BREAKING: King blames Russkies and Trump for "Woke Blacks!"

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2018

Fails to mention woke blacks:
In this morningt's Washington Post, Colbert King writes two-thirds of an important column.

Working from recent Mueller indictments, he describes part of the process which sent Donald J. Trump to the White House. Specifically citing the Russians' "Woke Blacks" site, he blames Trump and the Russkies for what occurred.

But alas! He forgets to blame the New York Times—and he forgets to blame woke blacks!

At the start of his two-thirds of a column, King describes "the efforts of the Trump campaign and the Russians to suppress the votes of groups likely to support Hillary Clinton" back in 2016.

He notes the way the Russkies "deceitfully created theme-oriented groups with names suggesting a connection to the Black Lives Matter movement...on social media sites." "Blacktivist" was the name of one such Russian-run group, King correctly notes.

By 2016 "the many Russian-controlled groups had attracted hundreds of thousands of online followers," King correctly notes, citing the Mueller indictments. At this point, he goes where the rubber meets the road, citing two-thirds of the problem:
KING (2/24/18): But just as the Russians attempted, according to the indictment, “to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate,” a similar operation was underway in the United States, as skillfully reported by Bloomberg’s Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg.

The Trump campaign’s digital nerve center in San Antonio set in gear its own strategy: Don’t expand the electorate; shrink it. Turn off likely Clinton voters found among blacks and moderate-to-liberal white women.

Russia and the Trump campaign were calling plays out of the same playbook.
Doggone it! The Russians were trying to suppress turnout among women and blacks—and the Trump campaign was playing the same game! As he continues, King mentions a particular play by the Russkies—and he blows past one-third of the problem:
KING (contiuning directly): Clinton, like most Democratic presidential candidates, needed the overwhelming support of black voters. So the Trump campaign went after a 20-year-old Clinton suggestion, made at the time of President Bill Clinton’s tough-on-crime criminal-justice overhaul, that some young black males are “super predators.” The Trump operatives figured that would chill the interest of black voters in going to the polls, especially in a key state such as Florida.

On Oct. 24, 2016, Bloomberg reported, Trump’s team began placing spots about the “super predator” line on select African American radio stations and through nonpublic Facebook posts controlled by the Trump campaign. It was laser-focused so that, as a Trump campaign operative put it, “only the people we want to see it, see it.”...

Around the same time, the Russian operation launched its fake “Woke Blacks” account to post the following message, as stated in Mueller’s indictment: “Particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”
Doggone it! The Trump campaign was trying to discourage blacks from voting. So were the Russians, King says, through their "Blacktivist" and "Woke Blacks" sites.

They did so, King seems to say, through use of that stupid "super-predators" crap. Was this enough to let Trump win? King doesn't state a view on that point.

King is angry at Trump and Putin for all this "Woke Blacks"/"super-predator" crap. That said, he forgets to mention the parallel efforts in 2016 by any number of leading woke blacks, perhaps including the very group he named, Black Lives Matter!

Consider Patrisse Khan-Cullors' new best-seller, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. We've been recommending the book all week, and we'll continue to do so. But Khan-Cullors plays the "super-predators" card at various points in the book, including in this early passage, in which she describes the war on crime in the low-income Los Angeles of her childhood and youth:
KHAN-CULLORS (page 57): Kids were being sent away simply for being alive in a place where war had been declared against us. And the propaganda, the rationalizing of how much we needed to be destroyed, we the generation called super-predators, was promoted by people who were Republicans and Democrats, and, save for a few, Black as well as white.
On a recent C-Span After Words program, Toure challenged Khan-Cullors about the way Black Lives Matter, in effect, sat out the Trump-Clinton election. (Click here, move to roughly 44:00.) For better or worse—it's a matter of judgment—Khan-Cullors offered these thoughts as part of her response:
KHAN-CULLORS (2/10/18): Let me say this. The tactic of taking on the Democratic Party I think was very useful in that moment, and still is, because the Democratic Party has really milked the black voters, and has historically really not been on our side, and in fact have been some of the biggest proponents of mass criminalization of black communities. So it was very important to intervene on this idea that we were going to have our lives saved by Hillary Clinton...

But I think for folks across the country, including the Democratic Party, we didn't believe he was going to win. And that actually is the factor here. We didn't believe he was going to win, and so the time that people spent, the time that the Democratic Party spent—because I don't want to blame our movement for the reason why Trump got in office; I know you're not doing that, but some people might see it as such—they could have done a much better job at who they decided to run for president.
In the end, does that analysis make sense? In the end, that's a matter of judgment. Khan-Cullors knows much more about "mass criminalization" than most people do. It's a topic which won't be discussed on our "corporate liberal" cable news channel. On MSNBC, that part of the world simply doesn't exist.

Each person will have to decide whether Khan-Cullors' overall statement makes sense. For ourselves, the suggestion that Khan-Cullors might have taken a different approach had she realized that Trump could win tends to undercut the analysis. It tends to throw Khan-Cullors in with decades of feckless liberal/progressive elites, including the clueless thought leaders who kept insisting, right to the end, that Trump couldn't win that election.

King rails today about the way Putin and Trump were urging blacks not to vote. That said, a substantial array of "woke black" leaders took the same approach all through the Trump-Clinton election.

On one occasion, in 1996, Candidate Clinton had uttered the word "super-predators." She had uttered the word at a time when it was in fairly widespread use with reference to acts of hideous criminality which were occurring within various communities, at a time when overall crime rates were much higher than they are today.

It would be absurd to say, as Khan-Cullors might seem to have said in her book, that Clinton was branding a whole "generation" on the one occasion when she uttered that word. Nor was Clinton necessarily referring to young black males and to no one else, as King suggests in his column.

On the one occasion when she uttered the word, Clinton made no such declaration. In our view, Clinton was a weak candidate this time around, but many things which have been said about her have been very weak and extremely unhelpful—and those unhelpful declarations dated back almost twenty-five years by November 2016.

Khan-Cullors has every right to her overall view. It may or may not make sense in the end, especially if we agree to ignore the "we didn't think Trump could win" part of her overall statement.

Regarding King's column, we'll lodge a basic complaint. He's happy to hammer Trump and Putin for urging black voters not to vote—but he fails to note that many "woke black" thought leaders were advancing the same idea in 2016. That's where Putin got it!

At one point in his column, King also scolds Trump and Putin for "[seeking] to turn off young women by rolling out the women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual improprieties." Inevitably, he fails to mention the egregious way the New York Times played that card in September 2016. That conduct by the New York Times was part of a 24-year war which sent George W. Bush, then Donald J. Trump, to the White House. To this day, people like King and Chait and all the rest refuse to discuss that history-changing fact.

(Kevin Drum keeps citing one New York Times front page and pretending it's granted him sainthood. His work on lead abatement has been sensational. In our view, he still has a long way to go regarding the upper-end press corps.)

The Russians created the "Woke Blacks" site, then played the "super-predator" card. For better or worse, leading woke blacks had done the same thing for two years.

As always, such things can't be acknowledged or discussed. We happily blame The Others, breeze right past ourselves.

The "career liberal" world still won't discuss the long war the Post and the Times both waged. To this day, rank and file liberals cannot be told about the conduct in which they engaged. Has any group ever been more committed to the code of silence?

Final note: Rachel would jump off the Golden Gate Bridge before she'd discuss those decades of misconduct by the Post and the Times.

Dearest darlings, use your heads! When you're a major corporate star, it just wouldn't be prudent!

BREAKING: Beware of interesting times!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018

Enlightenment values down:
"Beware of interesting times," the sages have famously said.

We live in that kind of time. Consider two things Eric Levitz has recently said.

Yesterday, at New York magazine, Levitz offered a sensible warning about the dangers of overstating the extent of the dangers faced by public school students.

"Schools in the United States are safer today than at any time in recent memory," he said, linking to published statistics. "Criminal victimization in America’s education facilities has declined in tandem with the nation’s collapsing crime rate."

Levitz made a sensible argument. On balance, you may or may not agree with his point of view. Along the way, though, he made a peculiar comment.
LEVITZ (2/22/18): In the wake of the Parkland shooting, progressive activists and commentators (including this one) repeatedly claimed that there had been 18 school shootings since the start of this year. When the Washington Post looked into that statistic—and found that it included a suicide in the parking lot of a long-closed elementary school, and that there had only been five incidents that resemble the popular understanding of a “school shooting”—some progressives mocked the paper for its callous pedantry.

This sort of response struck me as defensible
—until the victims at CNN’s town hall began using the supposed ubiquity of school shootings as a justification for policies other than gun control.
Say what? According to Levitz, many people were saying that there had been 18 school shootings this year. In fact, said Levitz, there had been, at the most, only five such incidents.

Should people say 18 if the actual number is five? Was it "callous pedantry" when the Post noted this rather large difference?

There was a time when everyone would have known the answer to those questions—but that time isn't now. "This sort of response struck me as defensible," Levitz weirdly said.

Perhaps Levitz was simply throwing a bone to the rampaging herd. But what a remarkable statement!

Let's call them "Enlightenment values." According to one such basic value, you really shouldn't go around making wildly inaccurate statements. Even if you, and your cause, are both wondrously good!

Perhaps you can't see what difference your wild misstatement makes in the particular instance. Traditionally, that doesn't matter. Unless you're a medieval yahoo or a nut, it's something you just shouldn't do. There was a time when everyone knew this.

Levitz saw the gang abandon this value—and he said it seemed to make sense. Then, today, he wrote a piece about Trump's speech at CPAC.

For the record, Levitz is one of them college graduate fellers (Johns Hopkins 2010). He's also a ranking professional journalist, but this is preliterate work:
LEVITZ (2/23/18): Referencing congressional Democrats’ opposition to his administration’s proposed changes to legal immigration, Trump told the crowd of right-wing activists, “They’re willing to give us the wall. But they don’t want to give us any of the laws to keep these people out.”

Here, “these people” are, by definition, a group of U.S. residents and citizens who have entered the country legally,
through the existing immigration system (ostensibly, including his own father- and mother-in-law).
In that passage, Levitz tells us who Trump meant when he referred to "these people"—but he doesn't provide the surrounding text which lets us assess his claim. Trump is full of clumsy locutions and lousy ideas—but this is the fuller text:
TRUMP (2/23/18): To secure our country, we are calling on Congress to build a great border wall to stop dangerous drugs and criminals from pouring into our country. And now they’re willing to give us the wall. But they don’t want to give us any of the laws to keep these people out. So we’re going to get the wall. But they don’t want to give us all of the other, chain migration, lottery, think of a lottery. You have a country, they put names in, you think they’re giving us their good people? Not too many of you people are going to be lottery. So we pick out people. Then they turn out to be horrendous. And we don’t understand why. They’re not giving us their best people, folks. They’re not giving us—use your heads.
As with almost everything Trump says, that passage doesn't exactly parse or make clear sense. Still, the most obvious antecedent for "these people" is the unpleasant word "criminals." In a jumbled way, Trump seems to be saying that some people coming in through "chain migration" or the "lottery" have "turn[ed] out to be horrendous."

They may have entered the country legally, but they've turned out to be criminals! Almost surely, that has actually been the case in any number of instances—and no, it really isn't a reference to his own in-laws. (Are we now required to make the dumbest possible connection every time?)

Trump's policies may or may not make sense, but Levitz's prose style plainly doesn't. In what universe does a ranking national journalist quote and interpret a statement in that fashion?

Levitz thought it was OK to say 18 when the number was five. He thinks it's OK to quote and then interpret a speech in the manner displayed.

It's fairly plain that Donald J. Trump is slowly driving some journalists nuts. Basic values are being abandoned. These values track back many years.

"Callous pedantry!" That's what the armies of outrage say in response to such obvious observations. It's the way real dumbness has always begun, especially before the Enlightenment, back in the days of the trials.

BREAKING: Williams and Bash can speculate too!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018

The reason for Manafort's defiance:
As we hypothesized barely an hour ago, it looks like Rick Gates is going to plead guilty today and become a cooperating witness.

Last night, we were told, by Julia Ainsley, that the word on the street said he couldn't do that—said he didn't have enough to offer Mueller. That latest expert speculation has apparently turned out to be wrong.

Serious journalists don't spend oodles of time speculating—about future election results, about future plea decisions. That said, Brian Williams can speculate too.

Lsast night, Jeremy Bash and Brian Williams offered a tangy speculation about Manafort's refusal to come in from the cold. Is Manafort holding out in hopes of getting a pardon from Trump?
WILLIAMS (2/22/18): Jeremy, I'm duty bound to ask you about pardons, only because I'm just picking up interstitial bits of conversations on both sides of the political isles about pardon.

Is the President's power limitless? He said that someday maybe we`ll talk about at a later date of the Flynn matter, but here come more names and more charges. And I think it`s going to force more of the conversation.

BASH: ...I think Manafort and others are signaling the president tonight that, "Hey, we don't really have a lot to say negative about the president. We're digging in, we're fighting the prosecutor. We're not waving jurisdiction. We're going to force him to litigate this and potentially two occasions."

I think that's a signal to the White House that, "Hey, we're open for business if you guys want to talk pardon."

WILLIAMS: Jeremy, this calls for an opinion, you know, on your part. Do you think it's among the possible? [sic]

BASH: Yes, very much so. I think the president is weighing whether to extinguish all of these criminal charges and basically put Bob Mueller out of business using his power of the pardon.

WILLIAMS: Wow.
That was speculation too, a major speculation by Bash. Manafort is hoping for a pardon. Trump is considering giving it. (When Bash said "Manafort and others," he may have meant that Gates was signaling Trump too.)

Bash could be right about Manafort and Trump, and he could be wrong. In that sense, speculation can provide hours of fun.

On balance, it makes better sense to wait to see what actually happens. Eventually, we'll all know whether Trump handed out pardons or not.

Some among us don't like waiting. They prefer to burn their hours speculating, especially in ways which will please the tribe.

As they burn the hours away, they help the tribe get dumber. They also make the rest of the world go away.

MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY: People and topics disappeared!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018

Part 5—Making those kids go away:
Yesterday, a certain special counsel issued 32 new indictments.

The indictments were aimed at former Trumpkins Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. On The Rachel Maddow Show, this action by special counsel Mueller made the rest of the world go away.

Make no mistake—Mueller's action constituted a genuine news event. In the New York Times and the Washington Post, news reports about the indictments appear above the fold on today's front pages, though they're on the left hand side of the page.

By normal reckoning, these news reports are positioned as the second most important reports of the day. That said, Michael Schmidt's report in the Times runs 1119 words. A huge array of other topics are reported within the paper.

That isn't the way this event was played on The Rachel Maddow Show. On The Maddow Show, the new indictments ate roughly three-fourths of the cable star's minutes last night.

The cable star discussed the indictments long into the night, offering her usual array of unreliable speculations. As she talked and talked and talked, the rest of the world went away.

How much time did Maddow devote to these tribally thrilling indictments? Answer:

Her opening monologue ran 25 minutes. After her first commercial break, she devoted seven additional minutes to a pair of largely pointless interviews about the indictments.

As such, Maddow spent roughly 32 minutes on the new indictments. By our count, she appeared for roughly 45 minutes in all, excluding commercial breaks.

(It was "a very, very, very busy news night," Maddow said at one point, as she typically does. "Stay with us." The way she clung to that one topic conveyed a different impression.)

Maddow devoted the bulk of last night's program to the new indictments. Along the way, she offered her latest shaky speculation, this time concerning the reason why Manafort took his job as head of the Trump campaign without receiving pay.

Admittedly, Maddow's speculation was pleasing and fun, though it didn't exactly seem to make chronological sense. It made us think of the failed speculation on which she'd wasted everyone's time in the week before last night's program.

So cool! Last Thursday, CNN was reporting some BREAKING NEWS. At this point, it looks like the thrilling report was false, but it was way cool at the time.

CNN's alleged BREAKING NEWS concerned Rick Gates. Because it involved the thrill of The Chase. a certain major cable star wanted to tell you about it:
MADDOW (2/15/18): I mentioned at the top here that there was some important breaking news on the Mueller investigation, that actually relates to Rick Gates, who was the deputy chairman of the Trump inauguration, the very unusual Trump inaugural committee, as well as being the deputy campaign chairman of the Trump campaign.

Rick Gates was arrested in October and charged with multiple felonies alongside Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. They`ve been rumblings for a while that there might be something going on.

In Gates' criminal case, he had dumped the first lawyer who was representing him. For a couple of weeks now, there have been some intriguing and mostly secret court proceedings that made it seem like maybe he was either dropping or getting dropped by his second legal team as well.
Are you able to follow that so far? According to this manifest idiot, the rumblings had made it seem like maybe Gates was dropping his legal team. Or that maybe he was possibly getting dropped by them!

That's what the rumblings had made it "seem like maybe!" At this point, the major star cut to the thrilling new chase:
MADDOW (continuing directly) CNN's Katelyn Polantz was first to report that a third legal team led by veteran Washington scandal lawyer Tom Green might be taking over Rick Gates' representation and potentially negotiating a whole new relationship between Rick Gates and the prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Well, tonight, Polantz at CNN is first to report, based on multiple sources, that Rick Gates, the president's deputy campaign manager, is in fact about to flip and become a cooperating witness for Robert Mueller.

Mueller has already obtained a guilty plea and a cooperation agreement from Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and from Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn. If he also gets Trump's deputy campaign chair, who was on the campaign longer than Paul Manafort was, he was still there after Manafort got fired, he was an integral part of the presidential transition, he was number two in charge of the Trump inauguration, he was a frequent presence in the White House for the first months of this administration—if he flips, this would be the biggest development that we could see, publicly at least, in the Mueller investigation since Flynn and Papadopoulos announced that they would become cooperating witnesses.

Again, NBC News has not confirmed this reporting. This is CNN's story at this point, but they're citing multiple sources and they've got one super-intriguing, super-specific detail about what has happened legally already between Robert Mueller and Rick Gates. It's a detail that we're definitely going to need an expert to explain.

That part of the story and the expert are next.
So cool! CNN even had one super-intriguing detail! Please don't touch that dial!

After her commercial break, Maddow proceeded to an excited interview with her "expert," Barbara McQuade—her interview about the "important breaking news" from CNN.

Maddow juiced things up with lots of fun
about the super-intriguing detail, which turned out to be CNN's use of the term "Queen for a Day interview." She then introduced McQuade, "who is very plain-spoken on these and other matters."

Maddow and McQuade conducted a speculative interview about CNN's "important breaking news." This past Tuesday night, Maddow brought McQuade out for another worthless segment concerning this rank speculation.

Out in Cable TV Land, all us Maddowsketeers got to enjoy the thrill of these discussions. As of today, though, it has turned out that CNN's "important breaking news" about Gates seems to have been wrong.

Gates hasn't flipped, or pled guilty, or agreed to cooperate with Mueller. Last night, NBC's Julia Ainsley broke the news to Rachel:
AINSLEY (2/22/18): So a week ago, we were hearing [Gates] had this third lawyer, he was going to cooperate and perhaps plead guilty and flip on Manafort and change his whole thing.

Today, this really changes the narrative and what we see is a man who is perhaps kind of stuck in a really tough place. What I'm hearing, he might not have enough to offer Robert Mueller to be able to get this kind of cooperation, leniency, that he wants.
Oof! That's speculation too, of course. In theory, Gates could become a cooperating witness today. Maybe he does know enough to cut a deal with Mueller!

That said, all that prior bullshit with McQuade was just so much speculation. Maddow burned all sorts of time on something that hasn't happened.

Granted, Maddow's blather those two night was tribally enjoyable. But it had this significant downside:

As Maddow speculated, blathered and clowned about the breaking news which wasn't, she was making the rest of the world go away. This brings us back to Patrisse Khan-Cullors, whose new "Black Live Matter Memoir" has been a New York Times best-seller.

Will Khan-Cullors ever appear on Maddow's show? Or is Khan-Cullors the kind of person the cable star makes go away?

We'd place the latter bet. Unless she's dropping dick jokes on their heads, Maddow spends almost no time on the lives and interests of the lower classes—the lesser breed. Then too, there would be journalistic challenges involved in interviewing Khan-Cullors.

We strongly recommend Khan-Cullors' book. Despite its many peculiar aspects, we think its author's voice is extremely unusual and unusually potent.

That said, its peculiar aspects can't exactly be ignored. Consider Khan-Cullors' account of what happened when her older brother, struggling with mental illness, was released from prison after four years. Did this really happen?
KHAN-CULLORS (page 53): In 2003, two years after I graduate high school, Monte is released from prison...The prison loaded him onto a bus on one side of the state and now, finally, here he is disembarking on our side. I am excited beyond the telling and then I see him, for the first time, since he was taken in 1999. But when I see him, I am left breathless.

My brother is hunched over. He is swollen from all the medication he's on. He descends the bus steps in the clothes the prison gave him to return to us in: a thin muscle shirt and a pair of boxer shorts. They gave him underwear, but no pants, their final fuck you, you ain't human to this man whom I have loved for all my life. If we had not been there to pick him up, I'm sure Monte would have been picked up and sent back to some jail.
Did that actually happen? Did the California prison system really treat her brother that way?

Because Khan-Cullors is an significant public figure, the answer is important in more ways than one. Based on the swollen state in which her celebrity has left her, we'll guess that Maddow wouldn't want to involve herself in such real world matters as this.

Khan-Cullors is a major figure with a best-selling book. That said, she has been interviewed on Weekend All Thing Considered and on no other commercial program.

With respect to MSNBC, she joins a long list of major figures you don't see inside that corporate clown car:

You didn't see Elisabeth Rosenthal when she had a best-selling book about the looting which characterizes our health care system.

You didn't see Diane Ravitch when she became a major figure on the left in the rolling public school debates of the Bush years and beyond.

You haven't seen Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, a major book about mass incarceration. You haven't seen Khan-Cullors, and she's co-founder of Black Lives Matter, an organization our corporate stars will all pretend to admire.

Khan-Cullors' memoir paints a remarkable picture of the way one very bright, highly spiritual child grew up in low-income Los Angeles. A few years back, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a best-selling book which described the way a very bright child grew up, not poor but black, in Baltimore.

Here's the problem:

As is made endlessly clear, a corporate channel like MSNBC doesn't care about children like those. Their lives and interests play no role in the channel's topic selection. Few things could be more clear.

This channel also doesn't tackle topics like corporate looting, for example in the realm of health care. They'll promote Democratic Party perspectives on some particular proposal, but they won't push an inch beyond that.

Low-income schools don't exist in this channel, nor do the kids who attend them.

In the main, the channel exists for enjoyable tribal hijinks. Maddow is the ridiculous former Rhodes scholar who throws out the kickball each night.

She weirdly grins and produces forced laughter, presumably in the way the consultants prescribed based on their focus groups. We liberals get dumbed way down in the process, and the bulk of the world goes away.

One final point:

Each night in the past week you've been exposed to news about the shootings, indeed the deaths, in high-income Parkland. This is completely appropriate, exactly as it should be.

That said, how often does anyone on our liberal channel tell us about the kids who get shot in D.C., or Chicago or Baltimore? Who ever speaks to their parents?

Those children are frightened too. But they live in the part of the world our Rhodes scholar makes go away.

For all the puzzlements it may seem to contain, Khan-Cullors has written a fsscinating book. We'll leave today with one basic question:

Why haven't liberals been told about that? Who's making her go away?

BREAKING: It's time for Lithwick's crowd to go!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2018

Decades of self-dealing:
We will assume that Dahlia Lithweick is a perfectly decent person in her private life. In our view, most people are.

That said, we're forced to agree with the assessment she launched this morning at Slate: According to Lithwick, a bunch of teenaged high school kids are better advocates than she and her useless, privileged crowd of establishment pundits have been.

Lithwick's generation of liberal pundits has been a careful, ear-to-the-ground gang of careerist losers. Luckily, kids who are 17 years old aren't yet as compromised at the Lithwicks have been.

How worthless are the Dahlia Lithwicks? Consider this passage near the end of her accurate group confession:
LITHWICK (2/22/18): Conservatives prefer their victims silent and passive. When they start to actually evince anger, they are denounced as either lying fabricators (like Rob Porter’s former wives) or “crisis actors” (like the students at Stoneman Douglas High). Unless you are calling for more cops, more guns, more walls, more prisons, and more punishment, you are a nuisance to be derided and denied. And that’s the beauty of the Parkland kids. They don’t care. We scoff that theirs is a generation raised on reality shows, Instagram, and YouTube, but they are more aware of what is real and what is fake than the adults around them. Far from acting, or ritualized performance, these students have veered so far from any received post-tragedy script that, one week after the shooting, they are still dominating the news cycle. This is what being awake and alive and human and compassionate actually looks like. Pitting all that against Dana Loesch’s hard, shiny little NRA talking points reveals the made-for-cable fakery we’ve bought into en masse.
A lot of that is hard to follow. But there's no doubt that the Parkland students, imperfect as they inevitably will be, are "better than the adults around them," if by that we mean the utterly useless adult liberals of Lithwick's generation.

Note the pathetic way Lithwick chooses to argue her points even in that confessional passage. In a standard bit of passive-aggression, she refers to "Dana Loesch’s hard, shiny little NRA talking points" while providing a link to this video.

She doesn't attempt to say what's wrong with the statements Loesch makes in that piece of videotape. Right to the point where she hands the reins over to the high school kids, she remains too useless to stand on her two hind legs and speak.

Lithwick links to a piece of tape in which Loesch is making a claim which deserves to be analyzed and evaluated. Along the way, the student with whom Loesch is speaking makes some deeply unhelpful remarks, starting with the vastly condescending remark right at the start of the tape.

To Lithwick, this extremely young, inexperienced person is better than she herself is, and there's little doubt that that judgment is right. Example:

"For twenty years," Lithwick wouldn't blow the whistle on this federal judge because it might have hurt her career. But then, she and her gang of super-establishment liberal pundits have played the game this way every single step of the way for the past twenty-six years:

Play it safe! Play it safe! Whatever you do, don't ever tell the truth if it will put your career and social standing in jeopardy. Their relentless self-dealing gave us Bush. Later, it gave us Trump.

Lithwick needs to get a job. Teen-aged students aren't going to save us, but it's long past time for her horrible crowd to go.

MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY: A topic which doesn't exist on TV!

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2018

Part 4—The children whose lives don't count:
Not long ago, an amazing event occurred. A person could read, in the Washington Post, about improved test scores in the nation's public schools!

Granted, the discussion occurred in an op-ed column by a guest columnist, not in a news report. That said, the analysts were almost excited by the discussion—until they saw the metric the guest columnist used:
WHITE (2/9/18): [I]t's inaccurate to claim that there's been little progress since the Reagan administration's seminal report "A Nation at Risk."...[T]his line of thinking threatens the bipartisan push for change in America's schools, including the principles of verifying what progress students are making and holding school systems accountable for that progress.

Let's take the claim of failure first. The most widely trusted yardstick of American students' learning is the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Over the past quarter-century, the share of American fourth-graders fully proficient in math on the NAEP increased by 27 percentage points. The share of proficient fourth-grade readers increased by seven percentage points. Over that time, proficiency among African American fourth-graders increased by 18 percentage points in math and 10 percentage points in reading, and Latino fourth-graders' proficiency gained 21 points in math and nine points in reading...

This is no claim of "mission accomplished." Other nations have strengthened their schools faster and more profoundly than we have. Reading and math skills in middle and high schools, as well as knowledge of civics and science, are deplorably low. Learning gaps by race and income level remain tragically wide. But this country has made important improvements over a generation, with real implications for the lives of families and the economic health of our states and communities.
John White is the Louisiana state superintendent of education. In saying that public school performance has improved, he bucks the standard preferred party line, in which the public has long been told that nothing has worked in our public schools thanks to our ratty public school teachers with their fiendish unions.

That gloomy line has long been standard within the mainstream press. In his recent column, White said the familiar claims which drive this gloomy picture are untrue.

That said, White bowed to the gloom-and-doom lobby with his claim that reading and math skills in middle schools are "deplorably low," and with his gloomy assessment of the international picture. Beyond that, he chose to measure progress on the NAEP in a way which made us gnash our teeth—by recording "the share of American [students] fully proficient in math and reading."

In fairness, that's one statistic a person can use to measure improvement on the NAEP over time. But for various barely technical reasons, we wouldn't say it's the best single statistic to use, and it results in a rather underwhelming set of claims:

The share of proficient fourth-grade readers has increased by seven percentage points since the 1980s? That has the unmistakable sound of a massively underwhelming claim.

Still, given the way this topic is normally discussed, this underwhelming presentation is about as good as you'll ever see in a newspaper like the Post. It's very, very, very rate to hear claims about progress at all.

That said, where does a modern liberal turn for information on a topic like this? More specifically, to whom can liberals or progressives turn for information about the progress recorded by black or Hispanic kids?

Alas! That liberal can't turn to Rachel Maddow, or to Chris Hayes, or even to the morally swaggering Lawrence, or to any of the seven- or eight-figure "corporate liberals" hired to perform on MSNBC. The lives and interests of black children simply don't exist on that channel until such time as someone gets shot, though only by a policeman or a "vigilante."

At least in her seven- to eight-figure professional capacity as a cable news entertainer, Rachel Maddow doesn't give a flying fig about the lives and interests of black kids. Their lives and their interests don't exist on her high-rated TV show.

At present, her TV show is devoted to The Chase—to the entertaining, pleasure-providing hunt after Donald J. Trump. Viewers are immersed in the minutia of that chase to a degree that borders on the pointless and the insane.

Black kids can go play in the yard. So can Patrisse Khan-Cullors and her intriguing new book.

What's the true state of the nation's schools? Of the nation's low-income schools? Of the service those schools are providing to the nation's black kids?

You won't hear a word from Maddow about that or any similar topic. Those children don't exist on her show. Neither does Khan-Cullors, or a group of people like her.

Who the Joe Hill is Patrisse Khan-Cullors? She's one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, a semi-organization our corporate liberal TV stars happily pretend to support.

Khan-Cullors' new book is called When They Call You A Terorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. The book appeared on the New York Times best-seller list on two recent Sundays, but its author hasn't appeared on MSNBC and most likely never will.

(So far, Khan-Cullors has done the full hour on C-Span's After Words, and she's been interviewed on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. According to Nexis, that's it. Full and complete total stop.)

In her book, Khan-Cullors describes her life as a child who grew up poor in the Los Angeles of the wars on drugs and crime. Among the intriguing stories it seems to tell is the story of Khan-Cullots' education in the Los Angeles public schools.

Although she lived in Van Nuys, Khan-Cullors went to Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks, a school she improbably describes as being "all-white." She then went to Cleveland High, where it sounds like she received a fascinating, challenging education. The leading authority on Cleveland High describes the school as follows:
Grover Cleveland Charter High School is a public school serving grades 9-12. Cleveland Humanities Magnet is part of Cleveland Charter High School. The school is located in Reseda, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California.

Cleveland, a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was named after President Grover Cleveland. Cleveland Charter High School is LAUSD's only comprehensive high school that holds the title of being a California Distinguished School.

Cleveland High School was honored as a 2005 California Distinguished School
and as of 2010 was ranked the 703rd best high school in the nation by Newsweek, up from 854th the year before. It has a student population of about 3800. The school is divided into small learning communities.
So the school is described. Khan-Cullors would have graduated around 2002. According to the leading authority on her life, she holds a degree in religion and philosophy from UCLA and was a Fulbright scholar.

As with much of her memoir, Khan-Cullors' description of her education is fleeting and somewhat impressionistic. Her description of other aspects of her childhood is more detailed and more pointed. This includes her accounts of the interactions of her brothers and her father with the Los Angeles police and the California prison system.

Khan-Cullors has been involved in prison reform for a good long time. That topic doesn't exist on "liberal cable" either. For this reason, people like Khan-Cullors aren't invited to appear on the channel. That channel is deeply invested in The Chase, and in increased corporate revenue.

When Maddow mugs and clowns and discusses herself and exclusively hands you The Chase, she makes us liberals feel moral and pure inside. We may not realize how many topics are being kept from view.

When Maddow wallows in The Chase, she makes the rest of the world go away. Tomorrow, we'll finish our discussion of the many topics you won't encounter on that cable channel—about the many people you won't see there.

Cable keeps making the world go away. On the brighter side, it helps us make it through the night knowing that We are the good ones.

Tomorrow: Which terrorized children don't count and other disappeared topics