All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday and I’m leaving tomorrow for Mexico for a week — and we have no TV show today — so let’s get the mailbag rolling so I can start drinking margaritas early.

As always you can send your mailbag questions to me at claytravis@gmail.com

Okay, here we go:

Eric writes:

“It appears that ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett fabricated his hate crime accusations in Chicago. What are the legal implications for Smollett if he were to be charged with filing a false police report by Chicago Police? Similarly, we’re well aware of the Michael Bennett hate crime hoax in Vegas a couple years ago. What do you think motivates Smollett and Bennett to create these false accusations that disparage Trump voters and police?”

First, if it’s proven that he created this hoax, he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want him to go to jail and I want his co-conspirators to go to jail too. I’m not an expert in Illinois law, but I think that would be possible based on all the lies he would have told to police in this story.

I also think he should be on the hook for reimbursing police officers for the thousands of man hours they have spent on this case. Think about all the other, real crimes which are probably not going to be solved because the city of Chicago had to spend so much time dealing with this case. Honestly, if you are a far left winger, what he did should be a personal affront to you because he’s undercut your own cause much more than the most virulent racist could.

A big part of the criminal justice system is about providing deterrence, sending a message about what behavior is and is not appropriate. To me, this is a great opportunity to charge someone to the fullest extent of the law for making up a crime.

It needs to happen.

Also, between this story, the alleged white shooter in Houston of a young black girl who turned out to a black guy causing the story to disappear and the Covington Catholic racism story being debunked it’s been a really rough month for social justice warriors on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

You would think the professionally woke crew, both media and politicians, would learn to wait for facts before they act, but they don’t. They immediately rush to condemn the attackers and praise the victims, turning the victim into a superstar overnight.

The search for truth and justice is immediately cast aside.

And I think we should all be much more skeptical of the stories that spread virally on social media.

Put it this way, if the greatest thing that could happen to you in your career would be for you to be a victim of a hate crime, shouldn’t we all be skeptical that a hate crime actually happened?

Look, I know instances of racism still exist, but the moment I heard that two huge Donald Trump fans were reportedly hanging out in sub-zero temperatures in Chicago trying to lynch some random black dude on a TV show most Trump supporters have never watched, this just didn’t pass the smell test to me. That is, it seemed totally implausible.

What are the odds a random Trump supporter even knows who this guy is? Much less knows his personal life story and was so obsessed with him that they were stalking him in sub-zero temperatures? And then they managed to say the most stereotypical things possible to him and they were carrying a noose to put around his neck? And some bleach to throw on him? What for? To scare him into…what exactly?

Now I didn’t write about it or cover this story because this guy doesn’t touch the world of sports at all, but I’ve seen somewhat similar stories from Michael Bennett and LeBron James recently. And the sports media behaved the exact same way the media and politicians did here — they immediately believed Bennett’s story of police racism in Las Vegas and LeBron’s story of racist graffiti on his gate.

Both of these stories were eventually debunked as not having happened after police investigations, but the rest of the sports media never covered that debunking once it happened. The story just vanished. Again, my question for everyone would just be this — if someone’s brand is dramatically improved by them being victimized, don’t we need to push the pause button before we immediately believe they’re telling the truth and reward them for becoming a victim?

We live in an era when so many white members of the media — and white politicians — are so deathly afraid of being called racist that it’s easier for them to immediately condemn the alleged attack and praise the victim than it is to actually wait for a full investigation to be completed. Or, god forbid, even ask questions about whether the event actually took place.

Questions are racist now, y’all.

Yet this is the entire basis of our criminal justice system — we require proof that a crime actually occurred, not just allegations.

We’ve swung from an era when black people were guilty of crimes they didn’t commit based on their race to an era when black people aren’t possible of making up crimes because of their race. Neither is leading to justice and both are racist because we’ve skipped right over equal treatment under the law.

The same thing is happening with the #metoo movement. I’m hopeful the situation in Virginia will cause left wingers pause since the man now alleged to have committed two different decades old sexual assaults, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, is black. But isn’t it interesting to see how quickly Democrats were to say that you have to believe all women when Brett Kavanaugh was alleged to have engaged in an awkward high school make out attempt — even if it were true it wasn’t a crime — yet the lieutenant governor of Virginia, a black man, deserves due process even though he’s actually accused of two sexual assaults?

Again, I think both men should be treated the same, if it’s entirely a he said, she said case from decades ago then you can’t say someone is unqualified for office based entirely on an allegation, but it’s interesting how the pyramid of victimization applies here. Who is more of a victim, the black women alleging they were assaulted or the black man alleging he’s done nothing wrong? Would the case be covered differently if a Republican white man was accused of assaulting two black women?

I think everyone knows the answer to that.

In fact, we know the answer of that because it’s already happened — it was the Duke Lacrosse case, the first truly prominent example of a victim being held up as a hero even though she turned out to be a murderous liar. (The Duke Lacrosse accuser, no joke, is currently serving time in prison for murder. This is after she beat an attempted murder charge on a previous boyfriend.) So the Duke Lacrosse accuser wasn’t just a liar, she was a murderer!

Yet the media made her a hero.

And all that does is create further incentive for made up stories to continue to occur.

Why do these alleged victims behave this way? It’s simple, they want to be victims. Because if they are victims it helps their social justice warrior brand identity. We’re in a race right now in America to create a pyramid of victimization and if you can prove you were the highest level victim of racism, homophobia, or sexism, you gain power and acclaim in our modern society, you climb to the top of the victimization pyramid.

You can honestly get rich off being a victim in America today.

That’s why the left wing is so attracted to Donald Trump, he’s the evil racist, sexist, homophobic villain that can make them rich. He’s the perfect foil to their world view, the man perpetually creating an opportunity to make them victims. Trump, or the version of Trump they have created in the media, is their false idol, the man’s evilness who they fervently worship, the boogeyman who keeps them up at night.

Think about the number of people who make their entire public persona about their victimhood.

That’s it, that’s your entire calling card, somebody did something bad to me years ago and now I just talk about that bad thing that happened to me all the time every day.

How is being a professional victim an actual job?

It used to be you gained money, power and acclaim by excelling at something, anything, by being better than other people in your chosen craft. Now we’ve expanded the concept of victimization to such an extent that instead of being something you overcame on your rise to success it’s a desired destination point.

I think that’s awful and evidence that we’re getting a big issue wrong in our society today.

For instance, when I was a kid we were taught that under no circumstances should you allow someone to bully you. And that if someone did bully you you needed to stand up for yourself, even if it meant, potentially, getting your ass kicked in a fight with the bully.

When I grew up we were taught the concept of sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me; it was one of the linchpin phrases of my childhood.

I use it with my kids now.

Now that lifestyle had flaws — words can hurt — but the guiding ethos was teaching us that we weren’t delicate and fragile snowflakes, we were tough and needed to thicken our skin when people said mean things to us. That’s a very valuable message for children to receive growing up.

I remember when we played sports as kids you never wanted to cry. It didn’t matter what happened to you, you needed to have a stiff upper lip and be tough. And if you did cry, especially in little league baseball or basketball, and especially if you weren’t seriously hurt, other kids looked down on you.

No matter what, you didn’t want to be the crier.

Was that cruel?

Maybe.

But did it toughen up kids?

Definitely.

Now if someone says a bad word to you, kids are falling down to the ground and curling up in the fetal position and going to counseling for years to overcome it.

I saw a quote the other day in an article where a grown woman was talking about seeing someone in blackface in the 1980’s and how she still wasn’t over it.

The 1980’s!

One person!

In a goddamn costume that you didn’t like and you’re still not over it?!

That’s the culture we’ve created, where people marinate in their victimhood and never consider advancing beyond it.

Hell, we’ve even expanded bullying to now encompass microaggressions. Things that happen that aren’t even intentional are considered attacks now.

All of it is predicated on the idea that human beings are fragile and easily harmed, a belief that I fundamentally reject.

I saw another article this week featuring stories of women who have survived sexual harassment. Seriously, they were called sexual harassment survivors! And I was like, wait a minute, were the sexual harassers trying to kill them? Because that sounds pretty extreme. Or did someone try and sleep with them and behave inappropriately in doing so at work?

(Turns out, it was the latter).

Our word creep just keeps expanding to further encompass more victims.

It used to be a survivor had to, you know, survive something dangerous, their life had to be in peril. Now we’re calling people survivors if someone grabbed their ass at work and they didn’t want it happen.

Plainly, sexual harassment shouldn’t happen, but if it does, can’t you just, you know, shut it down and move on with your life?

We’ve become a nation of pussies. Even worse than that, we are rewarding the biggest pussies the most of all. I wasn’t a Trump guy in 2016 because I think he’s an inarticulate response to a real issue in our country today, but if my choice is between voting for Trump or one of the many politicians who said this Empire star was the victim of a modern day lynching, I’m voting for Trump.

Lots of you:

“What’s your take on Colin Kaepernick demanding $20 million or more to play football in the AAF?” 

It’s just more evidence of a what a total and complete fraud Colin Kaepernick is.

If you truly loved playing football and wanted to play football again, wouldn’t you welcome the opportunity to play minor league football for ten weeks and demonstrate to all your haters how good at football you still were? Of course you would.

Kaepernick likes to consider himself a modern day Muhammad Ali, but Ali came back to fight after he had his title stripped for refusing to go to Vietnam. He didn’t refuse to box for the rest of his career in order to become a martyr. He was also, you know, the GREATEST AT WHAT HE DID.

Kaepernick is, at best, somewhere between the 30th and 60th best quarterback in football today. (And that might be high).

The only way he becomes anywhere near Ali is if he came back to football and won a Super Bowl.

How would he do that?

BY PLAYING FOOTBALL!

By demanding $20 million or more from a league that barely pays its entire roster of eight teams that much money — the players make $75k each — Kaepernick is letting it be known that he has no desire to play football.

Let me put it to you this way using my own career as an example. After I left Deadspin in 2008 I didn’t have a writing job. But I desperately wanted to continue my writing career. So I looked high and low for a writing job for months, until I finally got an offer on my 30th birthday — FanHouse said they’d pay me $25k a year to write in April of 2009.

That was less than a third what Deadspin had been paying me and less than half what I’d been making at CBS Sports.

But you know what, I had no other writing offers and I believed in my own talents so I took the job.

Why did I take that job even though they were paying me much less than I believed I was worth? Because I believed I could prove I was worth more money by working my ass off and doing a great job.

I took less money than I believed I was worth to prove what I was really worth.

That’s what most people do at their jobs every day.

It turned out that by betting on myself I ended up making much more money down the line. Ten years later I’m making an incredibly good living doing what I love to do.

So if Kaepernick wanted to play football, he had an offer on the table to play football for money. Yes, he’d make less than he was worth, but he’d only need to play ten games in minor league football and if he killed it there, guess what, an NFL team would 100% have signed him for much more money.

Instead he wants to be a professional martyr instead of a professional football player.

That’s fine, but more people in sports media need to be calling him out for it. This dude doesn’t want to play football because the minute he starts playing again, especially if he’s a back up, his story is over and he’s just a football footnote.

Max writes:

“What is going through the mind of the New Yorkers opposing Amazons HQ2? The plant would be nearly 25,000 jobs with lots of income and therefore lots of taxes to increase revenue and bring top talent employees to your city. These politicians opposing it must think that standing up to big corporate America makes them more relatable but it seems that it’s not what is best for the city. Do you think this means a possible bigger investment in Nashville from Amazon?”

I’m genuinely troubled by the anti-capitalism embrace that many Democrats are espousing these days.

I just don’t get it.

I don’t understand how any politician can work against 25,000 high paying jobs coming to any city in America. This is absolutely nonsensical to me and I think it speaks to a major flaw in our country’s left wing politics.

I don’t blame Amazon for pulling out of the deal — because why fight a city’s politicians to make a city better? — but I do find the idea that Amazon, which is a ruthlessly efficient business hellbent on ensuring that we can buy any product on the planet at the cheapest possible price, is a villain to be an extraordinary misapprehension of economic reality.

Full disclosure, I’m an an Amazon shareholder, but how can anyone not be impressed with the business Jeff Bezos has built? I wish our government was run like Amazon. Because if it was, I think we’d have a third of the federal employees we have now and the country would be a hundred times more efficient.

I think wildly successful capitalists like Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg should be the Democrats future, not identity politics laden empty suits like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Corey Booker.

I believe six big things that I don’t think the modern Democratic party believes any more, which is troubling to me as a lifelong Democrat.

1. Western civilization is the greatest thing to ever happen to humans on this planet.

This means that, shocker, white men are not all evil.

2. Capitalism is the best form of economy to exist in world history and a capitalistic democracy is the best combination of economy and governance structure to ever exist in world history.

3. Things are getting better across the world, not worse, every single day.

4. A robust and uninhibited first amendment should be encouraged even if I don’t like everything that is said. Or even if, shocker, sometimes I’m offended by what’s said.

5. Cultural appropriation, far from being a bad thing, should be encouraged.

That is, we should all take the best things that have ever been made by anyone and bring them to the masses.

6. Humans, particularly children, are strong not fragile.

I probably need to lay out the tenets I believe in more fully, but these are the six things that I see as integral to my own personal belief system right now.

I don’t even see any of these six things as particularly political in nature, honestly, but the Democratic party is making them political by spending all its time denouncing them.

Mike writes:

“Not sure if you’ve been following the Matt Kuchar/El Tucan drama on social media, but after reading Republicans Buy Sneakers Too, I feel it’s the perfect example of what is wrong with sports media and covering social media “outrage.”

Would love to hear your take. The gist of the story is that instead of his regular caddie during a recent tournament in Mexico, PGA Tour golfer Matt Kuchar hired a local club caddie. Kuchar offered the caddie a sliding scale payment structure that included up to $4,000 for a top-10 finish. Kuchar ends up winning the tournament and pays the caddie $5,000 – even more than both parties had agreed to.

A few days later, the caddy emails a representative of Kuchar saying that he feels slighted. Kuchar’s team offers the caddy another $15k, a total of $20k. The caddy rejects the offer and goes to the press who eats this up as a story of a rich male golfer taking advantage of a poor Mexican caddy. Some of those outraged even suggest the fill-in local caddy (who doesn’t even speak the same language as Kuchar) is entitled to 10% of Kuchar’s $1.4 million winnings.

I see so much wrong with this story. First, if the caddy didn’t like the compensation offered, he shouldn’t have agreed to the offer. That is how free and open labor markets work. I can’t walk into my bosses office today and retroactively demand a raise for all the work I’ve done since joining the company.

Secondly, this is only a story because of two things. 1. Kuchar won the tournament and 2. The caddy is poor and from Mexico. If Kuchar doesn’t win the tournament, this never is a story because what Kuchar paid the caddy is in line with what fill-in caddies are paid. Furthermore, using your “reverse the race” scenario analysis, if instead of a local Mexican caddy, say Kuchar hired a white male college student who happened to be interning at the resort this semester, do you think anyone on social media or in the left wing sports media cares about this story? I say definitely not.

That’s my piece. Tons more that can be dissected here. Would love to hear your take.”

Honestly, if I were advising Kuchar I would have told him to give the guy $25 or $30k just to forestall this ever becoming a story.

As soon as a white dude doesn’t pay a minority enough money, you know the story will go viral the minute the social justice warriors get it on Twitter.

At a minimum Kuchar is paying 40% tax on this winning income, right? So, not to be after taxes guy, but giving the dude $30k costs him $18k after taxes.

When you’re making the kind of money he is, that’s a rounding error.

I understand his defense of they had a contract — and we also don’t even know how much this dude helped him win the tournament — but I don’t think there’s any doubt that Kuchar has cost himself way more than the thousands of extra dollars he would have spent on the loss in goodwill.

And most people aren’t going to ever read any of these details, they’ll just see the headline and label him a bad guy.

Asa writes:

“I’m sure you’ll get a lot of questions about this. So, what are your thoughts about Trump possibly declaring a national emergency to pay for the wall?”

I advised it before the last shutdown.

The wall is a metaphor, a reflection of Trump’s belief that our immigration system is broken and by protecting the southern border he can fix that broken system. It plays well to his base in the Midwest which wants to believe the reason their traction in the modern economy stalled was because of illegal immigration.

Is there some truth to it, sure, but it’s also more complicated than that.

The truth is the global economy creates big winners and those big winners, able to take advantage of global scale, are able to become bigger winners than ever before. What’s more, middle class jobs are now spreading around the world. American exceptionalism, in a global economy, is less exceptional.

That is, the average worker in America is not necessarily better than the average worker in China or Brazil or anywhere else.

Having said that, we’re all insanely fortunate to live in America. In fact, every American critic, I believe, should have to live overseas for a year in another country to fully appreciate what we have here. America’s most virulent critics, by and large, have never lived elsewhere and are clueless as to how good they’ve got it.

But if I happened to live in Mexico or another country beneath Mexico, where wages were one-tenth as much as in America and the quality of life was a fraction of what it is here, wouldn’t you want to live in America, even if the only way you could get here required you to get here illegally?

I would.

That’s especially the case if I knew if my eventual children were born here that they would be Americans.

So I don’t blame the people trying to come here by any means necessary.

I’m not sure the wall is necessary or even a good expenditure of funds, but I do know the wall will be a major issue in 2020 and I don’t think shutting down the government over and over again is particularly productive. So why not go ahead and let this issue be decided in the courts? As a result the wall will be held up until 2020 and the country can go to the polls and voice their opinion in the next election.

And with that in mind, I’m headed to Mexico! (I’ll be flying over the border walls and headed to the beaches of the Mayan Riviera).

I love it down there, it’s beautiful.

And I’m ready for winter to be over.

So I can’t wait to start drinking.

Thank you guys for reading Outkick and hope you have great weekends.

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