Mark My Words

Someday, when there is a post-cold-war style reckoning with the past crimes of the American media – and I realize this may be more an “afterlife” kind of thing – the ongoing effort by the American media to slander people not like them, politically speaking, will be an entire wing in the museum.

Let’s allow up front that in a nation of 320 million people there will be loonies of every description afoot, and that not everyone deals with frustration, bigotry or hatred well or constructively.

With that out of the way?

There is no wave of Trump-inspired hatred in this country.  The media is, er, trumping up a series of:

…into a “story”, and spinning it into a largely fictional narrative.

Why?

To wag the dog.  To try to create the movement that they’re reporting on.  To try to do for hate what they did for Armenian valley girls and Flava Flav.

Will it work?

Well, their efforts didn’t give us an Empress President HIllary.  But that may have been a lucky break.

And “luck” isn’t a plan.

What’s The Matter With Paul Krugman?

I’m not a member of the “White Working Class”.  I worked pretty hard to not be part of it, earlier in my life.  For better or worse, I’m a service-economy guy.

Paul Krugman new yhork times.

Democrats have to figure out why the white working class just voted overwhelmingly against its own economic interests, not pretend that a bit more populism would solve the problem.

Here’s a word to the wise, Paul Krugman – but since it’s you, I’ll have to explain it.

Being told what “one’s best interests” are is a good enough reason by itself.

Would Paul Krugman tell black people, or Native Americans, or women, what’s “in their best interests?”  That would be racist, sexist and mansplaining.

It’s no different when you Bluesplain to people you don’t know, have never met, will never meet, and whose lives would kill you dead in half an hour what “their best interests” are.  There’s no cutesy PC social-justice-academy term for it – but it’s the same thing.

And that’s when the Bluesplaining comes from someone who’s actually got a point – which Paul Krugman does not.  How do we know this?

Because he wrote this…:

Any claim that changed policy positions will win elections assumes that the public will hear about those positions. How is that supposed to happen, when most of the news media simply refuse to cover policy substance? Remember, over the course of the 2016 campaign, the three network news shows devoted a total of 35 minutes combined to policy issues — all policy issues. Meanwhile, they devoted 125 minutes to Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

Right.  The press was hard on Hillary.

Oh, yeah.  And…:

Beyond this, the fact is that Democrats have already been pursuing policies that are much better for the white working class than anything the other party has to offer. Yet this has brought no political reward.

No, they do not – and yes, the reward has been bestowed.

Krugman is just too much of a clown to know it.

At least one professor got the message and got some useful takeaways from the complete failure of the “academic-industrial complex” for which Krugman is a poster child:

First, we must stop being insufferable know-it-alls. As scribes and scholars, we have expertise in a particular beat or field, but that doesn’t make us qualified to determine which candidate is best to lead 320 million Americans, each of whom has many and varied needs. Nor is it our job.

God knows it’ll never be Krugman.

Stardom

Speaking for myself, I’m not going to participate in the left’s jabbering about “the Alt-Right” – which is to this cycle what “Vast Rightwing Conspiracy” was to 1996, and “War on Women” was to 2012; a mass smear attempting to tie the entire American “right” to the most noxious people who can possibly be linked to it.

In this case, some “Klan” leaders who nobody has heard of (there are bowling leagues with more members and political clout than the KKK has these days) who were thrust into instant, utterly temporary, undeserved prominence by dint of “endorsing” or “heiling” Trump.

However, Trump has refudiated his ‘supporters’ on the “alt-right”.

Suppose that’ll get any headlines?

The Strib: Lowering Their Own Bar?

The Strib “reported”, after a fashion, about attitudes about Obamacare after an election where it was primarily responsible for ejecting the DFL from power in the Minnesota Senate.

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And it’s either a masterpiece of selective fact, or some fairly incurious reporting:

Anxiety is greatest among Minnesotans with preexisting medical conditions. Before the ACA, insurance companies could simply deny them coverage.

Which is technically true.

After which, in Minnesota at least, they would get insurance from one of the state-subsizied high risk plans.

Before MNSure, 92% of Minnesotans were insured, via the private market, a public plan, or some combination.   It was the highest share in the nation.   Of the 8% who didn’t have insurance, the vast majority were people who didn’t want insurance – mostly young, mostly healthy.  There were exceptions – but they were few, rare, and mostly the product of poor information and a pre-Obama media who were actively pitching the “47 million uninsured Americans…” narrative.

Today, the state says half as many Minnesotans are uninsured – but networks have shrunk (in vast swathes of Minnesota, only one plan is available), premiums have skyrocketed for individual members (like me!),  people could not keep their doctor (The Lightworker’s promises notwithstanding…)

So why is the Strib story – a “Team Report” by Jeremy Olson, Christopher Snowbeck and Glenn Howatt, no less – either so slanted or uninformed?

To borrow a Glenn Reynolds phrase – if you treat them as DFL operatives with bylines, it all makes sense.

Our Loathsome Media – Here And Everywhere

This blog has always been dedicated to the idea that the mainstream media is a PR firm for the Democrat party nationally, and the DFL in Minnesota.

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While there are capable, honest reporters in the Twin Cities and nationally who do make a level effort to cover the news rather than paint Democrat toenails and safeguard their dinner reservations at Brothers, it’s this blog’s considered opinion that the American media has long since ceased being a “check and balance” on anyone but conservatives and the GOP.

It’s been much in the news this past week.

Michael Goodwin at the NYPost notes the extent to which the mainstream media has become, without no hyperbole whatsoever, an arm of Hillary Clinton’s campaign:

A recent article by its media reporter, Jim Rutenberg, whom I know and like, began this way: “If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?”

Whoa, Nellie. The clear assumption is that many reporters see Trump that way, and it is note­worthy that no similar question is raised about Clinton, whose scandals are deserving only of “scrutiny.” Rutenberg approvingly cites a leftist journalist who calls one candidate “normal” and the other ­“abnormal.”

Clinton is hardly “normal” to the 68 percent of Americans who find her dishonest and untrustworthy, though apparently not a single one of those people writes for the Times. Statistically, that makes the Times “abnormal.”

Also, you don’t need to be a ­detective to hear echoes in that first paragraph of Clinton speeches and ads, including those featured prominently on the Times’ Web site. In effect, the paper has seamlessly ­adopted Clinton’s view as its own, then tries to justify its coverage.

But that’s a bit of bias that has long, deep roots; most of the American media seemed eager to finish for Bill Clinton the job Monica Lewinski started.

Meanwhile, locally, at a Donald Trump rally last week, “protesters” – pro-Democrat agitators – repeatedly attacked, hit and spat on people attending a Donald Trump meeting in Minneapolis.  You‘d never know if from most of the media, as John Gilmore reports:

But not even I was prepared for what followed: a sustained assault on citizens attempting to leave that venue while Minneapolis police stood by, for the most part. Some performed admirably and to them much credit should be given. Yet it wasn’t nearly enough.

There were first hand reports of people being spat upon, physically assaulted and some who had their property stolen. There were even reports of people themselves being spray painted. Many of those committing the assaults on white people were identified as black, but certainly not exclusively.

Minneapolis has become a lawless city, on the verge of becoming yet another Third World City, and last Friday night proved it beyond doubt. Those who have a different political view from the reigning majority were persecuted for simply exercising their constitutional right of assembly.

Twin Cities media reporting of the night’s events proved a mixed bag. There is no doubt that had the political polarities been reversed the coverage would have been far more extensive, breathless and condemnatory. But because the victims were republicans, much was glossed over. Which is to say, the violence.

Minnesota media should be ashamed of itself but it doesn’t really possess the capacity.

Read the whole thing.

For the sake of the city’s good, conscientious reporters, I do hope there’s some sort of future out there in writing actual news.

That future is not with the current legacy news media.

Memories And Memory Holes

Do you remember when the left and mainstream media tried to tie Sarah Palin to Jared Loughner’s spree killing in Tuscon, which wounded Gabby Gifford (and killed a bunch of people the media don’t care about) because she’d completely innocently used “crosshairs” on a map?

Of course you do.

Do you remember when Al Sharpton told people to kill cops in as many words?

Speaking of memory holes:  it’s been five days since the slaughter in Dallas.  By this point in most recent mass-killings, we has a lot of detail about the killers; Holmes, Mateen, Loughner, Lanza, Harris and Klebold, Cho, even Hassan.   And we’d had detailed dissections of the firearms they’d used – because those were the real enemies, natch.

And yet a cursory examination shows very little interest, it seems, in Micah Jackson’s past, and very little scrutiny about his SKS rifle.

We don’t know the details, and that means you or me.  But if someone wanted to bet me $100 that the silence was because Jackson was a known “progressive” activist, and the SKS was an utterly unmodified, thoroughly plain-jane rifle, I wouldn’t take the bet.

Open Letter To “Starting a Conversation” With Katie Couric And The Entire News Media

To:  Katie Couric and the entire American news media
From:  Mitch Berg, peasant
Re:  Starting a Conversation

Ms Couric et al,

As we discussed last week, you got busted doing something that, in my day (and yours) would have gotten any young reporter unceremoniously fired; you edited a story specifically to invert the history, record and fact in an interview with a group of Virginia gun rights activists, expressly to mislead the public and drive your chosen narrative.

As Jonah Goldberg notes (in a piece on the left’s new conceit, that any kind of fabulism is OK as long as you’re “starting a conversation”):

“I can understand the objection of people who did have an issue about it,” Couric said. (The “it” here is the deliberate falsifying of the truth). “Having said that, I think we have to focus on the big issue of gun violence. It was my hope that, when I approached this topic, that this would be a conversation-starter.”

Here is the “conversation” about guns – the entire conversation:   as law enforcement targets gun criminals, gun crime is dropping, even as the number of guns in the hands of the law-abiding skyrockets.  The only exception is in inner cities, where it’s not the law-abiding citizens doing the shooting.  Discuss.

There.  There’s your conversation.

But I have a better conversation.  Let’s talk about when the media became the PR wing of the America left. And that’s fine, to a point – most of us have come to except that, to one point or another, at least considering it part of America’s intellectual background noise.

And that’s fine, to a point – most of us have come to accept that, to one degree or another; it’s part of America’s intellectual background noise.

So let’s “converse” about this:

When Bernie Maddoff  sells phony investments, and bilks people of their life’s savings, it’s a huge scandal – justifiably so – and righteous outrage ensues.  The entire faith in the investment industry – a vitally important one – took a hit.

When Enron falsifies its records, people like you, the media, jump up-and-down and hoot and holler – and very justifiably so. The lying utterly guts the credibility that was the foundation of that industry.  So far so good?

When Wall Street misleads the public, and itself, about what it’s actually investing in, causing a collapse of the entire housing market, that’s a breach of “trust” (or market discipline) that caused huge problems.  Ja?

When the police cover up wrongdoing to protect one of their own from the consequences of their wrongdoing, it’s a big story – one that cuts to the foundation of our trust in government, especially law enforcement.  Right?

So how is what Katie Couric did any different?

And more importantly, how is the entire news media’s failure (along with their cheerleaders) to rise up and condemn Couric’s perfidy as the blot on whatever trust for the media might still exist any different?

Other than saying you really don’t care anymore?

That is all.

To: The Entire American Media

To:  The Media
From:  Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  Journalistic “Standards”

Dear Media

Katie Couric lied to the viewing public by maliciously editing her piece on “Gun Violence” to show a group of human rights activists as speechless when asked a fairly elementary question about gun control (when, in fact, they had several minutes of on-point, articulate response).

Kevin Williamson – a long-time newspaperman (who presumably knows the secret handshake you journalists have that determines whether you’ll take their criticism seriously or not) notes that…:

This kind of thing is the stock-in-trade of faux journalists such as Jon Stewart and crude propagandists such as Michael Moore, but Katie Couric is, in theory, something else: an actual journalist. There are things we permit among comedians that we do not permit among journalists: I doubt very much that every anecdote Richard Pryor ever shared actually happened.

I believe I’ve heard a journo or two whimpering about “Censorship”.  (“On The Media”, NPR’s media criticism program Media Über Alles-fest, hasn’t yet, but I’m sure they will – if they deign to address the story at all)

The usual idiots are rallying to Couric’s defense for the usual reason, which has absolutely nothing to do with principle and everything to do with a deep disinclination to allow anything to happen that might be considered a victory for conservative critics of the mainstream media. This is not a First Amendment question: No one is arguing that this film should be censored, the way films critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton were subject to government censorship before Citizens United; rather, this is a straightforward question about journalistic standards and Yahoo’s adherence to or wanton abandonment of them. Journalists are not supposed to tell lies to their audiences.

Fearless prediction:  “Serious” journalists will throw their hands up in the air, declare “it’s the new media, what are you gonna do?” and let it aaaaaaaall slide.

Unplanned Obsolescence

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Star Tribune playing the race card for Somali terrorists.  The reporter asks why there are no Blacks on the jury.  The reporter is stuck in a mental rut, asking the wrong question. 

 Americans are entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers, but what does that mean?  “Black” in the context of American racial relations means “descendant of African slaves.”  Those Blacks are supposedly entitled to special privileges as compensation for centuries of slavery and Jim Crow which included all-white juries convicting Blacks solely on the basis of race.  The courts have elaborate procedures to protect Black defendants’ right to a fair trial.

 “Black” in this context does not mean “anybody whose skin color is darker than mine.” Somali immigrants were never slaves in America, they never suffered under Jim Crow, they’re not entitled to special privileges as redress.  American Blacks might look upon Somali refugees as brothers-in-arms because they’re all struggling against The White Man; I sincerely doubt that Somali refugees look upon American Blacks as their peers.

 This trial is not about race, it’s about religion.  It’s not about Black, it’s about Islam.  Scott Johnson nails it.  But the Star Tribune reporter – terrified of mentioning Islam in an unfavorable light and stuck with Approved Victim categories established in the 1960’s – misses the point.

 Joe Doakes

The Strib editorial board cut its teeth in the sixties and seventies.

The world needs some eighties people running things.

Because I don’t think the 2000s and 2010s people are going to be much of an improvement.

Tricia Bishop: Let The Courage Of Your Convictions Guide You

Baltimore Sun “reporter” Tricia Bishop, on her way to admitting she worries less about criminals than law-abiding gun owners (in Baltimore.  I’ll let that bit of knot-headedness sink in), says:

And so, as President Barack Obama announced plans this week to tighten background checks for gun buyers and increase gun tracking and research, I thought, that’s all well and good, but how about adding something immediately useful: a gun owner registry available to the public online — something like those for sex offenders. I’m not equating gun owners with predatory perverts, but the model is helpful here; I want a searchable database I can consult to find out whether my kid can have a play date at your house.

Ms. Bishop:  First, how about we have a database of people who don’t like guns.  I mean, you’re the ones trying to shave away at the edges of a constitutional right – isn’t the burden of, well, being burdened, on you?

Why not let’s try this:  we put in in a public database that says:

I, TRICIA BISHOP, AM UNARMED AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE!

And maybe post one of these in your yard:

You do that for a couple years, we can talk.

 

Fingers Crossed

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A buddy had an insight why Hillary won’t be indicted, won’t even be seriously questioned, about her ever-shifting lies:
The standard has shifted. Washington’s “I cannot tell a lie” was replaced by Hitler’s The Big Lie which was replaced by Bill Clinton’s The Great Lie.
The Great Lie does not mean the person is a convincing liar. That went out the window with Slick Willie. We all knew he was lying, but the media decided that as long as his lies were told in furtherance of the Progressive Agenda, the media would let them ride. This is the mindset of reporters like Nina Burleigh, who graphically described how she would reward President Clinton for keeping abortion legal. That attitude brought us the era of The Great Lie, the lie that is, in modern parlance, “too big to fail.”
The frustration of Democrats and their wholly-owned subsidiary, the mainstream media, is the GOP hasn’t accepted the new standard. The GOP still thinks it’s fair to indict Hillary for lying about her crimes. Hillary’s lies are, of course, brazen and transparent. But the objective that the lies are protecting – electing her President – is too important for the media to call out the lies, as that might jeopardize attainment of the objective.
The stakes are too high to hold Hillary to the truth because the truth would derail the process of crowning her to lead us into the abyss.
The Great Lie has become the accepted method for every Progressive issue. Universal free medicine is too important to allow truth to interfere with the dream, so The Great Lie that Obama-care is working must be accepted without question. Climate change is too important to be clouded with truth so The Great Lie must prevail even if we have to silence scientists and distort the data to fit the theory. Gun control, Muslim terror, campus rape, the methodology is always the same.
There is an added incentive for the mainstream media to endear themselves of The Great Lie: it frees them from the shackles of ethics, truth, due diligence, etc. If the issue is sufficiently important in the Progressive Agenda, then no outdated journalistic ethos need slow down the machinery of printing garbage for the masses. It’s a much more efficient than the old methods of sourcing facts, confirming identities and access of the informants or suppliers of facts, editorial oversight to check for balance and fairness. The only people who suffer are those who care about the truth.

Joe Doakes

The idea of “journalistic ethos” is to news consumers (and journo students) what Santa Claus is for children.

Lie First, Lie Always: The Strib Marinades In The Bloomberg Kool-Aid

The Star/Tribune’s editorial board is a group of people, apparently in their sixties and seventies, who seem to spend their days pining away for a time when the media could say anything they want without fear of being caught out in public by people who know better.

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Those days are long gone.  Only the editorial board doesn’t seem to know it, or recognize it, as shown in last week’s editorial calling for, at the least, hearings on a “universal background check” bill.

And like everyone on the institutional left, they participate – with all the grace of a German jazz band – in the left’s only real tactic on the issue of gun control; Lie First, Lie Always.

Why, it’s almost as if Heather Martens, in addition to being a State Representative, is a Strib editor…

Continue reading

Vide The Intellectual Giants Of The American Media

Jonah Goldberg:

I caught some of Morning Joe from my hotel room before I left for the airport. The caption for one discussion was “Were They Radicalized?” I keep seeing stories asking this question as if it’s some great mystery we may never get to the bottom of. The media and the Democratic party are working very, very, hard to pound the wet clay of San Bernardino into a story about runaway gun violence in America.

Just curious: What discrete piece of info are we waiting for to get a definitive answer to that question? Because I thought it might be the thousands of rounds of ammo, the remote-control-car-bombs, the decision to abandon their six-month-old daughter, the contacts with terror suspects and, oh yeah, the murder of 14 people. But hey, that’s just me.

I used to think PJ O’Rourke was being hyperbolic when he said J-school students were the ones too dumb to get into Education.

Muggeridge’s Law is in full effect, obviously.

Still, amid the japing about our dimbulb journalistic “elite”, there’s a serious issue.  The people are being actively disinformed:

Right now the media and the Democratic party are working very, very, hard to pound the wet clay of San Bernardino into a story about runaway gun violence in America. Bogus stats about there being a mass shooting on average once a day streak across the media firmament like so much St. Elmo’s Fire. The fact that gun violence has been in a decades-long decline doesn’t count for much. Poor Charlie Cooke is running around like the last artillery officer on a 19th-century British warship, trying to return fire from each cannon station.

Cook is doing his usual great job.  But he’s far from alone on the, er, gun deck.

 

Lie First, Lie Always: Crowd Source Edition

So the next time some anti-gun talking head says “There’ve been 355 mass shootings so far this year”, remember – the figure comes from this site, “Shootingtracker.com“.  It’s a crowd-sourced site that allows pretty much anyone to report a “mass shooting” – defined as any event where three or more people (including the shooter) get shot.

Now, the media presents this as if every incident is a spree killing – someone setting out to kill innocent people at random (Columbine, Red Lake, the DC Navy Yard et al) or as acts of terrorism (San Bernardino, Chattanooga etc).

Of course, it includes many more mundane crimes; thugs shooting into crowded bars, family murder-suicides, and many, many criminal acts gone terribly awry.

And, it seems, one act in 2015 of whose genesis we’re not remotely sure.

Check out #345.  It was the shooting in North Minneapolis on November 23.

Now, you can find Mr. Scarsella’s motives repugnant – I certainly do, if they are as alleged.  And you can note, very correctly, that if Messrs Scarsella, Macey, Gustavsson and Backman wanted to claim self-defense, waiting for the Minneapolis Police to find them was the wrong way to do it.

But they do, in fact, seem to have at least a passing claim at self-defense, not something that can be dismissed out of hand no matter how much one may wish to.

So while it may be legitimate to count it as a “mass shooting” – a mass of three or more people were shot! – lumping it in there with San Bernardino, and the Navy Yard, and Umpqua, with their perps that fully intended to kill innocent people for purposes of either media immortality or political terror, is deeply dishonest – whether on “Shootingtracker.com”‘s part, or on the media’s.

It also introduces the question:  does it include other shootings, where a citizen interrupted a mass shooting with return fire?

I’ll be looking this over in coming days.

Anatomy Of A Chanting Point

Some years ago, an anti-gun group published a “study” showing that the rate of gun deaths was higher in red, square, stereotypically conservative flyover states where guns were plentiful and available to the law-abiding.

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Of course, it’s a misleading point – in keeping with the gun control dictum to “Lie First, Lie Last, Lie Always”.  The vast majority of gun deaths are suicides – and this is especially true in the rural west, as a disproportionate number of people, usually older, male, depressed, often very ill, decide to check out via the most reliable means they have available, their firearms.  It’s tragic; it’s also not the same as murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated assault or other violent crimes committed against others.   And it doesn’t take many suicides in a thinly-populated rural western county to send that per capita death rate soaring.

But no mind; fake as it is, this particular narrative made the usual rounds:

  • Through the various far-left blogs that pretty much exist to recite the left’s chanting points
  • To the various gun grabber groups, whose only real source of “information” is the chanting points they’re fed by their superiors in the “progressive” food chain
  • And finally, mainstream “news” organizations.

And so – barely a decade after having been chastened to a fine sheen for using fraudulent sources, CBS News is still in the business of mindlessly parroting fake chanting points.

Charges

The Henco Attorney’s office hit the noon deadline on Monday to charge the suspects in last week’s shooting at the Black Lives Matter rally.

And the charges are interesting:

Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23, of Lakeville, was charged with six counts including second-degree riot and second-degree assault. Joseph Martin Backman, 27, of Eagan, Nathan Wayne Gustavsson, 22, of Hermantown and Daniel Thomas Macey, 26, of Pine City were each charged with one count of second-degree riot-armed with a dangerous weapon.

Bear in mind that Macey was one of those rare Asian white supremacists.

Quite the melting-pot we have, here.

Anyway – as the media begins the process of trying this case in public, some people are going to be disappointed right out of the gate:

Freeman said the Minnesota hate crime law only moves a misdemeanor crime to a gross misdemeanor and a gross misdemeanor to a felony. The four men were not charged with that because the sentences for them, especially the suspected shooter, Scarsella, would be significantly longer for the riot and second-degree assault charges. However, Freeman noted he has been consulting with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger about this case and if federal hate crime sentences would draw a longer sentence, he would be willing to turn the case over to them.
There is no doubt, he said, that this attack by the four was racially motivated.
“The defendants’ own statements, their videos, show that these are sick people,” Freeman said. “Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but the language they use, and what they say about fellow Americans, citizens, are just not acceptable.”

Unlike every media outlet in the Metro, I’m not going to attempt to try this case on this page.  As we discussed the other day, there’s at least a chance that this could be tried as self-defense – although as I pointed out at the time, if one plans to try to plead self-defense, it’s best to go to the police, rather than having them come and get you first.

Nope. No Media Bias Here.

Last week, we noted that Heather Martens – leader of “Gun Safety” group “Protect” MN, and serial liar – demanded $1,500 to discuss “gun safety” on my show, with me, someone with at least some track record of knowing the issue in some detail.

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We also noted that she did appear on KARE11 to debate “gun safety” with Andy Parrish, a GOP strategist, who is not noted as a Second Amendment activist or someone with an especial command of the facts of the issue (which is not to disparage him; I don’t know any of his areas of expertise, either).

Today comes confirmation that Martens did not ask, or recieve, $1,500 from KARE11.

Why, it’s almost as if Martens knows that certain Twin Cities media outlets will paint her toenails on the air, and she’s avoiding having to deal with anyone who can point out her chronic, vocational mendacity.

I said “almost”.

I have no idea why.

Heads? Disaster. Tails? Catastrophe

As we noted earlier in the week, the left is just dying to get the NRA out of its way.

And they have been since I started following this issue – in probably 1980.

It seems that lately, the left has taken to a three-tiered strategy for fighting the Second Amendment Human Rights movement:

  1. Lie About Everything.  Everyone from the President to the hapless Heather Martens, and the entire media class in between, has spent the past couple of years relentlessly churning out easily-debunked lies; no, Mr. President, we’re not the most violent nation in the world, and states with tight gun laws aren’t safer.  And it seems to be working – while violent crime in general and gun crime in particular has plummeted over the past 20 years, most people don’t know it.
  2. Refuse To Engage the Second Amendment Human Rights Movement Directly:  They always lose in open, head-to-head debates based on facts.  Always.  There has never in history been an exception, and there never will be.
  3. Appeal to Magic:  The NRA is going to go away!   Someday!  You just gotta believe!

This blog has spent nearly a decade and a half engaging points 1 and 2.  Today, it’s all about the 3.

The National Boogeyman Association:  As I pointed out earlier in the week, the NRA is both vital and irrelevant; while it’s a juggernaut at federal lobbying, it’s mostly a bystanding helper at the state level, where most of the actual legislation happens.   But the left – being a fear-based institution – needs a big, centralized boogeyman.  And for this, the NRA serves their purposes.

And let’s be frank; organizations come and go (although the NRA is, and remains at, a peak of numbers and power).

 Adam Winkler – a UCLA law prof who’s popped up on this blog before, and not as an idiot – wrote an op-ed in the WaPo (reprinted earlier this week in the Strib, Read It And Weep:  The NRA Will Fall.

Before I respond, let me establish something.

Baselines:  When I first started covering the battle for Second Amendment human rights, about 30 years ago, the gun grabber movement used to wave around a Gallup poll showing that 85% of the American people favored gun control.  While that number dropped sharply as the poll got into specifics (even then, near the nadir of the Second Amendment’s fortunes), it showed where The People were at regarding our right to self-defense.

But thirty years later, things have changed; a distinct majority support the right to keep and bear arms.

All by way of saying – peoples’ attitudes change over time.

Changes:  I won’t quote extensively from Winkler’s piece – which is based on the idea that the NRA, and the Second Amendment movement, are doomed by demographics; that Latinos, African-Americans, urbanites and women are much less supportive of the Second Amendment and the NRA than rural white males.

On the one hand?  That may be true – today.  Just as it was true of 85% of the people – thirty years ago.  Attitudes change.  Are they changing for or against the NRA and the Second Amendment?  All evidence is anecdotal; the fact that Minnesota has well over twice as many carry permittees today as were ever forecast before the passage of “Shall Issue” reform might be a hint that the swing might actually be in the NRA’s favor.

Are Latinos more favorable to gun control?  Perhaps.  But Latinos aren’t a monolithic bloc; while Latinos in general vote Democrat, those who’ve been in the US longer than 2-3 generations are much more likely to vote GOP.

Asians, Winkler notes, support gun control – but again, they’re hardly monolithic; Koreans and H’mong are actually fairly likely to be shooters (if not “NRA supporters”).

Women tend to be pro-gun-control. They are also the fastest-growing group of shooters in America today.

How will these changes shake out over two decades?  Will policy be dragged to the left, reflecting these minorities’ left-leaning politics?  Or will they, too, evolve?

I know what I’m working toward.

(Let’s also not forget that most of the anti-gun minorities live in states like California, New York and Illinois, that are already relatively hostile to gun ownership).

Omens:  But let’s say Winkler is right; that minorities, new Americans, women and urbanites’ current attitudes will stay static over time.   It is a fact – noted by the estimable Kevin Williamson – that many of our minorities have vastly different perspectives on the concept of risk and freedom than white, middle class Americans do.

So if New Americans and minorities-who-will-one-day-be-the-majority don’t support the Second Amendment, is that going to be a problem for the NRA?

Who the hell cares?  It’s going to be a problem for the whole idea of “America” as a place built on the ideal of freedom.  And by “freedom”, we mean the traditional American founding interpretation – life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, protection of private property, freedom of speech, conscience, religion, press, assembly, keeping and bearing arms, security in your home, trial by jury with representation, equality before the law, the whole shebang – as opposed to the “freedoms” the Democrat party is pushing these days; the “freedom” from consequences, the “freedom” to force other people to make you free of want, the “freedom” to have government force others to give you stuff at gunpoint and enforce an arbitrary, politically-motivated concept of “fairness”; the freedom to abort your fetus and wave your privates around in public.

If the Second Amendment collapses because a majority of “Americans” don’t understand what it is to be “American” or what “America”, indeed, is, then the demise of the NRA will be the least of our problems, because there will be nothing to prevent the rest of the Constitution, and the freedoms it ostensibly guarantees, from being shredded much, much more comprehensively than it already is.

My Letter To The Strib

After reading Heather Martens’ challenge in the Strib yesterday, I wrote this letter to the Editor.

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

And since there’s not a chance in hell the Strib will ever print it, I’ll run it here, too:


In her October 19 reply to DJ Tice’s October 11 editorial, Heather Martens says that the Star/Tribune should “do their homework, force the gun lobby and its friends to defend their indefensible opposition to important new policies”

On behalf of my many friends and colleagues in the Second Amendment human rights movement, I accept the challenge! I urge the Star/Tribune to set up a debate between Ms. Martens and her colleagues and members of the “gun lobby”, on neutral ground, on camera and on the record, with mutually-agreed-upon rules.

As Ms. Martens notes, it would be an essential act of journalism, and it’d part of that “conversation about guns” that everyone is always asking for.

If not us (and Ms. Martens), who? If not now, when?

I welcome this paper’s initiative in helping get this vital debate organized.

Please contact me; I’ll be happy to help set things up.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul


What the heck – it was worth a try, for laughs.

No Cigar

Political movements rise and fall.  It’s part of political life in a democracy with a free market of ideas.

Of course, there’s nothing that the purveyors of central intellectual planning would like more than for the National Rifle Association to fade into obscurity. In this CNN article, the writer quite tangibly palpitates at the idea.

Could the National Rifle Association ever face a similar fate? Most Americans probably don’t think so. When a gunman murdered nine people at a community college in Oregon earlier this month, the President seemed to express what many Americans were thinking when he said, “Somehow this has become routine. … We have become numb to this.”

There’s a pervasive belief that any attempt to tighten gun laws would be futile because too many politicians are afraid to defy the NRA. But there are at least four examples from American history — including two snatched from recent headlines — where ordinary people and unforeseen events defeated a seemingly invincible lobbying group, and hardly anyone saw it coming.

Could the NRA vanish from political prominence? Of course.

But the article is wrong on three points:

Apples And Axles:   The author – John Blake – picked four groups as examples of “popular” opposition overturning “powerful lobbying groups”:  The “Anti Saloon League”, the “Tobacco Lobby”, the “Cuba Lobby” and AIPAC.

They’re all lousy comparisons:

  • The “Cuba Lobby” became less relevant with the end of the Cold War.  Not to say they’re not right.
  • The big defeats of the Cuba Lobby and AIPAC that Blake cites were the establishment of relations with Cuba, and the jamdown of the Iran treaty executive agreement.  Both were single-issue decisions by an ideological executive – in the case of the Iran “agreement”, very possibly a violation of the law.
  • The “defeat” of the tobacco lobby was a result of decades of public health propaganda (which happened to be largely correct, outside the canard of “second hand smoke”) that didn’t need to be politicized to be effective (although it often was anyway), and cost billions and billions of dollars.
  • The Anti Saloon League was opposed by an equally-large mass of countervailing opinion; this opinion took 15 years to get organized (Prohibition was nearly 100 years in the making); The ASL was, in fact, more analogous the gun control mement, and its opposition was more similar to the Second Amendment Rights movement between 1985 and 2000.

Which brings us to the second point:

NRA is the Vox Populi:  I’ve non-joke joked for nearly three decades now; the left has been jabbering about class warfare for a couple centuries.  And they finally got one; the battle over guns.  But they’re the patricians, and the Second Amendment movement are the uppity peasants.

As Jeffrey Snyder pointed out in his seminal essay A Nation of Cowards, that’s the reason the left has spent the last fifty years so knotted up about guns; not because they care about anyone’s lives, or “gun violence”; but because it’s the vox populi giving them a big bad veto, saying “the nannystate has its limits”.

In the early nineties, at the start of the Clinton Administration’s gun control efforts, the NRA reached a then-record membership of 4 million – people who paid a minumum of $35 a year for their memberships, frequenlty more.  At the time, the various gun grabber groups reached a peak strength of around 150,000 – at a time when “membership” meant, in most cases, saying “I’m a member!”.  The “Million Mom March” may have peaked out around 10,000 members, at a time when all a Mom had to do was…march.  Or indicate an interest in marching.

And focusing on the NRA is misleading in and of itself – because…:

The NRA Is Just A Part Of The Movement:  The NRA deploys some serious muscle at the federal level.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Second Amendment human rights movement is a mosaic of dozens, maybe hundreds, of smaller groups that do most of the heavy lifting in the states, where most gun legislation takes place.  In Minnesota, the bulk of the actual work is done by GOCRA and MNGOPAC, with several other groups helping out in the various trenches as well.  The NRA has always been a utility player in Minnesota; they had almost nothing to do with Shall-Issue; they helped with the lobbying in 2012 through this past session, but they are part of a cast of groups, not the big gorilla.

Here’s the real measure of support; when GOCRA says “turn out to the capitol” to show legislators where the real political brawn is, hundreds of people from all over Minnesota turn out in a sea of maroon shirts; the Bloombergs might be able to get a couple of dozen wan-looking Highland Park “progressives” accompanying their half-dozen paid, mercenary lobbyists.   It has more in common with the people who rejected Prohibition than the people who enacted it.

And this process has only accelerated as the distribution of information has become more decentralized.  In 1993, the Gun Owners Action League (the predecessor of GOCRA) had to print and mails its newsletters at great expense, to a database maintained on heaven only knows what.  Today, grassroots gun rights groups can, and do, form around facebook pages and online discussion forums, and with a little work and diligence and messaging can actually go on to persuade the unpersuaded.

The same dynamic holds for the anti-gun side – but at the end of the day, all they seem to draw is liberal plutocrats with deep pockets, and people who look like they got lost on their way to a live presentation of “This American Life”.

Backwards:  So in its lust to silence the peasants, CNN has gotten things more or less inverted:  the NRA is not only utterly unlike the four “unbeatable lobbying groups” that they cite, but they aren’t even the real issue.

The real issue is this:  the part of America east of the Hudson and west of the Sierra Madre thinks the Second Amendment is at least a weird throwback, and at most a threat to their version of civilization.  Real Americans treasure the Second Amendment as all other civil liberties, and will fight for it as they have for the past forty years – without regard to the group that carries the flag.

You Asked For It, John Oliver

To: John Oliver, this month’s Rachel Maddow
From:  Mitch Berg, ND Native
Re:  Anger

Mr. Oliver,

The other night, during your largely erroneous segment on oil in North Dakota, you patronizingly told North Dakotans that they should “get angry”.

I was born there, and I’ve spent years watching our self-appointed  “elites” – from Minnesota Public Radio to the documentary film industry to, now, you –  go from calling for the entire Great Plains to be ceded back to nature, to sniffing down their aquiline noses at the notion of all those red-state rubes getting all that unseemly, unregulated, private-market prosperity.  So while I’m not from there anymore, I spent 22 years there – so I’ll speak on its behalf if I want to.

I’m all about the help.

“Get mad!”, you say.

OK, John Oliver. I’m mad.  Your segment, as Rob Port showed, was crap, and you are beggaring the notion of “journalism” in your snooty, condescending attack on my homeland.

So go f**k yourself.

There.  I feel better.

That is all.