FRANKEN FOR MOORE?

The Senate race in Alabama is a head-scratcher.  As a card-carrying supporter of the whole Buckley/Friedman/Reagan thing, one hesitates to support a candidate accused of being a dirty old man.  But what if one’s inability to bend his principles would cost the Republicans their control of the Senate?

In the end, one is weak on certain principles when survival is at stake.  Forget about degrees of probability of guilt, about degrees of revulsion over the alleged behavior.  Here is my final offer:  If the tradeoff for the withdrawal of Judge Moore’s candidacy were, instant term-limits for the entire Congress, with all extant terms expiring today, meaning we could throw out 535 tubs of mostly dirty- bathwater even though they contained a few healthy babies, I would go for it.  To get rid of every corrupt, lazy, or stupid member of Congress and start from scratch with a new set of elections, I’d trust the American electorate and take my chances with that deal.

But until that deal is on the table, I am not willing to sacrifice control of the Senate in order to enforce a moral code that we have reason to believe is violated on a regular basis by large numbers of politicians, many of whom, actually most of whom (if you can trust even the media), are actually Democrats.  So long as American politics remains an unfair fight, my gloves stay off and I am carrying a tire iron.

The left has seemed oblivious to this issue since Bill Clinton’s inauguration and has only focused upon it lately, when they have finally located an actual Republican against whom they could raise it.  (Actually, we do have our dirty old man emeritus, Bush 41, but he is now reduced to pinching nurses.)  But a prisoner-exchange of Al Franken for Judge Moore? –  any Democrat would jump on that deal.

Other side of the same thought:  the Republicans might be the only group on earth that would be dumb enough, sanctimonious enough, to turn down that kind of deal if the roles were reversed.  If you asked nicely, they might sacrifice Judge Moore (and the Senate) without demanding a single Democrat in exchange, not even a hapless/feckless Democrat like Franken.

All of which tells you a lot about how this nation was frustrated enough to hire a president whose essential campaign promise was to drain the Swamp.

As Obama’s recent comparison of Trump to Hitler has shown, American politics are now a battle to the death, no holds barred.  I am not surrendering any of my troops on the grounds that their deportment offends the volatile sensibilities of the American Left.  If Alabama does not want Moore, so be it.  If Obama and the media do not want Moore, I am massively unmoved and will await the outcome of any judicial determination of his guilt.

BAKE ME A CAKE AS FAST AS YOU CAN

If you offer a product or service to anyone, you must offer it to everyone, but you don’t have to accept an order for something you are not in business to build, even if the would-be buyer is gay.

Based on initial reports of the Supreme Court’s oral-arguments phase of the appeal on the Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding, sounds like the Supremes might be inching toward what this observer considers the crux of the case:  just what, exactly, did the baker refuse to do?

Seems clear enough the engaged couple made it known they were gay (i.e., they introduced themselves as the parties to be married), and asked the baker to bake them a wedding cake.  Also seems clear enough that in the end, the baker refused to bake them a wedding cake.  What has been missing from press accounts of the case is this:  did the customers indicate what kind of cake they wanted?  Did they want any old wedding cake, like one of the cakes on display, or a cake of a particular design, like a design that in some way commemorated the fact that it was in celebration of a gay wedding?  More specifically, did the customers indicate they wanted the design to include, for example, two male figures as the wedding partners, or some other design that denoted, at least to the congnoscenti, that it was a gay marriage – e.g., the special flag that the celebrants eventually ordered and bought from another baker?  Initial accounts suggest that Justices Kennedy and Gorsuch, through their lines of questioning, were heading toward this issue.

Why does the design of the cake matter?   Answer:  (i) no problem if the guys wanted a generic cake, like the ones the baker displayed – it is indisputable that the baker offered to sell them a standard-design cake, despite their being gay.  In other words, the baker will sell all of his conventional cakes to anyone, regardless of the customer’s sexual orientation;  but (ii) big problem if the customer wants the baker to produce a transparently-gay cake.

The law is, you cannot offer a particular product to some people but not to others, when the reason for the discrimination is the others’ sexual orientation.  But what about refusing to make and sell a particular product that you do not offer to anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation?  If that behavior were illegal, then a person could walk into a bakery and order cupcakes and a new Mercedes, and if that person were gay, the owner would have to build him a Mercedes. Moral of the story:  if you offer a product or service to anyone, you must offer it to everyone, but you don’t have to accept an order for something you are not in business to build, even if the would-be buyer is gay.

NEWS FLASH:  TRUMP IS A CONSERVATIVE

Here is the essence of this site’s recent CliffNotes summary of the Trump presidency: “The president is more of a conservative than many of his detractors, even though his conservatism is based upon his business experiences and instincts.  He is anti-regulation but not anti-government.  He is pro-markets but willing to provide governmental assistance.  Do his critics miss the point because they are too distracted by matters of taste and manners?”  (from http://www.mecmoss.com/small-government-vs-stingy-government/ )

And here is an excerpt from Christopher DeMuth’s Wall Street Journal essay (November 18, 2017) on “Trump v. the Deep Regulatory State:” “Many readers may be puzzled that our tempestuous president should preside over the principled, calibrated regulatory reform described here . . . (that) he is comfortable and proficient in managing his own enterprise, which is now the executive branch . . He may even understand that modern presidents have become too powerful for their own good and can benefit from sharing responsibility with Congress.”  Great minds think alike.

The first – and to date, the latest – U. S. president to grasp and support the Milton Friedman/William F. Buckley agenda of reduced regulation and reduced tax rates was Reagan. Remember, it was George H. W. Bush, the nation’s dirty-old-man emeritus, who set in motion the dismantling of the wondrous Tax Reform Act of 1986, and it was the winner of the Y2K Yalie v. Yalie election, “W,” who, after a promising start, ended up giving us a government so bloated, a national debt so severe, and an economy so devastated that the most leftist president in U.S. history was elected under the bizarre expectation that socialism was the key to economic recovery.  And now, finally, the Deplorables have said, enough of government by Skull & Bones or Marx, how about somebody who actually knows something about real-world economics, about what it takes to grow an economy, even though he scorns political-correctness, has vulgar tastes in women, hotels, and haircuts, and communicates with the public through un-presidential tweets rather than evasive press conferences?

Turns out the most animated, vicious political battle of our time is not Democrats v. Republicans, it is Trump v. the left and right wings of the Republican Party.  The president v. the flaccid Bush/Flake/McCain cabal, and the president v. the  Paul/Cruz libertarian orthodoxy.  Trump has offered his love to Republicans, and if they are foolish and snobbish enough to decline the offer, he will dump them and look for another bride.

ROGER GOODELL IS A FAILURE

Pro football is in trouble.  A significant decline in viewership of NFL pro football could trigger a death spiral for the entire sport.

Pro football has a concussions issue, an overall safety issue (e.g., spinal injuries), a saturation issue (football on Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday night), an empirical ambitions issue (games in the U.K., Mexico, etc.), a feminist/metrosexual issue (football is too mean, violent, aggressive, and manly), a players-as-felons issue (Ezekiel Elliott, Ray Rice, etc.), and a race-&-politics issue (Colin Kaepernick, a decent QB who is shunned because he chose an outrageous platform from which to stage his socio-political protests).  The cumulative magnitude of these issues is being revealed by a substantial decline in recent TV ratings.

Thus we have a Bob Costas piling on, with his observation that we may be headed toward a day when the only remaining players will be athletes for whom football is the only way out of poverty –  “At some point  . . .  parents say, ‘I don’t want my kids to play.’ And then it becomes only the province of the poor, who want it for economic reasons to get up and out.”  Is it a coincidence that the NFL is presently 70% black?

Some fans, especially former players and coaches, have already indicated that they find the pro game boring and they think college football is way more interesting because it involves more action, more innovation, more complexity.  These fans say they have already switched to college ball and they do not miss pro ball at all.

Well, here’s the problem.  If pro football became a niche sport, why would an elite athlete want to play college ball?  Young athletes do not matriculate in order to study Sophocles or Thomas Acquinas, they do it to prepare themselves to play football for big money.  Take away pro ball, you take away college ball in pretty short order.  And maybe high school ball and Pop Warner, which are already in trouble.  Even with all the slimy agents and alumni, college players do not make seven figures a year.  Blacks would drop football if it no longer offered them a future, and whites would drop football if their mothers would no longer let them risk concussion and paralysis.  Game over.

Commissioner Goodell thinks he should be retained as NFL Commissioner because the NFL has made a ton of money during his regime.  That might be persuasive if the NFL were a publicly-owned corporation offering positive projections, but it is not.  The future does not look so great, largely because Goodell has failed to resolve any of the critical issues and has no apparent plans for doing so, meaning he stinks at his job regardless of the NFL’s 2016 financials.  If Goodell had the necessary talents for the job, we would never have had a Tom Brady fiasco, an Ezekiel Elliott fiasco, or a Colin Kaepernick fiasco.  But we did, and millions of fans were alienated and the NFL was left with a legal/social/political crisis.  Help!

WOULD THE PLAYERS TAKE A KNEE FOR THE INTERNATIONALE?

Here is the critical passage from the  “Memo 4 players sent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell,” as reported by Yahoo Sports on September 20  ( see  https://sports.yahoo.com/memo-4-players-sent-nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-030818178.html ):  “As players whom (sic) have been advocating for social justice for the past year, we appreciate the opportunity to engage with you, the league, owners, coaches and GMs to make our communities stronger. As we shared with you, the silence following our individual and collective demonstrations around the national anthem to raise awareness to racial inequality . . . .”  (italics added, for emphasis).  One of those players, Michael Bennett of the Seahawks, has continued to speak out and to repeat his call for social justice and an end to racial inequality.

Mr. Bennett seems sincere and thoughtful, one who has been deeply affected by negative experiences with employers and the police.  The guess here is that he picked-up on “social justice” and “inequality” from listening to President Obama and that he has no idea of the etymology of those terms, which represent the essence of the goals and ideals of socialism and communism, going back not just to Barack Obama but to the original “community organizer,” Saul Alinsky, and indeed to the big guy, Karl Marx.  Translated from lefty Newspeak, “social justice” means the government controls everything and makes sure you are treated the same as everyone else – i.e., your life is just as crappy as your neighbor’s – and “inequality” means there are no rich people (other than officials of the ruling political party), and everyone is equally poor.  However glorious and idealistic these terms may sound to a college sophomore, you should not have graduated before figuring out they are fraudulent.  Mr. Bennett and his colleagues are innocent pawns in a larger game.  The knee-taking, raised arms, and sit-downs might not be intended as insults to the anthem or the flag, but there can be no doubt that they constitute political advocacy.  Denying that the protests are political is a con.

For Mr. Bennett and others, “social justice” is targeted mainly at racial-profiling by the police and anti-black bias by the judicial system.  Their frustration is understandable:  blacks in America know there are a lot of bad apples wearing a police uniform or sitting on juries, some are racists, some are people of low character and an instinct to bully.  Maybe the country needs its Colin Kaepernicks to remind us of the problem of the rogue cop and the bigoted juror.  But the problem cannot be solved by setting quotas on convictions of black defendants or banning profiling; none of that would make life safer or better for a resident of a gang-dominated black neighborhood in a major American city.  As for profiling, it is a necessity of life, of survival; there is not an adult in America who does not use profiling every day and in every aspect of his life, applying his knowledge and experience and judgment to make good decisions when there is neither the time nor the resources to find perfect ones. If police are not permitted to “profile,” they are given a strong incentive to stay away from trouble, to avoid doing their job of protecting you and me. Social justice is a con.

For Mr. Bennett and others, “equality” does not mean equal opportunity, which is already required by law, or equal pay for equal work, which is likewise the law.  It appears to mean equal outcomes, with blacks’ incomes being the same as whites’ regardless of the nature of the job and the skill and diligence with which it is performed.   In other words, Marxism.  If you really think Marxism would give us a better economy, or even better football, raise your hand and you are excused.  Equality is a con.

It is also a con to argue that the anthem protests are free speech, protected speech, for which the speakers cannot be punished.  The protesters are sadly mistaken, as the First Amendment provides freedom from government interference but does not prevent your employer from firing you if you say things that violate company rules. Doesn’t matter whether you are a factory worker, the company president, or a starter for the Dallas Cowboys.

When the players say (as so many of them have said) that all they want is to have a conversation about race, what they mean is, they want to vent about their perception of social injustice and inequality, and the only conversation they want is for them to talk and you to listen and agree.  Well, that is a conversation that has been going on for at least 50 years in this country, especially through political campaigns, and that has yielded little in the way of improving the lot of blacks in this country; few problems have been addressed, and tensions between black and white have gotten worse, not better.  The conversation I would like to have, is that I think the sorry state of much of America’s black population today is the result of 50 years of horrible social and economic policies foisted upon the country by the Democratic Party over the objections of Republicans.  I am tired of having black America dragged down by the Democrats’ educational and social policies, which encourage and perpetuate the breakdown of the public school system and the family unit.  But I don’t think any black American (other than Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Jason Riley, or Clarence Thomas) is interested in hearing that.

I concede that the White House is not interested in having a conversation.  If the president is enjoying the confrontation, it is because he is winning this argument, because the teams are realizing that the public is not on the players’ side and the NFL is losing money by accommodating the players.  As for the president having the loudest voice in the room, that is not at all the case;  the “room” is the entire mass media (whose voices are collectively way louder than the White House’s and who, with the intermittent exception of the WSJ’s editorial department and Fox News, are uniformly and violently opposed to the president).   Good thing the left does not yet control the social media; were it not for Twitter, the president would have no voice at all.

P.S.   There is a simple solution, though purists on both sides would object: First the players do all their warm-ups and preparations, then they go back to their locker rooms, then the anthem is performed and the eagle flies and the rest of the patriotic hoopla occurs, and then, when the smoke has cleared, the teams run back onto the field and play some football.  No one is allowed to brag or pout about having won or lost in the compromise solution.  Play ball.