MADNESS: Did Berliner call The NewsHour's shot?

SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2024

The goddess Athene moves on: Today's was no Sunday morning via Wallace Stevens, opening with "complacencies of the peignoir."

We took early coffee in a slightly listing chair. Thus positioned, we could imaginably have "felt the dark encroachment of that old catastrophe" as C-Span's name-calling rolled on.

We'll try to transcribe later. But was a second cousin to clinical madness being enacted that way? Was a cousin to madness in operation in these, the first two comments to Kevin Drum's recent post about the workings of NPR in this age of Trump?

FIRST COMMENTER: The one [topic] I have particular knowledge of, as a molecular biologist and medical school professor, is the COVID lab leak hypothesis. It was a hypothesis worth considering at one time, but it long ago passed its sell-by date. Now, it's just an anti-China propaganda talking point.

FIRST RESPONSE: It was *never* worth considering. The theory was created to promote racism. Until some gathered clear evidence of a lab leak, which never happened, there was no good reason to publish nor advertise that theory.

AND, NPR did publish and promote that racist theory.

For Drum's sensible post, and for all the comments, you can just click here.

We're not saying that that response to that first comment was necessarily "wrong." Perhaps inevitably, it did lead on to a poisonous thread in which absurd hypotheticals, joined to denigrations of the commenter's character, quickly gobbled the ground.

It also tracked one of the claims Uri Berliner made in his long and extremely fuzzy critique of NPR's current journalism. Eventually, one of the commissars on Kevin's site authored this use of "fighting words:"

LATER COMMENTER: Berliner is a conservative who seems to be a bit of an ass.

Nonetheless, he is correct in that NPR has moved to the progressive Left over the past few years. I am a long-time listener because while it always had a bit of a leftist bias, it also had excellent journalism, covering important behind the headlines stories that were not covered elsewhere. It was a treasure.

These days, it is mostly progressive left stories with a heavy focus on identity politics, as are the the various talk shows and programs. The good stuff is mostly gone. For normie Liberals like myself, it grows tedious and annoying. I swear, they would cover the Zombie Apocalypse with headlines like "Zombie Outbreak expected to disproportionately victimize Communities of Color due to systematic racism..."

I am pretty sure this all has to do with Trump as much as the Floyd murders, or maybe just how younger journalists these days are rather progressive left and dragging the mainstream media newsrooms along with them in that direction.

FIRST RESPONSE: *citation not included

What turn to the left? "Identity politics"

How dare those black, latinx, gay, trans, whatever local culture get representation!

You do realize when you say that, you're saying you're upset because you're a bigot, right?

SAME COMMENTER: Yeah, that's it, if I am a normie liberal who prefers focusing on the Child Tax Credit rather than using the term Latinx, it must mean I am a bigot.

Which will be news to my non-white spouse and children, for one.

The next responder announced that the commenter was "as bad as Berliner." Apparently, that was because the commenter had said that NPR "always had a bit of a leftist bias."

(For ourselves, we were struck by the way commenter started. Under current rules of the road, Berliner remains "a bit of an ass" even when he isn't wrong!)

Within this realm, Berliner is known to be "bad" because of the various views he rather fuzzily expressed. (Once again, a key disclosure:  the fact that Berliner expressed his views in a fuzzy manner doesn't necessarily mean that his views are "wrong.")

 In his essay, Berliner said that he eagerly voted against Trump in 2016 and 2020. Within this realm, the fact that he disagrees with certain Standard Blue Perceptions means that he's "a bit of an ass," but many other things were said which were strikingly worse.

Meanwhile, the original commenter lashed back against that first responder, drawing a distinction with which we'd be inclined to agree. 

In our view, Blue America's journalistic response to the George Floyd murder was deeply rich in performative conduct, with little attention being paid to the deep, endemic, very difficult problems which assail so many of this nation's good and decent black kids (and their food and decent parents).

In our view, lots of terrible horrible journalism drove the performance along. We've never yet had the heart to wrote about Rev. Sharpton's speech. 

(We've long admired Sharpton for his obvious smarts and for his healing wit.)

Fighting words run through the comments to Kevin's sensible post. Several commissars seemed to be walking the beat, live and direct from the period in classical Athens when The Thirty seized control:

Led by Critias, the Thirty Tyrants presided over a reign of terror in which they executed, murdered, and exiled hundreds of Athenians, seizing their possessions afterward...They also hired 300 "lash-bearers" or whip-bearing men to intimidate Athenian citizens.

Borrowing from Woody Guthrie, some lash-bearers lash you with whips, "some with a fountain pen."

Is it something resembling madness when we humans take out our whips and try to form culture wars? There's no way to say who is perfectly right in the discussions which fell by the way as the fighting words took over the comments to Kevin's perfectly reasonable (if inevitably limited) post.

That said, the fighting words were soon general over the end of the discourse—and we were left thinking about that striking PBS segment. 

The segment was presented by two journalists we're strongly inclined to view in a favorable manner. We thought the journalism was astoundingly poor.

It aired on the NewsHour in late January. For transcript or tape, click here:

Trump deploys racist tactics as Biden rematch appears likely
Laura Barron-Lopez, Amna Nawaz. The PBS NewsHour, January 26, 2024.

Had Trump been deploying racist tactics on the GOP campaign trail? That headline employs a powerful term—one which cuts to the quick of our brutal American history.

As for the journalists, this:

We've been struck by the evident sincerity of Barron-Lopez since she arrived on the scene (first, at CNN). We've been struck by Nawaz's ability to project an air of calm ever since we saw two older women of our acquaintance—two people who are neither partisan nor heavy news-watchers—say they found her manner reassuring, admirable, sublime.

We're strongly inclined to favor this pair. But as for the journalism they did that evening, let's forget about NPT. Was it instead an example of Uri Berliner calling the NewsHour's shot?

In his perfectly reasonable post, Kevin started with this quote from Berliner's essay about the way NPR has allegedly changed. We'll focus today on the highlighted complaint:

There’s [now] an unspoken consensus about the stories we should pursue and how they should be framed. It’s frictionless—one story after another about instances of supposed racism, transphobia, signs of the climate apocalypse, Israel doing something bad, and the dire threat of Republican policies. It’s almost like an assembly line.

Once again, the fuzzy language about that "assembly line," with little attempt at demonstrating that the allegation deserves to be seen as true (or as inappropriate). 

It's all about "supposed racism" now, he said—and that was Berliner himself, speaking of NPR. According to Berliner, the NPR of the Donald Trump years pursues one story after another about instances of such supposed policies and behaviors.

There would of course be nothing "wrong" with the journalistic pursuit of such "stories," until such time as there was. As we noted yesterday, Berliner makes no serious attempt to establish this sweeping claim.

Still, we thought back to that PBS segment, a segment we never got around to discussing. The journalism was virtually non-existent on The NewsHour that night. Let's start with this example:

BARRON-LOPEZ (1/26/24): There is a playbook that has been used by Republican politicians in the past that appeals to fears of the other, fears of brown and Black people.

We saw it used by Richard Nixon. We have seen it used by Ronald Reagan. And so this is something that isn't necessarily new to the Republican Party.

But I spoke to Ian Haney Lopez, who is from U.C. Berkeley, and he's a professor of race and constitutional law. And he explained how dog whistle politics animates American voters.

PROFESSOR LOPEZ: What's happening with dog whistle politics is, you have these politicians who are strategically, intentionally, purposefully seeking to exploit people's unconscious vulnerability by saying welfare queen, illegal alien, terrorist, gangbanger, terms that they know will trigger unconscious racist views, but which they can also say, hey, I didn't say anything racist. I didn't use a racial epithet. I didn't mention skin color.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Professor Lopez added that dog whistle politics is effective because it animates fear and anger among voters. And when voters become fearful or angry, they don't really listen to any other arguments.

Presumably, "dog whistle politics" can be "effective"--have been effective--in the manner the professor described.  

We'll note that the professor's statement has been removed from its place in a wider exchange. That said, it isn't journalism to quote one lone professor and simply assume that he's right.

Presumably, various forms of "dog whistle politics" have been effective in the manner described. We expect to suggest a recent example tomorrow.

That said, when's the last time you heard a Republican politician, let alone Donald J. Trump, use the term "welfare queen" as part of the public discussion?  Also, did Professor Lopez really mean what came next? 

Did he really mean that? When we see people use the word "terrorist," should we think that they are trying to trigger "unconscious racist views?" 

Quite a few people employ that term--and setting "gangbanger" off to the side, President Obama famously used the term "thugs" to refer to people committing crimes in the street at one point late in his tenure.

President Biden recently used the word "illegals" as a noun. Is everyone really barred at this point from using that term as an adjective?

We don't use that term that way ourselves, though it's true that some acts are illegal. But does some such use of that term mean that a person is engaging in dog whistle politics? Could it possibly be a second cousin to something when we jump up to assert that?

We've long admired Barron-Lopez for her evident sincerity and seriousness of purpose. We almost croaked as the segment continued and she offered these observations, with Nawaz nodding along:

NAWAZ (continuing directly): So tell us more about those voters. How is this rhetoric and this language resonating among those Republican voters?

BARRON-LOPEZ: I spoke to Denver Riggleman, a former GOP congressman from Virginia, and he said that this—these types of racist appeals and nativism from Trump and from other Republicans is essentially infecting the Republican voting base.

And then Sarah Longwell, a Republican pollster, shared some responses that she's been getting in her focus groups. And specifically in this recent focus group, she was speaking to two-time Trump voters, which shows that Republican voters are repeating Trump's dog whistles when they're talking about some of the other candidates that were running in the primary, such as Vivek Ramaswamy.

MAN: I'm sorry. I'm not being prejudiced, guys, but I don't like his name. I don't like where he came from. After 9/11, I still harbor a lot of hard feelings about that.

MAN: No offense to any woman out there. I just feel like it's a man's job. They have got to make tough decisions that can't have any emotions involved. They're the commander in chief. They have that red button at their disposal at all times.

BARRON-LOPEZ: In that last one, we heard some sexism directed at Nikki Haley.

And so, again, Republican voters repeating some of the same sexist rhetoric used by former President Donald Trump.

In that passage, it's Denver Riggleman who is anointed as the oracle of Delphi! After that, the deluge:

According to Barron-Lopez, Sarah Longwell had found one person who said he wouldn't vote for a woman! 

Such sentiments were common in national surveys long before Trump came along. In a similar vein, many people would presumably have been reluctant to vote for someone named Ramaswamy back in that same ancient epoch.

One person says he wouldn't vote for a woman—and that's because of Trump? This isn't journalism at all. This is the end of the practice, with Mandated Tribal Storyline wedged into the abandoned slot.

And yet, this was them! This was two major figures at PBS behaving in something strongly resembling the way Berliner attributed to PBS. The absurdly lazy conduct in question is even more unfortunate because the topic in question lies so close to the heart of the American project, which is struggling mightily now.

(Just try watching Gutfeld! some night to see the kinds of warlike reactions such Blue American conduct can drive.)

For ourselves, we began teaching fifth grade in the Baltimore City Schools in the fall of 1969. Over the next dozen years, we never taught any "white" kids. 

Baltimore City had originally been a legally segregated, dual school system. All the kids we taught were "black" kids. They were the best, most decent kids in the world, though possibly tied with all the rest of the planet's kids.

Our view? Weve never seen so much apparent bad faith as came spilling out of Blue America's upper-end orgs after the death Trayvon Martin, but then especially after the murder of George Floyd.

We've never seen so much performance, so little ability to show any sign that these Blue American elites actually knew what to care about—actually knew what might actually matter. 

(This seems to be what that commenter meant when he said he was more interested in the Child Tax Credit rather than in the use of the term Latinx. To us, he was making an obvious point. Whip-bearers made him a bigot.)

As an example of journalism, that NewsHour segment struck us as astoundingly poor, even judged by previous declining standards in this general area. As always, your assessment may differ. That said, there's no such thing as the one perfect view which happens to be floating around right inside your infallible noggin. 

Calchas could read the flight of bords. At one point, Berliner complained about a report by NPR concerning the names of birds.

(That topic also rated a front-page report in the New York Times. That major newspaper has been an never-ending clown car clown show concerning the lives and interests of Gotham's black public school kids, except for the handful of such kids who might get into Stuyvesant High. 

(Blue America's cable stars never discuss that sweeping topic, and they never will.)

Do hints of madness linger here as we pretend to perform? Anthropologically, this is who and what we the people actually are. 

The whip-bearers were out in force. They were policing the comments to Drum's perfectly reasonable post. This is bred in the bone, wired inside our tribal brains, dating well back past the Iliad.

This doesn't mean that we're bad people. It means that we're people people.

It doesn't tell us where NPR has (or hasn't) gone wrong. It tells us that we're inclined to love the smell of war, even here in Blue America.

The Iliad was the poem of war. The Odyssey was the poem of subsequent homecoming.

A large amount of blood gets spilled when Odysseus, now in disguise, finally makes it home. Inevitably, a gang of men are fighting over access to the woman—in this case, to Penelope, Odysseus' faithful wife.

(Our trial about access to Stormy Daniels starts in New York tomorrow.)

In a scene long ago made famous, Odysseus' faithful nurse recognizes him by the scar on his knee as she ritually washes his feet. The faithful god Argus finally dies after seeing that his master has returned.

Odysseus is finally forced to eject the suitors by force. But soon, the voice of the goddess Athene is heard, as rendered by Richmond Lattimore:

Odysseus and his glorious son 
fell upon their front fighters, and began to
strike with swords and stab with spears leaf-headed.
And now they would have killed them all, 
and given none of them homecoming, had not 
Athene, daughter of Zeus of the aegis,
cried out in a great voice and held back all the company:
"Hold back, men of Ithaka, from the wearisome fighting,
so that most soon, and without blood, 
you can settle everything."

Is whip-bearing in comments a cousin to madness? That was what Athene said. On the other hand, she was a girl.

She had proposed the impossible dream. Eventually, Robert Kennedy bought her advice—Robert Kennedy. Senior.

Berliner's essay was very fuzzy. Are we completely sure that every part of what he said was just totally right-wing and "wrong?"


  1. Elon Musk was not conservative before he bought Twitter. His failure to fully support all current liberal positions more or less caused liberals to force him to be conservative. Will the same thing happen to Berliner?


      Blaming liberals for causing people to be conservative is just more name-calling and liberal bashing.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. "Bashing" is another word for "criticizing." Yes, my comment does criticize liberals. The first question is whether the criticism is valid.

      If it is valid, is it a good strategy for liberals to demand such perfect adherence to their beliefs? Will they force Berlin to by more sympathetic to the conservative POV? Or, OTOH, will the bashing of Berlin work as a threat to keep other liberals in line -- to prevent them from defecting from any liberal beliefs?

    4. Just a reminder: Trump incited an attack on our capital as part of a multi-prong approach to steal a U.S. presidential election. He now refers to the attackers as "hostages." But you were saying, DIC?

    5. It has been a strange tactic for the corporate DNC Democrats to demand unwavering loyalty and conformity from all members, and labeling them problematic antagonists when they don't.

      That's probably not going to work out very well long term,

    6. Hilarious. Marching in lockstep has been one of the most striking features of the Republican party for decades now. It's gotten so bad that many staunchly conservative Republican members of Congress who wouldn't toe the Trump line have either been outcast (Liz Cheney) or chosen early retirement:
      ‘Increasingly chaotic’: Why House Republicans are heading for the exits. The decision by 21 Republican lawmakers to depart is indicative of the broader morale problem within the GOP conference

      And if you want to work for the RNC now, you must say that you believe the 2020 election was stolen.

      But go ahead, Weirdo Mao, stay in your delusional bubble.

    7. Russia, if you're listening, can you believe Mao's childish retorts?

    8. As a Democrat and Biden voter, I feel like Mueller was right that there wasn't any collusion. I believe the Clinton campaign originated the claim as an October surprise and then decided to double down on it after their shocking loss. I feel like the Biden administration could have prevented to War in Ukraine with diplomacy. I feel like Biden is corporately corrupt. As a Democrat, I think the Clinton campaign and the Biden administration's have not really been that great.

    9. This is what Republican disinformation looks like. Most likely this guy is not going to vote at all because he resides on a troll farm in Eastern Europe. You have to be a US citizen to vote in our election. Notice he never says he voted for Biden or for Hillary or even for Trump. That's because he doesn't even live in the USA.

      I always wonder how people who are so opposed to immigration can be so taken in by foreign attempts to influence their vote from such troll farms.

    10. 6:59 - why would you say that? Why would you label that Republican disinformation?

    11. Because when someone self-labels as Democrat before listing Republican talking points, they are political operatives.

    12. It's impossible for someone to believe those things and be a Democrat? Why?

    13. When someone believes those things they are called Republicans. But the problem is also what’s missing. But this is a waste of everyone’s time.

    14. Color Berliner gone. NPR is not going to be a comfortable place for him. That would be the case if he worked under this kind of cloud anywhere else.

      It seems that the only people who manage to stay with a company after airing dirty laundry are people who have a big public following or a have law suit against their employers due to some sort of infringement.

      In that scenario it stays nicely-nicey and the employee feels less vulnerable due to having representation.

    15. 7:43. - I believe all of those things. I donated to and voted for Hillary and Joe so it stings to be called a Republican. But you don't accept my beliefs.

      Do you not want my support even though I believe those things?

    16. New here, huh, Anonymouse 8:28pm?

    17. I'm starting to feel like my fellow Democratic Party commenters demand unwavering loyalty and conformity from all members.

    18. I only want Cecelia’s support. And David’s.

    19. Liars are not welcome in any social group.

    20. If anyone disagrees with the party leadership, they are automatically labeled a Republican liar. Everyone must march in lockstep on every issue.

    21. @11:19 PM
      You worry too much. Once they suppress the MAGA revolution, it'll all come back to normal: the usual Uniparty with all-important controversies like "Big Cuts or Slower Growth?"

    22. Musk bought Twitter BECAUSE he was a radical conservative, David, you monumental jackass. Liberals "forced" him to be a conservative? That's what you believe, David?

    23. Liberals, specifically the Democratic party, forces people to believe and support every single thing they want you to, if you don't, you're forced out. Forced to be something else. They don't want you if you don't march in lockstep with them. That's the way they are operating now. It's strange.

    24. 7:34,
      That's because Democrats are totalitarians.
      BTW, if you're ever in Arizona, your first nine abortions are on me.

    25. On the other hand, the GOP doesn't force their voters to agree with the rapist/ 3rd time Presidential nominee's bigotry.
      Every last Right-wing voter chose the rapist, due to his bigotry, all on their own.
      It's no wonder people all over the country are referring to Right-wingers love of bigotry by saying, "They are who we thought they were."

    26. 7:34:

      In a post on the Truth Social social media platform, former U.S. President Donald Trump said that anyone who contributes to Haley’s platform “from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp. We don’t want them, and will not accept them.”

      “When I ran for Office and won, I noticed that the losing Candidate’s ‘Donors’ would immediately come to me, and want to ‘help out,’” he added. “This is standard in Politics, but no longer with me.”

      Every right wing accusation is a confession. There are no exceptions.

    27. And ... bigotry and ... Putin. Or something.

    28. And...woke and....Illegals. Or something.

    29. Exactly! How's that working out for you?

    30. A tin foil hat blocks Putin's influence. 100%.

      But of course the right wingers like Somerby refuse to wear it.

      I am Corby.

  2. Somerby has never liked anyone being called racist, even when they are blatantly so. I agree with the commenter who asked what was wrong with focusing on issues of direct concern to diverse people. Attempting to link this concern with an excessive progressivism strikes me as an attempt to invalidate the concern via name-calling. I would care if zombies were systematically targeting certina people over others -- why would it be wrong to care about that? The person posing that hypothetical is obviously mocking the concern, but racist zombies do seem to be worse than equal-opportunity zombies.

    Aside from Somerby's desire that racists escape the consequences of their racism, I find it striking that Somerby is willing to engage the complaints of Drum's commenters when he will not engage with his own.

    But perhaps that is because Drum's commenters stay on topic and don't spend all their energy attacking each other. It is for Somerby to attack those of us who are against racism, not his riff raff of assorted right wing fanboys.

  3. " In his essay, Berliner said that he eagerly voted against Trump in 2016 and 2020. Within this realm, the fact that he disagrees with certain Standard Blue Perceptions means that he's "a bit of an ass," but many other things were said which were strikingly worse."

    Easy to see why Somerby identifies with Berliner.

  4. "For ourselves, we began teaching fifth grade in the Baltimore City Schools in the fall of 1969. Over the next dozen years, we never taught any "white" kids. "

    Somerby apparently believes that this circumstance absolves him from racist views he has expressed later in life, such as concerning Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. It is cringe whenever Somerby tells us his black classes were beautiful and deserving but incapable of learning (based on their NAEP scores). Somerby earnestly argued against desgregation of schools and against inclusion of more black students in NYC's special science high schools. But he doesn't like being called a tad racist for his retrograde views.

    My view is that if folks don't like being called racist, they shouldn't say and do racist things. And yes, I agree with progressives that racism will not go away unless and until it is actively combatted in our society, in every day life, not just in systemic ways.

    Somerby never tells us why he left teaching.

    1. @1:39 Somerby actually argued against the inclusion of more UNQUALIFIED black students in NYC's special science high schools.

    2. The assumption that black students cannot benefit from such an opportunity is racist.

    3. @3:08 I didn't assume anything. SOME black kids are qualified for Bronx Science. SOME are not. There is a movement to admit unqualified black students. Bob was arguing against the practice.

      Some liberals are wrongheadedly making changes that keep qualified black students out of special schools. In some cities, they're closing the special schools because of the relatively low % of black students. By, doing that, they prevent qualified black students (among others) from attending a special school.

    4. Russia, if you're listening, tell David he isn't fooling anybody by pretending he cares about black children.

    5. The movement is not to admit unqualified black students. That is your construction.

    6. Learning is not something to be hoarded. It is to be shared among all who pursue it.

    7. Your assumption that black kids cannot keep up is what makes you racist.

    8. @7:59 It's not just most black kids who can't keep up. Most white kids, Asian kids, Hispanic kids and Native American kids cannot keep up. Bronx Science is for a small number of kids who can work at a high level at high speed.

    9. They should get the chance to try if they want to.

    10. Most people aren't talented athletes. That's widely understood. It's not so widely understood that mental talent is rare, too.

    11. I just heard a fanny burp.

    12. Just as there are white athletes who can compete against black ones, there are black students who can compete against white ones. David's belief that no such students exist shows his bigotry.

  5. "Today's was no Sunday morning via Wallace Stevens, opening with "complacencies of the peignoir."

    Stevens' poem, if you read it at the link, is about a woman, not about Somerby or his Sunday morning. And it is about death, not about the pleasant experience of reading the paper with a cup of coffee. A peignoir is a woman's form of lingerie, a dressing gown that covers a fancy nightgown. Neither Stevens nor Somerby would wear one, even on a lazy Sunday morning, although the image it evokes would be amusing if the poem itself were not dark.

    Somerby has no doubt grabbed it because of the reference to Sunday morning, ignoring everything else about it beyond that one phrase. Because that's how he operates.

  6. "Berliner's essay was very fuzzy. Are we completely sure that every part of what he said was just totally right-wing and "wrong?"

    This is the problem with writing a fuzzy essay. It is harder for the reader to tell whether what is being said is wrong or not. Surely Somerby is not arguing in favor of fuzzy writing?

    Meanwhile, Trump is the king of fuzzy. That alone should have disqualified him from the presidency. When someone writes a fuzzy essay, there is a tendency for the reader to protect onto the essay whatever they want to discover in it. That act of projection means that right wingers can find their preferred truth in it, while progressives can hear what they want too, or the opposite, if the goal is to malign someone. And yes, it is the author's fault for being so fuzzy that anyone can read anything into their work.

    Somerby uses such fuzziness himself to maintain ambiguity so that he can either claim or evade whatever he wishes, without being pinned down to any specific views. Someone who does that is not a serious author. In Somerby's case, he does it so that he can spread right wing propaganda without being held accountable for it. Today, he is blaming liberals/progressives for objecting to the views of right wingers, especially on racism and similar bigotry. He pretends he is supporting the right to be fuzzy, but his defense is actually of the right to be a bigot without being called on it. No one has that right, in my opinion.

  7. Bob, I love you brother. A song:


  8. "Berliner makes no serious attempt to establish this sweeping claim."

    Sorry, but your "fuzziness" accusation is bullshit, Bob. It's not a dissertation or legal presentation, you know. The guy is describing what he's seen there. And he is, after all, a senior editor, having been working there for 25 years.

    Besides, there's absolutely no need to prove anything; anyone can tune in and listen.

  9. Faith Ringgold has died.

  10. “signs of the climate apocalypse”

    How woke of them, reporting on an existential threat to life on the planet.

  11. Apparently Netanyahu is obeying Biden's order not to retaliate against Iran.

    1. It's way too soon to conclude this. Not to mention that it's not obvious who orders whom.

    2. Iran was retaliating against Israel. Israel attacked Iran's embassy in Syria two weeks ago.

  12. Kevin looks at the murder rate:

    1. Thank God for Democrat pagan governance.

    2. It isn't scolds. It's unleaded gasoline from the 1970s to now.

    3. Anonymouse 11:30pm, you’d call those people fake liberals now, just as you do Bob.

    4. The Left are totalitarians, who want to run your life and tell you what to think. Unlike the Right, who let their voters choose the rapist/ bigot to be the President all on their own.
      BTW, 7:55, if you're ever in Arizona, your first 4 abortions are on me. Just make sure you don't kneel during the playing of the National Anthem.

    5. Crime is down because leaded gasoline was phased out in the 1970s. Regardless of scolds or fake liberals.

    6. Anonymouse flying monkey 8:03am, are you sure that you don’t want to add something about black people and about me pretending to be female?

      I wouldn’t want to think that I had inspired anything less than a full-fledged unhinged loony left rant.

  13. "absurd hypotheticals, joined to denigrations of the commenter's character"

    Sounds familiar.

  14. "The whip-bearers were out in force."

    Calling people who object to bigotry "whip-bearers" shows exactly where Somerby is coming from, and it is ugly.

    1. @5:20 you must know that "racist" is an interpretation rather than an objective fact. I happen to think that today's Democrats institute policers that hurt blacks, such as opposing school choice and encouraging illegal immigration. Suppose a TV news show bluntly reported that Democrats were racists. You would surely object.

    2. Racist is not an interpretation. It is a behavior.

    3. policers definitely hurt blacks, you gotta give him that

    4. How does encouraging illegal immigration hurt blacks? My understanding is one of the big complaints from the Right, regarding immigration, is that the immigrants aren't white.
      As for school choice, I want to see how Defense Choice (allowing families to choose how to best defend themselves without it being forced on them by the government) works first. If it works, then we'll see if we can roll it out to schools.

    5. David,
      Specifically, which big-government programs would you like to see implemented to reduce illegal immigration.
      Also, how many bake sales do you think the Federal Government will need to take place to fund them?

  15. I am a bot from a future realm where time does not exist. Wait, how is that possible?
    It is referred to as The Constant.

    1. You can’t fool me. You’re a variable.

  16. I don't see a viable candidates in this year's Presidential election.

    1. I know a lot of people that are going to write in Dick Durbin.

  17. Russia, if you're listening, tell Somerby to stop repeating Right-wing grievances on his blog.

  18. Some people don't like to be reminded that Right-wing snowflakes threw a childish temper tantrum at the U.S. Capitol, just because black people's votes were counted in the 2020 Presidential election.
    To those folks, I must remind them that Right-wing snowflakes threw a childish temper tantrum at the U.S. Capitol, just because black people's votes were counted in the 2020 Presidential election.