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.

Why Romans 13 Is Inapplicable to What Is Happening Now

In the Best Picture winning film from 1965, The Sound of Music, the von Trapp family lives in Austria when it is annexed by Germany during World War II.  The main conflict arises when the father, Captain von Trapp, is ordered to accept a commission in the German Navy.  Did he quietly comply because the powers that be gave him a command?  Should he have?  No!  He concocted a plan to disobey the rulers and flee the country.  What a different film it would have been if he had done what so many of our churches have done and obeyed his orders.

Ever since the California government terminated our liberty last year, I have been disappointed that so many churches quietly complied.  This past week I received an email from a local church, once again saying that they were going to keep their doors shut until we are endowed by our government with some liberty.  (That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?)  The reason given has been inappropriately used since the beginning of the lockdowns to justify compliance with tyrannical edicts… Romans 13: 1-7.  It says this:

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Let me be clear.  I believe the Bible completely, from Genesis to Revelation, including Romans 13.  In fact, I talk about the importance of Romans 13 multiple times in my book, The God Bet.  There is, however, a big problem with hiding behind these verses to justify weakly complying during this fight between good and evil.  While we are not supposed to “resist the authority,” our government DOES NOT HAVE the authority to do what it is doing.  There are two main reasons for this.  The first is found in our founding documents.  The Declaration of Independence acknowledges that liberty is endowed not by the government, but by our Creator, and is unalienable.  That means that the government does not have the authority to take away our freedom on a whim. 

I know.  Some of you are saying, “Wait a minute.  The government does have the authority to take away our liberty in certain situations, like when they put a thief in prison.”  You are absolutely correct.  There are instances where the government can take away our freedom.  That leads us to the second reason this is not one of those instances.  Romans 13 not only tells us that we are subject to the governing authorities, but it also tells us what those authorities are authorized to do.  Verse 3 specifically tells us that “rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.”  Verse 4 explains that “he (the ruler) is God’s minister to you for good.  But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”  As you can clearly see, the rulers have the authority to punish you or take away your liberty if you do evil, but NOT for doing good works.  Stealing is evil; thus, the government is authorized to execute wrath on that thief.  Opening the doors of your church, on the other hand, is a good work.  If a church quietly closes its doors and cites the government as the reason, they are implying that a father who wants to take his family to church and sit inside is doing evil.  Any thinking person can see that the rulers who are putting these crazy dictates on churches are being a terror to good works and Romans 13 does not authorize them to do that. 

Why does it matter since California Governor Gavin Newsom is going to allow churches to open on the magical date of June 15?  It matters because these lockdowns and regulations were just the first major battle in the fight to remain a free country.  It was a test to see how many of us would stand up for each other’s liberty.  Unfortunately, the answer was, “not enough.” 

To those of you who are on the side of good, you may be tempted to write off the churches and Christians who sat on the sidelines during this battle and say, “you’re dead to us.”  I urge you not to do that.  We must be forgiving of churches or individuals who were complicit in our loss of rights when they realize what their complacency is leading to.  It is better that they are late to the party than miss it altogether.  Things will get worse and we need more churches to see the light and speak up before it is too late.  We need to pray for these churches to come around, and when they do, we need to welcome them to the fight with open arms.  They need to loudly declare that they will never again remain silent when the government acts as a terror against good works, which is against what Romans 13 says.  Never again will they close the doors of our churches, or limit who or how people can attend.  Our founding documents do not allow it, and the Bible does not allow it.  

Give Us the Same Courtesy That We Gave You

The first paragraph of this article is here for a very specific reason. To promote the article on social media I had to make sure that there was no political speech in the first couple of lines so that it wouldn’t be censored. The original started here:

Democrats now control the White House and both chambers of Congress.  They are calling for unity, but what they mean by that is, “Now everybody needs to agree with us.”  That is not going to happen.  I am not saying that in an obstinate way.  I’m just being realistic and honest.  People disagree and that is alright.  Republicans were in charge for the last four years and many people disagreed with them, and I expected that as well because that is how life works. 

This leads me to my one request to Democrats.  Now that you’re in charge please give us the same courtesy that we gave to you when we were.  That courtesy is this:  When people disagree with you, don’t force them to do what you want. 

This may surprise some of you after being told by the media for four years that President Trump was a fascist dictator, but I cannot think of anything that he forced us to do during his term.  If you disagreed with President Trump and the Republicans, they did not make you do anything against your will.  Republicans let people agree to disagree.  

If, for example, you disagreed with the tax cuts that were passed, Republicans did not force you to go along with it.  They implemented no penalties for people who wanted to keep paying the higher tax rates voluntarily.  Yes, you can do that.  Surprisingly, wealthy Democrats who complain that rich people don’t pay their fair share do not opt to pay more themselves when given that choice.  Alright, maybe not so surprisingly.

Ultimately, this is the main thing that Republicans want:  to be left alone.  We want to control our own lives and let others control theirs.  Another example; we may understand that homosexuality is immoral, but we do not block people from the practice.  In fact, the Trump administration started a global effort to end the criminalization of homosexuality.  (In contrast, Democrats kowtow to countries like Iran who put homosexuals to death.)  Republicans also disagree with divisive groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter, yet do not want them prevented from speaking or kicked off of social media.  Another Republican belief is that God is central to the American way of life and necessary for our success, but we do not want to require church attendance.  In other words, Republicans would like everybody to act in particular ways but think that people should be free to choose for themselves.

This approach is not a new one.  It is actually one of the principles that our country was established on.  Our Founding Fathers were wise men who understood that people would not always agree as to what should be done.  They also knew that throughout history, when the powerful forced those who disagreed with them to conform to their will it sowed contempt, division and conflict.  Their solution was liberty.  If one group wants to do “A” and another group wants to do “B,” the answer is not to have the group in power force the other group to do what they command.  Instead, the first group can do “A” and the second group can do “B.”  They can try to use persuasion to win the other side over but they should not use coercion.

If Joe Biden really wants unity this is what he should do.  Refrain from taking away our liberty.  Allow people to have free will and do what they think is best for themselves.  He can disagree with our choices but he should not overrule them.  Here are ten great suggestions that the Democrats can do to respect the liberty of Americans:

  1. If you decide to raise taxes, make it optional to pay the old rate like the Republicans did for you. 
  2. If you want people to wear masks, make it optional like the Republicans did.
  3. Let scared restaurant owners who want to shut down do so, and let the ones who want to remain open choose to do that.  If patrons want to show up they can but if they are afraid they should also be free to stay home.
  4. Let churches decide whether to remain open or close down.  If congregants do not want to attend they should not be forced to, but those who do should be allowed in.
  5. President Trump stopped enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which threatens to take away tax-exempt status from churches if the pastor endorses a political candidate.  Continue with that policy and allow pastors to decide for themselves what to say from the pulpit without threat of retaliation from the government.
  6. If somebody wants health insurance that covers pregnancy and drug rehabilitation they should be allowed to purchase it.  If another person wants less expensive insurance that does not cover those things they should be allowed to choose that.  If someone else prefers to pay out of pocket for medical care instead of buying insurance they should be able to do that.
  7. Do not force law abiding citizens to buy guns.  Likewise, do not prohibit them from buying guns.
  8. If someone wants to do a job for $8 per hour, do not prohibit them from doing so and force them out of a job.  Let people decide for themselves what wage to accept.
  9. Do not force people who are against murdering babies to pay for the murder of babies.  Do not use taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood.
  10. Refrain from banning or restricting us from using certain products like incandescent light bulbs, straws, grocery bags, soda, and shower heads with good water pressure.

These are all things that Democrats have tried to dictate in the past.  If they truly want unity this list would be a solid first step.  Instead of using tyrannical power to control those of us who disagree with them, try going back to our founding vision of liberty.  It’s the least they can do after Republicans did it for them the last four years. 

Is President Trump Our King Josiah?

As President Trump leaves the White House I have been contemplating his similarities with another great leader who challenged the status quo and “drained the swamp.”  The biblical king, Josiah, was the last good king of Israel’s southern kingdom of Judah before they were defeated by the Babylonians and taken into captivity. 

Both the United States and Judah had gone downhill quite a ways after some downright bad leaders who “did evil in the sight of the Lord.”  Don’t get me wrong, both nations also had some good leaders, except that they failed to roll back all of the evil policies of the bad rulers.  When reading through the books of Kings and Chronicles you begin to notice a pattern arise where the good kings usually had one fatal flaw mentioned.  It seemed to always be described like it was here with King Jotham:

And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.  However the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. – 2 Kings 15:34-35

These high places were generally set up in Israel by the bad kings and were used for pagan worship and idolatry.  Even the few kings who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord” failed to remove the high places, with two exceptions:  King Hezekiah and his great-grandson King Josiah. 

It made me wonder why the other good kings allowed the high places even though it was obviously wrong.  Then it struck me.  It’s for the same reason that our good presidents have not reversed the immoral policies of our bad presidents.  They knew that many people would not like it and they lacked the political courage to follow through.  There was probably a lot of political pressure by the people who worshipped and sacrificed at the high places, and even the good kings bowed to that pressure. 

Kings Hezekiah and Josiah did not.  They both had the backbone to stand up for what was right and removed the high places from the land.  In the United States, conservatives have been frustrated because even when we elect good leaders they have lacked the courage to do what is right.  Like Hezekiah and Josiah, President Trump has not.  Here are some of his landmark accomplishments:

  • The first wicked king of Judah was Solomon’s son Reheboam.  When he became king the people came to him and said, “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” (1 Kings 12:4)  In other words, regulations.  The government was forcing them to do too much and interfering with their lives.  Reheboam took the bad advice of his friends and responded, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!” (1 Kings 12:14)  Our bad presidents have greatly increased the bone crushing regulatory burden on the people.  Our good presidents, like George W. Bush and his father, said they were for smaller government but did not actually lessen regulations.  President Trump did.  He made a guideline that for every new regulation, two had to be removed.  This led to a booming economy and record low unemployment.
  • Both good and bad presidents have said that we should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move our embassy there.  None of them had the guts to actually do it.  President Trump did.
  • Speaking of Israel, President Obama greatly damaged our relationship with God’s chosen people and our greatest ally.  He treated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with contempt.  His administration chastised Israel for defending themselves.  He backstabbed them and allowed them to be attacked in the United Nations.  Most notably, he put Israel in grave danger by appeasing Iran and making a deal to remove sanctions against them and give them billions of dollars without even forcing them to end their nuclear program.  President Trump was the most pro-Israel president of my lifetime and maybe ever.  He defended Israel in the United Nations, acknowledged their sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and ended the appeasement of Iran by pulling out of the dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal.  He was even able to broker peace deals between Israel and Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • About ten years ago my health insurance started to rise precipitously in price.  President Obama had forced through the government monstrosity now known as Obamacare, which also took away our freedom with regards to our healthcare decisions.  President Trump eliminated the individual mandate, taking the teeth out of Obamacare and giving individuals back more control of their healthcare.
  • After years of weak defense of our nation’s borders, President Trump was able to get over 400 miles of wall built.
  • There is one rule that is repeated in each of the first five books of the Bible; that murderers should be put to death.  The federal government has failed in this responsibility, as only 3 murderers had been executed between 1963 and 2020.  President Trump has enforced the death penalty for murderers again, with 13 federal executions being carried out in the last year.
  • Good presidents and candidates have been lied about and vilified by our biased and corrupt media for decades, frustrating millions of Americans because previous presidents just took the abuse.  President Trump fought back and constantly called out the media for their unfairness and propaganda.
  • One of the great reforms of King Josiah is found in 2 Kings 23:10.  “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or daughter pass through the fire to Molech.”  To make your child pass through the fire meant to sacrifice them to the Moabite god Molech.  This evil practice was not only allowed to happen in Israel by the wicked kings, but kings Ahaz and Manasseh actually sacrificed their own sons.  The United States has a similar practice that is protected by the wicked presidents:  abortion.  Unfortunately, even our good presidents have been inept at curtailing this evil act.  President Trump has stepped up to the plate and defended babies.  He was the first president to attend the March for Life.  He has found a way to block funding for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country.  Most importantly, he has appointed three pro-life Supreme Court Justices.

You may be wondering why I chose Josiah to compare President Trump to instead of Hezekiah since they both stood up against the status quo and removed the high places, and I have two reasons.  First, Hezekiah came earlier and that leads me to compare him to another great president who upset the apple cart, President Reagan.  Second, Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king, and President Trump does tend to speak without much tact like a kid might.  It is disappointing that too many people couldn’t get past that lack of tact, because like King Josiah, he may be the last great president we ever have.  Thank you, President Trump, for making us great again.

Free Market Solutions to Big Government Bullies

Big government is bad whether my side is in charge or the other guys are. 

We as conservatives should try not to use the government as a sledgehammer to force people to do what we want like Democrats do.  They want us to stay home and close our restaurants; they use the government, and threats to take away liquor licenses to strong arm those restaurants.  They want a baker or a florist to participate in a same-sex wedding; they use government threats and fines to force them to go against their religious beliefs.  They want “free” healthcare, college, or whatever else they think they can promise for votes; they use the government to confiscate money from people to pay for it.

Conservatives should not become authoritarian tyrants like those on the left.  We should be true to our principles and keep the government out of people’s lives as much as possible.  Instead of wielding government power to get our way, I suggest we use imaginative free market ways to fight for our side when we can.  I have a few suggestions.

1. This is an idea for Christians who still want to work in the wedding industry.  Bakers, florists and musicians have been targeted by bullies who cannot tolerate anyone who does not agree with them or does not do exactly what they want.  The most publicized of these instances was Jack Phillips, the baker in Colorado who politely declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding because of religious convictions.  In true leftist fashion, the couple ran to the government to compel Phillips to bake cakes for same-sex weddings.  He had to fight the government all the way up to the Supreme Court where, fortunately, he prevailed. 

There are certainly times to fight in court and I am thrilled that Jack Phillips was victorious, but my solution would keep the government out of it and instead use the freedom to choose.  I suggest simply putting in place a policy that says this:

“A percentage of the profits from all same-sex weddings will be donated in the name of the couple to charity.  They may choose between Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, or Focus on the Family.”

2. The loss of liberty we have experienced in 2020 is unprecedented in the United States.  The government has locked us in our homes, taken our jobs, closed our businesses, cancelled our sports and entertainment, and even stopped us from seeing a friendly smile to brighten our day. 

This is a very urgent fight right now, and it has to be done through the free market in places like California because big government Democrats control every part of the government.  The method of attack is pretty clear.  Businesses have to fight the government every step of the way and we, the customers, have to support them by frequenting the places that are fighting.  In fact, in May I started a fundraiser through my blog for people to donate to businesses that opened up against the lockdown orders.  Last week my friends and I went down and presented a check to Jeff Gourley, the owner of Nomads Canteen, which was the first restaurant in Orange County to open up back in May.  If you want to donate, click here and we will give it to another deserving business who is standing up for our freedom. 

3. When Colin Kaepernick started slandering our police as racists who go to work looking for black people to murder and NFL players all around the league jumped on board with that lie I anticipated a problem.  How was I going to show my disapproval?  The obvious answer was to stop watching NFL games, but I dismissed that solution because I could see it leading to quite a moral dilemma for me down the road.  You see, consistency is very important to me.  I could handle boycotting the NFL because football is not one of my top priorities, but baseball is my life, and what would I do when some brain-dead baseball player decided to kneel during the national anthem? 

Then it came to me.  It was such a brilliant alternative that I think we should try to make it a movement.  These kneeling players wanted to make a difference, so I thought of a way to let them know that they did.  I vowed on social media that for every cop hating player who kneels for the anthem I will donate $1 in their name to President Trump’s re-election campaign fund.  Today I am fulfilling that promise by donating $212 to President Trump’s campaign.   It took some research but the best lists I found showed 211 NFL players who joined in on the anthem protests.  I intend to tweet every player that I can find to let them know about their contribution. 

Oh yeah.  You might be wondering about that extra dollar.  It is for Bruce Maxwell, the only Major League Baseball player who knelt during the national anthem.  He is no longer in the league, not because of his protest, but because he might have trouble hitting off of some of the Little Leaguers I train.

 

 

Following Up

This is a quick update to my previous article, “This is Tyranny but What Can We Do?” In it, we started a GoFundMe for businesses that were willing to open up and fight for our freedom. This Thursday we went down to Nomads Canteen in San Clemente, the first Orange County restaurant that opened up back in May, and presented the money we raised to owner Jeff Gourley. This is a picture of me with Jeff after giving him the check. The food is great, too, so go check it out!

The fundraiser is still up and there are other businesses who fought and are still fighting, so if you would like to help them you can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bt6qz-reopen-america

Father’s Day in California

Have you ever had the feeling you were on some kind of a hidden camera show?  One of those times where everything around you seems so ridiculous that you think somebody is just messing with you for laughs?  This Sunday was one of those days for me. 

My day started out normal.  Well, not normal.  A normal Sunday would begin with me going to church.  Since apparently they had it wrong in 1776 that liberty is endowed by our creator and we no longer have the freedom to attend church without a mask, I watched the service on my computer.  It was after church that things started to get weird. 

Sunday was Father’s Day and my dad picked his favorite pizza place for lunch, so I said I would drive up and meet them there.  I parked my car and saw theirs so I knew they were already inside the restaurant.  When I walked in an employee rushed over and stopped me. 

“They’re already seated,” I said as I walked towards the tables. 

“You need to put on a mask,” he replied. 

“I don’t have one,” I said. 

He persisted, “You have to have one on until you get to the table.  Here, we have some for you to use,” as he grabbed a box on the counter. 

Two thoughts crossed my mind in the next couple of seconds.  First, I thought about how completely gullible and illogical so many people are to go along with this.  Apparently, if I walk 20 feet to a table without wearing a mask, everybody in the restaurant will be dead.  Yet, if I get to the table, remove the mask, and eat for an hour, then everything will be fine.  Insanity.  The other thought was that my family is going to make fun of me but I have to do the right thing.  We can’t let the bad guys win.  “Never mind,” I said, and I turned around and walked out.

I think my dad was annoyed, amused, and proud at the same time.  When he came out to walk down to the bakery to get dessert I was sitting on a bench outside.  I walked with him. 

“We missed you at lunch,” he said. 

“Yeah, me too,” I answered.  “You know why I’m like this?  Why I stand up for what I believe like that?”

“McDonald’s?” Dad asked.

“Yep,” I said, and he busted out laughing.

You see, when I was a kid my mom would occasionally take us to McDonald’s because they were the first fast food place to put in a playground.  In August of 1987 Joan Kroc, widow of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, made a $1 million contribution to the Democratic National Committee.  At the time it was the largest single contribution to the party ever.  Dad heard about Kroc’s donation and banned us from going to McDonald’s until George Bush defeated Michael Dukakis a year later.  We gave my dad a hard time about that for years.  Now look at me, Dad!

Side note:  As a general rule, I don’t like to boycott businesses for disagreeing with me politically except under certain circumstances.  I think it’s a bad precedent to set to make everything about politics.  For example, I still eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  I like it.  Plus I get a kick out of the fact that two Vermont leftists got rich because of free market capitalism.

After lunch we went to my parent’s house and watched Hondo, the John Wayne western.  Then dinner was even more entertaining than lunch.  My parents, my sister’s family, and I went to a Mexican restaurant.  My parents and I arrived first and I ordered a margarita.  When my drink came out I was disappointed to find one of those awful paper straws in it.  You know the ones.  They make whatever you’re drinking taste like cardboard and then they get soggy and mushy.  So far not funny, just annoying.  Then I noticed my mom’s iced tea had a real, plastic straw in it.  I asked the waitress, “Can I please get a real straw like hers?”  I couldn’t tell if she had a look of confusion on her face because, well, she was wearing a mask, but she walked off for my straw.  A minute later she returned to our table with two straws.  Two more PAPER straws!  I was not wearing a mask so I’m sure everyone could see the perplexed look on my face.  Was she messing with me?  Did she not understand me?  Was Ashton Kutcher hiding around the corner? 

“No.  I meant a real straw.  Like that one,” I said as I pointed at my mom’s tea. 

She looked at me blankly, followed by some unintelligible mumbling from beneath her mask about not having any.  I asked if that was the last one in my mom’s drink.  She mumbled again, nodded, and walked away.  My family laughed hysterically because I was so confused.  I glanced around again for Ashton Kutcher.  Nowhere.  Oh well.  I guess Mom had gotten the last real straw. 

A minute later the waitress brought my nephew his water because he had gotten there a little later.  My Dad said, “Hey Steve, look at his straw.”  Sure enough, in my nephew’s glass was a real, plastic straw.  Laughter ensued.  Ashton Kutcher never popped out.

This is Tyranny but What Can We Do?

In the 1995 Best Picture winner Braveheart, William Wallace rallies his troops with a speech that seems very fit for the time we live in right now.  Early in the film William knows that the English are bad, but when they murder his young wife he knows he has to do something.  He has to fight.  We in America, and especially in the blue states like where I am in California, are at that point now.  Our jobs and businesses have been taken by the government.  Our ability to meet freely with people has been taken by the government.  Our sports and entertainment have been taken by the government.  If we want our freedom back we have to stand up and fight back.  The big question I have been asked is, “How? What can we do?”  Fortunately, I have come up with multiple, specific actions you can take to help us regain our freedom, and they are much easier actions than the Scots had to take against the English.

  1. Vote for candidates who promote small government.  The lesson to be learned from this should not be to trust one party’s politicians to control our lives.  The lesson should be that we should not trust the government to control our lives no matter who is in power.  Our country was set up to restrain the government, not to restrain the people.  The people themselves will disagree on things.  The question to ask is, “what do you think should happen when someone disagrees with you?”  If the answer is, “use the government to force them to do what I want,” then that is a problem.  The answer should be, “let them disagree with me and live how they want.”  Our goal should not be to force people to do what we want.  Our goal should be freedom.
  2. Go to church.  People need God, and people need community.
  3. Open your business.  If you are a business owner you have the most at stake.  You have worked hard all of your lives to open a restaurant or store and should be allowed to succeed if people like your product or service.  Take Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s example.  He just opened up his factory in Fremont, California, tweeting, “I will be on the line with everyone else.  If anyone is arrested I ask that it only be me.”
  4. Support businesses that open up!  This is where the rest of us can help, and I promise you it can be fun.  You don’t even have to be able to afford a Tesla, although if you can, go for it!  I have been to Nomad’s Canteen in San Clemente three times since owner Jeff Gourley reopened last week against government orders.  Gourley is a friendly guy who told us about how he got his chicken recipe from a local while he was living in Belize.  The food is fantastic and the people are even better!  This is the most important thing to do right now.  It will make a difference and here’s why.  The line to get into Nomad’s was all the way out to the street.  The first weekend they were open there were so many customers that they sold out of almost everything on the menu and had to close again for a few days.  When other businesses see lines of people eager to spend money they will want in on the action.  More and more places will open.  When people see that all of us are out and surviving, the floodgates will open and we the people will win. 
  5. The first restaurant that I heard about that opened up against government orders was Café El Dorado near Sacramento, California.  I considered driving up there to show my support but it would be about 16 hours round trip.  That gave me my next idea.  For those of you who cannot make it to San Clemente or Sacramento, CA, or Castle Rock, Colorado to eat, or to Auburn, CA or Owosso, Michigan to get your hair cut, but want to show your support for the brave business owners and their employees who are trying to bring freedom back to our land, I have started a GoFundMe so that you can make a donation that will be given to those establishments that stand up against tyranny and open up.  Not a penny will go into my pocket and I will post receipts on this blog so that you can see exactly where the donations are going.  Also, if you donate and know of a business that has opened up, let me know in the comments or send me a message.  The more money that is donated, the more people we can support! 
  6. If you are scared, stay home.  In fact, you should stay home forever because there are a lot of things outside that can kill you.  As of this writing, 1 out of every 3,865 people in America have died of coronavirus.  I don’t want to scare you panicky people, but according to numbers from the National Safety Council, 1 out of 106 people will die in a car accident.  1 in 111 will die in a fall.  You can be killed in a gun assault; 1 in 298.  Or getting hit by a car as a pedestrian; 1 in 541.  You may drown; 1 in 1,121.  You don’t even have to leave your house to choke on food; 1 in 2,618, so you should certainly switch to a liquid diet just to be on the safe side.  There’s even a 1 in 118,776 chance you will be killed by a dog.  It’s a dangerous world out there.  Stay home!  Besides, I like that there’s no traffic.

Now you have no excuses.  The challenge is out there and you know what you can do.  Here is the link to the “Reopen America” GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/bt6qz-reopen-america    

And remember…  “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!”

Update: Gavin Newsom has ordered ABC to start revoking liquor licenses of businesses who open up. Nomad’s is closed while they pursue legal action against King Newsom. We need to fight more than ever!

The Four Types of People

I have observed four different types of people when it comes to the coronavirus quarantine.  Type 1’s are people who are genuinely scared.  They think that we need to hide in our houses because otherwise they, or many of their friends and family members are all going to die of coronavirus.  I mostly feel bad for these people because, as I discussed before, their fears are completely irrational if you look at the odds.  Unfortunately, type 1’s sometimes overlap with the worst group, type 2.

Type 2’s are the people who are spreading the fear.  They consist of those overlapping type 1’s, politicians, and the media.  The driving force of this whole debacle is, by far, the media.  They have a couple of reasons to blow things out of proportion and scare people.  The first is attention and power.  Bad news equals ratings.  When they scare people, those people keep listening to them.  Members of the media love to feel important and affect our lives.  If the media scares enough people the politicians jump on board because they are scared by scared voters.  Plus they also love power over people’s lives.  Second, the media sees it as a chance to take down a president that they have been trying unsuccessfully to destroy since before he took office.  It very well may work.  Every person who dies, every business that closes down, and every person who loses their job is a good thing for Democrats come November.

Some of the many tactics that type 2’s use are: 

  1.  They give seemingly large numbers without providing any perspective.  The new estimate of 60,000 deaths may seem big, but the media doesn’t tell us that about that many people die every 8 days in the United States.
  2. They use models to predict future outcomes.  Later, when the actual numbers don’t match their predictions they simply update the model to reflect the new data.  They expect us to accept their models as truth even though we have seen them be incorrect time and time again.
  3. They tell us about celebrities who test positive for coronavirus.  They have to put a face to the disease and they realize that since almost none of us will personally know anybody who dies of the virus, they have to tell us about Tom Hanks, Kevin Durant and Idris Elba catching it to scare us into compliance.  The thing is, celebrities have always gotten sick.  It just normally is not reported.
  4. They lie about the death rate being much higher than the flu.  Considering the current reported numbers, combined with the fact that for every reported case there are likely 50 to 85 unreported cases, the death rate for coronavirus is hovering in the 0.066% to 0.1% range.  In other words, right around the same as the flu.

Type 2’s are also the people who feel the need to attack and shame anybody who dares to question the wisdom of giving up our liberty or, God forbid, doesn’t socially distance.  You see them on social media posting grim stories about how everybody is going to die, or complaining about people who aren’t wearing masks, or are playing tennis in the park, or want to attend church services.  They mock people as morons or say they have a death wish if they are seen with other people.  Unfortunately, type 2’s are the people you hear the most from.

Type 3’s are the people like me who think that the fear of coronavirus is irrational because the numbers do not justify it.  That does not mean that they think it isn’t real.  It certainly is, and the sick and elderly should stay at home.  Young, healthy people should be allowed to choose for themselves if they want to quarantine or not.  It should be up to that individual instead of the government.  Type 3’s still value individual liberty.  Some ignore social distancing rules, yet stay alive at a massively high rate.  The reason has nothing to do with them.  It is simply because the survival rate is massively high in general.  Type 3’s realize that it is dishonest when people are led to believe that there is a binary choice between quantity and quality of life.  The real choice is between a long, lower quality life and a long, higher quality life.  They choose the latter.  Unfortunately, type 1’s and 2’s are probably lost causes, and they outnumber type 3’s and control public policy right now.

This leads us to our last group, and possibly our last hope.  Right now public opinion is solidly in favor of the quarantine.  I know I’m in the minority, and the type 1’s and 2’s are not going to change their minds because the odds don’t matter to them and liberty is a disposable value to them.  Their numbers are relatively small, though.  The reason the polls still favor the quarantine is because of the type 4’s.

Type 4’s are the largest group.  At this point, they are in favor of the quarantine.  They are simply being cautious.  Their motto is, “better safe than sorry.”  While they are very averse to risk, they are also logical people who look around and don’t see the scary results that the type 2’s keep touting.  I have heard, more times than I can count, things like, “this doesn’t seem that bad, but let’s play it safe and see what happens.”  They observantly notice that nobody that they know is dying.  They also see that the few people they hear about who do catch coronavirus are surviving.  They see the numbers, and the fact that they just don’t match the gloom and doom predictions they heard from the media.  Most importantly, they do see the damage that the quarantine is doing.  They see a third of the country out of work.  They see kids missing out on proms and graduations.  They see people becoming depressed because they are lonely and barred from doing the things they love.  They will start to miss restaurants, sports, and live music.  The reason that they are our last hope is because at a certain point reality will start to become clear and they will begin to feel safe enough to want freedom again.  As type 4’s get more courageous, things will get better. 

As we move forward we will see that type 3’s were right all along.  There will be deaths, but not in the numbers we were warned about.  Frustratingly, the type 2’s will claim that it is because the quarantine worked and stopped people from catching coronavirus.  In fact, it’s likely that more people actually get it, or already had it, but it’s just much milder than how it was portrayed.

What type are you?