Orc See, Orc Do

Whatever you thought about the Martin/Zimmerman case, the big loser was the American media. They – and their leftyblog camp followers – did, almost to a fault, an unforgiveably bad job of covering the case – from NBC’s editing Zimmerman’s 911 call to try to make him sound racist to their seeming unwillingness to get even the most basic facts straigth. (Classic example: how many of you read media accounts that said Zimmerman has “a round in the chamber, his hammer cocked and his safety off?” For starters, virtually every person who carries a firearm for self-defense, including every cop you see on the street, has a “round in the chamber”. Beyond that, Zimmerman’s pistol was a KelTec 9mm, a type I’m intimately familiar with; it’s what’s called a “double action only” pistol; there is no safety, and you can’t “cock” the hammer except by squeezing the trigger.

I know. Technicalities. But it’s not just the gun-geek stuff that the media bobbles.

In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict over the weekend, an insufficiently bright liberal on Twitter issued a tweet that included a link to this deeply ignorant hit piece from CBS last year.

It’s just as wrong this year as it was last; I’ll emphasize the :

(CBSMiami.com) – As some state lawmakers are calling for a re-thinking of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people to defend themselves from danger without the need to first try to get away, an analysis of state data shows deaths due to self defense are up over 200 percent since the law took effect.

“Up over 200 percent”. 

That sounds like a big number.  Especially as against the fact that murder in general, nationwide, is down nearly half in the past 20 years. 

Seems like a…disconnect?

We’ll come back to that.

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin by an armed, self-appointed Central Florida crime watch volunteer who claimed he shot in self defense has sparked a national debate about Florida’s law, technically known as the Castle doctrine.

No.  No, it is not “technically known” as “Castle Doctrine”, which relates to removing the “duty to retreat”while you’re in your home.  Which was the law in Minnesota until the mid-2000s, by the way, but no longer. 

Until 2005, it was generally considered self defense if someone tried to get into your home or invade your property, so long as you could show deadly force was the last resort. In 2005, the “Stand your Ground” law removed the need to retreat before using force, even in public.

And there you go.  One of the reasons people on the left are so ignorant about Second Amendment issues is that the people they get their information from are, in fact, crushingly ignorant on the subject. 

“Castle” referred to  in your home.  “Stand your Ground” was elsewhere. 

According to state crime stats, Florida averaged 12 “justifiable homicide” deaths a year from 2000-2004. After “Stand your Ground” was passed in 2005, the number of “justifiable” deaths has almost tripled to an average of 35 a year, an increase of 283% from 2005-2010.

So what? 

If all of those shootings – 12 or 35 – were people shooting because they were in legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm, and where lethal force was appropriate, and the intended victim wasn’t a willing participant, then that means there are 35 rapists, stalkers, robbers and thugs off the street.

Each death is a tragedy, sure.  But so would be the deaths of those shooting in self-defense – and in every case, as a matter of law , that was the alternative with all 35 of those shootings; death, mutilation, kidnapping, rape. 

Don’t they matter?

Minnesota needs a Stand your Ground law.

Rise Up, Peasants, And Defend The Plutocrats!

I got this letter from “Protect Minnesota” recently.  “Protect Minnesota” was what Rep. Heather Martens (DFLiar – HD66A) had to rename “Citizens for a “Safer” Supine Minnesota” when it turned out her constant lying had damaged whatever credibility the old brand had.

For those who’ve missed earlier installments of my coverage of Ms. Martens, here’s what you need to know; every single substantive thing she had said about gun issues, ever, throughout her career, has been a lie.  Every.  Last.  Word. 

Here’s her letter:

Dear Heinrich ,

It’s been several weeks since the Minnesota legislature went home. Despite passing one bill to fund improvements in Federal gun background check data, the legislature left gaping loopholes in the law that still allow people who shouldn’t have guns to get them easily.

Well, no.  A bipartisan majority of the legislature realized that Martens’ various bills – copied and pasted as they were from New York and California – wouldn’t change criminals’ ability to find guns; they’d just register the guns of the law-abiding, for further targeting by law-enforcement when and if the political winds swing that way. 

We’d never tolerate that sort of treatment of the First Amendment.  Why the Second?

Martens:

We can’t afford to wait for another mass shooting, so we are not letting up in the push for change. We need your help to have one-to-one conversations with voters about what is at stake, and how they can push common sense state and Federal laws. Can you join a phone bank tomorrow? Click here to help phone on Wednesday, July 10, at TakeAction in St. Paul. (Pizza and air conditioning provided!)

Not that there was any doubt that “Protect MN” was part of the ultra-left hive, but the fact that TakeAction – which, like “Protect MN” is an astroturf group funded by unions and liberal plutocrats – just happened to lend “Protect” a phone bank should tell you something.

With more than 75 percent of Minnesotans supporting universal background checks for gun sales,

…according to a push poll whose results have been reported with flagrant disregard for the context of the original survey question; tomayto tomahto, I know…

we had great success engaging voters all over the state, generating thousands of phone calls and emails to legislators.

Martens has been showing an interesting pattern since her bills got tubed by solid bipartisan majorities (which included a bipartisan majority of all House members signing on to co-author a bill that was a direct repudiation of Martens’ bills (channeled via the likes of Michael Paymar and Alice “The Phantom” Hausman); she’s been reduced to trying to turn defeats into victories, at least in the minds of her utterly uninformed followers.

“Thousands” of calls?  By all accounts, calls ran 50:1 against Martens’ bills.  Even the MinnPost’s Doug Grow, who gets at least part of his paycheck from the same place Martens does (the anti-gun Joyce Foundation contributes at least five figures to both “Protect” MN and the MinnPost, which I suspect is in major part behind the MinnPost’s atrociously ignorant and ludicrously slanted coverage of Second Amendment issues this past year), said it was more like a thousand, as if that was a major accomplishment.

In 2013, we didn’t have time to build the power it takes to reverse the long-term effects of gun-rights extremist propaganda. But we have the public on our side, and we can make the change we need, as long as we keep at it!
Click here to join us and our friends at Mayors Against Illegal Guns for the first in a series of summer phone banks!

And there you go.  Two astroturf groups sponsored by liberal plutocrats and government unions (fluffed by a “news” outlet sponsored by those same plutocrats and their plutocrat-supported foundation) are joining with a group of liberal politicians in another astroturf group funded by another liberal plutocrat to try to keep all us unruly peasants in line.

I’ve said it for twenty years, now; the extreme left has always led with the class-warfare rhetoric – and yet on this, the most populist issue of them all, it’s the left who are the patricians, and the gun rights movement in all its bipartisan and non-partisan millions who are the uppity peasants demanding real freedom. 

I might just have to sign up for that phone bank.

Agents Of Decay

I’m of several minds about MNGOP Chair Keith Downey’s broadside at the MNDFL and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” in the Pioneer Press last Thursday. 

On the one hand, acknowledging it is a sign that the Minnesota Left’s campaign – relying as it does on relentless name-calling and smearing – works. 

On the other hand – it does work.  You don’t need to be a pollster to know that the “Emmer Had Two DUIs” jape likely cost Tom Emmer the 2010 gubernatorial election all by itself. 

And on the third hand, not acknowledging it won’t make it go away. 

And there’s a fourth hand.  We’ll come back to that. 

Downey:

Demonizing personal insults flow far too easily from Minnesota Democrats these days. The latest: Rep. Ryan Winkler calling Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “Uncle Thomas.” Offensive enough on its own, worse, Winkler’s attack is but a symptom.

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s Executive Director Carrie Lucking have perfected a systematic program in Minnesota that takes political name calling to a new level.

This strategy is straight out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” Alinsky’s Rule #5 states: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Rule #12 says: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Ken Martin at a meeting with Alida Messinger

 

And the two – Martin, who’s spent a career as Alida Messinger’s cringing lapdog and bag man, and Lucking, a woman who gives off that “my life peaked in high school” vibe, a former junioir high social studies teacher who was a spectacular two-time failure as a campaign manager (oh, crapt, now I’m doing it.  I’m sorry) – have certainly raised name-calling to a low, profane art.

The Democrats’ implementation in Minnesota is intentional and well-developed:

Step one: Attach a negative personal label to an opponent that appeals to emotion and has nothing to do with governing.

Step two: Spend a few million dollars to make the label stick.

Step three: Have your candidates pretend to take the high road.

Although Ryan Winkler never got that memo.

Representative Winkler

DAMMIT!  I’m doing it again!  The slope of civility sure is slippery!

Of course, neither Lucking nor Martin can do anything else; Conservatives on Twitter know that neither of them has the brains or the information to debate at a level higher than name-calling…

…sorry.  I slipped again. 

Downey:

Unfortunately, this formula has proven effective for Democrats. It is now a rapid-response machine. As any Republican candidate steps forward to run for public office in 2014, within hours, usually minutes, Martin and Lucking flood the online and traditional media. Here is a recent sampling: “just another rich guy who likes to fire people”; “just another hypocritical, Gingrich politician”; “vulture capitalist and Minnesota Romney wannabe #2″; “anti-government government official”; “isn’t quite ready for the bright lights”; “failed businessman, failed gubernatorial candidate and right-wing talker”; “a voice for the hard-core right-wing, not hard-working families”; “an extreme choice for Minnesota.”

As I noted a few weeks back, it’s having a noxious effect on politics in Minnesota; I know personally of one potential candidate for significant office for which the specter of the ABM smear machine is a serious consideration; they seriously wonder if it’s worth the damage their families will take at the hands of the droogs that take ABM’s lies seriously. 

Minnesota voters deserve better, and even in politics the truth matters. Public officials and candidates put their lives and careers on hold to step forward and serve the people of Minnesota. Attack their ideas, fair enough; but build a messaging machine to insult them personally?

Now, let’s depart for a moment from Lucking and Martin who, let’s be honest, are just sled dogs pulling the way their musher tells them to. 

Who lets them get away with it?

The media brahmins in the editorial suites at 425 Porland, 5th and Cedar and 7th and Cedar like to wax rhapsodic about the need for civility, an informed electorate, and a better brand of politics – usually intoned while looking down their aquiline noses at (conservative) talk radio. 

And conservatives – most of talk radio and their alternative media included – almost invariably take the high road.  And the closer you get to the seats of conservative power, the less likely you are to see anyone getting their hands dirty. 

Ken Martin, Carrie Lucking and “Governor” Dayton getting ready for a meeting with Alida Messinger.

But ABM’s toxic sleaze campaign is paid for by Mark Dayton’s ex-wife and the group lavishly funded by his biggest supporters –  the unions and liberal plutocrats – and run by the significant other (girlfriend or wife – Lucking is cagey on her domestic specifics) of “Governor” Dayton’s Chief of Staff. 

And you will find not a f****ng word about it in the Twin Cities media

Not one word.

Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib, Bill Salisbury at the PiPress, the entire “Capitol Stenography Press Corps”, everyone is hands-off ABM.  TheMinnPost?  Hell, that’s turned into another DFL PR firm.

Nobody prodded the coziness of the relationship – one might call it “chain of command” – between Dayton’s office and the attack-PR firm his ex-wife pays his chief of staff’s girlfriend/wife/whatever to run. 

It’s another example of the media abdicating what some used to call its “responsibility”.

Can You Imagine…

…what would happen if a Republican tweeted this:
20130625-113012.jpg

It’s Ryan Winkler, the Eddie Haskell of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

And if he were a Republican, you can be sure that the Strib, the City Pages and the rest of the Twin Cities media would be giving him a rhetorical proctological exam.

UPDATE:  Mirabile Dictu, Rupar did write about it.

Winkler twote Rupar:

@atrupar I did not understand “Uncle Tom” as a racist term, and there seems to be some debate about it. I do apologize for it, however.

– Ryan Winkler (@RepRyanWinkler) June 25, 2013

He didn’t understand it was a racist term?

I’ll just let that one sit there on its own.

Our Racist Alternative Media

A comment I got off-line from a neighbor got me thinking a little more about (I puke a little in my mouth to say it) last week’s bizarre little Nick Coleman blog post.

I focused on his fabrication of facts in re the cancellation of an open carry event scheduled in conjunction with the “Open Streets” event in Minneapolis this past weekend.  Coleman – the current “Executive Editor” of lefty videoblog “The Uptake” – essentially created a story from pure vapor; in the original latin, I believe the term was “de anus“. 

But there was another aspect to the story that should draw even more brickbats – including from “Uptake” readers and putative “progressives” that actually think about what their “movement” says and how they say it.

Here’s Coleman from his piece last week – starting with his ofay classist jape:

Imagine how reassured you would feel when hundreds of bearded guys from Andover and Elko show up in North Minneapolis or the Summit-University area of St Paul (“Open Streets” events will take place in both of those communities later this summer) with Bushmasters and Brownings slung over their shoulders or Glocks and Rugers hanging from their paunches.

That Minneapolis and Saint Paul are full of vapid Prius-driving government-employed Saint Olaf grads with infinite senses of social entitlement and who’ve never had to confront the notion that there are people out there who disagree with and live life differently than you, in ways other than skin color and sexual orientation isn’t up for debate. 

But here’s the interesting bit:

Here’s a neat mental exercise: Try to imagine hundreds of inner-city residents carrying weapons at the Andover Family Fun Fest, July 13. Just because they can.

Now, as I noted last week, to Coleman – as dork-fingered and inarticulate a Studs Terkel-wannabe as has ever occupied space in a newsroom – “inner city” means “black, Latino and Asian”.  And maybe not Asian. 

And so I’d love to know what Coleman had in mind when he imagined “hundreds of inner city residents” with guns out in the suburbs. 

Is he envisioning an apples-to-apples comparison – hundreds of black, latino and asian citizens over the age of 21 with carry permits and clean criminal records and passed training classes on their resumes?  People among the 140,000 Minnesotans with valid carry permits (the application doesn’t collect ethnic data) who are several orders of magnitude less likely to commit any crime than the general public? 

People like the ones I ran into at Gander Mountain at their Carry event over the winter?   Responsible, adult citizens exercising their legal right to own and carry firearms (once deemed suitably responsible under this state’s legal code) who happened to be black, Latino or Asian?  People that I – who have lived in the Midway for 25 years, but am apparently too Anglo-Scandinavian to qualify as “inner city” – would have no qualms mingling with, armed or not, because they’re just like me – a rigorously law-abiding citizen?

Or is Coleman – grandée and resident-for-life of leafy, lily-whiter-than-Lakeville neighborhoods like Tangletown and Crocus Hill – picturing do-rag-clad teenage thug wannabees, Los Reyes with face tattoos and Hmong tough guys in “rice rocket” Honda Civics – the cliche du jour “inner city” caricature among our media’s pallid chanting classes?

If it’s the former, then I have to ask Coleman; do you think a carry permittee who happens to be black or latino is a better, more reliable citizen than your “paunchy, bearded” honky walking cliches?  Do you have any statistics to bear that out?  (Because the real stats show they’re exactly identical).

If it’s the latter, I have to ask The Uptake; do you accept this form of racism from your staff?  Especially when you layer it atop the giggly homophobia that’s been Coleman’s stock in trade for his entire career?

Because if Bradlee Dean or Jason Lewis or Michelle Fishbach had made a jape about “inner city” residents, or about how living on a submarine can turn people gay because “You have the hot cot thing going on there”, you’d be baying at the moon. 

I know, I know.  If moral consistency were a “progressive” value, “MoveOn” and Sandra Fluke would never exist as media figures, and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” would be utterly silent.  Asking is a purely academic exercise.

Sturdevant And “Battered State Syndrome”

Lori Sturdevant has a mission.

The DFL – and the PR machine that includes bodies as inseparably-”diverse” as the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, the Joyce-Foundation-funded MinnPost and theStribeditorial board (which has close links to all three of the above) worked tirelessly to try to make Minnesota “Happy to Pay for a Better” state. 

The dim and querulous gave them the Legislature and Governor they dreamed about and paid for. 

But the parts of this state that actually produce the wealth that Our Better Government needs to siphon (and siphon, and siphon some more) are showing signs that they’ve had enough.  That the snapping sound that the fat, lazy, over-entitled riders upon the camel of state enterprise have been hearing is the sound of camel vertebrae giving up the ghost.

And Sturdevant’s apparent mission is to try to shame the camel for all that wobbling.

Our Innumerate Overlords – Sturdevant’s old club-mate Nick Coleman once famously declared that journos were better than bloggers because they “know stuff”, by dint of having written about “stuff” down the long, lonely, ink-smeared decades. 

Sturdevant, like Coleman, continuously show what a low bar “stuff” turns out to be, when it comes to the realities of business and economics:

The numbers always seemed screwy to me. If congressional action allowing all states to apply their sales taxes to online purchases would net Minnesota a cool $400 million a year, as the state Revenue Department keeps saying, why was the new “Amazon tax” only slated to bring in about $5 million per year?

Because – as anyone who followed the Vikings Stadium funding fiasco, or the course of any sort of cigarette or sin tax in history, can tell you – the figures that bureaucrats give when they’re trying to sell a tax are always higher than what you actually get.  Because people and companies modify their behavior, their purchasing, their lives if need be to try, try, try to keep more of their hard-earned income and profits. 

Oh, of course Sturdevant won’t report it that way:

The answer became obvious last week. Amazon unkindly cut off its Minnesota-based advertising affiliates with a bare two weeks’ notice to avoid collecting sales tax on Minnesota purchases starting July 1.

Right. 

And why would they do that?

Two possible reasons:

  1. Because acting as an unpaid tax collector, in addition to shaving money off their own top line, hits their bottom line as well; it involves building systems and hiring people to not only do the collecting, but to handle dealing with the inevitable squabbles over collections with the state governments involved.  As only a small minority of states tax revenues on online sales, it’s just not worth it.
  2. They’re big nasty ugly meanies.

Sturdevant wants the Strib’s readers – which is a synomym for “low information voters”, these days – to pick “2″.  Emphasis added:

The state’s tax collectors allowed that they were not surprised. They’d been expecting as much from Amazon, said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans. It’s what the tax dodger, er, online retailer has done in at least seven other states. Hence the measly forecast for tax collections from online sellers with Minnesota affiliates.

And there you go; the left’s most noxious conceit; that productivty and its consequences – profit – belongs to government first and foremost; that trying to keep more of it for yourself, having done all the actual work to produce it and all, is a thoughtcrime. 

To avoid having to deal with the administrative and fiscal overburden, not to mention lending legitimacy to a tax that may well be unconstitutional, isn’t good business; it’s a moral offense.  Or so Sturdevant will keep chanting.

And chanting:

(The official name for the new sales tax provision is “affiliate nexis.” It’s not a new tax, but a new requirement that when an online seller has a Minnesota affiliate, the tax on its Minnesota sales must be collected by the seller at the time of purchase, rather than being reported and paid later by the consumer — as all consumers faithfully and fully do every year, right?)

Dunno, Lori.  Do you?

“Atlas!  Knock Off All That Damn Shrugging!” – Up next, an irony that provokes a chuckle every time I see it, which is every time Sturdevant writes about the relationship between government and the people who pay for it, which is every other column; she rails against choice – when it’s The People doing the chosing:

The Revenue Department had been urging enactment of the Amazon tax since DFLer Mark Dayton became governor, even though it was known to be tricky to forecast and fairly easy to dodge.

Truth be told, much the same can be said of most of the $1 billion or so in annual tax increases enacted by the 2013 Legislature.

And after thirty-odd years, Sturdevant still hasn’t figured it out; when you build a spending plan based on making other people - “the rich”, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, the “haves” – pay for your stuff, those other people might just get other ideas. 

Ms. Sturdevant?  Your Institutional Hypocrisy Is Showing – Sturdevant avers that there might be some PR issues with the DFL’s / Alida Messinger’s (pardon the redundancy) “Happy To Make Other People Pay For Our Minnesota” plan: 

For example, the howl that went up from the warehouse industry about a sales tax that will start applying next April to its business-to-business transactions was accompanied by credible threats that warehouses would move to Hudson, Wis.

Right.

Even before the session ended, tax planning seminars popped up offering to coach well-heeled Minnesotans about ducking the new 9.85 percent income tax rate…Then there’s the $1.60-per-pack boost in the cigarette tax [which] might be the easiest to dodge of all. Cigarette sellers just across the Minnesota state lines — and on Minnesota’s Native American lands — can prepare for land-office business after July 1, when Minnesota smokes will become the most expensive in the region…The kind that involves spending six months and a day in no-income-tax Florida? That’s evidently tolerated.

And yep.

Was there another tax “for a better Minnesota” that elicited a howl of protest from a Minnesota institution?  One that threatened to put a 5.5%-to-6.75+% ding in an industrly that’s already shrinking by several points a year? 

One that pays Sturdevant’s paycheck, maybe?

You’ll search Sturdevant’s column in vain for any sign that she’s called her bosses “tax evaders” for having acted in their own enlightened fiscal self-interest.  

Guess the Strib – whose editorial board and occasionally newsroom shilled tirelessly for DFL candidates – doesn’t want A Better Minnesota, unless someone else is paying for it either. 

Keep that in mind in the next section.

She’s Head-Slappingly Ignorant Of Economics And Business – But I’ll Bet She’s Got History Down Cold! – Sturdevant next wraps herself in the flag.

I don’t think she knows it’s the Soviet flag:

…I’ve observed that in the rest of Minnesota, tax avoidance within “perfectly legal” parameters is socially acceptable behavior — so much so that people brag about it to their friends. Those who engage in it count themselves as patriots, and by today’s lights, they may well be. But they don’t think like the fellows in 1776 who pledged to their new venture “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Further proof – were any needed – that the Strib not only caters to low-information voters; they’re trying to create more of them.

The American Revolution was about much more than taxes! It was about defining a new relationship between the Individual and Government – one where the Individual and the fruits of their labor had worth, merit and standing every bit as important as that of government’s; one where government was afree association of equals, not a petty noble demanding tribute of cringing vassals. 

And that whole “STOP FUSSING WITH YOUR SELF-INTEREST, KNAVE!” thing is something you yell at someone you want to have acting like a cringing vassal.

(Speaking of history, Sturdevant adds “In 1933, Farmer-Labor Gov. Floyd B. Olson [Oh, Lord, here we go again - Ed.] made Minnesota a tax outlier. He pushed through a Depression-shocked Legislature the state’s first income tax, one of the few in the country. It was based on ability to pay and dedicated to education, which was struggling just then”.  Does Sturdevant wonder why Minnesota continued to lag the national economy for the next thirty years, until the “Minnesota Miracle?”  No?)

This Batter Doesn’t Go On Fish – No, Sturdevant casts her lot with George III, and the generations of petty self-appointed nobles that have spent the past five decades trying to roll back the relationship our founders fought to create:

They don’t even think about taxes in the way that their parents and grandparents did, economist Stinson noted.

“People who lived through the Depression knew that bad things could happen to good people. They knew that government is necessary when that happens,” he said recently.

Cry us a river.

The state had the whole “help people when times are tough” thing licked by the mid-seventies.  Everything government could do that it should be doing was being paid for, with plenty left over, before Ronald Reagan took office. 

No, the current growth in Minnesota’s spending – and the DFL’s tax and spend orgy – has nothing to do cushioning good people from Bad Things.  

  • It’s about making sure government employee union members can retire at 55 – even if the rest of us have to work ’til we’re 70 to pay for it.
  • It’s about giving billions of dollars to billionaires, to pay for other peoples’ entertainment.
  • It’s about making the parts of this state that work hard, save their money, and pay their bills pay for the parts of this state that don’t. 
  • It’s about paying for an “education” system that educates less, abjectly fails vast swathes of our state society (although it mostly fails black and brown kids who don’t look like the editorial board’s kids, so that gets politely ignored), indoctrinates more, and more and more seems to act as a money-laundering mechanism for the teachers union and Big Administration.
  • It’s about paying chits back to the people who paid for the DFL takeover in Saint Paul. 
  • It’s about enabling the continuing abuse of the state’s productive class.  Battered Spouse Syndrome depends on the victim knuckling under not only to abuse, but to the emotional manipulation that make it possible and keep going on.

In a state where the media is arrogantly and completely in the bag for the Tax and Spend party, where the big institutions are all in bed with and get paid by the Taxers and the Spenders, where elections themselves look to any intelligent person to be rigged to keep the Taxers and Spenders in power, how else are those who actually produce supposed to register their opposition?

With our feet – figuratively, and sometimes literally.

Like any other battered spouse, the only way to end the abuse is for the victims to realize that they have to break it off, and keep it broken off, no matter how hard they berate, belittle and attack you. 

No means no, Lori.

Nick Coleman: Same As It Ever Was

Anyone remember this classic?

So, how is it that nakedly partisan bloggers who make things up left and right are gaining street cred while the mainstream media, which spend a lot of time criticizing themselves, are under attack?

Or this one?

“Bloggers don’t know about anything that happened before they sat down to share their every thought with the moon. Like graffiti artists, they tag the public square.”

If you’ve been blogging in Minnesota any time at all, you know these quotes.

They’re from Nick Coleman, in his classic column “Blogged Down In Web Fantasy”, from 2004, in which he declared his sloppy brand of war on the Twin Cities bloggers (“Buh-LAW-gurs”, as he memorably pronounced the word on his unlamented radio show) that were starting to chip away at the sand castle he and his fellow “ink stained wretches” lived in.  The Strib removed the column from their website years ago, but its legacy lives on, in local blogger and national journalism circles.   In it, Coleman claimed that card-carrying journalists like himself were better than bloggers because they’d spent years covering the news, as opposed to bloggers, who merely work for decades and raise families and pay taxes and stuff.   Journalists know the rules and operate with accountability, he said (amid a column attacking someone he never did actually name, which was a dodge of accountability and against the rules for “journalists”).

This was when Nick Coleman was riding high – when he had a three-times-a-week column at the Strib for well into six figures, and a morning show at the local leftytalk station…

…where he indulged a curious predilection for crudely sexualizing people who dared to disagree with him (Go ahead – count the gay jokes in the link.  Only liberals on a liberal station can get away with that much homophobia).

Well, in The Boss’ immortal words, we’re still here and he’s all gone.  From the Strib and AM950 (which I’m told is still on the air, not that anyone cares), at least.  I’m not indulging in schadenfreud, here; I don’t believe in Karma, but what goes around comes around. 

But old journos never die – they just get jobs with left-leaning non-profits.

And they start blogs.   In which they do…

…well, pretty much exactly what Nick Coleman warned us about nine years ago.

The State He’s In – Nick popped up on the radar again.  After a stint writing propaganda for a think tank in Saint Cloud, a couple of college classes (in which a fellow student noted he described himself as a “recovering journalist”) and I-really-honestly-don’t-care-what-else, Coleman resurfaced as the “Executive Editor” of “The Uptake”, a videoblog financed by liberals with deep pockets; think a slightly-downmarket MinnPost with more video and less Brian Lambert.

There, he roams the same halls he used to roam.  And he gets positive reinforcement from other lefties:

That’s Coleman, in the jaunty racing cap. With (from L) Doug Grow (from the Joyce Foundation-supported MinnPost), Jane Kay, some minion, and Rep. Heather Martens (DFL-66A).

And he’s got a blog.  And he still knows stuff…

…about crudely sexualizing his opponents with all the grace of an eighth-grade locker room bully.

As to getting a story right, as opposed to just making things up?  Not so much.

Exhibit A:  The piece he wrote about the open carry activists canceling their get-together at “Open Streets” (we wrote about it this morning).

Remember:  He’s A Professional – I’ll add red emphasis to the frequent, dork-fingered sexualizations just to show how very, very juvenile the old duffer is.  Go ahead.  Scan it. 

The gun-slinging flashers who threatened to bring their guns to town and parade them around openly in Minneapolis and St. Paul have put their warm guns back in their happy pockets and backed down, running away at the first signs of gun-control Mommas and urban bicycling activists.

As someone said on my Facebook page: “Buncha candy asses!”

To be fair, “someone on my Facebook page” is no worse a level of sourcing than Coleman ever did during his “official columnist” career. 

And as we discussed this morning, the story had nothing – bupkesto do with “gun control Mommas and bike activists”.  Neither of them ever turned up in the decision.  Second Amendment human rights activists mix it up with the usual “gun control mommas” constantly, and win the debate – emphasis on the term “debate” – every single time.  Because the law, the Constitution, the facts and morality itself are on our side.

There are two absolute, incontrovertible facts to keep in mind:

  • It’s the threats, Stupid:  MN-RKBA – Minnesotans for the Right to Keep And Bear Arms – cancelled their Open Carry gathering entirely due to the threats of violence.  Legal firearms carriers know it’s best to avoid danger.  That’s what they did.  Period.  There was no more to it. 
  • Coleman is lying: He’s trying to help his buddies in the gun-grab movement (see the cozy little group hug photo above) squeedge a victory out of a year where they couldn’t exploit a mass-shooting into a political win at an all-liberal Minnesota state Capitol.  This is the closest they’ve come to one; Coleman is trying, in his ham-fisted way, not to waste the crisis. 

Let me re-emphasize this:  Coleman, and the dim bulb Jane Kay and habitual liar Rep. Heather Martens, are doing the end-zone happy dance over the non-news non-occurrence of a non-event.   

That’s it.  That’s their “victory”, the only one they had, even in a state run entirely by liberals.  For now.

That’s just pathetic.

Insert The Usual Boilerplate – Coleman lays out the scenario.  Sort of:

The story started Monday when a gun-owners group used its Facebook page to invite members to attend the first of this summer’s “Open Streets” events this coming Sunday in South Minneapolis. Although “attend” doesn’t quite cover it: The gun owners specifically were encouraged to bring their weapons and to flash them in public, carrying them openly for the benefit of all those in attendance at “Open Streets,” an ongoing series of good-humored street fairs promoting bicycling and pedestrian rights.

And – Coleman omits – the various virtues of neighborliness.  Second Amendment supporters have been doing events like this for years, most notably our “Open Carry Picnics” a few years back at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, where dozens of regular Minnesotans would gather, eat, talk with their neighbors – many with their legal firearms in plain view. 

If you heard about them, it wasn’t in the news.  The only thing that ever happened was a good time.  In the couple such events I attended (sans visble firearm; that wouldn’t be my style, even if I did own a gun and have a carry permit), I remember one person – white, upper-middle-class, female, oozing “Carlton College” attitude from every manicured pore – running to the park police and demanding mass arrests, and being politely rebuffed because we were doing something legal, in a legal manner. 

He Doesn’t Know Stuff!  – Coleman:

This Sunday’s kickoff event is scheduled for a 20-block stretch of Lyndale Ave. South, one of the south side’s gun-plagued corridors.

And there’s the conceit the left keeps trying – and with the dimmer members of our media and political class, succeeding – at passing off; the idea that guns are the problem.  That there’s a “plague” of guns prowling Lyndale from the Twenties through the Fifties, randomly picking off innocent passersby and kids doing homework in their living rooms.

It’s untrue, of course; we have a plague of people who use guns to enforce their gangs’ rules, protect their (illegal) business’ turf from competition, take out revenge for various slights (in a manner our modern urban culture glorifies), with guns.

Not a one of them has a carry permit.  Not a one of them passed a background check, taken the training course, or bought their firearms legally. 

Maybe Coleman doesn’t know the distinction.  Or maybe he, like the anti-gun groups with whom his “Uptake” shares funders, really really wants the distinction to be blurred. 

If it’s the former, he’s wrong.  If it’s the latter, he’s lying. 

Again.

The Original Classist Gangsta – Coleman – the child of a highly prominent legislator, the stepchild of a prominent publisher – loves to try to pound the outlines of his childhood into the rough-and-tumble Irish-Catholic-In-America myth.  He’s spent a career trying to portray himself as a Studs Terkel “Everyman with a Typewriter” type street journo. 

It’s a crock, of course; the last we checked, Coleman lived in a tony part of Saint Paul, near Grand and Summit, a leafy neighborhood dotted with private colleges and tudor homes.  And more power to him!

But watch Coleman wrap himself in the “urban activist warrior” flag:

 For some reason, the promise/threat of suburban gun flashersbrandishing their weapons along the avenue did not have a reassuring effect on the benighted city dwellers who prefer fewer guns, not more, on their streets.

(“Hey!  We don’t vote on civil rights!” Remember that from the gay marriage debate?)

A quick look at the city’s “shot spotter” maps, in addition to showing an alarming number of recorded gun shots on the city’s North Side (dozens each week), shows that there have been a couple dozen shots fired on the streets in the Lyndale-Hennepin area in the past two months.

Yep.  Now – can Coleman show us that any of them were fired by law-abiding citizens, much less carry permittees?

Of course not. 

Now, it’s time for some classism!:

Imagine how reassured you would feel when hundreds of bearded guys from Andover and Elko show up in North Minneapolis or the Summit-University area of St Paul (“Open Streets” events will take place in both of those communities later this summer) with Bushmasters and Brownings slung over their shoulders or Glocks and Rugers hanging from their paunches.

Condescension for People Not Like Nick is the main color in Coleman’s palette.  That and junior-high pseudo-sexual japery.

It’s also part and parcel of the most cancerous trait of the Left; the battle isn’t ideas versus ideas, or even people vs. people.  The battle they fight is Classes against Classes.  And they define the classes. 

At the very least, it’s a mark of intellectual laziness.  At the worst, it’s a cancer that’s killed millions in the last 100 years.

But let’s run with the thought; what if hundreds of guys from Elko and Andover and Forest Lake – some bearded and paunchy, some elderly and flinty, some young and smokin’ hot, but every last one of them a carry permittee with the legal right to carry a firearm – did show up at the festivals?

What would happen?

The smart money says “Not a damn thing” – other than anti-gunners acting out on their paranoia. 

Thought Experiments for The Unthinking – But since Nick’s in a mood to play hypotheticals, let’s come out and play, shall we?

Here’s a neat mental exercise: Try to imagine hundreds of inner-city residents carrying weapons at the Andover Family Fun Fest, July 13. Just because they can.

Nick, if you’re reading this;  let’s do indeed!

I’ll take you up on your challenge!  Let’s you and I get “hundreds” of “inner city residents” (by which I assume you mean “black people”, as opposed to “family guys who live in Saint Paul’s Midway”, like me), with legal carry permits, just like you had, and just like I may hypothetically have – complete with objective proof that they are law-abiding citizens that the permit conveys – and trek out to Andover on July 13!

And let’s see what happens!

Just think, Nick:  you and me can watch the hijinx unfold!

What do you suppose is going to happen?

Nothing.  Nothing is going to happen.  Oh, some ninny may run to a cop, who’ll investigate, see the “inner city resident” is a regular schlemiel with a carry permit, and gently tell the complainant to relax.   Just like happens with legitimate carriers all over the state or, more usually, doesn’t happen. 

More likely?  The “inner city” – which I suppose does mean “black” or “Latino” or “H’mong”  in Coleman’s mind – carry permittee will tell us to get tied; they have a live to live.

And they’ll be right. 

But let’s do get the ball rolling on this, Mr. Coleman. 

Heres’s How You Tell A Hack With A “Journalist” Badge He Got From A Box Of Cracker Jacks – Next, Coleman drops any pretense of “journalism” that may have evaded extinction, and openly parrots his whiny pals in the gun-grabber movement; I added emphasis to the really demented stuff:

Openly carrying firearms inside the Minnesota Capitol this winter helped gun-law opponents shoot down gun-safety legislation.

Coleman is regurgitating Heather Martens’ delusion that the law-abiding carry permittees who had notified Capitol security of their intent to carry, and visibly wore their legal, permitted firearms into the hearings, were doing it to “intimidate” the legislators.

It’s bullshit, of course.  It was a demonstration of “civil obedience” – showing the legislators that the law-abiding gun owner isn’t the cartoon that ghouls like Jane Kay and Nick Coleman and the City Pages portray to their audiences.  We’re regular schlubs who work day jobs and raise kids, just like everyone else.  And we vote. 

And it worked. 

But Coleman isn’t going to let facts get in his way:

But the tactic backfired this time. Maybe you can intimidate people in the Capitol, but not in the cycling community. Bicyclists wee outraged and told the gunslingers to stay away.

They wavered. Then they cracked. Finally, they called off the whole thing when the Gun Control Mommas stood up to them.

Let me put this as bluntly as it needs to be put:  Coleman is lying.

The “Gun Control Mommas” – “Moms Want Action”, Jane Kay’s toxic little astroturf group with fewer members than “the Uptake” has paid staff – had nothing to do with the cancellation. 

Neither did Coleman’s mythical “cycling community” (Note, Nick:  I’m part of the “cycling community”.  There was no memo). 

Coleman is making things up.  He’s taking correlations (a memo from the impotent Jane Kay, facebook proclamations from wannabe “biking community” spokesbots) and making up a causation.

He’s lying. 

The Gun Flashers ran for cover. By Thursday, the skedaddling gunsters canceled their Gun Wiggle, blaming the liberal media, bicycle punks and the “intolerance” of the mamas who opposed the plan they had clearly hoped would get them some media time and notoriety. Their plan worked, but not the way they hoped. The guns blew up in their faces.

It’s the closest the gun-grabber “movement” – really a collection of astroturf checkbook advocacy groups – have come to a victory in recent years.  And they’re jumping up and down like toddlers that just made a good pants. 

Candy asses.

 That’s big talk, coming from Nick Coleman, a nakedly (ew) partisan blogger who as we’ve shown makes things up left and right to gain “street cred”; a man who knows nothing about anything he wasn’t told by other people in his vanishingly tiny social circle, but who sat down to share his every thought with the moon. Like a grafitti artist holding a spray paint can between his knees, he’s tagging the public square, and doing it very, very badly. 

A man who’ll never answer for any of his lies and distortions because he’s never had to; he’s used and abused the “journalist/columnist’s” factual “get out of jail free” card while enjoying the protection of the Big Institutional Media system his entire career, and who now – let’s be honest – gets paid to parrot the lies he’s told to parrot. 

Same as he ever was.  Just much, much smaller.

UPDATE:  I didn’t even catch all of Coleman’s lies.  Attorney David Gross – one of the legal workhorses of the Second Amendment movement in Minnesota – left a comment which points out even more perfidy. 

One of many quotes worth reading (hence you should read the whole thing):

…Coleman was lying some more, as I read the published material, when he claimed that the Open Streets sponsors were against what Shelley had planned. I guess he can’t help himself from not letting the facts get in his way.
“Priem said Open Street organizers will not ask the gun owners not to attend. ‘Everyone is welcome at Open Streets,’ she said.”

Keep ‘em coming.

Just Like Old Times

How long has it been since I, or any Twin Cities conservative blogger, lit up a Nick Coleman column?

Seems like forever. 

Fisking Nick “I Know Stuff” Coleman used to be to Twin Cities blogging what bread was a a meal; a staple.  But since Nick’s exit from the Strib, he’s been pretty much out of sight.

No more. 

Tune in at noon.

Our Paranoid, Irrational, Hysterical Neighbors

The left, when it goes on its occasional jag of unearned intellectual superiority, is given to referring to itself as the “Reality-Based” community – as opposed to the conservative “Faith-Based” notion, which the left tends to regard as a quirk at least, a dangerous belief in superstition at worst.

Which gives me a chuckle when I read things like  this op-ed in the Strib from one Melissa Schulte:

Sally asks Suzy over for a play date. Suzy’s mother learns through neighborhood gossip that Sally’s family recently adopted a man-eating Bengal tiger named “Roscoe.”

The foreshadowing could have been more hamhanded, to be fair; she could have named the “tiger” “Pakinheet”. 

Ignoring the advice from animal experts, Sally’s parents have decided not to enroll the family in tiger training due to their busy schedules.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Instead of keeping this known killer in a cage, the family lets it roam freely in the house. …The reason Sally’s parents decided to adopt Roscoe is for protection. They believe that simply owning an untrained beast will ward off any human predators who consider entering the house. Even though they live in a quiet and peaceful neighborhood, they feel one can never be too safe.

In Melissa Schulte’s special little world (where “peaceful neighborhoods” are immune to violent crime, naturally), a firearm is a carnivorous animal with intelligence and appetites of its own

An hour into the play date, the phone rings at Suzy’s house. Her parents answer to the sound of sobbing on the other end. It seems the warnings about Roscoe just fueled Suzy’s curiosity, and she could not resist a look at the beast.

Look – if you own  – a gun, keep it as secure as you need to given  your circumstances.  That’s just common sense.  

Nobody wants to get that call – or be responsible for it. 

But this post isn’t about gun safety.  It’s about how very badly-informed our neighbors are.  Schulte:

Would you believe that nearly 40 percent of American households have a Roscoe in their midst?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Roscoes,” otherwise known as guns [Ms. Schulte; the American Academy of Ham-fisted Symbolism has revoked your card from over-use - Ed], cause twice as many deaths in young people as does cancer, five times as many as heart disease and 15 times as many as infections.

Which means the American Academy of Pediatrics needs to have its figures audited.  The CDC puts the number around 70 children a year killed by firearm accidents.  Every one was a tragedy, every one could have been avoided – but it’s a tiny fraction of the number killed every year in the swimming pools that “Suzy” swims in, the car that “Suzy’s” parents drive or even from falling off ladders and playground equipment.

Despite the shocking statistics showing that household firearms are infinitely more dangerous to the people inside the home than any outside threat, gun owners still become indignant when the government attempts to moderate their Second Amendment rights.

Actually, we get indignant when newspapers like the Strib broadcast twaddle like the above paragraph without any check.  It is quite simply a lie, devolved from a 1993 study media wrenched out of context, and that in fact showed that provided nobody in the house is an alcoholic, drug addict, or has a criminal record, a firearm is 400 times more likely to deter a crime than hurt someone unjustifiably.

THAT makes us indignant.

Many gun advocates justify their stance by saying the problem is not the gun; the issue is the irresponsible gun owners who leave weapons available to children.

However, without strict laws as to how firearms should be stored in the home, most guns are as unpredictable in their potential to kill as a man-eating animal.

Remember – the left calls the right “superstitious” and “Irrational”. 

More tomorrow.

Their Assignment

I got this email from a friend of mine who works in a sector that interacts closely with government:

Earlier this year staff members of a Minnesota Congressional Delegation met with workers of a state agency to discuss the sequester. They asked the gathered workers to relate stories of how the sequester was hurting Minnesotans. None of the gathered workers could think of any immediate problems but assured the delegation that they would send along anything they could.

Now lo and behold this story in the Strib.

Mitch, perhaps someone will take up the mantle of “the sequester hurt very few.”

And oh, the tidings of woe the Strib “found”. I’ll let you read it on your own.

Now, I have no hard evidence on which to base my conclusion; just a couple of observations.

First: Journalists rarely stumble upon their own stories. The myth of the old school gumshoe reporter hanging around city hall or the Capitol looking for isolated threads of a story to start pulling does exist – largely in places with Republican politicians. But they get stories fed to them, too, by special interests.

So why did theStribfind tales of sequestration horror that nobody else could find? Because somebody – meaning “some group or organization that either lives off of government, or works to further the politics of those who do” – fed them the story.

Nope, no evidence of that. But I’d bet money.

Two Minnesotas

As I’ve noted a few times in this space, the cultural left, regionally and nationally, is in a panic over the news that the libertarian-conservative Koch Brotehrs are pondering buying some newspapers, including the Tribune Group. 

Last week in the MinnPost – a web publication formed by a former Strib publisher which serves largely as an afterparty for an array of former Strib, PiPress and City Pages writers – Eric Black has a story on the potential Koch purchase of theStrib, told in a tone that reminded me of a scary story a parent might tell a fussy toddler to keep them from jumping out of bed:

Businessman Mike Sweeney, currently serving as chairman of the Star Tribune, says it’s the best gig he’s ever had. He says that covering government in a one-party state presents special challenges to a newspaper. He asserts that the paper is living down its old “Red Star” reputation. And he completely rejects the popular canard that the paper’s economic interest in the new Vikings stadium influences its coverage.

Leave aside the patent balderdash of the Vikings reference; it remained to regional conservative blogs to show the gaping holes in the revenue plan for which theStribwas a constant cheerleader. 

I’m more interested in the “Red Star” bit.  Black goes into no details – but his wording implies that Sweeney indicated that there was a “Red Star” reputation to “live down”?

That would be a big admission, coming from a paper whose party line for forty years has been that they are they objective center, and it’s their critics who are the extremists.

It might have been an interesting subject for inquiry, depending on who attended the conversation – but as Black notes…:

 

In an interview with Larry Jacobs at the Humphrey School Tuesday…

…only our media and academic Brahmin “elites” are ever invited to that conversation.

Which may be why the conversation always reaches the same conclusion.

Anyway, on to the chase:

Oh, and Sweeney said that when the current ownership wants to sell the paper – a time that is in the foreseeable future – if the only willing buyers are the Koch brothers, then such a sale could happen.

 Cue the scary music.

The “K” word has been uttered. 

The question arose on a question from the audience, undoubtedly inspired by some recent suggestions that the Kochs might experiment with buying newspapers.

 

“The time is coming when Wayzata Investment Partners [the partnership that owns the biggest share of the Strib] will want to sell. I spent time on it today,” he said. The owners are certainly interested in what price their property will fetch, but they are also mindful that to a city like Minneapolis, a newspaper like the Strib is a “community asset.”

 

“We also have a special role in the community,” Sweeney said. He said “community asset” more than once. I assume that’s supposed to imply that owners would allow certain non-financial considerations to enter their thinking.

 

His attempt to imply what he wasn’t willing to say caused Jacobs to tell him that he was leaving the possibility of a Koch purchase “up in the air.” So Sweeney tried to leave it at this: When the owners are ready to sell, if the only offer they get comes from the Koch Brothers, “it could happen.”

 

You can take that how you choose. My best guess is that that’s something of a warning to other potential buyers not to put the current accidental owners in that position.

There’s so much to talk about in those five grafs:

What Community? – Sweeney asserts a statement that is itself a question that the entire regional left begs; the Strib is an asset to the community. 

The obvious response is - no, it’s not, it’s a business, albeit one that’s enjoyed a few decades as the senior partner in a duopoly in a dying industry – someone needs to ask the question “so what part of the paper does Sweeney consider to be the “community asset?”". 

So what’s the asset?:  Is it the existence of a newspaper, period?  Well, a Koch Brothers purchase would probably put that existence on firmer ground, even if they didn’t change a single thing.  And if, as seems likely, they do as Fox News did – run a straight news operation with an overtly conservative editorial board and columnist slate, more or less exactly the opposite of the Strib we’ve known this past fifty years – then voila, there’d be no change!

But it’s not the existence of a newspaper that matters to them; it’s the existence of a center-left newspaper with an editorial board and columnist bullpent  and newsroom culture that carries the water for the soft-left DFL establishment in this state, that’s the important part.   That is the only thing threatened by a hypothetical Koch takeover – in the same way that Abraham Lincoln’s head was the only thing John Wilkes Booth ruined in the production at the Ford Theater.

A Community Let Down:  No surprise here; I think that if the Strib wants to claim to be a “community asset”, it has a tough hill to climb. 

But let’s take Sweeney and Black at their words; let’s say the Strib is a community benefit. 

So what?

It’s a business.  Romantic (and wrong) notions that the Strib ever served a higher purpose are subject to all sorts of debates among journalists and news consumers – but Sweeney has a fiduciary responsibility to his investors to get the best return he can.

Freeloaders

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails in re the Wisconsin legislature voting to evict a liberal “watchdog journalism” group from the UW Madison offices they’ve been occupying rent-free.

Doakes:

Journalists are the next favored minority?  So they must continue to receive free rent at the public university?  Or else it’s a huge Republican scandal?

The numbers are not working.  They claim to be operating on a $400,000 budget.  I don’t believe that for one second.  Not with 4 paid “professional staff” and 4 interns, paid.  Even with free rent, utilities, paper and donuts I don’t believe they would meet that budget.  I just don’t believe they are paying themselves low enough salaries to make that number work.   So that tells me there is hidden money funding them in addition to other support, like the free rent, utilities, donuts and paper.That’s the real issue.  The U at Madison, a bastion of liberal nonsense, is funneling taxpayer resources into a Liberal organization by the backdoor.  So lock the door.  Makes sense to me.

This is what responsible adults do when cutting the budget – they throw out the freeloaders.  This group has never heard of that notion because they live in Madison, a responsible-adult-free zone.

Joe Doakes

Joe links to a Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel piece in the Pioneer Press, which sets up the story:

An independent, nonpartisan investigative journalism organization facing expulsion from its offices at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is doing what one would expect from an investigative journalism organization.

“We are mounting an aggressive response,” said Andy Hall, executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Hall was granting interviews Wednesday with media and watchdog journalists and bloggers across the country.

Whenever the media strenuously claims another media organization is “independent and non-partisan”, you may be assured they are not.

The “Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism” is sponsored by George Soros, as well as the liberal Joyce Foundation, which also funds the MinnPost  and lobbying/propaganda shell group “Protect Minnesota”.

And if knowing them by their sponsors doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, then know them by their work:

In 2011, the center broke the story about state Supreme Court Justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley getting into a physical altercation.

The “story” they “broke” turned out to be a gross distortion that the “WCIJ” spun into a political stunt to benefit the Wisconsin Democrat party as they got ready to wage the battle over the legislative and gubernatorial recount.  The WCIJ is no less a bunch of partisan hacks than their fellow Soros project, the late, unlamented Minnesota Independent (and, it’d seem, its up-market replacement the MinnPost).

The freeloading “journalists” should not only be expelled from their publicly-funded digs, they should be perp-walked out while being pelted with rocks and garbage.

MinnPost: Heather Martens’ PR Firm

The MInnPost is an organization I’d very much like to respect. It includes a raft of people I’ve considered good reporters.

But over the course of Minnesota’s gun debate over this past session – brought on by Minnesota DFL legislators launching a raft of authoritarian gun bills, including at least one that called for confiscation of certain firearms – the MInnPost has shown a very crafty bias toward the anti-Second-Amendment crowd. From Erik Black’s series suggesting that the Second Amendment was just too complicated for modern people, to the fawning coverage the entire publication gives Heather Martens (“Executive Director” and one of very, very few actual members of “Protect Minnesota”), down to Doug Grow’s apparently pre-written slime job on Representative Hilstrom’s compromise “good gun bill” during the past session, the MinnPost has supported the orthodox anti-gun line to a fault.

Why is that?

It might be this:

I’m not sure, but a $50,000 grant from the rabidly anti-gun Joyce Foundation might have something to do with it.

No, correlation doesn’t equal causation. The fact that the MinnPost threw all sense of objectivity and journalistic detachment to the wind this past session on the gun issue and getting a nice-sized grant from a group that has bankrolled anti-gun groups around the country for over a decade could be purely a coincidence.  And it’s not like opposing the Second Amendment doesn’t come along with the left-of-center beliefs most of the staff hold. 

But when I read Doug Grow’s “coverage” of a post-session wrapup party for “Protect Minnesota“, the piece had the faint whiff of “PR” to it.

Given the outcome of the legislative session, the tone of Tuesday night’s meeting sponsored by Protect Minnesota was surprising.

Heather Martens, who leads the organization that long has been a force for advocating for stricter gun-control laws, urged the 23 people who attended the North Minneapolis meeting to think about the “successes” that came out of the session.

On first blush, that may seem like a hard thing to do, given that gun-rights organizations got all they wanted: No universal background checks, no limits on magazine capacities, no assault rifle bans.

It’s simple. There were no successes. Heather Martens – who has never, not once, uttered or written an original, non-numeric statement about firearm policy that wasn’t a lie – and her “group” were, er, shot down at every turn.

But “Protect Minnesota” doesn’t exist to convince people. It exists to manipulate the media – and, via them, the people.

 

Confederates! With Guns! Defending Slavery!  

Which may be what led to this next statement by Grow (with emphasis added):

And by the end of session, cowed legislators refused to even have a floor vote on anything resembling major gun-law change.

That’s just wrong.

The legislators weren’t so much “cowed” as organizing behind Deb Hilstrom’s Good Gun Bill (Ortmann’s in the Senate). Half of the House, comprising reps on both sides of the aisle, co-authored her compromise bill.  And when the backroom “negotiations” between the metro DFLers (who were carrying Heather Martens’ water to the point that one, Rep. Alice Hausman, let Heather Martens do her job for her) broke down, the bills were scuppered from the floor by a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and responsible outstate DFLers.

But that doesn’t fit the “big bad NRA!” narrative, does it?

History Is Written By Those With The Printing Presses

Grow carries on his stenography for Martens (emphasis added):

Martens told the group there was victory in the bipartisan support for $1 million to fund a law that requires the state to file data with the feds on those who should be prohibited from owning firearms.

The law requiring the state to file the data was passed in 2009 but was never funded, essentially making it useless.

Will Grow mention that it was a DFL legislature that scuppered that funding? The metrocrat Democrats didn’t want a bipartisan-backed background check to give the impression that it worked better than actual harassment of the law-abiding citizen.

“But Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln…”

Grow feels obliged to list the outcome of the tiny group’s self-therapy session:

The successes:

Phone-banking (more than 1,000 calls to legislators sitting on the fence).

Legislators reported that constituent calls ran at least 50:1 against the DFL’s bills.

Media coverage was complete.

Yeah, the suspense was killing us on that one.

That’s what Heather Martens does – get friendly media coverage. She’s the Larry Jacobs of the gun issue – the one, single, sole person that every Twin Cities “journalist” calls for the left’s take on guns in Minnesota.

We’ll come back to that.

“Wait – That Was Your “Intellectual” Argument?”

One of the other “Successes”, according to Grow:

Finding a “visceral” message, one that appeals to the emotions as well as the intellect.

I got a laugh there.

Emotion is the only message Heather Martens’ group has! Talk with any of her group’s “members”, I dare you. You’ll get a broadside of anger and grief over Sandy Hook (but never, ever Chicago, or any other crime scene where the kids don’t look like the children of NPR executives) – and not even the faintest whiff of an “intellectual” message.

Although, as always, I do invite Heather Martens on the NARN to make that “intellectual” case. I’ve been asking for nine years, now.

You Don’t Do Business Against The Family

As Martens via Grow noted above, one of their “successes” was “complete” media coverage.

Now, there’s no surprise there. Most of the media editors and producers in the Twin Cities support gun control. Other reporters, I suspect, haven’t the depth of knowledge on the issue to know that pretty much everything Heather Martens has ever said on the issue is a lie.

But Doug Grow’s piece – really, his entire history covering Martens for the MinnPost – has been at a level of obsequious fawning that outstrips the rest of the media.

Why?

Well, I’ve got a theory.  And remember – it’s just a theory.  I’ve got nothing but circumstantial evidence to back it up. 

But do you remember way up above, where we pointed out that the MInnPost gets big bucks from the anti-gun Joyce Foundation?

Guess who else is bankrolled – to the tune of “most all of its budget” – by Joyce?

This might not be “conflict of interest” for Grow, in any actionable sense of the term. But I’d think that identifying the fact that both Doug Grow’s and Rep. Martens’ jobs are paid for, in whole or part, by a non-profit supported by liberal plutocrats that is the single major funder of anti-gun organizations might have been worth a mention. 

Again, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

But given the complete abandonment of any sense of balance or concern for fact on the part of the MinnPost in covering the Second Amendment issue – not to mention Grow’s obsequious. fawning, toenail-painting coverage of Martens and her “group” this session -  ”causation” doesn’t seem like a big stretch.

MNGOP: Relax And Let The Experts Do Your Thinking For You!

MPR’s Daily Current – whose Keri Miller is as reliable a PR flak as the DFL has – talked about the upcoming Governor’s race – with a panel of media libs:

After the Friday Roundtable taping wrapped up, Kerri threw one more question to our guests off the air: “Who is emerging as a GOP candidate to challenge Dayton?”

Patricia Lopez: “I don’t even know if that name is out there yet.”

Steve Perry: “The name I keep hearing in sort of an ‘if only’ vein from Republicans is Julie Rosen.”

Lopez: “She has not said ‘no’ and [I heard her give] what sure sounded like a stump speech. She just dropped by the office and I thought, ‘That sure sounded like a stump speech.’”

Brian Bakst: “She would be headed for a primary no matter what, though, because that stadium legislation that she co-sponsored would be a non-sale within the convention.”

Rosen’s generally good, with a few unfortunate traits, most notably her penchant for being among the first to work “across the aisle” – an inevitable last resort when you’re in the minority…

…which she was not, back in 2012, she led a small group of Republicans to ingratiate themselves with Helga Braid Nation without bothering to get any spending concessions from the Governor.

Of course, working with the DFL sans quid pro quo is one of the key criteria on getting the media to accept you…

…temporarily.

I direct you to Berg’s Eleventh Law (“The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected.”) and its various corollaries, especially the McCain Corollary (“If that respected conservative ever develops a chance of getting elected, that “respect” will turn to blind unreasoning hatred overnight”). You may be certain that if Keri Miller and Patricia Lopez are talking up Julie Rosen, that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota has a campaign in the pocket against her, all ready to go.

Perhaps “Julie Rosen: Stadiums for the 1%”.

Lopez – the editor of that notable bellwether for conservatives, the Strib - notes:

Lopez: “Think about how hard it would be for Dayton to run against a moderate, Republican woman. Yikes.”

I’m not saying Rosen might not be an excellent candidate. I’m willing to be persuaded. Seriously.

But the fact that a round table of de facto DFL apparatchiks – Steve Perry, for Stu’s sake – are mutedly humming her praises can’t be a good thing, right off the bat.

Strib: “Here, Sooie Pig; Try Some Lipstick!”

Bill Glahn notes with appropriate incredulity that Governor Messinger Dayton, who has presided over a government that has jacked up taxes, increased the state’s bureaucracy, and eliminated the sunset commission that was intended to prune the glut of superannuated state commissions that put help put the “big” in “Big Minnesota Government”, is now trying to wrap himself in libertarianism:

The Strib:

Republicans have tried to frame Dayton as a big-government, big-­taxing Democrat. But his government streamlining pitch could appeal to independents, who could become a make-or-break factor in his re-election chances. Dayton’s approval among independents has slipped in recent polls.

Glahn, with emphasis added:

I suppose the Star Tribune could be correct. If independents have not been paying attention at all to state government in the last three years, then yes, a reform message may hold some appeal. Unlike the Star Tribune, I suspect that Dayton’s falling approval rating among independents is evidence that they have been paying attention to state government, and are not liking what they are seeing under one-party rule.

As the head of the executive branch of state government, Dayton could start streamlining any day. If permitting is cumbersome, he can change that. He needn’t wait for another election, or even another session of the legislature.

I agree with Bill – but I think he’s being too pollyannaish.

I think the Strib suspects the same thing – that Messinger Dayton needs his polling among indies buffed up.

And, being as they are part of Messinger Dayton’s Praetorian Guard, they are putting the story out there precisely to do exactly that; to give the DFL a chanting point for the 2014 campaign; “Dayton – the real liberty candidate!”

Afflicting The Comfortable

Good Politico profile on CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson, the one reporter in all of mainstream media who’ll actually confront Obama.

I loved this bit here (emphasis added):

Attkisson is a dogged reporter, driven by a strong skepticism of government. Producers at CBS News once nicknamed her “Pit Bull,” a source said, because she gets on a story and won’t let go. But that is seen as both a strength and a weakness. Her drive can produce great journalism, but it can also cause her to push stories to the point that colleagues — especially those of a more progressive bent — suspect a political agenda.

Didja catch that?  Doing what was one called a journalist’s “Job”, reporting on government, is now evidence of an agenda.

Anyway, it’s worth a read.

And it’s worth wondering – what if the Twin Cities had a reporter like this?  One that cared more about reporting news than being accepted by the Twin Cities’ “elites?”  Other than Tom Hauser, I mean?

Nagging Nagging Nagging

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This column annoys me.

The DFL is running amok, enacting all kinds of seriously stupid legislation.  And it’s the Republicans’ fault, because they’re not holding them back.

The Republicans ran for election on social issues, which the Strib ridiculed at the time, and lost.  Now, the DFL is pushing through their extremely leftist versions of the same social issues the Strib mocked the Republicans for running on.

You hated our opinions when we were running for office so you did everything in your power to make sure we didn’t get elected.  But now that we aren’t in office because we didn’t get elected, you blame us for that, too.

Drop dead.

joe doakes

He references a column by Strib board chair Mike Sweeney; you should read the link.

Confirmation Bias

The Strib has a new publisher, Mike Klingensmith.

David Brauer at the MinnPost checked up on the guy’s financial donations, as well as the new board chair Mike Sweeney’s - which ranged from “moderate Republicans” to “very liberal Democrats” over the course of the past decade and change.  Brauer’s summary:

 All in all, bipartisan, big-business-like, skewed toward the D.C. Establishment, with a whiff of fashionable Democratic insurgency late. (Obama was not yet a favorite when Klingensmith started giving.)

But here’s the part that caught my attention; Brauer says the previous publisher, Chris Harte, “pushed the page in a conservative direction” – defined by chair Sweeney and quoted by Brauer, as “My understanding of Chris’s view was that he wanted to be fair to both sides”, which media people seem to think is a radical departure, since they don’t tend to think the current media has any bias.

I mean, in his piece Brauer says the Strib  is ever so slightly conservative these days.

But I’m putting words in Brauer’s mouth.  I’ll let him speak for himself – here, writing about the new guard’s rap sheet:

I don’t expect conservatives to be pleased with this record, but many seem happiest ripping the Strib as the Red Star. Harte’s push toward the middle, or further, yielded few dividends with that crowd.

So let’s run down a summary of what conservatives would make of a sober look at what the Strib has done over Harte’s term:

  • Hired a single, solitary conservative columnist, Katherine Kersten
  • Promptly caved in to the whinging of a staff that believed that adding a single conservative to a stable that included DFL stenographers Lori Sturdevant, Nick Coleman and his replacement Jon Tevlin made the paper “too conservative”
  • Made the “Minnesota Poll” arguably less comically biased, with the dumping of the internal pollsters, the firing of Princeton, and the hiring of Mason Dixon (we’ll know in a cycle or two)

“More conservative?”  I’d run with “marginally less North Korean”.   It was a start, and a very slow one at that – one fought at every turn by people who think the Strib is juuuuust fine the way it’s always been.

I’d love to know from David Brauer – on precisely what grounds was he expecting “dividends” from the right?

While the Strib has some capable reporters (who have historically had an amazing and I’m sure coincidental propensity to go to work for liberal PACs, PR firms or the DFL after leaving the paper), at the editorial board level the paper has been since the Cowles era nothing but a glorified DFL PR firm.

Groundhog Year, Part II: The History Of An Illusion

As I noted about a week back, being a Second Amendment activist for any length of time – I started in the late eighties – is a little like being Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day; every time the argument cycles, you wind up answering exactly the same questions.  Over and over and over.

Some of the questions -”aren’t you compensating for something?” – are stupid conceits.  Some – “isn’t a gun in the home many times more dangerous to the owner or people he knows than to criminals?”, or “wasn’t the Second Amendment put in place to protect slave holders?” – are well-worn, long-debunked tropes that keep coming back, just like the villain in the last two minutes of a monster movie.

And others?  Well, despite both sides’ oversimplifications, they keep coming back because the Second Amendment is a complex issue, full of historical, linguistic and legal nuance.

Notice I said “complex”.  Not “inscrutable”.  Because it’s Groundhog Day, and everything, including answering nearly all the questions, has happened before.  Maybe several times.

Eric Black – one of the phalanx of deans of Minnesota political journalism – wrote a series a few weeks back at the MinnPost (which is the recent recipient of a big grant from the Joyce Foundation, an anti-gun group that lavishly funds anti-gun astroturf groups around the country).  The first of the three parts, “The Second Amendment is a Mess“, came out probably three weeks ago.

Confederate soldiers. With guns. Be afraid; your betters have declared that the Constitution is all about slavery.  Except the First Amendment, and of course the emanations of penumbras that give us abortion.  But I digress.  Prejudicial? Do you think?  The MinnPost ran this in a piece about the Second Amendment, and I’m never going to let them live it down.

In stating the case that the Amendment is “a mess”, Black writes:

…the interpretation of any law must start with the actual language of the law as enacted. So, for today, let’s just put the text of the Second Amendment under the microscope. Here is its full text:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It’s a marvelously unclear statement, to modern sensibilities – and yet for some reason it defined a policy, more or less, through nearly 200 years.  Until the 1960s, nobody really questioned that the “…right of the people” in the Amendment meant anything different than “of the people” meant in the First, Third or Tenth Amendments.

We’ll come back to that.  I’ll return to Eric Black…

…while noting that I’m getting that feeling Bill Murray had during the last three-quarters of Groundhog Day; it’s deja vu:

It’s a disaster. Seriously. Here’s just a sample of problems it presents.

What’s a militia? If you aren’t in a militia, does this have anything to do with you? Or perhaps (and this is roughly the current Supreme Court interpretation) what if “militia” is just an 18th century word for all the able-bodied males in a state who had better have access to arms in case their state needs them to secure its freedom even though they might not actually “belong” to what we 21st century-types would recognize as a militia, like a National Guard unit that you actually joined and were trained by and that actually has a command structure.

A fair point…

But if “militia” doesn’t refer to an organized group, what’s “well-regulated” doing in there? Who gets to decide whether the (actual or theoretical) militia you are in is well-enough-regulated to trigger (no pun intended) whatever impact the militia clause has? Who is doing the regulating? The state? The United States? The (non-existent but theoretical) organization of all the gun-owners in the state acting as self-regulators?

…and a vexing one.

Indeed, Black’s series seems to focus on three allegations about the Second Amendment:

  1. It’s linguistically and legally inscrutable
  2. It’s confusing
  3. In an era where the US has a standing military, it’s obsolete.

But the first two were rendered null and void nearly a generation ago.    And the third exhibits a myopia about history, to say nothing of the Constitution, that needs to be actively fought.

But none of them are new. Indeed, it’s been nearly 20 years since the first two points were put out to pasture among people who are serious about the issue of the Second Amendment.

As to the third?  Stay tuned.

We’ll come back to that on Thursday.

Distrust But Verify

MPR News asked yesterday:

How do you know when the news you read is true?

That one’s easy; I don’t.

Everything you read or hear or watch on the news is subject first and foremost to…

  1. The facts that are available to the reporter at the time they have to produce the report.  In late-breaking news about spectacular events, these facts are very often wrong.   After that comes…
  2. …the reporters’ deadlines.  Especially in broadcast media, especially Cable TV with its 24 hour cycle; they’ve gotta put something on the air.  So often as not they’ll report what they have, whether it’s complete or reliable or not.   After that comes…
  3. …the institutional bias of the news organization.  Now, as I’ve written in the past, I don’t necessarily think that all news media start out in the morning in a conference room with an editor exhorting the staff to “go out there and win one for the Democrats!”, except at the MinnPost, which seems to have taken over the Minnesoros Independent’s niche.  But I think it’s fairly clear that most reporters’ personal backgrounds, educations, social networks and frames of reference are largely left of the proverbial center, and that at the very least confirmation bias is as much a factor in reporting the news as it is among consumers.

At the risk of sounding provincial, I trust Euro media more;  they’re at least honest about their political biases.  You read the Frankfurter Allgemeine for a center-right take (by European standards), and Die Zeit for a perspective from the left, and make up your own mind.  European media dispenses with the fiction of objectivity, and for that I trust them more.

Dina Temple-Raston’s report re the Boston Marathon Bombings the other day was a classic example:  before the dust had settled, the first words out of her (and NPR’s) mouths in re possible suspects were that the FBI was looking at “right-wing extremists” because it was Tax Day, and Hitler’s birthday, when they worry about right-wing attacks on government and foreigners.

Now, I’ll take Temple-Raston at her word that she reported something someone in the FBI said about the subject at some point.  And given deadlines and the urgency of the story, she and NPR had to put something on the air.

The problem is that Temple-Raston’s report would make someone who doesn’t pay much attention – or who implicitly trusts NPR news – think that there IS an actual pattern of “right-wing” violence of any kind, to say nothing of spectacular attacks like Boston, associated with Tax Day, or that there’s some pattern of “right-wing” violence against foreigners in the US.

Neither is the case.

It’d have been like a news organization reporting the Catholic church’s sex scandals going to great pains to say “the FBI wants to rule out the gay community first”, when there had been no behavior that would have led anyone to casually conclude that the gay community was ever involved.

It would have been a made-up association; a symptom of systematic bias.

Just like “right wing violence on Tax Day”.

And yet NPR floated it as “news” until facts caught up with them.

So as with all news, I distrust but verify.

 

 

 

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

Public opinion is driven by mass caprice.  When the subject is “American Idol”, that’s fairly harmless (and where the hell is Ruben Studdard?).

When the subject is our civil liberties – especially the ones that are less popular with the coastal media “elites” that would set the popular tone? Less so.

P.J. O’Rourke, many of you know, is a conservative humorist and, as such, one of the great public intellectuals of the past forty years.  In his classic A Parliament of Whores  – which is rapidly pushing 25 years old and in a just world would be required reading in every high school civics class – O’Rourke summed up the capriciousness of democracy, defending the contrarian idea that our democracy is, in fact, protected by the most counterintuitively autocratic institution of them all, the Supreme Court.

The SCOTUS – and the Constitution that the SCOTUS is supposed to protect – is that way because it’s intended to be immune from the vagaries of public opinion.

Here’s the money quote from Parliament (with emphasis added):

“In the final D-day invasion results, Normandy was a decisive winner, with 54% of the votes, while 43% of American soldiers thought we should re-invade North Africa and only 4% favored a massive land, sea and air attack on the folks back home.” There wouldn’t even be any democracy to defend if our every national whim were put into law. We’d sacrifice the whole Constitution for those lost kids on milk cartons one week, and the next week we’d toss the Rights of Man out the window to help victims of date rape.

After every crisis large and small – drug abuse, naughty words in music lyrics, gay marriage, food poisoning, people opposing gay marriage, mass murder – there are, inevitably, calls to reconsider whether freedom is really all that much more important than public safety.

And always, always, there’s someone out there willing to profit politically from those calls.

Especially when there are children involved.  Propose cutting welfare?  ”Children will starve!”.  Propose paring back teachers union benefits or pensions? “Kids will turn stupid.  Invade Iraz?  The anti-war movement ten years ago made a grab for “absolute moral authority” by parading Cindy Sheehan in front of the cameras, after she lost her child (an adult who’d volunteered for the Army) in Iraq.  And it worked – until Sheehan went batspittle crazy and started making Mike Malloy look pretty well-balanced.

Anyway – this impulse is never as powerful as after an ugly mass shooting – and Sandy Hook, in which a deranged “adult” targeted children because they were children, was the ugliest since the Stockton Massacre in 1988.

There’s no question about it; losing a child is the most awful thing a parent can experience.     It strikes a chord in just about every parent, one way or the other.  It’s impossible for a parent not to feel something way beyond sympathy.  Some respond “I have to protect my children”.

Others respond “someone’s gotta protect my children”.

A group of the Newtown/Sandy Hook parents were flown to Washington last week, their every motion from leaving their homes to getting on Air Force One to arriving at the White House to listening to President Obama’s angry rant over the failure of his bill recorded in minute detail.  (It’s worth noting that it was only the right Sandy Hook parents were invited - and that for some reason no parents of black kids murdered in Chicago showed up)

They believed, I’m sure, very sincerely that the Senate’s bill – which would not have impeded their kids’ murderer in the least – was the right response to their childrens’ deaths.

But the prominence they got in the media – from a President who was desperate to pass his bill in the Senate, to get his vote in the House to try to use guns as leverage in swing districts in 2014, and to draw attention away from debt, deficit, spending, taxes, an ongoing war and the gathering disaster that is Obamacare?  That was pure, distilled cynicism.

Twin Cities talk show host Bob Davis – morning guy at AM1130, which is a cheap copy of AM1280, and a guy who gave me my first shot at trying talk radio again, ten years ago last January when I filled in for him for an evening on his old KSTP-AM night-side show – has taken a ton of flak for his remarks about the exploitation of the Sandy Hook parents and their grief (and especially other parents’ fear):

I have something I want to say to the victims of Newtown or any other shooting, I don’t care if it’s here in Minneapolis or anyplace else: Just because a bad thing happened to you doesn’t mean that you get to put a king in charge of my life. I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss.

I’m sick and tired of seeing these victims trotted out, given rides on Air Force One, hauled into the Senate well, and everyone is … terrified of these victims. I would stand in front of them and tell them, ‘Go to hell.’

The comment has gotten the usual manufactured outrage by the national leftymedia, and the inevitable chest-thumping “come here and say that!“.

The responses – on both sides, really – miss two key points:

  • Davis is fighting cynicism – the Administration’s exploitation of the parents – with cynicism; major-market radio lives by the dictum “all publicity is good publicity”.  Wanna picket the station?  Send hate mail?  Burn Davis and Emmer in effigy in front of the TV cameras?  The folks at the station say “Great, go for it!”. The station can’t pay for publicity like this.  (No, literally – they can’t.  KTCN’s owner Clear Channel is freaking broke).
  • Davis is right – but is focused on the wrong people.

The parents?  Yep, they’re awash in grief.  They’re trying to bring some meaning to a really, really horrible loss.  I sympathize with them.

Every parent worthy of the title does.

And the people who booked them on Air Force One, and who made sure they got prominent placement (some might say “overkill”) in the media, and who made sure they were staring down from the gallery at the Senators as they voted on the President’s bill, which would have been meaningless in fighting crime, would have made law-abiding gun owners more vulnerable to confiscation, and which was never intended to do anything but increase the Democrat party’s fortunes in 2014?

Them?

They can go to hell, all right.