Decline

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

By 1963, before we had The Great Society, before we had Civil Rights, before we had a Department of Education, feminism, no-fault divorce, abortion on demand, unlimited immigration, the EPA, Clean Water Act, public employee unions the prevailing wage and transgender bathrooms, Americans had built Hoover Dam and the Empire State Building, won a world war, rebuilt Europe and the Far East, started the interstate highway system and were on the way to putting a man on the moon not just once, but several times.  The United States was a great nation.

 Could any of that happen today?

 If not, what would need to change in order to make it possible again?

 Joe Doakes

Step one:  put government back in the place where it belongs; defending the country and its interests, and running a court system, and not a hell of a lot more.

Focus

You’d never know it from watching/reading the WaPo, the NYTimes, NPR and the big three – but the American public trusts used car salesmen more than journalists.

Nope – not making it up:  According to an Emerson College, poll, the public trusts the Trump about a quarter more than the mainstream media:

The Trump administration is more trusted than the news media among voters, according to a new Emerson College poll.

The administration is considered truthful by 49 percent of registered voters and untruthful by 48 percent.

But the news media is less trusted than the administration, with 53 percent calling it untruthful and just 39 percent finding it honest.

Question:  what are the other 39% thinking of?

Today’s Facts, A Year Ago: Fake News Edition

The Daily Caller notes that the “database” used by the liberal media to try to create hysteria about mass shootings, overstates the number of such incidents by at least an order of magnitude:

The website “Mass Shooting Tracker” (MST) has been regularly used by news outlets, like The Washington Post and PBS, to claim “mass shootings” occur much more frequently than they actually do. MST uses an alternative definition of “mass shooting” that greatly overstates their frequency relative to the commonly-accepted definition used by law enforcement and academics.

MST openly acknowledges it uses the alternate definition to “punch a hole in the NRA argument.”…MST’s defines a mass shooting as any shooting where four or more people are injured or killed, not counting the shooter. This isn’t an official definition taken from law enforcement or academia, but appears to be originally created by anti-gun activists on Reddit.

Of course, it’s something that Shot In The Dark readers knew well over a year ago.

Fake News, Fake Leadership

Congress’s Democrat brain trust jumped on the news that former National Security Advisor Flynn had tweeted he was a scapegoat.

They were obliging enough to do it on video:

And who can blame ’em?  It was in the NYTimes and the WaPo.

Of course, it was fake news.  When it’s political and it’s in the Times or the WaPo, one should assume it’s fake, and verify.

It didn’t pass the stink test, of course.   When it comes to this administration, it almost never will.

A Modest Question

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I was promised by every Liberal in the nation that if Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education, she would end public education.

 She got confirmed earlier this week.  So why were there so many school busses on the road this morning, blocking up traffic?  Shouldn’t those kids be sitting at home, stultifying in ignorance?

 Joe Doakes

We were also supposed to be at war with the Soviets…er, Russians.

No, wait, that was Hillary.  Never mind.

Parallels

I’ve been re-reading Modern Times:  The History of the World from the 1920s to the 1980s by the great historian (and former leftist intellectual) Paul Johnson.

I highly recommend it for a sold re-grounding ni the history of the 20th century, including the century’s most noxious, toxic, and yes, evil impulses – the intertwined phenomena of Communism and Naziism, and the west’s initial bout of insanity – abandoning the great tenets of western civilization for the callow blandishments of “progressivism”, and the side effects that had.

And I was thinking – as bad as the sixties and seventies were, the current rot – of which Barack Obama was just a loud, friendly symptom – in many ways may be as bad as the intellectdual cancer of the thirties.

Along those lines, and reading just after the Berkeley “Yiannopoulos” riots, I found this quote – Johnson quoting Lionel Teilling, writing about the western lefts reaction to Stalin’s show trials in the thirties.  Trilling described…:

…an imposed monolithic government they saw the promise of rest from the particular acts of will which are needed to meet the many, often clashing, requirements of democratic society … they cherished the idea of revolution as the final, all-embracing act of will which would forever end the exertions of our individual wills.

In other words, the only thing worse than politics is the complete lack of politics.

Which you get, among other ways, by making politics too painful, risky and dangerous for those in “the middle”.

They’re right on track.

Like Farmers

When I was a kid, I’d go into the local bakery, whrere area farmers would be sitting and talking.  When they talked, there were two subjects:

If it was raining out:  complaining that it was too wet.

If it wasn’t raining about:  complaining about how dry it was.

Over this past few months, watching California go from being a parched wasteland to a potentially flooded wasteland,, and hearing Californians complaining about it, I’ve thought:

  1. Hey!  Just like North Dakota farmers!
  2. And you expected what, building a society in an almost uninhabitable desert, prone to almost nothing but extremes?

Dear Cali:  hope your dam doesn’t break.  If you hurry up and secede from the union, you might just be able to recover from a dam break without all that pesky help from a federal government you hate!

Heads We Win, Tails You Lose

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

We took very precise, very careful climate temperature measurements that did not show the result we wanted, then ran them through a black box that nobody understands and we cannot replicate.  And what do you know, now the results DO show the result we wanted.  You can’t deny science.  

 Joe Doakes

When you politicize science, you don’t get scientific politics;  you get politicized science.

Field Recognition Guide

When I saw that Democrat protesters – led, inevitably, by paid activist shills – were howling and stomping at Republican town hall meetings, I knew it was a matter of time before our dimbulb media started making comparisons with the Tea Party.

And sure enough, they are.

So with two “Tea Parties” floating around, how can you tell the difference?

Never let it be said I’m not here to help.   Here’s the Shot In The Dark “Tea Party Field Recognition Guide.

If the “Tea Party” event you’re watching is: Then it is:
Large, organic, and animiated but well-mannered A conservative Tea Party
Foul-mouthed, vituperative and rife with threats (whether verbalized or not) A liberal “Tea Party”
Leaves the protest site a mess choked with trash and debris A liberal “Tea Party”
Leaves the place neater than when they showed up: A conservative Tea Party.
Is attended by leftist ringers with racist signs and t-shirts parading in front of a (let’s be charitable) gullible media A conservative Tea Party
A challenge to the GOP A conservative Tea Party
Indistinguishable from the Democrat Party, because it’s a paid offshoot of the Democrat Party A liberal “Tea Party”

Hope that helps!

White Friday

We’ve fallen a little behind on our World War I series.  Over the next few weeks/months, we’re going to work to get caught-up to the calendar.

The men of the Austro-Hungarian 1st Battalion of the Imperial Rifle Regiment Nr.III likely considered themselves fortunate.  Stationed at the summit of Mount Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites section of the Alps, the soldiers were on a fairly passive part of the Italian front.  Their barracks, build into the mountain side in the summer of 1916, was well protected by rock cliffs, which limited the effectiveness of Italian artillery.  Even the weather was reasonable.  Despite the massive snowfalls of that winter, the temperatures were warming.

The roar that the battalion heard at 5:30 in the morning on Friday, December 13th, 1916, didn’t sound like artillery.  It groaned and seemed to move closer towards them, shaking the very earth under their feet.  Most the men in the unit had been awakened by the sound, only moments before 200,000 tons of snow and ice collapsed on top of them.  In an instant, 270 Austro-Hungarian soldiers were killed by an avalanche – a part of 10,000 men killed by falling snow in December of 1916 alone.

The Italian front continued to find new ways to claim lives.

Austro-Hungarian troops survey their position – the Hapsburgs would suffer nearly 2.4 million casualties on the Italian front


It had taken multiple failed offensives, and a nearly successful Austro-Hungarian counter-offensive, but Italy’s fortunes in the Great War had finally improved.

The late summer of 1916 had presented Italy with an opportunity.  Between the Battle of Asiago and the Brusilov Offensive of that summer, the Dual Monarchy was on the verge of a military collapse.  Vienna had transferred hundreds of thousands of men from the Eastern front to the Italian front, and when that gambled failed, had been forced to do the same back to the East as the Romanians pressed into the underbelly of the Habsburg Empire.  Despite five different attempts at breaking the deadlock at Isonzo over the course of a year and a half, for the cost of over 175,000 casualties, Italy now held something it never had before – a numerical advantage.    Continue reading

Note For This Week

I’m running a round of usability testing this entire week.

Which means I’m going to be in a lab, focusing on people doing stuff with software.

Which means if your comment goes in the moderation queue, it will be likely late afternoon before I can get around to approving comments.

That is, of course, for those of you whose comments get approved pro forma.  Those of you on suspension will still need to do what you were asked to do to unblock your comments.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Conundrum

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Should the United States military ever be used against United States citizens on American soil, even to restore civil order?

We’ve heard for years about plans to occupy cities, black helicopters, urban warfare, the Vigilant Guard 2010 drill, FEMA camps in the desert, and much more.  Say it’s all true – is it okay?  Should we care?

 I suspect the Founders would have said “Not just No, but Hell No.”  They were opposed to a standing army because they knew the politicians in charge of that army would be tempted to use it for political purposes. 

 But there also are times when civil order breaks down and ordinary people cannot fend for themselves, when they expect government to step in to restore order.  George Washington led troops to break the Whiskey Rebellion when the nation was only a few years old. 

 Okay, but those were state militia, not regular federal troops, and states often call up the National Guard to restore order, so that’s different.  Except the National Guard was federalized a while ago (that’s why the Minnesota Red Bulls were in Iraq).  So there’s no meaningful difference between the part-time state militia and the regular standing army, when you’re the one being disarmed and told to report to a federal holding area “for your own safety.” 

 Add to that, the courts have totally ignored the stated reason for the Second Amendment as articulated in the Federalist Papers – to resist a tyrannical government – and the fact that civilians are forbidden to bear arms comparable to those of the standing army whose tyranny we’re supposed to resist, and it’s beginning to look as if the Founders were right to be concerned. 

 But I still want someone to help restore order, if we need it. 

 It’s a conundrum.

 Joe Doakes

I’m a lot less worried about the military imposing tyranny (outside of epochal circumstances).   Especially in re the classic 2nd Amendment red herring about “fighting tanks with AR15s”; the people who the feds will be trying to disarm will be the same class that are doing the dirty work – the children of rural and exurban blue-collar families of all races.

Federal law enforcement?  I’m a lot more concerned about them.

Behind Blue NARN

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air!

Today on the show:

  • Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad DeVos?
  • Consistency Is So 2015
  • And finally – ten observations after fifteen years of blogging.

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson is normally heard on “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

Juxtaposition

Islam.

For 90-odd percent of its adherents, it may well be a religion of peace.

But they seem to have other attitudes that bear some examination.

For example:

This hatred of early’80’s country-pop star Judy Kay “Juice” Newton…

…is perplexing to outsiders.

Challenge Accepted

Chris “The Ken Doll Of News” Cuomo doesn’t like being called a “fake newsman“:

“I see being called ‘fake news’ as the equivalent of the N-word for journalists, the equivalent of calling an Italian any of the ugly words that people have for that ethnicity,” Cuomo said on SiriusXM.

“That’s what ‘fake news’ is to a journalist,” the CNN host continued. “It’s an ugly insult, and you better be right if you’re going to charge a journalist with lying on purpose.”

For startes, Mr. Como – no.  It’s not the same as the N-word.  The N-word is bestowed for no more reason than someone’s skin color.

“Fake News” is earned.  It’s earned by putting agenda before fact.   As the mainstream media has been making a habit of doing, and justifying doing, for decades, but more lately than ever.

 

Would You Like To Take Another Pass At That?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION, ANYTHING-TO-STOP-THE-BLEEDING ISSUE: California’s New Bar Exam Format And ABA’s Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement Will Adversely Impact Diversity, Women, And Access To The Legal Profession.

 Implied message: women and minorities are not as smart as white men.

 When your best argument against raising standards is that dumb people won’t be able to become bad lawyers, you should sit down and shut up.

 Joe Doakes

I sometimes think that liberalism is a byproduct of damage to the brain’s logic center.

On the other hand, it shows some ability to think about unintended consquences, albeit they seem to turn it on and off pretty fast.

Bill Cooper

Bill Cooper, former chair of the Minnesota GOP and longtime CEO at TCF Bank, passed away earlier this week  at 73.

In addition to leading the MNGOP during the Carlson years, Cooper did two things that made him a hero to me.

Nick-Slapped:  Back in 2005, then-Strib columnist Nick Coleman wrote a deeply dumb column wondering how Scott Johnson of Power Line  managed to blog during his work day (Johnson was at the time TCF’s corporate counsel), and urging TCF customers to pull their money out of the bank in protest over employing an “out” conservative.

Cooper pulled TCF’s ad money from the Strib – $250K a year – and followed up by cutting off the City Pages as well.

And the whining and carping lulled me to a sound, happy nap.   I’d like to think that costing the Strib a cool quarter mill had a lot to do with Coleman’s retirement.   For that alone, we should thank Cooper.

Friends:  In a more serious and productive vein, Cooper was one of the movers and shakers behind “Friends of Education”, a chain of charter schools that were focused on specific communities and educational models.

Friends of Education schools were, and perpetually remain, among the top-performing charters in the state.  And that was in part due to Cooper’s business sense; “Friends” charters that didn’t succeed got shut down; the successful ones carried on.

Lifeboat

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Trump’s executive Order on immigration and refugees is causing angst, but not analysis.  We need analysis.

 For years, I’ve used the lifeboat analogy to discuss immigration.  There’s only so much room in the lifeboat, only so many rations.  There are 7,000,000,000 people in the world who want better lives which, for most of them, means coming to the United States.  We can’t take them all: they’ll swamp the boat.  See, for example, Europe today, and that was only a million immigrants.

 Lately, it occurs to me the lifeboat is the wrong analogy.  A lifeboat implies a temporary accommodation until help arrives.  But the rest of the world is worse off than we are.  Help will never arrive.

 The United States is more like a medieval castle when invading armies arrive, everybody heads for the castle and they slam the gates shut. There’s a limited supply of water and food and limited space.  Extra people endanger the survival of everyone already there. They close the gates every night, for that reason.  Yes, the wolves may eat you, if you arrive late and the gates are already shut for the night; but the gates will not be opened for you in the dark when it’s possible for invaders to slip in.

 In the intelligence world, it’s night right now.  Governments collapsed, sources compromised, consulates sacked, refugees and raiders look alike.  We can’t tell friend from foe so nobody gets in until daybreak when we can sort them out.  Daybreak will arrive when the intel for background checks and deep vetting is strong enough to trust, however long that takes.

 Even after our intel improves, we need to choose carefully who we let in because their kids become our new citizenry.  Carlos and Maria might be ecstatic to get jobs as gardeners and hotel maids in America, but their kids will grow up watching MTV and wearing Nikes.  They won’t be thrilled to take menial jobs.  Second generation Somalis are the ones going on jihad, here and abroad.  N-th generation Blacks are the ones insisting their lives matter.  “Grateful” is not an inherited trait.

 Western Civilization, and particularly our constitutional republican form of government as we know it in England and America, is a relatively recent development and a very small part of human history.  If that’s what we’re trying to preserve in the castle until the Dark Age ends, we need to be very choosy indeed.  We need the best, brightest, hardest working immigrants with morals and cultural values most compatible with our own.  Reuniting Carols and Maria’s extended family of unskilled laborers is heartwarming, but more unskilled labor is not what the nation needs to prosper.

 Trump temporarily halted immigration from countries that sponsor terrorism.  I’d go further and impose a temporary moratorium on ALL immigration, ALL refugees, until we sort out our national priorities and institute procedures to ensure new arrivals don’t threaten our national survival.  It’s not just for me – I’ve already lived most of my life in a clean, safe America – it’s for my grandkids.  Do I want them to grow up in Minnesota or Mogadishu?

 Joe Doakes

To many on the left,  the fact that you worked and sacrificed enough to build a place worth fleeing to makes you unworthy of being there.

Unjustified Self-Esteem

Conor Friedersdorf in the LATimes writes a piece opposing “Calexit” – the proposed secession of California from the union.

Say what you will about the merits or problems with this idea – it’d remove the biggest single glob of “progressives” from the voter roles, and one of the most toxic gobs of unreformed pension debt from the future’s federal budget, both of which are huge wins.

But let’s not focus on the pros and cons of Calexit.  Let’s focus instead, for the moment, on this paragraph from Friedersdorf:

Secession would not improve our values. But it would practically ensure that the rest of the U.S. would drift farther away from our laid-back tolerance and easygoing diversity

Laid-back tolerance:

“Laid-back tolerance” – Berkeley welcomes gay immigrant Milo Yiannopolous.

Easygoing diversity:

Easygoing diversity in action.

Do whatever you want, California – the US will in fact be better off without you all.

But try looking at yourself through the eyes of sane non-narcissists for a while.  You might learn something.

How To Get Liberals To Do Your Publicizing For You In One Easy Step

It’s easier than you think.

But then everything is with them – except a logical, rational, non-ad-hominem or strawman argument…:

Maybe it was crazy but my thinking was that one of the best ways to get young men to go see a movie was to tell them they should not be allowed to see it. What ensued was several months of chaos and controversy that ultimately drove Tucker’s book to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, sold out a multi-college bus tour and ultimately sold millions of dollars worth of tickets, dvds and books.

It was a masterful bit of trolling that admittedly felt a lot more meaningful and exciting when I was younger than it does to me today: We encouraged protests at colleges by sending outraged emails to various activist groups and clubs on campuses where the movie was being screened. We sent fake tips to Gawker, which dutifully ate them up. We created a boycott group on Facebook that acquired thousands of members. We made deliberately offensive ads and ran them on websites where they would be written about by controversy-loving reporters. After I began vandalizing some of our own billboards in Los Angeles, the trend spread across the country, with parties of feminists roving the streets of New York to deface them (with the Village Voice in tow)…I’ve never seen so much publicity. It was madness.

If any of this sounds familiar, it should. Because it’s basically the exact playbook that right wing blogger Milo Yiannopoulos is running on his own cross country trolling tour. By almost any metric but political correctness, it’s been masterfully successful—his book has since been to #1 on Amazon twice, and the protests at UC Berkeley last week generated national headlines and were addressed directly by the President.

I need to amend the old statement:

“None of us are as dumb as all of us – except all of our “elites””.

Tantrum

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

California Democrats threaten to make the entire state a ‘sanctuary state’ by forbidding local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials. Trump, of course, has threatened to withhold federal funds from states that flout federal law.

 This could work out really well in the long run. 

 Start by withholding funds from California.  They’ll either cave in, or they’ll learn to get along without federal money.  If they cave, we win.  If they live without the money, we still win, because it helps reduce the amount of money the federal government needs to balance its budget.

 If enough states join the sanctuary movement, we can eliminate federal funding altogether and go back to the way the Constitution was intended to work.

Genius.

 Joe Doakes

I love it.