Conundrum

President Trump’s “go back where you came from” Twitter jape against The Four Horsewomen of the Derpocalypse (hat tip to Sean Sorrentino), Reps. Omar, Pressley, Tlaib and Ocasio Cortez may be his dumbest yet.

But let me ask you this:

Let me describe someone who is:’

  • Not really cut out for their office
  • Given to petulant ranting on social media
  • Elected by people whose politics and logic I frequently don’t respect a lot
  • Supported by a lot of people, staff, and a narrative intended to logroll and gaslight skeptics into silence and submission
  • Does, seemingly, little but jab back at their many, many critics, to the point where you wonder if you’re watching someone in junior high

Which of the five am I describing?

By the way – if you’re a Democrat, it is your duty to rally around the Four Horsewomen, to the exclusion of all else (except working toward impeachment). If you do not, the ghost of Wellstone will cry.


Open Letter To Sen. Klobuchar And Every Single Minnesota DFLer

To: Sen Klobuchar
cc: the entire Minnesota DFL party
From: Mitch Berg, obstreporous peasant
Re: Impeachment Now!

All,

What Senator Klobuchar said.

You owe it to progressivism, to the children, and to all the hopey changey to start working on impeachment now, to make it your only priority, and to spend your every waking moment between now and November 2020 working for it with your every waking breath, and some of the sleeping ones.

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar says she would support impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump “beginning now.”
The Minnesota senator’s comment to CNN Friday followed Trump’s statement this week that he’d take information from a foreign power that offered dirt on an opponent.

Accept nothing less than impeachment!

NOW!

The Ghost of Paul Wellstone will cry if you waste any time or effort on lesser causes!

Throne Of Games

The media and the political establishment plays checkers. It’s a perfectly honorable game, with well-established rules that haven’t changed in generations. There’s only one way to play checkers.

Trump plays…

… Well, not chess. To say that would be to claim he plays a similar, more sophisticated game than the establishment and media.

Trump plays poker. He may play it well, he may not, it may vary from hand to hand in situation to situation. He may bluff while holding fours over deuces with all the grace of a German jazz band, and he may drop a straight flush on you while you’re doing the “I’ve got a full house!” dance…

… but whether he’s playing it well or like an amateur after 12 cocktails, it’s a completely different game, with different rules, goals and expectations, than checkers. .

And the media – or at least the “elite“ media that the establishment does business with – Watch his hand after hand of poker, good or bad, and keeps yapping about how bad Trump is at checkers, and how much better off we’d all be if he played checkers as well as Andrea Merkel does…

When Real News Is More Like Satire Than “Satirical” News Is

Florida woman stabs self.

Blames Trump.

Officers found the unidentified woman standing outside her home in Palmetto, Fla., bleeding from her hands, legs, and face, according to a partially redacted report obtained by the Smoking Gun.
After being asked what was wrong, the woman responded, “I’m tired of living in Trump’s country, I’m tired of Trump being president.”

Oh, the wise I must not crack…

This Is What A Nobel-Prize-Winning Member Of The “Elite” Media Thinks Like

Paul Krugman – who worshipped Barack Obama like a ’90s high school girl worshipped the Back Street Boys – twote:

Andrew Stiles notes Barack Obama’s list of PMoF’s:

  • Michael Jordan
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Meryl Streep
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Robert Redford
  • Robert De Niro
  • Tom Hanks
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Bob Dylan
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Barbara Streisand
  • James Taylor
  • Diana Ross
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Warren Buffett
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Lorne Michaels
  • Joe Biden

To which a committed Dem might point out “Hey, no golfers!”.

And to which someone with honesty and integrity would add “And Paul Krugman is a travesty”.

Red Herring

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s depressing that anybody would fall for such an obvious diversion. Trump was a rich man during the entire Obama administration, whose IRS was famous for auditing people Democrats didn’t like.  The holdover liberals who make up the Deep State have no problem leaking damaging information.  If Trump had any possible secrets in his tax returns, they would have been leaked and investigated long ago.
Democrats know that, they know there’s nothing to find, they don’t care. They simply want Trump to deny the demand so they can complain that he’s obstructing justice, which diverts attention away from the Attorney General’s investigation into Hillary colluding with the Russians to influence the 2016 Presidential election.
But you know Minneapolis liberals will swallow it, hook line & sinker.  Depressing
Joe Doakes

They’re holding on to the idea that there’s “something” out there like an eight-year-old holding onto Santa.

That’s So 1977…

I’m old enough to remember when the American political and media establishment wracked itself into knots over the fact that the executive branch had been using the CIA and Hoover’s FBI to spy on domestic political opposition.

Among my earliest memories of politics and news – after Watergate, naturally – were the Church Commission hearings, which clamped down on the use of intelligence and law enforcement for domestic shenanigans.

For a while, anyway.

Seems like everything old is new again:

Following months of angry claims by journalists and Democratic operatives that the Obama administration never spied on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, The New York Times admitted Thursday that multiple overseas intelligence assets were deployed against associates of the Republican nominee. It is not the first time the Times has revealed widespread spying operations against the campaign.

In addition to noting that long-time informant Stefan Halper was tasked with collecting intelligence on the Trump campaign, the Times story details how a woman was sent overseas under a fake name and occupation to oversee the spy operation. The woman’s real name is not mentioned in the article, though the Times says she went by “Azra Turk” and has a relationship with an unidentified federal intelligence agency.

It would be the ultimate Berg’s Seventh Law reference, if it turned out that the left’s two-year-long tantrum over “collusion” were simultaneously deflection and projection.

Where Credit And Criticism Are Both Due

As a longtime Trump skeptic, I have been impressed in general with the caliber of his Cabinet.

I’ve been a little depressed at the turnover in that excellent cabinet.

The WSJ contrasts the quality and integrity of Attorneys General between Bob Barr, Trump’s AG, and Obama’s Loretta Lynch:

Democrats and the media are turning the AG into a villain for doing his duty and making the hard decisions that special counsel Robert Mueller abdicated.
Mr. Barr’s Wednesday testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was preceded late Tuesday by the leak of a letter Mr. Mueller had sent the AG on March 27. Mr. Mueller griped in the letter that Mr. Barr’s four-page explanation to Congress of the principal conclusions of the Mueller report on March 24 “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the Mueller team’s “work and conclusions.” Only in Washington could this exercise in posterior covering be puffed into a mini-outrage…Contrast that to the abdication of Loretta Lynch, who failed as Barack Obama’s last Attorney General to make a prosecutorial judgment about Hillary Clinton’s misuse of classified information. Ms. Lynch cowered before the bullying of then FBI director James Comey, who absolved Mrs. Clinton of wrongdoing while publicly scolding her. That egregious break with Justice policy eventually led Mr. Comey to re-open the Clinton probe in late October 2016, which helped to elect Mr. Trump…This trashing of Bill Barr shows how frustrated and angry Democrats continue to be that the special counsel came up empty in his Russia collusion probe. He was supposed to be their fast-track to impeachment. Now they’re left trying to gin up an obstruction tale, but the probe wasn’t obstructed and there was no underlying crime. So they’re shouting and pounding the table against Bill Barr for acting like a real Attorney General

Repeating a Big Lie even after it’s collapsed? I’m not sure Goebbels even went that far…

Culture Of Paranoia

Forget “conspiracy theories” – the public record shows that the Nixon Administration spied on the Trump campaign…

…sorry. Obama Administration. Obama. No similarity. Perish the thought.

At this point in time, at least six different methods that the Obama administration used to spy on the Trump campaign have been made public:
1. FISA Warrant: Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was targeted with a FISA warrant by the FBI in October 2016. The warrant was subsequently renewed three times for 90-day periods. Other members of the Trump campaign might have had FISA warrants on them, as well.
2. Unmasking: Hundreds of so-called unmasking requests were made for the identities of members of the Trump campaign in intelligence reports. The House Intelligence Committee has so far identified Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice, Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, and former CIA Director John Brennan, as having filed such requests.
3. Undercover Informant: The FBI used Stefan Halper, an undercover agent, to infiltrate the Trump campaign. He contacted Trump campaign associates Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Halper has ties to the CIA, as well as MI6.
4. National Security Letters: The use of national security letters to target the Trump campaign was first revealed by officials to The New York Times in a May 16, 2018, article. National security letters allow the FBI to secretly subpoena customer records from banks, phone companies, internet service providers, and others.
5. Foreign Intelligence: British intelligence agency GCHQ provided officials within the CIA with information on the Trump campaign as early as late 2015, The Guardian reported in April 2017. Then-head of GCHQ Robert Hannigan also provided Brennan with sensitive information on the Trump campaign on a “director level” in the summer of 2016.
6. Reverse Targeting: Brennan admitted in an Aug. 17, 2018, interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that the CIA had obtained the communications of Americans associated with the Trump campaign through what appears to have been the use of reverse targeting. “We call it incidental collection in terms of CIA’s foreign intelligence collection authorities,” Brennan said.

Nixon’s use of federal law-enforcement, and less institutional private entities, to spy on his political opponents was a national scandal.

LBJ’s and Kennedy’s, and everyone who presided over J. Edgar Hoover’s reign at the FBI, less so, for some weird reason.

When The Hail Mary Pass Falls Incomplete

Ever have a friend who’s pinned their hopes on something that, to the outside observer, seemed unlikely if not impossible? A “big investment opportunity”, the “house flip that’s gonna set ’em up on easy street”, the “girl way out of his league saying yes”, the “can’t miss deal”, or any one of life’s hail mary plays?

You’re not an animal – so you may have some sympathy, or at least empathy, for them – but that’s tempered with the realization that the dumbass pinned all his hopes in life on a long shot.

I’m reminded of that watching my Democrat friends responses to the collapse of the expectations of the Mueller Report.

I saved a dozen file-gallon jerry cans of tears to water my “Hahahaha” plants this spring from the opening day alone:

I know, I know – too much Hannity. Work with me, here.

The impact on their psyches, as manifested on social media at any rate, seemed to be…

disproportionate?

Democrats seem both angry and frightened, and their kneejerk and perhaps even somewhat panicked response right now is to try to destroy Barr.
You can feel the frisson of fear they emanate. They waited two years for the blow of the Mueller report to fall on Trump, and now other investigative blows may fall on them. The Mueller report combined with Barr’s appointment could end up being a sort of ironic boomerang (whether or not boomerangs can be ironic I leave to you to decide).
How could this have happened? they must be thinking. How could the worm have turned? But they are spinning in the usual manner, hoping that—as so often has happened in the past—their confederates in the press will work their magic to make all of it go away and boomerang back to Republicans instead.
But whatever comes of it all, if anything, Democrats cannot believe that at least right now their dreams have turned to dust and they taste, instead of the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.

I try to stay sympathetic, on one level – but on another, it’s hard to cut too much of a break for people who put that much of their emotional well-being in long shots, especially the ones that seems so transparently stretchy, over and over and over.

A Modest Proposal

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Why did Prohibition fail?  The Hammerheads weren’t tough enough?  They didn’t incarcerate enough people? 
No.  It failed because ordinary citizens resented being told they couldn’t engage in activities that seem normal and harmless, so they quietly rebelled in a nation-wide fit of non-compliance.
Same reason the drug war is failing, particularly the war on marijuana.  Repeal federal prohibition.  Leave it up to the states.  This bill might be a good start.
Joe Doakes

It’s true – ending the “war” would end the black market, which would give us an opportunity to deal with the chaos on the border and in our inner cities.

Of course, there are wide swathes of our government that profit from that chaos.

We’ll see.

Unfinished Business

SCENE: Mitch BERG is sitting at the Dunn Brothers Freight House in Minneapolis, writing away, when Avery LIBRELLE walks up the stairs. Trapped, BERG sighs and waits for the inevitable.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: (Crestfallen) Hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE: Mueller’s grand jury is still meeting in Washington DC!

BERG: Right. So…?

LIBRELLE: Guess that means Trump isn’t exonerated after all!

BERG: Could be!

LIBRELLE: In your face!

BERG: Could also be they’ve decided to investigate Hillary, the Clinton’s and the provenance of the “information” that led to the original FISA warrant that started the investigation, which was just a bunch of Democrat party opposition research.

LIBRELLE: …

BERG: Right?

LIBRELLE: …

BERG: Avery?

LIBRELLE: (Jaw flapping like a beached trout)

BERG: (Gets up to leave). Have a nice day.

And SCENE

Thirty Million Dollars Worth Of Nothingburger

I could try to write something about the denouement of the Mueller investigation.

But why bother, when this thread by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald does it better than anything I’ve read over the weekend.

This thread is the “pull quote”, if you will – but there’s stuff worth reading before and well after it; I suggest looking over the whole thing via Twitter. And that will be the last time I urge people to read anything in Twitter.

But I digress:

Prediction: Dead On

I favor defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Not because I’m against art. Far from it. This blog. and my talk show, perhaps the Twin Cities’ finest two pieces of political performance art, should be proof of my commitment to art.

t the lesson is straight out of Econ 101; if you give people money to do something – in this case, to make art that may or may no be garbage, but matches some funder’s agenda or another, people will line up to take the money.

Now, I’m not sure that this “installation” last week was funded by the NEA:

According to a press release from the activist group Indecline, over two-dozen “men and women of color and members of the LGBT community” placed leashes and custom made dog collars on white men in red M.A.G.A. hats and walked them on all fours up and down Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday.
The group says that their “performance” was based on Cardi B’s recent Twitter battle with Tomi Lahren, in which the crass rapper told the right-wing pundit,  “Leave me alone, or I’ll dog walk you.”

VIA GATEWAY PUNDIT

(Note – vile misogyny is apparently OK if it’s a “conservative” you’re misogynizing).

But on another level, even if there wasn’t a single penny of NEA money behind it (and I can’t imagine there wasn’t, at some level or another), the whole farce is a symptom of the sort of entitled, smug, cliched “art” that arises from “artists” who have little to fear financially, and nothing, really, to fear socially.

To say nothing of critically.

Berg’s Seventh Law In The News – Sort Of

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Psychological Projection is when I assume you have the bad traits that I deny I have.  A liar will assume everyone else is a liar.  It’s embodied in Berg’s Seventh Law.
A mobster predicts Trump will have Cohen “whacked” in prison because that’s what happens to snitches.  The story itself is proof Trump isn’t a mobster.  If he was an actual mobster (or even a Clinton), Cohen would already be dead.

And let’s talk about all those violence-worshiping Democrats yipping about Cal Bahr.

Democracy Dies In Emergency

On the one hand? If you recall when Harry Reid torched the filibuster for judicial nominees, we limited government conservatives warned that “You folks may not control the Senate forever, so you might wanna be careful”. Trump’s use of a “National Emergency” to get more border funding is kinda the same idea. A future Democrat president could declare “non-living wages” a national emergency.

On the other hand? It kind of already a response like that. Obama outran Congress like Walter Payton outrunning the ’85 Vikings using a raft of Executive Orders. Is the border wall any worse than DACA?

On the other, other hand? I don’t think Trump necessarily intended to provoke a frenzied overreach on the Dems’ part – but it’d be hard to imagine how he could have done it better than he did:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said President Trump’s plan to use a national emergency declaration to unilaterally provide federal funding for a border wall would set a precedent Republicans may come to regret.
Democrats, she said, could use it later to enact their own priorities, such as increasing gun control.
“Why don’t you declare that a national emergency? I wish you would,” Pelosi during a press conference Thursday, noting it was the one-year anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff. “But a Democratic president can do that.”

The NRA is going to need to rent more phone lines to take the membership calls, now.

When “Progs” Call Trump A “Nazi”…

…remind them that he’s the kind of “Nazi” who sings “Happy Birthday” to a Jewish camp survivor:

House and Senate members broke into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” during Tuesday’s State of the Union address to celebrate a survivor of the Holocaust and last year’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

Judah Samet attended the address as a guest of the White House. President Trump acknowledged him in the crowd, prompting a standing ovation, and noted it was Samet’s 81st birthday.ADVERTISEMENT

Attendees then broke into song, with Trump mock-conducting from the dais.

“Thank you!” Samet shouted.

Wonder if Ilhan Omar joined in?

Not a rhetorical question. I’m seriously curious.

State Of Disunion

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution provides:  “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”  The State of the Union originally was a letter the Present sent to Congress.  Later, the President went in person to speak to Congress, which turned into a silly partisan event where half the chamber leaps to applaud every time he takes a breath. 
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi won’t let President Trump deliver the State of the Union address to Congress while the government is shut down so it’s postponed, or maybe not, now that we’re open for three weeks.  Nobody knows. 
Actually, nobody cares.  It’s grandstanding.  It’s silly.  Instead of delivering a speech or mailing a letter, Trump ought to break new ground: give the State of the Union by Twitter.  Hey, it’s his signature medium.  Why not? 
 “The Constitution requires me to advise Congress on the State of the Union.  Democrats won’t let me speak to Congress in person so I’m tweeting it to you, the American people.  Pass along this message to your elected representative, will you?”
 “The union is in a sorry state.  We owe more than we can repay.  Deep state saboteurs within our own government are undermining the principles of representative democracy.  The nation is flooded with illegal immigrants who suck up welfare, commit crimes and vote in elections for policies that further weaken the nation.”
 “We can’t stem the violence in our own cities but we’re wasting lives and tax dollars protecting Europe from Russia and most of North Africa from themselves.  We’ve barely recovered from a decade-long economic slump but influential people are already demanding we saddle the economy with higher taxes and more regulations.”
 “I call on Congress to end deficit spending, cut government spending, lower taxes, reduce regulations, cease subsidizing other nations, defend our own borders, and then step out of the way.  Give us half a chance and ordinary Americans will make America great again.”
 “If Congress remains deadlocked, all is not lost.  Elections have consequences.  I have a pen and I’ve got a phone.  I can use that pen to sign executive orders and administrative actions that will move the ball forward.” 
 “Good night, and may God bless America.”
That ought to set the cat among the pigeons. 
Joe Doakes

It’s got my vote.

Don’t Mess With Fergus Falls

German “journalist” Claas Relotius spent many years on the European and world journalistic fast track, until it was realized he’d spent years falsifying stories.

One of those stories was about the xenophobic misanthropic fascist racists in…

…Fergus Falls, MN.

And he didn’t just make up the little stuff. Two local residents combed through the story:

There are so many lies here, that my friend Jake and I had to narrow them down to top 11 most absurd lies (we couldn’t do just 10) for the purpose of this article. We’ve been working on it since the article came out in spring of 2017, but had to set it aside to attend to our lives (raising a family, managing a nonprofit organization, etc.) before coming back to it this fall, and finally wrapped things up a few weeks ago, just in time to hear today that Relotius was fired when he was exposed for fabricating many of his articles.

The following was neither the dumbest nor the most extravagant of Relotius’ lies:

6. The view from the Viking Cafe
“You can see the power plant where he works when you look out the window of the Diner, six tall, gray towers, from which rise white steam clouds.”
The Viking Cafe is Fergus Falls’ most treasured downtown establishment — over 60 years old. One of the reasons we Minnesotans all like it so much is that it has a cozy, underground feeling. Why? Because there are literally NO WINDOWS in the interior of this restaurant. Sure, you can see a little bit out the small front windows, but nothing beyond the shops across the street. The power plant Relotius refers to is almost 2 miles away on the northeast edge of town, blocked from view by a neighborhood on a large hill, and sports a single smokestack. Relotius’ imaginings are dramatic for the movie version of Trump’s America someday, but is it accurate and true? Not in the least.

Further proof that if you read it in the mainstream media, and it’s even a little bit political, distrust first. Then verify.

Then, almost invariably, distrust some more.

Bouncing Society’s Rubble

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Headed toward another government shutdown because Democrats won’t defend the border.

I’d be more concerned about a government shutdown – women and children hardest hit – except everybody is already dead from the end of net neutrality, or soon to be dead from global climate change, so at this point, what difference does it make?

Small bit of comedy in the article: “The House and Senate used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law.”  Yeah, that was when we had a thing called “budgets.”  Democrats did away with them: too confining, too oppressive, and they never liked math anyway.

True.

But since most government spending is on autopilot, really, what difference does it make at this point?

Standards

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A friend complains that the Republican Congress has accomplished nothing worthwhile in the last two years and as Democrats take the House, gridlock is the best we can hope for.  He blames Trump Derangement Syndrome and says it truly is disgusting that a boorish, childish, selfish egomaniac is the best example of conservative leadership we have.

First, he’s judging the President by the wrong standard.  A wise, mature, gracious statesman was not on offer in the last election.  The alternative to Trump was Hillary. The correct standard to apply is: “Has Trump become Hillary yet?”  No?  Then he’s good to go.  Carry on.  

But he’s right about Congress.  We can’t have a border wall, we can’t confirm conservative judges, we can’t fill executive branch positions, because of people like Senator Never Trump And To Hell With The Nation Flake, to name just one.  

If Trump announced today he’s not running in 2020, which nationally prominent Republican would you pick to replace him?

Sorry to say, with Scott walker out of office and never nationally problem to begin with, I’m already out of ideas…