Topic Number One And Only…

…in the media, these days, seems to be the idea that “the GOP is racist”, since Donald Trump, who has certainly brought out more than his fair share of the angry and the ignorant (sort of the flipside of Bernie Sanders, who, let’s not forget, is pimping xenophobic socialism himself) and who will be out of the race in a couple of months, is being closely tailed, and in the aggregate outnumbered, by two Latinos, a woman, and an African-American, all vying for the chance to take a shot at one of the three geriatric honkies on the Democrat side.

Which, in turn, is the sum, total, entire reason the media is obsessing over “racism”.


The Peasants Are Restless

A Survey USA poll shows Hillary losing to every single GOP candidate.

In Minnesota.


Longtime friend of the blog Fresch Fisch writes in re poll (about which more later today):

I predict the Minnesota Poll will come out in a couple of weeks showing her back on top.


But she won’t just be back on top, but on top by a margin guaranteed to discourage GOP turnout.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Listening to NARN, you quoted someone saying an adult writing a book should know that no students at West Point have scholarships, they have commissions, and failure to clearly say this makes one unqualified for President. Similarly, an adult writing a book about his life should know where he was born – Africa or America – and failure to clearly state the truth he later chooses, disqualifies him for president.  Unless, of course, it’s a form of simplification for explanation, or dramatic license, or hyperbole, or…

Carson could simply, a la Obama, say it was a “composite” of several schools, military and civilian…


For years, I’ve been listening to my various liberal friends grunt and shriek in horror as various school boards around the country adopt policies that call for their various school districts to recognize, in one curricular form or another, the existence of creationism.

To which I’ve responded with two questions:

“First – if someone who’s refinishing your driveway, or checking out your groceries, or working on the app that you use to calculate your heart rate, is a young earth creationist [because the type of liberals who always huff and puff about creationism tend to own fitbits, naturally, believe everyone who isn’t like them is in the service class], what difference does it make to you?”

The answer, generally, is something with pretensions to altruism with overtones of intellectual thuggery; “we want everyone in our society to start with the same basis of actual knowledge,” or some such.

Which leads to my second question: “So – let’s say that you go to the hospital with a life-threatening aneurysm in your brain.  And as you’re getting ready for surgery to stent a weak spot in a cranial artery to prevent it blowing like a water balloon, killing you in less time than it takes me to say this, you find out that your brain surgeon – a person who spent four years in a hypercompetitive hard-science-based pre-med program vying for a seat in a medical school, and then four more in a medical program designed to weed out the non-hackers, and not only surviving the cut but doing it brilliantly enough to get accepted to post-doctorate training and residency as a brain surgeon, and then years of experience operating on peoples’ brains – is a creationist?  Do you get up off the operating table, loudly proclaim “you, madame, have no respect for science!” and walk away, looking for a non-creationism brain surgeon?”

There was a time when it was a hypothetical question.  Ben Carson, the media is jumping up and down to remind us, is an old-earth creationist (who abjures ruling out a very old earth).  And – as the Clinton’s praetorian guard is reminding us these days, he believes a few other oddball things.

Now, Carson isn’t my guy at this point, although he’d be a better President than anyone on the Democrat ticket.

But let’s acknowledge a few things; he’s a very smart guy.  Literally, a brain surgeon.  To quote a less brilliant candidate, “that’s f****ng huge!”    But he believes in creationism, and that pyramids were used as granaries.


But I have a quesiton: is that any wackier than believing you can offer free college tuition without blowing up the deficit and distorting the higher education market out of recognition?  Or in believing that storing classified emails in a bathroom and telling the American people that the Benghazi attack was caused by an anti-Muslim video were good ideas?

Trump Card

A longtime correspondent of this blog writes:

I note that the MSM is promoting Latino group offers $5K for calling Trump a racist on ‘SNL’”
By a Norman Mailer I’m referring to a description of his contact with feminist protesters from this article in Salon:

“For example, back when I was in college at Berkeley, I attended a lecture by then bad-boy, self-advertised anti-feminist, self-proclaimed macho-man, world-famous novelist and essayist Norman Mailer. I should mention that he had been preceded a week before by Gloria Steinem. The stage was set.  As soon as Mailer took the podium there was a smattering of shouts, signs flashed up, a protest began. He looked over the crowd and held his hands up, and said, “OK, OK.  I get it.” Things quieted down a bit.  Mailer continued,  “So everyone who thinks I’m an asshole, hiss.”  Of course the room was soon filled with violent hisses.  When they stopped Mailer smirked and said, “Obedient little bitches.””

My hope would be that Trump would come out for the opening monologue and ask everyone in the audience to join together and call him a racist, he could even hold up a cue card with the exact words, then he could hold up another cue card with the contact information for Deport Racism PAC and assure the audience that each one of them is eligible for/guaranteed a $5,000.00 reward. I figure Studio 8H has about 200 seats in it so at $5k a head that could cost the Deport Racism PAC $1.2million. Its a safe bet they would renege on the offer giving Trump & the GOP in general a lot of counter attack ammunition.

Whatever you can say about Trump – he’s not my guy – he’s one I could actually see bringing this kind of thing to the campaign.

Debateable Impressions: Let Me Be The Two Millionth To Say…

Finally:  the evening’s host, CNBC

What the conservative pundocracy says:  The performance of the CNBC panel –  the smirky, mugging Carl Quintanilla, the smug and snarky Becky “Not Very” Quick, and Mike “Where Have You Gone, Candy Crowley?” Harwood, with an appearance by Jim Cramer (who sounded like he’d just lost a UFC match) was a laughingstock – even when mentioned in the same breath as CNN’s loathsome performance four years ago.

What I say:  The conservative pundocracy was too kind.  I got the impression that the media has settled onto a “strategy” of turning debates (well, the GOP ones, anyway) into political reality shows.  Part of me expected Flavor Flav or Khlamidia Khardashian to show up to ask a question [1].  It was clearly a goldmine for CNN last month – to me, it looked like CNBC wanted to make their panel the stars of the debate.  Here’s hoping that the rumors of the backfire on CNN aren’t exaggerated.

Verdict:  News flash: anyone who expects anything from the MSM but sniping and hackery is deluded.  And you can tell Reince Preibus I said so.

[1] Khlamidia is one of the sisters – right?

Debateable Conclusions: Populosity

Up next:  Mike Huckabee.

What the conservative pundocracy says:  He did well.

What I say:   I didn’t see it.  Granted, I missed half the debate – but my signal impression of Huckabee was his resounding rejection of…means testing.

I get it – he’s a “Southern” conservative; socially conservative, but not especially afraid of big government or spending.

It was just an odd moment at a debate for the support of a party that’s getting more hawkish on budgets and spending.

Verdict:   Back to talk radio, Mike.

Debateable Impressions: Walter Rising

Up next:  John Kasich.

What the conservative pundocracy says:  Kasich kept himself in the running with a strong, if cranky, performance.  Others point to his fairly bald-faced, McCainish up-sucking to the media.

What I say:  My short list, two months ago, was Walker, Jindal, Kasich.  With Walker gone and Jindal mired in the undercard and barely running a campaign, it looks like Kasich is the last man standing.  He gave a strong showing last night.  But am I the only one who saw his cranky demeanor and though about Jeff Dunham’s puppet-character “Walter”?

Verdict:   Let’s hope he can morph into something other than the campaign’s resident senior scold.

Debateable Impressions: Punching At His Weight

Next up:  Marco Rubio.

What the conservative pundocracy says:   Rubio came back from what could have been a very tough night, and did it with style.

What I say:  His take-down of the moderators’ harping on the Orlando Sun-Sentinel’s loathsome hatchet-job editoral call for his resignation (for missing about half as many votes as President Obama or Secretary of State Kerry, both of whom the Orlando SS endorsed) was sharp-eyed and surgical; his turn back to his actual policy – against the moderators’ wishes, natch – was smooth and authoritative.

Verdict:   I’ve been trying to figure out who’d replace Scott Walker on my short list.  Rubio might be it.


Debateable Impressions: Speaker Points

Up next:  Ben Carson.

What the conservative pundocracy says:  He held steady.

What I say:   While I respect virtually everything Carson stands for (he’s pretty hopeless on the Second Amendment), I’m always amazed when I see him at debates; quiet, unprepossessing, like an amiable professor who dropped into a WWE match.

Verdict:  He did well.  Not much more to say.

Debateable Impressions: Howling Into The Void

Up next:  Rand Paul

What the conservative pundocracy says:  He’s a dead issue, and should start focusing on holding his Senate seat forthwith.

What I say:   I’ve been a Rand Paul fan for a long time now.   But I sensed that his support was similar to his father’s in Minnesota during the last convention season; a mile deep and twenty feet wide.   Not to say he’s done poorly in any debate – he’s stated his case just fine.  But at no point has he gotten anyone to say “he’s the man” who wasn’t saying it two years ago.

Verdict:  I think the party needs Rand Paul in the race for the same reasons it needs Christie.  I’m just not sure how much longer he can justify it.

Debateable Impressions: Smooth As His Combover

Next on the agenda:  Donald Trump.

What the conservative pundocracy says:  He did well, repairing some previous gaffes and not harming himself – at a time when some polls show him slipping and needing to not screw up.

What I say:  Major points for fixing his Mexican gaffe from the Reagan Center debate by noting that the President of Mexico was a smarter, better executive than Barack Obama -which would seem to be the truth.  I think he made fewer mistakes than in the second debate.

Verdict: He didn’t hurt himself, and left himself in a good position to try to duke it out for Carson and Rubio for the lead.

Debateable Impressions: You Talkin’ To Me?

Up next:  Chris Christie.

What the conservative pundocracy says:  Solid performance – but not enough to vault him onto the short list.

What I say:  By all rights, Christie shouldn’t have gotten this far.  He’s not the darling of the establishment, and conservatives fear him because he’s a “northeast” conservative; strong on business and security, adequate on entitlement and fiscal policy (and hampered by both a Democrat power stranglehold and a fairly inept New Jersey GOP), weak on civil liberties.   Heck – go back and forth on Christie.

Verdict:  I think the party needs him on the short list, just to keep the short-listers on their toes.

Debateable Impressions: The Lady’s Not For Turning Away

Up next:  Carly Fiorina.

What the conservative pundocracy says:   She does well in debates, but is having a hard time keeping excitement going – and last night’s performance was good enough for no more than holding steady.

What I say: Every time I see Carly Fiorina talk, I get more impressed.  Trump and Carson are sucking all of the “anti-establishment” air out of the room – and it’s a shame, because I think Fiorina has the best potential as a chief executive among the three “antis” on the list (along with Trump and Carson).

Verdict:   The debate didn’t give her a huge boost, but in a just world she’ll remain a contender.

Debateable Impressions: Cruz Missile

As i noted earlier, I only watched perhaps 90 minutes of last night’s cage match.

I’m going to give my impressions anyway  – one candidate at a time.  I’m going to start with Ted Cruz.

What the conservative pundocracy says:  It was the performance he needed to stay on the short list.

What I say:  And how.  His jeremiad against the media was a watershed, both within the debate and (I can dream), within the party; it’s restarted the discussion about getting the GOP out of the major-media “debate” / reality show racket.  If he serves no other purposes in this campaign, last night’s contribution could turn out to be a fantastic thing.

Verdict:  Excellent.


How Bad Were The Moderators…

…of last night’s CNBC GOP debate?

Even Brian Williams is saying he wasn’t there”
— Mark Okern (from Facebook)

I watched the first half of yesterday’s GOP debate, before I had to go do some family stuff.

There had been some hope that CNBC – an ostensible financial network – would ask some substantial questions about financial policy.  And there were a few, sort of, in a way.

But “are you an evil comic book villain?”

John Harwood came across as a Liberal snidely whiplash. Becky Quick…wasn’t very.   Carl Quintanilla sounded like he was hosting a cable access production of Jimmy’s First Debate.  And Jim Cramer?  I don’t know if he was on cold medicine or had taken a couple of shots to the head before he went on the air, but good lord, that performance will be taught in broadcast schools for decades to come as an example of how not to sound when reading off a teleprompter.

It’s entirely possible (except for Harwood) that they were just trying to come across as tough, hard-nosed “journalists” – an effect that lasts precisely until the phrase “evil comic book villain” came up.

But the hour I spent was worth it, if only for this; Ted Cruz’ jeremiad against the media was one for the ages:


“But he should have answered Quintanilla’s substantive question!” Er, did you catch the question? “Does your opposition to a “moderate” budget deal mean you’re unqualified?”

UPDATE:  As I put this morning’s piece together in my head last night, I thought – as I often do when matters of discerning bias in others come up – “Am I right, or is this just confirmation bias?”

Well, it’s not just me; Roger Simon torched the moderators pretty ruthlessly:

The big story — the A-story — on Wednesday night — the actual full blown case of seppuku — was CNBC.  The network will never seem the same.  Their moderators — Becky Quick, John Harwood, and Carl Quintanilla — were so obviously biased you would have thought it was a parody, if you hadn’t known it was real, a kind of black comic nightmare out of a leftwing theatre of the absurd.

I thought that very thing as I was sitting at O’Gara’s watching the show last night; “this is like an SNL sketch”.

And there was this bit, that I didn’t catch last night; as part of the moderators’ attempt to gut-shoot Rubio, the non-Trump front-runner, John Harwood doubled down on a lie he’d already apologized for:

But more than that, the debate revealed something I had thought about before, but never seen so clearly — how bias can affect the brain, almost make it dysfunctional.  I assume John Howard is an intelligent man.  He writes for the New York Times. (Make of that what you will, but I did write for that newspaper myself once upon a time, so mind your manners.)  Nevertheless, Harwood did something extraordinary.  He lied about Rubio’s tax plan in the exact same way not once but twice — once at the debate and once about two weeks before the debate.  What made it extraordinary was that Harwood had apologized for that same lie the first time on Twitter on October 14 and then lied again Wednesday night as if he didn’t remember his own apology and correction.   (The Federalist has the full story  with the tweet – Surprise! John Harwood Lied About Rubio’s Tax Plan…)

Simon continues – pervasive bias acts as a form of cognitive disorder, blotting out right and wrong in extreme cases.

It’ll never get in the DSMVI, but we all know it’s there.

Nope. No Suffocating Narrative Here.

There was a mass killing over the weekend in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

This was the headline in the Traverse City Record Eagle, one of the local papers – a Michigan paper:


It’s a tragedy indeed, and a crime.

But there was no gun involved.   The four people were killed by an alleged drunk driver.

Remember: layers and layers of gatekeepers are what separate the credible mainstream media from mere bloggers.

UPDATE:  As God is my witness, I thought there was a Traverse City, Oklahoma.

But it’s Michigan.

Tomayto, Tomahto.

Nope. No Media Bias Here.

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


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

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

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

I said “almost”.

I have no idea why.

Heads? Disaster. Tails? Catastrophe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before I respond, let me establish something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know what I’m working toward.

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

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

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

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

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

My Letter To The Strib

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul

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

Challenge Accepted!

This morning, I did something that has become almost as rote and perfunctory as showing that Nick Coleman is wrong about…well, anything; I fisked a Heather Martens op-ed.   It’s one of many, many such efforts, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

But buried at the very, very bottom of the op-ed was something…different.

And Finally, Something Remotely True, And Historic!  We may have witnessed some history, here – Heather Martens closes out with something that is both substantial and true.

Although not in the way she might think:

Journalists ought to do their homework,

Yes.  If they did, they’d cut Heather Martens off from any further attention.   I’ve built a long history on this blog, over more than a decade, now, of showing you something that’s almost up to the level of a Berg’s Law; that Martens has never, not once, said a substantial, true, original thing about Gun Rights or gun issues.

But she’s finally said something that I agree with wholeheartedly.  And so should every shooter:  she wants the media to…

…force the gun lobby and its friends to defend their indefensible opposition to important new policies, and stop misdirecting the conversation by setting up straw men to destroy.

I agree!  It’s time for Heather Martens and the Strib to get to the facts [1]!

So on behalf of my friends in Minnesota’s gun rights movement, I accept Heather’s challenge; to set up a debate between Heather Martens and any gun-grabber activists or lobbyists she wants to bring along, and a couple of us from the Gun Lobby:  perhaps Joe Olson, Andrew Rothman, Bryan Strawser and/or myself.

There, the journalists and activists can force us to defend the policies we support, live on camera!  Allow both sides to question, and cross-question, each other, live and without a net!

Heather Martens; for all of the flak I’ve given you over the past decade and change, this is your brilliant, shining moment.

This is too important to skip!

Heather Martens:  Challenge Accepted!

PS:  Naturally, we’ll charge admission, and donate the proceeds to a mutually agreed-upon charity.

Continue reading

No Cigar

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

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

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

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

Could the NRA vanish from political prominence? Of course.

But the article is wrong on three points:

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

They’re all lousy comparisons:

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

Which brings us to the second point:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Asked For It, John Oliver

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

Mr. Oliver,

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

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

I’m all about the help.

“Get mad!”, you say.

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

So go f**k yourself.

There.  I feel better.

That is all.