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The National Prayer Breakfast took place on Thursday, February 2, 2017.

I did not know that President Eisenhower initiated this event in 1953. That said, prayer has long been a part of the American legislature.

Today, Washington DC has several prayer groups and Bible study sessions for a variety of men and women working in public service, from janitors to senators.

The video below is of the whole event which took place at the Hilton. Hundreds of people attended the breakfast, hosted by Congress and the Fellowship Foundation:

 

Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs — 2016’s Most Valuable Player (the Cubs won the World Series after 108 years) — opened with a heartfelt, eloquent and moving prayer. Breakfast then commenced. (Photo credit: Wikipedia.)

President Trump did not eat. Instead, he engaged in lively conversation at table (26:00). He had a lot to say.

Although the breakfast had Muslim guests, the speakers were Christian, except for the rabbi who recited a beautiful prayer in Hebrew and English (42:23).

US Senate Chaplain and Rear Admiral Barry Black gave a dynamic 25-minute sermon (51:00). If you have the time, it is definitely worth listening to him. The man really knows his Scripture, and that, he said, came about thanks to his mother. She would pay him and his siblings five cents for every new Bible verse that they memorised. One day, young Barry began reciting several newly-memorised verses. His mother said he would only be receiving no more than a quarter — twenty-five cents. He said that he went on to read the Bible after that, to find out more about Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Mark Burnett, producer of The Apprentice, spoke next (1:20:00). He described how he and Trump met at Trump Tower when Burnett floated the idea of the successful 14-series television show with the billionaire. (Arnold Schwarzenegger now hosts it and ratings have tanked. See below.)  Trump told Burnett to ring his agent to ask if the real estate mogul could be the star. The agent said no. Trump then got on the phone with the agent. According to him, the conversation ended with, ‘You’re fired!’ (Trump said that came later, once the agent asked for his commission.)

The News Junky has more on Burnett’s address regarding Trump. Of their friendship, Burnett said:

It’s been one of the greatest relationships of my life.

Yet, in October 2016, when he refused to release a supposedly incriminating tape from The Apprentice:

Burnett released a statement saying: “I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.”

Hmm.

I did not know that Burnett was British. He was born in Dagenham, to the east of London, in 1960. Dagenham was the site of Britain’s Ford plant. Burnett’s parents worked there. His father was a Presbyterian and his mother a Catholic. Burnett and his wife Roma Downey are practising Christians.

Burnett served in the Paras and saw action during the Falklands War. He emigrated to the United States in 1982 and worked for the first few years as a nanny. His second employer offered him a job in his insurance company. Burnett took that and also went into business for himself at the weekend selling tee-shirts. Realising that he was making more money from the shirts, he resigned from his position in insurance.

In 1991, he and four others signed up for a French adventure competition, the Raid Gauloises. Afterwards, he decided to stage his own competitions, beginning with Eco-Challenge, which launched his career as a television producer. The final of the highly-rated Survivor was crucial to the rest of his career. It was filmed at the Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park which Trump had made viable again after years of neglect. Trump showed up to watch on the sidelines and introduced himself to Burnett, giving him his personal phone number. That’s how Burnett arranged his aforementioned meeting at Trump Tower. (You can read more about Burnett’s life at The Ringer: worthwhile and inspiring for young people pursuing a career.)

I digress — but only somewhat.

The president spoke last (1:30:00). He opened by saying that he hoped to address the crowd at seven more National Prayer Breakfasts. After complimenting various guests and speakers, he spoke about The New Celebrity Apprentice and its low ratings, half-jokingly asking the crowd to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The media will go crazy over that, but that took less than a minute.

Trump thanked the thousands of Americans who have said to him, ‘I will pray for you’. He said those were the five most important words he has heard from the campaign to the present. He then spoke at length about the selfless service of the military, referring to the recent completed mission in Yemen in which one Navy SEAL, Ryan Owens, lost his life. (Trump and Ivanka went to pay their respects to his family.)

He spoke of God’s blessings on America and said that it is a ‘nation of believers’. He said that ‘spiritual success’ is far more important than ‘material success’; those with the latter are miserable because they lack the former.

He also spoke about the Bible lessons his mother gave him and his siblings when they were children. She used the Bible upon which he was sworn in on January 20.

He also spoke about the challenges he is facing but told the crowd not to ‘worry about it’. He also explained that while he supports immigration, the new arrivals should only be those people who love America.

He ended by stressing the importance of a sustaining ‘faith in God’, because:

With God we are never alone.

Trump’s faith is returning. He spoke well and had useful messages to give not only to those at the prayer breakfast — but all of us, even those who are not American.

The Anheuser-Busch commercial for the Superbowl this year, scheduled to air on February 5, has kicked up a storm and is viewed by a number of Americans as pro-immigration advertising.

It comes a week after President Donald Trump initiated a 90-day immigration ban on seven countries which have majority Muslim populations. These selected countries lack the means for sufficient background checks on their own citizens. (More about this in a future post.)

See if you think this is political commentary:

I have two problems with it. First, by the time Adolphus Busch arrived in the United States in 1857, Germans had been emigrating there for a century, at least. They were well established in society. Secondly, it was unclear to me that the final scene was the famous ‘when Anheuser met Busch’ moment. I thought he was a random guy in a bar until I saw a YouTube from Mark Dice explaining it in the first minute or so:

Budweiser, owned by InBev — a Belgian corporation — denies it is commenting on Trump policy or an anti-immigration climate.

However, I cannot help but wonder if Adolphus Busch would have wanted to be portrayed in that way. Most immigrants wanted to assimilate straightaway. They were not going to dwell on the voyage over, their processing time at Ellis Island or their early years getting established. Everything was about becoming an American.

If you doubt this, then, please be aware that his Wikipedia entry states (emphases mine):

His wealthy family ran a wholesale business of winery and brewery supplies. Busch and his brothers all received quality educations, and he graduated from the notable Collegiate Institute of Belgium in Brussels.[2]

Another German immigrant came to America in the 19th century. His name was Friedrich Trump, pictured at left (courtesy of Wikipedia). He was a Lutheran and came from Kallstadt in Bavaria. He managed to make a fortune within three years. He went everywhere, from New York to the Yukon. Nary a complaint. Even the most recent Channel 4 documentary by anti-Trump Matt Frei on his grandson — shown in late January 2017 — painted Friedrich as a clever, enterprising businessman. That makes me think Adolphus Busch was of the same entrepreneurial mindset.

You didn’t go to the US as a victim then, that’s for sure.

Incidentally, Friedrich returned to Kallstadt after three years only to go through a series of legal hurdles regarding his German nationality! He found out it had been revoked, possibly because he went to the US around the time he was to do his military service. So, back to America he went and the rest is history. According to Matt Frei’s documentary, Friedrich quietly enjoyed his life a lot but died in the Influenza Epidemic of 1918. His widow, Elizabeth — also from Kallstadt — set up a real estate company for her middle son Fred, the president’s father. It was called Elizabeth Trump & Son. Fred was still a minor at the time, even though he was precocious enough to follow in his father’s footsteps and get small houses built.

I recommend that we need to watch these adverts with a gimlet eye and research the immigrant mindset of the 19th and early 20th centuries, very much oriented to assimilating into American society — as future Americans.

America’s Department of Homeland Security could be actively fighting terrorism — had the Obama administration not taken away a valuable tool: a database developed by Philip Haney, author of See Something, Say Nothing, which went on sale on May 24, 2016.

Earlier that year, Haney wrote an article for The Hill, ‘DHS ordered me to scrub records of Muslims with terror ties’. Please read it in full. Obama and his people threw the intelligence community under the bus.

On Christmas Day in 2009, a Nigerian terrorist attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which was to take off from Amsterdam and land in Detroit. Fortunately, the explosives in the man’s underwear failed to detonate and passengers were able to subdue him until police arrested him.

Afterwards, Haney says (emphases mine):

Following the attempted attack, President Obama threw the intelligence community under the bus for its failure to “connect the dots.” He said, “this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.”

Haney, a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, explains:

Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.”  Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.

A few weeks later, in my office at the Port of Atlanta, the television hummed with the inevitable Congressional hearings that follow any terrorist attack. While members of Congress grilled Obama administration officials, demanding why their subordinates were still failing to understand the intelligence they had gathered, I was being forced to delete and scrub the records. And I was well aware that, as a result, it was going to be vastly more difficult to “connect the dots” in the future—especially before an attack occurs.

On June 26, 2016 FaithFreedom.org interviewed Haney. The transcript is lengthy and eye-opening. I recommend people read this for a full understanding of why terror attacks continue. Again, the scrubbed database has a lot to do with it. The interview by Frank Gaffney, a friend of his, centres around Haney’s book, which had been on sale for a month. Excerpts and a summary follow.

Years before Haney entered the DHS, he was an entomologist — a scientist who studies insects. He worked with farmers in the Middle East. To better communicate with them and understand local culture, he learned Arabic, then Koranic Arabic.

His work speciality was studying ants. He published several scientific papers on them.

Knowing Arabic, understanding Middle Eastern culture and studying ant behaviour prepared him for the future, although he did not know that at the time. He told Gaffney:

… two of the qualities of an entomologist that have direct application to counter-terrorism are close attention to detail and observation of behaviour. All living creatures have behaviour patterns that they follow. And in entomology, if you want to learn how to control a pest, you have to know how it behaves. So watching that gives you clues to points along their life cycle that you might be able to intervene and help the farmer reduce his pesticide costs. And attention to detail, that’s another key component of counter-terrorism. That’s what we call connecting the dots. Well, it has direct application in science as well. You connect dots, you make observations, your write things down on your famous clipboard, and pretty soon a picture emerges. Then you do statistical analysis on it. Develop your premise and prove that it was true. Well, the other component is, being a specialist in ants, I simply began to follow the trail and I would find the nest. And in counter-terrorism, you do the same thing.

One of the things that many people in Western countries refuse to do is to connect terrorism with Islam. We speak of ‘moderate Islam’ or may even know Muslims who are more secular than religious. Haney says that the United States, for example, sees a ‘composite’ view of Islam:

the full spectrum from virtual complete disavowal of following shariah all the way up to extremely strict application of shariah. We see that in some of these emerging areas of cities around America where it’s becoming more and more obvious that they’re implementing shariah all the way to, you know, people you might call secular Muslims that don’t appear to observe any of the mandates of shariah. It’s all in a kaleidoscope right here in the United States. We can see every portion of it, every form of expression of shariah that exists in the world is being expressed right here in the America, the whole spectrum.

Haney gives a detailed explanation of the manifestations of jihad, which can differ according to group.

About the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), he explains:

it’s a global organisation and they have very strict rules and regulations they follow. Everything that the Muslim Brotherhood does is based on shariah law. This isn’t a political organisation that happens to be Islamic. This is an Islamic organisation whose highest goal is to implement shariah law. Therefore, of all organisations, they’re going to be most strictly observant of the subtle elements of shariah law. And their role, like in the United States, is to make sure that the Muslim community is doing their utmost to submit to the regulations and guidelines found in shariah law, one step at a time.

Furthermore, the MB have a document which:

states plainly that the global organisation has set up a shura council, a guidance council, here in North America, which means includes Canada, for a very distinct purpose. That very distinct purpose is to bring to the North American Muslim community, create an observant Muslim base. Again, this is in the first paragraph of the first page. The observant Muslim base. That is al-Musima [PH], al-Islamiyah, al-Qaeda, in Arabic. And I’m sure everybody listening heard the third word and have heard that word many times before, al-Qaeda. The observant Muslim, al-Qaeda, in North America. That’s important because al-Qaeda is not actually an organisation. Even though there are some jihad groups we know of as al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda is an abstract concept. It means the base. The base of operation. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal is to have all Muslims in the United States observant and essentially submitted to the standards and guidelines of shariah law. And once they do that, that’s a base and from there, they go out and do promotion of Islam

It’s the same in Europe, by the way.

When 9/11 happened, Haney already understood much about Islam. When DHS was established in May 2003, Haney was a Customs and Border Protection officer but was promoted thanks to his intelligence briefings and analyses:

And I was eventually authorised to get pulled completely out of the agricultural arena and I got put into a unit called the Advanced Targeting Unit. Where we look at incoming passengers for possible links to terrorism. And they told me specifically, we want you to keep doing what you have already been doing, which is develop intelligence and help us connect the dots. Well, that’s exactly what I did. And by 2006, I had produced a report on the Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States. And basically outlined all of the major organisations and all of the leaders of these organisations and put them into our database so that my colleagues in other parts of the country would be able to have access to the same information. We’re all on the same page, and we’re all looking at the same individuals and organisations. And initially, I was considered an asset and we had great success. We had a lot of what we called law enforcement actions based on those reports that I put into the system.

Things changed in 2006, when he wrote an article for FrontPage Magazine called ‘Green Tide Rising: Hamas Ascends’ which now appears as ‘The Ascension of Hamas (What Was)’:

Well, that article I shared with some of my CIA colleagues at a training course that I took. And I say CIA openly, because they said so openly. I thought that they would be interested in an article on Hamas, which, after all, was a globally designated terrorist organisation already. But I was wrong. Instead of reading the article and having a discussion about it, they turned me into headquarters and said that I had accessed classified information to write the article. And they charged me with unethical use of classified information and plus the fact that I posted it on an open source website. And they investigated me for it. The entire investigation took eleven months and ultimately I was exonerated.

Then it got worse with the Obama administration, as mentioned above. But there was more:

I was investigated a total of nine times. Before it was all over, the last nine months of my career, they took my gun, they suspended – revoked my secret clearance. They cut off all access to all systems and sequestered me in a little cubicle while I sat there, day by day, waiting to see what the outcome of these three, last of nine, simultaneous investigations – what would happen. The Department of Justice investigated me for – they said that I had misused a government computer and they convened a grand jury. They were going to charge me on criminal charges. In the end, I retired honourable. July 31st, 2015. They dropped the charges on the DOJ case. And nothing else came of the other administrative investigations. I was exonerated.

One possible adverse consequence of the database scrubbing was the San Bernardino attack late in 2015:

The mosque that Syed Farook attended was part of that Tablighi Jamaat network. The administration deleted sixty-seven records out of the system that I had worked on as a component of the Tablighi case. So the question remains, if those records had not been deleted, it’s very plausible that Syed Farook would have never been able to travel to Saudi Arabia and it’s also just as plausible that his pending fiancée would have never been given a visa. And then we would have stopped the attack.

One useful way to think of Islamic groups and movements, Haney says, is to liken them to the NFL. There are different teams, all competing to ultimately win the Superbowl, however, they are all in the same league and abide by the same playbook:

Well, the thing with the Islamic movement is they have a playbook. It’s called shariah law. They are bound by the constraints of shariah law to behave in a very predictable manner. As I mentioned earlier about behaviour, which is why I brought it up. If you put all these allegories together, we can actually expect what they’re going to do. Because they have to live within the boundaries, the communication system as described by shariah law.

This brings me to an article about President Trump’s new head of DHS, James Kelly. On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 the Washington Examiner reported:

“We have to be convinced that people who come here, there is a reasonable expectation that we know who they are, and what they’re coming here for, and what their backgrounds are,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told reporters Tuesday.

Kelly reiterated that Trump’s order — which suspended most travel from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen — is “not a ban on Muslims,” contrary to Democratic characterizations of the order. “Religious liberty is one of our most fundamental and treasured values,” he said.

Instead, he argued that the 90-day travel suspension is aimed at countries that don’t have the public institutions required to conduct customary background checks. “There are many countries, seven that we’re dealing with right now, that in our view, in my view, don’t have the kind of law enforcement records-keeping, that kind of thing, that can convince us that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says they are and what their background might be,” said Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who led the U.S. military in South America.

Which brings me to Philip Haney’s database. Now that the Obama administration — with its many ties to the Middle East and Islam — is out of the way, someone somewhere must have a copy of the original. As Lame Cherry wrote on February 1, 2017:

the NAMES OF EVERY MUSLIM TERRORIST WHO HAS SLAUGHTERED AMERICANS DURING THE OBAMA YEARS was on that file and who their contacts were, and the Obama regime ordered this entire protocol to be deleted.

Phillip Haney, has reported to Sean Hannity, that before deleting, he forwarded this system to members of Congress, so it apparently still exists, and Mr. Haney noted that Senator Ted Cruz hinted at the existence of this file network in his public statements.

The reality of this is simple in the Trump Administration must recover this database for National Security, as Phillip Haney literally developed a complete dossier on the Muslim Mafia which has infiltrated the United States from government to press, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions must convene a Grand Jury to indict all those involved in this crime of aiding terrorists, and that starts with image Obama, Valerie Jarrett, CIA Director Clapper and Homeland Security heads, Napolitano and Johnson.

Mr. Haney reported that when queried about this file an his name, Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson who was involved in hacking Georgia State voting operations, termed it a political matter and claimed to have never heard of Phillip Haney.

N.B.: Jeff Sessions is not yet Attorney General.

In closing, one cannot help but wonder if — and hope that — there is a role for Philip Haney in the Trump administration. Personally, I would have downloaded a copy of the database to a memory stick and kept it securely at home. Perhaps he did.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the March for Life in Washington, DC on Friday, January 27, 2017. This year’s theme was ‘The Power of One’.

Local Marches for Life took place around the nation, and a Marche pour la Vie in France attracted tens of thousands of people.

The exact number of participants in Washington is not yet known. However, that is unimportant.

For the first time, a vice president addressed the pro-life crowd. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W Bush telephoned in to the march during their tenure but never appeared in person.

Mike Pence said, in part:

I’m deeply humbled to stand before you today. I’m deeply humbled to be the first vice president of the United States to ever have the privilege to attend this historic event.

More than 240 years ago, our founders wrote words that have echoed through the ages.

They declared these truths to be self-evident that we are, all of us, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

44 years ago, our Supreme Court turned away from the first of these timeless ideals.

But today, three generations hence, because of all of you, and the many thousands that stand with us in marches like this all across the nation, life is winning again in America.

That is evident in the election of pro-life majorities and the Congress of the United States of America. But it is no more evident, in any way, than in the historic election of a president who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America, and a president who, I proudly say, stands for the right to life – President Donald Trump.

President Trump actually asked me to be here with you today. He asked me to thank you for your support, for your stand for life, and for your compassion for the women and children of America.

President Donald Trump could not attend. He held a meeting and press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May. However, he sent this message:

Another speaker at the event, Christian talk-show host Eric Metaxas, explained Trump’s position to The Atlantic:

He’s been shockingly, and perhaps even ironically, the most pro-life president in the history of the republic. He is widely perceived as being anything but a social conservative. Somebody who has had three wives and who has been pro-choice most of his life … is not the kind of person you would expect to advocate for the unborn. But he’s 70 years old. I think he has a sense of the weight of his new position.

The Atlantic article also stated:

In just his first week, Trump has signaled that he will be loyal to the pro-life movement, whose members arguably helped him carry the White House. The March for Life showed that he’s not just amenable to pro-life policies—he’s aligning his White House with the culture of the pro-life movement, as well.

Trump’s senior counsellor Kellyanne Conway — the first woman to ever manage a winning presidential campaign in the United States — also spoke. Conway turned 50 on Inauguration Day. She is a married mother of four. Despite her hectic work schedule and responsibilities, she loves when her children call her ‘mommy’. None dare call this fearless woman — who gives interviews that male Trump advisers won’t — a feminist!

She told the crowd:

I am a wife, a mother, a Catholic, Counselor to the president of the United States of America and, yes, I am pro-life.

It is such an honor to stand with the vice president of the United States. And with so many leaders, families and students from places near and far, to defend the unborn. Your courage, your conviction, your resolve and your faith are impressive and consequential. This is a new day, a new dawn for life …

It is no coincidence that the first right cited in the Declaration of Independence is the right to life. It is a right. It is not a privilege. It is not a choice. It is God-given. It is unique and it is beautiful. This dismissive notion of out of sight, out of mind is over.

Science and medicine have joined religion and morality in causing many Americans to rethink just how fragile and how triumphant human life truly is.

Other speakers included Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rep. Mia Love (R-UT), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Benjamin Watson, Tight End for the Baltimore Ravens, Abby Johnson, Former Planned Parenthood Director and founder of “And Then There Were None”, Karyme Lozano, Mexican telenovela star, and Bishop Vincent Mathews Jr., President at Church of God In Christ World Missions.

Look — no Democrats.

Mia Love said:

Every time we kill a child, all of us suffer. We lose a little of ourselves and a whole lot of our future. We strip a child from their God-given potential when we, as a society, accept abortion as health care. My fellow Americans, we cannot accept what might have been. We won’t know what might have been if we allow an organization to convince our pregnant women that they have no choice but to abort the life and the potential within them.

The night before, Pence met with pro-life leaders:

Earlier on Thursday, LifeNews.com reported that Trump bashed the media, predicting little to no coverage of the march:

Trump first slammed the media in an interview with ABC News. Then today during his address to the Republican Leadership Retreat, Trump said that the March for Life will have hundreds of thousands of people but the mainstream media will barely cover it if it all.

“You know, the press never gives them the credit that they deserve. They’ll have three hundred, four hundred, five hundred, six hundred thousand people, you won’t even read about it,” he said …

“When other people show up, you read big-time about it, right?” Trump asked the crowd, referring to the pro-abortion Women’s March …

Trump also defended his decision to sign the Mexico City Policy, defunding International Planned Parenthood.

March for Life president Jeanne Mancini dismissed queries about crowd size. LifeNews.com reported (emphases mine below):

Mancini immediately dismissed any comparison to last week’s Women’s March on Washington, saying that the organizers were not concerned with crowd size or likes on social networks. Instead, Mancini said that the only number that she was concerned about was abortion’s death toll over the 44 years since the Roe vs. Wade decision.

“The only number I care about, and the only number that we all care about is – 58 million. Since 1973, 58 million Americans have died as a result of abortion. We stand here today for them – for the little innocent children who have lost their lives to abortion. We also stand here for the mothers who regret their abortion decision.”

I remember back in 1973 when women who supported Roe v Wade told me that very few women would seek abortions. I wonder what they think now that the number of aborted American babies is the size of a nation.

(We also have a figure in the tens of millions here in the UK.)

Now times are changing.

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue wrote ‘March for Life Scares Death Industry’, which is an excellent article. Donohue says that Trump is sure to appoint a Supreme Court Justice who is pro-life. Last week:

the House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Chris Smith ensuring that the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal abortion funding, will be made permanent, thus vitiating the need for annual reapproval; the bill now goes to the Senate for a vote. On January 12, Rep. Steve King introduced a House bill that would ban an abortion after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.

He says that some states are also rethinking abortion:

Last year, Louisiana passed seven new laws restricting abortion. Texas introduced 17 new civil rights laws protecting children in the womb, and 2017 will see at least some of them enacted.

Kentucky just passed two pro-life laws, one of which bans abortions after 20 weeks. Just this month, lawmakers in Florida, New Mexico and Tennessee introduced bills that would also ban abortions after 20 weeks; New Jersey filed a similar bill last month. Moreover, Missouri legislators refiled 14 pro-life bills this month. And Iowa is considering a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

Another worthwhile article is at American Thinker. ‘Obama and the Marxist/Communist View of Marriage and Abortion’, which appeared in 2012, is less about him than it is left-wing history from the 19th and 20th centuries, from Marx through to American communists in the 1950s. An excerpt follows:

The Bolsheviks advocated abortion.  It was one of the first things they legalized.  By the early 1920s, Bolshevik Russia had the most liberal abortion policies in the world.  And what happened?  Just like divorce, abortion exploded.  In fact, the proliferation in abortions was so bad that it shocked even Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger during a trip to Russia in 1934.  By the 1970s, when America was just getting around to legalizing abortion, the Soviet Union was averaging over 7 million abortions per year — dwarfing the very worst rates in America post-Roe v. WadeThe direct effect of this on the Russian population has been staggering.

For the record, Russia’s horrific abortion rates are common in communist countries, which to this day lead the world in abortions.

Marx, to my knowledge, did not deal with abortion — to think he would in the mid-19th century is unrealistic.  However, his disciples in the international communist movement a century later certainly did — including here in America.  To cite just one example, Whittaker Chambers noted how abortion “was a commonplace of Party life.”  He honestly and painfully wrote about his wife’s first pregnancy, when she had to plead for the life of their unborn child.  The blessed birth of that child changed Chambers completely, particularly regarding his views on God.  Interestingly, the termination of an unborn life was no mystery to Chambers’ nemesis, Alger Hiss.  Hiss’s wife, Priscilla, who aided him in his treason, had an abortion before she met him (for the record, it devastated her).

A final article worth reading on the subject is ‘Marxism and Abortion’, which recaps a 1988 article by an Australian Communist, Rebecca Albury, for The Tribune, the official newspaper for the Communist Party of Australia. It explains much of why Communists see no value in family. Excerpts follow, so please be sure to read all of it:

A Marxist believes that personality and human value are imparted by the external and economic environment, not by any inherent spiritual value, or even by biological processes.

The humanity of the fetus depends upon how the mother perceives the “social relationship” that exists between them. If the mother desires to keep the baby, then she “fantasizes” it into becoming a human being. But, if she does not want the pregnancy, “it is something else entirely.” Her opinion of the fetus thereby denies it of personhood.

According to Albury, “Material conditions of life change, and so do moral values.” This means that, to a Marxist, the unborn baby may be a human being for a time, but may then become depersonified and rendered ‘pre-human,’ all because his or her mother began to think differently about him or her.

That’s incredible. I now better understand how Communist regimes can go on killing sprees. They do not look at fellow human beings but rather at what they perceive as depersonalised objects.

This particularly struck me, because we Westerners have been pounded with this egregious message since the 1960s:

Material conditions of life change, and so do moral values.

Parents and church leaders would do well to make sure that youngsters in their care or congregations understand the background to modern immorality, abortion and the people who have supported both throughout modern history.

Sean Hannity is well known to Americans, even those who do not watch Fox News.

On Thursday, January 26, 2017, President Donald Trump granted him an interview which is well worth watching, especially for people overseas who are fearful of him.

Trump talks about the dishonest media (starting at 11:00), including the fake news about the inauguration crowds, his address to the CIA and the Martin Luther King Jr bust controversy.

He talks about terrorists (around 23:00) and says that opponents to his policies do not understand how violent and hateful radical Islamists are.

On the walk to the Oval Office (starting at 30:00), Trump tells Hannity that Inauguration Day was a ‘surreal’ experience. Unfortunately, he has not had time to take it all in. He has been too busy working. However, he enjoys working. Holidays bore him. He also said that Barron, his ten-year-old son, is finding it challenging adjusting to the glare of publicity. However, given time, he is confident that the boy will learn to take it in his stride. Trump strongly condemned Saturday Night Live‘s potshot at the first son on the January 21 show. Barron is aware of the egregious comedy they made at his expense. Here is another SNL comment, one which even Bernie fans and Green Party supporters found abhorrent. These are hurtful, especially to a child.

Once in the Oval Office, the discussion revolved around some of the furnishings which Trump has changed. The paintings are all of past presidents from the first century of the United States. Andrew Jackson has just been added. I’ll go into his story soon, as I see several similarities between Trump and Old Hickory. We also saw the bust of Martin Luther King Jr, which is unmoved and still on a table near the fireplace.

This is a thoughtful interview, more of a conversation between two men who know each other well. I highly recommend it.

The Deep State is about to be dismantled.

Donald Trump and the good guys will begin taking it down piece by piece.

Few people question the non-stop anti-Trump media narrative that began running in the summer of 2015. In their ignorance — and nearly everyone I know fits into this category — they continue to work on the mistaken assumption that everything they hear and read from Big Media must be true!

Big Media are there to protect the Deep State. They are part of it.

Does anyone think Donald Trump could have become a billionaire if he were a racist? Could he have starred in 14 successful seasons of The Apprentice if he were a bigot or a sexual predator? As he said at the Al Smith (Catholic Charities) dinner in October 2016: all the guests there were his friends until he decided to run for president.

Why did they suddenly turn against him? Because he is the man who wants to take down the Deep State.

Thanks to The Conservative Treehouse, I read an absorbing essay by Mike Lofgren, a former congressional staffer who wrote a book about his experience, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, which appeared in paperback in 2013.

Lofgren’s latest book is The Deep State, which went on sale in September 2016. One of the Amazon reviewers who gave it five stars says that Lofgren worked for John Kasich, a congressman at the time, now Governor of Ohio and the last Republican presidential candidate to drop out. Incidentally, Kasich is a never-Trump man. Lofgren went on to work for other Republicans in Congress but became disillusioned during the Bush II years — I can’t blame him — and retired.

What follows are excerpts and a summary from his February 2014 essay, ‘Anatomy of the Deep State’, which I highly recommend. Emphases mine below.

What is the Deep State?

Lofgren’s first footnote states:

[1] The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as “… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.”  I use the term to mean a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.

John Le Carre’s website has a synopsis of A Delicate Truth.

Qualifications for writing about it

Lofgren tells us he worked for 28 years as a congressional staff member and was on the fringes of the Deep State. However:

like virtually every employed person, I became, to some extent, assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for, and only by slow degrees, starting before the invasion of Iraq, did I begin fundamentally to question the reasons of state that motivate the people who are, to quote George W. Bush, “the deciders.”

The reality of the Deep State

Lofgren gives this breakdown of how the Deep State works against the interests of the United States and the American people:

President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented — at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called “Insider Threat Program”). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement. Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatsoever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, such as arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory. Despite the habitual cant of congressional Republicans about executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from them about these actions — with the minor exception of comments from gadfly Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save a few mavericks such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, eithereven to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony under oath by executive branch officials on the subject of illegal surveillance.

Shadow government

The Deep State is a shadow government. Using the word ‘establishment’ doesn’t begin to describe it:

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. [2]

Agencies and institutions involved

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.

Private enterprise is also part of the Deep State and increased its role after 9/11. This is, incidentally, why I do not like George W Bush. Not only did he say he wanted to be a dictator but he imposed the Patriot Act on the American people. The Act was never designed to protect them:

In a special series in The Washington Post called “Top Secret America,” Dana Priest and William K. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances — a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government. While they work throughout the country and the world, their heavy concentration in and around the Washington suburbs is unmistakable: Since 9/11, 33 facilities for top-secret intelligence have been built or are under construction. Combined, they occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons — about 17 million square feet. Seventy percent of the intelligence community’s budget goes to paying contracts. And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the government’s largest intelligence contractors. His predecessor as director, Admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company; Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings.

Lofgren adds that Wall Street is an indispensable link, providing cash and lawyers. Prosecution of big banks is risky, he says, not only because they are powerful but also because the American or the world economy can be adversely affected. Furthermore:

It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice — certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. [3]

The Deep State also has an outpost on the West Coast, Silicon Valley:

While the government could simply dragoon the high technology companies to do the NSA’s bidding, it would prefer cooperation with so important an engine of the nation’s economy, perhaps with an implied quid pro quo. Perhaps this explains the extraordinary indulgence the government shows the Valley in intellectual property matters.

Cross-party involvement

Those involved in the Deep State, as we have seen over the past year in the presidential campaign, are from both political parties:

They are deeply dyed in the hue of the official ideology of the governing class, an ideology that is neither specifically Democrat nor Republican. Domestically, whatever they might privately believe about essentially diversionary social issues such as abortion or gay marriage, they almost invariably believe in the “Washington Consensus”: financialization, outsourcing, privatization, deregulation and the commodifying of labor.

Why few people speak up

As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one

No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one’s surroundings is easy. To paraphrase the inimitable Donald Rumsfeld, I didn’t know all that I knew, at least until I had had a couple of years away from the government to reflect upon it.

Why this matters

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction …

We are faced with two disagreeable implications. First, that the Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change. Second, that just as in so many previous empires, the Deep State is populated with those whose instinctive reaction to the failure of their policies is to double down on those very policies in the future

If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past.

The past is now drawing to a close.

Where I disagree

At the beginning of his essay, Lofgren states:

As I wrote in The Party is Over, the present objective of congressional Republicans is to render the executive branch powerless, at least until a Republican president is elected (a goal that voter suppression laws in GOP-controlled states are clearly intended to accomplish).

He did not bargain on Donald Trump entering the race the following year. The GOPe have opposed him from the start and continue to do so. The latest is House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who says that he won’t be investigating voter fraud because it is non-existent. How can he say this after all the news stories past and present?! Chaffetz is protecting the Deep State. Trump will be investigating voter fraud through his own team.

Another part of the Deep State is the media, but, for whatever reason, Lofgren did not mention those institutions.

Ask yourself why they run such negative news on Donald Trump. They find him a threat. Stop believing what Big Media tell you.

Conclusion

Lofgren concludes:

What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed.

Thank goodness for Donald Trump, the only American who can ‘drain the swamp’ and restore power to the American people.

This is going to be dangerous work. No one involved in the Deep State is going to go quietly. There are also nefarious activities going on within it that Trump and his team intend to uncover. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, please keep Donald Trump, his family as well as those working for him and the United States in your prayers.

Church and state averypoliticalwomancomIn response to ‘Christian objections to President Trump’, the author of Pacific Paratrooper wrote in to ask:

Isn’t there a division of church and state?

The short answer is that the First Amendment protects religious freedom and prohibits the establishment of a national church and state churches. It was Thomas Jefferson who wrote of the ‘separation between church and State’ in 1802 in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. They were concerned about their tax money supporting the Congregational Church, the state church of Connecticut at that time.

There is more to the story, detailed below.

However, Conservapedia tells us that there was a constitution that had a division of church and state (emphases mine below):

A phrase close to “separation of church and state”, but used for malevolent purposes and expanded to name education, does appear in Article 52 of the constitution of the Soviet Union (1977): “In the USSR, the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church.”[6]

The First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Conservapedia makes the argument that the First Amendment has its origins in the Bible:

The protection for free speech was largely motivated to safeguard the preaching of the Bible. Several passages in the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, support a right of free speech, including Numbers 11:26-30 (Moses allowed free speech by declaring, “If only all the people of the LORD were prophets!”);[1] Mark 9:38-41 (admonition by Jesus not to stop strangers who cast out evil in his name).

George Washington’s farewell address

In his farewell address of September 19, 1796, George Washington said:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men & citizens. The mere Politican, equally with the pious man ought to respect & to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private & public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the Oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure–reason & experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Ronald Reagan’s address to the Alabama State Legislature

Nearly 200 years later, on March 15, 1982, Ronald Reagan addressed the Alabama State Legislature:

And I know here that you will agree with me that standing up for America also means standing up for the God, who has so blessed our land. I believe this country hungers for a spiritual revival. I believe it longs to see traditional values reflected in public policy again. To those who cite the first amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions and everyday life, may I just say: The first amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.

What Jefferson said

In 1801, a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut wrote Thomas Jefferson to ask about about their tax money supporting the Congregational Church, the state church of Connecticut at that time.

On New Year’s Day 1802, Jefferson replied, in part:

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

Connecticut did not change this mandate until 1818. That year, their constitution finally stated:

Article VII. Section 1. It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and their right to render that worship in the mode most consistent with the dictates or their consciences, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, nor be classed with, or associated to, any congregation, church, or religious association; but every person now belonging to such congregation, church, or religious association, shall remain a member thereof until he shall have separated himself therefrom, in the manner hereinafter provided. And each and every society or denomination of Christians in this State shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights, and privileges; and shall have power and authority support and maintain the ministers or teachers of their respective denominations, and to build and repair houses for public worship by a tax on the members of any such society only, to be laid by a major vote of the legal voters assembled at any society meeting, warned and held according to law, or in any other manner.”

Jefferson worshipped in Capitol building

Atheists are fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson and have adopted him as their secular hero. However, three days after Jefferson wrote his ‘separation between church and state’ letter to the Danbury Baptists (italicised emphasis in the original here, purple emphases mine):

he attended church in the largest congregation in North America at the time. This church held its weekly worship services on government property, in the House Chambers of the U.S. Capitol Building. The wall of separation applies everywhere in the country even on government property , without government interference. This is how it is written in the Constitution, this is how Thomas Jefferson understood it from his letter and actions, and this is how the men who wrote the Constitution practiced it.

Worship in the Capitol ended only after the Civil War. Therefore, it lasted for five decades.

Conservapedia provides more examples of Jefferson’s support of Christianity in government:

David Barton, Founder and President of WallBuilders, states that Jefferson voted that the Capitol building would also serve as a church building, praised the use of a local courthouse as a meeting place for Christian services, urged local governments to make land available specifically for Christian purposes, set aside government lands for the sole use of religious groups, assured a Christian religious school that it would receive “the patronage of the government”, proposed that the Great Seal of the United States depict a story from the Bible and include the word “God” in its motto, and agreed to provide money for a church building and support of clergy. And that like support of religion by the federal government militates against the extreme separatist position.[26]

The Bible and American government

Conservapedia tells us that God is mentioned in all 50 state constitutions.

Until the 1960s, the Bible had a pre-eminent place:

in government, jurisprudence [11] and in over 300 years of American education[12][13].

Every new president has made a religious reference in his inaugural address. Dwight D Eisenhower wrote his own prayer. Dr Jerry Newcombe compiled a list of all of these references for the Christian Post just before Donald Trump’s inauguration. (He, too, mentioned God — more than once.) Here are a few:

1. George Washington said, “It would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe….”

3. Thomas Jefferson prayed to “that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe.”

6. John Quincy Adams quoted Scripture: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in Vain.”

7. Andrew Jackson referred to “the goodness of that Power whose providence mercifully protected our national infancy.”

16. Abraham Lincoln stated, “Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.”

24. William McKinley declared, ” Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers.”

25. Theodore Roosevelt thanked “the Giver of Good who has blessed us.”

32. Harry S. Truman referenced “that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God.”

Dr Newcombe rightly concludes:

The atheists are the Johnny-come-latelies. Demands to ban God and the Bible from the Inauguration should be denied.

Interpretation

It is not surprising that many Americans and other people around the world now think that Christians in the United States are being unreasonable when they lament that the Ten Commandments have been removed from county courthouses along with Christmas crèches on government property.

I grew up with these displays. No one ever had a problem with them, other than the occasional crank.

However, all that changed in the 1960s. In addition to Madalyn Murray O’Hair‘s successful case against school prayer which effectively banned it — along with Bible readings — in state schools, the Supreme Court under Earl Warren dramatically changed the way all of us view the First Amendment (emphases in the original here):

Jefferson simply quotes the First Amendment then uses a metaphor, the “wall”, to separate the government from interfering with religious practice. Notice that the First Amendment puts Restrictions only on the Government, not the People! The Warren Court re-interpreted the First Amendment thus putting the restrictions on the People! Today the government can stop you from Praying in school, reading the Bible in school, showing the Ten Commandments in school, or have religious displays at Christmas. This is quite different from the wall Jefferson envisioned, protecting the people from government interference with Religious practice.

Therefore, one could make the case that over the past 50 years, America has been drifting in practice towards a Soviet-style restriction on Christian displays, the Bible and prayer outside the home on government property.

If you think I am exaggerating, stories have been appearing in local newspapers and conservative websites over the past 12 years about teachers who have taken Bibles away from children silently reading them during lunch hour. There was an instance in Texas in 2003 I remember where the teacher took a child’s New Testament away at lunch hour and threw it in the wastebasket. He was not allowed to retrieve it.

In June 2016, WND published an article about a school in Palmdale, California, where a seven-year-old got his classmates interested in the Bible verses and stories his mother gave him every morning. The mother intended for her son to have religious encouragement during the day. She was not attempting to proselytise. However, the child was so thrilled by these verses that he couldn’t help but share them with others at lunchtime. It wasn’t long before his friends asked him for copies of the verses and stories. One girl who received a story showed it to the teacher, commenting on its beauty:

Then, however, C [the boy] was reprimanded by his teacher in front of the whole class, twice, and told to stop talking about religion or sharing his mother’s notes, and he went home in tears, Liberty Counsel said.

Even as the crowd of students asking for the after-school Bible notes grew, on May 9, Principal Melanie Pagliaro approached Zavala [the mother] and demanded that the notes only be handed out somewhere beyond school property.

With the school not satisfied with only the banishment, Liberty Counsel said, “a Los Angeles deputy sheriff knocked at the door of C’s home, demanding that C’s note-sharing cease altogether because ‘someone might be offended.’” …

The letter to the district said Liberty Counsel, “having reviewed the above facts, district policies, and applicable law, it is clear that the actions of the district staff in this instance, in prohibiting voluntary student religious expression during non-instructional time; then completely banning such student expression from school property entirely, and finally calling the police to report the same are simply unconstitutional.”

“These actions must be disavowed and reversed, to avoid liability for civil rights violations,” the letter said.

It gave the district a deadline for responding of June 1, which was ignored.

I think this will change — somewhat — over the next four years. While the Ten Commandments might not make a comeback in courthouses, Christmas crèches are likely to reappear. And teachers might start to lay off students sharing the Bible at lunchtime.

Tomorrow: Religious persecution and state churches in American colonies

Friday, January 20, marked the beginning of the Don of a new era for the United States.

As many have said, it is always darkest before the Don.

What follows are highlights of not only Inauguration Day but the whole weekend.

Far from being austere, as many of us expected, it was wall-to-wall activity from dawn to dusk!

Before the post unfolds, let’s remember that:

It is possible because Big Media are — and have been — plain contrary. That’s an archaic use of contrary, but, in that sense, it means stubborn and resistant to reason.

All credit to Bill Mitchell, he boarded the Trump Train just before or after the Republican National Convention. Even though he objected to Pepe the Frog, the unofficial Trump mascot, he duly apologised on Twitter. Pepe gained traction with Hillary Clinton, who even lambasted the cartoon frog in a campaign speech.

Bill Mitchell hosts and presents YourVoice™ Radio, likely to become more popular over the next four years.

Even more interesting is this quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress, a big Trump supporter:

Thursday, January 19

January 19 was a busy day for the Trump family.

Flight from La Guardia to Joint Base Andrews

Donald Trump’s flight with his family, including his two sisters and brother, would be the last one he would take before becoming president.

Fox 10 Phoenix has a great video of the plane landing at Andrews. The interesting bit starts at 10:55 when someone on board tells ten-year-old Barron to leave the plane first. Not surprisingly, Barron, unusually wearing his hair over his forehead, is reluctant. The future first couple disembark at the 13:00 point. The extensive motorcade departs at 17:07, complete with a first-responder truck and an ambulance. The black Chevy Suburban vans are reinforced just like armoured cars:

Inauguration Luncheon

Once in DC, the Trumps went to the Trump International Hotel (The Old Post Office), where the incoming president held an Inauguration Luncheon to honour Republican Party leaders:

Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial

That afternoon, the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration took place in front of the massive — and grand — Lincoln Memorial, which is considerably larger than one imagines. Seeing it in person is awe-inspiring.

A variety of musical acts, including splendid military bands, performed. Trump gave a speech before a display from Grucci Fireworks ended the event in the early evening. Unfortunately, the last two displays let the whole thing down. ‘USA’ appeared as ‘USR’ and the American flag was, sadly, a blur. It is a pity, because their fireworks show before that was excellent.

This short video from Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media, gives a great summary of the event, including the fireworks. From left to right are Tiffany Trump (mother is Marla Maples Trump), Ivanka (Ivana Trump), the first couple, granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter), Donald Jr (Ivana) with his wife Vanessa and son, then to the far right, Eric (Ivana) and his wife:

The first couple contemplated the larger than life statue of Abraham Lincoln:

The event ended with the new first couple thanking their supporters. Never mind the sentiment from a Twitter user. I wanted to show you just how ‘yuuge’ Lincoln’s statue is:

The Daily Mail has a comprehensive article, complete with photos and a video, about the concert and Trump’s address at the end, just before the fireworks.

Interestingly, Trump had a special meeting afterwards with a 23-year-old single father, Shane Bouvet, from Illinois who had given an interview to the Washington Post just days before. Trump saw the article and made sure he could meet the man, who is struggling to make ends meet. The billionaire had a private conversation with Bouvet and gave him a cheque for $10,000.

Campaign donors dinner

However, the evening had only just begun. A dinner to thank campaign donors took place afterwards at DC’s majestic Union Station. Both the Trumps and the Pences attended and addressed their guests.

Mike Pence opened his remarks by saying the administration would repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump (2:59) said that choosing Mike Pence was one of the best decisions he’s ever made. He then went on to talk about the amazing election results where Republicans won in states they had lost forever. He mentioned Iowa. They had not won there since 1952. He then spoke about his cabinet nominees. The high point, however, was when he thanked Kellyanne Conway (18:28), the first successful female presidential campaign manager in American history. (I don’t understand what these feminists were protesting at the weekend in DC. Surely, Kellyanne’s success and the many women employees at the Trump Organization prove them wrong.)

Then it was time to turn in for some rest. The Pences returned to their house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which they rented and moved to soon after the election.

The first couple and family members spent the night at Blair House, a complex of four buildings for guests of the president.

The photo below shows Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner at Blair House. Kushner will play a principal role as a presidential adviser. Both are practising Jews. Ivanka converted before her wedding. Kushner recently gave up holdings in his family real estate firm to be able to take on his new role:

Inauguration Day

Early in the morning, preparations for the inauguration ceremony began.

Meanwhile, Bikers For Trump were arriving in Washington, DC to form ‘a wall of meat’ in case the new president needed protection. Days earlier, Clinton family friend Dominic Puopolo, 51, was arrested by Miami Beach police for saying that he would be at the inauguration to ‘kill President Trump’.

This photo shows Donald Trump ready to leave Blair House in Washington, DC early in the morning of January 20. Trump’s granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican Party, are to the right of Trump:

Church service

From there, it was on to a morning service on Friday at St John’s Church (Episcopal) — known as the Church of the Presidents — in Lafayette Square, near the White House. The rector, the Reverend Dr. Luis León, greeted the first couple in front of the church.

They were joined by family and prominent well wishers. The first couple are on the far left centre of the photo. The Pences are in the lower left-hand corner:

The aforementioned Pastor Jeffress delivered the sermon:

Meeting at the White House

The first couple left St John’s for the White House, where they had coffee with the Obamas:

Melania Trump gave a large gift from Tiffany & Co to Michelle Obama. Presenting a gift is a tradition from an incoming first lady to a departing one.

Afterwards, it was on to the Capitol building for the swearing-in ceremony:

Inauguration ceremony

Trump quipped at the donor’s dinner the night before that he didn’t care if it rained on Inauguration Day, because at least people would see that his hair was real!

The incoming president awaited his cue inside the Capitol building:

All living former presidents are invited to attend the inauguration and are seated near the front. Former presidents Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalyn, William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary and George W Bush (Bush II) and Laura were in attendance.

George H W Bush (Bush I) and Barbara sent in their acceptance but were hospitalised days earlier. On Tuesday, January 10, he sent Trump a cordial, witty letter of regret.

Although Bush II tweeted the following earlier, at the swearing-in ceremony, he joked ad nauseam with the Clintons, seated next to him and Laura, signifying to the television viewer that he was closer to them than to Trump, his fellow Republican. But we all knew that the Bushes were NeverTrumpers because they said so.

Despite Trump’s sincerity, here’s the hypocrisy of it all. Dan Scavino Jr, rightly, took it sincerely. Then, the live coverage rolled and something else entirely was on display. Trump, no doubt, expected something different based on this (Bush I was the 41st president, by the way):

These were the prayers offered before the inauguration by clergy who were principal Trump supporters:

The Revd Franklin Graham did not hesitate to say there is only one God:

Please note:

Here is the swearing-in by Chief Justice John Roberts. The first couple’s son, Barron, 10, is to the right of the first lady. She held two closed Bibles, the Lincoln Bible (bottom) and Trump’s own, a gift from his mother (top):

Entertainment Weekly reports that Trump’s inauguration received the second highest television ratings for that event. Top-rated was Obama’s first swearing-in, which 37.8m Americans watched in 2009. Trump’s audience was 30.6m. However, Heavy points out that, in 1981, 41.8m people watched Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration. That places Obama in second place and Trump in third. Definitive online viewing figures are unavailable at this time.

Important lines from the inaugural speech included the following. First, on the elites, several of whom were present. Politico reported:

“Their victories have not been your victories,” he said. “Their triumphs have not been your triumphs and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.” He also made a promise: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

Also these (see here, here and here):

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

The closing lines were the following:

To Americans: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. Your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again – and yes, together, WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

However, most important were Trump’s mentions of God, including:

We will be protected by God.

You can view the full speech here or here. You can find the transcript here and here.

WND‘s Garth Kant wrote of the contrast between Trump and his predecessor with regard to the inauguration speech:

Trump mentioned himself just three times in the 1,400 words he delivered in his speech lasting 16 minutes and 20 seconds. He referred to the American people 45 times.

By comparison, Obama, as is his wont, mentioned himself 207 times in 84 minutes while campaigning for Hillary during a November speech ostensibly about her.

And, to make sure it was crystal clear that there has been a sea change not just in style but also in substance, Trump emphatically uttered the Obama administration’s three forbidden words: “radical Islamic terrorism,” which, he promised, “we will eliminate from the face of the earth.”

Kant channelled JFK’s Camelot:

However, the speech wasn’t just about ending American erosion. It was about a bright new beginning. Just as did Kennedy, Trump envisioned a promising future. One in which:

“We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

“We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

“We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”

One could arguably call it Kenndyesque.

Kant was most complimentary of the first daughter but couldn’t say enough about the new first lady:

This was grace personified.

A stately, poised, and stunning elegance were certainly part of it. But there was more. It wasn’t just what she was wearing. It was her bearing. Her perfectly poised demeanor.

And the crowd could clearly sense it, even if they could no more articulate it than to say “wow” over and over, which was what so many were doing.

She was a regal presence.

There was nobility.

Not because of her new station in life, but because of her carriage. The way she carried herself. Full of poise and grace.

Congressional Lunch

Before lunch, President Trump had work to attend to at the Capitol, signing his cabinet nominations into law. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R, WI) is standing next to Barron. At the front are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) and, on the right, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA):

Trump spoke at the lunch and was gracious enough to publicly acknowledge his opponent Hillary Clinton, present with Bill. Trump’s daughter Tiffany sat at their table. You can see all the speeches here.

The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) once again lent their Eagle Lectern for use at the luncheon.

Inaugural parade

The Trumps walked for two minutes in the inaugural parade:

After the walk along Pennsylvania Avenue, the motorcade drove up to the White House, where the Trumps, Pences and family members disembarked and walked to the reviewing stand.

Barron probably found the two-hour event overwhelming at times (I would have), but he enjoyed himself:

The military bands played and marched past, as did a myriad of high school and university bands and special groups representing American history and service.

One of the those groups was the Navajo Code Talkers. Only two were able to make it to the parade. One of my readers, the author of the Pacific Paratrooper blog, wrote about their invaluable role in the Pacific during the Second World War. Well worth a read.

The Talledega College Marching Tornado Band from Alabama participated for the first time. Talledega is an all black college founded by two former slaves after the Civil War. Their band director received threats when he said the college wanted to perform in the parade. Since then, they have received more than $1m in donations which will be dedicated to the band’s needs. Talledega are a special band, because the college has no football team, so they rely on band contests and big parades such as this.

The full video of the parade is below. New York Military Academy, Trump’s alma mater, are at 2:03. Talledega are at 2:09. The Navajo Code Talkers are at 2:14. Virginia Military Institute closed the parade.

But, for Barron, the big highlight was the Rural Tractor Brigade (2:22:00), magnificently souped up. Look at his face (2:23:00). He beams and says, ‘Yesss!’ At 2:24:00, it looks as if Mike Pence sees the lad’s enthusiasm. He probably thought, ‘We’ve got to get him to Indiana for a tractor ride!’ (Separate tractor video here.)

After the parade

President Trump was eager to do some work before attending the evening’s events:

The Daily Mail has more.

Inaugural balls

The president and first lady — and the Pences — attended three inaugural balls.

Two took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The other was held at the National Building Museum.

Donald Trump Jr, his wife Vanessa and daughter Kai were ready to go:

This video shows President Trump and First Lady Melania at one of the balls dancing to My Way:

At the Armed Services Ball, the Trumps and Pences danced with military personnel (starts at 2:21):

There was also a magnificent cake for all to enjoy:

You can read press pool reports here and here.

First lady and first daughters attire

Melania Trump’s stunning inauguration outfit was a Ralph Lauren creation.

The first lady co-designed her striking silk crepe inaugural ballgown with Hervé Pierre, former creative director at Carolina Herrera. This stunning creation will help him launch his own couture house.

Pierre told Women’s Wear Daily:

“It was an amazing experience!” he continued, noting that Trump’s contributions were technical as well as aesthetic. “She knows what she likes. Our conversations were, and are, very easy. She knows about fashion, as a former model. She is aware about constructions, so we have already the same vocabulary when it comes to designing a dress.”

Ivanka Trump’s sparkling gown came from Carolina Herrera’s fashion house. Tiffany Trump purchased her gown from a Hollywood design house, Simin Couture. Ladies will enjoy full size photos and the article in the Daily Mail.

Saturday, January 21

Newspapers from around the world featured the inauguration on their front pages.

Saturday was a day of prayer and work for President Trump.

Prayer came first.

National Prayer Service

The National Prayer Service was held at the National Cathedral (Episcopal) in Washington, DC.

It featured 26 religious leaders. Most were Christian. Others came from world faiths such as Judaism and Islam as well as more diverse groups, such as the Navajo Nation.

The following are short videos and photos from the service:

This girl, Marlana Van Hoose, was born blind and given only a year to live. The video below is from the service. She received a standing ovation afterwardsled by the First Lady!

Marlana is a committed Christian, firm in her faith. God has blessed her with a beautiful voice. She praises Him in song splendidly. She is yet another argument against abortion. May God bless her parents for giving her life and good, loving care.

In the next photo we see the Trumps and the Pences in the front row. May God bless them and keep them safe in the years ahead.

Sunday, January 22

On a lighter note, one of Trump’s grandsons feels at home in the White House:

Later, there was serious work to attend to:

The Conservative Treehouse has an excellent post on this group of people, most of whom hold no political office (emphases in the original):

This afternoon President Trump and Vice-President Pence participated in swearing in the White House Senior Staff.  These are officials who represent the office of the President.  For the first time in modern political history, these are mostly ordinary citizen staff members from outside public office….

…A representative staff of outsiders, reflecting a

representative government for outsiders… Forgotten no more.

President Donald Trump has only selected a group of 30 people for commission to act as officers of the President and representatives of the White House.  Together with their families, the official ceremony to pledge an oath to their office took place this afternoon.

Then:

Like millions around the world, I am praying in thanksgiving for the new president’s safe inauguration. We were very worried something would prevent it from taking place.

Now we look ahead, remaining prayerful for success.

How blessed America is! How blessed the world is!

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.                      2 Chronicles 7:14

In His infinite mercy, God heard our prayers and acknowledged our repentance by giving us Donald Trump. Those were words I never thought I would write, yet, here we are.

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.

Weather

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.[6] This task force employed hundreds of dump trucks, front-end loaders, sanders, plows, rotaries, and flamethrowers to clear the route.[6] 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.[6]

Inauguration ceremony

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.

Kennedy’s was the first inauguration to be televised in colour. It was also the first to feature a poet.

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.

Parade

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.[43]

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:

Kennedy’s image

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’s image

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:

Inaugural balls

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.[3][4]

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.

Celebrities

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.

Eisenhower 1953

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.

Inauguration ceremony

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.

Eisenhower, who became a Presbyterian that year, was sworn in on two Bibles: the Washington Bible from 1789 and his own West Point Bible.

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.

According to Wikipedia, Eisenhower’s West Point Bible was opened to Psalm 33:12:

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

However, the Eisenhower archives indicate it was Psalm 127:1:

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.

The incoming president said:

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.

Congressional luncheon

Eisenhower established this tradition with this inauguration.

Parade

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.

Inaugural balls

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 Eisenhower’s gown was pink, which became her trademark colour as first lady. Time has a picture of it and says the style indicates a move away from postwar austerity to opulent gaiety:

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.

Eisenhower 1957

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.

Inauguration ceremony

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.

Parade

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:

Inaugural balls

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

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