Tone Sharks

If I ever need to describe the term “laborious”, I merely refer my listener to “any time public radio tries to prove that it isn’t biased to the left”.

A few years ago, I heard “Weekend All Things Considered”‘s anchor, Bob Simon, carry on an extended conversation with that noted champion of media balance, Ira Glass, on the sheer preposterousness of the idea that National Public Radio was biased to the left.  Glass referred to a series of studies that NPR had carried out, which included a process of “tone analysis”.

Now, I’ve found no evidence on way or another of what was or wasn’t covered by this “tone analysis”.

And the reason the concern isn’t entirely idle came roaring back at me this morning while listening to an NPR newscast referring to a Milwaukee woman who set up a group representing families of, as the newscaster put it, “black men killed by police and vigilantes“.

They’re referring, of course, to armed citizens – many of them also black, by the way – who used lethal force in self-defense, and then overcame the serious legal hurdles involved in defending their own lives from immediate threats of death, as judged by courts that are frequently deeply unfriendly to self-defense.

And of course, “Vigilante” is a bad thing, to “progressives”.

And then I looked further; to National Public Radio, pretty much every citizen that uses lethal force in self-defense, especially when government a can’t or won’t defend them, is a “vigilante”.

Just wondering if the “tone analysis” missed this bit?

In The Interest Of Investigation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats keep telling me how easy it is to buy guns, easier than buying fresh vegetables.

I have cash. I’m a willing buyer. How do I find one of those sellers?

I’m not worried about the background check – I could pass – I just want to buy one of those “off-the-street” pistols all the cool kids have.

I presume the sellers are mostly criminals. Sadly, I spend all my time around bureaucrats. I’m like those guys in “Office Space” trying to find a money-launderer . . . I don’t know any criminals, or even where to look for them.

Any SITD readers know any criminals looking to make a quick buck selling me a pistol for cash? Or I’d take an assault rifle, if that’s more convenient. Either one.

Joe Doakes

I wish some of the puling lower vertebrates that make these claims – like Heather Martens – would actually go out with a video camera and try to prove it.

That would be pretty interesting.

Cue Captain Renault

The big news in the alt-media world in the Twin Cities last week was the MinnPost’s profile of Michael Brodkorb.

Michael has been rhetorical catnip for both sides of the aisle for the past decade or so.  When he was “Minnesota Democrats Exposed”, especially in his pseudonymous phase before 2006, he was the Minnesota left’s Public Enemy #1.

And his role in the scandal that whipsawed the GOP’s majority in the Senate a few years back made him non grata in a lot of GOP circles.

I’m not one of the conservatives that tossed Michael under the bus; I’ve considered him a friend ever since I first met him – when he revealed on my show back in ’06 that he was MDE.  I’m not going to say that I agree with all his choices, but I’m not the one to cast the first stone.  I’m also not on board with his approach to politics these days – but that’s something I’ll tackle issue by issue.

And I have some questions over a lot of what he says in the MinnPost profile.   Which would make for an interesting conversation, on or off the air.

But to me, the interesting part of the MinnPost profile isn’t so much the unpacking of the past couple years of Brodkorb’s life; it doesn’t cover all that much new ground.

No – the interesting part for me is lines like…:

“Republicans couldn’t distance themselves fast enough. It was a vicious mix of schadenfreude and shunning.”

“You understand the tactic [of scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners PR]? Now you see it as having become counter­productive?

“Do you advise Republicans that [an aggressive, ideological approach to the media] only marginalizes them among general voters?”

“The “fringe of the fringe” of course is great fodder for the media. Every experienced reporter knows they’re fringe people saying fringe things”

“Well, the obvious irony is that for a lot of people around here they look at you and see the guy who kind of invented the partisan bomb-­thrower game”

And especially this one:

“But the tone and traffic you generated with [your writing] certainly helped … in establishing your bona fides within the party and achieving the post you held with the Senate”

The writer, of course, is Brian Lambert.

Now, Lambert’s not a bad guy.  But while I laud his sudden commitment to civility and reason, it’s hard to separate the Lambo in this piece from the Brian Lambert who was throwing partisan rhetorical rocks and garbage at conservatives years before it became the fashion.  Literally – my first encounter with Lambert was on December 18, 1985 – my first day as a screener at KSTP.  And Lambo was sitting in for Geoff Charles.  And he was not an iota less disdainful of and condescending to conservatives then than he was in his years at the Pioneer Press (when the “tone and traffic he generated with his writing helped establish his bona fides” for a job with then-Senator Mark Dayton), his turn as the liberal id of the old “Janecek and Lambert” show, and pretty much everything he’s ever written at the Twin Cities Reader, the Rake, MinnPost, and whatever I’ve forgotten in between.

And I’m thinking his solicitousness toward Brodkorb is going to be a new corollary to Berg’s 11th Law (“The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected”); perhaps “the Republican that Democrats don’t pelt with rocks and garbage is the one that does their throwing for them”.

The LA Times Is To “Science” As Public Rest Rooms Are To “Rest”

I’ve been beating up media figures and their attempts to besmirch the Second Amendment and its defenders for most of the past thirty years, in one form of media or another; talk radio, newsletters, email list-servers, the blog, and talk radio again.

And I’ve noticed two major trends:

  • As the actual facts about guns and society get out to real people, and the pendulum swings ever-further in favor of human rights,  the true, die-hard orcs just get worse and worse, and sloppier and sloppier, at plying their dubious trade.  Example:  Heather Martens has never been one to fall back on fact in stating her case (she’s never once in her career made a substantial, factual original statement), but lately she’s sounded more and more like a banana-republic dictator protesting the health of her regime as things swirl down the drain.
  • On the other hand, the orcs continue to excel at their one useful skill; manipulating a biased, gullible and un-bright mainstream media.  And the latest tool toward that end is “science”.

No, really;  Harvard professor David Hemenway pretty much leads off his piece in the LATimes by not only trying to wrap himself in “science”, but admitting that it’s a tool for bludgeoning people into obeisance:


One of the reporters I complained to said that he had covered climate change for many years. He explained that journalists were able to stop their “balanced” reporting of that issue only when objective findings indicated that the overwhelming majority of scientists thought climate change was indeed happening, and that it was caused by humans.

So we’re off to a great start.

Hemenway’s goal; to do to coverage of the Second Amendment what politicized science has done for coverage of climate change.

And the method toward this “science” is the kind of intellectual clown car that might pass muster with leftybloggers, but not with anyone who can outthink sea monkeys:

So I decided to determine objectively, through polling, whether there was scientific consensus on firearms. What I found won’t please the National Rifle Assn.

The NRA might not have been “pleased” by what Professor Hemenway had to say, but only because they, like all of us pro-human-rights media activists, are so un-freaking-Godly bored by refuting the same intellectual effluvium, over and over and over again.  Which, naturally, they have done.

But this is my article – and to paraphrase the great Dexter, it’s a wonderful day to throw rocks and garbage at BS that’s mislabeled “science”: 

My first step was to put together a list of relevant scientists. I decided that to qualify for the survey the researcher should have published on firearms in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and that he or she should be an active scientist — someone who had published an article in the last four years. I was interested in social science and policy issues, so I wanted the articles to be directly relevant. I was not interested in scientists doing research in forensics, history, medical treatment, psychiatric issues, engineering or non-firearms (for example, nail guns, electron guns).

Most of the scientists who were publishing relevant articles were from the fields of criminology, economics, public policy, political science and public health.

So let’s recap:

  • Hemenway sought “scientific consensus” – a term that is itself unscientific.
  • He sought it primarily from “researchers” in fields that are, except for public health, not really “sciences” at all, and are generally famous for their shoddy standards and politicized nature of their research.
  • He sought it from people working at institutions (and even moreso, academic departments) where Constitutionalist, Originalist, conservative/libertarian thought has been largely extinguished, where academics who exhibit same can find their tenure denied and careers threatened.
And his conclusion:

This result was not at all surprising because the scientific evidence is overwhelming. It includes a dozen individual-level studies that investigate why some people commit suicide and others do not, and an almost equal number of area-wide studies that try to explain differences in suicide rates across cities, states and regions. These area-wide studies find that differences in rates of suicide across the country are less explained by differences in mental health or suicide ideation than they are by differences in levels of household gun ownership.

I’ll let you read the entire thing at your own leisure; the howlers keep coming.

I’ll sum it up for you; Hemenway:

  • managed to find a stratum of academics who manage to generate “scientific” effluvium about the danger of guns that manages to ignore the statistical fact that while the number of guns has skyrocketed and the liberality of gun laws has vastly increased in the past 20 years, violent and gun-related crime has dropped by half
  • found “public health” researchers who claim – via “metastudies”, or studies of other studies – that suicide is related to the availability of guns rather than mental health, even though the suicide rates of many nations that strictly control or ban guns are vastly higher than ours.
There are times that I wish the orcs could at least come up with an advocate who’d make it interesting.

The Boogeygun Is Everywhere!

The night before the infamous “Saint Valentines’ Day Massacre” – in which Al Capone’s Italian mob rubbed out much of Bugs Moran’s Irish gang in Prohibition-era Chicago – the Italians spent a sleepless night assembling their Tommy Guns from parts they’d purchased around and about Chicago and its surrounding area.

And before going out to massacre innocent locals or groups of high school kids, Mexico’s loathsome narcotraficantes frequently spend days in machine shops, a patiently milling and drilling and cutting bits and pieces of metal into workable weapons.

Yeah, of course I made that up.

Criminals in America’s most crime-ridden cities – Chicago and Camden and DC and New Orleans – can get illegal firearms far easier than the law-abiding citizen can get legal ones, and there’s no assembly required.

But in the imagination of the American left’s ninny chorus in the media, criminals are real do-it-yourselfers.   Because you can get “assault weapon parts” on EBay; I’m going to add some emphasis:

Yet for as little as $500, anyone with an eBay account can purchase all but one of the dozen or so necessary parts.

The only missing piece of the gun – the lower receiver

Let’s stop right there.

If you know anything about guns, you know that “I got everything I need for an AR15 but the lower receiver” is a little like saying “I got an entire car – except the frame”.

can be bought secondhand from private sellers who post classified ads on other websites, such as The receiver is the only regulated part of the gun, but there are workarounds for obtaining one, too. Partially complete receivers can be purchased privately without a background check or serial number and finished by buyers themselves, or they can be built from scratch at home to sidestep having to register the finished gun.

In other words, if a crook wants an unregistered AR15, the options are to gather a bunch of parts – a barrel, a bolt and bolt carrier, a stock, a forearm, a couple of hundred bucks worth of goodies – and then either:

  • buy a complete lower receiver, which must be transferred through a Federal Firearms Licensed-dealer (with paper trail).
  • buy an unfinished lower reciever and, using non-trivial skills and tools – metal drills, a metal router and a few others – finish it.  And by finish it, we mean to a rather fussy level of tolerances; the AR15 is no zip gun.
  • Put all the parts in their junk drawer and buy a complete, stolen AR or AK from any number of sources; stolen guns, gangs, or Eric Holder.

It might be simplistic to say that “if criminals had the skills needed to assemble a complete, shootable AR, they wouldn’t need to be criminals.  But only barely.

It is, of course, the latest attempt by the US media to manufacture a gun crisis – which is easier than manufacturing the guns themselves; as a Mother Jones correspondent couldn’t very well conceal a couple years ago, back when the AK47 was still the left’s official boogeygun (again, emphasis is mine):

The hosts collect our paperwork without checking IDs. We don eye protection and gloves, and soon the garage is abuzz with the whir of grinders, cutters, and drills. Sales of receivers—which house the mechanical parts, making a gun a gun—are tightly regulated, so my kit comes with a pre-drilled flat steel platform. Legally, it’s just an American-made hunk of metal, but one bend in a vise later and, voilà, it’s a receiver, ready for trigger guards to be riveted on. Sparks fly as receiver rails to guide the bolt mechanism are cut, welded into place, and heat-treated. The front and rear trunnions, which will hold the barrel and stock, are attached to the receivers.

Sounds easy?

Well, I know there are machinists in my audience.  But to the less handy among us – say, Mojo writers – it’s a non-trivial exercise.   I love the illustration in the Mojo story:  “Making your own receiver – the part that holds the firing mechanism – requires no background check”.  Which may be true, but it also requires a non-trivial set of metalworking skills and tools.

You’re a crook.  What’s easier; spending an evening with a bunch of people painstakingly assembling  an AK (or the much fussier AR) from scratch, or buying one from a fellow crook in a tenth of the time?

It’s not confusing to anyone who’s not an NPR reporter.

The NYTimes: They Know What Matters

In the interest of telling all the news that fits (the narrative), the NYTimes has turned its crack Democrat party relations group political journalists loose on…

Scott Walker’s accent:

Out on the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Scott Walker has left “Wiscahnsin” back home in Wisconsin. He now wants to strengthen the economy, not the “ecahnahmy.” And while he once had the “ahnor” of meeting fellow Republicans, he told one group here this week that he simply enjoyed “talkin’ with y’all.”


The classic Upper Midwest accent — nasal and full of flat a’s — is one of several Walker trademarks to have fallen away this month after an intense period of strategizing and coaching designed to help Mr. Walker capitalize on his popularity in early polls and show that he is not some provincial politician out of his depth.

The Times also notes, for the aid of the brain damaged, that Walker, who is running for President, has changed his focus from Wisconsin to National issues.  Thanks, Times.

NPR at least had the intellectual honesty to talk with a linguist who noted that people tend to tailor their own accents to their audiences.

Which may the reason the Times hasn’t written about this:

Or this:

But I’m going to suggest “intellectual honesty” has nothing to do with it.

The Blonde Is Obviously Guilty

When the usual suspects – 99% of Twitter users – jumped on board in attacking ESPN correspondent Brett McHenry for her altercation with the folks at an impound lot, I thought to myself “let’s hold out for a moment here”.

Yes, sports “journalists” usually don’t rate much in the way of consideration. If Ancient Rome had had cable TV, ESPN would have made major bank covering gladiator fights.

But if there’s a group of people in the world that have not earned themselves much in the way of indulgence for their behavior, it’s the folks at tag and tow impound lots like “Advanced Towing”, where Ms. McHenry had her dustup.

Sure enough – a few days have past, and it looks entirely possible that Ms. McHenry’s outburst may have been rhetorical self-defense against a tag ‘n tow clerk who was, to put it politely, being a pig.

A review of the company’s Yelp page reveals many disgruntled customers who aren’t just griping over the fact they got towed.
According to NBC Washington, there have been incidents where the company towed cars with a golden retriever and even children inside.

Are you smelling what I’m cooking, “Mark’s” in Eagan, or Goebbels’ Towing in New Brighton?

Silent Language

Winning the battle for the English Language is always a challenge when you’re a conservative. The left understands, and wages without mercy, the war for the language.

And for the most part, the media reflects the left’s view of how language portrays things.

So it’s been interesting watching the media coverage of the raft of Gun Rights bills.  In a Twin Cities media that will refers to using ones’ carry permit as “packing heat” so frequently it’s beyond satirizable, there’ve been some improvements.

This past few weeks, a bill that would allow Minnesotans to join 39 other states in owning mufflers for their guns has been advancing though committee.

And it’s been interesting reading the headlines that local news organizations having been using for the story (in this case taken from online coverage); do they refer to gun mufflers with techical accuracy as “suppressors”, or with conspiratorial, theatrical scaremongering as “silencers”.

Here are some examples, with emphasis added by me:

So minor kudos to the Twin Cities media; at least as re the very basics of language, you’re coming around ever so slightly.

Now, if we could do something about using the term “packing heat”, like, ever…


There are many reasons to read Kevin Williamson’s piece about the departure of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show.  It may be the best single thing I’ve read about Stewart.

But I’ll leave you with this bit:

There are funny conservatives and funny liberals, but they tend to be amusing in different ways, which is why liberal efforts to replicate Rush Limbaugh’s success have failed in the same way as conservative efforts to replicate Jon Stewart’s. It takes a left-wing sensibility to have Lenny Bruce’s career; it takes a right-wing sensibility to have Evelyn Waugh’s.

And it takes a bottomless well of stupidity to rely on either mode of humor for a meaningful map of the world.

And fortunately for Stewart, that bottomless well is everywhere these days.

That Fourth Estate Of Ours

When was Mark Dayton’s last alcoholic relapse?

What sort of psychotropic medications is he on? And why?

Our media here in the Twin Cities doesn’t think you, mere peasant, have a “need to know”.

But never let it be said the Twin Cities media won’t hold big government’s feet in the fire over the tough issues!

Because, boy howdy, they sure will!

MPR: Pounding That Wedge For All It’s Worth

For the record, I’m a fan of MPR’s Bob Collins – if for no other reason than few people write about aviation issues as well as he does (and there are other reasons).

Which is not to say that I agree with him all the time.  We’ve had our disagreements

The Minority Case:  And this Collins blog post is one of them; it quotes a story from Tim Pugmire about an incoming state representative John Heintzeman of Nisswa, who scored a big upset win earlier this month.   Pugmire quoted Heintzeman as saying:

“People of faith need to be able to know that they can practice their faith in the way, in the tradition that their family has over many, many years, without being afraid of somehow violating the law,”

 Collins follows:

“Rural values” and “traditional values” are fairly vague terms, which are often left to the rest of us — city slickers — to figure out what they define exactly. They often are intertwined with religion or “faith,” as Heintzeman said.

 And that usually leads to the obvious question: whose religion and whose faith?

For the benefit of the audience that Collins is writing to – the Volvo-with-a-reproduction-“Wellstone”-sticker driving, free-range-alpaca wearing, straight-ticket-DFL-voting Macalester alumni set that is the “must win” demographic for MPR, I’ll explain it.

It’s about Islam. 

It’s so the young Somali woman working at the Midway WalMart need not worry about feeling racist, faith-ist repercussions when she politely asks an infidel like yours truly to please move the pork chops across the scanner, since her observance of her faith doesn’t allow her to handle them. 

Oh, it probably also covers cases like the photographers and bakers and florists who, for religious reasons not a lot different than the young Somali, tried to beg off participating in gay weddings, even trying in some cases to refer the “customers” to gay-wedding-friendly competition, leading to test cases (since that was what the “customers” were looking for in the first place).   And, yes, sometimes those concerns aren’t purely individual in scope.

It could even – hard as this may be to believe – cover religious freedom for people whose beliefs are more in line with the MPR audiences’

Really, it’s about protecting the minority from the majority – which is supposed to be what a representative republic (as opposed to a democracy) does. 

In other words – everyone’s religion and faith.  Or even their complete lack of either. 

Rights are rights. 

Oh, there’s more to it than that.  There’s a wedge to be pounded:

Pick Your Herbicide:  Perhaps you’ve heard the story; a GOP district chair in Big Stone County, whose day job is was working at a Hardware Hank, did a no-no; he said really stupid things about Muslims.  Of course, this is red vegan meat for the DFL establishment – at least in part because it’s more fun for them than some other stories that wecouldbe talking about. 

Collins finds a greater significance in it, though (emphasis added):

In Big Stone County, the chairman of the Republican Party is defining those values, at least for his neck of the woods.

Jack Whitley posted this yesterday on his Facebook page.

Let’s make this clear: a guy who was elected chairman of the GOP in the fifth-smallest county in Minnesota, a county with fewer registered voters than MPR has assistant producers, is “defining” “rural values”?

Would that be in the same way that Paris Hilton or Plukey Duke “define” “urban values?”


Naturally, everyone from Ken Martin to CAIR jumped on the statement… 

“It’s very disturbing to see a Republican Party leader engage in outright bigotry and hate,” the Council for American-Islamic Relations said in a statement calling on Republicans to disavow Whitley’s values. “Without a clear rejection of these inaccurate and intolerant remarks, the party’s silence will appear to be agreement.”…

 …““How such a violently bigoted person can hold a position of leadership in the Minnesota Republican Party is confounding and absolutely unacceptable,” DFL Chair Ken Martin said in a statement which called on Downey to demand Whitley quit his party position.

…using it to impugn all Republicans and, as Collins seems to be flirting with, the whole idea of “rural” values themselves.

Naturally (as Collins notes), MNGOP chair Keith Downey did condemn the statements.  Some of Ken Martin’s oompa-loompas have wondered publicly and in the media why Downey doesn’t just fire Mr. Whitley; perhaps that’d work in the DFL, but chairs of GOP house, senate or county districts are elected by their members, and need to be removed by them (as readers of this blog have learned over the years).

But this isn’t about inside-the-GOP party mechanics:

Too-Free Association:  In 2008, Barack Obama referred to Americans with “rural” values as bitter, gun-clinging Jeebus freaks.   The Obama coalition relied on creating a big, sharp, thick wedge between “mainstream” America – in the stereotypes, the part that is white and mainstream-Christian and straight and usually male – and anyone else. 

And the Minnesota DFL is no better; Minnesota’s political map is the results of decades of wedging city vs. suburbs, metro vs. outstate, white vs. black, and in the case of MPR, us vs. them.

And there sure could be more wedges:  if the Minnesota media ever held the DFL to account for, say, Keith Ellison (who openly supports Hamas, whose charter calls for the extermination of Jews), or Phyllis Kahn (who bent party rules, and party dogma about election fraud, to the breaking point in keeping a Muslim insurgency from ousting her at her district convention) I’m sure that could create some wedges, too. 

But nobody wants those wedges, apparently.

I Am Just A Caveman:  I’m still trying to figure out what Mr. Heintzeman’s statement – about protecting freedom of religious conscience from majority coercion, which is a right most people support unless it transgresses Big Gay – has to do with Mr. Whitley’s outburst. 

And I imagine I will be for some time.

Time To Secede…

…from the mainstream media. 

Big Media have almost completely blacked out coverage of the Johnathan Gruber scandal.  Of course, that’s the part that you see on the evening newscasts (if you still watch them; it’s been close to ten years since I’ve watched any). 

Behind the scenes?  The national media has the same approach the local media takes on issues that redound to Democrat disadvantage (emphasis added):

On the web, name reporters from [NBC and ABC] have chosen a blackout or ridicule approach. NBC News’ crack team of political reporters led by Mark Murray and Chuck Todd have covered their eyes and ears. ABC political director Rick Klein can’t be bothered either. However, John Harwood took a more direct approach:

I listened to/get what Gruber said, & get why it makes people mad about ACA madder. but that is only significance @ron_fournier @JohnEkdahl

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) November 18, 2014

Six million healthcare plans lost on an admitted and oft-repeated lie, and this isn’t news to them. Enough is enough.

They have chosen, like most scandals involving the Obama Administration, to report on the Republican reaction and “overreach” instead of on the story of itself.

It’s significant – and not in a good way – that the only Obama scandal the media has come close to taking seriously is the allegations that the Administration spied on, lied to and has been opaque with the media. 

Because lying about your doctor and Benghazi is one thing; being forthcoming to ones’ media benefactors is serious business:

Gruber, to whom the administration deferred on dozens of occasions to speak for them, admitted the only way ACA could be passed was to lie to stupid American voters. American voters have figured out the lie, as demonstrated by the results of the 2014 midterm elections. But the only group left defending the Obamacare catastrophe is the media by now ignoring Gruber.

This isn’t bias. This is malfeasance and corruption.

It is long past time for the GOP to stop bothering with the mainstream media.  No more GOP primary debates on ABC; no more agreeing to Democrat ticket-punchers like Candy Crowley in presidential debates, and if possible no more presidential debates on the Big Three or CNN. 

Starve the beast now!

Just Say Any Crap At All

I’m starting to develop this theory that the Democrats’ “messaging” strategy is developing into something like this:

  1. Tell voters pretty much whatever you think they want to hear.
  2. Assume the voters are too incurious to check up on it.
  3. There is no point 3.

Submitted as evidence:  Barbara Boxer’s speech against the Keystone Pipeline; I’ll emphasize the real howlers:

Not only would the construction of Keystone put no negative pressure on gasoline prices, an argument President Barack Obama has also made, but the California senator claimed it would have the precise opposite effect. “We’re going to see higher gas prices because of this,” Boxer insisted.

These and other comments delivered by Boxer over the course of her hours on the floor on Tuesday were equally confounding, but her most mystifying pronouncements were those in which she touted the bustling green economy of her home state.

“Ask yourself the question, is it worth exposing our people to these risks who I stood with shoulder to shoulder, and is it worth exposing the planet to these risks when we can create millions of jobs in a clean energy economy like we’re doing in my state,” she said. “And we’re going gangbusters!”

“I come from a state that is booming with hundreds of thousands of jobs with balanced budgets — clean energy future — and I come from a state that embraced cleaning up the environment and building the economy and jobs,” Boxer later added. “And they go hand in hand.”

Repeat after us:  Scarcity leads to lower prices; plenty leads to higher prices.  California is going gangbusters.  The budget – “balanced” via tax hikes – is sustainable; the California pension bubble isn’t going to burst.  Green energy is a goldmine for workers! 

It sounds good on camera.  It plays well with people who still think government still tells the truth, and that media will tell them if anything’s amiss.   It plays well with Gruber’s America. 

The question isn’t “has the Democrat party switched to an all-lie messaging strategy”.  The queston is “given their assumptions, why would they not go to an all-lie messaging strategy?”

Lying, Criminal Or Both?

There’s an old saying; “success has a thousand fathers; failure is an orphan”. 

In the wake of the Democrat party’s nationwide electoral humiliation, the left is looking for things to hang their hopes on. 

It’s human nature; the good guys were doing it two years ago, too.

So here’s what the Democrats are hanging their hats on; in a blue state, a 67 year old governor who gets mistaken for his entrepreneur anscestors, a superannuated standup comic, and a couple of congressmen dragged out of mothballs at the Museum of Pettifogging eked out wins in a state where…they were expected to eke out wins. 

But remember – whatever success there is has a thousand fathers.  Er, parents.  And the local left is stepping all over itself to claim their piece of the success less-failure. 

“In These Times” is the sort of “progressive” publication you can imagine a room full of Grace Kellys producing.  I don’t read it much, because it’s just not a challenge. 

But in their post mortem of the MN elections, they made an interesting and, dare I say, surprising claim.

No, it’s not the callow reference to stereotypes.  That’s no surprise from any “progressive” publication:

Mike McIntee, who lives in Eagan and is executive producer [Hah!  – Ed] of The UpTake, a citizen journalism-driven, online video streaming website, has seen his first-ring suburb change politically. The residents of Eagan’s cul-de-sacs no longer exclusively resemble an episode of The Brady Bunch, but include different ethnicities and low-income housing.

“White People” = “Brady Bunch”. 


Anyway – here’s the interesting part (emphasis added by me):

McIntee also credits the work of Protect Minnesota, which works to end gun violence by turning it into a political issue in urban and suburban areas. Protect Minnesota sent out mailers this election season attacking candidates who opposed gun control. Its gun-safety champions who won on Tuesday include Ron Erhardt, who represents the suburb of Edina. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association’s influence may be waning in Minnesota. Three rural DFLers who were endorsed by the NRA all lost.

Protect Minnesota?

The gun grabber group led by Heather Martens known mainly for its comic ineptitude, has done more harm than “good” for the gun grabber movement in the past…couple of decades.  They mobilize no significant people (a couple of dozen might turn out for a vital hearing, as opposed to hundreds of Real Americans. 

But what of their claims? 

  • McIntee claims “Protect” Minnesota sent out “mailings attacking candidates“:  Now, the Minnesota Human Rights community is pretty good at keeping tabs on what the orcs are doing.  And nobody seems to have seen a “Protect Minnesota” mailer.  None.  Michael Bloomberg and the DFL both hit on guns – but both groups carefully excised the hapless “Protect Minnesota” from their strategy.
  • What “Gun Safety Champions?”  Protect MN is a lobbying group, not a PAC.  Did they endorse candidates?  If so ,they broke the law; lobbying groups can’t endorse candidates.
  • They’re claiming credit for Ron Erhardt?  If Mike McIntee or Heather Martens wants to make the claim that guns were behind Ron Erhardt’s razor-thin win in Edina, feel perfectly free.  But be ready to be slapped down hard.   It’s an absurd claim. 
  • They’re Claiming They Have The Momentum?:  “Three rural DFLers endorsed by the NRA” lost – but then, most rural DFLers lost, whatever their NRA and MNGOPAC endorsement. The election wasn’t about guns! But even so, over 3/4 of MNGOPAC’s endorsed candidates, GOP and DFL, won on election night – and many of the ones that lost in Greater Minnesota lost to other candidates with high GOCRA and MNGOPAC ratings.  Either way, gun owners won.  To claim the Gun Rights movement lost last Tuesday is a Baghdad-Bob-level bit of delusion. 

But delusion is Heather Martens’ stock in trade.  From the “Protect” MN website:

From the “P”M website. Click on the link to actually see it.

Look, “Progressives”; if it makes you sleep easier at night thinking that…:

  • Mark Dayton, who has spent the past two cycles trying to defuse Real American opposition by claiming he has a couple of .357 Magnums at home for self-defense, and
  • Al Franken, who touches on guns as obliquely as his caucus will allow him to, and
  • Rick Nolan, who ran away from the anti-gun movement (ineptly), and
  • Colin Peterson, with an NRA “A” rating, along with…
  • 11 new Republicans, all of them pro-gun, mostly MNGOPAC endorsed, all of them Second-Amendment-friendly, and
  • a solidly pro-Human Rights MN House, with Michael Paymar’s Metrocrat caucus demoted to the cheap seats…

…are a “victory” for “gun safety?”  Go for it!

It’s Heather Martens’ take, and it’s delusional…

…but I repeat myself. 

Note to Mike McIntee and the rest of the “progressive” feed trough; if that’s the best source you can pick, no wonder you guys are getting your asses kicked on Second Amendment issues.

A Campaign Ad, Courtesy MPR

So I was listening to Minnesota Public Radio news yesterday as I was driving home from some errands.

The newscaster introduced a story, saying that politicians were jumping into their final days of their campaigns around Minnesota. She then threw to a story by MPR’s Brett McNealy.

It starts with a bit of the day of the campaigning life of Keith Ellison, extreme ultraliberal and darling of the Kenwood brie and chablis set, hoofing it about North Minneapolis, doing his last minute get out the vote efforts.

And it ended there, too.

No word from the Doug Daggett campaign – Ellisons opponent. No word from Margaret Martin, a Republican running in North Minneapolis (and longtime friend of this blog). 

Any word from anyone but Keith Ellison?

Nope. Just a little radio kissyface for Keith Ellison, with a plaintive reminder mixed in the Republicans are expected to do well.

I wonder – does this piece have to be counted as a campaign contribution?

Things You’ll Never See Or Hear On The Twin Cities Mainstream Media

Governor Dayton is, by all accounts, a decent enough person.

My next-door neighbor, coincidentally, is a decent enough person too.  She’s also got terrible eyesight as she approaches her eighties, and doesn’t belong behind the wheel, by her own admission.  Nice lady; no car.

One need not attack Governor Dayton’s personality to note that something’s just a tad…off.  In 2005, he shut down his Senate office after an unattributed terror threat, leaving Washington to be run by just the other 534 other Congresspeople, prompting left-slanted Time to call him the worst Senator in America.

He left the Senate in 2006, amid rumors he’d had an alcoholic relapse.

It took the DFL and Alita Messinger four years to rehabilitate him.   They managed this with a complete blackout on any facts about Governor Dayton’s health or mental state.  I pointed it out during the 2010 campaign; the Strib wrote precisely one piece about Dayton’s mental health – a piece by Rachel Stassen-Berger and reliable DFL shill Baird Helgeson.

That appeared in December of 2009.  Roughly 10 months before most Minnesota voters started caring about the governor race; the very definition of “punching the ticket early”.

And today?  Almost five years after that single, solitary report about the Governor’s state of health?

John Gilmore at Minnesota Conservatives has covered this issue more than most:

Dayton hasn’t released his medical records so we don’t know for sure which medications he is being administered. It defies firsthand experience and common sense, however, to pretend that he is not frequently heavily medicated in public.

Can anyone imagine an engaged Mark Dayton on a full time basis, in public view most of the day for a solid week? Of course not. He’s carefully handled to appear for only limited amounts of time in public. Even then, most people cringe out of compassion given his performance…

Media know how impaired Dayton has become but don’t particularly care: they’re on the same team and none of them would do anything to harm the progressive agenda. If a republican governor, however, were this manifestly troubled, Minnesota media would cloak themselves in the phony “the public has a right to know” rubric and have at it.

The Minnesota media that herniated itself to get to a story about Rod Grams’s son (of whom Grams had not had custody in some time), to a long litany of would-be (but never-were) scandals about Norm Coleman, about Tom Emmer’s 20 year old driving records, about…anything with the  eternally teflon-coated Tim Pawlenty, can’t be bothered to cover actual news about a sitting governor with a past that would make any potential employer sit up and go “er…let’s talk about…”

It’s campaign ad fodder, of course:

And then there’s this – a compendium of Mark Dayton video appearances.  And tell me – is this someone who’s “leading the polls by nine points”, or whatever, by grace of his merits as a leader?

Or listen to this speech – the infamous speech at the Humphrey Institute in September, 2012; the one whose video the Humphrey Institute had the balls to claim it couldn’t release because “videotape is too expensive”, and whose video no TV station will release.  Read John Gilmore’s account for the mental visuals whose literal visuals the powers that be don’t think you, Citizen, need to see.

And then ask yourself not just “should this man be governor”.

Ask yourself “is our media incompetent, or in the bag”.

Or both, of course.

Profile In Courage

The DFL Legislature raises business taxes.  Governor Dayton scuttled away from his party.

The DFL legislature’s idea for plundering taxpayers to pay for Zygi Wilf’s real estate improvements – “E-pulltabs” – raised roughly 1/1000% as much money as it was supposed to.  Governor Dayton huffed and puffed and blamed it all on other people. 

The DFL raised the minimum wage, without adding a tip credit for restaurant workers who frequently make many times more than a “living wage” from tips.  Governor Dayton quietly tossed the idea partly under the bus when his sons pointed out it was hurting their restaurant. 

When people started talking about legalizing marijuana, Governor Dayton was for it before against it before he was for it before he was whatever he is today. 

Dayton favored releasing sex offenders, before he opposed it, before…oh, hell, I don’t know.

And Dayton took great pride in MNSure before he washed his hands of it.

Oh yeah – and although the administration he largely appointed and which reports to him was busted trying to jockey MNSure’s premium rates, Governor Dayton apparently pleads complete ignorance

It’d be great if someone in the Minnesota media would press the Governor on this – but of course, he isn’t talking with the press this week.  Not that anyone in the press would ask him if he were talking to the press. 

The GOP has been railing – correctly – on Dayton’s competence. 

The competence of MInnesota’s press may be the bigger issue.

Evidence In The Affirmative

Last week, we reported that a KSTP/Survey USA poll shows Stewart Mills leading Rick Nolan by eight points.

As we’ve noted for years and years, polls are deeply imperfect (sorry, Nate Silver), and there’s only one poll that matters, and it’s coming up two weeks from tomorrow.

But if there were any evidence needed that Rick Nolan is nervous about his prospects, it’s yesterday’s interview with Esme Murphy on WCCO

…which he spent sniveling like a four-year-old who didn’t get ice cream about outside money’s effect on politics.

Apparently he’s feeling cut out of the DCCC’s flood of Franken money…

(Courtesty @JohnHockey on Twitter)

Our Incoherent Newspaper Of Record

On “Up and At ‘Em”, on the lesser talk station this morning, Ben Kruse said (I’ll paraphrase) if you left out the parts about Governor Dayton, this past weekend’s endorsement of the incumbent governor actually reads a little like an endorsement of Jeff Johnson. 

And Ben had a point:

Johnson, 47, is gubernatorial material…Voters who want a state government that’s leaner and more trusting of the marketplace to solve public problems can opt for Johnson without concern that he is unprepared, excessively doctrinaire or temperamentally ill-suited to the office….Unlike Dayton, Johnson is unfettered to Education Minnesota, the teachers’ union.

[Remember the emphasized bit.  I’ll be making a return appearance]

 He’s eager to pursue changes in teacher licensure and tenure rules that might strengthen the state’s teaching corps — versions of which Dayton vetoed…Johnson is also more open to changing the state’s tax code in ways that would better align Minnesota competitively with other states, by broadening the sales tax to more consumer purchases while reducing its rate.

All of that’s true.  

But they went with Governor Messinger Mark Dayton anyway. 

Minnesota is back where it belongs. It has resumed its strong position among Midwestern states in employment, incomes, educational attainment and quality of life. Gov. Mark Dayton can’t take sole credit for the rebound from recession — nor does this modest leader make that claim. But the DFLer’s stewardship since 2011 has made a positive contribution to recovery, and his aims for a second term would continue that course.

That is, of course, the narrative that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota has spent millions to establish in this state.

The truth, of course, is that most of the “positive contributions” happened in the first two years of Messinger’s Dayton’s term.  Since the DFL took unfettered control of state government, unemployment has dropped mostly due to people taking crummy jobs or leaving the workforce. 

But we digress.

Like An Ink-Stained Nadia Comaneci:  I originally entitled this piece “Our Senile Newspaper of Record” – but I changed my mind; it takes some mental chops to do the logical gymnastics the Strib goes through to get to painting Dayton’s term as a positive and Dayton as a capable leader:

State government stability is itself a competitive asset, one Minnesotans should not want to jeopardize again.

What the hell does that even mean?

The answer:  whatever the narrator wants it to mean.  

For example, the Strib would have you believe that before Mark Dayton, Minnesota was a cold Bolivia, apparently:

Dayton deserves credit for the fiscal stability that has returned on his watch. His push to correct the oversized income tax cuts enacted in 1999 and 2000 was important to that change, as was the discipline to enlarge the state’s reserves and repay more than $2 billion owed to school districts.

Dayton “paid back” the shift entirely because he delayed the GOP’s attempt to “pay it back” until the DFL could claim credit

The Special Interest Drinking Game:  Now – with a reminder from Jack and Ben’s show this morning – let’s read this next graf and go back to the Strib’s muted praise for Johnson:

The state’s stronger balance sheet leads a long list of first-term accomplishments justifying Dayton’s re-election. Also there: All-day kindergarten. Beefed-up funding for preschool for needy families. Same-sex marriage. Human services funding reform, saving Minnesota taxpayers an estimated $1 billion a year. A higher minimum wage. An end to a decade of disinvestment in higher education. Support for the Rochester infrastructure that’s crucial to Mayo Clinic expansion. A renewed partnership with local governments, slowing the increase in property taxes. Alternative teacher licensure and teacher performance evaluation.

If this were a drinking game – “Special Interest Shots”, where you took a drink every time the paper mentioned a bit of DFL special interest pork – you’d be dead of alcohol poisoning now. 

Making History Out Of Nothing At All:  Now – Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange is a disaster.  Perhaps you’ve heard.  It was in all the papers – for a while, anyway. 

Heeeere’s whitewash!

Dayton’s credits also include extending the benefits of health insurance to more than 250,000 previously uninsured Minnesotans, by embracing the federal Affordable Care Act.

This is simply false.

92% of Minnesotans were insured before MNSure – and every single Minnesotan that was involuntarily uninsured before 2012 could have been covered through one existing program or another. 

The “250,000 previously uninsured” are insured today – at exquisite cost to the taxpayer – are there mostly because the law says they have to be. 

Not because Mark Dayton did such a helluvva job.   

I’ll give the Strib points for consistency.  While their praise for his first term was a checklist of special interest sops, their outlook for the second term is…:

The second-term agenda Dayton outlines befits him. It’s substantial but not slick, and focused on jobs. He wants state government to be an ally of Minnesota’s high-tech industries by better meeting their need for highly skilled workers, and of the health care and medical technology industries by shoring up the University of Minnesota Medical School. He wants a literacy push to boost chances that children read proficiently by grade three, and he seeks more funding for early ed.

He also wants clean energy and robust infrastructure investments, including expansion of light-rail transit, to continue.

…more of the same. 

Alliance?  What Alliance?:  Finally?  The Strib editorial team apparently did their internships writing for Fidel Castro (emphasis added):

Dayton, 67, is making his sixth and what he says will be his last bid for statewide office. After a lifetime of public service, he’s a well-known quantity who is offering Minnesota something rare — a governorship unbound by calculations about how to win the next election.

Dayton’s governorship has never been bound by anything but the fact that he is controlled, no less than a marionette, puppet or organ-grinder monkey – by the special interests that floated his candidacy and call, via the “Alliance for a Better MN”, all the shots in his office. 

 We expect that will look a lot like what Minnesotans saw in Dayton’s first term. If it does, this state will be well served.

If Dayton is re-elected, Minnesota will deserve what it gets.

UPDATE:  Fixed the link to the Strib piece.