STOPPED MAKING SENSE: Our own tribe's discourse has stopped making sense!


Crazy, daft all the way down: An un-funny thing happened in Saturday's Washington Post.

We're referring to the famous newspaper's print editions. On page A2, a news report described the situation involving Haitian migrants near Del Rio, Texas. In paragraphs 5-7, this account was offered:

SONMEZ AND MIROFF (9/25/21): The deportations of Black Haitians seeking asylum—and the viral images and videos of White Border Patrol agents grabbing and shouting at them—drew sharp rebukes from Black Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Earlier in the day, Biden decried the migrants’ treatment. Agents were photographed and filmed by news crews cursing at the Haitians and attempting to force them back across the river to Mexico, at times charging with their horses and swinging their leather reins.

There has been no evidence that agents stuck [sic] any of the migrants or used “whips” as some claimed.

A peculiar claim can be seen lurking in that passage. Weirdly, Sonmez and Miroff reported that some Democrats were angry about the fact that border patrol agents had "shouted at" some of the migrants.

Some of the border patrol agents had shouted at some of the migrants! According to the news report, this shouting had drawn sharp rebukes from some Democratic pols.

That said, there had been "no evidence that agents struck any of the migrants," the Post was now reporting.  Also, there had been no evidence that agents had used "whips," as some people had claimed.

There was no evidence that migrants had been struck. There was no evidence that agents had used whips.

Correction! There was no evidence of such behaviors until you turned to page A19 of those same print editions. On that page, columnist Colbert King could be found saying this:

KING (9/25/21): Who would have thought, on Inauguration Day, that a mere eight months down the road President Biden would be faced with: a Haitian migrant crisis on the southern border; schisms in his party that threaten his plans to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and improve health, education and safety-net programs; a rupture with the French over a new U.S.-Australia defense pact...


The United States’ relations with France will endure. However, in the handling of Haitian migrants, the administration is coming across as its own worst enemy. What kind of government would tolerate for one second mounted Border Patrol agents using horse reins like whips to control Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Tex.?

On page A2, there was no evidence that any migrants had been struck at all, let alone struck with whips. 

But so what? On page A19, mounted Border Patrol agents had been "using horse reins like whips" to control the migrants, and King was strongly suggesting that the Biden administration had somehow "tolerated" this.

So it went on Saturday morning in the Washington Post. For what it's worth, a news report in that morning's New York Times also suggested that earlier reports about the use of whips had been erroneous.

"A photographer on the scene had said publicly that agents had not been using their reins to whip migrants, as had been widely speculated," the Times reporters reported. For the record, this was a change from the original version of their report, which has now been formally corrected.

Meanwhile, the corrected New York Times report still included the fact that Vice President Harris "had likened the pictures of agents on horseback to slavery." Without explanation, a photo caption offered this nugget:

President Biden vowed to hold the agents accountable who chased Haitian migrants on horseback as they tried to cross the Rio Grande into Texas from Mexico on Saturday.

Aren't border agents supposed to "chase" migrants if they're crossing the Rio Grande into Texas without authorization? Such questions went unexplained in the Times' news report—and as the Post's report continued, President Biden was quoted saying this:

SONMEZ AND MIROFF (continuing directly from above): “It was horrible,” the president said. “To see people treated like they did? Horses running them over and people being strapped? It's outrageous and I promise you, those people will pay.”

Had migrants been run over by horses and strapped? That's what the president was quoted saying in the Post report, even as Colbert King seemed to suggest that Biden, or at least his administration, had tolerated such conduct.

Welcome to the wonderful world of a rapidly failing culture! By now, efforts have been made to sift through the thrilling tribal excitement concerning the alleged use of whips, or the alleged use or reins as whip, or the claim that people had been run over by horses, or had even been shouted at.

Yesterday, Max Boot attempted to sort these matters out in the Washington Post, though his column has only appeared online. Kevin Drum offered a substantial excerpt from Boot's column while offering this assessment:

DRUM (9/27/21): I doubt that an investigation will show that CBP officers did anything wrong in their treatment of Haitian immigrants. It made a big impact thanks to a single picture that gave a seriously mistaken impression, but video suggests there was nothing very unusual about the situation.

Did officers do anything wrong in their treatment of the migrants? Was there anything "very unusual" about the isolated events at the border which had been captured in a single viral photograph—a single photograph which our own flailing and failing anti-Trump tribe found especially thrilling?

People can judge such matters for themselves. For now, we'll briefly return to Saturday's Washington Post:

On page A2, readers were told that there was no evidence that migrants had been struck at all, let alone that any agents had been using whips. 

But on page A19, on that very same day, a leading figure at the Post was telling readers something quite different—and he angrily suggested that the Biden Admin had tolerated the whipping of migrants.

Two days later, there was Charles Blow, in Monday's New York Times. Blow was still howling about "the outrageous images of agents on horseback herding the migrants like cattle." 

Using the private language of our failing, barely-competent tribe, Blow referred to the migrants as "Black bodies" rather than as people. According to experts, this is the way we humans behave as our societies die.

In fairness, awkward juxtapositions can occur as information emerges about some incident. Perhaps it isn't "very unusual" that Colbert King was saying one thing on Saturday morning, even as his own newspaper's news report was saying something quite different.

That said, something has been "very unusual" about this event, or at least that would be the case in a dimly rational world. We refer to the lunatic way the liberal / progressive / anti-Trump world reacted to that one photograph involving that one border patrol agent. 

Beyond that,  we refer to the slippery, disingenuous was our liberal thought leaders are still pimping their original impressions concerning this incident.

As we learn that no one was actually whipped, we're asked to be upset to think that unauthorized migrants were "chased," even "shouted at." At New York magazine, Sarah Jones—she once inspired so much hope!—offered this as our silly and failing progressive world emitted its many death rattles:

JONES (9/23/21): Some images burn themselves into the brain. In this one, a U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback lashes a whip near the face of a Haitian migrant; Reuters reports he later grabbed a man by the shirt. The migrants on our border are fleeing poverty and political chaos; they seek the same future we all want for ourselves. They have found a violent welcome in Joe Biden’s America. Asked to comment on the use of whips by border agents, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she did not think “anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.”

Jones included the photo of the (one) agent on horseback—the photo which launched a thousand breakdowns.

In fairness to Jones, it may be that she still believed, at that point, that "agents" (plural) were lashing "whips" (plural) in the incident which had generated that one photograph of that one border agent—that agents (plural) were doing this "in Joe Biden's America."

That said, we offer this to note the insanity which grips human populations as their societies come to an end—the insanity involved when Jones complains about that Reuters report, in which it was said that a border patrol agent had grabbed someone's shirt.

Reportedly, a law enforcement officer had grabbed someone's shirt! As our failing tribe slides toward the sea, that's the sort of thing our thought leaders rail against—"in Joe Biden's America," no less.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is now nearly insane. In the particular matter under review, we're commenting on our tribe's crazy reactions to an incident which might seem to involve a matter of race. 

That said, the dimwitted nuttiness of our upper-end tribal discourse is all around us now, if we're just willing to look. Our discourse stopped making sense long ago. Our behavior rapidly is spiraling downwards, if we're just willing to look.

We'll offer examples this week. We hope to move, with deliberate speed, to the increasingly nutty conversations between Rachel and Lawrence, and to the studied lunacy of Our Own Rhodes Scholar herself.

As we do, we'll also make reference to Robert Kagan's lengthy, widely-cited essay in Sunday's Washington Post. We're on the eve of destruction, Kagan said—and we'd have to say that he understated the nature and sweep of the challenge.

Our own vastly self-impressed tribe is failing very fast. The Crazy is quite widespread among the pro-Trump population, but the behaviors on display in Our Town are increasingly dim, addled, silly, near-hysterical, "very unusual," daft.

It's all right there if we're willing to see it. Anthropologists insist that we aren't.

Coming: As Kagan paints a frightening picture, Rachel and Lawrence cavort


  1. As always, thank you, dear Bob, for documenting liberal atrocities.

    "Aren't border agents supposed to "chase" migrants if they're crossing the Rio Grande into Texas without authorization?"

    Indeed, they are. And if they aren't doing it vigorously and efficiently enough, they need to be disciplined.

    1. All Lives Matter.

    2. Here is what Border Patrol Agents do:

      "Detecting, preventing, and apprehending undocumented noncitizens, smugglers of noncitizens, and illegal narcotics by maintaining surveillance from covert positions at or near the 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international land borders and over 2,000 miles of coastal borders;
      Responding to electronic sensor alarms in remote areas;
      Interpreting and following tracks, marks, and other physical evidence of undocumented noncitizens and smugglers;
      Using cutting edge technology, such as infrared scopes during nighttime operations;
      Performing line-watch duties, traffic checkpoint operations, city patrols, transportation checks, and other law enforcement duties, as assigned; and
      Communicating and/or giving verbal commands in Spanish to Spanish-speaking undocumented noncitizens and smugglers."

      The videos do not show agents apprehending people. They show them attempting to herd them back into the water.

      Under Trump, water deaths among refugees along the border tripled and water rescues spiked by 1000%.

      But Somerby only worries about migrants dying in the Mediterranean, not at the border of his own country.

    3. Why would refugees get into the water, dear dembot? Refugees live in refugee camps, waiting till it's safe for them to go back home.

      May we suggest that those alleged water deaths "Under Trump" were alleged water deaths of imposters, not refugees?

    4. "They show them attempting to herd them back into the water."

      Yes. What do you find problematic about it, dear dembot?

      A group of people are trying to commit a crime of unauthorized crossing, and border guards push them back. Seems perfectly fine to us, dear.

    5. The dying. That's the part I find "problematic."

    6. Who is dying, dear dembot?


    8. Why don't you go there, dear dembot, and tell them not to commit the crime of unauthorized border crossing.

      Although we suspect that they're perfectly aware of the risks, and don't care for your patronizing attitude.

    9. Mao was way funnier when he pretended he wasn't a world-class Establishment ass-kisser.

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  2. This whole story is fake.
    There are no such things as border patrol agents working for the United States government.
    The country is too broke to afford them.
    Ask Mitch McConnell if you don't believe me.
    Here's Mitch's office number :(202) 224-2441

  3. "A peculiar claim can be seen lurking in that passage. Weirdly, Sonmez and Miroff reported that some Democrats were angry about the fact that border patrol agents had "shouted at" some of the migrants."

    And yet the quote contains the answer:

    "Agents were photographed and filmed by news crews cursing at the Haitians..."

    Somerby implies that this is a big fuss about nothing, but cursing at asylum-seekers is more than simply shouting at them. Advocacy groups are claiming that racial slurs were used. Somerby doesn't mention that either.

    The phrase "there is no evidence" can mean that no one was struck, or it can mean that there is no video of someone being struck, but it may have happened off camera. These accusations are not only coming from the widely circulated video and reporters, but also from on-the-scene advocates and groups working to help migrants. They are also claiming that there were no translators to help refugees with their claims and no attorneys available to represent them.

    This is not just about the optics of guys on horses riding down black migrants, but it is also about how refugees at our border are still being mistreated, even though Biden has supposedly changed policies.

    A liberal would consider it helpful to draw the president's attention to abuses. Only Somerby focuses narrowly on the shouting and says nothing to see here, keep moving. Because Somerby is a conservative, not a liberal, and he doesn't give a damn what happens to Haitian refugees, even though some of their children were no doubt present among the beautiful, deserving black kids in his classes.

    1. anon 12:44, it's reassuring that at least you care about Haitians trying to cross the border. What would the right policy be in your view?

    2. Allow them to get out of the river so that they can apply for asylum. Stop using racial slurs and cursing during their first enounter with a US government official. Migrants have been crossing the river because they have not been allowed to apply for asylum at the official entry points. It is dangerous to force people to try to cross desert or river, or to seek out human traffickers to gain a chance to apply for asylum.

      These migrant and refugee problems are only going to get worse with climate change. We need a coherent policy for dealing with people that is humane and safe and treats people with dignity.

  4. Bob needs to remind himself that there was a vast and powerful network composed of corporations, social network platforms, political activists groups, media, and other bipartisan neocons who worked throughout 2020 to save the election from a Red State-Trump Cabal.

    Read it, remember, and relax, folks.

    1. This idea of a cabal between business and liberals to "anoint the leader" amounts to no more than the rest of the nation, excluding Trump's supporters, acknowledging Biden's win and going forward with the transition. Of course the nation rallied behind its new president. That is what we do in a democracy, and it is not a sinister plot when it happens. Trump's refusal to concede the election is the unusual event, and the vote-counting was over by Dec 2, no matter how many fake audits Trump wanted to produce (to aid his fund-raising off his supporters).

    2. Cecelia,
      Don't be shy. Tell us your Election Reform ideas that will keep corporations, social network platforms, political activist groups, media, and other bipartisan neocons from electoral influence.
      Please be specific.

    3. I'm old enough to remember Cecelia being a supporter of the Citizens United verdict.
      In her defense, it isn't "Keep America Racist", so it's not a firmly held Right-wing ideological belief.

    4. I know mh never bothers to read the blogpost before responding, but I think the Anonymices do.

      However, none of Bob’s detractors ever follow his links.

    5. That is a total lie. I have written several comments that complain about some of Somerby's links being "links to nowhere". I have also written lengthy comments that refer to the content of his links, not his essays. I think there is some question about whether Cecelia has been reading the comments. If she had been, she couldn't make this claim about not following Somerby's links.

  5. Somerby fails to mention that the guy whose shirt was pulled was wading in water up to his chest, while the agent was on horseback above him. That isn't an arrest or detainment. It is destabilizing a person who is attempting to cross a river with a strong current.

    Is there some reason these migrants couldn't have been apprehended on shore instead of midriver? Perhaps the rule is that if they get to shore, they can claim asylum, whereas if they are in the water, they are still in Meixco? Would that change the picture of what they were doing, and is it consistent with their job description? Is that a legal "deportation"?

  6. Somerby avoids making clear statements of his own opinions. It may be that he disagrees with Biden's policies on immigration, but rather than own such an opinion, he instead claims that the media has stopped making sense. That's incorrect. The sense is there. Somerby does not like what he reads or hears, so he says it doesn't make sense instead. That is craven.

  7. Here is what has been going on with Biden administration deportations of Haitians:

    Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. In addition to chronic problems, its leader was assassinated in July and it was recently struck by a major earthquake leaving people homeless. That is why so many Haitians are seeking asylum now.

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