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.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

ESPN and The NCAA are Not Our Friends

Let me make a prediction for you. When the dust settles, and the latest PC jihad against confederate statues subside, there will still be a few states in the south, mostly in the deep south, that will posses some confederate statues. And to the modern PC crowd, whom I affectionately call the Bolsheviks, that will not be good enough. They won’t rest until every statue, street name, dorm name, building, school, daycare center, traffic circle and bridge is free from the taint of the old south. Lenin had the same policy towards the Romanov's when he seized power. No street could be named for a Romanov.

Well, what is coming is Round two. What is round two, well that is when the National Collegiate Athletic Association, better known as the NCAA, decides that it will start boycotting the offending states. No championship games can be played in those states, and other events will be banned until the offensive statues come down. The NCAA may stand for a lot of things but tolerance is not one of them.

The NCAA is committed to advancing the leftist causes of the politically correct. The policies of wedding cake bakers, who can use the girls bathroom, what states require voter ID, and what statues are hanging up in the town square are all issues that the NCAA care about. And over time the NCAA will expand their legislative agenda. No doubt they will incorporate the platforms of Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter.

It is fitting that the NCAA has become such a politically correct organization. The great leftist himself, Teddy Roosevelt, fathered the Association while he was President.

In the ongoing culture war, we conservatives must realize, as much as we may like sports, that both ESPN and the NCAA are enemies of traditional America. They will use whatever influence they can muster to turn America into a European wiener state. They won't rest until the ideal man in the south is no longer a masculine Robert E. Lee type, but rather the metrosexual, the man who likes to play the guitar and ride his bike to work...but I digress.

I have come up with a way to go after both ESPN and the NCAA in one fell swoop:
How about eliminating organized college sports?

Now before you say that it will never happen, or it is impossible, to quote John Lennon you may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one. Or what was George Bernard Shaw’s line, “Some men see things as they are and ask why, I dream things that never were and ask why not?” Yes, the Virginia Gentleman is a visionary. It may seem painful but we can get rid of college sports. There will still be lots to do on Saturdays. And do we really need our March filled with madness?

So, allow me to point out a number of lines of attack:

First the economics of college sports. Earlier this summer I read Gilbert Gaul’s book, “Billion Dollar Ball.” And I gathered from the book that the vast majority of college sports programs don’t make money. The elite basketball and football programs make money, but they are few and far between. The University of Texas makes money on football, but say Fresno States’, or Akron or Northern Illinois team does not. College sports operates on this premise. Fresno State and the majority of football and basketball teams keep playing on the theory that one day they will make money. Only a small percentage of college teams actually do.

The reason for women’s softball teams, rowing teams, gymnastics, archery, cricket, curling, tennis and golf teams is to comply with title IX. That is roughly an equal amount of money must be spent on woman’s programs as is spent on the men’s programs. Even though the woman’s programs make no money.

I have a cousin who recently received a scholarship to a major university for gymnastics. They needed to give her a scholarship to justify the scholarship for a football or basketball player. I am happy that she got a break on tuition, but how does it really help the university to add to the student body someone who has the ability to do a somersault and walk on a balance beam like a cat?

So the economics of college sports are odd to say the least. Why not just take sports out of scholarship consideration. Just give scholarships based on academics and economic need?

And there are health issues to consider. Colleges are putting their student athletes at great risk. Neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu has argued that football is inherently dangerous. Repeated blows to the head inevitably causes chronic traumatic encephalopathy(CT). A degenerative disease that destroys the brain. Could a college or university be held liable for future claims? And if it is a public university could taxpayers be on the hook? Is it right for a school to sanction such a dangerous activity?

On health grounds alone, ironically with the help of liberals, we could probably get rid of college football.

The NFL and the NBA use colleges as their minor leagues, that is to develop future talent at low/no pay. Why not get the colleges out of it and require the NBA and NFL to create their own minor leagues? Football and Basketball fans can watch those and the colleges and universities could focus on education, and save the scholarship money for needy students.

We can attack the idea of organized college sports on health concerns, financial grounds, on moral grounds, and on academic grounds. Now, I think it is fine to have intermural sports, but without organized college sports ESPN and the NCAA will not have the platform to dictate what statues we can have, what bathroom policies must states adopt etc. We will greatly defang them.

If left unchecked the NCAA will over time become like a super legislative body. It will use money to force states to pass laws they want. And ESPN will be right there all along as the mouth piece for them. In the culture war we conservatives need to take down the NCAA and ESPN.

Eliminating organized college sports will finish off the NCAA and deal a body blow to ESPN. A victory for America no doubt.

It can and I believe must be done.