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…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Denormalizing

Remember December 1, 2016?

Maybe not.

But if you don’t, I consider it my mission to make sure that date lives on – dare I say, in infamy.

It was the date that reps from the New York Times and Washington Post newsrooms went on the air and told the nation…

…well, the tiny, self-selecting part of the nation that listens to NPR on the weekend – that it was time for the news media to stop playing by the rules that they always told the nation they played by, the whole “telling people the facts and let them draw their own concusions” thing, and started using their power to “de-normalize” President Trump.

And almost four years later, here we are:

Not Martin Van Buren, the most genuinely corrupt president in history.

Not James Buchanan, the inept buffoon who all but sent out engraved invitations to the Civil War.

Not Woodrow Wilson, the Princeton dean who lied about keeping the nation out of war, did more than any other single person to federalize and weaponize Jim Crow and empower the Klan, and launch the bureaucratic state that’s eating the nation alive today.

No. Trump. A coarse populist buffoon who has, nonetheless, pretty much done what he said he’d do (start bringing troops home, revive the economy after the slowest recovery since the Depression, nominate conservative SCOTUS justices), a few nobody expected (roll the ball farther toward peace in the middle east than any president, defeated ISIS), and brought the extreme delusional madness of the left fully out in the open, where (if America is wise) it can be stomped on hard, God willing…

…oh. I get it now.

I Try…

…to punch up. To treat people with respect. To treat people the way I’d like to be treated. To always take the high road.

But Maureen Dowd?

I’m going to take a walk on the dark side, here.

MoDo is an invincibly stupid person.

This Is Your Twin Cities Media

The flotsam and jetsam of the left’s social media legion of the invincibly depraved has legs so tingly this morning at the news the POTUS and FLOTUS have Covid, they had to drag themselves hand over hand to the kitchen to make their avocado toast.

Of course, they were in Duluth before the news broke, so the Twin Cities media has jumped into high gear to investigate, not ballot harvesting (oh, good heavens, no) but just how close Minnesota’s GOP congresspeople and candidates actually were to the President.

Strib columnist Jennifer Brooks:

Don’t worry, Jen. John Thompson is on it.

If the FCOTUS recover without complications – fingers crossed, prayers being prayed – I’m almost tempted to send all these “journalists” sympathy cards.

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Democrats want me to believe 160,000 Americans died on Trump’s watch because he could have prevented the virus and didn’t; therefore. we should elect Biden to replace him

Really?

Perhaps someone could lay out the step-by-step plan by which President Trump could have prevented a virus from killing old sick people this Spring or the step-by-step-plan by which President Biden will prevent it from killing them next Winter.

A timetable and citations to statutory authority would be helpful.

Joe Doakes

Divisive!

The Paper of Walter Duranty, the one that published the deeply ahistorical, revisionistic and nothing-but-inflammatory “1629 Project”, the one that published Paul Krugman’s innumerate claims that “blue” America bankrolls “red” America, which has been openly advocating “progressive” ideals in its editorial pages since I was in high school, which has been one of the primary PR agents for the left in America’s cultural cold civil war, the one that has not only been a “progressive” flak for generations but whose young, “woke” red guard faction has moved beyond shaping the informational battlefield to actively purity-testing the left-leaning editorial staff to drive it further to the cultural and political left…

has the victorian vapours about “cultural divisiveness” over Trump’s weekend speech at Mount Rushmore.

Watch for yourself.

The only thing that I could find that was remotely “divisive” was exhortation about three minutes in stating that Mount Rushmore would never be desecrated – which, I imagine, some post-modern academics find profoundly hostile.

Or maybe the bit around 5:10 here he said the rights of man will never be taken away. That has got to make Tim Walz nervous.

Perhaps the part around 6:10, where he points out that Americans aren’t “weak and submissive” in facing the war on American culture, but will in fact prevail. That’s a pretty clear and direct threat to…someone.

Too bad, so sad.

Berg’s Seventh Law is iron-clad and absolute.

Distillation

From the American Heritage dictionatry, the word “Distillation”

  • n.The evaporation and subsequent collection of a liquid by condensation as a means of purification.
  • n.The extraction of the volatile components of a mixture by the condensation and collection of the vapors that are produced as the mixture is heated.
  • n.A distillate.

With that definition in mind: this article in the Atlantic is as pure a distillation of Berg’s Seventh Law as rhetorical chemistry will allow.

Democracy Dies In Conspiracy

Conservatives, especially conservatives who are “out” critics of the mainstream media, get routinely accused of “hating” journalism. The late Nick Coleman was particularly, er, “acerbic” in his criticism of those who had the gall to criticize the news/industrial complex, claiming in one bout of hysteria that bloggers “wanted to kill the Strib”.

While we correctly savaged the Strib, and especially Coleman, on issue after issue, it was still baked wind. Self-government, small-“D” democracy, needs a functional, and above all trustworthy, media (among many other institutions) to survive.

And by “”trustworthy”, we mean “can be trusted to report the news, truthfully, regardless of its own institutional and individual political opinions.

In Europe, the media are pretty honest about their political points of view, on an editorial level; the Times of London and the Frankfurter Allgemeine are center-right; Guardian and Die Zeit and Le Monde are all various degrees of left. You know the slant before you pick up the paper. You can account for it.

American media has built a myth of objectivity, or at least of being a so-called “neutral voice”, around itself; Minnesota Public Radio news even made “No Rant, No Slant” their motto for a while, and it’s not much different than the mythology American media built for itself over the past hundred years or so. In my freshman year journalism class,

And it’s never really been true. Some journos do in fact do their best to separate their personal views, of course – I’ve got nothing but respect for the best of them.

Many journalists also do their best, but inevitably reflect the fact that their entire frame of reference is left-of-center. Their education, their workplace, their social circle, are an ecosystem where some variety of The Left is the old, current and future Normal. When they confront a different point of view, they can seem a little like Jane Goodall venturing out among the gorillas.

And when things are chugging along like normal, who cares, right?

The New Abnormal . But then something pops up that threatens the order, and not in a good way. What then?

The media has been rightly seen as slanted to the left for close to fifty years. With the rise of talk radio and alternative news 30 years ago, you could sense that the “elite” media were starting to give up on the pretense of balance and detachment. The notion of the “neutral voice” has been

But with the election of President Trump, the floodgates got dynamited.

The “neutral voice”, isn’t.

“Oh, Mitch – you and your hyperbole”.

No. Not at all.

The Gatekeepers Speak: “On the Media” is a production of WNYC Radio in New York. It’s a public station, one of the flagship station in the National Public Radio chain. Like a lot of NPR productions, sometimes it’s excellent. Sometimes the smug rolls off it like fog off a loch.

And sometimes, it accomplishes its mission – which in the case of “On the Media”, is to serve as the exposed id of the “elite” media in this country.

With that in mind: this show was broadcast on December 1, 2016 – probably as fast as could be put together on NPR timelines. It had four segments:

  1. The first gazed navel-ly about “how the media should cover President Trump“. Because conveying the facts and letting the audience make up their own mind was presumably not good enough anymore.
  2. How talking about Trump “Normalizes” him – unless the media changes the rules when discussing him. This featured reprentatives, not from The Nation and Slate.com or Buzzfeed or Samantha Bee. No, they were from the NYTimes and Washington Post. That led to another segment…
  3. How the language itself needs to be understood, and harnessed.
  4. And, lest the foregoing was too oblique for the casual listener, a segment linking the (as yet unstarted) Trump administration to Putin’s variety of autocracy, and laying out the imperative for the media to use it’s power to prevent “Normalizing” the president-elect.

And the media’s behavior in the three and a half years since has mapped to that template, as the media has grasped at every possible straw to try to “take down” the President.

We didn’t even need to get this leaked to us, like ‘Journo-list’ – although I suspect I may have been the only conservative listening to that groaningly pompous program, and I suspect that’s WNYC’s assumption as well.

TL:dr – At least some of the people at the apex of the “layers and layers of gatekeepers” have abolished the old rules of journalism, publicly but yet internally, as re Donald Trump.

The “elite” media’s entire coverage of Trump over the past four years, on every issue, has followed the template that’s suggested, sub rosa, in the four On the Media pieces above.

Will the rules change back when Trump leaves office? Of course not – the media had the same general attitude toward Republicans, conservatives and the issues of the right for a generation before 2016.

But the institutional imperative to use the media’s power toward political and social ends? That’s not going to end.

Distrust, but verify. And then, almost inevitably, if some smidgeon of partisan politics is involved, distrust some more.

Unwarranted

America’s left, sotted as it is with Urban Progressive Privilege, has little doubt that it is the the smart crowd.

Of course, you don’t have to be a conservative in Saint Paul, or on social media, to know that that’s just not so. This has been bouncing around for a while, but it’s worth a read.

Pullquote:

In the 2018 GSS, respondents were asked for whom they voted in 2016 (PRES16) or for whom they would have voted if they had voted (IF16WHO): Clinton, Trump, someone else, or no one.

On the verbal ability test (WORDSUM), not surprisingly the median number of vocabulary questions correct was the same for both Clinton and Trump supporters: 6 out of 10 words correct.  The mean verbal ability score for Trump supporters was 6.15 words correct, while the mean verbal ability score for Clinton supporters was 5.69 correct, a difference of nearly a half a question on a 10-question test.  This moderate difference is statistically significant at p<.0005.

Further, Trump supporters score significantly higher on verbal ability (6.15 correct) than the rest of the public combined (5.70 correct), whereas Clinton supporters score significantly lower on verbal ability (5.69 correct) than the rest of the public combined (5.98 correct).

I know, I know – another self-service social science survey that makes one side feel good and jabs at the other. Notify the media.

Wait. I am the media.

Big Left’s smug superior self-image is…irrationally exuberant.

Priorities

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Colleges are telling students not to return from Spring Break. Schools are closing.  Employers are letting people work from home.  Everybody is taking the virus seriously.

Except local government.  The courts are open.  They’re going to stay open, all of them, until the State Court Administrator tells them to shut down.

Look, for people who get arrested and need an arraignment to get out on bail, fine, I get it.  You need a judge on duty.  Same for Orders for Protection, emergency guardianship, etc.  But the hearing doesn’t have to take place in person in the courthouse, it could be Skype.

For nearly everybody else – conciliation court, family court, probate, real estate, contract disputes – the hearing is postponed indefinitely.

Why not get out ahead of it now?  Why wait?

I blame Trump.  I suspect Democrats are afraid that if they close down the court system, Trump will pounce on it as an excuse to impose martial law and there will never be another election again.  No, seriously, I really do think they’re that paranoid. After all, that’s what they would do, if the shoe were on the other foot.

Joe Doakes

Berg’s 7th Law.

Nobody’s laughing now.