STORYLINE CONQUERS KENOSHA: Someone calls Kyle a different name!


"Samaritan" now suggested: Did Donald J. Trump think he had Covid when he debated Joe Biden? What did his aides believe?

Based on current reporting, we can't answer your questions. We can tell you this:

This very morning, on Morning Joe, we watched a thoroughly bogus "discussion" concerning this very topic. Long story short: 

The story works better for tribal purposes if we assume that Donald J. Trump did believe—indeed, if we assert that he actually knew—that he did have Covid. 

Presumably for that reason, Joe and Mika and Willie—but also Jonathan and Elise—conducted a long pseudo-discussion at the start of today's TV show. During their pseudo-discussion, they kept failing to mention the second Covis test which Trump allegedly took.

According to the current (slender) state of the reporting, that second test had said that Trump didn't have Covid. Presumably for purposes of tribal pleasure, the Morning Joe gang disappeared all mention of that second (alleged) test as they conducted their remarkably selective and thoroughly bogus chat.

For the record, we don't know what Trump knew or believed at the time of that debate. We don't even know if that second (alleged) test actually happened. 

We would assume that there were several other tests at that time. At present, the (slender) state of the reporting doesn't address that apparent likelihood.

At any rate, Joe and Mika and Willie and them staged a long pseudo-discussion. The pleasure came from their willingness to disappear a key bit of information—the claim that Trump took a second, more reliable test, and that it came back negative.

The conversation they conducted today was phony as a three-dollar bill. That said, much of American "mews" culture is now built around such performances.

Our failing nation's pseudo-discourse is built around such tribal novelizations. Consider the information which got disappeared concerning the looting and arson in Kenosha.

For this, we return to Nellie Bowles' lengthy, detailed report in the New York Times. 

As we noted yesterday, the report was published on November 16, 2020—November of last year. In print editions, the lengthy report was buried deep inside the paper. In print, it appeared on page 5 of Section B, and it carried this slightly odd headline:

After the Protests: Gaps in Small-Business Insurance

Given the nature of Bowles' report, that headline is perhaps a tiny bit comical, but also perhaps instructive. We refer to its use of the phrase, "After the protests."  

Bowles wasn't exactly describing the effects of Kenosha's "protests." In reality, she was describing the effects of the looting and arson which had occurred in Kenosha, but mainly the widespread arson.

The pair of headlines which appear online are much more representative of the article's actual content. They don't include the word "protests." They refer to unrest, looting and arson.

Ladies and gentlemen, what's in a word?  At any rate, as we noted yesterday, Bowles' nugget went like this:

BOWLES (11/16/20): On the burned-out blocks hit by unrest since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis in late spring, the reality is complicated. Mr. Floyd’s death was the start of months of protests for racial justice led by the Black Lives Matter movement that have left long-term economic damage, especially in lower-income business districts.

While large chains like Walmart and Best Buy have excellent insurance, many small businesses that have been burned down in the riots lack similar coverage. And for them, there is no easy way to replace all that they lost.

In Kenosha, more than 35 small businesses were destroyed, and around 80 were damaged, according to the city’s business association. Almost all are locally owned and many are underinsured or struggling to manage.

“It’s a common problem, businesses being underinsured, and the consequences can be devastating,” said Peter Kochenburger, executive director of the Insurance Law LL.M. Program and a University of Connecticut law professor.

Bowles referred to "protests" in that passage, but she also referred to "riots." Her report focused on the losses incurred in Kenosha, largely as a result of the arson which took place during the "unrest."

According to Bowles, the big corporate stores tend to be well insured. The little guys often are not. 

She described an array of losses in Kenosha. One story went like this:

BOWLES: When people started burning down buildings in Kenosha after the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, Tony Farhan prayed that his electronics shop would be left alone.

The Farhans have struggled economically in recent years. Mr. Farhan, his wife and their four sons moved in with his parents while their savings went to one son’s health care. Mr. Farhan’s ambition for a better life was tied up in the shop. So were many of his family’s belongings. They couldn’t fit all the clothes and toys for their boys in the crowded house they shared with his parents, so they tucked things away into the shop storage room. “Half my house was in there,” said Mr. Farhan, 36, who grew up in Kenosha.

The shop, which sells cellphones, charging cords, headphones and speakers, was looted on the night Mr. Blake was shot and burned the next. So was his brother’s shoe and clothing shop next door. The apartment units upstairs burned with them, as did many other buildings in the working-class neighborhood of Uptown Kenosha, a historic and bustling multicultural neighborhood. Weeks later it remained a scene of char and rubble.

They have insurance, though they say it is not enough, and now they are tangling to get the money. But personal items they stored in the shops were not insured, they said. Mr. Farhan does not know how he will pay to replace his children’s winter clothes that were in a storage room.


In the units above the Farhans’ shops, all the tenants made it out alive, but several family pets died in the fires, the brothers said. One upstairs resident started an online fund-raiser the brothers highlighted: “My mom and I lost everything and our 2 cats and now my mom is homeless and I would like to try to raise money to help her with getting a place,” the tenant’s daughter, Ashley Powell, wrote on the GoFundMe page.

According to experts, the lizard brain is capable of explaining all that away. Bowles also tried to milk this transparent sob story:

BOWLES: [T]he pain was broadly felt. At the local used tire shop, the owner, Linda Tolliver, who is white, is waiting for new windows to replace those broken in the riots (her landlord’s insurance is covering it). In the meantime, she estimated she was paying $800 extra each month to heat the shop, which now lacks proper windows, and she is working all day behind plywood without natural light. So Ms. Tolliver said she was making do with less—cutting back on employee hours and forgoing the new winter uniforms her workers need.

The night after her shop was broken into, she stayed inside to guard it and watch what was happening. She was shocked, she said, to see so many white protesters destroying property in the name of Black lives. And they seemed to be well-off young people, with little sense of what a storefront means to a family like hers.

According to experts, the lizard brain is going to say that Tolliver is "a hater." Along the way, many lizards will say, Bowles was willing to play the race and class cards:

BOWLES: One pattern that emerged in the aftermath of the riots in Kenosha: Many white-owned businesses like Mr. Carpenter’s had better, more comprehensive insurance and records than those owned by people of color, according to several leaders in the business community.


The city’s lower- and middle-class business owners were ultimately hit harder than the more affluent. When the riots started on a Sunday night, Kenosha’s wealthier and whiter Downtown organized quickly to board up the storefronts, thanks to a longstanding tight-knit business association. By the next morning at 7, hundreds of volunteers were gathering with hammers and nails. Those who couldn’t hammer came with water and sandwiches. Several shops had already been looted and damaged. But mostly, the area was protected.

Uptown Kenosha, a less affluent area, did not have a well-resourced tight-knit business association. Many shop owners could not afford to buy the plywood boards to protect their businesses in time, though Downtown quickly came to help both financially and physically with volunteers. Still, block after block burned over the course of the week. Protests continued long after the nights of fire and looting, but they became more quiet and peaceful. Now, old exterior walls of stores still stand uptown, but inside many shops are just piles of bricks, melted plastic and twisted chairs.

Lower-income people, and people of color, were harder hit by the arson, the demonic Bowles alleged. 

"Still, the pain was broadly felt," her editors made her admit. Eventually, she described this case:

BOWLES: One company that became an iconic local scene of the destruction is Car Source, which sells used cars. Some 140 vehicles in its lot were destroyed by arson. The family that owns the lot, of Indian descent, estimates the damage at $2.5 million. They have been fighting with their insurer, which initially attempted to classify the damage as the result of a domestic terrorism incident—an event not covered by their plan, said Anmol Khindri, whose family owns the business. Most of their business records were destroyed in the fire, and many of the car VIN numbers were burned off, making it hard to prove how much was lost. The family hired a lawyer to help (the lawyer takes a percentage of whatever is paid out).

“I’m keeping my expectations low,” Mr. Khindri said. “I’m already broke. I’ve got no money. It’s been total loss.”

According to Bowles, some 140 vehicles in Car Source's lot were destroyed by arson. On the third night of the "protests," men with rifles—and at least one teenager—stood in front of one of the Car Source lots to try to keep the number right there. 

Khindri has said that he didn't ask them to do that. Others have testified, under oath, that he actually did.

Questions arise at this point. Under the circumstances, were the men who guarded the Car Source lot behaving as "vigilantes?" 

Posing our question in a less dramatic way, should they have been there at all that night? If so, should they have been there with guns?

Let's return to Linda Tolliver, who stayed inside her used tire shop to guard it during the rioting. Was she behaving as a vigilante when she did that? At times of such breakdowns in normal order, is it OK for owners to guard their shops, but wrong for anyone else?

We ask one final question:

If a person attempted to guard one of those threatened businesses, had that person gone to the scene of "a protest?" Woulf that be the most accurate way to describe where that person had gone?

Bowles described some of what happened in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake. Her lengthy report contained a great deal of real information. 

Right through the end of the Rittenhouse trial, you were much more likely to be exposed to such information if you were watching the Fox News Channel. On our own gruesome tribe's Cuomo-infested corporate channels, such information was almost wholly avoided, withheld, disappeared.

Tomorrow, we'll return to Bowles' report to describe some of the attitudes behind such selective presentation of information. For today, we'll tell you this:

Our tribe has widely name-called Rittenhouse as a "vigilante"—insanely adding, as if by law, that he even "crossed state lines!" By way of contrast, some experts are calling him a local teenager—and some are even calling him a totally different name.

If you were eager to call him a name, what type of name-calling would you select? Today, we won't mention the new name we've heard, but we will type it tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Who cares what happens to Them?


  1. Nice. Thank you for documenting this tiny portion of the liberal-goebbelsian atrocities, dear Bob.


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  2. How can Somerby pretend to discuss whether Trump had Covid during the debate (we know he had it shortly thereafter because he went to the hospital with it), without ever mentioning Mark Meadows? Mark Meadows said in his book that Trump knew he had covid on debate day and they didn't inform the Biden team. Then, because Trump objected, Meadows retracted what he said in his book, aligning himself with Trump's fantasy (yet another Big Lie).

    Somerby discusses none of that, making it seem like Mika and Joe are speculating based on thin air. Anyone who has been following this news knows better, but Somerby still has to try to con the rubes, I guess. Or perhaps he has been spending so much time watching Fox that he doesn't know what is true any more.

    When someone puts a statement into print, it becomes a fact that they said that statement (it doesn't make the content of the statement true, but it does make the fact of saying it true). That is one of the facts that Somerby needs to discuss if he wishes to pretend that Trump didn't know he had covid.

    But it is also true that Trump was so sick that they moved him to the hospital because they were concerned about his breathing. It is also true that he was given the whole gamut of special treatments (most not available to the general public) to help him survive. Trump may want to pretend that his second covid test was negative, so he didn't know if he had covid or not, but it seems highly unlikely he had no symptoms and couldn't just monitor his own internal well-being to know whether he was sick or not.

    "You are sniffling and coughing! No I'm not, it's the air conditioning that is making me do this. I always cough like this in the morning. My nose isn't running -- yours is!"

    It sounds like a Monty Python sketch about a dead parrot.

  3. Tolliver works very hard to make it seem like protesters were doing the damage, without saying so. Those white young people could as easily have been alt-right, eager to do damage that would be attributed to the left.

    Meanwhile, her description of her damages is ridiculous:

    "In the meantime, she estimated she was paying $800 extra each month to heat the shop, which now lacks proper windows, and she is working all day behind plywood without natural light. So Ms. Tolliver said she was making do with less—cutting back on employee hours and forgoing the new winter uniforms her workers need."

    Her landlord's insurance is paying for the windows. Her employees suffered through old uniforms and shorter hours -- no sacrifice there for Tolliver, whose main damage seems to be working behind plywood instead of window glass.

    But Somerby's heart bleeds for Tolliver and not the men Rittenhouse shot. And he tells us that OUR lizard brains are getting it wrong when we are unimpressed by her suffering.

    I get the impression that small business owners feel very sorry for themselves.

    1. The radiant heat loss from plywood compared to glass would be less, but if the plywood were not well sealed it would leak more heat than glass. $800 extra seems excessive to me, but when have small business owners been known to exaggerate their losses after a disaster? Oh, wait, they do that all the time.

    2. We learned yesterday that business owners who live above their store and/or their tenets who do, intentionally leave their pets when the buildings are set afire too.

      Is there no end to the callous and callow perfidy of these people!!

    3. Did someone's pet actually die? Probably not, more likely a tale for gofundme; if there were cats, they probably ran off.

      The article points out that those struggling with insurance claims are not necessarily low income "little guys", but businesses that cheaped-out on paying for proper coverage. Linda Tolliver runs a successful business she took over from her father, she is not part of the "little guys", she is a relatively affluent white person. She is also no dummy, she was able to place herself in nearly every news story that covered Kenosha businesses affected by the rioters, of which there are many, including an interview on Fox.

      The articles quotes MLK jr: "a riot is the language of the unheard", and also quotes the ever-present Linda Tolliver: "It’s some blue-haired, latte-drinking hippie in Seattle coming here to raise hell while they go home to their nice beds"

      I see.

  4. "Let's return to Linda Tolliver, who stayed inside her used tire shop to guard it during the rioting. Was she behaving as a vigilante when she did that?"

    vigilante definition: "a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate."

    1. was she a member of an organized group? NO
    2. Was she undertaking law enforcement? NO -- she was being a deterrent by her presence. No description of her weapons, patrolling, etc. She was no more than a burglar alarm. No description of her patrolling anyone else's property, as law enforcement would do.
    3. Was she self-appointed? YES, but not to undertake law enforcement in her community, since she only guarded her own shop.
    4. Did she consider legal agencies to be inadequate? She didn't say so, but might have, even though the national guard had been called in. It is pretty typical of business owners to consider city agencies to be inadequate, but it isn't clear whether that is politics or specific to her situation. In any case, it is moot, since the rest of the definition doesn't apply.

    Why couldn't Somerby look up the definition of vigilante and make a similar analysis? He could then answer his own question. I think it is because he wishes to broaden the definition of vigilante to the point that a kinder, gentler version of Kyle Rittenhouse's actions could be emcompassed by it. The narrow definition fits him to a T, but perhaps Somerby wishes to argue that Rittenhouse didn't do anything that wrong. In that case, equating him with Tolliver might seem like a good way to argue that Rittenhouse was just protecting his own store by guarding it from wrongdoers, which would fine, except that Rittenhouse didn't own or rent or operate any business, hadn't been asked to guard one (according to court testimony), brought an AR-15 to do so, fired it at several unarmed men, killing two, and didn't prevent a single car from being burned, after all that.

    That is a stretch of reasoning, even for Somerby.

  5. " On our own gruesome tribe's Cuomo-infested corporate channels..."

    What a busy man Cuomo must be, to be everywhere at once!

    Note the attempt to dehumanize Cuomo, simply because Somerby dislikes him. The word "infested" refers to cockroaches or bedbugs, pests, not people. This is what fascists do, in order to prepare the public to accept it when people are treated as less than human by fascist government.

    And Cuomo hasn't even had his day in court. If he were a Republican, Somerby would be defending him as possibly innocent because of that. Special treatment for Democrats at Somerby's blog, obviously. Not that I think Cuomo is innocent -- who knows though, anything is possible!

  6. "Our tribe has widely name-called Rittenhouse as a "vigilante"—insanely adding, as if by law, that he even "crossed state lines!" By way of contrast, some experts are calling him a local teenager—and some are even calling him a totally different name."

    Actually, Rittenhouse DID cross a state line (the one between Wisconsin and Illinois) to go to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, IL. Why is Somerby lying about this and what makes the truth insane?

    And Rittenhouse was clearly a vigilante, meeting the definition of the term (self-appointed, check, part of an oerganized group, check, carrying out law enforcement activities, check, belief that the law wasn't doing its job, check -- what part of the definition doesn't apply to Rittenhouse?).

    Somerby hints at a different name for Rittenhouse -- presumably Samaritan, since that is the right-wing talking point of the day. But does Rittenhouse meet that definition?

    samaritan definition: "a charitable or helpful person"

    It is true that Rittenhouse wasn't paid for his efforts (unless you ignore everything that happened after his arrest). But was he charitable or helpful in any way? No cars were prevented from burning by Rittenhouse's efforts. No dumpster fires put out by him personally. He rendered no first aid, not even to those he shot, but did run around asking people if they needed aid and bragging about his medic training. And then there is the FACT that he shot two unarmed men and wounded someone who was trying to stop him from killing more people.

    You would have to be a rabid conservative to consider shooting protesters "helpful". You would have to support the efforts to provoke race riot (Proud Boys) or believe that all those dirty hippies should be shot, to consider what Rittenhouse did "helpful". The police didn't consider him helpful, since they eventually arrested him. The court didn't consider him helpful either, since they failed to dismiss charges. The jury decided he didn't murder those men, but they didn't say he was "helpful" in any way.

    So, the name "samaritan" doesn't fit Rittenhouse's actions at all. In fact, proposing it is like spitting on the graves of those men he killed, since it implies that those men were not human beings, but more pests to be eliminated. But that is consistent with Somerby's language today.

    And then there is MLK and Gandhi. Would either of them have considered Rittenhouse's actions "helpful" in any way? Would Jesus, for that matter?

    But Somerby most likely gets paid to write tripe like this, so perhaps proposing that different name for Rittenhouse is helpful to Somerby's household economy. I hope Somerby has written Kyle a note to thank him for the much-needed extra income.

    1. Not only is today's post by Somerby dumb, it is ugly and repugnant. If he ever had a moral compass, he lost it a while ago.

  7. Somerby says that the left media is ignoring the damage done to small businesses, but the very report he is discussing today (by Bowles) appeared in the NY Times, Somerby's favorite target when attacking the media. How can that be?

  8. I think the best source of factual info about a riot or disaster or protest, is the local media (newspaper, local TV) in wherever the event happened. They are closest to the source (often police or city press officials) and also able to do more local interviews (again, closest to the source).

    By the time news reaches Fox, it is mingled with invented disinformation and low-information invention by national newswriters who cannot as easily check facts (e.g., misinformation). As time goes on, the disinformation gets worse and the misinformation (often from poorly vetted social media) isn't debunked. Yes, you will hear different things on the left and right mainstream media, but that is because so much that appears on the right is propagandizing of the event for conservative political purposes. Just hearing different facts on the right compared to the left doesn't make what you hear on the right accurate or correct. And that is before Tucker Carlson gets going on it.

    I don't know how Somerby can be suggesting this, except that he has apparently gone senile in his old age.

    1. That is a really dumb way to look at it. Really dumb.

  9. Replies
    1. They were distributing bottled water to the pubescent vigilantes.

  10. “their willingness to disappear a key bit of information— the claim that Trump took a second, more reliable test, and that it came back negative.”

    Who says the second test was more reliable?

    It was described, according to The Guardian, as follows: “Meadows says the positive test had been done with an old model kit. He told Trump the test would be repeated with “the Binax system, and that we were hoping the first test was a false positive”.”

    The CDC recommends that a positive result from a rapid antigen test should be confirmed with a more accurate laboratory-based NAAT, such as a PCR test.

    The Binax is a rapid antigen test, and “use of antigen tests indicate that negative test results should be considered “presumptive,” meaning that they are preliminary results.”, in which case Trump should have taken precautions, rather than potentially spreading the disease as he made public appearance after public appearance.

    Besides, we don’t even know what kind of test generated the initial positive result. Was it an antigen test? A PCR?

    It was the President of the United States here, not some hapless dweeb buying COVID tests at Walgreen’s “hoping” for the best, for God’s sake.

    We may never find out the truth, what with Trump’s predilection for lying and his sycophants willingness to lie for him. It’s a disgusting scenario, but that type of sociopathic behavior almost ensures that no facts can emerge.

  11. "35 small businesses were destroyed, and around 80 were damaged" Wait... wasn't it a small business that called the cops on George Floyd? He would be alive if a small business hadn't done that. Burn Baby Burn!

  12. Used tires is a racket that takes advantage of poor people who cannot afford new tires. The used tires quickly wear out and then the consumer needs to buy another used tire, at a higher price than the tires are worth, because they need to get to their marginal jobs or they will be fired. It is a business that takes advantage of the restricted circumstances of the poor -- like payday loans or furniture rentals.

    This Tolliver person must have learned her great values from her dad, much as Trump did from his slumlord father. The predominantly minority consumers of her used tires exist to make her wealthy, not have good lives themselves.

    It might be too soon to weep for the Tollivers of Kenosha.

  13. This one dated quickly. I watched some MSNBC yesterday, heard them
    talking about the second test. Totally understood what they were saying. The Times and even "All In" makes Bob look pretty silly in their follow ups today.
    I also read a piece fairly early that explained why it was going to be tough to convict Rittenhouse, so I wasn't shocked MSNBC was spinning pretty hard and they often do. But it is equally not surprising Bob shows zero interest int he other big case of the last couple weeks. Sadly not surprising as, however rare, the case really does look like something out of Klan days. It just does.
    Finally, Bob ignoring Logan's Fauci/Mengele thing is a shameful omission.

  14. Should say also, yes, Morning Joe is terrible, but often "our tribe" is the most absurdly abused on the show.

  15. “The story works better for tribal purposes if we assume that Donald J. Trump did believe—indeed, if we assert that he actually knew—that he did have Covid. “

    No, the story works because Trump is a sociopath (hello Somerby), and this is precisely what a sociopath running for office would do, show up infected to a debate and hope his opponent caught it and died.

  16. This is why I have been so apolitical in all terms and rarely push myself to speak about what can go wrong and what could have been done by the Government so I just live my life the way I will be happy and avoid getting influenced by the negativity of the society.

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