HIDE BEHIND THE CHILDREN WELL: Hans Christian Andersen comes to Parkland!


Part 2—Sheriff hides behind Emma well:
In our view, Paul Krugman—our longtime policy MVP—is often quite weak on the politics.

In our view, that's how his new column starts. Without naming names or providing links, Krugman complains again about post-election journalism:

"There have been hundreds if not thousands of stories about grizzled Trump supporters sitting in diners, purportedly showing the out-of-touchness of our cultural elite."

Krugman offers no links to these "stories," which have supposedly misserved us all.

For what it's worth, those Trump supporters are the people whose votes put Trump in the White House. In even a slightly rational world, it wouldn't be a bad idea to understand why they voted the way they did—to understand how they view the world.

That said, we don't live in a rational world. We live in a world run by humans, a species which loves fairy tales.

As he continues, Krugman evokes one very famous fairy tale, though his overall point could be right. We may be entering a time of major political change, Krugman says.

That could be right, and it could be wrong. Here's the way Krugman explains it:
KRUGMAN (2/27/18): Political scientists have a term and a theory for what we’re seeing on #MeToo, guns and perhaps more: “regime change cascades.”

Here’s how it works:
When people see the status quo as immovable, they tend to be passive even if they are themselves dissatisfied. Indeed, they may be unwilling to reveal their discontent, or to fully admit it to themselves. But once they see others visibly taking a stand, they both gain more confidence in their dissent and become more willing to act on it—and by their actions they may induce the same response in others, causing a kind of chain reaction.

Such cascades explain how huge political upheavals can quickly emerge, seemingly out of nowhere.
Is such a "cascade" under way? In perhaps a bit of a buzzkill, Krugman goes all the way back to 1848 to offer three examples of such cascades—and he notes that the cascade of 1848 is commonly said to have failed.

That said, it's possible that the current moment will lead to a "regime change cascade" in which an old order falls. As we read his presentation, we thought about the most famous example of same, from the realm of fairy tale.

Good lord! No cascade took effect more quickly than the one described by Hans Christian Andersen in his famous tale, The Emperor's New Clothes:

No one could see what a fool the emperor was—but then, out of nowhere, a single child shouted it out! In that moment, a perceptual dam gave way. Everyone linked arms with the child. Sanity came to the land.

"And a child shall lead them!" It's a staple of fairy tale, but in real life, this conceptual framework can be childish, dishonest and cruel.

Consider the way a certain sheriff hid behind Emma Gonzalez, age 17, during last week's CNN town hall event, a maelstrom our pseudoliberal journalistic elites all rushed off to praise.

Emma Gonzalez is 17 years old; she's a high school student. However "precocious" she may be, there's no reason why someone so young should be asked to lead a regime change cascade.

There's no reason to think that someone so young could know how to do that. There's no reason to think that someone so young wouldn't be harmed by the imposition of such a burden.

Gonzalez, who is 17, shot to viral national stardom in the first few days after the Parkland mass shooting. That first weekend, she gave a defiant speech in which she said she "was calling BS" on a number of politicians and on their political stands.

In a land which lacks uncompromised adults, the child may seem like a giant. A few days later, Scott Israel, sheriff of Broward County, was on national TV, hiding behind this very young person's (lack of) skirts.

CNN staged its town hall on Wednesday, February 21. Israel was already under fire for the performance of his office, and he almost surely knew that there was more to come.

Had Israel's office failed to perform? If so, was it his fault? We can't answer those questions at this point. Beyond that, we'd advise against seeking out scapegoats.

We do know hiding when we see it. His deputies are said to have hid behind cars. Speaking with NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, he hid behind Emma Gonzalez:
ISRAEL (2/21/18): There's three things we need to do in America to keep America safe. Number one, we have to use, through crime prevention, through environmental design, build schools differently so they're harder to penetrate. Number two, we need to be empowering police officers and deputy sheriffs throughout the nation, to be able to take people who are an immediate threat to themselves or, or an immediate threat to someone else—


ISRAEL: —to be examined. And we need to take guns away from them forever. They should never get them back. They should have to go through a psychological evaluation.

And if we—or have a doctor or a clinician have to sign their John Hancock and say, "That person should be given back their Second Amendment right." We're not going to see doctors do that.

But lastly, we do need to have some gun control reform. Eighteen-year-olds should never have a rifle. An 18-year-old kid should not have a rifle. Eighteen-year-old kid, they're not adults yet. They're in high school. These kids should not have a rifle.

Bump stocks should be illegal. They should be outlawed forever. Automatic rifles should be outlawed forever. And anybody who says different, I don't know about other people, but Emma and I, we're calling BS on that. So—

We'll note that the sheriff has little regard for people "who say different." At any rate, the key word there is (APPLAUSE). But also, "Emma and I."

We don't know if Sheriff Israel failed to perform, in some way, in the run-up to this latest mass shooting. We do know that this big grown man was hiding behind a high school student in that highlighted, crowd-pleasing comment.

His deputies had crouched behind cars. He chose to hide behind a teen-aged high school student.

Almost surely, Emma Gonzalez, age 17, was poorly served by that. Tomorrow, we'll look at other examples of pandering conduct aimed at this student, this time from our liberal journalistic elites.

In the wake of that town hall event, Dahlia Lithwick rushed to say that the Parkland students are sharper than her own elite cohort. In fairness, there's little doubt that Lithwick was right about that.

Still and all, a range of failed adult elites are hiding behind those young people. Those high school students are suffering nightmares, and they are, in fact, very young. Balancing that, our adult elites are compromised, shameless, incompetent, and have been for many long years.

In the Andersen fairy tale, the clarity of a single child touches off a revolution—a major regime change cascade. Our lazy, compromised adult elites seem to hoping this pattern might emerge right here, in the actual world.

Tomorrow: A portrait of the struggling child as a beard for compromised adults


  1. Paul Krugman is a scumbag neoliberal hack. His politics is the perfect match to his economics.

    Here's what I see, today:
    " The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-eight percent (48%) disapprove.

    By comparison, President Obama earned 43% approval on this date in the second year of his presidency.

    With any luck, this 'cascade' will soon materialize as a massive kick to Mr Krugman's ass.

    "An 18-year-old kid should not have a rifle."

    Maybe so, but an 18-year-old kid will find something. A handgun, a shotgun, a gas canister.

    An 18-year-old kid shouldn't feel so incredibly pissed off and desperate as killing a whole bunch of people. Or anybody. Why don't you work on that.

    1. America's white supremacy fetish is real!

    2. More good news from the Great and Powerful populist president looking out for the little people.

      A federal environmental program that distributes grants to test the effects of chemical exposure on adults and children is being shuttered amidst a major organization consolidation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

      The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) will no longer exist following plans to combine three EPA offices, the agency confirmed to The Hill on Monday.

      The program provides millions of dollars in grants each year.

      Perhaps best known for its handling of fellowships that study the effects of chemicals on children’s health, the NCER will be dissolved and science staff serving there will be reassigned elsewhere within the department, the EPA said.

    3. This is all happening because liberals were too stupid and couldn't get their weak candidate Hillary Clinton elected.

    4. mm,
      It's always been about Trump's bigotry. He's giving the people what they want. Good and hard.

    5. Speaking of scumbags-Hey Mao, how are you?
      And BTW, Trump is a liar and a thief.

    6. Mao, the polls are all over the place, most show he's doing lousy. It's meaningless at this point anyway, whether it's the one poll you are getting wet over or the others that show he's doing crappy popularity-wise. What counts is how the economy is doing, or what it seems to be doing, whether he keeps us out of wars, etc at the time of the elections. The whole process is hardly sane. "Scumbag neoliberal hack" seems kind of mean in personem. You disagree with him - though you don't explain how he is wrong - and seem to be a mindless apologist for our religious right /NRA / military industrial complex, labor union wrecker ass-kissing current POTUS.

    7. Ras was the pollster who predicted a 1 point victory for Romney and also suggested that Romney concentrate on Wi (Romney lost Wi by 7 points).

      BUt I've no doubt he's a favorite pollster in St. Petersburg, since he's pretty much the only pollster who shows a positive rating for Trump now (although even he was -5 for Trump just 1 week ago).

    8. "Blaming it on racism is just an excuse that loser Democrats like the ones on this board use to express their own hostility and powerlessness."

      Of course it was anything but racism. Once you actually figure out what it might be, you might want to let us (and Trump voters) in on it. Good luck. You're going to need a lot of it.

    9. Not the rigged economy: Trump voters support his tax breaks for the elite.
      Not the Dems being tied to Wall Street: Trump voters were silent when Trump handed the economy to Goldman Sachs.
      Not Hillary's private server: Trump voters haven't made a peep about Jared and Ivanka using private servers.

      And, of course, not racism: Because that hurts 3:34's fee-fees.

    10. Thanks to all of you zombie-reptilians, for reading and expressing your reptilian attitude with no substance. It's okay, I don't expect any substance from lib-zombie-reptilians.

      @5:44 PM: "religious right /NRA"

      There's nothing wrong with the religious right or the NRA. They don't need any apologists.

      The religious right are people, citizens. Tens of millions of people just like you -- only better, at least in one respect: most of them don't hate you: they think you're misguided. And you've been conditioned to despise and hate them. Sad.

      The NRA is a popular public organization, with millions of members, people of all walks of life. They pursue their interests as they see them. And if that prevents the government from introducing common sense gun control, then it's a problem with the political system, not with the NRA.

    11. Liberals hate themselves. Other people look at them as weak. They don't want weak people who hate themselves to be running the country. Trump voters are not racists in large part. Some are of course. Blame it on race is so incredibly foolish and stupid. Trump voters are totally ridiculous. They vote against their own interests. They won't vote for liberals because they see them as self-hating, weak misguided fools which they are. So there's a void that blatant idiots like Trump can come in and fill Both sides are very misguided and foolish. In general, the Liberals will lose most of the time. They're born losers who deny Their own strength, value and power. That's why they lose basically.

    12. Mao, apparently I got under your skin for you to call me a "reptilian zombie" - all for pointing out what I did about polls - you are going over the top to characterize my response as expressing a "reptilian attitude with no substance." You're not an apologist for Trump?- or a mindless one at that? Your response suggests that might well be the case. Where did I say I "hated" the 'religious right' or the NRA. I said Trump ass-kisses them, which is about right, and you are an apologist for Trump, which is obvious. I don't 'hate' the NRA, religious fundamentalists, or Trump, and didn't say that - I disagree with them with respect to certain things. I note that the head of the NRA's issue with libs who want gun control seems to be that they're 'socialists' who want to destroy our capitalist (globalist?) system.

    13. "The religious right are people, citizens. Tens of millions of people just like you -- only better, at least in one respect: most of them don't hate you:"

      That's only because I'm white.

    14. "Blame it on race is so incredibly foolish and stupid."

      Yet an alternative reason can't be found. True, it's only been about 16 months. Anyone else willing to give them a decade or two to come up with a reason besides racism? They'll need at least that long.

    15. No dissing the Religious right, the NRA, racists, or the Establishment. They are all good citizens of this nation, which is why Trump is such a big supporter of each and every one of them.

    16. "The NRA is a popular public organization, with millions of members, people of all walks of life."

      What, in the name of Philando Castile, does that have to do with the NRA only supporting the gun rights of whites?

  2. This is nonsense. That Sheriff didn't hide behind the girl, Emma. He stated a list of his own suggestions about how to respond and at the end he threw in a reference to calling B.S. in which he quoted Emma, saying "but Emma and I, we're calling BS on that." It was a hat tip, that's all, since he clearly owned everything he said before that.

    Somerby has used a single offhand comment to build a post in which he accuses a beleaguered Sheriff of doing something he plainly did not do. The man is under enough fire at this point without Somerby piling on.

    So I call B.S. on Somerby. Does that mean I too am hiding behind Emma?

    1. Yeah, Bob's not making sense here, and it's hard to square this post with his approving posts about the Pakistani teen Malala a few years ago.

    2. I'd forgotten about his many glowing posts about Malala. He put her in the same category as Lincoln and MLK.

    3. Somerby is just channeling his inner Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

      Or perhaps, a persistent inconsistency is the mark of a disordered mind.

      Or, Somerby is being disingenuous.

  3. "Beyond that, we'd advise against seeking out scapegoats. "

    Let the breathtaking irony of that statement sink in.

    Yesterday, we were told that it was the fault of: Lithwick's cohort, liberal elites, mainstream elites. Today it's "adult elites." No mention of conservative elites, or non-mainstream elites, or, I dunno, voters, many of whom seem to be aok with the status quo on guns, or would like to see more guns.

    But you know, Somerby only blames the stupid debased liberals, the ones "hiding behind" those kids. You know, cause he advises against seeking out scapegoats.

  4. Krugman offers no links to these "stories," which have supposedly misserved us all.

    Oh shit, Bob. Come on. There's been so many of these stories ( cute how you use quotes around the word - what, you doubt their existence?) they've become a punch line, a running joke. The New York Times literally turned their op-ed page over to these cretins, and you know it. No, we've heard quite enough from these ignorant morons who have inflicted this abomination on my country.

    1. There are some possibilities why Somerby said this.

      1. He doesn't know how to use Google.
      2. He refuses to use Google.
      3. He has a bad memory, and forgets that he read any such stories, or that he himself talked about such stories in his own blog.
      4. His memory is impaired somehow.
      5. He is deliberately trying to discredit Krugman and mislead Howler readers.

    2. 6. It's another Right-wing meme Somerby is carrying water for.

    3. 5, clarified) Somerby is a liar.

    4. Actually mm, I would say that there are other more salient reasons for Trump's election besides the Trump voters, such as the absolute debacle that is the electoral college, in which gerrymandering and voter suppression played a part, not to mention Trump’s status as a “star” and the billions of bux in free airtime he got from the MSM. So many other factors besides the minority that voted for that scum bag. Anyways…


  5. Somerby's contribution to our discourse on gun control:

    I, Bob Somerby, have no discernible opinion on gun control policy (even though I claim to be a liberal); however, Liberals apparently would like to see more gun control. They have failed to enact much gun control legislation. (So far, it's a mere statement of fact. Now, here comes Somerby's brilliant insight:) Liberals are failures at enacting gun control. (Wow! Ready for more insight?:) Because they are stupid.

    Thanks for your two cents worth, Bob. If only it were worth even that much.

  6. Hiding behind others is what jews like (((Israel))) do. And you best believe a cascade is coming. LaPierre all but named the jew at CPAC, and the jews noticed.

  7. Why is Somerby talking about children as "beards"? Doesn't he realize that term has a sexual connotation? It is majorly offensive and inappropriate to use it the way he did today.

    1. Beard (companion) Beard is a slang term describing a person who is used, knowingly or unknowingly, as a date, romantic partner (boyfriend or girlfriend), or spouse either to conceal infidelity or to conceal one's sexual orientation.

    2. Mary Beard is a classical scholar at Cambridge. She writes and blogs about the Roman Empire.


  8. "Breitbart editor whines he ‘can’t rip Parkland survivors a new one’ – then calls them ‘human shields for CNN’"

    Headline on Rawstory.com

    Somerby is parroting right wing talking points.

    1. "Somerby is parroting right wing talking points."

      That practically never happens all the time.