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Yesterday’s post looked at Dwight D Eisenhower’s two inaugurations in 1953 and 1957.
Today’s explores John F Kennedy’s inauguration on January 20, 1961. To date, he is the only Roman Catholic to have ever been president. He was the youngest man to ever be elected president, aged 43. There are more firsts below.
In his farewell address, Eisenhower spoke of the ‘unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex’ (8:55):
We still do not know whether the military-industrial complex was involved in Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963, but it was a very sad time for millions of Americans.
This is the measured interview Eisenhower gave on that fateful occasion. It’s only five minutes long and well worth watching. Note how he evades sensational questions from the media:
It should be noted that the reference to Kennedy’s presidency as Camelot came after his brutal death. His widow, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (later Onassis), came up with it. Camelot was her favourite musical. It was written by one of her late husband’s classmates at Harvard, Alan Jay Lerner.
Kennedy was not as fortunate as his predecessor for inaugural weather.
A strong nor’easter blew through Washington, DC — as well as much of New England and the mid-Atlantic states — on January 19. It was a Category 3 — major — storm.
In Washington, temperatures were cold: 20 °F (−7 °C). A total of eight inches of snow fell that day. Travel was severely disrupted, preventing Herbert Hoover from attending the inauguration.
Prospects looked grim for the Inauguration Day parade, however, Wikipedia states that clearing the snow began as soon as possible:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was put in charge of clearing the streets during the evening and morning before the inauguration, and were assisted by more than 1,000 District of Columbia employees and 1,700 boy scouts. This task force employed hundreds of dump trucks, front-end loaders, sanders, plows, rotaries, and flamethrowers to clear the route. Over 1,400 cars which had been stranded due to the conditions and lack of fuel had to be removed from the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue.
On the morning of January 20, Kennedy attended Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church near his home in Georgetown.
Afterwards, he made his way to the White House to have coffee with the Eisenhowers and the Nixons.
Once the ceremony began at the Capitol building, the invocation and prayers took a total of 28 minutes. Cardinal Richard Cushing gave a 12-minute invocation. Additional prayers were given by Archbishop Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Revd Dr John Barclay of the Central Christian Church in Austin, TX and by Rabbi Nelson Glueck. He gave the blessing.
The internationally renowned black contralto Marian Anderson sang The Star Spangled Banner, as she had done for Eisenhower in 1957. Although the new president mouthed the words, he neglected something which raised the ire of a television viewer (emphases mine below):
Kennedy could be seen mouthing the words to the second verse, but that was not good enough for Eugene Hunt, of Dallas, who sent a telegram to the White House that day demanding to know: why wasn’t your hand over your heart during the playing of the star-spangled banner? Some things never change.
Leonard Bernstein of West Side Story fame composed a special piece called Fanfare for the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy, which was then played.
After Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as vice president, Robert Frost recited a special poem which Kennedy had asked him to compose for the occasion. Unfortunately, the 86-year-old had a difficult time reading it because of the glare from the sun on the snow. Johnson tried to shield the glare with his top hat, but Frost rejected his help. Realising that time was of the essence, Frost instead recited his famous poem The Gift Outright. He later gave his handwritten inauguration poem to Stewart Udall, the incoming Secretary of the Interior, with a request for him to type the text. Udall duly obliged. These are the closing lines from For John F. Kennedy His Inauguration which aptly sum up the mood of much of the nation at that time:
The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay,
In any game the nations want to play.
A golden age of poetry and power
Of which this noonday’s the beginning hour.
Kennedy took his oath of office on a closed family Bible.
He gave his famous inaugural address which was only 1364 words long and took just under 14 minutes to deliver. The whole world knows lines such as the following:
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
With that responsible outlook, I doubt Kennedy would have been allowed to be a Democrat today.
He and speech-writer Ted Sorenson crafted the address with input from close friends of the president.
This line was nearly identical to the one suggested by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith:
Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
This one came from a suggestion by Adlai Stevenson II (Eisenhower’s Democratic rival in 1952 and 1956):
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
Kennedy took office at the height of the Cold War. Echoing Eisenhower’s warning in his aforementioned speech, he talked about the dangers of combining an escalating arms race with nuclear power. In another nod to his predecessor, who advocated helping other nations in constructive ways, Kennedy said he would maintain good international relations and help the impoverished in less fortunate nations.
Kennedy was also keenly aware of civil rights. A Vanity Fair article from 2011 has a fascinating account of the inauguration, complete with interviews with people who were there. On this topic:
Harris Wofford, Kennedy’s civil-rights adviser, was listening intently to see if any of the language he and his colleague Louis Martin had suggested to reflect concern for civil rights had made it into the final draft. Six crucial words had. As Kennedy proclaimed himself “unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today,” he added the phrase “at home and around the world.”
“I was very happy he’d put it in,” Wofford, now 84, recalls. “And it made a considerable difference with the civil-rights constituency …”
Now onto a more mundane topic: hats. I wrote that Eisenhower traded the top hat for a homburg. Kennedy reverted to the more traditional silk top hat on Inauguration Day.
However, in everyday life, Kennedy went hatless. American men followed his example. For this reason, Kennedy was said to be the man who put paid to the hat industry. It might have been true. LBJ also eschewed hats, including at his inauguration in 1965.
The weather remained bitterly cold. Despite that, the inaugural parade was three hours long!
President Harry Truman joined the new president and first lady on the reviewing stand. Former first ladies Edith Wilson and Eleanor Roosevelt were also present. Wikipedia tells us:
Sixteen thousand members of the US armed forces marched with displays of modern weaponry like the Minuteman missile and the supersonic B-70 bomber. A further sixteen thousand marchers were civilians ranging from federal and state officials to high school bands and Boy Scouts, accompanied by forty floats.
In more recent inaugurations, floats have not made an appearance. More’s the pity. I used to enjoy them as a child. Many other people did, too.
Inauguration Day newsreel
This seven-minute newsreel gives an excellent summary of events, complete with subtitles:
After eight years of Eisenhower, Kennedy marked a big change in the presidency. As stated above, he is still the youngest to have been elected to that office. Furthermore, his predecessor was, at that time, the oldest to leave the White House. He was 70. It is interesting that Donald Trump has just been sworn in at that age. Reagan is currently the oldest president to leave office. All being well, Trump will surpass him.
The American public were highly aware that Eisenhower was a general during the Second World War while Kennedy was serving on a PT boat.
ABC News provided an interesting retrospective on Kennedy in 2011, the 50th anniversary of his inauguration. The article, complete with video, tells us:
Those close to him also remember him as an amiable, funny president, a marked departure from his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“President Kennedy, the first time he met you he asked your name and he never forgot it. The second time, he asked your wife’s name and your children’s names, and he was personable with the agents and very much a free spirit compared to President Eisenhower,” said Gerald Blaine, a Secret Service agent in Eisenhower and Kennedy’s security detail and co-author of the “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence.”
“It was such a contrast because he was so young and was totally different.”
Kennedy also brought youth and intrigue to the White House. His fashionable and glamorous wife, Jackie Kennedy, and two young children, captured the fancy of Americans in a way that no other first family had done before.
“To have that after the years of Eisenhower and Truman and Roosevelt, suddenly to have this young energetic family was just a complete shot of adrenaline into the city, and tons and tons of young people came to town to participate in government,” [reporter Cokie] Roberts said.
The ABC article explains that Cokie Roberts was a college freshman at the time and, because of the weather, couldn’t make it to the inauguration. However, she has been a reporter ever since I can remember. So have other news broadcasting veterans such as CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who appeared during the 2016 election to offer his opinion and a historic perspective.
Although Schieffer was working at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram during Kennedy’s presidency, his career evolved on the day of the assassination in Dallas. A woman who asked him for a ride to the scene turned out to be Marguerite Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother. Through her, he also met Oswald’s wife Marina. The scoops kept coming and coming that day and he received his first major journalistic recognition. Later, he was promoted to the Star-Telegram‘s television station. He joined CBS in 1969.
It’s also worth noting that Kennedy’s Peace Corps attracted no end of volunteers, hopeful that they could effect positive change in the poorest countries.
Jackie Kennedy captivated not only the international media but millions of women around the world.
Not many people alive today know that on Inauguration Day she was still recovering from the caesarian birth of her son John, born late in November 1960. As a result, Kennedy attended several events before and after the inauguration on his own.
The following interview, which Jackie gave two months after the inauguration, gives us a glimpse into this young first lady, only 30 years old. On the one hand, she has a breathy, girly voice. On the other, she clearly understands art, antiques and the history of the White House. She tells the interviewer, Sandur Vanocur (another household name of the day), that she would like to make ‘a museum’ out of what she rightly called the people’s house. He asks her why there are so few antiques. She tells him that the first pieces were destroyed in the War of 1812. Subsequent presidents auctioned off furniture at the end of their terms. It was only in 1902 that Theodore Roosevelt put a stop to the practice (1:50):
On February 14, 1962, she gave an update on her work, which comprised an hour-long documentary. Her voice is less breathy, now velvety smooth. Her hairstyle and attire also changed. Enjoy this tour, complete with old photographs as well as antiques:
John F Kennedy attended all five inaugural balls. Because of her poor health at the time, Jackie only made it to two.
Business Insider has a photo of her with the president looking captivating in a gown and cape she co-designed with the designer. Melania Trump did the same in 2017.
Jackie wore the gown not only to the inaugural balls on January 20 but also to one held the night before, given by Frank Sinatra and actor Peter Lawford, John Kennedy’s brother-in-law. Both were members of the Rat Pack, who were closely associated with the Kennedys, much to the chagrin of pious Protestants.
Kennedy’s father, Joseph, also held a ball that night, which his son attended. Jackie did not, again, for health reasons.
Sinatra’s ball was considered one of the biggest parties ever held in Washington. It was held at the DC Armory, the prime venue for inaugural balls. Sinatra recruited big celebrities of the day and tickets were priced to garner as much money as possible to pay off the debt of the Democratic Party campaign. Wikipedia says:
With tickets ranging from $100 per person to $10,000 per group, Sinatra hoped to raise $1.7 million ($13.6 million in today’s dollars) for the Democratic Party to eliminate its debt brought on by a hard-fought campaign.
Vanity Fair notes:
It was an only-in-America blend of high culture and low comedy, of schmaltz and camp, and it may have marked the moment when popular entertainment became an indispensable part of modern politics.
Quite possibly. Carl Anthony at carlanthonyonline.com writes in ‘Inauguration Swinging-Sixties Style: LBJ’s Big Day, 1965’ that Lyndon Baines Johnson had many celebrities at his inauguration celebrations.
Returning to Sinatra’s ball, Vanity Fair says:
The bill was thoroughly integrated. Five of the two dozen performers were black: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Mahalia Jackson, Nat King Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald.
The magazine gives us yet another first for Kennedy’s inauguration. On January 20:
J.F.K. would become the first president to dance with black women at an inaugural ball.
I cannot think of an inauguration that had as many well known people in such diverse fields as Kennedy’s.
At the inauguration ceremony, Robert Frost was not the only poet in attendance. Carl Sandburg was also there. Authors John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway attended. Artist Mark Rothko showed up. So did Mr and Mrs T Reed Vreeland. If that name looks familiar, Diana Vreeland was soon to become the editor of Vogue, a post she held for many years.
Vanity Fair introduces ‘From That Day Forth’, their article on the Kennedy inauguration, as follows:
Washington was bracing for what became perhaps the biggest and best political party of the 20th century—a “gilt-edged, mink-lined, silk-hatted, 10-gallon, 100-proof” celebration, as a greenhorn Washington Post reporter named Tom Wolfe summed it up at the time. Everyone who was anyone in Democratic politics was there, or wanted to be. The president-elect and his elegant wife, Jacqueline, had made a special point of inviting not only the usual hacks and flacks but also a select group of scholars, artists, writers, and thinkers …
That is what characterised not only the inauguration — more pictures here — but the short-lived Kennedy White House. I can understand why it captivated my parents and how these names first entered my consciousness.
Even though I was a little nipper, no White House has come close to matching the magic of the Kennedys’.
Coming soon: the Trump inauguration
A few days ago, someone commenting at The Conservative Treehouse posted a link to a detailed article about Lyndon Baines Johnson’s inauguration in 1965.
The article, at carlanthonyonline.com, is called ‘Inauguration Swinging-Sixties Style: LBJ’s Big Day, 1965’. Carl Anthony’s article is well worth reading and has plenty of photographs.
Although I was interested in the 1964 election at a very tender age with all its varied personalities and intrigue, by the time Inauguration Day came around, I had lost interest. I do not remember my parents talking a great deal about LBJ, whereas when John F Kennedy was alive, he and Jackie were frequent topics of conversation. They watched every JFK speech broadcast on television. They were also interested in the people around the Kennedys.
I’ll come back to LBJ later. Suffice it to say that Carl Anthony’s article got me searching for information on Eisenhower’s inaugurations for today’s post and JFK’s for tomorrow’s. I was particularly interested in minorities present, celebrities performing and the general tone of events. This is what I found.
Dwight David Eisenhower’s first term in office began on January 20, 1953. He succeeded Harry S Truman. (Incidentally, his middle initial never stood for anything.) Richard Milhous Nixon was his vice president.
The Second World War general intended to focus on peace and prosperity.
However, the Korean War had started in 1950 and would not end until July 1953. An armistice was declared on July 27 and peace talks lasted until November 1954, at which time the country was divided into its present-day North and South Korea.
Russia also posed a threat, unmitigated by the death of Josef Stalin in March 1953.
The Washington Post (WaPo) archives have an excellent article on what happened on Inauguration Day. Excerpts and a summary follow.
The weather was unexpectedly sunny and pleasant. But that was not all (emphases mine):
The greatest spectacle of the Inaugural—a mingling of consecration and carnival, of solemnity and celebration—was warmed not only by the sun, but by the good will of those departing from the political scene.
A moment after Mr. Eisenhower took the oath that raised him to the pinnacle of his career, Harry S. Truman, suddenly become a private citizen, reached over and shook his hand warmly.
Mrs. Truman kissed Mrs. Eisenhower who, but a little while before, was trying to hold back tears as her stalwart husband was being sworn into office.
Those were the days.
An invocation for the ceremony was given by the Most Rev. Patrick O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington.
The Washington Bible was opened to 2 Chronicles 7:14, which will be familiar to many Americans who prayed and meditated upon it in a national civilian prayer effort during Obama’s second term:
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
After Eisenhower took his oath of office, he offered a prayer, which WaPo says he:
had written … a little while before in his suite at the Hotel Statler, between the time he returned from church and the time he started for the White House to join Mr. Truman for the ride to the Capitol.
My friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts that I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own. And I ask that you bow your heads. Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment my future associates in the Executive branch of Government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng, and their fellow citizens everywhere. Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race or calling. May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen.
Eisenhower then gave his first inaugural address. WaPo tells us that he was interrupted by applause five times:
the first time when he said that the United States faces the threat (obviously that of Russia) with “confidence and conviction.”
Bartleby.com has the full text of the address, which is highly optimistic and, perhaps to us, surprisingly outward looking. After he spoke at length on faith, Eisenhower said:
Freedom is pitted against slavery; lightness against the dark.
The faith we hold belongs not to us alone but to the free of all the world. This common bond binds the grower of rice in Burma and the planter of wheat in Iowa, the shepherd in southern Italy and the mountaineer in the Andes. It confers a common dignity upon the French soldier who dies in Indo-China, the British soldier killed in Malaya, the American life given in Korea.
We know, beyond this, that we are linked to all free peoples not merely by a noble idea but by a simple need. No free people can for long cling to any privilege or enjoy any safety in economic solitude. For all our own material might, even we need markets in the world for the surpluses of our farms and our factories. Equally, we need for these same farms and factories vital materials and products of distant lands. This basic law of interdependence, so manifest in the commerce of peace, applies with thousand-fold intensity in the event of war.
A benediction followed, given first by the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Henry K. Sherrill of New York, followed by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland.
Afterwards, the diminutive internationally acclaimed soprano, Dorothy Maynor (1910-1996), sang the Star Spangled Banner. She was the first black to sing at a presidential inauguration: Harry Truman’s in 1949. WaPo said it was difficult to see her on the rostrum because of her height.
Maynor, incidentally, was the daughter of a Methodist minister and married a Presbyterian clergyman in 1942. By then, she had already earned two bachelor’s degrees and had toured the United States, Europe and Australia, often to sold out concerts.
Eugene Conley (1908-1981) followed with America the Beautiful. He, too, was an opera singer. A tenor, he performed with the New York City Opera then went to Europe where he performed in Paris, Milan and London. By the time he sang at the inauguration, he was appearing regularly on television.
Hats were of interest because Eisenhower eschewed the traditional top hat for a homburg. In deference to his choice, Truman also wore one. As for their wives:
They rode bareheaded, chatted amiably and waved to the crowds.
In the parade which followed, the Eisenhowers created a new tradition: riding in the same car together.
They rode in a white Cadillac with its top down.
WaPo tells us:
The cheering began on Capitol Hill and mounted the nearer the Chief Executive got to the White House. He waved at first, but as the noise grew in intensity he began to stand up to acknowledge the acclaim.
When they reached the White House, the couple went straight to the reviewing stand.
WaPo says that the parade lasted four hours and 39 minutes, possibly the longest of its kind in history. The sun had set by the time it ended:
President Eisenhower was in a gay mood at the White House, as he reviewed the Inaugural parade. At one point he submitted to being lassoed by a California cowboy named Marty Montana, who made good with his lariat after one nervous failure.
Approximately 750,000 people turned out to line the route on Pennsylvania Avenue.
As I wrote in my history of presidential inaugurations, the Eisenhowers planned on only one inaugural ball, as Truman had done.
However, demand for tickets was such that a second one was held.
An original invitation is currently on sale.
Mamie didn’t skimp on the rhinestones. Her pink peau-de-soie gown is covered with more than 2,000 of them.
The Eisenhower archives have more pictures of the balls as well as of the rest of the day.
January 20 was on a Sunday in 1957, so Eisenhower was sworn in privately in the White House that day.
The public ceremony went ahead the following day.
The Eisenhower archives tell us that the weather that day was not as nice as it was in 1953. Light snow fell in the morning. Flurries continued in the afternoon.
The Bible verse used for that occasion was Psalm 33:12:
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
This video shows Eisenhower being sworn in:
The internationally renowned black contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993) sang at the ceremony. Anderson never joined an opera company and performed in concerts and recitals only. Her career spanned four decades — 1925 to 1965 — and she was well known in the United States and Europe. The YouTube video below shows the president standing to her right side:
Eisenhower’s address, in full at Bartleby.com, was about American prosperity and the Cold War. However, once again, he reminded Americans of the world beyond:
New forces and new nations stir and strive across the earth, with power to bring, by their fate, great good or great evil to the free world’s future. From the deserts of North Africa to the islands of the South Pacific one third of all mankind has entered upon an historic struggle for a new freedom; freedom from grinding poverty. Across all continents, nearly a billion people seek, sometimes almost in desperation, for the skills and knowledge and assistance by which they may satisfy from their own resources, the material wants common to all mankind.
No nation, however old or great, escapes this tempest of change and turmoil. Some, impoverished by the recent World War, seek to restore their means of livelihood. In the heart of Europe, Germany still stands tragically divided. So is the whole continent divided. And so, too, is all the world.
The divisive force is International Communism and the power that it controls.
Sadly, that is still true 60 years on.
Nonetheless, Eisenhower encouraged a continuation of optimism and a hope that the United States could help the world where it could.
The Eisenhower archives tell us that the parade was only an hour shorter than the one in 1953.
Once again, 750,000 people lined the route to witness the entertainment:
Marching in the parade were 17,000 people, including 11,757 in military service. There were 47 marching units, 52 bands, and 10 drum and bugle corps in the inaugural parade. The highlight of the parade was a mammoth float — 408 feet long and mounted on 164 wheels — which introduced the theme “Liberty and Strength Through Consent of the Governed.”
The Eisenhower children and Nixon girls stood next to each other, their fathers behind them in the reviewing stand.
The grandstands were extensive, accommodating 65,800 persons: 2,900 more than in 1953.
As he did in 1953, Eisenhower stood up in the car to wave to spectators:
Here are some of the bands and floats. Note that the spectators are integrated:
That evening, four inaugural balls were held.
This brief and blurry video shows one of them. Mamie Eisenhower wore a lace ballgown:
The Eisenhower archives have more photos of the day.
Although my late mother was a big fan of the much derided Adlai Stevenson II, Eisenhower’s opponent in both the 1952 and 1956 presidential campaigns, she was very happy with the retired general by the time he ran for re-election.
She said the Eisenhower years were a time of much happiness in the United States. Speaking personally, it seems that the nature of television shows reflected that optimism. Whatever one’s politics was, people seemed to share the same values and interests. There was no real division then. Admittedly, segregation in the South was still to be resolved, however, many blacks from that part of the country found employment by moving north to good jobs in manufacturing, particularly in the motor industry in Detroit. Therefore, overall, the Eisenhower years offered mobility and opportunity.
Tomorrow: John F Kennedy’s inauguration
In anticipation of Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, below are two Prayers for the President of the United States from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (BCP), used by the Episcopal Church in America.
The 1928 BCP is used in very few Episcopal churches these days, but many of us who worshipped with it miss its beauty.
These prayers form part of the Morning Prayer liturgy:
A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority.
O LORD, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favour to behold and bless thy servant THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue them plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant them in health and prosperity long to live; and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
¶ Or this.
O LORD our Governor, whose glory is in all the world; We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and to all in Authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Trumps and the Pences will attend a morning service on Friday at St John’s Church in Lafayette Square, near the White House. It is known as the Church of the Presidents. No doubt, the celebrant will use a more modern version of one of the above intercessions for the incoming president and his advisers.
As an Episcopalian — now Anglican, by virtue of living in the UK — I am delighted that the president-elect worships in Episcopal churches. (He and the future first lady were married at Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach and attend services there. Trump was raised a Presbyterian.)
St John’s Church has served the faithful of Washington, DC since 1815. Its bell, erected in 1822, was designed by Paul Revere’s son, Joseph. It has been in continuous service ever since.
The church’s 25 stained glass windows were made in Chartres, France, a historic centre of stained glass since the Middle Ages. They were installed between 1883 and 1885. They depict events in the life of Jesus. The main window above the altar interprets the Last Supper.
Beginning with James Madison, every US president has attended services at St John’s. That said, everyone is welcome as a member or as a visitor. There are 1,000 members of the congregation.
You can read more about their church services here.
As Inauguration Day is on Friday, January 20, what follows is a history of how the day developed and what happens when an incoming or re-elected American president takes his oath of office.
As I was researching this topic, it was interesting to note that George Washington was sworn in at the end of April and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in January. Why?
In September 1788, once nine states had ratified the Constitution, March 4 was set as the day when the US government began operations. If March 4 fell on a Sunday, the swearing-in was done privately with a public taking of the oath on Monday, March 5.
By an act of Congress, elections were held in November or December starting in 1792. In 1845, the date was changed to early November.
George Washington was not sworn in until April 30, 1789. This was because of a bad winter.
From that point through the 19th century, extra time was needed to tabulate votes and for the incoming president and his administration to travel to the capital. The first time this became an issue was in 1860. History.com tells us:
the lengthy lame-duck period caused problems such as in the aftermath of the 1860 election when seven states left the Union during the long “Secession Winter.” President-elect Abraham Lincoln had no power to act, and outgoing President James Buchanan took no action, leaving the issue for his successor.
With the expansion of rail travel in the middle of the 19th century followed by the advent of motor vehicles in the early 20th, transport time was greatly reduced. Technology such as the telegraph and, later, the telephone made communications easier.
Incidentally, Rutherford B Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House:
The long delay between election and inauguration, once necessary, turned into a nuisance.
The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States scrapped March 4 in favour of January 20 for the president and vice president. Congress would begin their sessions earlier, on January 3. The amendment also has contingency provisions in cases where there is no president-elect.
Even this was problematic. History.com explains:
The 20th Amendment didn’t take effect until October 1933, after the long lame-duck period once again proved problematic. With the U.S. in the throes of the Great Depression, incoming President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to wait four months to implement his New Deal while uncertainty further roiled financial markets. January 20 first served as Inauguration Day in 1937 when Roosevelt was sworn in for a second term.
When January 20 falls on a Sunday, the swearing-in is held privately with the public inauguration taking place on Monday, January 21.
As Washington, DC was not yet designated as the nation’s capital the first presidents gave their inaugural addresses in either New York or Philadelphia.
In 1790, George Washington selected the area of land which became known as the District of Columbia, made up of parts of Maryland and Virginia. Columbia was the poetic name for the United States and was a well known term at that time.
Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, gave both of his inaugural addresses at the United States Capitol in DC, the location generally used for inaugurations, albeit with some exceptions. When renovations were being done on the Capitol building, James Madison was sworn in at the Old Brick Capitol building in 1817. In 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was sworn in for his last term of office at the White House, possibly for health reasons.
Although prayers have been a part of the inauguration ceremony since George Washington became the first president, they became more formalised in 1937, FDR’s second inauguration.
FDR began the tradition of a prayer service held on Inauguration Day prior to the swearing-in ceremony. Today, a national prayer service takes place the day after the inauguration at the National Cathedral.
A Bible has often been used when the president takes the oath of office. George Washington used one in 1789. We do not know if he used one for his second inauguration. Records are unknown for the next several presidents.
John Quincy Adams took his oath on a law book in 1825. Although Martin Van Buren was sworn in on a Bible in 1837, the trail goes cold for his successors until 1853, when Franklin Pierce used a law book.
Abraham Lincoln used a Bible for both his inaugurations.
Although there were some exceptions afterwards, mostly when vice-presidents assumed office after a president’s death, the Bible became more commonplace for the oath with Ulysses S Grant’s second inauguration in 1873. The tradition continues today.
Other daytime events
After the inauguration ceremony, a number of other events take place.
A Congressional luncheon is held which the president, vice-president and their guests attend. This tradition began in 1953 — Dwight D Eisenhower’s first inauguration — and leaders from both the House of Representatives and the Senate are present.
Presidential procession to the White House
This tradition, started by Jefferson on his second term, involves a public procession down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.
Presidents have walked or ridden in a vehicle. Weather and security issues determine both. Where more recent presidents walk, it is only for part of the way, because of security concerns.
With Jefferson’s second inauguration, a parade became part of the afternoon activities.
In Jefferson’s day, this was part of the procession to the White House. He was accompanied by musicians and shipmen from the Washington Navy Yard on horseback.
For the next few inaugurations, an open house was held at what was known as the President’s House.
By the time Andrew Jackson was inaugurated in 1829, so many people were at the open house. Over time, the public reception at the White House gave way to the parade.
By 1837, Martin Van Buren’s parade began the evolution of the event to what we recognise today. Horse drawn floats became part of the festivities. Ten years later, an official committee began organising the parades, something which continues today.
In 1885, Grover Cleveland was the first president to have a reviewing stand, primarily to review the military troops passing by.
1865, Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration, was the first year when blacks appeared in an inaugural parade. Women were not part of the parade until 1917. The 2009 parade — Obama’s second inauguration — featured the first openly lesbian and gay participants.
The parades sometimes last all afternoon. It is up to the incoming president to give his preference to the committee.
Inaugurations past and present
Mashable has a great collection of photos, invitations and videos of inaugurations from the 20th century. Don’t miss it. You will find it fascinating.
Enjoy reading five little known facts about earlier presidents in Dr Larry Schweikart’s article for Townhall.
The US Senate website has an excellent history of the inaugural ball.
George Washington’s sponsors held one for him and his wife Martha in 1789 one week after the inauguration.
However, it was only in 1809, that the ball became an inaugural tradition. James Madison took office that year. His wife Dolley hosted a gala event for 400 guests. Tickets were $4 each — a princely sum in those days.
In 1833, Andrew Jackson attended two balls. In 1841, William Henry Harrison attended three.
In the mid-19th century, ball organisers wanted one venue large enough to accommodate everyone. James Buchanan was inaugurated in 1857 and had one huge event in a temporary purpose-built ballroom:
Food purchased for Buchanan’s ball included $3000 worth of wine, 400 gallons of oysters, 500 quarts of chicken salad, 1200 quarts of ice cream, 60 saddles of mutton, 8 rounds of beef, 75 hams and 125 tongues.
The next two were held in government buildings: Lincoln’s (1865) and Grant’s (1869). Grant’s didn’t go too well, because the north wing of the Treasury Building didn’t have enough room for dancing. For his second inauguration in 1873, a purpose-built structure was erected as it had been for Buchanan. Unfortunately, that also was a disaster. The weather was so bitter that the decorative caged canaries froze to death. The guests were also inconvenienced by the cold. The structure had no heat and the supplies of hot drinks quickly ran out.
Between 1885 and 1909, balls were held in the Pension building.
In 1913, the tradition stopped and would not be revived until Harry S Truman’s inauguration in 1949.
Woodrow Wilson (1913, 1917) thought they were an expensive and unnecessary intrusion into the solemnity of the inauguration. Warren G Harding (1921) agreed to a large party for his inauguration. Calvin Coolidge (1925), Herbert Hoover (1929) and FDR (1933, 1937 and 1941 [none in 1945]) went down the charity ball route.
Following Truman’s example, Eisenhower planned on one inaugural ball in 1953, but demand for tickets was such that a second one was held. For his 1957 inauguration, there were four. John F Kennedy attended five in 1961. Lyndon Baines Johnson and Richard Nixon also had inaugural balls.
Jimmy Carter eschewed them for modest parties in 1977. However, Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy attended inaugural balls. In 1997, Bill Clinton attended an all time high of 14. George W Bush’s inaugurations were celebrated at eight balls in 2001 and nine in 2005. Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2001 had ten official balls.
First ladies and inaugural balls
Business Insider — of all places — has a great historical overview of first lady ballgowns and trivia. Ladies will particularly appreciate the full-size photographs of the gowns.
Controversy — Jefferson’s first inauguration
We tend to forget that election results have often been fraught throughout US history.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation has a fascinating account of his first inauguration in 1801. In a strange parallel to 2016, Jefferson wrote during the campaign of 1800 (emphases mine):
“our campaign will be as hot as that of Europe, but happily we deal in ink only; they in blood.” He said the nation’s newspapers were “teeming with every falsehood they can invent for defamation.”
John Adams ran for re-election that year on the Federalist ticket. He:
was labeled a monarchist; Vice President Jefferson was called an atheist; both candidates were declared enemies of the Constitution.
The electoral college provided no relief, either:
Adams was defeated but Jefferson did not win the presidency. Instead, he tied with Aaron Burr, his Republican running mate. The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1804, would change the process for electing the president and vice president by directing the states to vote separately for each; in 1800, however, the fact that nearly all Republicans recognized Jefferson’s place at the top of the ticket counted for little. The election would be decided in the House of Representatives, where members of the Federalist majority worked to block Jefferson’s election by backing Burr.
Seen in that light, Donald Trump had an easy time of it.
It took 36 ballots over eight days in the House of Representatives before Jefferson had the majority of votes.
The same controversies we are seeing today were also present in 1800 and 1801:
The bitterly contested campaign and the drawn-out election process, plus the predictions of resistance to the new administration and whispers about the possibility of civil war …
Jefferson took the opportunity to craft an inaugural speech about national unity.
He walked to the Capitol dressed simply in a suit. His predecessors, Washington and Adams, had put on finery and been transported by carriage. Jefferson preferred to look like ‘a plain citizen’.
The Senate chamber, where he took his oath of office, was packed. The moment was made all the more difficult because:
Noticeably absent was Adams, who had left town in the middle of the night. Jefferson was sworn in by Chief Justice John Marshall, his distant cousin and a staunch political foe.
He gave his address, in part:
“Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle,” Jefferson maintained, and said Americans were, in truth, “brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”Though few people actually heard Jefferson’s address, which one observer said was “delivered in so low a tone” as to be barely audible, the sentiments were not lost.
A spectator who was present, Margaret Bayard Smith, was highly impressed:
This day one of the most amiable and worthy men [has] taken that seat to which he was called by the voice of his country.
Afterwards, Jefferson had dinner, but not with legislators. He returned to the boarding house where he had been staying and ate with his fellow boarders. He lived there for two more weeks, until March 19, at which time he moved into the President’s House.
Donald Trump’s plans
Carrying on from Jefferson’s 1800 campaign, 2016’s was no better.
The New York Times was one of several media outlets publishing hit pieces on Donald Trump. On May 16, political pundit Charles Krauthammer told Fox News:
It looks as if the Times had 50 interviews, spent a lot of money and time, knew it didn’t really have a story, came out exactly with…a story that was nuanced, interesting, but there was nothing scandalous about it.
If this is the best that the Times and the press can do trying to create scandal around Donald Trump, it’s time to plan for the inauguration.
And here we are.
Trump appears to have taken another page out of Jefferson’s notebook. Washington’s WTOP radio reported in December:
“The theme is very simple,” Trump inaugural chairman Tom Barrack told ABC News. “The idea is to have a cross cut of harmony of America and normal Americans that reflects on them, not on the power and prestige of this man.”
Trump is also cutting down the number of inaugural balls to three:
“The balls are kind of a confusing quagmire because the states themselves have their own celebratory events,” Barrack said. “We’ll have basically three balls. Two in the [Washington] Convention Center, one called the Commander in Chief ball, which is a traditional military ball. And then we’ll have a series of private dinners.”
It’s a stark contrast from recent inaugurations. Obama attended 10 inaugural balls and former President George W. Bush attended eight inaugural balls to celebrate their first inaugurations.
“This is a workman-like inaugural. This is not a coronation,” inaugural committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn said. “And you’ve seen some inaugurals in the past that maybe did seem like a coronation. Again, it’s every president’s choice. This president wants to get to work.”
The Commander in Chief ball will include guests from law enforcement, firefighters, other first responders and the military.
Just before Christmas, Trump tweeted:
Trump supporters agree, according to the New York Post:
The “blue-collar billionaire” will have a day that’s more befitting the working-class base that put him in the White House: one without fanfare or celebrities or fancy couture (although his wife, Melania, will most certainly be dressed to the nines). Call it the People’s Inauguration, one that celebrates the ordinary American, and that suits his fans just fine.
“They could have zero entertainment at the inauguration, and I really don’t think for one minute that it would matter,” said Leslie Rossi, of Youngstown, Pa., a state that shocked the nation when it switched from blue to red on Election Day.
Even before the election, the Trump International in DC was sold out:
Some lucky Trump supporters managed to get tickets to the swearing-in ceremony.
On January 14, Trump tweeted:
RSBN, which started in Alabama in 2015 and has now relocated to DC, will be providing a live feed of the inauguration. Knowing them, they will broadcast as much of the day as they can:
Newsweek has a full list of events from January 19 through to January 21.
The weather is looking less promising than it did a week ago, but at least the temperatures will be manageable.
Former undercover police officer James Copenhaver has a detailed analysis of what those attending should expect on the day with regard to security.
In Washington, DC the Deploraball is scheduled to take place on the evening of Thursday, January 19. The event sold out quickly. It will be the people’s celebration featuring many speakers as well as fun.
Unfortunately, it might also be a target of protesters and people who wish to do attendees physical harm.
On January 16, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released an undercover film made at Comet Ping Pong — hmm (Pizzagate) — about plans to disrupt it with butyric acid. The video tells us the event is being held at the National Press Building. A little butyric acid goes a long way. If such an attack is successful, the whole building would stink and guests with asthma or heart conditions could end up in hospital. Project Veritas has already been in touch with the authorities:
Americans who voted for Donald Trump are hopeful about his and his administration’s ability to ‘drain the swamp’. Washington, DC was built on a swamp, hence the term.
They are looking forward to an end to, as Trump put it during the presidential campaign, the ‘false song of globalism’. They are tired of the greed, the lies and the intrigue. Most of all, they are tired of seeing their standard of living fall, their children’s prospects damaged and the shrinking of the middle class.
Although Trump will not be appearing, this is why an event like the Deploraball is being held. There were three tiers of ticket prices, all of which were $500 or less. The cheapest one was well under $100. For those who cannot go, Deploraballs are being held across the nation. As their website says:
This was our election.
We emerged victorious.
I hope they have a great time in complete safety.
The following speech that Donald Trump gave on October 13, 2016 in Florida describes his anti-globalist, anti-elitist movement.
You can find the full text here. The excerpts below, emphases mine, lay out the broad agenda of what he hopes to achieve as president of the United States. This will be old news to those who have been following Trump’s campaign and imminent accession to the White House.
However, it will be news to those who wonder more about the 45th president who assumes office on Friday, January 20, 2017 and get all their information from Big Media, moaning about his tweets. What follows is for those people — wherever they may be in the world:
Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American People.
There is nothing the political establishment will not do, and no lie they will not tell, to hold on to their prestige and power at your expense.
The Washington establishment, and the financial and media corporations that fund it, exists for only one reason: to protect and enrich itself.
The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. As an example, just one single trade deal they’d like to pass, involves trillions of dollars controlled by many countries, corporations and lobbyists.
For those who control the levers of power in Washington, and for the global special interests they partner with, our campaign represents an existential threat.
This is not simply another 4-year election. This is a crossroads in the history of our civilization that will determine whether or not We The People reclaim control over our government.
The political establishment that is trying everything to stop us, is the same group responsible for our disastrous trade deals, massive illegal immigration, and economic and foreign policies that have bled this country dry …
It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities …
Let’s be clear on one thing: the corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism. They are a political special interest, no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity with an agenda …
For them, it is a war – and for them, nothing is out of bounds.
This is a struggle for the survival of our nation …
This is not just conspiracy but reality, and you and I know it.
The establishment and their media enablers wield control over this nation through means that are well known. Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and morally deformed. They will attack you, they will slander you, they will seek to destroy your career and reputation. And they will lie, lie and lie even more …
When I declared my candidacy, I knew what bad shape our country was in. I had seen firsthand the corruption and the sickness that has taken over our politics. I knew they would throw every lie they could at me, and my family, and my loved ones.
I knew they would stop at nothing to try to stop me.
But I take all of these slings and arrows for you. I take them for our movement, so that we can have our country back.
Our great civilization, here in America and across the civilized world, has come upon a moment of reckoning …
But the central base of world political power is here in America, and it is our corrupt political establishment that is the greatest power behind the efforts at radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people.
Their financial resources are unlimited. Their political resources are unlimited. Their media resources are unlimited. And, most importantly, the depths of their immorality is unlimited …
Some people warned me this campaign would be a journey to hell. But they are wrong, it will be a journey to heaven because we will help so many people.
In my former life, I was an insider as much as anybody else – and I know what’s like to be an insider. Now I am being punished for leaving their special club and revealing to you their great scam. Because I used to be part of the club, I’m the only one who can fix it. I’m doing this for the people, and this movement is just right – and we will take back this country for you and Make America Great Again.
The corrupt establishment knows that we are an existential threat to their criminal enterprise. They know, that if we win, their power is gone and returned to you. The clouds hanging over our government can be lifted, and replaced with a bright future – but it all depends on whether we let the New York Times decide our future, or whether we let the American people decide our future …
I will not lie to you. These false attacks hurt. To be lied about, to be slandered, to be smeared so publicly and before your family, is painful …
But I also know, it’s not about me – it’s about all of you. It’s about all of us, together, as a country …
This election is about every man, woman and child in our country who deserves to live in safety, prosperity and peace.
We will rise above the lies, the smears, and the ludicrous slanders from ludicrous reporters …
We will vote to put this corrupt government cartel out of business. We will remove from our politics the special interests who have betrayed our workers, our borders, our freedoms, and our sovereign rights as a nation. We will end the politics of profit, we will end the rule of special interests, we will put a stop to the raiding of our country – and the disenfranchisement of our people.
Our Independence Day is at hand, and it arrives, finally, on November 8th. Join me in taking back our country, and creating a bright and glorious new dawn for our people.
Image credit: The Conservative Treehouse
Here is a useful graphic from The_Donald:
This is worth bookmarking to see what the comparison will look like at the end of 2021.
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.
For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
It is curious that the compilers of the three-year Lectionary would leave one line out of the two-chapter story of Peter’s healing the lame man.
The story begins in Acts 3. Peter and John were going to the temple to pray at 3 p.m. A well known man — lame from birth — was at the Beautiful Gate of the temple every day asking for alms (emphases mine):
4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Peter then gave the people a sermon in Solomon’s Portico. What he said is similar to his first sermon on the first Pentecost in Acts 2.
To those who witnessed the miracle, he said, in part:
13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant[b] Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus[c] has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
For this, the Sadducees arrested Peter and John and held them overnight (Acts 4:1-3). Regardless, the Holy Spirit was at work:
4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
It is quite possible that there were thousands more when women and children were added in.
The elite of the priesthood, including Caiaphas and Annas the high priest, confronted the two apostles the next day. Peter said they worked the miracle in the name of Jesus:
11 This Jesus[a] is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.[b] 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men[c] by which we must be saved.”
Note that verse, because it refutes the modern claim that anyone spiritual can be saved, regardless of their religion. Not true!
The priests were taken aback by Peter and John’s boldness then recognised them as His disciples (verse 14). They wondered what further action they should take against the two. They went through the same thought process that they did with Jesus. By whose power do they work these miracles? What can the priests do when everyone is marvelling at the miracle? So, the priests told them not to speak anymore about Jesus Christ:
19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
John MacArthur gives us a glimpse as to what Jerusalem must have been like at that moment:
Now there’s 20,000 people running all over Jerusalem proclaiming Him. And it just got worse … And here they hope that they had gotten rid of Him when they killed Him and now they hope they can get rid of Him by shutting up Peter and John.
And roughly two millennia later, the same circumstances still apply, which is rather curious:
And you know, even today as I was in Israel the thing that struck me the most, I think, the most…the clearest thing that I could see in terms of just kind of identifying certain factors, the thing that overwhelmed me every day was that right in the middle of Judaism which rejects Jesus are all of the things that relate to Jesus.
… just imagine having to live in Israel and one bus load after another of pilgrims coming to see the places where Jesus was. There goes another one. They’re all over the place. And everybody’s carrying around little olive wood New Testaments and little Jesus symbols, and everywhere you go in the midst of Israel there are churches with crosses and Jesuses everywhere. They cannot get rid of Jesus. No matter how they try. They can’t.
This brings us to today’s verse, which is important in the context of Peter’s healing the lame man.
Recall that Acts 3:2 tells us he was lame from birth. At age 40, particularly in those days without medical advancement which is still relatively recent (19th century), there was no hope for his condition. Matthew Henry, who died in the early 18th century, appreciated this:
The older he grew the more inveterate the disease was, and the more hardly cured.
Henry adds that the fact that the man is older gives his testimony about his lameness and healing all the more resonance. He could speak with a modicum of wisdom that people would respect.
It is for this reason that I wonder why the Lectionary compilers would omit it. It’s only one sentence!
Henry also related the man’s physical cure to repentance and conversion, which is a practical application of this miracle:
If those that are grown into years, and have been long accustomed to evil, are cured of their spiritual impotency to good, and thereby of their evil customs, the power of divine grace is therein so much the more magnified.
The Holy Spirit was working powerfully through Peter and John. The Book of Acts is a testament to that divine power of the first Pentecost. The two apostles went back to tell their friends all that the high priests said. Everyone prayed aloud (verse 24) and asked for boldness!
29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
This is why Acts is such a meaningful book of the New Testament. Acts 4 continues:
33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
God wanted the Church to expand and made conditions perfect in order for this to happen.
The chapter ends with this:
36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Those first months of the Church must have been an incredible time for the disciples and the converts. We are blessed to have a divinely inspired account of it.
Next time: Acts 5:1-6
This week a lengthy dossier and summary about Donald Trump circulated around the world.
It is fake. All of it.
On January 11, Investment Watch Blog (IWB) published an excellent, readable summary of it:
News about the new event including Russia broke the internet this morning. This time, it wasn’t about election hacks and the Democratic party. Instead, it was revealed that Russia is in possession of personal and financial information about Donald Trump. Apparently, the files also included info about Mr. Trump’s sex life. Just a few hours later, Kremlin denied having such files and the President-elect reacted on Twitter, accusing media of witch hunt and an unfair treatment.
The BuzzFeed website published a series of memos which have been floating around for months, containing terrible information about Mr. Trump. You can see those files here. Some allegations made in the memos refer to efforts to influence the elections as well as Trump’s sexual conduct as previously mentioned.
Apparently, it started with the 4chan forum (emphases mine):
The TownHall reports: “What’s worth talking about, however, are swirling claims on Reddit that 4chan users on the board /pol/ completely made the entire thing up. According to a variety of posts on the pro-Trump subreddit r/The_Donald, a user on /pol/, a 4chan board, made up the most salacious story in the report. He then mailed it to anti-Trump Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who then went to the CIA. The story was then included in the dossier published Tuesday by BuzzFeed News. If this is true, this effectively means that 4chan trolled the U.S. intelligence system and the majority of the U.S. media with what’s basically Donald Trump erotic fanfiction, which is terrifying.”
IWB posted the relevant screenshots from 4chan along with a tweet from Rick Wilson denying /pol/ — the political 4chan forum — was the source.
If these allegations turn out to be true, it would mean that Rick Wilson along with BuzzFeed and other media representatives who fed on this story lost their credibility in a single day.
Incidentally, the dossier named a Russian technology expert. However:
What probably happened
Any person or organisation who latched onto this phony dossier did so in an effort to delegitimise Donald Trump’s presidency. That includes Republicans, among them Arizona senator John McCain, who ran against Obama in 2008.
Strangely, an MI6 agent by the name of Steele appears to have been involved in compiling the dossier. The Mirror reports that he has gone into hiding. A ‘Trump insider’ told the BBC’s Daily Politics that British intelligence told him that Jeb Bush paid Steele to embellish the dossier; the more he wrote, the more he was paid.
This tweet summarises what probably happened. Note that it includes Evan McMullin, ex-CIA, who was the very marginal independent presidential candidate that the GOPe put up to sap Trump votes:
A commenter at The Conservative Treehouse gives a fuller possible scenario:
4Chan writes up a hoax.
Rick Wilson, GOPe political operative and massive Trump hater takes the bait.
Wilson disseminates the fake material to anyone who hates Trump.
Tries to get the media to report on it calling it “the thing” on Twitter.
The MSM won’t take the bait.
Steele uses the fake info in a fake report
That fake report is shopped around before the election and no one takes the bait.
With time running out to use the fake report, the uniparty Trump haters get the CIA/IC/FBI to happily launder the report and put their seals on it.
The CIA/IC/FBI tell Trump about the report but don’t show him any documents.
After they told Trump they (someone in the IC) leaked it to the media.
CNN runs with the fake leak.
Buzzfeed publishes the fake document.
And McCain takes the report to the FBI under the guise of doing something responsible but it’s really because he wants to hurt Trump as everyone knows the report is fake.
[Chuck] Schumer [Senate Minority Leader] knows the IC has a fake report and that a hit from the IC and telegraphs that it’s coming. Basically threatening Trump for days before the leak.
BuzzFeed and NBCUniversal
It should be noted that NBCUniversal is a significant shareholder in BuzzFeed, founded in 2006.
In August 2015, the media organisation invested $200m in the website, which could expand to other countries besides the United States. Over the next year:
NBCUniversal and BuzzFeed … embarked on a number of partnerships, including the latter producing video clips during the Summer Olympics.
The site also ventured into reporting more on politics and special investigations.
In October 2016, NBCUniversal invested an additional $200m.
Therefore, it is interesting that NBC carried a story on January 11 saying that Trump received no briefing on the fake dossier. Perhaps they figure their report could take the heat off BuzzFeed? Who knows?
The Hill reports:
President-elect Donald Trump was never briefed on the allegations that Russian intelligence services have collected compromising information on him, according to NBC and Trump’s transition team.
Officials prepared a two-page summary of unverified reports that have been circulating Capitol Hill for months in advance of their Friday meeting with Trump, an intelligence official told NBC, but never discussed it with him.
Trump supporters regularly call CNN the ‘Clinton News Network’.
On November 21, roughly two weeks after the election, Trump met privately at Trump Tower with a number of Big Media organisations, including CNN. The New York Post gave this account, excerpted below:
“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.
“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing-down,” the source added.
A second source confirmed the fireworks …
“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room, calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars,” the source said.
The Post says that Trump also had a go at NBC. Although he did not name their correspondents, it was clear to the ’30 or 40 people’ in the room that he was talking about Martha Raddatz — sitting there — and Katy Tur.
Trump’s press conference
On Wednesday, January 11, Trump held a press conference near the lifts in Trump Tower.
A noisy exchange took place between the president elect and CNN reporter Jim Acosta, who was extremely belligerent in the clip I heard. From The Conservative Treehouse:
• Jim Acosta: “Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?”
• Trump replied “No, not you, your organization is terrible!”
• Acosta continued: “You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?”
• Trump reminded Acosta: “don’t be rude.” “I’m not going to give you a question. I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news!”
The Daily Mail‘s Quentin Letts, who must have watched a full-length video of the press conference, found it amusing. His is a rollicking write-up, but the problem is that Letts is missing out on the gravity of the situation and Trump’s growly demeanour. The fake dossier was an attempt to take Trump down. It was meant to serve as a precursor to impeachment.
As The Conservative Treehouse points out:
today’s final exposure of the corrupt media, specifically CNN and Buzzfeed, surrounding the false intelligence reports they used to create a completely false narrative – brings the end to a series of events as transparent as the GOPe “splitter strategy” which preceded it.
That ‘series of events’ amounted to a soft coup intended to keep Trump from the White House:
Slightly more than a week after winning the 2016 Presidential Election, the head of the NSA Cyber Command, Admiral Mike Rogers, went to New York and met with the new President-Elect Donald Trump inside Trump Tower.
A month prior to that specific visit, DNI Director James Clapper advised President Obama to fire Admiral Mike Rogers.
There is every indication, every reason to believe, that Admiral Rogers gave President-elect Donald Trump a very specific “heads up“; warning the incoming president of actions which would be undertaken by political operatives within the intelligence community to undermine the construct of the incoming administration.
All activity from that mid-November meeting through to now, points to Rogers giving advanced notice to Trump of a political intelligence scheme which culminated today with the public embarrassment of the those politicized intelligence agencies, operatives and their vessels for disinformation – the media.
Following the meeting with Donald Trump, it clearly appears Admiral Mike Rogers went back into the matrix and, as an outcome of his position, followed orders – but did so with an arms length approach. The NSA (Rogers) did not support the political intelligence “high confidence” narrative as it was constructed by James Clapper (DNI) and John Brennan (CIA).
What happened next
Shares in Time Warner, owner of CNN took a hit:
That happened despite CNN’s statement earlier that day, before the press conference:
CNN had tried to implicate Trump’s Special Counsel Michael Cohen in the dossier. Trump actually called Cohen to his office with his passport to see if he had been to Russia. Cohen had not.
The outgoing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper quickly issued a statement denouncing the fake dossier:
Let us pray that this concludes these damaging shenanigans. There has never been a coup attempt in American history — until now.
Trump must start draining the swamp as soon as practicable later this month.
President Obama gave his farewell speech in Chicago on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.
The Daily Caller provided this summary:
President Obama referred to himself 75 times in his farewell address Tuesday night, according to a review of his prepared remarks by The Daily Caller.
Obama said “I” 33 times during the speech, “my” 20 times, “me” 10 times, and “I’m” or “I’ve” 12 times.
The president made a habit of focusing large chunks of his speeches on himself during his eight years in office.
Democrat operative Bob Creamer, who appeared in the stunningly frank undercover video about violent harrassment of Donald Trump supporters, was seated in the front row (photo courtesy of The_Donald):
This is the Project Veritas video from James O’Keefe which I wrote about in October 2016 (language alert, but the truth must out):
It is interesting that the day before Obama gave his farewell address, this took place:
It is incredible that so many were taken in by a man who, from his candidacy, had all his personal records sealed. Then they re-elected him!
A number of Democrats left the party before Election Day in 2008 and became independents. They were correct in suspecting something wasn’t right.
Below is a graphic from Dr Leonard Coldwell which explains the outgoing incumbent well. After all, we have nothing else to go on other than a contrived, ghostwritten autobiography.
‘They already are lost’, but not for long. Recovery begins on the afternoon of January 20. It cannot come soon enough.
Obama pledged transparency. Americans who could see through him knew he was disingenuous.
For the first time in decades, the United States will have a president who is transparent. Like him or loathe him, he’s an open book.
That president will also love America as she’s never been loved before in our lifetime. Bring it on.