Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day in America. It’s the day we who didn’t serve in the military honor those who did.

And it’a also two days after the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – a symbolic event, to be sure, but one whose symbolism should not be diluted by modern revisionism.

And there’s a connection: while Communism is not a sustainable model of governance (like its passive-aggressive cousin “Democratic Socialism”). there is no guarantee that when it falls it won’t be replaced by something even worse.

And among the reason that Soviet communism fell when it did was the fact that two generations of American (and NATO) soldiers ensured that “inducing a conflict to keep the peoples’ minds off their misery” wasn’t a valid end-game.

The world changed thirty years ago last Saturday because American will, and American steel, and American troops, ensured that that change took place in its proper lane.

Nobody (and that means you, Democrats) predicted the wall, and the blood-lusting tyrants who built it, would go away.

Well, almost nobody.

But while Reagan’s (and Thatcher’s, and Pope John Paul II’s, and Lech Wałęsa) were the hammer that pounded the Soviet system on the head, that hammer jammed them against the anvil that was the American soldier (and the German, British, Dutch, Belgian, Italian, French, Danish and Norwegian troops they joined).

And fall, it did.

And so I thank all you veterans out there.

And as a special treat for all of you – “Bornholmer Strasse”, a German TV dramedy about the point where the dam broke thirty years ago Saturday.

It’s in German – worse yet, Berlin German – but even if you don’t speak the language (and I, modestly fluent in “High” German, stretch to keep up with Berlinisch – the actions are pretty self-explanatory.

Hollywood Polishes The Cannonball

Some stories shouldn’t need Hollywood to go all, well, Hollywood on them to make them riveting utterly compelling.

But they do it anyway. And it’s almost always a massive drag.

It’s not a new phenomenon; The Battle of the Bulge was utterly atrocious, seemingly feeling the need to dumb World War 2 down to a cowboys ‘n indians movie – for an audience that had in huge numbers actually been there. Even as a kid, the Hollywoodisms (“They’re sending tanks! Send the artillery and infantry to the rear!”) annoyed me to no end.

The effect wasn’t always catastrophic: the Great Escape didn’t completely bastardize the subject, the greatest POW camp break in history – although adding Americans to the cast was an audience-grabbing anachronism (all Americans had been sent to different camps shortly before the escape’s famous tunnels were started).

But Hollywood’s wall of shame exerts a powerful vortex.

Stories that don’t need the Hollywood treatment get it anyway. 12 Strong – the dramatization of the events of the fall of 2001, where 85 Green Berets – count ’em, 85 – led an insurgency that drove the Taliban from the battlefield. What “improvement” does a story like that need? Well, it got little from the movie – which was watchable, but traded CGI for story all too often.

And the Tuskeegee Airmen’s story needs not even a whiff of gussying up; is there a bigger underdog war movie of all time? (There could be – if Hollywood ever produces Brothers in Arms, the story of an all-black tank battalion that became one of Patton’s best, written by none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). But gussying up it got, with Red Tails, a George Lucas labor of love that substituted P51 Mustangs for X-wings, Germans for Stormtroopers, and white bigots for Emperor Palpatine.

Now, when I saw that there was a remake of Midway in the works, I thought “at last, someone can improve on the turgid but accurate-ish 1976 historical epic. Then I saw the most dreaded six words in movies: “From the maker of Independence Day” (a movie, it needs to be said, that I detest with a cordial passion) and gave up all hope. Roland Emmerich would seem to have turned the all-in total-stakes back-against-the-wall fight by the battered American fleet against an undefeated Japanese Navy that outnumbered it by a prohibitive margin and had aims on closing the trap around Hawaii into a video game – and made an even worse movie than the 1976 version.

Worse still? If there’s a story in American history that’s begging to just be told, it’s Harriet Tubman. Her story is both pretty universally known and completely misunderstood; a gun-toting freedom fighter who defied the entire institution of slavery while running runaways to the North (or, more often, Canada) and returned to run a huge, effective spy ring during the Civil War? One hardly needs a screenplay.

But a screenplay we get – and it’s abominanble:

Set in 1849 Maryland, full of danger, rescues, superstition, frivolous gunplay, and pop-politics, Harriet demonstrates the current exploitation of African-American history, through historical revision, simply to sell tickets while aggravating political identity, tribal separation, and perpetual grievance — the same way that politicians manipulate voters.
Ever since Harvey Weinstein confirmed Hollywood’s Obama Effect, film culture has sought various ways of appeasing racial anxiety through movies about black victimization and white guilt. It’s the new diversity, as one of Harriet’s progressives summarizes: “Civil war is our only hope.”
…The difference in approach tells everything about the modern state of Hollywood race consciousness. Dismissing Demme and Morrison’s perception of slavery’s aftermath (its internalized stress and ongoing need for explanation, relief, and catharsis), Harriet looks at Tubman on a first-name basis, as if to standardize her travails into a Slavery Land thrill ride: She suffers spells after a head wound that causes hallucinations (or prophecies) that may indicate either madness or saintliness; she sacrifices her love life to crusading zeal (the film’s only complex moment occurs when her lover laments, “I’d a died for you. If you’d a let me”); and she frequently sings out her discontent in several message-driven musical interludes: “Sorry I have to leave” and “Lord, why you let me live?”

Even NPR took a pass on it.

Why, it’s almost as if Hollywood doesn’t trust moviegoers to make the right conclusions.

Getting It All Wrong

The notion of biological men “idenitfiying as women” (and vice versa) is old news.

Male athletes “identifying as women” and clobbering the people who are, in the various sports/events, the weaker/slower/less agile sex is becoming both a little commonplace and a cultural punchline.

So what’s going to bring some sense to this “social debate”?

When guys “identifying as women” – maybe as “women of color” – start going for minority-reserved government contracts, that’s when. 

Bob Fletcher Will Never Do Lunch At The Lex Again

This blog has taken considerable issue with Ramsey County’s once-and-again sheriff, Bob Fletcher, on many issues.

But it’s hard to see this statement as much of anything but the inconvenient truth – at least as far as Mayor Carter is concerned:

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this year’s sharp rise in gun-related deaths and injuries are mostly tied to an ongoing feud between two rival St. Paul street gangs.

“There is no doubt that the biggest part of this is connected to a longtime feud between two of the city’s more violent gangs,” said Fletcher.  “We have to recognize what the problem is and the problem is we have a small gang war.”

Fletcher said more than a dozen of the record-setting shootings and killings can be linked to a murder as far back as 2008, and there are no indications the retaliatory shootings are going to end anytime soon.

In a city where the mayor is trying to re-christen street gangs as “street groups”, and bends over backward to not call the plague what it is but to fob it (per the “Don’t Waste a Crisis” commandment in the DFL’s playbook) off on the law-abiding gun owner and/or non-“street group” member, it’s hard to see this sort of statement on the part of an elected sheriff as the first salvo of a mayoral bid.  

#MeThree

This is from a few years ago – but the sentiment is growing, at least among our self-appointed idiot elite. It’s from Roxane Gay, a feminist professor who, for some reason, got a writeup in the NYTimes:

Men can start putting in some of the work women have long done in offering testimony. They can come forward and say “me too” while sharing how they have hurt women in ways great and small.

OK, here goes.

My Testimony: I have hurt women in one small – almost infinitesimal – way; I mock and taunt the likes of Roxane Gay for being the Robespierrian ninnies they truly are. I do the mocking and taunting because bellowing “you people are nothing but pseudointellectual brownshirts, peddling a form of groupthink that can only lead inexorably to totalitarianism” gets tiring.

I mock and taunt them because the world they want – where the “wrong” people are guilty until proven innocent, and innocence can never be proven because guilt is a matter of identity more than action – is worth fighting against. And fighting with mocking and taunting is better than doing it with guns and bombs and tanks, although I doubt the likes of Professor Gay’s followers know how or why.

This mocking and taunting no doubt infuriates Professor Gay – and I no doubt hurt her and her like among the weaker sex (“progressive” “feminist” “woke” “men” and their various female accomplices) in saying so. But much as they all may wish to bully me into acquiescence, I just won’t do it.

Which, no doubt, hurts them even more.

I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

Lower Middle Class Ethnically – Nonspecific Privilege

A friend of the blog rights:

Re: St Paul trash referendum- I’m laughing at all of the Vote Yes Progressive Mac Groveland/Merriam Park people A- who are suddenly perplexed by the strong No vote on the East side and B- who called No voters on the East side “selfish wealthy homeowners” when it was brought to their attention that East siders said the vote No was a cheaper option for them (because trash collection cost would be shouldered by all property tax payers)
This is outrageously funny to me given how these same people support increasing taxes on “the wealthy” to pay for medical bills, cost of college, any other whim of the leisure class. It’s now selfish when it is opposite their viewpoint. But, I guess now we do have a clearer understanding of who they think are wealthy- Not them who are paying $2000 per month rent or buying half a million dollar houses. Nope. It’s the working class fool who lives in a house worth about $150,000, $200,000 at most. So selfish of them to be paying so little for housing, just making it living paycheck to paycheck. They could be racking up more debt and then perhaps they would feel more indebted to the ruling class, you know, if they had absolutely nothing.

Mac-Groveland, Crocus Hill, and pretty much all the Parks (Highland, Merriam, Saint Anthony, Desnoyer, Irvine) griping about anyone else’s “privilege” is one of those things that’s becoming an inside joke in “progressive” cities.

To everyone but…well, I listed ’em off.

Why Blue America Is Doomed

Math is racist. Achievement is supremacy.

Winston.

Seattle Public Schools adopt program that turns math into yet another grievance studies program:

In October, Seattle public schools unveiled a “framework” to inject “math ethnic studies” into all K-12 math classes, teaching “how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color.”
Students will be asked to “identify the inherent inequities of the standardized testing system used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color” and “explain how math dictates economic oppression.”
“Why/how does data-driven processes prevent liberation?” it asks. “How important is it to be Right? What is Right? Says Who?”

It almost reads like the Babylon Bee – which is something I realize I’m saying a lot about the modern American left:

The curriculum was pushed by the school district’s ethnic studies program manager, Tracy Castro-Gill, who on Oct. 19 tweeted a picture with her “Marxist ringleader” and said the “next step is matching “INDOCTRINATED” t-shirts!”
“I am an educator of color in Seattle whose job is anti-racist work within the school district. Seattle is very white — nearly 70%. It’s also one of the most liberal cities in the US, and these liberal, white Seattleites hate being called racist, but the thing is – a lot of them are,” she wrote.
Though she was hired by the superintendent and the school board, Castro-Gill said criticisms of the math proposal from one board member’s Asian wife were racist. She also asked people to “help me push” the board and superintendent to oppose “rewhiting.”

I used to joke that pretty much every “radical atheist” was a Catholic or Evangelical with Daddy issues.

And yet again, the joke is reality:

Castro-Gill wrote on her blog that her mother is white and her father is Hispanic, but that she has a strained relationship.
“I’m fairly radical atheist and consider myself a far left anarchist who fights for racial justice,” she wrote. “My parents are both Trump supporting Republicans.”
She is also at odds with her child’s father after their child declared herself “nonbinary” after reading literature about transgenderism.

Fearless prediction – which I started writing as a joke, but as with all such things, Berg’s 21st Law is in effect here – Ms. Castro-Gill will be hired as a consultant by the Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Edina or Bloomington Public Schools in the near future.

Similarities

Four years ago, Democrats got a little crusty when you pointed out that, underneath the targets of their respective rhetoric, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump had a lot in common.

Both preached an implausible platform that grabbed a lot of people who wanted (and want) a politician to “Fix things”, sure. Beyond that, both of them were America-firsters, although Sanders only manifested that through wanting to keep American jobs in the US (via economically ruinous means, natch).

And now – well, the same goes for Warren:

Warren’s catchphrase, “I’ve got a plan for that,” has as much cultural resonance with her base as Trump’s “Make America Great Again” does with his, and it’s remarkably similar to Trump’s “I alone can fix it.” It tickles the intellectual erogenous zones of a certain type of progressive wildly overrepresented in the upper echelons of the meritocracy. It screams: “We have all the answers!” and “We know what to do!”
Technocratic liberalism isn’t just an ideological worldview dating back to Walter Lippmann’s 1914 Drift and Mastery, it’s a cultural orientation. If you can’t see it, it’s probably because you’re part of it. Fish don’t know they’re wet, after all.

The media loves to point out the craziness and impossibility of many of Trump’s promises. He said fixing health care would be “so easy.” He vowed to eliminate the deficit in eight years. (It’s up nearly 50 percent since he took office). He was going to ban Muslims and make Mexico pay for the wall. Whether his supporters believed him or not, they liked what these promises said about his priorities. “Don’t take him literally,” we were advised, just “take him seriously.”

Demogogs gonna demigog.  

Every Once In A While…

…a prog lets the truth slip out.

“Beto” O’Rourke, fake Latino beneficiary of a fake “Beto-mania” and former Presidential candidate – screwed up and told the truth behind Big Left’s approach to guns; they want them. All of them.

Eventually.

Beto slipped up and, in a fit of trying to re-attain relevance, let the end-game out.

Big mistake for him. And his fellow Progs know it:

During a discussion on ABC’s “the View,” the regular cohost weighed in on the former Texas Democratic Congressman’s recent exit from the 2020 presidential primary. Meghan McCain first mentioned O’Rourke’s position on gun buybacks, arguing that it may have played a role in his decline in popularity…
“He got a ton of Obama staff, and I’ll also say his stance on gun buybacks, Mayor Pete said it was ‘a shiny object that distracts from achievable gun reform,’” McCain continued. “Chris Coons said it wasn’t a wise policy move and ‘that clip will be played for years at 2nd Amendment rallies with organizations to try to scare people to say Democrats are coming for your guns.’ He made a speech about religious institutions get their tax status removed from them because they didn’t support same-sex marriage. He did a lot of, like, battleground culture war, and he ran as the most left, most ‘woke’ candidate and look where he ended up.”
“They should not tell everything they’re going to do,” Behar jumped in then, suggesting that candidates shouldn’t warn Americans the gun confiscation was coming. “If you are going to take people’s guns away, wait until you get elected and then take them away. Don’t tell them ahead of time.”
McCain pushed back, adding, “By the way, that’s what people like me think you’re going to do, so I appreciate his honesty.”

They’re all thinking it – the ones who are honest, anyway.

Never forget it.

Who Has Two Thumbs…

…and tried to warn you that this exact thing was inevitable?

(Points thumbs at self).

This guy.

The Vomit Comet (aka Green Line) is a rolling assault and robbery laboratory.

The FOX 9 Investigators revealed that aggravated assaults on the light rail system, those involving a weapon or causing serious injury, numbered 59 through July 31 of this year. That is more than the 52 aggravated assaults in all of 2018, and 41 aggravated assaults in 2017.
Robberies and thefts are also on the rise with 384 incidents through October 28 of this year. That’s more than the 330 incidents in all of 2018 and 374 incidents in 2017.
“Sadly, Metro Transit’s own data reveals a transit system in crisis with a record number of assaults, robberies, and other criminal activity taking place on trains and at light rail stations,” said [Republican representative Paul] Torkelson.

In 18 months of riding the Vomet Comet to work pretty much daily, I think I saw transit cops a dozen times – and two of those were responding to assaults that’d already happened; essentially, they were crime janitors. 

And that’s just crime on the trains; it doesn’t cover the spike in crime along the Green Line.  I’ll be working on getting those numbers together for the five years since the Vomit Comet started bringing fare-skipping thugs to the Midway.  It’s not gonna be pretty. ]

The New Victorians

140 years ago, VIctorian manners were deferential to women, as befits behavior toward a weaker sex that needed to be protected.

Apparently, we’ve regressed: a Kansas woman charged with falsely accusing an ex-boyfriend of rape won’t be prosecuted, because…

…well…

The woman was arrested for making a false accusation, even though she told police she did not want to press charges. Police investigated anyway due to the seriousness of her allegations. Her legal fees have been paid for by a legal defense fund created during the #MeToo movement.
The Chicago Tribune reported that prosecutors are dropping the charges against the woman because of the “cost to our community and the negative impact on survivors of sexual violence cannot be ignored.”
“We are concerned this case, and the significant amount of misinformation surrounding it, could discourage other survivors from reporting their attack,” [Douglas County District Attorney Charles] Branson said in a new statement. “That is unacceptable.”
Branson failed to address what dropping the case meant for victims of false accusations. As it stood, the woman only faced up to 23 months in jail for a felony false reporting charge. Had the male student been arrested, he faced decades in prison.

Is there a term for this, other than “infantlizing women?”

And in what other area do we refrain from prosecuting liars for fear of deterring the righteous?

Other than voting fraud in Minnesota, I mean?

Just Remember: There Is No Voting Fraud

SCENE: Mitch BERG is out mowing his leaves – using the lawn mower to chop and bag them. Taking a (what else?) left to right pass across his lawn, he is unaware of Avery LIBRELLE riding up the sidewalk behind him on reclining bike.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Er…hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE: You say that there’s rampant voting fraud!

BERG: I do indeed.

LIBRELLE: You mostly point to voting registration fraud! That doesn’t mean they actually vote.

BERG: So people manufacture thousands of bogus registrations just for the fun of it?

LIBRELLE: You can’t prove that’s not why they do it!

BERG: Huh. OK. Well, then, it appears some of them go on to manufacture the actual votes.

LIBRELLE: But if you suppress illegal ballots, you will inevitably suppress legal ones.

BERG: That makes no sense.

LIBRELLE: “Sense” is a social construct!

(Before BERG can reply, LIBRELLE motors on).

And SCENE

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/10/31/minneapolis-man-charged-with-falsifying-13-absentee-ballots-ahead-of-2018-election

Diversity Falls Short

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I am attending continuing education classes, required for Minnesota lawyers. The legal profession has a serious diversity problem. 
There are too many old white men at this conference,  too few young hot chicks.  
Nothing pleasant to look at, when the Power Point is boring.  
Joe Doakes

Pretty sure its true most everywhere these days. 

And They Say Progs Are Illiterate About Economics…

Portland voters impose a 1% “clean energy” tax on large and big-box businesses.

And are then outraged that those businesses pass the costs on to customers.

Emphasis added:

Terry Wiesner stared down at his Safeway grocery store receipt in confusion in mid-September after he noticed being charged an extra 3 cents for buying a package of $2.99 napkins. The 3 cent charge was listed as a tax.
He called over a store attendant while still in the self-checkout line at the Southeast Woodstock Boulevard branch and asked about the charge. The worker pointed to a laminated sign nearby.
Portland instituted a voter-approved clean energy surcharge in January, imposing a 1 percent tax on paper products, wine, beer, household items and other products, the sign said. The surcharge began appearing on Safeway customers’ receipts on Sept. 9 and people should contact the City of Portland if they had any concerns, according to the notice.
“I didn’t remember voting for any kind of tax,” said Wiesner, 74. “I later learned that this was meant to be a tax on businesses, not the people. Frankly, it just made me angry. It wasn’t about the 3 cents, it’s about the spirit of this charge and how it’d been passed off to me.”

To be fair, it’s entirely possible this has been passed off as something that’d “just affect business”; Portland, like Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth and now Rochester, is run by people who’ve never worked outside public employment, non-profits or academia.

Some People Did Something To Some Armenians

Ilhan Omar votes “present” on a resolution recognizing Turkey’s genocide of Armenians.

And in her statement about that decision, she appears to have learned her rhetorical skills from leaving comments in the Star-Tribune comment section:

Put another way – “the resolution’s silence about other genocides – mostly the ones involving the US, the country that welcomed me to it – speaks volumes“.

And if accounting for genocide is “Paramount”, then what’s “academic consensus” got to do with it?

And we did “acknowledge” the slave trade, Rep. Omar: with the bloodiest war in our country’s history.

Note to Tom Emmer: Write a resolution condemning the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide. See what she does.

Too Free

“Progressives”, 2005 – “Question Authoritah! Speech is the greatest of rights!”

“Progressives”, 2019 – “I’m from the non-profit/industrial complex, and I’m here to protect you from all that ‘freedom'”.

I’m waiting for the first of them to say free speech is “against peoples’ best interests”.

Numbers Like Vapor

Monday, Governor Walz held a press conference about the dangers of e-cigarettes – the device that allows “vaping”.

During the press conference, more Minnesotans died from diseases related to smoking tobacco – From Match Minnesota government profits handsome Levi a tax collections – than have died throughout vaping’s entire history of the state.

#NotMe

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Ilhan Omar, credibly charged with marrying her brother to commit immigration fraud, is pretty.  Not a Hollywood knockout, but pretty.  Katie Hill, who just got caught in a three-way sex scandal, is pretty.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, promoter of the Green New Deal, is pretty.  They’re all young, pretty, first term members of Congress and they’re all having trouble – with family, party, and the media.  I think I see the problem. Congress is unfair to pretty girls.
Everybody knows that pretty girls don’t have to.  They don’t have to . . . anything.  They don’t have to worry about finding a date for the dance, they don’t have to wait in line to get into the nightclub, they don’t have to pay for dinner or drinks.  Pretty girls do whatever they want and everyone lets them get away with it, because they’re pretty.
But suddenly, these pretty girls get to Washington and Congress has weird rules expecting pretty girls to act the same as ugly girls and dweeby boys and OLD people. That’s ridiculous. They’ve never had to play by those rules their entire lives.  Like they’re going to play by them now?  Totally unfair.
Joe Doakes

And with all the people identifying as pretty girls these days, it’s gonna get outta hand.

Urine Minneapolis Now

So was there a pattern of passive-aggressive abuse in Mayor Frey’s manipulation of the Minneapolis Police Department, ensuring that they would in turn not inconvenience DFL politicians in the crowd and simultaneously not be around when mobs of droogs septuple-teamed, sucker-punched and spat on the elderly and female (but, curiously, rarely if ever young, fit male) Trump supporters?

I’m not saying “Hell yes, definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt” – but I’m strongly hinting that you wouldn’t be wrong if you said it.

Also not saying that Mayor Frey is a soy-boi that strongly supports mobs of “toughs” roaming around picking off the elderly and female Trump supporters. I am, most directly, saying that if Jacob Frey pisses off the passive-aggressive soy-bois and social “justice” tyranny harpies, he’ll be looking for a new job come the next election time, since they control the DFL party to which Frey owes his career.

There is no chance of dealing with this through the City Council – that’s going to be a one-party fantasyland until some catastrophe makes conservatives of all the survivors.

Democrats so far have refused to answer any questions about the violent protest. This is especially important, given that one of their own—DFL state rep Aisha Gomez—was among the leftwing mob.
Specifically questions that have not been answered are: 
“Do you disavow the protestors who threw urine at cops, and hit and spit on Trump supporters?”
“Do you disavow the use of rhetoric like ‘kill a cop, save a life,’ and ‘blue lives don’t matter’?” 
“Do you disavow political violence?” 
“Do you disavow Mayor Frey for not allowing the Minneapolis Police to defend themselves?”
“Do you disavow state rep. Aisha Gomez for associating herself with the most violent group of protestors?”

Disavow? He owes them his livelihood.

But the courts offer some slim hope of justice:

Anyone hurt during the rally should seek legal counsel and file a suit against Frey on the basis of a civil rights violation (42 USC 1983).

Pass it along.

Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

You thought the DFL was crazy-left?

It is.

But tomorrow’s DFL is demented batspittle-crazy:

A bevy of progressives are challenging longtime Democratic incumbents in the Legislature in next year’s elections, potentially sending more women, millennials and people of color to the State Capitol while shifting the DFL dialogue to the left.
The movement is a muscular show of influence among emerging voter blocs that have already transformed the DFL coalition but now seek the real prize: an election certificate that will earn them a seat at the table and the opportunity to move billions of dollars in state funding.

Farther to the left than Alice “The Phantom” Hausman?

Oh, yes.

Tanner Sunderman, a 25-year-old Roseville resident challenging longtime Rep. Alice Hausman of St. Paul in the first-ring suburbs, said now is the time. “We’re done waiting,” he said.

On election night 2018, watching the disappointing results, I urged conservatives not to go off the ledge; Democrats with power are like crack addicts with a stolen Amex card. They just can’t stop.

Things You’d Love To Hear On NPR News, But Know You Never Will

ANCHOR: “There are some who say the death of Al-Zarquawi isn’t that important, given that he was at the head of an asymmetric worldwide terror organization. How important was his death, really?”

EXPERT: “While it is true that asymmetric terror organizations are built to survive, on the other hand, if you’re talking about the history of a putative “caliphate“, the death of the “caliph” might be considered an, I dunno, setback or something…”

Sense

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Finally, someone else arrives at the conclusion I reached back when Obama was welcoming floods of Mexicans riding atop trains.  
Don’t mend it, end it.  Moratorium on ALL immigration to allow time for assimilation – probably two generations, maybe three, going by history.  
Close the gates.  Pull up the drawbridge. Build the wall. 
Joe Doakes

Or – y’know – do what Canada, Japan, Australia and…you guessed it, Mexico do; make potential immigrants prove their value to the country before getting that visa. 

Reliable Risible Sources

Anyone remember Dave Mindeman?

About ten years ago or so, he ran a blog – “MNPAct” – which was a website for putative organization Dave putatively ran.

Now, let me be clear: Dave was one of a small handful of “progressive” Metro-area bloggers from blogging’s heyday in the ’00s that didn’t and, to the best of my knowledge, still doesn’t belong under police surveillance; when my garage burned down, he didn’t feel compelled to disavow responsibility for it.

So there’s that. When you’re a conservative in the metro, you become thankful for the small things.

But that’s not to say Dave knows how to frame an argument any better than the rest of them ever did.

Example – last week, Dave felt the need to post this on Twitter:

Of course, Dave – confident as he seems to be in his side’s chanting points – didn’t know that Shannon Watts, like Nancy Nrd Bence (and Heather Martens before) has never, not once, said anything about guns, gun laws, gun owners, gun crime or gun statistics that’s simultaneously original, substantial and true; Lott’s “recent” testimony was 16 years ago.

I responded, natch – knowing, all along, I’d regret it, but such is the life of the contrarian.

It drew a “response” from Mindeman – one that was pretty clearly the fruits of a quick google for “John Lott Sucks” or some other “Dog Gone”-caliber thrashing about. Dave came up with…:

Mother Jones.

Now, if you are of a certain age, you might remember when MoJo was known for some capable journalism, even if it was always hard-left.

But the once-fabled counterculture investigative publication has fallen on risibly hard times; Babylon Bee doesn’t even bother parodying them anymore. What would be the point? (Interesting to see, by the way, that MoJo’s current “CEO” is City Pages hanger-on Monika Bauerlein).

Anyway.

The article – by “Writing Fellow” (read: glorified intern who’s hoping not to have to look for a job at Buzzfeed next) Gloria Exstrum, covers research Lott did on abortion and immigration, in addition to his usual gun research. I can’t comment on the abortion and immigration stuff – I cover my zone – but once it turns to the gun stuff, Exstrum’s article is proof that you never, ever use MoJo as a source on anything Second Amendment.

Exstrum writes:

Following the 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, President Barack Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged Congress to pass gun control legislation. “I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings,” Obama said in a statement after the incident, “this just doesn’t happen in other countries.”
In a 2015 post on theCrime Prevention Research Center website, Lott’s group argues that “this claim is simply not true.”The analysis points out that, during the Obama administration, the United States ranks below several European countries in death rate per million people from mass public shootings. Predictably, conservative media outlets picked up the story, and Lott wrote a column for Fox News referencing his findings after the Las Vegas shooting.

So far so good. She got the basic assertions right – which is not something you can take for granted these days.

But here’s a challenge: try to figure out what the esteemed “writing fellow” is saying in response to Lott in this next bit. Honestly, I’m sort of at a loss, here:

However, as a Media Matters for America analysis points out, Lott’s claims only focus on public mass shootings involving machine guns, a criteria which excludes deadly incidents like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the Pulse nightclub shooting.

For a “writing fellow”, Ms. Exstrum is either a terrible researcher, a lousy reporter (evidence toward this: using “Media Matters” as a source), a substandard writer, or – who knows? – maybe any 2-3 of the above. Whatever it is, I have read this sentence a dozen times, and I can’t figure out what she’s trying to say. But I’ll give it a try, here:

Is she saying Lott excluded mass shootings involving machine guns?   Well, yeah – there’s never been mass shooting by a legally-owned machine gun – meaning “fully automatic weapon” – in US history, at least not since the 1934 National Firearms Act (shaddap about the Valentine’s Day Massacre).  Lott “excluded” them because history and fact “excluded” them.  They don’t exist in the past 85 years, to say nothing of the six year time frame of the study Ms. Exstrum is yapping about.  

Is she saying that the overseas shootings used “machine guns” – well, no, the raw data points out that non-US mass shootings used a variety of firearms – the vast majority of them subject to stringent gun control, by the way, which would tend to reinforce Lott’s point, not Exstrum’s.   The list below includes incidents with “machine guns” (notably the 11/13 Paris massacre, carried out with military-grade AK47s – which are as illegal in France as they are here) , semi-automatic weapons, even manual repeaters:

Is the dispositive point that Lott focuses on foreign “public” “mass shootings?”    It makes no sense – Lott’s list of shootings in the US from 2009-2015 includes all sorts of locations – almost all public, mostly “gun-free zones”:

LIterally, there is no way to read “writing fellow” Exstrum’s sentence that makes it jibe with the facts.

I’m open to suggestions, here.

Exstrum also wrote – sort of – about Lott’s foray into police-on-black-citizen shootings:

In a 2016 study, Lott and co-author Carlisle Moody, a professor at the College of William & Mary and a member of the Crime Prevention Research Center’s academic advisory board, argue that white police officers do not unfairly discriminate against black suspects. In a Fox News op-ed about the study, Lott says, “Many people incorrectly believe the police are racist.”

To which she adds:

Of course, ample research has concluded that black suspects are much more likely to be shot by police than white ones. But the study nonetheless received coverage from the National ReviewBreitbart, and the Washington Times, with Breitbart saying Lott’s research “runs against the claims of groups like Black Lives Matter.”

 “Ample research”.   Is anyone but me seeing a google search for “shooting black people consensus” as Ms. Exstrum’s “research”?

Of course, there’s ample research on the other side as well – including this one, by Harvard professor Roland Fryor – that confirms at least the broad outline of Lott’s conclusion.  Fryer happens to be black, and also happened to have started his research believing he’s find the opposite conclusion – so this finding, against interest (where “interest” <> intellectual honesty). 

Conclusions  Er, don’t start a land war in Asia, and don’t use MoJo as a source against someone who’s been paying attention?