Our Gullible Left

Nobody is going to “impeach” President Obama.

Oh, some fringers will write angry demands for impeachment; some overwrought but underinformed people on the far outskirts of the political mainstram will take up the call, wave their signs, buy their T-shirts and bumper-stickers – the usual stuff.

But there’s not going to be an impeachment, because it is legally and practically impossible.  While the House might hypothetically be able to write, vote on and pass “Articles of Impeachment” – sort of what an indictment would be in a criminal case – the Democrat-controlled Senate would never vote to impeach a sitting Democrat President. 

The GOP on Capitol Hill knows this.  So does everyone on both sides who paid attention during civics class. 

That’s a class that apparently doesn’t include a lot of wealthy, ignorant Democrats (ptr):

President Obama and the Democratic Party are presently peddling a conspiracy theory that Republicans have a secret plan to impeach him from office. Their reason for selling this theory is nakedly self-interested: to raise money from gullible donors and drive turnout from excitable but poorly informed voters who may be unhappy with the President’s job performance but remain personally loyal to him.


Democrats, of course, are just cynically exploiting anything that can help them gain partisan advantage. What is much more disappointing is the media playing along with this agitprop campaign, in particular by hounding Republican candidates across the country to discuss impeachment and then turning their answers into “Republicans talking about impeachment” stories even if they strenuously deny that they’re interested in such a thing (or, as commonly happens, if they duck the question or offer vague answers designed to avoid alienating voters who might very much like to see the President impeached or at least see something tried).

It reminds me of the “when did you stop beating your wife”-style beginnings of the “War on Women” meme two years ago; the Democrats and media (ptr) began wagging the public dog on the issue, conjuring up a non-existent movement just in time for election time.

Expect an avalanche of this in the next two years.


Many of us in the faith community have observed that Big Atheism loves to attack Christianity (the “turn the other cheek” faith) with a demented fervor, while remaining fairly silent about occasionally, disturbingly violence-prone Islam.

“Why don’t you take a crack at excoriating Islam – or to one of the other secular faiths, like big feminism?” we ask.

We all assumed the answer was because they were hypocrites.
The real answer seems to be “because they’re hypocrites, and are justly afraid of their own, co-secular-religionists on the left”.

In recent years, Andrew Dawkins – one of Big Atheism’s major evangelists – finally crossed that invisible line, and started attacking not only Islam, but the left’s great secular faith, gender identity feminism.

It hasn’t worked out well – for him, or for Big Left’s intellectual honesty.
For the rest of us, though?

In the process, he’s exposed a rich vein of hypocrisy in the Left — and, more significantly, an intellectual rift between hard-line and multiculturalist atheists. That rift is growing fast: non-believers, having exhausted their anti-Christian rhetoric, are turning on each other with the ferocity of religious zealots. Enjoy.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Savage Was Right

Joel Doakes from Como Park emails:

More and more, Liberals remind me of the princess who couldn’t sleep on the pile of mattresses because there was a single pea under them. It tormented her, she was wretched, miserable, unable to function because of that tiny flaw in her otherwise perfect existence. Liberals act like that all the time:
That woman who was upset because opposing counsel was SHOUTING at her in email, a clear case of unprofessional cyber-bullying.
The school principal that expelled the 2nd grader who nibbled a Pop Tart into the shape of a dangerous assault weapon.
Barak Obama and Eric Holder claiming the only reason people are upset about their Anti-American policies is because of subtle, persistent racism.
It’s as if Liberals believe Disneyworld is the ideal world and if we all try just a teensy bit harder, we can make it happen in all our lives, everywhere, all the time, for free.
Living in a fantasy, unable to distinguish what is real from what is imaginary, that’s the definition of mental illness. Or Liberal. Take your pick.
Joe Doakes

they do seem to try to have things both ways…

When Seconds Count

When Michael Bloomberg (and all of that money of his) entered the anti-gun market, some of us worried that all of those Jacksons would bring a new air of professionalism to the anti-human-rights movement. 

And in some ways it has.

But in others?

Just saying – this video by “Everytown for Grabbing Guns” pretty much underscores exactly the points we shooters have been making all along:

When seconds count, the police are minutes away. 

If the improbably cute mom had had the means to deal with the inevitably evil ex, the police would just need to clean up the mess.

A Brief History Of Proportionality

Act 1

[SCENE:  The New Jersey-side bank of the Delaware River, December 24, 1776.  General George WASHINGTON, having just led the ragged Continental Army across the Delaware River, is having a final conference with his senior officers before attacking the Hessians, who are passed out, hung over after their Christmas drinking binges, in their winter camp in Trenton New Jersey.]

WASHINGTON:  Our revolution has had major setbacks this past year.  Now is our time to strike back, re-set the balance of this war, and convince the French, Dutch and Spanish that the Revolution can be sustained!

[The generals cheer - except for A. LIBRELLE, a civilian bureaucrat attached to the Army by the group Justice For Britain].

LIBRELLE:  I’m sorry, General.  This attack is disproportionate.  Your men need to get drunk,, become hung over, and then wake the Hessians so it can be a fair fight.  And lose the cannon.

General Marquis de LAFAYETTE:  Sacre bleu, is this person mad? 


Act 2

[SCENE:  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1863.  General George Gordon MEADE, commander of the Army of the Potomac, is at the front line atop Cemetery Ridge, alongside his battered, bloodied army.  Across a wide open field, Confederate General George Pickett is lining up his troops for their epic charge across the rolling field of grass, as MEADE's artillerymen load their cannon]

MEADE:  Men – this is it.  It’s here that the union stands, or falls.  We hold here, or the war is over.   Who’s with me, boys!

[The men cheer - except for A. LIBRELLE, a representative from Quakers for Peace, whose head shakes and face scowls disapprovingly].

LIBRELLE:  Wait, General.  This isn’t proportionate.  You should move your men off this hill and away from behind these walls and fences, and move down into the field so that nobody has cover, and it’s a fair fight.  And what’s with the “men” and “boys” bit?  Isn’t that just a tad patriarchal?

MEADE:  It’s the Army…


Scene 3

[SCENE:  London, June 5, 1944.  Generals Dwight EISENHOWER, Bernard Law MONTGOMERY and Omar BRADLEY are firming up the final details of the next day's invasion of Europe, known to us as "D-Day".]

EISENHOWER:  The entire fate of Western Civilization hangs on tomorrow’s invasion.


BRADLEY:  We’ve done all we can.  Now, it’s just down to the guts of the regular GI Joe.

[A. LIBRELLE, representative from the United Nations Office of Philosophy, interrupts]

LIBRELLE:  Wait – Generals?  This invasion is by no means proportionate.  You have battleships, paratroopers, waves and waves of bombers.  The Germans have none of theses. 

MONTGOMERY:  Then you suggest…

LIBRELLE:  Do the invasion without the battleships, the bombers, or the paratroopers. 

EISENHOWER:  That’s suicide!

LIBRELLE:  It’s proportional!


Scene 4

[SCENE:  Somewhere in the desert of Judea, early in the morning, 63BC.  Roman legionary RICHARDUS Magnus is addressing his Legion before their final assault on the Jewish stronghold of Masada, where dozens of Jewish patriots are making a last stand against the Roman conquerors]

RICHARDUS:  Legionaires!  Today we shall charge up the siege towers and scale the walls and build a pyramid of the enemy’s skulls!

[The soldiers cheer lustily, as A. LIBRELLIVS, a reporters from the news-scroll Tempus Romanii, stands, bored, kicking at clods of sand]

RICHARDUS:  [Looks at LIBRELLIVS with a look of ill-concealed disdain] Anything to add, Librellius?

LIBRELLIVS:  Nah, I got nothing. 


Slouching Towards St. Paul

The Invisible Primary heads for it’s exciting dramatic interesting necessary conclusion.

There have been no polling updates.  No shocking endorsements.  No conflicts.  A candidate ended up in the hospital…due to an ulcer.

The slouch towards the Minnesota GOP choosing a candidate to go up against Gov. Mark Dayton will end in the next two weeks, and perhaps finally usher in some interest in what has proven to be a deadly dull campaign cycle thus far.  So how can the four major contenders to be the GOP nominee win on August 12th?

Businessman Scott Honour

Why He’ll Win: In the words of Jimmy Buffett, Honour has spending money – money to burn.  Having raised more money than any other candidate running for governor, including Mark Dayton, Honour has the highest cash on hand of the GOP field in the primary’s closing weeks.  While those figures are highly inflated by his self-contributions totaling over $900,000, Honour has demonstrated the ability and willingness to spend freely – a desirable quality when third party interest groups have raised $11 million (most of it for Democrats) for the cycle…

Why He’ll Lose: …but have you seen how he’s spending it?


Zzz…huh?  Oh, it’s over?

Honour may be playing on his “outsider” credentials, but he’s running the most “insider” looking campaign of the four major Republicans in the race.  His advertising hasn’t been unique, either in terms of style or substance, nor particularly plentiful for a man whose raised $1.7 million.  Even a sympathetic profile of his candidacy suggest he “hasn’t run a highly visible campaign.”  That’s not surprising given Honour’s massive payments to consultants.  Long-time GOP consultants Pat Shortridge and Shanna Woodbury have combined to cost Honour’s campaign almost $270,000.  Considering the last polls on the race showed him in 4th place, Honour may wonder what exactly he paid them for.

Former Speaker Kurt Zellers

Why He’ll Win: Give the former Minnesota House Speaker credit – he’s taken what should be a huge vulnerability (his uneven performance as Speaker) and leveraged it about as well as he could into a narrative of his opposition to Mark Dayton.  Granted, Zellers’ narrative ends in 2011, when the legislature forced Dayton to end the government shutdown on their terms, and leaves out the messy details such as the controversial constitutional amendments or the Vikings’ stadium debate debacle.


Much like his TV ad, Zellers is doing nothing wrong, even if he’s not excelling at doing anything right.  His branding isn’t unique, but it’s on message.  His no new tax pledge may be an albatross in the general election, but he’s running to win the primary.  He doesn’t have the greatest amount of cash on hand or legislative endorsements, but he’s second in both those categories.  Plus, he’s been either in the lead or tied for it in most polling (what little has been done).

Why He’ll Lose: A low turnout election, which this race is shaping up to be, isn’t great news for a man whose reasonably high name ID comes from a poor performance as Speaker.  Zellers has never been adored by the GOP rank and file, and his advertising isn’t abundant enough to necessarily undo memories of 2012 and a lost House majority.  The real question may be if Zellers has invested his limited resources into a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) organization or not – a likely better use of money than TV or radio advertising.  Zellers may win in a divided field where just enough Republicans vaguely remember his name without his political baggage, but that’s not a great winning strategy.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson

Why He’ll Win: The nearly 20 Minnesota GOP Victory Centers.  Neither Johnson nor the State GOP may have bountiful resources to contribute to the primary, but the endorsement process still has some value in the form of thousands of dutiful volunteers making GOTV phone calls.  And while that sort of internal support hasn’t been as consistent as it once would have been for an endorsed candidate (see the 8th Congressional District’s pushback, for example), it’s been more the exception than the rule thus far.


Despite being the endorsed candidate, Johnson’s advertising (what little there is of it) has leaned more on quirk than his endorsement (Scott Honour could have learned something here).  Given the state’s penchant for electing candidates with memorable advertising (Paul Wellstone/Jesse Ventura), the tactic is likely a wise one.  And with an independent expenditure group also running TV ads on his behalf, Johnson looks less likely to get buried in a last minute blizzard of ad revenue.

Why He’ll Lose: Johnson’s week off the campaign trail to deal with surgery for an ulcer is the least of his concerns; especially as his campaign took kudos for their handling of the situation.  The problem is that Johnson’s health was the most campaign coverage he’s received since the endorsement battle.

Nor has Johnson exactly leveraged his endorsement well.  Only 44 current and former legislators have endorsed his candidacy.  Rep. Erik Paulsen throw his support behind Johnson, but there’s little sense that the GOP powers-that-be are overly willing to spend political capital to ensure Johnson wins in August.  Even Johnson himself acknowledged a “wait and see” approach from at least the donor class.  If that attitude exists with the average activist, Johnson could certainly lose.

Former Rep. Marty Seifert

Why He’ll Win: He’s a “maverick.”  He’s courting voters in the rural regions of the State.  He’s completely unapologetic about his parliamentary maneuver at the State GOP Convention…wait, I’m writing about why he’ll win.

The former House Minority Leader certainly has some name ID with GOP activists, having won both the 2010 and 2014 caucus straw polls.  And despite all the attention being paid to the endorsement tiff, relatively few primary voters will have really heard about it, and even fewer will understand what the angst is about.  What voters in outstate Minnesota will hear is a consistent message targeted to rural issues, as Seifert has furiously toured the non-metro sections of the state.  The result should likely be Seifert dominating in districts like the 1st, 7th and 8th Congressional…

Why He’ll Lose: …but those districts don’t comprise nearly enough voters to win, especially if Seifert under-performs in the Metro.  Despite being the first GOP candidate to air a TV ad, the buy was small and not really focused on the Metro.


Nor does he have the resources to likely compete.  Seifert has raised the least amount of money of the four major candidates and has the smallest amount of cash still on hand – $71,000.  His totals aren’t massively different than Jeff Johnson’s, but Johnson has the party apparatus and an independent expenditure group to provide support.  Seifert’s ground game is totally up to him to fund.

While the resentment from Seifert’s endorsement exit may be hard for non-politicos to fully understand (or care about), it doesn’t help that in a race that’s been defined by the lack of conflict, Seifert’s candidacy is the only one having any significant anger directed towards it.  Under the old, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” rule, some primary voters – even those who may not understand the anger – may simply steer clear of Seifert based on the reaction his candidacy causes among others.  If Seifert had a well-funded ad campaign, it’s highly doubtful such anger among a small, but vocal, minority would impact the race.  In the absence of a strong counter-message (in particular in the media-heavy metro), Seifert’s candidacy looks like an outlier with segments of the base.

Democrat Women’s’ War On Themselves

Alison Grimes, the Democrat candidate to try to replace Mitch McConnell, said (with emphasis added):

Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself,” Grimes said. “But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in

You know what would happen if a Republican woman had said that, right?

Trulbert! Part III: Ten Thousand Holes In Blankford, Lancashire

 - 1AM, Monday, September 1, 2015: The Hendrickson Home, South Minneapolis

t was after midnight. Lynn was sprawled, asleep, under the covers. Hendrickson puffed an e-cig and smiled.

He thought about all the petty anxieties he usually felt on these insomniac evenings were whittled down.  Gone was the usual “what the hell is going on with this country”, or “is my job going to be here tomorrow”, or “is Charlie or is Charlie not on the right track academically”. 

No, there was only simple contentment, as Lynn lightly snored next to him – and that, mostly, kept his mind occupied and smiling as he faded off to sleep. 

Looks like tomorrow could be pretty decent, for a Monday.

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Pick Your Poison

The Star/Tribune last week ran a piece noting and lamenting the fact that as many as 50 trains carrying oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields cross Minnesota – every week.

And I remembered – when I was a kid growing up in rural North Dakota, we used to get over 20 trains a day passing through…

…mostly loaded with coal to power the Twin Cities powerplants.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Reviewing Amazon’s subscription service, this guy is talking about me:
“ . . . the sort of people who will benefit most from the subscription model are the sort of readers who will make do with reading the back of a cereal box if nothing else is available.”
Joe Doakes


Me? Well, I will read darned near anything when I’m desperate enough, I hate subscription model everything. Software, books, periodicals – you name it.

Dead Cat Recovery

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Fewer people are missing mortgage payments in Minnesota. I suspect that means all the bad loans, marginal loans, unemployed, sick and elderly mortgage payers have been wrung out of the system over the past seven years and now are renters, which explains the tight rental market.
The only homeowners left are those who can and will pay. It’s nice that fewer people are losing their homes. If that’s because fewer people have homes to lose, it’s not unalloyed good news.
Joe Doakes

Where are the housing values blooming these days? Not where the worst of the foreclosure crisis was, or most of the bad loans got shaken out.

Junk Science, Junkier “Journalism”

In recent years, this blog has made great sport of criticizing the MinnPost‘s coverage of Second Amendment issues, noting that much of their coverage has been both anti-gun and comically poor, and pointing out they are sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, which actively sponsors many anti-gun groups (including Protect MN here in Minnesota, and the national-scoped “Violence Policy Center”, or “VPC”). 

On the other hand, Joyce has sponsored the work of reporter Mike Cronin, who is three parts into a series on America’s gun culture (check out his installments so far on his introduction to shooting, attending a permit training class with Andrew Rothman, and his conversations with violence victims).   The series, thus far, is genuinely fair and balanced; I’ve talked with Cronin, and he seems interested in keeping it that way.  That’s all to the good. 

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One For The Good Guys

Armed robber tries to stick up a store in North Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Police responded to a report of an armed robbery just before 9 a.m. at the Handy Stop on the 2600 block of West Broadway Avenue. When officers arrived, they learned an armed suspect entered the store and attempted to rob it at gunpoint.

Armed store owner had a dissenting opinion:

Police said at some point, the suspect and the store owner exchanged gun fire. Nobody was hit as a result of the gun fire, and there were no injuries in the incident. The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived and is still at-large.

There are few news stories in the world that make me happier than criminal scum leaving the premises, in cuffs, on a stretcher or, Heaven forfend, a gurney (let’s not call it “happy” in this case), or even at a dead run with soiled undies as a law-abiding citizen sweeps up shell casings behind him. 

They’ve just got to set Michael Bloomberg spinning in the coffin he sleeps in.

The Kill Cult

Joe Doakes from Como Park emailed me about something Glenn Reynolds wrote, that I wanted to write about anyway:

Libertarian, explained in six sentences:
“So, I’m skeptical of the death penalty’s administration because the criminal justice system is a disaster. But, assuming guilt, I don’t really care much about the morality of killing people. The nation-state is all about killing people. Its sole reason for existing is that it’s better at killing people in large numbers than any other form of human organization. If you don’t like the idea of the state killing people, you don’t like the idea of the state. If you don’t realize this, it’s because your thinking is confused.”

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, 8:34 a.m. July 25, 2014

Far be it from me to disagree with the esteemed Prof. Reynolds, but I think it’s his thinking that’s confused.

We pay taxes to a state that excels at carrying out violence for the same reason we buy a pistol and get a carry permit; we are responding prudently to a threat by giving ourselves the means to defend ourselves, singularly and collectively, from what the law calls “an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm” or it’s state equivalent, conquest and destruction. Judgment is called for – but not “due process”.

I don’t necessarily trust the state to “get self-defense right”, but where the alternative is being conquered by someone much worse, I’ll accept the risks.

Criminal justice is not self-defense. It’s not about life or death (for the crime victim, anyway) – not anymore. The perp is in custody. It’s about making things right, which involves getting things right.

Except the state can’t get things right – not 100% of the time.

There is no alternative to self-defense – you live if it works, and if it doesn’t you die. There is a reasonable alternative to the state botching executions, or, worse, killing the wrong person entirely (as they have certainly done more than a few times).

I tolerate the idea of the state defending us imperfectly because there is no rational alternative. There are plenty of rational alternatives to the state botching the judicial execution.

There. I hope I’ve settled that once and for all.

Doakes Sunday: Findings Of Fact

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another company leaving Minnesota for Wisconsin. This one is probably more about marketing to its customer base than taxes; still . . . . . Dayton -1, Walker +1.

unlike the date and administrations job numbers, the number of “companies leaving Minnesota” is getting revised downward anytime soon.

In unrelated news I see that Chuck Knoblauch is accused of domestic assault, therefore the Twins have cancelled his induction into the Twins hall of fame.
I don’t care a whit for sports heroes, but the endless manipulation for PC is really tiresome. Not to mention that if this happened when he was on the team and useful for their pennant rally, they would be on the soap box reminding us that the justice system needs time to work, that a person is innocent until proven guilty, etc.
I did not read any of the story, or see it on the news. Don’t have a clue what evidence, if any, is involved. But PC sucks.
Joe Doakes

it’s Minnesota. “People” – ha ha – accused of domestic abuse will be assured a speedy trial and immediate execution.

Only NARN Can Break A Heart

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!

  • , Brad Carlson is in the studio today from 1-3.  He’s got a full slate of guests – check him out!
  • Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!
  • I’ll be in for Brad tomorrow from 1-3 on “The Closer”!   I’ll be talking with Andrew Richter about his resignation from the Crystal Planning Commission, and of course with the reigning Ms. Minneapolis Julie Schliesing.

(All times Central)

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:

Join us!

Good Intentions

Seventy years ago today, a 500-pound bomb from an American bomber that dropped its payload miles short of its intended target fell 20,000 feet, and landed squarely on top of Lieutenant General Lesley McNair.

General Lesley McNair, who died – spectacularly – 70 years ago today.

Literally. The bomb fell directly into McNair’s foxole, landing physically directly on top of the three star general. McNair was dead from being hit by 500 pounds of metal screaming earthward at 600 miles per hour, even before the bomb exploded.

But explode it did, further mangling the unlucky general’s body so badly that the only parts that were immediately recognizable were the three gold stars from his collar, found some distance away from the bomb crater that remodeled the general’s foxhole.

The graves registration detail found the parts the best they could – which is exactly as difficult a job as you might imagine for a body that had been almost literally wrapped around 400 pounds of explosives and 100 or so pounds of steel. His mortal coil thus uncoiled and then re-coiled, he was buried at the American Cemetary in Normandy – the senior American interred at this most holy of shrines to America’s sacrifice in Europe.

He was one of four American three-star generals killed in action during the war.

It wasn’t McNair’s first brush with death; he’d been wounded by German artillery in North Africa the previous year.

McNair (center) in Tunisia. The day after this photo was taken, McNair was wounded by fragments from a German artillery shell.

But neither his bad luck nor his bravery were the the most notable thing about General Lesley McNair. For while his death was one for the trivia contests, his life was of immense impact – much of it controversial to this day.

For while generals like Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall, Patton, Bradley, Clark, MacAuliffe and Gavin were household names in America, then and (mostly, and among historians) now, there were few men in history who had more to do with how America fought the war, and the lot of the American fighting man, than Lieutenant General Lesley McNair.

And most of the legacy was just as bad as McNair’s end was spectacular and bizarre.

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That’s Rock And Roll

In the whole history of pop music, the whole “hypstr chicks warbling out-of-tune protest-y songs over campfire-style guitar-strumming” is the third worst genre ever hatched (behind only “hypstr chicks warbling out-of-tune protest-y songs over plinky pianos” and, worst of all, “hypster chicks warbling out-of-tune protest-y songs over ukuleles”).  Wanna call that part of the “war on women?”  I’m OK with that.  The genre is that bad.  Someone’s gotta say it.  I’ll take the hit for the betterment of humanity.

On the other hand?  If you are a progressive, this song is the call to action you need…:

…because if you are a “progressive”, Elizabeth Warren – Cherokee chieftain that she is – is the only intellectually honest choice for President in 2016.

You don’t have to believe me. The out-of-tune chick warbling partly in-tune over the politely-strummed, co-op-approved campfire guitar has spoken.

A Watchdog That Only Barks At Mailmen

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

They completely missed the real scandal, which is President Obama’s imperial disregard for the law, but at least this is a step in the right direction. Sorry about the annoying survey pop-up, no wonder nobody reads that newspaper.

Gun-running to Mexico and refusing to enforce the borders don’t bother the editors. Closing the ocean is no problem. Targeting Americans for drone strikes is fine. But sneak a peek at a journalist’s email and they turn on you like savages.

Better late than never.

Joe Doakes

it’s hard to come up with even a short list of things that’ve disgusted me about this administration, and about this country during this administration, but on the very short list would have to be the fact that the media only act like watchdogs when the media, itself, is affected.

There needs to be in accounting for that, someday.

Trulbert!, Part II – Blink

 – 9PM, Saturday, August 30 – Somewhere in South Minneapolis, MN
It had been a long, brutal day – exactly enough to make Paul Hendrickson wish he’d gone to his sister-in-law’s baby shower with his wife instead. Ten hours in the office chasing bugs, another day’s worth coming up tomorrow, and no end in sight.

And nobody at home; Lynn had taken the kids to visit their cousins up in Bemidji, and nobody would be home until Sunday night.

He drove up Hiawatha Avenue, past the desultory light rail and spotty car traffic, and saw a joint he’d never seen before - the “Invisible Hand” Bar and Grill, on Hiawatha somewhere in the forties.  One of the girls in QA had told him they made a great burger.

But they had me at beer, Hendrickson thought, as he tried to remember the last time he’d been in a bar without either his wife or his co-workers.  Since the Clinton years, for sure, he mused as he pulled into the parking lot.  He hesitated – I could just nuke some leftover beef stew, he thought – before turning off the car and walking into the bar.  He yawned loudly as he walked into the bar.  A whiteboard sign pointed an arrow labeled “Seat Yourself” to the left, and “TRU LBRT, The Gathering!” to the right.

Defininitely want “Seat  Yourself“,Hendrickson thought, absent-mindedly turning to the right.

He stepped into a large back-room, about half full of people, and grabbed a seat at a table and opened a menu.

“Welcome!”, chirped Dave Os, in a different tweed jacket, wering a different bow-tie, sitting down at Hendrickson’s table.

“Um…hello?” Hendrickson replied, looking suspiciously over the top of his menu.

“So what’s your interest in liberty?” Os asked, his fingers absendmindedly running through the impeccably-tended whiskers of his beard.

“Um – I’m strongly in favor?”  Hendrickson replied looking for a waitress.

“Good!”, said Os, as Ron Pallsacher – wearing a Gadsden flag t-shirt – sat down next to him.

“So…why are you asking me?” asked Hendrickson, looking for a waitress who seemed not to be coming at all.

“Oh, you’re at the TRU LBRT gathering!”, said Pallsacher, pronouncing it “True Liberty”.

“Huh.  I guess I’m in the wrong room”.

“Or maybe the right room”, Os said.  “I mean, do you value freedom, don’t you?”

“Well, I’m married, so clearly it’s an academic question to me…”

“So you don’t value liberty?”, Pallsacher chimed in, missing the joke.

“No, no, of course I do…although I really don’t know what you’re getting at”, Hendrickson said, giving up on the waitress for the moment.

“What we’re getting at”, said Pallsacher, “is that government takes away your liberty, and we’re going out to take it back”. Os nodded.

“Ah.  I gotcha.  Well, sort of”, Hendrickson said, leaning forward in his chair, dusting off a mental drawer that hadn’t been opened in quite a few years of not reading much about politics.  “Like what liberties have we lost?”

“Oh, like the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures”, Os said, nervously twisting a lock of his beard into a little spike, then un-twisting it.

“Oh yeah – like all those no-knock SWAT team raids.  Yeah, I’ve heard about those.  Those are bad news”.

“Or the prohibition against marijuana”, said Os.

“Bingo”, said Pallsacher.  “Why ban bud?”

“Not really my thing”, Hendrickson relied – even when he had experimented, he’d been much more into uppers…

“Or raw milk!”, Os continued.  “Why should government force me to drink pasteurized milk?”

“Or taxes!”, said Pallsacher, his fists clenched in excitement as Arnie Quist, wearing fashionably unwashed raw-denim jeans and a formal seed cap, sat down next to Hendrickson.

“Well, yeah – my taxes are mighty high”, Hendrickson nodded, casting a suspicious glance at Quist. 

“Why should you have to pay any taxes at all?”, Os asked. 

“Er…to support the government?”, Hendrickson replied gingerly, provoking chuckles from Os, Pallsacher and Quist.

“Most of our problems stem from government”, Quist said, to enthusiastic nods from Os and Pallsacher. 

“You’re telling me.  I work in healthcare software.  What a freaking nightmare”, Hendrickson said, to nods from the other men. 

“It’s so far beyond healthcare.  Most of the problems in this world are caused by government.  That’s why I’m an anarcho-capitalist”, said Os. 

“Huh”, said Hendrickson, sorting out the phrase in his head.  “Capitalism without government.  So how does that work?”

“Very well!”, said Quist. 

“Where?” asked Hendrickson.

“Well, nowhere, yet”

“OK, I figured that.  But I mean, literally – how does it work?   How do you have capitalism without some sort of court system to enforce contracts?”

“Courts can be corrupted by the banksters that control goverment”, Quist chimed in, as Oz Streachan sat next to Os. 

“Right, I get that.  But how do you enforce contracts?  I mean, I’ve had to take vendors to court for non-delivery.  How do you do that without having some sort of government?”

“Everyone observes the NAP – the Non-Aggression Principle”, said Pallsacher. 

“They have no reason not to, without government distorting the free market”, added Os. 

“OK”, said Hendrickson, “I’m going to have to think about that one.  But this “non-aggression principle” brings up the other thing – like, defending the country…”, he said, stopping when all four men started laughing.  “OK, what?”

“Well”, said Quist, “wars happen because governments exist.  In a world without governments and the interests that control them, and everyone observing the Non-Aggression Principle, there’d be no need for defense, since there’d be no government to defend against”. 

“So everyone in the world will just suddenly agree to get along?”, Hendrickson asked, looking at the four men. 

“Well, it’ll take some time to win everyone over – which is what we’re working on tonight!”, said Quist. 

“So Al Quaeda will stop trying to kill us, because…”

“Because we won’t be trying to kill them”, said Streachan. 

“Gotcha.  OK – so who builds the roads?”

The four men – now joined by Frena Marquette and Bill Durburgh – erupted laughing.

“Who’ll ‘build the roads’”, Quist chuckled. 

“Yeah, never heard that one before!” guffawed Streachan. 

Hendrickson looked among his six tablemates.   “OK, so how do roads get built – say, a road between two cities across private land, without any recourse to eminent domain?”

“The private market will settle it”, Os and Durburgh responded, as Pallsacher answered “Really, there can be no more inland cities”, while Streachan and Quist chimed in “Hover cars!”, and Marquette replied “their problem, not mine”.

Hendrickson looked at them.  “Huh.  Interesting.  So the the perfect world will become perfect through the complete lack of government?”

“Yes!”, answered all six immediately.

“Interesting”, Hendrickson replied.  “Hey – I’m supposed to meet someone across town.  Nice to meet you all.  Gotta dash”. 

Os handed Hendrickson a business card reading “Dave Os – Social De-Engineer”.  “Call me if you want to get involved!”

“Will do!”, said Hendrickson.  “Nice to meet you all”, he said, side-stepping toward the door. 

– 11AM East China Time, Sunday, August 31 – Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China

Field Marshal Li Wang H’sing groaned, half in pain, half in pleasure, as the masseuse’s fingers dug into the fleshy skin of his upper back.

Li’s uniform coat – hung neatly on the door to the room, whose view overlooked Shanghai harbor from the 42nd Floor of the Peoples’ Liberation Bank headquarters building – had six stars on the epaulettes. His ID card – tucked into his wallet, in his back pants pocket, also hanging from the door – identified him as as the Commander of the People’s Liberation Bank.

And the masseuse – an 18 year old girl from Sichuan – was definitely in line for a promotion to Sergeant.

The door knocked, three times, briskly.

“Enter”, Li yelled in his dense, Shanghai accent.

Colonel Wu T’ang Klan – a trim, athletic 40-something man in a Peoples’ Liberation Army officer’s daily dress uniform with a “Cybercommando” patch on the left shoulder – entered the room. Eyeing the masseuse, he smiled – the perks of command were indeed excellent, he briefly mused, pondering his own evening’s plans after getting off duty in the Operations Center. But he shook the thought off.

“What is it, Wu?” Li groaned.

“Three things, Comrade Field Marshal. First – Commissioner Fong is going to be here at eight to discuss the matter of the natural gas exports”

Li groaned. It wasn’t the first time this issue had raised its head.

Wu continued “Your wife called. Her car is on the way”.

Li’s eyes popped open wide. “That was the second item of business? Are you mad?”

Wu continued, calmly. “The third, matter – the purchase of US Government Bonds”.

But Li was already up, rustling for his clothes. “Screw the bonds”, he muttered in his thick, Shanghai accent, nearly unintelligible to speakers of other Chinese dialects. Li usually spoke a higher dialect of Mandarin to avoid trouble…

…but not this day. He blurted it out.

And to Wu – a native of Szechuan – it sounded for all the world like “Sell the Bonds”.

“By your leave, Comrade Field Marshal”, he said, executing a crisp salute and leaving as the Field Marshal frantically got dressed.

Wu walked briskly down the hall toward the elevator, returning salutes from a group of People’s Liberation Army Commerce Guards. An elevator car was waiting, and he climbed in for his ride down to the basement Operations Center.

Wu knew Li was nobody to mess with. In a thirty year career in the Peoples’ Liberation Army, Li had been at the thick of every action. His record was well-known; a platoon leader during the building of the Hong Kong casinos; a company commander during the cracking of the encryption for the Microsoft Windows source code, he was promoted quickly to command a Battalion. Tasked with leading the merger and acquisition of a Welsh fish and chips chain, he’d led their expansion into Africa and Asia, getting him a Regiment command. And there he might have stalled – but for his near-miraculous turnaround on the response to a sell-off of an overleveraged derivate, which he turned from a defensive play to a major fiscal victory, getting him division and then Field Fiscal Army command. Then, during the bidding war to supply natural gas to Korea, he jumped over thousands of other three-star generals to become PLA Mergers and Acquisitions Director, which added three and then four stars to his shoulders. This brought him to command of the Peoples Liberation Bank three years ago – just in time to lead it to victory in the war over the deferred accrual of Singaporean derivatives, which led to the epic fiscal “Victory of the Ten Swans”, as it was called in the popular song that all the school children sang to Li’s honor. Tough, smart, politically bulletproof, Li was a good wagon for a young greyhound like Wu to be hitched to.

Then Wu laughed. Who would hitch a grayhound to a wagon?

This brought Wu to the Operations Center of the People’s Liberation Bank. He swiped his ID card, and the door slid open with a briskswish. He walked through a splendid marble anteroom, dotted with tables at which senior officers sat, talking furtively, drinking tea and scotch and discussing fiscal policy. A steward offered him a cup – an exquisite porcelain demitasse, no doubt a product of Hai’nan’s finest craftspeople – of the bank’s utterly divine strain of H’ung Lang tea. Wu took a sip, then another. Then, taking a deep breath, he left it on the table, and stepped to a door guarded by two Peoples’ Liberation Bank guards. As he returned the guards’ snappy salute, the door opened, and the serene, incense-scented quiet of the anteroom was bludgeoned with the noise of the Peoples’ Liberation Bank bond trading floor.

Wu stepped out onto the marble balcony, thirty feet above the trading floor, as the duty sergeant major bellowed “Attention”. The men on the balcony – the guards, four telephone talkers, and Lieutenant Wang Hung Long, the third-shift duty officer, snapped to attention, saluting the Colonel.

“As you were. Wang!”


“Comrade Marshal Li has ordered we sell all American bonds”.

Wang grabbed a white binder from a shelf along the wall way from the floor, and flipped to the “bond sale” protocol. “Sir – I acknowledge the sale of all American government bonds!” He turned to Captain Shih Pang Fung. “Captain. Initiate a sell order on all American government bonds”.

Captain Shih turned to Wa How Chung, the grizzled old sergeant major. “Initiate a sale of all American government bonds”.

Sergeant Major Wa took a microphone, and pressed the talk key. As he started speaking, the floor fell quiet.

“Now hear this. How hear this. Initiate a complete sale of all American government bonds. I repeat; Initiate a complete sale of all American government bonds. That is all”.

The floor erupted in a cataract of noise, as lieutenant-colonels ordered the companies of their floor trading battalions into action. The company captains passed frantic orders to the sergeants, who ordered squads of private on the phones to start placing “sell” orders on American bonds. Paper carriers, their sergeants cursing at them and jogging at double time, brought more sale forms to the phone-men at the front line, who ran through the forms as fast as they could. Stretcher bearers carried the casualties off the floor, as replacements – scared and just out of business school – took their places on the phones.

Wu stood impassively, giving no sign of his anxieties as the battle drill unfolded below other than his right hand clencing and unclenching.

But finally – three hours later, Sergeant Wa Jin Kang, exhausted, shuffled through the piles of paper and stepped over exhausted comrades, carrying a Chinese flag up the steps to the balcony. He wearily stepped up the stairs, to the top, saluted Wu, and reported “Sir, we have sold the last of the bonds”.

Wu executed a snappy return salute, prompting a weary but loud cheer from the floor.

“As you were”, said Wu, wondering if anything would ever really be as it was again.