The China Syndrome and satire whack-a-mole.

Disclaimer: This post is a pastiche of reporting and opinions from multiple websites, including ESPN, TheAthletic, National Review, TheResurgent and even Babylon Bee. I have written a little but mostly it is other writers, too many to give credit to each one.

Believe me, the China situation bothers me. . . . But at the end of the day, I have a responsibility to my owners to make money,” then–NBA commissioner David Stern said in a 2006 interview. He may not have known then where his allegiance to the bottom line would lead the league and the game he helped to grow. To hear him tell it then, Stern was intent on turning the NBA into an exporter of American values. Under his leadership, the league began its “Basketball Without Borders” program, which initially sent NBA players to run basketball camps in geo-politically tense parts of the world. “NBACares” television spots dominated game breaks. “We’re going to keep right on showing them,” Stern told Sports Illustrated when asked about public annoyance with the frequency of the ads. “Because social responsibility is extremely important to us.” Back in 2006, even the NBA commissioner defined “social responsibility” as exporting our values of individual freedom and opportunity.

Of all the possible new markets, China has always been the crown jewel: a basketball-crazed country deprived of a quality domestic product. China’s basketball roots go deep—Mao Zedong was a big supporter, and the People’s Liberation Army has long seen the game as a popular pastime. Stern saw the potential and opened the relationship in 1987 by offering NBA broadcasts to China Central Television for free. That was then, this is now.

From broadcast rights for free to billions at stake, from exporting OUR values to groveling before totalitarian “values”. Compare the NBA’s utterly craven responses to China’s threats over the Morey tweet with their boldness in pulling an All Star game from Charlotte, N.C., over the state considering a ban on letting transgender people use bathrooms for the oppose sex. NBA players were similarly dragooned into that controversy. “I recognize this was a tough decision for the NBA, but I respect the choice. Discrimination of any kind cannot be allowed,” said Stephen Curry (what the heck does that mean, Mr. Curry?). Carmelo Anthony said, “Believe it or not, we’re always put in tough situations. Some things you can talk about, some things you can’t talk about. I think the NBA has to decide where that line is and when to cross it.

NEW YORK, NY—In an effort to salvage its relationship with China, the NBA is now requiring all players to stand for the Chinese national anthem at the beginning of every game. The official song of the People’s Republic of China, “March of the Volunteers,” will be played at the start of all professional basketball games, whether at home or abroad. All players, fans, coaches, and employees will be required to stand and solemnly sing lyrics including the following:

The NBA’s hypocrisy is just the same as that of Apple’s Tim Cook, who also threatens boycotts and blockades of states that allow religious freedom, while saying nothing about religious freedom in China. If you own an Apple product, you should expect it to work without censorship if you bought it in Hong Kong, but if you’re friends with China, like Apple, it won’t. The Quartz News app, for instance, won’t work because Apple removed it at the request of the Chinese government, because it’s a bit too on-the-nose about the Hong Kong protests. In America, you can buy a Volkswagen and criticize Angela Merkel. You can turn around and sell financial products back to German buyers who hate president Donald Trump. The same goes for Japanese and Korean brands. But free trade with China has certain conditions attached. Chinese companies act in lockstep because the government controls them. The government controls every aspect of its people’s lives, from what they eat, to what they believe. Economics 101: Under pure Communism, all business enterprises are owned by the State. Under pure Fascism, the business enterprises are “private”, owned by individuals and shareholders, but the State controls them. Which is China’s system?

And the conditions have an insidious effect. There are layers of self-censorship and self-abasement that extend into America. The NBA doesn’t just abase itself in order to keep its access to China’s lucrative markets. The reporters who cover the NBA are afraid to criticize the league and its president. ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who followed the controversy over the 2017 all-star game in Charlotte, has been studiously silent on this controversy. ESPN, his Disney-owned parent company, which editorialized extensively in favor of the NBA’s anti–North Carolina protest, is running only the most pro forma news coverage of the NBA controversy. Someone leaked an internal memo from ESPN management insisting its staff, long willing to talk about American politics, refrain from talking about Hong Kong and Chinese politics. Disney, which now owns most of Hollywood, is reliant on Chinese viewers for its billion dollar box offices. ESPN’s actions come months after Paramount changed Tom Cruise’s famous jacket from Top Gun for the sequel. The patches for Taiwan and Japan disappeared. Tencent, the Chinese film company that also has ties to the NBA, helped produce the new movie.

United and American Airlines wiped Taiwan off their Chinese website maps because China demanded it. Marriott fired an Omaha, NE based employee for liking a pro-Tibet tweet after China excoriated the company. Apple, Inc. has likewise bent over backwards for China. Try to find the Taiwan flag in the emoji keyboard while in Hong Kong and you will come up empty. Apple also adhered to Chinese demands that iCloud data of people in China be stored on servers in China. The Chinese undoubtedly want this to be able to monitor its police state.

Facebook has run counter to most American corporations. Though the company could undoubtedly make massive amounts of money off one billion tech savvy Chinese citizens, the company refuses to do business in China. It has allowed platform access in Hong Kong, but just the other day blocked Hong Kong’s police force from using WhatsApp. The police were purportedly using the service to track protesters. It is rare to see an American company put freedom ahead of Chinese money.

If Chinese authoritarianism is able to spread into American life through corporate power, because corporations are set up to serve shareholders and have trouble thinking ethically beyond that, some are saying perhaps it is the duty of the state to interrupt the exchange mechanism through which this corruption proceeds. I don’t agree. Such a “solution“–giving the State more power–is too much like Chinese totalitarian thinking.

Faced with similar pressure, Comedy Central and the writers of South Park performed much more admirably. Last week, the show aired an episode, “Band in China,” which mocked the Chinese government for its constant attempts to censor criticism and the American entertainment industry for its willingness to assist in those censorship efforts as long as the profits continue to roll in. China, almost as if to prove the show’s point, responded to the episode by “deleting virtually every clip, episode and online discussion of the show from Chinese streaming services, social media and even fan pages.” In turn, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker reacted with a fake apology mocking the NBA for “loving money more than freedom and democracy” and the Chinese government for its attempted censorship.

Surprise: 1 picture and 1 paragraph are SATIRE, from the BabylonBee. Can you figure out which paragraph is satire? If you can’t, does it say more about you or about how absurd this situation has become? I think the latter. (the paragraph is the one following the picture of the Chinese flag in the background of the NBA all-star game). I do have a unique solution: Like South Park, flood China with so many videos, TV shows and other media satirizing totalitarianism (not just theirs) that they will be overwhelmed–satire whack-a-mole!

The China Syndrome. How can any American defend this?

Can they really afford to kick two fans out with all these empty seats?

You know in that 1979 movie, The China Syndrome, how it was feared that a nuclear meltdown here could burn through layers of the earth’s core and reach China? They were only 40 years ahead of their time…and it was not a nuclear meltdown HERE, but a TWEET that burned through the earth to China and caused a nuclear meltdown THERE. From the NY Post: A pair of fans holding “Free Hong Kong” signs were booted from a Philadelphia 76ers game against Chinese squad Guangzhou Loong Lions Tuesday night, according to new reports. Sam Wachs and his wife had attended the preseason game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia when their neon green signs were confiscated by security, NBC Philadelphia reported. The couple was then escorted out after yelling “Free Hong Kong” during the second quarter.

We were saying, ‘Free Hong Kong,’” Wachs told NBC. “What’s wrong with that?” What’s wrong with it is that the Wachs ran afoul of the NBA’s policy of licking the boots of the Chinese Communists, who were angered when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sent out a tweet supporting the Hong Kong protesters. He was taken to task by the Rocket’s owner for trying to make the team a “political organization.” Morey subsequently deleted the tweet–while keeping a tweet critical of Donald Trump in his feed. (Keep in mind, Hong Kong protesters appealed to Prez Trump to defend their freedom). The Rockets’ groveling to the Communists didn’t help. The Chinese Basketball Association suspended their relationship with the Rockets and the Chinese press office issued a stern warning about meddling in Chinese affairs. It didn’t end there. Apparently, because Morey wasn’t fired (and presumably, beheaded), the Chinese government brought the hammer down on the entire NBA.

Chinese state-run television network CCTV said it was suspending the current broadcast arrangements for the NBA’s preseason games in China. Tencent, which owns the digital streaming rights for NBA in China, said it would also “temporarily suspend” the preseason broadcast arrangements. And just to drive the point home that if America wants to play ball in China, they’re going to have to ditch the First Amendment, the state-run TV network issued an unyielding statement about censorship:“We are strongly dissatisfied and we oppose Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right of free expression. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” CCTV said in its statement in Chinese, which was translated by CNBC.

The state-run TV channel also said it will “immediately investigate all co-operation and exchanges involving the NBA.” The official Chinese backlash over a seven-word tweet is because of the gravity of the crisis in Hong Kong, said Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College. “This is an existential challenge to China,” he said. “It’s an authoritarian country that doesn’t accept being challenged. China doesn’t know quite what to do about it yet. At some level, China has an object in the NBA that’s easier to control than the protesters in Hong Kong.” The NBA responded to Morey’s tweet with apologetic statements, which generated a wave of domestic criticism in the United States that the league was valuing profits over human rights. In recent years, the NBA has positioned itself as a more progressive league in terms of social justice causes espoused by players, in contrast to the NFL and other sports leagues struggling with player protests. Is this kind of hypocritical? I’m sure the mega-millionaire players and the billionaire owners in the NBA could justify standing up for their interests while putting them before the freedom of overseas folks. “Social justice” does seem to recognize borders, even if immigrants don’t.

China is a huge market and it would be irresponsible for a publicly-traded company to ignore the economic opportunities inherent in bringing their product to the attention of a billion people. But if a business owes it’s very existence to the economic freedom we have here, shouldn’t that entity put the priority on our values, like supporting the guaranteed American right to make public comment on the issues of the day. Foreign countries that don’t understand this or reject it should be told….what? It depends on how the $$$$ cookie crumbles.

In case any reader wants to take the line, “Uncle Curmudgeon, you’re just a racist for coming down on the NBA, because most of their players and all the big stars are black.“: Oh yeah? It isn’t just me. The league operates a training center in Xinjiang province—the same place where China is interning millions of Uighur Muslims. Even Slate (one of the most liberal “woke” organs in the world) wrote about it last year: Operating in such a place seems antithetical to the public stance of a league that has recently gone out of its way to tout its progressive, social-justice bona fides. After the Trump travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority nations, prominent NBA figures took the side of the critics. League commissioner Adam Silver took the unusual step of criticizing the ban, saying “it goes against the fundamental values and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great NBA.” Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy compared the ban to Hitler registering the Jews.

NBA stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have condemned police violence and racism in the United States, while players and executives have protested the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant children from their parents. According to his LinkedIn page, the NBA executive George Land oversees the Xinjiang training center. On Twitter, Land’s most recent activity is a retweet of the MSNBC host Chris Hayes condemning the U.S. separation of thousands of mothers from their children. But what about Xinjiang? Thousands of Uighur children are reportedly languishing in orphanages, awaiting their parents’ release from the concentration camps. The NBA didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. Nor did Land. Nor did China’s foreign ministry.

This isn’t over. The next post probes deeper.

Who’s Darel Morey? Why is he in the NBA doghouse?

Mr. Morey is the general manager of the NBA Houston Rockets, and he tweeted support for the freedom-loving people of Hong Kong, with an image that read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” China’s official basketball association, headed by Hall of Famer and Houston Rockets great Yao Ming, said it will suspend cooperation with the Rockets after that tweet. The Chinese Basketball Association said Sunday on its Twitter-like Weibo account that Morey had made “improper remarks regarding Hong Kong” to which it expressed its “strong opposition.”

Of the four major United States commercial sports leagues—NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB—it seems to me that the NBA markets being woke more front and center than the others. Part of that marketing is the international angle: how popular their stars are overseas, how many foreign players there are in the league, how international play is catching up to the United States. Another angle, less trumpeted but more visible, is the fact that the overwhelming majority of NBA players, especially the stars of the league, are black, and NBA stars have a symbiotic relationship with the NBA when it comes to merchandising.

I am not complaining, it makes no difference to me. The international angle is fine too. Baseball is played in lots of countries, mostly south of the United States and Japan, lots of international stars come into MLB, including my favorites of all time, Albert Pujols and Ichiro. I don’t follow hockey, but I know it’s more popular in the northern countries than it is here, and some of the biggest stars in the NHL were/are Canadians (Gretzky, Howe, Hull, Crosby) and Eastern Europeans or Russians (Ovetchkin, Jagr, Selanne). The NFL has the fewest international stars, and I think they are all kickers. My point is, the NBA really needs it’s international popularity, especially in China, more than the other commercial leagues.

It’s always a problem in this world when an American enterprise needs or covets the Chinese market. The government of China is a huge challenge to “wokeness”. Actually, it’s more than a problem. Doing significant business in China is Ambien on steroids to being “woke”! Did you ever see someone’s behavior 20 minutes after popping a double dose of Ambien (Zolpedim)? Known side effects include decreased awareness, hallucinations, changes in behavior, memory problems, sleepwalking, sleep eating (and cooking), and even sleep driving. In fact, Ambien has become rather notorious for its weird and wacky side effects. The sleeping pill’s mix of “hypnosis, amnesia, and hallucinations” has led the internet to dub it the “Ambien Walrus.” On the healthline.com website, there are stories from people who, while in waking sleep, did the following: “I drove to the store and bought whipped cream.” “I bought a $2,000 guitar amp online.I raided my neighbor’s freezer for ice cream, and I don’t even like ice cream.” Obviously, before taking Ambien, lock up your wallet and car keys. Okay, enough fun, back to China.

I am watching ESPN Sportscenter right now, as the NBA commissioner Adam Silver is saying “There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear,” Silver said. “There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have. I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear … that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression.” That didn’t save Morey from “apologizing” rather succinctly for the tweet, “I did not mean to cause offense!” Then James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Rockets biggest stars were trotted out, “We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there,” Harden said. “For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love.” Don’t mention the fact that consumers in China buy far more merchandise than consumers in Hong Kong ever will.

Merchandise accounts for over $1 billion annually for the NBA’s. I don’t know how much of that is from China. NBA has deep ties in China, where basketball has functionally been the national sport for a century. For example, the league in July signed a reported five-year, $1.5 billion extension of its digital broadcast rights deal with Chinese tech behemoth Tencent. This post is only tangentially related to the NBA. It started out to be, yesterday, about the hypocrisy of the NBA, but more stuff coming out today makes me realize that the real story is our most formidable enemy.

Even hardcore Muslims are not immune to the China economic syndrome. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan seeks to project himself as a global defender of Islam, but he won’t utter a peep about one of the most egregious persecutions of Muslims: China’s repression of Xinjiang’s Uighurs and its project to Sinicize Islam. Instead of writing about the fallout from Mr. Morey’s tweet, I was going to present the Twitter thread, which included a gif of the man confronting a tank in Tiananmen Square, but the tweet was deleted.

Do The Math: Climate narrative sausage.

Searching on that phrase, do the math, yields many different perspectives: 1- The Journal of Statistical Mechanics uses it to suggest “an optimization problem: weighing different variables and crunching the numbers to find the optimal combination of those factors.” What factors? “In the case of where to put your car, the goal is to strike the optimal balance of parking close to the target—a building entrance, for example—without having to waste too much time circling the lot hunting for the closest space.” In other words, the most efficient way to find a parking spot. 2- Forbes online blares the headlines “Do the math: It’s a six person race for 2020.” For Democrats that is.

3-The San Diego Union Tribune has an article on why in America has being a celebrity become such a big business? “Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese soccer star has 183 million followers on Instagram. Do the math–the entire population of Portugal is less than 10 million people. This guy has some major reach.” 4- Math Solutions company uses that phrase in their marketing: “Do The Math® helps students in grades 1 and up catch up and keep up with grade level content. Do The Math develops students’ understanding of whole numbers and fractions through lessons that foster reasoning and number sense.” 5- The Free Online Dictionary defines the phrase as an idiom, meaning: Figure out or put together the information for yourself. They give two helpful, amusing examples: “Do the math—can’t you see that he’s just using you to get ahead in the company? and “What happened? They convinced you to give them a lump sum as an ‘investment,’ and now they’ve cleared out of town. You do the math.”

Last week a staunch climate change semi-alarmist (“I don’t know if it’s time to panic yet/it might be too late”) friend of mine in Hawaii who’s anti-GMO, pro-vegan, anti-fossil fuels profits, pro-sustainability sent me a video she was sure would convince me to adopt her position. I have made my own position clear in previous posts. The video was entitled Do The Math. Given that the title of the video could have meant at least 5 different things, but she is a scientist, I expected the Do The Math would mean actual math proving how dire global warming is, or will become. Not so. The video was actually the 5th meaning. Do The Math (fossil fuels stink/oil companies are bad).

The only actual math was misleading. “Last year (2014), the top five oil companies made $137 billion.” When someone quotes what they “made”, they are referring to revenue, how much was taken in. How meaningful is that figure? I decided to calculate how revenue translates to profits, which is what stockholders care about. While profits are not the only measure by which to determine whether or not to buy a stock, they are a more relevant measure of what the video was trying to condemn–greed. Why? Let’s say two investors owned identical apartment buildings in New York or S.F. (this is a theoretical exercise-no two buildings would be identical). Since rents are very high, your revenue would be high. If the profit margin (after taxes, upkeep, salaries, repairs, etc.) of investor #1 were 20%, and the profit margin of #2 was 5%, which investor is greedier? The only factor accounting for the difference is expenditures. Investor #2 must be spending more on either repairs, upkeep, salaries or taxes, or all. Whose building would you rather live in? “Making $137 billion is impressive, but you then reduce revenues by costs of goods sold, depreciation and other factors to get gross income. Then you reduce gross income by operating expenses, taxes and other factors to get net income. Then you reduce net income by dividends and other shareholder expenses to get profit, which changes constantly. By my calculations, using Exxon (the largest oil company) as a proxy, the $137 billion revenues would be about $761 million, or about .56% of revenues. Not peanuts for sure, but not nearly as impressive.

Aside from math, Do The Math video had such objective gems as: “Nobody should be able to pollute for free. That’s what keeps us from getting renewable energy” and “You have to pay for garbage hauling, why should oil companies pollute for free?” “BP’s business was wrecking the Gulf of Mexico.” “Exxon has done all they can to destroy the tundra.” I wonder what these polemical hyperbole statements have to do with math. Am I a shill for the oil companies? Am I defending their anti-competitive and pollution practices? No and No. I just really dislike it when a movement uses such statements to confuse the issues and fire up their troops–the statements about BP and Exxon got the loudest applause. I mentioned all my criticisms to my friend. One thing I asked was “What renewable energy will power vehicles?” Her answer was electric vehicles. What about the pollution from manufacture of batteries which power electric cars?

From Scientific American, 2016: Electric cars are great for eliminating oil from transportation, because very little U.S. electricity is generated by burning petroleum. But electric cars may or may not help the country combat climate change—and it all depends on where the electricity comes from. Cars and trucks are responsible for roughly 24 % of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution—nearly 1.7 billion metric tons per year. Because those emissions come from hundreds of millions of tailpipes, this source of pollution seems difficult to control. Shifting it to hundreds of smokestacks at power plants that supply electricity to charge electric cars therefore seems like a more effective way to clean up the fleet. But those smokestacks, many attached to coal-fired power plants, are the single-largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S., at two billion metric tons of CO2 per year. That source would grow as electric cars demand more and more electricity, unless tighter pollution controls are placed on power plants or electric utilities shift to less polluting sources such as solar. As it stands, a conventional Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle, which burns gasoline when its batteries are not engaged, and the all-electric Nissan Leaf produce roughly the same amount of greenhouse gas pollution: 200 grams per mile, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.”

Things have gotten considerably better since 2016. China, the worst coal polluter, is switching over to cleaner power sources (like hydro) and applying stricter pollution controls. The U.S. is switching from coal to natural gas. The Tesla “gigafactory” will be powered entirely by renewable energy (an aerial photo shows hundreds of windmills within sight of the facility). At Rice University, scientists have invented a new method for turning carbon dioxide into a liquid fuel that can efficiently store energy in fuel cells. The fuel could one day be the future of green transport, cramming more energy into the tank than the same volume of hydrogen while also serving as a building block for a whole chemical production industry. Technology is moving far faster than global warming. This paragraph represents only a few of the hundreds of positive changes.The last thing we need is Pavlovian rallies under deceptive phrases like Do The Math.

Fun with the Celebrity Impeachment “taskforce”.

The Democratic Coalition “Impeachment Task Force” is riddledstudded with liberal celebrities to protect lawmakers seeking to hold Trump “accountable for his betrayal of America.” The task force, designed to lead rapid response to Trump during the impeachment inquiry, has confirmed members: “cheerful” Rosie O’Donnell; “respectful” Tom Arnold, “happy jack” Ron Perlman, “gaySulu” George Takei, “thoughtful” Debra Messing and “brainiac” Alyssa Milano. The task force launched a fundraising effort and basic plan on Thursday. The wealthy celebs pledged to contribute their two cents. The group has already started meeting and is set to go live with its website next week. Other confirmed, less famous task force members are Stefan Lessard, Grant Stern, Lea Black, “transphobic” Martina Navratilova. That group, other than Martina, aren’t famous enough for me to make up prefixes for their names (what I mean is, I’m too lazy to look up who they even are). Celebrities in the left-wing movement The Resistance and VoteVets will be involved, as well as Frank Figliuzzi, Renato Mariotti, Andrew Gillum, former David Jolly, Fred Guttenberg, Peter Morley and Ady Barkan. If you’ve never heard of them, join the club. This might be their 15 minutes of fame. They wanted Bobby “polite” DeNiro, but he’s in court defending himself against the $12 million lawsuit by former assistant Graham Chase Robinson, for groping, threatening and cursing her. Yes, Graham is a cisgender female. I mean, if Bobby groped a male, his Goodfellas costars would have to take him out. Mafioso’s don’t grope men! They also wanted “A-list wishful” Kathy Griffin, but only if she brought with her an autographed photo of herself with the bloody disembodied head of Donald Trump. Why not add additional intellectual heft by naming “steady-eddie” Greta Thunberg an honorary member? Besides that, her face fits so well.

They say “it aims to utilize The Democratic Coalition’s massive (their word, mine is “missive”) social media following to protect House Democrats in the front lines of the impeachment inquiry on Trump.” Protect them? From whom? Certainly not Antifa, unless they fail to impeach. Notice the quasi military terminology: taskforce, rapid response. What’s next, instead of the Impeachment taskforce, they could christen themselves Seal Team Six, since the latter is now known as DevGru (Development Group, quite a euphemism for our premier anti-terrorist assassins). I doubt that any of the members ever served in our military, but then neither did Trump, but I digress….as usual.

Do you all understand what impeachment means? Not much, really. The House of Representatives votes on impeaching, which is essentially indicting, or charging with a crime. If it passes, they send the articles of impeachment, the charges, to the Senate for the trial. In our entire history, only Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, but neither was removed from office. Richard Nixon resigned rather than go through impeachment, since he really feared he would be removed. Isn’t it marvelous, that in a nation of this size, complexity and influence, over 243 years, that there has never been a coup, nor has any President been removed, despite all the partisanship, posturing and pandering? I doubt that President Trump will be the first. I even doubt that the House can agree on the charges. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing, another Mueller moment….or is senior moment the correct name?

Oh yeah, a small problem will crop up if the trial in the Senate happens. In trials, witnesses get called, cross examined, often embarrassed. Doug Wilson’s take is interesting: “In the course of a Senate trial, the Senate, controlled by Republicans, will be able to subpoena anyone they want. They will be able to call, and place under oath, anyone they want. Mitch McConnell will be in charge of that. Think of what a gaudy line of witnesses we might be able to see and hear on the teevee live. McCabe. Comey. Clapper. Brennan. Hillary. Page. Strzok. Biden, both of them. More than a few people would wind up with a threat of jail time, and when that prospect became apparent, as it is already becoming apparent, the facade will crack, and they will start turning on one another.”

The whole farce will either strengthen Trump or, if he were actually removed, would create a Pence presidency. As Taki puts it, “the godfathers in the U.S. are trying to get their turf back after a nobody from Queens came in from left field and is top banana. It’s as simple as a that.” Does Mike Pence even have a Twitter account?

Narrative sausages 3 to 6.

Okay readers, if you haven’t been following this guided tour of the social justice warrior narrative sausage factory, that is, you’re late to the party, all the booze is gone, I mean this post is liable to be confusing, because I am not going to explain the concept nor mention narrative sausages #1 and 2. We are starting with narrative #3. I suggest you backtrack a few posts. I exposited on the subject of envy, one of the two major fuels driving the engine of modern social justice narratives. The other is the search for meaning and connection that our idealistic young moralists are lacking, since so many of them have jettisoned church and family, the traditional sources.

The modern substitute for family is the narrative tribe—grouped by superficial physical characteristics of melanin, hair follicle shape—or grouped by ethnicity, nationality and sexual proclivities. The glue that holds the volatile mix of “underrepresented minorities” together (without which they would either break apart like the Soviet Union or explode, like a bubblegum balloon) is a sense of historical grievances. Viola, narratives #3,4. 3- historical wrongs should give a people group extra rights in the present; 4- groups matter, individuals don’t; 5- free speech is not hate speech; 6- attacking those who disagree with you is not tyranny, as long as you are more moral.

Narratives #5,6 proceed by necessity from previous narratives, as they act as silencers against any disagreement on the validity of all these narrative sausages. In fact, it’s time for a sub narrative, let’s call it #7a: merely asking for a definition or evidence of racism is…..ta da, racism! Apparently, racism and hate speech are blood brothers. All speech that questions racism, asks for evidence or definition, is racist. Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it, along with your crack, smack and other forms of dopiness. Of course, if someone is engaging in “hate speech”, even though it’s only disagreement, or sticking a fork in your precious narrative sausage, then you are certainly allowed to beat the casing out of them, throw milkshakes with concrete chunks (is that the modern equivalent of stoning adulterers?), hit them with truncheons sorry, that was the Hitler youth, hit them with baseball bats or make like a chimpanzee and throw your feces (that’s shit, to the unsophisticated), because after all, if someone is speaking “hate” they must be hateful. Right? Then why hide behind masks or bandannas? Let your face shine.

See how those narratives just lead into each other? It’s as beautiful and tasty as an apple, free- range, fair-trade, organic chicken sausage.

A brutal conversation about race and prejudice, with myself.

Talk about self examination, I am going to collect, dissect, and correct all my known prejudices, and air them out for public inspection. This will trigger a lot of folks, some of whom will want to reward my honesty with violence. But I am courageous: you don’t know who I am, where I live, or how well armed and trigger happy I am. Just so you know, I live in a security building, so even if you knew where I live, you couldn’t get in. What if I lie in wait for you, smart guy? Well, you should also know I am hyper aware of my surroundings, my head is on a swivel, my nose got a blood transfusion from a beagle, so don’t sweat and don’t use deodorant, I have a pistol in the backpack I sling over one shoulder and I’m a mite trigger happy. Still want to do me harm? Didn’t think so.

Am I racist? Are you? Here is a quiz: 1. Would you let your daughter marry a man of a different race? 2. Would you date someone of a different race? 3. Would you wash the feet of someone of a different race? 3a. Would you wash anyone’s feet? 4. Do you find the opposite sex of a different race attractive? I could extend similar questions to sexual proclivities, religions or nationalities, and I might if this post doesn’t get too long. Now to my answers. Since I am Caucasian, male, heterosexual and have three beautiful, unmarried adult daughters, I will tailor my answers to me, but you’ll get the point.

1. I actually discussed this with my oldest, when she was dating a reprobate, irresponsible white guy. I told her that the kind of man I really object to is the kind she was dating, his race being irrelevant. About that time, David Robinson AKA the Admiral, had retired from an illustrious NBA career, and was founding and funding a Christian private school, the Carver Academy (named for George Washington Carver). I told her, I wish you would marry a man like David Robinson, a mature, responsible Christian, regardless of race. His character renders race irrelevant.

2. I am 72, and I certainly would date a woman of a different race, depending on appearance. See my answer for Q. #4.

3. Yes, I actually did, and he washed mine. Even before that we were close friends. 3a. Yes, foot washing may seem weird, but it’s humbling and can bind people. In Jesus’ time, washing the feet of travelers was a form of hospitality.

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven-for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:36-47.

Feet were really gross back then. Everyone walked around in sandals, on dusty and muddy paths. She did not cease from kissing his feet.

4. You see those three women above? Basketball players Skylar Diggins and Candace Parker, actress Gabrielle Union. Of course, Halle Berry would be in there too, but everyone thinks she’s sexy. I find those black women very attractive. Now some nitpickers who need me to be racist could say, “they don’t count, their features are too white, their skin too light.” Are they black, white or mocha? They consider themselves black, so tough luck. What do you want? You want me to find a Ubangi with the huge plate in the lower lip attractive? How about tribal scars? You know what, if you’re black you probably don’t get turned on by saucer lips and tribal scars either. Call me racist then, like I care. Come and get me.

Would I hire someone of a different race? If they were as qualified as a white person, sure. What about an equally qualified white vs. black man, or woman? Assuming truly equal qualifications, I would hire on attitude, friendliness and other social traits.

I just got back from Seattle, a city which is superficially woke with a population mostly superficially nice. Is signaling your virtue nice? I had lunch near Amazon’s HQ, and the restaurant had a prominent sign on the front door: “Do not bring a gun In here. We proudly observe Seattle’s gun-free zone.” So nice, so woke, so stupid. If I were intent on shooting people, the sign would have said, Welcome killer, we have on the menu today completely defenseless diners and staff. No one will be shooting back. You’ve seen the traffic–the police won’t even be able to get here most times of the day. Not everyone signals their virtue. Some act as if the vibe gives them cover to be their worst selves. I pulled into a gas station, and the driver in front of me parked beside a pump but too far back for the short environmentally friendly hose to reach. Then she just sat there texting, while her passenger went into the minimart. I got out and went up to her window. “Excuse me, could you pull up a few feet so I can fill up? The hose won’t reach my car, I’m too far back.” If looks could kill. The look could have meant, “if I wasn’t so fat and lazy, I’d get out of the car and punch you in the face.” She then just continued what she was doing. After a suitably long, defiant pause, she pulled up slightly. I filled and drove around her. I may be wrong, but it’s possible that the same person would apologize and pull forward, embarrassed at not noticing my car behind her, if we were in Spokane.

You may wonder, what does this have to do with prejudice? Hang on. Near Spokane, Athol, Idaho has a wonderful amusement park called Silverwood, with three huge, fast roller coasters. The lines are long, but I have never seen a single case of line jumping. When my kids were younger, we stopped at Legoland amusement park near San Diego. The lines for the coasters were long, but what made them worse was the constant line jumping. Not just one person here and there, but entire large families, sometimes 2 or 3 families of six or eight, would just casually stroll up to the very front, and get in line, completely ignoring the people who had been in line for 30 minutes. We also went to Disneyland in Anaheim. Long lines but no jumping. The lines were patrolled, line jumpers would get evicted from the park. One last example: I was in a Walmart right by the Pima Indian reservation in Arizona. The woman in front of me got up to the register, and proceeded to balance her checkbook before paying. The cashier patiently waited as if this were nothing new. I would have gone to a different line, but I was curious how long this inconsiderate charade would continue. After about 10 minutes, she handed over some cash to pay for her single item.

The woman at the pump in Seattle was black. The line jumping families were all Hispanic. The woman in the Walmart was probably Pima tribe. Am I showing my prejudices? Those incidents were behavior I have never experienced in either Wenatchee or Spokane, Washington. Nor Coeur D’Alene or Moscow, Idaho, all places I have lived or spent considerable time in. It isn’t that blacks, Hispanics or native Americans don’t live in those places. My prejudice here is this: Just as alcohol is said to weaken inhibitions, allowing the true personality to emerge, I believe the vibe of an environment, or the nearness to a place where they feel more powerful or represented (like San Diego being close to Mexico or the Walmart being close to the reservation), allows people to express their personalities, or perhaps their resentments. In Silverwood, there were plenty of Hispanics and blacks, but everyone observed the rules, so it isn’t a matter of race or nationality. What is it a matter of? Am I just betraying my own prejudices here? Have you had similar experiences? If I were a POC (person of color), would their behavior have been different? My theory is that the more examples of unsociable behavior a place tolerates, the more conducive it is to people acting out their resentments.  The opposite also holds. Eastern Washington and most of Idaho are conservative and consideration is the norm. Seattle and San Diego are very liberal. I don’t know, what do you think?