Think “Walz Checks”, Only Gassy

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Modern Monetary Theory says the government can borrow and spend as much as it likes without consequences. If we can afford a gas tax holiday, why not an income tax holiday, a social security tax holiday, a liquor tax holiday?

Or is MMT a lie and the gas tax holiday simply at attempt at buying votes with taxpayer money?

Joe Doakes

It is, of course, a purely academic exercise, like so much of the policy big left has been foisting on this country for the past hundred years and change.

The Right Indoctrination

SCENE: Mitch BERG is at REI, getting a handlebar cell phone carrier for hjs bike. He rounds the corner from the coffee cups, and runs into Avery LIBRELLE, who is shopping for…something? BERG tries to backpedal quietly away, but it’s too late.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Oh, shhhhhhhhure as I stand here today, it’s Avery…

LIBRELLE: Shut up. The Supreme Court just violated the separation of church and state, by allowing an educator to pray at school functions.

BERG: Well, you got a few of the facts right.

LIBRELLE: What would you think if a Muslim were to throw down a prayer mat on the fifty yard line and delay the kickoff while he prayed to Mecca?

BERG: Coach Kennedy didn’t interrupt the game with an ostentatious prayer in the middle of the field. It was a personal observance, after the game, involving him and only him. Other than the fact that it took place on the field around people, it couldn’t have been less public.

LIBRELLE: It caused an uproar.

BERG: It caused a small group of progressives to go to the school board and, after years of such observances, change the district policy to ban “demonstrative religious activity, readily observable to (if not intended to be observed by) students and the attending public.” 

LIBRELLE: So what would you think if a Muslim did something like that?

BERG: Have you actually been in the Midway Target? The Roseville Walmart? Seeing Muslims throwing down their mats at prayer time in an out of the way part of the store is nothing new at all. I care about it no more than a Christian praying whereever they want.

LIBRELLE: Yeah, but what if a non-Christian kid sees the demonstration, by one of their school’s authority figures? That’s going to put pressure on them. (Nods smugly)

BERG: So let me get this straight: a Christian school staffer, praying, privately but in public view, is…

LIBRELLE: Oppressive, fascist and probably white supremacist and racist.

BERG: Mkay. In the meantime, a non-binary or LGBTQ teacher telling kids the details of their personal and identity’s sexual orientation, including how their various orientations practice intimacy, to kids of all beliefs, including Christian and even Muslim kids, telling them there are infinite genders and no real notion of masculine and feminine, when they’re still at an age where the parents haven’t had “the talk” with them themselves yet?

LIBRELLE: Essential social education, to make up for the sloth and incompetence of parents.

BERG: Aaaah…

(They are interrupted by an employee)

EMPLOYEE: (to BERG): Can I help yo, sir?

BERG: (waves box with holder). Good to go.

EMPLOYEE: (to LIBRELLE) And you, si…uh, maa… (looks at BERG, startingi to panic a big. BERG shrugs)

LIBRELLE: I need a new seat for my electric recumbent bike.

BERG: So you, the big environmentalist, have switched to a coal-powered bike?

LIBRELLE looks up, alarmed, stammering, giving BERG time to make his break.

And SCENE.

Berg’s Eighth Law Is Universal And Immutable

Berg’s 8th Law of Diversity states “American progressivism’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 sociopathic disorder.

Like when, for example, the first Mexican-born Congresswoman is a conservative Christian? Never bet against the response being just a little psychotic.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi elbows the daughter of Mayra Flores out of the way during a photo op:

The contempt Big Left feels for “their” people who take off the Ketchup Bottle dresses and leave the cult positively throbs.

I think Flores – or whoever is running her Twitter account – is up to the challenge.

I may have to pony up for Flores’s actual election bid this fall.

Dobbs

Dobbs finally arrived:

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito for the majority. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

He was joined in the majority opinion by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. Justice Roberts filed a separate opinion concurring with the majority.

“With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent,” wrote Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan in a joint dissent.

The issue of abortion will now be returned to the individual states to regulate as each sees fit. Dark blue states are expected to impose the most radical pro-abortion policies while dark red states may ban all abortion. Many states may choose to allow abortion only under certain circumstances.

A few thoughts:

  • I am Catholic. We walk by faith and reason. Both faith and reason point to why Catholics have always opposed abortion. In that sense, today is a great day.
  • Now the battle really begins, and I do not mean the inevitable attacks and violence that will unfold over the coming days. The real battle is to win hearts and minds where possible. As long as Roe existed, all potential discussions about the morality and efficacy of abortion laws were always more theoretical than real, because 7 dudes said so. Now, for good and bad, the people and their elected representatives get to decide the matter.
  • The Court’s decision is, at bottom, an admission of humility. Roe was always an exercise in raw judicial power, as Byron White said in his dissent nearly 50 years ago. And as is often the case, the best use of power is sometimes to refrain from wielding such power.
  • Between this decision and the court’s earlier decision this week in the Bruen case, the court has at least started a necessary process of returning to first principles. And if the Court were to continue this process, I’d certainly like them to look at earlier abusive rulings. I’d start with Wickard v. Filburn.

Cherry-Picked

Not to sound cynical about big media – good heavens no, not me – but when I see the New York Times reporting on active shooters, I pretty much expect their “reporting” to either lie, or to hide the accurate conclusion in plain sight.

And they’ve done that.

They include a snazzy, Edward Tufte-style graphic to explicate their case – and they reached this conclusion:

“It’s direct, indisputable, empirical evidence that this kind of common claim that ‘the only thing that stops a bad guy with the gun is a good guy with the gun’ is wrong,” said Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama, who has studied mass shootings for more than a decade. “It’s demonstrably false, because often they are stopping themselves.”

So let’s look at the graphic:

So let’s take a look at the numbers.Out of nearly 250 mass shootings that ended before the police arrived, nearly 10% ended with the assailant being shot by a “bystander“ – A “good guy with a gun“. That’s nearly 10% of spree shootings, ended before the cops arrive

(That is, of course, presuming the media actually recognizes the episode. For example, they studiously ignored this recent incident .

Even so, that is actually a tad higher than I’d have figured; given that spree killers tend to pick targets where nobody is likely to be able to resist them, and nowhere near 10% of the population at large generally carries a firearm, that’s actually a better result than one might rationally expect.

But now, let’s look at the other resolutions.

Of the 249 mass shootings that ended before the cops arrived, nearly 80% end with the killer either leaving the scene or committing suicide.

And the devil with these shootings is in the details. Some of the spree killers do leave the scenes of their crimes on their own two feet. But others “leave” because a citizen threatened them with immediate death – as in this case four years ago, where two good guys with guns changed a would-be racist spree killer’s plans, one with the threat of death, one with gunfire, causing him to run away. He was apprehended later.

One that killed himself, did it after killing two people – before a good guy pointed a gun at his head. He ran into a nearby store, and killed himself.

Or this case, where a church “security guard” (a volunteer with a carry permit) shot a spree killer who’d murdered four people already. He killed himself, it’s true – after his plan had been fatally derailed by a good gal with a gun.

So what’s my conclusion?

You can tell Big Media is lying about guns when their lips are moving, or their fingers are touching keyboards.

Same as it ever was.

Dysfunctional

One of the more controversial stances I’ve taken on this blog is “MInnesota Public Radio News sucks less than most local news organizations”.

It’s not an unblemished statement, of course. With some of their staffers, their eliminationist leftism slips out (or comes gushing out in a tsunami of foul, scabrous rotting bile). And you don’t have to scratch the surface too hard to find MPR doing its best to uphold Big Left’s narrative.

So yes – they suck less. It’s a low bar, and they barely get over it, but there you have it.

But the product has been slipping in recent years. MPR’s newsroom has been shrinking – by a little over half in the past 5-6 years. Their on-air programming has gotten more and more perfunctory; ; less local production, (except for their local talk shows, which don’t take nearly as much overhead and effort as doing news – especially given how over-staffed as MPR historically has tended to be).

All is not well.

Jay Boller at Racket has a long, well-reported and, I need to add, utterly stereotype-affirming report on the recent decline of MPR News.

Long story short: As executive salaries soar, less and less of that taxpayer and donor money is going to news and programming.

But naturally, to those remaining, the problem is, notwithstanding the fact that the organization has unionized and pushed itself to the bleeding edge of the social justice fashion curve, MPR News just isn’t progressive enough:

The employee-led Transform group re-stated its lists of demands around anti-racism and gender equality last fall after Taylor assumed her role, concluding, “We remain tired, perhaps more tired than ever before. But we will not stop trying to force this company to change. It is simply too important.” 

This comes at a time when some – few, but some – in the “progressive” non-profit industrial complex are starting to ask some of the same questions about their business and political models (about which more, likely, next week), after noticing that all that money seems to be buying less results and more internal, woker-than-thou discord. The parallels are worth discussing.

I’d love to ask someone from MPR to come on the show to discuss this – but they’ve long since circled up their wagons and stopped talking with anyone outside the Circle of Trust.

Horrible If True

If the story presented in this Wall Street Journal article is true, what happened at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, could have been prevented or greatly mitigated:

Local residents voiced anger Thursday about the time it took to end the mass shooting at an elementary school here, as police laid out a fresh timeline that showed the gunman entered the building unobstructed after lingering outside for 12 minutes firing shots.

12 minutes can be a lifetime. But it gets worse.

Victor Escalon, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, gave a new timeline of how the now-deceased gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, walked into Robb Elementary School, barricaded himself in a classroom and killed 19 children and two teachers.

Mr. Escalon said he couldn’t say why no one stopped Ramos from entering the school during that time Tuesday. Most of the shots Ramos fired came during the first several minutes after he entered the school, Mr. Escalon said.

And worse still:

Ramos shot his grandmother Tuesday morning and drove her truck to Robb Elementary School, crashing the vehicle into a nearby ditch at 11:28 a.m., according to the timeline laid out by Mr. Escalon. He then began shooting at people at a funeral home across the street, prompting a 911 call reporting a gunman at the school at 11:30. Ramos climbed a chain-link fence about 8 feet high onto school grounds and began firing before walking inside, unimpeded, at 11:40. The first police arrived on the scene at 11:44 and exchanged gunfire with Ramos, who locked himself in a fourth-grade classroom. There, he killed the students and teachers.

A Border Patrol tactical team went into the school an hour later, around 12:40 p.m., and was able to get into the classroom and kill Ramos, Mr. Escalon said.

Consider the implication of this timeline — Ramos essentially announced himself and his intentions from the moment he arrived, but no one stopped him for over an hour. And it gets worse:

Ms. Gomez, a farm supervisor, was also waiting outside for her children. She said she was one of numerous parents who began encouraging—first politely, and then with more urgency—police and other law enforcement to enter the school sooner. After a few minutes, she said, U.S. Marshals put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation.

The Marshals deny this happened, but there’s more.

Videos circulated on social media Wednesday and Thursday of frantic family members trying to get access to Robb Elementary as the attack was unfolding, some of them yelling at police who blocked them from entering.

“Shoot him or something!” a woman’s voice can be heard yelling on a video, before a man is heard saying about the officers, “They’re all just [expletive] parked outside, dude. They need to go in there.”

We worry, quite rightly, about the fog of war in these instances. Much of the initial reporting is wrong. I am hoping the story told here is wrong; if it is accurate, there will be hell to pay. And quite rightly so.

Intellectual DNA Testing

I occasionally listen to public radio – not “in spite of” the fact that they have turned into the public relations arm, not just of “today’s left”, but of the “progressive” upper middle class. It reflects their angsts; I imagine a drinking game involving taking a shot whenever there’s a mention of Covid, January 6, climate change and white supremacy being very short and very chemically lethal.

It reflects their conceits; the traditional “NPR Voice”, the ofay upper-middle-class accent of the Oberlin poli-sci graduate, is being supplanted by very audibly African-American and, how shall we say this, accents of males with alternate lifestyles – the sort of stuff things that upper-middle-class white progressives demand from their entertainment.

And it reflects their ignorance, over and over, in so many ways.

One that I caught yesterday while driving across the Northern Plains, on the syndicated “New Yorker Radio Hour” – an episode which has not yet gotten onto the website – involved a woman, a reporter if memory serves, saying with what sounded like a straight face:

China has changed so much in recent years – economically, and socially.

And yet, the political system just doesn’t seem to change

Huh.

You’re saying a communist kleptocracy, which knows fiull well that the only alternative to being in power in a Communist dictatorship is a bullet in the back of the head, a system that is more similar to the Mafia than anything else we know of, doesn’t “change with the times?”

I often – very, very often – say that Democrats can say pretty much anything they want to their audience, since they – whether they dropped out of high school, or have a PhD in Women’s Studies – are so universally gullible and ignorant.

Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking too broadly.

Then, I hear things like this, and I get back on track.

Just Remember…

The real danger to our society is “right wing terror”.

As the gone-but-not-forgotten, perma-blocked Dog Gone used to say, the danger is a wave or conservative violence that will “dwarf 9/11”.

While we wait,and wait, and wait, we saw this from a “journalist” for “Rewire News Group” re the firebombing in Madison we talked about earlier this week:

Image

I’ve heard people on both sides of this issue say that abortion would be the spark for the next hot civil war in this country.

I disagree. The left’s response to being forced to share power, via shared powers, checks and balances and due process, with those they hate is going to be what the civil war is about.

Abortion will be one of the issues that will exercise the shared powers, checks, balances and process against which Big Left will revolt.

Happy Days Are Here Again

So how to stop Dobbs? Declare a sex strike:

Some on the left have come up with creative ways they think will encourage people to save Roe v. Wade.

Earlier this week on The View, co-host Joy Behar floated the idea of a sex strike.

“Women in the world have conducted sex strikes in history,” Behar explained. “In 2003, a sex strike helped to end Liberia’s brutal civil war and the woman who started it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2009, Kenyan women enforced a sex ban until police political infighting ceased. Within one week, there was a stable government.”

“We have more power than we think we do and some of it could be in the bedroom,” Behar insisted.

As a general rule, restricting the supply of something that generates little to no demand doesn’t change much. And for Behar and her colleagues, their greatest output is not sex appeal, but rather self-regard. So go ahead, get on the picket line!  And rest assured, we won’t cross picket lines on this one.

Let Me Spell This Out

Big Left has been chanting about “reforming” the Senate again.

Rep Phillips summed up a chanting point we’ve heard from the likes of Tina Smith and Nancy Pelosi:

Let me spell this out for the benefit of Democrats: the US is not – or is not supposed to be – a government with all significant power centralized at the national level, like the UK or France. It’s a federation of states – the United States, a group of independent and interdependent mini-nations joined in a federation with limited, enumerated powers.

Among the primary reason to enumerate and limit those powers? To prevent the most populous states from dictating national policy to smaller states.

It’s why we have a House of Representatives to directly represent The People, and a Senate that represents the interests of States; to check and balance the interests of both sides.

This enumeration of powers, and limits on those powers, is called the Constitution. The Constitution is very closely analogous to a contract.

And when you breach a contract, the law – well, a just legal system – offers relief to the parties to the contract. Including the dissolution of the contract.

Abrogating the Senate’s ability to check and balance the majority and act in states interest is a breach of contract, and grounds for dissolving the Union.

Prove me wrong.

NOTE: If your answer is “the question ‘can we secede’ was settled in 1965”? No. Two reasons:

  • It was settled in 1776.
  • If the contract is null and void – and it will be – then there’s no union to secede from.

F*** around and find out.

Will The Real Donald Trump Please Stand Up?

The Left wants Donald Trump on the ballot this fall – the Trump with no internal governor who wrote the mean tweets, the Trump of the (often dishonest or fabricated) media narratives, and especially of the “January 6” of fact, fiction and in between.

But then, so does the GOP.

But which Donald Trump? The business tycoon? The loose cannon that could rope-a-dope either world leaders into agreement, or his own cabinet into distraction? Or the person that focused the economic and social concerns of a whole lot of people – middle America, blue-collar “Red” America, and by the bye more Black and Latino voters than any Republican in two generations, into political action?

The Virginia gubernatorial election showed us a hint: it’s #3. The first two camps barely registered in that fairly meat ‘n potatoes contest.

We’ve got a group of primaries coming up this month – Idaho, and later this month Georgia.

But it started last night, with Ohio’s primaries for Governor and Senate.

And it saw the above-mentioned three camps squaring off:

Was it that voters wanted a businessman? Well, Mike Gibbons was a successful businessman.

Was it that Trump was “the craziest son of a b****” in the room, as Thomas Massie sometimes wondered? Then Josh Mandel was your man.

Or was it the “America First” agenda on the immigration, trade, and foreign policy? If that’s what you thought, then J. D. Vance was your candidate.

And the winner: Vance.

But Vance’s advantage was that he campaigned on the politics he believes in. That’s one of the reasons he was able to campaign so much more than his opponents; he doesn’t need to read from cue cards. It’s why he was able to constantly reiterate his position on the Ukraine war with confidence, even as his opponents got lost while searching for their own views. Much has been made of Vance’s supposed transformation from the author of Hillbilly Elegy to the Senate candidate endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene. He shifted his assessment of Trump, absolutely, but his politics have remained much the same. Even Vance’s vengeful former roommate — who tried to harm his campaign by sharing a text showing that, years ago, Vance made an overheated comparison of Trump to Hitler — ended up proving the point. In that text exchange, Vance was saying that the Republican Party needed to deliver tangible benefits to working-class white people who have migrated into the party. That’s the message he had three years ago, too.

I suspect this is at least part of the reason Big Left is trying to make they hay they are over the leaked Roe decision; the GOP is running on the Trump legacy that’s least convenient to then. .

We’ll wait to see how Idaho and Georgia turn out.

Roe No Mo

So we have a leak and it appears the Supremos are sending Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood to the dustbin of history. A few very brief thoughts:

  • Justice Alito is right: Roe was always built on a foundation of nothing. Justice White was also correct when Roe was decided. Roe was an exercise of raw judicial power. And raw power is always used eventually.
  • And if we’re in housekeeping season, now do Wickard v. Filburn.
  • The Dobbs ruling, assuming it goes through, changes nothing in Minnesota. Abortion is legal by statute here.
  • The leak itself is awful for the Court, but it was also inevitable. There was always an incentive to break this particular taboo and the leaker will be celebrated, not punished. MSNBC will have a corner office prepared by EOB today.
  • I don’t know what Chief Justice John Roberts will do, but it’s going to be another opportunity for him to go peak weasel.
  • One unanswered question — does Dobbs apply to pregnant men?

The usual caveats about interesting times are in full effect.

Ignorance is Strength

Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimical to illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it was necessary to be able to learn from the past, which meant having a fairly accurate idea of what had happened in the past.

Nothing is efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police.

-1984, George Orwell

On Wednesday at a budget hearing before the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, DHS Secretary Mayorkas made some news in revealing a new Disinformation Governance Board. (His written testimony made no mention of it.) This came in an exchange with Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ohio). Video of the hearing is here, the exchange starts at about the 1:39:54 mark.

Underwood: Another huge threat to our homeland is mis- and disinformation. You noted that it’s a concern of yours at the border with human smuggling organizations peddling information to exploint vulnerable migrants for profit.

One of my main concerns about disinformation is that foreign adversaries attempt to destabilize our elections by targeting people of color with disinformation campaigns. After it became clear that there was more meddling in our 2016 election, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence authored a report on the disinformation tactics used by Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the IRA, to interfere in the election. The report found that “no single group of Americans was targeted by the IRA information operatives more than African Americans.”

A newer trend that we saw in the 2020 election and already in the 2022 midterms is that disinformation is being heavily targeted at Spanish speaking voters, sparking and fueling conspiracy theories. DHS and its components play a big role in addressing mis- and disinformation in Spanish and other languages. Can you share what steps you’ve taken and what future plans you have to address Spanish language mis- and disinformation throug department-wide approach?

Mayorkas: Our Under-Secretary for Policy, Rob Silvers, is co-chair with our principal deputy general counsel, Jennifer Daskal, in leading a just recently constituted Disinformation Governance Board. The goal is to bring the resources of the department together to address this threat. I just read a very interesting study that underscores the importance of the point that you make, the spread of mis- and disinformation in minority communities specifically, and we are focused on that in the context of our CP3 and other efforts.

When asked about it, the odious Jen Psaki let the mask slip and mentioned COVID as a topic where the heavy hand of the government may be needed to keep the peasants in line.

“We know there has been a range of [disinformation] out there about a range of topics, I mean, including COVID for example, and also elections and eligibility,” Psaki said, adding that she would check for additional information on what the board plans to do.

The American Experiment also points out that SitD’s own Senator Klobuchar is in on the act, tackling “health misinformation.”

At a recent conference hosted by the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, Senator Amy Klobuchar failed to answer a reporter’s direct question about the nature of her proposed bill, the “Health Misinformation Act,” leaving open the possibility of government and bureaucratic control over what constitutes internet misinformation and who has the power to make that decision.

Sitting on a panel at the “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference on April 8, Klobuchar was asked a direct question about her proposed bill by Chicago Thinker co-founder and Managing Editor Evita Duffy: “If I were to say there are only two sexes — male and female — would that be considered misinformation that you think should be banned speech on social media platforms?” Klobuchar proceeded to give a light chuckle and insisted it pertained to vaccine misinformation during a “public health crisis.” She refused to define misinformation and the parameters under which the proposed bill’s carveout would go into effect.

Klobuchar’s bill seeks to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives internet platforms protection from civil liability for published content. The amendment creates a carveout that would strike immunity from those platforms that use algorithms promoting content and permit the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), “in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies and outside experts determined appropriate by the Secretary, shall issue guidance regarding what constitutes health misinformation…”

Klobuchar’s evasive “answer” is not surprising considering the actual language of the bill has zero mention of vaccines and fails to define “misinformation.” But this lack of specific language and purpose in the bill — despite what Klobuchar may say at a conference — is very troubling. It leaves the door open for politicians and unelected bureaucrats in public health to determine what can and cannot be promoted on sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, harnessing the power of the federal government to punish platforms disseminating speech it deems “misinformation.”

As Scott Johnson pointed out at Powerline, there is clearly a coordinated effort going on that has led to the creation of this board. In early April, at a conference entitled Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy, at which Rep. Underwood was a featured speaker by the way, Barack Obama gave a lengthy address entitled “Disinformation Is a Threat to Our Democracy”. He said:

All right. With that as my starting point, I believe we have to address not just the supply of toxic information, but also the demand for it. On the supply side, tech platforms need to accept that the play a unique role in how we, as a people and people around the world, are consuming information and that their decisions have an impact on every aspect of society. With that power comes accountability, and in democracies like ours, at least, the need for some democratic oversight.

For years, social media companies have resisted that kind of accountability. They’re not unique in that regard. Every private corporation wants to do anything it wants. So, the social media platforms called themselves neutral platforms with no editorial role in what their users saw. They insisted that the content people see on social media has no impact on their beliefs or behavior — (laughter) — even though their business models and their profits are based on telling advertisers the exact opposite.

We do expect these companies to affirm the importance of our democratic institutions, not dismiss them, and to work to find the right combination of regulation and industry standards that will make democracy stronger. And because companies recognize the often dangerous relationship between social media, nationalism, domestic hate groups, they do need to engage with vulnerable populations about how to put better safeguards in place to protect minority populations, ethnic populations, religious minorities, wherever they operate.

For example, in the United States, they should be working with, not always contrary to, those groups that are trying to prevent voter suppression and specifically has targeted black and brown communities. In other words, these companies need to have some other North Star other than just making money and increasing market share. Fix the problem that, in part, they helped create, but also to stand for something bigger.

This announcement naturally gave rise to accusations that this board would be a new Ministry of Truth. I don’t think that is the right analogy, though. In Orwell’s 1984, the Ministry of Truth was the propaganda factory. It was responsible for spreading Newspeak and rewriting history.

I think a better analogy from Orwell would be the Thought Police. This organization was responsible for enforcing not only what people could say, but what they could think. It’s why the Thought Police needed to be the only effective organization. If the people are controlled, and there’s no outlet to inspire other people to action, all else falls into place.

Orwell’s insight about the Thought Police was that they knew the truth, they knew the past. They had to in order to know how to change it. Someone knew the lies, and spread them anyway.

There was no mention from Rep. Underwood about efforts to declare the Hunter Biden laptop story as disinformation, and how people and organizations have been thrown off of public platforms for mentioning it and other “unapproved” thoughts.

The threat from boards like this and where they can go isn’t that government official truly believe things such as the Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation, or that Trump colluded with the Russians, or that men can be women, or that America is a systematically racist country. It’s that they know these to be lies yet spread them anyway, and worse, work to suppress your opportunities to say otherwise.

Gotta Have A Joe For This, A Joe For That

But this runnin’ with the Bidens, boy, just ain’t where it’s at:

Hunter Biden’s closest business partner made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015, including a sitdown with then-Vice President Joe Biden in the West Wing.

Visitor logs from the White House of former President Barack Obama reviewed by The Post cast further doubt over Joe Biden’s claims that he knew nothing of his son’s dealings.

If Biden claims he knows nothing about such things now, I tend to believe him. He doesn’t appear to know much of anything. That ol’ historical record is an issue, though:

Eric Schwerin met with Vice President Biden on November 17, 2010 in the West Wing, when he was the president of the since-dissolved investment fund Rosemont Seneca Partners.

The logs also reveal that Schwerin met with various close aides of both Joe and Jill Biden at key moments in Hunter’s life when he was striking multi-million dollar deals in foreign countries, including China. Yet President Biden has long insisted he had no involvement in his son’s foreign affairs. “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” he said in 2019.

Does Biden’s denial beggar belief? Of course. If Hunter Biden’s surname had been, I dunno, Doakes, a guy like Schwerin would have been as welcome roaming the halls of power as the guy with the facepaint and the Buffalo headgear was on Jan. 6. But as an associate of Biden the younger, he had the golden ticket. 

”Not everyone gets to meet the Vice President of the United States in the White House. The press should be asking why Hunter Biden’s business associates — like Eric Schwerin — had that privilege and were given access to the Obama White House,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin). “This is additional evidence that Joe Biden lied when he said he never discussed Hunter’s foreign business dealings. It’s well past time for the corporate media to demand the truth from Joe Biden. The corruption of Biden Inc. must be exposed.”

Strictly speaking, the logs don’t prove Biden lied, but it’s certainly the way to bet. And while Senator Johnson is correct in asserting the press ought to be asking questions, I would not count on any investigative reporting happening any time soon. There’s a lot more at the link, including this reminder of how incestuous the power structure is in Washington:

In October 2009, just months after Hunter co-founded Rosemont Seneca, Schwerin met with Evan Ryan, Vice President Biden’s assistant for intergovernmental affairs and public liaison, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building where the vice president’s office is based, according to the visitor logs.

While working in the halls of power Ryan acted as a conduit for Hunter Biden and his cronies, hard drive emails show.

Ms. Ryan is now the Cabinet Secretary for Biden. And speaking of Biden’s cabinet. . .

Ryan went on to marry Antony Blinken, who now serves as President Biden’s Secretary of State, while she herself was appointed to a plum gig as White House Cabinet Secretary in January 2021.

It’s all in the family.

 

 

Kangaroos Everywhere

SCENE: The studio at the National Public Radio Twin Cities bureau. Mitch BERG is sitting, in headphones, in front of a microphone. Around the corner of the table is Cat SCAT, designated “fact checker” at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, she is the office manager at a small phrenology practice. Through the glass, an engineer, an assistant engineer, an editor, an editorial assistant, two associate producers, a producer, a digital producer and an executive producer sit, listening intently. Across the table from SCAT and BERG sits MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats.

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER 1: “Aaand we’re rolling”.

SILBERMAN: (Reading from a script). Thanks, Kathy. That dress is adorable, by the way. Now, we look at America’s large and growing political divide. With us today are Cat Scat, Executive Fact-Checker at the journalism site “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com”, a source of journalism and news for Minnesotans since 2008.

SCAT: Hello. Is this thing on?

SILBERMAN: And Mitch Berg, blogger and talk radio host.

BERG: Uh…yeah, hi.

SILBERMAN (Still reading from script) Since 2016, concerns about the rise of authoritarianism have swept the nation…

BERG: Er, MylLyssa? That’s not true – on either side. People on the left were concerned about a rise in populism in Europe in the early 20`0s, when, rightly or wrongly, they fretted about the rise of the Volkspartei in Germany, and Victor Orban’s Fideš party in Hungary, as well as some pretty potent Polish nationalism. In the meantime, conservatives in the US have been concerned about the politicization of the state bureaucracy, with Barack Obama weaponizing some of the tools of excessive power that George W Bush instituted during his administration’s control over the War on Terror…

(BERG stops, noticing that SILBERMAN and SCAT are glaring at him).

ASSOCIATE ENGINEER: Take two?

SILBERMAN: Yep

LEAD ENGINEER: Rolling.

SILBERMAN (Still reading from script) Since 2016, concerns about the rise of authoritarianism have swept the nation. As right-wing anti-science theocrats took charge, fomenting boog bang… (stops). we’ll cut that in the edit. (deep breath) book bans, restrictions on saying “gay”, bans on reproductive rights, and a rise in hate from the right…

PRODUCER: (breaking in on the talkback): MyLyssa – read that as “skyrocketing racial hatred from red America directed at people of color and LGBTQ+ Americans.

EDITOR: …and “women and their children”.

PRODUCER: Love it. Got that, MyLyssa?

SILBERMAN: (scribbline on script) Got it.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Take it from “As right wing…” (SILBERMAN nods)

ASSOCIATE ENGINEER: Three, two, one…

SILBERMAN: As right-wing anti-science theocrats took charge, fomenting book bans, restridctions on saying “gay”, and skyrocketing racial hatred from red America directed at people of color, LGBTQ+ Americans and women and their children, we want to get the views of our guests – Cat Scat, progressive journalist and activist, and Mitch Berg, right wing hatemonger.

BERG: Uhhhhh

SILBERMAN: Ms. Scat, what’s your take?

SCAT: The problem entirely started in 2016, when hatemongers took over the White House, ushering in an era of hatred for people of color, for LGBTQ+, for women’s reproductive choice, for transgender and queer folk, for demoracy itself, and replacing it with a paranoid neo-nazi ammosexual delusions of a bunch of red-state trailer-park dwelling cousin-f**king high school dropouts, which studies show the majority of red America are…

BERG: I’m gonna break in, here. Your statement is the kind of lie that gets legs of its own if you let it fester. It’s a preposterous slander of tens of millions of millions of Americans; we almost invariably are motivated not by hate, but by concern over the trashing of the parts of Western Civilization that have made us not only the free-est and most prosperous society in history – one where for the firs time ever, obesity is a bigger problem than starving to death – but more humane, especially for gays, people of color, LGBTQ+ and whomever you’re concerned about, and don’t support authoritarians, ever, in any way.

PRODUCER: What can we do with that last bit.

ENGINEER: Wait one…

(freantic computer editing)

ENGINEER: OK, here’s what we got:

(BERG’s voice, edited, in the playback): “I’m gonna break…Your…legs …we… hate… the trash…of Western Civilization…obesi…gays, people of color, LGBTQ+ and whomever you’re concerned about and…support authoritarians…in any way.

SILBERMAN: So you hate people of weight as well as POC, LGBTQ+ and Latinx people…

SCAT: You’ve been fact-cjhecked!

BERG: I did in fact record the original unedited exchange on my phone and this digital recorder.

SILBERMAN: Unfair!

PRODUCER: Chilling effect on journalism!

EDITOR: Why do you hate the free press?

And SCENE

Based, loosely but not nearly loosely enough, on an MPR piece I caught last week.

DeSantis: Troll Level PhD

Fatherhood is high on Big Left’s hit list – especially Big Feminism and Big Intersectionality. Without strong fathers, families are missing half of the behavioral background the children need to grow to be strong people.

Debasing fatherhood is key to Big Left’s crusade to “reinvent” – i.e. destroy – the nuclear family.

Ron DeSantis signed a bill designed to rehabilitate fathers in Florida. And there’s a Minnesota connection:

DeSantis signed the bill at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training facility in Tampa, according to WTSP, noting that he put pen to paper at the team’s AdventHealth Training Center alongside former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy, who is also the spokesperson of and contributor to All Pro Dad, a national fatherhood nonprofit program that will be provided funding via grant opportunities by the bill. DeSantis said the organization uses “evidence-based parenting education.”

Dungy gave an impassioned speech as he backed the bill, saying that it will “be such a big help to fathers in Florida agencies that support fathers in Florida.” He commended DeSantis for bringing his children with him.

The program is designed to rehab fathers who’ve gotten out of jail, and whose kids are in the social-services system.

I’m waiting for Big Feminism to start with the gaslighting.

I’m also waiting for DeSantis to make them look like the yawping psychopaths they are.

DeSantis is pulling waaaay out front in my personal 2024 poll. .

For Your Own Good

Years and years ago, on a NARN broadcast at the “Back to the Fifties’ car show at the Fairgrounds, James Lileks made a point that summed up why “progressivism” is so noxious to so many people; there would, and could, never be an electric equivalent of the 1965 Ford Mustang.

Progressivism isn’t about muscle, happiness, abundance. It’s about shared misery – spreading it, virtue-signaling it (and, if you’re one of the “Big Guys”, quietly and flagrantly avoiding it). It’s no accident that it’s the “progressives” that are still wearing masks as they walk their dogs, alone, down empty streets.

The problem is, poor societies don’t solve problems. It takes prosperity to innovate. Leftists never get that.

Not everyone on the left believes in the virtue of wallowing in privation for “the common good”. Ruy Texeira – author, TED talker and public radio regular guest, who describes himself as a committed liberal – writes an excellent piece in the National Review about all the things the Democrats are getting wrong. It’s a longish and excellent read (and might require a subscription, i dunno)…

…and makes a similar point; Democrat disdain for prosperity (among the proles, at least – nobody’s coming for Zuckerberg’s spare yacht) is hurting them among the normies,

Energy is a big fault line:

Closely related to Democrats’ relative indifference to economic growth is their lack of optimism that a rapid advance and application of technology can produce an abundant future. More common is fear that a dystopian future might await us thanks to AI and other technologies. This is odd, given that almost everything ordinary people like about the modern world, including relatively high living standards, is traceable to technological advances and the knowledge embedded in them. From smartphones, flat-screen TVs, and the Internet to air and auto travel to central heating and air-conditioning to the medical devices and drugs that cure disease and extend life to electric lights and the mundane flush toilet, technology has dramatically transformed people’s lives for the better. It is difficult to argue that the average person today is not far, far better off than her counterpart in the past. “The good old days were old but not good,” as the Northwestern University economic historian Joel Mokyr puts it.

Doesn’t the Left want to make people happy? One has to wonder. They show more interest in figuring out what people should stop doing and consuming than in figuring out how people can have more to do and consume. They rarely discuss the idea of abundance, except to disparage it.

Texeira may never do lunch on Nob Hill again, but it’s worth a read.

Can The Center Hold?

I’m not one of those conservatives that bags on teachers as his default setting. My mother’s parents were teachers. My dad was a great teacher. My little sister teaches. Three out of four of them voted or vote GOP. Teachers are as individual as anyone else.

Now, as an example, when bad cops – corrupt sergeants, mobbed-up detectives, thumpers on patrol, sadists in squad cars – emerge, the question pops up; why don’t the good cops do something about the bad cops? Why does the “thin blue line” seem to believe standing with a bad cop is more important than good civilians?

So – let’s take that (perfectly valid) logic and apply it to teachers. Why aren’t the good ones able to do something about teachers like this?

The question is only partly rhetorical.

Panic in Donkville

It’s almost impossible to put enough lipstick on the porcine Biden administration. All the polls are in the crapper and the only numbers that are going up are in the grocery aisles. Meanwhile, as Joel Kotkin notes, Biden and the rest of the party are doing their best Thelma and Louise imitation, especially where the environment is concerned: 

The cave-in to the greens has increased the Democrats’ economic vulnerability, particularly in the wake of Russian aggression and the continued role of China as the world’s dominant greenhouse-gas emitter. The well-funded American environmental elite lack the grudging sense of realism of their German counterparts, who have been forced to reconsider some of their energy policies in light of the invasion. But in resource-rich America, the green grandees still oppose boosting fossil-fuel energy supplies, despite 80 per cent of voters, and an equal percentage of Democrats, favouring the use of both fossil fuels and renewables. Public support for Net Zero / the Green New Deal hovers around 20 per cent.

You don’t want to get crosswise of the ol’ 80/20 rule, but somehow the Donks have pulled it off. And it’s got the old Clinton hands up in arms. Back to Kotkin:

Cultural issues represent another fault line between the bulk of the electorate and the tin-eared elites of the party. Democrats’ have embraced what former Bill Clinton strategist James Carville scathingly labels ‘the politics of the faculty lounge’, such as support for the increasingly discredited Black Lives Matter movement and its calls to ‘defund the police’. This idea may be beloved at places like Harvard, but among the less elevated mortals it is widely unpopular, even among minorities, including two of the nation’s Democratic African-American mayors, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner and New York City’s Eric Adams.

Voters view crime as the second-most pressing issue, after the economy and inflation. Here again the survey results are equally distressing for the progressive agenda. Voters, according to one recent survey, blame the Democrats for the current crime wave by a margin of two to one. Moderate Democrats, like retiring Florida congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, herself a refugee from Vietnam, found her support for legislation that would penalise undocumented criminals got her labeled as ‘anti-immigrant’ by the party’s dominant progressive mob.

Now it may surprise those of us in Minnesota that Black Lives Matter is increasingly discredited; Esme Murphy and the KARE Bears haven’t mentioned it much. But it should surprise no one that someone like Stephanie Murphy would lose support of the party apparat; on the bright side, she has thus far avoided being called a Russian operative, but it’s early and she might still get the full Tulsi if she’s not careful. Closer to home, it will be interesting to see how self-styled moderates like Dean “Everyone’s Invited” Phillips navigate the electorate.

There’s a long time between now and November, but it’s difficult to envision a reversal of the trends. One should never underestimate the ability of the Republican Party to blow it. Still, the Donks find events in the saddle and all the narrative engineers at their disposal can’t change the prices at Hy-Vee or Holiday. For nearly half a century, Joe Biden has wanted to be president in the worst way. And he’s getting his wish.

Rules Of The Game

Most readers of this feature knew the truth in 2020 — Hunter Biden, the uber-prodigal son of the now Leader of the Free World, abandoned a laptop computer at a repair shop in Delaware. The laptop was filled to the brim with embarrassing and yes, incriminating evidence of financial malfeasance and videotaped debauchery. It was real and yes, it was spectacular. And the New York Post was on the case.

But you weren’t allowed to know any of it, and if you tried to tell anyone what you weren’t allowed to know, you were in for a banning:

Twitter went so far as to lock users out of their accounts if they shared this piece of journalism that was clearly in the public interest. It locked the Twitter accounts of the actual White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, and the New York Post itself. Here we had the spokesperson for the democratically elected president of the United States and the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in America being cast out of social media for the crime of sharing a story that was true. This was surely the most egregious, arrogant interference in democratic politics and press freedom carried out by corporate elites in recent times.

Recent times? I think the term we’re looking for here is ever. And as Brendan O’Neill discusses in the piece linked above, the implications are chilling:

This was a truly extraordinary moment in the political life of the United States of America. A free-thinking daily newspaper published a fascinating report on the emails and behaviour of the then vice-president’s son and it found itself shamed, blocked and defamed for doing so. Californian oligarchs, former members of the American deep state and virtually the entire opinion-forming set of the East Coast clubbed together to denounce the Post, ban it from Twitter, and rubbish its reporting as the handiwork of evil Ruskies. Yet some of them now admit the story was actually true, a fact that has been clear since at least December 2020, when federal authorities started investigating Hunter. What took place following the Post’s breaking of the laptop story was a terrifying assault on media freedom, the right to dissent and truth itself.

We are free, theoretically, to express our views. From the founding of the republic, we have been able to drag a soapbox to the public square and hold forth. Twitter isn’t the only public square available; in form and in fact, it’s an upholstered cesspool. But it is the realm where our betters and minders, coextensive as they are, disgorge the received wisdom of our age. And it’s where the game is played. And the game is rigged. Back to O’Neill:

But it was the elites’ brutal stomping on this story that should worry us more. It confirmed that the new woke elites will do whatever it takes to crush inconvenient facts, to bury stories and ideas and beliefs that pose a threat to their power or their interests. And it confirmed that Big Tech billionaires will happily engage in explicit political censorship to protect their allies and sponsors from scrutiny. If an established newspaper like the New York Post can be forcefully locked out of the 21st-century public square, just imagine what could be done to you or me if we ever happened upon some facts the elites would prefer to keep hidden.

There’s a chilling line in the 1939 French film La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game). The character Octave (played by Jean Renoir, the film’s director) says:

You see, in this world, there is one awful thing, and that is that everyone has his reasons.

Those who control the game and the general discourse in the country have their reasons as well. The reason is power, nothing more and nothing less. If we are to play the game, we’d better understand that.

Honor Among Bureaucrats

Report apparently leaked last week shows – to the surprise of nobody – that the City of Minneapolis just was n ot ready for the George Floyd riots – or much of anything else:

An independent audit of Minneapolis’ handling of protests and riots following the police murder of George Floyd found city leaders and police ignored emergency plans in place, instead making decisions on the fly, according to Council Member Robin Wonsley Worlobah, who saw a draft report.

One line in the report Wonsley Worlobah pointed to reads: “We learned that MPD does not adhere to the principles of the ICS (incident command system) but rather addresses emergencies and crises with an ad hoc command structure.”

Of course, the fact that Minneapolis wasn’t ready was on display worldwide, almost two years ago – including the fact that Minneapolis’s administration had no idea how to ask a passive-aggressive governor how to get the National Guard onto the streets.

I’ll take a moment to air this tweet, by “Dr.” Katie Knuth, 2021 Minneapolis mayoral also-ran and..

…well, we’ll delve back into her resume in a moment.

The administration has “no clue about basic emergency operations”?

Now, it seems that at one point the CIty of Minneapolis had a full-time bureaucrat, a “resiliency director”, whose vague and unaccountable brief would seem to the untrained eye to cover things like “making the city resilient”.

Now, I’m just an untrained, unlettered peasant, but one might think it’d be part of a “resiliency director’s” brief to make the city…resilient?

So who was city’s first “resiliency director”, two scant years before the riots?

Oh.

Appeal To Ridicule

Senate majority leader Gazelka called it: the various metro teachers unions are making a grab for a chunk of the “9 billion dollar surplus”.

Erin Murphy – Senator from the mean streets of Highland Pari, and living proof that the DFL is the party of misogyny – decided to chirp:

Yeah, those damn teachers…

…who work for a system that is the biggest consumer of tax dollars in the state, whose administrative overburden is the biggest single expense, and whose union is by far, not even close, the biggest and most powerful lobbying body in the state.

Great Time For A Strike, Denise…”

Minneapolis teachers will likely be walking off the job.

The timing…doesn’t seem great, from their perspective:

I think Majority Leader Gazelka got this one right: