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

Logic Akbar

SCENE:   Mitch BERG is browsing for saw chains at Menards’ in the Midway, when Fudd GLUNK, vice chair of the Ramsey County chapter of “Sharia is Coming!  Sharia is Coming!”, walks around the corner.

GLUNK:  Merg!

BERG:  Er…hey, Fudd…

GLUNK:  Islam’s goal is to impose Sharia Law on all of us!

BERG:  [Looking as if he knows he’ll regreat asking] And we know this how…

GLUNK:  Because the Koran say so!

BERG:  And because Muslims, like all the the world’s major faiths, always follow their holy texts to the absolute word, in exactly the same way.

GLUNK:   Yes!

BERG: Which is why you will never, ever find a Catholic gettng divorced, a Jew eating bacon, an Evanglical protestant fornicating, or a Hindu eating beef, ever.

GLUNK:  They’re different.

BERG:  Different how?

GLUNK:  Because the Koran tells them exactly what to do.

BERG:  As opposed to the BIble, the Torah…

GLUNK:  Their goal, every last one of them, is to impose Sharia on the world.  By force if needed, by guile if possible.  They Koran allows no exceptions.

BERG:  So Muslims, unlike all the world’s faiths, are unanimously diligent in obeying their various holy texts.

GLUNK:  Yes.  The Koran says so.  There is only one Koran.

BERG:  That’s pure baked wind.  There are six major branches of Islam, and probably six dozen minor ones – they may be more fragmented even than Christianity with its 3-4 major divisions.  And one of the things they fragment over is waht “Jihad” actually means.  To radical fundamentalist Sunni like ISIS, and radical fundamentalist Shi’a like the Iranians, it means “impose Islam by all means necessary”, while Sufis are downright pacifistic, and have gotten clobbered through the centuries by their Sunni and Shi’ite neighbors for the trouble.

And pretty much any imam can tack on his own interpretation beyond that – which was why the Imam at exactly one mosque in Minneapolis decided that touching pork, not eating it, and being in the presence of dogs rather than owning and being in contact with them, was a sin, thus becoming the only Muslims in America to actually practice such beliefs.

GLUNK: Haha, Merg. The Koran says that all apostates must be killed!

BERG: And among the acts that qualify as “apostasy” in purist Islam are living in a non-theocratic country – Muslim or not – much less voting for a government, since the only non-apostatic government is the Caliph. And all those Muslim girls in our public school systems? They and their parents are all in biiiiiig Koranic trouble, since educating girls is trayf.

GLUNK: Trayf?

BERG: Never mind.

GLUNK: The Koran allows Muslims to deceive the infidel! It’s called tak…er, takk…

BERG: Taqqiya.

GLUNK: Yeah!

BERG: So every Muslim in a non-theocratic Muslim country is a sleeper agent?

GLUNK: The Koran says so!

BERG: You’re aware that the Christian churches of Europe, after decades of free fall, have finally plateaued, almost entirely from Muslims converting?

GLUNK:  They are just laying low until they get their opportunity.

BERG:  Yeah, that must be it.  Interesting fact; the first mosque in the United States was in Ross, North Dakota; the Syrian/Lebanese community that built it pretty much intermarried with the local Swedes and Germans, and is pretty much indistinguishable from the locals 120 years later – in fact, I went to high school with some of their descendants and didn’t even know about it.

If they’re sleeper agents, they’re pretty dang effective.

GLUNK:  You must be some kind of Muslim accomodationist!

BERG:  Not at all.  I’m a Christian, a conservative, and an American nationalist and exceptionalist.    I’d never convert to Islam, and I can argue articulately exactly why.    Our nation needs to accept immigrants – and insist that they assimilate.  Which is why when we get a Muslim coming to the GOP, I welcome them – because “going to a Republican party event” is as assimilatory as buying a house in Burnsville with a freaking white picket fence.

GLUNK:  You’re just a useful idiot for Sharia Law!

BERG:  About half a percent of Minnesota’s population is Muslim.  If we get Sharia imposed on us by half a percent of the population, we’ll probably deserve it.

But think about this for a moment.  Radical Islam – the Wahhabi, the Shi’ite fundies in Iran – that is most definitely a danger.

But progressivism is a danger to this country right now – and if we take every single new immigrant to this country and, via ignorant intolerance, turn them into Democrat / “progressive’ voters, we’ll be doing for our enemies what they could never do for ourselves.

GLUNK:  I suppose now you’re going to come up with some clever punchline to end this sketch?

BERG:   At this point, it’d be redundant, wouldn’t it?

And SCENE

A Failure To Communicate

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting in a cafe, doing his taxes on his laptop.   Avery LIBRELLE walks in, and notices BERG before he can look away. 

LIBRELLE:   Merg!

BERG:   Oh…hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE.   Words have meanings! Less stable followers will take those words and use them to justify violence!

BERG: So you people call yourself “the Resistance” – appropriating the name of a movement that violently assassinated members of an occupying military, blew up their trains and trucks, sank their ships, gunned them down and hand-grenaded them in cafes and on public transit, set bombs in their offices and factories, threw molotov cocktails into their trucks, and murdered those they saw as “collaborators” to ensure nobody would collaborate.

LIBRELLE: No, no no, Merg. YOUR side’s words have meanings. OURS don’t.

And SCENE

Epidemic Of Mildness

SCENE:  Mitch BERG, driving down Larpenteur Avenue, is behind a Subaru.  The Subaru, coated in liberal campaign stickers dating back to when the car was new (Wellstone’s first re-election campaign), suddenly blows a tire.  It tries to drive for a block or two on the flapping flat until it pulls over

BERG pulls over behind it and gets out to offer help…

…and is visibly dismayed to see Cat SCAT, designated “fact checker” at progressive blog “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, and office manager at a small phrenology practice, clamber out of the malfunctioning door.

SCAT:  Merg!  There is going to be an epidemic of white right-wing male violence!

BERG: Yeah, Big Left has been warning us about that for a long, long time.  In the meantime, while we wait, and wait, and wait for that to happen, all the actual violence is coming from the left. James Hodgkinson, the murder of Brooks Jennings, Floyd Corkins and his attack on the Family Research Council, the various “Anti”-Fa thugs and their attacks, the assaults on Sarah Anderson and Shane Mekeland, and a long, long list of other attacks.

SCAT: Yeah, but you’ve got people on the right calling for violenbce!

BERG: Such as?

SCAT:  Ted Nugent!

BERG:  A man whose commercial peak was 40 years ago, whose peak infliuence as a pundit was 25 years ago, and who was cashiered from the leadership of the NRA for being a loose cannon.

SCAT:   You conveniently omit Lester Crrunkins!

BERG:   Who in the flaming hootie-hoo is Lester Crunkins?

SCAT:  He’s a prominent Republican Party official who called for the violent establishmebt of a white homeland!

BERG: And where’s he from?

SCAT:  Prominent!

BERG:   Where?

SCAT:   Er…

BERG:   He’s from a town in western Oklahoma, he was the only person who showed up at the convention so he elected himself chair, and he’s been castigated by his county and state parties.   And that’s only after they found out who he was in the first place, since the only reason anyone knows who he was was the media flocking to report on a “prominent” Republican calling for violence.

Which is intended to draw attention away from the likes of Maxine Waters and the other Democrats calling for violence – which is what I call “Berg’s Seventh Law”, by the way.

SCAT:  (Winds up to try to punch BERG.  Swings.  BERG dodges the punch easily and steps back).  :

SCAT:  (Winded) .   That was self-defense!

BERG:  Of course it was…

(And SCENE)

Chefs On The Battlefield, Generals In The Kitchen

[SCENE:  Mitch BERG is at his county elections office getting an early primary voting packet.  He looks around and notices Avery LIBRELLE walking in.  He briefly considers fleeing out the fire exit, but just tries to make himself look small and inconspicuous.  It doesn’t work.]

LIBRELLE:  Merg!  Donald Trump is a traitor!

BERG:  No he’s not.   We’re not at war with Russia.

LIBRELLE:  Yes we are!

BERG:  How do you figure?  Be specific.

LIBRELLE:  They’ve been attacking our society and election system.

BERG:  They’ve been attacking our society and election system since the 1930’s – ours and every one in Western Europe, with a brief break during the early nineties, maybe.

LIBRELLE:  Espionage is a form of war.

BERG:   Then we’re “at war” with every nation on earth, including all of our putative allies.

LIBRELLE:  Merg!  Merg!  Trump’s performance in Helsinki was a threat to national security!

BERG:  His press conference was a fairly awkward display of ego over common sense.  But since you brought up national security, if you favor open borders…

LIBRELLE:  STOP BREAKING UP FAMILIES!  ABOLISH ICE!

BERG:  …or ignoring the perils of untrammeled migration from Wahhabi-dominated regions…

LIBRELLE:  RACIST XENOPHOBE!

BERG:  …or getting real about China’s ambitions…

LIBRELLE:  MCCARTHYITE!

BERG:  …while obsessing about the Russians…

LIBRELLE:  Dire threat to our security!!!!!

BERG:  …but only in re Trump, and not Obama’s fairly shameful upsucking to the Russians

LIBRELLE:  RACIST!

BERG:  Naturally.  But when it comes to Trump…

LIBRELLE:  LITERALLY HITLER!

BERG:  …you all turn into George Patton?

LIBRELLE:  Who?

BERG:  [theatrically snaps fingers] Wait – this is Ramsey county?  I’ve got the wrong election.  Gotta go!

BERG leaves. 

And SCENE.  

“Common Ground”

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is eating a plate of galbi and kimchi at Mirror of Korea on Snelling Avenue.  Lost in a gustatory reverie, he fails to notice Avery LIBRELLE has entered the restaurant.  

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  (Shaken from his bliss) Oh, hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  It’s time for us to find common ground on commonsense gun violence legislation.

BERG:  Well, that’s great.  So what do you propose for that “common ground”?’

LIBRELLE:  Our common ground should include background checks, bringing back Obama’s law preventing the mentally ill from easy access to guns, bans on certain types of guns, online restrictions, stop exploiting the Second Amendment.

BERG:  Huh.

LIBRELLE:  Yes, these would be hard to do but we have to start somewhere.

BERG:  OK.  Well, one of the important exercises of finding common ground is defining the ground we do not have in common.  OK. Let’s go through this one at a time.

Background checks – we already have them. If you’re talking about “universal background checks“, they have two huge problems; people to get guns illegally today, will still get them exactly the same way when they are “universal“. And there is no way for “Universal” background checks to work without a national registry of who has actually taken background checks, and for which firearms. If you want to ask for a registry, say it in is many words – and watch for the consequences.

I’m not sure which Obama era law you’re talking about; there are already laws against violently mentally ill people getting guns.   It’s already supposed to be reported in some form to the NICS database.  But the reporting is extremely uneven, as are the standards for who is considered “violently mentally ill”. Also, many state level laws have no due process; a malicious denunciation can and does deprive people of their rights. In what other area do people find that acceptable?

Banning certain types of guns – well, then you are anti-gun. “Assault weapon” bans had absolutely zero effect on crime from 1994 to2004; they are used in far less than 1% of all firearm homicides nationwide. It’s security theater and no more.

Not sure what you mean by “exploiting the Second Amendment“; it sounds like another way of saying “stop standing up for your rights”.   I’d love a clarification.

Finally – you say “We have to start somewhere” – and we have! Were you aware that firearm homicides are down 50% in the last 20 years? That firearm homicides at schools are down 75%?   And that’s almost entirely due to policies the NRA and us law abiding shooters have pressed for.

This is why when people ask for “commonsense gun laws“, I asked if they get into specific policies immediately. None of the ones that people on the left are calling for will do a bit of good. Ever.

LIBRELLE:  Typical conservative.    I give you some common ground, and you don’t accept it.

BERG:  “Common ground” can’t be dictated!   But I’ll do my bit, here:  how about  we start with getting the Department of Justice to take straw buyers seriously, and start intervening with at risk youth before they join gangs, and maybe come up with a “Red Flag” law that doesn’t trample due process?

LIBRELLE:  But what do any of those have to do with school shootings?

BERG:  School shootings are a tiny fraction of the homicides in this country, compared to gang violence and…

LIBRELLE:  I don’t care about any of that.   And you’re being a typical conservative.  I’ve told you what our common ground will be…

BERG:  You’re not “seeking common ground”; you’re trying to…

(But LIBRELLE’s attention has wandered already)

WAITRESS:  Hey, si…er, ma’… (Looks at BERG, at a loss.  BERG shrugs.  WAITRESS continues) Would you like to have a seat?

LIBRELLE:   Is your kimchi non-GMO?

(And SCENE)

PS:  Every single one of Avery’s words is a very close paraphrase of something I’ve heard from liberals on social media or in person in the past week.

Clear, Present

SCENE: Mitch BERG is mowing his lawn.  He stops to clear some crud from around the blades as Avery LIBRELLE slowly walks up behind him, picking up a flattened pop cup from the sidewalk.  LIBRELLE gets behind BERG and throws it at him.  It catches the air and planes away from BERG, who notices the sound of it flopping to the ground.

LIBRELLE:  Merg!   Get the hell out of public!

BERG:  (Shakes head wearily)  Hey, Avery.  What, now?

LIBRELLE:  We’re shutting you down!

BERG:  I’m mowing my lawn.  On my own property.   Why so violent?

LIBRELLE:  Oh, yeah?  What about when the Tea Partiers yelled at us progressives during the Town Hall meetings in 2009?

BERG:  Individuals expressed anger – but not violence – at events intended to be public dialogues.  No GOP leadership called for violence against the opposition…

LIBRELLE:  I am the Resistance!  I am going to attack you, because Trump is literally Hitler.    So get off your lawn before I kill you!

BERG:  Seems a little drastic  (Resumes clearing blade).

LIBRELLE:  Besides, you need to know…

BERG: You know I have surveillance cameras on my yard, and our entire interaction has been taped, right?

LIBRELLE:   DON”T YOU DARE!  YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TAPE ME!  HOW DARE YOU! (Turns and runs).

BERG:  (Shakes head, restarts mower)

And SCENE

Some Of Their Best Friends…

UPPER MIDDLE CLASS NPR-LISTENING WHOLE FOODS SHOPPING DEMOCRATS FROM GOOD NEIGHBORHOODS WITH “GOOD SCHOOLS”:  “The problem with Republicans is that they’re just so racist”.

EVENTS:  “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Upper Middle Class Democrat from a Nice Neighborhood:  We’re going to fulfill a liberal goal and start busing your kids and seriously integrating your school district”.

UPPER MIDDLE CLASS NPR-LISTENING WHOLE FOODS SHOPPING DEMOCRATS FROM GOOD NEIGHBORHOODS WITH “GOOD SCHOOLS”:  “No – we’re the good kind of racist!”

Vast Conspiracy

SCENE   Mitch BERG is checking out the savory muffins at Whole Foods when Avery LIBRELLE notices him.

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  Er, hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  You’re on my home turf, here!

BERG:  I certainly am.  Just picking up a couple of…

LIBRELLE:  Conservatives are bigots,  Progressives are not…

BERG:  I’m gonna stop you right there.  A very Democrat DC councilman just blamed snowfall on the Jews.

LIBRELLE:  Well, that’s absurd.

BERG:  I know, right?

LIBRELLE:  They control the organizations that practice weather control.  To  oppress the PLO.

BERG:  Speaking of which – is it raining literal cats and dogs out there?

LIBRELLE:  Huh?  (LIBRELLE looks – which is just enough time for BERG to escape)

And SCENE

They’ve Got Good News And They’ve Got Bad News

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is grabbing a bag of Banh Mi at iPho on University Avenue when Avery LIBRELLE walks in behind him. 

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  Oh… (seeks a way out, doesn’t see one) Hey.  How’s things?

LIBRELLE:  The ReThuglicons are going to get crushed in the mid-terms!

BERG:  Do tell.

LIBRELLE:  Because it looks like Conor Lamb is going to win the Pennsylvania special Congressional election.

BERG:  Ah.  So a former Marine and 2nd Amendment supporter who is a lot more like the type of people Democrats used to elect fifty years ago than anything east coast or metro Democrat party has nominated outside the Iron Range and West Virginia in decades, and who’d get doxxed into receivership or beaten into a coma if he tried to run for office in Minneapolis or Chicago or Manhattan, is your big bout of good news?

LIBRELLE:  You’re racist.

BERG:  Naturally.   (Pays for his order, then notices somethingi) Er, Avery?  Are you going to order something.

LIBRELLE:  Oh, heavens no.  I’m just taking readings on the owners’ privilege.

(and SCENE)

 

An Inconvenient Bill

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is salting his sidewalk.   Absorbed in achieving a proper dispersion pattern, he doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE, walking up behind.  

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:   (Turns, mild suprrise followed by disappoinment).  Oh, hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  Gun owners are stupid.

BERG”  Naturally.   Why this time?

LIBRELLE:  They think someone is coming (BERG reaches into his inside coat pocket) for their (BERG hands a trifolded piece of paper to LIBRELLE) guns….

LIBRELLE starts reading LInda Slocum’s House File 1322, which calls for sweeping confiscations of guns and the systematic extermination of the right of privacy.  As LIBRELLE falls silent, LIBRELLE’s jaw keeps slowly flapping, like a beached fish, bill in hand.  

BERG:  Careful when you start walking agian.  Neighbor’s sidewalk’s pretty icy.

BERG goes inside, hauling shovel and remaining salt.   LIBRELLE stands, ,jaw flapping impotently, as camera fades to black. 

And SCENE.