Beware of the Police

“You can’t handle the truth!”  That famous line was delivered by Colonel Nathan Jessep, played by legendary actor Jack Nicholson in the 1992 film, A Few Good Men.  Most of you probably remember the line, but many likely do not remember that A Few Good Men had an important moral to the story. 

(Spoiler alert) In the film, two young Marines are accused of murdering another Marine.  In the climactic scene, Col. Jessep is put on the witness stand and delivers that line before admitting that he actually ordered the attack on the Marine who was killed.  At that point viewers think that the bad guy got caught and the two Marines who carried out the order will be acquitted, but that is not what happens.  While they are cleared of murder and conspiracy charges, they are found guilty of “conduct unbecoming a United States Marine.”  In other words, “I was just following orders” is not a good excuse for doing the wrong thing.

This leads to my plea to the police in our country.  I have always been very supportive of law enforcement and we should all appreciate what they do.  They put their lives on the line to fight crime and keep us safe.  They are often frustrated to see the criminals that they apprehend get away with their crimes or get weak consequences because of pro-criminal Democrat district attorneys and judges.  They are also slandered as racists by obsolete race-baiters trying to stay relevant and a media that loves to stoke conflict and anger.  These officers deserve our respect, gratitude, and support. 

This should not, however, be blind support.  In fact, we need to beware of the police.  Most of you are probably surprised to hear that from me.  It is certainly not for the reasons that the left tells us to beware when they claim that the police are racists who are out hunting black people.  That is a lie.  The police are not likely to do evil things because they are terrible people who plan to do them.  The danger is that they will do evil for the same reason that the two Marines did in A Few Good Men. They will do it because they are following orders.

It is already starting to happen.  We saw the Canadian Mounted Police cracking down on truckers who just wanted to do their jobs.  We saw the Australian police beating down people in the streets for disobeying ineffective, unnecessary lockdown and mask orders.  Police have even been used in some places to shut down churches.  Governments around the world are testing not only if their citizens will obey ridiculous, overbearing, and inhumane decrees, but whether the police in their countries will put following orders ahead of morality and carry them out. 

This is not a new phenomenon.  Tyrannical, totalitarian governments need a way to enforce their edicts and make sure the people do as they’re told.  This requires a police force that will robotically follow orders.  The Gestapo, the SS, and the KGB probably come to mind first, but every brutal dictatorship or despotic regime in history has had an enforcement arm to keep the people in line.  Without it, governments do not have the power to oppress their people. 

This is why I am warning you to beware of the police.  The left is getting bold and is already trying to take more control over our lives.  They will eventually need to rely more and more on force to crack down on innocent citizens who are simply trying to live their lives and support their families.  Authoritarian governments will need to use police, along with massive economic pressure, to enforce overbearing rules on businesses, guns, “climate change,” and speech codes to silence opposing voices, among other things.

Does that mean we should defund the police?  Of course not.  It just means that we should remind them why they chose to become police officers in the first place; to help people.  To the police officers reading this, here is my plea to you:  Please do not let corrupt politicians use you to do their bidding.  In the past couple of years, some of you may have been asked to use force to shut down businesses that were not obediently closing or that were not requiring customers to wear masks.  If you took part in that, you engaged in “conduct unbecoming a police officer.”  You are probably not cut out for that job and should find a new career.  Might I suggest opening your own restaurant and not allowing people to go there? 

Am I saying that police should disregard orders as a general rule?  No.  There certainly has to be a chain of command.  Just laws need to be enforced.  If laws are enforced inconsistently then criminals will run wild on our streets like is happening in Democrat-run cities all around the country as we speak.  So, where is the line police officers should use to determine if they should follow orders without it becoming a slippery slope into lawlessness?  The long answer is a little more difficult and requires some biblical wisdom and discernment.  On the bright side, there is a cheat that you can use to illuminate that line.  It is similar to a cheat my wise father told me about voting.  He said, “If you look at the Los Angeles Times endorsements and vote the opposite, you will almost always be voting correctly.”  Likewise, right now, Democrats and the media demonize the police.  You may soon hear Democrats and the media coming out in support of the police and saying that law enforcement should be taking a larger role in enforcing certain rules (especially new rules).  At that moment you will know the police are being used for evil.  It is then that officers should start to question their orders, and also when the citizens should beware of the police.

Always remember, Germans who put Jews on trains to Auschwitz were just following orders.  Russians who sent “political dissidents” to the Gulag were just following orders.  Officers, if you are ordered to close businesses for “climate” violations, instead defend the business.  If you are told to crack down on “hate speech” or to arrest “political dissidents” in a country where our Constitution protects the God-given right to free speech, you are obligated to refuse.  You are the good guys.  Please stay that way.

Wars and Rumors of Wars

When politicians, activists, and the media try to scare people with theories of the end of the world caused by climate change, you should ignore them.  There are many reasons why.  For one, they have been consistently wrong.  Fifty years ago, they said that global cooling would cause a new ice age.  When that didn’t happen, they said that global warming would flood the planet and drown us all.  When that didn’t happen, they started to blame any bad weather on the very broad label of climate change.  If it snows; climate change.  If it’s hot; climate change.  If there’s a hurricane; climate change.  At least they learned not to go out on a limb. 

Another reason is that, like with Covid, their solutions are far more likely to make people want to die than to stop anybody from actually dying.  Their fix for Covid was lockdowns and mandates, which did not work.  The results were to make people lonely, depressed, fat, suicidal, alcoholic, and jobless.  They also destroyed people’s businesses that they had worked a lifetime to build and ruined a booming economy.  Similarly, their ideas to combat climate change are to take away more liberty and force regulations on us that will destroy our economy and raise energy costs for families everywhere.

If the first two are not good enough for you, the most important reason to ignore these alarmists is that we already know what will eventually happen.  Global warming flooding the planet is guaranteed not to happen because God literally made a promise not to do exactly that.  Genesis 9:11 says, “Thus I establish My covenant with you:  Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  What’s more, God gives us some details of how the end will happen.  Parts of it are vague or hard to interpret prophecies, but some are pretty specific.  We know, for example, that Jesus will take up His church in the Rapture and this event will lead to a seven-year tribulation period where God will pour out His wrath on the earth for rejecting Him.  This period will include famine, pestilence, disease, death, and other supernatural events, culminating with the Battle of Armageddon.  If you are truly concerned about the end of the world there is only one way to delay it.  Turn to Jesus and repent from sin.

Wars and Rumors of Wars

As the situation in Ukraine heated up, my mind kept turning to a phrase from the Bible; “wars and rumors of wars,” which are supposed to run wild as we near the return of Jesus and the tribulation period.  Could this be a part of that prophecy?  I decided to look into it and was astonished at how so many of the signs of the end match what is happening in the world today.  The passage is found in Matthew 24:3-12.  Listen to this:

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 

I am starting to think there is a very good chance I will not die of natural causes and will instead make it to the Rapture.  If those verses don’t describe our time, I don’t know what does.  “Wars and rumors of wars” is not just seen with Russia and Ukraine, but with China and Taiwan, North Korea and South Korea, and Iran and Israel among others.  Joe Biden’s weak response and the current lack of American leadership on the world stage only makes global instability and conflict more likely.  Verse 9 talks about Christians being persecuted and hated for being Christians, which is happening as we speak.  “Many will be offended.” (Verse 10) What better describes our culture right now than that?  “Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” (Verse 11) Could that be talking about the media?  How many people does CNN deceive?  “Lawlessness will abound.” (Verse 12) Crime is on the rise in many of our cities, and some district attorneys like George Gascon in Los Angeles, allow it to go unchecked.  It’s almost as if Jesus knew what was going to happen. 

Ezekiel 38 and 39 provide more insight into the events leading up to the end, and we can see everything lining up in ways that could start the dominos falling.  There we find out that Israel will eventually be attacked “from the far north.” (Ezek. 39:2) Russia surely could fit that bill.  We also know that this attack will involve a coalition of enemies that includes Persia (modern day Iran), Ethiopia, and Libya.  (Ezek. 38:5) These countries are already in the camp that shouts “Death to Israel!”  The pieces are in position on the chess board.

The last two years have also changed the way our world is run.  Using the guise of Covid, the United States allowed around 70 million unverified mail-in ballots to decide who our president is instead of the people of our country.  Even some of my more naïve conservative friends have called me a conspiracy theorist because “Covid is worldwide so this can’t just be about stealing the U.S. election.”  They are right, of course, that this is bigger than just power in the United States (although that is part of it).  This is a worldwide power grab.  Worldwide problems need to be created to take away sovereignty from individual countries and consolidate power into a global system.  This is the same reason for the climate change alarmism, and is all part of what is being called The Great Reset.  It is an attempt to centralize power into a one world government.  That might sound familiar to you if you grew up in church.  Prophecies in the books of Daniel and Revelation suggest that in the end times, power will be consolidated under the antichrist and a one world government. 

Speaking of prophecies from Revelation, almost everybody has heard of the mark of the beast.  “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev. 13:16-17) Three years ago that would have sounded highly unlikely.  However, for the last two years many of us have been barred from working certain jobs, entering stores and restaurants, traveling on planes or trains, or attending concerts, movies, or sporting events without wearing a mask or showing proof of vaccination.  They are not the actual mark of the beast because they are easy to get around, and the true mark of the beast will not be easily circumvented.  They are also not on our hands or foreheads.  So, while I do not believe that the current mask or vaccine requirements are the mark of the beast, I 100% believe that they are test runs for it and that people are being conditioned to go along with it.  Declining to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination is our moral duty and should help people to decline the mark of the beast in the near future.

Another end times prophecy that I see gaining steam comes early in the tribulation period and is found in Revelation 6:5-6.  It talks about the price of a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley being the equivalent of a full day’s wages.  That sounds to me like out-of-control inflation.  Sound familiar?  With governments creating massive inflation by handing out trillions of dollars and artificially raising minimum wages, our money is now worth less and less.  I won’t be around for the final fulfillment of this prophecy, but our currency is definitely going in the wrong direction.

Some of you might feel anxious and stressed out to be living at this time in world events, but personally, I think it is exciting!  Fortunately, Jesus gives some good news in Matthew 24:14-15. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  We are here at this time for a reason; to be a witness to all nations.  We should not be silent.  We should not conform.  Now is the time to courageously stand up to the world and tell the truth.  In fact, I have noticed that people are more receptive to hearing about Jesus right now.  Non-religious friends who I have known for years have started to see the light and turn to God.  Others are asking questions.  Through the events of the last few years, wise people are realizing that something is off and that the Bible has the answers.  If you haven’t yet, now is the time to get your ducks in a row and turn to Jesus.  It may not be long before His return, and you do not want to be on the wrong side at the end.

The Underrepresented in the Covid Story

Those on the left constantly opine that white males are overrepresented in Hollywood, in business, or in any other venture they can think of.  They say that we should correct that by discriminating against white males in favor of people of color and women.  Apparently, Democrats think people of color and women need help because those persons are not smart enough, talented enough, or hard-working enough to succeed based on merit.  Those leftists think that media attention should show a more representative sample of how America is, based entirely on percentages.  However, there is a segment of society that is far more underrepresented than any group the left complains about.  

I realized this injustice while I was getting my hair cut.  One of our local network news broadcasts was on the television and the anchors were feigning sympathy while gloating that a Republican who had spoken out against tyrannical mandates had died of “complications from Covid.”  My first thought was that “complications from Covid” generally means that the person died of something else while testing positive for Covid.  My next thought was that the only reason the media is trumpeting this story is that it fits their agenda of scaring people about Covid.  If they honestly cared about giving fair representation based on the actual numbers, for every story about somebody dying of Covid, there should be tens of thousands of stories about the most underrepresented group there is:  People who did not die of Covid. 

The media does not even acknowledge this massive group because it might inadvertently cause people to be less afraid.  They love reporting that we will die if we don’t do exactly what they tell us to do, but they hate it when we don’t oblige them by dying like we were supposed to.  Low death counts really frustrate the left.  The huge disparity between stories of people dying from Covid and those who have not died from Covid needs to be corrected. 

Since the left has trouble reconciling their need to scare people with their purported concern with proportional representation in the media, I am going to help them out.  While I can name myriad people who have not died of Covid (considering all of us are in that demographic), I will stick to people many of us will recognize.  Fortunately, Covid is as undeadly to celebrities as it is to us average Joes, so there are plenty of examples.  Let’s get started.

Tom Hanks – The panic all started back in March of 2020 when legendary actor Tom Hanks announced that he had Covid.  News reports made people contemplate what life would be like without one of the most familiar faces in the world. 

Update:  You might be wondering why the media would tell you about Tom Hanks’ impending death, yet didn’t even cover his funeral or people mourning at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  What jerks, right?  Well, I’m happy to inform you that Tom Hanks did not die.  The media had gotten the fear they wanted from the story so it ended at the beginning. 

Side note:  Many of you immediately think of Forrest Gump when you picture Tom Hanks, but I still think back to Bosom Buddies, when America still knew that men dressing as women was something to laugh at.  Hanks’ co-star from Bosom Buddies, Peter Scolari, actually did die this year, but did not have Covid, so it was barely mentioned in the press.  They were shocked to find out that even if you don’t get Covid it’s still possible to die.  In fact, the odds are right around 100%.

President Trump – In October of 2020, President Donald Trump announced that he had tested positive for Covid at the age of 74.  To the chagrin of Democrats, President Trump did not die.

Bob Barker – Yes.  Bob Barker is still alive!  I was as surprised as you are when I looked it up.

Me – I am not a celebrity but you are reading my article, so it counts.  Plus, I have been in the group of people who lived our lives fully and ignored the tyrannical rules.  The panicked wimps on social media have smugly been saying for two years that we will be wiped out by Darwinism, so I know it galls them that I am still alive.  Just smile at them and laugh.  It drives them even more crazy. 

Rudy Gobert – The first NBA player who tested positive for the coronavirus was Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.  You may remember that he mocked the severity of the virus by goofing around and touching all of the microphones at a press conference.  He later apologized, but as it turns out, he was right.  Gobert is still with us.

The cast of The Bachelor/Bachelorette from every single season – There are just so many people who have not died from Covid that it is easier to list them in groups of hundreds of people.  Between the two shows there have been 44 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, with right around 1,180 contestants, and while some have died, not a single one of them has succumbed to Covid.  I guess this is not the most dramatic disease ever.

The Los Angeles Dodgers – For the first time in 32 years, the Dodgers won the 2020 World Series.  Their victory was not without controversy, though.  During the 6th and deciding game of the series, third baseman Justin Turner was removed from the game because he had tested positive for Covid.  Though he was not sick, he was told that he could not be on the field with his team who he had worked so hard with for years to win a championship.  After the game, Turner came back onto the field to celebrate with teammates and take pictures with the trophy.  He even took off his mask for pictures.  This started a media firestorm.  Leftist sportswriters and commentators were swift to call for Turner’s head.  They openly questioned whether fines, suspensions, or other punishments should rain down on Turner and the Dodgers.  They claimed that he had put everyone on the field in grave danger with his irresponsible behavior.  Some even fretted that Turner had endangered the few thousand fans allowed in the stands at the game.  We waited with anticipation to find out which Dodgers would return to defend their title in 2021 and which ones would meet their doom.  A week went by.  Then another.  There was no word from the press on which Dodgers had died.  Eventually, spring training for the next season rolled around, and the Dodgers players took the field and played baseball as if they had nothing wrong with them.  Even Justin Turner himself was alive and hit 27 home runs after his death sentence.  If the sportswriters really thought the players were in danger, this survival miracle should have been a huge story.  Instead, there was silence, as if they knew from the beginning that it was a non-story.

All of the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL – The four major sports leagues in the United States bring Americans many hours of entertainment and joy.  They also bring billions and billions of dollars into the economy.  Between the MLB (1,026 on opening day rosters), NFL (1,696), NHL (999), and NBA (529), there are 4,250 players.  Some of you might be wondering how many of these players have not died with Covid and why is the press not reporting on it?  The answer is that none of these players have died with Covid and highlighting that fact might ease public fear.  Despite the 100% survival rate, these leagues are still requiring testing and canceling games due to Covid.  I guess they haven’t figured out the sabermetrics for Covid strategy yet.

The non-death count – I will wrap up by using a pretty staggering number.  We keep hearing a highly exaggerated death count of over 800,000, which even according to the CDC, counts mostly 80-year-olds with three or four other causes of death involved.  What needs to be reported is the non-death count, or how many Americans did not die of Covid to provide some perspective.  That number is approximately 334,031,568 at the time of this writing.  I say “at the time of this writing” because as you can see if you click the link, our population is actually growing.  That may surprise some of you, since you have been led to believe that Covid is decimating our population.  However, in fact there are more Americans now than in March of 2020.  So, the next time you hear the media complaining about groups being underrepresented in our culture and starting hashtag campaigns like #OscarsSoWhite, think about how the survival of over 334,000,000 people is being ignored by the press.  #AmericaSoPanicky

My New Favorite Baseball Player

When I was a nine-year-old Little Leaguer, the picture day photographers made the players our own baseball cards.  On mine was my picture and some facts about me, including my favorite player.  I was on the Yankees and my dad had probably shown me the Gary Cooper classic, The Pride of the Yankees, so when they asked me who was my favorite player, I said Lou Gehrig.  I was definitely a strange kid to pick someone who had died nearly 50 years earlier, but The Iron Horse is still a pretty solid choice. 

Now, many years later, I have a new favorite player who is even more unexpected.  Jack Wilson spent most of his 12-year Major League career as a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  While Gehrig is an all-time great who hit .340 lifetime with 493 home runs and six world championships, Wilson hit .265 with 61 career homers and never appeared in the postseason.  You probably think I’m crazy to put them in the same sentence, but let me explain. 

As many of you know, I am a baseball player.  I pitched for a few seasons in Mexico and I still play in some pretty competitive leagues and tournaments, including spending most of October each year playing in Arizona.  Many of the better teams are full of very good ballplayers who played minor league or college baseball but fell short of their Major League dreams for one reason or another.  There are even some guys who got a cup of coffee in the big leagues.  Last year when we showed up at the first game, Jack Wilson was in our starting lineup.  Apparently, he was in Arizona because his son was starting college out there, and decided to sign up for the tournament.  Our manager was happy to snap him up onto our team because, although he is no Lou Gehrig, he is also not one of us “almost made it” guys or even a flash in the pan September call up who played a few games in the Majors.  He had a successful big league career, including a Silver Slugger Award and making an All-Star team in 2004.

Let me be clear, I am not easily star-struck and have played with quite a few other Major Leaguers.  As I told Jack, he is not even the most accomplished athlete I’ve spent time with in the last two months.  That honor would go to former “world’s greatest athlete” Caitlyn Jenner.  Jack is not my favorite player because he is good, although that certainly helps.  He is my favorite because he shows what baseball is supposed to be:  fun. 

Today, far too many players forget that baseball is ultimately a kid’s game.  On one side of the coin, some guys seem to be going through the motions and thinking more about their next contract than winning.  On the other side of the coin, some guys talk about being businesslike and “respecting the game.”  Those are the people who complain when a hitter bat flips, admires a home run, or swings at a 3-0 pitch when batting against a position player.  My favorite players are the ones who look like they are having fun and love being on the field.  I was at game 1 of the 1988 World Series as a kid and the other moment that stood out to me besides the Kirk Gibson home run was Mickey Hatcher hitting a home run in the first inning and flying around the bases with his arms in the air like an excited little kid.  That is the joy that players should have on a ballfield.

Jack’s love of the game is obvious and his energy is infectious.  He was a shortstop during his professional career but he wanted to play in the outfield for us.  We put him out there.  Then, when I showed up for the game I was pitching, the manager told me, “Jack wants to catch.”  I was thrilled and figured I certainly would not have to shake off my catcher that game.  He was really into catching and talked to me between each inning about how we should adjust and set up hitters.  I ended up striking out 14 in the game.  Jack enjoyed catching so much and was so good behind the plate that we had him catch in the championship game of the tournament, which ended up being an 18-inning marathon win.

When our manager sent out the roster for this year’s tournament, one of the first things I looked for was Jack’s name.  Sure enough, it was on there.  (I heard someone congratulate our manager on getting him back, to which he replied that Jack had been the one excitedly asking him about it.)  At the first game, Jack was smiling and ready to go like a kid on Christmas.  Then, early in the tournament he hit a ground ball and pulled a hamstring running to first base.  He limped back into the dugout looking dejected and said it was pretty bad and he couldn’t play.  Nobody would have blamed him if that was true.  He has nothing to prove to us and was obviously hurting.  However, about 5 minutes later Jack got up, went out to the bullpen, and started testing his leg.  He came back in and said, “I can’t swing the bat, but I think I can catch.  It doesn’t hurt when I crouch or throw.”  We thought he was crazy, but we loved that he wanted to play so badly.  It gets better, though.  The next day when we showed up to the game, Jack told us he thought he could hit left-handed because it’s easier on his hamstring.  He was not a switch hitter during his career, but he barreled up everything and was by far our best hitter for the rest of the tournament.  It was impressive.

On top of having talent and a great attitude on the field, Jack is a really good guy.  He never acts superior to us and enjoys talking baseball and answering our questions when we ask.  I heard guys ask him things that he’s probably been asked 100 times before and he graciously answered, sometimes eagerly telling stories along with it.  When I asked him about his All-Star Game appearance, he told me about the All-Star weekend and his two at-bats; a lineout to left against Ted Lilly and a pop out to second against Mariano Rivera. 

Now, Jack is the head coach at Thousand Oaks High School, which had the highest-ranked baseball team in California last year. The way to get better at anything is to emulate people who are successful at it, so his players have a great advantage.  His enthusiasm is an example that I want to follow in everything that I do.  As a coach, when I do lessons for kids, the biggest predictor of success is enthusiasm.  If a player is thrilled to be on the field, enjoys watching baseball at home, and loves competing, he is more likely to become a good player than a kid with more natural ability who is not passionate about the game.    

Seeing Jack’s childlike excitement and zeal to play helped me gain wisdom that can be applied not only to baseball, but to other areas in life as well.  Off the ballfield, enthusiasm should help tell us a lot about people.  If you are dating someone who acts ambivalent about you, why keep wasting your time?  I want somebody who is enthusiastic about me, wants to spend time with me, and is eager to talk to me.  If I have to struggle for their attention, they probably are not really into me and the relationship will fail.  If you are starting a business, choose a business partner who is enthusiastic about your product.  Otherwise, expect to do most of the work yourself.  In general, if you surround yourself with ambitious, happy people, your life will be better.

As far as baseball goes, Hall of Famer Roy Campanella summed it up best when he said, “You have to have a lot of little boy in you to play baseball for a living.”  Jack certainly has that, and when you really think about it, my picks for my favorite player are actually more consistent than the statistics would indicate.  Jack Wilson plays baseball like he considers himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. 

The World Series of Poker and the New Jim Crow

Every year the best poker players in the world gather in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, the largest and most prestigious tournament series there is.  I look forward to playing at least one WSOP event each June, and have three cash finishes to my credit.  This year the series was moved back from June until October, so I was planning to head out to Vegas for a few tournaments, and had already won a $1,500 seat into the “Monster Stack” event.  Then the discrimination began. 

On August 27 the WSOP announced that they would be requiring all entrants into this year’s tournaments to show proof of vaccinationReactions from the poker world were divided.  2003 WSOP main event champion Chris Moneymaker, who gave hope to millions and started the poker boom by winning without being a very good player, previously had planned to sit out the series because he doesn’t understand odds and was afraid to play, but now is thanking the WSOP for their intrusive decision.  On the other side of the coin, 2009 WSOP main event champ and four-time bracelet winner Joe Cada says he will now be staying home this year because of the rule.  Can you guess which one the media portrays more positively?

Remember that the left uses a playbook to make it seem like their position is the norm and any people who disagree with them are on the fringe.  They want you to feel like you are crazy if you don’t think the way they tell you to.  Because of this, I am going to predict the narrative that the media will push about the WSOP this year.  There will undoubtedly be smaller fields in the tournaments than normal and the media is going to lie to us about the reason.  My prediction is that we will soon see stories about how there are fewer entrants this year because people are worried about playing poker due to coronavirus fears and restrictions on international travel.  While there will surely be some players who do not play because they overestimate the odds of dying from Covid (the odds are nearly 100 times less likely than randomly drawing the 4 of clubs from a deck of cards), this will not be the main reason for the lower participation.  The real reason is actually the exact opposite.  People will not play because they are not living in fear like the left wants them to be.  A large number of would-be participants will not attend because they think that people should have the freedom to assess their own risks and make decisions without being bullied.

If it was just the World Series of Poker doing this, it would be a major problem, but this vaccine mandate situation is a lot bigger than that.  Somebody who I respect told me that she does not see vaccine mandates as a hill to die on.  She has been vaccinated so the mandates do not really affect her.  Here is the problem with that thinking.  This is not about the vaccine.  It is about government power and overreach.  Do you think that a tax on tea would be a hill to die on?  I’ll go out on a limb and guess that at least one of those people who threw tea into Boston Harbor didn’t even like tea.  This has as much to do with our opinions on the vaccine as the Boston Tea Party had to do with their opinions on tea.

There are only two directions this can possibly go.  We can choose liberty and allow people to decide for themselves whether or not to get vaccinated, or we can relegate anybody who will not do exactly as they are told by the bullies on the left into a permanent, Jim Crow style underclass.  These tyrants do not want unvaccinated people to be allowed to work, shop, enjoy entertainment, eat, or socialize.  They claim to care about people but are perfectly fine with firing millions of Americans who are willing and able to work.  These good, hardworking citizens will be pushed into poverty or into a growing black-market economy.  Is it strange that the left says they are doing all of this to save lives but seem to have no problem if you die of starvation because they forced your job to fire you?

You may be wondering what I plan to do about the WSOP.  Honestly, I considered pretty much every possible option, but ultimately decided that I do not want the WSOP to profit from me until they stand up for freedom and change this policy.  Not only is it invasive, but it is illogical.  If the vaccine works, then nobody in the building should be worried.  The people who would be scared are vaccinated, and the people who are not vaccinated would not be there if they were scared.  Neither the unvaccinated nor the vaccinated should play if they believe in liberty. 

Instead, I plan to take my $1,500 over to a tournament series at The Wynn and play an $1,100 buy-in event on the same day that the WSOP Monster Stack event is taking place, then go over to The Golden Nugget the next two days for $200 events.  I encourage any other poker players to join me.  Organizations or businesses that discriminate based on vaccine status should be treated the same way as you would treat places discriminating based on race.  In other words, they should not receive a penny from any of us.

What Is Liberty?

The week before California’s recall election I had the privilege of meeting the world’s greatest athlete from 1976.  That title was traditionally bestowed on the winner of the decathlon, and at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal Bruce Jenner won the gold medal for the United States while setting a new world record.  In 2015 Bruce Jenner shocked the world in an interview with Diane Sawyer in which he told Sawyer that he was now a she.  (Disclaimer:  So as not to be a science denier I am using the scientifically correct gender pronouns in this article.  That is not the focus of the article.)  Jenner, who now goes by the name Caitlyn, ran in the California recall election as a Republican to replace the inept Governor Gavin Newsom.  The Friday before election day Caitlyn Jenner was the guest speaker at a discussion group that I have been attending for the last couple of months.

Caitlyn’s talk was impressive.  He was personable, friendly, and funny.  Jenner said that after the Sawyer interview there was more criticism for coming out as a Republican than there was for coming out as transgender.  Jenner also told a funny story about being in the weight room at the Olympics when a female East German athlete came in and started lifting heavier weights than him, ironically causing him to leave because he felt emasculated.  Jenner genuinely cares about California and wants it returned to the greatness it once had.  I did not expect much talk about actual policy positions, but Jenner has a pretty solid grasp of many of the problems Gavin Newsom and years of Democrat control have caused, including sky-high tax rates and backbreaking regulations.  A lot of ideas that Jenner had to fix some of these problems were good, including a sunset provision which would require regulations to be reevaluated by the legislature every ten years or else they would fall off the books. 

There was, however, one major point that Jenner made that stood out to me because it was based on a flawed premise.  Jenner said that he decided to run because of his belief that California needs a moderate Republican to fix the state.  Specifically, he said that people should vote for him because he is conservative on economic issues and more liberal on social issues.  Jenner also said that the candidate that I endorsed, Larry Elder, is “far-right.”  The premise of that argument ignores the fact that conservatism comes with a built-in solution to people disagreeing on social issues:  liberty.

Jenner’s reasoning assumes that the choice you have is between voting for a left-wing government controlling your life or a right-wing government controlling your life.  In actuality, the choice is between a left-wing government controlling your life or you controlling your life. 

For example, as a conservative Republican, I believe that the country would be much better off if every single American attended church weekly.  I would agree with Jenner if a governor who is “far-right” was going to mandate church attendance.  As much as I think we would all be better off if everyone went to church, I only believe that to be true if it was done voluntarily instead of under coercion.  If the Right operated like Democrats this might be something to worry about.  Imagine, the government forcing all businesses with over 100 employees to require proof of church attendance to be employed there.  Jenner’s argument only works if the Right did that kind of thing.  Instead, the Right wants people to be free to choose, even if we disagree.  That is what liberty is. 

Conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, are often accused of telling people what to do on moral issues.  The truth is, we do care about your moral decisions and we want you to choose what God wants for you.  Notice, however, that I said: “choose.”  Except on the issue of abortion, where the choice directly harms another person, we do not want to take the decision away from you.  The difference is huge.  Conservatives may try to persuade you to do certain things, but that is not the same as using tyrannical power to force those things.  This is what Caitlyn Jenner was missing.  The further to the left a politician gets, the more parts of your life they want to control.  Being a moderate Republican still means they want to have more control over you than a “far right” candidate does.  That is not a good selling point. 

Jenner was asked if he would run for office again if he lost this election and answered that he wasn’t sure about running again, but he would definitely work with the Republican Party to become more of a big tent party that is more inclusive.  I hope that he does, but it needs to be done by explaining clearly that the way to do it is to push for a return to limited government and personal liberty.  We can agree to disagree.  You are welcome in the Republican Party even if you want to use your God-given liberty to do things we may not agree with.  I certainly do not agree with many of Caitlyn Jenner’s lifestyle choices, but I also do not want the government to force him to do what I would prefer.  The Right has no interest in taking away your liberty.

My Endorsement for the California Recall Election

October is my favorite month of the year.  I spend most of the month playing baseball tournaments in Arizona and watching postseason baseball on television.  Last October was even better because I got to escape the tyrannical lockdown orders in my home state of California that destroyed businesses, ended friendliness by covering up smiles with mask rules that do not even work, turned record employment numbers into record unemployment, crushed the dreams of young athletes, and kept people from enjoying meals together by forcing the closure of restaurants.  That is, unless you were the worst governor in the nation, Gavin Newsom, who proved that he did not believe in his own dictatorial mandates by eating with a group of lobbyists at a swanky restaurant, The French Laundry, where they ran up a $12,000 bar tab. 

It is obvious that California is a mess.  People and businesses are fleeing the state in droves.  As you all know, we are now less than a month out from a special election to recall Governor Newsom.  There are two questions on the ballot.  Question one asks whether Governor Newsom should be removed from office.  VOTE YES!  His failures are so clear that the vote should be unanimous.  Question two asks who should become governor if Newsom is removed.  Over 40 candidates are running, and that is what brings me back to Arizona last October.

During one of my stints in the Phoenix area, I noticed that radio host Larry Elder would be doing a screening of his movie, Uncle Tom, at a local theater.  As a big fan who had listened to Larry Elder for years, I bought a ticket and headed downtown for the night.  The film is excellent and I highly recommend you take the time to watch it.  It explores how black conservatives are marginalized and disparaged by Democrats and the media in America.  Larry Elder produced, co-wrote, and starred in the film.  Before each showing of the film, he did about a half-hour talk, introduced the film, and answered some questions from the audience.  He knows his stuff! 

His focus then was on ending racial division, strengthening families, and because it was a week before the election, President Trump and Joe Biden.  Larry Elder is now one of the candidates running for governor of California.  He is running on a platform that includes giving Californians back our freedom, improving the homelessness crisis that was exacerbated by the current governor’s policies, giving parents the choice of where to send their children to school, reducing wasteful government spending and regulations that harm our economy, and lowering California’s skyrocketing crime rate.

Wait, there’s more.  I know that many people are less worried about policy than they are about personality.  I don’t understand that myself, but I have good news for you.  The best part of my evening at the theater last October was when I met Larry Elder after the movie.  I have been to events with other celebrities and radio personalities, and they will usually shake hands and sign a copy of their book or DVD for the guests in attendance, but Larry Elder did more than that.  He stood there in the lobby of the theater and had a real conversation with every person who lined up to meet him.  He wasn’t running for anything at that point.  He didn’t have to stand there all night.  He genuinely took an interest in two theaters full of strangers.  When I got to the front of the line, he spoke with me for literally a few minutes.  I was wearing a Dodgers jacket, so he talked baseball with me, and actually knew what he was talking about.  I gave him a copy of my book, The God Bet, and he asked me about it.  He kept asking me questions about myself long after most people would have moved on to the next person in line.  I was very impressed.  He has the personality and character to go along with the solid policy positions that I want in a leader.

California would be lucky to have Larry Elder as the next governor.  This is why I am proudly and enthusiastically endorsing him in the September 14 special election.  If you live in the state, vote YES on question one, and vote for Larry Elder on question two.  If you don’t live in the state, you might as well come vote anyways.  We don’t check ID here!  (To be clear, that was a joke.  I do not condone cheating.  What do you think I am, a Democrat?)

Let’s Make a Deal to Save Lives

America is divided and we all know it.  Many people talk about us coming together and finding common ground, but in general, I don’t think that is possible because we no longer share the same values.  There is, however, something that both the left and the right claim to want right now that makes for a great compromise.  Both sides say that they want to save lives. 

Now, a fair compromise gives both sides something that they want.  We should all agree that saving lives is a worthy cause, even if we do not agree on how to do it.  If both sides are sincere about their desire to save lives, they will agree that this is a compromise worth agreeing to.  If not, they never really cared about saving lives and just wanted power and control.

So, how does the left say we can save lives?  They want everybody to get vaccinated from Covid.  For full disclosure, let me explain my position on the vaccinations.  I am not vaccinated.  I am not an anti-vaxxer.  I believe that each individual should have the freedom to choose whether they get vaccinated without having to disclose their vaccination status to anybody.  Some people on my side might not agree with this, but I do not think the vaccine is likely to kill you.  We have to be honest about that.  It likely kills some people, but the odds of that are pretty slim.  If we say that the media should stop exaggerating the dangers of Covid, we should not turn around and exaggerate the dangers of the vaccine. 

That being said, there are two main reasons why I have not partaken.  First, it is a solution in search of a problem.  There is literally a 0.0% chance that Covid will kill me.  You have to go another decimal point for it to even register as a cause of death, and that is using the inflated numbers from the government.  The risk of me dying in a car accident on the way to get the shot is likely higher than the odds of me dying of Covid.  I do not want to take an experimental vaccine if I am fine without it.  Second, it is far too much fun listening to angry leftists flip out because there are people who won’t fall in line and do what they command us to do. 

My thoughts aside, the left says that they want everybody vaccinated because it will save countless lives.  Whether it will or not, they are pulling out all the stops.  They are trying to guilt-trip people into compliance. They are vilifying and shaming people who choose not to get vaccinated.  They are bribing people to get the shot with cash and contest entries.  They want vaccine passports so that they can shun and banish unvaccinated people from society.  They would like vaccinations to be mandated for all Americans.

Here is where my compromise comes in.  Conservatives also claim that they want to save lives.  While the net number of people saved or lost by the Covid vaccines is debatable, conservatives can document how many lives their tradeoff would save.  The number is approximately 62 million lives in the past 48 years.  In fact, since the left supposedly cares about black lives, this compromise would end the leading cause of death among blacks in America.  My proposal is this:  I would gladly volunteer to get the vaccine, and even support mandatory Covid vaccines in exchange for the immediate and irreversible ban of abortions in the United States. 

When you think about it, it’s the perfect compromise.  Both sides claim that the problem they would be solving is a major, existential crisis.  Both sides are even giving up what they perceive to be the same thing; choice in a healthcare decision.  If they truly believe that what they are fighting for will save myriad lives, this would be an easy and heroic deal to make.  If they will not make this tradeoff, they must not really believe that their respective cause will actually save many lives. 

We are not likely to agree on which action actually works, but whether you are on the left or the right, you can be sure that this deal will save lives one way or another.  My sleeve is rolled up and ready.  If you honestly believe that lives will be saved, agree to the compromise.  Otherwise, you know it’s not that important to you.

The Bachelorette Term of the Year is Not Positive

I have a confession to make.  Every Monday night, I sit down, open a bottle of wine, and watch The Bachelor.  My sister used to text me to ask what I was up to, and I would send her a picture of some food, wine, and The Bachelor on television in the background.  In fact, the picture of pizza on top of the Steve Connally’s Brain Facebook page is one of them.  She would laugh at me back then, but eventually she started joining me to watch.  Now we get together every week for the spectacle.

Obviously, you should not look to The Bachelor franchise for your morals and values.  Between drunken arguments, fantasy suites, and dramatic rose ceremonies where grown adults cry over a person they have spent less time with than their dentist, the show is the definition of a guilty pleasure.  This year, however, The Bachelorette has annoyed me with a recurring theme.  No, I’m not talking about the super woke firing of host Chris Harrison for having the gall to think that a 24-year-old girl should not be labeled a racist and cancelled from society for wearing a pretty dress to a party, although that is very annoying.  What I am talking about is a term that they have used over and over again to describe the current Bachelorette, Katie Thurston, throughout this season of The Bachelorette.  The term is “sex-positive.” 

Both my sister and I noticed “sex-positive” being used multiple times in the first few episodes, to which I observed, “I think sex-positive is just the politically correct term for slutty.”  She said, “No.  I think you can be sex-positive and still have moral standards.”  I agreed that sex is definitely a positive thing within a certain framework, namely between a married husband and wife, but I doubt that is what they meant considering the progressive, secular slant of mainstream entertainment, and the fact that none of the people on the show are married.  So, I looked it up, and as usual, I was right. 

The current definition of “sex-positive” not only lacks any moral standards other than consent, but it forbids them.  An article on healthline.com explains that sex-positivity “involves being nonjudgmental and respectful regarding the diversity of sexuality and gender expressions, as long as there is consent.”  It goes on to say that any morality attached to sex is “sex-negative,” including abstinence-only education, purity pacts, slut-shaming, and the “good girl” versus “bad girl” trope.  Another article on Yahoo even quotes Dr. Jess O’Reilly worrying that Bachelorette Katie’s definition of sex-positivity might not be inclusive enough.  She opines that, “some people claim to be sex-positive, but their definition of sex is narrow — they may not support and show reverence to sex workers, who provide essential services, for example.”  So, if you don’t think that prostitution is awesome, or if you think that a girl who wants to save herself for marriage is a good girl, you are considered sex-negative. 

If you think as I do that there should be moral standards attached to sex, and for example, it is not a good idea to try to have sex with a bunch of people you just met on a television show, you will probably be accused of “slut-shaming.”  Don’t worry about it.  Shame is not a bad thing.  The Oxford Dictionary definition of “shame” is, “the feelings of sadness, embarrassment, and guilt that you have when you know that something you have done is wrong or stupid.”  What is the alternative?  Should we prefer that people feel happy and proud when they do something wrong or stupid?  No!  I feel shame for bad things I have done.  That is good.  The shame should make me want to correct those behaviors.   The definition of “shaming” as a verb is, “to make someone feel ashamed.”  I don’t see that as a bad thing.  Would it be wrong to shame someone for beating their girlfriend?  For stealing?  For rape?  Of course not.  They should feel ashamed. 

Here’s the funny thing.  The people who say it is bad to shame someone constantly try to shame people they disagree with, including shaming people for shaming people.  Even worse, they shame people for doing what is right.  For example, while researching I came across an article ripping on The Bachelor for portraying Madison Prewitt, a contestant from last year, in a positive light.  Let’s see if you can guess why they did not like Madison with a multiple choice quiz.

A) She got super drunk and threw a pizza from a hotel balcony

B) She supports rocket attacks against Israel

C) She is a Christian and a virgin

Although it seems like A or B should draw more criticism, if you guessed C, you are correct.  Madison actually was disparaged for having good character and doing things the way God intended, because that is sex-negative.  (If Madi happens to be reading this, I’m single!)

On the other side of the coin, when season 11 Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe had sex with Nick Viall on their first one-on-one date, “Bachelor Nation” went out of their way to show their approval.  Anybody who dared to question the wisdom or morality of the decision was denounced as a slut-shamer and a meanie.  Now, I actually liked Kaitlyn (not so much Nick), and nobody should bully her for doing what she did, but it was certainly wrong.  Saying so is not mean.  It’s just a fact.  God created sex for marriage.

People tend to think that God is cruel for giving us rules, but they are looking at it wrong.  God tells us how to do things to help us, not to be mean.  He is not saying, “I made some arbitrary rules to keep you from doing what you want.”  He is saying, “This is how I designed creation.  If you do things outside of that design it will lead to more harm than good.  I love you, so I’m telling you this to protect you from doing things that will hurt you.” 

Katie seems like a sweet, fun, and likeable girl.  When we first saw her get out of the limo with a big, pink vibrator, I thought it was funny.  What is not funny is trying to eliminate morality and implying that doing what is right is a negative thing.  Let’s get back to the shouting matches, drama, and finding out who is there for the right reasons, and stop with the politically correct buzzwords.  I’ll bring the wine.