The Usual Suspects

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Trump supporters on the Mall

“Trump Supporters” who stormed the Capitol.

We’ve seen the horned-hat guy before:

Wasn’t there a famous incident a centuray ago, a fire blamed on innocent people which gave a certain politician the excuse to seize power?
Are we absolutely certain the troublmakers were ordinary Trump supporters, same as the rest of the crowd outside, and not infiltrators hoping to cause a backlash against President Trump and his supporters protesting the stolen election

Joe Doakes

Whether the riot was launched by provocateurs or not, plenty of Trump supporters did participate with great glee. There’s a dilemma, of course – if there’s one thing we learned during the Tea Party, at gun rights and pro life and tax-protest rallies, it’s that conservatives need to behave impeccably, because the media and the Dems oppo research staff (pardon the redundancy) will pick over every utterance, visual and thought for wrongthink).

(If there’s another thing we learned it’s that the left’s slander machine and control of the administrative state makes perfect behavior irrelevant. Lefty social media today is awash in claims that the Tea Party was racist, violent, and a tool of the Koch Brothers, who (we’re told) bought all of American politics for a few years).

But whoever turned the demonstration into a riot, and whatever the reasons, the left is responding to last week’s events with a technique they’ve mastered; not wasting a crisis. Whoever did what, it will be spun relentlessly to their advantage.

Ricardo Lopez: Middle School Reporter

Ricardo Lopez writes for “MN Reformer”, which is a website in the tradition of the old “MN Monitor” – basically a propaganda site funded by progressive plutocrats with deep pockets,

Further proof that not only the Democratic party, but its pet media (and the Reformer is nothing but a paid PR lapdog for Ken Marti) can assume that their audience isn’t an especially critical bunch of thinkers.

Because, say what you will about Miller’s letter, logically or epidemiologically, but other than choosing the word “Exchange” over the more apposite “Exposure”, he got the mechanics of how we currently know Covid is spread pretty right.

It took Lopez’s apparently eighth-grade sense of discernment to read “sexual transmission” into a choice of words that, otherwise, got things basically correct.

But in a world where Samantha Bee is among the left’s top journalists, it doesn’t not make sense that someone like Lopez would do…well, this.

My Checklist

My “Black Friday” checklist:Wednesday before Thanksgiving:

  1. Make sure I’ve got groceries and essentials sufficient to get through ’til Monday. Check.
  2. Anticipate the places I need to go for the next three days, and map out routes avoiding major malls, Targets, Walmarts and commercial districts. Check.
  3. Switch on NPR and start counting all the “celebrities” and “newscasters” referring to this next four weeks as the most miserable, dysfunctional time of the year, full of family one hates because of their politics and the onerous nature of having to engage in forced civility while celebrating gratitude and humility while apparently feeling neither. Make sure I have a fresh set of legal pads, since it gets worse every year. Check.
  4. Silently ponder, for yet another year, converting to Russian Orthodox Christianity, at least in part to put Christmas off til January 6 and get some awesome savings on presents in the week between Christmas and New Years. Check.

OK. I’m good to go.

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, everyone!

Male Like Me

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Trump is so strong, so virile, so . . . hyper-masculine, just like a Vladimir Putin or  some Confederate general. 

MPR really misses Pajama Boy.

Joe Doakes

I’ve got friends…well, semi-professional acquaintances that haven’t gone completely mad with partisan rage, anyway – at MPR, so I’ll not comment on the locals.

But it seems to have been decreed from on high that male voices that aren’t audibly African-American must sound like most of America thinks Pajama Boy sounded.

Where Have You Gone, Learned Foot…

…the nation turns its lonely, topical limerick and haiku writing eyes to you. And Ryan Rhodes.

But since Foot is retired and Ryan is MIA, we’ll have to fill in ourselves.


There once was a fellow named Toobin
(Don’t confuse him with Jennifer Rubin).
His career met its doom,
when he dropped trou on Zoom
Now there’s a different part getting the lube-in.


Toobin takes “lid” off,
Two weeks’ frenzy erupts, as
Biden’s lid stays on.


So Toobin had fun of the kind,
the nuns said would make you go blind.
But there’s no point in moping,
it’s just Jeff’s way of hoping
for less trouble than the conjugal kind.


Carry on.

Blue Fragility: Open Letter To Jonathan Chait

To: Johnathan “Chaitful” Chait
From: Mitch Berg – Red State Sleeper Agent
Re: This Little “Eliminationist Hatred” Problem You Have

Mr. Chait

We go way back, of course – and not in a good way. You have a bit of a history of being a horrible excuse for a human being. But you are a gift that keeps giving, for people like me, so for that I thank you, even if backhandedly.

This past week, you wrote an article in “New York Magazine” claiming that the Republican response to Covid is, in your terms, a “Death Cult”.

I won’t pullquote anything – the article is long, and never really improves over the title.

But I have two questions.

First, some background – here’s the listed Covid fatalities/million as of last Friday:

  • NY (D): 1,684
  • NJ (D): 1,790
  • US average: 474
  • FL (R): 319
  • MN (DFL): 291
  • TX (R): 241
  • ND (R): 135

So I’ve got two questions for you, Mr. Chait:

  1. Did you ever refer to Cuomo (or the governors of NJ/CT/MA) as running a “death cult?” I’ll confess, I’m an infrequent reader of yours. I only read you (or John Fugelsang) when you step on your d**k spectacularly – but I’d hate to be unfair.
  2. I wager you a shiny new quarter that as of November 3, 2020, TX and FL will be below half NY’s fatalities per million. Any action on that bet?

Thanks.

By the way – at the risk of sounding uncharitable, there are times that I think you are God’s karmic gift to me for never teasing the short-bus kids in elementary school. For this, I thank Him, and urge you to keep up the, uh, work, karmically speaking.

That is all.

Side Note: I’m making this the The George W. Bush Corollary To Berg’s Seventh Law – All of a Republican’s sins, imaginary or (for sake of argument) real, will be forgotten once the Republican can no longer hold office. 

There Are Millions Of Reasons…

… why I will never donate a single penny to Minnesota Public radio, even though I listen to them (primarily news and classical music) constantly.

Two of them, for starters, are:

  • Keri Miller
  • WNYC’s “On The Media”.

But a few more million of them are right here; as Minnesota Public radio lays off much of what used to be a pretty good news room, their executive staff still keep getting paid, well, like this:

To add insult to injury, MPR’s national production group, “American Public Media”, is canceling “Live from Here with Chris Thile” – the excellent show that grew from the ruins of “Prairie Home Companion”, and one of the few original production non-news shows worth listening to.

MPR hastens to point out that their C-suite is taking a 30% pay cut. Which sounds like a big deal, until you realize that a whole lot of private sector CEOs are cutting their pay to $1 for the duration.

Democracy Dies In Conspiracy

Conservatives, especially conservatives who are “out” critics of the mainstream media, get routinely accused of “hating” journalism. The late Nick Coleman was particularly, er, “acerbic” in his criticism of those who had the gall to criticize the news/industrial complex, claiming in one bout of hysteria that bloggers “wanted to kill the Strib”.

While we correctly savaged the Strib, and especially Coleman, on issue after issue, it was still baked wind. Self-government, small-“D” democracy, needs a functional, and above all trustworthy, media (among many other institutions) to survive.

And by “”trustworthy”, we mean “can be trusted to report the news, truthfully, regardless of its own institutional and individual political opinions.

In Europe, the media are pretty honest about their political points of view, on an editorial level; the Times of London and the Frankfurter Allgemeine are center-right; Guardian and Die Zeit and Le Monde are all various degrees of left. You know the slant before you pick up the paper. You can account for it.

American media has built a myth of objectivity, or at least of being a so-called “neutral voice”, around itself; Minnesota Public Radio news even made “No Rant, No Slant” their motto for a while, and it’s not much different than the mythology American media built for itself over the past hundred years or so. In my freshman year journalism class,

And it’s never really been true. Some journos do in fact do their best to separate their personal views, of course – I’ve got nothing but respect for the best of them.

Many journalists also do their best, but inevitably reflect the fact that their entire frame of reference is left-of-center. Their education, their workplace, their social circle, are an ecosystem where some variety of The Left is the old, current and future Normal. When they confront a different point of view, they can seem a little like Jane Goodall venturing out among the gorillas.

And when things are chugging along like normal, who cares, right?

The New Abnormal . But then something pops up that threatens the order, and not in a good way. What then?

The media has been rightly seen as slanted to the left for close to fifty years. With the rise of talk radio and alternative news 30 years ago, you could sense that the “elite” media were starting to give up on the pretense of balance and detachment. The notion of the “neutral voice” has been

But with the election of President Trump, the floodgates got dynamited.

The “neutral voice”, isn’t.

“Oh, Mitch – you and your hyperbole”.

No. Not at all.

The Gatekeepers Speak: “On the Media” is a production of WNYC Radio in New York. It’s a public station, one of the flagship station in the National Public Radio chain. Like a lot of NPR productions, sometimes it’s excellent. Sometimes the smug rolls off it like fog off a loch.

And sometimes, it accomplishes its mission – which in the case of “On the Media”, is to serve as the exposed id of the “elite” media in this country.

With that in mind: this show was broadcast on December 1, 2016 – probably as fast as could be put together on NPR timelines. It had four segments:

  1. The first gazed navel-ly about “how the media should cover President Trump“. Because conveying the facts and letting the audience make up their own mind was presumably not good enough anymore.
  2. How talking about Trump “Normalizes” him – unless the media changes the rules when discussing him. This featured reprentatives, not from The Nation and Slate.com or Buzzfeed or Samantha Bee. No, they were from the NYTimes and Washington Post. That led to another segment…
  3. How the language itself needs to be understood, and harnessed.
  4. And, lest the foregoing was too oblique for the casual listener, a segment linking the (as yet unstarted) Trump administration to Putin’s variety of autocracy, and laying out the imperative for the media to use it’s power to prevent “Normalizing” the president-elect.

And the media’s behavior in the three and a half years since has mapped to that template, as the media has grasped at every possible straw to try to “take down” the President.

We didn’t even need to get this leaked to us, like ‘Journo-list’ – although I suspect I may have been the only conservative listening to that groaningly pompous program, and I suspect that’s WNYC’s assumption as well.

TL:dr – At least some of the people at the apex of the “layers and layers of gatekeepers” have abolished the old rules of journalism, publicly but yet internally, as re Donald Trump.

The “elite” media’s entire coverage of Trump over the past four years, on every issue, has followed the template that’s suggested, sub rosa, in the four On the Media pieces above.

Will the rules change back when Trump leaves office? Of course not – the media had the same general attitude toward Republicans, conservatives and the issues of the right for a generation before 2016.

But the institutional imperative to use the media’s power toward political and social ends? That’s not going to end.

Distrust, but verify. And then, almost inevitably, if some smidgeon of partisan politics is involved, distrust some more.

Young Jerks

If there’s a figure anywhere in the liberal media that makes the likes of the late Ed Schultz, or Chris Matthews, or most of the host of “the view””, seem intelligent, rational and human, it’s Cenk Uygur, impresario of the “Young Turks” – sort of a “MinnesotaReformer” for loud, entitled people.

They are, naturally, progressive to a geometric fault.

Including, it seem, in terms of rank hypocrisy. Uygur, It was a knee-jerk supporter of public sector unions and the national $15 an hour minimum wage for mere public sector employees…

… has a different point of view when it comes to his own organization:

Earlier that day, a Twitter handle claiming to represent TYT employees had announced on the social media platform their intention to form a union. In the staff meeting, the network’s co-founder and influential host, Cenk Uygur, urged employees not to do so, arguing that a union does not belong at a small, independent outlet like TYT, according to two workers who were present. He said if there had been a union at the network it would not have grown the way it has.

Huh. You don’t say?

His talk ― at times emotional, the staffers said, with Uygur throwing his papers to the ground at one point, and chastising an employee ― seemed to contradict the progressive, worker-first ethos that TYT broadcasts to its millions of lefty followers. Jack Gerard, who is acting as the company’s chief operating officer as Uygur runs for Congress in California, told the staff they were not discouraging unionization. 

But the message from Uygur was clear ― and, to at least some staffers, discouraging.

Not nearly as discouraging as…oh, I dunno, realizing your’re out of collect, paying of $200K in student debt, and still working for Cenk Uygur

But still discouraging. 

Hang Onto Your Plumbing

So let’s see if we follow the progression, here.

Years ago, Big Left, via Big Media, started telling us that:

  • Greenhouse gases were going to kill us
  • Using energy causes greenhouse gas
  • Compact fluorescent lights use less energy.

And as quick as 1-2-3, compact fluorescents became the law of the land (just in time for compact LEDs, which use less energy, provide better light, and are much cheaper, to come along).

In recent years, Big Media has been:

  • telling us that current industrial meat production contributes to greenhouse gases, ergo will kill us all.
  • trumpeting the virtues of eating insects and caterpillars.

Thus, you can count on someone in Big Left pushing policy that’d encourage, and eventually mandate, the eating of bugs for protein.

Of course, “urban sprawl” didn’t fall far behind:

  • It encouraged a car-based lifestyle!
  • Big Media promptly started pushing the virtues of transit-based, high-density life.

And cities run by Big Left are doing their merry best, as we speak, to abolish the single-family home, the private yard, and the car.

So – the progression is:

  • Big Media notes that something we commonly accept is going to kill us.
  • Big Left’s apparatchiks push to make a noxious, degrading, expensive alternative mandatory.

I couldn’t help but think of that pattern when read this.

Breeding A Nation Of Ninnies

This tweet from Time – kids, ask your parents…

…explains a lot about how Greta Thunberg became their “Person of the Year”.

Among many other things.

The Babylon Bee may actually be giving the big media too much credit.

Victims

This is the Associated Press, over the weekend:

In a sense, they have a point: I’ve been gleefully urging Democrats to push impeachment without rest almost since Trump was elected, seeing it as at best a goldmine for Trump, and at worst a gateway to a candidate I’d have actually supported on my own in 2016, Mike Pence, to the Oval Office.

But it’s almost like they want citizens to think that impeachment was part of some GOP/NRA/Heritage-Foundation/Military Industrial Complex plan to make the Democrats look like idiots.

And the worst thing is, Democrat voters will probably believe it.

And To Think Conservatives Believe Big Media Writes Stories About Conservative / Republican People And Events Long Beforehand, Because They’re All Writing To A Narrative

Jessica Kwong, progressive stenographer at former magazine “Newsweek”, on Donald Trump’s thanksgiving:

“it was written before knowing about the president’s surprise visit to Afghanistan-an honest mistake”

In other words, pre-written.

The Big Media aren’t “the enemy of the people”. They’re worse; after assuming the mantle of “guardian of democracy” (which, we are told, without their ministrations would “die in darkness”), they are doing something very, very different. They’re worse than an enemy; they are betraying a trust – however misbegotten.

They are swindling the people.

UPDATE: And apparently the once-mighty Newsweek can be shamed into decency; Kwong has been fired.

I’m sure she’ll be off the beach soon.

Reliable Risible Sources

Anyone remember Dave Mindeman?

About ten years ago or so, he ran a blog – “MNPAct” – which was a website for putative organization Dave putatively ran.

Now, let me be clear: Dave was one of a small handful of “progressive” Metro-area bloggers from blogging’s heyday in the ’00s that didn’t and, to the best of my knowledge, still doesn’t belong under police surveillance; when my garage burned down, he didn’t feel compelled to disavow responsibility for it.

So there’s that. When you’re a conservative in the metro, you become thankful for the small things.

But that’s not to say Dave knows how to frame an argument any better than the rest of them ever did.

Example – last week, Dave felt the need to post this on Twitter:

Of course, Dave – confident as he seems to be in his side’s chanting points – didn’t know that Shannon Watts, like Nancy Nrd Bence (and Heather Martens before) has never, not once, said anything about guns, gun laws, gun owners, gun crime or gun statistics that’s simultaneously original, substantial and true; Lott’s “recent” testimony was 16 years ago.

I responded, natch – knowing, all along, I’d regret it, but such is the life of the contrarian.

It drew a “response” from Mindeman – one that was pretty clearly the fruits of a quick google for “John Lott Sucks” or some other “Dog Gone”-caliber thrashing about. Dave came up with…:

Mother Jones.

Now, if you are of a certain age, you might remember when MoJo was known for some capable journalism, even if it was always hard-left.

But the once-fabled counterculture investigative publication has fallen on risibly hard times; Babylon Bee doesn’t even bother parodying them anymore. What would be the point? (Interesting to see, by the way, that MoJo’s current “CEO” is City Pages hanger-on Monika Bauerlein).

Anyway.

The article – by “Writing Fellow” (read: glorified intern who’s hoping not to have to look for a job at Buzzfeed next) Gloria Exstrum, covers research Lott did on abortion and immigration, in addition to his usual gun research. I can’t comment on the abortion and immigration stuff – I cover my zone – but once it turns to the gun stuff, Exstrum’s article is proof that you never, ever use MoJo as a source on anything Second Amendment.

Exstrum writes:

Following the 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, President Barack Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged Congress to pass gun control legislation. “I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings,” Obama said in a statement after the incident, “this just doesn’t happen in other countries.”
In a 2015 post on theCrime Prevention Research Center website, Lott’s group argues that “this claim is simply not true.”The analysis points out that, during the Obama administration, the United States ranks below several European countries in death rate per million people from mass public shootings. Predictably, conservative media outlets picked up the story, and Lott wrote a column for Fox News referencing his findings after the Las Vegas shooting.

So far so good. She got the basic assertions right – which is not something you can take for granted these days.

But here’s a challenge: try to figure out what the esteemed “writing fellow” is saying in response to Lott in this next bit. Honestly, I’m sort of at a loss, here:

However, as a Media Matters for America analysis points out, Lott’s claims only focus on public mass shootings involving machine guns, a criteria which excludes deadly incidents like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the Pulse nightclub shooting.

For a “writing fellow”, Ms. Exstrum is either a terrible researcher, a lousy reporter (evidence toward this: using “Media Matters” as a source), a substandard writer, or – who knows? – maybe any 2-3 of the above. Whatever it is, I have read this sentence a dozen times, and I can’t figure out what she’s trying to say. But I’ll give it a try, here:

Is she saying Lott excluded mass shootings involving machine guns?   Well, yeah – there’s never been mass shooting by a legally-owned machine gun – meaning “fully automatic weapon” – in US history, at least not since the 1934 National Firearms Act (shaddap about the Valentine’s Day Massacre).  Lott “excluded” them because history and fact “excluded” them.  They don’t exist in the past 85 years, to say nothing of the six year time frame of the study Ms. Exstrum is yapping about.  

Is she saying that the overseas shootings used “machine guns” – well, no, the raw data points out that non-US mass shootings used a variety of firearms – the vast majority of them subject to stringent gun control, by the way, which would tend to reinforce Lott’s point, not Exstrum’s.   The list below includes incidents with “machine guns” (notably the 11/13 Paris massacre, carried out with military-grade AK47s – which are as illegal in France as they are here) , semi-automatic weapons, even manual repeaters:

Is the dispositive point that Lott focuses on foreign “public” “mass shootings?”    It makes no sense – Lott’s list of shootings in the US from 2009-2015 includes all sorts of locations – almost all public, mostly “gun-free zones”:

LIterally, there is no way to read “writing fellow” Exstrum’s sentence that makes it jibe with the facts.

I’m open to suggestions, here.

Exstrum also wrote – sort of – about Lott’s foray into police-on-black-citizen shootings:

In a 2016 study, Lott and co-author Carlisle Moody, a professor at the College of William & Mary and a member of the Crime Prevention Research Center’s academic advisory board, argue that white police officers do not unfairly discriminate against black suspects. In a Fox News op-ed about the study, Lott says, “Many people incorrectly believe the police are racist.”

To which she adds:

Of course, ample research has concluded that black suspects are much more likely to be shot by police than white ones. But the study nonetheless received coverage from the National ReviewBreitbart, and the Washington Times, with Breitbart saying Lott’s research “runs against the claims of groups like Black Lives Matter.”

 “Ample research”.   Is anyone but me seeing a google search for “shooting black people consensus” as Ms. Exstrum’s “research”?

Of course, there’s ample research on the other side as well – including this one, by Harvard professor Roland Fryor – that confirms at least the broad outline of Lott’s conclusion.  Fryer happens to be black, and also happened to have started his research believing he’s find the opposite conclusion – so this finding, against interest (where “interest” <> intellectual honesty). 

Conclusions  Er, don’t start a land war in Asia, and don’t use MoJo as a source against someone who’s been paying attention? 

The Decline And Fall Of Max Boot

They say the most arrogant and obnoxious residents of New York City are the ones born in Buffalo.

Likewise, the most annoying, provincial, arrogant hangers-on to any ideology are the ones that came to it with the  most personal sturm und drang.

There’ a former conservative blogger who, along with some other personal changes, flipped their politics a while ago.  They’ve written a few angst soaked social media posts theatrically apologizing for and renouncing having ever been a conservative, much less an outspoken one.

Which I found a little insulting and a lot depressing.  I mean, I grew up liberal, to the extent that I didn’t tell anyone that I’d voted for Reagan (in the middle of one of the most Republican states in the Union, mind you) – but consider the things I learned as a larval prorgressive key to my development.  I’ve never apologized for having once written a party platform at a mock government that’d send a tingle up Bernie Sanders’ leg – although some have thought I should (and have been told to go pound sand, albeit in a good-natured kind of way).

So be what you want to be.  Go with God.  It’s a free country.  So far.

Which is why the ever-more-constipated-sounding virtue signaling of Max Boot, once one of the best foreign policy writers out there, has been such a buzzkill.  He’s changed his alignment…

…well, no.  He’s let his never-Trumpism define his politics, which were always “Eisenhower Republican”;  think New Dealers who opposed communism.

His departure from the GOP (OK, its departure from him) is kind of cloying and annoying.

His swerve into virtue-blasting, on the other hand, is a sign he’s over as a significant public thinker.

Deutsch, Delusion, And Berg’s Seventh Law

MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch says Democrats should spare no effort to “put Trump in jail”.

Zzzzzzzzzz. That’s not “dog bites man”. That’s not even “dog licks dog”.

The iinteresting thing here is Deutsch’s…er, permissive and selective self-image. Emphasis added:

Deutsch … implored Democrats to use “fear” to campaign against Trump to paint a picture of a “dystopian society” that will follow a Trump second term.

The one tool we have to use that the Democrats never use is fear,” Deutsch said on ‘Morning Joe’ Friday. “Start to stop talking about Donald Trump today and yesterday and start to paint a picture of what the next four years would look like. Maybe even the next 8, 12 years because he doesn’t think he’s going anywhere of the possible path to a dystopian society. There is no more playing. We cannot bring a knife fight to a bazooka gunfight.”

Democrats “never use fear”.

Other than

  • climate change (or at least the parts they claim will require bigger, richer government to “fix”
  • Gun violence (it’s dropping, not rising)
  • White guys (we’re in year 11 of Democrats assuring us that there’s a wave of “white nationalist violence” around the corner. Any day now. Honest.
  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Homophobic violence
  • Women being turned into robots, a la Handmaid’s Tale

I’d hate to see what it’s like when they do start appealing to fear…

The Brown Scare

A little over 100 years ago, the President of the United States – who was the former president of Princeton, an Ivy League university, not some pettifogging Son of the Confederacy – re-segregated the Federal government, opened the statutory floodgates for Jim Crow, and showed Birth of a Nation in the White House.

Eighty years ago, the Klan controlled entire cities and states. The could claim tens of thousands of members, and easily muster hundreds of marchers…in Minnesota.

Racial swamp critters like Father Coughlin and Gordon Winrod commanded massive radio audiences; in the thirties and forties, they commanded audience shares of the audience easily comparable to today’s talkers.

And the Deutch-Americanische Bund, an American outcrop of the Nazi party, had a significant following in the US – peaking during an evening in 1939 when, NPR reminds us, the Bund held an event in Madison Square Garden that drew 20,000.

A little over fifty years ago, segregationist Democrat George Wallace carried five states, cementing Hubert Humphrey’s political humiliation. The Klan actively, sometimes violent, resisted Civil Rights efforts earlier in the decade – in some cases, with relative impunity.

30-40 years ago, “Christian Identity” murdered Denver talk show host Alan Berg (no relation) on his way to the station. Groups like the American Nazi Party, the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord, and (in my home state) the Posse Comitatus operated in the openly (and, in 1983) violently.

20-25 years ago, there was a Nazi cell operating semi-openly (at least, if you believed their Usenet BBS account) in Saint Cloud, and there was a White Supremacist record label operating in Saint Paul. A “Klan” rally drew about a dozen wan-looking “Klansmen” and a couple hundred counterprotesters to the Minnesota state capitol . There was a map of the greater Denver area that advised hikers and campers not to go into the mountains north of Boulder because of all the “Christian Identity” members that made their homes up there (although that was arguably humor or hysterics in action).

Today? The “Klan” musters nine people to a rally in Dayton, a city that was once one of their hotbeds north of the Mason Dixon. “White Supremacists” from 8-10 states mustered maybe 100 people in Charlottesville a couple years ago. You can search the world far and wide for a White Supremacist (off the Internet, anyway) who isn’t a doughy mid-thirties convenience store clerk who lives in his parents’ basement and leads a band of race warriors…on Reddit.

By any objective, concrete measurement, “white supremacy” as an organized activity has nearly disappeared.

(“White Supremacy” as an academic chanting point designed to bully and gaslight the vulnerable is another matter – but that’s another article).

And yet the media pushes the notion that “White Supremacy” is waxing across the country.

Am I the only who to whom it seems like the Big Media – and the Big Left for whom it works – is pushing the story to convince more loonies to try the White Supremacist lifestyle?

“Hey, dysthemic losers! Look at these other people like you! Come on out in the sunshine and romp and play! And maybe assemble in a group in front of this camera, with hand-lettered, misspelled signs? And when you do, make sure the one with the MAGA hat is up front! You are not alone!

It reminds me of the Red Scare movies of the 1950s – if you get people thinking there are commies behind every bush, pretty soon someone will start seeing commies behind the bushes.

Herd mentality. It’s a feature, not a bug.

MyLyssa Has Questions. Mitch Has Answers.

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking down Grand Avenue, looking for Grand Avenue Distillery Supplies. As he looks in the storefront, MyLyssa SILBERMAN, Reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, gets out of a cab.

SILBERMAN: Merg!

BERG: (Nonplussed) Er, hi, MyLyssa. What’s up?

SILBERMAN: I’m curious. You continuously say, on your blog and show, that the media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the progressive movement.

BERG: I do. And it’s true.

SILBERMAN: How can you say that? We have layers and layers and..

BERG: …and layers of gatekeepers. Right. Got that. I base my assertion on, well, reading and listening to the media, and taking what they say seriously.

SILBERMAN: Meaning…?

BERG: Well, for example, listen to this bit by NPR’s “On the Media” – supposedly their media “watchdog” show – and the train of ultra-left dogmatics and magical thinking, and tell me any part of it that wouldn’t fit right in with a Wobbly pamphlet in the 1900s.

SILBERMAN: (Puts on earphones. Listens to segment. Removes headphones). I don’t hear anything.

BERG: This is my shocked face

SILBERMAN: It might be the global warming.

BERG: Might be

(And SCEN)E

Touched By The Concern

Big Leftymedia is concerned that former ISIS fighters who defected from France to the Caliphate aren’t getting due process:

[Human Rights Watch spokesman Belkis] WILLE:  The trials of ISIS suspects in Iraq are fundamentally unfair. We say this based on sitting through many of these trials over the last two years. And what we see is that defendants do not get any of their basic due process rights granted to them under international law, as well as under Iraqi law. There is absolutely no presumption of innocence when they walk into the courtroom. And many times, defendants are alleging that they have been tortured.

[NPR Middle East correspondent Jane] ARRAF: France doesn’t have a death penalty. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said it would relay its opposition to sentencing the men to death. But it also said it respected Iraqi jurisdiction. The men were handed over by Kurdish Syrian forces to Iraq because the alleged crimes were committed in Iraq and Syria.

Due process is a human right, and it’s be disingenuous of someone who supports Western Civilization to say otherwise.

I’m just wondering where the concern was when ISIS was on the ascendant?

Cultural Nausea

I want to make a video, fisking John Oliver’s moronic piece claiming Australia’s gun laws “debunk” the “American gun ownership myth”. Spoiler: the only parts that are wrong are the parts where Oliver is moving his lips.

The problem is, watching John Oliver gives me a very unpleasant physical reaction. Watching him literally makes me ill.

It’s not just how he smugly mangles context and cherry picks factoids, and mugs for the trained seals in his audience; that was Jon Stewart’s schtick, too. But I can watch (and heckle and fisk) Stewart and enjoy doing it.

John Oliver could read a phone book, or “Goodnight Moon”, or even quotes from Margaret Thatcher and William F. Buckley, and I’d still feel my skin crawing, and start wanting to throw up.

I don’t even react like this to the useless Steven Colbert.

I literally get ill watching Oliver.

The only other thing like it? I get a headache watching Tim Burton movies. No kidding – I even got a headache watching one Burton movie even before I learned what it was and who directed it. It can be a Burton movie I love (“Nightmare before Christmas”) or hate (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”), but it’s the same headache. Something about his style. I don’t know.

But even that reaction is nothing like the one I get from John Oliver.

No, I’m not exaggerating.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Conservative Is The New Open-Minded Liberal

Not-especially-seemly confession; I’ve never been to a strip club.

But there are a few photos circulating from thirty years ago that, I suspect, a few lefty social media gerbils would flog their nether bits into frenzies of microturgidity if they could find ’em; I’m talking with a couple of strippers in a bar.

We’re all working in the bar (including them – clothed. It was a promotion for the sleazy DJ service I worked for). And they were friends of mine; we shared a stretch of our lives working in bars entertaining drunks in widely varying ways.

I thought about that when I saw an article recently about a Buzzfeed piece in which the “writer” “slut-shamed” Tucker Carlson for sharing a friendly (literally, nothing more) moment with a “Sex Worker” at the funeral of a mutual friend. It was a display of the sort of moral cretinousness that today’s left is perfecting.

And the responses have been interesting; Big Leftymedia tittered like a bunch of fourth-graders (or perhaps fourth-graders titter like “liberal” “journalists”); in the meantime, the conservative commentary site “The Federalist” gave the woman a forum:

That it was made an issue speaks to the fact that a progressive journalist believed that a man to whom she has ascribed a belief system would be shamed by being in this photo. She attempted to call out his hypocrisy, as journalists so often do. But the hypocrisy didn’t exist. Moreover, if Aurthur, as a good leftist, has no problem with sex work then why would she have an issue with someone else not being troubled by it either?
Christina Parreira, the sex worker featured in the photo, found a place to speak her truth in The Federalist, a conservative outlet long derided by the progressive left for mostly vacuous reasons. The fact that a sex worker had to set the record straight in The Federalist about a Twitter-based kink shaming hoax speaks to the change that has been happening throughout our media. Outlets that were once considered to be beacons of free expression are now more prudish and censorious than the outlets they critique.

Their only real morality is “tear down the ‘opposition'”.

Buzzkill

Buzzfeed circles the drain. 

Kyle Smith watches it spinning:

Founded in 2006, BuzzFeed is, as of this year, a teenager, and as is true of many teens it has an unrealistic view of its own likely future. BuzzFeed dreams of landing the Disney prince of profitability by dolling itself up in two ways. One is to cut costs. Unload most of the journalists producing the kinds of pieces that could in theory appear in an actual newspaper because this stuff loses money. Dozens of people have been laid off already, with more to come. Yet BuzzFeed is at the same time advertising for “editorial fellows” (journalistic lingo for “low-paid employees”) to apply for jobs. Clear out all those 28-year-olds whose salaries have soared worryingly into the mid-five figures and replace them with 23-year-olds willing to work for Starbucks wages. Hey, being a journalista beats being a barista, right? And as hinted above, it’s not like BuzzFeed has any hangups about the quality of its content. If you can make a latte, you can probably make a listicle.

I knew Buzzfeed, at least as far as “journalism” goes, was going to be a joke when I first heard about it. Know how I knew? Because of the company it kept here in the Twin Cities.

The second part of the BuzzFeed makeover, coming soon, is to grow. BuzzFeed has hinted that it intends to hoover up many other similar sites, all those fourth-rate imitators of a third-rate product that also seek to provide micro-dopamine infusions to cupcake-scarfing arrested-development cubicle prisoners as they daydream of shopping at Forever 21 and wonder if Jafar is kind of hot. If 17 bajillion dollops of extreme-low-quality content delivering 150 gajillion eyeballs doesn’t work, double down! If gigantic scale doesn’t work, activate ludicrous scale!

If Buzzfeed spirals in, one hopes the American people would get smarter.

These days, it’s more likeliy it’d get replaced by something worse…