Oh, Noes! Hypstr Doesn’t Know History, But Lekturez The Grownupz About It Anyway

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.

Oh, Noes! Hypstr Chick Imposes Sexist, Classist Emo Templates On Discussion She Doesn’t Really Understand!

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 itThe 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.” 

And here we thought it was George Soros, with the billions he was making in shale gas, along with Alida Messinger, who ran 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:

  1. The “election” to unionize is always, always stuffed with ringers – unlicensed providers that the unions drag into the election to stuff the ballot boxes.  It’s what they’ve done to pass unionization in many states (Michigan jumps to mind), and it’s what they’re doing in Minnesota.  So when people like Sally Jo Sorenson say “what’s wrong with letting daycares choose?”, they either don’t know how the plan works, or they’re lying. You know where my money is.
  2. If and when the jamdown happens, the “union” will provide absolutely nothing to the daycare providers but a bill for services.   No more money (that’s between the providers and their clients).  No more “training” that the providers aren’t obliged to provide for themselves via state law already (and no help getting that).  Nothing.  Bupkes.  All it’ll be is a bill – that must be either eaten, or passed on to the parents, their clients, or avoided by refusing families who take part in the government daycare subsidy program – which in turn raises the price and lowers the supply of daycare.

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.

Continue reading


(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).

(And SCENE).

They Don’t Give You Any Choice, Cuz They Think That It’s Treason

(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!

BERG:  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:  Huh. 

(BERG drops shiny tinfoil wrapper onto the ground.  LIBRELLE chases it, allowing BERG to make his escape).

(And SCENE).

Chanting Points Memo: Our Spunky, Cute, White Underclass

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.

Ms. English, speaking at the Minnesota State Fair, illustrating the dangers of poverty to cute, white women from Wayzata who choose to work in art.

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.

Chalk Up A Win For Brad Carlson!

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. 

Congrats Brad!

Watching The Defectives

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.

Confederate Soldiers! This photo (courtest of the Joyce Foundation-supported MinnPost – is what the Big Left thinks you, the law-abiding gun owner, are. Hey, it was in the MinnPost – and they’re Real, Badge-Carrying Journalists!


 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.

The Minnesota Left’s War Against Women Who Think For Themselves

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…:

  • …a sitting congressman sending raunchy photos to women who hadn’t actually solicited them, and…
  • …someone who is not an elected official and whose mildly racy photos – from an episode amid some extreme marital difficulty – were distributed and published very much against her will.

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.

Caravan Of Ghouls

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:



I might need some help holding that one.

Retail Indicators

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

Doubting Thomas

“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

Berg’s Eighth Law Is Also Iron-Clad And Universal

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…

Economics Is Hard

Democrats are starting to get defensive about the DFL’s Democrat Tax Orgy.

How defensive?

Sally Jo Sorenson, one of the very few Minnesota leftybloggers that doesn’t deserve to be under police surveillance, took time off from her busy schedule of amending incoming comments to have a screaming, body-function-control-losing cow tweet:

MNGOP troll blames “DFL anti-biz MORONS” in 2013 for June 2011 Unline [sic] relocation choice #mnleg #oops #stribpol bit.ly/1ahYf5i

The linked blog post notes that a Republican tweep blamed ULine moving its warehouse to Wisconsin on Governor Dayton’s warehouse tax, when ULine actually started making its plans for the move in 2011.

Well.  I guess that crunches it.  I’m going to have to draft a pained concession.  Bear with me a moment.

Ms. Sorenson,

Great point.  That rhetorical “oops” on Twitter completely invalidates the entire case against raising taxes in a recession.  With that, I guess we have to admit the DFL tax orgy, notwithstanding the fact that Democrat tax orgies never ever ever work, will not only have no effect, but will set the state’s economic blender to “puree”.  All by its lonesome. 

All because a Republican tweep bobbled a date on one event.  We sit corrected, and admit abject defeat.

Oh, wait – your entire point is invalidated too, because you misspelled “ULine”. 

I guess we’re both completely utterly wrong!

Don’t have a cow!  Or a melt-down!  Or go all emo on us!  It’s just a misspelling – albeit one that completely invalidates – by your own “logic” – your entire argument, whatever it is. 



Of course, Sorenson missed the memo (or perhaps just isn’t being paid to fret about such things) about Navarre packing up shop and heading for Texas.  Or Red Wing Shoes and Laurence Transportation moving their warehouse plans across the Mississippi.  Or the other warehouses around Minnesota that are not-so-quietly eyeing locations across one river or the other.  None of those count…

…because of that darned Republican tweep bobbling the date for “Unline’s” plans.

That’s all it takes, apparently, to prove an economic plan unimpeachably correct. 

Of course, 2011 was a date we had a Democrat governor back into office promising a raft of business taxes.  And when the Republican party showed signs of unravelling; for those paying attention, 2011 was full of messages that Minnesota’s tax future was going to be a departure of some kind from the relatively conservative past; at the very least, the future promised uncertainty (and delivered it!).  Businesses hate uncertainty – they plan years, not weeks, ahead; perhaps the folks at “Unline” were more on top of the situation than we knew.

Or maybe not.  And it doesn’t matter, because it’s moot point.  Because once a “Republican troll” gets a date wrong, the entire argument is over!

Continue reading

Open Letter To Badge-Carrying Journos

To: “Badge-Carrying” Journalists
From: Mitch Berg, uppity peasant
Re:  Here’s My F***ing Badge

Two whom it may etc etc,

Over the past 11 years or so, not a few journos have asked “citizen journalists” to show you their “journalist badges”.

I haven’t eaten Cracker Jacks in years, so I don’t even know how I’d get one.

But as a blogger, here’s my “badge”:  In the SCOTUS case of Lovell v. Griffin (1938), Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court:

“The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our own history abundantly attest. The press in its connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.”

Given that we uppity bloggers are the ones that actually “defend liberty”, I think that settles that.

That is all.

Our Racist Alternative Media

A comment I got off-line from a neighbor got me thinking a little more about (I puke a little in my mouth to say it) last week’s bizarre little Nick Coleman blog post.

I focused on his fabrication of facts in re the cancellation of an open carry event scheduled in conjunction with the “Open Streets” event in Minneapolis this past weekend.  Coleman – the current “Executive Editor” of lefty videoblog “The Uptake” – essentially created a story from pure vapor; in the original latin, I believe the term was “de anus“. 

But there was another aspect to the story that should draw even more brickbats – including from “Uptake” readers and putative “progressives” that actually think about what their “movement” says and how they say it.

Here’s Coleman from his piece last week – starting with his ofay classist jape:

Imagine how reassured you would feel when hundreds of bearded guys from Andover and Elko show up in North Minneapolis or the Summit-University area of St Paul (“Open Streets” events will take place in both of those communities later this summer) with Bushmasters and Brownings slung over their shoulders or Glocks and Rugers hanging from their paunches.

That Minneapolis and Saint Paul are full of vapid Prius-driving government-employed Saint Olaf grads with infinite senses of social entitlement and who’ve never had to confront the notion that there are people out there who disagree with and live life differently than you, in ways other than skin color and sexual orientation isn’t up for debate. 

But here’s the interesting bit:

Here’s a neat mental exercise: Try to imagine hundreds of inner-city residents carrying weapons at the Andover Family Fun Fest, July 13. Just because they can.

Now, as I noted last week, to Coleman – as dork-fingered and inarticulate a Studs Terkel-wannabe as has ever occupied space in a newsroom – “inner city” means “black, Latino and Asian”.  And maybe not Asian. 

And so I’d love to know what Coleman had in mind when he imagined “hundreds of inner city residents” with guns out in the suburbs. 

Is he envisioning an apples-to-apples comparison – hundreds of black, latino and asian citizens over the age of 21 with carry permits and clean criminal records and passed training classes on their resumes?  People among the 140,000 Minnesotans with valid carry permits (the application doesn’t collect ethnic data) who are several orders of magnitude less likely to commit any crime than the general public? 

People like the ones I ran into at Gander Mountain at their Carry event over the winter?   Responsible, adult citizens exercising their legal right to own and carry firearms (once deemed suitably responsible under this state’s legal code) who happened to be black, Latino or Asian?  People that I – who have lived in the Midway for 25 years, but am apparently too Anglo-Scandinavian to qualify as “inner city” – would have no qualms mingling with, armed or not, because they’re just like me – a rigorously law-abiding citizen?

Or is Coleman – grandée and resident-for-life of leafy, lily-whiter-than-Lakeville neighborhoods like Tangletown and Crocus Hill – picturing do-rag-clad teenage thug wannabees, Los Reyes with face tattoos and Hmong tough guys in “rice rocket” Honda Civics – the cliche du jour “inner city” caricature among our media’s pallid chanting classes?

If it’s the former, then I have to ask Coleman; do you think a carry permittee who happens to be black or latino is a better, more reliable citizen than your “paunchy, bearded” honky walking cliches?  Do you have any statistics to bear that out?  (Because the real stats show they’re exactly identical).

If it’s the latter, I have to ask The Uptake; do you accept this form of racism from your staff?  Especially when you layer it atop the giggly homophobia that’s been Coleman’s stock in trade for his entire career?

Because if Bradlee Dean or Jason Lewis or Michelle Fishbach had made a jape about “inner city” residents, or about how living on a submarine can turn people gay because “You have the hot cot thing going on there”, you’d be baying at the moon. 

I know, I know.  If moral consistency were a “progressive” value, “MoveOn” and Sandra Fluke would never exist as media figures, and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” would be utterly silent.  Asking is a purely academic exercise.

Bearish On The Bird

Is Doug Kass right about the stock market?

Who knows?  I mean, given the almost-unanimous pollyannaism that’s broken out in the parts of the financial media that get quoted on the MSM, I’d suspect contrarians are right just based on knee-jerk hunchism. 

But when it comes to Twitter, I think he’s got a point; Kass is giving up on the popular social media site:

“Unfortunately, there are many haters in the social blogosphere, who, perhaps because of their own issues, drown out the many good people who want a value-added investment experience by learning more and enjoying a healthy dialogue in real time.”

Twitter has become dominated by people whoarewhat Laura Billings warned bloggers were a decade ago; a combination of raving loners and paid human (give or take) copy-and-paste-bots who clog all discussion with ranting or recirculated drivel. 

“Unfortunately, there are many haters in the social blogosphere, who, perhaps because of their own issues, drown out the many good people who want a value-added investment experience by learning more and enjoying a healthy dialogue in real time.”

Time for a companion book to James Surowiecki’s huge hit of about eight years ago;The Idiocy Of Crowds.

Doakes Sunday: Accounting

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Here’s a boring little article about a minor accounting change, but I can imagine the headlines:

Conservative version: Homeland Security held accountable, must report before buying more ammunition.

Liberal version: House Republicans leave American children defenseless against terror.

Joe doakes

Oddly, Nick Coleman and Alex Jones’ versions would both go “Connect The Dots, People!”

Justice Is Blind – But Berg’s Law Sees And Knows All

I’ve added a new corollary to “Berg’s Law” – especially in light of events of this past seven months and the doddering, bobbleheaded liberal punditry to which Real Americans have been subjected.

It’s the “Fugelsang Corollary to Berg’s Seventh Law of Liberal Projection” (Berg’s Seventh reads “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.”)

It reads as follows:

The Fugelsang Corollary To Berg’s Seventh Law – a liberal who uses “I’m happy with my penis size” as a conclusion to a debate on the Second Amendment doth protest too much.

The thing about Berg’s Laws are that they are, in actual practice, absolute and inviolable.


A liberal acquaintance of mine on Twitter told me yesterday that this bit spelled out the case against the NRA “in a logical way”.

It’s by John Fugelsang.  Now, I do try to seek civil conversation, but Fugelsang is becoming to the left what Bob was to Baghdad; people who quote or cite Fugelsang are justly derided as ninnies; he’s best ignored completely, or as we conservative bloggers say, “Billied”.

But since the lefty tweep took the trouble, let’s show all the ways in which this piece (transcribed below) does not lay out any case with any logic.

It’s almost too densely-misguided to even “fisk” in the classical sense.  For starters, let’s stick with calling out the individual misstatements, evidence-free chanting points and distortions in blue.  Like this:  {Chanting Point!} 

Maybe you’re someone who, like the majority of Americans, supports the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, but you feel kind of creepy about the weapons-grade cretins who run the NRA and do all they can to keep Americans {Ad-hominem – name-calling!} safe from any gun laws that might keep Americans safe.  {Assertion made without evidence; not a single gun law proposed would have “kept” a single American “safe”}

Well, you’re not alone. And this is why: loving the Second Amendment while opposing the NRA is every bit as natural as loving Jesus while opposing Westboro Baptist Church.

Let’s take a break here.  This is straight out of Saul Alinsky.  Linking a mainstream organization of regular Americans – five million of us – with the “God Hates Fags” church?  Seems a stretch.

In fact, Wayne LaPierre’s fake constitutional rights lobbying group  {Perhaps Fugelsang would favor us by telling us how the lobbying is “fake”?} that gun manufacturers use to buy off congressmen actually has quite a bit in common with the revoltingly fake Christians of Westboro.   {The “Buy Off” meme is an interesting one; we’ll come back to that…} 

You see, Westboro is to Christianity what Jesus was to ignorance, hatred and inbreeding. They travel the country holding these vile, un-Christian protests at the funerals of anyone evil enough to live in a land that doesn’t stone gay people to death, Leviticus-style. They don’t want to hate gays — they’re just doing it because God commands them and they’re only following orders. It’s like Nuremberg, but with very bad teeth.

There’s a sign that Fugelsang’s piece is targeted at the insufficiently bright; he has to explain who Westboro – the church that pickets soldiers’ funerals – is.

These guys don’t picket outside gay bars or gay bathhouses or gay dance clubs or Lindsey Graham’s Senate office. Just places guaranteed to cause the most outrage possible – like funerals. Then when someone tries to stifle them, they engage in First Amendment lawsuits.  

Then you’ve got the NRA. And please understand, when we talk about the NRA, we’re not talking about their members. {Oh, heavens, no!} In Frank Luntz’s 2012 poll of NRA members, 87 percent said they believed Second Amendment freedom went hand in hand with preventing gun violence. That’s responsibility.

But you wouldn’t know that from the group’s leaders. Under the stewardship of Wayne LaPierre, or as I call him, “Il Wayne,” the NRA has become the front for gun manufacturers, the guys who’ve cashed in big time since Newtown.

So much “wrong” packed into two paragraphs.

Where precisely does Fugelsang think the NRA gets its leadership?  Who does he think elected, and re-elected, LaPierre?  The members – whom current events show to be among the most engaged, informed voters (especially on gun issues and the NRA itself) out there.

And the “Front for Gun Manufacturers” meme is one that the left bruits about without ever showing what the problem is.  It’s as if gun manufacturers, staring at legislation that would in many cases actively destroy their market – between the various confiscations, limits and price hikes that the bills would impose on the law-abiding and the law-abiding alone, don’t have a right to take up common cause with the biggest nationwide organization that’s on their side?

If someone tried to ban NPR, you don’t think Volvo or Patagonia or Starbucks would pony up for the defense?

They’re the reason why in America it’s now easier for a civilian to buy lots of weapons designed to kill lots of people really fast than it is for you to remember your old MySpace password.  {What the hell is he talking about?  This is just barking lunacy} 

But while they’re protecting profits, they’re also juicing up profits through fear-mongering mailings about how Obama’s coming to confiscate your weapons.

Here’s a little tip, Skeeter: The fact that you’re able to heavily arm yourself while publicly calling Obama a gun-grabbing tyrant is pretty much proof that he’s not.

And there’s your proof that liberal never have to learn how to debate conservatives.  I’ve heard that last bit countless times, even here in Minnesota during the session; if a noxious provision – a useless and price-gouging background check, a magazine restriction with a confiscation provision – hasn’t been signed into law yet, it doesn’t exist, so shut up about it.

But only if it’s about guns.  Not like abortion, or defunding NPR, or defending traditional marriage, the very whisper of which is cause to rally the liberal troops.

By opposing background checks at gun shows — checks supported by 90 percent of Americans — the NRA guarantees that guns can be legally bought through the gun-show loophole by felons or third parties who sell to felons. And then those legal guns just kind of disappear, get sold a few more times, and when the cops recover those weapons years later from a killing that wiped out a playground full of kids, the NRA can say, “Look, illegal guns! Background checks wouldn’t have stopped anything.” See, who needs the black market when you’ve ensured that bad guys can get guns freely on the open market?  {In junior high writing class, the story would then end “And Then I Woke Up”.  The scenario exists only in John Fugelsang’s imagination} 

Background checks only infringe on your Second Amendment rights if you’re a felon, a terrorist or criminally insane. And if you’re all three, you probably already work as an NRA lobbyist. {Not just an ad-hominem, but a really stupid one} It’s all about the money.

Westboro ignores the teachings of Jesus and takes one line of Leviticus out of context to justify their homophobic evil.

The NRA ignores the Second Amendment’s “well regulated militia” part and takes one line out of context to justify their blood-soaked greed.

The NRA ignores nothing – “well-regulated” meant “can hit what it shoots at” in 1787, and it still does.  But Fugelsang, like every liberal who skis this well-worn rhetorical slope, ignores the whole “right of the people” bit.   In his blood-soaked ignorance.

OK. It’s time for the home stretch.  The part where Fugelsang – who has become one of the  lefty alt-media’s name-brand public intellectuals, their sine qua non of debate – closes his case with eloquent logic, a command of fact, and calm reason:

Homophobia is an insult to God, and opposing gun safety is an insult to living people.  {That’s right!  If you smear the label “gun safety” on a polished turd like Michael Paymar’s background check bill – which will never deter a single crime – you love death!}

These groups are both rackets and they’re both doomed. Because the WBC has made untold Americans realize, “Hey, I don’t want to be like that.” {The NRA’s membership has increased by over a quarter since Newtown} 

And now, the deal closer – the all-important final sentence: 

And Wayne LaPierre’s complete indifference to the consequences of gun proliferation makes more NRA members realize every day, “Dude, maybe I’m OK with my own penis size.”

All that buildup…for a dick joke?

(I could throw in a “Berg’s Seventh Law” reference here, but that’d be gratuitous)

Here’s the scary part:  it’s no dumber than most of the left’s arguments.

But John Fugelang?  Not so much.

Like Lidocaine For The Cerebral Cortex

After Nanny Pelosi says the calls to investigate Attorney General Eric “Let’s send guns to the narcotraficantes and bug the AP” Holder is about “Voter Suppression”, Rep. Trey Gowdy, bless his heart, did something politicians almost never manage.

He told the truth (emphasis added):

“It’s really beneath the office of a member of Congress to say something that outrageous, and the fact that she was once the speaker is mind-numbing,” Rep. Gowdy told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren.

“I have heard a lot in my 16 years as a prosecutor. I couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth,” he added.

Gowdy calls Pelosi mind-numbingly stupid

I don’t know what was wrong with her when she said that. But I would schedule an appointment with my doctor if she thinks that we are doing this to suppress votes this fall. That is mind-numbingly stupid,” Gowdy said.

He wasn’t the only one:

Jim Hoft of the Gateway Pundit reminded readers that “Pelosi also said Democrats brought down the deficit after they increased it by a trillion dollars.”

“She’s either mind-numbingly stupid or a chronic liar, or both,” Hoft wrote.

I beg to differ.

What she said – almost always says, in fact - is mind-numbingly stupid.

But she’s speaking to the new Democrat base – the people who think a seven-second, Alinskyite sound bite is, in fact, fact.  People whose idea of “checking facts” has devolved into “checking to see what my favorite left-leaning source says they are”, which is two steps up from Duckspeak.

Groundhog Year Part III: In Plain Sight

In Eric Black’s three part series about the Second Amendment a few weeks back (part 1, 2 and 3), Black – writing in the MInnPost, which operates in part through the generosity of a big grant from the anti-gun zealot Joyce Foundation – notes the not-exactly-earthshaking conclusion that the Second Amendment can confuse people.

Ooh! Confederates! That must mean the MinnPost is writing about bitter gun-clinging Jeebus freaks again!  Seriously, MinnPost – I’m never letting you live this down.

And the underlying themes of his series were – as I read ‘em – that the Second Amendment is:

  1. Linguistically and legally inscrutable
  2. Confusing
  3. Obsolete.

We’ll address the first two of these today.

Black notes the definitions that vex a surface-level reading of the Second Amendment:

What’s a militia? If you aren’t in a militia, does this have anything to do with you? Or perhaps (and this is roughly the current Supreme Court interpretation) what if “militia” is just an 18th century word for all the able-bodied males in a state who had better have access to arms in case their state needs them to secure its freedom…But if “militia” doesn’t refer to an organized group, what’s “well-regulated” doing in there?

It’s a good question.  But it’s hardly a new one.

For much of US history, it didn’t need an answer – since hardly anyone questioned the notion that Militia meant…

…both.  The Militia Act of 1903 codified what had been followed in practice since the Militia Act of 1792; the the Militia was composed of…:

  • The Organized Militia – the National Guard and the Naval Militia, and…
  • the Unorganized Militia – every able-bodied male between 17 and 45 years of age who wasn’t a member of the Organized Militia.  In other words, everyone.  Including Eric Black.

But even answering “it’s in the law!” misses the most important point.

The answer to the question “What does the Second Amendment really mean?” started taking its currently definitive shape with the publication, about 20 years ago, of “The Embarassing Second Amendment“, by Dr. Sanford Levinson.  At the time, Levinson was a professor at the U of Texas School of Law; the article appeared in the Yale Law Review.

Levinson was and is an arch-liberal with portfolio, who described himself then and now as a card-carrying ACLU member who was very uncomfortable around the notion of civilians owning guns.   He’s no mossy originalist; he’s called for a Second Constitutional Convention.

The article – about 80 pages, half of them footnotes – is a highly detailed analyis of the textual, historical, structural, doctrinal, prudential and ethical history of the Second Amendment, its related case law, and analysis of all the above.

And the conclusion was all wrapped up in the title; Levinson, unabashed anti-gun liberal that he is, is embarassed to conclude that the “NRA” was right, and the gun-grabbers were wrong.

It came out a solid decade and a half before the Heller decision, but it was one of the key waypoints on the path between the silly, collectivist post-Miller-decision miasma and the Court’s curent stance on the issue.  It was the argument that started even arch-liberal Laurence Tribe on his path from dismissing the originalist interpretation (as Levinson notes in the article) to acceptance that the Amendment is in fact a right “of the people”.

The road to Heller and McDonald started with Levinson’s article.

And he started from the same question Eric Black did: what does “well-regulated militia” mean?

In textual terms – the strict reading of the words?  Not much help there: “The text at best provides only a starting point for a conversation. In this specific instance, it does not come close to resolving the questions posed by federal regulation of arms. Even if we accept the preamble as significant, we must still try to figure out what might be suggested by guaranteeing to “the people the right to keep and bear arms;” moreover, as we shall see presently, even the preamble presents unexpected difficulties in interpretation.”

But in historical terms?   Things are clearer:

Consider once more the preamble and its reference to the importance of a well-regulated militia. Is the meaning of the term obvious? Perhaps we should make some effort to find out what the term “militia” meant to 18th century readers and writers, rather than assume that it refers only to Dan Quayle’s Indiana National Guard and the like. By no means am I arguing that the discovery of that meaning is dispositive as to the general meaning of the Constitution for us today. But it seems foolhardy to be entirely uninterested in the historical philology behind the Second Amendment.

I, for one, have been persuaded that the term “militia” did not have the limited reference that Professor Cress and many modern legal analysts assign to it. There is strong evidence that “militia” refers to all of the people, or least all of those treated as full citizens of the community. Consider, for example, the question asked by George Mason, one of the Virginians who refused to sign the Constitution because of its lack of a Bill of Rights: “Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people.” 48 Similarly, the Federal Farmer, one of the most important Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution, referred to a “militia, when properly formed, [as] in fact the people themselves.” 49 We have, of course, moved now from text to history. And this history is most interesting, especially when we look at the development of notions of popular sovereignty. It has become almost a cliche of contemporary American historiography to link the development of American political thought, including its constitutional aspects, to republican thought in England, the “country” critique of the powerful “court” centered in London.

One of the school’s most important writers, of course, was James Harrington, who not only was in influential at the time but also has recently been given a certain pride of place by one of the most prominent of contemporary “neo-republicans,” Professor Frank Michelman. 50 One historian describes Harrington as having made “the most significant contribution to English libertarian attitudes toward arms, the individual, and society.” 51 He was a central figure in the development of the ideas of popular sovereignty and republicanism. 52 For Harrington, preservation of republican liberty requires independence, which rests primarily on possession of adequate property to make men free from coercion by employers or landlords. But widespread ownership of land is not sufficient. These independent yeoman would also bear arms. As Professor Morgan puts it, “[T]hese independent yeoman, armed and embodied in a militia, are also a popular government’s best protection against its enemies, whether they be aggressive foreign monarchs or scheming demagogues within the nation itself.” 53

Which gets us into the third of Black’s conclusions, which we’ll come back to later in the series.

As to the notion that the “Right of the people to keep and bear arms” refers to a National Guard that the founding fathers didn’t envision:

Consider that the Fourth Amendment protects “[t]he right of he people to be secure in their persons,” or that the First Amendment refers to the “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It is difficult to know how one might plausibly read the Fourth Amendment as other than a protection of individual rights, and it would approach the frivolous to read the assembly and petition clause as referring only to the right of state legislators to meet and pass a remonstrance directed to Congress or the President against some government act. The Tenth Amendment is trickier, though it does explicitly differentiate between “state” and “the people” in terms of retained rights. 42 Concededly, it would be possible to read the Tenth Amendment as suggesting only an ultimate right revolution by the collective people should the “states” stray too far from their designated role of protecting the rights of the people. This reading follows directly from the social contract theory of the state.( But, of course, many of these rights are held by individuals.)

(If you haven’t read Levinson’s entire piece – you need to.  It’s one of the most politically influential law-review articles in recent history – and it’s not a bad read, either).

As to “well-regulated?”    Levinson doesn’t address it directly – in the parlance of the 1790s, it meant “can do the job”, or “can hit their targets”, a definition that’s changed in the past two-odd centuries -because it’s irrelevant.  It’s a right of the people, necessary to the preservation of a free state.  It’s a secondary question at most, in the lee of the real question “what is a right of the people?”.

As noted in Heller, it’s not an absolute right; states can ensure that people who aren’t good citizens, felons and the like, don’t get guns.  They can legislate the types of guns, within reason; the whole “can you get a flamethrower or a cannon” argument is a strawman, although it’s worth arguing on its own merits (if I’m a law-abiding schnook with a .380 or a shotgun, why wouldn’t I be with a howitzer or a bomb?).

The “What does the Second Amendment Really Mean?” argument – like the “The Second Amendment existed to protect slavery!” argument we dispensed with a few months back – is a manufactured controversy, a re-hashing of questions that were answered literally decades ago among those who pay attention to the issue.

But the gun control movement rarely makes its appeals to people who pay attention to the issue.

Up next – probably Tuesday – the notion that the Second Amendment is just plain obsolete.

Groundhog Year, Part II: The History Of An Illusion

As I noted about a week back, being a Second Amendment activist for any length of time – I started in the late eighties – is a little like being Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day; every time the argument cycles, you wind up answering exactly the same questions.  Over and over and over.

Some of the questions -”aren’t you compensating for something?” – are stupid conceits.  Some – “isn’t a gun in the home many times more dangerous to the owner or people he knows than to criminals?”, or “wasn’t the Second Amendment put in place to protect slave holders?” – are well-worn, long-debunked tropes that keep coming back, just like the villain in the last two minutes of a monster movie.

And others?  Well, despite both sides’ oversimplifications, they keep coming back because the Second Amendment is a complex issue, full of historical, linguistic and legal nuance.

Notice I said “complex”.  Not “inscrutable”.  Because it’s Groundhog Day, and everything, including answering nearly all the questions, has happened before.  Maybe several times.

Eric Black – one of the phalanx of deans of Minnesota political journalism – wrote a series a few weeks back at the MinnPost (which is the recent recipient of a big grant from the Joyce Foundation, an anti-gun group that lavishly funds anti-gun astroturf groups around the country).  The first of the three parts, “The Second Amendment is a Mess“, came out probably three weeks ago.

Confederate soldiers. With guns. Be afraid; your betters have declared that the Constitution is all about slavery.  Except the First Amendment, and of course the emanations of penumbras that give us abortion.  But I digress.  Prejudicial? Do you think?  The MinnPost ran this in a piece about the Second Amendment, and I’m never going to let them live it down.

In stating the case that the Amendment is “a mess”, Black writes:

…the interpretation of any law must start with the actual language of the law as enacted. So, for today, let’s just put the text of the Second Amendment under the microscope. Here is its full text:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It’s a marvelously unclear statement, to modern sensibilities – and yet for some reason it defined a policy, more or less, through nearly 200 years.  Until the 1960s, nobody really questioned that the “…right of the people” in the Amendment meant anything different than “of the people” meant in the First, Third or Tenth Amendments.

We’ll come back to that.  I’ll return to Eric Black…

…while noting that I’m getting that feeling Bill Murray had during the last three-quarters of Groundhog Day; it’s deja vu:

It’s a disaster. Seriously. Here’s just a sample of problems it presents.

What’s a militia? If you aren’t in a militia, does this have anything to do with you? Or perhaps (and this is roughly the current Supreme Court interpretation) what if “militia” is just an 18th century word for all the able-bodied males in a state who had better have access to arms in case their state needs them to secure its freedom even though they might not actually “belong” to what we 21st century-types would recognize as a militia, like a National Guard unit that you actually joined and were trained by and that actually has a command structure.

A fair point…

But if “militia” doesn’t refer to an organized group, what’s “well-regulated” doing in there? Who gets to decide whether the (actual or theoretical) militia you are in is well-enough-regulated to trigger (no pun intended) whatever impact the militia clause has? Who is doing the regulating? The state? The United States? The (non-existent but theoretical) organization of all the gun-owners in the state acting as self-regulators?

…and a vexing one.

Indeed, Black’s series seems to focus on three allegations about the Second Amendment:

  1. It’s linguistically and legally inscrutable
  2. It’s confusing
  3. In an era where the US has a standing military, it’s obsolete.

But the first two were rendered null and void nearly a generation ago.    And the third exhibits a myopia about history, to say nothing of the Constitution, that needs to be actively fought.

But none of them are new. Indeed, it’s been nearly 20 years since the first two points were put out to pasture among people who are serious about the issue of the Second Amendment.

As to the third?  Stay tuned.

We’ll come back to that on Thursday.