For this, Michael Bloomberg paid $50 Million.
A fool and his money…
To be serious for a moment; I suppose a gun that worked like this would solve the whole “failure to extract” and “stovepipe” problem.
OK. That wasn’t so serious.
I’ve always tried to understand people from “across the aisle”.
Part of it was the fact that I was a liberal for a while. It’s easy for me not to see libs as “evil”; I wasn’t evil, I was just naive.
And over the years I’ve found that getting to know people who think differently, outside the context of politics, can be useful, especially for people whose primary interaction is via some sort of social media. Social media – and the whole online user experience – tends to reduce inhibitions and focus emotion – which is a lousy combination for civil discussion. And over the decade or so of doing MOB parties, I’ve met a lot of people who disagree with me – but spent enough time talking about anything but politics that it was easier to start treating each other like human beings rather than collections of caricatures.
(I said a lot. Not all of them. There are some Twin Cities leftybloggers who are not redeemable, and not worth knowing or understanding, because they are depraved and of no value. But I’m not naming names).
And it cuts both ways. Liberal commentator and strategist Sally Kohn spent some time, er, commentating at Fox News, and learned that conservatives are, in fact, human.
My time at Fox News was marked by meeting and working with some of the kindest, smartest, and most talented people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in life. As I said in my TED talk, Sean Hannity is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet – and even now that I’ve parted ways with Fox, he remains a good friend and mentor.
For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me to meet people such as Mr. Hannity, Karl Rove, Monica Crowley, Sarah Palin, and so many others, and see that – though we certainly disagree profoundly on political issues – they’re personable and kind and human. Just like me.
It’s strange to suggest that a seemingly simple realization such as that is in fact a profound revelation, but in our hyperpartisan era, when we often vilify the other side as being less-than-human, it is.
I’m going to be watching for the waves of hatred that this piece generates.
Because it will.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Our Friend has a post on Penigma explaining why Stand Your Ground is a bad idea because a certain legislator who might support such a bill, if it came before the legislature, was Not convicted of a crime in another state. Okay, he wasn’t convicted – he wasn’t even charged – but another guy Was charged and has Not been convicted either. So that proves that Stand Your Ground is bad legislation.
Attacking the man instead of attacking his idea might prove the man is a bad man, but it doesn’t prove the idea is a bad idea. That’s why an Ad Hominem argument is a logical fallacy and unpersuasive to thinking people. Which, apparently, does not include Our Friend or, presumably, the people who read her blog.
So does that mean I applaud bad men, celebrate them, and approve of all their actions? Obviously not; and even if I did, that still wouldn’t mean Stand Your Ground is a bad idea.
It’s too bad the legislator isn’t a Black man because then Our Friend’s opposition to his ideas would be racissss. Can’t you just hear the heads exploding all across Mac-Groveland?
The number of liberals – especially Minnesota liberal bloggers, but including not a few higher-level operatives – who can conduct a rational debate using the basics of logic, and without wallowing in all manner of logical fallacies, is disturbingly tiny, and supports my contention that Minnesota liberals are terrible debaters because they never have to learn how to debate rationally.
The Democrats are in trouble. Obamacare is tanking, and the economy is “growing” at a pace that would have been considered a disaster were Barack Obama, the vessel of the left’s hopes and dreams, not President.
And despite a concerted media attempt to black out the bad news, people are starting to talk.
And so the left is doing its best to get people to talk about…other things.
Any other things.
So when my Twitter feed (actually a tweet from one-time SITD commenter “TimInStP”, one of the most incisive liberal minds ever to comment in this space) screamed “The GOP Just Named its Hot New Innovation Lab After a Nazi Pistol”, I figured it was worth looking into.
It wasn’t. I mean, it was from Gawker, which is to national liberal media what Minnesota Progressive Project is to Minnesota; ergo, not worth the time it took, to look into.
But as a view into the lengths the deranged left will go to to try to slander dissenters, it’s instructive anyway:
The Republican National Committee today excitedly announced the launch of a new startup lab to bring techies and creatives together, Silicon Valley-style, to get Republicans elected. Oh, and they named it for a Nazi gun, a type of ammo, and a philosophy that puts war before peace.
Welcome to Para Bellum Labs, America!
Para Bellum? Why, I took enough Latin to know that means “prepare for war!”.
And Gawker got that part right. Sorta.
In fact, it’s part of an old Roman cliche, “Si vis pacem, para bellum”—if you seek peace, prepare for war. That’s been quite an inspiring little phrase through history, at least to militarists. It was especially inspiring to Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken, the German government’s arms manufacturer from the late imperial era to World War II.
DWM started using the “parabellum” phrase as a name for its signature guns—first, the light machine gun used by the Kaiser’s best during World War I, and then its most iconic gun: the Parabellum Pistole, or the Luger pistol…Yep, Nazi parabellum!
So let me get this straight: Because the Republican startup used a phrase that was also used by, among hundreds or thousands of others, a German company (in corrupted form) in 1908 to describe a pistol that was used, 30 years later, by a regime that wouldn’t even start to form for fifteen years, the GOP “named its lab after a Nazi gun?”
Oh, it gets better.
The gun was so popular in the Third Reich that its ammunition—one of the first to use a slug that was 9 millimeters in diameter—became known as “9 mm parabellum,” which you can find now at your local gun store.
It was nowhere near “one of the first” 9mm rounds (and if you walk into your gun store and ask for “9mm Parabellum”, the clerk will know you learned everything you know about guns from video games; it’s “9mm Luger”, or “9×19”). And the “Parabellum” pistol (usually called a “Luger”, or a “P-08” in German) was so popular among the Nazis that they phased it out of production in favor of the Walther P-38, which was simpler to produce and easier to maintain in the field…
But wait! P-38 was the same designation as the plane flown by America’s top fighter ace, Superior Wisconsin’s own Richard Bong!
Richard Bong was a Nazi!
Oh, yeah – most police in America today carry 9mm pistols. Are they also Nazi sympathizers?
Gawker is like a lobotomy that you don’t have to pay for.
Ann Coulter is proving my point; liberals don’t know how to debate conservatives
However, there is at least one Republican who wants to appear on The Ed Show. You might have heard of her. Her name is Ann Coulter.
She wants to be on The Ed Show so badly that she actually called Schultz a “lying pussy” as an apparent means of motivation. She did this on Twitter last night in response to Schultz saying that Republicans don’t like to appear on his show.
The full tweet reads: “Invite me on your show, you lying pussy.”
Will Coulter’s call to action work? Time will tell.
There are some liberals who have the cojones to meet conservatives face to face and have that kind of discussion. R.T. Rybak was one; he came on the NARN a few years back. We had a great time.
But the sub-genre of liberals of whom Schultz is part? Their entire oeuvre depends on never, ever leaving the echo chamber. They do their bullying purely from within their little circle jerk.
Like a vast swathe of Twin Cities liberals – they splinter like Wal-Mart end tables when they have to try to sustain an actual debate.
Because most Minnesota liberals can not debate .
Schultz is a classic example. The painfully polite and effortlessly erudite Michael Medved made him look like a badly-trained dog at a debate in the Twin Cities a few years back; Schultz was reduced to trying to mock Medved’s Harvard degrees, and calling yours truly (a co-moderator of the event) an “a-hole” on the air the next day.
I’ve spent six years now trying to invite Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison and even Representative Heather Martens on the NARN. Bupkes.
Even a barking seal like Schultz knows his limitations. If he let Coulter in the studio with him, within ten minutes of the mikes going live he’d be trussed up like a turkey (rhetorically speaking) and sputtering like a badly tuned lawn-mower (not rhetorically).
Ezra Klein has left the WaPo, to start a new blog to help readers “contextualize” the news.
Unlike about 20,000 news and politics blogs. Including this one.
But Ezra Klein – with a little help from friends like Matt “One-Man Education Bubble” Yglesias – is going to bring special “context” to the news.
Here was an example of the sort of “context” Klein and Yglesias bring “to the news”, from an excellent adventure they had on the Chicom tab a few years back.
“SOUTH DAKOTA MOVES TO LEGALIZE MURDER OF ABORTION PROVIDERS”.
The headline – re-tweeted by legions of “progressive” alt-media droogs – wasn’t remotely ambiguous; supposedly, a bill in the South Dakota legislature would legalize the murder of abortion providers.
Now – what’s the rule?
If the leftymedia says something about conservatives, distrust. Then verify. Then, almost invariably distrust some more, because it’s a lie (with the propability approaching 100% in direct proportion to the sensationalism of the claim. Indeed, I’m going to call this the Mother Jones Corollary to Berg’s Tenth Law, since MaJo is one of the most consistent offenders.
So – read the article – which screams its throat raw that South Dakota is going to all but sell license to kill Infanticidiatricians.
Then note the updates, which gingerly note that the bill actually makes a legitimate immediate threat of death or bodily harm to a fetus via an illegal act a justification to homicide, per South Dakota law, same as with any other person. With the emphasis being on illegal acts, which abortion, more’s the pity, is not.
So all together now; if the “progressive media” says it, it’s probably a lie. And if you check into it, it’ll turn out to be pretty much always definitely a lie.
Hope we’ve cleared that up.
What do I always say?
If a liberal talking head – whether it’s Grace Kelly or Martin Bashir – says something about any conservative or conservative group? Distrust but verify. And then, having verified and found the claim vaporous, pretty much invariably continue distrusting.
“What? Even with a Rhodes Scholar like Rachel Maddow?”
To: Liberals Who Pretend To Care About The Military when Veterans Benefits Are Threatened
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re: Put Up
You know who you are. You’re the liberals who screech like worn-out brake calipers when conservative political actions even obliquely threaten military or veterans benefits (which liberals barber about because it’s the one part of the military that’s the most like a social program).
So by all means, lefties; it’s time for you to screech. Let your inner stuck cat howl like Jimi Hendrix’ Strat turned to 11.
That is all.
Moms Want Action is, apparently, a national thing.
Anyway – “Think” Progress, the national left borg site, claimed to be onto something; a photo of gunnies intimidating a Moms Want Action meeting in Texas.
Now, what have we told you before? Whenever the left says anything about guns (and, pretty much, everything else)?
Distrust, then verify.
Then, almost without fail, distrust some more.
Because what the group looked like depended on the angle; what from one angle could be teased into looking like a group aggressively intimidating was, from the actual intended angle, a group portrait:
That sums it up well.
Any anti-gun-rights voices, whether activists, media (ptr) or punditry, will be presumed either liars or misinformed until proven otherwise.
And they are almost never proven otherwise.
It’s not really my intention to spend the week bagging on Sally Jo Sorenson – proprietor of Bluestem Prairie, and one of a tiny fringe of Minnesota “progressive” bloggers that don’t belong under police surveillance.
But I saw this post, and I just couldn’t resist.
Zeit Full Of Geiste: History is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, we need to learn from it, or we’re screwed. On the other hand, lazy, out-of-context historical parallels are a rhetorical crutch that can be an unsatisfactory substitute for actual thought. On the other other hand, rejecting historical comparisons can also be a lazy unearned “gotcha”.
So it’s a three-edged sword, I guess…
The big historical kahuna this past hundred years, of course, is World War 2. And World War 2 is an amazingly complex subject, open to endless debates on nearly-infinite tangents. And one of the most potent subjects in the biggest war in human history was “how did the Nazi Party – a fringe fascist party that preached a pseudo-mystic, ethnic-mythology-based hypernationalism, ethnic purity, and conquest in pursuit of both – ever take power of what would today be called a “First World” power?”
History’s my bag. So are languages. (Music, too, but that doesn’t really apply). I would have majored in History, but back in the eighties the job outlook just wasn’t there if you didn’t want to be a teacher, so I went with the much-more-marketable English degree.
But I minored in History, and German – mostly because of my interest in, well, Germany in history. Indeed, you could very well say dürch meine Interesse in Deutche Geschichte waren Deutsch und Geschichte in College meine Nebenfäche.
Point being, making Nazi analogies can be intellectually lazy; saying “Obama is taking us the way Germany went in the twenties” can be as lazy as chanting “Bush is taking us the way Germany went in the twenties”.
But then so can rejecting them out of hand. Germany started the 20th century as a constitutional monarchy with one of the most literate populations, advanced economies, respected educational systems (we modeled ours after theirs), richest artistic canons and well-developed industrial bases in the world. Forty years later, they were firebombing London and machine-gunning Polish villages. Wondering “what’s the worst that can happen to a large, wealthy, advanced, progressive society” isn’t entirely idling.
But for heaven’s sake, both are dumb if one is utterly ignorant of the history involved.
Politically Uncorrect: Anyhoo, Sorenson unleashed the post in question swiping at a woman from Hutchinson, Kitty Werthmann, and someone who wrote to praise her in the Hutchinson paper.
Werthmann – a native of Austria who was a child during the Anschluß (Hitler’s relatively peaceful coup bringing Austria into the Reich) – has been preaching that America is on the same road to Tyranny that Europe was on.
Is she right? On the one hand, I take most such claims with a block of salt. On the other? Our government is spying on us; Obama has used the IRS to stifle opposition speech, and Homeland Security to demonize and harass political opponents. Petty abuses are the starter drug of the tyrant – and the road from freedom to tyranny is always a slippery slope. Always. Nazi? Probably not. Authoritarian? Doy.
But I come not to analyze Werthmann – I’ll leave that to the reader.
No, I come to assail Sally Jo Sorenson.
Shamelessgoy: Mostly, her piece addresses Werthmann’s heritage – presumably with intent to discredit her perspective on Naziism. I’m going to add some emphases for later reference:
An Austrian Catholic who immigrated to the United States in the early 1950s, Werthmann was 12 when Germany annexed her native country. By her own account, she witnessed Nazi oppression first hand, but was never sent to a concentration camp or jailed herself. Prominent horrors of Hitler’s regime for Werthmann, president of the South Dakota Eagle Forum, include equal rights for women (historians have discovered a rather different story about women in the Third Reich than what Werthmann recalls).
(It was a mixed bag; German women got some rights they’d not had before, but also were strongly urged to be good brood sows, creating new Volksdeutsch to carry on the Kampf. The Nazis even gave out medals – the military kind – to women who had the most kids, provided they were Aryan. But I digress).
The letter-writer noted some of the cultural mileposts that Werthmann cites as evidence. Sorenson responds:
While no state-sponsored prayer in schools has been the law of the land since a Supreme Court ruling in the1960s, Piker and Werthmann seem confused about flags being “taken out of our schools.” As for banning wearing of crosses, that seems to be related to bone-headed, if well-intentioned, anti-gang efforts; such restrictions have been condemned by both the American Center for Law and Justice and the ACLU.
(And the Germans had all sorts of reasons for their laws as well – which were opposed by more-liberal Germans, including the GCLU. OK, I made the “GCLU” up – but point being, there was a debate over the changes in German law. Until debate became illegal – which was enacted by legal means years before it required deportations and concentration camps. One of the first steps? Declaring debate “seditious!” Seriously – it’s not like a bunch of brownshirts charged into the Reichskanzlerei and forcibly converted Germans from playing Hayden and and Fußball and Dreigroschenopern to firebombing Rotterdam overnight; there were years of gradual change But again, I digress)
Sorenson chronicles a fascinating back-and-forth in the Hutch paper’s letters section, before concluding:
Dare to challenge a sketchy analogy between Obama and Hitler made by a non-Jewish Austrian Catholic who survived the German annexation without being imprisoned?
Then you must have forgotten the Holocaust. Or just be too young to remember.
Or perhaps you’re just staggeringly ignorant about history.
Parade of Calumny: Look at the parts I bolded in Sorenson’s screed; Werthmann is “Catholic”; she’s “non-Jewish”; she was neither “imprisoned” nor “sent to a concentration camp”.
Then I guess Kitty Werthmann’s World War 2 was pretty posh, huh?
Well, not necessariliy. The Nazis murdered Jews, of course – 70% of all Jews in Europe. Over 90% of all Jews that had lived in Eastern Europe.
Of course, they had a jones for gays, Jehovah’s Witnesses and gypsies, as well. And the mentally ill. Few of any of those groups survived the war.
Communists in Germany and every place they conquered? Yep. Them too – indeed, like totalitarians everywhere, they murdered not only enemies – communists, but also Social Democrats, Monarchists and “liberals” of all stripes – but friends who might get in their way; other fascists, and even Nazis who lost out in intra-party squabbles.
Yes, they also murdered plenty of Catholics. Protestants – even Lutherans in Germany, the home of Martin Luther, too, for that matter. The Nazis – a fundamentally atheistic movement – wanted to co-opt the German churches, especially the state Catholic and Lutheran demominations; linking traditional German Volk culture to Naziism via the Church was a key part of re-engineering German society. The Nazis didn’t waste a lot of time on clergy who didn’t play ball. The early concentration camps were full of non-compliant priests and pastors, goyim all.
And of course you didn’t have to be murdered, imprisoned or deported to the camps to have suffered horribly. Germany suffered between 5 and 7 million dead, including as many as 2.5 million civilians – as much as a tenth of the entire population. Austria alone lost a quarter of a million soldiers and 120,000 civilians – in a nation of six million, not much bigger than Minnesota is today. By the end of the war – when Werthmann was a teenager – Germans and Austrians, Nazis and just-plain-folks alike were living hand-to-mouth, scraping to get by in a way Americans never, ever have since maybe the Civil War.
And after the war? The parts of the economy and infrastructure that hadn’t been bombed flat or firebombed to a crisp had been fought over by five different armies; the towns that the Russians didn’t destroy by carpet-rocketing or the US and Britain didn’t blow to smithereens with their artillery out of sheer tactical overkill were looted and burned by the French out of pure spite. The people were treated (not without justification) as unindicted co-conspirators under strict military occupation. Food was strictly rationed in the West for a decade, and in the East tacitly until 1991. Germans (and Austrians, who were treated as the willing accomplices so many had in fact been) alive at the time talk of being constantly on the ragged edge of starvation – whether they were actual Nazis, sympathizers, goers-along, or utterly apathetic about German politics.
But Kitty Werthmann isn’t Jewish, so according to Sally Jo Sorenson, clearly World War 2 must have been a gas.
This is your Minnesota “progressive” blogosphere’s best in action.
I’ve said it a few times; Sally Jo Sorenson of the outstate leftyblog “Bluestem Prairie” is one of the few Minnesota leftybloggers who don’t deserve to be under some kind of police surveillance.
But that doesn’t mean she gets all that much right.
Or maybe when your target is “voters who don’t think that hard about voting”, “getting it right” isn’t the goal.
I’ll commend to you this piece on…
…well, apparently the Sibley County GOP thinking Things That Make Sally Jo Sorenson Angry Even Though She Doesn’t Appear To Understand Them All That Well.
I’ll add some emphasis here and there:
Bluestem’s favorite Minnesota Republican Basic Party Operating Unit (BPOU) is at it again, promoting an informational town hall against the court-delayed organizing of home-based daycare providers, while simultaneously asking the readers of the New Ulm Journal to dream of a future where moms can stay home and care for their own kids.
Yes, indeedie: Emily Gruenhagen and her fellow executive board members are here to save daycare so they can destroy it…The more recent epistle, Childcare Unionization Town Hall Meeting, repeats standard talking points against the organizing drive by AFSCME, before asserting this vision for a better Minnesota:
“Imagine a society with taxes and utility rates so low that mothers have the economic freedom to choose to stay home with their children, again…”
Yes, indeedie. Those days of women staying home in the glory days of the 1950s and 1960s (or 1850s and 1860s) had absolutely nothing to do with wages, and everything to do with low taxes and utility rates.
And yes indeedie-doo, the market for daycare today is all about women with degrees in Arts Admin from Saint Olaf having time to run off to their day job at an arts-education non-profit to negotiate a visit by a Bulgarian women’s therapeutic drum circle co-op.
Sure. Sometimes it is.
But much more often, it’s about low-income women (and, uh, men) needing someone to watch the kids while they earn a living – something that Sally Jo Sorenson’s Democrat party just made a whole lot harder, especially in rural Minnesota.
And daycare unionization will do absolutely nothing for those families – or the daycare union providers – but make it less affordable.
Sorenson swerves through a krazy kwilt of other bits of outstate un-PC before returning, eventually, to the daycare topic:
Representatives Glenn Gruenhagen and Dean Urdahl, along with Senator Scott Newman and anti-daycare union advocate Hollie Saville, who shares the belief that allowing daycare providers to vote to choose or reject representation amounts to “forced unionization,” will speak at the meeting, the letter notes.
According to the Sibley County Republicans, “the lying DFL” isn’t concerned about low income people, just “more money for unions, which everyone knows their leaders run the DFL.”
The good ol’ “if you can mock it, it must be false”. Never seen that one before from every single Minnesota “progressive” blogger. Nosirreebob.
But there are two objective facts that every “progressive” supporter of the union jamdown is either ignorant about, or just lies about:
So Sally Jo Sorenson is pushing a rigged election that will lead to a jamdown the licensed providers don’t want (they can already join the union, although 99.5% don’t), that will lead to hikes in Minnesota’s already-high daycare prices, pricing more working families out of the market for daycare.
I’m going to guess Sally Jo Sorenson has never been a parent in one of those poor working families. I have. Daycare costs more than rent for many families; it did for mine, twenty years ago. Jacking up that bill for no benefit other than giving the public employee unions (and the DFL they own) a new $2 million annual revenue stream isn’t just cynical; it’s cruel.
Why does Sally Jo Sorenson hate working families?
Oh, you don’t have to believe me. Hollee Saville – one of the leaders of the brilliant grassroots campaign against the DFL/AFSCME/SEIU’s well-funded push – tried to leave Sorenson a comment. Now, Sorenson doesn’t often post critical comments – and never without writing her response first, which is certainly her right; it’s her blog. But it sorta screams “insecure”, doesn’t it?
Anyway – goodness only knows if Saville’s response will ever see the light of day on “Bluestem Prairie”.
So with her permission, I’m posting it here. Below the jump.
(SCENE: Mitch BERG walks into a coffee shop in Linden Hills, a tony neighborhood in South Minneapolis. He orders a large light roast when, from out of frame to the left, a finger taps him on the shoulder. BERG turns around to see Avery LIBRELLE standing behind him).
LIBRELLE: Hey, Merg! You know how you are always saying you want a dialog, an informed debate, with people across the aisle?
BERG: Er, sure – I was kinda on my way to work, but…
LIBRELLE: There you go with that “Work” thing, again. You’re not even employed by a non-profit! Anyway – I brought a friend. It’s time for dialog and debate!
BERG: Well..OK, but I don’t have much time…
LIBRELLE: You can always make time for debate. Come on!
(LIBRELLE leads BERG through the small crowd of thick-rimmed-glasses-clad hipsters, all of them so focused on their mobile devices they’ve adopted a “Walking-Dead”-style shamble, and to a table in the back corner where Edwin DUCHEY, a forty-something fellow with thick-rimmed glasses and a mobile device, sits. BERG and LIBRELLE take seats, forming a triangle of people separated as widely as geometrically possible around the circular table).
LIBRELLE: Mitch, this is Ed DuChey, proprietor of the blog Minnesota Liberal Alliance Dot Blogspot Dot Com.
BERG: A pleasure. (DUCHEY glares)
LIBRELLE: Mitch is my…neighbor, and he writes Shot in the Dark.
DUCHEY: (in a nasal, adenoidal voice) Shit in the Park! (Snorts, sips his latte. LIBRELLE giggles as BERG rolls his eyes)
LIBRELLE: Anyway, Mitch says he’s always open for dialog and debate with the “other side”.
BERG: Yeah, I guess I do.
DUCHEY: I called your blog “Shit in the Park!” (Giggles to self as BERG stares, jaw barely under controlled tension and with an air of ill-concealed pity)
LIBRELLE: So let’s talk about the state of the Republican Party.
BERG: The Tea Party was a much-needed populist expression of the party’s real conservative roots. The Tea Party class of 2010 was actually the one bright spot for the GOP in the Minnesota legislature this past two years.
DUCHEY: You’re stupid.
BERG: Huh. Care to elaborate?
DUCHEY: You’re really stupid. The Teabaggers were full of hate and racism and they were stupider than you.
LIBRELLE: Interesting. OK. How about the shutdown.
BERG: My jury’s still out.
DUCHEY: Your jury is stupid and so are you.
BERG: Huh. (Looks around the room, as hipsters stagger, focused on their mobile devices, toward counter)
LIBRELLE: Good point, Ed. OK. How about the Affordable Care Act?
BERG: Jeez, read the headlines. It’s jacking up practically everyone’s rates and deductibles, the people who claim they’re saving money – the ones that aren’t busted lying in the first place – never acknowledge that there’s a huge taxpayer subsidy involved, and the people who are getting through on the exchanges are the ones with the massive pre-existing conditions, while healthy people are staying away in droves, meaning the system is going to be paying out huge and taking in nothing, which completely breaks down the idea of a “risk pool”.
DUCHEY: You’re…wait, I got a text message. (DUCHEY laboriously types a long text message into his iPhone – and gets a reply, giggles, and replies to it, before returning to the conversation) You’re a stupid teabagging wingnut.
LIBRELLE: You’re right, Mitch. Dialog and debate is fun! (Looks at BERG)
(BERG has, however, left the table and the building).
(Horde of thick-rimmed-glasses-clad hipsters shamble forward in line, hissing and hacking and making prehensile noises).
(SCENE: Mitch BERG climbs out of his car and fishes a big gym bag full of firearms and ammo out of the back seat. He walks toward the front door of the firing range – and notices Avery LIBRELLE, walking, alone, with a picket sign. The sign says “A Millian Americans Are Picketting This Gun Rang”. BERG hides his face, and tries to time his approach while LIBRELLE is walking the other way – but a piece of shiny tinfoil attracts LIBRELLE’s attention back toward BERG).
LIBRELLE: Hey, Merg!
BERG: Oh…uh, hi, Avery. What’s new?
LIBRELLE: I think MoveOn.Org has the right idea! It’s time to start arresting teabaggers for sedition!
LIBRELLE: Speaking out against the government!
BERG: I know what sedition is. That’s not what the House Republicans or Cruz or Paul did.
LIBRELLE: The “Affordable Care Act” is the law! And the law is the manifestation of government! And if you oppose The Law, you oppose Government, meaning you oppose the will of The People!
BERG: Well, no. The GOP majority in the House carried out the House’s Constitutional duty to take care of the nation’s purse-strings – a job for which the voters of this country gave them the majority at the polls in 2010 and 2012.
LIBRELLE: Yeah, but the people also elected President Obama twice. He is the government, and his laws are the laws of the land, the revealed word of the people!
BERG: The President is not “the government”. The government is the executive branch – the President and his staff and the rest of the bureaucracy – the Legislative branch, and the judicial branch, and – don’t forget this – all of the checks and balances in between all of them.
LIBRELLE: Well, the “Affordable Care Act” is now the law.
BERG: So? The First Amendment says we have the right to free speech, to assemble, and to petition to seek redress of grievances. Which is, in every particular, what the Tea Party is and always has been.
LIBRELLE: What are you, a constitutional scholar? I’m pretty sure those are all collective rights, just like the Second Amendment.
BERG: What now?
LIBRELLE: Anyway – Obamacare is the law, which means it’s the will of the people, and the government IS the people, so fighting the law is fighting the people. “Sedition” is probably the nicest word for it.
BERG: Again – what now?
LIBRELLE: I’d call it “Treason”.
BERG: “Treason?” Actively betraying your country to an enemy in wartime?
LIBRELLE: Yep. This country’s been at war against poverty since the sixties. Obamacare fights poverty. Undercutting the people in the War on Poverty IS betraying your country in wartime. That’s the very definition of treason! We should sic the military on all of you!
BERG: Huh. The military. (Takes stick of gum from pocket, unwraps it, pops gum in mouth).
LIBRELLE: Tanks. Choppers. Whatever it takes.
BERG: To preserve democracy.
(BERG drops shiny tinfoil wrapper onto the ground. LIBRELLE chases it, allowing BERG to make his escape).
The fact is, I have a lot of questions about the minimum wage debate.
Of course, the uncountably vast majority of people who are earning minimum wage are kids, or others who are just entering the workforce. People who haven’t yet developed even the most rudimentary work skills – like showing up on time, much less running the shake machine or the deep fryer with authority.
But there are people earning the minimum wage who do, in fact, have themselves and others depending on their income.
If you’re a conservative, you no doubt suspect that that sad state is because of poor choices; partying too much in high school and not getting an education; having children out of wedlock; working on the easy crime career before developing the boring straight career.
Of course, not every person is affected by their own choices. When you party you way into your twenties, do jail time, get knocked up and wind up having to raise a family on a wage that wouldn’t support a single person, you are very likely passing a lot of problems on to the next generation; you’re passing your bad, shortsighted, immature and/or stupid choices on to them. “Personal Responsibility” is great when it’s just your own choices affecting you – but when your parents, and grandparents, were idiots or drunks or screw-ups, what’s a kid to do?
(And if you’re the progeny of a couple of generations of people who made good choices, worked hard, got good jobs and dedicated themselves to helping you make good choices, too, then thank whatever it is you believe in. It’s a major leg up in life).
Now, I’m not sure how many of Jessica English’s choices were her ancestors, and how many were hers. But the media certainly is playing up the results – the state of Ms. English’s life today:
Jessica English is the face of a newly revived effort to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage.
She earned minimum wage while working in rural western Minnesota, places such as Fergus Falls, Ortonville and Kerkhoven. A case worker called it the “land of the minimum wage.”
Now, the 35-year-old divorced mother said she faces losing custody of her four daughters, ages 6 to 15, because she earned so little, even though her finances improved a bit since moving to St. Paul.
On the one hand? That sounds scary – being 35 and up against it like that. Now, I have no idea what got Ms. English to this point in her life – single, four kids, job skills worth $6.15 an hour.
(As to the “losing custody” bit, though? Er, if she was a single father – presuming that’s who Ms. English would be contesting for custody – would the media even care? What if the father is better able to provide a decent life for the kids? The double standard is nothing new).
But the fact is, one does make choices in one’s life. I’ve made a few; I left radio, my first career, when I was married and had two kids and another on the way, and was making $6.50/hour, and painstakingly taught myself how to convince managers I was a competent technical writer. I adapted. I did what it took to develop a skill that would get me and my family out of poverty. I don’t want, or deserve, a cookie for that – that’s what you do when you have a family; you take care of them. I had some blessings, of course; I’d gotten a passable education when I had the chance, I’d avoided doing any jail time, that sort of thing. Perhaps my greatest blessing? Growing up in a place and time when “not being ready to raise a family when I had one” still had some moral weight.
And it’d seem Ms. English has learned that lesson, at least in part. The article notes that her financial situation has “improved a bit since moving to St. Paul”.
Where she works – for an inadequate wage, perhaps, although we don’t know – as a “community organizer” for “The Coffee Party”, the beyond-astroturf liberal-plutocrat-funded “response” to the Tea Party.
In other words, one of the liberal-plutocrat-supported non-profits that’s agitating for a “living wage” apparently won’t provide one.
Judging by Ms. English’s rap sheet, she spent the last several years working in the public/non-profit art business – a famously penurious racket, usually the province of trust fund babies, bored housewives and young, no-strings-attached arts majors.
I don’t know Ms. English. But how much weight should the media give the testimony of a person who has apparently dedicated herself to finding and remaining in poverty?
And how much should Minnesota’s real working poor – the 20 year olds scrambling for their first jobs at Burger King, who will be the first to get laid off when the robots do finally take over the fast food business, the immigrants who are working as many minimum wage jobs as they can while they learn English and develop other skills, the poor kids who need to some some reassurance that there’s a future in working the straight and narrow rather than turning to crime – have to pay for such dilettantism?
Because it’s their jobs – not the “Community Organizer” jobs for fashionable lefty non-profits – that’ll be disappearing.
UPDATE: Someone emailed “aren’t you being a bit condescending?”
Me? Not a bit. There’s a reason that the poverty pimps are trotting out an attractive white woman instead of a 30 year old Somali immigrant. Put another way – the proponents of the minimum wage hike are doing the condescending, here.
On the one hand, I’ve always said that if we have to have public broadcasting (and make no mistake about it, we do not have to have it, but work with me here), I’d vastly prefer to have more little community-supported stations like KFAI and KBEM in Minneapolis, or KAXE in Grand Rapids – small stations that report local news and talk about local stuff – than monolithic, huge-money institutions like MPR (whose behavior is exactly like that of the monopolistic robber barons that would give their prime audience the victorian vapours). Give me twenty little stations that work within and respond to their communities over a monolithic Borg that becomes a culture unto itself (at our expense).
Part of it is because I do, as a matter of principle, believe that government money should be spent as close to its source as possible.
And partly because public broadcasting, especially at the micro level, is a little like an episode of Portlandia come to life.
Case in point: New York’s community station WBAI – which was in many ways the model for stations like Minneapolis’ KFAI – is circling the drain. And it’s happening precicsely because it is governed by a form of “democracy” so sclerotic that even Portlandia hasn’t spoofed it yet.
WBAI is an affiliate of the Pacifica Radio Network, of which more later. The station’s been in business for over five decades, and would seem to be an institution…:
But huge debt and a dwindling membership have left both WBAI and Pacifica starved for cash. The station, one of five owned by the foundation, has operated in the red each year since 2004, accumulating more than $3 million in net losses, according to Pacifica financial statements. In addition to WBAI, Pacifica has stations in Los Angeles, Washington, Houston and Berkeley, Calif., and feeds content to more than 150 affiliates.
Site note: At the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, King Banaian, Ed Morrissey and I were on the air during Sarah Palin’s electrifying first speech to the crowd. On the other side of the curtain from us was the Pacifica booth – which is some pretty drastically bad event planning, putting the most conservative station in town across a curtain from the most liberal network in the country, but whatever.
During the run-up to the speech, the Pacifica anchors – who looked like barristas at that coffee shop that broke away from that other coffee shop for not pushing the vegan scones hard enough – were doing the sort of level of commentary you’d expect from, well, Minneapolis leftybloggers; “she looks like the third runner-up for head cheerleader”, or “maybe the caribou can shoot back”, that sort of thing.
Anyway – Palin started her speech. And for those who weren’t there, and don’t remember the doom-y feeling that the whole inevitability of John McCain gave us all, it was electrifying. The three of us jumped up at our seats, cheering; I think King may have yelled “We Are Not Worthy!”, although maybe that was me. I dunno.
Anyway – one of the Pacifica crones leaned through the curtain. “Shhhh! We’re doing radio!”
Among Pacifica’s debts are more than $2 million in broadcast fees owed to Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!,” the network’s most popular show.
Radio “for the 99%” being put out of business by a show that charges like a bunch of 1%ers. Ironic.
The funny part is, Pacifica – and its company-owned subsidiary, WBAI – have the power in their hands to fix things. It’s a board-run station. That should fix things – right?
But critics have long said that its top-heavy governance, with large local boards and frequent, expensive elections, have put the organization in a constant state of gridlock, and that unless Pacifica reforms it will simply govern itself to death.
“This is what the board does,” Ms. Reese said in an interview: “It fiddles while Rome burns.”
Those same problems were on display at a public WBAI board meeting last week in an arts space in Lower Manhattan. Despite the layoffs just days before, the first 25 minutes were devoted to a procedural debate about the night’s agenda, with frequent mentions of Robert’s Rules of Order. Occasional shouts of “fascist!” and “go back to the N.S.A.!” rang out from listeners in attendance.
It’s like a Saint Paul City Committee meeting, only with a budget.
And I loved this part:
Berthold Reimers, WBAI’s general manager, reported that the station had $23,000 on hand and was scouring Craigslist and other sites to furnish new, cheaper studios in Brooklyn. An Ikea chair was bought for $40, he said. “That’s the cheapest we could possibly get.”
The story was silent as to whether anyone objected because Ikea is non-union.
But that’s another part of the problem with public broadcasting; their concept of money is so very different than the real world’s. If you get a chance to take a tour of MPR’s facilities in downtown Saint Paul, do. If you’re a radio geek, you’ll think you’ve died on gone to radio heaven. The broadcast studios are not one degree behind the technological fashion curve. They look almost like TV studios, without the cameras. And then you pan back, and realize that there are two of them – so Cathy Wurzer needn’t hurry to get out of Keri Miller’s way. If you’ve ever worked in commercial radio, and spent part of your Saturday afternoon figuring out why your 30-year-old control panel is fritzing out, you can relate in not being able to relate.
Anyway – read the whole article.
And apply it to your favorite lefty non-profit.
Now, any radio station can compete on weekdays, when network shows lock horns with other network shows for mere money.
But the real acid test for a radio station is how do they do on the vital weekend shift – when stations cut the network crap and have to get real.
And so as the Northern Alliance Radio Network rapidly approaches ten years on the air, it’s with a tingle of homer pride that I relate the big news; this past month, AM950’s sole entry into the local weekend talk market, “LeftMN Radio”, realizing that Brad Carlson’s “The Closer” edition of the NARN dominated them in every possible way, gave up the ghost and cut their losses.
The show – which used to broadcast for an hour on Sunday afternoons, during the last half of Brad’s show – was hosted by Steve Timmer, and also by Tony Petrangelo and Aaron Klemz, two of the precious few Minnesota leftybloggers who don’t deserve to be under police surveillance.
Citing Klemz’ departure for a job at “
Minnesotans Against Mining” “Friends of the Boundary Waters” as an excuse for leaving the air, the show apparently had its last broadcast either last week or the week before (the show’s blog, near as I can tell, lists shows according to their preceding Monday).
I’ll count it as a win. A minor one – certainly not like driving Ron Rosenbaum from AM1130’s weekend lineup, much less making them surrender the entire talk format on weekends a few years back – but yet another win for the little station that could. Between that and Dennis Miller making “The Late Debate” flee to mornings, and it’s been a great summer for AM1280.
I feel like smacking an MSNBC host like a piñata. A Piñata full of crap.
In this case, it’s MSNBC contrib Joy Reid, who said on the air:
“There’s this sort of neo-Confederate thread that runs through this pro-gun movement and NRA movement,” she said this afternoon while discussing the recall elections for Democratic state lawmakers in Colorado that were spurred by their support for gun-control legislation.
Reid also argued that gun-rights advocates and the National Rifle Association are hypocrites because they oppose the new restrictions on gun rights signed into law by Colorado governor John Hickenlooper while advocating for states’ rights and the Tenth Amendment.
Perhaps someone could explain to the ingenious Ms. Reid that it was Coloradans that are voting on the pushback against Hickenlooper are, well, from Colorado. The NRA is a private organization; the Tenth Amendment doesn’t regulate its activities.
But it’s great to see an MSNBC drone invoke the Tenth Amendment!
“The NRA will come in, helicopter in and undo [those laws],” she said.
If the NRA had the power to make and unmake the law, this might be a better nation.
But it’s not actually the case.
Level-setting: Berg’s Laws are pretty much inviolable rules of human (largely political) behavior based on years of observation. And while Berg’s Seventh Law gets most of the action these days, Berg’s Tenth is getting a workout, too.
Berg’s Tenth Law reads:
Berg’s Tenth Law of Quantum Context: When a liberal says a conservative is “lying”, the odds of the “lie” being merely an ambiguity triggering some form of cognitive dissonance increases in geometric proportion with the volume and stridency of the liberal’s declaration. Here are the references in this blog to Berg’s 10th Law.
It’s a nice broad (but iron-clad) law. But sometimes laws need corollaries.
Which brings us to “The Santorum Corollary” to Berg’s Tenth:
The Santorum Corollary to Berg’s Tenth Law: If the news media reports something askance about a conservative’s behavior, a full look into the facts will almost invariably show that it was reported with key context missing.
That’s almost invariably. People misbehave; sometimes they’re conservatives, sometimes they’re apolitical, and sometimes they’re liberals; the media reminds us of the conservative ones, anyway (sometimes in an onanistic frenzy).
But the Santorum Corollary is nearly airtight, as in this week’s episode; the lefty “alternative” media thought they heard Rick Santorum saying something weird – or so they were told by the HuffPo, which is paid good money to do “progressives'” thinking for them:
Here’s the “story”, as reported by the HuffPo:
Speaking to anti-abortion group Students for Life after receiving an award last month, Santorum attempted to explain what he saw as an enthusiasm gap between liberal and conservative activists. During his speech, a clip of which can be seen above, via Right Wing Watch, Santorum argued that the pro-choice movement infuses passion about abortion rights into “every aspect of their life.” He said that because of this, showering at a gym had become an “uncomfortable” prospect for students.
(Switching into leftyblogger cant): Oh, noez! Can I haz weird?
(Back to English): Showering around pro-choicers is “uncomfortable?” That sure sounds…off, doesn’t it?
But the HuffPo said it! And thus it must be The Revealed Truth! Every leftyblogger took the “story” as gospel in the tittering, Junior-high cadence that is the lingua francaof the “Reality Based” alt-media community.
But was it accurate?
Have you read the Santorum Corollary yet? Of course not!
From the Byron York piece that the HuffPo wrenched out of context…:
“In July, members of anti-abortion group Students For Life, the group Santorum was addressing, complained that they had been bullied by pro-choice activists after using facilities at an Austin Y.”
“The group had come to the area to show support for anti-abortion legislation then being debated at the state Capitol, and had made last-minute arrangements to use showers at the gym. They did so one night, with the students entering the building in shifts wearing blue shirts, indicating support for the bill. After the first night went without incident, the Y contacted a director at Students For Life and asked them not to return.”
According to the director of the anti-abortion group, YMCA staffers stated that abortion rights activists had intimidated them into making the decision:
“Said, again, ‘You guys [the pro-life students] were respectful. We have no problems with you, in particular, however there were some people that support abortion who talked to our staff, intimidated them.’ They actually said that they felt threatened, and they asked us not to come back,” [Students for Life director Alexa] Coombs said.
So apparently its the pro-infanticide crowd that gets hinky about cognitive dissonance…
…and feels the need to sexualize their own bigotries.
Now, who are the weird, skeevy ones?
Just so we’re clear on that.
…with trying to debate economics with liberals is that even their “elites” have no idea how it works.
I noticed this late last week; Buzzfeed noting that the GOP is working on a national level to turn the Democrats’ “War on Women” rhetoric back in their faces:
After enduring an election year in which the Obama campaign advanced a largely successful narrative that the GOP’s platform was anti-woman, the Republican National Committee has spent much of the past month gleefully highlighting the indiscretions and sexual harassment charges of male Democratic politicians.
With a flurry of public memos, tweets, and op-eds, the RNC is working to make the Democratic Party take ownership of Eliot Spitzer, who resigned the New York governorship after a prostitution scandal and is now running for city comptroller; San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, now facing allegations of sexual harassment; and Weiner, whose online sexual dalliances have driven the political news cycle all week, and given RNC communications director Sean Spicer some irresistible ammunition.
I’m inclined to call Reince Preibus and tell him to send his counter-message SWAT team here to Minnesota.
We’ve got a doozy for him.
I had a conversation with a modestly prominent MNGOP source last week. Yet again, the source noted, the DFL-leaning media was trying, in their words, to “shame” a female conservative.
I’m not going to identify the former political figure involved; they’ve asked for people to keep their noses out of their private lives, and I’m going to do exactly that, and urge you to do the same.
But the source referred me to the Twitter feed of Shawn Towle, of “Checks and Balances”, a regional political publication.
Last week Towle tweeted with the breathless glee of a seventh-grader who’s just disovered his older brother’s stash of Playboys:
@ChecksnBalances: @ChecksnBalances: Breaking: alla #weiner style @UMNnews confirmed via source this pic [whose link I’m going to redact] is [the female conservative]
Towle tries, in successive tweets and with his oddly stunted written delivery (I think “alla” means “a la”), to equate the “incident” – a photo of a female conservative in her underwear – to the Anthony Weiner controversy.
I’m going to redact the photo; it’s on a “Tumblr” blog with one post – a photo – and no comments.
And if you have read Shawn Towle, it doesn’t seem a big stretch to think that he does think there’s an equivalence between…:
Or, for that matter, that Aaron Rupar of the City Pages – who writes about this “issue” like he’s covering the fall of the Twin Towers, only with that little tinge of smug, self-righteous prurience he seems to bring to “reporting” on conservative women with marital difficulties or boyfriend trouble – thinks this is a story.
How bad was Towle and Rupar’s “reporting?” Even Nick Coleman – who rarely has a kind or constructive word to say to anyone to the right of his little brother Chris, the Mayor of Saint Paul – twote:
@NickColeman: City Pages published a pic of [the subject of the story] in underwear? Why on earth? Have they been to the beach? Maybe CP should get out more.
Or stock up on toilet paper.
And Dave Mindeman at mnpAct tweeted:
@newtbuster: [the subject] Story – Embarrassment for Her..Unnecessary For Public http://t.co/DPE18sgV0V
Yep. This “story” serves no purpose, other than to try to stick it to someone that Rupar and Towle disagree with, in the most personal, ugly way possible. (And no, none of the links you see in my story lead to the actual “story”)
But the real story here isn’t the fact that a couple of wanna-be liberal journos have gotten themselves a week’s worth of whacking material.
No, there are three real stories here:
Stalking– I’ll take the subject of this story at her word that the photo in question was obtained and distributed illegally. The woman who is the subject of this story has been cyber-stalked – with the complete, onanistic approval of at least two Twin Cities “media” outlets (and the tacit approval, I maintain, of most of the rest of the media).
While a civil suit seems a long shot, I do sincerely hope the FBI does in fact find someone to charge in this gross invasion of privacy – and that there are consequences for Towle, Rupar, Checks and Balances and the City Pages. In a just world, there’d be some way to sue them back to the stone age.
The Scarlet “C” – It’s that this is the kind of thing that every female conservative in Minnesota faces if they give the Big Left’s smear machine even the slightest whiff of imperfection. As I said on Friday, there’s a yawning double standard; Bill Clinton’s serial philandering was “Just Sex”; Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner and Jesse Jackson’s sexual (and pseudo-sexual) peccadillos are accepted as the sort of thing that goes along with being great and powerful. But if a conservative woman for any reason colors outside the social lines that the left abandoned for themselves in the 1970s – gets divorced, has a social life that doesn’t pass their all-critical muster? They get turned into Hester Prynne with a healthy dollop of puritan-via-Beavis-And-Butthead “shaming” thrown in on top.
Women, to Democrats, are supposed to be barefoot, Democrat, and marching to the voting booth to thank the nice Democrat for their abortion and contraceptives. Thinking for themselves is the real crime.
Er, “Blind” Hate – Beyond sheer illogic and “shaming”, though, there’s a whole ‘nother layer of depravity at work here. What Towle and Rupar have done is isn’t just an Alinsky-ite smear job using the tactics of the internet stalker – which would be bad enough.
To dig into the personal details of a wretchedly difficult part of a couple’s personal life – a couple that is not currently involved in politics, no less – and pruriently splash it all over the public square? That’s beyond politics, beyond spite. That’s the kind of ritual misogyny you see in mobs of inbred cretins stoning a woman for infidelity in some Godforsaken third world backwater.
If you’re a female conservative, really, that’s what the Democrats – and their junior-league PR interns at the City Pages – are these days; rural Iran with better coffee.
Questioned about this, liberals say “serves them right, belonging to a moralistic party” – which would be illogical even if their own party was itself morally consistent (which it’s not; the self-appointed party of the poor and the working class has left us with a terrible economy for workers. The self-professed party of minorities has made the economy worse for minorities, and has increased racial strife in this country, all the while mining minority communities for votes. The putative party of women has made “womanhood” all about the disposition of a uterus). It’s the ad hominem tu quoque, arguing that personal inconsistency invalidates an argument. This line of illogic would have you believe that stumping for a moral case is invalidated by not living up to it in every facet of one’s life; it’s actually quite the opposite.
No. The only reason this sort of non-story “story” gets covered by lefty “journalists” – and “covered” to the point they risk going blind – is that, true to Alinsky, it makes an example of any woman that leaves the liberal plantation. It’s done to warn other women – and blacks, latinos, Asians and gays – not to make waves. To sit down on the left side of the bus, and shut up, or the personal cost to you and your family will be just too high.
The only reason it hasn’t worked so far is that so many of Minnesota’s conservative women have enough guts to make Red Adair look like Woody Allen.
Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” – aka the “Tragedy Exploitation Tour” – will be stopping in Minneapolis (where else?) next week:
On Wednesday at 10:00 AM, the No More Names bus tour will be stopping in Minneapolis to read out the names of those killed by gun violence and to demand action from our leaders.
Will you join us?
Here are the details:
What: Minneapolis No More Names Rally
When: Wednesday, July 31st, 10:00 AM
Where: US Federal Courthouse Plaza
300 South 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
The bus departed from Newtown, CT six months after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, commemorating those killed with guns — and determined to turn the tide on six months of inaction from Congress.
In each state where the tour stops, it’s up to supporters like you to speak up for laws that protect our communities from future tragedies.
So please join us at the rally on Wednesday:
Thanks for all you do,
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
P.S. — We are planning to read the names of those killed by gun violence in 25 states across the country. But the bus will only keep running with your support. Please pitch in $33 or more today:
I can’t make it Wednesday – duty calls.
But I think an ideal counterdemonstration would be this; for every name read off that was killed by someone who’d never obey any gun law, no matter what it was – someone with a demonstrable criminal record, for example – someone shout out “killed by a criminal”.
If I could make it, I might hold up a sign that reads:
WELCOME, CARAVAN TO EXPLOIT THE DEATHS OF KIDS WHO LOOK LIKE NPR EXECUTIVES’ KIDS.
WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE OVER ALL THE BLACK KIDS KILLED IN CHICAGO?
I might need some help holding that one.
I was talking with a friend of mine in the retail business the other day. She works at a store in Uptown Minneapolis.
“Minnesota leftybloggers must be working on stories about a vaguely sexual scandal involving a conservative woman” she said.
“Why?”, I asked.
“Because I can’t keep Jergens or paper towles in stock”.
I had no idea what she meant. Continue reading
“I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?’” – Helen Thomas
The Grand Dame of the Washington Press Corps files her last report. Will they regret giving her so much deference?
The memoriams to Helen Thomas have thus far ventured no where near hagiography-status, due largely to the anti-Semitic statements and acrimonious questions that defined her later years. But to follow Thomas’ career trajectory is to follow the style and influence of the mainstream media. Thomas admirably fought her way into the newsroom, asked probing questions with at least a veneer of respect (hence, her concluding remarks of “thank you, Mr. President” after every presidential press conference), and then devolved into a caricature of an angry, biased reporter holding some extremely ugly and racist views.
Indeed, it would appear that most of Helen Thomas’ biography resides in her later years as she viewed American foreign policy through a Star of David lens, leading even prominent liberals to ostracize her. Much of the coverage of her passing, from news reports to her Wikipedia page, focus largely on her 2010 comments on Israel, declaring that Israelis should “go home” to Europe and the United States.
Thomas’ start in the media was anything but controversial.
The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Thomas worked as a reporter for the United Press in 1943 on “women’s topics” – essentially fluff articles on baking and clothing. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s, after having written the equivalent of Washington gossip columns, that Thomas was able to cover major federal agencies and far more noteworthy news items. From her post as the head of the Women’s National Press Club and later a White House correspondent during the Kennedy administration, Thomas was able to get women a greater role in journalism – having previously been denied access to organizations like the National Press Club and events like the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Worthwhile accomplishments, to be sure. But having spent most of her professional life fighting for acceptance, even once Thomas was in the door, she couldn’t stop her role as an endless antagonist to those she personally disagreed with. Thomas was most certainly not an “example for journalists,” although her behavior of biased reporting and lack of decorum has definitely been followed by many current reporters.
Thomas’ defenders often claim she was a bitter pill to politicians of all stripes. Of course, Thomas’ White House harangues for Democrats typically involved criticizing them for not moving further left, as she once famously declared that Barack Obama was not liberal. Bill Clinton “personified the human spirit” while George W. Bush was the “worst president in history.” When Thomas joined the Hearst Syndicate in 2000, whatever restraint she had held before vanished, hence her above quote about being able to “hate” whomever she pleased.
From trail-blazer, to provocateur, to angry activist with a byline – does that not also describe the evolving role of the mainstream media in the past 60 years? Thomas was unfortunately another trendsetter in the end – a forerunner of the mixture between opinion and reporting; of a style of journalistic coverage that smears ideological opponents and debases politics regardless of facts. Stephen Colbert might recoil at the thought, but Helen Thomas was one of the originators of the “truthiness” that Comedy Central’s mock conservative loves to sling at others.
I’m a liberal, I was born a liberal, and I will be a liberal till the day I die. – Helen Thomas
The American Left is obliging enough to give me a world of confirmation that Berg’s Seventh Law (“When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds”) and its various corollaries are pretty much dead-on reflections of human nature filtered through leftist politics. Berg’s Seventh gets most of the attention.
But Berg’s Eighth Law has had its place in the sun this past few weeks.
The law reads “American liberalism’s reaction to one of “their”constituents – women, gays or people of color – running for office or otherwise identifying as a conservative is indistinguishable from a sociopathic disorder”. And the left here in Minnesota’s been flying their evidence like a battle flag this past few weeks.
From Ryan Winkler’s “Uncle Tom” jape, to the flurries of racist hatred facing every ethnic-minority conservative, from Michelle Malkin to, lately, Larry Elder (and don’t get me started on the political misogyny shown to conservative women), it’s been a banner couple of weeks for lefty bigotry.
I, for one, have a dream; that my children will grow up in a world where they’ll be judged not by the political label that Media Matters and “ThinkProgress” put on them, but on the contents of their hearts…