Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Thoughts From An Ex NFL Fan

My hero H.L. Mencken once said politics is the greatest spectator sport. I wholeheartedly agree with the sage of Baltimore, so watching overgrown men run up and down a field in tight pants doesn’t do it for me, but I do realize that football is very popular. Perhaps even America’s most popular sport.

Growing up in northern Virginia I naturally became a Redskins fan. I remember the Redskins glory days with John Riggins, Joe Gibbs and the Hogs. The days when winning a Super Bowl was expected every season. However, my devotion has been reduced incrementally over the last few years, until this season, when I plan not to watch a single snap from the center.

The Marxists learned last century that the key to controlling a country was to control the culture, and of course sports and entertainment is part of the culture. This year it is the National Anthem protest, next year it will be a new left wing cause the NFL will be pushing. It will not stop. Any day now I expect the NFL to decree that no Super Bowl can be played in a state with a confederate monument.

In terms of the latest protest, it is particularly galling that millionaire players have decided America is an unfair place. They are indoctrinated by left wing groups such as black lives matter (don’t all lives matter?)
The purpose of the kneeling protest is to propagate a lie that America is a racist, unfair country.

As a conservative I won’t give succor to the NFL and the left-wing sports media, so I am comfortable with my decision to put watching football behind me, and to end that phase of my life. The snarky liberal sports commentators can go on without me.

However, my main argument for boycotting the NFL is not political, although that in my mind is sufficient, rather it is personal. The main reason is time, the most valuable thing we have. Every hour of your life is priceless. Watching others (not your kids) play a game is a massive, indeed I'd say sinful, waste of time.

Let’s say you spend 3 hours a week on watching the NFL, and add the playoffs, the Super Bowl and a couple hours a week listening to sports talk radio, and of course the pre-game show and you get to close to 100 hours a year. Just think what you could do with that time. And if you go to the games you will be spending several thousand dollars.

Think of the opportunity cost! In a hundred hours you can read dozens of the best books ever written, complete numerous projects around the house. You can spend time with your family, work on your other hobbies. You could learn to play chess, learn to cook. One season you could spend your new found 100 hours touring historic sites in Virginia.

Plus, there is the emotional investment you put in football. What happens if your team loses. You feel depressed. What happens if your favorite player pulls a hamstring muscle? You feel bad. Put your emotional energy into something more productive.

Watching football can never improve your life. Oh, sure it may be fun watching a giant man make a catch and run down the field, while another man is in hot pursuit but that is never going to make you truly happy. Don’t give the NFL your money, your time or your attention.

So, retire as a fan, as I have, and get your Sundays back. You will thank me one day. And when you are asked at work what you thought of the big game, and that amazing catch, respond with, “Just because grown men decide to play a game doesn’t mean I have to watch.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Green-Eyed Monster Gets to George Clooney

Jealousy is an ugly trait even in someone as beautiful as George Clooney. The legendary liberal, and foul-mouthed Clooney took to twitter over the weekend in, as far as I can tell, an unprovoked attack on Steve Bannon calling him a “F###ing Failed Screen Writer.” It seems that before Bannon went into politics he tried his hand at writing a Hollywood script, and failed. Wow how embarrassing.

But why drop the F bomb on someone?

Well, you may say that Clooney is just an angry liberal who has still not gotten over Hillary losing the Presidency. That could be true, but I think there is more to it. I think Clooney is jealous that Bannon accomplished something far greater than anything Clooney has up to now. That is Bannon was instrumental in getting a President elected. Only 45, up to now men, have been elected to that office. So being involved in a winning Presidential campaign at a high level is a real feather in anyone’s cap. If you don't believe me just ask Bob Shrum.

And isn’t that a far greater achievement than writing a Hollywood script? Or having a minor part in the 80’s sitcom “The Facts of Life”? Although, if I had a chance I would ask Clooney what it was like to work with Kim Fields. For those of you that don’t remember she played the effervescent ‘Tootie’ on the show.

Clooney is an unabashed liberal that is for sure, but he is also one of the dimmest in the constellation of Hollywood stars. A reflexive liberal with the most facile of arguments at the ready. Arguments that if forced to define or defend he couldn’t.

An example, last spring he complained that an “obscene amount" of money is being spent in politics. How does he define an obscene amount? He doesn't. The interview I witnessed was nothing more than a liberal NBC reporter asking him softballs and nodding as Clooney spoke. No real follow up was involved.

How much money is the right amount, either in terms of a dollar figure or possibly what percentage of say the GDP should be spent on campaigns for President. Clooney doesn't offer a formula to allow us to ascertain how much should be spent.

Perhaps he has adopted the Potter Stewart definition of obscenity. Stewart was a supreme court justice who said I can’t define obscenity but “I know what it is when I see it.”

Ironically after Clooney made the complaint about an “obscene amount of money” being spent on campaigns held a $33,000 a plate fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. Is paying $33,000 a plate for a dinner to help Hillary Clinton win the Presidency obscene? I would say yes, in fact if that is not obscene I don’t know what is.

The New York Yankees payroll in 2017 is estimated to be over 154 million dollars. Does George think that is an obscene amount of money to pay men to play a child’s game?

Perhaps Clooney believes that too much money in politics corrupts the system because candidates with more money have an unfair advantage.

Happily Hillary debunked that theory. Through fundraisers like Clooney she tried to buy the Presidency. According to Reuters Hillary Clinton raised over $520 million for her campaign compared to only $270 million for Trump, much of which came out of his own pocket. And if you consider SuperPacs and outside groups her money advantage was even greater. And if you consider the free media she received from the adoring Washington press corps her money advantage would be something like 10 to 1.

My theory is that Clooney made the obscenity comment because he assumed that Trump would outspend Clinton. At some point he realized she had more money so he dropped the complaint.

The good news, it didn’t work. Money can only get you so far in Politics. All the money in the world couldn't get Hillary elected.

George, money in politics is not obscene, but dropping the F bomb on someone you don’t know is.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Trump's Sister Souljah Moment

In the political lexicon a “Sister Souljah moment" is when a politician attacks a part of his traditional voter base in an effort to appeal to the center.

This campaign tactic has been employed in campaigns for the last 200 years, but the tactic got its name in 1992. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton decided to employ the tactic with the purpose of creating some distance with the Jesse Jackson wing of the party and by doing so appeal to the moderate Democrats, or what we might call the Reagan Democrats.

Sister Souljah was a black rap star, and civil rights activist, who in an interview with the Washington Post wondered, "… if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?”

Now, the Washington press corps didn’t demand that Democrats condemn her comments, after all she was not a white nationalist, rather she was a civil rights activist. Her voice was perfectly legitimate.

However, Bill Clinton saw his opportunity and denounced her words as extreme and divisive. By doing so he was able to distance himself from the Jesse Jackson wing of the party. Clinton could show that he was a different kind of Democrat. The tactic worked.

This tactic was employed in 2000, when Governor George W. Bush complained that to often Republicans try to balance the budget on the “backs of the poor.” It is BS, but it may have helped him with the moderates, and it may have helped him build his image as a “compassionate conservative.”

But the mainstream media missed Donald Trump’s Sister Souljah moment. It took place on October 6, 2015. In an interview with Bret Bair of Fox news,

In the interview Trump described President Bush as a “disaster” and he went on to say that entering the Iraq War was “one of the worst decisions ever made.”

I don’t think it's too much of a stretch to say that on Oct. 6, 2015 Trump won the Presidency or at least won the Republican nomination. Referring to the Bush administration as a disaster and the Iraq invasion as a bad decision was exactly what Republicans wanted to hear from a fellow Republican.

By going after Bush Trump created some distance with the neo conservative wing of the party and he appealed to independents and moderate voters. It worked.

I am convinced that most Republicans realize that the Iraq war was a disaster, but Republican presidential candidates didn’t want to say it. They adopted the Sean Hannity strategy, never criticize a current or former Republican President. Or for that matter any Republican.

But Trump remembered Aesop's Fables and like the children observing that the Emperor had no clothes on, Trumps calling the Iraq war a disaster made him appear to be plain speaking and frankly sane. He was just saying what most Republicans already believed. Which again gave the impression that he was not a Washington politician.

The neo conservatives, led by Bill Kristol and his magazine “The Weekly Standard” pushed the Iraq war. Sadly, President George W. Bush went along and ruined his Presidency. As an aside I heard today that Kristol was poo pooing the idea of a tax cut. He claims that, unlike the Iraq war, it can’t get done.

If Ted Cruz had been the first to call the Iraq war a disaster, and not Trump, we might today be talking about President Cruz.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Lee Was An Honorable Man

In 1861 Col. Robert E. Lee had a decision to make. He could stay in the US. Army and go to war against his home state, or he could defend his state, which without his control or desire, decided to secede from the union.

Lee loved the US Army and the Federal union, but he felt he could not go to war against his neighbors, most of his friends, the people he grew up with, his relatives, his family; two of his sons fought for Virginia, and his nephew Fitzhugh, who later became Governor, also fought for the confederacy.

Lee operated on a completely moral and rational basis. He put his family and his state first. Today the consensus is that there was only one right answer, that was to fight for the Federal government. I suppose it is easier to moralize upon a decision when we know we don’t have to make it. But he did.

Imagine if you were put into a position where you had to take up arms against all the people you grew up with, went to school with, played with, and loved. And if you did you would be called a hero by people 150 years later and if you didn't you'd be called a traitor by those same people. That was Lee's position.

Now as far as the fatuous claim that Lee fought for slavery. In 1861 the Lincoln administration’s policy towards the seceding states was that if you stayed in the union you could keep the institution of slavery. It wasn’t until the Emancipation Proclamation came in 1863 that the Federal government made clear that the war, at least from their perspective, was about freeing the slaves.

First and foremost, Lee was a soldier not a politician. The Legislature in Richmond believed that states had a right to secede in the 9th and 10th Amendments of the constitution. A view that a number of constitutional scholars, including William Rawle, held.

As far as the treason charge, Lee was never tried, or convicted of the crime. In the 1970's by a special act of Congress Lee's citizenship was posthumously restored. Congress passed laws in 1929 and 1958 making confederate veterans US. War veterans. I don't think Congress would have done that if they viewed them as anything close to traitors. President Grant even invited Lee to the White House on at least one occasion. Did the President let a traitor in the White House? Of course not.

After the war Lee worked hard to rebuild Virginia and reunite the nation. He inspired and educated a new generation of Virginia men at a small college in Lexington called Washington college. Later it was renamed to Washington and Lee.

Recently I was reading some of Lee’s letters and I came across this passage, which seems to sum up his love for the state and his mindset. Lee was working in St Louis and was homesick, but in 1840 he was sent back to Virginia and on his return he wrote:
"I felt so elated when I again found
myself back in the confines of the Ancient Dominion that I
nodded to all the old trees as I passed, chatted with the
drivers and stable boys, shook hands with the landlords, and
in the fullness of my heart -don't tell Cousin Mary- wanted to kiss all the pretty girls I met."

This passage presents an idyllic picture of Lee’s Virginia, and it is easy, or perhaps easier to understand why he would never take up arms and destroy that place which he affectionately called the “ Ancient Dominion.”

Lee was an honorable man. Virginians should be proud to call him a Virginian.