Isn't it amazing how some people can do the most difficult things and make it look so easy? I hate people like that.
You have to have enough knowledge about the difficulty of the feat to really appreciate it. Like watching Bryson DeChambeau accurately hit a golf ball 425 yards. He is one of only maybe three people on the planet that can do that and the other two live with a tribe in the Amazon jungle. Even golfing icon Tiger Woods is stunned by the power and control Bryson has developed.
Watching piano prodigal Lydian Nadhaswaram dazzle the keys is just magical. It is unnatural, but fascinating. At 15 he can play Bethoven perfectly but he can't legally drive a car yet! Come on, man!
There are some accomplishments that are reserved for only a few human beings.
Becoming President of the United States of America is one of those rare feats of magic. The tea leaves have to all line up perfectly. First, you have to be male, and you have to be popular. Ask Hillary Clinton about that. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't fool nature.
Donald Trump was popular before he ran for office. He was a regular on the buffet circuit in New York and Hollywood. He has a knack for making life look easy, and he made his victory in 2016 look easy.
Joe Biden has made public service look easy, and I would argue, he made winning the Presidency (assuming he is inaugurated) look easy. After 40 years of cruising through six Senate reelections, and then sailing through eight years as Vice President, Biden won the highest office in the land without breaking a sweat. He previously attempted to become the Democratic Party Presidential nominee in 1988 and then again 2008. He must have learned some valuable lessons from those failed attempts, because this time he conducted a shadow of a campaign from his basement. He never barnstormed the country, he seldom conducted town halls or major media interviews. While his opponent made whirlwind appearances before huge crowds, up to 5 times a day, and fought back a Covid19 infection during the heat of the campaign, Joe put a lid on his workday, sometimes as early as 10 AM.
Biden was the first American Presidential candidate to compete in absentia. Remember Muhammad Ali's catch phrase, "I float like a butterfly, and I sting like a bee!" Biden dropped the bee part and just floated like a butterfly. When Trump swung, Biden ducked. And ducked. In fact he ducked out on the whole process.
Has there ever been a major party candidate that did so little to sell himself to the voters? He essentially answered media inquiries about his plans for America by saying, "Just go to my website. It is all there!" He relied on media surrogates, and from his massive union and government supporters to spell out what a Biden Presidency would look like.
Biden amassed well over ½ billion dollars in campaign funds, so his message was getting out even if he wasn't the one delivering it. It helps to know you have the unions, academia, the House of Representatives and the Governors of California and New York leading your parade. And let's not forget the cheerleaders at NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC all aligned like the offensive line of the New England Patriots to protect him from what on the surface looks like one of the ugliest political kickback scandals in American history.
Media talking heads have been telling him, "Joe, you are going to be the next President of the United States! Count on it, man!" I am not sure how they knew that, or that Joe really believed them. But damned if he didn't get more than 13 million more votes than Barack Obama won in 2012. Now that is amazing!
And he did it without even trying...
The chaotic non-results of the 2020 presidential election was not surprising. Election observers have warned that making so many fundamental changes to the election rules would lead to delays and unreliable results.
Trying to bring more people into the system may have the best intentions, but watch out for the Law of Unintended Consequences. Going forward our nation has to homogenize the federal election process. We can't have every state making their own rules. Locally, they can do whatever they want, but nationally, there has to be consistency. And the goal should be to have reliable results within no more than 48 hours after the polls close.
Unfortunately millions of Americans are convinced the 2020 process was corrupted. Right or wrong, this is culturally unacceptable. Perception is reality and we deserve a reliable process to exercise our franchise. I would argue that since we introduced electronic ballot processing, the amount of variation in reporting of results has increased exponentially. It is almost normal to see voting trends reverse themselves overnight. I have lived through decades of elections and up until just the last few we knew the results by the next morning and the voting trends were very stable and predictable. Not anymore!
In California too many times we go to bed convinced the Republican won, only to find out the next morning, or a few days later, the Democrat suddenly received just enough votes to squeak out the victory. Now we have a one party state. Go figure!
And now we are being told that Joe Biden drew ten million more votes than Barack Obama? Pundits tell us that Biden's election was a referendum on Trump, and it indicated a strong rejection of the man himself. Yet he pulled ten million more votes than he did when he won in 2016. He increased his share of black, latino and women voters. He not only didn't lose any votes, he gained ten million more! Joe Biden is not Barack Obama! He is not Hillary Clinton. He is not a leading man in Hollywood. He is not a good campaigner. He doesn't inspire people. So his claim to fame is he is not Donald Trump?
So statistically, we are supposed to believe that not only did every person that voted for Hillary vote for Biden, but of the total 21 million new voters since 2016 Biden won nearly 80% of them. I personally know Hillary supporters that voted for Trump this time, so the numbers seem suspicious at best.
Statistically, there are enormous anomalies that raise red flags, so the President's legal team have instigated a series of lawsuits in five battleground states. They say they have evidence of improprieties that violate Federal law.
It has been three weeks and the media is howling, "Where is the evidence of voter fraud?" Here's the rub: In any legal process, there is a burden of proof, and it is up to the challenger to provide it. In major lawsuits against Big Tobacco or Big Oil where fraud and evidence tampering are involved, the Justice Department is allowed a substantial amount of time to do it's due diligence.
Trump's allegations are very serious and imply major crimes may have been committed. The Trump Team has to present preliminary evidence that convinces a judge, not the Media Mob, that there is probable cause to allow the process to proceed. The idea that Trump's Team is taking too long to investigate what some allege could be the largest incidence of voter fraud ever uncovered, is ludicrous. It is going to take time. If it takes months or even a year or two, so be it.
When the government goes after Medicare fraud, ponzi schemes, or tax evaders, nobody complains if it takes years to prosecute. So I wonder why there are so many Democrats pushing to rush this investigation? Wouldn't any American patriot want to know if our voting system is corrupted? If you have nothing to hide, why rush? We should all be eager to know how trustworthy our election system is, or isn't.
Voting is the heart and soul of America. This is a good time to give the voting system a complete physical exam.
For me, the Masters Golf Tournament is the entertainment highlight of the year. For nearly 3 decades I have hosted a Final Round Sunday Party to share the excitement with my friends. We gather around several TV's and cheer for our favorites, and even people who rarely pay attention to professional golf end up having a great time. Almost without exception, The Masters ends up being an incredible display of athletic excellence, perseverance, and sportsmanship.
The 2020 Masters was, like everything about his year, weird.
Because the 4-day tournament normally takes place in the Spring in Augusta Georgia, where the azaleas and begonias are blooming and the trees are bright green the setting is gorgeous. But this year's event had to be postponed until November due to the CoronaVirus Pandemic, so the Fall setting was not at its best.
And then there was the absence of the fanatical, deferential and almost religious fans. Due to social distancing requirements, only a handful of fans were allowed to attend this year's event. But half the fun of the tournament is hearing the fans collectively roar when a player makes a great shot or sinks a miraculous putt. When the cheers resonate across the 120 acre facility players often pause to let the noise settle down.
There is something special about the pressure players feel when appearing at The Masters. Having millions of viewers watching on TV from around the world creates a certain tension, and the prestige of potentially joining an elite group of past Masters Champions adds unimaginable nervousness too. Nevertheless, every great player wants the opportunity to play in The Masters. Most will tell you it is a childhood dream.
The Augusta National Golf Course is, in reality, the star of this sporting event. It has a personality all it's own, and over time, fans get to know every crack and cranny that can jump up at any moment and devour the dreams of the greatest players in history.
This week, Dustin Johnsone performed beautifully, and brought the course to its proverbial knees. His record-tying 20-under par score will always be recognized as nearly perfect and special. He makes it look easy, which bothers many critics. Dustin has had to deal with constant criticism about his lack of ambition, or his casual acceptance of coming up short. For some, it doesn't seem to matter that the guy ranks amongst the winningest players of all time, it bugs them that he saunters along, driving the ball into the stratosphere, making birdies and eagles, while acting like he is walking his dog.
The Pandemic has forced every professional sport to mutate their format. Unfortunately, Dustin will always have an asterisk next to this Masters title. Through no fault of his own, Johnson was robbed of the thrill of winning before the celebrated Augusta audience. He didn't have to deal with a trampled rough, or extended drama of a final round that finishes with long shadows in a glaring sunet. This tournament was more like the Shell Oil Wonderful World of Golf made-for-TV exhibitions from the 60's. A bunch of guys having a friendly match, scheduled so the West Coast wouldn't miss a minute of pro football.
Does the absence of fans make that much difference? Should it demand a footnote in history? Absolutely! There is no substitute for the emotional component fans bring to any live sporting event. Every recorded sporting event title, or noteworthy achievement, that occurred during this year, has been contaminated by Covid19. And history will, if it's to be honest, have to reflect that fact.
I'm sorry, but I hope this never happens again because the 2020 Masters simply didn't have the emotional impact I crave. But watching Dustin break down during his winners circle interview salvaged an otherwise underwhelming tournament. Dustin found it difficult to gather himself, and like so many of us this weird year, found himself speechless. His tears of joy and faltering recognition of his family and supporting team exposed the fire inside that burns in every Masters Champion.
An especially appropriate excerpt from my most recent book, The Illusion of Knowledge...
Like Adam and Eve, Americans have choices. We can make ourselves smart, or we can remain dumb. As Americans, we enjoy the highest degree of freedom in the world, but our awareness of what it takes to effectively exercise it and preserve it is seldom measured or understood. If freedom came in the form of coins, America has enormous stacks of them. But we have an annoying habit of keeping them on the front porch and pleading for the passerby to come help themselves.
That uniquely American condition is what I call a State of Free Dumb.
We have raised a generation of snobs who think everyone on the planet has the same lifestyle, the same opportunities, the same sense of kindness as Americans. In fact, many suggest we could be more "like them" forgetting that America was founded by refugees from Eurocentric attitudes of aristocracy and indebtedness.
We hear politicians constantly say "Every other industrialized nation in the world" has nationalized healthcare or free college tuition. Of course they conveniently omit the fact that those same countries have a much lower standard of living and much higher taxation policies.
Our kids have lived in a protective bubble that has created a false sense of security and awareness. They don't know what they don't know.
The kids of the Boomer Generation spent the majority of their time under the watchful eye of a proxy family made up of TV programs and public education. Both of which promoted progressive theory of moral relativism and collectivist government. The result was to promote peace, prosperity and vacuous intellectualism.
This has opened the barn door for our longtime nemesis, the deterred but never defeated forces of collectivism.
So now our society is fighting battles of survival on two fronts: We are struggling to meet the expectations and needs of our family here in America. And we are fighting to preserve our civilization and way of life from outside forces that have always resented us and want to destroy the American legacy. We have militants amongst us, and more actively trying to penetrate our borders. None of them wear uniforms or expose their real intentions. Most of them think of themselves as righteous warriors for justice and redemption. They are convinced they are normal and everyone else is abnormal.
And they are relentless! They are like zombies, they just keep mindlessly coming at us. No matter how often their falsifications and misleading claims are exposed, they just keep attacking anything normal, struggling to make their form of existence the new normal.
(Note: This column first appeared in the Times-Advocate Newspaper in 2016)
I am not a billionaire playboy or a New York hotshot real estate developer, or an owner of some of the most iconic buildings and resorts on the planet, or a TV superstar of one of the most enduring and iconic reality shows in the past decade. No, I am none of those things.
I am a little different, but in some very important ways Donald Trump and I are brothers.
I am extremely passionate about what a great country I live in, and how fortunate I am to have been born in America. How our hard earned freedom and culture is so uniquely conducive to my ability to live my dream. I have always felt that I should give back to my fellow Americans.
So I do what I can, I write. I write to inform and to entertain. I write to make people think about the kind of things we should consider when we go into a voting booth. My writings are my properties, my brand. I try to share them and to develop them. In my own literary way, I am a developer like Trump.
For several decades I have watched my country, my friends and fellow Americans, go through really tough times like we haven't seen since before WWll. And as I watch historic events unravel the tranquility of the entire world, I sense that most of our problems are self imposed. That our leadership is incompetent. That too many of our elected leaders are really in over their heads. That the enormity of the job of managing the Frankenstein Monster that is America, was simply overwhelming to most of them.
I ask myself, what can I do to help my country? I wrote a book. I did what I am capable of doing. I had this idealistic idea that I could make a positive impact, get people re-engaged and excited about their Americanism.
My book will not save the world, but I didn't stand by and ignore the tragic deconstruction of my country. I stood up and asked to be counted.
Exactly what Donald Trump did.
He didn't have to run for President. He didn't have to put himself and his precious family in harm's way. He doesn't need anymore attention, money or approval, so he volunteered to do what he does well, to rebuild a property that has fallen into disrepair.
Trump comes off as pompous, as self absorbed, as impetuous, even profane. But those shortcomings don't make his fears for the health, security, and the future of our country, any less legitimate.
He stood up and asked to be counted.
Do you know how demanding it is to run for President? Trump is a multimillionaire in his seventies, who has the option to spend the rest of his life golfing the greatest courses in the world, or traveling or making reality TV shows. To suggest that his Presidential ambitions are self serving is insulting and illogical.
His name is an iconic brand, he employs thousands and manages an incredibly complex dynasty of companies and investments. To suggest that a man with a portfolio like that would subject himself to the crushing scrutiny and media pressures of running for the Presidency just because he craves attention ignores reality.
What if… Trump and myself both genuinely cared about America? That would mean we, and millions of Trump supporters, are all trying to give something back to the country we love. That our effort to elect a leader is not a selfish conspiracy to enrich ourselves, to disenfranchise other Americans, or to create a racially homogenized Arian nation, but to rebuild the iconic multifaceted rich culture of liberty and world leadership that has served the entire planet well for most of the 20th century.
How dare anyone challenge our motives! We are both doing what we can to help our country. It just so happens he can do a lot more than the average citizen can. Donald has already spent over $50 million of his own money. He is putting his money where his mouth is to help save a world that is sliding into disarray. Which amounts to an enormous charitable contribution!
When you see someone close to you acting erratically, in a self destructive spiral, searching for ways to help them is noble, isn't it? Isn't it the duty of family to help each other in times of need?
So I caution my fellow Americans, do not challenge the intentions of people like Mr. Trump and myself, because if you do, you are suggesting that a fellow American citizen should think twice about being proud and protective of our common American DNA. You are indirectly suggesting that concerned fellow American family members should stop caring about you.