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Trump changes national conversation to sports and liberals happily oblige

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Trump changes national conversation

The big story of the day is all about sports teams and athletes reacting to President Trump by taking a knee during the National Anthem. All of that is covered below, but I’m going to rant for a moment first.

Fine. President Trump wants us talking about athletes. North Korea is closer to attacking us than they’ve ever been. The healthcare system is crumbling and we’re back to square one on the discussion. Iran is practically begging us to declare they’ve broken the nuclear deal which will send the Middle East into further disarray.

But the President wants to talk about football. The media is all aflutter over it, thinking they can gin up opposition to the White House and make everyone suddenly “woke.” Most Americans prefer the topic change because it’s something they can grasp and debate over Sunday brunch.

If I sound a little bitter, it’s because I feel there are a million things more important than whether or not the NFL should fire uninspiring athletes over their asinine protests.

I’ve been boycotting the NFL for a long time. To me, this is a question that should be answered by the people: do we support their behaviors or not? If we don’t, are we opposed to those behaviors enough to make the choice not to support them financially in the form of television views, game attendance, and merchandise sales? For me, the answer is a resounding “no.” I will not support the men who chose to insult the symbols of our freedom.

With that said, it’s an afterthought. It doesn’t deserve the President’s attention. It deserves a quick mention by the media before they move on to bigger issues. It should barely be a conversation to a people faced with some of the worst potential crises we’ve had to deal with since 9/11.

Yet, here we are.

I sincerely hope this passes quickly, but I fear it won’t. I hope that people will have their say, Tweet their Tweets, debate it for a day or two on Facebook, and then move on to more pressing topics. In the meantime, I’m obliged to cover it with the stories below because that’s what the nation’s discussing right now. Unfortunately.

Perspectives

NFL Players Kneel During the Anthem Division in America | National Review

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/451673/nfl-players-kneel-during-anthem-division-americaThe president’s comments on Friday have opened up the protests to new meanings. Players can kneel during the national anthem in a way that looks like a protest of the president,  or in solidarity with their fellow athletes. Consequently, more are joining them. But the protests may still be perceived as against the flag or anthem, whether by fans, the local big-wig season ticket buyers, or advertisers.  Probably millions of football watchers will construe these protests as against them in some way, for voting for Trump, or disapproving of Colin Kaepernik’s original protest. This dynamic is a disaster for the NFL.

Steelers stay in the locker room during national anthem as dozens of NFL players protest | Fox News

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2017/09/24/ravens-jaguars-players-kneel-during-national-anthem-after-trumps-attacks-on-nfl.htmlThe Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room during the national anthem as dozens of NFL players from several teams kneeled or locked arms at games nationwide just hours after a similar protest in London during the national anthem there.

Pittsburgh Steelers remain in locker room during the national anthem

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20801902/pittsburgh-steelers-remain-locker-room-national-anthemAs the anthem began in Soldier Field, several Steelers coaches were on the sideline, including head coach Mike Tomlin, while the players were not present. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley, offensive line coach Mike Munchak and running backs coach James Saxon also were spotted.

NFL chief, team owners, NBA stars slam Trump – CNNPolitics

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/23/politics/nfl-goodell-trump-response/index.htmlRoger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!

First Amendment Protects Kneeling In Church and On Football Field | The Resurgent

http://theresurgent.com/first-amendment-protects-kneeling-in-church-and-on-football-field/During the Reagan Administration, the Supreme Court determined that acts of protest are protected under the first amendment, so long as there is no breach of the peace or imminent threat of lawless action. SCOTUS held in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989) that laws against burning or otherwise desecrating the American flag were invalid as unconstitutional.

Oakland A’s Catcher Bruce Maxwell Becomes First MLB Player to Kneel During National Anthem | Daily Wire

http://www.dailywire.com/news/21444/oakland-catcher-bruce-maxwell-becomes-first-mlb-emily-zanottiOakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell, who is black, knelt for the “Star Spangled Banner” during Saturday night’s game against the Texas Astros. As the song began, Maxwell dropped to one knee in the player lineup, but removed his hat and placed his hand across his heart.

Shahid Khan, the Jaguars owner who stood with his team, has long espoused the American Dream – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2017/09/24/shahid-khan-the-jaguars-owner-who-stood-with-his-team-has-long-espoused-the-american-dream/?utm_term=.1f259eae6110One man in particular stood out: Shahid Khan, the perpetually well-coiffed and mustachioed owner of the Jaguars, also walked out with his team, locking arms with a player on each side. As “The Star-Spangled Banner” played, Khan closed his eyes and clenched his left fist.

Reactions

Final Thoughts

Between the media and those of us who consume it, the President couldn’t have picked an easier group to manipulate. We love it when he Tweets insults whether we’re willing to admit it or not. He’s created outrage. Some are outraged at him. Others are outraged at his targets. This is how he controls the news cycle. He Tweets. Everyone responds.

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Democrats

10 reasons Tom Cruise should run for president

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10 reasons Tom Cruise should run for president

The satirical video above is not only extremely well produced and quite humorous, but it also brings up a notion that maybe the people should consider. Should Tom Cruise run for President as a Democrat? Absolutely. I don’t care whether he’s a Democrat or not; he seems more like a progressive Libertarian than anything else. But that’s semantics. Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump were Democrats earlier in life. Political party isn’t really about anything other than assigning majorities in Congress.

There are actually compelling reasons for the Democrats to draft Cruise to be their candidate. I know what you’re thinking. With a couple hundred candidates already, why do they need another one? Just because they have candidates already doesn’t mean they have any GOOD candidates.

Would Tom Cruise be a good candidate? There’s only one way to find out for sure, but in the meantime we can look at different aspects of his life and compare them to the declared Democratic candidates. Here’s a list of 10 reasons Cruise should run:

  1. Many of the current candidates had to fight for enough attention to get people interested in them running at all. Cruise has never expressed the desire, yet there’s a video and now at least one article telling him to do it.
  2. He does his own stunts. Most Democratic candidates can’t even write their own speeches.
  3. At 57 he looks healthier than Bernie Sanders looked at 37.
  4. Democratic candidates have a problem understanding how the law works. After playing a lawyer, twice, Cruise’s understanding of the law has already surpassed their collective understanding.
  5. Had he been born a few hours later, his birthday would be July 4th. But even if the real world deprived him of his glory, he still starred in the movie Born on the 4th of July.
  6. He was in the military multiple times on tours through Hollywood productions. He has also been a spy, an inspirational speaker, a sports agent, and a smuggler. But if there’s one thing he does regularly, it’s fight to save the world. He’s fought aliens, mummies, terrorists, and even fought vampires… as a vampire.
  7. There has never been a Scientologist president… as far as we know.
  8. He says others are “glib.” Name one candidate who ever says other people are glib.
  9. Unlike Democratic candidates, he has never espoused the desire to institute a variation of socialism in America.
  10. Tom Cruise panders to nobody, ever. Every Democratic candidate panders at any moment an opening presents itself.

Tom Cruise has been needed to save the world on dozens of occasions. Now, the Democrats may need him to come in and save their party from the socialists who are taking it over. If anyone can do it, it’s Tom Cruise. Or Keanu Reeves.

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Culture and Religion

The Popularity Gospel of Kanye West’s Sunday Service

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The Popularity Gospel of Kanye Wests Sunday Service

For months now, Kanye West has rebranded his reputation as a more spiritual musician after comments about being used by Candace Owens. He has launched a series of concerts he calls Sunday Service. But the concerts contain a plethora of gospel music and a number of collaborations. The Sunday Service has been kept under wraps with leaked videos here and there but little is known about how legitimate the faith message is or wants to be. The Sunday Service has garnered criticism for the accompanying high end fashion line with overpriced merchandise. But on a recent Sunday, we got a taste of whether the Gospel is preached at these events with the release of Rich Wilkerson Jr. preached at Sunday Service.

Listening to the Sunday Service, Wilkerson was quick to argue that this was not a concert, this was an “old fashion worship service.” Rather than resembling “Sinners in the Hands of and Angry God,” it came off as a regular, easily digestible, church service. “Praises go up, blessings come down,” Wilkerson said. He goes on to say “Jesus is the anecdote to your trouble.” It was a solid few minutes before Wilkerson read from the Bible. And to my own surprise, he read from John 14.

1″Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ESV

Kanye West’s Sunday Service touched on the exclusivity of Jesus. That’s the Gospel right? Not quite. The theme of Rich Wilkerson’s message was “trust in God.” The result of trusting in God, according to his message was rescue from troubles and hardships. The result of trusting in God, according to Wilkerson was reaching your destination or the destination Jesus has in mind for you. Yet in saying, this he does not assert that trusting Jesus is free of hardship. So what is missing from the message? The need. The need for trusting Jesus is entirely subjective and the result is eternal life, he also read John 3:16.

There’s a great resurrection for all of us, as we put our trust in him, he promises to get us to the other side

Popularity Gospel

Rich Wilkerson Jr. leaves out that which Jesus saves us from. He also leaves out what following Jesus, trusting Jesus, looks like. The Popularity Gospel says you are right and Jesus makes you better. It’s less ambitious than its cousin the Prosperity Gospel and the more adherent to scripture than the Social Justice Gospel, also known as Liberation Theology. For instance the Social Justice Gospel would never have touched upon John 14:6 without a pantheistic premise of Jesus. Similarly the Prosperity Gospel seeks to profit from the congregants. The Popularity Gospels is a marriage of the two heresies, but maintains the main commonality between them: they do not preach about sin.

They do not answer the question: what must we do to be saved? Because there is no saving. Rick Wilkerson’s message at Sunday Service doesn’t save because his message wasn’t the actual gospel. The differences are subtle but therein is the danger of a watered down gospel message devoid of the lifesaving meaning. It’s a brand of Christianity that baptizes believers but does not make disciples. Now, the Holy Spirit is capable of saving even using a watered down Gospel, but that believer is most certainly going to have to take it upon themselves to learn the Bible above an elementary level because a church that preaches a Popularity Gospel will not teach Christianity to the masses.

We have a theologically illiterate society and the danger in not understanding salvation is being led astray. People will claim to prophesy, preach, and cast out demons in the name of Jesus, and he will say “I do not know you.”

Rich Wilkerson Jr.’s Background

He was not a random pastor for Kanye to stumble upon. He was the officiant of the West-Kardashian wedding. Wilkerson is the lead pastor at VOUS Church in the Miami, Florida region. A quick visit to VOUS church website leaves the visitor confused as to what they believe. They list seven core values and the first one labeled “Jesus: is our message” is the only theological value they list. The others are all generic, western cultural values derived from scripture.

The purpose of Vous Church is to share the hope of Jesus. Jesus is our message. We are Jesus people, not religious people. Methods will come and go, yet our me3687iiiissage will remain the same.

There is no statement of faith on their website. His church fails the “website test” test astonishingly, and the likely result of his theological value is embrace of antinomianism, a rejection of morality and repentance. And yet a pastor that has no stated doctrinal beliefs, online, masterfully devoids the exclusivity of Jesus of that which we are being saved from. Kanye West’s Sunday Service did not just host some hack motivational speaker. They employed someone who masterfully preaches the false Popularity Gospel.

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Entertainment and Sports

Netflix throws $200 Million at bad writers

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Netflix throws 200 Million at bad writers

After an earnings report that dropped Netflix stock price down to the low 300s, Netflix has reportedly been in the midst of several bidding wars in the Hollywood equivalent of free agency. In a previous article, it was noted that Netflix was willing to offer Eddie Murphy $70 million dollars for a standup special when the company announced the cancellation of feminist comedy Tuca and Bertie. This announcement also comes after Disney unveiled a bundled package of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ priced specifically to undercut Netflix.

The arms race for original content is well underway, as Netflix knows very well. And while Disney is content to rehash children’s classics like Home Alone and Cheaper by the Dozen, Netflix has reportedly dropped $200 million for an exclusive deal with the showrunners behind HBO’s Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, commonly referred to as D&D.

Perspective – New York Observer

Benioff and Weiss are the latest in an assembly line of splashy talent acquisitions Netflix has made in its never-ending spending spree. They join a current roster that includes Ryan Murphy ($300 million), Shonda Rhimes ($100 million) and Kenya Barris ($100 million)—expensive free agents that Netflix hopes can offset the looming losses of top-watched library programming, such as Friends and The Office. But is it really as simple as swapping X for Y?

Regardless of what you think about the final season of Game of Thrones, Netflix was right to aggressively pursue its creators. But while this deal answers one question about the future of the streamer’s lineup, it may not address the more immediate issue staring Netflix right in the face. Only time will tell if the $200 million investment translates to growing subscriber numbers. But as Andy Dufresne once said, “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.”

Rebuttal

And while some such as the New York Observer suggest that the high profile names will draw enough buzz to stabilize subscriber numbers, they underestimate just had badly their showrunning for HBO’s Game of Thrones really was. The eighth season of Game of Thrones was overwhelmingly poorly received by the audience. As I note in my column “Why Game of Thrones felt rushed” they are without the excuse of running out of source material to justify their terrible writing decisions.

Their job was to adapt the novels into film, a challenging task. People tend to forget that the first four seasons were based on the first three books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Season five was based on half of book five, A Dance With Dragons. Book four was, with exception to Arya, passed over until season six, where D&D doubled back into A Feast For Crows in a rushed attempt to… I don’t know… fill the time and bring back old characters. D&D essentially followed books 1-3, skipped book four, went to book five, inserted non-existent and forgettable plots(Dorne), then went beyond canon, then rushed through book four, then went back beyond. If Game of Thrones only now feels rushed to you, you have not been paying attention. So what am I saying? Two arguments. One Game of Thrones cut out and deviated so much from the books that they did not have enough plot points to build to a longer series. Second, D&D, instead of writing substitute plot points, they chose to drag out a plot remaining plot but instead of building up to it with actual plot points, the filled the time in-between with fast travel, fan service in the form of plot armor and nostalgia, and contradictory story elements. So, in order to build a non rushed series, we truly have to go back and redo season five onward.

Proponents of this free agent signing overestimate the forgiving nature of the internet and our ever increasing cancel culture. This move has been poorly received by fans who are accurately living up to the mantra “The North Remembers.”

Falling Upwards

If there was ever a sign of elitism, it’s the ability for people who are “inside” to fall upwards. We see this a lot in politics where losing incumbents become lobbyist, and disastrous Presidential candidates become Senators. Hollywood has rejected the audience reception of the final season of Game of Thrones with whopping 32 Emmy Nominations, several of which for writing, directing, and acting were undeserved. It was a stunning display of elitism and Netflix, instead of standing apart, is joining the flock in ignoring the reception that has made D&D the most toxic showrunners in the industry, that dwarfs Rian Johnson and Joss Whedon/Zach Snyder, by dropping nine figures of borrowed money on them. Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.

It’s amazing how much of an echo chamber Hollywood is in to allow D&D to fail upward to the tune of $200 million.

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