I Don’t Believe In Karma…

…but I believe what goes around, comes around.

Dr. Ana Navaro, celebrity physician of sorts, spends months wishing ghastly ill on the unvaccinated.

Dr. Ana Navaro on The View, last week:

Hope she gets better soon.

And yes, that means I am a better person than her.

Coattails

A “Minnesota” Poll – which ,as we’ve noted in the past, has historically favored Democrats, sometimes to an absurd extent with deeply suspicious and one-sided patterns, even after numerous reboots and changes in management and pollsters – shows Governor Walz under water:

The crosstabs are even more ominous for Walz, and show President Biden to be a bit of a drag down-ticket.

Fearless predictions:

  • The Strib, Channels 4, 9 and 11, and the rest of the media will switch into full PR mode for the DFL for the next 13 months. Indeed, they have; Esme Murphy’s interview with Jennifer Carnahan – complete with the sort of on-air toenail-painting she normally reserves for DFLers – can be seen as nothing but an attempt to keep the MNGOP even more divided and impotent than normal.
  • MPR will be a little more artful about it – but the output from the DFL’s opposition research will get prominent placement.
  • And a quick reminder to Tom Hauser, perhaps the only genuinely detached journalist in Twin Cities TV or print news: drapes don’t have shoes.

I’m going to put a pin in this.

Selective

Iowa governor Kim Reynolds’s approval rating has been moving up well into positive territory.

Current polls in the Des Moines register show 53% of Iowans approve of her job, while 43 do not – which, at +10, pretty decent ratio in this very polarized society.

The article in the Des Moines Register is actually fairly comprehensive about reporting the story.

With one exception.

Go ahead, read it.

In what paragraph this very favorable story is the governors party mentioned?

Answer below the jump.

Continue reading

Adventures In Variantland

I haven’t written here recently (sorry, Mitch!), mostly because I did a fair amount of traveling in August. I attended my high school reunion in the wilds of Wisconsin, then a week later headed east to a family wedding in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio (highly recommended, by the way).

In the course of my travels, I spent time in six different states — Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Given that the howling over the dread Delta Variant has been in full effect for much of the summer, I was particularly interested in what I would see in my travels. Were people paying attention to the renewed demands for masking and social distancing? Were the entreaties of the Powers That Be having any effect?

Not a chance.

My high school reunion had over 100 attendees, a good result for a class with 144 surviving members. Classmates returned to my Wisconsin home town from California, Washington state, Colorado, Maryland, and New York, among other places. One classmate arrived masked, but took his mask off about 15 minutes into the festivities. The venue was a local brewery with a beer hall and the entire event was indoors. My masked classmate was the only person I saw wearing a mask all weekend, outside of some of the staff at the hotel. Social distancing? Not much of that, either — as you would expect at a high school reunion, it was hugs galore.

The following week was the family wedding; we took a convoluted path so we could pick up our college-age daughter, who attends school in Missouri. We stopped in Waterloo, Iowa, for lunch — not a mask in sight. We got gas in Hannibal, Missouri — no masks at all. Our overnight hotel was in downstate Illinois — again, no masks or social distancing in sight, and a full buffet breakfast available. We stopped for lunch in Indiana — again, no masks anywhere. We gassed up again on the Indiana/Ohio border, in a town that looked like nothing had changed since 1978. No masks. We reached our destination — no masks at the hotel. We had an out-of-town guest reception — saw every face in the place.

The wedding the following day was wonderful — joyous, raucous, with an open bar and food trucks from Columbus for the meal. There were probably 250 people in attendance; not a soul was wearing a mask. It was an outdoor event, but if social distancing was a factor, no one seemed to realize it. Nothing changed on the return trip. No mask? No problem!

Over this past weekend, we attended the Great Minnesota Grease Together. Everyone had to mask up on the shuttle buses, but once we were at the fair, mask wearing was about 1%, even in the queues for a Sweet Martha bucket before leaving the fairgrounds.

We are reminded daily the Delta Variant is still in full swing, an implacable foe, with future variants lined up like planes in a holding pattern at O’Hare; Mu is coming next, and all the other letters of the Greek alphabet are getting ready to ravage the countryside, so many that we’re likely to run out of letters eventually. Presumably another naming convention waits in the wings — perhaps future variants can be named after Kentucky Derby winners (the “Seattle Slew Variant” perhaps), assuming we can independently verify that neither the horses nor their jockeys ever used Ivermectin. As anyone with a television or a smart phone knows, the hectoring and self-congratulatory moral tutelage continue unabated, all of it fact-checked, verified, or otherwise given the J.D. Power award and a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

But you know what? Even after a summer of harangues and a phalanx of Tik-Tok Cassandras, people are doing as they please, at least here in flyover land. 

Yes, yes, everything I’m presenting here is anecdotal, but current behaviors are easy to observe and if a skeptic made a similar sojourn, the skeptic would see the same things. There will remain a cohort of those who follow every word and every directive from Drs. Fauci, Osterholm and their colleagues. Most readers of this feature likely see social media posts featuring our bien pensant  betters dutifully wearing their masks and keeping a yardstick or two between them as they struggle to take a selfie. And that’s fine — let your freak flags fly!

In the end, though, it’s highly likely the Safety Dance is over, unless our betters are willing to force compliance. What’s been happening in Australia has given me pause, but mandates and lockdowns will be difficult to enforce. And our betters know it.

Well, Lookie Here

Rep. Matt Gaetz exonerated of allegations of sex trafficking.

He was the victim of an extortion attempt:

Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz has been exonerated after 62-year-old Stephen Alford was recently indicted by the Department of Justice for extortion.

“Stephen M. Alford did knowingly and willfully devise, and intent to devise, a scheme to defraud and for obtaining money and property by means of material false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and for the promise of executing such scheme, did cause, and attempt to cause, a wire communication to be transmitted in interstate commerce,” the indictment states.

So, all you Democrats in the comment section (you know who you are) who were measuring the drapes in a Supermax cell for Gaetz? Anything to say?

By the way – Rep. Gaetz’s father, Don…

…was a student of my father’s, back in Rugby, ND, back when I was a toddler.

I’m not gonna claim it gives me absolute moral authority or anything.

Surprising Nobody

This blog has accepted as a truism that a functioning representative democracy needs institutions that The People can trust – law enforcement, the judiciary, and the news media – to keep all the other institutions accountable, and thus allowing the democracy to survive.

So in a sense the fact that National Public Radio is beginning to drop the pretense of “objectivity” might almost be seen as good news:

According to the new guidelines:

NPR editorial staff may express support for democratic, civic values that are core to NPR’s work, such as, but not limited to: the freedom and dignity of human beings, the rights of a free and independent press, the right to thrive in society without facing discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, disability, or religion.

NPR’s public editor, Kelly McBride, explains that the guidelines allow journalists to participate in such causes as Black Lives Matter demonstrations or Pride parades, though they have to discuss specifics with their supervisors.

But not – one recalls when listening to Lulu Garcia Navarro plunking generous helpings of her point of view into her “Journalism” – the audience.

Storytellers

When I was a kid in the 1970s, I would tune in out-of-town baseball broadcasts on my trusty AM transistor radio. From our home in eastern Wisconsin, it was easy to catch Merle Harmon and Bob Uecker covering the hapless Brewers on WTMJ in Milwaukee, but when the Brewers fell behind the Orioles 7-2 in the 4th inning, my mind would wander.

I found the alternatives; I also listened to Vince Lloyd covering the Cubs on WGN in Chicago, but only if the Cubs were on the road, and on other nights I might catch the White Sox with Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall on WMAQ. If I were feeling more ambitious, I could catch the gentlemanly Ernie Harwell on WJR in Detroit, or feisty Jack Buck on KMOX out of St. Louis. Sometimes, but not always, I could catch Herb Carneal on WCCO.

It’s difficult to explain to younger people, but on weeknights you couldn’t watch a game unless you lived in a big city. Writing for the Athletic (paywall, unfortunately), Jon Greenberg and Stephen J. Nesbitt detail what’s been a pastime for 100 years now:

The beauty of baseball on the radio is in its simplicity. It’s theatre of the mind. Even younger broadcasters, who were raised in the TV age, say radio was the sound of their summers, conjuring images of car rides, sifting through static, and listening from a fishing boat in the middle of a lake.

It was the sound of discovery, in the same way that postwar Brits looking for the new sounds would tune in Radio Luxembourg. Those faraway voices suggested there was something more out there, beyond the city limits of wherever you happened to be. If you have an IP today, you can see the world and hear every voice imaginable. While I appreciate the choices arrayed before me, I do miss the thrill of listening to Ernie Harwell through the static on a still August evening. 

While Making Your Afternoon Listening Plans

Please tune in to AM1280 this afternoon from 4-6PM for a special broadcast about Critical Race Theory in Minnesota, and what you and I can do about it.

It’ll feature:

  • Kendall Qualls and Alfrieda Baldwin from “Take Charge Minnesota”
  • Catrin Wigfall from the Center of the American Experiment
  • Rebekah Hagstrom from “Education Nation”.

We’ll be having the actual conversation that the CRT crowd plays lip service to.

I’ll be moderating the discussion.

Hope you can listen in!

Ruparing

I’d like to claim this as a late addition to the DFL Dictionary – but alas, it’s actually from the Urban Dictionary:

Rupar (Verb): To purposely (sic) mislead. To completely mischaracterize a statement or video by omitting context.

Yesterday, at a “press conference” on the Capitol steps, as embattled representative John “Burn Hugo Down” Thompson, the DFLer from either Saint Paul, Superior or someplace else, was promising not to resign, a woman – “Tammy Jo”, we’re told – drove “onto the Capitol Mall” (looks like the upper parking lot to me) and waved a Trump flag.

KARE11’s John Croman – who is distinguised by being “Not Quite Esme Murphy” – tweeted what would appear to be a troubling outburst:

Now, my first thought was that “Tammy Jo” was likely a DFL plant, a DFLer from Woodbury, sent to lend Thompson and his press conference a cleansing blast of the unambiguous victimhood that is his only line. That, I surmised, would explain why not a single member of our city’s press corps – the people who ran down “Umbrella Man” and his life story run down while the rubble was still burning last year – has come up with a complete identification of “Tammy Jo”.

I’m sure it’ll happen.

But even given the in-the-bagginess of the Twin Cities media, that seemed a bit of a stretch.

Still – it’s not merely the Twin Cities media; it’s KARE11, the station that led the local TV market to “Woke”-ness. There’s got to be a DFL-upsucking angle, I thought. I mean, this wasn’t a “hate crime” per se, but Berg’s 20th Law seems to be proximate: “All incidents of “hate speech” not captured on video (involving being delivered by someone proven not to be a ringer) shall be assumed to be hoaxes until proven otherwise.” There might need to be an Esme Murphy Corollary: “Hoaxes, and/or DFL PR operations”.

Because the DFL had a need, and Croman fulfilled it.

Leave it to David Steinberg, who on issue after issue – Keith Ellison, Ilhan Omar, the riots, the Minneapolis City Council – does the reporting the Minnesota Media can’t be bothered, or haven’t been told by Ken Martin they’re allowed, to do.

So – what really happened?

Aaron Rupar isn’t the disease. Coming from the Twin Cities media scene as he did, he’s just a symptom.

Noxious Brew

Did the management at “Black Rifle Coffee Company” – the gleefully un-PC, over-the-top God Guns ‘n Guts-oriented, veteran owned coffee company – go “woke”?

You be the judge:

[CEO Evan Hafer] quickly debunked the notion that he made derogatory remarks about BRCC’s customers or conservatives and then proceeded to explain how the New York Times deliberately twisted his words and took them out of context. According to Hafer, his conversation with the NYT Magazine reporter was in the context of racism and anti-Semitism in America in light of Hafer being the target of an organized attack last year because of “my last name and my heritage.”

“We were purely discussing that,” Hafer says, and he was not conflating those groups with conservatives.

“The New York Times, as we know, the chances of them being objective were fairly slim, but we gave them the opportunity,” he added. He went on to mention veterans issues he hoped to bring attention to. But, unfortunately, the New York Times chose to go with “the salacious headline” about the company instead.

Hafer reiterated that racists and anti-Semites have no place in his company.

“I really need you guys to get the facts straight on this, which is: There’s no chance in hell I’m gonna talk s–t about conservatives to the New York Times. It’s just not gonna happen.”

You live and you learn. That’s my take.

Steven Kruiser is a little less forgiving…of Hafer:

How long do the mainstream media hacks have to keep exposing themselves as frothing-at-the-mouth haters of conservatives before conservatives get it? If Hafer truly thought that the Times was going to give him a fair shake and that this would be a good marketing opportunity, then he’s too monumentally stupid to be around anything that isn’t toddler-proofed. It’s like walking into a biker bar while wearing a tuxedo and being surprised you got your a** kicked after you called all of them wusses. It’s just super easy to predict how some things are going to work out.

Conservatives shouldn’t be treating The New York Times and its ilk with any kind of courtesy. Unless you want to be a turncoat, it’s not going to work out well for you. Don’t hang out with an enemy who spends all day pointing a knife at you then turn away and act surprised when you get stabbed in the back.

And here’s the most important lesson for conservatives: don’t pull the knife out, hand it back to your enemy, then turn away again.

Well, Kruiser’s gonna kruis. At the risk of giving Hafer too much credit – something I tend to be wont to do – he’s a businessman from Utah, not breezy media analyst; there’s a first time for everyone.

Not saying that stands up – Black Rifle is pretty savvy, generally.

Further evidence for my eternal advice – if you’re a conservative, any conservative, and the mainstream media are interviewing you for any reason, record the interaction. Every single time. If you’re misquoted, wrenched out of context, played for a patsy – as is likely in many corners of the media these days – you’ll have evidence.

Privacy

Esme “Rabid Bulldog” Murphy, the dowager dean of Minnesota political reporters and tenacious, utterly impartial reporter on all things political in the state of Minnesota, who has never, ever been fairly or accurately accused of softballing DFLers, twote in re Rep. John “Burn Hugo Down” Thompson and allegations that he snuck out of a not-generally accessible back stairway from Minneapolis City Hall to avoid reporters who, to my amazement, seem curious about his verbal claims of racism and written but unacknowledge claims of multiple residences:

Well, that settles that.

If there’s one thing no DFL pol ever needs to worry about, it’s Esme Murphy violating their privacy. Or asking them anything more involved than their favorite flavor of ice cream.

But let’s pump the brakes – I’m all for respecting peoples’ privacy.

With that in mind, all I really want to know is, which of Thompson’s residences should I plan on not protesting at – the one on the East Side of Saint Paul, the one in Superior, some other residence not yet publicly discussed, or any or all of the above?

Thanks.

A Bit Of A Reach

NPR (I listen so you don’t have to) has a story on Paris’s crack problem – which, after a year of lockdown, has gone pretty public.

Near the end of the piece, the reporter reassures the NPR audience that at least there isn’t any gun violence, due to France’s strict gun controls.

Thing is, even in the US, guns and all, crack addicts rarely shoot each other. Oh, they sometimes use guns to rob people to get money and fence-able goods for their next fix – but the NPR piece doesn’t favor us with anybody sight as to how French baseheads pay for their buzz. Given hiw defenseless French Gun control, leaves citizens, there’s less need to use a gun to rob people, but again, the report goes into no details.

No, in the US it’s gangs, taking and defending turf and herding beeves, thst do the shooting. And it seems French gangs don’t have that much trouble getting guns.

There are just different priorities so far.

Let’s Cool Things Down

SCENE: A conference room at “Minnesotans for All Progressive Causes” – a non-profit group financed by progressives with deep pockets – for the weekly message coordination meeting.

MyLyssa Silberman, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, waits in the conference room along with Betty Rae Torstengaardsen, senior staff writer at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, sit, along with Mesme PHURPHY, elite objective political reporter from WCCO-TV They nervously check their watches.

Eventually, Gretel Stromberg Executive Director of “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, and Inge “Lucky” Carroll, Executive Director of “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, enter the room.

CARROLL: (Looks at Silberman and Torstengaardsen and Phurphy, clears throat).

SILBERMAN, PHURPHY AND TORSTENGAARDSEN: (quickly rise from their seats)

STOMBERG: Be seated. (All sit, with STROMBERG at the head of the table). Americans are rejecting the term “insurrection” to describe the January 6 riot. We need to come up with another term.

PHURPHY: How about ‘genocide’?

CARROLL: Love the energy, Mesme, but it might be a bit of an overreach.

TORSTENGAARDSEN: I mean, ‘riot’ pretty much sums it up.

(STROMBERG and CARROLL cough nervously).

TORSTENGAARDSEN: Er…never mind.

SILBERMAN: ‘Coup’ usually implies the elites seizing control. ‘Insurrection’ implies a sustained, military campaign, like the Viet Cong or the IRA.

STROMBERG: I’ll go with “Putsch“.

(The three “journalists” sit, somewhat agape. Finally, SILBERMAN speaks)

SILBERMAN: So – a term that, outside a very thin film of political science and history academics, refers in American English solely to Hitler’s abortive 1922 Munich coup attempt?

(The three “journalists” look at each other)

PHURPHY: Works for me.

TORSTENGAARDSEN: Yep.

SILBERMAN: I hear and obey.

STROMBERG: (abruptly rising) Make it so. (Leaves the room with CARROLL).

And SCENE

The Memory And Perceptions Holes

A friend of the blog emails re what’s going on in Uptown Minneapolis:

If the local media doesn’t report on what’s happening does that mean it doesn’t exist?

As far as political life and the institutional history of Minneapolis at this point in history observed by our political class?

Rhetorical question, right?

Urban Progressive Privilege means never having to feel awkward about the devastation your policies inevitably lead to.

The Real Problem

The NYTimes tweet re the recent cheating scandal at Dartmouth Medical School:

So, the school taking radical and dubiously ethical means to root out cheating at a medical school is “sowing mistrust”.

One guess as to where else “trust” is going to be a little dodgy…?

Pravda-ish

How far through the looking glass are we?

I thought I would live to see a lot of things.

One of them was never “Matt Taibb as a principled dissenter from the main stream media is narrative”.

And yet, here we are. In this case, discussing his collection of Cold War Soviet newspapers:

Reality in Soviet news was 100% binary, with all people either heroes or villains, and the villains all in league with one another (an SR was no better than a fascist or a “Right-Trotskyite Bandit,” a kind of proto-horseshoe theory). Other ideas were not represented, except to be attacked and deconstructed. Also, since anything good was all good, politicians were not described as people at all but paragons of limitless virtue — 95% of most issues of Pravda or Izvestia were just names of party leaders surrounded by lists of applause-words, like “glittering,” “full-hearted,” “wise,” “mighty,” “courageous,” “in complete moral-political union with the people,” etc.

Some of the headlines in the U.S. press lately sound suspiciously like this kind of work:

— Biden stimulus showers money on Americans, sharply cutting poverty

— Champion of the middle class comes to the aid of the poor

— Biden’s historic victory for America 

The most Soviet of the recent efforts didn’t have a classically Soviet headline. “Comedians are struggling to parody Biden. Let’s hope this doesn’t last,” read the Washington Post opinion piece by Richard Zoglin, arguing that Biden is the first president in generations who might be “impervious to impressionists.” Zoglin contended Biden is “impregnable” to parody, his voice being too “devoid of obvious quirks,” his manner too “muted and self-effacing” to offer comedians much to work with. He was talking about this person.

Forget that the “impregnable to parody” pol spent the last campaign year jamming fingers in the sternums of voters, challenging them to pushup contests, calling them “lying dog-faced pony soldiers,” and forgetting what state he was in. Biden, on the day Zoglin ran his piece, couldn’t remember the name of his Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and referred to the Department of Defense as “that outfit over there”:

The whole thing is worth a read, unless you want to cling to any illusions that the “elite” media is anything like what you were taught in Journalism 101.

Art Imitates Life Imitates Art Imitates SITD

The world has become too absurd to be satirized
– G.K. Chesterton

When live imitates satire – why write satire?

Pinky swear – when I started writing the various “Berg’s Laws“, something like 17 years ago, they started out as wry quips. Sarcastic bits of bemused satire.

I didn’t expect every last one of them to turn out to be iron-clad descriptions of modern political and human behavior.

It’s made things a little…difficult? It’s no doubt thrown a monkey wrench at satirists like the Babylon Bee, who no doubt didn’t set out on their mission intended to become America’s best actual news source.

The Bee’s edtior, Seth Dillon, comments on not only how often, but how quickly, the arc of the news turned toward exactly what the Bee started by mocking:

As to “Berg’s Law” – the more I think about it, the more I think I’m onto something.

Two Rules, One Narrative

If government tells you something, distrust but verify. And then, usually, distrust some more.

If the media tells you something – at least, anything about an event that is especially socially fractious – distrust, and verify even harder. And, as always, usually wind up distrusting even more.

If any of Big Left’s social hangers on declares some thing with immense servitude? Distrust, verify, and, well, you know the drill.

Last week was the fifth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

“Perish the thought, it couldn’t possibly have been a deranged man tied to and eliminationist sect of Islamism“, Big Media media assured us. “It was an anti-LGBTQ hate crime, nothing more, nothing less“.

Which is how the media and Biden administration have been treating it, over this past weekend

Distrust. Verify.

Continue distrusting.

Desperately Seeking

Twin Cities media – in this case, the “Minnesota Reformer”, aka “MN Monitor 4.0” – is apparently still hoping for the FBI to charge “Umbrella Man” with destroying or damaging 700 buildings last year.

I’m sorry. That was snarky.

I’ll try again.

They are apparently still awaiting formal confirmation that Umbrella Man led a horde of “white supremacists” who managed to damage 700 buildings, while leaving not so much as a single swastika or “14 Words” refernce – being simultaneously a bunch of brain-damaged losers and operatives with Mossad-level fieldcraft skills. .

Updates as the situation warrants.

From The BlueAnon Archives: The Phantom Menace

To: Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio News
From: Mitch Berg, Irasible Peasant, critic of BlueAnon
Re: It’s Been A Year

Mr. Collins,

Last year – literally, a year ago last Wednesday – you sent out a message to MPR’s mailing lists asking if anyone had seen “white supremacists” during the civil unrest of the previous weeks.

I know this sounds crazy. But it’s 2020. And I’m working on story now about white supremacists coming to Minneapolis to foment race war under cover of the protests. I need your help, and your friends help. Please refer anyone with real, credible info (not rumor or speculation) or sources to me at (I’m gonna redact that)

As we go on a year after that request, and a week after President Biden reiterated the nearly two decade old claim that “white supremacist terror” is the greatest danger facing this country, it’s. probably not unreasonable to ask if you found anything.

A not-entirely-casual search of MPR News’s archives indicates “no”.

Any chance we could get an update?

That is all.

(I sent Collins an email. Since have it on absolutely reliable sources the management at MPR News has told their staff not to engage with peasants, I’d be amazed if I got a response).