Crisis

When I was a kid, working at small-town radio stations in North Dakota, my favorite part of the job was working during tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings.

Which seems counterintuitive, perhaps – but there was something about the crackle and buzz of imporance, of purpose, in the air; the increasingly urgent National Weather service bulletins, the terse phone calls from the cops and sherif, that far more than overcame the whole “there’s a tornado coming!” thing.

And as a tall, gawky, greasy-haired, uncoordinated kid with little apparent athletic talent in a town that idolized the basketball team, it didn’t hurt that I knew, all over town, people were listening.

To me.

Of course, when the warning was over, I and the rest of Stutsman and Foster Counties went back to normal life. I didn’t keep telling people to stay in their basements when the front had passed and the warning was over. Because much as I enjoyed knowing that people were paying attention (and, more important, that I could deliver what they were tuning in for, with style), there were other things in life, and I didn’t need the state of crisis to keep giving me value.


A lot of people out there today can’t say that.

Covid has brought out a strain in a small, but socially prominent, group of people that find their self-worth in crying “Crisis!”.

Not just the media – it’s a given that they will make hay out of crises; pandemics and riots make them more relevant, just as tornados made Mitch Berg’s patter more important to more people than the usual diet of local sports and Rupert Holmes records that occupied most of my time on those stations.

No – it’s regular, workadaddy, hugamommy, usually but not always left-of-center types, for whom being the harbinger brings meaning to life.

And it’s to them that so much of Big Public Health’s narrative is aimed.

Great Twitter thread on the subject:

They – on social media, in the checkout line at Target, or in the comment section here – remind me. of the kids who ran to the teacher when someone stepped out of line when talking from the classroom to the water fountain. They got their sense of personal value from enforcing rules on others – whatever the rules, however niggling and petty and useless – back then, as now.

It’s the toxic corollary to “we’re all in this together”: the unstated “…and I’m not gonna let you forget about it!”.

Inhuman

Remember in the 1980s, when some “conservative” fundies rejoiced at the deaths of AIDS patients.

It was a pretty depraved stance. Everyone knows that.

Someone tell the fairly irredeemable LA Times drone Michael Hiltzik – who has reprised that particular bit of human depravity by declaring “Mocking some anti-vaxxers’ deaths is necessary“.

Helpfully, he adds “My exception applies to those who have actively undermined public health for the sake of an ideology and a culture war”.

I’m not going to extensively pull-quote the column – which is full of the sort of “two weeks to stop the virus” cheerleading that seems to have come from a CDC press release in April 2020, or from someone who thinks Gavin Newsom is on the right track.

That’s not especially remarkable.

Remarkable? Humanity is secondary to progs like Hiltzik:

It may be ghoulish to celebrate or exult in the deaths of vaccine opponents. And it may be proper to express sympathy and solicitude to those they leave behind.

But mockery is not necessarily the wrong reaction to those who publicly mocked anti-COVID measures and encouraged others to follow suit, before they perished of the disease the dangers of which they belittled…There may be no other way to make sure that the lessons of these teachable moments are heard.

Actually, there is another way: : stop politicizing public health. Stop spreading distrust of “the Trump Vaccine” during the elections, and then turn around and claim credit for it. Stop making “sowing controllable panic” the default setting for public health messaging. Stop being whores for the Democrats, if you’re the media.

Of course, this is more about them than – and their needs to find a scapegoat for their frustrations – than the unvaccinated.

But let’s not pretend this – mocking and giggling about opponents, on whatever issue, that die unfortunate deaths – is anything but the default setting for ghouls like Hiltzik. After watching people like him giggle and guffaw over the deaths of Tony Snow, Antonin Scalia and Rush Limbaugh, and hoot and holler for the death of Steve Scaliise, it’s a stretch to assume they have any other setting.

Sort of like guffawing about dead AIDS patents, only apparently acceptable.

Everything’s A Wedge

According to Dana Milbank…

…dissenting from Big Left/Big Media/the Brandon administration is “fascism”..

Not sure if they’re trying to foment a civil war.

If they were, what would they be doing differently?

(And how is the Brandon Administration “salvaging democratic norms?” Labeling everyone that disagrees a “white supremacist?”)

Hard To Believe…

…that a city run by Kim Norton, which has been becoming blue-er and blue-er over time, would play passive-aggressive bureaucratic pattycake games with the citizenry…

right?

A group of parents, with a Twin Cities law firm, are asking for records related to the district’s adoption of Critical Race Theory.

And how did that go over?

“On Nov. 12, an attorney representing the district said that it would cost ‘Equality in Education’ $901,121.15 to obtain the records and they must prepay before the district completes their request,” the report reads.

The battle lines for next November could not be clearer.

There’s A Part Of Me…

…that looks at an article like this, (and, for that matter, infuriating junior-high-level behavior like this among America’s future US attorneys) cheering on the demise of regard for academia outside, well, academia, and things “More, faster, now!”.

But while it’s a fact that academia has tutyhis rned into a cesspool of leftist indoctrination, I get to this bit here (I’ve added emphasis):

Unfortunately, as we’re starting to see, there’s a bit of a pushback against that sort of thing. It’s limited, but more and more people are flocking toward non-woke entertainment. People are starting to look to the trades as an option after high school. Folks are backing laws restricting some of the leftist indoctrination on our school campuses.

Nothing wrong with looking at the trades.

But academia, worthless as it largely currently is, is of disproportionate importance in a society’s future. As Orwell said, “He who controls the future, controls the past. He who controls the present, controls the past”. Academia controls, not history, but how history is passed down to future generations; they control a disproportionate share of the cultural “present”.

And telling kids who have it in them to fight that battle, to instead go and be an apprentice electrician, is a little like Eisenhower sending the D-Day invasion ashore in New Jersey rather than Normandy. It’s a path of lesser resistance, but it doesn’t really win the war.

I suspect what society really needs is an academic equivalent to Fox News: for conservative money to go to building a classically-liberal academic system, and letting people vote with their feet.

Which is far easier said than done – but then, isn’t everything that’s worth doing?

The Modern Conundrum

I was told that if I voted for Donald Trump, school boards would be overrun with domestic terrorists.

And they were right.

“For those who got an issue with this critical race theory equity, this is something I fight for, for my children,” Austin reportedly said during the school board meeting . “How dare you come out here and talk about the things that my daddy and my grandparents went through,” listing things such as Jim Crow, lynchings, and the oppression…

“I’ll bring my soldiers with me next time … locked and loaded,” Austin stated as he was being escorted out of the meeting by officers. Plemmons reportedly questioned whether he had been addressing her, to which he replied, “locked and loaded.”

That’s “1,000 soldiers, locked and loaded”, coming out to defend Critical Race Theory…

…which does not exist.

A Long Train Of Abuses And Usurpations

If society can’t trust its public institutions to do their jobs fairly and impartially, self-government is impossible.

We’ll come back to that.


In the generally outstanding Danish TV program Rita – about a middle school teacher fighting burnout – there was one particularly jarring moment, if you were an American parent; the eponymous teacher was discussing problems with a particular student, and reacted with derision and a little muted disgust to the idea that the kid’s parents knew better about how to deal with the situation than her and the rest of the school staff.

It’s not an uncommon view in Europe; German schools have a similar point of view, but the Scandinavians have taken it to what seems to libertarian Americans an absurd extreme.

I say libertarian Americans, with a small “L”, as opposed to more-communitarian Americans. I once ran into an American – a DFL ward heeler from Saint Paul – who said loudly and proudly in public that he was happy to leave his kids education to “the experts”. I was never sure if that was entirely because that’s what he believed, or if he knew he’s get thrown in the stocks by the teachers unions that control so much of the DFL.

But it’s worth a reminder that the sentiment – not just of my DFL friend, but of a good chunk of America – probably jibes more with “Rita” than with most of the people reading this blog.

This particular op-ed in the WaPo, written by a couple of teachers union shills, titled “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t“, has been drawing a lot of ire on the cultural right.

The thesis of the article shows us part of the problem:

In their search for issues that will deliver Congress in 2022, conservatives have begun to circle around the cause of “parents’ rights.” …curtail the established rights that Americans have over the educational sphere. Yet what’s actually radical here is the assertion of parental powers that have never previously existed. This is not to say that parents should have no influence over how their children are taught. But common law and case law in the United States have long supported the idea that education should prepare young people to think for themselves, even if that runs counter to the wishes of parents.

And there’s a decent point in there, actually. To be educated is, in fact, to have the basis to think for oneself, to stake out one’s own beliefs in the world, to figure out who one actually is and what one really believes. By historical accident or design, my own education more or less fit the bill; I’m sure if my parents had had full sway over everything I learned and how I learned it, I may have become a conservative much later, if ever.

So. yeah – “education” in the classical sense of the term is one of the things that enables a child to become a separate, autonomous adult…

provided that the schools actually teach critical thinking.

And that’s a big caveat:

 When do the interests of parents and children diverge? Generally, it occurs when a parent’s desire to inculcate a particular worldview denies the child exposure to other ideas and values that an independent young person might wish to embrace or at least entertain. To turn over all decisions to parents, then, would risk inhibiting the ability of young people to think independently. As the political scientist Rob Reich has argued, “Minimal autonomy requires, especially for its civic importance, that a child be able to examine his or her own political values and beliefs, and those of others, with a critical eye.” If we value that end, “the structure of schooling cannot simply replicate in every particularity the values and beliefs of a child’s home.”

Which would be a perfectly legitimate idea…

provided the schools weren’t doing exactly what they “worry” about the parents doing.

Can you honestly say modern state schools teach critical thought?

The authors of the piece seem to think so – but I suggest they are describing an education system that has existed since the 1980s only in their fantasy.


If society can’t trust its institutions do do their job, fairly and impartially, self-government is impossible.

Can we trust public education to do the mission the authors claim it has?

I think you know my vote.

School Dazed

Over the past few weeks, the news that young men are rapidly heading toward being a superminority – 1/3 of the population – at America’s colleges and universities has seemed to come as a surprise to the bits and pieces of the media that have reported on it at all – like, for instance, this piece in The Atlantic,

Of course, this has been anticipated literally for decades. I first read the prediction in 2000, in Christina Hoff-Summers’ The War on Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Young Men

And it’s been a significant subject on this blog since the beginning, no less than when I spent quite a bit of time wrestling with modern education’s treatment of boys, most notably my son and stepson. . The Atlantic piece all but dismisses the notion that modern adademia (and its product and farm club, K-12 education) pathologizes boyhood, and that systematic discrimination sours boys on education even before modern post-secondary academia takes over and treats “maleness” like a mental illness. I think the article is wrong, and I’d welcome a serious, frank (read “no holds barred”) debate on the subject.

But I come here not to recap views of the disease, about which I have few doubts, but to ask questions about the treatment.

Boys are opting out of school – post-secondary education, in this case, but it applies across non-vocational higher education and non-engineering and hard-science spaces (which continue to be fairly male-dominated, despite decades of effort) . And it’s causing…

…well, “concern” may be an overstatement.

My pullquote from the Atlantic piece:

The implications of the college gender gap for individual men are troubling but uncertain. “My biggest immediate worry is that men are making the wrong decision,” Goldin said. “I worry they’ll come to severely regret their choice if they realize the best jobs require a degree they never got.” There is also the issue of dating. College grads typically marry college grads. But this trend of associative mating will hit some turbulence, at least among heterosexual people; if present trends continue, the dating pool of college grads could include two women for every guy. As women spend more time in school and their male peers dwindle as a share of the college population, further delays in marriage and childbirth may ensue. That would further reduce U.S. fertility rates, which worries some commentators, albeit not all.

Background

I not only went to college, I got a BA in English. And, perhaps unexpectedly given the state of modern higher ed, I went in a fairly “progressive” but not very well-read Democrat, and came out four years later a Reagan conservative – because of my English major adviser.

I’m sure he’d have been cashiered from academia, or at least the humanities academy, these days.

I got, in short, the sort of humanities education that today trips a whole lot of social and political triggers, but set me up for not only the life I have today but system of beliefs by which I live (and about which I write on this blog and talk on my radio show) pretty darn well, conservatism and all.

Of course, higher ed has changed a lot in the past 35 years. The academy, which tended to lean left when I was in college, has toppled over to the left today. Conservative thought is not only scarce, in some cases it is actively hunted down, intellectually speaking (so far).

A Pox?

The response from a lot of my conservative and libertarian friends has been along the lines of “Good! Get our young guys to go to tech school or do apprenticeships and become mechanics and plumbers and HVAC techs!”

There’s a practical side to that; the modern secondary education seems to consider high school grads who don’t go to college as defeats, personal slights to them as teachers. But, obviously, not everyone wants, or is suited, to be a teacher, an administrator, a professional. Destigmatizing the trades would be a wonderful thing.

But there’s a social and political side as well; some say it’s high time for young conservatives to secede from academia, go into the trades. A pox on the whole house of academia.

I get it.

But thinking back on 17 year old me? The closest thing I had to an interest in the trades was working in radio, which I’d most definitely learned on the job (then as now) – and which, to be fair, turned out to be a career, albeit not a lucrative one. Beyond that? 17 year old Mitch, just as *&^% year old Mitch, lived in his head, not with his hands, for better or worse. Even with hindsight, I can’t think of a trade I would have been happy with. (Happy with learning to a basic level of competence is another story; I’d love to have retained some of the electricity or carpentry knowledge I picked up along the way, but that’s purely avocational, not a career goal).

But it was a moot point, because when I was 17, college was not only moderately affordable, it was presented as a place to learn the tools to think critically about the smorgasbord of ideas pelting one about one’s head.

And the first 13 years of school hadn’t beaten all love of learning out of most of us guys.

Eating The Seed Corn

So I completely support destigmatizing the vocational education track.

And I understand the impetus to chuck the whole thing.

But as the masculine half of this nation’s collective brain gets pushed out of the “Brain” half of this nation’s public life, what does it get replaced with?

The feminine half?

Forget for a moment that it’s a “Feminine” half trained by, well, modern academia, with all of its current adjectives (post-structural, proto-Marxist, anti-Western-Civilization, and I could probably go on from there). Leave that out of it completely for a moment.

What happens to a nation that cedes its public intellectual life entirely to its feminine half?

Men and women lead differently, process threats and stress differently, appraise situations very differently.

And that difference can be a good thing.

But what happens when the doors that do get opened to college grads – the thinking, rather than doing jobs – have nothing but women going through them?

It’s been de rigeur since the late seventies to reflexively bark “a society and world run by women would be perfect! No war, no hunger – it’d be like having Mom run everything!”

Which, like all “progressive” fever dreams, is reductionist baked wind. A society whose entire intellectual direction is run by women – especially a society which has become as centralized, bureaucratized, credentialized and driven by increasingly stratified institutions as ours is becoming – would have different dysfunctions than a completely masculine society, but dysfunctional it would remain.

And beyond that – quick: someone show me a matriarchal society throughout all of human history that has survived prolonged conflict with an aggressive patriarchal one? History bids us to look at sub-Saharan Africa, where indigenous culture is highly matriarchal…

…and was easily steamrollered by the aggressive, patriarchal, militaristic Bantu, Swahili, and other masculine mega-tribes.

Families, across all of society, need male and female influences to thrive and survive.

So do the societies themselves.

And we’ve known for a generation, now, that we’re slowly losing that, on an intellectual level. Some of the dumber among us are celebrating it.

It’s going to be a big problem in the future.

Cross-Cultural

Re draconian restrictions with a goal to “eradicate Covid with zero cases and fatalities”:

How long can this last? If it was up to the drunk-on-power politicians and bureaucrats who have found a winning electoral formula, health experts who have found relevance, and the deathly scared who have found a sense of safety (and, for some at least, the frisson of being a part of something big and important), the answer is “forever.” 

It was written about Australia, where celebrity bureaucrats, power-drunk petty authorities and Big Karen have teamed up to create a post-freedom state (which, honesty, I expected to see in the UK, France and Germany long before Australia).

But it applies to Minnesota as well. As we may well be finding out the hard way, when (as I suspect) Governor Walz spins up another “state of emergency”.

Armageddon Deferred: Karen Hardest Hit

For the second straight year, Big Media, serving as the exposed id of Big Karen, has predicted the Sturgis motorcycle rally was going to be a “super spreader”.

And as the event – and the attendant Covid surveillance – unrolled, I started getting the impression that most of the “news” coverage had been written in advance, with blanks let open to fill in the numbers that, one suspects, were expected to be in the thousands, at the very least.

So when the first take on numbers came out – in the low 100s, across 700,000 attendees – my first response was “that’s probably lower than the infection rate of 700,000 people in the general population”.

I was right:

Before its Aug. 6 opening, the Washington Post ominously warned: “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally revs up, drawing thousands and heightening delta super spreader fears”; CBS blared:“Sturgis motorcycle rally sparks fears of super spreader event.”

But like last August, the derisive press thankfully didn’t get their wish. Two weeks after the gathering with more than a half-million attendees concluded, fewer than 200 cases have been attributed to the event.

The Associated Press still breathlessly reported Sunday that “nearly 4,000 people have been newly diagnosed with COVID-19 in the state,” but later noted that “a South Dakota Department of Health spokesman declined to link the Sturgis rally to the rising virus surge, noting only 39 COVID-19 cases directly attributed to the rally.”

That such a small number of statewide cases came from Sturgis is a miracle and should have been the headline.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times, whose writers likely could not find South Dakota on a map, claimed “scores of coronavirus cases recorded.” Scores? How many, and compared to what?

So, as always, what does that mean, per capita?

If numbers still matter to agenda seekers, the entire U.S. averaged 276 new COVID cases per 100,000 people over 10 days ending last week, while the Mount Rushmore State averaged only 156.

In the meantime, Florida’s vaccination rates for the elderly are far better than California and New York, and the fatality rate among a very dense, rather old population, is well down in the middle of the pack.

The Democrats and media (ptr) are going to have to count on their voters legendary lack of facility at critical thought.

And the slant in Covid coverage from the MSM is a sign that Big Left is genuinely worried about DeSantis, Noem and the movements they represent.

Ideas

Big Left – via its wholly owned subsidiaries, Big Government and Big Media – have gotten much exercised about “misinformation” lately. As distinct from “disinformation” – someone actively telling you something that is untrue – “misinformation” is someone telling you anything they disagree with.

Rightly or wrongly.

This campaign has taken many forms – a Scarlet Letter-style whisper campaign on public media, active censorship by private-sector tech companies acting in concert with Big Left.

But what’s next?

Don’t think Big Left isn’t getting ideas:

Urban Progressive Privilege: My Scientific Research Project

Title: Analyzing the Propensity of Modern Feminists, Progressives and the Media to Overstate Accrued Virtue.

Aim of the Experiment: The aim of the experiment is to test whether there is any activity approved of by “Big Left” that a woman can do, that will not be turned into a example of supreme personal moral virtue.

Hypothesis: It is predicted that, provided the activity is one promoted by “Big Left”, that there is no activity a woman can carry out that will not be referred to as “Brave”, “Courageous”, “Fierce” or other such superlatives.

Background Theory: It is believed that the rhetorical “Bar” for an action to be considered an act of personal moral courage, when the action is:

  • Congruent with the values of modern political and social “progressives”, and
  • Performed by a woman

…has dropped to the point of nearly being indistinguishable from any normal activity.

Methodology: The research team:

  1. Observed an extensive list of actions
  2. We specifically looked for examples of morally unremarkable, mundane, even counterproductive activities not being referred to in morally superlative terms
  3. We documented the results.

Results: We found no examples.

Discussion of Results: In comment section

Conclusion: There is literally nothing a woman can do (provided it’s congruent with the values of Big Left) too unremarkable, mundane or even destructive that won’t be called ‘Brave’.

Left on The Table

The National Education Association – the organization that actually does ruthlessly wield the money and influence Big Left attributes to the NRA – is tripling down on “social and economic justice” and Critical Race Theory.

You can read the article (about the NEA’s attempts to silence opposition and extend the social justice curricula) at your leisure.

My big question is one that we really need voters to be asking Republican candidates, especially in Minnesota. School choice, we’re seeing, is a winning issue; we see this in the “Tea Party”-like uprisings of parents all over the country against CRT.

And yet – will Minnesota Republican candidates ever come into the city to try to make their cases to charter school parents – overwhelmingly black, Latino, Asian or immigrant? The Democrats and the Teachers Union, pardon the redundancy – and even some of their proxy warriors want to kill charter schools and all meaningful school choice.

And yet you can count on zero fingers the number of GOP gubernatorial, Senate or Consitutitonal Office candidates who’ve even shown up to try to contest the battlefield.

Why does the Minnesota GOP need to be, and stay, so stupid?

Hastily Made Portland Tourism Ad?

So is this a tourism ad, or a cry for help?

Odd tourism ad, doncha think? Usually you get a picture of nature, or a soaring skyline, or beatiful people enjoying dazzling nightlife. But not this time.

So what does a tourist do in Portland? Apparently you can cross a bunch of bridges. That might have some allure. I have it on good authority that Portland has a number of restaurants, but it’s difficult to tell what the bill of fare might be from this brown paper ad. It’s possible the restaurants in Portland feature word salad. “We’re a place of dualities that are never polarities.” What does that even mean? Does it mean this?

Portland crowd-control police unit resigns en masse after team member  criminally charged - East Idaho News

That might be the dazzling nightlife? After all, things are going well:

Every member of a police crowd-control unit in the US city of Portland has resigned after one of its officers was indicted on an assault charge.

The charge stemmed from violent anti-racism protests that rocked the city, in the state of Oregon, last year.

Prosecutors allege the officer used “excessive and unlawful use of force” against a protester in August 2020.

But Portland’s police union described the decision to prosecute the officer as “politically driven”.

The reporting here is from the BBC. Looks like they didn’t get the “mostly peaceful” memo. 

All The News That Is Fit To Bash Into Today’s Narrative

Warning up front: It’ll be an investment of time. Over two hours, to be exact.

It’s Jordan Peterson, interviewing former NYTimes editor Bari Weiss, who famously resitned from the paper, roasting it all the way for its obseisance, not to “journalism”, but to the feelings and politicized motivation of a small, “woke” faction of the staff.

It’ll be worth the investment:

If we can’t trust our institutions – law enforcement and the judiciary, the bureaucracy and the media – to act fairly and dispassionately – then the Republica has a huge problem.

Also: the Republic has a huge problem.

A Little Hope

This video’s been making the rounds. I’ve had at least a half dozen people refer it to me. It’s Brad Taylor, speaking last week at the Rosemount School Board, on how his education has already been given over to indoctrination:

I give speaker points: the kid is excellent.

All you folks moving to the third-tier burbs looking to escape the lunacy? The lunacy is following you. Running away ain’t gonna work. You’re going to have to stand and fight.

And a few thousand more like Mr. Taylor and his like (I’m looking at you, Kyle Kashuv, wherever yo88u are) it may be a fair fight.

As re getting him on the NARN? My people are already calling his people.

New Wrinkle

When last we met Rashad Turner, he was the firebrand leader of the Saint Paul chapter of BLM.

What a difference a couple years can make:

It would seem Turner started having misgivings about BLM for some of the same reasons I did – the organization joined with the Teachers union to piddle on the charter schools that are the lifeboats for so many kids, disproportionally minority, in the city.

He’s appearing at an event tomorrow evening at Willy McCoy’s in, I believe, Champlin, along with Kendall Qualls, the former CD3 candidate who’s been running “TakeChargeMN” – the group that produced Turner’s video, and which is aiming to evangelize the black community on the things that used to make it strong; family, faith, and an actual education.

I’m looking forward to it.

Bagman’s Groove

Value propositions:

The Ukrainian energy company that was paying President Biden’s son Hunter $1 million a year cut his monthly compensation in half two months after his father ceased to be vice president.

From May 2014, Burisma Holdings Ltd. was paying Hunter $83,333 a month to sit on its board, invoices on his abandoned laptop show.

But in an email on March 19, 2017, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi asked Hunter to sign a new director’s agreement and informed him “the only thing that was amended is the compensation rate.”

The board member’s access to the White House had been amended a bit, too, and it’s difficult to imagine Hunter’s, ahem, skill set was particularly valuable to a Ukranian energy company when his dad was a private citizen. There’s more:

Documents on the laptop also show that Hunter invited [Burisma executive Vadym] Pozharskyi to meet then-vice president Biden at a dinner in Washington DC in April, 2015.

That would be the laptop that dare not speak its name about seven months ago. While we’re not sure what was on the menu at that dinner, there were just desserts:

In December 2015, Biden flew to Kiev and strong-armed the Ukrainian government into firing its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma at the time, including seizing four large houses and a Rolls-Royce Phantom belonging to the company’s owner Mykola Zlochevsky.

And there was more:

Three months later, Shokin was forced out of office, and nine months later, all legal proceedings against Burisma were dropped. Joe Biden has said in the past that Shokin wasn’t doing enough to crack down on corruption and that the push had nothing to do with Hunter’s position.

And the future Leader of the Free World said this:

In a 2018 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, VPBiden bragged that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees for Ukraine unless Shokin was sacked.

“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired,” he said.

Correlation is not causation, but son of a bitch, it sure has an aroma.

Of Dictators And Religions

It was interesting, a few years back, watching the retrospectives of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Here’s a sjhort one:

It’s as fun to watch now as it was otherworldly and unbelievable back then: after decades of complete control, a government official’s inadvertent slip causes and uproar; another official’s resigned ad-libbed decision opens a single gate; from there, the entire Eastern Bloc, the Communist world that all the experts reminded us was here “forever”” disappeared inside a couple years.

I thought about that last week, as CDC director Rochelle Walensky abruptly changed course on masks. One week after President Harris was “inadvertently” photographed trying to french-kiss her husband through paper masks on an airport tarmac in front of a random mob of press cameras, one week after “President” Biden did a press conference wearing a mask standing 20 feet from other people, the CDC flipped.

And people started ditching the masks. Major retailers jumped off the Karen Train, joining vast swathes of the country that have changed course, to protecting the vulnerable.

And just like that night at the Bornholmer Straße gate over the Berlin Wall, many – but not all – people ditched the masks. Roughly 10% of the entire population of East Germany roamed the streets of West Berlin, at one point that glorious night, tasting and smelling and buying freedom.

The Communists spent a few years trying to put that genie back in the bottle, and failed. Their distant cousins here are trying to do the same thing.

Promptly, Big Karen – a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Left – leapt into action.

Some cities, and other subsidiaries of Big Left, clung to the ban. Given that the ongoing mask mandate had nothing to do with science – the CDC said so – the only logical conclusion is that “Masking Up” is a statement of faith, almost a religious exercise in self-abasement and rule following.

And Big Left, being the Curia of this particular church, is all about keeping people following rules.

And that explains a lot about Karen, whoever he or she is; they seem to be people whose connection to logic, fact, even “science”, involves logrolling others into following the rules they’ve mastered. It’s the ugly side of the Scandinavian culture to which so much of Minnesota traces its roots – the flip side of close-knit communitarianism is passive-aggressive rule-lawyering.

And that passive-aggression seems to have worked. A casual count of people at newly-mask-free Target in Shoreview yesterday showed about 80% of customers, and probably more among employees, still wearing masks. We know that at least half of those people, likely more, are vaccinated, so the exercise is more or less pointless.

It’s been 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell. There are still people who pine for the days when the Stasi and ZOMO kept things nice and tidy and in order.

And watching some of the urban social media groups, plenty of little Karens are already feeling pretty bereft.

Try Some, Buy Some

Every desktop should have a link to The Devil’s Dictionary, the masterwork of Ambrose Bierce, who had his primary success in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Bierce’s cynical lexicography still rings true, a full century after he wandered into Mexico to meet his Maker circa 1914. To use one example, Bierce defines “adherent” as follows:

ADHERENT, n. A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects to get.

All politicians are on the lookout for adherents, especially a guy like Gavin Newsom, the upmarket Jacob Frey who is (a) governor of California and (b) facing a recall. Newsom is a man in a hurry, so he’s looking to get some adherents in bulk:

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a second round of $600 state stimulus checks on Monday to hasten California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to expand the payments from low-income residents to also include middle-class families, and noting that doing so would ensure benefits for 2 out of 3 state residents.

The proposal to deliver $8 billion in new cash payments to millions of Californians is part of a $100-billion economic stimulus plan made possible in part by a budget that has swelled with a significant windfall of tax revenues, a surplus the governor put at $75.7 billion.

You might wonder where the money came from, but never mind that, because ol’ Gavin’s not done — he’s also rent seeking, er, offering rent assistance: 

Newsom also proposed $5 billion to double rental assistance to get 100% of back rent paid for those who have fallen behind, along with as much as $2 billion in direct payments to pay down utility bills, proposals that were supported by legislative leaders on Monday.

This is hilariously corrupt but hey, who doesn’t love a stimmy? And since California is famously a one-party state, no one is gonna stop Newsom from buying his way out of a recall. Recall elections in Minnesota are essentially impossible, so Tim Walz doesn’t need to do this sort of thing, but there’s little doubt he’d pull the same stunt were it required. I think it’s safe to assume all Dem officeholders who find themselves in trouble will make it rain next year.  

Firing Across Big Karen’s Bow

I’ve had Covid. It was a symptomatic case, although very manageably so.

As such – as we have established in this space, with information from the National Institutes of Health – I have an enhanced degree of, if not complete immunity, at least enhanced, probably highly-enhanced, resistance to Covid.

WIth that being said, I also got vaccinated. The wisdom or lack thereof, or that action’s adherence to your particular version of libertarian conservative, is not up for discussion, and won’t be discussed in this space. I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because I figured it was the minimum expenditure of effort – one shot and round of side effects rather than two – needed to get at least some of the less-irrational Karens, especially business and institutional Karens, to shut the hell up in the coming months. Given that I also have some degree of natural immunity and likely resistance, the J&J vaccine also provides the results I want; since the evidence shows I’m unlikely to get infected at all, preventing infections – the supposed upside of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – is irrelvant to me. Preventing such an infection from killing me or putting me in a hospital, should the current understanding of science turn up flawed, is my only real goal.

Again – the fact that I got a vaccination isn’t up for discussion.

Evading Karen

What is up for discussion is this: Governor Klink has set the state’s restrictions to end on July 1. May it please the crown, thanks. Sarcasm intended. We’ll be caught up with Wisconsin – in seven weeks. Probably.

That’s right – it’ll be mandatory to wear a mask on June 30, but perfectly safe on July 1. Science!

But let’s ignore that, also. We’ve talked about that in this space for over a year, now.

Given that I, like most Minnesotans, have some combination of natural immunity, vaccination or both, masks are completely pointless.

Completely. Pointless.

And yet there is a lineup of stores – big box and ma and pa – promising to continue requiring masks after July 1.

And I want to make sure that I don’t patronize them after July 1. At all.

But how to tell which business is which?

The first step I’ve seen is this crowd-sourced map.

It’s being provisioned by people on both sides of the argument, of course – and some of the “reviews” would be comical if you didn’t realize these people have the same right to vote that you do.

What’s needed next is some way of searching for businesses that, shall we say, match your preference, so you can find ’em on the go.

Duty

I’ve got a lot of Catholic friends who are also conservatives.

I keep asking them – “when is your bureaucracy going to start enforcing the church’s supposed beliefs, like publicly supporting the right to life, or at least not being pro-infanticide, on “Catholic” politicians?

“We will. We will”.

But they don’t. Never.

But is the specter of Joe Biden, a publicly practicing Catholic, being called “the most faithful President in recent history” (by a chattering class that generally regards Christianity as a den of know-nothjing ignorance) and a representative face for Christianity and Catholicism in public, finally goading the Bishops into action?

Maybe, but don’t bet your mortgage payment on it:

But we now hear from a few murmuring bishops that the Church must address Biden’s unworthy reception of Communion. “US Catholic bishops may press Biden to stop taking Communion,” reads a recent AP headline. Nothing concrete, however, is likely to come from these complaints. The U.S. bishops, as a whole, lack the will to withhold Communion from Biden, even though canon law says that they not only have the right but the duty to do so. Canon 915 “obliges the minister of Holy Communion to refuse the Sacrament” to those in “manifest grave sin.” If Biden’s direct facilitation of the killing of unborn children doesn’t fall into that category, what does?

Not being Catholic, I’m not hip to the vagaries of intra-curial politics, but the American bishops strike this Orthodox Presbyterian as not a whole lot more concerned about such things than the ELCA.