Weekend Quick Takes

History Deniers

One thing that Thinking Man has never understood is the feeling among a group of a certain political bent that just viscerally dislikes America succeeding. I don’t get it.

History Deniers

We see the latest example of that in the upcoming release of what could be an epic movie, and maybe still will be an epic but it has been edited to fit a political viewpoint.  (Because these days it seems you must make a political statement with everything.)

The movie First Man about the historic moon landing in 1969 is to be released in mid-October. The movie stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the moon.

For those of a certain age, or of a certain historical bent, Neil Armstrong’s words as he stepped from the lunar module (“One small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind”) and the iconic picture of him then planting the American flag on the surface of the moon were defining moments.

Yet, Hollywood film makers have taken out the historic scene. In a movie about the first man landing on the moon, they have no picture or video of Neil Armstrong actually planting the flag on the moon. When Gosling, the director and others associated with the film were asked about the missing scene they replied, almost in unison as if scripted, along the lines of “this wasn’t an American achievement, it was a moment for all the world”.  In a sense, that probably is true as Neil Armstrong’s own words suggest. But, as an historian, I can tell you that it was very much an American achievement and one that was widely recognized as such by all involved. Those who say such things are, frankly, deniers of history.

After the Soviet Union’s Soyuz aircraft orbited the earth, the US made it a national policy to become the world’s leader in space technology and capability.  President Kennedy stood before Congress on May 25, 1961, and said that the US “should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

The person he appointed to lead that effort was his Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who when he later became President made it a priority in his own administration, as did President Richard Nixon during whose term the moon landing occurred.

Buzz Aldrin and Chuck Yeager, two men intimately involved with the initial space program who are still alive have both criticized the movie and the way that Neil Armstrong is portrayed.

The landing on the moon, to coin a statement by one public official was paid for by the American taxpayer, with American technology, flown on American rockets and carrying American astronauts. Sen. Marco Rubio has said “This is total lunacy. And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together.”.

At a time when our country is increasingly divided, we now have history deniers who use their artistic license to push their own political agenda to further the division and to push the narrative that the United States is no more special and isn’t any more significant than anyone else. In the story of the moon landing, that’s just plain wrong and to say otherwise shows an amazing ignorance or the amazing lengths to which some will go to push an agenda, or both.

The Problem At SCOTUS Hearings

This week began the committee hearings in the Senate for Brett Kavanaugh, the nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

The vote for confirmation will likely fall almost exactly along party lines and the hearings have been very volatile, with both opposition senators on protesters in the gallery interrupting the Committee Chairman literally during his second sentence, which started with “I want to welcome….”

Two liberal Democratic members of the Justice Committee Diane Feinstein (the ranking minority member) and Richard Blumenthal are among those who ardently oppose the nomination. Yet, they are very different in their approach and, frankly, in their personal character. Sen. Feinstein, who was formerly mayor of San Francisco, took her turn to make a statement and ask her questions and began by apologizing to Mr. Kavanaugh for the protesters who had shouted insults and disrupted the proceedings. She then launched into a very pointed period of questioning of the nominee.

Sen. Blumenthal on the other hand, excused the sixty-some protesters who had been arrested and blamed their actions on President Trump and what he had done to cause it.

Both Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Blumenthal oppose the nomination and have done so strenuously. Yet Feinstein’s actions shows her respect for the process of our representative government. Blumenthal is not only fine with, but seemingly supportive of those who will do anything-including protesting in an illegal way-to get what they want. (of course, there is no doubt that his feeling would be different if someone were protesting something he was in favor of).  So, let’s be clear, Sen. Blumenthal, YOU are part of the problem and what’s wrong with this country.

California Will Need A Bailout

California’s Lt. Governor, Gavin Newsom is running for Governor in this year’s election. Running as a more liberal champion of the downtrodden, among the measures Newsom has proposed is that California provide government run healthcare for anyone in the state, including illegal residents.

During the term of current CA governor, Jerry Brown, California had to raise taxes to the highest levels in the country because it was in danger of default. Yet Newsom thinks that a massive new spending program, what would be the largest in state history, is a good idea. Mark it down, California will come to the rest of the country for money to help pay their bills if they do.

Nike Marketing Executives Reveal Their Lack of Grasp of the Language

Nike has announced a marketing campaign to celebrate 30 years of their “just do it” slogan, which includes a picture of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with a caption that says “”Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

You know, Nike can make whatever political statement that it wants to make and Thinking Man supports their right to do that. But their marketing executives need to validate things to have some credibility when they make a statement and clearly they missed the mark on this one.

1) Colin Kaepernick, who they are suggesting ‘sacrificed everything’, still lives in a $2.5 M mansion with an inground pool and makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in appearances, endorsements, etc. (millions now with his Nike contract) and 2) though the widespread narrative is that he is blackballed because of his stance saying our nation is oppressive, some additional insights could be beneficial–before he was cut by the 49ers, he was benched in favor of quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who is so bad he was also later cut and had a hard time finding another team to sign him (he is now a backup for the Titans)

Hey, Nike, if you want to really know what it’s like and to honor an athlete who ‘gave everything’, how about Pat Tillman? Tillman was playing in the NFL and was a defensive back for the Cardinals when the planes hit on 9/11. He gave up his lucrative career to enlist in the Army. Tillman later died in action in Afghanistan.

If you want to honor someone for putting principle above ‘everything’, that is an example. Not someone who lives in a multi-million-dollar mansion and still has an income and lifestyle that very few in the world will ever have.

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