Friday, September 29, 2017

Casing the Colors © Week 29

Casing the Colors © Week 29 • • • CHAPTER 47 • • Moscow airport was deserted when Kate and Alexei arrived. A late winter snow storm had reduced visibility to the minimum allowed for landing and eliminated the welcoming party. Instead, a limousine took them to Alexei's apartment in the Kremlin, where his inner circle of political allies and friends were waiting with champagne and a welcoming buffet dinner. A Russian folk band dressed in colorful costumes entertained them with traditional music and dancing. As they entered the apartment, Kate realized she had never seen it before. The public salons were huge, with high-ceilings, parquet floors covered with Persian carpets and darkly massive furniture to balance the larger-than-human proportions of the rooms. When they went into Alexei's private apartment to change clothes, she was delighted to find lighter, more elegant French antiques and modern paintings mingled with the Russian core pieces. Her husband's personal tastes were splendidly at odds with the requirements of his state-imposed public persona. "Relax and enjoy this evening," he said, kissing her cheek. "Just be yourself, Darling, and get to know my friends. Tonight, they are all happy to be together celebrating our happiness." In the reception room, a melange of elegant people from business, government and the arts surrounded them. The leaders of Russia's movement toward a real market economy and democratic government offered toast after champagne toast between excited accounts of their latest projects, everything from a new pharmaceuticals plant in Siberia to the opening of the latest contemporary play in Moscow. All well-dressed, most in French designer labels, and obviously very wealthy, they represented Alexei's independent power base. His closest political allies mixed with them, listening to wish lists for government support and asking in turn for private help with their own favorite public projects. Kate was regaled with welcoming kisses and made to feel at home. It all could have been happening in Washington, she thought, even the simmering undercurrent of nonspecific discomfiture and frustration. But, it was the combination of champagne, vodka and music that finally made Kate Gordon understand that she was in Moscow. As the evening wore on and the guests relaxed into a velvety ease, they began to sing and then dance with the musicians, men and women mingling and swaying with the music in little groups. They finally pulled Alexei and Kate into the center of a large circle and swirled slowly around them, singing as they moved. In the circle, Alexei performed the steps of a Russian wedding dance. The snow fell, unnoticed, as the evening became late night. At midnight, someone threw open the huge French doors leading out onto a terrace overlooking the inner courtyard of the Kremlin. The snowflakes, drawn into the room by the fireplace draft, fluttered for a moment in the warmth and then fell as tiny drops of water onto the floor. The men wrapped the women in their suit jackets as everyone drifted like reverse snowflakes out onto the terrace. There, in the cold and beautifully Russian winter night, they all embraced, their happiness and hopes mingled with the falling snow. • • The next day, Alexei was up early on his way to the never-ending round of meetings and compromises that held his government in place. Kate was left to become acquainted with the household staff and settle into its routine before making any changes. Just before noon, Alexei phoned her. "Katharine, the American Ambassador is sending a car for you. He needs to talk to you." "What's wrong, Alexei?" she asked, fearing for her father's safety. "It's about the Mexican border." She was waiting in the apartment's private foyer when the limousine arrived. The Ambassador's personal aide was with the driver. "Miss Gordon," he began, then retreated and began again. "Mrs. Katerinov, the Ambassador asked me to brief you. Your father and Secretary Stevens are with the President and want to talk to you on the Embassy's secure line. It's about a White House security matter." Her mind rushed over the events leading to the deaths of Jack Wilson, Carlos Miguel and Dave Browning. Was Raqqa's White House source becoming nervous because he hadn't heard from Dave, or had Raqqa told him the truth about Dave's disappearance. Was he demanding protection as the price of his silence? The media hadn't linked the bounty Raqqa was offering for the President and Scott to the events in Geneva because there still hadn't been a TV report of their deaths. But, it would only be a few days at most before Raqqa leaked all the information he must have and started the next round of frenzied attempts to get behind the White House walls, which were so far holding up against all press efforts to breach them. She tried to hope the phone call would offer encouraging news. When she heard the tone of her dad's voice, Kate braced herself for a disturbing conversation. "Kate, I know we agreed to keep the identity of Raqqa's source quiet for as long as possible, but I'm afraid we've reached the end of the line. George Morrison has found out about Dave's death, and he's threatening to go public if we don't guarantee his safety." "His safety," Bill Stevens repeated. "We now know why George was passing on information to Raqqa. It was because of Sheila Wellford and had nothing to do with Scott asking for legal advice about his military activities, as we had surmised." Stu Wellford broke in. "It seems, Sweetie, that George and Sheila have been occasional lovers for several years. That was the hammer Raqqa used with Jack Wilson, who was foolish enough to gossip about their affair to Dave Browning when he was drunk. Dave Browning, who was already bought and paid for by Miguel, and Raqqa used the information to muscle George. We're searching for the direct connection between Sheila and Raqqa in Los Angeles. She must know Raqqa or someone close to him without realizing it." "Are you sure?" Kate asked. "I can't believe Sheila could be involved in a thing like that." Her mind went numb as Stu continued. "Sweetie, we're all as shocked as you are. We don't have all the answers yet. But, we've checked the story George Morrison told us when we interrogated him. As far as we've traced it, it tracks." "What do we do now? Hope Scott finds Raqqa before he blows the whistle on Sheila." "We have enough evidence to support a treason charge against George Morrison," General Gordon said. "We will deal with him and hope that Raqqa gets the message. If he comes after Sheila publicly, we'll hunker down and try to tough it out." "It won't be easy for a terrorist to make out a case against the wife of the President of the United States," Stu added, "especially when we control the media. We'll just have to trust our instincts and pray for a little luck." "What do you want me to do?" Kate asked. "Should I tell Alexei?" "Of course," Bill said. "Otherwise, Raqqa could blindside us." "Are you going to isolate Sheila?" she asked. "Hell, no," her father replied. "That would be the end of our chance to trap Raqqa. We'll get back to you, Honey. Meanwhile, I'll be working with Scott and Phil Carlson. We've got a million refugees in Texas and Arizona, with more coming every hour. Phil's quartermaster section is struggling to feed them, let alone find shelter for all of them." "What about the military situation?" she asked. "We're concerned about what Raqqa may do to fill the leadership void now that Miguel's dead and what his retaliation will be," Stu said. "I think we're going to take a big hit." "Undoubtedly," General Gordon agreed, "but that may be okay if it forces Raqqa's hand and we get a shot at him. We've got to sign off, Kate. Don't be too hard on yourself for not figuring out everything about Sheila and the others. None of us wins a blue ribbon for perspicacity," he added. She put down the phone and sat in the silent Embassy office, trying to find in retrospect the signs that should have alerted her to Sheila's liaison. She phoned Alexei and asked him to come to the Embassy for lunch. "I can't Katharine, unless it's an emergency." "No, Darling, it can wait until this evening," she said, turning over the alternatives. A light flashed in her head and she picked up the phone and asked for a secure line through to General Julien in Rabat. Maurice was enjoying a morning of sun and reading in the little garden outside his palace suite. When she gave him the news, he sighed. "My dear Katharine, Sheila is by no means the only woman who has taken a lover. It's not at all unusual and it certainly had nothing to do with your relationship with Stuart Wellford. Don't blame yourself. Be happy with Alexei, if you are foolish enough to prefer him to me." She heard the mirth in his voice and laughed. "Maurice, you are a devil. Don't you ever take anything seriously?" "Yes, Katharine, you. That's why I tease you. Don't you know that pleasantries are a sign of love?" "I know that you tease me unmercifully, Maurice. One day I'm going to get even. Fair warning." "I hope so, Katharine, I hope so. Do you want me to tell President LeNoir or the king?" "What do you think we ought to do?" "Stay quiet for 48 hours," he replied. "Then, if everything is still calm, I'll speak to Jacques LeNoir. Let's leave the king blissfully ignorant for the time being. He's happy with his new role. Let us not disillusion him too soon." She put down the phone, feeling infinitely better for having shared the information with Maurice. Later that evening, Alexei reacted in much the way Maurice had, except that he was more considerate of her sense of responsibility for Sheila's affair with George. "Sheila no longer loved Stu, Darling, or she would have demanded more of him. Don't let it become bigger than it is. The real question is what impact her liaison will have on the Alliance and America's rebellion." "As for Scott, he must have known you were comfortably settled into a relationship with Stu. If he had confronted you, his own facade would have been shattered. Katharine, you can't live with the ghosts of what could have been and be my wife, too. Leave the past as a pleasant memory." "But, Darling," she said, feeling the tears well up in her throat, "how can I ever be sure it wasn't my fault, that I didn't..." Before she could finish, Alexei was holding her at arms length, looking directly into her eyes. "My dear wife," he said firmly, "you are a lovely, intelligent woman and you know that whatever happened had nothing to do with you, but with other people's needs." • • The next morning, Kate received another shock when the American Ambassador informed her that US Attorney General George Morrison had been killed in an automobile accident on his way home from the White House late the previous night. Russia and the rest of Europe were deep in their own problems and made little of the accident. The official White House release expressed deep sadness and noted that a new Attorney General would be appointed after due consultation.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Merkel and NFL Socialists Lose while Trump, the Bulldozer President, Keeps on Rolling -- So Did Jacques Chirac

THE REAL STORY ABOUT FRENCH PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC. Let me tell you a story about conservative French President Jacques Chirac. It happened in 2002 at the cup final of the French Football Federation. I know this story is absolutely true because I was watching the match on TV when it happened and saw the live coverage. • • • FRENCH PRESIDENT CHIRAC DEMANDS RESPECT FOR THE MARSEILLAISE. The match was between the northern French team of the city of Lorient and the Corsican side of the city of Bastia. Corsica, the island south of the French mainland that is part of France but has a nationalist movement that wants greater autonomy, freedom from some French laws and the use of the Corsican language. It is a long-running dispute that has resulted in French officials being murdered and French government buildings being vandalized. • The French national anthem, the Marseillaise, is played before cup finals. • To fully appreciate what happened on that September evening in 2002, it is important to know that while the French are not as devoted to their Tricolor flag as Americans are to their Stars and Stripes, the Marseillaise is the very symbol of the French Republic and the French stand and sing along whenever it is played. Often, at a time of great stress or at a gathering that has national significance, the French spontaneously break into singing the Marseillaise. Think of that famous scene in Rick's Cafe in "Casablanca" when the Free French sing the Marseilliaise to drown out Nazis singing German songs -- it is in no way an exaggeration of the devotion the French have to their national anthem, the Marseillaise. • At the September 2002 French cup final, President Chirac and the entire stadium audience stood up when the Marseillaise started and began to sing. Then, something unusual happened. Booing was heard. The booing appeared to come from the Corsican section of the crowd at the Stade de France. • A furious President Chirac demanded a microphone and told the live television audience and all the spectators that the booing and whistling was an insult to France. Here are President Chirac's words : "A few foolish people have thought it fit to boo the Marseillaise. It's unacceptable and intolerable. I will not tolerate it and I will not accept something that undermines the values of the Republic. I have asked for the start of the game to be put off and asked the French Football Federation to apologize to France, which has been humiliated by this gesture." • Then, the President left the presidential box and the players returned to their dressing rooms while French Football Federation president Claude Simonet asked the crowd to stop booing or the game would not start. Mr. Simonet addressed the crowd with a microphone saying : "the French Federation wishes to apologize because the Marseillaise was booed. It's our national anthem and everybody must respect it. The game will only start when tranquillity returns." • Francois Nicolai, the president of the Bastia club, also apologized to President Chirac, who eventually returned to his seat to watch the game. • • • PRESIDENT TRUMP DEFENDS THE AMERICAN FLAG AND NATIONAL ANTHEM. President Trump gave an interview to Fox News "Fox & Friends" program on Thursday morning, and once again said that NFL owners are “afraid” to act against their players protesting the national anthem at games across the country. President Trump told Fox News : “The NFL is in a box and they have to do something about it. I think they’re afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth." The President said the NFL has a wide range of rules, suggesting the league should apply new rules to those who would protest the anthem by kneeling : “They have rules for everything -- you can’t dance in the end zone, you can’t wear pink socks relative to breast cancer -- they have rules for everything. Why aren’t they honoring this country by enforcing a rule that’s been in existence for a long time?” Trump suggested that stadiums are “losing” fans amid the controversy : “The stadiums are losing -- there are a lot of empty seats, I couldn’t even believe it.” Trump concluded : “The NFL cannot disrespect our country, they cannot disrespect our flag, or our National Anthem.” • • • THE MEDIA COVERS UP FAN BOOING. American Thinker's Rick Moran reported on Thursday that : "Networks broadcasting NFL games refused to allow camera shots of angry fans booing kneeling players during the National Anthem. The Sporting News also reports that one behind-the-scenes TV employee said that networks told the camera operators not to pan the crowd during the Anthem which would have showed what viewers could easily hear, booing fans. 'Networks typically do not televise the National Anthem except for the Super Bowl and other special occasions, but they recognized there would be intense viewer interest this past weekend. Some fans, if they reacted at all, happily clapped and cheered during protests, but others did not, and they angrily let their home teams know it. The audio mics picked up the boos. Yet the TV networks mostly avoided crowd shots Sunday, so there was never a chance for viewers to see fans jeering players. A segment of Patriots fans in Foxborough, Mass., for example, nearly booed their own players off the field when some Pats sat or kneeled, with some screaming, 'Stand up!' " One behind-the-scenes TV staffer at another stadium told Sporting News that camera operators were ordered to avoid crowd shots in case they showed fans counter-protesting the protests. Moran says : "Anyone who had the sound up during the playing of the Anthem last Sunday could hear the outpouring of anger and booing at the players. It really doesn't matter if the media shows angry football fans booing players for kneeling during the Anthem. I think there's a growing realization that this is an issue Trump can't lose on. The more the media dotes on kneeling players, the more resentment of ordinary fans is stoked and the more likely that marginal fans -- the fans that the league and TV networks depend on for about 1/3 of their audience -- will change channels or not bother to turn the game on at all. That would be a catastrophe for the league and the networks. Opposition to the protest will continue to build week by week. And if teams and the league don't believe that, they will be in for a very rude awakening." • • • IS THE NFL SOCIALIST? Blogger Gary Gindler thinks so. He wrote for American Thinker on Thursday : "Quasi-socialism is one of the reasons that American football has not spread to the entire planet, as soccer did. Most professional sports leagues in the US are quasi-socialist enterprises within capitalist corporate America. Outwardly, the NFL looks like a successful corporation, but from within, this corporation has implemented principles of doing business that are alien to America. Sooner or later, the conflict between the quasi-socialist paradise inside the NFL and its capitalist encirclement was bound to happen." Gindler cites the NFL's collective agreement with advertisers to distribute profit from advertising evenly, the draft in which the worst teams get the first picks, and the wage controls. Gindler says : "The minimum salary for all gladiators is set in advance. If the player is drafted into the team, he automatically becomes a millionaire, regardless of the quality of the game. This, as we know, is one of the main features of the socialist economy. What is surprising is the fact that not only the minimum but also the maximum salary in the NFL is also limited. How well a person plays, how many points he brings to his team does not matter. There is a salary ceiling that you will not jump over. Even in the Soviet Union, there was no such restriction -- world-class athletes and show business stars earned without any artificial restrictions. • It is clear, says Gindler, that initially the protest of NFL players was inspired by political opponents of Trump. But when it came down to the disrespect of the national flag and humiliation of the National Anthem : "Even the Democrats realized that this boomerang would hit hard on return. After all, professional sports do not produce anything materially necessary and exist only at the expense of their long-standing reputation. A remarkable confirmation of this is the loud silence of the Democrats on the issue of the humiliation of the National Anthem. They immediately realized that Trump's position in this matter was one hundred percent winning, and they prudently decided to keep quiet. In fact, in the United States, there are several million patriotic Democrats who decided not to vote in 2016 because they did not trust the candidate for their party, Hillary Clinton. The patriotic position of the Republicans on the issue of the American Anthem will inevitably push many patriotic Democrats toward Trump’s camp." Gindler says : "As everybody knows, the wave of protests began with football player Colin Kaepernick last year. It was he who first refused to stand during the performance of the National Anthem, and instead knelt. Why did this athlete, who prefers T-shirts with Fidel Castro, go for it? Allegedly because of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter. But in fact, he knelt down to impress his new girlfriend, who is known to be a radical left supporter of BLM. But after the numerous pogroms committed by BLM in various cities across America during the past year, and the total absence of BLM members in areas hit by recent hurricanes (where it was just plain necessary to save the lives of black Americans), it became clear to all that BLM folks are just ordinary bandits who took cover as fighters against racism." Last Sunday, only 12% of all NFL players did not stand up during the performance of the American Anthem, and 88% did, and Gindler says this is proof "that the attempt to turn the sport into a political weapon has failed, as have other leftists' attempts to use non-standard political weapons." • Certainly, the soccer-football world is not socialist. Salaries are negotiated and can be breath-takingly high for the best players. Gindler feels that "quasi-socialism is one of the reasons that American football has not spread to the entire planet....That’s why the final championship game of the American football -- the Super Bowl -- is watched by about 100 million people (about a third of the whole country). And the final game of the World championship in soccer is watched by more than three billion people (about half of the entire planet)." • • • DID SOCIALIST IDEAS SINK MERKEL ON SUNDAY? Handelsblatt, the leading German business newspaper, wrote on Monday that "many disgruntled Germans chose the AfD mainly as a protest vote, despite its xenophobia not because of it." Thomas Sigmund, Handelsblatt's political chief, wrote : "It was more than a warning for Germany’s big-tent parties. For the first time since World War II, a party on the far right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), succeeded in making the leap into the federal parliament. Nearly one in seven German citizens did not actually vote for the AfD full-heartedly, but protested the obfuscation strategy of a ponderous and tired government. In the refugee crisis and the seemingly never-ending Eurozone crisis, the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), who have been in a coalition for the past four years with the center-left Social Democrats, were never able to perceive, let alone understand, many people’s feelings. The AfD, like a vacuum cleaner, sucked away votes from the CDU/CSU and above all the SPD." Sigmund says : "the A in AfD no longer stands for Alternative, but for the German word “Aufstand” (revolt) in the polling booth. In the past, disgruntled voters vented their frustrations among friends and at their local pubs. On Sunday, they gave their resentment a vote in the Bundestag." For Sigmund, the vote for the AfD was an economic and social vote : "All those who will repeat again and again in the coming days that Germany has never been as well off as it is today are both right and wrong. Former German President Roman Herzog once said : 'Let’s talk about people, because a living being is more valuable that all the treasures of this world.' You can come up with rosy statistics on growth, jobs and tax revenues if you like, but that’s not enough to soothe the anxieties many citizens feel as a result of immigration, fear of job loss due to technology, and more generally the sorry state the world is in.' " Sigmund insists that AfD top candidates Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel "were not elected because of their anti-Semitic outbursts and xenophobic provocations, but in spite of these repugnant utterances. How many citizens had to overcome their own conscience to vote for a party that seeks to rewrite the dark history of both world wars with a stroke of the pen? Many did so despite their revulsion for the AfD. The silent revolt of many citizens stems from the firm belief that the German parliament, the Bundestag, is no longer dominated merely by a mega-coalition of the CDU/CSU with the SPD, but that the Green Party and the Left Party are often also involved in that coalition. Many voters felt that their last resort was to strengthen the fringes, knowing full well what the consequences will be in the Bundestag in the next four years, when many AfD members of parliament allow their crude thoughts to flow freely at the lectern....the new administration will have to address the pressing questions anxious citizens ask." • Socialism dies hard once installed. It is, as the old truism says, hard to take away from people gifts the government has given them. They begin to see the perks as their 'right' and not as a drain on their pocketbooks because of the ever-growing taxes required to keep paying the perks and increasing them in order to entice voters to vote for the politicians who give the perks. There have been signs for more than a year that German voters are tired of paying for the rest of a Europe that has become the recipient of the German perks. If the Sunday rise in votes for the AfD really means that Germans are fed up with the status quo in Germany -- where Merkel's migrants take more and more German tax Euros -- and are fed up equally with the EU -- where the German taxpayer checkbook is the unofficial treasury -- it would spell a watershed change, not only in the chances for a future collapse of the socialist-welfare EU, but also in the chances for Merkel and her open-door open-wallet policies to continuen, even in the mid-term. • • • IS TRUMP ACTUALLY RIGHT??? To come back to where we started, there is a resonating truth to President Trump's plain speaking confrontation of the issues and groups that are way out of sync with ordinary Americans and their 250-year-old value system. • Former New York mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg just told CBS "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert, who had asked him why he didn't run for President in 2106 : "Well, my advisors told me that a New York billionaire who's changed parties a number of times couldn't be elected. So I fired them." Colbert asked Bloomberg if he has any regrets about not running, and Bloomnberg answered : "No, I never look back." Bloomberg was once a registered Democrat before becoming a Republican shortly before running for mayor of New York in 2001. He then became an Independent, and would go on to serve three consecutive terms. • Bloomberg and Trump have a lot in common. But, Donald Trump had the guts to put his conservative American values on the line in a presidential race, while Michael Bloomberg -- one of the best mayors New York City has ever had by any measurement -- stepped back and turned to regulating the size of soft drink cups and the environment as his issues of preference. • American Thinker published an article on Thursday by James Arlandson, who begins with a list : "It's tough to admit that one is wrong, but not if one can learn from it. First the miscalculations, and then a new perspective. I was wrong when I treated his entry into the race as a publicity stunt. I was wrong when I thought his wisecrack about McCain's non-heroism would cause his campaign to implode. I was wrong when I thought his rough personality and discourteous speaking would sink him. I was wrong when I concluded that his missing detailed policy knowledge would edge him out of the debates with the GOP contenders. I was wrong when I believed he would fade in the primaries when he called people names ("Lying Ted" and "Little Marco"). I was wrong when I believed that his business dealings would make voters turn away in droves. I was wrong when I thought he should turn over his tax returns or else lose the nomination and elections. I was wrong when I believed that his comments about the wall and disparaging remarks about immigrants would lead to election losses. (He got 29% of the Hispanic vote.) I was wrong when I thought the October Surprise about groping was about to doom his victory chances. (I didn't want the news media to win, but I didn't think he would, either.) I was (happily) wrong when I thought Hillary would make mincemeat of him in the policy debates. I was (happily) wrong when I thought Hillary would defeat him in the election." • Arlandson then asks : "What am I supposed to learn from the brute reality embodied in that list? Populism wins? America has been degraded? It goes deeper. Let's flip the Trump Phenomenon 180 degrees. Here are just a few items in my thought experiment : What if his bombing the Syrian airfield was the right thing to do in international relations (leaving aside the moral question, which can be used to support the action)? What if his progress against ISIS is right? What if his Afghanistan speech and new military policy there show wisdom, sorely lacking in the last administration? What if he is hitting the right notes in his 'Rocket Man' slams? (Think of Reagan's Evil Empire and Bush's Axis of Evil.) What if his hard denunciation of nations in his UN speech was right, though traditional conservatives thought he was wrong? (He sounded a lot like an Old Testament prophet to me.) As to the NFL protests, what if his calling out the angry left that has insinuated itself into the wonderful and church-going black community was the right thing to do? What if his SOB comment, though inartful, won't sink him politically because it expresses what millions of people are feeling, though traditional conservatives tut-tutted him? What if he is right on the trade deals? (I saw a report on NHK World News, a Japanese news and culture broadcast, that says Japan does indeed slap tariffs on our products.) How am I supposed to react when I have heard many Christian leaders say in public, but not in the mainstream news media, that this man is doing God's work in bulldozing the old ways and knocking things around, just like an Old Testament prophet -- that he's a 'chaos candidate'? (At first I thought they were crazy, but what if they're right?) How am I supposed to react when I saw a report from a woman who serves on Trump's spiritual advisory committee, which said that he wants his White House to be known as prayerful -- the most praying White House in history? What if all the tut-tutting from traditional conservatives (like me) is one big miscalculation, while Trump, in the main, is touching a nerve that needs to be touched?" • Those are powerful questions coming from a traditional conservative. And, Arlandson's last question is the key : "But what if the general trend of a bulldozer President is what the doctor ordered at this time in our nation's history, at this time? He knows how to fight the left, regardless whether one sees America embroiled a culture 'war' or just an intense discussion. There is an undeniable Teflon quality to him. That to me is a sign that he is a cultural phenomenon that could benefit this country greatly. We shall see how this thought experiment goes, when people vote in 2018 and 2020." Arlandson's website is Live as Free People. • • • DEAR READERS, Donald Trump has been pummelled so much and with such hatred that it's amazing that he is still standing. But not only is he still standing, he is fighting back and winning. Compare the mainstream media's witch hunt to burn Trump at the stake with its hero worship of Barack Obama, who some MSM types seem to believe is still President. We have heard not one peep from these propagandists who call themselves journalists about Obama's speeches to Wall Street, for which he's pulling in $400,000 a pop. But, Joseph Curl at the Washington Times has put together reports on what the MSM don't cover -- raking-in of mega-dollars by former Democrat Presidents (and their wives). For example, Bloomberg reported that Obama spoke to clients of Northern Trust Corp. for about $400,000 and he “reminisced about the White House for Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms.” And he would “give a keynote speech at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s health-care conference,” which happened last Monday. The wire service Agence France-Presse reported the Cantor Fitzgerald speech was worth about $400,000. These three speaking engagements we know about put $1.2 million in Obama's bank account. And, that's fine -- if the Wall Street Bow-Tie Brigade wants to toss its money at a President who failed at everything he touched, it's none of our business. • BUT, it is our business that the media's hypocrisy covers up Obama's speaking fees while it excoriates several Cabinet officers who are using private planes to do the People's business. Did they complain about Nancy Pelosi's request a few years ago when she was Speaker of the House for a larger military jet to take her home to San Francisco on weekends. Records obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by Judicial Watch show in January 2011, show that Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. Other records obtained by Judicial Watch through FOIA show the former Speaker’s military travel cost the USAF $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period -- $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008 included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine. • Where is the fairness?? It doesn't exist. And that is why a Bulldozer President is just what America needs. For tax reform. For immigration control. For repealing the disastrous Obamacare. And for saving the American Flag and National Anthem from the clutches of BLM and its NFL foot soldiers. MAGA -- Make America Great Again.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

President Trump Supports the American Flag while He Begins the Trump-Bannon 2018 Election Strategy

A QUESTION FOR BLACK AMERICANS : It took the creation of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln and a Civil War to get you up off your knees and into your rightful position as US citizens with rights and privileges. WHY do you want to be back on your knees for the dubious goals of Progressive Democrats who wanted you to stay on your knees in the first place??? • • • THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS THAT THE PROGDEMS HAVE GOT IT ALL WRONG ONCE AGAIN ON THE NFL, ALABAMA AND TRUMP. The Washington Examiner reports that the first poll of NFL fans following last weekend's moves by 200 players to take a protest knee during the playing of the National Anthem reveals that most Americans want the pro's to stand and they are also turning off the games as a result of politics. The Remington Research Group survey found that 64% want players to stand for the National Anthem. Of the 51% who have watched less football this season, 69% cite player protests as the reason. And 60% believe that players should find another place to protest the Flag, President Trump, race, and other issues. Titus Bond, director of Remington Research Group, said : "Americans are very clear on this issue: they do not support political protests during the National Anthem. On top of that, due to the protests, Americans are watching less football and that trend will continue as long as the protests do." • Big Dog Strategies also did a poll of the western New York fans of the first place Buffalo Bills and found they agree with Trump and want their team to just play ball and not politics. According to the new poll taken after the Bills beat the Denver Broncos 26-16, 71% are against player protests during the National Anthem; nearly half are watching less football mainly because of political protests; more voters agree with Trump's ‘You're Fired' statements than disagree; 82% want less politics during sporting events; and, 55% want tailback LeSean McCoy punished for stretching during Sunday's playing of the National Anthem. The survey from Big Dog Strategies, in partnership with the Remington Research Group, said western New York voters are also less likely to tune into future Buffalo Bills games by nearly a 2-1 margin over the political fallout. The findings in the typical blue-collar football town are bad for the NFL. Christopher Grant of Big Dog Strategies said : "Voters are clear on one thing -- they do not support protests during the National Anthem and they believe there is a more appropriate place for players to protest. The NFL and the Buffalo Bills have a serious problem. Because of these protests, voters are watching less football than previous years, and they are less likely to watch Buffalo Bills games. In a region where professional football is king, the crown is clearly under siege." • And, Blabber Buzz reports that, in an unusual move, DirecTV is letting at least some customers cancel subscriptions to its Sunday Ticket package of NFL games and obtain refunds if they cite players’ National Anthem protests as the reason, customer service representatives said Tuesday. This is a break with Sunday Ticket’s regular policy that doesn’t allow refunds once the season is under way. But the representatives said they are making exceptions this season -- which began in September -- in response to the protests, in which players kneel or link arms during the National Anthem. Spokesmen for DirecTV's parent AT&T Inc. and the National Football League declined to comment. The shift is the latest twist in a controversy that has put President Donald Trump on the side of the American Flag and against players who take a knee during the Anthem, saying they should be fired. The President has called on people to walk out of stadiums when players are kneeling. • • • A PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT CONGRESSWOMAN 'TAKES A KNEE.' The New American published an article by Bob Adelmann that revealed that Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents the liberal 18th Congressional District in central Houston, took a knee on the House floor on Monday. She claimed she was protesting the President’s calling for the firing of NFL players who refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. She claimed she was in “solidarity” with them, and called the President’s comments “racist.” Adelmann wrote : "Lee does that. A lot. To Lee, who is Black, nearly everything that anyone does is racist, or can be twisted into making it sound racist. Lee has made a fool of herself ever since she was elected to the House in 1994..." What the President said at a political rally on Friday that gave Lee the knee-taking opportunity was : “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’ ” Lee’s response was : "There is no basis in the First Amendment that says you cannot kneel on the National Anthem or in front of the flag. That is racism. You cannot deny it, you cannot run from it. I kneel in front of the Flag and on this floor. I kneel in honor of the First Amendment. I kneel because the Flag is a symbol for freedom. I kneel because I’m going to stand against racism. I kneel because I will stand with these young men, and I’ll stand with our soldiers. And I’ll stand with America, because I kneel." • Yes, Congresswoman Lee is guaranteed the right to free speech by the First Amendment, but the First Amendment is also part of the Constitution which Lee has taken the oath to support and defend every year since 1994 when she was first elected to Congress. That means the Lee has spoken this solemn oath 12 times : "I, Sheila Jackson Lee, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." But, says Adelmann : "Twelve times Lee has taken this oath yet has voted against the Constitution for 24 years, as reflected in her Freedom Index score of 24 out of 100." • Adelmann went on to discuss Representative John Lewis of Georgia, an icon of the civil rights movement, who Adelmann calls "another black radical with an almost identical voting record." Lewis tweeted : “There is nothing wrong with kneeling down to stand up against injustice. It’s protected by the Constitution.” Lewis’ Freedom Index score is 26 out of 100. • An explanation of Representatives Lee's and Lewis's opposition to Trump's comments came from the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana. Richmond’s Freedom Index score, says Adelmann : "is even worse than either Lee’s or Lewis’s, at 22 out of 100. Lee is taking a knee, and Lewis is supporting her kneebending, said Richmond, 'to protest police officers who kill unarmed African Americans -- men and women, adults and children, parents and grandparents -- with impunity. They are taking knees to protest a justice system that says that being Black is enough reason for a police officer to fear for his or her life.” [NOTE : you can try to figure that mix-up out, dear readers, I give up.] • • • STEVE BANNON DRAWS FIRST BLOOD IN ALABAMA. On Monday, before the Alabama Republican primary, Steve Bannon told a rally that the Republican establishment faces a "day of reckoning. For Mitch McConnell and Ward Baker and Karl Rove and Steven Law -- all the instruments that tried to destroy Judge Moore and his family -- your day of reckoning is coming.” Politico reported that Bannon made the remarks at a rally for former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who faced off on Tuesday against Senator Luther Strange in the GOP Senate primary runoff. Bannon was referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, former senior advisor to President George W. Bush Karl Rove, former National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Ward Baker, and Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law. Bannon added ominously : "But more important, for the donors who put up the [campaign] money and the corporatists that put up the money, your day of reckoning is coming, too.” • In a move that most conservatives cannot fathom, President Trump campaigned for Strange last Friday night in Huntsville, Alabama. The choice of Strange seemed to put the President at odds with one of his former top advisors, as well as with his base of supporters. Trump endorsed Strange in August before the Republican primary, a move that united him with Senate Republican leadership. • Republican candidates Roy Moore and Luther Strange battled down to the wire before Tuesday's primary run-off election, but former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore led in all polls throughout the runoff campaign and was consistently projected to soundly defeat Senator Luther Strange. While Trump and Vice President Pence were campaigning for Strange, Trump's friend and former lead strategist Steve Bannon, as well as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and conservative members of the House of Representatives Feeedom Caucus, were on the campaign trail for Moore. • Moore got 55% of the vote to Strange’s 45%. Strange, who was appointed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat earlier this year, is the first Senator to lose a primary since Indiana Republican Richard Lugar was defeated in 2012. Moore’s victory comes despite the efforts of top Republicans in Washington, who threw their weight behind Strange, an "insider" who could be counted on to vote with McConnell and the GOP Swamp Creatures. Trump endorsed Strange in August and appeared with him in Alabama last week, while a super PAC aligned with McConnell spent millions of dollars on pro-Strange advertising. But, Strange finished behind Moore in the August primary and qualified for the runoff. Moore had been elected statewide twice and has a committed conservative following, partly because of his decisions while on the Supreme Court, where he defied federal orders on same-sex marriage and the display of a statue of the Ten Commandments and built up a history of controversial comments on race and religion. While the McConnell-aligned super PAC Senate Leadership Fund attacked Moore visiously, Strange cited Trump at every chance, especially in a debate the week before the primary runoff. Trump touted Strange on Twitter in addition to appearing with him in Huntsville on Friday. • But Strange couldn't close the gap and Trump was privately telling conservative activists this weekend that he expected Strange to lose. The President also emphasized that he would campaign “like hell” for Moore if he became the nominee. Trump congratulated Moore in a brief phone call late Tuesday night and said he was looking forward to working with him, according to a source cited by Politico. The source said that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who endorsed Moore and appeared at his rally, helped arrange the conversation. • Moore criticized McConnell during the primary, but the Republican Senate Majority Leader said in a congratulatory statement that he will support Moore in the special election : "He ran a spirited campaign centered around a dissatisfaction with the progress made in Washington. I share that frustration and believe that enacting the agenda the American people voted for last November requires us all to work together. We look forward to Judge Moore’s help enacting that agenda when he arrives. Senate Republicans will be as committed to keeping Alabama’s Senate seat in Republican hands with Roy Moore as we were with Luther Strange." The Senate Leadership Fund also promised to back Moore in the general election : “While we were honored to have fought hard for Big Luther, Judge Roy Moore won this nomination fair and square and he has our support, as it is vital that we keep this seat in Republican hands,” SLF president Steven Law said in a statement. • • • WHAT HAPPENED IN ALABAMA? Steve Bannon did indeed draw frist blood against the GOP establishment. Alabama media report that Moore’s primary victory was buoyed anti-establishment Republicans who have been trying for years to defeat another incumbent in a primary. In the final weeks of the runoff, Moore got Bannon's endoresment because he saw a victory in Alabama as the beginning of a wave of primary challenges to Republican Senators around the country. Bannon argued that other Republicans in Nevada, Arizona, and Mississippi are vulnerable to a challenge in a similar way to Strange, even though Strange was appointed to the Senate and the others had previously won primaries. • Initially, groups like the US Chamber of Commerce, which endorsed Strange, and Republican Senators close to McConnell also framed the Strange-Moore primary as part of a running battle between wings of the GOP -- and a chance to stamp out any party disloyalty. But, as Strange continued trailing in polls and the primary drew closer, other Republicans began arguing that a Moore win would be unique to Alabama, pointing to Strange’s appointment to the Senate seat by former Governor Robert Bentley, who would later step down because of a sex scandal. • Moore will now face Democrat Doug Jones in a December special election. Jones, a former US attorney, won his primary outright in August, and some Democrats hope that he could be competitive against Moore, despite Alabama’s strongly Republican electorate. Former Vice President Joe Biden is slated to campaign for Jones in Alabama next week, and the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge, led by a Hillary operative, released a report on Moore highlighting "a history of making racist statements" and Moore's suggestion that the 9/11 terrorist attacks “was God’s punishment for legitimizing sodomy and abortion." It will be a nasty general election, with the ProgDems doing all they can to grab the Alabama Senate seat. But, Moore is now the heavy favorite in December's general election against Democrat Jones. The winner of that race will complete the Senate term started by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and be up for re-election in 2020. • • • JUDGE MOORE. When a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pumped millions of dollars into the race on behalf of Strange, it was a move that likely played into Moore’s pitch as the anti-establishment candidate. Moore's message was straightforward : "Mitch McConnell needs to be replaced and your vote tomorrow may determine that," Moore said Monday at a Fairhope rally attended by Bannon, Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson. At the rally Monday night, Moore repeated the conservative Christian themes he has used his entire public career. He also lashed out at attack ads run against him in the race, including one suggesting he was weak on gun rights. "I believe in the Second Amendment," Moore said, pulling a handgun from his pocket. Moore, known in Alabama as the "Ten Commandments Judge," has a political history. Moore first received national attention in the 1990s as a county judge when he hung a wooden Ten Commandments plaque on the wall of his courtroom. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against him. Benefiting from his popularity after that episode, Moore then ran and won a race for chief justice of the state Supreme Court in 2000. But, he was ousted after refusing to remove a 5,280-pound granite Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state judicial building. Then, in 2012, Moore resurrected his political career when he was elected chief justice again. But during his second tenure -- in 2016 -- Moore was suspended as chief justice after he directed probate judges not to issue marriage certificates to gay couples. • New York Times columnist David Leonhardt called Roy Moore "a proud bigot....If you think I’m being too harsh in describing him that way, read his own words. He has argued that homosexuality should be illegal, Moslems should be barred from serving in Congress, 9/11 may have been divine retribution and Barack Obama wasn’t born here." That is an outline of what to expectform the Progressive camp that supports Jones in the general election campaign. As Leonhardt put it : "Moore is even Trumpier than Trump." • • • IS THERE A TRUMP-BANNON STRATEGY FOR 2018? I think there is, and it is clear that Moore is part of that strategy. Here is an example of the Alabama GOP vote split ---- In a Montgomery suburb, 76-year-old Air Force retiree John Lauer said Trump's endorsement swayed him to vote for Strange on Tuesday :"I voted for Strange. I'm a Trump voter. Either one is going to basically do the Trump agenda, but since Trump came out for Luther, I voted for Luther." Merlene Bohannon, 74, a widow with three grown children, said she had planned to vote for Strange until seeing Bannon stump for Moore on Fox News on Monday night : "Steve Bannon and God spoke to me, and this morning when I went in I voted for Moore." • That is evidence of a win-win at play for Bannon and Trump, and they must know it and will use it to pound establishment and #NeverTrump GOP Swamp Creatures running for re-election in 2018. • Bannon told the Monday rally crowd that Alabama can show the world "that this populist, nationalist, conservative movement is on the rise."BUT, the real Bannon message was this : "A vote for Roy Moore is a vote for Donald J. Trump." • Why would Trump campaign for a losing candidate, especially in a deeply conservative state that he won by almost 30 points over Democrat Hillary Clinton last November. I think the answer is that Trump could afford to lose in Alabama because the Moore win is not a deep political wound for him. And he chose to lose in order to give a HUGE black eye to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was the biggest loser on Tuesday night. McConnell stood four-square behind Strange, and a super PAC associated with McConnell spent millions of dollars to try to sink Moore. But, to grassroots conservatives, McConnell’s support is more of a millstone than an asset. Back in July, only 30% of Republican voters approved of his job performance, according to a poll from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm. His standing has been weakened even further with the Senate GOP’s failure to pass legislation gutting Obamacare. And, now McConnell has the loss of his Alabama candidate on his GOP resumé, and the firebrand conservative Moore will owe nothing to McConnell, and could cause him trouble when he is elected to the Senate. No Republican candidate says "Mitch McConnell needs to be replaced" unless he means it -- Majority Leader McConnell is still all-powerful in the Senate and can destroy Moore's career there, if he so chooses. But, if the Trump-Bannon tandem is breathing down McConnell's neck, Mitch will have his work cut out for him to just survive the threat of a vote of no-confidence or a back room nudge to leave his leadership position before he is pushed out. • Moore’s victory was as big a victory for Bannon and Breitbart as it was a loss for McConnell and the establishment. Bannon was clear in proclaiming Moore as the anti-establishment conservative taking on the entrenched powers in Washington. At a rally for Moore on Sunday, Bannon described McConnell and his allies as “corrupt and incompetent.” Introducing a victorious Moore on Tuesday night, Bannon heralded a “revolution” spearheaded by populists who “do not have to raise money from the elites, the crony capitalists, from the fat cats in Washington, DC, New York City and Silicon Valley.” Breitbart headlines blared that the GOP establishment had been “brought to [its] knees.” • And, if you think that Bannon is not striking fear into establishment GOP members of Congress who will need to run for re-election in 2018, just consider Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who was on Bannon's hit list. Even before the polls closed in Alabama, Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced that he would retire when his current term ends next year rather than run for a third term in 2108. Corker crossed swords with Trump last month when he criticized the President for a lack of “stability” and “competence” amid the uproar over Trump's response to racially charged violence in Charlottesville. It looks for all the world as if Corker timed his announcement in order to avoid accusations that he was running scared of a primary challenge in his own state. And, there are other Senators who are feeling the Trump-Bannon heat. Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi all face threats from primary challengers able to attract support from Bannon and allied groups. • • • DEAR READERS, there is no doubt that President Trump and Steve Bannon hold establishment GOP Swamp Creatures in contempt. Not only have these Creatures done nothing to advance conservative ideals or to protect the Constitution from the attacks of Progressive Democrats, they have hung President Trump, their titular leader, out to dry while they timidly permit the minority Democrats to win battle after battle in the Senate, as it they were still the majority party. And, there is the glaring proof that McConnell greatly underestimated Trump when he chose to call him inexperienced in the ways of legislative leadership. And, Bannon has never tolerated the Swamp GOPers, calling them what they are -- elite insiders who care more for their careers and bank accounts than they do for America. Between them, President Trump and Steve Bannon can muster the money, the candidates and the votes to end the reign of the puny GOP Republicans In Name Only who are destroying not only the Republican Party but collaborating in the Progressive Democrat destruction of the Republic. • That is the Trump-Bannon strategy. And, they are together in their plan because they are conservatives, both of them. Political analysts like to belittle Trump for being a pragmatic non-conservative non-Republican. He is certainly a pragmatist but he is also a conservative. His instinctive reactions to situations are always conservative -- North Korea, Iran, Merkel, Brexit, Obamacare, tax reform, immigration, border control, climate change, states rights, the Supreme Court -- name the topic and Trump will react as the conservative that he is. And, it is for that reason that he is so dangerous for Swamp Creatures. When Donald Trump tells an audience that America should be governed for the benefit of Americans, he means it. That sounds revolutionary because of generations of both Republican and Democrat Congresses that ignored Americans and ruled for themselves and for their lobbyists and contributors. It was precisely against these Republicans and Democrats that America voted in 2016. America voted against professional bureaucrats, against spreading American wealth around to enemies, against being pushed around while paying for NATO and the UN, against forgetting the Constitution. Several generations of conservatives tried to redirect the Republican Party toward their original Right ideology, without success. Trump, the conservative, in his first ideological speech at the United Nations General Assembly reminded everyone of Reagan, Churchill, and Thatcher. His words, “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented” will enter history textbooks. As the words of Reagan : “Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don't need it, and Hell where they already have it.” As the words of Thatcher : “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” As the words of Churchill : “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” • The Republican Party establishment is trying to corral and "de- conservatize" Trump. It will fail. Trump sees clearly the need to return to the constitutional foundations of the Republic. President Trump's low approval ratings do not reflect his rapid-fire accomplishments, including a huge influx of new jobs, the lowest unemployment rate in almost two decades and the new proliferation of American business across the globe. It's time for a major conservative party in America, perhaps a remade GOP, perhaps a new party, but in any event, a proud, activist party that supports America and low taxes and a limited federal government -- and a Republic governed by "We the People." • If that is the goal of the Trump-Bannon strategy for 2018, we should all be behind them with everything we can muster.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Merkel's Weak New Coalition Will Lead Europe into a Center-Left No Man's Land

THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS ABOUT THE GERMAN ELECTION. Chancellor Angela Merkel won the German parliamentary election on Sunday, giving her conservative Christian Democrat Union and its Bavarian partner Christian Social Union led by Horst Seehofer (CDU/CSU) the right to try to form a new government. This will be Mrs. Merkel's fourth term as Chancellor. She has already been in power for 12 years. But, her win came at a cost and has been called a "nationalist earthquake." It was the CDU/CSU's worst showing in parliamentary elections since 1949, and down 7% from its 41.5% showing in the last parliamentary election in 2013. Merkel's rivals, the Social Democrats and their candidate Martin Schulz, came in a distant second, with a post-war record low of 21%, their worst showing since 1933. The bombshell for the German establishment was the showing of the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD), an anti-Islam, anti-immigration newcomer to German politics that captured 13% of the vote, making it the country's third biggest political force. The official election results were : CDU/CSU (Angela Merkel, Horst Seehofer) 246 seats and 34.7% of the vote; SPD (Martin Schulz)153 seats and 21.6% of the vote; AfD (Jörg Meuthen, Frauke Petry) 94 seats and 13.3% of the vote. • • • A WATERSHED MOMENT IN GERMAN POST-WWII POLITICS. Commentators called the AfD's strong performance a "watershed moment" in the history of the German republic. The top-selling Bild daily spoke of a "political earthquake." Reuters reported that AfD supporters gathered at a Berlin club, cheering as public television reported the outcome, many joining in a chorus of the German national anthem, while hundreds of anti-AfD protesters rallied outside, shouting "Nazis out!" Smaller AfD demonstrations were held in other cities across the country, according to Reuters. • The four-year-old AfD nationalist populist party, often compared to the far-right French National Front and Britain's UKIP, has been shunned by Germany's mainstream but built a following with particularly strong support in ex-Communist eastern Germany. It is now headed for the opposition benches of the Bundestag lower house of the German national parliament, dramatically boosting its visibility and state financing. Alarmed by the prospect of what Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of the SPD, which was in the "Grand Coalition" with Merkel's conservatives in the exiting German government, branded the result as putting "real Nazis" in the parliament. Both the CDU/CSU and the SPD had campaigned hard in the last few days to try to keep the AfD from breaking through the 5% vote that would give them a place in the Bundestag and government funding. It obviously didn't work, as the AfD got 13.3% of the vote and 94 seats in the Bundestag. • Turnout was notably higher than four years ago, at around 76%, up from 71.5%. • French President Emmanuel Macron was among the first to congratulate Merkel, promising that the two key European partners would keep up their "essential cooperation." • • • MERKEL TO FIGHT THE AfD AND ITS ANTI-MIGRATION POSITION. Merkel told the media that she had fallen far short of the 40% goal her party had set : "There's a big new challenge for us, and that is the entry of the AfD in the Bundestag. We want to win back AfD voters." Germans elected a splintered parliament, reflecting a nation torn between a relatively high degree of satisfaction with Merkel -- except for her migration stance, which the AfD strategy maximized -- and a desire for change after more than a decade of her leadership. Another three parties cleared the 5% hurdle and will be represented in parliament : the liberal Free Democrats at 10% and the anti-capitalist Left and ecologist Greens, both at about 9%. • Because Merkel failed to secure a ruling majority on her own and because the SPD ruled out another right-left "Grand Coalition" with her in order to renew its "fighting spirit," the process of forming a viable government is shaping up to be a difficult, long process. Merkel, 63, often called the most powerful woman in the world, ran on her record as a steady pair of hands in a turbulent world, warning voters not to indulge in "experiments." Analysts said Merkel's reassuring message of stability and prosperity resonated in greying Germany, where more than half of the 61 million voters are aged 52 or older. Her popularity has largely recovered -- at least in public -- from the influx since 2015 of more than one million mostly Moslem migrants and refugees, half of them from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. But the AfD was able to capitalize on anger over the asylum issue and the reverberating examples of non-integration during a dull campaign with no real policy clashes among the main parties. • Meanwhile, leading AfD candidate Alexander Gauland has called for Germans to shed their guilt over two world wars and the Holocaust and to take pride in their veterans. He also suggested that Germany's integration commissioner Aydan Ozoguz, who has Turkish roots, should be "disposed of in Anatolia." The AfD says immigration threatens German culture, but denies that it is racist. AfD co-leader Joerg Meuthen says : “We will neither tolerate xenophobia nor racist positions. But we simply don’t have them either.” • • • THE JAMAICA COALITION. When Merkel takes on the AfD, she will be essentially alone -- in what Germans are calling her "Jamaica Coalition" because the colors of the CDU/CSU (black) and the probable coalition partners (yellow and green) are the same as the colors of the Jamaican flag. Chancellor Merkel will be alone because if the SPD actually refuses to enter into another Grand Coalition with the CDU/CSU, mathematically the most likely coalition would be with the pro-business Free Democrats, who staged a comeback after crashing out of parliament four years ago, and the left-leaning Greens -- a risky proposition, given the differences between the parties on issues ranging from climate policy to tax, energy, the European Union and migrants. So, Europe’s most powerful leader will have to govern with a far less stable coalition in a fractured parliament after her conservatives bled support to a surging populist right. • Two years after Merkel left German borders open to more than 1 million migrants, the election night shock was not only that the anti-immigration AfD became the first far-right party to enter parliament in more than a half century. The real shock was that the AfD won its 13.2% of the vote by taking votes away from the CDU/CSU, primarily in Bavaria, which has since 2105 continually demanded that Merkel change her immigration policy, and in her home region of former-Communist East Germany, which has argued against Merkel's immigration policy because migrants take their jobs in what remains the regional weak link in the German economy. • The election result makes kingmakers of the FDP and the Greens, both of which have played the role in the recent past but neither of which now has enough support alone to give Merkel a majority. FDP leader Christian Lindner, 38, an ambitious politician who preaches an ultra-hard line on Europe and has unsettled the German political establishment, said he was open to coalition talks with Merkel but that Germany needed a change of course. The Greens’ Katrin Goering-Eckardt said : “We will see if there can be cooperation.” The big problem for Merkel, if she manages to put the Jamaica Coalition together, is that the Greens, who favor regulation, and the business-friendly FDP are at opposite ends of the political spectrum and a clash of policies seems inevitable. • The election also exposed rifts in Merkel’s conservatives, with her allies the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), who face a regional election next year, demanding a shift to the right to win back voters lost to the AfD. Janis Emmanouilidis from the European Policy Centre says : “They will try their best to recover lost ground on the right side of the political spectrum. Going into a coalition in Berlin with the Greens and the FDP will make this more difficult.” • Leading AfD candidate Alexander Gauland vowed his party would “hunt” the new government, whatever its make-up, adding: “We’ll get our country and our people back.” And that is indeed the battle cry of the AfD. After shock election results last year -- from Britain’s vote to leave the EU to the election of US President Donald Trump -- leaders of Europe’s establishment have looked to Merkel to rally the liberal West. But, populist nationalism on the right and on the left is on the rise in Europe, and in France, populist leader Marine Le Pen congratulated the AfD, tweeting : “Bravo to our AfD allies for this historic showing!” As voters flocked to the anti- immigration AfD, it hardly had time to savor its third-place showing before it fell into internal bickering and rumors floated that co-leader Frauke Petry, one of its most prominent voices, has said she would not sit in parliament with AfD members. It was not immediately clear why she was making such a move. • Merkel’s CDU/CSU nonetheless remains the biggest parliamentary bloc and Europe’s most powerful leader kept her coalition options open on Monday, saying she would start talks with the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens as well as the SPD, despite SPD leader Martin Schulz having said earlier his party had no choice but to go into opposition “to defend democracy against those who question it and attack it.” In a reaction characteristic of Merkel's governing style -- in which she listens and often seems to agree with every position before deciding what outcome she wants -- the Chancellor said : “I heard the SPD’s words, nevertheless we should remain in contact. I think all parties have a responsibility to ensure that there will be a stable government.” Merkel made clear she still intends to serve a full four years as Chancellor. But her next coalition could be her toughest yet. • ING Economist Carsten Brzeski told Reuters : “The weak result could make Angela Merkel a lame duck much faster than international observers and financial markets think.” Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of Germany weekly Die Zeit, said the vote marked a “tectonic shift in German politics” and that the three-way coalition Merkel looks likely to try to forge will be “highly unstable.” Klaus Wohlrabe, economist at the Munich-based Ifo economic institute, said new elections could not be excluded and the result could produce uncertainty as German business confidence deteriorated unexpectedly in the weeks before the election. Matthias Mueller, chief executive of Volkswagen, said he was “shocked” by the AfD’s double-digit showing and said the success of Europe’s largest economy hinged on its tolerance and openness to the world : “For Germany’s biggest industrial company, I say [that] in the globalized economy, national egoism and protectionism lead to a dead end -- and in the end a loss of jobs.” Investors were unsettled by the prospect of a weaker Merkel at the head of a potentially unstable Jamaica Coalition and also worried that months of coalition talks could distract from talks with Britain over its separation from the European Union. The European Jewish Congress expressed alarm at the AfD’s success, adding in a statement : “We trust that centrist parties in the Bundestag will ensure that the AfD has no representation in the coming governing coalition.” • • • MERKEL'S TWO BIG POLITICAL PROBLEMS. The Chancellor will finally put together a Jamaica or Grand Coalition, but the AfD and her own Bavarian CSU will be Merkel's greatest challenges. • THE AfD. The AfD has pledged to fight an “invasion of foreigners” with its new MPs. Speaking in Berlin the morning after the election results, lead candidate Alexander Gauland said his party would “uncompromisingly address” immigration, on which it has campaigned relentlessly since the refugee crisis began. Angela Merkel says she will listen to far-right AfD voters concerns. Gualand says : “One million people -- foreigners -- being brought into this country are taking away a piece of this country and we as AfD don’t want that. We say we don’t want to lose Germany to an invasion of foreigners from a different culture. Very simple.” Angela Merkel says she will listen to AfD voter concerns, as pollsters and political analysts in Berlin warn against allowing the AfD party -- which says Islam is “not a part of Germany” and routinely demonizes foreigners -- to hog the spotlight. Matthias Jung of pollsters Forschungsgruppe Wahlen told reporters in Berlin : “Of course we have to stand up against their views, but if the media all focus on the AfD, exclusively pushing them into the Nazi corner, then it creates a certain effect : everyone who sympathizes with the AfD in a more general way is also being pushed into that corner, and they feel treated in an unjust manner. Amongst the voters who support the AfD, you don’t have a coherent radical right ideology : they are dissatisfied with things that happened, but not necessarily just the refugee crisis." Dr. Peter Matuschek, of polling company Forsa, said the AfD deliberately attracted media attention by making provocative statements : “They pursued an agenda of targeted provocation, as did President Trump. Once a provocative statement was made, a politician could rely on being quoted in the media the day after.” He said that this approach “in a way reactivated” the immigration and refugee crisis as an issue during the election campaign, despite the fact that it was mostly out of the news in months leading up to the election -- we can reply that, as in the US, the European media tend to downplay citizen unrest over migrants, but the issue is far from disappearing in the EU and Cahncellor Merkel will find her maneuvering room reduced by the presence of a vocal AfD in her Bundestag. • THE CSU. Conservatives in Bavaria, distraught over heavy losses on Sunday, are shaping up as a big obstacle to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bid to forge a new three-way coalition in Germany. While the FDP and Greens have signalled some willingness to compromise, the Bavarian Christian Social Union that forms a parliamentary bloc with Merkel’s Christian Democrats, struck a far harsher tone on Tuesday. The prospect of losing more support to the AfD in a state election next year is making the CSU, traditionally an awkward CDU partner, dig in its heels on its biggest demand -- a cap on refugee numbers. CSU General Secretary Andreas Scheuer told the media : “The CSU has given voters guarantees and one of those is an upper limit on refugees. We must limit migration.” His comments were echoed by other CSU leaders. Bavaria was the main entry point for migrants to Germany in 2015 and the CSU wants to limit the number of migrants to 200,000 a year. Merkel has consistently ruled out setting a cap and the pressure on her has eased as the migrant flow has slowed since hitting a high of 1 million people in 2015. The Greens have a far more liberal approach and flatly repudiate limits. Bavarian state interior minister Joachim Herrmann reiterated the CSU’s demand, but he struck a slightly more positive note about the prospects of a Jamaica Coalition : “With goodwill on all sides, it is possible. But it is not easy." CSU support plunged on Sunday to 6.2% -- measured nationally -- from 7.4% in the last election in 2013, and many CSU lawmakers feel they are fighting for survival in the Bavarian assembly next year, where the CSU has governed for all but three years since its foundation in 1945. The AfD, already present in 13 of Germany’s 16 regional parliaments, took 12.5% of the Bavarian vote on Sunday, and the CSU fears its control of the Bavarian assembly could be challenged just as Merkel’s has been in Berlin. Those fears are adding to the pressure on the CSU’s leader, Horst Seehofer, who has spent much of the last two years berating the CDU for its migration policy. Apart from the CSU’s migrant red line, agreement with the eco-friendly Greens looks difficult because of emissions policy. Bavaria is home to the German industrial giant carmakers BMW and Audi, and the CSU is strongly resisting any prospect of bans on diesel and other combustion engines after an industry emissions scandal. • • • DEAR READERS, pundits say all politics is local. Angela Merkel may well be the exception to that rule. She is the European Union. Without her leadership, the EU would become an even less productive engine for the citizens of its member states. So, while Germans are not happy with her immigrantion policies, they were afraid to eliminate her from the German and EU political stages on Sunday. I suspect that, although she is not liked in most of the EU, if all EU citizens were asked to vote on a leader, she would squeak through, because there simply is nobody else. Not only do Europeans see Merkel as the leader of the free world and the wall standing firm against populism, she is the Anti-Trump -- the EU leader who will finally prove the superiority of Europe's model over Trump's. That the European socio-political model is doomed is of little consequence in the EU. Like their vision of Merkel as their leader, they envision no other socio-political model than socialist welfarism. • And, it didn't matter a bit that the day before the elections, jurists of the German parliament issued a Gutachten (expert opinion) accusing Merkel of never having provided legal arguments for opening the borders in 2015 and doing so without parliamentary approval as required by law -- she broke the law, and not just German law, because she opened not just Germany's borders, but those of the EU as well. She then told the lapdog unelected European Commission to force reluctant eastern EO nations to take migrants in what was seen as a German diktat. • Merkel's migrant policies are wreaking havoc in German society. Migrant crime, often sexual in nature, spiked by 52.7% in 2016 compared to 2015, despite efforts by the government to hide it. Worse, in the first six months of 2017 alone, Berlin issued 230,000 visas for family members of the migrants, and another 390,000 are expected. A recent Pew Foundation study shows that no more than 3% of the migrants are ever sent back, while European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker claims that 720,000, or nearly 75% have received asylum even though few of them were persecuted in their home countries. Official German figures show that by 2020, the government will have spent 93.6 billion Euros on migrant welfare, but cost may not be the real issue. The counter-terrorism coordinator of the EU, Gilles de Kerchove, stated in a recent interview that 50,000 jihadists have entered Europe under the guise of migrants. • Why do German voters continue to vote for her? During her 12 years as chancellor, Merkel has moved the CDU sharply to the left and has run the country in a way barely distinguishable from her socialist SPD coalition partners, undoubtedly explaining the rise of the populist right-wing party AfD. The legendary Bavarian politician Franz-Joseph Strauss once said that the conservatives should never allow a legitimate party to the right of themselves if they want to stay in power. Merkel has now done that and will sooner or later suffer the consequences. In addition, German politics is full of parties (SPD, Greens, Die Linke) that are openly pro-Russian and anti-American, in stark contrast to Eastern Europe. German media are so stridently anti-American that it has been compared to Nazi propaganda. Merkel herself has sided with Putin on the key issue of European energy independence from Russia. This new and growing fault line between Germany and eastern Europe may be a real threat to NATO, in addition ot the fact that Germany refuses to seriously boost its defense capabilities. But, Germany is prosperous and enjoys a huge surplus with all its partners in the EU. This one-sided relationship was created by the Euro, and it will not change until Germany's Eurozone partners realize it and demand change. Until then, "fat and happy" Germans will continue to vote for Chancellor Merkel. • UNLESS, that AfD "party to the right" of the CDU continues to tell the German voters the truth about Chnacellor Merkel. Despite mounting establishment efforts to tar as racist and Nazi anyone or any group who protest the flood of Moslem immigrants transforming life in Germany, enough Germans voted AfD to give the party a prominent role going forward. And, similar to the reaction to the election of President Trump -- ongoing harassment by Progressives is underway, although there is no evidence that the AfD is either racist or Nazi. Reuters has reported : "Ronald Lauder, president of the New York-based World Jewish Congress, called Chancellor Angela Merkel a 'true friend of Israel and the Jewish people' and decried the AfD's gains at a time when anti-Semitism was increasing across the globe." Really?? Merkel, by bringing a million people into Germany who have been nurtured on the vilest anti-Semitism imaginable, is fanning the flames of anti-Semitism in a real and tangible way. Public opinion surveys in Arab Moslem communities consistently reveal that Jew-hatred is embraced by majorities of around 80%. Tolerating the influx of people from a background steeped in anti-Jewish sentiment is the equivalent of promoting violence against Jews. • One Geman voter told the Guardian : "Yes, I voted for the AfD. The last three elections I voted for the SPD. The coalition of CDU-SPD lost the feeling of what the so-called working class is really about. Merkel said integration won’t need any extra money and it’s good for economy. And it was all forced on the population." The big vote for the new conservative party, the AfD, is almost completely a result of former Christian Democrats leaving their party for AfD in protest of Merkel's disastrous immigration and environmental policies. Before Merkel came along, Germany’s Christian Democrats were the one European party most like Ronald Reagan’s Republicans -- unashamedly pro-market, pro-defense, and pro-life. But Merkel has repeatedly turned her party toward nonsensical leftist policies and a lot of traditional conservatives have left. In 2016, CSU's leader, Horst Seehofer, had to threaten to end the Conservative Christian coalition and run CSU candidates outside Bavaria in order to stop Merkel’s open borders policies. The 2017 results show that German voters overwhelmingly don’t want any more Moslem immigrants, and even the most loyal party bosses now may be thinking about easing Merkel out. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rich Spoiled NFL Players Have the Right to Trash the American Flag and National Anthem, but not the Right to Demand That Americans Watch or Pay for Their Ignorant Show

TODAY'S REAL NEWS IS ABOUT ALEJANDRO VILLANUEVA. Frankly, I am sick and tired of being told by the mainstream media, and now by the National Football League, that refusing to stand up while the US National Anthem is being played is protected free speech. Let's talk about an American football professional who deserves our respect and thanks for his sacrifice as a soldier in the service of America and her values of freedom and liberty. • Alejandro Villanueva was born at the Naval Air Station Meridian in Meridian, Mississippi, on September 22, 1988. He is an American football offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. Villanueva, a graduate of The US Military Academy at West Point, was a Captain in the United States Army, in which he served as an Army Ranger. Villanueva was decorated with a Bronze Star for valor. He played college football for the Army Black Knights, being recruited at one position and playing three others during the course of his career. After serving three tours of duty in Afghanistan, he signed a contract with the NFL Philadelphia Eagles on May 5, 2014. • Alejandro Villanueva's parents are Ignacio Villanueva, a Spanish Naval officer who worked for NATO, and his Spanish wife Matilda Martin. Alejandro was the eldest of the family's four children, including siblings Paloma, Iñaki and Carmen. During his childhood, he lived in Rhode Island, Spain, and Belgium. In Spain he learned to play rugby, which, for a time, he preferred to football, which he began to play in Belgium. It was while he was attending SHAPE High School in Casteau, Belgium that he was recruited to play American football. • Villanueva was not drafted by an NFL team in 2010, and, although he received a try out with the Cincinnati Bengals as a tight end, he did not make the team and went back into military service. Two years later, he made a second attempt to play in the NFL again as a tight end. He was given a tryout and practiced with the Chicago Bears, but was not signed. After finishing his last tour with the Army Rangers, Villanueva decided to pursue his NFL career again and began working out at Savannah State College. In March 2014, he paid $245 to attend a regional NFL combine in Flowery Branch, Georgia. During this time, the NFL held ten regional combines nationwide and had over 3,000 prospects attend. In April 2014, he was one of 240 prospects invited to the NFL super regional combine in Detroit and met with representatives from the Philadelphia Eagles. On May 5, 2014, he was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles for an undisclosed contract to play as a defensive end. Villanueva said that if he did not make an NFL roster, he planned to serve a fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan. He commented : "I see this as a win-win situation. Obviously, I’m trying to get to a team and contribute. But if I can’t, then I can't wait to get back to the Army and serve in the same manner that I have." On August 21, 2014, during a pre-season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Villanueva was spotted by Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin, who was impressed with his size and athleticism. Eight days after he was waived by the Philadelphia Eagles, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to their practice squad on August 31, 2014. On October 25, 2015, Villanueva received his first NFL career start at offensive tackle since his sophomore year at Army in 2008. Villanueva continued to play left tackle and started the last 12 games of the Steelers' season, including two playoffs games. Villanueva was named the starting left tackle position to begin the 2016 season and finished the season ranking as the 23rd best offensive tackle in the league. From Week 11 to the AFC Championship, he performed well enough to rank as the best offensive tackle in that span. On July 27, 2017, Villanueva signed a four-year, $24 million contract extension with the Steelers. • • • ALEJANDRO VILLANUEVA STANDS UP FOR THE US National Anthem. On September 24, 2017, prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, Villanueva was the lone member of the Steelers to appear outside the team's locker room for the National Anthem, standing conspicuously in front of the entrance tunnel for the performance of the National Anthem while the rest of the team remained in the locker room. The Steelers reportedly did not take the field for the National Anthem in order to avoid getting caught up in the controversy surrounding some players kneeling or displaying other signs of protest around the NFL. Head coach Mike Tomlin stated that he wished to simply play the game and not allow for any show of support one way or the other on the issue. • • • ALEJANDRO VILLANUEVA'S MILITARY CAREER. After graduating from the United States Military Academy, Villanueva was commissioned into the United States Army on May 22, 2010 as a second lieutenant in the Infantry. Directly after being commissioned he attended the Infantry, Airborne and Ranger Schools, all located at Fort Benning, Georgia. After completing the three courses he was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, and was deployed for the first time for 12 months to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan as a rifle platoon leader. As a result of his actions during this deployment he was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for rescuing wounded soldiers while under enemy fire. When he returned from his deployment, he was reassigned as a company executive officer. Villanueva volunteered for the 75th Ranger Regiment's Ranger Orientation Program in 2013. He was assigned to the 1st Ranger Battalion. His roles within the Battalion included plans officer, platoon leader, and company executive officer. He was deployed two more times to Afghanistan for a total of eight months between both deployments. Alejandro Villanueva's military awards and decorations include -- Bronze Star Medal with "V" device and one oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Bronze star Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon, and NATO Medal. His US military badges include -- Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, and US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge. • In the fall of 2015, Villanueva enrolled in Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper school of business to earn his MBA. As of January 2017, he is still a part-time student at Carnegie Mellon. • Alejandro Villanueva showed the kind of courage and patriotism that Americans have come to admire and honor in their military heroes. He must have felt lonely but not alone when he was standing for the flag on Sunday before the Steeler game. Villanueva knew troops who died for that flag. He made patriotic statements well before the current sorry state of NFL affairs. He refused to disrespect the flag and the National Anthem by staying in the locker room, even though he was pressured into doing just that. The Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach, Mike Tomlin, said he was looking for "100% participation" in that locker room, and he was specifically asked about Villanueva. We may conclude that internal peer pressure is a significant part of all the kneeling and locker room hiding that's been driving audiences away from the NFL, but Alejandro Villanueva did not bow to that pressure. That Coach Tomlin thought he could pressure a man with Villanueva's record and background into falling into that line shows just how little Tomlin, and some of the NFL leasdership, understand about either the US military tradition or about America. What Villanueva did as a patriotic veteran was not unusual. But, in today's America, ravaged by Progressive Socialists and BLM fellow travelers who are lauded by the media, Villanueva's act of courage says worlds about what the real American culture is and how much it is respected by Americans who are tired of being labeled racist white supremacists. Here is a comment from a soldier in Afghanistan watching the game regarding #VillaNueva — SalenaZito (@SalenaZito) September 24, 2017 : "Watching football right now in Afghanistan shaking my damn head at America. Thanks to CPT V. He gets it." • Villanueva's teeshirts are already selling out -- if this doesn't send a message to the NFL about where its future lies, nothing will." • • • NFL TEAMS HIDING IN THE LOCKER ROOM. Fox News reported on Monday that three NFL teams stayed in their locker rooms during the National Anthem ahead of NFL games on Sunday, "as a growing number of players from other teams joined in protest by kneeling on the field. As the National Anthem rang out at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, neither the Tennessee Titans nor the Seattle Seahawks were out on the field. Earlier in the day in Chicago, all but one of the Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room during the anthem ahead of their game against the Bears." In all, according to Fox News, more than 100 NFL players from several teams across the country kneeled or locked arms Sunday, after President Trump lashed out at the protesters and called for those who disrespect the flag to be fired or suspended. Most teams in the early afternoon games locked arms in solidarity. At least three team owners joined their players. Several New Orleans Saints players sat during the National Anthem. The Jaguars tweeted a photo shortly after the team's defiant message with the caption : “Unity.” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti released a statement posted on Twitter after the incident, saying: “We recognize our players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100%. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form.” • • • PRESIDENT TRUMP CALLED OUT THE NFL KNEELERS. The Sunday display marked a tumultuous weekend between the NFL and President Trump, who called the players kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner" disrespectful. Trump took note of the incidents at the start of the games on Sunday, tweeting : "Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!" Earlier on Twitter the President said : “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast....Fire or suspend!...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back US." • Trump's criticism began on Friday during a rally in Alabama when he told his audience that players who disrespect the American flag should be suspended or fired : "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'get that son of a b ---- off the field right now? Out! 'He's fired! He's fired.' " • • • NFL'S GOODELL GETS IT WRONG AGAIN. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who usually gets it wrong when NFL players need to be disciplined for illegal acts, got it wrong this weekend about the US Flag and National Anthem. Goodell said Saturday that President Trump’s recent comments about players kneeling during the National Anthem are “divisive” and show a “lack of respect” for the pro football league and its players : “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” Goodell announced on Twitter Sunday that a video titled, "Inside These Lines" will air during Sunday night's game as a sign of unity in the league. If Goodell had disciplined former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year when he refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest police brutality against the African-American community, the NFL might have been saved its now-growing brush withe suicide. Kaepernick has since become a free agent, but he has not yet been picked up by any team. • • • SAN FRANCISCO, WHERE IT ALL STARTED. The San Francisco Chronicler's Scott Ostler wrote in an article on Sunday that said : "If Sunday was the last day of the NFL -- if it implodes, or is disbanded by presidential decree, or is felled economically by boycotts from both sides -- the league went out with a bang. America went to war with itself Sunday, with fans and other citizens polarizing like crazy, taking sides for and against President Trump and the NFL players who protested in large numbers in the wake of his recent statements. It will take some time to sort out the winners and losers and assess where America stands on political/social protests by their sports heroes." On Saturday, the San Francisco Athletic’s rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first baseball player to kneel for the anthem, a significant breakthrough in a sport not considered protest-friendly." Ostler reported that Rex Ryan, former coach of the Jets and Bills and now a TV analyst, said, “Let me tell you, I’m pissed off. I’ll be honest with you. I supported Donald Trump, but I’m reading these comments and it’s appalling to me.” Raiders’ owner Mark Davis said he had opposed player protests, but events of recent days have changed his heart and mind. (Niners owner Jed York has been a protest supporter all along, and his pro-player response was among the strongest league-wide.) Ostler may have got one thing right : "A cynic would wonder whether the owners backed the players out of pure sympathy for their cause and their rights, or because they fear alienating the 70% of league players who are black." • • • WHAT IS THE REAL ISSUE IN 'KNEE TAKING'? The American Thinker's Russ Vaughn wrote on Monday : "There's no question that President Trump tossed a live grenade into the NFL's locker room during his Alabama speech the other night that has set off countless secondary explosions throughout the league and across the media spectrum. Too many in the left-wing media want to play down the fact that this entire mess began with one player, Colin Kaepernick, radicalized by his lefty girlfriend, demonstrating his support for the Black Lives Matter campaign against America's police forces. The important consideration is that BLM's campaign against cops is not one that finds wide favor among the citizenry at large, the folks who support the NFL with their fandom." That, says Vaughn, is the issue : "The owners and the NFL commissioner chose to permit these demonstrations against America's police to continue despite of the fact that they further alienate a large segment of a fan base already disaffected by the injection of leftist political views into media coverage of their game broadcasts. If you think I'm exaggerating on alienation, just Google up some images of the recent SF 49ers-LA Rams game and look at all those empty seats. This may be the worst case of no-shows to date, but it's a growing occurrence at other stadiums, and television viewership is down as well. The American people are speaking, telling those defiant football players that America supports law enforcement, not black criminality, and the NFL owners and management ignore them to their ultimate peril. Readers need to keep this truth in mind as the liberal media, and that includes sports media, do their best to convince you this is some high-minded civil rights protest." • • • THE REAL ISSUES FOR BLACK AMERICANS. Another American Thinker analyst, Trevor Thomas, wrote on Monday that : "Foolish athletes (and their like-minded playmates) should direct their political and social ire elsewhere. Instead, they’ve joined their Hollywood cohorts as mouthpieces for the Democratic Party. Take Colin Kaepernick. His failed efforts at protesting during the National Anthem were predicated upon a lie. After his initial protest in the 2016 preseason, NFL Media reported : 'I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,' Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. 'To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.' In other words, Kaepernick has bought the lies of Black Lives Matter hook, line, and sinker. As I noted last year, the lie is this : There’s widespread and institutionalized racism inside America’s law enforcement agencies, and black Americans are especially targeted. This racism has led to the deaths of a disproportionate number of innocent black Americans. In order to stop this heinous activity, we need more gun control legislation, more wealth redistribution, more job and education programs, and thus Americans need to elect more Democrats." But, says Trevor Thomasn statistics tell anotehr story : "As has been refuted ad nauseam...few things are further from the truth. The tragic truth is, the most dangerous place for a black American is not in the presence of a police officer. The most dangerous place for a black American -- especially for young black males -- is a black neighborhood. Again, as a 2016 report by the Manhattan Institute reveals : In 2013, homicide was the leading cause of death among African-Americans aged 15–35. During 1990–2008, for 93% of black homicide victims, the perpetrator was also black. In 2009, in the 75 largest US counties, blacks were charged with 62% of robberies, 57% of murders, and 45% of assaults -- despite constituting 15% of the population in those counties. In 2014, in New York City, blacks committed 75% of shootings and 70% of robberies, while constituting 23% of the population. During 2005-2014, blacks were also responsible for 40% of murders of police officers nationwide. And perhaps the most shocking statistic of all : Black men in the US are half as likely to die if they are in prison than if they are not." Why, asks Thomas, are these black neighborhoods so dangerous? "Again, the breakdown of the black family. It has been widely reported for years now that the out-of-wedlock birth rate among American blacks is over 70%. Almost always, mothers are left to raise their children alone. In US cities, where the violence and poverty among US blacks is most pronounced, the out-of-wedlock birth rate is even worse. For example, in Chicago about 80% of black children are born to single mothers. Today, only 17% of American black teenagers reach age 17 in a family with their biological parents married to each other. In no state in the US does black family intactness exceed 30%. Among many other sad outcomes, fatherlessness is one of the leading predictors of future criminal activity. Children living with their married biological parents are the least likely to commit criminal acts. On the other hand, children from single-parent homes (almost always without a father) are more likely to...engage in questionable behavior, struggle academically, and become delinquent. Problems with children from fatherless families can continue into adulthood. These children are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact families, and have the highest rates of incarceration in the United States. Far more rampant than any form of racist police discrimination is the plague of fatherlessness in the black community. Yet, when it comes to this grave matter, Colin Kaepernick and his NFL ilk are virtually silent. In fact, with their sexually immoral lifestyles and lack of devoted marriages, many of them are doing nothing but perpetuating the problem." • • • Thomas Lifson published an article in the American Thinker on Monday that takes on the equality of opportunity issue lurking in the NFL protests. Lifson writes : "The protesting NFL members certainly have a legitimate point. Skin pigmentation does seem to color the life experiences and professions of people. To change this, governments and corporations have in some cases undertaken affirmative action that requires racial hiring and preferences, even if this undermines genuine meritocracy. Professional sports have been examples of excellence for ourselves and our children. They have matched up the best players, regardless of skin color or ethnicity, and set the highest standard of human achievement that merits the respect of all Americans. Its champions have inspired and become heroes to all of us. But now, to advance equality and fairness, we must end this. We must, as in many other professions, replace merit with a different standard that reflects the makeup of America as a whole. This must be done by what civil rights rulings have called “disparate impact.” If a community is 12% Eskimo but a local company has less than this share of Eskimo employees, this is to be seen as clear evidence of racial discrimination. It must be corrected by preferential quota requiring hiring of Eskimos." Carried into professional sports, the evidence of racial discrimination is rampant. Lifson says : "African-American males, for example, are only about 6% of America’s population, yet they are so talented that they make up a very disproportionate share of some professional sports. NFL players are approximately 70% African-American males in a sport whose fans are 83% white and 64% male. Since the National Anthem controversy began, NFL football ratings have fallen dramatically. NBA basketball teams are approximately 74.4% African-American males. Caucasians comprise 23.3%, Latinos 1.8%, and Asian-Americans a mere 0.2%. By contrast, only about 7.7% of professional baseball players are African-American males, a share that peaked in 1981 at 18.7%. Latino players make up 27.4% of pro players, but “Latino” is an ethnic, not a racial, category; many players whose skin appears Black are Latinos, while other Latinos have blond hair and blue eyes. This is why it is absurd to accuse those who want to build a wall on America’s southern border of being racist. Latino is not a race." Lifson's somewhat tongue-in-cheek conclusion is that : "Painful as it will be to lose the excellence of pro football and basketball, these teams should be brought into line with America’s national racial profile. To do less would be racist. Our sports should be examples of racial equality not only in words and gestures, but also in fact. The NFL and NBA, to achieve racial equality, should be required to hire and fire players by race until by, say, 2020 each team fits the mix of America itself. In the most recent Census, the USA was 12.6% African-American, 16.3% Hispanic or Latino, 4.8% Asian-American, and 72.4% White. NFL and NBA players should reflect that same racial proportion. What do we want from professional sports? The ability to forget our cares and immerse ourselves for a few hours in a couch potato’s view of pure athletic excellence of games? Or do we want sports to be a continuance of the daily politicization and political correctness of everything by Leftists that is tearing our society apart? If our sports are to be politicized, then it is time we make merit and talent secondary, and impose racial quotas first and foremost. Sports should represent America’s proportion of races and a rainbow spectrum of ideas." • • • THE INSANELY TILTED LEFT. Why didn't the NFL players take a knee for Curt Shilling when ne was fired by ESPN for what he thought was protected speech. The speech is protected. But, access to a particular forum is not. So, just as NFL players should not and did not publicly protest during the National Anthem for Shilling, they should not use the commercial outlets that telecast pro football as protest platrorms. debating society? Daniel John Sobieski says : "Players who take a knee think they are being patriotic, when they are merely being elf-indulgent and selfish. Go rent out a stadium and invite people to pay just to see you take a knee and see if anybody shows up. The response by the NFL Players Association is disingenuous : 'The peaceful demonstrations by some of our players have generated a wide array of responses. Those opinions are protected speech and a freedom that has been paid for by the sacrifice of men and women throughout history. This expression of speech has generated thoughtful discussions in our locker rooms and in board rooms. However, the line that marks the balance between the rights of every citizen in our great country gets crossed when someone is told to just 'shut up and play.' Well, shut and play. That’s what people pay you handsomely to do, isn’t it? Although they are getting fewer as NFL ratings drop and outlets like ESPN lose viewers. Why not rename the teams and realign ideologically? Tune in Sunday and watch Black Lives Matter line up against Blue Lives Matter? That is why ratings for the Emmys and the Oscars are tanking as people grow weary of working hard to see movies and games only to see self-absorbed and self-righteous millionaires preach at them." • Chicago Tribune contributor Diana Goetsch recently wrote an op-ed defending rejected and unemployed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his infamous taking the knee during the National Anthem. Then, Goetsch goes on to slam the National Anthem as a “pompous battle number” that wasn’t played before sporting events until 1942 in the dark days of World War II. Sobieski asks : "One wonders if the likes of Kaepernick and Goetsch have pondered the possibility that were it not for the sacrifice of veterans during World War II she just might be plying her trade writing her tirades in Japanese or German were it not for the fact that the Flag the National Anthem celebrates was raised at Iwo Jima and never stopped flying at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Just as Kaepernick has a First Amendment right to protest the National Anthem, NFL teams have the First Amendment right to choose not to sign him if they feel like his prior actions will negatively impact their product. That's how a free market works, whether Goetsch likes it or not. But most importantly, for Goetsch to refer to the anthem as "a pompous battle number" isn't just appalling, it's historically inaccurate. Francis Scott Key penned the anthem after witnessing the American flag prevail over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 when it initially seemed to him as if Britain was going to win the battle. That's what our National Anthem is all about : even during the country's darkest moments, America, the beacon of hope and freedom, finds a way to prevail in the end. That's why everyone stands for the National Anthem before sporting events -- it's a reminder that we are lucky to have the freedom to be able to attend such an event and we should honor those who died to preserve that freedom for us." Patriotism and gratitude to and respect for one's parents and teachers are conservative virtues. The Founders knew all about that, and so did Abraham Lincoln, who grew up in abject poverty and taught himself by reading great books, including those on political philosophy and the law, and, above all, the King James Bible. • • • DEAR READERS, it was inevitable that the media would turn the weekend’s sporting ‘protests’ against President Trump, focusing their coverage almost entirely on the talking point of ‘racism,’ with one media 'expert' even suggesting that the National Anthem itself is racist. Stephen Henderson, an editor for the Detroit Free Press suggested on NBC’s Meet The Press that the National Anthem is “white supremacist” while discussing the football and baseball players who are refusing to stand for it. Henderson made the comments after Rich Lowry of the National Review argued that race is being falsely injected into the narrative because neither the US flag or the National Anthem are “white supremacist.” Henderson chimed in to exclaim “some of the words of the National Anthem are white supremacist.” Lowry responded : "You think the National Anthem is racist?” and Henderson replied : “I think this is a country whose history is racist, whose history is steeped in white supremacy, and the anthem reflects that in its very words.” • At CNN, Brian Stelter, who has made it clear that he despises Trump, spent his entire broadcast suggesting that the President’s comments on the issue are ‘unmistakably’ racist. • ABC's White House Correspondent Mary Bruce suggested that “over the last 24 hours, [Trump] added fuel to the fierce debate in the country over race, intolerance, politics, and sports. Now, he’s again inserting himself into the debate over race in America.” Co-Anchor Dan Harris, talking with ESPN reporter Ryan Smith, stated : “Ryan, it’s hard to ignore the racial component here. The President went on this jag on Friday night in front of a largely white audience." Smith suggested that Trump was using racist code, stating : "I think a lot of people today are responding to the idea of his coded language.” • President Trump said on Sunday that the issue is not related to race in any way : "I think the owners should do something about it." On Monday morning, the President tweeted : "The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!....Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!" President Trump's tweets got nearly 100,000 likes. • For many Americans, this past weekend was a low point in race relations -- but it was not about White racism-- it was about Black racism. We are bearing the brunt of 8 years of Barack Obama's deliberate attempt to gain support for his socialist programs by playing the race card, dividing America into White and Black camps and pitting them against one another for his personal agenda. These "lost" 8 years have left Americans of the two races unsure of their positions vis-à-vis the other. America has worked since the 1950s to improve race relations, give equal rights and opportunities to Black Americans, and banish the acceptability of racism in any form. We had made great progress. There is a thriving Black middle class, and the arts, sports, and the media itself, speak broadly of the acceptance of Black Americans into the mainstream of American life. But, there is a poison at work that has convinced the richest and the poorest of Black Americans that they are somehow the targets of visceral, unrecognized, yet deliberate, White racism. It is not true. Evidence of that must surely be acknowledged in the calm reticence with which White Americans have borne the attacks on their good faith and actions, while their tax dollars -- some $1 trillion by some accounts -- have been lavished on "civil rights" and "equal opportunity." • But, there are some things that are so sacred that Americans will not forgive even Black Americans, who receive much foregiveness from America, for trashing them. The American Flag and National Anthem are supreme among them. Americans, both Black and White, defend the Flag and proudly display it. They have died for its values all over the world when other nations were unable to respond to save their own national values. To watch as cossetted, rich young Black men who have had opportunities almost none of their fellow citizens will ever have trample on the symbol of the nation that gave them that opportunity is "a bridge too far." President Trump recognizes that truth. He spoke up for it. Americans are responding to his call by boycotting NFL games and the products of the companies that pay the astronomical salaries of NFL players and their owners. The refusal of White Americans to be kowed, to be demeaned, to be lied about, by rich young ignorant Black racists must continue. We made America. We continue to make it work. We pay its bills. We honor the Republic's Constitution and its Flag and its National Anthem. Those who do not may speak out. That is the right we Americans have fought to preserve through 250 years. But, they do not have any right to demand that we Americans continue to watch their madness or pay for their privilege.