On Team Sports and Politics

The following post originally appeared on Medium.

I am not a sports fan. My knowledge of sports is, shall we say, limited... I sort of understand why people are so passionate about sports, the same way I understand why some people are so passionate about Crossfit. But I don’t want any part of either of them.

The fact that I couldn’t care less about sports leaves me feeling left out of the “boys club,” but it also gives me a different perspective on the passion (fanaticism?) of the fans. I’m amazed at how strongly they can affect people. My co-hosts are perfect examples.

Pat Gray, one of my best friends, is one of the most loyal, smart and kind people I know. There are times when my emotions get the best of me, and Pat is always there to add a calming perspective about faith and principles.

RELATED: Those Standing on Principle Are in Good Company

Unless it’s the Monday following a BYU football loss, which seems to be happening a lot lately.

In that case, my week begins with a breathless review of every broken play, every stupid decision by the coach, and a lengthy biography of every communist traitor that the NCAA has dared to employ as a referee. I should mention, Pat did not go to BYU, he doesn’t know any of the players, and their home games are played 1,200 miles away from his home. Yet, his whole life is affected by the results of these games.

I’ve even seen his morning destroyed by what happened in a BYU rugby match. I didn’t even know BYU had a rugby team. I’m not even sure BYU knew they had a rugby team. They do, as it turns out, and they’ve actually won four straight national championships — just ask Pat.

I’ve worked with Stu Burguiere going on 20 years. He was born in New York and grew up in Connecticut so, naturally, he is a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan. Throughout the week, you can tune in to hear Stu complain about government spending on feel-good green energy. On Sundays, you can hear him cheering on a team named after a symbol of the New Deal, in a stadium lined with wind turbines and solar panels. His stated position: “I’ve made it through 40 years without a Super Bowl, I think I can power through anything short of an ISIS endorsement.”

Pat and Stu are relentlessly dedicated to their sports teams; and they are not alone. More than half of all adult Americans — and 100% of real men, I’m told — proudly call themselves sports fans.

Let’s dig into one of the great rivalries in sports history (my thanks to an anonymous friend who assisted me with this analogy): The Lakers and the Celtics in the 1980s.

Imagine you’re a Lakers fan in the early 80s and Jerry West trades Magic to the Celtics for Bird. Later, he trades Worthy for McHale and Parish for Jabbar? Then, the next year, Pat Riley and K.C. Jones switch teams. Then imagine that the next year after that, the Lakers decide to wear green and white and the Celtics go with purple and gold. And, finally, a year after that, in case your head isn’t already spinning, the Lakers move to Boston and the Celtics move to LA. And with that last move, the NBA logo man, Jerry West, goes to the Celtics as the GM.

At any point, based on the players, the coaches, the team colors or even the location of the team — would you switch allegiances?

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What about when the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis? Colts fans, did that drive a stake through your hearts? Or did you say to yourself, “business is business — they needed a new stadium”? What happened when the Ravens became Baltimore’s team? If you were still a Colts fan, did you suddenly become a Raven’s fan?

What if your team cheats? What if they get caught and fined for recording another team’s practice or deflating balls? Do you remain loyal because they’re still winning? I mean, “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing,”[1] right? Or is there virtue in playing by the rules?

I could go on and on...

My understanding, from my friends who are sport fans, is that they would identify with Stu’s position — short of their team endorsing ISIS, they are true blue and would never give up on their team.

Why? Because it is their team. What makes some entity that charges you a lot of money to go to the game, makes you pay through the nose for mediocre food and blacks-out local broadcasts if they fail to sell enough tickets to the game deserving of your loyalty is beyond me. BUT — and this is a big but — the reality is it does not matter. I don’t mean to the sports fan; I mean in life. It does not matter if you are a Lakers fan or a Celtics fan, an Eagles fan or a Giants fan or, as depressing as this may be, a Miami Dolphins fan (like the president of my company). The world won’t change based on who you root for or why.

In sports, the teams with the most disastrous histories of losing become incubators for the best fans. We call these fans “die hards” because their teams are seemingly always trying to kill them. This sort of blind loyalty is only excusable in the world of sports because it means nothing. It does not impact our jobs or our economy or our society — it is, at the end of the day, just a game. In any other context, this sort of blind loyalty would be — and is — insane.

As it relates to politics, the appropriate level of team loyalty is zero.

As George Washington (and our founders) warned us — blind loyalty in our system of politics has real ramifications. The Red and the Blue of our political environment pits us against one another — our team against their team. Our politics should not define us. An Eagles fan should be able to be friends with and respect a Giants fan (and vice versa), and they can and are. But this same bi-partisan respect does not exist in our politics today.

But it is worse than that. The political climate today, besides being team focused, is closer to the hypothetical Lakers vs. Celtics scenario I proposed above than to what typically happens in sports.

The GOP did stand for small government, free trade, the protection of the unborn, the Constitution, etc... But what is it now?

The Democrats were “for the little guy” who couldn’t do it alone, they were against the big banks, they were against spying and drone warfare... But what does the party stand for today?

If your party dumps its principles and proceeds to engage in the sort of behavior that you wouldn’t accept from a toddler, you should abandon that party — immediately. Loyalty to your party in the face of constant abuse doesn’t make you a brave and virtuous soldier, it makes you a helpless, yet complicit victim.

We are the most dynamic country in history. For us to have allowed ourselves to be held captive by the parties is one thing, but to willingly settle into what feels like a perpetual state of Stockholm Syndrome is quite another. Too many people seem to be willing to defend their party’s decision to abandon its principles for no other reason than the good of the “team”. But this isn’t a game — this stuff actually matters. If the team changes, are we obligated to change with them? If they lie, must we become liars in defense of the team?

Watching the VP debate was enlightening, though not surprising. Seeing Gov. Pence, who I believe is a good man, allow himself to be made a liar, in his defense of a liar, was shameful. Watching Gov. Kaine acting like an ass (although I’ve heard he is a really good and decent man) is beneath him — and us: But all in the name of the team.

RELATED: Did Kaine’s Debate Plan Include Being the Most Obnoxious Man on Earth?

If you’re like me, you look at Washington and ask how these people (not just the VP candidates, but also the strategists, the “elites,” the elected officials, etc.) can live with themselves? How can they go back on their principles the moment they feel it may benefit them to do so? Does this not bother them?

It’s because it’s all about the team. It’s blind loyalty to a mindless cause — likely starting with what they believe are good reasons. (If I don’t go along, I will be voted out, and then what? How much difference can I make from the outside?) But likely ending with a desire for power and control.

Why do we allow the ends to justify the means and the letter that follows the name to supersede everything?

As John Adams said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

Many have written that 2016 has been an unmitigated disaster, filled with tragic deaths, terrible events, and the universe’s worst political candidates this side of Kang and Kodos.

A lot of the time, I feel exactly the same way.

But these moments of real strife can be the moments of real character. Challenge yourself. Ponder and pray. Don’t let your vote be a passive matter of partisan habit. Think beyond one election and think about who you are, what type of country and society you want and what type of leadership we deserve?

What would 2016 look like in a world rid of the political “teams”? What would 2020 and beyond look like? Would we have the two least likable politicians EVER? Would we have two proven liars running out the clock in hopes that the other will screw up badly enough to cost him/her the game? OR would we have an engaged citizenry demanding that its politicians comport themselves with decency and reflect the principles that they actually believe in?

Has either candidate earned your vote? Or are you just voting against the other one? Don’t get me wrong, I get the “binary choice” argument — but don’t we want more? Don’t we deserve more?

RELATED: Binary Choices Lead to Walls, Condemnation and Destruction

We can do better. We must demand more. No more of this blue team vs. red team nonsense. Let’s focus on the principles of the men and women we elect and stop treating the future of our country as if it were a game. It isn’t.

[1] Hat tip to Henry Russell (“Red”) Sanders.

Featured Image: Professional American football player diving whilst being tackled during game in outdoors stadium under dramatic sky at sunset (credit: Pali Rao)

The Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on subpoenas to compel Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify on alleged censorship and bias across their platforms. But that all changed when Republican committee members "expressed reservation about the maneuver," Politico reports.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who chairs Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, was definitely not one of the committee members with cold feet. On the radio program Tuesday, he told Glenn Beck that he's fighting "vociferously" to ensure Dorsey and others testify before the November 3rd election.

"Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg are both going to testify. They're are going to testify in person. They're going to testify before Election Day. That's what I think should happen," Cruz said. "That's what I'm fighting vociferously to happen. Right now, the companies are negotiating with the chairman's office to discuss terms to come voluntarily. I don't give a damn whether they come voluntarily or under subpoena. They need to testify in person and answer questions for the American people about why they are trying to steal this election, to suppress the free speech, and to censor the press."

The subpoenas would require Big Tech leaders to testify on the alleged "suppression and/or censorship" of two consecutive blockbuster stories from the New York Post. The first story was about emails that allegedly came from Hunter Biden's computer which are currently being investigated by the FBI, and the second was based on additional emails that allegedly showed communist China directly offering millions of dollars to then-Vice President Joe Biden.

"Big Tech stepped in, and they've done something they've never done before," Cruz explained. "We know that Big Tech has been censoring individual conservatives, trying to suppress conservative speech. But the step they took here is, they blocked if any individual user tried to share either of the New York Post stories, [they] were blocked ... Sharing a news story, from a major media outlet is part of democracy, part of free speech. And not only that, they blocked the New York Post itself. Right now, today, the New York Post is not being allowed to post its own damn stories on corruption. This is ridiculous. It's a threshold that's never been crossed before, of Silicon Valley oligarchs declaring the authority to determine what the press is allowed to report, and who is allowed to see it."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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If we learned nothing from the media over the past 4 years it's that colluding with a foreign entity to either win an election or for personal gain is absolutely grotesque. Well, that depends on whether you have a (D) or (R) before your name anyway. President Trump was impeached on rumor and innuendo yet Joe Biden has all but skated on his corruption up to this point.

Below is a timeline that shows the level of corruption and the lengths the Biden's went to in order to build that family's wealth and influence internationally.

2009

In 2009, Joe Biden was the brand-new Vice President and John Kerry was a U.S. Senator. Just five months after Joe was sworn in, his son Hunter, and Kerry's stepson, Christopher Heinz, formed an international private equity firm called Rosemont Capital. It had several different branches, including one called Rosemont Seneca Partners.

2010

Just nine months after Rosemont Seneca opened its doors, Hunter Biden went to China for meetings with executives from China's biggest banks, and its sovereign wealth and social security funds. That's unheard-of access for a brand-new firm. Was it just coincidence that at the same time Hunter was meeting these Chinese bigwigs, his dad was meeting with China's then-president Hu Jintao in Washington DC at a nuclear security summit?

2011

In May 2011, Joe Biden met with Chinese officials for the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue conference in Washington. Just two weeks later, Hunter Biden went to Taiwan for meetings with the same Chinese financial giants he'd met in China in 2010, plus some new ones.

2013

By December 2013, Joe Biden was enjoying his second term as VP, and John Kerry was now Secretary of State. That's when Joe traveled to Beijing on an extended official trip and Hunter traveled with him on Air Force Two.

During their stay, Vice President Biden met with President Xi and Hunter was mostly out of sight. We don't know exactly what he was up to, but the deal finalized between Rosemont Seneca and the Bank of China just ten days after the Bidens' trip pretty much gives it away. The most powerful financial institution in China formed a joint venture with tiny Rosemont Seneca to create a giant new investment firm called Bohai Harvest RST – the "RS" stands for Rosemont Seneca.

The firm is often called "BHR" for short.

Hunter Biden was a member of the Board. Remember, the Bank of China is government-owned, which means its business is completely intertwined with the goals of the Chinese Communist Party. BHR also got the freedom to operate in the newly created Shanghai Free-Trade Zone where, over the next six years, it would use $2.5 billion of Chinese government money to invest in China, as well as in other countries, including the U.S.

During their Beijing trip, Hunter also introduced Jonathan Li to his dad. Li is Hunter's business partner – he's CEO and Director of BHR.

Hunter arranged for Joe to meet Li in the lobby of the hotel where they stayed during their Beijing trip.

2014

In 2014, one of BHR's first major investments was in the China General Nuclear Power Corporation.

CGN is a Chinese government-owned nuclear power company that sold off a stake of the company to outside investors. Problem is, CGN was under FBI investigation for paying informants in the U.S. to steal nuclear secrets.

In 2016, the FBI arrested the ringleader of this nuclear espionage, a man named Allen Ho.

When they arrested Ho, he was using a random code generator to access funds being provided to him from – where else? – the Bank of China.

Yet while this FBI probe was going on, the son of the Vice President owned a stake in the company being investigated. And even after arrests were made, Rosemont Seneca did not alter its relationship with BHR, nor did it divest from CGN, even though it was stealing U.S. nuclear secrets.

2015

In 2015, BHR partnered with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to buy an American company called Henniges for $600 million.

AVIC is a gigantic military contractor in China – think Lockheed Martin – that makes fighter jets, bombers and drones. BHR bought 49% of Henniges and AVIC bought 51%.

Henniges is a precision parts manufacturer specializing in anti-vibration technology. The stuff they make is known as "dual use" by the U.S. State Department, which means the technology can also have a military application.

Because of that, the deal had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) since it could have national security implications. The thing is, the American side of BHR – meaning Hunter Biden and his pals – had to know there were serious national security implications with AVIC.

The year before they formed a partnership with AVIC, the Wall Street Journal reported how AVIC stole technology related to the U.S. Air Force's F-35 stealth fighter and used it in its own stealth fighter for the Chinese.

How the Committee on Foreign Investment approved that deal remains a mystery. CFIUS does not publicly disclose any information regarding its decisions. Their findings are not publicly announced.

Interesting that China accounted for the largest share – with 74 transactions – approved by CFIUS during Obama's second term (2013-2015).

Under the umbrella of Rosemont Capital was a real estate company called Rosemont Realty. In 2015, a Chinese company called Gemini Investments bought a 75% stake in Rosemont Realty. The company was renamed Gemini Rosemont

Gemini brought $3 billion to the partnership with Rosemont, with the aim of buying "Class A institutional-quality commercial office properties in U.S. markets."

Red flag (literally) – Gemini Investments is a subsidiary of the China Ocean Shipping Company, a.k.a., "COSCO."

COSCO is a Chinese government-owned company. Its headquarters in Beijing is actually next to the headquarters of the Bank of China. COSCO is well-known for its close military ties. It's essentially a branch of the Chinese Navy.

2017

In 2017, BHR invested in Face++. That's the facial recognition phone app built by a Chinese company that is incorporated in a separate app built by the Chinese government. Police in the Xinjiang [Sin-jong] region of China use that app to keep tabs on citizens, and track and detain Uiguhr [Wee-ger] Muslims.

The app allows police easy access to data about Chinese Muslims including things like religious activity, blood type, and even the amount of electricity they use.

2018

In March 2018, a spokesman (Chris Bastardi) for Christopher Heinz (John Kerry's stepson) emailed The Hill to say that Heinz had "no operating role" in Rosemont Seneca, and that he was not involved in any of Rosemont's deals in China (which contradicts Schweizer's report in his book Secret Empires).

Chris Heinz was involved in Rosemont Capital. Rosemont Seneca was established under the same GP as Rosemont Capital, but Chris Heinz had no operating role in it. Chris and his family have no financial interest or investment in Bohai Harvest RST, he has never traveled to China, and he has never met with the firm's Chinese management team or investors.

2019

In October 2019, Hunter Biden's lawyer, George Mesires, said Hunter did not conduct any business on that 2013 trip to Beijing with his Dad.

Mesires said the timing of BHR's business license getting approved was purely coincidental because the paperwork had been submitted months before the Bidens' China trip.

According to Hunter's lawyer, the approval " was not related in any way, shape or form to Hunter's visit."

Hunter Biden finally stepped down from the BHR board last October (2019), but he DID NOT give up his 10% stake in the company.

When Bevan Cooney — the former "junior" business partner to Hunter Biden and Devon Archer — went to jail in 2019, investigative reporter and New York Times bestselling author Peter Schweizer thought he'd never gain access to the damning emails Cooney had promised. That all changed three weeks ago when Schweizer was given complete access to Cooney's gmail account.

Schweizer joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to describe just some of the business deals revealed within these emails — like Hunter working with an alleged Russian criminal and with Chinese communists to secure their assets, or to secure one-on-one time with his dad, then-Vice President Joe Biden. And all of this new information is completely separate from the emails allegedly discovered on Hunter Biden's laptop recently reported by the New York Post.

"So, I want to make this clear. This [Cooney's emails] has nothing to do with what's on the laptop … It didn't come from [Rudy] Giuliani. It didn't come from anybody else, right?" Glenn asked Schweizer.

"That's absolutely correct," Schweizer confirmed.

He briefly explained how Cooney, a former Los Angeles nightclub owner, is currently serving a prison sentence for his involvement in a fraudulent business bond scheme with Biden and Archer. From prison, Cooney gave Schweizer written permission to access his Gmail account.

"This is really important," he noted. "We're not looking at printouts. Not looking at PDFs. We're actually in his Gmail accounts themselves, sifting through these emails. And there's a shocking amount of information about deals involving China, involving Russia, involving all sorts of things they were trying to pull off."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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The king of "No Spin" and bestselling author of "Killing Crazy Horse," Bill O'Reilly joined Glenn Beck on this week's podcast to talk about the latest developments in Joe Biden's Ukraine and China corruption scandal. Now that some of the details are finally coming out in the open, does the average Democrat care? Maybe, but the Left doesn't seem to.

O'Reilly argued there's more hatred for President Donald Trump now than in 2016, and that some people hate President Trump so much that they'd rather vote for the "senile, corrupt" Joe Biden.

"Hunter got tens of millions of dollars from Ukraine, from Russia, from China because his father was vice president. I have no doubt in my mind," O'Reilly said. "But the hatred for Donald Trump overrides that in the minds of millions of viewers. They're saying, 'You know, we'd rather have the senile corrupt guy than Trump.'"

Asked by Glenn if any other Republican running for president would be met with the same level of vitriol, O'Reilly answered, "The Left is the Left. They don't like America. The want to redo the Constitution. They want to take some of our freedoms, like the Second Amendment and the First Amendment, and change them. And they want to destroy capitalism and replace it with a big centralized government in Washington that controls the economy … but I'm talking about the folks. I have liberal friends and I say to them, 'Do you not understand that when you vote for Biden, you're voting against your own self interest?'"

Watch the video clip from the full podcast below, or find the full episode HERE:

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