Items from hither and yon as mid-September passes us by.
Michael Bennett is going to be the death of the NFL.
I’m not kidding. This guy is going to destroy the league’s fan base, because nobody has the stones to stop him — not in the Seahawks’ front office, not the in the NFL’s league office, not at the TV networks who pay billions of dollars in rights fees to keep the league afloat.
NFL fans turn to the league on the weekends (and sometimes on Monday and Thursday nights) to get away from politics, and particularly to get away from left-wing politics in the majority of cases. That’s why the NFL has taken great pains to give honor to our troops, our veterans, and our first responders and to present itself as a pillar of patriotism. This has been the case since the league’s inception and it’s a distinctive, crucial piece of its brand.
But that identity was badly tarnished by the negative spectacle of players kneeling for the national anthem, led by Colin Kaepernick, last year. The market, expressed by the fans and the league’s front offices, gave Kaepernick an unmistakable message of rejection for his polluting the game with social-justice bilge; he’s out of the league and there’s no real reason to think he’ll be back in it any time soon without a guarantee he’ll shut up about politics to a team which might sign him.
So this could, and should, have been a season where the NFL recovers from the damage a few of its players did last year.
Then Bennett picked up Kaepernick’s toxic standard. First, the Seahawks’ defensive end libeled the Las Vegas police department in alleging he was racially profiled and abused when detained by a pair of Mexican-American cops after a reported shooting in a casino. When LVPD responded with a mountain of video evidence showing the officers did nothing Bennett accused them of, the NFL backed the player’s obviously false story.
That was fuel for his fire. Next Bennett was refusing to stand for the national anthem. He went further, offering a raised Black Power fist in celebration of sacking a white quarterback. And now, Bennett is joining with a few other provocateurs in cleats to demand that the NFL designate November as a month of social justice activism.
Specifically, Bennett and his compatriots invite interested NFL owners and coaches to participate in a Listen & Learn tour, which would include a prison tour, meetings with grassroots organizations, policymakers and nonprofit leaders, police, families in the community and formerly incarcerated individuals. And if those owners don’t want to be pawns in Bennett’s PR game? Here come the accusations of racism and the subsequent protests.
If you can’t see it coming, you’re not looking hard enough.
And if the NFL capitulates to these demands, the hemorrhaging in TV ratings and game attendance will only continue.
American Spectator readers have surely been paying close attention to the latest revelations about the Obama administration’s spying on the Trump campaign last year, including those revealed in a Fox News report Wednesday that Obama flunky Samantha Power sought to unmask “hundreds” of Americans as part of a cabal also involving John Brennan, Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes dedicated to use the power of government as a weapon against a political candidate they disliked.
This is quite possibly the largest scandal in American history. And as Daniel Greenfield noted, it’s part and parcel of the criminality of the Obama administration which will only become clearer with the passage of time…
Obama and his allies had violated the norms so often for their policy goals that they couldn’t afford to be replaced by anyone but one of their own. The more Obama relied on the imperial presidency of executive orders, the less he could afford to be replaced by anyone who would undo them. The more his staffers lied and broke the law on everything from the government shutdown to the Iran nuke sellout, the more desperately they needed to pull out all the stops to keep Trump out of office. And the more they did it, the more they couldn’t afford not to do it. Abuse of power locks you into the loop familiar to all dictators. You can’t stop riding the tiger. Once you start, you can’t afford to stop.
Speaking of Ben Rhodes and the Iran nuke sellout, one of his partners in political fornication with the mullahs of Tehran — in an organization called Ploughshares, which assisted in Rhodes’ campaign to sell the treasonous Iran deal to the news media — was one Valerie Plame.
Ace of Spades had a terrific post yesterday detailing exactly how complete the pattern of Plame’s anti-Semitism is, and it’s astonishing. Nobody paid much attention to this aspect of Plame’s character until the former CIA employee, who was the subject of a non-scandal during the George W. Bush administration for supposedly having been “outed” in a conversation with a reporter, retweeted a thoroughly defamatory article blaming “America’s wars” on “America’s Jews.” We could dive into just how vile this woman is, but it’s better just to read the whole thing at Ace’s site. It’s eye-opening. And to think a good man like Scooter Libby was ruined over this woman is just an outrage.
At my site, I have a lengthy, if not comprehensive, review of the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill and its political portents. The long and short of it is this bill could pass, and it’s probably the only one that can.
That doesn’t make it a great bill. But realistically, giving the states control over the health care market is a lot better idea than trying to fix things in Washington when Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain are the swing votes. Better, the bill removes the Obamacare reward for states which irresponsibly signed up for the Medicaid expansion, which incentivizes people to abandon the private insurance market and go on the government dole for the worst health insurance product there is.
My conclusions are similar to those reached by Hunt Lawrence and Daniel J. Flynn here at TAS yesterday. Their take…
Graham-Cassidy is not ideal. But it’s not Obamacare, either. And with eight days to realistically replace the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, it represents the last and best hope for Americans eager to escape from under the weight of ever-rising premiums and hospital bills.
All that said, Bill Cassidy, who along with former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum wrote the bill and has been touting it for some time, hasn’t done his project many favors by entwining himself with late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel — who is, by the way, a complete jerk. Cassidy concocted something called the “Jimmy Kimmel test” as a standard by which a healthcare reform bill should be judged; specifically, a middle-class family with a child suffering from a congenital heart defect as Kimmel’s son does would be able to get that child the treatment, including multiple highly-expensive heart surgeries, he or she needs. Before Cassidy’s bill went on the clock as the latest Obamacare fix, there was no particular reason to think he’d be injured in the exchange, which began when Cassidy appeared on Kimmel’s program.
But once it mattered, that became a different story. Kimmel trashed Cassidy over his bill using a number of points which were clearly wrong and certainly unfair, and then threatened violence to Fox News morning anchor Brian Kilmeade after the latter dared to take Cassidy’s side. The whole thing has devolved into a shouting match which hasn’t helped the bill’s chances for passage next week — though it does appear as though getting to 50 votes might happen nonetheless.
At this point, a legislative win which does have some conservative substance to it would be important. Let’s hope Murkowski, who is beginning to look like the swing vote, is a yes and Graham-Cassidy gets to 50 — if for no other reason than to stick it in Kimmel, who isn’t equipped to instruct Congress on how to make law.
Valerie Plame at Brown in 2007 (crystal.village/Creative Commons)