Discernment and its discontents!


The lack of human discernment: Has the problem caused by the lack of human discernment ever been quite so clear, Pizzagate and QAnon-wise?

On today's front page, the New York Times reports some of this lack of discernment.  Sabrina Tavernise focuses on some regular people over there on the pro-Trump side:

TAVERNISE (1/18/21): Theda Kasner, 83, a retired medical worker from Marshfield, Wis., who was originally interviewed for a New York Times polling story before the election, has been in an R.V. park in Weslaco, Texas, near the border with Mexico, since December. She is spending the winter there with her husband...


When asked about the violence at the [Capitol building] riot, Ms. Kasner repeated the common conspiracy theory that antifa had infiltrated the crowd. These days, she is finding herself increasingly confused in a sea of information, much of it false.

She had heard on a video she was sent on Facebook that in the Biden administration, children could be taken away from their parents. “I am in a total state of, I don’t know what is happening,” Ms. Kasner said.

“I simply cannot fathom what my country is becoming,” she said, saying that she had been sitting in her home in tears.

In fairness, Kasner is 83. That said, Tavernise also quotes a 43-year-old man from Colorado: 

TAVERNISE: For Mr. Scheerer, the fuel truck driver in Colorado, the multiple catastrophes of the past year—the coronavirus, the economic disruption that came with it, the political fear across the country—all fused into a kind of looming threat. The lockdowns infuriated him. He sees mask mandates not as public health but public control. Both, he believed, were signs of a coming tyranny. 


“It’s way more than just being some kind of a Trump fanatic,” he said. He said he saw himself as “a guy up on the wall of a city seeing the enemy coming, and ringing the alarm bell.”

Force, he said, is only a last resort.

“Are you OK with internment camps if you refuse to wear a mask or take a vaccination?” he asked. “I believe in a world where force has to be used to stop evil or the wrong act.”

Scheerer has apparently heard, and apparently believes, that people who refuse to be vaccinated will end up in internment camps under a President Biden.

The rise of round-the-clock dis- and misinformation is eating away at our nation's unavoidable lack of human discernment. And no, this problem isn't limited to the "little people."

We recently had the misfortune to read this discouraging New York Times essay about Josh Hawley's kooky intellectual war with the deeply dangerous fourth-century theologian Pelagius. "Highly educated" graduates of Stanford and Yale Law School believe the most damn-fool things!

(To read Hawley's graduation address about Pelagius, you can just click here. Be prepared to come face-to-face with the endless supply of the lack of human discernment.)

Regular people don't know what to think; crackpots like Hawley don't seem to know how. But the vast breakdown in human discernment isn't limited to the people found Over There, be they humble or exalted.

These breakdowns are quite widespread right here in the streets of Our Town. For our money, the examples are more numerous, and more depressing, with each passing day.

For today, we'll send you to Vanessa Friedman's latest hiss-spitting attack on Melania Trump's wardrobe selections down through the past five years. 

Friedman wrote it, the New York Times ran it. We humans have to be out of our minds to traffic in bullshit like this. 

Then too, there are the unexplained flips among Our Town's intellectual leaders. Yesterday morning, on Morning Joe, Mika was bitterly attacking Sheryl Sandberg. Three years ago, Mika was among the masses who stood in line to recite the scripts about Facebook's feminist icon, praising her for her obvious spectacular human greatness.

We also read Peter Beinart's air-filled rumination in the New York Times concerning political courage. What follows makes perfect sense, except for the fact that it doesn't:

BEINART (1/16/21): Courage cannot be explained by a single variable. Politicians whose communities have suffered disproportionately from government tyranny may show disproportionate bravery in opposing it. Mr. Romney, like the Arizona Republican Jeff Flake—whose opposition to Mr. Trump likely ended his senatorial career—belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was once persecuted on American soil. In the fevered days after Sept. 11, the only member of Congress to oppose authorizing the “war on terror” was a Black woman, Barbara Lee.

But during that era, too, ambition undermined political courage, and stature fortified it. John Kerry, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman, Democratic senators who went on to run for president in 2004, voted for the Iraq war.

By contrast, Mr. Kerry’s Massachusetts colleague, Ted Kennedy, who had been elected to the Senate in 1962, voted against it...

There's more, but we'd like to hold onto our lunch. Consider:

For starters, Beinart forgot to say that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden also "voted for the war," to the extent that anyone did. 

(Senators voted on the so-called "war resolution," not on the war itself. The resolution was aggressively sold as the way to avoid a war. We described it as the worst vote in Senate history, but it wasn't "a vote on the war" in the traditional sense.) 

That said, the courageous Romney also supported the war, despite his Mormon difference! And while he was sharing his plu-pompous thoughts, Beinart forgot to mention another fact:

Peter Beinart actively supported the war in Iraq! Here's one of his tweets on the subject:

I supported the Iraq War. A mentor died in it. My sister-in-law left her toddler to serve in it. I wrote 2 books grappling w/ how I got it so wrong. I never thought people like Bolton + Netanyahu could pull off a campaign of lies like that again. They have...

Beinart supported the war himself! Presumably, he did so from the noblest of motives, unlike the cowardly pols whose motives he decries in an essay so faux and so absurd it could only have appeared in the routinely ridiculous Times.

Trust us! It gets worse—much, much worse—over here in the streets of Our Town. 

Over in the other towns, the little people are often extremely poorly informed. Here in Our Town, our elites are quite routinely full of the world's hottest and dumbest air, and the rest of us rarely notice.

Human discernment is widely AWOL. The state of play among us humans is horrible all the way down.


  1. "Scheerer has apparently heard, and apparently believes, that people who refuse to be vaccinated will end up in internment camps under a President Biden."

    It certain does seem likely, dear Bob.

    If Krauts do it, we don't see why the faithful of your liberal cult, fellow worshippers of COVID The Almighty wouldn't...

    1. That will create well-paying jobs right here in America. Who can disagree with that?

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  2. "Ms. Kasner repeated the common conspiracy theory that antifa had infiltrated the crowd"

    Well, at least one of your zombie cult's brown-shirts, named John Sullivan, definitely had infiltrated the crowd, dear Bob.

    That's a fact. So, where's the dreaded "conspiracy theory", what's the problem here?

  3. "In fairness, Kasner is 83. That said, Tavernise also quotes a 43-year-old man from Colorado"

    Kasner is 83. In fairness, Tavernise also quotes a 43-year-old man from Colorado

    FTFY -- Q-Anon is not a phenomenon of old age. Just gullibility.

    1. Fairness is owed to people, not Q-Anon.

  4. "She had heard on a video she was sent on Facebook that in the Biden administration, children could be taken away from their parents."

    Why, that's certainly a possibility actively discussed by your liberal comrades, dear Bob:

    PBS Attorney Resigns After Saying Trump Voters’ Children Should Face ‘Re-Education Camps’

    Why shouldn't it make nervous Ms Kasner, retired medical worker from Marshfield, Wis., assuming she is not a member of your liberal-zombie cult?

  5. ...still, dear Bob, in this context, what about the deranged leaders of your zombie cult?

    In a conversation that sounds like two demented QAnon members, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi suggested that President Trump instigated the Capitol siege at the behest of Vladimir Putin.

    Any thoughts on that? Or smearing Ms Kasner, 83, retired medical worker - who actually makes a lot of sense - is the highest priority for you?

    Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    1. The denial of Republican bigotry is making everyone crazy.

  6. "The rise of round-the-clock dis- and misinformation is eating away at our nation's unavoidable lack of human discernment."

    Somerby has this wrong. The misinformation is eating away at discernment, not the lack of discernment. Something that eats away at lack of discernment increases discernment by reducing that lack. He hasn't said what he means, given the context of his usual rants. Misinformation interferes with discernment, increasing the LACK of discernment, not eating away at it.

    If Somerby is going to give lessons in discernment, he needs to proofread his essays.

    1. So... You liked it! The essay, that is.

      Bully for your discernment!


  7. Beinart was obviously not talking about his own political courage, so what difference does it make whether he did or didn't support the Iraq war?

    Somerby today asserts a false equivalence between those who believe Q-Anon garbage and those who think Romney was courageous because he was Mormon. Somerby doesn't seem to know how to disagree with people without condemning the whole human race.

    And I think Melania has horrible taste in clothes too. Somerby, of course, is partly objecting to the coverage of fashion in the NY Times but mostly objecting to the presence of women in the public eye. He segues from Vanessa Friedman to Mika to Sheryl Sandberg (couldn't she has done something the past 3 years that might have changed Mika's impression of her). No one considered her a feminist icon then or now. It takes more than a good job to make a woman a feminist these days, although maybe it was courageous for a woman to dare to work in Somerby's time.

  8. Today is Tuesday 1/19 but Somerby hasn't changed the date on his two "reports" that appeared today, not Monday.

    1. Ooooh, that eats away at my lack of discernment...or does it help it?

  9. Neither Vanessa Friedman’s opinions about Melania Trump’s wardrobe nor Mika’s changing opinion of Sheryl Sandberg is likely to send riotous mobs storming the Capitol demanding blood. The disinformation pushed by Trump, Cruz, Hawley, on the other hand...

    It’s quite likely the human race can withstand the opinions of Friedman and Mika. While we’re on the subject of Somerby’s histrionic reaction to trivial things, why doesn’t he grovel in his despair when he sees reams of pages and thousands of hours of air time devoted to things like:

    “Wil NFL Teams Learn the Right Lessons from Josh Allen’s Success?”

    “What We Learned from the NFL’s Wild-Card Weekend”

    “Enjoy Derrick Henry’s High-Mileage Fun. History Shows It’s Unsustainable.”

    “The Fall of the House of Belichick”

    Does the latter deserve a “hiss-spit?” Or does that only apply when women write about women? To quite Kramer from Seinfeld: “Oooh, catfight.”

    Somerby is mostly spewing nonsense. What the one-time media critic fails to note is that, once again, the dysfunctional views of Trump supporters are given a full airing in the Baquet NYT. Has anyone ever seen regular average Biden supporters given an equivalent platform in the pages of this esteemed publication?

  10. I have zero sympathy for the people who believe inane things. That is their choice.

  11. Bannon was pardoned, because it's a victimless crime to scam Right-wingers out of their money.

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