Just So We’re Clear…

I tend to cut people a lot of slack on things that some see as outrages, cover-ups and howlers.

For example, when Joe Rogan couldn’t get Sanjay Gupta to condemn CNN for calling Rogan’s Ivermectin treatment “horse medicine”, some screamed foul. And it was a terrible look – but what, yo8u want a guy to shade his employer on the biggest podcast in the world? Be reailstic.

And a few weeks back, when the pit reporters translated “F**k Joe Biden” into “Let’s Go Brandon”, some howled the network was covering up for Biden’s growing unpopularity. No – in that case, she was doing what everyone working live in the world of broadcast (as opposed to cable or webcasting) is trained to do from the first time they take a microphone in front of a crowd; take any FCC violations that slip through and try to neutralize them, to prevent as many FCC complaints against their hundreds of affiliates broadcast licenses as possible. Because someone will complain.

(And honestly, that particular meme may be the closest thing to “fun” we’ll have this political cycle).

And so my inner solomonic pollyanna is fighting with my pouncing Republican and education-reform zealot on this bit here:

A badly chosen example in the heat of what sounds like a pretty annoying moment? Perhaps.

Evidence that Ms. Peddy reallly thinks there’s a legitimate opposing view on the Holocaust? I doubt it.

But the idea that teachers are baffled about providing multiple points of view on things that are controversial – Columbus, the 1619 Project, the founding of the country, the roots of the Second Amendment, the causes and motivations of the Civil War, how different the USSR and Nazis weren’t, and on and on?

I can’t really pollyanna my way around that.

Taking Stock

So let’s take stock of where were at in the Biden administration so far:

  • Our shelves are getting kinda bare. “But Merg – you couldn’t find toilet paper during the last year of Drumpf’s regime”. Yep – for free market reasons that actually made sense. Try again.
  • The borders are in effect open.
  • We have a de facto hostage crisis
  • The Taliban in back in control in Afghanistan
  • Fuel costs aren’t just rising, they’re skyrocketing.
  • Public education is getting even worse.
  • The social divides that erupted in violence during the Obama regime have escalated.
  • Indeed, inflation is back for the first time since my freshman year of college.
  • The executive branch, which as been too poiwerful for a long time, is starting to act on that fact.
  • After a year of government acting like a scolding “Karen” of a neighbor and “two weeks to flatten the curve”, not only has Covid gone nowhere, but the economic effects of lockdowns are getting worse.
  • The workforce – one of the four key pillars of the economy, along with land, capital and management – has been “unintentionally” distorted far out of whack, with dire consequences.
  • China is ratting its sabers as never before.

What am I missing?

Offsetting

On the one hand, I see stories like this Dash people protesting at the home have a school board member…

…and point out that what they’re doing isn’t really a whole lot better than what John Thompson did.

On the other hand, I read stories like this, and wonder if a little well focused fear wouldn’t be a very good idea for a lot of public officials?

Darn Those Science-Denying Trumpkins!

Vaccine mandates are on the hit list…

…of Black Lives Matter:

At a protest Monday in front of New York restaurant Carmine’s, Chivona Newsome, also a co-founder of the group, said of the vaccine mandates, “What is going to stop the Gestapo, I mean the NYPD, from rounding up black people, from snatching them off the train, off the bus?”

She further issued the threat that BLM was “putting this city on notice that your mandate will not be another racist social distance practice” and that “Black people are not going to stand by, or you will see another uprising .” She said vaccine verification “is not a free passport to racism.”

The catalyst for those remarks was an incident at Carmine’s last week wherein three black women from Texas were charged for assaulting a hostess at the restaurant, allegedly over a vaccine verification dispute and, as a lawyer for the women subsequently claimed, because the hostess, who is of Asian descent, used a racial slur.

And it doesn’t just seem to be just BLM:

Morning Consult found that Biden’s approval dropped a striking 12 points among black voters since September 8th, the day before the White House announced a comprehensive new COVID-19 mitigation plan that included a new OSHA rule, which, when drafted, will demand workplaces with 100 or more employees either require their workers to be vaccinated against COVID or submit to rigorous testing for the virus.

“President Joe Biden’s sweeping federal rules to mandate vaccines hasn’t hurt him with the overall electorate, but it appears to have spurred a weakening of his standing with one of the most reliable pieces of the Democratic Party’s coalition: Black voters,” Morning Consult noted.

Now – getting everyone to connect the dots from “unequal and racially-tone-deaf enforcement of arbitrary Covid regulations” to “unequal and racially tone-deaf policy” in general? That’s the challenge.

Checked And Balanced

A state district judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a group of parents Who were seeking an order requiring the governor to issue a state wide mask mandate and to reinstate the state of emergency.

Thankfully, the judge shot the request down:

“While this court is gravely concerned about the public health consequences of the failure of school districts to implement the guidance of the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health regarding the use of masks for children, teachers, and staff in K-12 public schools,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “the judiciary cannot order a co-equal branch of government to exercise its discretionary, political judgment to implement a specific educational policy.”

In other words…

… (Mitch takes a deep breath)…

…the parents wanted a member of the judicial branch to compel the head of the executive branch do seize all of the authority of the legislative branch.

Sure, we have a public health crisis. We have an even bigger crisis in civics education in this state.

Adventures In Variantland

I haven’t written here recently (sorry, Mitch!), mostly because I did a fair amount of traveling in August. I attended my high school reunion in the wilds of Wisconsin, then a week later headed east to a family wedding in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio (highly recommended, by the way).

In the course of my travels, I spent time in six different states — Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Given that the howling over the dread Delta Variant has been in full effect for much of the summer, I was particularly interested in what I would see in my travels. Were people paying attention to the renewed demands for masking and social distancing? Were the entreaties of the Powers That Be having any effect?

Not a chance.

My high school reunion had over 100 attendees, a good result for a class with 144 surviving members. Classmates returned to my Wisconsin home town from California, Washington state, Colorado, Maryland, and New York, among other places. One classmate arrived masked, but took his mask off about 15 minutes into the festivities. The venue was a local brewery with a beer hall and the entire event was indoors. My masked classmate was the only person I saw wearing a mask all weekend, outside of some of the staff at the hotel. Social distancing? Not much of that, either — as you would expect at a high school reunion, it was hugs galore.

The following week was the family wedding; we took a convoluted path so we could pick up our college-age daughter, who attends school in Missouri. We stopped in Waterloo, Iowa, for lunch — not a mask in sight. We got gas in Hannibal, Missouri — no masks at all. Our overnight hotel was in downstate Illinois — again, no masks or social distancing in sight, and a full buffet breakfast available. We stopped for lunch in Indiana — again, no masks anywhere. We gassed up again on the Indiana/Ohio border, in a town that looked like nothing had changed since 1978. No masks. We reached our destination — no masks at the hotel. We had an out-of-town guest reception — saw every face in the place.

The wedding the following day was wonderful — joyous, raucous, with an open bar and food trucks from Columbus for the meal. There were probably 250 people in attendance; not a soul was wearing a mask. It was an outdoor event, but if social distancing was a factor, no one seemed to realize it. Nothing changed on the return trip. No mask? No problem!

Over this past weekend, we attended the Great Minnesota Grease Together. Everyone had to mask up on the shuttle buses, but once we were at the fair, mask wearing was about 1%, even in the queues for a Sweet Martha bucket before leaving the fairgrounds.

We are reminded daily the Delta Variant is still in full swing, an implacable foe, with future variants lined up like planes in a holding pattern at O’Hare; Mu is coming next, and all the other letters of the Greek alphabet are getting ready to ravage the countryside, so many that we’re likely to run out of letters eventually. Presumably another naming convention waits in the wings — perhaps future variants can be named after Kentucky Derby winners (the “Seattle Slew Variant” perhaps), assuming we can independently verify that neither the horses nor their jockeys ever used Ivermectin. As anyone with a television or a smart phone knows, the hectoring and self-congratulatory moral tutelage continue unabated, all of it fact-checked, verified, or otherwise given the J.D. Power award and a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

But you know what? Even after a summer of harangues and a phalanx of Tik-Tok Cassandras, people are doing as they please, at least here in flyover land. 

Yes, yes, everything I’m presenting here is anecdotal, but current behaviors are easy to observe and if a skeptic made a similar sojourn, the skeptic would see the same things. There will remain a cohort of those who follow every word and every directive from Drs. Fauci, Osterholm and their colleagues. Most readers of this feature likely see social media posts featuring our bien pensant  betters dutifully wearing their masks and keeping a yardstick or two between them as they struggle to take a selfie. And that’s fine — let your freak flags fly!

In the end, though, it’s highly likely the Safety Dance is over, unless our betters are willing to force compliance. What’s been happening in Australia has given me pause, but mandates and lockdowns will be difficult to enforce. And our betters know it.

Location, Location, Location

Remember – if you don’t live in Minneapolis, Jacob Frey and Keith Ellison don’t believe you are entitled to an opinion about the future of policing in Minneapolis.

But on other issues

I guess it’s just the right people from out of town that are entitled to an opinion.

The DFL: Enforcing a rigid cast system since 1948.

That’s A Daring Stance Indeed

Professor “joins the lowercase ‘movement'” (sic) to reject the “symbols of hierarcy”.

Let’s forget for a moment that she’s keeping the “Doctor” in front of her name – as noxious a symbol of hierarchy as there is.

But let’s dig a little further.

Writing in pure lower case is the sort of stylistic affectation afforded almost exclusively to “artists”, from the wonderful e.e.cummings to a raft of “quirky” and almost invariably tiresome cartoonists, “writers” and other “artists” – almost all of whom get whatever legitimacy they claim from being part of the academy or some genus of counterculture or another…

…all of which is another term for class privilege.

Wonder if I can find a “lowercase movement” meeting somewhere?

Also – it’d be interesting to run a poll of indigenous Americans to see if professors affecting lower case helps them, and how much…

Ersatz Replacement Usurper

Joe Doakea from Como Park emails

It’s entertaining to make fun of people running around promoting wide-eyed, far-right, moon-bat crazy, pants-on-head conspiracy theories. Like, for instance, Trump didn’t lose the election, the election was stolen from him. Biden and Harris were never the popular choice, they’re merely placeholders until the Real Usurper pulling the strings behind the scenes can be installed as President-For-Life. Okay, it’s completely nuts and nobody believes it, but just for kicks . . .

Biden is senile and Harris is hated. Kill Harris in a false flag operation blamed on Conservatives, bum-rush Congress into appointing the Real Usurper as Veep, then use the 25th Amendment to remove Biden. Could work. So who’s the Real Usurper?

Here’s an article reviewing the 50 most popular Democrats in America. Those are the talent pool to replace Biden.

Some of them are dead. Carter, Clinton and Gore are too old. Pelosi, Warren, Bloomberg are theoretically possible but carry a lot of baggage.

Tulsi is cute but I doubt she has the influence to pull it off.

Bernie is wildly popular with the Democrat base. They’d do anything for him. He’s a real possibility.

Obama. He couldn’t be ELECTED to a third term, but he could be appointed Vice President and then move up. With the new election laws being rammed through Congress, he wouldn’t have to worry about winning another election as long as he lives. Question is – does he still have enough influence with the Democrat party and the Deep State bureaucrats to pull it off? And does he hate America enough to fundamentally transform it from a republic to a dictatorship, with himself at the helm?

Might make a good novel but it’s all a wild fantasy, right? Nobody would ever believe it, right?

Joe Doakes

Our New, New Normal

Over the past few days, there’s been an undercurrent on social media of people saying the implosion of Afghanistan, culminating [1] in yesterday’s suicide-bomb attack killing (so far) 10 Marines and close to 100 people all told was “the angriest/saddest they’ve felt since 9/11”.

For me? In some ways, it’s worse.

9/11 wasn’t a “surprise”, per se – if you’d been paying attention through the ’90s, with the USS Cole, the Khobar Towers and the first WTC Bombing, it was a natural progression. But it was enemies doing what enemies do. We were attacked – like Pearl Harbor, like the Norks crossing the 38th Parallel, it was people who hated us, doing what people who hate us say they’re going to do.

This past two weeks? That same motivation was – let’s not delve into conspiracy-land here – colossal incompetence on every level of our own government, humiliating this country. It’s basketball team doesn’t just shoot a three-pointer into their own basket, but every member of the team slamming a dunk into their own bucket, as the coach says “yep, that’s the plan – score 100 points for the other guys; then we’ll have ’em where we want ’em”, and the other team does casual free-throws when there isn’t one of our guys hanging from the rim.

They say “never chalk up to malice what can be better explained by stupidity”. But if the Biden Administration had planned from the very beginning to humiliate this nation, what would they have done differently? Make Robin DiAngelo the chair of the Joint Chiefs, and put Steven Colbert in charge of Special Operations Command?

Seeing our nation blind-sided twenty years ago was bad enough.

Seeing our nation humiliate itself? Over and over?

This is a new one for me.

This is not the nation I wanted to leave for my kids, my grandkids.

And as far as I can help it, I won’t.

[1] And when I say “culminating”, I mean “so far”. This seems to be a barrel with no bottom.

The Triumph Of The Trite

The opening chapter of Paul Johnson’s Modern Times: A History of the World from the 20’s to the ’80s, relates the reporting, academic as well as journalistic, of the discovery of the theory of relativity – and the intellectual shockwave it sent through the intelligentsia and technocracy of the day.

Which was dwarfed, over time, by the side-effects of what it helped introduce – relativism, a version of the universe very much at odds with the Western Judeochristian notions of truth, creating an intellectual climate where materialistic philosophies like Progressivism, Marxism, Socialism and all manners of intellectual and (eventually) political totalitarianism throve.

Modern Times goes on to relate the history of that struggle – both World Wars, the (first) apex of Marxism, the West’s (first) attempt at suicide in the ’60s and ’70s, and ends (in its first edition) right around the elections of Reagan and Thatcher – both hopeful developments (that led, in the second, early ’90s edition, to a little burst of unaccustomed triumphalism from the normally utterly sober Johnson, relating the collapse of Communism.

Reading this piece in Federalist, it appears relativism won the rematch – at least, in regards to how the latest generation views “reality”:

Reading this piece in Federalist, it appears relativism won the rematch – at least, in regards to how the latest generation views “reality”…

“In 1998,” Derek Thompson wrote, “The Wall Street Journal and NBC News asked several hundred young Americans to name their most important values. Work ethic led the way—naturally. After that, large majorities picked patriotism, religion, and having childre“Twenty-one years later,” Thompson continued, “the same pollsters asked the same questions of today’s 18-to-38-year-olds—members of the Millennial and Z generations. The results, published last week in The Wall Street Journal, showed a major value shift among young adults. Today’s respondents were 10 percentage points less likely to value having children and 20 points less likely to highly prize patriotism or religion.”

The good news: there’s a vacuum out there. Nature – and the human mind and soul – abhor vacuums.

The bad news: the “other side”, being intellectual empty carbs, are much better at filling vacuums quickly than the hard-to-digest protein of the cultural right.

I suggest reading the whole thing.

Decline

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Richard Fernandez writes an insightful column about The Garden Administration’s stunning reversal of fortune. From the economy to the border to foreign affairs to the culture war, we’re losing everything, everywhere, and all at once. On the bright side, they may have killed the last, best hope for freedom in the world; but their pronouns are up-to-date.

Joe Doakes

As someone who was there (albeit very young, and very Democrat), this feels an awful lot like the 1970s.

But there is no Herb Brooks warming up in the wings. R

on DeSantis has a chance of being well Reagan, at least.

Eggs

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

College professor teaches students that if you’re White and you’re breathing, you are an oppressor.  That’s the Initial Premise.

Oppression is bad.  We must end oppression.  That’s the Secondary Premise.

Logically, then, White college students breathing = oppression = must end.  We must stop White college students breathing. And if the individual students won’t stop breathing/oppressing, and the government won’t stop them, individuals will simply have to pitch in to help.

Conclusion:  Who’s got an assault rifle?

What?  It’s the logical conclusion to the chain of reasoning resulting from the Initial Premise that White people breathing equals oppression.  Isn’t mass murder what the prof wanted us to conclude?  How else will society get White students to stop oppressing/breathing?

If mass murder is not the Conclusion you expected, perhaps the Initial Premise is incorrect?

Joe Doakes

On the one hand, I’m gonna guess the “professor’s” desired resolution is “reeducation”.

OTOH, what alternative awaits those who won’t willingly be sufficiently enlightened?

Shake And Bake Crisis

Who predicted, nine months ago in this very space, that the federal case of the “kidnapping plot against Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer“ would turn out to be a federal shake and bake operation, intended to give us some pretense of delivering on the “wave of right wing terror“ that the feds have been promising since 2009?
 
Why, it was me.
 
 
People have short memories; the feds got in trouble for the same thing back in the 1970s, when it turned out The FBI had infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan so thoroughly that most of the conspiracies that got rounded up were actually spawned by federal informants and undercover operatives.
 
I wrote about this last week; it would appear that the “conspiracy“ was driven by undercover agents and informers.
 

So you say people don’t trust government and its institutions?

The hell you say…

(Note to the peanut gallery: go ahead, respond “so what you’re saying is, yoiu support white supremqcists?”. I dare you.

Equity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If taking a selfie in the Capitol is insurrection and attempted assassination of Congress, what is giving The Deadliest Virus Every Known to members of Congress, their staff members and people in the White House?

Why aren’t Texas Democrats held in solitary confinement until their treason trials?

Joe Doakes

Because the Texas Democrats don’t allow the Democrats, nationally, to deflect away from their support for the costliest riots in US history?

While Making Your Afternoon Listening Plans

Please tune in to AM1280 this afternoon from 4-6PM for a special broadcast about Critical Race Theory in Minnesota, and what you and I can do about it.

It’ll feature:

  • Kendall Qualls and Alfrieda Baldwin from “Take Charge Minnesota”
  • Catrin Wigfall from the Center of the American Experiment
  • Rebekah Hagstrom from “Education Nation”.

We’ll be having the actual conversation that the CRT crowd plays lip service to.

I’ll be moderating the discussion.

Hope you can listen in!

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…

The New Lubyanka

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Been reading claims that the US holds political prisoners to punish Trump supporters.  Here’s a list of everybody arrested in the Four Hour Insurrection with their charges and detention status.

A lot of them are out, either on bail or personal recognizance.  A few  haven’t had their bail set yet, which strikes me as being a ridiculously long time to get around to it.   Only a few have been denied bail and remain in jail: those are mostly people who allegedly attacked cops or were engaged in Assaultive / Violent Behavior. 

Attacking a cop is still not enough reason to deny bail in any ordinary criminal case.  The courts have consistently held that bail is a constitutional right.  It’s being delayed/denied.  The charges against the January 6th accused aren’t serious enough to support the denial of bail.  And denial of bail for trespass-type offenses while holding the accused in solitary confinement, is inconsistent treatment considering that we’re emptying the jails everywhere else so people don’t catch Covid.
The hype could simply be complaints from defense lawyers looking for a better deal for their clients, or from political grifters who will seize any stick to beat the administration.  But the fact the DOJ’s own list confirms the claims makes this smell political. The fact the government refuses to turn over video evidence makes it smell political.  The fact the judge made histrionic claims to justify the sentence for a non-violent protester makes it smell political.   It smells like an attempt to punish these Trump supporters and intimidate the rest.  It smells like federal law enforcement is holding political prisoners.  That’s Third World banana republic stuff, like stuffing ballot boxes or imposing martial law on the capital city or calling for ‘reeducation camps’ or telling the media which news stories to take down.   That stuff could never happen in America, right? 

Right?

Joe Doakes

Democracy can not survive if people don’t trust its institutions to be even-handed.

We’ve got a big problem, then.

Urban Progressive Privilege: My Scientific Research Project

Title: Analyzing the Propensity of Modern Feminists, Progressives and the Media to Overstate Accrued Virtue.

Aim of the Experiment: The aim of the experiment is to test whether there is any activity approved of by “Big Left” that a woman can do, that will not be turned into a example of supreme personal moral virtue.

Hypothesis: It is predicted that, provided the activity is one promoted by “Big Left”, that there is no activity a woman can carry out that will not be referred to as “Brave”, “Courageous”, “Fierce” or other such superlatives.

Background Theory: It is believed that the rhetorical “Bar” for an action to be considered an act of personal moral courage, when the action is:

  • Congruent with the values of modern political and social “progressives”, and
  • Performed by a woman

…has dropped to the point of nearly being indistinguishable from any normal activity.

Methodology: The research team:

  1. Observed an extensive list of actions
  2. We specifically looked for examples of morally unremarkable, mundane, even counterproductive activities not being referred to in morally superlative terms
  3. We documented the results.

Results: We found no examples.

Discussion of Results: In comment section

Conclusion: There is literally nothing a woman can do (provided it’s congruent with the values of Big Left) too unremarkable, mundane or even destructive that won’t be called ‘Brave’.

As Predicted Here

Last year, when the FBI triiumphantly claimed that they’d busted a plot to kidnap MIchigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, I said, in as many words, “I bet a shiny new quarter this was a setup by the feds”.

My quarter is looking safer and safer:

The explosives expert was the undercover FBI agent. He was the one who figured out where to plant the explosive and offered to obtain as much as the group wanted. Would there even have been a plan to blow up the bridge without him? The Iraq War veteran is heard barking at the other members about not hanging around unless they were “down with the thought of kidnapping.” It almost sounds as if he had to talk some of them into it. A government informant from Wisconsin was the person who traveled around the country and introduced various militia members to each other, sometimes paying their travel costs. Many of the eventual members had never met each other before this. There were fully a dozen informants and undercover agents involved every step of the way.

When you put all of that together, you are forced to consider the question that Buzzfeed is asking. Without all of those agents and government informants holding people’s hands and guiding their steps, would there even have been a conspiracy without them? The defendants are saying no. They claim that the whole idea of kidnapping Whitmer never rose above the level of fantasy, though they freely admit going to paramilitary training sessions together and engaging in anti-government conversations and online chats.

My two cents: the establisment wants to deliver on that “wave of white supremacist terror” they’ve been promising since 2009, they’re willing to create it from scratch.