Saturday afternoon … and all the news is about Paul Manafort’s plea bargain and Hurricane Florence. While these are both very important stories, I cannot add much to what is already being said, so, I went in search of a few snippets beyond today’s headlines.
The last laugh …
When Nike announced that their new ad campaign for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” motto would feature Colin Kaepernick, the man who took a knee to take a stand against racial injustice, some portion of the nation went a bit berserk. There were reports of people burning their Nike clothing & shoes, cutting holes in their socks, and all manners of rather stupid (considering they paid for those clothes & shoes) protests. Boycotts were called for, and Donald Trump, of course had to get in on the act saying, “I don’t like what Nike did. I don’t think it’s appropriate what they did.” Rather tame for him, come to think of it.
The rumour mill, aka ‘social media’, fed by people who have entirely too much time on their hands to think up stupid things to do, went wild. Within days of the announcement, for example, it was reported that Nike scotched the deal after Kaepernick launched into an “anti-white rant” in public (false), that Nike lost an $80 million U.S. government contract because of the deal (false), and that former NBA star Michael Jordan had resigned from Nike’s board of directors in protest of the Kaepernick deal (also false). Then on September 9th, it was reported by a junk website that Kaepernick was arrested for trespassing after running onto the field during the national anthem “as a publicity stunt” at an NFL game in San Francisco. Also blatantly false. Trump talks a lot about libel laws when somebody reports something unfavourable yet true about him … these stories about Kaepernick are what libel actually looks like.
And of course, the predictions by some were that Nike would be on the verge of bankruptcy within a year. Thus, it is with great joy that I report that on Thursday, Nike stock reached an all-time high, closing at $83.47, and gained yet another two-cents yesterday, closing at $83.49! Additionally, Nike’s online revenue increased by 31% in the days after the announcement. Go Nike!
NRA oopsie …
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law prohibiting corporations and unions from making expenditures in connection with federal elections. Known as Citizens United, this case opened the door for massive amounts of money to be spent by big businesses and lobbyists such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) on advertising for individual candidates who they believe will, in return, vote in their favour once in office. There are, however, some rules & limitations.
One such rule is that while such groups can raise and spend virtually unlimited amounts on an election, they must do so independently of the candidate. In other words there cannot be an agreement between, say, the NRA and a specific candidate. And so, when the following conversation between republican senate candidate Matt Rosendale of Montana and an unidentified person took place in a bar one July night, it was in violation of the Federal Election Commission (FEC rules).
“I fully expect the NRA is going to come in… in August sometime. The Supreme Court confirmations are big. That’s what sent the NRA over the line. Because in ’12, with [Republican Senate nominee Denny Rehberg] they stayed out, they stayed out of Montana. But Chris Cox told me, he’s like, ‘We’re going to be in this race.’”
Chris Cox is the head of the NRA lobbying efforts, and sure enough, earlier this month, the NRA spent more than $400,000 on ads hitting Rosendale’s democratic opponent, incumbent Jon Tester over the precise issue that Rosendale mentioned—the senator’s votes on Supreme Court nominations. Dirty pool? You betcha. Is anything likely to come of it? It is extremely doubtful, for there is no evidence in the audio recording that Rosendale consented or encouraged the contribution. Just one more of the many tricks the GOP and NRA have up their sleeves.
‘Fear’-less library …
The town of Berkeley Springs is located in Morgan County, West Virginia. West Virginia voted 75% for Donald Trump in 2016, which says something about the state. Nonetheless, there is a library in Berkeley. The Director of the Morgan County Public Library is one Donna Crocker. On Tuesday, when Bob Woodward’s book, Fear: Trump in the White House, was released, Berkeley Springs resident Rob Campbell generously attempted to donate a copy of the book to the library but was turned down flat. Crocker declined his offer, saying that they “… wouldn’t be putting books like that on the shelves anymore.” Books like that??? Like what? What year is this, again?
After a hue and cry on Facebook by residents who are apparently eager to read the book, Ms. Crocker’s decision was overridden by Connie Perry, the president of the trustees of the Morgan County Public Library. Ms. Perry attempted to pass the incident off as just a ‘misunderstanding’, saying “It was an employee who . . . wasn’t aware of what she should have done.” And yet … Crocker is the Director, not just any employee. I strongly suspect Ms. Crocker made the decision based on her own political preferences, for when asked in a phone interview about her decision, she said “I don’t want to get in the middle of that. We have other Trump books.”
And thus concludes yet another episode of Snarky Snippets. Have a great rest-of-the-weekend!