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ANALYSIS: TRUE. Trump’s NFL Protest Comments are why Trump is President:

He takes a commonly held sentiment — most people don’t like the NFL protests — and states it in an inflammatory way guaranteed to get everyone’s attention and generate outrage among his critics. When those critics lash back at him, Trump is put in the position of getting attacked for a fairly commonsensical view.

Of course, NFL owners firing players on the spot for protesting isn’t necessarily common sense, but this is where “seriously, not literally” comes in.

There is another option, besides firing a player:

An odd controversy briefly dominated the sports pages in March 1996. A player in the National Basketball Association, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, refused to follow the league’s rule requiring that players stand in a “dignified posture” during the national anthem. Instead, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season, Abdul-Rauf had remained seated during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

A black, 27-year-old former Baptist from Mississippi who had converted to Islam in 1991, he declared that as a Muslim, he could not pay homage to the American flag – which he called a “symbol of oppression, of tyranny.” He argued further that the flag directly contradicted his Islamic faith: “This country has a long history of [oppression]. I don’t think you can argue the facts. You can’t be for God and for oppression. It’s clear in the Koran. Islam is the only way.”

The NBA responded firmly, suspending Abdul-Rauf until he agreed to obey league rules. He missed one game, then capitulated. Two factors probably weighed most heavily on him: losing a cool $31,707 for each game missed, and facing wide opposition to his decision from other Muslims.

What’s prevented the NFL from doing the same? Instead, we get more mush from the wimp in response to Trump’s statement last night:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back at President Trump on Saturday for encouraging league owners to remove players who take a knee during the national anthem, saying Trump’s “divisive comments” show “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in a statement. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.”

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Yes, if there’s one thing Trump doesn’t understand, it’s professional football. It’s not like he ever owned a pro sports team or anything.

FILE – In this March 8, 1984, file photo, Donald Trump shakes hands with Herschel Walker in New York after agreement on a 4-year contract with the New Jersey Generals USFL football team. The New Jersey Generals have been largely forgotten, but Trump’s ownership of the team was formative in his evolution as a public figure and peerless self-publicist. With money and swagger, he led a shaky and relatively low-budget spring football league, the USFL, into a showdown with the NFL. (AP Photo and caption.)

JASON RILEY: Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Politics of Contempt: The polemicist attributes Trump’s election to ‘white supremacy,’ and liberals can’t get enough.

The great jazz musician Miles Davis was known for his boorishness, especially toward his white fan base. Davis would play his trumpet with his back to the audience and curse at people between sets. “If somebody told me I only had one hour to live, I’d spend it choking a white man,” he once told a newspaper reporter. “I’d do it nice and slow.” His admirers ate it up.

Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new essay on Donald Trump in the Atlantic magazine brought Davis to mind. Mr. Coates, who couldn’t be more highly regarded among the left-liberal intelligentsia, doesn’t have anything especially new or interesting to add to the never-ending debate on the left about how Mr. Trump got elected. As ESPN anchor Jemele Hill and countless other liberals have done for the past 10 months, he blames white racism.

If you don’t have time to read Mr. Coates’s lengthy article, just browse Ms. Hill’s controversial tweets from last week, in which she insisted that the president is “a white supremacist” and that his “rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.” Ms. Hill’s argument is no different and no less sophisticated than Mr. Coates’s, and she demonstrates a better economy of words.

His schtick is tired, but it’s paid off for him. And there’s always been a place for race-baiting in the Democratic Party. Plus:

But what’s most striking about Mr. Coates’s article, and the reason it recalled Miles Davis, is the borderline contempt he displays for his admirers and fellow travelers on the political left. The author’s primary targets are the “white pundits and thought leaders” whom he deems insufficiently anti-Trump. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, along with journalists and academics who sport impeccable left-wing credentials, are taken to task for indulging alternative explanations for Mr. Trump’s win. In Mr. Coates’s telling, there is no acceptable way to view the Trump phenomenon other than through a racial prism.

Not everyone is letting Mr. Coates get away with this bullying. One of his victims, George Packer, who writes for the New Yorker magazine and who will never be mistaken for George Will, pushed back (gently) in a reply that was published on the Atlantic’s website. Mr. Packer was gobsmacked by the suggestion that he was playing down racism in a pre-election New Yorker essay about the economic anxieties of working-class whites. “I didn’t excuse or extend comfort to anyone,” Mr. Packer writes in his response. “Analysis isn’t justification—unless you think, as Coates does, that the entire subject is illegitimate for scrutiny because it’s an evasion of the truth about white supremacy.”

Mr. Packer almost certainly gives Mr. Coates too much credit. Mr. Coates has little use for analytical reasoning and even less interest in changing anyone’s mind on racial matters.

Well, actual racial reconciliation would threaten the whole feedlot.

THE GOOGLE ARCHIPELAGO: In an article at the Weekly Standard that was likely written before Google’s meltdown this week headlined, “You Can’t Say That,” a review of the recent book The Demon in Democracy , Matthew B. Crawford asks, “Has liberalism taken a Soviet turn?”

Through the ’80s, ’90s, and into the new millennium, the phrase “politically correct” would crop up here and there. Among people who were credited as being sophisticated, use of the term would be met with a certain exasperation: It was needling and stale. The phrase had been picked up by the likes of College Republicans and Fox News, and if you had an ear for intellectual class distinctions you avoided it.

Originally a witticism, the term suggested there was something Soviet-like in the policing of liberal opinion. When it first came into wide circulation, was it anything but humorous hyperbole? Is that still the case today?

A sociologist might point to a decline in social trust over the past few decades—they have ways of measuring this—and speculate about its bearing on political speech. One wonders: Who am I talking to? How will my utterances be received? What sort of allegiances are in play here? In the absence of trust, it becomes necessary to send explicit signals. We become fastidious in speech and observe gestures of affirmation and condemnation that would be unnecessary among friends.

It’s a great review, and well worth your time to read the whole thing. Crawford’s question, “Has liberalism taken a Soviet turn?”, dovetails remarkably well with this week’s events. In the article by James D. Miller that Glenn linked to on Wednesday titled “Get ready for the ‘tech alt-right’ to gain influence in Silicon Valley,” Miller wrote:

It will be poisonous if the tech right feels compelled to not only hide their beliefs but also to actively pretend to believe in progressive diversity values. This pretending will embitter them, probably pushing many to the more radical alt-right.

It will prevent the left and right from getting meaningful feedback on their belief. Plus, if progressives never talked with people on the right, they wouldn’t get to learn that most of us do not fit their stereotypes of being sexist monsters.

When SJWs in Silicon Valley realize that their ideological enemies are hiding, they might actively search them out. They might become suspicious of the guy who was the first to stop clapping when a new diversity initiative was announced. Even worse, SWJs in human resources might become reluctant to hire those with characteristics correlated with conservatism, such as past military service.

That line about SJWs becoming suspicious about “the guy who was the first to stop clapping when a new diversity initiative was announced” is Straight Outta the Kremlin, comrade. In The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote of the fate of the man who stopped clapping first:

At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). … For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the stormy applause, rising to an ovation, continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin.

However, who would dare to be the first to stop? … After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who would quit first! And in the obscure, small hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on – six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly – but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?

* * * * * * * *

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved!

The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel. That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:

“Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.”

And the world’s biggest search engine is well on its way to becoming The Google Archipelago. In an article Orwellianly titled “Internal Messages Show Some Googlers Supported Fired Engineer’s Manifesto” (heaven Lenin forefend — root out the hoarders and wreckers!) in Wired, which began as a libertarian-leaning publication before being purchased by the lefties at Condé Nast, the writer quotes from an anonymous Google employee. “‘Let’s take a step back,’ the Googler wrote, ‘and look at what is actually making everyone in Google upset on this thread and in general since the start of the 2016 election season.’ He went on to describe how the apparent uniformity of thought at Google led people like Damore to feel ‘like they are being forcibly dragged into [sic] ideological indoctrination chamber,’” including these passages that sound like mash notes smuggled out of the Ministry of Truth:

Weekly public (though thankfully anonymous) shaming of employees for misdeeds as slight as anachronistic use of “guys” for a mixed gender group

Frequent references to documents that stigmatize open disagreement with a a rage [sic] of positions

Call for employees to give each other hugs at an all hands meeting because the wrong candidate won a presidential election in the country, following by a mass mailing on how to help your kids deal with grief due to the same occurrence

In a piece at the Federalist titled “No One Expects The Google Inquisition, But It’s Coming,” Robert Tracinski spots another Stalin-esque element to be found in the above article at Wired:

In the new Internet version [of commercial advertising], we know these big companies are gathering specific personal information about our habits and preferences, far more than anyone has ever done, but we accept it because we think they’re just going to use it to sell us stuff, which might sometimes be annoying but isn’t ominous. But if we think there is a wider purpose, if we think they’re going to use our information for social engineering or political manipulation—will that break the bargain?

In this regard, the most important part of the story is those photographed screenshots intended to out Googlers who agreed with Damore. Why were they photographs of a computer screen rather than actual screenshots grabbed by the computer itself, which would have had much better resolution? I suspect it’s because this would leave evidence behind on work computers, so the leakers might get caught. This implies the leakers know what they’re doing is against internal Google rules—just as leaking Damore’s original memo to the media was against internal Google rules.

I don’t want to get into the debates we see around the Trump administration about which is worse: what we found out about our leaders because of the leaks, or the fact that so much information is being leaked. What’s relevant here is that Google now faces a pattern in which its employees are taking internal information and leaking it to the media, against the company’s own rules and safeguards, in order to achieve political objectives. If the wider public starts to figure out that this is happening, they just might decide this is not a company they want to trust with their information or access to their lives.

And they would be wise to do so. At the conclusion of a post today on the hypocrisy of Google firing Damore over his memo but making billions off of gender-based data-mining and targeted advertising code, Rod Dreher links to this scene from the 2006 film on the East German Stasi, The Lives of Others:

Dreher’s captions the clip, “A scene from the Google cafeteria.” He’s likely not all that far off.

WHAT CNN’S THREAT TO DOX A REDDITOR TELLS US ABOUT THE STATE OF JOURNALISM:

Should HanA**holeSolo ever revert to his nefarious meme-making ways, “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”

This is a threat. There is simply no other way for an open-minded person to comprehend the meaning of the line. I’ve read thousands of news stories and written a bunch of them, and I can’t think of a single instance I’ve ever run across a similar disclaimer. CNN has absolved the man of his sins. For now.  I guess if HanA**holeSolo does anything they deem ugly, the network reserves the right to put him in “danger”?

In a now-deleted tweet, CNN’s oft-confused Chris Cuomo asks: “Should CNN reveal name of Reddit user who made trump wrestling video? Had a lot of bigoted and hateful material on page and website.”

Let’s chew on this question and assertion for a moment: For one thing, although Cuomo happens to be correct in this case, I don’t trust his definition of hate or bigotry. Moreover, are journalistic standards contingent on the target’s political views? If HanA**holeSolo had the wrong opinion on gay marriage or affirmative action, would that be enough to ruin his life?

In the DNC-MSM’s mind that’s an emphatic yes, particularly given the symbiotic relationship between old media and social media. Two words: Memories Pizza.

JERRY POURNELLE ON TRUMP AND THE DEEP STATE:

I have long been an admirer of Peggy Noonan, but she seems lately to have been converted to the obligatory Trump bashing of the neo-cons and the editorial authorities of the Wall Street Journal. The paper’s policies are curiously contradictory, in that they seem to believe some reform of the Washington Establishment is needed, but they are so much a part of the Establishment that they can’t resist whacking Mr. Trump whenever possible; and Peggy Noonan has now joined that crowd, . . .

I’m not sure what this means. Mr. Trump is the elected president of the United States. It is no secret that many holdover officials were explicitly not loyal to the President, and some were proud of dragging their feet or even sabotaging Mr. Trump‘s action. Why should the President not expect loyalty from the Director of the FBI? Is the top investigating agency not subject to control by elected officials? This insistence of Administrative Independence is the very essence of the deep state, of the experts who have a right to rule not subject to the elected officials; it is a resurrection of the old divine rights, only the deep state is superior to everyone else: they and only they have a right to rule.

Mr. Comey had spent months “investigating” the Russian question without finding anything to prosecute. It consumed time, distracted from proper government, and to what purpose? Was the President improper for asking when this very expensive and distracting investigation would end? Do we want the FBI “investigating” whomever it wants to, subject to no elected authority?

As to the President not being subject to the norms, rules, and traditions of the Presidency, is there a person in America who thought this president would be? Was it not clear from the moment of his announcing his candidacy on the escalator in Trump Tower that he was not going to be subject to the rules, norms, and traditions of the Establishment? He made all that very clear throughout his campaign, and only a ninny could believe otherwise; indeed, he was denounced for it right up to the election. Yet he was elected.

A Republic’s government must be responsible to SOMEONE. There is no Monarch to be the fountain of justice. The President must take care that the laws are faithfully enforced. And the Establishment may insist on norms, rules and traditions all it likes, but they are not laws, and elections count.

Mr. Obama had a pen and he had a phone, and guess what, he won.

Mrs. Clinton was his designated successor. She did not win.

And that’s the real crime that Trump is guilty of.

Plus:

One story about “professionalism” in government. George H. W, Bush, Bush I, was the essence of the establishment, and believed in government professionalism and competence. The Foreign Service is the professional diplomatic establishment. When Saddam Hussein became a problem and threatened Kuwait, our Ambassador, Ms. April Glaspie, a professional, went to him and formally delivered a message, which I have read many times over – and for the life of me I can’t see that she says don’t invade Kuwait or we’ll do something about it.

Her message is diplomatic and polite, professional, and traditional. It is also ambiguous about the US position on Saddam taking Kuwait.

Would we not be better off today had we had a traditional ambassador, an old chum of the President who could speak for him and say “Saddam, old boy, you’ve been kind of our favorite over here because you resist Iran. We know Iraq was glued together out of provinces of the Turkish Empire, and maybe you have some claim to Kuwait from that, but we don’t agree. We can’t allow you to invade Kuwait, and if you do, we won’t like doing it, but we’ll come over here and throw you out. Now, let’s talk about what we can let you do, or even do for you.”

In which case, there would not have been the two Iraqi Wars costing a $Trillion or more.

But modern diplomacy isn’t about saying no to dictators.

JEFFREY TUCKER: My Lyft Ride with a Black Trump Supporter on MLK Day.

“Here it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I’m supposed to be all upset that Trump attacked John Lewis, but Trump is right. Lewis said he is not a legitimate president, so yeah Trump got upset. What exactly is Lewis doing to improve the lives of the poor in this town? Nothing. At least Trump has some ideas. He seems to care.”

Ok, now I’m listening.

“I’m glad Lewis marched in the protests so long ago,” she continued, “but you have to do more than march. That’s all these people do is march. Meanwhile, there are sections of Atlanta I’m afraid to drive in. And I say that as a black woman! It’s not even about race. Many blacks in this town live better than white people anywhere in the world. But there’s whole communities that have been forgotten. They are paid off with welfare checks but they don’t have skills or jobs, and they fear for their lives on their own streets.”

She was just getting going, so I wondered how far I could push this. What about Obamacare?

Explosion.

“Don’t get me started. My premiums are through the roof. I can’t afford it. Because I drive all day and night making money, I’m not poor enough to get any subsidies. So this year I’m going to have to pay $750 on my tax return because I can’t afford to buy insurance. But I can’t afford the health care either! And have you seen those deductibles? If anything should happen to you, you go bankrupt. I’ll tell you who benefitted from Obamacare. Not the poor. It’s the insurance companies and the government.”

Sea change you can believe in.

IS THERE ANYTHING TRUMP CAN’T DO? PART DEUX: Politico’s Michael Hirsh, then and now.

JEB: WHAT WENT WRONG? “If there’s anything to be critical about in hindsight, it’s the original, pre-firewall conception of Jeb’s campaign. The flawed conceit of his candidacy was that Bush Legacy × Wonkish Technocrat + $100 million = 2016 GOP nomination. Now that might have been a can’t-miss formula for success circa 2006, but a decade later it appeared shaky to anyone who looked closely.

Or to put it another way, as NRO contributor Liam Donovon tweets, “assumptions of the strength of Jeb or even Mitt vastly underestimate the level of scar tissue left from McCain/Romney.”

Earlier: Trump as “Nemesis for the hubris of the George W. Bush years.”