Welcome

To old friends, we bid you welcome. To those unfamiliar with either our site or, perhaps more importantly, our sense of humor, learn more about us through the "About" link at the top of the page

Our Blog

Past editions of The Daily Gouge can be accessed through the Archive link at the top of the page.

Thanks!

We appreciate you taking the time to visit, and hope you've enjoyed The Daily Gouge.

It’s Wednesday, October 18th, 2017…but before we begin, a couple indications the swamp is FAR from being drained.  Exhibit A:

Clinton Foundation will keep six-figure donation from Weinstein

Says money has been spent on worthwhile programs

 

“We are a charity. Donations, these included, have been spent fighting childhood obesity and HIV/AIDS, combatting climate change, and empowering girls and women, and we have no plans to return them.”

Yeah, this from a “charity” which has never spent more than 10% of its income on actual charitable outlays.  Why the hell Trump’s IRS hasn’t audited these grifters we’ll never know!  Oh,…yeah…

The look of a man who must have photos of Melania or Ivanka in Tijuana with a beast of burden.

…never mind.

And don’t hold your breath waiting for the MSM to question why, when cash is fungible, the Clintons can’t repay Weinstein’s contributions from its other funds; or,…dare we suggest it…one of Bill’s or Hillary’s speaking fees?!?

Then there’s Exhibit B from the WSJ:

Senators Reach Deal to Shore Up Health-Insurance Markets

Bill would preserve cost-sharing payments for two years after Trump moved to cut them off

 

“Seriously, Lamar; we can’t afford to p*ss the insurance companies off!”

If you’re wondering about the signpost up ahead…

…it’s only to welcome you to the twilight zone of John McCain’s bipartisanship: an across-the-aisle willingness of senators from either party to benefit their corporate campaign contributors at the expense of tax-paying Americans.

As James Freeman notes at Best of the Web, it’s time to…

Now Cut Off Congress

After insurers, it’s time to address the other recipients of illegal subsidies.

 

Given the lack of any discernible difference between the GOP and Dimocrat contingents in the Senate, we’re sometimes tempted…only tempted, mind you…to consider the only viable cure to the disease afflicting what was once the greatest deliberative body in the world is that suggested by Pennywise the Clown in the remake of It:

Now, here’s The Gouge!

First up, the NFL‘s decline continues because, as Tom Farnan notes at Townhall.com

Roger Goodell Killed the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg

 

Week 6: the fans continue to vote with their feet.

“…In the 1960s, American culture was fracturing along a fault line, with the common man on one side and scorn against his mores and values on the other.  (Sound at all familiar?!?) The league’s commissioner at the time, Pete Rozelle, chose to take the side of ordinary Americans in the raging culture war, because they were his natural audience.  The league sent star players to visit troops in Vietnam and issued rules requiring players to stand upright during the playing of the National Anthem.

In 1967, the NFL produced a film that combined sideline and game footage titled, “They Call It Pro Football.”  The film was unapologetically hokey.  It was crew cuts and high tops and lots of chain smoking into sideline telephones.  With a non-rock, non-folk, non-“what’s happening now” soundtrack,  heavy on trumpets and kettle drums.  John Facenda, who would come to be called “The Voice of God” for his work with NFL Films, provided the vaulting narration.  The production began with the words, “It starts with a whistle and ends with a gun.”  There was nothing Radical Chic about it.

The NFL surpassed baseball as America’s pastime with careful branding that conformed to the tastes and sensibilities of middle-class Americans – Nixon’s silent majority. (Obama’s bitter clingers, Hillary’s deplorables.) A half century later, Roger Goodell would kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

In August 2016, America was experiencing a polarizing presidential election.  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the playing of the national anthem, to protest injustice.  It was a politically divisive act (Based on complete lie!) directed at fans who regard the national anthem as something sacred.  The league did not lift a finger to stop him.

Most employers don’t let their workers make controversial political statements to their customers.  It is why you do not know your UPS driver’s views on the expansion of NATO.  The Constitution does not prohibit private businesses from regulating speech during work.

Hat tip to Brenda Berry for this gem!

A savvier commissioner would have reminded Kaepernick that he is being paid millions to wear the logo of the NFL, and the league does not permit players to use its brand to flaunt their personal politics.  Instead, Roger Goodell permitted the pregame ceremonies to become the focus of intense political scrutiny, as the media lined up to catalog whether players stood, sat or knelt during the national anthem.

He knew, no doubt, that protesting the national anthem would be offensive to some people.  With Hillary Clinton’s inevitable triumph looming, it was generally considered okay to offend those people.  They would be described by Hillary Clinton a few days after Kaepernick’s protest as a basket of deplorables.  The NFL was just pandering to the prevailing sentiment when it green lighted Kaepernick’s cause.  Then Trump won.

The rule before Trump was that half the country had to endure any scold, put up with all name calling, and generally be treated like idiots by popular culture.  The brilliant lights who made the rules never considered that scolding half the country may, in itself, have been divisive.  And that people have been stewing about it for years.

When the 2017 seasons started, President Trump railed at the NFL for permitting the protests.  Rather than back down, the NFL doubled down, employing the double speak of the cornered weakling.  Try to imagine John Facenda speaking the words, “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture” – you can’t.

Television ratings have tanked.  By permitting its games to become a forum for liberal politics, the NFL broke faith with its fan base…”

In a related, writing at Townhall.com, Susan Brown correctly concludes…

Social Justice is an Oxymoron

 

“From Washington, D.C. to the NFL and Hollywood, America’s idols are tumbling down. This is not a bad thing. For too long, we have wasted precious time and money worshipping these so-called “social justice” warrior hypocrites who continue to disappoint.

Here’s to hoping all this disappointment will lead us back to what really matters, but don’t count on it.

Huge swaths of Americans still bow at the altar of social justice. They believe (the undeniable preponderance of the facts to the contrary notwithstanding!) government-forced “charity” will advance us to an utopian paradise where everyone enjoys the same outcome, despite personal effort, upbringing, unique abilities and education.

Truth is, though, social justice is an oxymoron based on the false premise that the cure for injustice is leveling the playing field and redistributing wealth. As former Vice President Joe Biden once said, “You may call it redistribution of wealth – I just call it being fair.” (And who would know more about anything moronic than Joe Biden?!?)

Karl Marx would be so proud.

As I’ve said before, Democrats’ sacrosanct belief that the government was created to control how fairness is spread around is nothing more than a modern-day effort to reinvent Robin Hood, without all the chivalry and green tights

…I know, the devil is always in the details, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyhow. Forced “charity” doesn’t bring about justice. Instead, it creates injustice when it stirs up animosity between the less fortunate and those being penalized, taxed, for their hard work under penalty of prosecution.

In sharp contrast, there is a power in authentic generosity that no amount of government social-engineering could or will ever match. The social justice crowd should dust off the knees they protest with and try it sometime.”

Next up, courtesy of the WSJ, Holman Jenkins suggests, given the present nature of America’s Fourth Estate, what we’re witnessing is

The Media and the President It Deserves

Reason, honesty and self-discipline don’t come naturally to humans, including press humans.

 

The First Amendment exists not because of any special merit of the people and institutions of the media. If it did, Americans would have lost the First Amendment long ago.

The late economist Albert O. Hirschman observed that firms and institutions of all kinds, even under the lash of competition, do not relentlessly improve. They do what they’ve become comfortable doing, what lets them get by.

His most memorable work spoke of “exit, voice and loyalty”—three ways clients and customers can respond to institutions in decline. (By way of example, the NFL’s former fan base is going with “exit”!) Loyalty—or the capital of past trust—is a thing that enables institutions to decline: Their customers don’t abandon them overnight. Loyalty also allows institutions to repair themselves, because their customers don’t abandon them overnight.

This column advised the GOP convention to deny Donald Trump the nomination. Our forecast from five months before Election Day of how a Trump administration might unfold looks pretty good today: “He could spend four years dragging the White House press corps to photo ops at various Trump golf courses and hotels. He could embroil the entire government apparatus in ‘walking back’ his unbon mots. He could sit for endless depositions spawned by his illegal attempts to impose the Trump agenda by decree. He could rail against a Congress that . . . is likely to be uncooperative regardless of party.”

Yet it does not follow that everything Mr. Trump does and says is illegitimate, false and unreasonable. This trope is itself a symptom of institutional decline in the media, practiced especially on a daily basis by MSNBC’s “ Morning Joe. ”

Words are put in Mr. Trump’s mouth. His tweet, “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders…in P.R. forever!,” though a statement of the obvious, is reported as if he’s blaming hurricane victims for their suffering.

This, as the Trump administration and its nominal Republican allies in Congress are passing billions in aid for the island, and as Mr. Trump himself broaches the unwelcome (by Wall Street) topic of voiding Puerto Rico’s debt.

Mr. Trump’s statements about the advanced decay of the island’s grid and other public institutions are likewise statements of fact, not insults. Puerto Rico is different from Houston or South Florida not just because it’s surrounded by water—utility crews from distant states can’t just rush down the interstates to help; good Samaritans and entrepreneurs can’t just fill up their pickups with much-needed supplies from adjacent unaffected communities. Puerto Rico is also different because its credit is shot.

Texas and Florida can attract instant capital for relief and rebuilding based on the strength of their local economies and the solvency of their citizens. Not so Puerto Rico. It’s always possible to indulge happy hopes—its power system will be built with green energy! But more likely Puerto Rico will become even more of a federal welfare island as its remaining able-bodied and skilled citizens get the hell out. The territory, some seem to forget, is already an extraordinary ward of Congress due to its crippling debts.

Yes, all of this you could find in the mediajust read around the sentences claiming it’s all Donald’s Trump’s fault.

Standards of honesty, reason and self-discipline do not come naturally to humans, including press humans. These virtues are in constant battle against the entropy of our disordered nature. At the same time, the media are absolutely indispensable to a modern society’s functioning, more so than any president. The quantity of information that must be circulated and absorbed to fulfill our roles as consumers, workers, taxpayers and citizens is almost beyond calculation.

Hysteria notwithstanding, Mr. Trump is no threat to this functioning. His occasional tweets against Jeff Bezos or NBC’s “licenses” are better understood as examples of his penchant for gadflyism rather than presidential speech.

But also, put aside even partisan bias: Notice, in the TV news, the reliance on relentless exaggeration. Notice how every statistic is accompanied by superlatives and intonation designed to elicit emotion instead of judgment. The institutional drift away from intellectual honesty—and toward “fake news”—is manifest in ways more quotidian and telling than the news business’s periodic anti-Trump fits. Where do you think Trump modeled his careless dishonesty?

Exit and voice—two ways customers discipline declining institutions—have been working overtime to reform/punish the traditional media in the digital age. Hence the mixed blessing of Breitbart, etc. But our industry also benefits from a uniquely institutionalized form of loyalty in the First Amendment, which we in the press would do well sometimes to remember is a completely unearned grace.

To which we can only add a heart “AMEN“!

Turning now to The Lighter Side

Finally, we’ll call it a wrap with this photo essay from NRO commemorating the 70th anniversary of a MOST significant step in aviation history:

Chuck Yeager’s Historic Flight

 

We’re not certain which is more impressive: the fact Yeager undertook the assault on the sound barrier not knowing if he’d come back…or that every swinging dick at Muroc would likely have willingly taken his place even were it a certainty they wouldn’t.

Oh, for the days of wooden ships and iron men.

We’ll be tied up with our 40th Naval Academy reunion the rest of the week, so ’til Monday…

Magoo