Lightning Fails To Strike

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is out running his snowblower down the block.  BILL GUNKEL, former Republican who is now chairmain of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”, pulls up to the curb.  

GUNKEL:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Oh, hey, Bill.  What’s up?

GUNKEL:  Elections are a sham.  The best way to “participate” in elections is withdrawing your consent by refusing to vote.

BERG:  Huh.  Well, feel free to tell the Minnesota Department of Revenue “I have withdrawn my consent” when they come for your money and property after the DFL wins.

GUNKEL:  Hah.  So what?  Your participation makes absolutely no difference.  In fact, settled science has shown us that your chance of dying on your way to the polls is greater than your chance of affecting the outcome of an election.

BERG:  That’s absurd!

GUNKEL:   It’s science!  Why do you hate science?

BERG:  It’s not science.  It’s arithmetic.  The writer – apparently a barrista who contributes to “Forbes” – calculated your chance of being the single vote that decides an election versus your chance of dying in a car accident on the way to the polls.

GUNKEL:  So?

BERG:  So nothing.  Of course your chances of being the single vote that decides an election are small – although if you think they’re nonexistent, tell it to her.

GUNKEL:  Hah.  That’s just the religion you were taught in high school civics class.

BERG:  Right.  And all of you “libertarians” who sit resplendently above it all snarking at the commoners are so much better than that.  I get it. Look – it was a stupid article, and it reinforces an even dumber point.  It’s not about tipping elections yourself.  It’s about bringing a lot of people who believe the way you do to the polls to help you tip it.  Which, to be fair, is something your crowd has never been good at.

GUNKEL:  Pffft. That never happens.  If it did, you’d see election results change significantly.

BERG:  It most certainly does.  Thirty and forty years ago, support for gun control was extremely common at the state and federal levels.  Over the course of thirty years, Human Rights advocates in ones and twos voted, and convinced others to vote, for rather than against the Second Amendment.  Today, those regular schnooks voting by their ones and twos have flipped that issue 180 degrees.

And you “liberty” people could do it too, if you ever stopped purity-testing each other to a fine sheen and started trying to convince people, instead of bellowing about “principles” to rooms full of people just like you.

GUNKEL:  Oooh, look – a city snow plow!  (Forms a snowball, begins the stalk)

And SCENE

One Evening At The Saint Paul City Council

SCENE:  The Saint Paul City Council chambers.  Present are:

  • Mayor Chris COLEMAN
  • Ward 1 councilor Bernadette SANDERS
  • Ward 2 councilor Benny TOMUSOLLINI
  • Ward 3 councilor Francine BURNS
  • Ward 4 councilor Evita P. EVITA
  • Ward 5 councilor Hugh GOCHAVEZ
  • Ward 6 councilor L. A. PDOG
  • Ward 7 councilor Katherine ANTSY

COLEMAN gavels the meeting to order.

COLEMAN:  May the meeting come to order.

BURNS: (loudly clears her throat)

COLEMAN:  Sorry.  May the meeting please come to order, by your indulgent leave?

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Pretense Aside

SCENE: Mitch BERG is waiting in line at the Rack Shack on South Robert.   Stephanie Marie ANNAN – Community organizer for the 5th CD Libertarian Party – enters with a great clatter, vigorously stomps off her boots, and gets in line, finally noticing BERG. 

ANNAN:  Hey, Merg!  I don’t like all that stuff you’ve been saying about how us Ron Paul people just like to throw…what do you call it?”

BERG:  “Turd bombs”.

ANNAN:  Yeah!  The GOP did it first, back in 2008!

BERG:  Yeah, so I’ve been told.  That was about three years before I got involved in the GOP beyond going to caucuses, by the way.  I know there’s been going on eight years of tit-for-tat between the Ron Paul clicque and the “establishment”, which I’m told I’m part of, even though I got involved in the party after the Tea Party.

ANNAN:  You’re already boring me.

BERG:  That seems to happen a lot.  You all apprently got “bored” with Kurt Bills after you you all went to Tampa in 2012…

ANNAN:  Hey – there’s a special primary coming up in a house district 68B!

BERG:  Yeah, it’s been in all the papers.

ANNAN:  I suppose you’re supporting the Republican candidate, like some mindless sheeple?

BERG: No, I support the endorsed Republican candidate because I’m an intelligent, informed voter. I think the endorsed candidate, Mindy Pilph, is an excellent choice.  Although I don’t actually live in the district.

ANNAN:  I plan on supporting her primary opponent!

BERG:  Who?  Jesse Duff?

ANNAN:  Yes!

BERG:  Duff supports doubling the gas tax, banning civilian firearm ownership, rolling back school choice and instituting an entirely grievance-based curriculum, and adopting the North Korean style socialist philosophy of “Juche“, an isolationist firm of Stalinism based on all-seeing, all-knowing, omnipotent state.  Which seems – pardon me for saying so – counterintuitive for someone who was a high ranking functionary in the Ron Paul campaign four years ago.  Since Duff would seem to be the polar opposite of Libertarian, I gotta say, that’s a zig when I expected a zag.

ANNAN:  But he’s independent from the Minnesota Republican Party.

BERG:  Well, with good reason. He stands for everything the party rejects.

ANNAN:  But he’s independent!

BERG:  But he’s the exact opposite of Libertarian.

ANNAN:  So?

BERG:  So yet again, it seems that “libertarian principle” isn’t really as big a deal as trying to TP the MNGOP….

ANNAN:   Squirrel!

(ANNAN leaves the room.  And SCENE)

Sources

SCENE:  Avery LIBRELLE is sitting in a dilapidated Subaru outside Mitch Berg’s house.  LIBRELLE is peering through binoculars, and starts visibly when a glimpse of BERG is visible through the door window. 

Shortly, BERG emerges, walking his golden retriever. 

LIBRELLE:  (Leaps from car).  Merg!

BERG:  (Turns sharply, then relaxes as alarm turns to a groaning acceptance) Oh, hi, Avery.  (BERG notes the windows of LIBRELLE’s car).  Um, been waiting long?

LIBRELLE:  There’ve been seventeen killed in Chicago in the past ten days!

BERG:  Right.  And 117 total shot.  So…?

LIBRELLE:  By guns!

BERG:  Right.  It’s been in all the papers for years.  Parts of Chicago are incredibly violent,l even with all of the celebrated gun control they have.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  But those guns come from rural red states!

BERG:  Come again?

LIBRELLE:  You heard the President in his Town Hall meeting!  All the guns used in urban shootings come from guys in vans selling them from their trunk in parking lots in rural red states!

BERG:  Well, for starters, no, they’re mostly stolen.  Often sold to others after being stolen.   Some come from straw buyers.  Almost none come from people selling otherwise legal guns.

LIBRELLE:  But if guns weren’t so available in the neighboring areas, urban crime wouldn’t be so high.

BERG:  If access to guns were the problem, wouldn’t the crime rate in rural Indiana be higher than in the middle of Chicago?

LIBRELLE:  (Mouth flaps open and shut a few times, like a boated bass).

(BERG continues on his walk)

(And SCENE).

Just One Life

Mitch BERG is walking through a pet food store.  He rounds a corner and runs into Avery LIBRELLE, who is plastering “Simulated Meat Is Murder!” stickers on bags of dog food.   Although BERG tries to evade, LIBRELLE sees him.  

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  Aaaagh.  Er…hi, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  It’s time to institute universal background checks, ban clips that shoot thirty assault bullets a second, and get rid of assault AR47s.

BERG:  Two of those things don’t exist, and one of them will have no effect on crime but burden the law-abiding citizen exclusively.

LIBRELLE:  But if we save just one life, it’ll be worth it.

BERG:  So saving “just one life”, no matter how improbably, should be the basis for policy?

LIBRELLE:  Yep.  Human life is sacred.

BERG:  So then we should shut down the Green and Blue lines – about ten dead?  Or perhaps get rid of Obamacare?  Or for that matter, shutting down Planned Parenthood?

LIBRELLE:  Nooooo!  Some things are more important than human life!

(LIBRELLE puts bags of dog food around ears, runs from the store)

(And SCENE)

Today In Amman, Jordan

(SCENE:  Major Thomas ASHTON and Sergeant Major Iain MACTAGGART, members of the British 22nd SAS Regiment – Britain’s premiere Special Forces unit – are standing by a helicopter pad.  Both are suited up for a mission that nobody will confirm is a hostage rescue mission deep into ISIS territory; guns, ammunition, grenades, radios, and survival gear)

ASHTON: Should be a bit of a dustup, eh, MacTaggart?

MACTAGGART:  Aye.  Not the first bloody time, Major.

ASHTON: True.   All right, Sergeant-Major.  Let’s check the men’s kit.  This is going to be a nasty one.

(An orderly – Royal Air Force communications specialist Aircraftman Sheila O’RIORDAN – jogs up to ASHTON with a piece of paper.  She stands at attention and salutes the Major)

ASHTON (taking the paper):  Yes?

O’RIORDAN:  Flash message from Ministry of Defense, sir.

ASHTON:  Thank you.  Dismissed.

(O’RIORDAN salutes.  ASHTON returns the salute.  O’RIORDAN jogs back to the radio tent)

MACTAGGART:  So w`hat’s MOD say, Major?

ASHTON:  President Obama has declared a climate conference.  ISIS has surrendered.

MACTAGGART:  ISIS couldn’t face the onlaught of Powerpoint, eh?

ASHTON:  Sounds like the mission’s off.

MACTAGGART:  Peace has broken out?

ASHTON:  Yes, Sergeant-Major.

(Both men stand for a beat – and then erupt in laughter)

MACTAGGART:  I’ll tell the helos to spool up.

ASHTON:  Right.  Wheels up in ten.

(And SCENE)

Today, In Raqqah, Syria

SCENE:  Abu Bakr AL-BAGHDADI, leader of ISIS and self-proclaimed “caliph” of the new “Khelifa” or Caliphate, is in a conference with a group of his lieutenants, including Sheikh Abu Ali HABIB.

AL-BAGHDADI:  Reports from the front look good.  We’re holding the Kurds, we’re gaining ground in Syria, and the Iraqis are folding like  a Salafist end-table.

LIEUTENANTS:  Allahu Akbar!

AL-BAGHDADI:  And the Great Satan is reacting as we expected; with dithering disguised as grand pronouncements.

LIEUTENANTS:  Insh’allah!

HABIB:  Caliph, I have some bad news.

AL-BAGHDADI:  What is it, Sheikh?

HABIB:   Little Miss Satanette – President Obama (group snickers) is holding a…

(HABIB pauses, catches breath)

….climate change conference.

(Entire group cringes in horror)

AL-BAGHDADI:  That does it.  Let’s give up.  Find an evangelist; I’ll devote my life to Christ.

(Entire group pauses for a silent beat – then breaks into uproarious laughter)

And SCENE

Today In Kurdistan

(SCENE:  Two Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Ali and Sayid, are manning a Russian-built machine gun, scanning a valley warily, watching for ISIS movement.  Suddenly, the radio crackles)

RADIO:   Kebab Six to all Kebab.   President Obama is holding a climate change conference.  Six out.

ALI:  (scanning with binoculars)  Well, I’ll be.

SAYID:   What?

ALI:   (Hands Sayid the binoculars)  Look!

SAYID:  (Looks through binoculars)  Wow.

(Cut to scene through binoculars.  ISIS troops are climbing out of foxholes, hurling their weapons, ammunition and webgear into the distance, and running away, leaving a cloud of dust behind them)

ALI:  Huh.  Don’t see that every day.

SAYID:  Like I’ve been telling you, Ali – it’s all about the climate.

ALI:  Gotta hand it to you.  When you’re right, you’re right.

And SCENE

What A Terrorist Wants

SCENE:  December 8, 1941, in the well of the House of Representatives – in an alternate universe.    President Barack Delano Obama is addressing a joint emergency session of Congress.

OBAMA:  Yesterday, December Seventh, 1941, is a day which will live in infamy.

Now, let me be clear:  this attack did not represent the Real Japan.  Japan is an ancient, honorable culture, dating back over 2,000 years; Shinto is a religion of peace, famous for its pastoral scenes and transcendental poetry.

And this attack does not represent the real Japanese people; a people who invented sushi, and baseball, and the number zero, named after their fighter plane.

We know the attackers were the junior varsity; who even knew the Japanese had aircraft carriers?

The lesson of yesterday?  We must not give in to fear, or bigotry, in framing our response to this attack.  We must not let fear drive us to launching an air raid on Tokyo, or a two-pronged offensive through the Solomon Islands, or an island-jumping campaign through the Central Pacific, because that is exactly what the attackers want.  If they force us to attack them, we are playing their game, their way.

We must respond to the parts we control – to the National Rifle Association, which has, through the intransigence of Congressional Republicans,  made it easier for criminals like the attackers to buy bombs than books in Tokyo.

I urge Congress also to accelerate passage of the Affordable Defense Act.

Thank you, and let’s not waste this crisis.

Rent-Seekers Seeking Rent

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting on his porch, working on his next book project.  

chanting_points_200px

Avery LIBRELLE walks through the gate from his back yard and toward the sidewalk.

BERG:  Um, hello, Avery?  Hanging out in my back yard, were we?

LIBRELLE:  Oh, I was sorting your trash.

BERG:  Looking for recyclables?

LIBRELLE:  No.  Evidence of thoughtcrime.

BERG:  Huh. I burn all of that.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  There’s some evidence of thoughtcrime!

BERG:  Of course.

LIBRELLE:  Hey – speaking of thoughtcrime – Ben Carson is a hypocrite.  He speaks out against welfare – but he and his mother used it!

BERG:  Yeah, I just saw the photomeme your side has been passing around:

12006268_1228118237213685_1860766794852761403_n

LIBRELLE:  Yeah!  Hypocrite!  His entire success was rooted in the welfare system!  Hypocrite!

BERG:  Well, if his entire success was rooted in the system, then every child growing up on welfare would be a doctor or a lawyer, wouldn’t they?

LIBRELLE:  He’s still a hypocrite!

BERG:  OK, let’s just for get for a moment that the whole “argument” is a logical fallacy…

LIBRELLE:  That’s a stereotype!  Trigger warning!  Trigger warning!

BERG:  No, fallacy.  It’s a Tu Quoque Ad Hominem – saying that because someone has ever said, or done, or believed something that’s at odds with their argument, their argument is invalid.  It’s like saying because someone was once in the Klan, they could never speak out against the Klan.

LIBRELLE:  But he’s not a former Klan member!  His mom was on welfare!  He grew up in the system!  It made him what he is today!

BERG:  So you’re claiming credit for Ben Carson’s success on behalf of the welfare system?  Fair enough.  Will you claim “credit” for all the people of all races who’ve become multi-generational dependents of the system?

LIBRELLE:  There is no such thing!  The science is settled!

BERG:  Of course it is.  Look – what you are saying is this; if someone’s ancestors went on welfare, to which they are entitled – because welfare is, for better or worse, an entitlement in this country – and that person not only uses the system exactly the way it was intended to be used, but goes on to succeed far above and beyond any rational expectations, that person isn’t allowed to point out what an exception to the rule he is, and how the welfare system as it is today *harms* the upward mobility that he experienced?

In other words, if you’re born into the system, don’t care speak out against the system, because the system owns you and everything you are, think and believe, forever?

Doesn’t that pretty much prove Carson correct?  That you, the system’s supporter, are using it as a form of intellectual indentured servitude?

LIBRELLE:  Steven Colbert!  John Oliver!  Rachel Maddow!  Neil DeGrasse Tyson!

BERG:  Of course.

(And SCENE)

Consistent

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting on the hood of a Dodge, drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain, beneath the light of a giant Exxon sign.  

Avery LIBRELLE putters up to BERG in a Prius and climbs out of the car.  

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  I’ve got a question for you, mister Immigrant Hater.

BERG:  Bla bla bla.  I don’t hate immigrants, and I won’t let a stupid manipulative strawman pass without showing it up as the idiocy it is.

LIBRELLE:  Why do you hate science?  Anyway – so it’s time for you immigration opponents…

BERG:  …We’re not “immigration opponents”.  We oppose illegal immigration.

LIBRELLE:  If NPR says it, it’s settled science.  Anyway – it’s coming time where you have to decide; are immigrants taking our jobs, or are they soaking up welfare dollars?   You can’t have both.

BERG:   Saying the two are mutually exclusive is like saying there’s no way white people could simultaneously produce Beethoven and Jefferson and James Watt while also including people who sit around Walmart parking lots lighting their beer farts and arguing about whether Van Halen is hard rock or heavy metal.

Because it’s a fact that Immigrants are disproportionally on welfare – counter to years of media chanting points – and they are also taking most of the new jobs in the Obama Economy this past seven years.  You’re presenting me a false dilemma – and, given that this policy disporoprtionally affects African-Americans, presenting yourself a real dilemma.

So there is no contradiction.  Fact is, unrestricted immigration of low-skill workers drives down the price of low-skill jobs – which aren’t worth much to begin with, and don’t pay much with the glut of workers, who have families, which disproportionally use welfare.

LIBRELLE:   Why do you hate women?

BERG:   Of course.

And SCENE.  

Game Afoot

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is prowling the aisles at Fleet Farm in Lakeville, looking for .22 Long Rifle ammo.  

He rounds a corner, and runs into Bill GUNKEL, former Republican and now chairman of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”,

GUNKEL:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Hey, Bill.

GUNKEL:  The RINO statist John Kline is retiring from office!

BERG:  Yeah, Representative Kline wasn’t the most conservative congressman we’ve had.

GUNKEL:  He may as well have been a Democrat!

BERG:  Enh.  And in an R+2 district…well, bygones is bygones.  The real question is who’s gonna replace him?   I’ve heard talk of State Senator Dave Thompson, Mary Pawlenty…

GUNKEL:  Why elect another RINO?

BERG:  Um, what? Dave Thompson is a RINO?

GUNKEL:  He never criticized Kline!

BERG:  Er, why would he do that?

GUNKEL:  Why not?

BERG:  Violating Reagan’s 11th commandment by attacking other conservatives, even imperfect ones?  Alienating Kline supporters in his own district, to no benefit to himself?  Spending political capital on something that gains him nothing?

GUNKEL:  Gains him nothing?  He’d get the respect of the Liberty voters!

BERG:  You mean the people who bum-rushed the 2012 State Convention to send a slate of delegates to Tampa to make a symbolic vote for Ron Paul, and then largely went home and never came to another GOP meeting?  Who pushed Kurt Bills to the nomination, then abandoned him when he actually acted like he was part of the party that endorsed him?  A group that seems more focused on bashing Republicans than winning elections?

GUNKEL:  Principle!

BERG:  Right.  OK, so Dave Thompson is insufficiently pure.  Gotcha.  So who do you support?

GUNKEL:  David Gerson.  The only candidate to support if you care about Liberty!

BERG:   Gerson says all sorts of things I support.  I’ve got no problem with him.  I’d love to have him on the show.   It’s just that last go-around, he raised less money than a typical Saint Paul Republican legislative candidate.

GUNKEL:  So?   Money isn’t everything.

BERG:  Right.  But it’s a leading indicator.  If someone can’t raise money from supporters to run a campaign, it’s a fair question to ask whether they can raise votes.

GUNKEL:  Well, it’ll be different this time!

BERG:  Well, that’d sure make the race more interesting!   I think a solid, credible challenge from the Libertarian wing of the party would be a very good thing.   But the candidate – and especially his campaign – have got to ramp up the game.

GUNKEL:  Oh, we will, by the time of the election on March 1.

BERG:  Um, what?

GUNKEL:   We’ll get the support out in droves by the time the battle for all the marbles, on March 1, happens.

BERG:  Um, March 1 is the caucuses.

GUNKEL (looking confused):  Riiiight?

BERG:  Not the general election.

GUNKEL:   (Shrugs extravagantly, indicating non-comprehension)

BERG:  March 1 is when he’ll try to knock off other GOP…Oh, never mind.

And SCENE

Federated

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is having a shish kebab at a Turkish restaurant.  Avery LIBRELLE walks in, starts to order, and then notices BERG. 

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  It’s time for Minnesota to legalize marijuana.

BERG:  There’s a case to be made.  But there’s the little matter of the federal law involved.

LIBRELLE:  Screw federal law!

BERG: Right.  Sort of how Saint Paul says “screw federal law” by being a sanctuary city?

LIBRELLE:   Exactly. What do the feds know that the states, the laboratories of government, don’t?

BERG:  Well, yeah. You’re a real paragon of federalism.

LIBRELLE:  Them founders knew they’re stuff.

BERG: You realize you misspelled “their”, even in your speaking voice?

LIBRELLE:  Huh?

BERG:  Never mind.  So – the states that are cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, because every single one of their non-abortion services is provided by other sources,a nd for cheaper…

LIBRELLE:  AAAAAAAAAAH!  (Jumps up from table in a position to repel an attack)

BERG:  What?

LIBRELLE:  You can’t!

BERG:  Why?

LIBRELLE:  Federal law is sacrosanct!

(And SCENE)

 

 

Thoughts While Listening To Some Ron Paul Supporters Debating Whether To Support Rand Paul

CHUCK (a city councilman): Hey, the hardware store is on fire! Everybody grab a hose and a bucket!

BILL: Enh. All politicians are corrupt!

CHUCK: Yeah, but the hardware store! Lots of flammable paint! If it goes, all of Mainstreet burns down!

FRANK: All politicians are corrupt!

CHUCK: Right, right, you don’t like politicians, I get it. But all of your jobs are about to go up in smoke…

AL: To pretend there’s any difference between one politician and another is just stupid.

CHUCK: Right, right, got that. Look…actual fire, here. Needs to get put out. Are you hearing me…

STEVE: they’re all crony capitalists…

(Crowd natters away as a large “FOOOM” sound is heard, as the hardware store disappears in a large, multicolored gout of flame)

BILL: See! What good did politicians do?

 

A Pajama Boy Night Out

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is at National Night Out, in Saint Paul, this past Tuesday.   While walking through the crowd at one of the neighborhood block parties, he notices Avery LIBRELLE, wandering from person to person,  accosting them.  BERG listens in. 

LIBRELLE ( reading off a sheet of paper, to a woman pushing a stroller):  Hey, maam!  Do you know what percentage of gun deaths in Minnesota are suicides?

WOMAN PUSHING STROLLER:  Er…(looks uncomfortable – then looks at her phone).  Oops, sorry – I think I have a call…(holds phone to ear) Yes?  Hi!  Oh, really…(makes international “sorry, I’m on the phone” signal to LIBRELLE as she quickly pushes stroller away).

(Undeterred, LIBRELLE walks to another bystander – an African-American man holding a beer and talking with his neighbors)

LIBRELLE:  Heh.  Hey!  (Man turns to LIBRELLE, looking mildly annoyed.  LIBRELLE reads off sheet of paper)  Do you believe that anyone buying a gun should first have to pass a background check to show they are not prohibited by law from owning a gun?

MAN:  Every time I’ve ever bought a gun, I had to take a background check.  It’s the criminals who don’t take the background checks, mis…er…si…er… (MAN stops talking)

LIBRELLE (reading off sheet)  I”m sorry you disagree with three-quarters of gun owners.  Have a good night”.  (LIBRELLE abruptly walks away – then notices BERG).  

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  I’m out changing hearts and minds about guns!

BERG:  Er, yeah.  Do tell.

LIBRELLE:  I’m reading from the “conversation starters” Heather Martens and “Protect Minnesota” sent to start conversations with the public on National Night Out.

BERG:  And how’s that going?

LIBRELLE:  About as well as my conversations with my family about Obamacare at our Festivus celebrations a couple of years ago.

BERG:  Naturally.

And SCENE.  

Donalded

SCENE:  Bill GUNKEL, former Republican and now chairman of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”, is driving down a Saint Paul street when he notices Mitch BERG walking his dog.  GUNKEL pulls over and rolls down his window.  

GUNKEL: Hey, Berg!

BERG: (Choking back mild annoyance, ordering the dog to sit) Hey, Bill.

GUNKEL:  Boy, Donald Trump sure showed those squishy RINOs in the GOP presidential field how it’s done!

BERG:  Huh.  How so?

GUNKEL:  He told it like it was!  He said the things that no Republican would dare to say!  He said what needed to be said on immigration!

BERG:  OK.  And that means what?

GUNKEL:  That means he really pissed off the Establishment!

BERG:  Huh.  And that, then, means what?

GUNKEL:  He might be a Republican I could vote for again!

BERG:  Because he “tells it like it is”, and “pisses off the Establishment”?

GUNKEL:  Yep! (grins like a toddler who just made a big pants)

BERG:  Yeah, let me show you something.  (Clears throat, takes deep breath)   “We need to complete the border fence, enforce existing laws on immigration, and crack down on hiring illegal workers.  And Karl Rove is wrong, and the Tea Party is right.  And I think Scarlett Johannson would dig me”.

There.  I just told it like it was on immigration, and pissed off the establishment.

GUNKEL:  (blinks, puzzled)

BERG:  I just did everything Donald Trump did.  I said a couple of things that pander to a voter bloc, but that I’ll never have to try to convince a single legislator to pass, or a single taxpayer to fund.  In other words, I just said stuff.

GUNKEL:  (blinks, puzzled)

BERG:  Talk is cheap.

GUNKEL:  (blinks, puzzled)

BERG:  The only thing I lack is a media to lavishly publicize what I’m saying, by way of trying to discredit the GOP, and especially to draw the conversation away from the likes of people like Scott Walker and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, who are actually saying things the American people need to hear.

GUNKEL:  (Shakes it off)  You’re a RINO.

BERG:  Clearly.

(And SCENE).

 

Debate

SCENE:  Avery LIBRELLE is marching at a minimum wage protest outside a local coffee shop.  Mitch BERG walks out.  LIBRELLE sees him. 

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Oh, hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  People who work deserve to earn a living!

BERG:  Hm.  OK – let’s say that you need your pipes repaired…

LIBRELLE:  I do!  I have eco-friendly biodegradable pipes in my house.

BERG:  Of course you do.  So – I, an English major, come over to fix your pipes.  I have no plumbing skills whatsoever.  But I will no doubt work very hard to try to do the job.  So – do I “deserve” $15 an hour?

LIBRELLE:  Well, if you can find a plumber who can work for $15 an hour, that’s an incredible bargain!

BERG:  Not if he can’t do the job.  And you’re deflecting.  The point is, if I have no skill worth spending any money for, why do I “deserve to make a living”.

LIBRELLE:  [Holds arms up across face]

BERG:  What’s that?

LIBRELLE:  I’m blocking you.

BERG:  Huh?

LIBRELLE:  That’s what I do on my “Minimum Wage Activist” facebook page; I block people who just don’t get it.

BERG:  Huh.  [Holds up arms across own face]

LIBRELLE:  Why do you hate communication?

And SCENE

You Have To Conquer It To Know What’s In It

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is waiting in line at the box office to buy advance tickets to see PJ O’Rourke.

Suddenly, Bill GUNKEL, chairman of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of Former Republicans for Ron Paul, walking by to find a place that sells pancakes, notices BERG.  

GUNKEL:  Hey, Berg!   Ron Paul was right all along about Iraq!

BERG:   Huh?

GUNKEL:  He opposed the war in Iraq from the very beginning.

BERG:  Well, no cigar for that; he opposes the Civil War.

GUNKEL:  Well, yeah for good reason…

BERG:  Before you launch into that, Bill, why doncha tell me what it was that Ron Paul knew about Iraq that the rest of us didn’t?

GUNKEL:  He had no WMDs!

BERG:  OK.  Right. Now – forget for a moment that the authorization to go to war had 23 different separate reasons, grouped into four different categories; Aggressive actions against its neighbors including sponsoring terrorism and paying for suicide bombers in Israel; gross human rights violations, including two separate mass genocides against the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs;  violations of the terms of the 1992 peace accord, and WMDs.  WMDs amounted to three of the 23 reasons for the authorization.

And pretty much everyone in the world that wasn’t regarded as a crank…

GUNKEL:  …hey!

BERG:  Sorry, everyone in the world that wasn’t regarded as a crank and Ron Paul looked at the same evidence that the President did, that showed there were WMDs, and believed it.  Including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Joe Biden.

GUNKEL:  But Ron Paul was right about the WMD!

BERG:  Right.  And almost nobody – none of the world’s major intelligence agencies, diplomatic services or anyone else – agreed.  And as long as Hussein was in power, nobody was going to know any better.

GUNKEL:  So Ron Paul is smarter than all of them!

BERG:  Er, sure.  And how do we know it?

GUNKEL:  Because there were no WMDs.  Or not many.

BERG:  And we know this why?

GUNKEL:  Because we never found any!

BERG:  Who never found any how, or when?

GUNKEL:  Our troops, in Iraq, after…the…  [GUNKEL pauses]

BERG:  In other words, the invasion, and only the invasion, confirmed Ron Paul’s thesis, and without the invasion, there’d have been no foreseeable way to confirm or deny it.

GUNKEL:  Statist RINO!

And SCENE.

Surplus Of Stupid

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is ordering a Banh Mi sandwich at iPho on University.  Avery LIBRELLE enters the store.

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!   After four years, Minnesota’s economy is rocking under Mark Dayton, while Wisconsin is sucking pond water!

BERG:  How do you figure?

LIBRELLE:  Minnesota has a $2 Billion surplus

BERG:  Right.  After raising taxes by…$2 Billion.  Now, if the economy is humming along, you’d think that the surplus would be bigger than the tax increase, now, wouldn’t you?

LIBRELLE:  At least Minnesota has a surplus!

BERG:  Right – apparetly, entirely due to the tax hikes.  In the meantime, Wisconsin is headed toward a surplus without the need for tax hikes – or, as we call it, a sustainable surplus.

LIBRELLE:  Yeah, but our economy is still better!

BERG:   Most of Minnesota’s growth is in metro-area medical, medical device, insurance and financial services companies – the ones that benefitted from Obamacare and “Too Big to Fail” stimuli.  Things aren’t nearly as rosy in Greater Minnesota.  In the meantime, Wisconsin’s growth is being held back by the slow manufacturing sector – which is a much bigger share of Wisconsin’s economy than Minnesota’s, and isn’t doing all that well here, either.

LIBRELLE:  If Minnesota had elected Tom Emmer governor in 2010, we’d be in the same boat!

BERG:  Right.  We’d have two economies being dragged down by Democrat policies.

LIBRELLE:  What?

BERG:  The parts of Wisconsin that are dragging the state’s economy are the ones that have been run by Democrats for generations.  The decay of Milwaukee’s manufacturing base is the state’s biggest economic problem.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  But in Minnesota, it’s the Democrat-run cities that are winning…

BERG:  …as a result of national Democrat probrams to transfer wealth from consumers to banks and health insurance companies.

LIBRELLE:  You should issue a rape trigger warning.

BERG:  Clearly.

[And SCENE]

Turn This Motherland Out

SCENE:  Happy Hour at the Nomad, in the Five Corners area of Minneapolis’ West Bank.  A group of Twin Cities Ron Paul supporters is having a happy hour before Rep. Paul’s speech at the U of M.  Mitch BERG is enjoying a Jack and Coke.  

Bill GUNKEL, chairman of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of Former Republicans for Ron Paul, notices Berg.

GUNKEL:  I wish Doctor Paul were running for president.

BERG: Well, at least you have Rand.

GUNKEL:  Pffft.  Rand has become a RINO squish.

BERG: Well, there is the little matter of actually having to get something done in a Senate with 40+ members who actively do like big government.

GUNKEL:  I’m surprised Doctor Paul hasn’t disowned him.

BERG: So why the animosity?

GUNKEL:  He’s gone all Warvangelical on foreign policy.

BERG:  Warvangelical?  More like realistic.  I mean, you have seen what Putin’s been doing, right?  Returning Europe to the Cold War?

GUNKEL:  Well, doy.  We make client states of all their former Republics, and we surround them with bases.  I daresay we’d be paranoid, too.

BERG:  Wait – did you just call breakaway parts of the former Soviet Union “their former Republics?”

GUNKEL:  Well, duh.  That’s what they are.

BERG: Well, in a sense.  But outside of Russia itself, the “former republics” were all either absorbed over history by the Czars, or forcibly annexed by the Soviets.  Anyone that spoke for independence, or even autonomy, would wind up in the Gulag.  And if the Soviets felt “their” republics were getting uppity, they’d turn the screws.  The Soviets starved millions of Ukrainians to death in the thirties to enforce their land policy.  They also deported entire ethnic groups from their ancestral homes, and replaced them with Russians – which is why Crimea “broke” from Ukraine last year.

GUNKEL:  Doctor Paul never talked about this…

BERG: …I don’t imagine he did…

GUNKEL:  …so I don’t believe it.

BERG:  Of course you don’t.  There’s a reason places like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia and many others revere Ronald Reagan; he gave them their chance at self-determination and getting out of the Russian orbit – in some cases for the first time since 1920, in others for the first time in hundreds of years.   To ignore that is either ignorant or intellectually dishonest.

GUNKEL:  Sort of like surrounding the Russians with military bases.

BERG: Yeah – you do know that from 1945 to the late eighties, the Soviets maintained an expressly offensive military posture toward Northern, Western and Southern Europe.  Right?  And those bases were put there to defend against that ?  And honest people can debate whether and how much those bases are still needed against Putin – but they can’t deny the history.

Presuming they knew it in the first place.

GUNKEL:  Hey – was that a shot at me?

BERG:  Not as far as you know.

And SCENE. 

One Morning At Starbucks

SCENE: Mitch BERG walks into a Starbucks and approaches the order counter.  Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK, the barrista, is behind the counter.

BERG:  Large light roast and some of that lemon cake, please.

BIRKENSTOCK:  Sure.  But first – what do you think about race?

BERG:  Huh?

BIRKENSTOCK:  When did you first become aware of your race?

BERG:  The race I’m in to get to work?  About 45 minutes ago.

BIRKENSTOCK:  What?

BERG:  It’s a joke.  Research shows that race is among the first things babies perceive about people in the world around them.  Even tiny babies are uncomfortable around people that aren’t the same race as their parents.  So a form of “racism” – being uncomfortable around people like you – is born into human beings.

BIRKENSTOCK:  White babies?

BERG:  All babies.   And I think it holds true through peoples’ lives, and expands on itself.  People are more comfortable around people like them; they are uneasy around people who aren’t.  And it’s not just race – class is something babies learn later on – but race is a big one.  Some middle class whites are uncomfortable around blacks.  Middle-class blacks get nervous around blue-collar white people under certain circumstances.  Jennifer Lopez probably watches herself around people who still are “from the block”.  White MPR listeners avoid being around white people with leathers and Harley-Davidsons.

Everyone on earth – including Barristas who went to Carlton…

BIRKENSTOCK:  …eeeew.  I went to Saint Olaf!

BERG:   Exactly.  Now – could you leave a little room for cream…

BIRKENSTOCK:  What do you think about your privilege?

BERG:  My privilege?

BIRKENSTOCK:  White privilege!

BERG:  I think there’s a reason that black people – and white people with liberal guilt – talk about it, and Latinos, Asians, and African immigrants largely don’t.

BIRKENSTOCK:  They’re racists too!

BERG:  No, they and their ancestors largely came here of their own free will, while the African-Americans are culturally as well as geneologically descended from slaves.  And 150 years of emancipation and 50 years of full rights haven’t undone 500 years of cultural damage.  So the question is, what do you do about it?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Have I asked you about your privilege yet?

BERG:  The privilege is this:  I’m descended from a culture that, going back almost 1,500 years, was dominated by a patriarchal society that was ruled by a warrior elite and venerated fighting skill and still doesn’t have a word for “relax, man”, but had more words for “combat” than Eskimos have for “snow” or the Irish have for “vomit”.  And between geography, the market, and my ancestors’ skill at killing their enemies, nobody managed for the most part to enslave my ancestors.  And the biggest thing I have to say about privilege is that I’m sorry for those whose ancestors and their matriarchal, hunter-gatherer societies were unable to protect their people from slavery.

But what do you want me to do about it now?

BIRKENSTOCK:  So…do you think your choice of coffee is itself racist?

BERG:  (Turns and walks out the door)

BIRKENSTOCK:  Can I interest you in the new Cold Play CD?

(And SCENE)

All Talk

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is setting up a grill on his porch, getting ready for a little pre-spring grilling.  Victor VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE pulls up, parks his car, and walks up the sidewalk to BERG’s porch.

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE: Hah, Berg!  The  GOP doesn’t have the guts to say anything like this:

IMG_3306.JPG

BERG: So you’ve got what, here? A slick, cutesy meme about what the Libertarian Party would do, if it were in power?

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE: Yep! The GOP doesn’t have the balls to say anything of the sort!

BERG: Huh. I guess you’re right. But I’ve got a question for you.

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE: Shoot.

BERG: Does the Libertarian Party have “the balls” to say anything like this?

MITCH BERG will save 8 TRILLION DOLLARS

by INSTANTLY PRIVATIZING THE ENTIRE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!

 

WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DATING SCARLETT JOHANNSON AND JENNIFER LAWRENCE!

Has the Libertarian Party said anything like this yet?

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE:  Well, no…

BERG:  Statists!  RINOs!  Impure!  Unable to talk the big-enough-talk!

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE:  But…but…you can’t actually make any of that happen!

BERG:  Right!  And the Libertarian Party can’t make anything it says happen either.  So go away and don’t come back until the Libertarian Party can talk really big!

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE glumly shuffles back to his car. 

And SCENE.

Trouble

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is waiting for new tires to be put on his car.   

Bill GUNKEL, former Republican who is now chairmain of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”, walks in.

GUNKEL:  Boy, is the GOP in trouble!

BERG:  Huh.  Hey, Bill.  Why do you say that?

GUNKEL:  Because a GOP legislator in Montana proposed legislation to ban yoga pants in public!

BERG:  Wait – that proposal was unanimously tabled by the GOP-dominated committee to which it was introduced, without so much as a hearing.   They killed it.  Dead.

GUNKEL:  Yeah, but this is proof that the GOP is in huge trouble!BERG:  Er, OK.  Why is that?

GUNKEL:  Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty!

BERG:  “They” unceremoniously shot the bill down.  It’s dead. Gone.

GUNKEL:  Yeah, but this is proof that the GOP is in huge trouble!

BERG:  Right – you said that.  So given that the GOP also killed the bill, why do you say that?

GUNKEL:  Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty!

BERG:  Look, the state of Montana is controlled by the GOP; the House of Representatives is 2:1 GOP.  Montana has very low taxes, in effect no speed limit, they’ve nullified both Obamacare and any unconstitutional federal gun laws, and they are in general a vastly freer state than most of the lower 48 – all under GOP control.  That’s as compared to Minnesota, which – believe it or not – all you Ronulans haven’t managed to turn into a Free State Project home base just yet.

GUNKEL:  Yeah, but pull your head out, sheeple; this is proof that the GOP is in huge trouble!

BERG:  Um, OK.  Why?

GUNKEL:  Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty!

BERG:  Except the rest of the Montana Republicans took the bill OUT of contention.

GUNKEL:  Yeah, but this is proof that the GOP is in huge trouble!

BERG:  Don’t say “Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty”.

GUNKEL:  Because a Republican introduced legislation banning yoga pants in public! They hate liberty!

Avery LIBRELLE walks into the lobby. 

BERG:  I never thought I’d say this, but Avery!  Thank goodness you’re here!

And SCENE

No Juthtith, No Peathe

(SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, waiting on a checkup. Avery LIBRELLE enters the room, holding a throbbing tooth.  BERG tries to hunch down behind his magazine – but LIBRELLE notices him).

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  (Speaks with difficulty through pain) Thereth  an epidemic of rape on American univerthity camputheth.

BERG:  Wow.  Your mouth sounds painful. 

LIBRELLE: You’re dodthing the queththion!

BERG:  Well, no, I…OK, so how do we know about this “epidemic”?

LIBRELLE:  Becauthe American univerthitieth thay tho. 

BERG:  (Wincing in pain as LIBRELLE thpeakth) So in other words, university administrations, carrying out their own home-grown investigations, driven by a feminist lobby that actively disparages the idea of due process for those accused of rape, and with a vested interest in resolving all ambiguous cases – say, cases where everyone involved was blind drunk and there were no witnesses, or even the occasional malicious accusation – as rape, say there’s an epidemic. 

LIBRELLE: Yeth.

BERG: So you think data coming from university administrations – who act in these cases primarily as political rather than criminal-justice bodies – are the appropriate people to investigate allegations of felonious assaults which our society justifiably regards as second only to murder in moral gravity?

LIBRELLE: Of courthe.  Who elthe knowth more about thtudentth than the univerthity thythtem?

BERG:  OK.  So in the same vein – who knows more about priests than their various dioceses, arch-dioceses and the Vatican?  When priests were being accused of sexually abusing children, by your logic, the church was right to try to deal with it by itself.

LIBRELLE:  OF courthe not. 

BERG:  How so?

LIBRELLE:  Of courthe not. 

BERG: No, I mean why do you think not?

LIBRELLE:  And I anthwered you.  Of courthe not. 

BERG:  That’s no answer.

LIBRELLE:  Yeth it wath.

(ASSISTANT calls BERG’s appointment; LIBRELLE attempts to get up and leave the room ahead of BERG)

BERG:  Um, hello?

LIBRELLE:  Get an exthternal invethtigation, thucker.

(And SCENE)

Reform

SCENE:  Avery LIBRELLE is waiting at the light rail station on University Avenue. 

Seeing Mitch Berg driving past, LIBRELLE leaps and, incredibly, sails through BERG’s passenger side window and lands sitting upright in BERG’s passenger seat.

BERG:  What the…

LIBRELLE:  Hahahahahahahahaha, Merg!    You and your conservative teabagger friends “won” the South!  Now, you can keep it?

BERG:  Um, right.  Mary Landrieu lost, leaving not a single Democratic Senator, Governor or Democrat-controlled Legislative chamber in the entire old Confederacy. 

LIBRELLE:  Yeah!  You got all the racists!    The journey you started in 1968, when you inherited all the racists with Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”, is complete!  You guys got the KKK vote!

BERG:  You’re still babbling about the so-called “Southern Strategy?”

LIBRELLE:  Yes!  The racists, upset about the Civil Rights Act, all voted GOP!

BERG:  OK – let’s accept for a moment purely for sake of argument that the South is more “racist” than the rest of the country – which is deeply debatable, but again, it’s for argument’s sake – and that people vote first and foremost over racial issues. 

LIBRELLE:  Yep.  Absolutely!

BERG:  OK.  So the South voted for Nixon – but then, so did Vermont and California and, in 1972, Michigan, New York State, and even ultraliberal Minnesota.  So they’re all racists, too, right?

LIBRELLE:  The South were voting their consciences, though!

BERG:  Were they indeed?

LIBRELLE:  Even though these rhetorical questions of your always end up with me falling into a trap that makes me look stupid and uninformed, I’ll say “hell yeah!”

BERG:  OK – so the Democrats controlled every single southern Congressional delegation until 1994.  And the GOP didn’t win a majority of southern Governor’s offices, to say nothing of state legislatures, until well into the 2000s. 

By the way – the Klan hasn’t been a factor in Southern Politics since the sixties, maybe the seventies at the very latest.  So it would be more realistic to say that Republicans oversaw the extinction of mainstream racism in the Deep South. 

(BERG’s car pulls up to stoplight.  LIBRELLE steps out, walks between traffic to nearest train station).

BERG:  Avery?  Avery?