Shades Of Things To Come?

Why does the American political class spend so much time jabbering about “gun safety”, about gay marriage, about climate change?

To distract you from the economy, and the oncoming deflation of a huge entitlement debt bubble that is going to have drastic impact on…well, everything.

The California pension system – which is a bellwether for most blue-state-model pension systems around the country – is starting to groan under the strain of the contradictions it labors under (emphasis added):

As Steven Malanga has noted, both of these union-managed funds are notorious for pulling political stunts even as they face gaping shortfalls, going on a misguided “green” investing binge that flushed taxpayer money down the drain, and pulling out of tobacco companies on moral grounds just before those stocks began to rise.

But the underlying flaw with the funds is not their politicization. If anything, these kinds of moves are a distraction from more pressing crisis of public employee retirement systems: That state legislatures have epically over-promised the level of retirement benefits they can reasonably provide, and obscured this reality by presuming levels of investment returns that are impossible to sustain, especially in this era of historically low interest rates.

The choice is pretty stark – massive reforms, including a shift away from defined-benefit pensions for public employees, and other tough choices.

Politicians from both sides hate tough choices – but it’s the blue model that’s given us this debt, and it’s the blue states that are facing the most immediate fallout.

Minnesota’s public plans are – depending on your political point of view – either better-administered, or do a better job of laundering the money.  Maybe it’s a little bit of both, combined with a state that has a better income-to-debt ratio than California for now, but the pain might strike us later.

Emphasis is on “later”.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

When did protesting become an all-purpose Get Out Of Jail Free card?

 Black Lives Matter want to protest police brutality, so they walk down the middle of the freeway.  That costs the taxpayers money paying cops overtime to guard the protestors and paying highway crews overtime to clean up after them, money which is NOT going to repairing our failing infrastructure of roads and bridges.  The cost per protester might easily be thousands of dollars.  

 If I wanted to film the chase scene for a movie set on that same stretch of freeway, I’d have to get a permit, film at non-rush hour, pay the cops and pay for clean-up. Why should those services be free for protesters?

 Add in the societal cost of blocking I-35 during rush hour last year, or blocking I-94 on 4th of July Weekend, the thousands of hours lost by people who couldn’t get home, the tons of additional pollutants discharged by idling engines, the emotional damage to families caused by “Are we there yet” and “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” making this the Worst Vacation Ever . . . the protesters have much to answer for.

 Arrest them, charge them with a crime, sentence them to time served and a one-dollar fine PLUS restitution.  Let’s see how serious they are when the real cost of their anti-social activities are laid at their feet.

 Joe Doakes

The whole point of “civil disobedience” is accepting the consequences of doing something illegal and confrontational, to highlight the injustice – especially if it’s really, really unjust.

Water cannon blasting black school children?  Highlighted injustice pretty starkly.

People blocking interstates, keeping other people from getting to/from work with no consequence to themselves?  Not so much.

Obama’s Dumbest Idea Yet

Remember all the wondrous things Obama wrought by nationalizing the healthcare system?

Remember?  Heck, you’ve barely started feeling the pain!

But wait.  It gets worse.  Now, he wants to nationalize the police:

The report urges the federal government to federalize police training and practices, via the use of federal lawsuits, grants and threats to cut federal aid. So far, Obama’s deputies have cajoled and sued more than 30 police jurisdictions to adopt federal rules in a slow-motion creation of a national police system, similar to the slow-motion creation of a federal-run health-sector via Obamacare.

Obama also used the press conference to insulate his federalized police program — and his allies in the Black Live Matter movement — from popular rejection after the five police were murdered by the anti-cop African-American in Dallas.

“The danger is that we somehow think the act of a troubled person speaks to some larger political statement across the country — it doesn’t,” Obama insisted. 

This has the potential to be the most corrosive domestic part of an already toxic legacy.



Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama promised to transform America.

A college degree is no longer a sure investment.

Real estate is no longer an escalator to wealth.

Government bonds pay the lowest rates ever.

Race relations have never been worse.

Bathrooms are confusing.

Once, at least we had . . .

The Rule of Law, but

Now that’s gone.

So . . .

 What’s the survival strategy for the Second Clinton Presidency?

 Joe Doakes

You did see “Red Dawn”, right?

Rule Of Law

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Conservatives are upset the FBI’s recommends no prosecution of Hillary for her email crimes.  They say the fix was in, and this line proves it: “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.”

 In other words: crimes that are okay for Hillary to commit, are not okay for others to commit.  So don’t worry, our national security will remain safe from betrayal by Little People.

 Any reasonable person would know they were committing a crime, probably treason.  But no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case.  Why is that?  Well because they know that the Clinton’s are untouchable, and that The Won will grant a pardon if they do try to bring it, and that the person bringing the case will be utterly destroyed in the vendetta that Shrillery will launch on them; see Ken Starr.

 But a reasonable prosecutor and reasonable federal agents persecuted some previously unknown shlep for a video that was used as the excuse of the death of the Ambassador in Benghazi.  In a pre-planned terrorist attack, that can never be called that because, among other things, it may have been planned based on information obtained from Hillery’s closet server.  

 Joe Doakes

That whole “of, by and for the people” thing is rapidly fading from “inaccurate” to “cruel joke”.

Wrong About Rights

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals want to strip gun rights from people on the No Fly List.  The only civil rights group standing up for the constitutional rights of citizens is the National Rifle Association.

 But wait, didn’t the ACLU also object?  Sort of.  The ACLU objects to using the No Fly List in its present form to deny civil rights.  If there was an easier way to get your name off the list, the ACLU would be fine with using it to block gun purchases.

 That idea flips constitutional law on its head.  The Founders explained in the Declaration of Independence that Rights come from God, not from government.  The Constitution exists to protect our Rights from the government.  Therefore, the government should not have the power to arbitrarily take away Rights and then allow citizens to beg to get them back (ACLU version).  The government should bear the burden of proving why the citizen’s Rights should be taken away BEFORE the Rights are taken (NRA version).

 To see how absurd the ACLU’s plan is, try substituting other rights.  “Journalists on the No Truth List are forbidden to publish anything bad about Hillary Clinton.  But you can request a special waiver to get off the list.”   Or how about “Women on the No Fetus List are forbidden to get an abortion.  But you can submit an application to get your name removed from the list.”  Can you imagine the ACLU’s response?

 Justice Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion to the new Whole Women’s Health abortion case, saying: “ . . . our Constitution renounces the notion that come constitutional rights are more equal than others.”  Too bad it’s only a dissent; the country would be better off if more people believed that.

 Joe Doakes

The big problem is that a majority of Americans have no idea what a “right” is.


Andy Aplikowski – long of the “Residual Forces” blog – writes re the Brexit on Facebook:

So it appears the only people still whining about ‪#‎BREXIT‬ are:

1) European politicians who will lose power.
2) American politicians afraid of Federalism and State’s rights catching on in the US.
3) Filthy rich who lost a “crap ton” of money due to stock market and currency corrections.

The rest of the world doesn’t seem to be permanently affected. Maybe we should have more votes of no confidence in the people who are screwing up the world.

Line up the petitions.  I’m good to go.

A Banana Republic, If You Can Keep It

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The IRS has released a list of nearly 500 conservative groups it targeted for extra scrutiny to delay their fundraising abilities and thereby allow Democrats to outraise, outspend and out-advertise their way to winning the election.

I’m so old that I can remember the President of the United States insisted there was not even a smidgen of corruption at the IRS.

 With this new information, I guess the President will be outraged to learn he was misled, heads will roll, people will be fired and prosecuted.  Hell, the President might even step down out of sheer embarrassment, knowing that his party intentionally violated the civil rights of millions of Americans for the benefit of Democrats in Congress. 

 Joe Doakes

Ya gotta have faith.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats in Congress are staging a sit-in for gun control in response to a gay man shooting up a gay nightclub in Orlando. 

 People suffering from mental illness are banned from owning guns for the obvious reason that they’re a danger to themselves or others.  Homosexuality was a mental illness until 1973, when it was redefined as normal.  Did gay men get less dangerous or were they never dangerous?  Should we have banned them from owning guns in the past?  Given the evidence of Orlando, should we ban gay men from owning guns now?

 Today, Liberals claim Conservativism is a mental illness.  And Democrats want to characterize receipt of Social Security Disability benefits as an adjudication of mental illness. Plain to see where that is heading.

 And, of course, the Soviet Union had a well-developed network of psychiatric hospitals devoted to housing patients suffering from “sluggish schizophrenia,” a person determined to be mentally ill because he failed to conform to Socialist ideas about the Truth. Won’t surprise me a bit if Hillary revives that plan and expands it to include anybody whose name does not appear on the DNC campaign donor list.

 And yet every bus, every street corner, every train yard has a bum, a homeless vet, a person who actually suffers from mental illness but won’t take his meds and nobody can make him because Liberals insist on liberty above public safety.  Clayton Cramer’s book “My Brother Ron” should be required reading before any discussion of mental illness and firearms.

Joe Doakes

It’s a tricky subject – by nature, and by political intent.

War Is Declared, And Battle Come Down

After a showy but shallow “filibuster”, the Democrats in the Senate moved a bill that would have allowed the government to strip your gun rights (among others) without due process or any means of knowing one was on the list, much less how to get off it.

The orcs of the gun grabber movement put out their calls to their minions.

The Real Americans of the Second Amendment called the good guys to turn out, via phone and email.

The good guys won.  For now.

We Real Americans have made a lot of progress in the past 30 years.  And for all that, we are one SCOTUS decision, one bad election, away from returning to the hell of the seventies.

One Of These Days. Honest. Really.

For the 22nd year out of the past 22, the Department of Homeland Security warns us that “right-wing extremism” is coming.  Boy, howdy, is sure is.

Aaaaaany day now.

Yep!  This is the last warning!

No, stop laughing!

And it’s gonna be as bad – no twice…no, eleventy-teen times as bad as Islamic Extremist terror:

Also this week came news of the DHS comments concerning right-wing extremists, which were made during the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s January meeting – only one month after Muslim terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 Americans in an attack in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015.

“Member [Austin Police Chief Art] Acevedo reminded the Council that the threat from right-wing extremists domestically is just as real as the threat from Islamic extremism,” the official meeting minutes state.

Johnson apparently agreed with Acevedo’s sentiments, the official records noted.

Sometime in the next three months, look for DHS to reclassify Islamic Extremism as “right wing”.

A Matter Of Trust. And Lack Of It.

Representative government requires trust – above all, trust that everyone, king and commoner alike, is equal in the eyes of the law and “the system” – and everyone follows more or less the same rules.

But we’re not doing that anymore.  Marc Rich scammed people, and got pardoned for being a Democrat bigwig; Bill Clinton did things that would have gotten a dozen Republicans like Bob Packwood thrown out of Congress; Hillary’s email server issue alone is vastly bigger than the transgression that destroyed David Petraeus’ career (to say nothing of the passive-aggressive institutional arrogance protecting her).   And Obama?  From nominating a budget chief who owed enough taxes to get a dozen mere middle class mortals jailed, to an Obamacare consultant that tittered like a pajamaboy about lying to the rubes about the costs of the program, to changing the rules and running around the Legislative Branch when Obamacare went up on the rocks, to the lies about the Iran deal, Obama has trampled the rules in a way no citizen ever could ream about.

And as Glenn Reynolds notes in one of his most scathing commentaries ever, that’s a problem, if we care about the kind of society we plan to have:

Being law-abiding for its own sake is a traditional part of bourgeois culture, and our ruling class has lately treated the bourgeoisie with contempt as well. Which raises the risk that this contempt will be returned.

Back in the midst of the financial crisis, Gonzalo Lira looked at how people were responding to the mortgage meltdown and warned of a coming middle-class anarchy. He wrote:

“A terrible sentence, when a law-abiding citizen speaks it: Everybody else is doing it — so why don’t we? … What’s really important is that law-abiding middle-class citizens are deciding that playing by the rules is nothing but a sucker’s game.”

America has been — and, for the moment, remains — a high-trust society. In high-trust societies, people extend trust to strangers and follow rules for the most part even when nobody is watching. In low-trust societies, trust seldom extends beyond close family, and everybody cheats if they can get away with it.

Try life in Romania, Somalia or the Congo if you don’t believe it.  Get back to us on that.

High-trust societies are much nicer places to live than low-trust ones. But a fish rots from the head and the head of our society is looking pretty rotten. As Lira says, “I’m likeWayne Gretsky: I don’t concern myself with where the puck has been — I look for where the puck is going to be.” Where will our society be in a decade if these trends continue? And what can we do to ensure that they don’t?

How long can a society stay free without trust?  It’s not like trust goes underground or anything…

When We Warn You…

…that the left is trying to get traditional western culture treated as a thoughtcrime, it‘s really not hyperbole:

Kathleen Taylor, a neurologist at Oxford University, said that recent developments suggest that we will soon be able to treat religious fundamentalism and other forms of ideological beliefs potentially harmful to society as a form of mental illness.

Big deal.  Breshnev was claiming the same thing 50 years ago.

Bonus:  art imitates life!  Kathleen Taylor of Oxford:

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Suzanna Hamilton in the movie (or was it?) 1984:

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Accidental?  I think not.

The New Brownshirts

Today, on the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landings, I’m genuinely pessimistic that this nation learned – or can learn – one of the most important lessons of the war.

Indeed, it seems that there are those in our society who really don’t want this country to learn it.

Words like “Fascist” and “Brownshirt” have been overused, mainly but not quite exclusively by the left, over the past 4-5 decades  One might even say they’ve been devalued, if you’re conspiracy-minded.

In light of events this past week, they need to be re-valued, and Americans need to get a quick education in political history.

Alliance Für A Better Deutschland:  With the collapse of the Weimar Republic, German politics returned to a state that hadn’t been seen since the chaotic late teens and early twenties; political parties retained private groups of thugs to harass, intimidate, and attack political opponents’ demonstrations, meetings and events.

And it wasn’t just eggs and water bottles; in the ’20s, German parties enlisted Freikorps, groups of armed World War I veterans who fought gangland battles and, in some cases, pitched military engagements in the streets of German cities.

The biggest participants were the Communists and and, to a lesser degree, the Socialists on what’s conventionally called “the left”, and their opponents (called “the Right”, although the sought to govern scarcely less as authoritarians and totalitarians than did their opponents), of whom the National Socialists (the Nazis, of course) became the leader.

Like I said, it got bloody . On July 17 1932, “Bloody Sunday”, Communist “direct action” activists attacked a Nazi rally in Altona, Germany, killing 18; revenge and counter-revenge played out across Germany afterwards, as it had before.

Altona in the wake of Bloody Sunday

This was one of many events that framed the Nazis final ascent to control of the country six months later.

“Brownshirts” – the official name was Sturmabteilung, or “Assault Detachments” – and members of Stahlturm (Steel Helmet, a Nazi veterans group) burn Weimar flags as the Nazis assume control of the Reichstag, or Parliament. The evening, and the coming months, saw more pitched battles in the streets between party thugs, before the government moved on to more decisive means.

Not only have Americans living today never seen such a thing – groups of thugs acting as a direct action wing of political parties – but in fact the little information they have about this is pollyannaish in the extreme.  It wasn’t just Germany, it didn’t end 80 years ago, and it can happen here.

In Poland in 1980,

Polish “riot police” – thugs with shields – take down an enemy of the state in 1981.

In Panama in the late eighties,

Manuel Noriega’s “Dignity Battalions” – a make-work program that put thugs to work attacking dissidents and protesters.

in Iran in 2008,

Basiji assaulting Tehran University, putting down the uprising in 2008 (with the tacit support of Barack Obama).

And here in the US, today:

Thugs, likely with the support of liberal plutocrats with deep pockets, attack a Trump rally last week in San Jose. As usual.

There’s precious little difference between the people above and the people below:

And I don’t know that I trust Americans to know this anymore.

Politics + force = where horrible things come from.

June 6: A Tale Of Two Engines

Bing – a search engine I rarely use (mostly out of habit) has this as its cover today – June 6, a rather significant date in world, especially Western, history:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.57.23 AM

Don’t know your historical geography? It’s Pointe Du Hoc- the German strongpoint overlooking Omaha Beach, captured at immense cost by American Rangers who climbed a sheer cliff under fire 72 years ago today, with 64% casualties in a matter of hours.

Google – which, two weeks ago, honored America-hating radical and Bin Laden supporter Yuri Kochiyama with a Doodle – has this:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.57.46 AM

Not that Microsoft is a saint in the whole “undercutting America” thing, but it’s getting a little insane.

(Via commenter JustPlainAngry)

The World Is Their Safe Space

Faux Feminist “writer” Lindy West blocks conservatives wholesale on Twitter.

How wholesale?

Even lowly little me, Mitch Berg, from the far frontiers of conservatism, am blocked.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.58.09 AM

I actually feel pretty jazzed about that.  Although I shouldn’t; West likely uses some sort of online ‘bot or another to block every account that references conservatism or libertarianism.

I guess I’m not that special after all.

It’s actually a sign of deep intellectual vapidity – being completely unwilling to deal with any form of dissent.  And it’s pretty much the norm on the American left’s social media.  Go ahead – try to leave a question with any leftist on Twitter.

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The account should be named “OnlyCertainPeople4Alondra”.

Or Facebook.

I got banned from Rep. Norton's page after asking her to come on my show to discuss her legislation.

I got banned from Rep. Norton’s page after asking her to come on my show to discuss her legislation.

Or on their blog, Youtube channel, Snapchat…

They want the whole world to be their safe space – or at least the only parts of the world they let near them.

As The Narrative Burns

A few weeks ago, Nekima Levy-Pounds went to the Minneapolis park and recreation board, and did what she does best; made a lot of noise, claiming the Park and Rec board was…

wait for it…

wait for it…


Unfortunately – according to the City Pages – the facts don’t exactly bear out her charges of  “Racism” against the park board (emphases added):

Parks and Rec breaks down its budget into North, Northeast, South, and Southwest service areas. North has 49 park properties and 59,119 residents, according to the 2010 census. Parks and Rec allocated $243 per person in north Minneapolis from 2010-14…During the same time, Southwest received $85 for each of its 120,376 people, and South received $83 for each of the 136,160 residents

Oh yeah, and the Park Board has big plans – and they don’t include the southside:

While parks all over the city will get some funding to maintain what’s already there, neighborhood parks in areas of concentrated poverty will be the only ones getting any funding for improvements — amenities like playgrounds, wading pools, fields — during the first five years.

Parks in wealthier neighborhoods won’t see a cent more than what it costs to prevent them from breaking down.

I’m not sure what the race-relations version of “all moo / no cow” is, but I’ll be looking for it.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Americans of my generation are dreamers.  We grew up believing the future held flying cars, any boy could become President or even better, an astronaut, and we’d eventually find the Perfect Girl.  We grew up believing America was the greatest nation on Earth, prosperity was here to stay and things would only get better, for ourselves and for our children.

 What do people like that do when flying cars turn out to be crappy little tin cans, when American astronauts have to hitch rides on Russian rockets, when The Girl leaves, taking the children with her?  What do we believe in when the President tells us “You didn’t build that,” sends jobs out of the country, brings in millions of welfare leeches and not only lets our sworn enemies have The Bomb, he pays them $100 Billion to do it? 

 What is left to believe in, when mental illness becomes constitutional right, when a lifetime of savings and equity evaporates, when college students are afraid of chalk and seemingly sensible people can no longer figure out which bathroom to use?

What do you do when your dream dies?  White Male suicide is skyrocketing.  Is losing the dream, the reason why?

 Doesn’t matter – you DESERVE to die.  Because Privilege

 Joe Doakes

And people ask why Trump is doing so very very well these days.

Alondra Cano: Bully

You might recall Minneapolis City Councilor Alonda Cano; last winter, she was abusing her access to city data to “shame” people who criticized her support for Black Lives Matter.  Then, when called for alleged laziness by (of all outlets) the City Pages, she…

…well, that actually brings us up to this week:

Tuesday evening, it was Cano’s turn to join the public conversation, doing so in the form of a Facebook post on her city council page. Cano wrote it was “hurtful and disappointing” to read the words “lazy,” “always late,” and “clueless” used to describe her work ethic on the council.

“It is important to illuminate,” Cano went on, “that these words, when used to frame women and people of color, carry a history of coded language that serve to create negative racial stereotypes.”

That could be.

Those words, when referring to someone who’d rather grandstand than learn their damn job, are also not-coded-at-all terms to refer to lazy, inconsiderate people who don’t do their homework, whatever their skin color.

Cano wrote that the negative story “weighed on me heavily,” and she went back and forth on whether she should respond to it. After all, she and her south Minneapolis constituents in the Ninth Ward have far greater concerns: wage theft, slumlords, a lack of paid sick time for workers, even working moms.

Which Cano, apparently, isn’t doing jack for.

“However,” Cano continued, “when loaded and biased attacks occur, it is vital that we stand up and speak the truth. In this case, this story was racist, sexist, and it was an attempt to smear all of the things I stand for.

Well, no.  It was an attempt to tell the public that Cano – who reportedly has ambitions to run for Mayor or the Legislature – isn’t doing a very good job, when her job doesn’t involve granstanding, or taking spiffy trips on the taxpayer’s dime.

I want you to know that I am unabashed in my commitment to continuing to advance a racial and social justice agenda no matter the backlash.”

Let’s take a moment to go over what just happened.  Alondra Cano – an elected member of a power bloc with absolute one-party control of a major city, a person with in effect a lifetime sinecure either in government or non-profits for her and (likely) her entire family, one who wields the kind of power that mere citizens don’t even know how to dream of – is trying to paint herself as a victim.

Cano – like Nekima Levy-Pounds, another person with immense power and privilege herself – is perfectly fine using her position to shame critics who don’t buy newsprint by the trainload; when someone – even the lowly City Pages – comes along and hits her from the level, she cries “victimization”.  

Question, Minneapolis:  Do you deserve better, or not?