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.

The Ultimate Sin?

As a boy growing up in the ‘80s, you had to watch certain things on Saturday television to stay in the loop.  I distinctly remember going down to the playground in my apartment complex armed with the secret word from Pee Wee’s Playhouse so that I knew when to scream real loud.  Those boyhood gatherings would soon turn into a discussion of a far more serious Saturday television event: WWF wrestling.

“Dude!  Did you see Brutus ‘the Barber’ Beefcake cut that guy’s hair?”  

“Oh man, the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage is mad!”

“Did you see what happened on Piper’s Pit?  Hulk Hogan is gonna fight Andre the Giant!”

Recently, I have been nerding out on some WWF nostalgia.  I ran across an A&E Biography episode about “Rowdy” Roddy Piper a few weeks ago and I loved it.  It turns out that A&E is airing a bunch of WWF (now WWE) themed documentaries.  I made sure to catch the one about Andre the Giant when it came on because he is a legend.  I even watched one about Mick Foley, who was a little after my time but still very intriguing because he would let them beat him nearly to death for his craft.  A few days ago, I saw one about another legendary wrestler from my childhood, The Ultimate Warrior. 

It followed the usual formula for a biographical documentary.  It talked about the Warrior’s youth, his meteoric rise to the top of the wrestling world, his struggles and fall from grace, and his untimely death.  Something stood out about this one, though.  In the section about his fall from grace, they first explained the real reason, which was the same as with almost every wrestler.  He started arguing with his boss, Vince McMahon.  However, they then spent a long segment on what they really saw as his ultimate sin.  The Ultimate Warrior came out as a conservative.

The Warrior (he legally had his name changed to Warrior in 1993) actually became a conservative blogger and speaker after his wrestling career.  The guests who were interviewed in the Biography episode wondered aloud if they could still admire the Warrior after learning about his unforgivable opinions.  At first, this made me roll my eyes in annoyance at the blatant double standard.  After all, had Warrior become a progressive pundit, would A&E have criticized him for it and painted him as a horrible person?  We all know the answer to that. 

After a bit of thinking, though, I am glad that corporations, the media, and the entertainment industry continue to reveal their hatred for anybody who dares to disagree with them.  It chips away more and more at their credibility when people open their eyes to how intolerant those institutions are of anyone who doesn’t fall into line with their views.  Their obvious bias against conservatives alienates many who may not even be conservatives themselves, but don’t think people should be vilified for holding conservative values.  It certainly should make clear to conservatives that the mainstream culture has nothing but contempt for you and you have to stand up to them.

This contempt is not reserved only for celebrity conservatives like Warrior.  Remember, the left sees conservatives as “a basket of deplorables.”  You may not have the status to get as much attention as a famous person, but they still want to marginalize and silence you for taking conservative positions.  Just try questioning the security of our elections and see how long it takes social media sites to censor your posts.  If you have the audacity to say that homosexuality is not the ideal, which is one of the things they went after the Warrior for in the documentary, those on the left would attack you with a folding chair if they could get away with it. 

Criminals who sneak across our borders illegally are A-okay with the left.  If protesters block traffic and throw bricks through the windows of businesses, the left will make excuses for them.  Publicly announce that you are no longer the gender that you really are and they will laud you for your courage.  Murder a baby in the womb and the left will praise your “choice.”  Those are all fine, but if you are found out to be a conservative, they think you should lose your livelihood, your reputation, and become an outcast from society.

The Ultimate Warrior was a flawed man.  He was apparently egotistical and did not get along with many of his fellow wrestlers.  Was Warrior the most articulate or tactful conservative speaker?  Of course not!  Would you expect him to be?  He’s the Ultimate Warrior, not William F. Buckley.  Was he perfect?  No, but he did defeat Mr. Perfect in the ring.  Was this article an excuse for me to take a trip down memory lane and watch old wrestling matches?  Absolutely, but we do need to call out double standards in our culture when we see them.  Do not let them silence you.  In this fight, we all need to be warriors.

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.

Wait. Who is Divisive?

In my new book The God Bet, I talk a lot about recognizing false frames that the media sets up to trick and confuse people.  There is even a bonus section at the end of the book with an index of false frames that the left and the media use to define issues in dishonest ways to attack Republicans.  This week a friend posted a video that was going around social media that uses so many false frames in such a short video that it would be a great opportunity to help you filter them out and “unspin” issues that the left is trying to manipulate you with because they think you’re gullible.  Let’s prove to them that we aren’t.

The video can be seen here and starts with a portion of the Republican Convention speech by Kimberly Guilfoyle on Monday night.  The caption said that it was full of lies so I was interested to hear why she would lie when all the truth is already on our side.  In it, they edit to show parts of the speech where she is being emphatic and raising her voice, as well as parts where she is legitimately criticizing what Democrats will do if they win in November.  The lies were not in there.  

Then the podcaster who made the video pops on the screen and I figured out where the lies begin.  He starts with a supposed joke that her speech is in the style of North Korean propaganda and that her speechwriter was Mussolini.  Then he gets to the false frames.  He claims that “the modern GOP is predicated on divisiveness and hate and bigotry.”  What does he use as his proof?  He continues, “Trump’s campaign was launched on the promise of banning Muslims and banning Mexicans from this country.”  A half-truth and a boldface lie.  With regards to Muslims he never suggested ejecting law abiding Muslim citizens from the United States.  He did propose a temporary travel ban on countries where a large percentage of the population supports terrorism or sharia law, not because of bigotry or hate, but for national defense purposes.  With regards to our Mexican immigrants, he does not want to ban your neighbor who legally immigrated here.  He does want to stop people who break our laws from crossing our borders.  To say that that is a ban on Mexicans is like saying if Disneyland banned me from sneaking in without paying it was a ban on white people from the park.

Later in his diatribe he has some better jokes than late night comedians have told in years, but that isn’t hard.  He says that “optimism does not compute for this party (Republicans),” and jokes that, “you’d have more luck going into Home Depot for lasagna than expecting uplift from the GOP.”  He says that Republicans are fearmongering and “are only capable of governing by fear.”  He wasn’t even intending to be funny, but honestly, how hilarious are his claims?  Republicans are divisive, pessimistic, and govern by fear?  Let’s compare and see which party is more divisive, pessimistic, and fearmongering?

Democrats

Poor people are victims of the evil rich.  Gay people are the victims of intolerant Christians.  Women are the victims of sexist men.  Immigrants are victims of xenophobic white people.  Black people are the victims of racist white people.  The police are bigots who go to work each day trying to murder black people.  You should vote for us to protect you from all these divisive, fearmongering monsters.  Also, if you don’t vote for us you’re going to die from coronavirus if the world doesn’t end from global warming first. 

Republicans

America is a land of opportunity!  If you work hard you can succeed no matter where you started.  We are one nation, under God, and everyone should be free to worship as they please and live by those values.  America is a great melting pot and immigrants are welcomed as equals on the day they take the oath of citizenship.  Skin color is irrelevant.  Black people are just as capable as white people.  The police are heroes who try to keep law abiding citizens safe.  If you vote for us we want you to enjoy your freedom and not have to worry about the government getting in your way. 

Which party seems more divisive?  Which one wants to scare you into voting for them? 

But wait.  It got better.  After making the Bizzaro World claim that Republicans are the divisive ones, he defends the Democrats by denying reality.  He says:

“What was par for the course was the fearmongering about Democrats; the threats about open borders and closed schools and sending jobs back to China and installing socialism and the police sending your calls to voicemail and controlling what you do and say… the thing is, none of that is true.”

The real thing is, he’s lying.  That stuff is true.  He claims that, “Zero Democrats are running on open borders.”  They may not call it open borders but they fought against funding the wall and against any kind of real enforcement.  Many of them have even voiced support for sanctuary policies and for abolishing ICE.  Most Democrats do want schools closed and he even admits it later in the video.  Democrats do want to put in place socialist policies and some, like Bernie Sanders, even call themselves socialists.  This guy apparently hasn’t heard all of the talk about defunding police.  I promise you that’s not coming from Republicans.  As for controlling what you do and say, how can he deny it?  Don’t Democrats want to control what you do with more of your money by taking it for the government?  Don’t Democrats want to control where you can eat or whether you can go to a concert, sporting event, movie or church?  Don’t Democrats want to control who bakers have to bake wedding cakes for?  We could go on and on.

He says Republicans should run on real policy but then if we point out what Democrats actually stand for he calls it lies, straw man arguments, and fearmongering.  Besides that, President Trump is running on policy.  The Republican Convention this week was full of his policy accomplishments, because they are many.  On the other hand, the only policy talk from Joe Biden at last week’s convention was that he would make the next four years smile free and faceless by requiring masks.  Apparently that doesn’t count as controlling what you do. 

This video is a great example of how the media tries to deceive you and it is not unusual.  I watched President Trump’s inspirational, accomplishment filled acceptance speech Thursday night and then flipped around the news channels to hear what they were saying.  The entire mainstream media really is like the Bizzaro World, where everything is opposite of reality.  They told me his optimistic speech about American greatness, faith in God, and freedom was really about anger and divisiveness.  It was perplexing, but I expected it.  I always understand that the mainstream media is trying to manipulate us.  You should too.