Monday, September 25, 2017

When The NFL Gets It Right

Whatever lofty thoughts I was planning to share during these 10 days of repentance have gone through the goal posts. 

Disclaimer: I cannot begin to tell you how much I loathe football. I do. I refuse to watch a bunch of doped-up bullies running up and down a field banging into each other until their heads sustain permanent damage. I think college football is a farm team system that has precious little to do with providing kids with an education. Pro football is nothing more than a form of legalized slavery with owners, trades, prohibitive contracts, and rosters. Too many players are exploited by unscrupulous rogues as soon as they get a little money in their pockets, and then ignored when brain injuries shorten their lives. I won't even go into the above-the-law attitude of some of those pretend-heroes who offer up bad behavior as a right (think Randy Moss and the Minneapolis meter-reader.) I know the various leagues and associations are trying to clean up individual team acts, but there's a long way to go.

HOWEVER... and isn't there always a however......

 Credit2016 Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
This past weekend, pro football did the right thing; the teams stood up/locked arms/knelt down for the Constitution of these here United States. They used their Constitutionally guaranteed right of free expression to protest the treatment of black Americans in their own country...and by extension, the moronic utterances of our elected head-of-state. Eric Reid, Colin Kaepernick's San Francisco 49'ers teammate and the first to join him in kneeling, wrote an amazing essay in the New York Times:
After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former N.F.L. player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.
What began a year ago as a protest about racism in America quickly became a Constitutional crisis over this past weekend when the Feckless Leader opened his trap in Alabama. Oh, the Looney-Tune list on that speech is endless, but this line jumped right into the end zone:
Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired. He's fired!"
The President of the United States is calling for the denial of civil rights to a segment of the population. Granted, that segment is made up of NFL players and personnel, but it's big enough to constitute a in Class Action. But somehow, as important as all this is, I wonder what he's really hiding.

So, here's where the brain-rubber meets the Alabama road. He cannot possibly shut up, and comes off sounding a bit too much like Caligula at the gladiator match
The NFL ratings are down massively. Now the #1 reason happens to be they like watching what’s happening … with yours truly. They like what’s happening. Because you know today if you hit too hard: 15 yards! Throw him out of the game! They’re ruining the game! That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Steve Mnuchin, is trotted out to appear on  Martha Raddatz's show to defend his führer's remarks sayin,
This isn’t about Democrats, it’s not about Republicans, it’s not about race, it’s not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time. That this is about respect for the military and the first responders  and the country.
Clearly, Mnuchin missed the point. It is exactly about race. He glosses over the genesis of the action, and the growing size of the issue. He dismisses it and that, besides being wrong, is dangerous. He cannot belittle the actions, and he cannot pretend this is not happening. And because the Doofus-in-Chief took to the airwaves, it also became about free speech, free expression, and what exactly the First Amendment allows. In case you forgot:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yup. That kinda says it all.

But, I keep hearing Charles During singing Sidestep from Best Little Whorehouse In Texas like an earworm. Can the West Wing possibly be stupid enough to believe a little slight-of-mouth is gonna be distracting? 

Maybe. So I'm thinking we should be looking for something else. Kinda like the St. Paul Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt....only more obtuse. 

Let's see what else is happening. Hmmm... 

Rocket Man:
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!
Seems L'il Kim of North Korea isn't happy with this at all:
Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy [North Korea], we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hardline countermeasure in history. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation,” he continued. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.
This was followed by North Korean foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho's statement to reporters:
This is clearly a declaration of war, ... The U.N. Charter stipulates individual member states' rights to self-defense. Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down the United States' strategic bombers even when they're not yet inside the airspace border of our country.
And if that was not enough...

Maybe a new travel ban? Venezuela is added to the list of countries with security "issues." Venezuela? There are several other countries, including Saudi Arabia, who have better terrorism track records than Venezuela...which makes me think there is something else oil?

How about the wall that keeps coming up in conversation? Feckless Leader threw the Dems a bone with his DACA statements...but don't believe them. He's bent on deporting all Mexicans. See, then, when there is no produce in the supermarkets, Americans will sign up in droves to be field workers. Yeparoo! Full employment!  That's the ticket!

Is it the latest attempt to repeal the ACA that, as of this evening, is supposed to be dead in the water? They tried bribing Maine and Alaska with additional funding directed specially at those two states but Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said, "No." That means McCain, Rand, and Collins have effectively killed the bill. At this writing, Lisa Murkowski is apparently still on the fence.

Or could it be the cockamamie tax proposal? That's a killer right there...middle income earners, those between $49,000 and $89,000 would probably see a tax increase with the removal of the mortgage interest deduction and the state/local income tax deductions. The top wage earners should see their rate drop from 35% to 20%...although Trump wants that rate at 15%. Yep, that sure benefits the middle class.

Nope. None of the above.

 © 2017, Steven G. Artley, ARTLEY CARTOONS 
Folks, if you're paying attention to the NFL and the rest of the smokescreen, you are missing the really big picture. Our Constitution is under stealth attack and if you're thinking about what the Vikings are or are not doing, you need a new reality check. 

No one gives a rat's ass if the NFL players stand, kneel, or spit nickels. It's a distraction shifting your focus away from the real issue, the biggest of which is the existential threat to the Constitution. 

We have a president who is doing more than saber-rattling; he's positioning this country for a short overseas incursion to be followed by a civil war here. Laugh all you want. Just start connecting the dots; I'm pretty sure you'll get the same picture I'm getting and it's not pretty. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

...comes from Stephen Colbert: 
Tonight: I’m not worried about the guys with the regular footballs.
It’s the guy with the nuclear football who scares me to death.


  1. The First Amendment protects against THE GOVERNMENT limiting speech (like public universities do routinely these days); it is not a license to use your employer to harangue their customers. On the company’s time and the customer’s dime, you have no First Amendment right to lecture your customers or fellow employees or anyone else for that matter.

    The NFL rules allow broad discretion to owners to fire any player for a wide range of offensive expression, even outside the field of play. The NFL recognizes and repeats this in court filings all the time. It is on this basis the NFL restricts everything from what players can wear on the field (like threatening to fine players for commemorating 9/11) to the players’ domestic interpersonal relationships. The NFL has punished a range of expression, from the charitable (players fined for wearing breast cancer research support clothing items) to the benign (dance expressions in the end zone).

    1. You are certainly right about the First Amendment in regard to the government limiting free speech. And you are right that the NFL has taken a dim view on visible support of any number of causes. But in this moment at this time, the NFL got it right by supporting their players'decision to exercise their right of free speech. We're not talking about all employers in all circumstances, just this one.

      In this moment, the NFL's decision to work with teams to produce a unified image was important. Each team made decision about what to do and how to do it. It's important to note that one of the Steelers chose to stand outside the tunnel. The choice was his to make.

      The issue would not have occurred had the Dotard-in-Chief not shot is mouth off in the most asinine way possible.

    2. Here's a more recent piece ...from this morning's NYT. Says pretty much the same thing about the lower end of the middle class _

  2. Get your facts right about Federal tax policy. Even the failing NY Times explains it well.

    The highest individual marginal Federal income tax rate on regular income is 39.6% plus PEP, Pease, and Medicare surtaxes for a total effective marginal rate of 41-42%

    The highest individual marginal Federal income tax rate on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains is 23.8%.

    The highest corporate marginal Federal income tax rate is 35%. This is one of the highest corporate marginal tax rates in the industrial world. Trump sought to lower the rate to 15% but a practical goal is more likely 20-25% if they trade off reduced deductions and other loopholes.

    In 2015, an estimated 45.3% of American households paid no Federal income tax. They may pay others such as state, local, property, excise, Social Security, Medicare, and/or sales taxes.

    On average, those in the bottom 40% of the income spectrum end up getting income tax money from the Federal government in the form of the refundable earned income tax credit (EITC).

    For the tax year 2013, 30.1% of taxpayers itemized deductions, the rest took the standard deduction or had zero AGI.

    1. Well, you certainly made some interesting points, but you really didn't focus on the middle income group.

      "A single parent who's earning $75,000 and has two school-age children, they would face a tax increase of over $2,400," Batchelder says. That's if they had no child-care deductions; the increase in taxes comes partly because the Trump plan eliminates the $4,000 exemption for each person in a household.

    2. How can one take seriously an estimate from 11/13/16 about a vague campaign tax outline? I don't even take seriously the slightly less vague tax proposals this week. Let's wait for a few weeks when the real negotiations take place and they need to compromise to pass a bill (or fail again).

    3. Yes, the article is older than one would like, but that part of the focus has not changed. Good idea about waiting, though, because it just ain't gonna happen.

    4. It's a great plan:

      If you have a lot, you get get to keep a lot. If you have not, you probably don't need it anyway.

      I love the part of the GOP budget resolution which actually says that it won't increase the deficit by more than $1.5T between now and 2027. Well, if we're only talking $1.5T...Wait, I thought the Rs hated deficit spending and wanted to balance the budget immediately? Oh, that was only if they couldn't give themselves the money instead. Cool.