free Beacon reported that 30 Republican congressmen have been threatened or attacked since the beginning of May. There is no excuse for that. Few arrests have been made.

These are the latest two attacks (language alert, emphases in purple mine):

June 22: An Ohio man was arrested for leaving a voicemail threatening the life and family of Rep. Steve Stivers (Ohio).

“We’re coming to get every goddamn one of you and your families. Maybe the next one taken down will be your daughter. Huh? Or your wife. Or even you,” the man said.

The same day, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz played a threatening voicemail he had received on “Fox & Friends.”

“I suggest you prepare for the battle motherf**ker, and the apocalypse,” the caller yelled. “Because we are going to hunt your ass down, wrap a rope around your neck, and hang you from a lamppost.”

Jeffrey Epstein update

On June 22, federal prosecutors broke their decade-long silence regarding the soft treatment billionaire Jeffrey Epstein — a close friend of Billary Clinton — received after his intimate involvement with teenage girls.

The Palm Beach Post reports (emphases mine):

Contrary to claims by attorneys representing two of Epstein’s victims in a lawsuit against the federal government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana said she and her superiors were trying to help the traumatized young women when they agreed to let Epstein plead guilty to state prostitution charges.

The now-64-year-old money manager, who spends most of his time on his estate in the Virgin Islands, served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in the Palm Beach County Stockade. He was allowed to leave each day to go to work.

Hoping to persuade U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra to throw out the lawsuit that accuses the government of violating the federal Crime Victims Rights Act, Villafana said she tried to keep Epstein’s victims informed about the investigation and the eventual plea deal. But, she said, negotiations were sensitive and neither Epstein, his victims nor their attorneys made it easy.

For instance, she said, most of the young women were extremely reluctant — or simply refused — to testify against Epstein, who had paid them to give him sexually-charged massages at his mansion …

Jane Doe 1, who is also suing the government, agreed to testify. But Villafana said one victim wouldn’t have been enough to convict Epstein.

Rather than let Epstein use his considerable influence to evade prosecution, she and top officials at the U.S. Justice Department crafted the plea deal.

In exchange for pleading guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and soliciting minors to engage in prostitution in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Epstein was not charged with any federal counts.

The article says that Epstein’s legal team will file a response at the end of July.

New US ambassador to the UK

In more neutral news, President Trump has appointed a new ambassador to the UK who succeeds Matthew Barzun, an Obama bundler and National Finance Chair for his 2012 presidential campaign.

It would have been nice if Trump had promoted a career diplomat to this plum position, however, the president chose to go down the same route of selecting a big campaign donor.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is the new man in London:

Bloomberg reports that, in 2016:

Johnson backed Trump when Bush dropped out of the race. He gave $349,000 to Trump Victory, which split donations between Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties. The committee reported receiving the bulk of the money ($249,000) on Nov. 10, 2016, two days after Trump’s election, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Perhaps Trump thinks that Johnson will be a true ally who can help smooth over the cracks in the US/UK relationship which no one can call ‘special’ right now:

Johnson will step into challenges that have arisen in the six months since Trump took office, notably how to stabilize the U.S.-U.K. relationship in the post-Brexit world and how to win over Britons who have shown open hostility toward the U.S. president.

A planned state visit to the U.K. by Trump still hasn’t been formally scheduled, and no reference to it was made by Queen Elizabeth II during her speech to parliament this week — an omission observers noted as a departure from tradition in advance of state visits.

I hope my fellow Britons will be nice to him. I wish him all the best in his assignment.

I also hope that Mr Johnson enjoys lamb, because its frequency at many British dinners deeply disappointed Mr Barzun, who clearly prefers beef.

And finally …

The notional White House Anon who surfaced briefly on 4chan/pol/ made a second — and, perhaps, final — appearance on June 22 to say:

I’m here to let you know that sometime between right now as I type this, or no later than around 2 pm tomorrow, you will either read about, listen to, or watch a news story. You will probably see it first on Twitter from a few well known conservative (right wing) people. It will break on cable news shortly after. I cannot go in to specifics. I know most of you all support President Trump, so have no worries on the matter. This information will completely shift the narrative away from him and any of his staff. You will all be very happy and excited about this as many of us have and will too. Look forward to many happenings next week. Things are about to shift in a direction Democrats are going to hate. It will be lovely. Big happenings, not just silly things like “Russia” hoax or “Yet another terrorist attack has happened”. Most of you all have been waiting for a happening like this for a year or more, and people will be talking about this for years to come. Stay thirsty my friends. Promises made, promises kept.

I really hope Anon is legit. With only two appearances, it was hard to tell. Even FBI Anon was considered suspect after several lengthy postings, even though it seems he was right on the money.

In closing, The_Donald‘s contributors remind us that June 23 is Britain’s first anniversary of Brexit! Thanks, chaps!

Although we associate Cannes with film stars and opulence, the small city has a longstanding religious history thanks to the nearby islands of St Honorat and Ste Marguerite.

The two islands are known as the Îles de Lérins, or Lérins Islands.

Our hotel had copies of an excellent book called Cannes: Jewel of the Mediterranean, parts of which are summarised below with additional sources.

The Ligurian-Celtic connection

Before the Romans began building their vast empire of exploration followed by trade, a more ancient people who were part Ligurian (from the northern Italian Riviera) and part Celtic had explored and colonised parts of the European Mediterranean coastline.

On the two islands near Cannes, they erected a shrine to their goddess Lerina. Nothing more is known about this deity, and the Ligurian-Celtic people disappeared centuries before the Romans arrived.

The Ligurian-Celtic people also gave the city of Cannes its name. In their language, it was Kan, denoting a summit. Many centuries later, when the Provençal language was spoken, this summit was called Le Suquet, where the old part of the city remains today. However, Kan stuck and later became Cannes.

When the Romans arrived, they called the islands Lero (Ste Marguerite) and Lerina (St Honorat), for the Ligurian-Celtic deity.

St Honorat

Germanic tribes invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, and by 476, it came to an end when Romulus Augustulus abdicated to the warlord Odoacer.

Around a century earlier, a man named Honoratus from northern Gaul — present-day Germany — had converted to Christianity. Honoratus was thought to have been born around 350 AD to a Roman consular family. His parents provided him with an excellent education and he became a highly learned young man.

Around 368, he and his brother Venantius — also a convert — decided to tour the Holy Land, Egypt and Syria. Their guide Caprasius was a pious Christian and took other observant believers along with them.

Venantius died suddenly along the way in what is now Greece, and the group decided to return to Gaul. Honoratus stopped off in Rome then made his way to Provence. He happened to meet Leontius, the Bishop of Fréjus — originally ‘Forum Julii’ — who encouraged the young man to sail to the Lérins and pursue a life of holiness.

Vgeant26.jpgLegend has it that the Lérins were full of snakes at that period in time. Regardless, Honoratus was able to attract faithful Christian men to help him erect a monastery on the island that bears his name today. By the early 5th century, it was built and was the primary achievement of Leontius’s episcopacy. Leontius was later canonised. His name is Léonce in French, and his feast day is December 1.

Many men who were later canonised became disciples of Honoratus, including Hilary of Arles and Patrick, who studied there before he became Ireland’s principal evangelist.

The woodcut at left, courtesy of Wikipedia, depicts the cover of a book by Raymond Féraud about Honoratus’s life written in Provençal around 1300. Near the end of his life, Honoratus was made Bishop of Arles, hence the book title. Hilary of Arles succeeded him and is thought to have been a relative of his.

After Honoratus died, many pilgrims sailed to St Honorat to visit the monastery. The aforementioned book, written centuries later, confirms that his place in Church history was lasting and significant.

It should be noted that the monastery in its present form developed over the centuries.

Ste Marguerite

Legend has it that Honoratus had a sister, Marguerite. According to the story, she became a nun and settled the neighbouring island, building a convent there.

She did so to be close to her beloved brother. However, Honoratus told her he would only visit her when a particular tree was in blossom once a year in March. The legend has it that Marguerite prayed fervently that the tree would flower more often, enabling her to see Honoratus more than once a year.

Her prayers were answered, and the legend says that Honoratus sailed to visit her twelve times a year.

In reality, this story probably came from the aforementioned Provençal book by Raymond Féraud.

It is more likely that crusaders settled the island and built a chapel dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch.

Millennial fear — 1000 AD

At the time of the first Millennium, there was not much to speak of in Cannes at that time. Only a few hundred people lived there then.

Historically, Cannes and the Lérins suffered from foreign invasions, mostly by the Saracens.

The general sentiment as the year 1000 approached was that a terrible apocalyptic fate would befall the area in the form of another foreign invasion.

I put that bit in bold because there are many who think that people were too ignorant to anticipate apocalyptic events around that time. Yet, history tells us otherwise.

Cannes: Jewel of the Mediterranean says that a local count owned the land at that time: Cannes and the Lérins. One of his sons, who became a monk and lived in community on St Honorat, inherited the two islands after his father’s death. He duly gave this land to the monastery so that it would be independent.

The book says that the count had fortified Cannes with a tower and château on Le Suquet — the summit. Other accounts say that the monks built those.

In any event, the area stayed safe during the time immediately before and after the first Millennium. The townspeople of Cannes believed the faith of the monks had kept them and the islands safe from harm. Therefore, they decided to place themselves under the protection of the monastery. This meant that the monks collected certain taxes from them during the year and imposed hefty fines for any infractions, such as unauthorised tours of the islands.

This dependence on the monks lasted until 1530 when Cannes became independent.

Later invasions and government intervention

The islands were not meant to be peaceful for long.

Their strategic positioning attracted other invaders centuries later, including the Spanish in 1635.

Ste Marguerite

At the time the Spanish invaded, Ste Marguerite no longer belonged to the monastery. The Duke of Chevreuse had purchased it in 1612 for strategic reasons. He built a fort — Fort Royal — on the island. France recaptured Ste Marguerite in 1637, and the government expanded the island’s development, building a barracks and state prison there.

In the 18th century, a small village developed on Ste Marguerite, which served the soldiers stationed there.

The prison closed in the 20th century and is best known for housing the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask, whose identity has never been verified.

St Honorat

When the Spanish invaded in 1635, they expelled the monks from St Honorat. The monks went into exile in Vallauris, not far from Cannes, and returned once France had liberated the Lérins.

Once reclaimed, the monastery suffered from later Spanish attacks. The Genoese also attacked the island.

In the 18th century, revolutionary fervour replaced religious faith on St Honorat. By the time the French Revolution took place, only four monks were left on the island. In 1787, the revolutionary government disestablished the monastery, took over ownership of the island and soon sold it to an actress, Mademoiselle de Sainval, who lived there for 20 years.

Fortunately, in 1859, the Bishop of Fréjus purchased the land so that a monastery could be re-established. A community of Cistercian monks settled there in 1869 and that religious order has remained there ever since.

In terms of religious discipline, St Honorat went from a monastic rule of Honoratus to a Benedictine one to the present day Cistercian rule, which also borrows from St Benedict.

Today

Cannes and the Lérins have changed much over the centuries. Frequent ferries from the centre of town link the city to the islands.

St Honorat

Visitors interested not only in Christianity but also wine and food produced at the monastery will enjoy visiting St Honorat.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some services and Masses are open to the public. Those seeking solitude and prayer can spend a quiet day surrounded by nature.

Those seeking more secular pursuits can take advantage of a tasting of the seven monastery wines, eat at the restaurant or bring their own picnic hamper.

Guided tours are provided free of charge.

Ste Marguerite

Ste Marguerite is a mixture of public and private land.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The village still exists, and the owner of the Force India Formula 1 team owns a huge plot of land on the island.

That said, most of Ste Marguerite is known as a nature reserve and a destination for those who enjoy water-oriented sporting pursuits.

One can also tour the old prison, which now has a Museum of the Sea and a youth hostel.

Cannes

The Promenade de la CroisetteCannes remained a small fishing village until the 1830s.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1834 — some say 1835 — Henry Brougham, the 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, was touring the Côte d’Azur in an attempt to find a place where his daughter Eleonora could find relief from her bronchial ailment. By chance, they stopped in Cannes, where the local hospitality they received was so cordial that they decided to stay.

The fresh air and sea breezes helped Eleonora recover, and he built a residence for her in town.

Lord Brougham told all his friends how splendid Cannes was. It was not long before they arrived in town and, like him, built their own residences either along the seafront or in the neighbouring hills.

By 1870, the town had been transformed into an English home away from home. Cannes’s development preceded Nice’s. It was thanks to Brougham that Nice’s main seafront thoroughfare became known as the Promenade des Anglais.

Brougham lived to see much of Cannes’s transformation from town to city, which probably gave him some cheer in his later years. He outlived his wife and two daughters, which must not have been easy. He died in the city in 1868 and is buried in the local Cimetière du Grand Jas.

European royalty and nobility flocked to Cannes during the middle of the 19th century. An important Russian community of that group also took root.

One French author who knew the area when it was a humble fishing village was appalled by the number, style and size of the foreign-owned villas. However, the English and other Europeans invited him to their parties. He was soon swept up into the new Cannes social swirl and never looked back. Those people became his best friends.

By the end of the 19th century, trains were stopping at Cannes and the city built a tramway to facilitate local transport.

From there, the city grew and grew. It became known as a playground for the wealthy and for film stars. The 70th Cannes Film Festival took place in May 2017.

Many years ago, Cannes erected a statue of Lord Brougham in its city centre. Brougham stands facing a fountain overlooking the sea. It’s a splendid reminder of a remarkable history.

I cannot think of a place on earth that has more to offer in every respect than Cannes. Put it on your bucket list. You won’t be sorry, as long as you visit at the right time.

Cannes is as lovely as ever.

Some of my readers cannot see the attraction, but it all depends on when one sees this jewel of the Mediterranean.

There is a brief window between the end of the annual film festival in May and the beginning of the Cannes Lions advertising festival in June when one can experience the city in near normality. Of course, smaller conferences and another international festival — namely the music industry’s MIDEM — take place at that time, but these do not normally impinge as much on city life as the others do.

I’ll have more to write in the coming days, so this is a summary of impressions that my better half SpouseMouse and I noted this year.

Weather

The weather was perfect from start to finish. It was too hot for SpouseMouse during the second week, but we had wall-to-wall sunshine and warm temps.

By contrast, in 2015, we had some rollicking thunderstorms, including one around 6:30 a.m., which brought everyone in our hotel down to breakfast by 7:00 a.m.

Italians

We were surprised at the number of Italian visitors, given that most French people go to Italy for an inexpensive weekend break or holiday.

Femininity and masculinity maintained

Speaking of Italians, they and the French are firmly maintaining male and female roles. Women are feminine and men are masculine.

This was noticeably less common with visitors from northern Europe and North America.

New restaurants

There were a number of new restaurants that opened near the Marché Gambetta near the railway station. I will write about these in future posts.

These are convenient for people staying (and living) in that area. It also means that diners can readily avoid the street hawkers and musicians who panhandle at night near the bigger seafood restaurants along Rue Félix Faure in the centre of town.

Food prices

Restaurant menu prices haven’t gone up much, if at all, since our last visit in 2015, which is good news.

However, the prices of French food and vegetables at Marché Forville in Le Suquet have increased markedly. I can appreciate French talk radio listeners who ring up RMC to say that they do without home-grown produce, buy less of it or plump for Spanish fruit and vegetables which are much less expensive.

French produce is definitely cheaper at the supermarket than at the market stall.

Meat, whether at a butcher’s or the supermarket, is incredibly expensive, probably 50% higher than in the UK.

Shopping

Clothing prices are about the same as in 2015.

One can still find terrific bargains in natural fabrics for men and women at Monoprix and in Rue Meynadier, both of which attract Cannes residents as well as tourists.

Fun Mod’ in Rue Meynadier still has durable, traditional espadrilles in all adult sizes and colours for €6 a pair. You can’t get a better bargain.

Service

Service continues to improve in restaurants, both in terms of getting plates to the table and communication. We can speak French reasonably well, but many wait staff spoke in English initially to be helpful.

Cleanliness

Cannes is a smooth running ship in terms of hygiene.

We did not see any litter. (There are fines of €180 if the authorities see someone littering.)

I saw only one small bit of graffiti — in the upmarket Rue d’Antibes.

The dustmen went around at least daily — twice a day on Tuesdays and Fridays — to collect trash and recycling. There was a man who rode a machine that swept and cleansed the sidewalks of Rue d’Antibes every afternoon.

The majority of dog owners — of which there were plenty — were very serious about cleaning up after their pets, so there was very little canine detritus.

Conclusion

We had a lovely time. For once, we were able to stay for two weeks. The hotel was perfect. We had a room with a sea view and a spacious terrace. The hotel beach was great and the sea water soothing.

I am four to five shades darker than when I left Blighty, for which I am grateful.

More to come now and then over the next week or two. I have much to say.

In several countries, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. In 2017, it took place on June 18.

Father’s Day history

This special day for dads started in the United States, however, contrary to what we might think, it was not a greeting cards company invention. The Sun reports:

There are a few stories with regards to the beginning of Father’s Day.

According to one tale, it first began because of a woman named Grace Golden Clayton from Fairmount, West Virginia.

An orphan, Grace lobbied her local Methodist ministers for a church service to honour fathers in 1908.

The story goes that she was inspired to do this after a mining disaster killed 362 local men.

Their deaths orphaned more than 1,000 children and Grace wanted to pay tribute to the children’s dead fathers – as well as her own.

Another story involves the daughter of a civil war veteran, Sonora Smart Dodd, from Arkansas.

While listening to a sermon for Mother’s Day, Sonora became convinced of the need to celebrate dads too.

She then campaigned to her religious leaders for a special service dedicated to fathers.

In 1966, President Johnson designated that the third Sunday in June should be Father’s Day.

Six years later, the Father’s Day was made a permanent national holiday in the US, when, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed it into law.

It is great to know that the origins were connected with women churchgoers who lobbied their clergymen for recognition of paters familias.

Even in the notionally patriarchal 19th and 20th centuries, fathers were not considered as worthy as mothers of having their own special day.

President Trump

President Donald Trump and his family spent Father’s Day at Camp David, their first stay at this presidential retreat near Washington, DC.

Although the First Family were low-key in their tweets about the President — see here and here — a Trump supporter found two photos perfect for his Father’s Day:

Vice President Pence

Vice President Mike Pence and his family spent part of last week in their home state of Indiana.

New pets

Whilst there, they bought two new pets, a kitten:

and a puppy. The latter was a present to the Vice President:

Hazel and Harley join the other Pence pets, including the popular rabbit, Marlon Bundo:

I say ‘popular’, because BOTUS, as the media have dubbed Bundo, overshadowed both Ivanka Trump and HR McMaster on May 9, when the Pences welcomed military families at the Vice President’s office. Webgrio has a great set of photographs and an accompanying article, excerpts of which follow:

Ivanka Trump had some competition for attention at the White House Tuesday – and they matched in white with black spots.

The first daughter, wearing a polka dotted dress, spoke to a group of military families for an event marking National Military Appreciation Month, hosted by Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen.

Upstaging Ivanka in the audience of small children was the Pence family pet: the white bunny with black spots, Marlon Bundo …

Karen Pence tweeted a photo of herself about to enter an event with military families at the White House – and she brought a special guest, the BOTUS, Marlon Bundo …

White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster spoke at the event after Ivanka Trump saying, ”OK, that’s the toughest act to follow.’ But then the rabbit appeared …

The article says that even Pence couldn’t hold the children’s interest after his wife left with BOTUS in her arms.

BOTUS Bundo trended heavily on Twitter that week:

BOTUS is the subject of a colouring book which made its way as far as the Asia-Pacific:

Let’s hope the Pence menagerie can make friends with the bees at the Vice President’s residence:

A time to remember

For the Pences, Father’s Day was a time to remember.

Karen Pence tweeted an old family photo:

The Vice President honoured his late father:

A Pence supporter chose to remember the Scalise family, who spent Father’s Day in the hospital. Congressman Steve Scalise was the primary victim of a crazed man from Illinois who, on Wednesday, June 14, fired a gun at Republicans practising for the annual Congressional baseball game, a charity event. Scalise is expected to be in hospital for weeks as he recovers from a damaging bullet to the pelvis.

I will have more soon on the man who attempted to take the life of Congressman Scalise.

Interestingly, the Illinois man’s family will have no more Father’s Days as law enforcement officers intervened and — rightly — fatally shot him.

Life is precious and God-given. Therefore, let’s make every day a time to honour and remember our parents. We never know what tomorrow will bring.

Hello, readers!

This brief post is to let you know that comments are now on for all posts for the month of June 2017.

I had turned the facility off two weeks ago, for reasons I will explain later this week.

Hint: I was in a locale where women are still women and men are still men.

More to follow soon.

In closing, a hearty welcome — and thank you — to my newest subscribers!

The head of the US Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is the man making school lunches great again.

He is also making farming great again. For too long, American farmers have been looked down upon. That’s all changing. Perdue — not related to the chicken processing Perdues — worked on his family’s farm, has a Ph.D in veterinary science, owns three small agriculture-related businesses and was the governor of the state of Georgia.

His Twitter feed — @SecretarySonny — is not only educational but will brighten the darkest of days.

This is one of my favourites:

He enjoys touring USDA facilities around the country just to pop in for a chat:

He recently went to see the flood damage in Arkansas. The USDA will do what it can to help:

He enjoys visiting farms:

He’s visited grain barges:

He’s delighted that China is once again importing US beef, for the first time since the Bush II administration:

And here he is with his lovely wife Mary:

How many people know what’s going on in the USDA? Follow Sonny Perdue and find out what Big Media aren’t reporting.

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