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.  

Ordnance

SCENE:  Waikiki, January, 2019.  Mitch BERG is taking a rare vacation.  

Improbably, while standing at the hotel desk, he notices that Avery LIBRELLE has checked into the hotel just ahead of him.   Worse, BERG notices LIBRELLE has just noticed him, and his about to strike up one of LIBRELLE’s usual “conversations”…

…when a text message crosses both of their phones simultaneously warning of a ballistic missile attack that is not a drill.  

Pandemonium breaks out in the lobby, as customers being to panic over the thought of nuclear annihilation.  But BERG instinctively begins moving for the most substantial cover he can find, when a subsequent message crosses his phone. 

The message reads “The missile was shot down by a missile interceptor.  In retaliation, a US Air Force bunker-buster bomb found and obliterated Kim Jong Un; a Republic of Korea Army Ranger team made contact with a rival faction in the DPRK government, and installed a regime that stood down the Nork Army and began seeking an end to the seventy year old impasse on the Korean Peninsula.”

BERG:  Wow.  That was quick.

BERG turns around.  

Hey, Avery…

BERG stops short, noticing that LIBRELLE is in a bizarre permutation of a yoga pose, allowing the lips to be affixed to the butt.  

BERG:  Avery – what the …

LIBRELLE:  I’ve been practicing this move for a nuclear war my whole life.

BERG:  Of course you have.  So…you haven’t kept up with the news?

LIBRELLE:  How should know?  Hey – could you help me up?

BERG:  I’m really not sure.

And SCENE

Imminent Domain

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is in the lobby of the AMC Arden Hills, waiting to see “Godzilla Vs. Ayn Rand”.  Stainding coincidentally in front of BERG are several members of the Minnesota 5th Congressional District LIbertarian Party;  Stephanie Marie ANNAN, Community organizer,Garth MULLER, the Vice Chair for Ideological Purity, Carpal POX,  the deputy chair,Victor VON SCLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE, Vice Chair for Education, and Anarchy GOATEEMONGER, inreach director.    The group is talking; BERG is reluctantly overhearing the conversation. 

GOATEEMONGER:  Today in class, my kid told the teacher “Taxation is theft!”.

(General hooting and backslapping ensues).

ANNAN:  You are such a good dad!

MULLER:  Next he’ll be telling them to Vote Harder!

(More backslapping).

GOATEEMONGER:  Right!  And you won’t believe this; the teacher asked him who was going to build the roads!

(Generalized guffawing ensues)

SCHLIEFFENGERG-MOLTKE:  Hah!  Roads!

BERG:  So Mr. Goateemonger – what did your kid answer?

ANNAN:   Here!  Have some more government!~

(More hooting and back-slapping)

MULLER:  Hey, look!  Only government can wipe my butt!

(Broad har-di-harring)

BERG:  Er…so did your kid answer?

POX:  I read an article the other day that says fusion-powered hovercars are right around the corner.  It’s going to be a non-issue any day now.

(Vigorous head-nodding ensues).

SCHLIEFFENGERG-MOLTKE (affecting a constipated sounding voice):  Vote harder!  Vote harder!

(The laughter is becoming brweathless)

BERG:  So – did the kid ever…y’know…answer?

ANNAN: Roads!

(IMore guffawing follows)

BERG  Nothing?

(And SCENE)

The Right People

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is waiting to see the movie “Darkest Hour” at a local theater.  Avery LIBRELLE, walking out of a showing of “Brokeback Mountain Part 2:  The Payback”, notices BERG before he notices…er, LIBRELLE.  

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Er, hey, Avery.  What’s up?

LIBRELLE:  Guns are out of control!  The US has the highest murder rate of any industrIalized country!

BERG:  Well, for starters, that’s not true – Brazil and Russia and South Africa have much higher murder rates than we do.  But I’m curious – why do you limit it to “industralized” countries?   Because the US murder rate, overall, is 94th in the world, per capita.   Which is waaaaay down in the middle of the pack.  Mexico and Russia’s murder rates are twice as nigh; Brazil’s five times; South Africa’s, seven times higher than ours.

LIBRELLE:   But you should only compare apples to apples?

BERG:  Why?  When it comes to murder rates, what logical sense does that make?  I mean, I know why your side does it – but why do you think that is?

LIBRELLE:  You tell me!

BERG:   Because Big Left only cares about dead white people.   That’s why you never hear “gun safety” advocates talking about crime in places like El Salvador, Nicaragua, the US Virgin Islands or Brazil, anymore than you do about places like  Chicago, Newark, Camden, Baltimore, Saint Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Stockton or Oakland.

LIBRELLE:  Why would we talk about the murder rate in Chicago, Newark, Camden, Baltimore, Saint Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Stockton or Oakland?   We should compare apples and apples.

BERG  They’re in America.

LIBRELLE:  Are they?

BERG:  (Stares vacaintly for a moment).  Interesting point.

LIBRELLE:  Rethugs are so stupid.

(And SCENE)

 

In The Money!

SCENE:  Mitch BERG steps out onto his porch to bring in his mail – and is startled to see Avery LIBRELLE looking over the envelopes. 

BERG:  Um, Avery?  What the…

LIBRELLE: Merg!  Venezuela is raising its minimum wage! If they can do it, why can’t we?

BERG:  The “increase” is meaningless.  Just like the ones in the US.

LIBRELLE:  They benefit those who need it most!  The poorest and most vulnerable!

BERG:   Let me ask you this, Avery.  Let’s say that I give you coupons, in payment for waving a sign around at a rally.  Those coupons can be used for one thing – to get mint tea at Whole Foods.

LIBRELLE:  Mmm. . Whole Foods.

BERG:  Right.  Now, I give you two coupons.   One for every four hours of sign waving.

LIBRELLE:  OK.

BERG: But Alida Messinger gives you four coupons.   That’s a coupon every two hours.

LIBRELLE:  I’ll work for Alida.

BERG: Right.  But Whole Foods only has one bag of mint tea left in the store.  At all.  How many coupons is it going to cost?

LIBRELLE:  I don’t get it.

BERG:   You have coupons good for tea.  But there is no tea.  So all your coupons are are pieces of paper given to you in exchange for a day of waving signs.

LIBRELLE:  The correct answer, then, is that my labor – sign-waving – is of intrinsic value, and should be rewarded with tea.

BERG:  Not to Whole Foods, it’s not.    The coupons are just pieces of paper exchangaed for slices of time you spent, er, working.  The sign didn’t get waved twice as much, or twice as hard, or… (looks at LIBRELLE) twice as effectively.  You just got more slips of paper.  But the tea is all gone.

LIBRELLE:  Right, but I still have three more coupons!

BERG:  Which are of no value.  Like the 40% “pay raise” in worthless money that the Venezuelan “poor” will get out of this “raise”.

LIBRELLE: But when they throw off the shackles of the international capistalists, they’ll all be rich!

BERG: Right.  Just like you’ll have three bags of tea when the truck finally arrives at Whole Foods.  Hey – why are you on my porch.

LIBRELLE:  Just checking for thoughtcrime.

(And SCENE)

Car Neutrality

SCENE:  Dayton, Ohio – 1904.  A group of protesters – young activists from Snofe Lakes, California – chant slogans in front of the Leach and Bitwell Auto Company; “Keep The Roads Democratic!”, “What do we want?  Road Neutrality.  When do we want it?  Now!” and “Cars are a Public Utility”.   After a few moments, Arthur LIBRELLE climbs up on the soapbox.  

LIBRELLE:  What we seek is highway neutrality.   We demand that the government treat cars and roads as the public utility they truly are.   That way, in thirty years, your children will be able to buy a car like this (LIBRELLE points to a 1904  Leach and Bitwell roadster – a two seater with a hand-crank starter that is basically a glorified go-kart with a two cylinder engine and a couple of chairs which lists at $5,000 – which is about $200,000 2017 dollars) – and their children, and their children’s children, as long as California is the capitol fo the horseless carriage industry.  Nobody will be able, using just more money, to buy a better car!

(Hezekiah MERG chimes in):  But if you treat the budding auto industry like a utility, there’ll be no impetus for someone like, say, Henry Ford or Louis Chevrolet, to respond to the market demand and build a cars that, before long, will be every big as good as the specimen you see here, for  a fraction of the price.

LIBRELLE:  (Scoffing as the young people from Snofe Lakes laugh uproariously)  Oh, it is to laugh!  The idea that people from Detroit will ever build cars, or that technology will ever surpass what we see in front of us!   No, indeed; let us regulate cars and roads like utilities, that they may ever be as successful as the crown jewel of Los Angeles’s transportation system, our streetcars!

(The crowd erupts)_.

Cell Neutrality

SCENE:  Walll Street, – 1983.  A group of protesters – young activists from Slough Fnakes, Vermont – chant slogans in front of the Motorola headquasrters building, wielding protest signs; “Keep Cell Phones Democratic!”, “What do we want?  Cell Neutrality.  When do we want it?  Now!” and “Car Phones are a Public Utility”.   After a few moments, Ashton LIBRELLE climbs up on the soapbox.  

LIBRELLE:  What we seek is car phone neutrality.   We demand that the government treat car phones and suitcase phones as the public utility they truly are.   That way, in thirty years, your children will be able to buy a mobile phone like this (LIBRELLE holds up a 1984 Motoirola cell phone – the size of at World War II walkie talkie, that cost $10,000 in 2017 dollars plus $1,000 a month and $4 a minute for talk times) – and their children, and their children’s children, as long as Motorola remains unchallenged atop the car phone industry.  Nobody will be able, using just more money, to buy a better phone!

(Hank MERG chimes in):  But if you treat the budding cellular communiations industry like a utility, there’ll be no impetus for someone like, say, Steve Jobs or Victor Droid, to respond to the market demand and build device that, before long, will not only do everything the phone your holding does thousands of times better, but do it for about one percent of the inllation adjusted cost.  Indeed, in 24 years, I predict that non-profits will be giving away phones that are millions of times more powerful per dollar, and criminals will buy them to use once and throw away!.

LIBRELLE:  (Scoffing as the young people fromSlough Fnakes laugh uproariously)  Oh, it is to laugh!  The idea that phones will be a commodity, like Pet Rocks, or that technology will ever surpass what we see in front of us!   No, indeed; let us regulate car and suitcase phones like utilities, that they may ever be as successful as the public education system!

(The crowd erupts)_.

Ripped From The Fictional Headlines

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Scene:  a cluttered office, a fat, balding man chewing a cigar, reading a script and scowling at it.  A young man steps into the doorway and raps on the door, three times, quickly.

Writer:  Boss, I’ve got a great idea for a new show.  It’s a political thriller, got action, intrigue, it’s great.

Boss:  Yeah?  Siddown and lay it out for me.

Boss tosses the script he was reading onto his desk and leans back in his chair, studying the young man.  Young man sits down, butt on the edge of the seat, and leans forward, speaking eagerly

Writer:  okay, there’s the guy, see?  And he works for the FBI.  He’s a true patriot, he hates the way the country is going and he wants to help a good candidate get elected.  He makes a donation like everybody in the office, but he wants to do more.  All the sudden, he finds himself assigned to investigate his favorite candidate for breaking the law.  But he doesn’t want to do it, see?  But he has to, see?  So there’s dramatic tension.

Boss: yeah, but the law is the law.  What’s he gonna do?

Writer:  that’s the cool part.  He interviews the candidate but he “forgets” to put her under oath.  So none of her answers can be used against her, right?  And there’s a suspicious death tied to the charges but he knows this candidate has a long trail of suspicious deaths and shady dealings so he’s afraid she might be involved with this one, too.  So he doesn’t want to investigate that, see?  But he’s torn about it, see, because maybe she really is as crooked as the rest of them.  But maybe she’s not, and besides, her opponent is a real jerk.  So he calls the death a “robbery gone bad” and when his boss is going to make a press announcement saying the candidate broke the law, our guy changes it to say she did NOT break the law.

Boss: wait, why wouldn’t the boss notice the change?

Writer:  the boss isn’t a cop, he’s a political hack, a time-serving moron.  So he goes along with the charade and the candidate gets away with the crime and stays in the election.

Boss: okay, weak, but we can work with it.

Writer: wait, it gets better!  His candidate loses the election.

Boss: what the hell?  How’s that help?  The show’s over.

Writer: no, no, it’s just getting started.  The candidate was supposed to win, see?  All the polls said so. All the experts said so.  She was so far ahead, she didn’t even campaign the last week, the election was in the bag.  She booked a hall and ordered fireworks and had her victory speech written and when she lost, it was stunning.  The talking heads on tv were stunned.  The losing candidate was drunk two days, couldn’t give a concession speech.  Total disaster.  And meanwhile, the smug jerk who won the election is all over Twitter rubbing it in, offering her five cents on the dollar for the fireworks she doesn’t need anymore.

Boss: yeah, so?  Sounds like a depressing show.  Nobody wants to watch that.

Writer:  Yeah, yeah, but our guy, remember him?  He’s in the FBI.  They see all kinds of wacko stuff, all kinds of nuts and goofballs with conspiracy theories.  So he’s devastated that his gal lost and the jerk won and he’s sitting at his desk moping when he glances at this file on his desk.  Some kook claims the jerk was in cahoots with the Russians to help him steal the election and he stayed in a Russian hotel where a team of hookers gave him a golden shower right on the hotel bed.

Boss: whoa, whoa, we can’t put that stuff on television.  Not in prime time.

Writer: okay, so maybe we don’t show it on screen

Boss: but maybe a special episode on cable?  Pay per view?  Hmmmm.

Writer: yeah, yeah!  Like that.  And anyway, so our guy, he sees this folder and he knows it’s bullshit but he thinks “If only the public knew what a jerk that guy is.”  Just then his boss walks by and says “I’m headed to brief the President-Elect, anything new I should know?” And all the sudden, on impulse, our guy hands his boss the folder and says “You might want to warn him this stuff is going around, so he doesn’t get blind-sided.”  The boss, being a dope, doesn’t realize it’s a set-up, he thinks our guy is being all noble and professional, so the boss goes right along.  But one of the long-term staff people in the President’s briefing sees the dossier is political dynamite and leaks it to his buddies in the press.  Ka-boom, huge political outrage, our guy’s losing candidate gets cheered up, the president-elect looks like an idiot, our guy is grinning like crazy.

Boss: and then?

Writer:  and then things get interesting.  The losing candidate’s political party seizes on the Russian Collusion angle and demands an investigation.  The new Attorney General is a another political appointee, not used to how the game is played in the bureaucracy, so he recuses himself.

Boss: excuses himself?

Writer: no, recuses.  He steps aside and lets the long-term staffers handle it.  And they all hate the new President.  So the staffers convince the new President the only way to clear his name is to appoint a special investigator.  And they recommend their old boss, who they assure him is a straight shooter, which he is – straight in your back.  But the new President doesn’t know that, see, so the new President goes along with it.

Boss: inside baseball.  boring.

Writer: no, wait!  The special investigator hates the new President, too.  And he hires a team of assistants to help him, all of them hate the new President.  And here’s the best part – he decides that for his top assistant on the team, he needs the guy who knows the most about the collusion.  He needs the guy who discovered the folder.  He needs OUR GUY!  Our guy is now the top assistant on the team investigating the new President.

Boss:  okay, more interesting.  Keep going

Writer:  so our guy is only part of the investigation, he can’t go after the President directly.  But he remembers that during the campaign, his team used a little “creative phrasing” to convince a judge to let them wiretap some people in the jerk’s campaign.  And one of those people is now the new President’s aide.  Our guy drops by the aide’s office to chat and just happens to ask some questions about one of the wiretapped conversations.  He doesn’t tell the aide he’s under investigation, the aide doesn’t have a lawyer present, the conversation isn’t recorded, but our guy goes back to the office and dummies up some notes in the file as to what our guy claims the aide said.

Boss:  so?

Writer: so our guy walks into the special investigator’s office and says “Hey, the President’s aide lied to me.  Here’s what he said on the wiretap and here’s what he told me in person.  He’s a liar.  We can prosecute him for lying and maybe get him to roll over on his boss, testify against the President.”  So the special prosecutor is liking that and ready to run with it but our guy screws up.  See, he’s married but he’s also having an affair with an FBI lawyer – that’s the love interest and we can get some steamy scenes out of that, too – and our guy sends his lover some texts bragging about his scam.  But somehow the texts leak

Boss: how?

Writer: I’m working on that.  But anyway, the texts leak and the special investigator finds out our guy is bent so his testimony is worthless,  but the special investigator really hates the President so he quietly reassigns our guy out of the way for a bit while he tries to finesse the aide into pleading guilty so he can get something to use against the President.

Boss: wait – what happened to our guy?  I thought this show was about him?

Writer: he’s reassigned to Human Resources to lay low until it blows over.  The special investigator temporarily becomes the star of the show.  It’s like when the main star is pregnant so the co-star gets a few episodes, you know?

Boss: yeah, okay.  Then what?

Writer: well, that’s as far as I’ve gotten.  But it’s great, right?  It’s got everything – sex, crime, politics, drama . . . so when do we start shooting?

Boss;  I gotta hand it to ya, kid, I really do.  Ya got a terrific imagination.  But this stuff, it’s too much.  It’s over the top.  One guy at the center of a conspiracy to take down the President?  Nobody would ever believe it.  And what the hell kind of name is Strzok?  Fuggedaboutit, kid.  Get the hell out of my office.

End scene

Joe Doakes

It’s only fiction if you ignore the real world.

Conundrum

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is walking out of the Riverview Theater in south Minneapolis.  Surrounded by hipsters and hippies as far as the eye can see, he tacitly wonders what the hell all these pretenders have done with his old neighborhood.  

As BERG approaches the door, Avery LIBRELLE walks in, early for the next showing of “Antifa: The Musical”.  

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  Er, hey, Avery.   What’s…

LIBRELLE:  Linnae Tweeden danced like a slut.

BERG:  Er, yeah.  And…?

LIBRELLE:  She was a cheesecale pinup girl.

BERG:  So…?

LIBRELLE:  She kissed other men and patted their backsides.

BERG:   And so…?

LIBRELLE:  So Al Franken didn’t do anything wrong in that photo.

BERG:  Even though he admitted to it himself.

LIBRELLE:  Senator Franken, peace be upon him, has no more control over his utterances than he has over what his hands do in the presence of a scantily-dressed wanton slut.

BERG:  Wait, wait, wait – so if a random guy at the office were to say “that woman is dressed provocatively, so I’m going to go grope her…”

LIBRELLE:  It’s sexual assault.  The moral equivalent of rape.

BERG:  But if Al Franken does it…

LIBRELLE:  She’s a slut who provoked the lusts of his innocent victim, Al Franken.

BERG:  So… (searches for words)

LIBRELLE:  Also, she’s a Republican.

BERG:  So that makes it OK.

LIBRELLE:  I’m not saying it’s OK…

BERG:  Oh, OK.  Thank goodness…

LIBRELLE:  But it’s OK.

BERG:  OK.  We’re getting somewhere.  So – men in general look with any lust in their heart upon a woman, no matter how she’s dressed…?

LIBRELLE:  Rapists who should be chemically neutered.

BERG:  Al Franken, who touched a woman in a leering provocative manner with out consent?

LIBRELLE:  Helpless before the wiles of a fallen Republican siren.

BERG:  Er…

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg – is the popcorn vegan?

BERG:  Only the buttered kind.

LIBRELLE:  Really?

BERG:  Absolutely.

(BERG continues out down the street to his car, shaking his head)

And SCENE

Speaking Entitlement To Power

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is at the Saint Paul Farmers Market, buying pickling cucumbers.

He is surprised when MyLissa Silberman – National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau correspondent – walks up behind him.

SILBERMAN:  Merg.

BERG:  Oh, hi, MyLyssa.

SILBERMAN: Republicans are trying to destroy the free media.

BERG:  Er, what now?

SILBERMAN:  A Republican legislator is proposing licensing journalists.

The measure would require journalists — defined as anyone writing or broadcasting news for a newspaper, magazine, website or television or radio station — to be registered and fingerprinted by the police and vetted for their “character and reputation.”

BERG:  I think you missed the point.

SILBERMAN:  No – it’s right here:

Committing journalism without a license within 500 feet of school or on a school bus would bump the penalty up from a misdemeanor to a felony. Journalists with felony or domestic battery convictions would be prevented from getting licenses. And unlicensed people would still be able to engage in journalism on property they own or rent.

That’s some serious infringement of a vital constitutional right.

BERG:  Um, yeah.  I heard you report about that.  Problem was, you missed the important part:

State Rep. Jim Lucas, a Republican from the southeastern part of Indiana and a vocal critic of his state’s gun restrictions, drafted the bill by copying language from a state law that requires a license to carry a handgun in public.

With these laws proposed for journalists, Lucas’s measure reads like satire.

SILBERMAN:  What are you talking about?

BERG:  Lucas is satirizing gun control laws; making people get a permit to exercise an essential Constitutional liberty, and putting all sorts of restrictions on it that have not thing to do with either public safety or, in its satirical form, the news.

SILBERMAN: But..Trump!

President Trump, who has demonized the news media as “the enemy of the American People,” alarmed free-speech advocates this week by writing on Twitter that NBC News should be punished by regulators after the organization published a report that he did not like.

BERG: OK.  So?  Trump said things that make the media uncomfortable.  Big f****ng whoop.  He can’t enforce any of it.

SILBERMAN:  No, Merg.  I repeat:

President Trump, who has demonized the news media as “the enemy of the American People,” alarmed free-speech advocates this week by writing on Twitter that NBC News should be punished by regulators after the organization published a report that he did not like.

BERG:  Right.  You already said it.  He demonizes the media.

Thing is, this proposal – it’s not even a bill, yet – isn’t about “oppressing the media”.  It’s about pointing out the double standards of the left and media (pardon the redundancy); hawkish absolutists about the sanctity of the First Amendment, dilatory and fuzzy on the Secone.

SILBERMAN:  But that’s unconstitutional.

BERG:  How so?

SILBERMAN:   Were you paying attention?  He said:

President Trump, who has demonized the news media as “the enemy of the American People,” alarmed free-speech advocates this week by writing on Twitter that NBC News should be punished by regulators after the organization published a report that he did not like.

BERG:   MyLissa, it’s not about the media, per se.  Although the media is certainly focuses on it.  Because it seems that the only civil rights the media really gets exercised about are its own.  First Amendment rights of non-media people?  Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth?   Crickets”.

SILBERMAN: LIsten, Merg:  “President Trump, who has demonized the news media as …”

 

But BERG has already disappeared.  

And SCENE.

A Tale Of Two Knees

SCENE:  Mitch BERG walks into Sluggo’s, a sports bar on University [1].  NFL games are on on six big-screen TVs around the room.  Around five, there are small, dilatory groups watching games.  Around one TV, though, there are a group of people crowded around; men in “Che Guevara” and “Don’t Park the Bus” t-shirts, a few younger women in similar attire, older women in “peasant” dresses.   BERG recognizes several people from the group:  Avery LIBRELLE, Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK, Inge CARROLL, Edmund DUCHEY, Brian FURIOUS, Sol GALLIVAN, Gutterball GARY, Cat SCAT, Professor William KRIEPPI, Gretel STROMBERG, Betty Rae TORSTENGAARDSEN and other liberal activism / alt-media / blogging mainstays.

BERG:  So…uh, hey.  Watching some Football?

LIBRELLE:  Yes, Merg.  It’s the American pastime!

BERG:  (thinks about it, decides not to pursue the error).  Huh.  So all of…(points at the crowd, who seem to be staring, uncomprehending, at the screen)…you are football fans.

DUCHEY:  My whole life.  While you’ve been writing “Sh*t in the Park” (some of the other gathered liberals snicker) I’ve been watching the Vikings greats like Pele and Bill Havlicek.

BERG:  Huh.

(BERG looks, notices that the teams have not yet taken the field.  Suddenly, it dawns on him).

BERG:  So – you all remember Tim Tebow, right?

(General incomprehension breaks out.  Then Gutterball GARY chimes in).

GARY:  He is the Christianist who took a knee before games.

(General hissssssssssssing breaks out from the crowd)

CARROLL:  He hates women!

STROMBERG (sotto voce):  “womenandtheirchildren”

CARROLL:  (sotto voce right back)  What, ,you think women are defined by their children?

SCAT:  He was a racist, sexist, ableist, ageist, classist, Christianist… (trails off)

(CARROLL and STROMBERG continue to argue.  On the TV, the teams are coming out onto the field)

BERG:  So – Tim Tebow was all sorts of awful things because he exercised his First Amendment right to express his faith in public.

(Generalized booing and hissing).

FURIOUS:  Everybody shut up.  It’s starting.

SCAT:   Oooh, I love the suspense.

(The national anthem starts.  The camera pans over dozens of player taking knees.   FURIOUS and DUCHEY frantically note the names and numbers of players that remain standing.   Cheers break out throughout the crowd)

BERG:  So – NFL players  who take a knee over “social justice causes”…

TORSTENGAARDSEN:  Heroes speaking truth to power.

BERG:  While Tim Tebow…

BIRKENSTOCK:  Racist sexist classist ableist cisgenderist Nazi who is literally Hitler.

(Anthem finishes.  The entire crowd risers from their chairs and heads for the exits)

DUCHEY (to GARY) Good game.  Good game.

(Within seconds, the table is empty.   The WAITRESS comes over.)

WAITRESS:  35  people at a table, and I got six dollars in tips.

BERG:  Wow.  They stiffed you pretty bad.

WAITRESS:  Well, technically, kind of – they ordered about $100 worth of kombucha, artisanal tea and one “gluten free lite beer”, and the rest just had water.

BERG:  You don’t even have kombucha or artisanal tea here, do you?

WAITRESS:  I can’t hear you. Naaah naaah naaaah.  (Walks away)

(And SCENE)

Continue reading

Sins Of Our Fathers/Mothers/Other/Both/Undefined

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is filling up his gas tank, focusing on the meter, as Avery LIBRELLE rides up on a Vespa.  

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg.

BERG:  Er, hi, Avery.  What’s up?

LIBRELLE:  Trump is an idiot.

BERG:  Naturally.  Why this time?

LIBRELLE:  He wants to deport DACA kids.

BERG:  Well, no.  He’s giving Congress six months to come up with a law that passes constitutional muster; DACA did not.  Trump is right about this.

LIBRELLE:  Nonsense.  It’s not these childrens’ fault their parents came to America.

BERG:  So children are not at fault for what their parents – the previous  generation – did?

LIBRELLE:  Absolutely not.

BERG:  So White people…

LIBRELLE:  …are all still at fault, precisely and exactly, for racist acts committed by white people from the 1500s to the 1960s, even if their ancestors didn’t own slaves, didn’t live in slave states and didn’t have anything to do with the slave trade.

BERG:  Children of illegal immigrants…

LIBRELLE:  …bear zero culpability for their parents supposed misdeeds.

BERG:  White people…

LIBRELLE:  …are still fully complicit in acts that happened 400 years ago.

BERG:  Huh.

LIBRELLE:  Say, I need to put gas in this thing.  Which pump is vegan and gluten-free?

And SCENE. 

 

News Conferences I’d Love To See. And Participate In.

SCENE:   Press conference where a Free Speech Rally is being announced for the Minnesota state capitol grounds.   A group of reporters is questioning the organizers of the rally – Madison JAMES, Tyrone JEFFERSON, and Jorge WASHINGTON.

WASHINGTON:   …So to sum up, we will hold our Free Speech rally at precisely noon.  We have our permit, and we are ready to stand up for the free speech rights of all Minnesotans and all Americans.

JEFFERSON:  Even those we don’t agree with.

JAMES:  We’ll now take questions.   (Sees hands rising, points to a sallow endomorph in his late forties with severe acne).  Yes.

REPORTER 1:  I’m Edmund DuChey, from “MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com”.  So your rally of Nazis and White Supremacists…

WASHINGTON:  Yeah, you can stop right there.  As noted before, this rally specifically denounces the American Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan, and everyone who would actively curtail the rights of others based on their ethnicity, religion or anything else.

JAMES:  And we’ve specifically disinvited them from the rally, and are ready to enforce that.

JAMES:  Next question.

REPORTER 2:  Walter Lennon-Marks from Minnesota Public Radio.  I notice that you have not disinvited people who plan on carrying firearms, concealed or openly, from the rally.

JEFFERSON:  That’s correct.

LENNON-MARKS:  Don’t you find that intimidates other speech?

WASHINGTON:  I find that it most definitely intimidates those who would threaten our rally with violence like “Anti”-Fa did in San Francisco.

JEFFERSON:  Or those who would act on those threats, as “Anti”-Fa did in Boston, and clearly plan to elsewhere.    Inducing them to keep their speech non-violent is a feature, not a bug.

JAMES:  Next question?

REPORTER 3:   Yes – Yvette Stahlen from the Star Tribune.  Why do all three of you make the scare quotes with your fingers whenever you say the “anti” in “Antifa?”

WASHINGTON:  Because they are “against fascism” in exactly the same way the Bloods are against the Crips, or the Gambinos were “against” the Luccheses.   These are two sides of the same noxious, anti-democratic, anti-freedom, pro-totalitarian coin.

STAHLEN:  But my editors’ oldest daughter is a member of Antifa, and has been ever since zhe graduated from Oberlin.

WASHINGTON:   (Walks down from the stage with a microphone, hands it to STAHLEN).  Here.

STAHLEN:  What do you want me to do with this.

WASHINGON:  Drop it for me.  I couldn’t possibly have ended this better than you did.

(And SCENE)

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been…

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is looking through the stacks at Midway Used Books.  G. Wellington BENBRIDGE-GELLER – better known to his social circle and fellow ‘Anti-Fascist Action Macalester” colleagues as “Wookie” – comes around the corner.  BENBRIDGE-GELLER, age 25, a graduate of Carlton College (BA Anthropology and Women’s Studies), is dressed in black from head to toe, including a black hoodie splotched with home-painted slogans, over a “Che Guevara” t-shirt – the only color in his mien.  He carries a gas mask and a bottle of bear spray in an NPR tote bag.  

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Uh, hey, “Wookie”.  What’s up?

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Fascist symbols are, themselves, a threat of violence to their targets, and thus justify violence in response.

BERG:  Meaning what?

BENBRIDGE-GELLER: It’s time to Punch a Nazi.

BERG:  Huh.  And you can tell Nazis by…

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Swastikas.  Brown shirts.  Make America Great Again caps.  GOP elephants.

BERG:  So, pretty much anyone who disagrees with you is a Nazi, so you feel you have leave to punch pretty much anyone.

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Yep.

BERG:  That means if anyone sees you, as you are an immediate threat to them, they can respond violently to you, then, as you are an immediate threat to them?

BENBRIDGE-GELLER:  Nope.  (Stops for a moment).  Hey – aren’t you a conservative talk show host?

(BENBRIDGE-GELLER winds up to kick BERG, but BERG reacts first, emptying a container of CS spray into his BENBRIDGE-GELLER’s face.  The younger guy falls to the floor, screaming, as BERG squirts the last remnants of the bottle at BENBRIDGE-GELLER’s head.  He tosses the empty bottle container, hitting the younger man in the face, and then grabs the reading stool and brings it down on BENBRIDGE-GELLER’s solar plexus before turning to walk out of the store.  A couple of patrons look at him, shocked)

BERG:  What?  You’re expecting a mildly sarcastic comic send-off to the bit?

(Bystanders go back to shopping as BERG pays for a couple copies of King and Country, and leaves store). 

And SCENE.

The Last You’ll Hear Of This Story

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is waiting to speak to a manager at O’Gara’s about some entertainment business.  

Avery LIBRELLE walks into the bar, holding a tin cup, seeking donations for Carlton students with “Triggering Fatigue”.  LIBRELLE notices BERG.

LIBRELLE:  MERG!

BERG:  Oh, hey, Avery. How ya doing?

LIBRELLE:  Fascists are launching that wave of violence.

BERG:  Actually, it’s “Anti”-Fa’s blackshirts that are actually doing the violence.

LIBRELLE:  Har di har!

BERG:  Remember that episode last March, where a permitted group of Trump supporters were…

LIBRELLE:  …where they encountered a group of anti-Fascists who were just minding their own business, and the blame was on both sides.

BERG:  That’s your story, and you’re sticking with it?

LIBRELLE:  Of course.  It’s settled science.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson says so.

BERG:   Yeah, not so much.  One of the snowflakes involved in the attack took the deal.    And as part of the deal, he had to admit on the record what happened.  Here, let me read fro this bit from Alphanews:

Sagermerek, who initially pled not guilty during his first court appearance, told the court he “maced someone” and had intentions of disturbing the peace when affirming he would plead not guilty.

However, when Taheri and Sagermerek went over the events of the March 4 Trump rally, Sagermerek contradicted himself by stating that he intended to counter-protest peacefully, though he later admitted to carrying mace in his pockets.

Describing Trump supporters as protesters and the alt-right, Sagermereck told the court he was covered head-to-toe in black, wearing a studded jacket and bandana over his face, that he arrived with several other people.

Acknowledging Trump supporters had built a wall to keep counter-protesters away from their event, Sagermereck told the court that is when he grabbed the canister of mace and “sprayed it at one of the Trump supporters.” He announced the attack to be one that was “unprovoked and not in defense.”

Seven other counter-protesters have been charged and are currently awaiting trial.

LIBRELLE:  Ah.  So the Trump supporters tried to keep the counter-protesters…

BERG:  …in their bandanas and blackshirt-wear…

LIBRELLE:  …away from their demonstration?   Well, there you go.  Hate crime.

BERG:  Of course it is.

But LIBRELLE has already walked to the other bar to try to order a gluten-free diet Pepsi. 

And SCENE.

 

Nope. Never Seen This Before.

SCENE:  Avery LIBRELLE is running down the street, clearly hysterical.  BERG sees Avery. 

BERG:  Avery!  What’s the matter?  Do you need help?

LIBRELLE:   There is  no help for this!  Trump is going to lead us into a nuclear war with North Korea!  We’re all doomed!

BERG:  How on earth do you figure?

LIBRELLE:   All that toxic masculinity!  That always leads to disaster!

BERG:  Er – have you read this yet?

LIBRELLE:  (Reads article).  Ah.  Another big win for Obama’s legacyi of diplomacy.

BERG:  That makes no sense… (But LIBRELLE has already skipped away)

And SCENE. 

For The Gander

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting in the tire shop, waiting for a patch on a slow leak.  Just as BERG thinks the phrase “slow leak”, Avery LIBRELLE enters the lobby, distracted, and sits.  Then, LIBRELLE notices BERG. 

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  Er, hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  Donald Drumpf and the Senate are proposing racist immigration laws.

BERG:  Do tell.

LIBRELLE:  They want to limit immigration to people who speak English, have skills that are in demand in the US, and who can support themselves.

BERG:  Huh.  So – you like Canadian healthcare, rigiht?

LIBRELLE:  Of course.

BERG:  In fact, you like Canada.

LIBRELLE:  I wish the woke, blue states could secede and join up with Canada.

BERG:  You do realize that Canada’s immigration system requires would-be immigrants to have skills that Canada needs – but not to take a job a Canadian needs – or to be capable of starting a business that’ll employ Canadians, and that would-be immigrants be able to support themselves so as not to be an immediate burden on their single-payer health insurance system…

LIBRELLE:  But they…

BERG:  I know, I know – they also allow a strictly-limited, and fairly small, number of refugees, plus an equally strictly-lijmited number of relatives of Canadian citizens – who, in effect sponsor the immigrants.

LIBRELLE:  (stands, non-pliused)

BERG:  So are the Canadians “racist”?

(Tire store employee walks over to the two)

EMPLOYEE:  Mister…er, Miss… Mizz… (looks at BERG.  BERG shrugs)   Er…Avery?

LIBRELLE:  Yes?

EMPLOYEE:  We don’t actually sell cargo bike tires here…

And SCENE

 

Benefits

Mitch: “Firearm magazines with more than ten rounds…”

“Progressive”: “…should ONLY be used by the police and military, because society gives them some extra benefits because they defend and protect the rest of us.”

Mitch: “Benefits like qualified immunity from prosecution for killings and injuries they inflict while they reasonably believe they’re doing the job we hire them for?”

“Progressive”: “No! Never! They should be *just like every other citizen!”.

Mitch: “Only with 30 round magazines”.

Progressive: “Yes. Why?”

Lie First, Lie Always: Gun Grabber “Science”

SCENE: Mitch BERG is trying out a guitar at a local music shop. As he begins to fingerpick the intro to “1957 Vincent Black Lightning”, Avery LIBRELLE enters the store, sees BERG, and walks up behind him.

LIBRELLE:Merg!

BERG:  Er, hey, Avery.  What’s up?

LIBRELLE:  We know you crazy gun nuts don’t care how many children die for your so called “right to keep and bear arms” -= but why do you oppose funding for basic public health research? What are you afraid of?

BERG:  Afraid?  Nothing.    Absolutely certain of what the criminal-safetyi movement means by “science?”  Now you’re on to something.

LIBRELLE:  Why?  Afraid of science?

BERG:  Hardly.  More like “Pretty certain nothing resembling “science” will take place

Here’s a great example; this message went out yesterday:

LIBRELLE:  So?

BERG:  So?  A survey using a self-selected  group of particpants, recruited by an anti-gun group?  Real “public health”, or even sociological or demographic –  research uses random subjects from a representative population – not people cherry-picked by a constituent that’s looking for a specific result.  And a control group?  Forget about it.

That’s not “science”.  It’s not even demography.  It’s public relations and politics.   If you call it “science”, you’re misrepresenting yourself and, yes, science itself.

Oh yeah – and in the fine print of the message, it says the “researchers” will likely quote you unless the results of the “study” are under a confidentiality agreement.

This isn’t science. This barely qualifies as group slander.  Anyone putting this, or its results, out there as “science” should be charged, at least rhetorically, with malpractice.

LIBRELLE:  Check your privelege, racist.

BERG:  Naturally.

LIBRELLE:  And you need…

(BERG cranks the guitar to 11 and starts playing the intro to “Anarchy in the UK”)

(And SCENE)

Ripped From Social Media – As Far As You Know

Q: “Did you see that episode of “The Office” where…

A: “See it? I don’t even own a TV! All TV is crap!”

Q: “Huh. Oh, I see Chris Cornell died…”

A: “Who? Some singer? I don’t listen to any pop music after 1970. I don’t even own a record, cassette, 8 track, CD or MP3 player!”

Q: “All right. So did you see that talk about…:”

A: “Talk? The English language is so debased. I only communicate in Kings’ Anglo-Saxon…”

(And SCENE)

Our Sonafabitch

SCENE:  Mitch Berg is picking through a bin of “Priced To Move” CDs at a “Half Price Books” when Avery LIBRELLE notices him, and slowly tiptoes up on him from behind.

BERG:  Hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  Er…OK, Merg, how did you know I was here?

BERG:  (not looking up from the CD bin)  It’s the same expository plot device Mitch always uses for these bits.  Your surprise me at some location where I can’t tactfully get away without dropping a smoke grenade.  So – what can I do for you?

LIBRELLE:  Donald Trump is sucking up to fascists.

BERG:  (Finding a CD of “The River”)  What, again?  Do tell.

LIBRELLE:   He’s invited loose cannon fascist Filipino dictator Rodrigo Duterte to the White House for a meeting

BERG:  (Visibly disinterested)   So?  And he was elected democratically.  He’s not a dictator until he suspends Filipino democracy.

LIBRELLE:   He’s cozying up to fascists.

BERG:  Would you prefer that the Philippines – tens of millions of heavily westernized people, a growing economy, a key military position on the PacRim, and a long time ally of the United States – fall into the Chinese orbit?

LIBRELLE:  But Duiterte is an awful man!

BERG:  He’s a democratically elected leader.  And sometimes you make common cause with awful people to solve more important goals.  Like containing China.

LIBRELLE:  We can’t condone extremists like Duterte!

BERG:  His “extremism” is a matter for the people of his country to ascertain.  And containing Chinese expansionism is for us to do.

LIBRELLE:  You know who Duterte sounds like?

BERG:  Melissa Click?

LIBRELLE:  (Stops, stares, puzzled into space, slowly walks away)

BERG:  See ya.

And SCENE