To Think They Say Progressives Are Economic Illiterates

SCENE: Mitch BERG is at Fleet Farm, looking for new liners for his old chopper mittens. Engrossed in his search, he doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE walking around the corner, a quizzical look on hi…er, he…er, Avery’s face. LIBRELLE notices BERG.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Uh, hi, Avery. What brings you out to Fleet Farm?

LIBRELLE: Picketing against the Navy and farmers!

BERG: Of course…

LIBRELLE: It’s time to tax the billionaires for all the excess profits they’ve been earning because of the deadly Trump pandemic.

BERG: So let me make sure I get this straight…

LIBRELLE: Uh, heteronormative…

BERG: Huh? Oh, for f…ranklin Delano Roosevelt’s sake. OK. Let me make sure I get this correct: you want to raise taxes on the e-commerce billionaires who are prospering mightily…

LIBRELLE: Yes.

BERG: …because the small businesses that were competing with them were destroyed by the government’s ham-fisted handling of the pandemic, which was imposed by the government that you now want to make the ultimate beneficiary of the government’s own dork-fingered, utterly catastrophic mis-handling of the response?

(But LIBRELLE has already wandered off, looking for wherever the ships are).

(And SCENE)

Denialists!

SCENE: Mitch BERG is waiting for takeout at a near-eastern restaurant on Snelling Avenue when Avery LIBRELLE walks in. Trapped, BERG tries to ignore…er, Avery. To no avail.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Oh, hey, Avery. What’s new…

LIBRELLE: Republicans reject science!

BERG: Is that so?

LIBRELLE: That’s right. You don’t wear masks.

BERG: Huh. So – just to be clear, if you conduct an experiment, and the theory succeeds, and succeeds repeatedly, then it’s an indication that one’s theory is holding up well.

LIBRELLE: Of course. Science is awesome.

BERG: OK. So – theory: defending against ballistic missiles would remove a key area where a hostile foreign power can blackmail the US by threatening millions of American lives. Hypothesis: modern technology makes point defense against incoming missiles not only feasible, but reliable enough to incorporate in foreign and defense policy.

LIBRELLE: Nonsense. It’s impossible. That science was settled back in the 1980s.

BERG: This ain’t the eighties, and the science is settling in the direction of “set ’em up, we can shoot ’em down”.

LIBRELLE: Not only is it impossible to shoot down missiles, but even considering it is destabilizing, actually making a nuclear attack more likely, which would disproportionally affect People of Color, Latinx, gay and transgender people.

BERG: So we’ve gone from science to intersectional sociology.

LIBRELLE: Intersectional sociology is science.

BERG: Huh. And queer gender theory?

LIBRELLE: Science.

BERG: The 1619 Project?

LIBRELLE: Science.

BERG: Vox.com?

LIBRELLE: Scientists, every one of ’em.

BERG: Shooting down missiles using a 50-year-old missile and guidance technology that’s been steadily improving since Jimmy Carter was in office?

LIBRELLE: Pure emotion.

BERG: Gotcha.

LIBRELLE: Hey, could you buy me a gyro?

BERG: When can you pay me back?

LIBRELLE: What do you mean?

BERG: Right.

And SCENE.

Your Lyin’ Eyes

SCENE: Mitch BERG is standing, socially distanced, in line at the Q-Fanatic Barbeque in South Minneapolis. Focused on the smell of the delicious brisket, he’s caught by surprise as Avery LIBRELLE walks in behind him.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Oh, shhh….sure enough, it’s Avery. What’s new…

LIBRELLE: You wingnuts are paranoid. [Switches to that condescending coo-ing voice that “progressives” use as they parrot this particular chanting point] Nobody is coming for your guns.

BERG: Why do you say that?

LIBRELLE: You said the same scare tactic of Obama, and he never came for your guns.

BERG: Obama had some blue seats in red states to defend – had he let slip his inner id on guns, he’d have extincted them. Well, extincted them faster, because in a lot of America a “blue state Democrat” is a little like a “dodo bird driving an AMC Gremlin”.

LIBRELLE: So – he didn’t come for guns!

BERG: He was a lot of things, but not politically stupid.

LIBRELLE: Biden is even more centrist on the issue than Obama was. So no [switches back to the condescending coo-ing voice] Nobody’s coming for your guns.

BERG: So that’s your final answer.

LIBRELLE: Of course. Paranoid wingnut.

BERG: Got your phone handy?

LIBRELLE: I lost it. Let’s use yours.

BERG: Naturally. [Pulls up Joe Biden’s campaign site, scrolls down to paragraphs 6-10]. Go ahead and read that.

LIBRELLE: [Silently mouths the words]

BERG: Either you’re lying and he is coming for our guns, or he’s lying on his campaign website.

LIBRELLE: Well, of course he’s coming for…those guns.

BERG: So in one line, you’ve gone from [mocks the cooing tone] “nobody’s coming for your guns” to “we’re coming for the guns a bunch of people who don’t know the difference between a firing pin and a crochet needle think you don’t really need to have“. That was fast.

LIBRELLE: [Mocking tone] All right, you got me. Joe Biden’s gonna break into your house and take your guns.

BERG: So in two lines, we’ve gone from “Nobody’s taking your guns” to trying to mock me for catching in covering, badly, for your own lie.

LIBRELLE: Trump banned bump stocks.

BERG: Bad Trump. Don’t change the subject.

LIBRELLE: Hey, can you lend me ten bucks?

BERG: Why?

LIBRELLE: I need to run over and buy some spray paint to paint to paint “Meat is Murder” all over this place.

BERG: Ask them [BERG points a thumb toward unamused counter guy]

LIBRELLE: Oh, great idea. I…

But BERG has already left.

And SCENE.

Jeopardy, 2021

CONTESTANT 1: “I’ll take “Riddle Me This” for $600, Alex”

TREBEK: “A couple of shades of melanin”

(CONTESTANT 2 Rings in)

TREBEK: Irving…

CONTESTANT 2: “What is ‘the difference between a community group of ‘freedom fighters’ and a ‘scary right wing militia’ to Big Media?”

TREBEK: Correct, and you have the board…

Ripped From The Headlines Of Pure Fiction. Honest.

SCENE: Debate hall at the University of Minnesota. Mitch BERG is getting ready for a debate with Stacey HINTON. HINTON – a white woman from Edina – is president of the group “Keep All Racists Equally Nonplussed”, a social justice group without portfolio. The moderator takes the stage, as a small audience rustles in its seats.

MODERATOR: Mr. Berg, Ms. Hinton, you know the rules (both nod ). Let’s get started. What do you advocate doing about the Covid virus.

BERG: Look, I think the only things that have worked are first, protecting the vulnerable – certainly more effectively than we do here in Minnesota – then isolate the infected, and re-open the economy for everyone else.

MODERATOR: Ms. Hinton?

HINTON: You’re white.

BERG: Well, yeah, I am.

HINTON: So that’s your privilege talking.

BERG: What does “privilege” have to do with observing that the places with the best combination of public health and medical performance all did exactly that?

HINTON: Check your privilege.

MODERATOR: OK. On to the next topic. Whither Minneapolis? We’ll start with you, Ms. Hinton.

HINTON: The rioting was a bunch of white boys running around vandalizing neighborhoods of color.

BERG: Well, there certainly were “white boys” and girls doing the rioting. The implied message is “white supremacist” boys and girls. If so, they were pretty ingenious “white supremacists”, coating entire neighborhoods with graffiti associated with the left.

HINTON: Spoken like a white boy.

BERG: What does that even mean?

MODERATOR: Let’s move along. What do we do about reforming law enforcement? Mr. Berg.

BERG: Get serious about reforming qualified immunity. It is used to excuse a lot of horrific abuses, not just by the police, but by every other variety of public employee. It basically turns public employees into a higher legal caste. This doesn’t bode well for self-government.

HINTON: Something a white guy would say.

BERG: Ma’am? Do you have any thing to add other than my ethnic background?

HINTON: Yes.

BERG: Let’s hear it.

HINTON: It’s true of all white guys.

MODERATOR: Let’s move along. Ms. Hinton – what do we need to do about race relations in this country?

HINTON: White people need to listen to black peoples’ stories, and check their privilege.

BERG: Huh. All due respect, ma’am, but that’s the kind of meaningless word salad that people like you – “progressives” who are, if I may say so, a lot whiter than I am use to try to diffuse their own white liberal guilt.

HINTON: Again, that’s your privilege talking, white boy.

BERG: To the extent I have “privilege”, it’s because I was born in a functional two-parent household, with parents who stayed together until I was an adult, taught me a work ethic, and made sure I stayed in high school. And that kind of privilege is not an exclusive club – in fact, like freedom, the more of this “privilege” society has, the more there is to go around.

But let’s cut the crap. The concept of “white privilege” was, from its origins, a way for wealthy white progressive academics to try to expiate their guilt about the privileges their class gave them. To insulate themselves from gnawing class guilt while preserving that holier-than-thou feeling that white progressivism feeds on, they created and adopted the preposterous concept that being white meant a hot tar roofer from Arkansas has “privileges” that Oprah and Jay-Z don’t, while giving the likes of Mark Dayton and Mark Zuckerberg a moral pass, like indulgences sold by “church” that never forgives and offers no salvation.

MODERATOR: Ms. Hinton?

HINTON: Whitey white white white white white. White white white.

MODERATOR: Thank you all for coming out to today’s debate!

False Equivalence

SCENE: Mitch BERG is looking for almond flour at a Cub Foods, when Cat SCAT, designated “fact checker” at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, and the office manager at a small phrenology practice, glomphs up from behind.

SCAT: Hah hah, Merg! People are removing racist statues from the Capitol grounds! That’s gotta make all you fat angry old white men wet your pants with rage!

BERG: (Beholding the red-faced, utterly Caucusoid and, shall we say “zaftig” SCAT, and silently contemplating and then thinking better of commenting). Yeah, it’s the mob showing the rest of the world that they don’t have to play by the rules.

SCAT: It’s no different than the fall of the Berlin Wall!

BERG: The…Berlin…Wall?

SCAT: Haha! Yes! Take that!

BERG: OK, let’s compare and contrast.

Columbus: Problematic but incidental figure, who wasn’t even the first European to come to North America – that was the Norwegians, five hundred years earlier – and who has had no affect other than symbolism on anyone in centuries, the un-personing of whom from history should be a cause for a critical discussion.

With me so far?

SCAT: Yeah! Evil white man!

BERG: Riiight. OK – the Berlin Wall: Not just a symbol of the contemporary division of Germany and the current subjugation of tens of millions of people to the bloodiest regime in history, but an actual current militarized barrier along which seventeen people had been murdered in the decade, and three in the year, before it was destroyed. The demolition of which was subject discussed thoroughly but quickly in the immediate aftermath of people on both sides of the wall deciding to jettison the Communism that had reigned in the East (the government that many of the statue-yankers are shilling for, interestingly enough), and, other than the massive “vandalism” of the wall after the Bornholmerstraße incident and the collapse of the DDR (which was one of the great images of my lifetime, but remarkably ineffective, leaving as it did a, well, wall through the middle of Berlin), was dealt via due process leading to its orderly and deliberate demolition, with remarkable worldwide unanimity, mourned by nobody that didn’t have hands still dripping with fresh blood.
Other than that? Same/same!

SCAT: So what about the alt-right taking over those six blocks in Seattle, and turning it into a slave plantation?

BERG: It’s “Anti”-Fa, and they turned it into an “Occupy” camp, only mixing in extortion with the rape and filth, and you’re changing the subject as well as lying about the substance of both subjects…

(But SCAT has already wandered away)

And SCENE

Never Was

SCENE: Mitch BERG is standing at the east end of the Marshall Lake Bridge, looking through binoculars at the fires along East Lake Street. Absorbed, he doesn’t notice LEAKY THE BEAGLE – a superannuated dog wearing sunglasses and a fake mustache, and affecting a cheap version of a German accent – riding up behind him on a recumbent moped.

LEAKY: Muuurrrg!

BERG: (Turning around, not quite recognizing the dog) Huh. A dog on a recumbent moped – don’t see that every day.

LEAKY: You don’t remember me?

BERG: Can’t say as I do.

LEAKY: Zo you’re involved in zat “EssentialMN” vebsite und Facebook page? Ze one dedicated to reopening Minnezota at all costs?

BERG: No, it’s the one dedicated to re-opening Minnesota safely while saving the economy.

LEAKY: Ze group favors removing Govenor Walz!

BERG: Huh. Where did you read that?

LEAKY: On my blog, “Minnesota Dog Progressive”.

BERG: Never heard of it.

LEAKY: Sure you have.

BERG: Sorry. Nope.

LEAKY: Anyvay, ze owner, David Shtrom, wants to remove ze Governor.

BERG: Nah. He knows, as I do, that that’s just about impossible, under all but the most extreme circumstances. First you have to get the Supreme Court to agree that the Governor has done something to warrant removal – which is a high bar, and justifiably so, and harder still given that Walz hasn’t done anything that most other governors haven’t.

Then, you’ve got 90 days to get signatures from 25% of the people who voted in the last statewide election. That’s 625,000 valid signatures, which means more like 800,000, since not all signatures will be valid or unique.

Then, you go to a recall election, agains the full weight and power of the Metro DFL fraud machine and the in-the-bag media.

And if you “win”, then you get…

…Governor Peggy Flanagan…

(Looks at LEAKY, who is furiously humping a lamppost)

BERG: You’re a Flanagan fan?

(Time passes)

LEAKY: Well, zat’s not how I put it in my blog. In my blog, Shtrom is a vingnut pushing for removal of a governor, which is crazy.

BERG: Your what?

LEAKY: My blog, “Minnesota Progressive Dog”.

BERG: Never heard of it.

LEAKY: Sure you have. I’m huge. People respect me.

BERG: Clearly.

LEAKY: You must be a crazy wing nut too!

BERG: (Calmly pulls a hand-carved model ambulance, flings it down the street. LEAKY chases it – while BERG makes his escape.

And SCENE

Social Distance Update

Joe Doakes from Como Park tries his hand at one of my patented dramatizations (c):

Mitch Berg is walking through Menards, looking in vain for dust masks so he can sand the Sheetrock repairs where he was banging his head against the wall after reading Penigma’s email, when he sees Avery Liberelle wearing a giant hula hoop hung from strings over her shoulders.  He tries to slip into the nuts and bolts aisle, but she sees him.
Avery:  Merg!
Berg: Uh, hi Avery.  What’s with the hoop?
Avery: It’s my social distancing perimeter. Why aren’t you wearing yours? 
Berg: Uh . . .
Avery (darkly): Everyone should wear one. My aunt died of Covid-19: so they said.

Berg: (clicks his tongue sympathetically)!!!

Avery: (in the same tragic tone) But it’s my belief they done the old woman in.

Berg: (puzzled) Done her in?

Avery: Y-e-e-e-es, Lord love you! Why should she die of Covid-19? She come through diphtheria right enough the month before. I saw her with my own eyes. Fairly blue with it, she was. They all thought she was dead; but my father he kept ladling gin down her throat til she came to so sudden that she bit the bowl off the spoon.

Berg: (startled) Dear me!

Avery: (piling up the indictment) What call would a woman with that strength in her have to die of the bat flu? And what become of her new straw hat that should have come to me? Somebody pinched it; and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in.

Berg: (to Avery, horrified) You surely don’t believe that your aunt was killed?

Avery: Do I not! Them in that nursing home would have killed her for a hat-pin, let alone a hat.

Berg: But it can’t have been right for your father to pour spirits down her throat like that. It might have killed her.

Avery: Not her. Gin was mother’s milk to her. Besides, he’d poured so much down his own throat that he knew the good of it. (To Berg, who is in convulsions of suppressed laughter) Here! what are you sniggering at?  Science denier!  (Avery stomps off, knocking things off the shelves with her hoop).
End Scene
Joe Doakes

It’s barely fiction, to be honest.

The Day Before Tomorrow, In Beijing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“This meeting of the State Committee for National Security will come to order.  First item of business, a report on biological warfare research.  Minister? Minister?  Uh, does anybody know where the Minister is?”
“Excuse me, sir. I’m from that department.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m the Assistant to the Junior Deputy’s Secretary.”
“Where’s everybody else?”
“Dead, sir.  Or missing.”
“WHAT?  What’s going on in your department?”
“Well, sir, we used gene splicing to engineer a virus targeted at a specific racial group and the lab tests went so well that we needed a larger scale test.  The plan was to release the virus in an enemy city but the scientist carrying the vial got car-jacked and the vial shattered.”
“Has the population been quarantined so they don’t spread it?”
“Too late for that, sir.  Most of the infected fled the city before the quarantine was announced.  They’re currently spreading the virus around the globe.”
“How bad is it?”
“Well, sir, that depends on who you ask.  Our official press releases claim the virus is less deadly than influenza, hardly anybody is infected and practically nobody has died.”
“Well, that’s a relief.”
“Yes, sir, that’s why we said it.  The truth is we have no idea how many people are infected and no treatment for those who are. Millions could die.”
“Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt, Mr. Chairman, I just have to ask this young man: Are You Insane?  Did you actually attempt to genetically engineer a virus to target a race?”
“Yes, we did.  Why?”
“Because race is merely a social construct.  There’s no such thing as race.  We’re All Going to Die!”
“In that case, sir, motion to adjourn.”
Joe Doakes

And SCENE

Just Remember: There Is No Voting Fraud

SCENE: Mitch BERG is out mowing his leaves – using the lawn mower to chop and bag them. Taking a (what else?) left to right pass across his lawn, he is unaware of Avery LIBRELLE riding up the sidewalk behind him on reclining bike.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Er…hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE: You say that there’s rampant voting fraud!

BERG: I do indeed.

LIBRELLE: You mostly point to voting registration fraud! That doesn’t mean they actually vote.

BERG: So people manufacture thousands of bogus registrations just for the fun of it?

LIBRELLE: You can’t prove that’s not why they do it!

BERG: Huh. OK. Well, then, it appears some of them go on to manufacture the actual votes.

LIBRELLE: But if you suppress illegal ballots, you will inevitably suppress legal ones.

BERG: That makes no sense.

LIBRELLE: “Sense” is a social construct!

(Before BERG can reply, LIBRELLE motors on).

And SCENE

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/10/31/minneapolis-man-charged-with-falsifying-13-absentee-ballots-ahead-of-2018-election

Requirements

SCENE: Mitch BERG is taking in a glorious fall day walking around Lake Como when, unbeknownst to him, a Tantric Protest class in the pavilion building lets out. Before BERG can react, he’s confronted with Cat SCAT (the designated “fact checker” at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“), Edmund DUCHEY (roprietor of that blog, and a person who was badly scarred by a childhood in which he was routinely bullied – by much younger children), Gutterball GARY (another of DuChey’s co-bloggers, who describes his hobbies as bowling, heckling people, and shouting really loud) and Avery LIBRELLE. Berg can’t get away before they notice him.

SCAT, DUCHEY, GARY and LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Uh…hi, er, all of y…

SCAT, DUCHEY, GARY and LIBRELLE: The founding fathers never envisioned “assault rifles when they wrote the Second Amendment.

BERG: Huh. Forget for a moment that the British “Tower” Musket was the AK47 of its day – reliable, easy to train, with a high rate of fire. And the Kentucky Rifle was the sniper rifle of its day – hard to learn, a little fickle, but capable of killing people at undreamed-of ranges. Forget about all that for just a moment.

SCAT, DUCHEY, GARY and LIBRELLE: Consider it forgotten.

BERG: No doubt. Know what else the founding fathers did?

SCAT, DUCHEY, GARY and LIBRELLE: We’re not constitutional lawyers.

BERG: True. They required all citizens to keep one of the “assault rifles” of their day, and a battle or two’s worth of ammunition, at home, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

SCAT, DUCHEY, GARY and LIBRELLE: (Nothing).

BERG: Nothing.

GARY: I’m going to hide peep through your windows until I can find something about you to write about.

BERG: So – no change, then?

AND SCENE

Nosotros Todos Somos Venezueleaños!

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking through the Roseville Best Buy, looking for a USB-C to HDMI cable, when, engrossed in thought, he fails to notice Avery LIBRELLE walking up behind him.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Er, hi, Avery. Just kinda busy…nñ

LIBRELLE: Voters need to stop voting against their best interests, and vote Progressive!

BERG: Because “progressivism”…

LIBRELLE: Why are you making scare quotes?

BERG: …is everyone’s best interests?

LIBRELLE: Of course!

BERG: So the places where “progressives have control are the places where all our “best interests” are being seen to?

LIBRELLE: Yes! Yes! Yes! We may be making progress here!

BERG: So places like Detroit, Cleveland, Newark, Camden, Baltimore, Chicago, Saint Louis, North Minneapolis, Oakland and New Orleans represent our “best interests”? Or California, the entire state, which is looking more and more like Venezuela?

LIBRELLE: Um…

BERG: Yes?

LIBRELLE: You see, the problem with “best interests” is that they’ve never been tried in their truest form.

BERG: Huh. Where have I heard that before?

LIBRELLE: You haven’t.

BERG: Of course not.

(And SCENE)

How To Win “Prog” Friends And Influence Virtue-Signaling People

CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: “I am a conservative talk radio host. Let’s discuss the issues of the world”

“PROGRESSIVES”: “We want you to die in a grease fire, but only after you watch your family get eaten by mice”

CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: “But I’m running against the president in a Quixotic campaign/ratings stunt”

“PROGRESSIVES”: “Even though we couldn’t define “conservatism” correctly if you pelted us with stacks of $50 bills, we declare you to be a leader of conservative thought!”

(And SCENE)

Every Argument About “Economics” With “Progressives”

MITCH: “Trump’s tariffs…”

AVERY LIBRELLE: “Will be passed on to American consumers. It’s economics 101”.

Pete: “Very good. That is actually correct, one way or the other; all changes in price driving by anything other than market demand will be either paid by consumers, or not purchased at all. You’re coming along, Avery! So – artificially raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour…”

AVERY LIBRELLE: “…will never get passed on to consumers!”

Pete: “OK. Why?”

AVERY LIBRELLE: “Because shut up”.

And SCENE

Conspiracy Theories

SCENE: Mitch BERG is riding a Lime scooter through downtown Minneapolis. He pulls up in front of a store and parks the device – and doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE walking out of the store.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: (Distracted, logging off the scooter) Oh, hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE: People are stupid.

BERG: You got that right.

LIBRELLE: Bill Clinton hasn’t been president for almost 20 years. His wife couldn’t get elected president. How do people figure either of them had the kind of clout that it’d take to kill someone in federal custody?

BERG: Because it’s fun to mock people like the Clintons?

LIBRELLE: Conspiracy theories are destroying communications in this country!

BERG: The Clintons, who are worth hundreds of millions, and command billions and billions in influence, but who left elected office two decades ago…

LIBRELLE: …have no power to affect anything.

BERG: Whereas Vladimir Putin, don of a country in a demographic death spiral and an economy that’d be completely terminal without natural gas and weapons, with an economy on par with Belgium’s, and is reduced to playing secret agent disinformation tricks to give the illusion of non-military relevance…

LIBRELLE: …pulls all the strings in the Trump regime!

BERG: Of course. Hey – wanna borrow a scooter?

LIBRELLE: Sure. What do I do?

BERG: Pray to Hillary, and power will be dispatched from on high.

LIBRELLE: Excellent!

(And SCENE)

One Day In The Star/Tribunes “Morgue”

SCENE: It’s the “Morgue” at the Star-Tribune’s “Morgue” – a room full of file cabinets, deep underground, where no light has penetrated since the Kennedy administration.

The door opens, and the MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES STORY, wherein mismanagement under two DFL administrations led to hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud, including credible allegations of welfare money being transferred to terrorists – is tossed into the room, which is crowded with other news stories.

ILHAN OMAR’S APPARENTLY FRAUDULENT-MARRIAGE STORY: Hello.

MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES STORY: Hi. Where am I?

WELL-CONNECTED DEMOCRAT KIDS GET OFF WITH A WARNING FOR MASS AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND HATE CRIMES AGAINST REPUBLICANS STORY: This is the Star-Tribune’s “morgue” file.

STEVE SIMON IS STONEWALLING THREE COURT ORDERS DEMANDING HE RELEASE INFORMATION ABOUT VOTING IRREGULARITIES STORY: It’s where news stories that the DFL establishment doesn’t want covered go to…

KEITH ELLISON’S HISTORY OF ANTISEMITISM STORY: …for a nice long break.

(The other stories chuckle)

MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES STORY: So when do we get out of here?

(The question is met with a few guffaws)

ILHAN OMAR’S ANTISEMITISM STORY: When the Strib reports about Minnesota having “paradoxically” liberal gun laws and the lowest crime rate in the nation for a state with a major metro area in it.

MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES STORY: So – a long time?

KEITH ELLISON’S HISTORY OF ANTISEMITISM STORY: You have no idea.

(And SCENE)

Arsenal Of Hospitality

SCENE: Mitch BERG is taking a walk through a local winery, when he notices Avery LIBRELLE trying to open the tap at the bottom. He tries to reverse course, but LIBRELLE, as always, notices him.

LIBRELLE: Merg! You’re a racist misogynist!

BERG: Uh, OK. Why now?

LIBRELLE: On, no reason. It’s just my new greeting. But Trump is holding children in squalor on the border.

BERG: Separating kids from their parents is a bad thing. But this speaks to the same incompetence that covers most aspects of dealing with the bureaucracy. Nothing to see here.

LIBRELLE: We must treat pre-documented immigrants of color with the respect they deserve.

BERG: Question for you, Avery. Is the US the world’s policeman?

LIBRELLE: No. We can not solve all the world’s problems with the military.

BERG: OK. Are we the the world’s moral arbiter?

LIBRELLE: It is to laugh! We are the most corrupt, least just society on earth!

BERG: Huh. Is the spread of American culture through the world a good thing?

LIBRELLE: We have the most despicable culture there is, buried to its eyeballs in racism and hate. The world’s authentic cultures must be preserved.

BERG: Does the US have anything to teach the world?

LIBRELLE: How to be hateful and horrible.

BERG: So can we keep people from coming here, with or without regard to the law?

LIBRELLE: What are you, a fascist? Everyone has an absolute right to come to the US!

BERG: So if someone comes to this country illegally, or uses an exceptionally broad asylum statute to gain entry to this hateful, horrible, despicable, racist, corrupt, militaristic place, then we are in fact the world’s ATM machine?

LIBRELLE: Why yes! (Turns back to trying to open the tap on the fermentation keg).

BERG: I know I’ll hate myself for asking, but what are you doing?

LIBRELLE: Wine is an appropriation of California culture.

BERG: Of course it is.

And SCENE

Orange You Disappointed You Didn’t Get An Invite?

SCENE: A meeting of the “Protect” MInnesota governing board. The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence presides over a room with half a dozen middle-aged, white men and women with ELCA hair (short, unadorned gray for the ladies; close cropped gray hair and neatly-trimmed Progressive-standard beards for the males).

NORD BENCE: OK, I call this meeting of the governing board of Protect Minnesota to order. Miss Scat, would you please give the membership report?

CAT SCAT: Unchanged from last meeting, at [NORD BENCE coughs over BIRKENSTOCK’s report] members.

NORD BENCE: OK, Mizz Stromberg, the treasurer’s report?

GRETEL STROMBERG: We got another Bloomberg check. Why bother counting?

(Applause ensues)

NORD BENCE: Order! OK. New business?

( Chauncey GUNDERSON, a 50-something man with raffish but neatly trimmed gray hair and a tightly trimmed gray beard – like every other man in the room over the age of 35 – and a representative from an ELCA church in Edina, raises his hand:)

NORD BENCE: Mr. Gunderson?

GUNDERSON: Yes, Madame Executive Director. I’m wondering – there’s this impression I’ve heard people talk about saying that Protect Minnesota is a bunch of smug, entitled, white, suburban, upper middle class people who are out of touch with the reality of this issue.

NORD BENCE: ( Looks around room at the small group of smug, entitled, white, suburban, upper middle class people ) Well, clearly it’s a scientific fact that that’s utterly absurd!

MARGE GUSTAFFSEN: But I’ve heard this, too.

NORD BENCE: While it is utterly absurd, I am willing to entertain ideas to address it.

AVERY LIBRELLE: I’ve got an idea. Let’s debunk the notion that Protect Minnesota is a bunch of smug, entitled, white, suburban, upper middle class people by holding a cocktail party at a swanky club!

NORD BENCE: I like it! Social media director BIrkenstock?

MOONBEAM BIRKENSTOCK: Already on it. I set up the event and put out the invites on Facebook!

NORD BENCE: Oooh! Let’s see!

BIRKENSTOCK: Here. Let me show you:

NORD BENCE: I like it! OK – next order of business…

And SCENE

NOTE: The scene above is probably mostly fictional. Except for the ad. And the event. And the cocktail.

MyLyssa Has Questions. Mitch Has Answers.

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking down Grand Avenue, looking for Grand Avenue Distillery Supplies. As he looks in the storefront, MyLyssa SILBERMAN, Reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, gets out of a cab.

SILBERMAN: Merg!

BERG: (Nonplussed) Er, hi, MyLyssa. What’s up?

SILBERMAN: I’m curious. You continuously say, on your blog and show, that the media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the progressive movement.

BERG: I do. And it’s true.

SILBERMAN: How can you say that? We have layers and layers and..

BERG: …and layers of gatekeepers. Right. Got that. I base my assertion on, well, reading and listening to the media, and taking what they say seriously.

SILBERMAN: Meaning…?

BERG: Well, for example, listen to this bit by NPR’s “On the Media” – supposedly their media “watchdog” show – and the train of ultra-left dogmatics and magical thinking, and tell me any part of it that wouldn’t fit right in with a Wobbly pamphlet in the 1900s.

SILBERMAN: (Puts on earphones. Listens to segment. Removes headphones). I don’t hear anything.

BERG: This is my shocked face

SILBERMAN: It might be the global warming.

BERG: Might be

(And SCEN)E

Sell At A Loss. Make Up For It With Volume.

SCENE:   Mitch BERG is riding a Lime scooter through downtown Minneapolis when he sees Avery LIBRELLE haggling with a PANHANDLER.  BERG pulls over – before getting that look on his face that says “I already regret this”

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  Hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  It’s time to give Medicare to everyone!

BERG:   Medicare even as it is is going to be insolvent right about the time I might, hypothetically, maybe, retire.

LIBRELLE:   The best way to save a program is to make sure everyone depends on it.  Give it to everyone!  (To PANHANDLER).  Right?

PANHANDLER:  My car broke down, and my wife and daughter are in it, out on the freeway.

LIBRELLE:  Have you tried holding a press conference and demonstration at City Hall?

PANHANDLER: No, ma’a…er, si…er… (Looks wanly at BERG, who shrugs).   Er, not yet.

(BERG quietly presses the accelerator)

And SCENE

Allegiance

SCENE:   Mitch BERG is checking his oil.   As he does so, Avery LIBRELLE pedals a “Nice Ride” bike up the sidewalk, obscured from BERG’s view by the hood of the car.  LIBRELLE pedals over to BERG. 

LIBRELLE: Merg!    What’s all this secession talk?

BERG:  There are those who think that as a result of a couple of generations of geographic sorting, the nation’s differences are so great it’s time for an amicable divorce.  Let Blue America and Red America split up and try their luck as sovereign, ideally friendly, countries.

LIBRELLE:   Hah!  That’s treason!  Treason, I say!  We are one nation under Goddess, and the last time the traitors tried to leave the union the rest of us beat them back into line!

BERG:   So there should always be one nation.

LIBRELLE:  Absolutely.

BERG:   One set of federal laws.

LIBRELLE:   Yes.

BERG:   So you support cracking down on “sanctuary cities” that flout federal law for their own ideological reasons?

LIBRELLE:  [Visibly flinching] Racist!  Traitor!   Badthink!

BERG:   Hey – it’s the middle of February.  Those Nice Ride bikes were all taken off the road in November.

LIBRELLE:  Oh, it’s on my sister’s credit card, so it’s free.

And SCENE

“Unexpected”

SCENE: Mitch BERG is building a snow wall around his property.

Before he can close the last gap along the sidewalk, MyLyssa Silberman – reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats – pulls up in a Subaru Outback.

SILBERMAN: [stepping out of the car]Merg!

BERG: Er…hi, MyLyssa. What’s up?

SILBERMAN: I’m doing a series on the purveyors of brisk, quippy rhetorical memes and their use in disseminating “fake news”.

BERG: Of course you are.

SILBERMAN: If I may. In the past, you have referred to the new municipal trash collection systems in cities like Bloomington, Saint Paul and other cities as [riffles through notes] “Soviet-style trash collection”. Also [squinting] “East German”, “Tony Soprano-Style”, “Cuban” and…

BERG: North Korean.

SILBERMAN: Here in my notebook it says “North Korean”.

BERG: Yep.

SILBERMAN: Are these racist references against Russians, Germans, Sicilians, Latinos and Asians? And how are they affected by climate change?

BERG: No, and not at all.

SILBERMAN: OK, we’ll come back to that. But what do those terms mean?

BERG: It’s a reference to the fact that in countries that try to repeal the free market – among them most “socialist” nations – there is no incentive to serve customers better. In planned, marketless economies, all goods and services are essentially rationed, and there’s no impetus to provide a good or service better, more efficiently, or even more cheerfully than anyone else, since there’s no upside to it; you get paid the same whether you’re a jerk or an Employee of the Month.

SILBERMAN: OK, but how does this relate to trash collection in the Twin Cities? We haven’t suspended the free market.

BERG: Well, we’re going to need a price check on that statement. Saint Paulites are complaining about the service they’re getting from the hauler their city so graciously selected for them:

Beginning Jan. 30, [Waste Management, the hauler allocated to a large part of the East Side by the City Council’s “Sopranos”-style division of the city’s turf] skipped pickups on her street, Cottage Avenue East, for three weeks in a row. Rather than complete full collection Wednesday, drivers exited their vehicles to take pictures of overflowing trash carts and lids that couldn’t fully close. Some they emptied. Some they didn’t.
Now, residents are bracing for financial penalties.
“They drove through the alley yesterday, right past all the garbage cans that were out and not covered with or buried in snow, and only emptied two cans,” said Riggs on Thursday in an email to Ward 6 City Council member Kassim Busuri’s office. “Since that seems to be one of many excuses they use, yes, the lids are not closed, which is another thing they will charge us extra for. According to St. Paul policy, they must close. Otherwise it is $3

BERG: By the way, MyLyssa – my old trash collector would only upcharge me for an over-full container if a good chunk of the bag was visible. The new haulers are gloriously Minnesota passive-aggressive about it, and the customer service is atrocious, even in other neighborhoods.

Who picked up your trash, by the way?

SILBERMAN: I live in a condo downtown, so my trash just goes away.

BERG: Right. Continuing:

Busuri said he’s more than just sympathetic. He’s in the same boat.
“I’ve had the same problem myself,” Busuri said, “where the trash was not picked up for going on three weeks. It bothers me to see a garbage hauler not fulfilling their obligation in the contract. There’s a section in the contract where we can charge the haulers for every collection they miss. I’m looking into that

SILBERMAN: See! They’ll fix it!

BERG: Sure. The city council will cross the actions of a previous city council, most of whom have gone on to positions of bureaucratic power that .can be used against them.

SILBERMAN: What do you mean?

BERG: OK, so imagine you were to park in Teri Gross’s parking spot…

SILBERMAN: That would be really bad.

BERG: See?

SILBERMAN: No.

BERG: It’ll never get fixed. There’s no market imperative to do anything, and plenty of bureaucratic imperatives not to.

SILBERMAN: So you’re saying you’re transphobic.

BERG: Are you by some chance working on getting a PR job with the city?

And SCENE

It’s Technically Only Satire If It’s Not 100% True

SCENE: Mitch BERG is shopping for a new casserole trivet for his Instant Pot (C) when MyLysa SILBERMAN, Reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, rounds the corner.

BERG: Er…Ms. Silberman.

SILBERMAN: [visibly searching for name] . Er – hello, Merg.

BERG: So – any comment about the allegations against Ralph “Satchmo” Northam?

SILBERMAN: In these inflammatory situations and divided times, it’s a journalist’s responsibility to make sure they get the facts straight.

BERG: OK. So – Brent Kavanaugh…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly screams, face red with rage] WE ALWAYS #BELIEVEWOMEN, YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!

BERG: Huh. So – Democrat governor Northam…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly calm again] Get the facts…

BERG: Northam, Ellison, Clinton…

SILBERMAN: [Abruptly calm again] We can’t report a story where we’re not absolutely sure…

BERG: The Covington kids..

SILBERMAN: [Enraged again] . WHITE! MAGA! THE…SMIRK! I JUST WANT TO BURN THAT KID’S FACE OFF!

BERG: Right. So I’ve predicted that the media will declare Northam “rehabilitated” within the year.

SILBERMAN: Rehabilitated from what?

BERG: Er…yeah. Exactly.

And SCENE

For The Children

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is out behind his house, turning his city trash barrel right side up, when Avery LIBRELLE turns down the alley, riding a Lime Bike. BERG can’t escape.  

LIBRELLE:  Merg!   It’s time for comprehensive gun control!

BERG:   Of course it is.  Even though none of it can have any effect on gun violence – none at all – and it violates wholesale the rights of the law-abiding.

LIBRELLE:   Hah!   When I heard about Newtown, I stopped caring about your so-called “rights” (makes scare quotes as h…er, sh…er, as LIBRELLE says “Rights”)

BERG:  You did, huh?

LIBRELLE:  Yep!

BERG: For the children?

LIBRELLE:  Yes!

BERG: I hear and understand you completely, Avery.  I did the same thing.

LIBRELLE:  Er – wait.  What?

BERG:  When I saw pictures of the Holocaust…:

…and what happens to the children when people lose their freedom…

…even – no, especially their children, then I stopped caring about the emotions of people who put the word “rights” in scare quotes.

LIBRELLE:   (Absentmindedly looks down at the control panel on the bike) – Hey, Merg – I ran out of stored money on this bike.  Give me your credit card.

(And SCENE)

Paranoid

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is waiting in line at Sorrento Cucina in the Minneapolis skyway.  He sees Avery LIBRELLE coming around a corner.  The thought of trying to slip away into the crowd visibly crosses his mind.    But the lure of Sorrento’s delicious sausige  conflicts him long enough that LIBRELLE notices him.  

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  Hey, Avery.  What’s up?

LIBRELLE:  With the incoming Democrat House of Representatives in Saint Paul, we’re going to stick it to all you gun-lickers!

BERG:  Huh.  Yeah, I see that the incoming Speaker, Melissa Hortman, says that even though Minnesota has one of the lowest murder rates in the United States, and perhaps the lowest murder rate among states with a top-20 metro area, she’s going to make “gun violene” her #1 priority.

Not the educational achievement gap.  Not economic development in the Iron Range.  Not even anything that’ll have a meaningful impact on urban crime.

LIBRELLE:   Merg!  Don’t you read the papers?  Mass shootings are going on all over the place!  Our schools are charnel houses!  Our malls and gay bars are abattoirs!    Everywhere you go, you are in danger from mass shootings!

BERG:  The rate of spree killings isn’t correlated with the presence of civilian firearms – although it is correlated with “gun free zones” – but schools are the safest they’ve been in decades as re overall gun crime…

LIBRELLE:  I don’t care about overall crime!  Mass shootings are a constant factor of life!  They can hit you any time!  They can’t be predicted…

BERG: …other than being in “gun free zones”…

LIBRELLE:  …and any time you leave your house you’re in constant danger of being gunned down by a white guy with an AR47!

BERG:  Huh.  Now, it’s academic to me, since all my guns fell into Mille Lacs over the summer – but it things really are that dire and serious out there…

LIBRELLE:  They are!  They are!

BERG:  …then it’d be prudent and common sense to decide to carry a firearm to defend myself and those around me from this apparently constant and imminent threat.

LIBRELLE:  Good Lord, Merg – you’re so paranoid!

BERG:  Clearly.

And SCENE