Life Is Full Of Ironies, If You’re Stupid

A few years ago, when people started talking about the “Dunning Kruger Effect” – the notion that the less someone knows about a subject, the more expert they feel about it – the first thing I thought was “Well, this isn’t going to get turned into a form of onanistic self-ongratulation, used in service of political hackery, nosireebob”.

I was right, of course, judging by this “Dunning-Kruger-For-Dummies”-level primer:

During the 2016 election and in the months after the presidential inauguration, interest in the Dunning-Kruger effect surged. Google searches for “dunning kruger” peaked in May 2017, according to Google Trends, and has remained high since then. Attention spent on the Dunning-Kruger Effect Wikipedia entry has skyrocketed since late 2015.

There’s also “much more research activity” about the effect right now than immediately after it was published, Dunning said. Typically, interest in a research topic spikes in the five years following a groundbreaking study, then fades.

“Obviously it has to do with Trump and the various treatments that people have given him,” Dunning said, “So yeah, a lot of it is political. People trying to understand the other side. We have a massive rise in partisanship and it’s become more vicious and extreme, so people are reaching for explanations.”

“People are trying to understand the other side”, and why politics has become more vicious and extreme, by trying to quantify your opponents idiocy?

Seems legit.

In so many ways:

Many people “cannot wrap their minds around the rise of Trump,” Sloman said. “He’s exactly the opposite of everything we value in a politician, and he’s the exact opposite of what we thought Americans valued.” Some of these people are eager to find something scientific to explain him.

In other words, people using the “Dunning Kruger Effect” to explain the rise of Trump, qua Trump, without understanding the demography and class-conflict aspects of 2016 (and today) are exhibiting…

what pop-psychological syndrome?

I don’t wanna keep seeing the same hands, here…

Lining Up For Final Approach On That Windmill

When I first heard that there was going to be a recall vote against Gavin Newsom, I figured “Quixotic” was an understatement. The early polling showed California’s incompetent governor walking away with a recall election.

And when Larry Elder took leave from his national talk radio show (Disclosure: on my station, on the Salem Network, for which I work part-time), I figured it was yet another symbolic drive to get people talking about the issues.

But as Ed Morrissey notes, I want to believeˆ.

Indeed, I believe in miracles.

We’re not anywhere near “Miracle” level yet, and we may never get there. But the path to get there just got a little more brightly lit:

Californians who say they expect to vote in the September recall election are almost evenly divided over whether to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, evidence of how pivotal voter turnout will be in deciding the governor’s political fate, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

Ed Morrissey notes:

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, who last week won a court battle to appear on the Sept. 14 recall ballot, leads in the race to replace Newsom among the dozens of candidates in the running, while support for reality television star Caitlyn Jenner remains low, the survey found. Forty percent of likely voters remain undecided on a replacement candidate, providing ample opportunity for other gubernatorial hopefuls to rise in the ranks before the Sept. 14 special election…

One potential advantage – special elections (and a recall is the special-est election there is) offer at least a slight premium for the motivated. Has this past couple of years of incompetent elitism left enough Californians angry enough to bring on a spasm of rebellion?

The odds are still very, very long. But maybe not as long as we’d thought.

And if it succeeds? Mid-terms are gonna be lit.

Ruparing

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

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

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

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

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

I’m sure it’ll happen.

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

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

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

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

So – what really happened?

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

Generation Gaslit

This entire thread…

…may be the best single summation of the post-Tea=Party right-of-center landscape I’ve seen since, well, the Tea Party.

It’s going to be the subject of a solid chunk of my show on Saturday.

Prescription

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There are three weeks [as this was written. Currently a little under two weeks, Ed.] until the legislature adjourns. Republicans continue working with Democrats to keep Dictator-for-Life Walz in power and to enact Democrat agendas in police reform, tax increases, and legalizing marijuana.

Why?

Shut everything down until Walz ends the Permanent Emergency and the law
is changed to say he can declare another only with consent of both houses.

Or else drop the masks, change parties and come clean with us. You’re
not staunch conservatives standing up for what’s right. You’re
Republicans in Name Only working hand-in-hand with Democrats to pass
their agenda.

Joe Doakes

It’s high time the MNGOP stood for what’s right, here.

In A Just World…

…Senator Scott would be a contender for the Presidency.

I knew the guy was sharp. This speech clinched it for me:

And I suspect the Dems know it too. That’s why we had…well, this going on on Twitter last week:

Someone with hope about race, the economy, and the world?

Can’t be tolerated.

Opportunity Stumbles

Dominic Greene at the Spectator ponders the depressing spectacle of the Biden “presidency” via the lens of last week’s gawdawful “news conference” and what it symbolizes for our democracy:

Joe Biden is the face of the United States. But Joe Biden no longer looks like Joe Biden. And he no longer sounds like Joe Biden — especially in the long and excruciating silences when he forgets what he’s saying or fumbles for his cue cards.

The United States no longer looks like itself either. The sorry theatrical display of Biden’s first press conference is an accurate image of what has happened to American democracy. A carefully limited number of carefully selected journalists asked carefully vetted questions. A carefully chosen president read carefully written answers off his cue cards, and carefully avoided taking any questions from Fox or Newsmax.

The White House is no longer the home of democracy. It’s a reality TV series in a care home. Biden mused about how the country has lost its way, about how it used to be so much better, but he seemed fatalistically feeble, as if it was all too much and all too late, and he has already given up. As if the nation is in its twilight years.

Open note to Ron DeSantis, Kristi Noem, Dan Crenshaw, Nikki Haley and everyone else lining up to run against this ongoing case of elder abuse: do lots of press ops involving clearing brush with a chainsaw, or out at the range, or just being joyfully, intensely physically capable. America – real America – doesn’t like seeing itself as feeble, of mind or body.

And that’s the vision we’re being gaslit with today.

Branding

The RINOs and Never Trumpers in the Republican establishment hated Donald Trump and did everything they could to obstruct, undermine and sandbag him.  Still do, except when it comes to fundraising.  Then, they want to use his name and photo to beg Americans to send them money, because they know how popular he is with the rank-and-file.

Donald Trump understands the importance of a name-brand.  His name is on his hotels for a reason.  President Trump asked the RNC to stop using his brand, the party refused citing a First Amendment right because he’s a public figure, and the President rebuked them.  No more money for RINOs.

They shouldn’t have needed rebuking.  They should have had enough honor to drop his name and image.  They should have proudly used RINOs like Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, since those are the people they’re actually hoping to get elected.  Using President Trump’s name to raise money for candidates who don’t hold his beliefs is deceptive.  It’s bait-and-switch, false advertising, consumer fraud, lying and pretty much standard procedure for RINOs and Never-Trumpers.

I hope President Trump does run as a third party candidate. Can’t wait.

Joe Doakes

I’m personally going to go with “focus ASAP around candidates who can straddle the divide – DeSantis, Noem, whomever – and get back to the business of trying to save Western Civilization.

Threefer Madness

President Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial.

Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine,
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of
Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined every
single Democrat in voting guilty.

No word on whether Democrats and turncoat RINOs will commence a third
impeachment attempt against the man who left office January 20th, or
whether they will instead seek to impeach a different Republican former
President such as Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover or
Abraham Lincoln.

Joe Doakes

Will the Dems try for three?

Depends on:

a) How badly Biden continues to bungle Covid, and

b) How quickly the Ted Cruz deflection peters out.

I’m Not Saying…

….that Ron DeSantis is high up on my short list of candidates for 2024.

I am saying that if he keeps up with his competent, fact-driven crisis management combined with his Trump-like ability to cut through the narrative BS while maintaining an air of measured acerbity…

…he could get there pretty quick.

Preventive Hygiene

Democrats seek to impeach Donald Trump, not to remove him from office,
but to make sure he can’t hold office again.

They rely on Article 1, Section 3, last paragraph, which provides:
“Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to
removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office
of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States . . ..”

My question: suppose the Republican nominee is unacceptable to RINOs and
a genuine threat to Democrats.  Could Congress use this precedent to ram
through a quick impeachment to prevent that person from taking office?

Why bother with the effort and expense of printing up all those fake
ballots?  Simply impeach every opponent and you can rule the country
forever.

Joe Doakes

I see a thriving business in pre-impaching potential GOP candidates.

Open-ish Thread

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails with a great idea

How about a new series of posts entitled something like “Walking it
Back” in which we detail the lies told during the Trump administration
which now are admitted to have been lies?

Exhibit one.

Joe Doakes

Keep ’em coming in the comment section.

Please note – comments that are not examples of media and Democrat (ptr) lies about Trump will be deleted, sooner than later. 99.9% of the posts on this blog have barely-moderated comment threads (on both sides). This is an exception.

Carry on.

Today Is The Day…

…where we turn over control over “concern about the deficit and national debt” from one party to the other.

UPDATE: Also the date many of us become “domestic terrorists” in the eyes of the ruling party and Media (ptr).

UPDATE 2: On the other hand, today is the beginning of the period where Covid will be recognized as something that, between natural immunity and vaccines, will burn itself out and cease to be a national health crisis.

Planet Of The Humans, Part 1: The Devil Wears Orange

Donald Trump inspired clichés by the big-box store-load long before he dipped his toe into politics. Even back when he was a pop-culture hero of sorts among the crowd that worshipped blinged-out idols, even before MC Hammer brought it to the mainstream:

Y’know – back when he was a Democrat.

You don’t need me to list Trump’s faults as a person, politician and President – indeed, we have a multi-billion dollar industry devoted entirely not only to cataloging them, but making up new ones out of thin air.

We’ll come back to them.

The Usual Bla Bla Bla

But along with all of the faults imagined from whole cloth (the “Fine People” slander hops to mind – which, again, we’ll come back to later), and his many offenses against the supposed decorum of the Presidency (real or imagined – and I’ll skip past Bill Clinton’s desporting himself in the Oval Office to jump back to Woodrow Wilson using it as a de facto Ku Klux Klan field office to try to introduce a little context into the notion of decorum), he had some real ones; I can’t help but think if he’d just turned his Twitter feed over to a moderately clever mid-level staffer, he could have kept the “outflank the media” aspects of his social presence without the, let’s be honest, crazy and intemperate and, God help me for saying it, unpresidential parts of his public presence. Enough to have won the election? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Of course, to be intellectually honest, you – and by “you”, I mean “the Never Trump clacque” – need to admit he did some things very, very well. For starters, he did the one thing I, a Trump skeptic, had hoped for, and exceeded my hopes by half; he empaneled a genuine originalist majroitiy on the SCOTUS. And in foreign policy terms, he may have been the most successful President we’ve had since George HW Bush, and Reagan’st first term before him.

Never Never Land

The previous paragraph might be read as a swipe at the “Never Trump” crowd – which includes some people I respect very much, and some I never really did, and some for whom I’ve gradually lost regard over time.

“Never Trump” largely, if not completely, devolved into a bunch of scolds of no more political use than the Libertarian Party, chanting “I Told You So” with all the convincing authority of that “Karen” who yaps at you about putting your groceries on the conveyor before the cashier has sanitized it.

I say this as someone who has been an active Trump skeptic since 1986 – back when most Democrats and Never-Trumpers were making Trump a TV star through most of the 2000s, as I’m fond of pointing out – and who was actively interested in “Never Trump” activities up to and including reviving the Federalist party around this time five years ago.

The Real Deplorable Thing

But the biggest problem with Trump isn’t Trump. The media and pop culture would have said many of the same things about Mitt Romney or John McCain or Marco Rubio, or most likely Martin Luther King if he were alive today and voting Republican.

Trump won in the first place because he saw the left’s strategy – harness the populist power of identity politics – and, for five years, did it better than the Progressives. He turned blue collar whites, and people in Red state in general, into an identity group and fairly coherent voting bloc – finally ending the 100 year old notion that Democrats were “the party of the working man” once and for all.

So populism was the car that drove him to the White House. Where he governed in some ways as a conservative (in foreign policy terms, on the SCOTUS, in slashing regulation), and in some ways as the most profligate “progressive” in history (he spent like the Democrat he used to be).

But there was something worse.

Personality

Remember Ron Paul? In 2008 and 2012, a lot of Republicans, especially younger ones, staged and insurgency in the GOP behind the Texas Libertarian-Republican. Much as I supported much of what Paul stood for (domestically, at least – his foreign and defense policies were just as historically ignorant as the Libertarian Party’s), looking at his mobs of idealistic acolytes, I asked more than once “You do realize that even if he’s elected, he’ll be able to do nothing he promises, since there’s not a majority of Paulite House and Senate candidates running to help push the agenda, right? And that the only way to enact that idealistic vision of government would be for Paul to stage a libertarian coup, and impose an absolute Libertarian dictatorship, and force Liberty on the people against their will.

There was no telling that to the Paul Kids – not back then, anyway. Such is the allure of the personality cult, among those who haven’t really paid attention to how much drag and lag and need for consensus is (as of 2020) built into the system.

And Trump certainly developed his own personality cult in the GOP.

On the one hand – the Never Trumpers remind us – Trumpism is not conservatism. And they’re right. It’s populism, and populism, giving people what they want now, is only rhetorically distinguishable between the Left and the Right. “Trumpism” tramples the principles of conservatism behind which the GOP…

…er…

…I was going to say “behind which the GOP stands”. Of course, the GOP, at least in DC, hasn’t for a long time.

We’ll come back to that.

Anyway – “Trumpism” turned, at least at the point of the retail-political sphere, into a personality cult, no less impervious to logic than the Hillary or Obama cults, no less focused on the person rather than the policy than the Ron Paul fan club.

To far too many Trump supporters in all of our social circles, policy wasn’t the goal; Trump was.

And given the GOP’s behavior over the past decade, why wouldn’t someone who didn’t care about how the political sausage was made, but how awful it tasted, see it any differently?

We’ll come back to that two episodes down the road.

It’d be easy, and facile, but no more than a little inaccurate, to say last week’s riot at the Capitol was about keeping the person in office (assuming you discount the notion that “Anti”-Fa provocateurs did the job – and for purposes of this argument, I do), rather than the policies and the repudiation of the oppression of Big Left. To way too many people, Trump doesn’t lead the effort against the toxic, narcissistic marginalization that Democrats relentless focus on identity politics brings; he is that effort.

It’s a toxic perception – indeed, a toxic reality. Democracy dies in cultism.

That cult didn’t occur in a vacuum, of course.

More on that coming up next.

Rubble Bounced

My old friend and radio colleague Ed Morrisey is one of more than a few Republicans who, disgusted by (obviously) the riots, but  moreso by the usurpation of the state control of elections and Electors that happened in Congress last week (the real “coup attempt”, and one of the  most self-destructive power grabs in my memory), is leaving the GOP.

Read the whole thing at your leisure.  Here’s the conclusion

The caveat of “I don’t support violence in any way” is meaningless — a dodge around the betrayal of the principles on which this party stood at one time. This is nothing more than an endorsement of brute-force majoritarianism at best, and at worst an explicit endorsement of mob rule. In fact, it seems like a celebration of mob rule, one cheered on by Donald Trump’s closest formal adviser in the White House.

Before this, questions had already arisen as to how republicanism could coexist with populism. This goes waaay beyond that question. The disgrace in Congress, even apart from the mobs, severed the connection between Republicans and republicanism in any meaningful American sense. They aren’t republicans now, but instead a radical form of small-D democrats whose only aim is gin up outrage in sufficient quantities to “own the libs.” That’s not just on Donald Trump; it’s now on the entire party and its leadership.

That’s their choice; my choice is very clear. I don’t choose to participate in such a nihilistic political party. I’ll stand on my own as an independent, ready to vote for responsible conservatives but under no obligation to vote for or support anyone else. Until the GOP comes to its senses and returns to true republican and federal principles, I will not be back.

Speaking for myself?  I’m not going to pretend that my party affiliation matters for much of anything to anyone.  I stopped donating money to non-conservative candidates years ago, after the party’s establishment slandered the Tea Party away from its place at the table.  I stopped being an activist two years ago – not “over Trump” per se (again, I’m not of the opinion that my choices of affiliations, or activism, matter in the great scheme of things all that much).

For what it’s worth?   I intend to fight to re-save the soul of the GOP.   There is a legacy worth saving, and passing on to people who haven’t seen much evidence of it in the past decade.

But it ain’t gonna be easy.

Noted For Future Reference

Ashli Babbit was shot and killed in the United States Capitol during a
demonstration to protest the election. Early reports indicate Ashli was
married and a veteran,she was unarmed, and she was shot by a police
officer.

Other early reports and photos suggest Antifa infiltrators caused the
major damage to provoke a backlash against President Trump supporters
and that the violence was successful in convincing Senators to lay aside
concerns about the stolen election in order to rush through
certification of Joe Biden as President.

Early reports are always confused; I urge application of Berg’s
Eighteenth Law of Media Latency.

And remember that even if a few dozen agitators spoiled the party,
hundreds of thousands showed up to engage in lawful political protest
and millions more wish they could have. Congress, RINOs, the media and
the Deep State can huff and puff about decorum and attempt to shame us
with double standards but in the end, it boils down to Never-Trumpers
sneering, “Let them eat cake.”

We’ll remember that.

Joe Doakes

First things first – as a practical suggestion, Republican / conservative / Trump groups need to make a point of having saturation level surveillance of their events, especially demonstrations. This is something we learned during the Tea Party – when someone shows up in a racist T-shirt, it’s good to be able to crowd-source them and prove that they were actually a Democrat operative (which happened during the Tea Party A lot).

More on this, likely, tomorrow on the show and next week in the blog.

Trimming The Fat

It’s reapportionment time. And Minnesota – which held onto its eighth US House seat just about the lowest possible margin ten years ago – finally stands to lose a Representative.

California and New York appear to be in line to lose 2 or 3 seats apiece, with Florida and Texas the big winners so far, by all appearances.

But what’ll happen in Minnesota?

You can wager money that “combining the 4th and 5th CDs” won’t be on the table. Don’t even bother.

To my mind, it looks a little like this:\

  • The 4th and 5th are sacrosanct. They’re not going anywhere.
  • The 1st, 7th and 8th are associated with large, socially and geographically distinct areas.

But the 2nd, 3rd and 6th are all mixed bags. Now, I don’t think there’s much case to be made to dissolve the 6th, much as the DFL would love to send Tom Emmer back to private practice.

But getting consolidating either the 2nd or 3rd, and expanding the neithboring districts to fill in the gap, makes a lot of sense.

Thoughts?

Profiles In Courage

As clubby, self-referential and solipsistic as the modern “elite” (and even not-so-elite) media is, I should have probably predicted we’d see scenes like this whenever Trump was on the brink of leaving office.

Never mind that “the Lightworker” Obama was did a whole lot more actual oppressing of “journos” than Trump.


Links

No. To these coddled hamsters…:

…covering Trump was up there with going ashore with the first wave on Omaha Beach, or like riding in a B24 with Charles Collingwood.

Which is a little ironic, given that The LIghtworker was, in fact, the most press-hostile President since Woodrow Wilson – and given the deep-state leaks with which the executive branch was riven, it would have been pointless for The Donald to even try to match Obama’s record.

Un-Krakened

Do you know the one thing I always hated about Joe Soucheray’s Garage Logic?

For a show that constantly railed on about the need for individual responsibility, he rattled on an awful lot about “the mystery” and its attendant “mysterians”.

It struck me as a little incongruous – demanding responsibility from everyone else, but blaming the things that vexed “logicians” on some, well, mysterious force above and beyond anyone’s control.

It’s an oddly “progressive” trait – ascribing fault to systems and groups rather than individuals. And not in a good way.

The urge to roll things up in to all-encompassing narratives, and to try to “solve” them with all-encompassing proposals – “The New Deal”, Obamacare, The Great Society, and on and on – has been part of “progressivism”‘s DNA since there was a word for it (other than “Leninism”).

And while I give Trump the credit he’s due, he’s brought out a trait among way too many Republicans to do exactly the same.

Make no mistake – our election system has problems, problems big enough to warrant bringing in the Department of Justice under consent decrees no less drastic than those that governed southern elections after the Civil Rights Act was passed.

And state laws that make corruption almost impossible to identify, much less charge and prosecute, must become an electoral scarlet letter among those who care about the American Experiment.

But let’s stop all this jabbering about “Krakens”. Put up or shut up.

Because the real problem isn’t even hiding. It’s in plain sight, and it’s largely legal.

Two of them, really:

What happened in 2020 is something more fundamental and profound. What happened in 2020 is cultural and systemic, and sadly, generally legal. Until Republicans, and more importantly Trump supporters, understand what happened to them this year, it will happen again.

Two things happened in 2020. First, COVID led to a dismantling of state election integrity laws by everyone except the one body with the constitutional prerogative to change the rules of electing the president – the state legislatures.

Second, the Center for Technology and Civic Life happened.

If you are focused on goblins in the voting machines but don’t know anything about the CTCL and what they did to defeat Donald Trump, it’s time to up your game.

I’ll urge you to read the whole thing.

Future Alternative

Minnesota legislature passes bill to help victims of state government, unless someone else does.

That’s not how they worded it, of course. The state legislature adopted a bill to give aid to small businesses closed by Governor Walz and to extend unemployment benefits for workers laid off by Governor Walz, but the aid is conditional. If the federal government adopts an aid package, then we use the federal money and the state does nothing. So it’s conditional virtue signaling, based on gaslighting the public that the Covid pandemic is a force of nature, not a product of arbitrary and destructive rule-by-executive-order.

I award Republicans one point for at least voicing the objection that Walz is the problem, not Covid. But I penalize them 10 points for going along with business as usual. Acquiescence is approval. Let the Democrats try to pass laws without a single Republican vote, until Walz relinquishes power to the Legislature, where it belongs. Otherwise, what do we need Republicans for? Just let Walz run everything forever and save the per diems.

In a state as Great-Sorted as Minnesota is, voters who are swingable are going to need a reason to choose GOP in 2022.

The Senate GOP has given them some little reasons. They need big ones. Stat.