President Of Convenience

SCENE: Mitch BERG is out on his porch waiting for some food delivery. He’s committed – can’t go inside yet – when Avery LIBRELLE happens around the corner.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Uh, hey, Avery…

LIBRELLE: Stop with all the scare talk. Joe Biden is a moderate.

BERG: Biden is a moderate in the exact same sense that Brooke Shields was George Michael’s girlfriend in the ’80s.

LIBRELLE: What? Go on…

BERG: In the ’80s, various publicists circulated the story that Brooke Shields was dating George Michael – a fantastic singer who tripped every ‘gaydar’ set in the world when “Wham UK” started releasing music videos.

The “Relationship” was imposed on the couple, and the world, by the execs at Michael’s label for a bunch of reasons; in an age when being “gay” was still pretty closet-y and the likes of Freddy Mercury and Elton John kept their orientations very much under the radar, it protected Michael’s marketability. It benefitted both of their careers. It kept the whole “is he gay?” discussion from hampering record sales. And it was neither of their idea – it was a concoction of publicists working for their various record, studio and management companies, to keep everyone’s nests feathered.

LIBRELLE: And…?

BERG: Biden is the same thing. He was brought in to put a “crazy grampa” veneer on a party whose extremism has exploded like a diet Coke with a Mento dropped in. To make incipient communism less scary for soccer moms.

LIBRELLE: That’s just…

BERG: Just what?

LIBRELLE: I’m torn between “Racist” and “Anti-Palestinian”.

BERG: Naturally…

BERG’s delivery arrives.

And SCENE

Meaning

A friend of the blog emails:

The number of words that have totally lost their meaning over the last couple of weeks is astonishing. Coup, treason, sedition, insurrection and now unity. What’s next.

Anyone’s guess.

They join other terms – “white privilege”, “white supremacy”, “ Anti“ – pretty much any western virtue…

Common Sense

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A frequent commentor asked: “What utility does a ghost gun have that a
serial numbered gun does not?”

It’s a question frequently asked by those in favor of “common sense” gun
control.

To which I reply: “What utility does a Catholic have that an Anglican
does not?  Why can’t we have common sense Catholic control?”

And, “What utility does conservative political speech have that liberal
political speech does not?  Why can’t we have common sense speech control?”

To ask these questions is to reveal the fundamental disagreement between
my view of how government should operate and the questioner’s view,
between the Founders’ view and modern-day Democrats’ view.

How far we’ve strayed . . .

Joe Doakes

My other preferred answer: “I’m a citizen doing something I have a Constitutional and statutory right to do. The utility it has is giving people like you a big f*** you”.

Planet Of The Humans, Part 5 – Fizzle On The Launchpad

In the eighties and nineties, the cultural clichés about young people getting started in life were Hollywood’s fables about the young and gorgeous, weighing offers for competing top-tier business and law schools, on their way toward earning a solid middle class income straight out of school.

Tom Cruise in Risky Business was looking at Harvard, but would settle for Penn State as a safety school. The brat packers in Bright Lights, Big City and The Secret Of My Success and Breakfast Club and, worst of the lot, Saint Elmo’s Fire, slid from the inevitable Evanston that John Hughes froze in time, to Big Ten or Ivy League credentials, to jobs in the big city, whence story devolved into plot devolved into genre.

Real life was a little more pedestrian – but there was opportunity out there. I could pack up everything I owned and trek off to an affordable-enough city – which Minneapolis was at the time – and with little more than a dream, find a trade to ply. and start the process of building a life.

Now, on the one hand, I think when I was in high school and college, people were realistic; my English major advisor never told anyone a BA in English was going to pave your way to success, the way kids over the past fifteen years have been sold on the idea.

Kids today are, at least for the moment, embracing the far left. Socialism is seen as not merely viable but preferable by a dispiriting number of younger people.

Why?

Generational Failure

The education system certainly plays a role – kids today get twelve years of “progressive” indoctrination. If you did it to dogs, you’d get them taken away.

And the post-secondary system, which has spent years turning college into a semi-private wealth transfer that grifts kids into unrealistic expectations, plays its role.

But even with all that, between college debt and a bulge of baby boom workers still in the workforce and the perverse incentives that impel companies to work toward short-term return rather than long-term growth and prosperity, there’s a solid case that this is a tough time to be an entry-level worker.

And those perverse incentives – like the college debt crisis itself – are downstream of government policy. Companies chasing an IPO, or a valuation bubble to draw mergers and acquisitions, draw away from the kind of focus that used to lead to companies building for and working toward the long term.

This hasn’t surprised anyone who’s been paying attention. And while Democrat-driven regulation bears plenty of blame, the GOP focus on benefitting business qua business, as opposed business as part of a free, sustainable market, is part of the problem as well.

30-40 years ago, America’s most recent golden age was built by people whose prospects were, as a sarcastic but on-point song of the era pointed out, so bright they had to wear shades. The breezy optimism of John Hughes movies was a caricature, but not a sarcastic one.

And optimistic people b uild golden ages.

We’re lacking both today.

Today Is The Day…

…where we turn over control over “concern about the deficit and national debt” from one party to the other.

UPDATE: Also the date many of us become “domestic terrorists” in the eyes of the ruling party and Media (ptr).

UPDATE 2: On the other hand, today is the beginning of the period where Covid will be recognized as something that, between natural immunity and vaccines, will burn itself out and cease to be a national health crisis.

Playbook

Big Left has been openly salivating about a “wave of ‘white supremacist terror’ that’ll dwarf 9/11″ for years, now.

No – seriously. Years.

Does it seem like they’re wishing it to be so?

You’re not alone:

Need an Orwell reference? Authoritarians always need a boogieman. And like Orwell’s Eurasia and Eastasia, or Hitler’s “Reichstag arsonists” or the “Polish soldiers who attacked the Gleiwitz radio station” or “Jews”, or generations of Soviet “wreckers” and “counter-revolutionaries”, having a conspiracy to flog can certainly take peoples’ minds off of the bread lines or endless mask mandates, wouldn’t it?

Of course, the Democrats chose half the country for their boogieman.

Seems…self-limiting?

If so, the good guys have two years to prove it.

Planet Of The Humans, Part 4: Red On Red

So far in this series, I’ve ascribed blame for the dismal downward curve in the greatest society in the history of the world – from the apogee in the early nineties to the riot at the Capitol amid dueling thud-witted social media chanting mobs – to some easy suspects; the President himself, the extreme Progressive tilt of the left, and the collapse of trust in the institutions, education and law enforcement and the media, that we depend on to keep government fair, accountable and transparent.

Today? I turn the cannon on the Republican Party.

The GOP had virtually nothing to lose when it nominated Ronald Reagan in 1980. Gutted by Watergate and the Nixon resignation after four decades of basically being Democrats with better suits, sometimes it seemed that Ronald Reagan dragged the GOP into success, kicking and screaming and against its own will.

But by 1994, when the Newt Gringrich phalanx swung Congress to the GOP for the first time since the ’20s, the Party seemed to have its priorities straight: limit the size of government, cut taxes, and defend the country. Being a polyglot party, it enacted policy perfectly in none of those areas. But from 1980-ish until about 2000, the GOP was clear, principled alternative to the Democratic Party.

After that?

Analogy Time

I left the GOP in 1994, disgusted by the votes of so many Republicans for the 1994 “Crime Bill”, a knee-jerk reaction to a surge in crime that marked a high-water point in gun control as well as the weaponizing of drug policy.

I complained that the GOP – which had always paid lip service to gun rights – was happy to collect the votes of gun owners, but wouldn’t deliver for them when the chips were down. (Which was true – it took a surging gun rights movement to give the GOP religion on the subject). The complacent assumption that gun owners owed the GOP their votes drove me to the Libertarians – for a while, anyway.

The complacency drove me crazy.

And it still does.

Of course, economic economic conservatism is hard and tends to get people un-elected these days, so that by 2000 the Republican president was a bigger spender than the Demcorat he replaced (albet Clinton’s relative “conservatism” was a reaction to the 1994 Congress).

Hey – he was better than Algore would have been…

…right?

Second Acts

Fifteen years after Newt Gingrich’s revolution, the GOP was back in the minority in both chambers, victims of economic circumstance and offering roughly no reason to vote for them other than…you guessed it, they were better than the alternative.

The Tea Party sprang from nowhere, doing for basic conservative causes like fiscal discipline and limited government what the gun rights movement had done for “Shall Issue” over the previous two decades – took it to the streets and the halls of the Capitol. Very successfully…

…briefly. The “establishments” of both parties teamed up to slander the Tea Party out of existence – leaving only a few elected members of the Class of 2010 left to tell the tale.

And with the Tea Party beaten back underground, the GOP stood for…

…well, what?

Really, two things – an appeal to cliche, and another to some party crashers.

The Business Of The GOP Is…

The GOP’s commitment to business – or, mostly, limiting the impact of business taxes – is undeniable.

Unfortunately, it was a broad brush approach that focused on the sorts of breaks larger companies get with the help of offices full of tax lawyers, and left smaller busineses, and especially younger consumers, mostly alone.

Which played its part in creating a generation to whom the wealth hasn’t “trickled down” yet, and may well not at this rate.

We’ll come back to that later.

And of course, after nearly twenty years of standing for nothing, it spent five years falling for something that gave it purpose – populism. Giving the people what they want, rather than what a civilization needs. Given a choice between standing for the principles that gave it success in the first place, and the dog’s breakfast of big spending and big lip service to its ideals, the GOP ditched its principles like a two dollar date.

And with Donald Trump’s imminent departure from office, what will the GOP replace him with?

The GOP doesn’t even know, at this point.

Given an opportunity to cement our nation’s, and civilization’s, status, the GOP…

…whiffed.

It had help, of course.

More in the next installment.

It

#Progsplaining

Kendall Qualls was the GOP endorsed candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat in this past election.

Having lost that time, he’s on to something potentially bigger – starting a conversation with the black community about…itself.

The DFL’s brain trust needs to stomp on that idea, but quick:

I raise you this, Zach: Imagine an entitled, very very white, middle class member of the ruling political class #progsplaining a black man about how he’s allowed to talk about black history.

This is today’s DFL.

Ineffective

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Study from Stanford University concludes lock-downs have no significant
effect on Covid spread
and the small effect they might have, could be
achieved by less restrictive means.

I doubt it’ll stay up long, once Liberals realized it proves
Conservatives were right all along:  there is no scientific basis for
lock-downs and Stay Home orders, and without a scientific basis for the
regulations, they’re simply unconstitutional power grabs.

PDF copy attached.

Joe Doakes

To paraphrase the old law school saying: when the emotion is against you, argue science. When the science is against you, argue emotion. When both science and emotion are against you…doxx them?

Against The Woke Mob Before It Was Cool

I’m not going to say I’m the world’s biggest Angela Merkel fan. American fans of Merkel tend to be be the kind of people who think soccer is a gripping watch and that Governor Walz’s knobs and levers are a great metaphor for communicating complex public health policy to the knaves.

Er…people.

But she was born in East Germany – and, unlike today’s woke mob, understands the inevitable result of their philosophy. So she earned the woke mob’s ire last week by coming out against Twitter’s canceling of the Trump twitter account.

Unexpectedly.

And now, Poland – a nation that was fighting for its freedom back when America was arguing over whether Miller Lite tasted great or was less filling, is firing a shot across Silicon Valley’s bow.

What do they know that thousands of Bernie Bros and Oberlin grievance studies grads don’t?

I’ve Got A Fever, And The Only Prescription Is More Knobs And Levers

For all of the pomp and circumstance and portent of Governor Klink’s grand proclamations on Covid policy, the inescapable fact is that he ahd his administration are doing a terrible job:

And the graphic here spells it out pretty starkly – Minnesota is lagging pretty much everyone.

Maybe the Governor is hoping to put that freezer morgue to use, still?

We Have Come Down From The Mountain

Today is Martin Luther King day.

And it’s time to be intellectually honest – to today’s Big Left, if he were alive, he’d have been canceled decades ago.

Because the historical record – one you have all seen, over and over, the “I Have A Dream” speech – flies in the face of the Critical Race Theory that dominates all “progressive” “thought” these days:

Anyway – it’s not like you don’t hear “I Have A Dream” constantly these days, but for this speech teacher’s kid’s money, “I Have Been To The Mountain” is the one I measure his, and nearly everyone else’s, oratory by.

Technical Difficulties

We’ve got some problems going on today, on the hosting end (I hope). Posting will be relatively light until things get sorted out.

Time was, these sorts of server glitches we’re not uncommon – every 12 to 24 months, they would be a day when things just needed a quick reset. .

Of course, while I won’t flatter myself by thinking this blog is big enough for the powers that be to notice anything enough to justify any monkey business, it’s pretty inevitable for a conservative pundit, even a D-lister like myself, to wonder…

Fingers crossed, hopefully things will be back to normal shortly.

Technical Difficulties

We’ve got some problems going on today, on the hosting end (I hope). Posting will be relatively light until things get sorted out.

Time was, these sorts of server glitches we’re not uncommon – every 12 to 24 months, they would be a day when things just needed a quick reset. .

Of course, while I won’t flatter myself by thinking this blog is big enough for the powers that be to notice anything enough to justify any monkey business, it’s pretty inevitable for a conservative pundit, even a D-lister like myself, to wonder…

Fingers crossed, hopefully things will be back to normal shortly.

Berg’s 18th Law Is A Rhetorical And Moral Gill Net, Whose Reach Has No Escape

I’ll admit to two things:

  1. Having seen how the radical left works up close and personal, when I saw the Capitol riot the week before last I thought “I’d wager a shiny new quarter they had some “encouragement” from provocateurs from the left””.
  2. At the same time, after two months of hearing about legal “Krakens” that turned out to be Ewoks in court, I’ve noted that some in the MAGA crowd have a certain flair for issueing, and consuming, information you may not want to stake your life on.
  3. On the other hand, the response from the Left – “There was never any provocation, Winston” – seemed just a little…pat?

And so re-read Berg’s 18th Law, and waited to see what happened.

And sure enough:

Read the whole thread.

Of course, saying “the “Anti”-Fa guy made me do it” is a flimsy defense, legally and morally.

But this is a reminder to all of you who might be involved in any sort of public demonstraiton for conservative causes: keep tape rolling. Photograph everything and everyone that seems out of place, and perhaps more importantly everyone that seems waaaaaaaay to enthusiastically “in place”.

We learned this during the Tea Party, when the shills were amateurs. Now it’s the “A” team, and they are getting people killed.

It’s Reform Time

Imagine this: you are walking through downtown…er, Brainerd. It’s dark out, with a tinge of fog in the air. A car full of rural youth with mischief on their minds rolls up and jumps out. One has a gun, another a baseball bat. They are making loud, rural-youth-y noises. In a split second, you discern:

  1. Your life is in immediate danger
  2. They, not you, are the aggressors
  3. You being a middle-aged man or woman, and they being spry rural teens, you don’t reasonably have the means or opportunity to run away.

In a split second, you decide that your concealed handgun is the best way to resolve the situation – whether you shoot or not.

And after the episode, you call the police, lawyer up, and get ready for the process of proving to the court that your decision was correct…

…during which time a county attorney, sitting in a warm, safe office with a Keurig and stacks of law books and protected by metal detectors and deputies, will pick over the life-or-death decision you were forced, against your will, to make on a cold, dark, foggy night in Brainerd, with a grisly death potentially seconds away, to see if your attempt to flee was satisfactory enough under not only statue, but according to at least a dozen items of Minnesota case law.

Seem reasonable?

If so – in what world? Seriously?

Turnabout

After a couple of sessions of playing on the defensive on gun rights, the good guys are going over to the attack.

A Self Defense Reform bill has been introduced at the MIinnesota State Legislature.

ACTION ALERT – STAND YOUR GROUND
BILLS INTRODUCED IN HOUSE & SENATE
Our Stand your Ground bill has been introduced in the Minnesota Senate by Senator Carrie Ruud (R – SD 10) as Senate File 13 (SF13) and in the Minnesota House by Representative Lisa Demuth (R – 13A) and Representative Matt Bliss (R – 5A) as House File 131.

This bill, known as Self-Defense Law Reform, or “Stand your Ground”, legislation simplifies Minnesota’s self-defense law by codifying the 10-12 court cases that interpret our existing statutory law while removing the ridiculous “duty to retreat” concept that requires Minnesotans to retreat from an attacker before defending themselves with force.

This is our Stand your Ground legislation with bill content honed by use of force and legal experts and backed by our years of advocacy experience.

Why propose the change to law? See the example above.

But why try to pass the bills now?

Future Math

You may ask yourself “Why? What’s the point? There’s a DFL governor, and the House is controlled by Melissa Hortman and Uncle Ryan Winkler?”

Think about it for a moment: the DFL lead in the House is pretty thin, and several of those DFLers are in distant suburbs that went for Trump, or are net-Red districts in normal times. And there’s history – in 2002, the gun rights movement pretty much extincted all the anti-gun DFLers, leading in short order to passage of Carry Permit reform in 2003. And that was at a time when the state wasn’t nearly as polarized on gun issues as it is today. And if Hortman causes the bills to be tabled in the House while it passes the Senate? That’ll be remembered in 2022.

And Governor Walz? If he vetoes such a bill, it’s going to be used as an electoral sledgehammer against every DFLer outside 494 and 694. And it’ll draw blood.

Turn Out

The MN Gun Owners Caucus runs an “Action Center” with info on contacting your legislators, as well as all the other things we can do to move the needle on this. Remember – Senate File 13, and House File 131.

Eventually the Legislature is going to get tired of replacing melted switchboards.

Berg’s Seventh Law Is A Sledgehammer

Democrats. after an election when media both mainstream and social worked overtime to install them in office, propose to “rein in the media”:

During a lengthy Instagram Live on Tuesday evening where she revealed that she feared for her life during the siege, the “Squad” member accused the mainstream media of “spewing disinformation” ahead of the deadly riot in which five people died.

“There’s absolutely a commission that’s being discussed but it seems to be more investigating in style rather than truth and reconciliation,” she said.

“I do think that several members of Congress in some of my discussions have brought up media literacy because that is part of what happened here,” Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) went on.

“We’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation,” she said.

So – yet again, while calling all Republicans “Nazis” by implication and association, Democrats act like…

…well, Democrats.

#Unexpected

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A couple of days ago, I urged application of Berg’s 18th Law of Media Latency to the events at the Capitol. I was right. The FBI has charged a Leftist for the Capitol riot. He was running a false flag operation, dressing as a Trump supporters to infiltrate the crowd to commit violence.

Still, I’m seeing bloggers and columnists on the Right saying that even though President Trump did not urge his supporters to commit violence; and even though Leftist infiltrators did commit it; it’s still President Trump’s fault.

Look, I expect the Left to blame the victim of its false flag operation – that’s the point of running a false flag operation. I expect Never-Trumpers to do it too, because they hate Donald Trump and want him gone by any means.

I wasn’t expecting it from people nominally on our side. It’s disappointing. There’s a flavor of Saint Peter’s Denial about it, of throwing the man under the bus to avoid denunciation by the Liberal mob, of saving one’s own skin at the expense of one’s own principles.

In terms of fighting the system, I think Donald Trump may have been the greatest American President since Andrew Jackson. I think his reelection victory was stolen from him. I think he has received shabby treatment from his friends and allies, people I thought were my friends and allies.

Monday is a federal holiday to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., another man who fought the system and lost. I’m taking a few days off to think about things. Take care, everyone.

Joe Doakes

There’s a lot to think about this month.

Planet Of The Humans, Part 3: Steam

Democracy can’t survive if we can’t trust our institutions.

We’ll come back to that.

Steamed

In Tom Wolfe’s 1987 satire Bonfire of the Vanities, a young black man is run over by a car driven y a millionaire bond trader. A Bronx DA and couple of New York cops investigate.

In one part of the story, a huckster minister, clearly modeled after Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or some such, explains his role in the community to the investigators.

In his metaphor, community anger is “steam”, building inexorably as the heat rises, ready to blow the boiler sky high if something isn’t done. That “something”, naturally, is the good reverend plying his services, as a “steam valve”.

For a price.

The book was head, shoulders and ankles better than the movie – a box office bomb that nearly ended Tom Hanks as an A-lister, thirty years back – but this scene more or less gets the point across:

The reference I’m calling out is 2:00 minutes into the clip

But remember – they’re the ones that cover the news to the highest of standards.

We’ll come back to that.

Answering Their Master

Republicans since Richard Nixon have known that the media was biased to the left. Over this past twenty years, it’s been almost beyond parody. Over the past five years, literally, parody has been more accurate than journalism.

But there’s a level of parody beyond which even The Onion or The Babylon Bee would feel awkward going. Our “elite” media has no such limits:

More locally? I could go back a bit, to the media’s response to conservative protest and the Tea Party – and that was the least of the problems. The IRS abused its power to try to shut the Tea Party down.

And there was nary a peep from the establishment media. “Law enforcement” under the Obama administration did nothing at all. The agent of the scandal, Lois Lerner, retired with her full government pension and the tacit thanks of the Obama regime.

More recently, there’ve been two episodes that show how very, very unequal we are in this country, depending on your politics.

On March 4, 2017, a group of Republicans held a rally at the Capitol. A group of “Anti”-Fa used a counter-demonstration for a delivery system, violently attacking the Republicans, injuring several.

And how did the justice system in Ramsey County work? Like a fraternity hazing. Without the hazing. The defendants – including the son of Hillary Clinton’s VP nominee, weren’t so much prosectuted as féted. Had John Choi done otherwise, he’d have never done lunch at the Lex again.

More recently? Last summer, a Minnesota state DFL legislative candidate famously threatened brutal violence on a Twin Cities suburb for being home to Bob Kroll.

It passed.

Fast.

This, of course, after a series of citywide riots for whichi justice was slow, dilatory and diverted by stories of “white supremacists with umbrellas” doing improbable feats of mischief.

And, behind it all, a long trail of elaborate rationalizations for the rioting: after centuries of (checks notes) systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, economic and environmental racism and mansplaining, a riot was a positive public health good, to deal with all that built up “steam”.

But only the correct rioting.

Because if Pro-Life Action tried to block a freeway, Jacob Frey would have water cannon and attack dogs out there before the protesters got over the fence. And everyone involved knows it.

As re protesting, there are Two Americas.

But only one America gets to release its “steam” in polite company.

What About

I’ve mentioned this to others in the past week.

Some have said “mind the ‘whataboutism'”.

This isn’t whataboutism.

This is pointing out that when sides perceive, correctly, that the deck is stacked against them, they will find coloring outside the lines more and more acceptable.

Which is the exact rationalization the left uses for BLM’s shenanigans; inequality begets rage!

Well, yeah. It does. As we’ve seen.

But it’s not just the usual enemies.

More tomorrow.