The Puppet Caucus

Say what you will about Minnesota’s gun-control movement – and I certainly have over the past 12 years on this blog – it’s always been local.  Even “Grass Roots”, even if only in the sense that “there just isn’t that much grass out there”. 

And the movement’s leadership was at least local; while Rep. Heather Martens (DFL, 66A) has never, not once, made a significant factual assertion about the Second Amendment, gun rights or the law-abiding gun owner; Jane Kay is a frothing bigot; Joan Peterson is just insane.  Together, they created a legacy of PR incompetence, in conjunction with a local media which, once bought-off by the Joyce Foundation, spent the better part of a year giving Martens, Kay and Peterson a rhetorical tongue-bath – or just making things up to fit the narrative. 

But it was local.

But now, the local gun control “movement” seems to be entirely run from Michael Bloomberg’s offices.  The face of Minnesota’s anti-civil-rights movement has morphed from the doddering, morally-incontinent visages of Martens, Kay and Peterson to those of a crew of highly-paid lobbyists who’ve never been publicly associated with gun control, but do know how to spend Bloomberg money. 

Which is ironic, since the last has spent the past two years demonizing conservative groups like ALEC for “copying and pasting” bills and being “under the control of lobbyists”. 

Of course, the entire war on ALEC was a case of applied Berg’s Seventh Law; when lefties complain about a conservative behavior, they’re deflecting from the same or worse on their part.  

Minnesota’s anti-civil-rights “movement”, anæmic as it has always been, has evolved from incompetent low-grade astroturf to pure, out-of-state funded carpetbagging colonial status. 

You’ve come a long way, baby.

Imagine

The worst enemy that fabian statism has is generalized prosperity.

It’s always been a theory – ’til now.

The North Dakota Democrat Party can muster not a single Democrat to run for office anywhere in Bakken country, according to Rob Port:

Democrats have managed to recruit exactly zero candidates in legislative districts representing the state’s oil patch with all local district conventions completed and less than two weeks to go before their statewide convention…If we count the urban districts in Minot and Bismarck as being “oil patch” districts, we add five more: Districts 3, 5, 7, 47 and 35. Of those, all have a full slate of Republican candidates, and just one has Democrat candidates.

And the North Dakota Democrat Party is fielding candidates for only about 1/3 of the state’s legislative races overall, almost exclusively in the eastern part of the state:

That speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Democrats will talk a lot about oil and energy policy this year, but the lack of Democrat candidates in the oil patch tells us their arguments aren’t getting much traction where that policy has the most impact.

What a glorious time to be alive.

Before The Door Swings Shut

Michael Bloomberg and the Victim Disarmament movement are going to make as much hay as they can on the issue this year…

…because  their highest profile group is fading away as we speak:

 As it has broadened its attacks on lawmakers and Second Amendment groups like the National Rifle Association, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s aggressive “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” group has experienced a sharp 15-percent drop in mayor-members.

According to a new count, the group’s membership has gone from a high of 1,046 following the shootings at Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 to a low today of 885.

That’s a fast drop of 161 members.

Watching what happened in Colorado and, yes, Minnesota has given a lot of mayors a reality check; support for Victim Disarmament is a half a mile wide and two inches deep.  The Second Amendment movement is half a mile wide and 200 feet deep and has a current that’ll pull stumps. 

Although some of the mayors are attributing it to Bloomberg’s greedy scope creep:

As they’ve left MAIG, many of the mayors have publicly assailed Bloomberg’s group, suggesting that it has gone from a group targeting “illegal” guns to one simply against guns.

The “original mission swayed,” said Rockford, Ill., Mayor Larry Morrissey as he exited. He even explained that he planned to get a concealed carry permit because his family has been threatened.

Just this week, Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik bailed. He wrote a letter about in the Poughkeepsie Journal. “I’m no longer a member of MAIG. Why? Just as Ronald Reagan said of the Democratic Party, it left me. And I’m not alone: Nearly 50 pro-Second Amendment mayors have left the organization. They left for the same reason I did. MAIG became a vehicle for Bloomberg to promote his personal gun-control agenda — violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and taking resources away from initiatives that could actually work to protect our neighborhoods and save precious lives. Gun control will actually make a bad situation worse.”

Bloomberg’s offensive this year is going to be like the final banzai charge at Iwo Jima; furious, and deadly, but a dying gasp.

At least for this cycle.   

(By the way, all you Victim Disarmament activists?  We’re all against illegal guns.  Unlike Bloomberg, we Real Americans actually have done something about keeping them out of the hands of illegal people).

Chanting Points Memo: Will Susan Perry Ever Stop Treating Readers Like Junior High Kids?

There must be a legislative session coming up; the MinnPost – a local group-blog funded by liberals with deep pockets employing a rogue’s gallery of recycled local big-media people – is back on the gun beat.

Last week, Susan Perry – their “consumer health reporter”, whose sloppy reporting on this subject we’ve repeatedly, even routinely, beaten up in this space – wrote a fluff piece about a metastudy (a repackaging of the data in other studies) appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine that shows that having a gun in the home doubles chance of a murder, and triples the chance of suicide.

And it reminded me of an episode from twenty years ago.

Let’s flash back, shall we?

The Gullible, Biased Hack Beat:  Back in the early nineties, the anti-gun media (which was most of them, back then) breathlessly recited a factoid; a study in the New England Journal of Medicine had showed, we were told, that a gun in the home was 43 times as likely to kill the owner, or someone the owner knew, than it was to kill a criminal.

The media reported this uncritically, without question, much less the faintest pretense of analysis of the data that led to that very specific number.

Of course, some Real Americans in the Second Amendment movement did dig into the study, back when “the internet” was still “Usenet” for most people.

They found that the data came from King County, Washington, during a period of several years in the late eighties.  And the “43:1″ ratio actually broke out, over the period of time, to nine justifiable deaths of criminals that the shooter didn’t know, against something like 380-odd other firearms deaths.

And of those 380-odd firearm deaths, the vast majority were suicides – enough to account for 36-37 of the “43″.  Of the remaining 6 from the “43″ – 50-odd firearms deaths – there were a few accidents; the rest were murders or manslaughters of one kind or another.  And note that it only counted the presence of a gun in the home, not whether it was used; if someone broke into your home and shot you as you were peeling potatoes at your kitchen counter, but there was a gun in the house, it went into the “43″.

Suicide is obviously a problem – but it doesn’t depend on firearms.  Japan, where guns are unobtainable, has double the US’ suicide rate.   But leaving out suicides, the rate dropped to more like six to one.

But there were other clinkers in the way the “43:1″, or even the 6:1, figures were generated, and related to the public by a media that, at best, didn’t know what it was talking about and, at worst, didn’t care.

Walt White Knew Jack Welker!:  The phrase “gun owner or someone they know” was the first problem.

Someone who shoots himself, obviously, is “killing themselves or someone they know”.  But then so is a drug dealer shooting a rival, or a customer that owes them money, is “killing someone they know”, as is a gang-banger shooting a long-time rival So is a woman shooting an ex-husband that’s been stalking and threatening her.  So is someone killing a robber that they had met, even once, ever.

The NEJM study didn’t distinguish between those types of killings.  The “1″ in the “43:1″ ratio only included justifiable homicides where the shooter had never met the victim.

Why So Bloodthirsty?:  Did you notice that the only “good” results in the New England Journal study – the “1″ in “43:1″ – were the nine justifiable killings of complete strangers?

Leaving aside the likelihood (indeed, fact) that some of the homicides of acquaintances were justifiable – why is a justifiable killing of a complete, malevolent stranger the only legitimate use of a firearm?

The study didn’t account for deterrences of other crimes.  A gun used to scare away a burglar or a stalker doesn’t have to kill anyone to have a beneficial effect – deterring a felony without a shot being fired.

The Real Results?:  So when you take the numbers from the “43:1″ ratio, and then…:

  • factor out suicides (which are a problem, and were the vast majority of the deaths in the study, but are entirely different than crimes committed with malice against others)
  • move the justifiable homicides of “acquaintances” – ex-spouses and the like – into the “good” column”
  • Account for the “bad” shootings that involved someone who was drunk or high, or had a criminal record
  • Add in estimates of the number of crimes that would have been deterred by law-abiding citizens with guns in the same area during the same period

…then the original New England Journal of Medicine study’s numbers came out more like this:

  • A gun in a home in which one or more residents had a criminal record, drinking or drug problem was equally likely to be involved in a murder or unjustified killing as it was to deter a crime.
  • A gun in a home without any of those problems was dozens or hundreds of times as likely to deter a crime (depending on the estimate of deterrences you accepted – from the conservative FBI estimate to the much more expansive estimate by Gary Kleck, which by the way tracks pretty well with the Centers for Disease Control’s recent work on the subject) as to be involved in an unjustifiable homicide.  That’s dozens at least, hundreds at most

So How About Sue Perry’s Article?:  A quick scan of the metastudy in Annals shows that it (or, more proximately, the studies it mines for data) does not, in fact, control for…:

  • drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • criminal records

…among the subjects in the “study”.

Like the reporting on the NEJM study twenty-odd years ago, it considers firearms in a vacuum, without accounting for any of the human factors – criminal activity of the owner, sustance abuse issues, or mental illness.

Neither does it distinguish between justifiable homicide – which accounts for 2-3% of all firearms deaths in America in a given year – and murder, manslaughter or accidental deaths. 

It’s junk science…

…well, no.  It’s junk social science, which is the worst kind.

Susan Perry is doing junk reporting of junk non-science, to report a meaningless, junk conclusion. 

Why?

Remember:  The MinnPost operates with the assistance of a large annual grant from the Joyce Foundation.

Follow the money. Journos do it – when it’s not Alida Messinger or Michael Bloomberg’s money, anyway.

The Joyce Foundation also funds…

  •  ”ProtectMN”, the closest Minnesota gets to an actual gun control “organization”,
  • “TakeActionMN”, which essentially serves as an unregulated “progressive” political party whose mission is to drive the DFL to the left.  It may be the most successful political party in Minnesota today – precisely because the laws that apply to the GOP and (to some extent) DFL don’t apply to it. 

 

All “journalism” about guns – and politics and general – from the MinnPost must be considered with that in mind.

So why would the MinnPost publish a continuous chain of stories about Second Amendment issues that range from bad science to bad history to bad scholarship to really, really bad reporting

Because, I suggest, it’s what they’re being paid to do.   

There was a time when “journalists” would have recoiled at any suggestion that their coverage was bought and paid for to secure some special interest’s narrative. 

Those days are long past us – to everyone who pays attention.

The Left’s Koch Habit

I was about to write “if the Koch Brothers – eeeeevil shadowy right-wing financiers – didn’t exist, the left would have to invent them”…

…but in fact h they did.

This – and last year’s fixation with the American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC), a small lobbying group no different than a raft of identical left-leaning groups – may be the most dramatic manifestation of Berg’s Seventh Law ever.

Lipstick On A Pig

The gun grab movement in Minnesota is going to try to be a liiiiiiiittle bit more subtle this year.

Look for more carefully-bearded ELCA ministers, and less Jane Kay.  Less magazine size, more “responsibility” and “safety”.

With that in mind, “Protect” MN – the astroturf gun group run by Representative Heather The Legislatin’ Lobbyist!” Martens and supported by Joyce Foundation money – is apparently trying a subtle rebrand:

Click for full-sized image. (C) 2014, Liberals With Deep Pockets

It used to just say “Minnesota Gun Violence Prevention”.

They’re trying to be less threatening, I guess…

Scott Gillespie And The Catechism Of Uselessness

Scott Gillespie of the Strib editorialized about the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook.

At least he ended the piece constructively:

Those 26 faces will stay frozen, though. The children and their teachers, lost forever except in photos and home video. At least — if you believe it will help — say another prayer for them and their families. If we offer nothing else, at least say a prayer.

Other than that?  Gillespie foreshadows what will, I suspect, be the anti-rights movement’s two big hooks in Minnesota this year; guilt, and the vague need to “do something”, even if the “something” is completely useless at preventing actual crime, with both of them always, always, wrapped in the memory of people who would not have been saved by anything that they’re proposing.

But practical responses aren’t the issue, here.  This is about emotions:

You see those faces frozen in time on your TV screen now. They are angels, every one of them. You would like to look away, turn the channel and move on. Our Congress did, and most of our state legislatures. One year later, little has changed.

It’s not the Sandy Hook kids’ faults the were all white and upper-middle-class, and that the media focused on them and not the many, many more children slaughtered in ones and twos in Barack Obama’s Chicago – who are almost entirely black.  But it is Scott Gillespie’s fault that he ignores, or doesn’t know, that not a single law proposed in any state legislature, or in Congress, would have prevented Sandy Hook – but that the City of Chicago has “done something”, a near complete civilian gun ban, that is closely correlated with a skyrocketing murder rate in Chicago.

But those kids are black, and in a Democrat stronghold.  As always, they go unmentioned.

The emotions that Gillespie – and the anti-rights movement whose water he’s carrying – aren’t just about sympathy.  No, there’s gotta be ninety seconds of hate: 

Wayne LaPierre is on the screen now. You can hear the anger in his voice. If he feels any pain, any regret, he hides it. The perfect man for the job. Raise more money and spread more lies. Intimidate. Bully. Threaten. Win at all costs, from coast to coast. Not undefeated, but close.

Scott Gillespie, I hereby challenge you; where was LaPierre wrong?  What are the “lies?”  Let’s talk about that.  Preferably face to face, but I’ll do email.  Let’s hash this out.

No, it’s not that LaPierre lied; he didn’t, and doesn’t have to.  He was right.  His opponents were wrong.  And they – in this case Gillespie, but it could be any lefty columnist – are attacking LaPierre with the dim ad-homina and the scurrilous accusation – the “lies” – because it’s all they have, and a boogeyman, a Goldstein, is what they need.

And then there’s the murderer. We should ignore him and his story, right? Make him as abstract as possible because it’s too hard to answer the why question without that research. There are more like him, but how could we possibly know how to find or stop them? So we move on, trying not to say his name.

Now Gillespie is just making things up.   This is where LaPierre – and all of us on the human rights side of this battle – have been focusing; Adam Lanza.  The current system worked, in that it denied him a gun.  He killed his mother – already illegal in fifty states – to steal her legally-purchased firearms to use in the rampage.

And it’s on the crazies, like him, James Holmes, Harris and Klebold, Seung-Hui Cho and the like, that Wayne LaPierre – and, incidentally, all of the rest of us on the human rights side of the argument – are focused.

And not a one of them would have been affected by any of the laws that were passed in places like Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania or California.

So when Gillespie plaintively asks…:

The anniversary show is over now. Will there be another one next year, or the year after that? Why wallow, right? We are Americans. We press on. We buck up and never look back. Like LaPierre.

…the answer is “maybe, but nothing you’re proposing would change a thing”.

But Gillespie is part of a wave of mainstream media that are working to pave the way for the anti-gun movement’s next big campaign in Minnesota.

More – much more – in coming days and weeks.

Gun Control In Minnesota: The Next Useless Wave

In 2013, the grassroots of the Minnesota human rights movement – pro-Second-Amendment groups like GOCRA, the Twin Cities Gun Owners and other genuine grass-roots organizations – dealt the gun-grabbers a humiliating defeat.  Even though the anti-rights groups were lavishly funded, were supported by a purchased media narrative, and controlled the entire apparatus of Minnesota government, they were unable to jam down any of their useless legislation.

Zero.

It was an epic victory of an army of Davids over a phalanx of obese, arrogant Goliaths.

But 2014 is a whole new year.

Since the last session, the anti-gun movement has made some roster changes.  In place of last year’s leadership – “Protect” MN’s credibility-free Rep. Heather Martens, Moms Want Action’s shrill, self-caricaturing Jane Kay, and the hysterical, deranged Joan Peterson, a flood of Joyce Foundation and Bloomberg money has enabled the anti-rights movement (in this case, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns”) to hire Richard Carlbom, the architect of the campaign to torpedo the Marriage Amendment, and then to pass Gay Marriage in Minnesota.

And this is going to change the game here in Minnesota.

Unlike the Minnesota gun grab movement’s previous leadership, Carlbom is a smooth, polished PR fixer with great talent at running a nuanced, effective campaign – and he’s already got one improbable win against (at face value) longish odds under his belt.

As a result, this is going to be a different campaign, unlike any that Minnesota’s Second Amendment movement has ever faced.

My hunch?  Carlbom will replace Kay/Martens/Peterson’s club-footed yapping, and Michael Paymar’s wide-front legislative bludgeoning, with a more subtle attack:

  • Emotional cruise missiles replace carpet-bombing:  the anti-rights movement has long bludgeoned their audiences with a ham-fisted appeal to emotion.  To be fair, it’s their only argument; to be honest, they haven’t done it well.  Carlbom won the gay marriage debate in part by personalizing the gay marriage issue – showing that gay couples were Just Like The Rest Of Us.  I think you can expect the emotional assault to be much more focused and personalized than in the past; fewer “schoolrooms full of children”; more “let’s talk with this mom, whose son was…[fill in tragic shooting].  Expect those attacks to be far harder to undercut – Carlbom is less likely to focus on the story of a “child” who turned out to be a gang thug than were the hapless Martens or Kay.
  • The friendly face of “reasonable” authority:  The anti-gun movement lost a lot of credibility points by using as its public face the scolding, unctuous, unfluent Martens, the hectoring and red-faced Kay, and irrational Peterson.  Expect those faces to be replaced by Minnesota’s very definition of “reasonable”; lots of Lutheran ministers (ELCA, natch), with their Saint Olaf-bred diction and their carefully-trimmed beards, and liberal-but-not-too-liberal, Jewish-but-not-too-jewish rabbis, carefully and calmly asking for “common sense” measures to “prevent violence” and “promote safety”, and lots of other carefully-focused terms calibrated not to alarm tens of thousands of phone calls and thousands of protesters.
  • Trying to build the “reasonable” brand:  Expect less (overt) talk about attacking puffy-faced white suburban caricatures, and more about how “gun safety” and “violence prevention” appeals to our better natures; the things that make us human, and Minnesotan.   This campaign has, in fact, already begun, with Strib columns by Lori Sturdevant and Scott Gillespie (see this space tomorrow morning) that stake out this emotional, intellectual space (in a campaign that just can’t be coordinated, and I’m sure is just a fluke that won’t, no, won’t get re-iterated in turn by every other Minnesota mainstream media outlet, nosireebob).

It’ll be a campaign calculated not to alarm, and to appeal on at least a shallow level to the conceit most Minnesotans have that we’re a thoughtful, deliberate people, not given to unseemly rash emotionality and open to “reason”.

Underneath and obscured by it all, of course, will be the facts; that none of the measures they’re proposing will affect actual violence in any way.  Nor are they intended to.

But it’ll be done in a way intended to gently gull the gullible, and lull at least a part of the crowd that rose up to repudiate Representatives Paymar, Hausman and Martens in the last session.

So it’s almost time for a new session – one that may be the most dangerous yet for Minnesota’s Real Americans.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

CORRECTION:  This past session was 2013, wasn’t it?

Gun Control PR Fail

One of the tiny network of astroturf gun-grabber groups that’ve been trying to gut the Second Amendment in Minnesota is “Moms Demand Action”.   They are run by the rather overwrought-sounding Jane Kay.

So far, their main contribution to the anti-human-rights effort has been to make Heather Martens and “Protect” MN sound almost reasonable.  Oh, yeah – and generate Twitter spam for legislators.

Now, the Joyce Foundation has been spending big liberal-plutocrat bucks trying to get Minnesotans (outside of white, upper-middle-class Carlton grads in Crocus Hill and Kenwood) to take them seriously.

And so apparently they have a new PR angle – something to put a jaunty face on what had to be as humiliating a year for Moms Want Action as for all the rest of Minnesota’s anti-rights crowd.

Anyway – new branding!  They rolled it out last week!  Here it is!

From Rob D of GOCRA on Facebook:

When your group name already sounds like an x:rated website, circulating an image of a woman disrobing could be considered a marketing fail.

Right?  Like, do you need a credit card to use their website?

I worry sometimes that the anti-rights movement is floating people like Jane Kay and Heather Martens and groups like Moms Want Action! to lull pro-civil-rights Real Americans into a false sense of intellectual, rhetorical and political superiority.

Whether by design or not, I gotta admit – it’s working.

The Many Lies of “Protect” MN, Part XXIV: “No Precedent!”

I almost missed this one in the scrum of this past few weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, when Representatives Paymar and Martens tried to jam down a ban on law-abiding citizens carrying their legally-permitted firearms in the Capitol complex, the Strib’s Abby Simons wrote the paper’s follow-up piece.

It ended with a quote from Representative Martens; like most of Martens’ statements, it reeks of crap from rhetorical stem to stern.  But I’ll emphasize the part I want to focus on today:

Heather Martens, executive director [Ha ha ha! - Ed.] of Protect Minnesota, an organization geared toward ending gun violence [Ha ha ha! - Ed.] and an advocate for the ban, said the intimidation happens when a loaded firearm is worn openly, as it was earlier this year during a hearing.

There is no history of someone like that being a meaningful deterrent or being able to stop an attack,” she said.

If you read this blog,  you are smarter than that. 

John Lott showed how “someone like that” – multiplied by millions – have deterred hundreds of thousands of crimes in shall-issue states, as compared with discretionary or non-issue states (back when there were more of both). 

As to stopping those attacks?  Well, we’ve been through this before.  Here’s a partial list of attacks stopped by law-abiding, non-police, private citizens with legal firearms:

If Heather Martens – or any of her supporters and employees – are talking, the rule of thumb is “assume they’re lying”.  Because they are.

The Potemkin Law

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

House extended ban on all-plastic guns for another 10 years.  Meaningless gesture.  Nobody gets shot with them, banning them won’t stop people from making them any more than banning cocaine stops people from using it.  Posturing to divert attention from real government failures in every other area.

My grandson has a plastic gun.  He carries it in a holster on his cowboy belt when he rides his hobby horse.  I wonder if Rep. Paymar is intimidated by that, too?

Joe Doakes

Heather Martens will no doubt make them a priority in the next session.

To prevent them from “intimidating” other kids.

You think I’m joking.  But if I’ve learned anything living in a city full of liberals with no fear of being held accountable, today’s sardonic jokes are tomorrow’s laws.

Or yesterday’s laws, in some cases.

From A Planet With Several Moons

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Heather Martins talking.  Lying.  Same thing.

“There is no history of someone like that being a meaningful deterrent or being able to stop an attack,” she said.  Seriously?

Someone should inform Abby Simons, the Star Tribune journalist who wrote the article, of some facts about permitted carry holders stopping crime, just for the variety of citing actual truth for a change.

It strikes me:  Rep. Paymar says the presence of armed citizens in the legislative chamber intimidates legislators.  Pistols carried openly are intimidating. Really?  All of them?  How about when cops testify while in uniform, openly carrying their firearms, is that intimidating?  If so, then you should disarm everybody in the hearing room, which you’re not going to do because there’d be nobody to provide protection.

If openly carried pistols don’t intimidate you on a policeman’s belt, why not?  Cops shoot far more innocent people every year than permitted carry holders.  Why are pistols carried openly on cops’ belts not intimidating?  Because you trust cops implicitly but not citizens?  Why is that . . . and what does it say about your attitude toward the people you’re supposed to be representing?

Joe Doakes

If intellectual honesty and logical consistency were gasoline, Heather Martens couldn’t drive around the inside of a Cheerio.

The Many Lies (And Incoherencies) Of “Protect” MN, Part XXII: And Now They’re Coming For The First Amendment, Too!

If you go to the little email widget that “Protect” Minnesota uses to try to spam legislators, you’ll see this text pre-filled.  I’ll highlight the money quote:

Minnesota is one of only a few states that allows private firearms to be carried at the state Capitol without screening. In addition, committee chairs don’t have the authority to keep people from carrying guns into hearings — no matter how volatile the topic of discussion.

At the Nov. 5 committee meeting, a public safety official described and example of a concealed carry permit holder expressing anti-government sentiment and a plan to bring a gun to the Capitol. Members of the committee who support gun carrying expressed their disapproval of such behavior.
But sitting right in the hearing room was a group aligned with the gun lobby wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Nobody on the committee appeared to realize that Guy Fawkes was known for his attempt to blow up the English Parliament, and a recent movie glorified Fawkes’ effort.

The safety risk of loaded firearms is known – but the use of guns for political intimidation is becoming more brazen every year. This is unacceptable in a democracy. Our public safety officials and legislators should be allowed to know when individuals are coming in with guns and keep guns out of all or part of the Capitol complex.
It would be irresponsible to wait for a tragedy to happen in Minnesota before making our Capitol safer. Please give law enforcement and legislators who run hearings the ability to protect our free speech and our safety at the Capitol.

I have to wonder – has Representative Martens actually been to an “Occupy” rally (back when the were still happening)?  The places were crawling with those creepy masks.

But let’s take Heather Martens at her stated word.  The legislature has to guard against “Anti-Government Sentiment?”

So now Rep. Martens is trying to gut the First Amendment, too!

Here’s the letter I sent back through their little email spam-bot widget:

Representatives,

This, like everything “Protect Minnesota” has ever written or said, is a lie.

Capitol Security staff are pretty clear about it; carry permittees are the most polite, least bothersome groups of protesters that ever show up at the Capitol.

By the way – the “anti-government sentiments” Ms. Martens is referring to was a guy in a Guy Fawkes mask. Ms. Martens is filling in the details about “blowing up the Capitol” – because, as usual, she’s lying.  And, apparently, she’s no more comfortable with the First Amendment than the Second.

Please stop wasting taxpayer time participating in Heather Martens’ Joyce-Foundation-funded charades.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul

Not sure it’ll get through, but it was fun to write.

The Many Lies Of “Protect” MN, Part XXI: It’s Go Time Again

This email came out from Rep Heather Martens (DFLiar, HD66A) earlier this week:

Dear Friend,

Tomorrow at 10:30 am, the legislature’s committee on Capitol security will decide whether to continue to let people carry loaded guns in the Capitol.

At a meeting earlier this month, it became clear that some concealed carry permit holders have used their loaded guns for political intimidation.

And there’s your lie.

There was no “intimidation”.

Go check for yourself. Call the folks at Capitol Security. They’ll tell you the Second Amendment Rights crowd, guns or no, is the very best-behaved group of protesters that ever comes to the capitol. Friendly, polite to a fault, never even the faintest shred of a problem. Which is an amazing feat with group that always numbers in the hundreds every time they show up.

Not a single problem. Ever.

Martens – as always – is lying.

It’s The Bigotry, Stupid: Martens points out that there’s some fear, classism and bigotry at work here:

A legislator on the committee expressed disapproval of such behavior.

I don’t doubt that “a legislator” might have said something like this. Some DFL Metrocrat no doubt does have an aversion to guns, and people carrying them.

But why do we pay them any more attention than we would a legislator who was afraid of black people?

It’s entirely possible some ninny is afraid of people exercising their law-abiding rights.  People get intimidated by free speech, too.  Do we dignify it with a response?  Or do we call it what it is?

(Fact:  the only “intimidation” carried out by an unelected official during the gun hearings was the loathsome gun-grabber who walked up to the daughter of a GOCRA organizer and told her “you’ll be a better person than your father when you grow up”).

But he then said nothing should be done because nobody has been killed yet at the Capitol.

Nor will they ever be – by a carry permittee, anyway. Statistically, you are at greater danger of being shot by a Democrat legislator than by a legal carry permit holder.

I Gotcher Call To Action Right Here: Martens puts out a call to her anemic, arthritic, utterly white little legion:

Please contact committee members to urge them to take decisive action. They should allow security officials and legislators to limit where guns can be carried at the Capitol.

We can’t wait for something to happen in the Minnesota Capitol building in order to make the Capitol safe. And political intimidation should be unacceptable at our state Capitol.

Once more unto the breach, Real Americans.  It’s time to light up the switchboards.

Which ones?  For some reason, the members of the select committee on Capitol Security aren’t published (or at least five minutes of googling didn’t turn up a list).  Start with the Public Safety Committee.  You know the drill.

The Media/Non-Profit Racket

In past months, I’ve showed you how not only big-media-alum group-blog MinnPost, but “No Rant, No Slant” Minnesota Public Radio are on the take from the Joyce Foundation – which funds “Protect MN”, the anti-rights group run by Rep. Heather Martens.  I speculated that it might be the reason that MPR has been so incurious about Martens’ astroturf group, and why the MinnPost - with all its pretenses to legitimate journalism – spent the past year giving Martens a public tongue bath.

I asked – does this involvement go any higher in the Twin Cities’ “progressive” political world?

I asked, and Bill Glahn answered – ten months ago.  Joyce is a huge financial backer of “Take Action MN”, a non-profit that verges on being a political party in its own right, a descendent of “Progressive Minnesota”, which had its own unseemly connections with “non-partisan” institutions.

Glahn:

The Joyce Foundation of Chicago, Illinois, was founded by Iowa lumber heiress Beatrice Joyce Kean.  This $760 million foundation has been involved with TakeAction since near the beginning of the Minnesota non-profit’s existence.  Joyce’s 2006 Annual Report (p. 25) shows a grant of $350,000 to be paid out to TakeAction over two years, “To develop and promote a political reform agenda focused on campaign finance, judicial, and voting rights reforms.”
Joyce’s 2009 IRS Form 990 reveals that the $350,000 grant to the 501(c)(3) TakeAction Minnesota Education Fund was renewed in 2008 for two additional years, “for ongoing efforts to reform and strengthen democracy in Minnesota.”[12]
Joyce’s 2011 IRS Form 990 reveals that, yet again, the $350,000 grant to the TakeAction Education Fund was renewed in 2010 for two additional years, “For advancing a political reform agenda that encompasses election administration, voting rights, campaign finance, redistricting, and judicial independence.”[13]

The Joyce Foundation’s website indicates that the TakeAction Education Fund received an additional $150,000 in 2012 for one year, “For advancing a democracy reform agenda using legislation, community organizing, movement building, coalition work, and unexpected alliances.”
Unexpected alliances?  In any event, the seven-year total of grants from the Joyce Foundation to TakeAction equals $1,200,000.

So let’s break this down:  The Joyce Foundation heavily sponsors “Progressive” non-profits, including “Take Action MN”, “Protect MN”, and (I strongly suspect) “Common Cause MN”.

And they pour money into at least two “non-profit” Minnesota media outlets that have pretensions to respectability; Minnesota Public Radio and the MinnPost.

I’ve sought comment from both organizations in the past, without success.  I’ll try again.

All of this carefully obfuscated money going to support “campaign finance…reforms” is one thing.

Going to buy friendly media coverage?

And finding willing takers, in an industry whose “code of ethics” tells journalists who avoid financial entanglements in their “journalism?”

Pulling The Strings

Bill Glahn has been doing the work the Twin Cities media hasn’t won’t in covering the big, unseen unreported-on force in Minnesota politics:  Take Action Minnesota.

Even among people who know that TAM exists, I think few know exactly what they’re into, and how the organization works:

Charity Status—whether legal or not, I object to TakeAction’s abuse of its tax-exempt non-profit charity status. Unlike the traditional political party—whose role the group is increasingly displacing —TakeAction can accept tax-deductible contributions from anonymous donors. Despite my best efforts at discovery, we really do not know who contributes the millions of dollars that fund TakeAction’s operations.

Quasi-Party Status—although TakeAction operates much like a political party—recruiting and financing candidates, conducting campaigns, and getting out the vote—it does not have to abide by the same laws on transparency and accountability. It acts as a closed political machine—answering to its (unknown) donors, but not to voters and taxpayers in the same way that the Democrats and Republicans must answer.

They also sit among a warren of offices for similar “progressive” “non-profits” – “ProtectMN”, “Wellstone Action” and others – in the Griggs Building, in the St. Paul Midway.  This isn’t just a happy accident, or entirely the product of the Griggs’ very low rent.  The network shares much more than just an address; phone banks, lists, staff, know-how.

You should read Glahn’s entire series on the subject:

My latest “Who Is TakeAction?” Series:

·         Part 1—Political philosophy
·         Part 2—TakeAction takes over city politics
·         Part 3—All the cool kids went to this year’s Progressive Prom

My original TakeAction Minnesota Series:

  • Part 1–Intro and the 2010 election for Minnesota Governor
  • Part 2–Follow the Money, as it spins around inside the TakeAction network
  • Part 3–Tracking down the money to its sources
  • Part 3A—More donor names and dollar amounts
  • Part 4–The lobby machine
  • Part 5–The 2012 referendum on Voter ID
  • Part 6–Updating Part 5 with final 2012 money figures
  • Part 7–TakeAction Goes to Washington

The entire series is excellent.

Although Glahn also observes:

[S]imply from a journalistic viewpoint, the rise of TakeAction as a political force is a major story—one that has received almost no coverage from Minnesota’s legacy media. In contrast, oceans of ink have been spilled over the Tea Party and its relationship to the Republican Party. There is a man-bites-dog story waiting for an enterprising reporter to pick it up.

This is not an accident.  It’s a case of Berg’s Seventh Law in action.

And most of the Twin Cities media shares TAM’s mission, whether they admit it or not (and whether their friendly coverage/non-coverage is being purchased by some of the same donors or not).

Watching The AstroTurf Grow: “The New Dialog – We Talk, You Shut Up”

This past Friday, I talked with Susie Jones, a reporter from WCCO Radio, about the Gun Grab Summit in North Minneapolis. 

Now, I’m stuck in a bit of a conundrum, myself.  On the one hand, I do seek a civil, grown-up dialog.  As a gun owner, I have a vested interest in making sure my “tribe” – the law-abiding gun owner – acts in a way that credits the responsibility that God gave us and that our Founding Fathers recognized in the Constitution (a responsibility that the record shows we’re really, really good at meeting). 

I also have kids.  And a granddaughter.  Violence is an awful thing.  Protecting against violence is one of the reasons I would be a gun owner, hypothetically.

So curbing violence – with guns, knives, axes, fists, cars, sex organs and every other kind – is Job 1 for me, and for every law-abding gun owner I know. 

On the other hand?  It’s hard to stay adult and civil when dealing with “ProtectMN”, the Joyce-Foundation supported astroturf group that has been campaigning against guns – as opposed to violence – under several names for a couple decades now. 

Part of it is that the group – its’ leader, Representative Heather Martens (DFL HD 67A), speaking as a leader and as an individual – has never, ever uttered a solitary substantive word of truth on the gun issue.  Ever.  Seriously – you can tell Ms. Martens is lying when you see her lips move.  She is the most disingenuous person anywhere in Minnesota public life. 

Yes, worse than Carrie Lucking. 

We are constantly reminded that we need to have a “Dialog” about gun violence. 

And “Dialog” requires honesty.  So I’m going to be honest. 

Monologue And Backstory:  The key to “Dialog” is, of course, discussion between two divergent-to-dissenting points of view.  Otherwise, all you have is a monologue. 

Now, in his conversation with WCCO’s Jones on Friday, “ProtectMN”s Leroy Duncan flatly denied that anyone was told not to show up at the event. 

But at least one executive from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance responded to ProtectMN’s invitation to Friday’s event; I reprinted Heather Martens’ response to that GOCRA offical here the other day

Now, this is what ProtectMN put up on their Facebook page the other day.  Read it and tell me…:

“It’s time to stop letting our critical national debates be handled by lunatics, and by corporate lobbyists. It’s time for us to take up the mantle of civics and citizenship again, beyond our narrow self-interest.

We need to have a real discussion about the civic duty of gun ownership sooner, rather than later. It’s time for the grownups to start talking, and more importantly, to take action.”

The MN Gun Violence Summit will consist of “grown-ups” talking about how to make our communities safer and reframe the debate about gun policy.

…if all of that Alinskyite framing (“lunatics”, “grown-ups”) sounds like someone looking for a dialog? 

Class Warfare:  Jones noted in her conversation with me that some of the people at the “summit” had complained that the issue was a matter of the plucky, put-upon inner city versus the smug, complacent suburbs – and that shooters just don’t understand life in the inner city.

I refuted them thusly; me.  I live in the Midway.  I’ve had a drive-by shooting in front of my house.  I had a break-in when I was in my house, once upon a time; the sound of my own firearm ended the incident.  Senseless violence?  A four-year-old girl was murdered half a mile from my house, right about the time I had two kids in her age bracket. 

Gun violence affects my city.  My quality of life.  My property value.  Just as much as it does yours, and more than it does those of any of the leadership of “ProtectMN” and “Moms Want Action”. 

And – this is the important part -not a single proposal they’re making, or have ever made, would affect gun violence in the least.

So, Mr. Duncan, please spare us the BS and never, ever play that crap with me. 

And the fact is, many shooters live in the suburbs because decades of DFL mismanagement have left the cities much more dangerous than the subs, the exurbs or Greater Minnesota. 

Indeed, given that Minneapolis and Saint Paul have the lowest incidence of civilian gun ownership in the State and the highest crime rates, perhaps it’s time we considered whether owning guns is a better deterrent to violence than banning them. 

The Potemkin Mission:  But “ProtectMN” isn’t about curbing violence.  Not even a little bit.

Proof:  In the legislative session just passed, most of the Legislature got behind a bill, HF1325, sponsored by Rep. Hilstrom (DFL, some godforsaken Western suburb). The bill would have added mandatory penalties for using a gun to commit a crime, and improved the state’s reporting to the national background check database (a ball the DFL has been dropping for over a decade now)…

…y’know – things that have a record in curbing violence

That’s the mission – right?

Not for “ProtectMN”.  They – Martens and the Metrocrat DFLers who controlled the Legislature – fought like hell against the bill that would address violence with measures that have actually worked around the country, claiming it was “The NRA’s Bill” (which was written by a rep with an “F” rating from the NRA, but whatever).  Instead, they fought for useless fripperies like magazine size restrictions, and yapping about cosmetic features of different guns – things that don’t and have never had the faintest impact on violence at the very most.

Zero.

Nada.

Zilch.

So I ask you – who is actually “dealing with violence”?  And who is acting out a fetish over metal objects?

The Takeaways From The “Summit”:  I’d like to address this to my brothers and sisters, my fellow human beings in places like North Minneapolis and the lower East Side. 

There is a “dialog” to be had about gun violence.  And we, your fellow Americans and Minnesotans of the Second Amendment community, are more than ready to have exactly that.  We, like you, want to make your streets, neighborhoods and homes safer – because they’re our streets, neighborhoods and homes, too.

“ProtectMN” doesn’t care about “violence”.  They froth and fume about guys in Lakeville with AR15s – and you know as well as I do (and Heather Martens does not) that they and their guns aren’t the problem. 

It’s the criminals.  The people who couldn’t pass a background check when they were 18, and sure as hell can’t pass one now.

And let the record show that Protect MN fought against the legislation that would attack them, in favor of attacking the law-abiding, in the past session.

And starting in January, they’re going to ramp up that attack. 

More later.

Watching The Astroturf Grow: Nuts and Bolts And More Nuts

Today at 10AM, “Protect Minnesota” and a coalition of mostly white, mostly upper-middle-class, entirely left-of-center groups will meet, as we discussed yesterday, to try to figure out how to suppress the Second Amendment for the law-abiding Minnesotan. 

Yesterday, we discussed the invitation – and how they’re really not interested in any solution that doesn’t involve infringing on the law-abiding, having rejected the RSVPs of Second Amendment activists.

But what about the agenda itself?

The invite – from “Protect Minnesota” The Brady Factory – says:

Find out what’s next in this important work and what your role can be. Sessions include:

– Changing the narrative around gun violence prevention

– Developing effective media strategy

– A deep dive on gun policy in Minnesota

– Grassroots lobbying

– Creating change with personal stories

What are they talking about?

Let’s turn this into real English:

Changing the narrative around gun violence prevention:  Whose narrative are we talking about, here?  The one in the media?  That one is certainly gun-grabber friendly.  Or are you talking about the one out there in the larger society – the one that keeps answering “guns in the hands of the law-abiding are a good thing” at the ballot box?

Developing effective media strategy:  I presume this means “expanding on their current strategy of having their plutocrat benefactors sponsor friendly media and pay for sympathetic “news” coverage”.

A deep dive on gun policy in Minnesota:  ”Deep Dive?”  You don’t need no stinkin’ deep dive.  I’ll tell you what you need to know; for the past 40 years, our self-appointed “elites” have been trying to set gun policy.  From 1974 through 1994, it worked.  Then Minnesota’s gun owners got organized.  Since then, the “elites” have been shut down, and haven’t won a battle that wasn’t handed to them by a judge.

Take that time you were going to spend in your “deep dive” and do something useful.  Maybe take a walk.

Grassroots lobbying:  This should be a fun session.  The gun-grabbers have no “grass roots”

White, upper-middle-class, NPR-listening, Volvo-driving, free-range-alpaca-wearing, white-liberal-guilt-stricken perma-scowling Saint Olaf alums from Linden Hills, Crocus Hill and Saint Louis Park. These are the closest the gun-grabber movement gets to “grass roots”.

They have astroturf.  They have a few activists (see photo above) and a lot of money from liberals with deep pockets.

And that’s it.

Creating change with personal stories:  Go ahead.  Bring your personal stories.  We’ll bring ours.

The meeting should be fun.  And by “fun”, I mean “clogged with self-righteous but badly-informed bobbleheads”.

If any of you Real Americans attend as ringers, please send me your report.

Watching The Astroturf Grow: BTW

In the previous piece about tomorrow’s “Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities summit “, I said “You’re invited”, sort of.

It’s not actually true.  A number of members of the Twin Cities’ human rights community responded to the invitation on Facebook – because the meeting invitation noted that “We all have to step up”, and nobody, but nobody, wants to curb gun violence more than the law-abiding, responsible gun owner [1], and so a number of Second Amendment human rights activists did step up, and RSVPed to the invite. 

And some of them have been getting responses:

“Dear [Redacted]

I am writing to inform y ou that the meeting on Friday, for which we received your RSVP, is not open to you.  If you come, you will be asked to leave.

Regards,

Heather

Presumably that’s Heather Martens, “Executive Director” and sole member of “Protect Minnesota’. 

So apparently when they say everyone needs to “step up” to prevent “gun violence”, they only mean “people who want to ban guns in the hands of the law-abiding citizen”. 

I wonder if theMinnPost,or Minnesota Public Radio, both of whom are sponsored by Joyce Foundation, the group of liberals with deep pockets who are “ProtectMN’s” only real source of money, will note that in what will no doubt be their embarassingly effusive coverage of the “event?”

[1] As evidenced by the fact that it’s us law-abiding, responsible gun owners that actually point out that the bulk of the gun carnage is being carried out by criminals, and most of the innocent victims are black children in places like Chicago.  The Twin Cities gun-grabber movement, being almost exclusively upper-middle-class white liberals (and, in terms of positions of power, white as the driven snow), seems only to concern itself with the deaths of children who look like their parents are NPR executives.  I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

Watching The Astroturf Grow

The Twin Cities’ assembly of gun grabbers is having a meeting tomorrow.  And you’re invited!

Sort of.  More on that in a bit.

Anyway – if you’re out and about tomorrow (Friday) morning (and it always seems these anti-gunners are unemployed, work for non-profits or retired, and have ample weekdaytime to devote to attacking other peoples’ civil rights), it might be fun to drop by.

Here’s the invite, and the agenda, more or less:

———-

Dear ***********,

It’s happened again. In Nevada, a 13-year-old brought a semiautomatic handgun to school, killed a teacher and wounded two students, and then killed himself.

This can’t keep happening — and it won’t stop on its own. We all have to step up.

On Friday, Oct. 25, Protect Minnesota is hosting a Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities summit for all who want to create safe, peaceful communities free of gun violence. Can you be there? Click here to RSVP**

Where: Shiloh Temple International Ministries, 1201 W. Broadway, Minneapolis

When: Friday, Oct. 25 from 10 am – 3:45 p.m., with lunch provided.

Find out what’s next in this important work and what your role can be. Sessions include:

– Changing the narrative around gun violence prevention

– Developing effective media strategy

– A deep dive on gun policy in Minnesota

– Grassroots lobbying

– Creating change with personal stories

Together, we can change the conversation around gun violence at this critical time in the history of gun violence prevention. Click here to RSVP.

Thank you for all you do,
 
Heather Martens
Executive Director
Protect Minnesota
———-

If you happen to show up?  Excellent.  If this is like most “Protect MN” meetings, there’ll be several Real Americans (defined as “people who support all ten amendments of the Bill of Rights) for every orc.

If you happen to show up and get video of someone telling a real howler?  Send me the vid or the YouTube link.  If it’s good, I’ll buy you the beverage of your choice the next time we get together.  Heck, even a great quote.  Send it on in.

By the way – to show you what a potemkin front “ProtectMN” is?  They didn’t even send out the email with the invite by themselves.  It was sent by the Brady Factory – which, like the MinnPost, MPR News and ProtectMN itself, is sponsored by the Joyce Foundation.

More on their agenda tomorrow.

And if you’re planning to attend, let me know.  Off-line, ideally.  I’ll explain that later.

“Moms Want Action”: The Assault Spam Generator!

We’ve written before about “Moms Demand Action”, the gun-grabber astroturf group financed entirely by liberals with deep pockets, and “run” (and, I suspect, almost solely inhabited) by Jane Kay, a woman whose hatred of the law-abiding firearms owner is so toxic as to frankly make me worry about her well-being.

Jane Kay (l) with Rep. Heather Martens (DFL – 67A) and Rep. Michael Paymar, at last spring’s gun grab hearings.

Mama Jane has a website, now.  And through the miracle of Web 1.0 technology, it gives the Moms and the group’s “member” their sympathizer or two the ability to put lies, long-debunked research and bobbleheaded long-discredited scare stories out in front of Congresspeople via Twitter in bulk loads.  Sort of the “Ugly Black Gun” of Twitter interfaces, designed to spit out untruths as fast as a group of orcs can click.

Or to put it in IT terms, a Spam Generator.

They’re using the #gunsense, #Savethe9 and of course #momsdemandaction tags.

If #MomsDemandAction had more than a few members, it’d be fun to jack the hashtags.

But of course, the point of groups like Moms Demand Action and “Protect Minnesota” isn’t getting members, or even producing social media.  It’s getting the compliant media (like the MinnPost, which is sponsored by the same groups that sponsor both of the gun grab groups) to present them as if they’re real groups, to gull the gullible into believing that there is an organized, organic gun-grab movement.

There isn’t.  But you’ll never hear it from Doug Grow.

Because Racism

Earlier this week, the Joyce Foundation collected another installment on its payment for the MinnPost’s PR services in pursuit of disarming the American people – in this case, a “Community Voices” column by by Rebecca Lowen and Doug Rossinow, who are listed as “history professors at Metro State”.

Those who fail to learn from history, it’s fair to say, teach history at Metro State.

And if this reflects the current state of the victim-disarmament movement, it’d seem their strategy has shifted to “ad homina” and “making things up”.

Continue reading

Woebetide

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Part of my job is signing cover sheets attached to batches of documents submitted for recording.  This morning I’m busy.  I have to write my name on, like, ten separate sheets of paper.

If I were a pro ball player, my autographs would be worth $100 each.  Of course, our office charges $100 each for approvals.  But do I see any of that money?  NO!  It goes to the County Treasurer.

Oh sure, they claim it’s used to pay my salary and insurance and benefits but I’m not buying it.  I think management is getting rich off the backs of labor and stealing the fruits of my toils for their own greed, just like it says in this Public Employee’s Union Poster.

I need a union to protect me from being ground under the iron heel of management making me work indoors, in air conditioning, risking paper cuts every moment of an entire 40-hour week with only a few breaks for lunch, coffee and cigarettes.  I’m a slave, that’s all I am, just an indentured servant.  I am being cheated, I deserve a raise, I demand a raise and a bigger pension and better insurance, if I don’t get them, I’m going on strike and bring the entire system to its . . . . . .

///slap///

Thanks, I needed that.

So do these people.

Joe Doakes

 Ain’t nothing selling but victimization.