During a visit last year to Vietnam, I made the trek to Khe Sanh, one of the key battles during the Tet Offensive, which happened 50 years ago.

For most of the journey, I bristled at the Vietnamese guide and propagandist, who maintained Tet was a major victory for the Communist forces. I finally had enough and offered some facts to her and the tourists on the bus.

DaTech3.jpgSimply put, the coverage of the 1968 North Vietnamese attack is a startling example of how the U.S. media got it wrong. The media presented Tet as a major loss for the Americans when it actually was a massive defeat for North Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese government launched the offensive during Tet, the celebration of the Vietnamese New Year. The attacks began on January 30 on targets in Saigon and other Vietnamese cities, and ended a little more than a month later when Marines crushed the last resistance in the northern city of Hue.

As The Washington Post’s Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup documented in his book The Big Story, reporters systematically used Tet to turn the reality of a U.S. victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat.

For example, journalists reported that that Vietcong had overrun five floors of the U.S. embassy when the VC never got inside the building. Newsweek’s coverage of the siege of Khe Sanh showed 18 photos out of a total of 29 of dead or wounded Marines or Marines huddling under cover, never mentioning that the Marines inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

That campaign of misrepresentation culminated in Walter Cronkite’s half-hour TV special on February 27, 1968, when he told his viewers that Tet had proved that America was “mired in a stalemate.”

Here are some important facts that got lost in the journalistic shuffle. The North Vietnamese Army lost 20 percent of its forces in the South and suffered 33,000 men killed in action for no military gain.

In his excellent book on the battle of Hue, Mark Bowden describes miscalculations on the part of the U.S. command but also the cynicism of the North Vietnamese command that was trying to win a public relations battle rather than a military victory. The Communists told many of their supporters that the goal was to launch a revolution when the government knew many would die. Simply put, the North Vietnam leadership was willing to lose thousands of soldiers to turn the PR tide.

The strategy worked as the international media misinterpreted what happened on the ground. Public support for the war dropped significantly after the misinformation about the Tet offensive.

As The New Republic put it recently: “The American public knew none of this, however. The misrepresentation by America’s most respected newsman and most trusted media outlets of what had actually happened during Tet stunned the American public and the body politic. Popular support for the war took a heavy hit, as the war’s critics now grabbed center stage….

“After Tet, American media had assumed a new mission for itself: to shape the nation’s politics by crafting a single coherent narrative, even if it meant omitting certain relevant facts and promoting other false or misleading ones. standing — just as they had convinced them a year earlier that America’s major victory was actually a major defeat.”

Sound familiar?

Captain Sawyer: [Looking at his hands after being released from a straitjacket] I never thought I’d see these again

Hornblower Retribution 2001

Today I gave a call to GoDaddy and after a week of contradictory messages, conflicting statements and customer service where it was not clear who was the paying customer and who was providing the service I was finally informed that my suspension was over and my web site was back up.

Much to my shock true to their word within a few minutes I was able to see the last post that made it up exactly a week ago today but in a final twist of the knife these actions delayed me long enough so I was unable to join my son, his girl and my wife for a Valentine’s breakfast at Parker’s Marple barn in NH (Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the required fasting overrides the secular version of Valentine’s day.

I’m not going to recount the whole story here, but suffice to say that if you go into my archives you will notice that all the graphics from all my posts from 2011-2014 are gone along with a fair amount of graphics from 2017 as well. It’s going to take some effort to restore these without risking a return to exile.

The thing that really pissed me off were the attempts to up sell me as a solution to exile. My ancestry is Sicilian, I know a protection racket when I see one.

My short term plan is to strip the site to bare bones and migrate it to a smaller hosting company where I can talk to the boss who will speak to me as a customer rather than crippling my business and then telling me how high to jump if I want it back or as the congress once said at the time of the Barbary Pirates: “Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute.”

I don’t have millions and the extra money I will be spending to get myself moved, in addition to the increased monthly costs will not be pleasant, but the knowledge that this will not happen again combined with the fact that none of those additional funds will end up in GoDaddy’s Hands will more than make up for things.

Meanwhile I’d like to thank my Magnificent Seven writers who posted at the backup site, for those of you who don’t know we kept plugging right along over there. Here are the posts in case you missed them:

2-12
Report from Louisiana: Are Indie Booksellers Coming Back? by Pat Austin

Let’s try that German Leftist who “evolved” on Refugees again by DaTechGuy

2-11

Pritzker falling in Illinois Dem guv race by John Ruberry

The Media Left Loves Dictators…If they Hate Trump by Datechguy

2-10

CIA, NSA to FBI: We May Be Younger, But We Have Outlived Our Usefulness Too by Baldilocks

Who doesn’t like a military parade? by NG36B/RH

Newsweek vs DaTechGuy Blog by DaTechGuy

2-9

Nancy {hearts} Antonio by Fausta

Congress faster than GoDaddy by DaTechGuy

2-8

A Reminder to Dems Angry on DACA or Thank you Nancy May I have Another? by DaTechGuy

2-7

24 Hours to lose a narrative by DaTechGuy

2-6

Back to the old blog as GoDaddy Suspends me by DaTechGuy

I didn’t move everyone over to the old site as I didn’t expect to be down as long as I was but bottom line we are back and we intend to stay back


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Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

It’s a good thing that Nick Foles’ Christian faith doesn’t prevent him from playing football on a Sunday, particularly last Sunday.

The MVP and Super Bowl champion has never shied away from his belief in God.

His Twitter bio reads: “Believer in Jesus Christ, husband, father, son, brother.”

More than a few sports reporters cringed when Foles held his postgame news conference after the Super Bowl. “I wouldn’t be out here without God, without Jesus in my life. I can tell you that, first and foremost in my life, I don’t have the strength to come out here and play a game like that,” he said.

Few Eagles fans and even fewer journalists expected that Foles could bring Philadelphia a single victory in the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl victory.

But his unbelievable performance in the big game is a continuing saga of perseverance. Foles almost quit football after a crisis of confidence over his future when he fell from a superb year in 2013 with the Eagles to a backup role with the Los Angeles Rams.

But his belief in God continued to pull him through. “It took a lot more faith to come back and play than it would’ve to go in the other direction,” Foles told The Associated Press. “Either way would’ve been fine. Either way, I would’ve trusted in God. I would’ve done something else and glorified God in that instance. I knew as a person that the more growth I’ve had and the more opportunity I would have to glorify God and trust in him would be to go back and play football.”

Foles said he wants to become a pastor once his playing career is over–a career that looks a lot brighter than it did only two months ago when he took over as quarterback when Carson Wentz suffered a knee injury.

The Eagles quarterback is a graduate student at Liberty University where he studies religion. In fact, the school, which preacher Jerry Falwell founded, turned on the Rawlings School of Divinity in Eagle midnight green to honor Foles.

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 10.56.13 AM.png

It’s worth noting that Wentz, the quarterback Foles replaced after an injury, is a devout Christian. Even offensive coordinator Frank Reich is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

According to FaithWire, the Eagles even conducted a baptism in a hotel pool. “A photo posted to Twitter shows wide receiver Marcus Johnson being baptized in a hotel pool while surrounded by his teammates,” the site reports, calling the Eagles “possibly be the most spiritually active NFL team around.”

Foles was among that group, as was Wentz. ESPN has also chronicled the team’s devotion to religion, indicating that players hold Bible studies. “The presence of faith is not unique to the Eagles, though the way in which it has manifested might be,” reported ESPN.

Maybe the Eagles did have God in their corner. Foles and some of his fellow Christians helped answer the prayers of downtrodden Eagles fans who suffered through a nearly six-decade championship drought. Thanks, Saint Nick!

2 1/2 years ago I wrote about an Israeli Dove Einat Wilf  who had turned into a hawk after an epiphany concerning her “moderate” Palestinian friends.

And comparing her willingness to recognize the right of the arabs to self determination and their connection to the land vs the lack thereof drew her to an inescapable conclusion:

I realized they don’t recognize my right, they recognized my might, but, what happens the day I no longer have might? They merely reinforcing the notion that I have to continue to have might to survive here.

That story stuck with me because it doesn’t matter what your opinions, beliefs are, reality is what it is and said reality doesn’t care if you are triggered by it or not.

In Germany we have another example of this phenom in the person of a young woman who decided to set up a non-profit for Muslim refugees and welcomed them with open arms

In 2012 Rebecca Sommer founded the refugee aid association Arbeitsgruppe Flucht + Menschen-Rechte (AG F+M) [Working Group Asylum + Human Rights]. At the end of 2015, this artist, photographer and journalist and documentary maker applauded Angela Merkel’s decision to open German’s borders to the “refugees” who had been blocked in Hungary, despite the vacuum effect this would create. “At that time I wanted to help everyone and truly believed that all these people were fleeing hell and were in a state of complete distress,”

It sounds so nice, a SJW making good, at one point having over 300 volunteers working for her group, until reality set it.

…”I thought their medieval view was going to change with time…but after having seen these situations occur repeatedly and observing what was happening around me, as a volunteer, I have had to recognise that the Muslim refugees have grown up with values that are totally different, they have undergone brainwashing from childhood on and are indoctrinated by Islam and absolutely do not intend to adopt our values. Worse, they regard we infidels with disdain and arrogance.”

“It was a jarring perception when I noticed that these people I had helped, who were eating, drinking, dancing and laughing with me, who didn’t pray, who didn’t go to the mosque, who didn’t respect Ramadan, who made fun of religion and deeply religious people, called me ‘the stupid German whore’ when they were eating my food and were in my garden.”

Oddly enough that kind of language that would generate condemnation in a hurry if it came from a European of any religion can’t be critiqued, in fact she discovered she couldn’t even critique such behavior if it happened half a world away.

Islands of stability but also democracy because Rebecca Sommer also notes that democracy no longer really exists in Germany….When the human rights activists wanted to denounce forced conversions to Islam in Indonesia, her account was blocked.

This is no surprise as Twitter is already labeling the photo of an Iranian woman without the Hijab as “sensitive material” nor is the logical end result

This Berlin woman no longer dares to go out on her own on New Year’s Eve and she has already been attacked five times by men speaking Arabic!

…Political Islam is present everywhere, including in the government, in political parties, in the police and schools.  With family reunification, millions of additional Muslim immigrants are going to come. In the German capital where she lives, entire districts are already dominated by the Muslim community which forms a parallel society.

In fact in England they already have Sharia courts and as this headline shows it’s isn’t looking good for feminists there

UK government review of Sharia courts reveals systemic discrimination against women

Her solution?  She plans on leaving Germany while other have decided if you can’t beat radical Islam, it’s time to join them:

Arthur Wagner, a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party that opposes Angela Merkel’s suicidal influx of Muslim migrants, recently gained headlines (as well as crowing and accolades from all the usual infiltrators, saboteurs, and dhimmis) by converting to Islam. But then he revealed why he had answered the call of Allah.

It was, he said, all about the Christian Churches’ “moral decline.” “One of the reasons,” Wagner explained, “is tied to changes that have taken place in the church, which no longer reflects my values.” He said that it was “unacceptable” for Christian leaders to support “marriage for all” and to participate in gay pride parades, “where are children.”

Of course the solution isn’t choosing Islam as the strong horse over the weak German Protestantism , the solution is for western civilization and Christianity to have the courage of their convictions to speak the truth and deal with reality, because if they don’t, Islam will make the reality for them.

And if you don’t believe me why don’t you ask American cartoonist Molly Norris…if you can find her.


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Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Every 20 years or so, America comes down with a serious case of political correctivitis.

I’m old enough to remember the first PC outbreak in the 1970s, when the tide of ’60s radicalism washed against the shore of Establishment America. Another epidemic spread in the early 1990s, and we’re in the midst of the third – and most serious – eruption now. We survived the first two flare-ups relatively intact, and I’m hoping Donald Trump can get us through the third.

Among the lasting changes of the first PC wave were affirmative action, which initially targeted blacks until women demanded to get into the action, and the beginnings of identity politics (which activists from other groups viewed as a way to get a piece of the affirmative action bonanza).

Also important was how feminists changed the language, starting by introducing three new words: sexist, sexism and Ms. Inflamed by Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinam and company, female activists worked to rid the English language of words they deemed sexist. Goodbye, policeman, mailman and fireman. Hello, police officer, letter carrier and firefighter.

Fortunately, other substitutes never really took hold (except in Democrat quarters). Despite their best efforts, few normal people really wanted to change “chairman” to “chairperson” or “spokesman” to “spokesperson.” A tidy solution was to substitute “-woman” for “-man” on a case-by-case basis.

Steinem was extraordinarily successful with the creation of “Ms.” (the courtesy title, not the magazine). She was offended that all men were simply addressed by “Mr.,” while women’s titles – “Mrs.” and “Miss” – were based on their marital status. “Ms.” thus leveled the gender playing field.

(This caused problems for me and other reporters. Many newspaper editors were slow to approve the new courtesy title, which put us in the embarrassing position of asking females sources who used “Ms.” whether they were married. Most publications eventually solved that dilemma by dropping all courtesy titles and referring to women only by their last names on second reference.)

After digesting all these changes, great and small, America experienced a new outbreak of PC in the 1990s, when the seeds of identity politics planted a generation earlier sprouted into saplings. The bastions of the Old Order who had faced the first wave were giving way to new people whose beliefs were shaped in the ’70s. Their faith in traditions was shaky, and they were more willing to compromise with advocates of identity politics. This was when the Left and the Right alike began using the term “politically correct.”

Affirmative action had been dealt serious setbacks in the courts, so activists began using “diversity” as the reason for pushing racial and sex-based quotas into all aspects of society, from the workplace to the schools. As today, diversity meant only racial, sexual and religious differences; diversity of political thought was scorned.

I came upon this first-hand when local school officials put out a call for citizens to serve on several advisory boards, including a new committee to foster diversity. That struck a chord with concerned residents – 45 people, more than half of them men, showed up for the diversity committee’s organizational meeting. The chairwoman, amazed by the turnout, started asking crowd members why they were there.

One by one, each man and most of the women said they wanted to be on the committee to make sure the schools emphasized the similarities among students, not the differences. Halfway through her questioning, the chairwoman said the committee’s goal was to help students embrace their distinctions, not stress what they shared in common. At that point, all the men except me and most of the women stood up and left.

I stayed on, figuring the rump committee needed at least one voice of reason. After listening to and speaking out against schemes ranging from silly to gobsmackingly stupid, I gave up after six meetings. Luckily for my children, the plans they discussed never went into effect. (Perhaps that happened because I ran into a school board member, who was aghast when I told him what the committee was up to.)

So here we are, struggling through a third PC epidemic. Times never looked bleaker under Barack Obama, and I would have given up hope under a Hillary Clinton presidency. Trump’s refusal to buckle under to political correctness certainly gave him a boost in 2016, and he could put a big dent into PC culture if he wins a second term.

I have just one tip for The Donald: Fight your foes through your policies, not your tweets.

When synthpop sensation Rockwell released the hit single “Somebody’s Watching Me” in 1984, it’s unlikely that the paranoia he was singing about concerned government surveillance. Nevertheless, the 30-year old pop anthem remains relevant today because it speaks to the feeling that so many of us have.

Indeed, it no longer seems cuckoo to say that all eyes are upon us…because they are! You can’t walk down a city street without being monitored. There are an estimated 30 million surveillance cameras in the US alone and that number will only continue to grow.

And never mind walking down the street, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to find yourself scrutinized. Not only do internet service providers (ISPs) collect all of your personal information, but they are free to sell it off to third party entities for marketing and other purposes.

More alarmingly, our world governments have been snooping on their citizens for decades. In 1941, the UKUSA Agreement was forged. This multilateral covenant for cooperation in signals intelligence between Australia, Canada, New Zealand , the United Kingdom and the United States, otherwise referred to as the “Five Eyes,” revolves around the covert STONEGHOST network, a system that is said to hold some of the Western world’s most sensitive secrets.

In the ensuing years, this alliance has expanded to include second and third party partners. Today, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden have formed SSEUR or the “Fourteen Eyes,” joining the “Five Eyes” in their exchange of delicate data.

The House Intelligence Committee has released a memo that alleges that the FBI and Justice Department are guilty of gross surveillance abuses against their own government and the Electronic Frontier Foundation shows that the malfeasance doesn’t stop there.

Working in tandem with major telecommunication carriers, the National Security Agency has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance since as far back as 2001. In that time, they have spied on the domestic communications and communication records of millions of tax-paying, law-abiding American citizens.

Under the Obama administration, the NSA violated the Constitution and court-ordered guidelines pursuant to federal law, willfully exploiting loopholes to unmask Americans’ identities when sharing this information with other agencies.

What’s more, then-President Obama even monitored Trump campaign officials prior to Trump’s appointment as our Commander-in-Chief. It would seem that even the Leader of the Free World isn’t exempt from the surveillance state.

There are no less than 6 government programs that watching us 24/7. The Justice Department is regularly obtaining and using evidence from social networking sites. That means that no person with a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account is safe.

The department can collect and use any of your personal communications against you if they deem it relevant to establishing “motives and personal relationships.” If this sounds a lot like what the law calls circumstantial evidence it’s because that’s exactly what it is.

For instance, if someone you know is murdered and your social media profile contains pictures of you brandishing a knife at a horror convention, the Justice Department could, in theory, use those photographs to support the notion that you were involved in the commission of such a crime.

The Internal Revenue Service also utilizes social media sites, including Facebook, Google and YouTube, to investigate taxpayers. Since 2009, this practice has been part of their agent training program.

The next word you type into Google may get you flagged by the Department of Homeland Security. The department is using an aggressive monitoring program that tracks a whopping 380 keywords.

It’s a scary time to be an American, especially with global cyberattacks posing a very real daily threat. After all, if they’re not simply snooping then they’re holding our personal data hostage. Using sophisticated means, hackers from all across the globe are targeting businesses and private citizens with ransomware.

Such attacks, like the one that was likely perpetrated by North Korea, continue to plague our nation and threat trends for the year ahead indicate that ransomware, firmware and other malicious software will dog us if we don’t do something to stop it.

It’s times like these when we would be smart to take a cue from our Commander-in-Chief and protect ourselves against privacy infringement, censorship and more. In November of last year, Trump paved the way during his visit to China.

By using a virtual private network (VPN), the president was able to circumvent the “Great Firewall” and access Twitter which is banned in Beijing, where the president was staying, and everywhere else across the country.

VPNs are WANs (Wide Area Networks) that use dedicated connections and advanced encryption protocols to generate P2P connections. They “spoof” your IP address by replacing it with one of their own VPN providers.

Most VPNs have multiple servers in most every major country, meaning that you can protect your privacy even if you are traveling. Some of the best VPNs on the market feature intrusion detection and prevention, DNK leakage protection, signature protocols, IPSec (an extra layer of security), split tunneling and unique authentication.

VPN solutions like ExpressVPN deliver fast speeds, 24/7 customer support and mobile apps so that you can stop the snoops from snooping when you’re texting your friends or doing business on your iPhone or Android device.

A word of warning, however, for my more frugal readers. Yes, there are free VPNs available online, but as with your ISP, these free services are only offered for free because, unlike subscription-based solutions, they keep logs of all your sessions and can sell your data to third parties.

Some of the less reputable VPNs, such as HideMyAss, have been served with subpoenas and shared their customers’ log sections with law enforcement officials. For this reason, it’s important to use a VPN that stands by its “no logs” policy.

By using reliable web hosting and military-grade encryption, we can effectively anonymize our online activity and keep cybercriminals from gaining purchase to our PCs. Privacy and security are right at our fingertips, just where they rightfully belong.

As Justice William R. Day famously said of our Fourth Amendment, “The efforts of the courts and their officials to bring the guilty to punishment, praiseworthy as they are, are not to be aided by the sacrifice of those great principles established by years of endeavor and suffering which have resulted in their embodiment in the fundamental law of the land.”

Photo Credit: Forever Lee Circle FB page

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  We are deep in the throes of Mardi Gras season in Louisiana, that weeks-long bacchanalian festival with parades through the streets, brightly decorated and lit floats blaring deafening music, costumed float riders throwing beads, medallions, shoes, stuffed animals, coconuts, CDs, packages of Ramen noodles, even hot dogs.  You name it, someone on a float will be throwing it.

One thing some float riders will not be throwing this year is the Forever Lee Circle beads.  The medallion on the strand depicts Robert E. Lee standing atop his pedestal against a clear blue sky, and the words Forever Lee Circle.

You might recall my heavy “monument blogging” last year as New Orleans erupted into protests, marches, and stakeouts as the Mitch Landrieu administration swept through in the dark of night to remove Confederate monuments from the city.  Apparently, emotions are still running high.

From The Advocate:

The Krewe of Muses has taken a stand against Confederate-themed parade throws, banning its members from throwing Robert E. Lee beads — or any other items with a political message — in its upcoming parade.

The Krewe of Orpheus has also told members not to toss the Lee beads and its captain said any riders who bring them will be asked to remove them from the floats. And the Krewe of Endymion is also suggesting riders not bring the controversial throws.

According to a memo sent to the Muses’ float lieutenants, besides the throws being deemed inappropriate, the Lee-themed beads — which have garnered attention on social media — are also dangerous. The memo says the krewe is concerned people who would throw those beads could have them hurled back at them or the person throwing them could be harmed by angry paradegoers.

The Hayride, a popular Louisiana blog, calls bull on the political message warning:

Now, some people are using the city ordinance cited above by the Advocate in support of the idea that “political” beads are already illegal and thus restricting the Lee beads is simply following the law.  However, to my knowledge, the ordinance in question has never been enforced — and indeed political throws have been commonplace.  This stands to reason, because the ordinance appears plainly unconstitutional, and is thus a mere fig leaf for krewes’ efforts to regulate throws.

Meanwhile, the beads are showing up on eBay for up to $50 a strand!  And selling!

The owner of the Forever Lee Circle Facebook page issued this statement:

The making of this bead was and will be cathartic for so many in our community. Throwing this bead is nothing more than giving our iconic landmark a proper send off. Parade after parade it will serve as one big second line. A simple way to express our loss and remember all the good times we shared during Mardi Gras at Lee Circle. It’s about giving an outlet to those feeling a sense of loss. Having lost four of the cities most Iconic Historical Monuments, that had been part of the New Orleans landscape for over 100 years has been unimaginable for a lot of people. I have felt a lot of push back by people trying to attach their irrational fear, anxieties and hatred over the monuments to this bead and I’m not inclined to let others fears lay claim to my motives. I challenge anyone to find hate in my heart.

The group has joined the eBay fray and placed one of the beads up for auction with all proceeds going to their Lee Monument Association fund.

The major parades will be this coming weekend in New Orleans; we will be in suspense until then to see if the krewe members comply with the edicts of the krewe bosses or if they go rogue and throw their Robert E. Lees.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

As the city of Philadelphia celebrate their championship (and upcoming quarterback controversy)  and Patriots fans question the benching of Malcolm Butler and continue to whine about the Garoppolo trade in the wake of Superbowl 52 there is one aspect of the game that nobody is talking about, at least not yet.

While the Patriots have been identified with the President in the past it’s worth noting that after his speech in Alabama Tom Brady distanced himself from President Trump and 17 members of the New England Patriots took a knee to the boos of the fans in Foxborough.

contrariwise not only did no member of the Philadelphia Eagles take a knee that week Philly was one of only seven team that didn’t have a single player protest during the National Anthem all season.

If you’re planning to watch the Super Bowl but you can’t stand the NFL take-a-knee protests, you may want to root for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Not a single Eagles player sat or knelt during the national anthem, one of just seven teams with perfect non-kneeling records, in a season that saw 684 such incidents, according to a study released Thursday by Sports Pundit.

The other Super Bowl LII team, the New England Patriots, landed in the middle of the pack with 17 incidents of anthem sitting or kneeling, wedged between the Buffalo Bills with 16 and the Cleveland Browns with 20.

So while many in the Nevertrump® world are no doubt are celebrating they have not considered that the Eagles have put the President in the catbird seat.  Instead of inviting a team where a large number of players protested his remarks from a region that gave him but a single electoral vote and wondering who might show up, President Trump after releasing a pre-game statement about standing for the anthem, now gets to invite a team from a swing state that he won, where not a single member of the team took a knee the entire season..

And don’t think for one second that the president will fail to note that bit of Karma on twitter sooner rather than later and use it to his advantage.   Moreover he might just be snarky enough to congratulate all the leftists out there for choosing to celebrate a team that refused to disrespect the flag.

It will be a lot of fun to see if he is able to bait his foes on the left to attack the champions of Philadelphia as insufficiently woke and alienate the blue collar voters now celebrating in the streets.

Needles, California last week

By John Ruberry

While I’m watching snow fall outdoors at Marathon Pundit world headquarters in Morton Grove, Illinois, the rest of my family is vacationing in southern California.

When they drove into California at Needles, just as the Joads did in The Grapes of Wrath, they were also greeted by more desert, as well as this 76 sign, which informs motorists that regular gasoline is selling for $3.79-a-gallon, more than a dollar above the national average.

Taxes are of course the reason and late last year the Tarnished State increased its gas taxes by 12 cents-a-gallon, to pay for road improvements.

California’s problems are vast. When the cost-of-living is figured in California suffers from the nation’s highest poverty rate. Modern day Joads are better off staying in Oklahoma. California’s roads are in bad shape because of onerous financial obligations in other parts of the budget. CalPERs, California’s public worker pension plan, is a sinkhole, so much so that Governor Jerry Brown is suggesting that pension benefits might be lowered–even for state workers currently paying into the program.

Another budget-buster is California’s high-speed rail project. Eight years ago voters approved the $40 billion project because government would pay for construction, which would make it “free.” Cost estimates for it have already climbed to $64 billion. If completed, and right now that might be stretch at best, it will run between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The relatively inexpensive segment where construction has begun, between Madera and Bakersfield, is already beset by delays, so much so that Victor Davis Hanson is musing that what little has been built could end up as nothing more than a modern Stonehenge. While the project is receiving federal funds, an increase of cash from Washington DC is not going to happen during the Trump presidency. So don’t count on a bailout, Californians.

Liberalism is expensive. And liberals love trains because, unlike cars and buses, they only go where there are tracks.

Moving up the Pacific Coast Highway into Oregon we learn that legislators are considering implementing an expensive cap-and-trade scheme that will punish large energy users, who are of course also large employers, in order to fight global warming. California has a cap-and-tax racket going already.  But there is some good news out of Oregon. Earlier this year, a new law took effect that allows drivers to fill up their own gas tanks–without an attendant. Of course some Oregonians freaked out, No, this was not an episode of Portlandia. Now only another coastal blue state, New Jersey, bans self-serve gas stations.

Blogger in Aberdeen, Washington

Heading north over the Columbia River into Washington, legislators in that blue state are debating a $10-a-ton carbon tax, one that a Democratic legislator who opposes it calls a “pretty sizable gas-tax increase.” Washington’s governor, Democrat Jay Inslee, who prefers a $20-a-ton tax, laughingly calls his plan a jobs creator.

The United States has much cheaper energy costs than Japan and most nations in Europe, which is one of the reasons, along with President Trump’s slashing of regulations–many of them involving energy–why the American economy is booming.

Does the West Coast want to be left behind as the rest of our nation enjoys prosperity? California, as it has been for decades for good and for ill, is already ahead of the curve.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

If you are a person who believes in jinxes then Tom Brady’s 3rd MVP is a good sign for Philadelphia.

The Associated Press chose the New England Patriots star as the 2017 Most Valuable Player, announcing the award during Saturday night’s NFL Honors ceremony. At 40 years and 184 days, Brady is the oldest player to win the MVP, an award that goes back to 1957. Brady’s resume now boasts one Comeback Player of the Year, three regular-season MVPs, four Super Bowl MVPs and five Lombardi Trophies — with an opportunity for a sixth on Sunday.

The Patriots have never won a superbowl in a season where Brady won the MVP.

However if you don’ t believe in jinxes the Superbowl will come down to one salient fact, will Philadelphia play the full 60 minutes.

The Seattle Seahawks didn’t

After 59 minutes, both before and after the Malcolm Butler interception, the Seattle Seahawks played as if the outcome of the game was already decided.

After 59 minutes both before and after the Malcolm Butler interception the New England Patriots played as if the outcome of the game was in doubt.

The Atlanta Falcons didn’t

As I update this in the 3rd quarter with Atlanta leading by 25 so Roger Goodell is likely dancing in the streets but more importantly Lady Gaga decided her songs were liberal enough so she decided to shut up and sing meaning that the NFL was able to get sanctuary from the left meaning football fans won’t have to take sanctuary from the game.

Frankly if Brady & the pats were not playing I wouldn’t give a damn and if it wasn’t Brady on that field I’d consider this game over.

UPDATE: Unfortunately for Atlanta that was in fact Brady on the field and I suspect those extra four weeks of rest came in handy in those final 18 minutes. You have to go back to William Tecumseh Sherman to find a bunch of Georgia boys more manhandled by an invader from the North.

That’s what it really comes down to. It’s already been amply established that even down 25 late in the 3rd quarter or with the opposing team a single yard away with under a minute to go the Patriots keep playing to win and will not pretend that the Eagles have no chance to do so.

On paper the Eagles should have an OK chance, you have an excellent defense and a Quarterback who has shown flashes of brilliance, but if the Patriots go up early by a couple of scores (a very rare thing in a Superbowl) will they still have faith in their game plan to keep plugging away? Conversely if they go up early and Tom Brady starts to bring the Patriots back will they panic remembering what happened to both the Falcons and the Seahawks?

Or if the game is close all the way through, will they have the discipline to keep playing their game till the very end?

That is what we are about to find out as I pointed out last year

Again this is football and if the Patriots and Brady weren’t playing I really wouldn’t care what a bunch of overpaid athletes who don’t respect the country that gives them the change to make a fortune playing a game do or don’t do.

But as the MSM has decided that New England represents Trump and the Eagles represent the left I hope Brady and company pulverizes them into dust, given both the Patriots and the Eagles style, I think that’s highly unlikely, but it would be nice.

Even better maybe if the Patriots win the Superbowl again local sports radio will FINALLY get over the Garoppolo trade.