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President Donald Trump held a rally on Saturday, February 18, 2017, early in the evening at the AeroMod hangar in Melbourne, Florida.
In a welcome move, First Lady Melania Trump introduced the rally with the Lord’s Prayer:
Big Media criticised the first lady for reading the prayer instead of reciting it from memory. What if she is accustomed to praying in Slovenian?
It must be difficult for her right now. She is holed up in Trump Tower most days and doesn’t even take ten-year-old Barron to school anymore because the Secret Service would have to lay on a big motorcade. It is easier on New Yorkers if the Secret Service do the school run every day. The first lady does not wish to be a burden on her fellow citizens.
It must also be heart-wrenching for her to watch or read Big Media every day. Nearly every news item is an attack on her husband. She is no doubt also worried about those in government in Washington DC. Who is supporting him? Who is betraying him?
Therefore, it seems a natural choice that she would begin with the Lord’s Prayer, one that every Christian knows and can be prayed together.
I like the Revd Franklin Graham’s take below (Image credit: The Conservative Treehouse):
After praying, the first lady gave a brief message about her role, which will involve supporting initiatives for women and children:
Those personal attacks come from the Left. Although she is a legal immigrant, they have no time for her.
Now for a few words about the rally. Those who do not understand Trump will wonder what the point is if he is already president. However, Trump enjoys being with the American people and always has done. Last July at the Republican National Convention, Franklin Graham described him as a ‘blue collar billionaire’. That describes him to a T!
Trump’s Deplorables also miss the rallies, so they welcome any occasion to see him speak to them in person.
The queue at the airport in Melbourne began forming early Saturday morning. The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) has a great report with pictures (emphasis in the original):
The crowd began as early as 5am this morning, and the line was building throughout the day. At approximately 1:00pm the massive line is well over 3 miles long and consists of thousands upon thousands of Trump Supporters. The event starts at 5:00pm
HOLY CATS !! The line of people is so long, it is now actually “lapping” around (meaning completely encircling ) the entire airport property boundary. It’s insane !
Another report from CTH has an RSBN video which features interviews with Trump supporters — and this comment:
There are massive crowds of people in attendance – not quite sure how the airport is going to fit them all in.
Here is a tweet of RSBN’s Margaret Howell (ex-Infowars) interviewing a Deplorable:
Approximately 9,000 people attended, according to Melbourne Police. Of course, this number did not go unnoticed by The Hill:
This rally was set up only a few days ago. Last September’s — before the election — was on Trump’s website for several days in advance. The Hill reports that 15,000 tried to get in to that one, but ‘some’ people were turned away (fire regulations). Remember that Hillary Clinton never attracted more than a few hundred people when she appeared. Her campaign sometimes had to bus people in to attend (e.g. Temple University).
Whatever the case with Trump’s numbers, it does not matter. Nine thousand people is huge. Matt Drudge hit the nail on the head:
The Trumps arrived on Air Force One:
The first lady looked resplendent in red:
CTH has close-up shots of the couple, particularly Melania.
Trump spoke about the media and their fake news. He said that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln also had problems with press coverage during their time in office. He said that he inherited a ‘real mess’ but that the White House is running ‘so smoothly’. He reassured the audience that a replacement for Obamacare was on its way. He explained how the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of his Executive Order seeking to stop immigration from seven countries for a 90-day preiod. He also warned about social breakdown that occurred with uncontrolled immigration in Europe. He spoke about his efforts in the past three weeks to create tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans.
The biggest point of the evening came when he introduced top Deplorable Gene Huber, first in line for the rally. He was interviewed by CNN and Fox News afterwards. More about him in another post, as I am waiting to see if Big Media treat him as badly as they did Joe the Plumber in 2008. May God bless Mr Huber and give him strength in the days ahead.
Maybe I can just squeak by with this, as a local eatery near us is advertising Valentine’s Day dinner specials through the weekend.
I saw Jamie Glazov’s Front Page article about Valentine’s Day on February 15: ‘Hating Valentine’s: Why Islamists and the Radical Left loathe the Day of Love’.
Glazov starts by giving a near-comprehensive review of penalties for and protests against celebrating Valentine’s Day in Muslim countries. I’ll let you read that in your own time.
The more puzzling aspect, which he explains nicely, is why the notionally tolerant Left don’t like February 14. Aren’t they the ones in favour of love?
Glazov tells us (emphases mine):
As an individual who spent more than a decade in academia, I was privileged to witness this war against Valentine’s Day up close and personal. Feminist icons like Jane Fonda, meanwhile, help lead the assault on Valentine’s Day in society at large. As David Horowitz has documented, Fonda has led the campaign to transform this special day into “V-Day” (“Violence against Women Day”) — which is, when it all comes down to it, a day of hate, featuring a mass indictment of men.
Why, oh why, oh why?
Islam and the radical Left both revile the notion of private love, a non-tangible and divine entity that draws individuals to each other and, therefore, distracts them from submitting themselves to a secular deity.
Valentine’s Day is a day of two people celebrating their love and devotion to each other — not to a collective or to a government regime. Therefore, opponents want it stopped.
Incidentally, I wrote about the St Valentines various and the traditions behind the day. The following post from 2015 discusses the different St Valentines, all of whom brought two people together in the name of love:
The next post, from 2016, describes ancient traditions surrounding Valentine’s Day and the meaning of ‘x’, symbolic of the cross of St Andrew:
From its post-Lupercalian origin, Valentine’s Day has been about two people and their fidelity to each other.
This brings us neatly back to the present day and the totalitarian resistance — whether religious or socio-political — to the Day of Love.
The highest objective of both Islam and the radical Left is clear: to shatter the sacred intimacy that a man and a woman can share with one another, for such a bond is inaccessible to the order. History, therefore, demonstrates how Islam, like Communism, wages a ferocious war on any kind of private and unregulated love. In the case of Islam, the reality is epitomized in its monstrous structures of gender apartheid and the terror that keeps it in place. Indeed, female sexuality and freedom are demonized and, therefore, forced veiling, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings and other misogynist monstrosities become mandatory parts of the sadistic paradigm.
Totalitarian regimes are similar:
In Stalinist Russia, sexual pleasure was portrayed as unsocialist and counter-revolutionary. More recent Communist societies have also waged war on sexuality — a war that Islam, as we know, wages with similar ferocity. These totalist structures cannot survive in environments filled with self-interested, pleasure-seeking individuals who prioritize devotion to other individual human beings over the collective and the state. Because the leftist believer viscerally hates the notion and reality of personal love and “the couple,” he champions the enforcement of totalitarian puritanism by the despotic regimes he worships.
Some may say that the earliest Communists promoted promiscuity — and abortion. Yes, they did, but note that a) promiscuity violates tender, loving fidelity between two people and b) abortion prevents the fruit of that beautiful union.
Glazov goes on to discuss famous dystopian novels, each of which involves a totalitarian state that forbids love between two adults. HG Wells’s novels described the totalitarian atmosphere. A Russian literary editor and novelist, Yevgeny Zamyatin, who had edited translations of Wells’s works in Russian, was inspired to take the concepts further in his 1924 novel We, which the early Soviet government banned. Zamyatin’s novel describes a couple who experience devotion to each other. Because this is illegal, the protagonist D-503 must undergo the Great Operation, which deadens the parts of the brain dedicated to passion, imagination and, by extension, love. D-503’s lover O-90 gives birth to his child. O-90 cannot bear to give their child up to the state, so D-503 manages to get her and their child smuggled out of the state to safety.
We inspired other dystopian works, the most famous of which are Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984. Those also contain story lines of forbidden love.
Totalitarianism encourages promiscuity, but not faithful love. Religious totalitarianism values sexual segregation, but not mutual devotion:
And that is why love presents such a threat to the totalitarian order: it dares to serve itself. It is a force more powerful than the all-pervading fear that a totalitarian order needs to impose in order to survive. Leftist and Muslim social engineers, therefore, in their twisted and human-hating imaginations, believe that the road toward earthly redemption (under a classless society or Sharia) stands a chance only if private love and affection is purged from the human condition.
However, as we know, that is impossible. We are hard-wired to be like Adam and Eve. God created them so they could be loving, supportive companions who could create a family.
This brings us to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Those of us who are old enough to remember recall slogans of ‘free love’ and so on. Various sexual positions, some of them non-procreational, were vaunted. If couples weren’t engaging in these, they were not ‘doing it right’. The Joy of Sex was a newlywed’s go-to book in the 1970s. Swingers’ clubs were popular amongst small segments of the middle class.
And, yes, there were swingers living near my home in the 1970s. My parents and I knew two. This middle-aged couple — second marriage for both, grown children — tried to recruit my parents. Mum and Dad were appalled. My mother tried to engage the couple in a philosophical discussion about the nature of love and marriage. Their response was, ‘Who needs it?’ Not surprisingly, they divorced and moved away within the year. If I remember rightly, the woman started cavorting with a fellow swinger and left her husband. He was very angry with her and changed his tune. ‘What happened to her fidelity to me?’ he asked my parents. Lesson learned? For him, yes. For her, it came afterwards when her swinger boyfriend dumped her. That was the last we heard of or about them.
The sexual revolution — still continuing today, with teenagers engaging in oral or copulative sex as if it were nothing — is something sensible people must resist. Sex education in schools is not designed to tell children about the birds and the bees in a biological way. It is intended to subvert the sanctity of married life and bringing children into the world.
During this same era, Bill Ayers — a longtime educator who goes on public speaking tours across America — was a radical who escaped a prison sentence on a technicality. You can read more about him here:
He was one of the leaders of the Weather Underground, a group of violent radicals. Glazov tells us:
as Peter Collier and David Horowitz demonstrate in Destructive Generation, the Weather Underground not only waged war against American society through violence and mayhem, but also waged war on private love within its own ranks. Bill Ayers, one of the leading terrorists in the group, argued in a speech defending the campaign:
Any notion that people can have responsibility for one person, that they can have that ‘out’ — we have to destroy that notion in order to build a collective; we have to destroy all ‘outs,’ to destroy the notion that people can lean on one person and not be responsible to the entire collective.
That was at the time of the ‘free love’ sexual revolution in the late 1960s.
Similarly, promiscuity was the order of the day in communes, also popular then, whether large or small. Invariably, even though they started out with an egalitarian programme, all of them ended up with an alpha male leader who seduced the women in the group, creating a harem. Other men ended up being marginalised. Couples were fractured. People got hurt emotionally. Some required deep therapy to bring them back to a trusting, loving state of mind.
Although I digress somewhat, these vignettes from half a century ago tell us that we should be wary of deviating from a biblical norm when it comes to love.
Now to the present day. A bewildering series of protests have been taking place over the past few months. The most bemusing involve feminists veiling themselves as if they were Muslim. Why?
Glazov explains that totalitarian regimes rely on clothing that conceals one’s sexuality. Historically:
As sociologist Paul Hollander has documented in his classic Political Pilgrims, fellow travelers were especially enthralled with the desexualized dress that the Maoist regime imposed on its citizens. This at once satisfied the leftist’s desire for enforced sameness and the imperative of erasing attractions between private citizens. As I have demonstrated in United in Hate, the Maoists’ unisex clothing finds its parallel in fundamentalist Islam’s mandate for shapeless coverings to be worn by both males and females. The collective “uniform” symbolizes submission to a higher entity and frustrates individual expression, mutual physical attraction, and private connection and affection. And so, once again, the Western leftist remains not only uncritical, but completely supportive of — and enthralled in — this form of totalitarian puritanism.
With regard to today’s female protesters:
This is precisely why leftist feminists today do not condemn the forced veiling of women in the Islamic world; because they support everything that forced veiling engenders.
As Glazov points out, even European law enforcement officers have been advising women to cover up so they won’t be targets of immigrant Muslim men.
Before I conclude, it is essential at this point to offer documented proof that, 40 years ago, Muslim women — except for those out in the sticks — wore normal Western clothing. I wrote about this in 2015 with loads of links to photographs:
Today, I saw two more items relating to Muslim women’s attire during that time. Rare Historical Photos has a good piece, ‘Women protesting forced hijab days after the Iranian Revolution, 1979’. Here’s an unrelated tweet from someone too young, perhaps, to know what I remember from my youth:
Glazov concludes that:
Valentine’s Day is a “shameful day” for the Muslim world and for the radical Left. It is shameful because private love is considered obscene, since it threatens the highest of values: the need for a totalitarian order to attract the complete and undivided attention, allegiance and veneration of every citizen. Love serves as the most lethal threat to the tyrants seeking to build Sharia and a classless utopia on earth, and so these tyrants yearn for the annihilation of every ingredient in man that smacks of anything that it means to be human …
This day reminds us that we have a weapon, the most powerful arsenal on the face of the earth, in front of which despots and terrorists quiver and shake, and sprint from in horror into the shadows of darkness, desperately avoiding its piercing light.
That arsenal is love …
Love will prevail.
Long Live Valentine’s Day.
With work schedules and business trips such as they are, some readers might be celebrating a Valentine’s weekend. I wish you a very happy time. May it be love-filled today and always.
Over the past week, President Donald Trump welcomed Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe of Japan, Justin Trudeau of Canada and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the White House.
Before Trump welcomed Shinzo Abe and his wife to the United States last weekend, he already had a big fan club in Japan. This video was filmed on Inauguration Day:
The Abes were in Washington DC on Friday, February 10. Trump and Abe held a joint press conference, wherein Trump pledged ‘even closer’ relations with Japan, including reaffirming America’s security guarantee:
The two leaders met privately before posing for a photo op:
The Daily Mail reported that Mrs Trump did not guide Mrs Abe around Washington, because the latter already had plans for the day: a visit to Gallaudet University for the deaf and hard of hearing followed by a National Cherry Blossom Festival committee meeting at the Japanese Embassy. There is also a language barrier. Mrs Trump does not speak Japanese, and Mrs Abe does not speak English.
However, they rode together that afternoon to meet their husbands for a weekend at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach:
This video shows their arrival in Florida. Each leader had his own entourage. This was the roadside reception for Trump. Abe must have been impressed:
That evening, they had dinner with Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, Superbowl LI champions:
On Saturday, Trump and Abe discussed issues of the day over a round of golf:
Meanwhile, Melania Trump took Akie Abe for a tour of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden in Delray Beach, not far from Palm Beach, where the two couples spent the weekend.
Afterwards, the first lady took Mrs Abe to the Episcopal church where she and Trump got married, Bethesda-by-the-Sea:
A working dinner followed:
That evening, while the couples were having dinner, North Korea launched a missile into the Sea of Japan. The two leaders made an impromptu joint statement:
Trump met with Justin Trudeau on Monday, February 13. This was a day trip.
The neighboring leaders, polar opposites in nearly every way, took up the thorny subjects of trade and immigration, with Trudeau eager to build a relationship with the new U.S. president.
At a joint press conference after a series of meetings, the two emphasized their shared goals. Trump pledged to work with Canada “in pursuit of our many shared interests.” Trudeau spoke of a special bond and the “deep abiding respect” between the two countries, though he also said that “relationships between neighbors are pretty complex.”
While the two leaders stressed shared interests, their contrasting views were also on display. Responding to questions from reporters, Trump defended his refugee and immigration orders, saying that “we cannot let the wrong people in.” Trudeau, on the other hand, said Canada continues to “pursue our policies of openness.”
Trudeau later noted that there have been times when the two countries “have differed in our approaches.” But he said “the last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they chose to govern themselves.”
Trudeau gave the president a photo. It was of Trump and Justin’s father, the late Pierre Trudeau, also a prime minister of Canada.
Trudeau also met legislators at Capitol Hill.
Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara arrived at the White House on Thursday, February 16.
This is their formal welcome to the White House, followed by friendly conversation — they met at Trump’s residence in Trump Tower after the election — and the official photo op:
This short video from Netanyahu’s Twitter encapsulates the highlights of the day:
Trump and Netanyahu held a joint press conference before their private meeting:
NPR has a transcript of the press conference. Topics included the usual concerns, primarily peace in Israel and in the Middle East:
While the two leaders met, their wives went to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. This was apposite as February is Black History Month in the United States. Museum guides provided the two ladies with assistance in viewing important exhibits and interactive displays:
Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu was a sharp and welcome departure from the Israeli’s meeting with Obama in 2014. The Atlantic detailed the breakdown in the relationship, with one White House staffer calling Netanyahu a particularly vulgar word denoting a coward.
For that Obama staffer, if this is what a coward looks like, then I’m the pope. This is Bibi as a young man (courtesy of The_Donald):
As you can see below, Trump picked up on that at the time. Here’s a comparison between Obama and Netanyahu:
Now back to the 2017 visit. The Daily Mail has a complete rundown, including photos, of the Netanyahu visit to Washington.
Melania Trump’s white suit is a Karl Lagerfeld creation.
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, thought to be a prime mover in strengthening US-Israeli relations, attended the press conference. The Kushners also know the Netanyahus well.
That evening, the Trumps co-hosted a dinner for the Netanyahus. Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) and his wife Jeanette were the other co-hosts.
Joel Pollak wrote a good article on Breitbart, detailing five ways in which this visit will improve relations between the US and Israel, not to mention the Middle East with regard to terror.
In closing, this was the fourth state visit Trump has hosted within the past three weeks.
I am not sure when we had such great presidential optics online. Despite all the slings and arrows the new president continues to take, this one best sums up his inner serenity. From the Abe visit to Mar-A-Lago (note Mike Flynn standing in front of the statue):
The Trump meetings have terrific photos and videos. Long may they continue.
There are too many theories about National Security Adviser Lieutenant General (ret’d) Michael Flynn’s resignation on Monday, February 13, 2017 and too much information unknown to the public.
Sure, Flynn’s name has been all over the media for weeks, but more than one element is likely to be involved in his departure. You decide.
Deep State and the Democrats
Just after the New Year, Democrat Charles E Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, told MNSBC’s Rachel Maddow in a discussion about President Trump’s rebuttal of notional Russian hacking:
Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.
There’s also another angle.
The Free Beacon analyses how Obama’s people feared Flynn would reveal more about the former president’s nuclear deal with Iran, so they set out to destroy him (emphases mine):
The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.
The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.
The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.
Leaks from within the White House
Close observers knew it was questionable whether Trump could use the Oval Office after the inauguration.
It was always likely — perhaps probable — that the Oval Office is or was bugged. No doubt, Trump had it swept prior to the inauguration. However, the success of the sweep depends on who did it and how thoroughly:
Then there are Obama appointees still in place because senators were slow in approving Trump’s key cabinet appointments. Rex Tillerson is now in place as Secretary of State. Jeff Sessions is now Attorney General. However, it will take some time for both to make their own staff appointments.
There could also be people close to Trump — his personally appointed staff — who are leaking to the media.
With regard to Flynn specifically, the Washington Post (WaPo) says that the retired general had discussions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak as early as December when he was part of the transition team. He would have been in New York at that point. New York magazine gives a summary:
Several current and former U.S. officials say National Security Adviser Michael Flynn discussed new sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration during conversations with that country’s ambassador in December. That may be illegal, and to make matters worse, it contradicts denials made by senior members of the Trump administration, including Vice-President Mike Pence.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that nine current and former U.S. officials who had access to intercepted communications between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak say that Flynn made explicit references to election-related sanctions. Two said Flynn even urged Russia not to overreact. “Kislyak was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time,” said one former official.
When the Post asked Flynn on Wednesday if he ever discussed sanctions with Kislyak, he said no. Then, on Thursday, his spokesman walked that back, saying Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
Flynn exchanged phone calls and texts with Kislyak a day before the Obama administration imposed new sanctions and expelled 35 Russian diplomats over the Kremlin’s alleged attempt to meddle in the U.S. election.
Those sanctions came during the Christmas holiday.
As Flynn’s conversations from December have been revealed, it is possible that Trump has a GOPe mole in his midst.
Trump is rightly concerned about who is leaking:
On February 14, WaPo featured quotes from conservatives who voiced their concerns about Trump transition and administration leaks:
“I think this really was the death by a thousand leaks,” Laura Ingraham, a conservative news commentator, said on Fox News. “The leaks that were coming out of this administration and the transition — before the administration — were at a level that I don’t remember seeing for quite some time.”
Not long before Trump tweeted, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said on Fox that “somebody in the nebulous intelligence community” would have had access to the information about Flynn’s calls.
“Who tapped the phones? Who is listening to it? Who leaked it? I think those are legitimate questions to ask,” Johnson said Tuesday morning.
The senator said he did not know whether those who leaked the information about Flynn broke the law, but he added: “Leaks of this nature are incredibly damaging to America, to our national security, and we need to look into it.”
On the opposite side of the political spectrum, The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald agrees:
That Flynn lied about what he said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was first revealed by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who has built his career on repeating what his CIA sources tell him. In his January 12 column, Ignatius wrote: “According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking.”
That “senior U.S. government official” committed a serious felony by leaking to Ignatius the communication activities of Flynn. Similar and even more extreme crimes were committed by what the Washington Post called “nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls,” who told the paper for its February 9 article that “Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials.” The New York Times, also citing anonymous U.S. officials, provided even more details about the contents of Flynn’s telephone calls.
That all of these officials committed major crimes can hardly be disputed. In January, CNN reported that Flynn’s calls with the Russians “were captured by routine U.S. eavesdropping targeting the Russian diplomats.” That means that the contents of those calls were “obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of [a] foreign government,” which in turn means that anyone who discloses them — or reports them to the public — is guilty of a felony under the statute.
Yet very few people are calling for a criminal investigation or the prosecution of these leakers, nor demanding the leakers step forward and “face the music” — for very good reason: The officials leaking this information acted justifiably, despite the fact that they violated the law. That’s because the leaks revealed that a high government official, Gen. Flynn, blatantly lied to the public about a material matter — his conversations with Russian diplomats — and the public has the absolute right to know this.
The trust issue
In January, the then-acting Secretary of State Sally Yates warned the White House that Flynn had not been entirely honest with Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
In his press briefing of February 14, Sean Spicer announced:
We’ve been reviewing and evaluating this issue with respect to General Flynn on a daily basis for a few weeks, trying to ascertain the truth. We got to a point not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue, where a level of trust between the President and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change.
The President was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the Vice President and others. He was also very concerned in light of sensitive subjects dealt with by that position of national security advisors — like China, North Korea and the Middle East — that the President must have complete and unwavering trust for the person in that position.
The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led the President to ask for General Flynn’s resignation. Immediately after the Department of Justice notified the White House Counsel of the situation, the White House Counsel briefed the President and a small group of senior advisors. The White House Counsel reviewed and determined that there is not a legal issue, but rather a trust issue.
During this process it’s important to note that the President did not have his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who he trusts immensely, approved by the Senate. When the President heard the information as presented by White House Counsel, he instinctively thought that General Flynn did not do anything wrong, and the White House Counsel’s review corroborated that.
… The issue here was that the President got to the point where General Flynn’s relationship — misleading the Vice President and others, or the possibility that he had forgotten critical details of this important conversation had created a critical mass and an unsustainable situation.
That’s why the President decided to ask for his resignation, and he got it …
Larry Johnson of No Quarter, who worked for the CIA then the State Department, wrote:
Sad day for Mike Flynn. The only thing he did wrong was not tell Vice President Pence the full truth. That’s it. He was well within his rights as the incoming National Security Advisor to talk to the Russians and to talk about any issue. The only thing he could not do was pass on classified information. That’s it. The people who insist he did something untoward with Russia are either woefully ignorant about the duties of the incoming Director of the NSC or are being deliberately disingenuous.
Another security expert, Richard A Moss, wrote about Flynn’s indiscretion in the way he communicated with the Russian ambassador. From WaPo:
Flynn resigned not because of his communications with the Russians, but rather because of his lack of discretion, misleading Vice President Pence about the nature of the exchanges, and, allegedly, opening himself up to blackmail by the Russians.
Moss goes on to explain how Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon co-ordinated Kissinger’s communications with the Russians during Nixon’s transition period between 1968 and 1969:
… Nixon and Kissinger synchronized the two back channels to the Soviets during the 1968 election and the transition period …
We know these details not because of the content of reportedly leaked FBI wiretaps, as in the case of Flynn, but because of good record keeping. Kissinger wrote detailed memorandums of his various back-channel exchanges and shared them with the president (and, occasionally, others who had a need to know). In Washington, political warfare is frequently fought on the battlefield of competing memorandums. Kissinger also had his staff make transcripts of his phone conversations, eventually off recordings of the calls, but initially by having a secretary write in shorthand by listening on a telephone with a muted microphone.
Flynn operated differently:
By contrast, Flynn’s inconsistency over the content of his conversations with Kislyak hurt his credibility and brought on scrutiny both inside and outside the White House.
Somewhat strangely for a career intelligence officer, Flynn also used insecure means of communication by talking on open telephone lines to Kislyak. In military-speak, he used poor communications security (COMSEC), which was apparently subject to FBI monitoring — and, hypothetically, foreign intelligence collection …
Flynn’s preference for the phone is ironic since Trump said a few weeks ago, “You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way.”
Ultimately, nearly 50 years ago:
Kissinger kept good records and he kept his boss, Nixon, informed. Fundamentally, back channels require the confidence of the person at the top. Kissinger understood this and became the indispensable man for Nixon’s foreign policy.
Flynn clearly lost the confidence of those at the top and had to go.
It should be noted that, on February 14, WaPo walked back earlier reports on the FBI and Flynn. This is at the end of a different article, not the one Richard A Moss wrote:
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Michael Flynn was the reported object of FBI investigations. This version has been updated.
Accuracy In Media states that the FBI cleared Flynn.
Is this important?
The double standard
We are seeing an egregious double standard in play.
The aforementioned article from The Intercept points out:
What matters is not the motive of the leaker but the effects of the leak. Any leak that results in the exposure of high-level wrongdoing — as this one did — should be praised, not scorned and punished.
However, keep in mind that those cheering Flynn’s resignation were blind to the transgressions on their own side for eight years:
It’s hard to put into words how strange it is to watch the very same people — from both parties, across the ideological spectrum — who called for the heads of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Tom Drake, and so many other Obama-era leakers today heap praise on those who leaked the highly sensitive, classified SIGINT information that brought down Gen. Flynn.
It’s even more surreal to watch Democrats act as though lying to the public is some grave firing offense when President Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, got caught red-handed not only lying to the public but also to Congress — about a domestic surveillance program that courts ruled was illegal. And despite the fact that lying to Congress is a felony, he kept his job until the very last day of the Obama presidency.
Unintended positive consequences
The Intercept goes on to say that this leak and Flynn’s resignation may work for Trump and the American public rather than against them:
numerous leaks have already achieved great good in the three short weeks that Trump has been president.
Trump knows, his staff know and the American public know.
As negative as these events appear right now, they could help Trump to ‘drain the swamp’.
I would put this right at the feet of John Brennan and Jim Clapper and I would go so far as to say the Obama White House was directly involved before they left. Ben Rhodes and those folks… The Democrats are behind this and some of the Republicans are involved with the leaks. So I say ‘Bring it on!’
Flynn’s replacement could be even better
One of the men being discussed as a replacement for Flynn is retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward.
Gateway Pundit reports that Harward served under then-General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis at US Central Command and that he speaks Farsi:
Harward could prove to be a much better candidate than Michael Flynn which would be disastrous for the left who just spent weeks trying to get Flynn removed.
Those of us who watched Trump put together his transition team late last year remember that Flynn did consulting work for Turkey and is pro-Erdogan. Geopolitical expert Joel Richardson wrote about that at the time:
… in a Facebook post on Dec. 7, Richardson called for the Trump administration to cut ties with Flynn, because “he’ll be gone within the first year.”
… Richardson blasted Flynn for reportedly owning a company that lobbied for an obscure Dutch company with ties to Turkey’s government and President Erdoğan himself. Richardson characterized the hiring of Flynn as a betrayal of Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” by removing lobbyists from government positions.
“On Election Day, Flynn published a fairly lengthy opinion piece, and a very strong opinion piece, in the online news website called The Hill, a real prominent website,” said Richardson. “Specifically, he was urging the U.S. to support Turkey and Turkey’s controversial president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. … Those who follow my program know I am no fan of President Erdoğan. He is a dictator and I am likening him to an emerging Adolf Hitler. … This guy is dangerous.”
Flynn’s temporary replacement is Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr.
To everyone who doubts Trump’s ability to rectify the situation, remember, he is there to win the war. Battles will be lost from time to time. Flynn’s departure is one of them. However, in the words of Machiavelli (H/T: The Conservative Treehouse):
It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.
Onwards and upwards. MAGA!
Yesterday, I was most surprised to discover that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Obama paid Muslim groups not to harm Americans.
It is possible that Americans are finding out about this only now that Trump is in office. Some of these organisations no longer want DHS money, even though substantial sums have been paid in previous years.
A Trump administration official said that the Obama administration came up with this programme in 2011 as a way of:
“countering Islamic extremism.” The official, who has knowledge of the discussions, was not authorized to speak publicly about the proposal and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Trump administration wants to change the name of the programme, which seems to be part of the reason some groups are now rejecting the money. Currently, 20 per cent of the $10m in earmarked funds has been rejected.
A greater element involved is that the groups sense that Trump will go through with plans and policies that are anti-Islam.
On Friday, February 11, 2017, the Sacramento Bee featured an article on Bayan Claremont, the fourth Muslim group to reject DHS money.
Bayan Claremont would have received $800,000 in federal funds aimed at combating Islamic extremism. This would have covered half the Muslim graduate school’s annual budget. However, Trump’s campaign rhetoric and his recent Executive Order — halted for the moment by the Ninth Circuit — changed their administrators’ minds. Bayan Claremont’s president, Jihad Turk (yes, really), made the announcement on Friday.
The comments following the SacBee article are well worth reading. Americans are astounded and angry that tens of millions of dollars from their taxes have gone to supporting … religion.
Bayan Claremont, incidentally, was founded in 2011. It is part of the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. That said, students from many different Christian denominations attend CST, which is also home to the Episcopal Theological School and Disciples Seminary Foundation.
Among the other groups in the United States which receive DHS’s money are Unity Productions Foundation of Potomac Falls, Virginia, which has declined a $396,585 to produce anti-extremist films; Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities in Dearborn, Michigan, which has rejected $500,000 for youth and health programme development and Ka Joog, a Somali non-profit organisation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which turned down $500,000 for youth programmes.
All this is money saved that the DHS can put into other areas. After all, as Jihad Turk said:
school officials already had reservations about the CVE strategy under Obama because they felt there’s no clear or proven pathway to violence for someone with a particular extreme ideology.
In closing, this sounds awfully lot like voluntary protection money — non-imposed jizya.
A week after the 2016 election, Obama boasted that there were no scandals in his administration.
The video above gives us not only his comment but an immediate response from news programmes on various scandals that did indeed occur between January 2009 and early January 2017.
Obamacare and Benghazi came immediately to mind. But what about Fast and Furious? Hillary’s emails, anyone? What about the uncontrolled unrest in Baltimore or Ferguson, near St Louis?
Everyone should read ‘The Complete Collection: Obama’s Scandals, Gaffes and Power-Grabs’ at Grabien News. It must have taken some time to put 745 incidents together by department, complete with sources.
Grabien News readers are a tough lot. Some picked over spelling errors. This one is amusing:
… you need to clean up your own Loisiana spelling on item #40.
The man went on to say:
Obama is a disaster but some of this is nit picking. Should stick to the real issues. When you get so deep in the weeds it detracts from the meaningful and many transgressions of the Obama Years.
This entire article is biased against Obama in a way which undermines it’s [sic] analysis. This is not to say that Obama is without blame. Far from it. The Obama Administrations [sic] expansion of drones and the killing of civilians, the persecution of whistle blowers, the lack of care at the VA, Libya, etc. are all examples of where the President and his administration has failed us. However, presenting straw men, inflating incidents and dividing them up into dozens of points to increase the number, and injecting your bias to create ‘scandal’ where none exists is a serious problem.
Well, that is exactly what is happening to Donald Trump’s administration. I cannot help but wonder if the same people will be as critical of a list about his administration when the time comes. They will probably add to it.
Anyway, here is but a small sample of Grabien News’s compilation. They have everything in a neat tidy table, by the way. I’m just going to summarise a few in a list:
Ran on promise [since 2008] of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp; didn’t.
The DHS/TSA missed multipled chances to detain [Boston Bomber Tamerlan] Tsarnaev, including once when he was supposed to be pulled aside at JFK Airport.
After technologist Peter Thiel endorsed Donald Trump, Obama’s Department of Labor sued his company Palantir over “racial discrimination” for not hiring enough Asians, despite disproportionately hiring Asians.
Obama’s pick to head the Treasury Department, Tim Geithner, was himself a tax scofflaw. He ended up sending an amended return upon being nominated.
Obama launched the “cash for clunkers,” which aimed to replace existing cars with newer, cleaner cars, but ended up incentivizing the destruction of thousands of perfectly good used cars, thus pricing millions of Americans out of the market.
VA hospital delays — which were scrubbed from official records — resulted in the deaths of at least six veterans, but potentially more than 20.
Claimed during his 2010 State of the Union that foreigners could finance American campaigns; as Justice Alito mouthed from the audience, “Not true.”
There are hundreds more things — great and small — to enjoy.
Let it never be said, though, that Obama had a scandal-free eight years.
And, let’s remember, his personal records have always been sealed from public view — and remain so today.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions was sworn in as the 84th Attorney General of the United States on February 9, 2017.
Jeff Sessions was sworn in on National Pizza Day.
This is a serendipitous coincidence as he will oversee the break up of criminality and corruption, including child sexual abuse and human trafficking. In other words, Pizzagate.
Many of us who have scratched even the surface of this horrifying scandal cannot look at our favourite Italian pie without feeling queasy. Thank goodness for calzones.
President Donald Trump knew about the sexual abuse of children as long ago as 2012:
Now he is in the White House and has Jeff Sessions as chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer for the United States.
Pizzagate and human trafficking
Fortunately, while Democrats were delaying on approving Trump’s cabinet appointments, law enforcement carried on with their work.
On February 4, 2017, Homeland Security and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issued a new appeal to Americans. Note the pizza place and the gate nearby:
Many of us are awaiting an Executive Order or Executive Action something like this (courtesy of The_Donald):
On February 1, 474 people were arrested and 28 sexually exploited children were rescued in a sting operation across the state of California, led by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Twenty-seven adults were also rescued from exploitation:
More will surely follow higher up the tree. Hollywood actors have been saying for several years that child sexual abuse is rampant in the entertainment industry.
On February 3, police in Pennsylvania were making arrests and continued to receive tips concerning a group of men involved in sexual abuse of at least one boy.
On February 5, news emerged about a state bill in Utah has passed the (state) House Committee regarding human trafficking. If passed by Utah’s House, the death penalty — either legal injection or firing squad(!) — would be brought back for convicted human traffickers.
Also on February 5, a child sex trafficking bust took place in Haiti. That link, from The_Donald, has links to several articles about the raid at the Kaliko Bay Hotel. This could be very relevant to the United States, as some nefarious Americans masquerade as missionaries or child welfare workers. The Haiti Sentinel reports (emphases mine):
31 minors, all girls aged 13-17, were rescued in an anti-child-trafficking sting operation undertaken by the Haitian National Police on Sunday. Among the arrested were 9 adults, foreigners, including missionaries among them.
All 31 children were being held in a single room, number 155, at the Kaliko Bay Hotel in Côte-des-Arcadins …
The investigation began in December and remains ongoing to uncover the true breadth of the operation that appears to include non-governmental organization and international elements. Assistance was given by fellow missionaries to police, which aided in the operation.
Investigators believe the syndicate was preparing to take the children over the Dominican Republic border to then leave the island. Police and other public officials are also investigating possible sexual exploitation being that all the minors were female …
The article also mentions Pizzagate.
It is highly likely that Sessions will be investigating government employees for child pornography and/or sexual abuse. This ‘cheat sheet for journos’ explains the gaps in investigations as well as a bit about those who have been charged over the past few years. An eye-opener, to say the least.
Oddly enough, the only Democrat — Joe Manchin of West Virginia — to vote for Sessions is anti-paedophile!
This week, Trump’s Executive Order (EO) restricting immigration from seven countries for 90 days was halted by the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco.
Sessions can help find a way to enforce US Code 1182 – Inadmissible Aliens, particularly the following clause:
(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.
No one raised an eyebrow when Obama issued a similar order for the same seven countries, but now that Trump is doing it, he’s ‘literally Hitler’. Perhaps Trump would have been successful had he written in his EO that he was extending Obama’s.
Security at highest government levels
Sessions will have to put tight vetting procedures in place for security at the highest levels, including information technology departments.
On February 4, The Daily Caller reported that three brothers who worked in IT for the House Permanent Select Committee:
were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission.
Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday …
I am amazed that three brothers were allowed to work together in the same department in one of the highest centres of American government. What were their superiors thinking by hiring all three?
The Conservative Treehouse explains:
… the House Intelligence Committee is part of the deepest oversight network with responsibility over the most sensitive and secretive government intelligence, including covert anti-terrorism activity.
Also, reflecting on the death of the Navy SEAL in Yemen days before during a critical intelligence gathering mission (emphasis in the original here):
the recently authorized Trump operation in Yemen would have been a part of the advance briefing to this very select oversight committee. The exact same oversight committee these three brothers worked in the IT department for….
♦ Does the firing have any potential attachment to the outcome in Yemen?
♦ Exactly like Benghazi, the Washington DC cover your a[–] machine would never, ever allow sunlight upon such a consequential intelligence compromise. They would never allow, nor even launch, an investigation in that regard. Too dangerous.
So you decide.
The Daily Caller article also states that the computer of Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was forced to resign on July 24, 2016 as head of the Democratic National Committee, might have been compromised by these three men. WikiLeaks released a series of her emails which were critical of Bernie Sanders’s campaign against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.
The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress …
A criminal investigation into five unnamed people began late last year related to serious and potentially illegal violations of House IT policies, Politico reported Thursday. Chiefs of staff for the members were briefed Thursday by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said the investigation was still ongoing, and arrests have not been made but staff were “asked to update their security settings.”
Interestingly, Hina Alvi, the woman who owns the house in Virginia where the brothers live, also works in IT for the House of Representatives. Politico says she is married to Imran and is also under investigation.
Sessions will also have to figure out a way to get local police not to stand by idly while ‘protesters’ harm innocent people and damage public or private property.
He will also need to ensure through the relevant law enforcement agencies that agitators and activist groups are thoroughly investigated and, where necessary, prosecuted.
The latest instance was in Berkeley last weekend, where a mob violently reacted to a scheduled appearance by young British conservative Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California (UC) Berkeley.
UC Berkeley denied that its faculty or students were part of the melée, however, members of the public are less sure:
Berkeley Police stood and watched as the mayhem went on unabated.
Washington DC’s finest were also lax in preventing Trump supporters from harm during the inauguration.
Safety of American citizens at home
For years, Americans have read of illegal aliens committing harrowing acts against American citizens who are minding their own business.
Trump mentioned several of these crimes during his presidential campaign in 2016. He also had their families speak of the harrowing incidents at some of his rallies.
A lesser known case is that of Earl Olander, 90, who was brutally murdered on his Minnesota farm by two illegal aliens from south of the border. Olander hired one of the men to paint his house in 2014. His niece said that the farmer was very kind to him and bought him snacks and beverages from a nearby shop. On April 8, 2015, the house painter returned to Olander’s house — with an accomplice — to bind him with duct tape and beat him to death. On May 6, 2016, the two men were given sentences of 37 years each. They will be deported after they complete their sentences. Breitbart reported:
Olander spent his last minutes on Earth blinded, bound, and bleeding to death on his living room floor while listening to Vergara and Benitez tear through his home. Police didn’t find him until a day or two later.
It was his Bible that Vergara and Benitez stole that led police to find him: Someone cleaning out the apartment the killers fled found the Bible stuffed with Olander’s savings bonds and after learning Olander was a murder victim called authorities.
Also in Minnesota, in December 2016, a Somali refugee who had been in the US for only three months raped a woman on a bus. If found guilty of this felony, he could receive up to 30 years in prison. Breitbart tried to find out what refugee programme he entered under but received no response. Gateway Pundit has several links about the story, including Breitbart‘s. Alarmingly, he was released from the Northwest Regional Correction Center on $5,000 bond on condition that he does not leave Minnesota. Who knows where he could be now?
Trump had this to say at Sessions’s swearing-in:
Afterwards, he signed three EOs: one for a task force on crime reduction and public safety, one for preventing violence against federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers and one for enforcing federal law with respect to transnational criminal organisations and preventing international trafficking.
We can be certain that the next eight years will be busy ones for Jeff Sessions. I wish him Godspeed! A nation’s prayers are with him!
And if he can make pizza great again, we will be eternally grateful.
On Monday, February 6, 2017, Queen Elizabeth II achieved what no other British monarch has: a Sapphire Jubilee.
The Queen acceded the throne 65 years ago, following the death of her father, King George VI.
Her Majesty celebrated the day privately at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. She attended Sunday service at St Peter and St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk, where she greeted well wishers and accepted bouquets of flowers afterwards.
Military salutes were given in London on Monday. The Telegraph has photos and reported:
Royal gun salutes were staged in London on Accession Day, as is the tradition, with a 41-gun salute by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park at noon.
The Band of the Royal Artillery played a selection of celebratory music close to the firing position as 89 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into position in the park.
A 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company was fired at the Tower of London at 1pm.
The photo above was taken in 2014. Buckingham Palace re-released it for the Sapphire Jubilee.
Sky News explains:
The picture was taken by the photographer David Bailey in 2014 for the GREAT campaign, a publicity campaign to promote Britain around the world.
In the photograph The Queen is wearing a suite of sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding present in 1947.
It was on the 6 February, 1952 that her father died while at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, who was 25, was in Kenya on a royal tour with her husband Prince Philip at the time.
Although no national celebrations are planned this year, the Royal Mint is issuing a set of commemorative coins. Royal Mail has released a £5 commemorative stamp in sapphire blue.
Two years ago, when the Queen became Britain’s longest-ever reigning monarch, she said that achieving that landmark was:
“not one to which I have ever aspired”.
She added: “Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception.”
Those of us who treasure her give thanks and wish her well for many more years as our monarch.
As Her Majesty is approaching her 91st birthday this year, the Duke of Cambridge — Prince William — is taking on more official royal appearances on her behalf.
With regard to length of reign, Queen Victoria comes second in the list with 63 years. Then we go further back in history to George III, who ruled for 59 years, 96 days (1760-1820). James VI of Scotland served for 57 years, 246 days (1567-1625).
In fifth place — incredibly, given it that this was during the Middle Ages — is Henry III of England and Lord of Ireland, who reigned for 56 years and 29 days between 1216 and 1272.
On Friday, February 3, 2017, I wrote about the Anheuser-Busch virtue signalling advert for Superbowl LI.
Another advert on immigration came from 84 Lumber, a family-owned chain of building materials supplies.
Incidentally, the company is so named because the headquarters is in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania. It is unclear how the town Smithville, near Pittsburgh, was renamed in 1884.
84 Lumber’s advert was about a mother and daughter who make the perilous trip from Central America to the US/Mexico border only to see a huge wall.
In an attempt to make President Donald Trump the villain of the piece, the company’s executives forget that Democrats have acknowledged that the immigration system has been broken for decades. Socio-political commentator Mark Dice has a helpful — and short — video which intersperses 84’s advert with speeches from President Bill Clinton, Senator Chuck Schumer, then-Senator Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and candidate Hillary Clinton — all of whom say something must be done to fix immigration:
Another short video — subtitled — describes how dangerous immigration from Latin America is for those who undertake the journey. It starts with statistics from counties along the border in Texas and Arizona. Altogether, they see hundreds of corpses of men, women and children who were unsuccessful in crossing the border. The cost of gathering these bodies and trying to find family members to identify them eats up a substantial amount of the local budgets intended to maintain services for legal residents living in those counties. Bottom line: border towns spend a lot of money dealing with the fallout from illegal immigration, thereby depriving Americans and legal immigrants from obtaining the services they have paid for in tax.
The video also mentions the very real problem of people trafficking. Criminals involved in drugs have found that moving into prostitution by using illegal immigrants is more profitable: a person can be sold again and again, thereby offering an indefinite supply of income.
Readers should be aware that Maggie Hardy Magerko, president and owner of 84 Lumber — as well as being daughter of the founder — has been in the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans for years. She lives in a quiet, rural community, several hundreds of miles away from the ravages and realities of border towns.
Companies should stop virtue signalling.
The past 12 months could be termed the Year of the Underdog.
Several major ‘can’t wins’ won.
UK voters opted for Brexit last July. It’s just passed the House of Commons.
The Cubs won the World Series after 108 years in early November.
Donald Trump was elected president on November 8. The Electoral College affirmed that on December 19.
On Sunday, February 5, 2017 the New England Patriots won their fifth Superbowl. Tom Brady emerged as the top quarterback of all time. The team beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in the first Superbowl ever to go into overtime.
Earlier on Sunday, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly talked to Trump about his relationship with the Patriots, who supported his candidacy. Trump is also close friends with the team’s owner Bob Kraft. The discussion starts at 8:42 in the video below. Pressed by O’Reilly, Trump predicted the Patriots would win by eight points (8:50). In the end, they won by six!
Weirdly, this is what Trump predicted in 2015:
Predictions as the game progressed
In the third quarter, the Falcons were up by three touchdowns. No Superbowl contender has ever won by coming from behind more than 10 points.
Hence this ESPN tweet:
Someone crudely responded (see the Twitter feed) that he shouldn’t compare the Superbowl to the 216 election. Oh really?
The Wall Street Journal pronounced:
Donald J Trump Jr, who enjoyed a pre-game repast at home with his family, responded:
Victory for the Patriots
Once more, the usual pontificating pundits were proven wrong.
The Daily Mail has a good overall roundup of not only the game but also the drama surrounding it — as well as a lot of great photos. Emphases mine below:
Tom Brady held the Vince Lombardi trophy high above his head and told New England Patriots fans he was ‘taking this sucker home’ after the team defeated the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night 34 – 28 in the first Super Bowl to ever go into overtime.
The quarterback broke down in tears after the game, in which the team managed to comeback from a 25 point deficit in the third quarter of the game to even the score and keep their hopes of yet another victory alive.
The Patriots then clinched the victory minutes into overtime when James White plunged past the goal line on the team’s opening drive in extra time.
It was a historic win for Brady and head coach Bell Belichick, who with the victory now each have five Super Bowl rings, the most of any player or coach in the history of the NFL.
Brady made history by also winning the Super Bowl MVP honor for the fourth time in history, more than any other player.
And he did it all in front of his mother Galynn Brady, who is suffering through an undisclosed illness and wore a bandanna over her head as she greeted her son after his victory.
Trump tweeted his congratulations:
The pundits had to walk back their words and predictions. Here’s FiveThirtyEight‘s Walt Hickey:
It was really one for the record books: No team has come back from a Super Bowl deficit of more than 10 points, and Tom Brady proved — to my chagrin — that he’s the best quarterback ever. He had more completions, pass attempts and passing yards in a Super Bowl than anyone else, ever. His team ran the most-ever offensive plays in the championship. The Pats put together the biggest comeback — 25 points! — in a Super Bowl ever. It’s the most ridiculous achievement — ever. [ESPN]
ESPN produced a series of memorable tweets:
The journey was not easy. The Patriots were hit by a series of penalties from the 2015 season which saw Brady benched at the beginning of the 2016 season. ESPN reports:
As owner Robert Kraft said in the days leading up to Super Bowl LI, Deflategate penalties levied by the NFL against Brady and the team had a deeply rooted impact on the 2016 Patriots. Brady was hit with a four-game suspension for the January 2015 incident that months of court battles couldn’t overturn. Meanwhile, the Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017.
However, the Patriots, thanks to Belichick, won without Brady, so by the time he returned to the field:
on Oct. 9 in Cleveland, it felt like a home game, many fans taking advantage of Columbus Day weekend to make the trip to be there for that moment when Brady first took the field.
It had a Super Bowl-like feel to it, and what manifested itself the rest of the season was a region showering Brady with its appreciation and love on a daily basis. While Brady had his offensive line protecting him on the field, New England fans, as passionate as ever, were protective of his legacy.
ESPN also has a good play-by-play rundown — ‘Anatomy of a miracle’ — about a Superbowl that will be studied for years to come. There is also a video at the link. The article begins as follows:
Zero-point-two percent. Two in a thousand. The New England Patriots stunned the St. Louis Rams to win the first Super Bowl of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era during the 2001 playoffs, but even that upset can’t compare to the comeback New England pulled to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 on Sunday night in Super Bowl LI. The Pats pieced together incredible play with fortuitous bounces and impeccable timing to overcome a Falcons team that had a 99.8 percent shot of claiming its first Super Bowl with 21 minutes to go.
What happened from then on was nothing short of a miracle. The Patriots needed just about everything to go right and had the vast majority of those moments swing their way.
As with so many other wins, ESPN concludes it’s not what the losing team does, it’s what they don’t do that determines the outcome. Worth noting!