No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘MSM

Schooling the Public

Many people have been talking about how the Great Chinese Sinus AIDS pandemic of 2020 has “changed everything“.

But by that they (“they” means the usual suspects of the Left) mean that Big Government is back to save us, since it saved us from the virus, at least here in New Zealand. So now it’s on to even bigger government, just the way Micky Savage and company would have wanted it. On that last, people should take note of the incredibly tough restrictions the First labour government placed on supplying benefits.

But the changes wrought may hit society in ways the Left have not expected, and of which they will not approve.

Like Public Education, especially in the USA, where the wooden-headed arrogant opposition of the teacher’s unions to re-opening schools in many parts of the USA – especially the Democrat parts – has left parents steaming and done more to wreck the system than any right-winger could have hoped to do.

Even the kids know there’s something wrong, as little Johnny does in this video where he explains his particular problem made worse by mask wearing and tells how his teacher doesn’t have to wear a mask because she has asthma, and that while he believes it’s ok for his teacher not to have to wear a mask, he should get the same choice too.

Perhaps I should not be so hard on teachers in the USA when you consider how many ordinary people there are who have been mentally damaged by Chinese Lung Rot: They’re Vaccinated and Keeping Their Masks On, Maybe Forever:

Whenever Joe Glickman heads out for groceries, he places an N95 mask over his face and tugs a cloth mask on top of it. He then pulls on a pair of goggles.

He has used this safety protocol for the past 14 months. It did not change after he contracted the coronavirus in November. It did not budge when, earlier this month, he became fully vaccinated. And even though President Joe Biden said on Thursday that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask, Glickman said he planned to stay the course.

In fact, he said, he plans to do his grocery run double-masked and goggled for at least the next five years.

Just imagine running into this sad, insane person at the supermarket. He’d probably start screaming at you and then running away, even if you quoted the head of the CDC on masks. And he probably watches Rachel Maddow on MSNBC every night, even as she say things like this about the new guidelines to try and guide poor bastards like Glickman into the light, step by tiny step:

“I feel like I’m going to have to rewire myself so that when I see someone out in the world who’s not wearing a mask, I don’t instantly think, ‘You are a threat’, or you are selfish or you are a COVID denier and you definitely haven’t been vaccinated. I mean, we’re going to have to rewire the way that we look at each other.”

Whose this “we” Kimosabe?

We willfully indoctrinated, unscientific, groupthought fucktards…” is a better take on it.

I did like the response of fellow journalist Megyn Kelly:

“Thoughts and prayers for her during this difficult time.”

Also remember that these are the sort of people who have been screaming “But Science” in your face for the last year, when they clearly would not know science if it bit them on the bum.

Meantime it would seem that Critical Race Theory (CRT) may have a tougher time overthrowing Martin Luther King’s observation than the racist fanatics of the Left have hoped for (I probably should include the fact that White Supremacists love CRT also).

This Black mother lets her school board have it right between the eyes about the mindless, racist crap they’re trying to foist on her kids:

Some teachers would also appear to be fighting back:

Another argument that is no longer off-limits

One of the detailed points of argument during the Great Chinese Lung Rot pandemic was around the definition of what actually constituted a Covid-19 death.

Early in the hysteria it was pointed out that deaths were being recorded as Covid simply because the patient had tested positive for Covid. This included even ridiculous examples such as deaths by car accident.

Naturally the pro-hysteria side, with the aid of the “If It Bleeds, It Leads” MSM, ferociously attacked such arguments. For the MSM it’s quite natural that the more death there is the better the story. That’s been true since the days of William Randolph Hearst and his famous “Sob Sisters” over a hundred years ago.

But even the medical “experts” had motive to push death numbers higher, since the more death there was the more likely they could persuade politicians and The People to undertake the extremist controls they advocated. Some of this was obvious with the pandemic models pushed by the likes of Neil Ferguson (“A spherical cow of uniform density in a frictionless vacuum“).

Naturally their counter-attacks against such critics focused on how you should not argue with medical experts, even though medical experts were among the critics of the Covid-death classifications. The motivations of the likes of Ferguson and company were not to be questioned, only those of their dastardly and uncaring opponents.

My, how things change when the motivations run the other way. In this case the criticism around deaths of people who have been vaccinated for Covid-19. Placed under such pressure, no less than the head of American Center for Disease Control (CDC) backs into …. the precise arguments put forward by critics of the Covid death counters.

Walensky is drawing a distinction between those who died directly because they got COVID and those who may have tested positive, but ultimately died of another comorbidity or condition. Now, to most people, that would seem like common sense. After all, why would you count someone with terminal cancer or an already failing heart as a COVID death – just because they had the virus when they died?

Obviously, what Walensky is saying is true. What we’ve known about COVID from early on from those hit the hardest told us that co-morbidities, including heart problems, lung problems, and morbid obesity, are the top factors, and that very old people (70+) naturally suffered more from the first two factors, hence them suffering a higher Covid-19 death rate than other age groups. If someone is otherwise terminally sick, even a mild case of Covid-19 could expedite matters – just as the Flu or Pneumonia normally does. The latter has long been called the “Old People’s Friend” for that very reason.

But the real point I want made clear here is that what Walensky is saying has previously been declared to be completely off-limits for over a year by the powers that be. In fact, it’s the kind of thing that has often gotten right wing-leaning sites in trouble with the social media censors of FaceTwit and company.

Yet, here is the Biden administration saying what was previously labeled as taboo, just because it now fits their narrative, which is driven by the motivation to reduce the death count rather than increase it because the latter would blow up the vaccination programmes. Meanwhile, the media don’t question it, and the social media overlords just shrug.

Oh, and the CDC has recently and rapidly shifted their positions on masks. Because Science.

The Struggle Sessions – Everyday Life

So far in the Struggle Sessions I’ve looked at where it came from, its effects in Academia, MSM, and even Science.

But it’s beginning to hit home to everyday people as well.

Some of this is obvious, as shown by Matt Taibbi’s article on the MSM:

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey, who argued for police reform and attempted to show solidarity with protesters in his city, was shouted down after he refused to commit to defunding the police. Protesters shouted “Get the fuck out!” at him, then chanted “Shame!” and threw refuse, Game of Thrones-style, as he skulked out of the gathering. Frey’s “shame” was refusing to endorse a position polls show 65% of Americans oppose, including 62% of Democrats, with just 15% of all people, and only 33% of African-Americans, in support.

Each passing day sees more scenes that recall something closer to cult religion than politics. White protesters in Floyd’s Houston hometown kneeling and praying to black residents for “forgiveness… for years and years of racism” are one thing, but what are we to make of white police in Cary, North Carolina, kneeling and washing the feet of Black pastors? What about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer kneeling while dressed in “African kente cloth scarves”? 

There is symbolism here that goes beyond frustration with police or even with racism: these are orgiastic, quasi-religious, and most of all, deeply weird scenes,

Heh. What is not deeply weird is the classic feature of Nineteen Eighty Four, in which history is constantly updated, and woe betide anybody who does not keep up:

Even people who try to keep up with protest goals find themselves denounced the moment they fail to submit to some new tenet of ever-evolving doctrine, via a surprisingly consistent stream of retorts: fuck you, shut up, send money, do better, check yourself, I’m tired and racist.

I’ve referred before to Andrew Sullivan’s 2018 piece, We All Live on Campus Now, which pointed out that campus insanity was going to spread beyond universities as people graduated:

Why does it matter? These are students, after all. They’ll grow up once they leave their cloistered, neo-Marxist safe spaces. The real world isn’t like that. You’re exaggerating anyway. And so on…

The reason I don’t agree with this is because I believe ideas matter. When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based “social justice” movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well. 

To put it another way: the Culture Wars in the USA matter because their impacts are real and spreading not just across the USA but across the Western world. Sullivan has followed that article up with this one in 2020, Is there still room for debate?:

In the last couple of weeks, as the purges of alleged racists have intensified in every sphere, and as so many corporations, associations, and all manner of civic institutions have openly pledged allegiance to anti-racism, with all the workshops, books, and lectures that come with it, I’m reminded of a Václav Havel essay, “The Power of the Powerless.”

Short answer: NO! With regard to Havel, I thought I’d coined that phrase in 2007 on Kiwiblog. Nuts!

A lot of the crap that’s hitting the corporate world outside of the MSM places Sullivan is writing about, is a nasty little polemic called White Fragility. Back to Taibbi again as he reviews this ludicrous best selling book, Taibbi is not gentle. The book is actually being used as a basis for “training” in the Human Resource departments of US corporations and government departments, hardly surprising given that its author, Robin DiAngelo, is a former corporate consultant. She certainly landed on the gravy train with this one.

DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory…

DiAngelo’s writing style is pure pain. The lexicon favored by intersectional theorists of this type is built around the same principles as Orwell’s Newspeak: it banishes ambiguity, nuance, and feeling and structures itself around sterile word pairs…

Writers like DiAngelo like to make ugly verbs out of ugly nouns and ugly nouns out of ugly verbs (there are countless permutations on centering and privileging alone)…

Put simply, the book is dumber than the average business book of the last forty years, and is certainly having worse consequences than something like the hideous 1980’s tome, In Search of Excellence, which, as just one example, highlighted IBM just before it started going down the crapper. It’s not surprising that White Fragility manages to twist the story of Jackie Robinson completely inside out, arguing that people back in the 1940’s believed that “Robinson finally had what it took to play with whites”. Taibbi really takes issue with this:

There is not a single baseball fan anywhere – literally not one, except perhaps Robin DiAngelo, I guess – who believes Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier because he “finally had what it took to play with whites.” Everyone familiar with this story understands that Robinson had to be exceptional, both as a player and as a human being, to confront the racist institution known as Major League Baseball….

Robinson’s story moreover did not render “whites, white privilege, and racist institutions invisible.” It did the opposite. … Robinson’s story, on every level, exposed and evangelized the truth about the very forces DiAngelo argues it rendered “invisible.” 

It takes a special kind of ignorant for an author to choose an example that illustrates the mathematical opposite of one’s intended point, but this isn’t uncommon in White Fragility, which may be the dumbest book ever written. It makes The Art of the Deal read like Anna Karenina.

Heh! But that’s what you get when dumb theories are applied to the real world, which is the story of Critical Race Theory. Because of his grounding in Old Fashioned Socialism Taibbi spends more time sticking it to the Capitalist Masters using this shite…

For corporate America the calculation is simple. What’s easier, giving up business models based on war, slave labor, and regulatory arbitrage, or benching Aunt Jemima? There’s a deal to be made here, greased by the fact that the “antiracism” prophets promoted in books like White Fragility share corporate Americas instinctive hostility to privacy, individual rights, freedom of speech, etc.

… than he does sticking it to his fellow Lefties who have pushed it for twenty years now. Still, I appreciated this bit:

White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category. If your category is “white,” bad news: you have no identity apart from your participation in white supremacy (“Anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities… Whiteness has always been predicated on blackness”), which naturally means “a positive white identity is an impossible goal.” 

DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.” To deny this theory, or to have the effrontery to sneak away from the tedium of DiAngelo’s lecturing – what she describes as “leaving the stress-inducing situation” – is to affirm her conception of white supremacy. This intellectual equivalent of the “ordeal by water” (if you float, you’re a witch) is orthodoxy across much of academia.

Read the whole thing.

And the real-world impacts on people are here, as a former HR person describes how she saw the shift when VP of Diversity and Inclusion for Apple, Denise Young-Smith was forced to resign for saying the following at a conference:

“Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.” Her answer was met with a round of applause at the session. Young Smith went on to add that “there can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

Ms Young-Smith is Black and that was in 2015, before the whole White Fragility and Critical Race Theory really got started in the HR departments, as witnessed by the city of Seattle:

In the US this is happening in Federal Departments as well:

The “HR” components in various offices are not run by “political appointees”.  These offices are run by career officials who carry over from one administration to the next.  In my experiences over 22+ years, EVERY such office was stocked by raging left-wing liberals.  Political leadership was largely powerless to “rein them in” because any such action would be seen as being based on the “content” of their HR advocacy, and itself the subject on HR complaint.  The people in those positions are pretty much “independent operators” within the agencies where they work, and the greater workforce is compelled to be silent about their pushing left-wing social policies under the guise of “HR” compliance.

Including – I shit you not – Sandia National Laboratories, a nuclear weapons lab, where it was found that expectations of competence are “devastating” to lesbians and “people of colour.” And where white male employees found themselves subjected to psychological abuse, before being told to issue hand-written apologies, atoning for their maleness and the colour of their skin. I don’t know about you but I very much like people working around nuclear weapons to be competent, although perhaps this is just another Leftie angle at eliminating such weapons?

All of which was why Trump issued an Executive Order to refrain from teaching this racist crap in Federal areas:

The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions…. [A]ll agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory/”white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.

Naturally this was categorised by helpful propagandists like Chris Wallace of Fox News as merely “teaching racial sensitivity“, and he did that in one of the Presidential debates. Awww…. who could be against something so moderate? The incoming Harris-Biden administration will reverse that EO and put CRT training on steroids. But the same shit is happening in private sector corporations and their “training sessions” as well.

But here is just one of many examples of this how horror is hitting ordinary people outside of HR departments – as it is ultimately intended to:

Last night I talked to a mother who described how her 11-year-old daughter is at a loss to know how to respond to the pressure she faces from her peers and others on Instagram to include a BLM hashtag on her posts. ‘Can I just post a cake that I baked on Instagram?’, she asked. When young children are faced with the demand to conform or else, it is clear that a powerful mood of illiberal intolerance is sweeping our societies. Threatened with being ostracised, children as young as 11 and 12 now feel compelled to fall in line. Suddenly, the term ‘peer pressure’ has acquired a whole new dimension.

Of course even your innocent little kids can’t escape. That’s one of the core aspects of totalitarian ideas. But I’ll leave the last word to Tatinia McGrath:

An Awful Milestone has been passed

I go bush for a few days, thinking that 2021 can’t be as crazy as 2020, and a riot breaks out in the Capitol building in Washington D.C.

If you called out the Antifa/Burn Loot Murder riots that occurred in numerous American cities over their 2020 summer then I’m more than willing to listen to you condemn what happened in the Capital building in Washington D.C a couple of days ago.

But if you kept silent about those riots or even supported them as “understandable” and “justified” by “systemic racism” and other imaginary hobgoblins then I’m not interested in listening to you.

The couple of hundred Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol Building should be arrested and tried in court for rioting and trespassing. Given the standards of modern-day sentencing in general and espicially how rioters have been treated I doubt they’ll get much punishment, but anybody who knowingly breaks the law, especially if they think it’s a civil rights issue, should be prepared to face the consequences and not run away from them.

They’ll likely have no choice, given that these were Right-Wing rioters who will be facing Left-Wing prosecutors in the D.C district and soon the Biden DOJ. I doubt their charges will be dismissed as were those for the Antifa/BLM rioters.

And then there’s Trump. He’s always been careless in what he says and how he says it. It was one of the reasons I was convinced he’d lose against Hillary in 2016, shooting himself in the foot regularly. As it turns out he was crazy like a fox, knowing that it kept the media oxygen turned on him full blast 24/7.

Even with the rallies he loves so much there was never any danger of a riot breaking out in the places he went to around America just because of what he said in speeches. As many commentators noted, they were more like big parties.

But in Washington D.C., just up the road from the Capitol building where the crucial vote was to be held, if you tell a huge crowd to march on the Capitol Building and supply a spine to weak Republicans then you should not be surprised when an element of the crowd decide to provide the spines in person. There’s also no point in making a speech like that and then following it up the next day with Tweets about being peaceful. That needed to be said up front and it wasn’t. As a result Trump has had members of his Cabinet resign and will spend the last two weeks of his Presidency doing nothing more than sitting at his desk, which is now a good thing.

Trump’s experience as a New Yorker and a tycoon has always meant that he has pushed the boundaries and in business and the law that’s acceptable. I recall someone once asking him why he respected the Japanese even as he complained about them dealing unfairly (he felt) with America: “You can respect someone even if they’re beating the hell out of you”. But in politics you’re playing with fire with such an attitude because it’s not just you in the fight and the boundaries can change fast. In endlessly claiming a stolen election and other things, Trump pushed beyond the boundary of trashing the civil institutions of the USA. That is not something you can just walk away from, win or lose.

But he’s hardly alone. I’ve been told countless times, usually by the Left, that US institutions like the cops, military, justice system and government are all corrupt, systemically racist and so forth. I’ve been hearing and seeing it increasingly for the last twenty years, from the Iraq WMD to the GFC bank bailouts to claims about Diebold voting machines in Ohio (2004) or Russian Collusion (2016) and the FBI. Keep doing that and you should not be surprised when people start to take you at your word that they’re not to be trusted.

You can also spare me any repeating of Left/Democrat talking points about the “horror” of the the day and “sedition” or an “insurrection” (it seems that former President Bush will never get over Baby Brother Jeb being rejected in favour of Trump by GOP voters) carried out by “domestic terrorists” and “insurgents”.

Do these clowns look like domestic terrorists to you?

… especially when they’re following the velvet rope lines used by guided tours. If that was Antifa/BLM they’d have swept them aside, smashed those statues in the background, sprayed graffiti everywhere and done some arson, rock throwing and lasers in the eyes of the cops.

When rioting, always stay within the velvet ropes.

Remember how after Bush was elected, the Left screamed that dissent was patriotic? And then when Obama was elected, dissent was suddenly racist? And when Trump won, resistance was not just patriotic, but compulsory? Well, dissent is racist again and resistance is now treason.

The media were all like “something like this has NEVER happened EVER BEFORE”, conveniently forgetting the 1954 U.S. Capitol terrorist attack by a group of Puerto Rican separatists who shot up the House of Representatives. Or, even more recently, when dozens of anti-Kavanaugh protestors “invaded” (what a great word that is) one of the Senate office buildings with nary a peep of alarm by the Democrat-media complex.

Or this in Washington D.C.just last June.

But such things were described as follows:

The key phrase was “mostly peaceful”, although I did like a description of one of these riots by an MSM source as having been peaceful until it just magically “intensified”. Kamala also got her wish: the protests did not stop after the election – except they were the wrong sort of people protesting/rioting for the wrong, non-Left-Wing-approved reason.

I guarantee you that none of the following Democrat politicians are ashamed of what they said or supported with the Antifa/BLM riots, and there is no evidence that their political careers have been or will be harmed, or that they will be banned from Facebook, Twitter and so forth – which is another way of insuring more of this, and worse, in the future.

Yes, Nancy. Maybe there will be.

Especially as the “cleansing” shit spins up to full power, aided and abetted by the Never-Trump side of the GOP no less. Rick Klein is the Political Director of ABC news: he deleted this Tweet soon after posting it, but others are not hiding their desires any more…

“Tonight while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can’t travel,” Hawley tweeted Monday night. “They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door. Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence.”

That was because Senator Hawley was leading the way on objecting to the certification of votes in the Senate, perfectly legal if ill-advised, but Antifa decided to apply some personal pressure to his family. Incidently a few days ago a rather prominent New Zealand Right-Winger went down a similar, if somewhat more legal path of revenge:

Have the new Attorney-General announce that the Department of Justice will commence an inquiry against Donald J Trump, 12 Republican Senators and 140 members of the US House for seditious conspiracy (section 2384 of Chapter 115 of Title 18 of the US code), namely conspiring to overthrow the Government of the United States

The same treatment given to Hawley will soon be given to other supporters of Donald Trump, including ordinary people who might have a MAGA bumper sticker on their car or a Donald Trump coffee mug at the office. How many will lose their jobs, be shunned by neighbors, or kicked out of organizations? This is not the way to protect democracy or defend the integrity of elections.

I think we are about to enter a very dark period in American history. It won’t be the “Reign of Terror.” Guillotines won’t be set up on the mall or gallows erected in Central Park. But there will be terror nonetheless. And it won’t be the Josh Hawley’s or political big shots who will be terrorized. It will be people with everything to lose who will fear being purged.

Whether that can succeed against 74 million Trump voters is yet to be seen. As one commentator noted:

And I’m usually the optimist. I’m seeing people I would consider boring vanilla normies, not gun culture people, not Trumpkins, not preppers, not even that political, now talking about violence and revolution like those are perfectly normal topics. Twenty years ago that was reserved for us internet gun nuts and taboo crazy talk for everyone else. 

Yeah… we are basically fucked.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 9, 2021 at 1:22 pm

Posted in US Politics, USA

Tagged with , , ,

It’s good to have a (D) after your name

As recently as twenty years ago that was not true. Ask Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis how they were treated by the US MSM, or Bill Clinton.

But it’s certainly true now, as the following comparisons show.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 15, 2020 at 10:00 pm

Posted in US Politics, USA

Tagged with , ,

Kansas Can Go Fuck Itself

Sixteen years ago a man named Frank Thomas wrote a book that rapidly became required reading among Democrat politicians and activists in the USA.

The book is called What’s The Matter With Kansas, and it dealt with the seeming inability of the Democrats to take electoral advantage of things like the Iraq War and economic issues in the heartlands of America. The author, Thomas Frank, is a good writer and thinker and was tackling contemporary issues, but for me the book boiled down to the same old “false consciousness” argument that Marxists have been banging on about for over a century in trying to explain the failure of Marxism to take root among the toiling masses.

Frank’s analysis fell into the same world of hand-wringing “Why do they vote against their own interests?” explanations and his wasn’t much better than the Marxists’ one:

Strip today’s Kansans of their job security, and they head out to become registered Republicans. Push them off their land, and next thing you know they’re protesting in front of abortion clinics. Squander their life savings on manicures for the CEO, and there’s a good chance they’ll join the John Birch Society. But ask them about the remedies their ancestors proposed (unions, antitrust, public ownership), and you might as well be referring to the days when knighthood was in flower.

The Culture War in other words, with one side a coalition of social conservatives (abortion, gay marriage, etc) and economic liberals (tax cuts and deregulation, spending cuts, free trade). Frank, as a Mid-Westerner himself, had harsh words for the Democrats:

The Democratic Leadership Council, the organization that produced such figures as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Terry McAuliffe, has long been pushing the party to forget blue-collar voters and concentrate instead on recruiting affluent, white-collar professionals who are liberal on social issues. 

The DLC was the direct result of two damaging elections for the Democrats. The first in 1984 when Walter Mondale – with his traditional Democrat ideas of increased taxes, union support and restrictions on free trade – lost in a landslide against Reagan. The second in 1988 when “Good jobs at good wages” Dukakis went down to a humiliating defeat against the colourless George H W Bush. The DLC was a direct response to those losses as it crafted the Clinton world, a post-Mondale age that stopped hating on CEO’s and learned to love NAFTA and its ilk:

The move seemed smart. This was the go-go eighties, we were all Material Girls (for whom the boy with the cold hard cash was always Mr. Right)

But one of the secrets to Trump’s 2016 victory was that he actually reversed some of these Right-Wing 80’s wins. Even though the DLC had died (and is actually spat upon by sections of the Democrats now for all its 1990’s compromising and triangulation with the GOP), it left the affluent, white-collar professionals in total control of the Party – and they despise the blue-collar crowd more than ever.

Trump swooped in and got enough of these “deplorables” to win key swing states. No other GOP politician could have done it because none of them had Trump’s history on the subjects. Go back thirty years and you’ll see him saying exactly the same things about free trade deals and wars and America getting screwed. And ordinary people who watch Oprah and reality TV shows knew this. Trump was not trimming his jib to the polls: this is what he really thought, but it was only in 2016 that such ideas finally broke through.

However, to do this, he first also fought and defeated a similar crowd inside the GOP, who had begun to despise their working class social conservatives, their Reagan Conservatives. Were not income tax cuts and slight restraints on spending enough? Especially combined with all that good culture war stuff on the hustings – that somehow never turned into anything but defeats in the Supreme Court and elsewhere. Plus wars fought for the ideal of International Liberalism.

When you also look at the insane spending of the US government and Trump’s pledge to never touch Social Security and Medicare you’re actually seeing a new coalition: call it Social Conservatives and Fiscal Liberals. It’s actually very much the mid-20th century Democrat Party and despite the MSM amplified squeaks from Democrat newbies like AOC about unions, healthcare and welfare it’s very much not today’s Democrat Party.

No, today’s Democrat Party is one that has learned nothing from Frank’s book, and is described well in a recent article by Lefty Matt Taibbi. It’s longish but if you are at all interested in what’s happening in the USA right now I suggest you read the whole thing. Taibbi starts with Frank’s old book.

That Democrats needed Thomas Frank to tell them what conservatives fifteen miles outside the cities were thinking was damning in itself. Even worse was the basically unbroken string of insults emanating from pop culture (including from magazines like Rolling Stone: I was very guilty of this) describing life between the cities as a prole horror peopled by obese, Bible-thumping dolts who couldn’t navigate a Thai menu and polished gun lockers instead of reading.

I wish more journalists were as self-aware as that. Readers will note that our regular diet of Lefty trolls here at No Minister (including ones at our old site) continue to throw around the exact same accusations, but they at least have the excuse that they don’t value election victories and “ideas” beyond opportunuties for taunting. As Taibbi points out, he was hardly alone:

The news media and Hollywood shifted accordingly. Working-class voices disappeared from the press and earnest movies like Norma Rae and The China Syndrome gave way to a new brand of upper-class messaging that reveled in imperious sneering and weird culture-war provocations.

He quotes Frank’s 2004 book on this matter:

“The state [Kansas] watches impotently as its culture, beamed in from the coasts, becomes coarser and more offensive by the year... Why shouldn’t our culture just get worse and worse, if making it worse will only cause the people who worsen it to grow wealthier and wealthier?”

As Taibbi caps it: We have the answer to that now, don’t we?. We do indeed: cue Netflix and their pedophilic movie, Cuties.

The rest of the article deals with a new book by Frank, The People, No. It’s a history of the American Populist movement of the 1890’s and Taibbi speculates that it’s a response to reactions to Trump:

Also: the word, “populism,” became a synonym for plague or menace. Post-Trump and post-Brexit, pundits tended to use the term in tandem with other epithets, e.g. the “populist threat.” For Frank, a liberal intellectual whose breathless admiration for the actual Populist movement of the 1890s had been a running theme across two decades, this must have stung.

Although Frank may not have intended comparisons, Taibbi draws them, especially when Frank gets to the 1930’s where Populist policies that had been defeated 30-40 years earlier began to win with FDR and the Great Depression:

F.D.R. himself was a genteel aristocrat, but battered as a Russian agent… His followers were “people of low mentality” who backed policies that were the “laughingstock of the leading monetary authorities of the world.” This campaign, which should sound familiar, failed over and over…

But those victories of policy were not ones of culture, especially in government, and the following also sounds familiar as Taibbi gives a synopsis of Frank’s take on the post-WWII era:

The model of enlightened government for this new “technocratic” class of “consensus thinkers” was John Kennedy’s “Camelot” cabinet of Experts in Shirtsleeves, with Robert McNamara’s corporatized Pentagon their Shining Bureaucracy on a Hill. This vision of ideal democracy has dominated mainstream press discourse for almost seventy years.

The myth of “The Best and The Brightest“, which was seen again with Bill Clinton’s presidency and may have peaked with President Obama. On that note there is reference to a 2016 Frank book I’d not heard of: Listen, Liberal, which seems to have been a warning to the Democrats that things had actually not gone all that well for ordinary people during Obama’s time and that this spelled trouble for Hillary Clinton. It’s probably not a surprise that I hadn’t heard of it, for it was buried by the likes of the NYT (“pessimistic note”). Taibbi was in the same space when he started covering Trump:

When I was first sent out to cover the Donald Trump campaign years later, I assumed the editorial concept would be simple: mockery. New York’s infamous “short-fingered vulgarian” had taken over national headlines in the summer of 2015 with a foul-mouthed stream-of-consciousness rap, organized around an impossible Pharaonic wall project and scare tales about rape-happy Mexicans – the Diceman doing Pat Buchanan. If this was taking over the Republican Party, there wasn’t much to report. The enterprise was doomed, and journalism’s only mission was to make sure the silliest bits were captured before being buried under the sands of history.

The Diceman doing Pat Buchanan: that’s very clever and sounds like so many Lefties to this day. But he soon got scared:

Twenty minutes into my first Trump campaign event, I knew this was wrong, and was seized by a sinking feeling that really hasn’t left since. Trump in person sounded like he’d been convinced to run for president after reading What’s the Matter with Kansas? His stump act seemed tailored to take advantage of the gigantic market opportunity Democrats had created, and which Frank described.

Frank and Taibbi were not quite, but almost, alone in this. Before Frank’s book was this article from early 2016, Donald Trump, Class Warrior, by a writer called Clive Crook. I’d been reading Crook for years without knowing that he was an English ex-pat, and that background added to the power of this observation:

I’m a British immigrant, and grew up in a northern English working-class town. Taking my regional accent to Oxford University and then the British civil service, I learned a certain amount about my own class consciousness and other people’s snobbery. But in London or Oxford from the 1970s onwards I never witnessed the naked disdain for the working class that much of America’s metropolitan elite finds permissible in 2016. 

Incredible is it not, knowing the English class system, and in 1970? He and his wife decide to buy a house in West Virginia in preparation for retiring from Washington D.C. Naturally this leads to lots of jokes, “about guns, banjo music, in-breeding, people without teeth and so forth“. He strains to emphasise that his Washington friends are “good people”:

They’d be offended by crass, cruel jokes about any other group. They deplore prejudice and keep an eye out for unconscious bias. More than a few object to the term, “illegal immigrant.” Yet somehow they feel the white working class has it coming.

And then he describes his new neighbours.

My neighbors in West Virginia are good people too. Hard to believe, since some work outside and not all have degrees, but trust me on this. They’re aware of how they’re seen by the upper orders. They understand the prevailing view that they’re bigots, too stupid to know what’s good for them, and they see that this contempt is reserved especially for them. The ones I know don’t seem all that angry or bitter — they find it funny more than infuriating — but they sure don’t like being looked down on.

And he goes on to point out that they were not being stupid in voting for Trump. They knew he was “coarse”, crude, impolite, outrageous and unfairly vicious in a fight, and also how he bullshits constantly – just like most people in real estate. And that was exactly what they wanted:

Trump wages war on political correctness. Political correctness requires more than ordinary courtesy: It’s a ritual, like knowing which fork to use, by which superior people recognize each other.

But the Democrats and Never-Trumpers on the Right, and their friends around the world, have learned nothing, judging from four years of ever-escalating attacks not just on Trump but on anybody who works with him or supports him. They’re simply not interested in learning from their mistakes and have gone even further in making sure that nothing is to be learned from The Deplorables, who are to be simply shunned. I’ll leave the last word to Taibbi, including the line that forms the title of his article and mine:

By 2020, the official answer to What’s the Matter with Kansas? was Kansas is a White Supremacist Project and Can Go Fuck Itself.

Breaking the Satire Wall

In movies, TV and theatre there’s a technique called Breaking the Fourth Wall, whereby the characters punch through the wall of the story to talk directly to the audience.

Recent clever examples of this came from the wonderfully clever and crude superhero movie, Deadpool, and The Big Short, where it was also vital in explaining the financial instruments of the GFC. It was also used to great effect by the lead character, Francis Urquhart, in the 1990 British TV series, House of Cards.

I don’t know if there’s anything similar in satire but given that it has begun to seem as if our world is so crazy that it can’t be satirised, there seems to be a need to punch through to something beyond satire?

If there’s one source of satire that might attempt this it’s The Babylon Bee (Your Trusted Source For Christian News), that has far exceeded the previous champion in this category, The Onion, which is sadly a mere shell of itself since selling out to Hillary Clinton.

Thus the Bee produced this mocking view of how they figured CNN would cover Trump’s recent peace deals…

… only to find that the real thing was little different…

FFS. So since reality had once again beaten satire the Bee decided to simply go all the way with Struggling CNN Just Starts Stealing Headlines From The Babylon Bee:

After months of continually trying and failing to produce better fake news than The Babylon Bee, CNN has assigned a team of people to monitor The Babylon Bee’s website daily to determine how they should cover the news for that day. 

Written by Tom Hunter

September 18, 2020 at 3:27 pm

Die MSM, Die – Closer to the Grave

In January I wondered if 2020 was going to be lit, but I never thought it would involve a pandemic.

Still, now that the crisis is slowly fading away (too slowly), it’s time to take stock of its impact on one industry: the media.

Things were already gathering pace in 2019:

The media industry continued to execute cuts in December and November as Gannett, Highsnobiety, and the CBC reduced headcounts. The cuts followed large rounds of layoffs earlier in the year from companies including BuzzFeed, Verizon, and Vice Media… Buzzfeed experienced layoffs this year. An attempt to relaunch Gawker failed. HuffPost laid off 13 in its video department. ThinkProgress shut down in September….

NBCUniversal laid off 70 employees in two rounds in August and September. In August, E! announced that as part of its decision to move it’s “E! News” show from LA to New York, it would be laying off 20 to 25 LA employees, Variety reports. In September, NBCUniversal announced that it would be laying off 45 more employees from E!, Oxygen, Bravo, and other properties, according to MediaPost….

CNN also let go about 100 employees in the spring as part of a “corporate restructuring” effort.

And this was while the rest of the US economy was booming. Then Chinese Lung Rot hit. First up was this story in February, Newspaper Publisher McClatchy Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy:

McClatchy Co., the second-largest U.S. newspaper group by circulation, filed for bankruptcy protection, a move that comes as the nation’s newspaper industry is struggling to cope with a sharp decline in print advertising and the challenges of building a robust digital business.

Of course we also had our own little meltdowns here in NZ, with the withdrawal of German media group Bauer Media from the country, whoich instantly wiped out old-timers like The Listener, NZ Woman’s Weekly, and a host of others.

And you’d need a heart of stone not to laugh at news like this, New California Law Just Got Hundreds Of Writers Fired:

On Monday, Vox Media-owned SB Nation announced that it was cutting more than 200 freelance writers as a direct result of California’s new law targeting independent contractors.

That’s the same AB5 law that has shut down Uber and Lyft in the supposed Kingdom of entrepreneurship. Suffice to say these idiots who reflexively support Democrats, even when they get screwed by said Democrats, are mystified about many things, Washington Post Writer Can’t Figure Out Why Trump Supporters Won’t Talk To Her:

I’ll offer a more basic answer: because these outlets, and many others like them, offer such blatantly critical and condescending perspectives on conservative Americans and their values. This is palpable even in Dvorak’s article, which rather than attempting empathy for conservative women who don’t equate feminism with pro-choice politics, simply belittles them. 

And of course there’s been four years of Russian Collusion, with CNN leading the way.

The funny thing is that CNN, and the rest of these clowns, need Trump more than he needs them. They’re almost the only oxygen they have left, as recent Fox News demolition job on CNN revealed.

CNN’s troubles started on Tuesday, when Fox News host Tucker Carlson played a tape exposing CNN President Jeff Zucker appearing to offer a quid pro quo to then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016, the New York Post reported.

Zucker told Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that he wanted Trump, whom he called “the boss,” to host a weekly show. He also touted the importance of having CNN on Trump’s side in the presidential election.

Yes! That Michael Cohen! Got that? The network that demonises Trump 24/7 was perfectly willing to cooperate with him to a great extent. And what Zucker said next captures the farce even more perfectly:

“I’m very conscious of not putting too much in email, as you’re a lawyer, as you understand,.. And, you know, as fond as I am of the boss, he also has a tendency, like, you know, if I call him or I email him, he then is capable of going out at his next rally and saying that we just talked and I can’t have that, if you know what I’m saying.

Sure Jeff, we know exactly what you’re saying. You need Trump for ratings and you actually quite like the guy personally after years of working with him – but there is no way you want that on record when you’re hanging with all your Lefty mates. That would mean shunning on an Amish scale.

Carlson followed up a couple of days later with another recorded phonemail, this time between CNN talking head Chris Cuomo (brother of NY Governor Andrew Granny Killer Cuomo) coaching Cohen for an interview of him that would be done by …. Chris Cuomo:

“I think the way this conversation goes is almost exactly the way we’re having it right now. Which is, where I say, ‘This looks shady,’ and you say, ‘It looks shady to you because you’re coming in with a specific intention,’” Carlson said, quoting Cuomo.

Cuomo instructed Cohen on how to dodge questions about a shell corporation he had allegedly used to make the Daniels payments.

That’s what CNN viewers would have seen in this “combative” and “tough” interview. There was another hit on CNN later that week when word got out that CNN host Jake Tapper had tried to pressure a U.S. Army veteran not to run against Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) – and then denied it.

All of this feeds nicely into another recent story about an MSNBC producer, Ariana Pekary, who recently resigned because she apparently couldn’t control her gag reflex any longer:

“We are a cancer and there is no cure,” a successful and insightful TV veteran said to me. “But if you could find a cure, it would change the world.”

As it is, this cancer stokes national division, even in the middle of a civil rights crisis. The model blocks diversity of thought and content because the networks have incentive to amplify fringe voices and events, at the expense of others . . . all because it pumps up the ratings.

I wonder if she heard the echoes of the past:

“Yesterday I announced on this program that I was going to commit
public suicide. Admittedly an act of madness. Well, I’ll tell you what
happened: I just ran out of bullshit.”

Symbolically one of the great American journalists died early this year, Jim Lehrer, whom I used to watch religiously on the PBS Newshour in the 1990’s. These were his Rules of Journalism., but you might as well be reading a Babylonian text.

Instead in 2020 we’re left with this:

“Television is not the truth! Television is a goddamn amusement park!. Televisión is a circus, a carnival, a travelling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers and football players. We’re in the boredom-killing business...

But, man, you’re never gonna get any truth from us. We’ll tell you anything you want to hear, we lie like hell.. We’ll tell you any shit you want to hear…

You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here, you’re beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal! You do! Why, you do whatever the tube tells you: you dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God’s name, you people are the reality, WE are the illusion!”

Written by Tom Hunter

September 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm

The Struggle Sessions – A Soviet Perspective

In the middle of the great tumult of the Woke brigades of the USA, one magazine – The Tablet – had an interesting, disturbing take on them.

The article, The American Soviet Mentality, was written by Izabella Tabarovsky, who grew up in Russia and who specialises in Soviet history.

She begins the article by describing the collective demonisations of Boris Pasternak (his most famous work is Doctor Zhivago) following his being awarded the Nobel Prize in literature:

Within days, Pasternak was a target of a massive public vilification campaign. The country’s prestigious Literary Newspaper launched the assault with an article titled “Unanimous Condemnation” and an official statement by the Soviet Writers’ Union…

…A few days later, the paper dedicated an entire page to what it presented as the public outcry over Pasternak’s imputed treachery. Collected under the massive headline “Anger and Indignation: Soviet people condemn the actions of B. Pasternak” were a condemnatory editorial, a denunciation by a group of influential Moscow writers, and outraged letters that the paper claimed to have received from readers.

She goes into detail about all the aspects of this, including attacks on others like composers Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev; writers Anna Akhmatova and Iosif Brodsky; and others, pointing out that the hounding could go on for years and destroyed people’s lives, health and ability to create.

Of course it all sounds awfully similar to the recent Twitter rage mob attacks on writers, reporters and editors described by Taibbi, Sullivan and others. Tabarovsky looks at those as well, but while she compares this situation to the USSR she also makes the point about the ordinary people involved:

But while the policy in the USSR was by and large set by the authorities, it would be too simplistic to imagine that those below had no choices, and didn’t often join in these rituals gladly, whether to obtain some real or imagined benefit for themselves, or to salve internal psychic wounds, or to take pleasure in the exercise of cruelty toward a person who had been declared to be a legitimate target of the collective...

The mobs that perform the unanimous condemnation rituals of today do not follow orders from above. But that does not diminish their power to exert pressure on those under their influence...

Sergei Dovlatov, a dissident Soviet writer who emigrated to the United States in 1979 [said]: “We continuously curse Comrade Stalin, and, naturally, with good reason. And yet I want to ask: who wrote four million denunciations?” It wasn’t the fearsome heads of Soviet secret police who did that, he said.

As a former Soviet herself she understands the mentality that drives these people, even as it threatens them too with ever greater and more precise demands for loyalty to the kollektiv:

Those of us who came out of the collectivist Soviet culture understand these dynamics instinctively. You invoked the “didn’t read, but disapprove” mantra not only to protect yourself from suspicions about your reading choices but also to communicate an eagerness to be part of the kollektiv—no matter what destructive action was next on the kollektiv’s agenda. You preemptively surrendered your personal agency in order to be in unison with the group.

…  How much of your own autonomy as a thinking, feeling person are you willing to sacrifice to the collective? What inner compromises are you willing to make for the sake of being part of the group? Which personal relationships are you willing to give up?

A point also made by Princeton professor Robert George in The Superior Humans of Today. Tabarovsky finishes on a note that I find very depressing as she writes of her adopted home and expresses a grim feeling:

Those who remember the Soviet system understand the danger of letting the practice of collective denunciation run amok. But you don’t have to imagine an American Stalin in the White House to see where first the toleration, then the normalization, and now the legitimization and rewarding of this ugly practice is taking us.

… I used to feel grateful that we had left the USSR before Soviet life had put me to that test. How strange and devastating to realize that these moral tests are now before us again in America.

From my vantage point, this cultural moment in these United States feels incredibly precarious.

So say we all.

The Struggle Sessions – Inside the MSM

Even people who are quite Far Left are beginning to notice how badly the Woke World is starting to spin out of control. When it comes to some, like Andrew Sullivan, who initially supported the Iraq Invasion, there’s plenty of history for his critics to attack in ways they would not have done when they thought he was on their side.

But here’s another detailed analysis of this Woke nonsense from that scourge of Republicans and the Right, Matt Taibbi, as he writes in, The American Press Is Destroying Itself. First, let’s establish his throat-clearing TDS bonafide:

Our president, Donald Trump, is a clown who makes a great reality-show villain but is uniquely toolless as the leader of a superpower nation. Watching him try to think through two society-imperiling crises is like waiting for a gerbil to solve Fermat’s theorem.

Boom… tish.

Now on to the good stuff. I would urge you to read the whole thing, even if it is lengthy. He covers much of the same newsroom rage-mobbing sessions already covered in the post, The Right to Openly Discuss Ideas Must Be Defended. But he goes into far more detail about the Lee Fang case at the Far left site The Intercept, and has some extra items that never drew much public attention:

There were other incidents. The editors of Bon Apetit and Refinery29 both resigned amid accusations of toxic workplace culture. The editor of Variety, Claudia Eller, was placed on leave after calling a South Asian freelance writer “bitter” in a Twitter exchange about minority hiring at her company. The self-abasing apology (“I have tried to diversify our newsroom over the past seven years, but I HAVE NOT DONE ENOUGH”) was insufficient. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editor, Stan Wischowski, was forced out after approving a headline, “Buildings matter, too.”

He gives a brief summation of the interaction of Woke World and traditional American “Liberals”:

On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we’re watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres.

The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.

He goes on to make a number of points about how this is now impacting the MSM, first in terms of internal debate:

  • The main thing accomplished by removing those types of editorials from newspapers — apart from scaring the hell out of editors — is to shield readers from knowledge of what a major segment of American society is thinking. 
  • It also guarantees that opinion writers and editors alike will shape views to avoid upsetting colleagues, which means that instead of hearing what our differences are and how we might address those issues, newspaper readers will instead be presented with page after page of people professing to agree with one another. That’s not agitation, that’s misinformation.
  • All these episodes sent a signal to everyone in a business already shedding jobs at an extraordinary rate that failure to toe certain editorial lines can and will result in the loss of your job. Perhaps additionally, you could face a public shaming campaign in which you will be denounced as a racist and rendered unemployable.
  • However, because it is politically untenable to discuss this in ways that do not suggest support, reporters have been twisting themselves into knots. We are seeing headlines previously imaginable only in The Onion, e.g., “27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London.”

Then he describes what this means for what is reported, and understand that this is happening in the newsrooms of almost all the US MSM, whether it be the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times or CNN, and will likely be hitting foreign MSM like the Daily Telegraph and the Economist sooner or later, if it hasn’t already. There is a common pool of journalists.

  • There is symbolism here that goes beyond frustration with police or even with racism: these are orgiastic, quasi-religious, and most of all, deeply weird scenes, and the press is too paralyzed to wonder at it. In a business where the first job requirement was once the willingness to ask tough questions, we’ve become afraid to ask obvious ones.
  • The media in the last four years has devolved into a succession of moral manias. We are told the Most Important Thing Ever is happening for days or weeks at a time, until subjects are abruptly dropped and forgotten, but the tone of warlike emergency remains
  • The traditional view of the press was never based on some contrived, mathematical notion of “balance,” i.e. five paragraphs of Republicans for every five paragraphs of Democrats. The ideal instead was that we showed you everything we could see, good and bad, ugly and not, trusting that a better-informed public would make better decisions
  •  press activism is limited to denouncing and shaming colleagues for insufficient fealty to the cheap knockoff of bullying campus Marxism that passes for leftist thought these days.
  • Today no one with a salary will stand up for colleagues like Lee Fang. Our brave truth-tellers make great shows of shaking fists at our parody president, but not one of them will talk honestly about the fear running through their own newsrooms. People depend on us to tell them what we see, not what we think. What good are we if we’re afraid to do it?

Ha! Given what we have seen recently with the MSM, the question has already been answered,