This Is What Single-Party Authoritarian Government Looks Like

A friend of the blog writes:

Now I understand why our councilmember, who represents part of the community that was destroyed in Saint Paul, ran as a woman of color versus running as a person with experience and knowledge- she thinks that is all that matters and that people who look like her would only be liberal. 

As she says in her tweet- “the conservacrowd who has never actually had to fight for their livelihoods from the state or the police or hate-filled organizations all at once.”
This implies a lot. None of it positive or particularly helpful and lacks an understanding of her constituents and small business owners in her community, history, and just about anything to do with what is happening right now. 
Screen shot of the quote, whole thread here: http://www.twitter.com/mitrajunjalali/status/1266780175204790272

Interesting how the councilwoman – who “represents” my ward – dropped the “-Nelson” from her last name.

Also – how a woman who holds a sinecure in a one-party town, pretty much guaranteeing a lifetime of income for her and her family at the expense of the rest of us, is wrapping herself in the “struggle” banner.

I’m going to be seeking an audience with her highness. This should be interesting.

Oh, yeah. “Unity”.

Follow The Hidden Money

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It has become obvious there were two groups reacting to George Floyd’s death.  His family/friends/supporters who wanted wanted answers from government and were exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances; and the Antifa, looking to cause trouble.
Antifa has been very careful – there have been no homes destroyed, nobody killed, no personal danger.  They are destroying businesses to protest capitalism’s exploitation of low income and minority people.
Except . . . most businesses carry insurance and most of those policies cover “civil unrest” which means Antifa is really striking at insurance companies.  Fine, they’re capitalist organizations, they deserve it.  
Except insurance companies spread their risk over multiple lines – home, auto, business – so if the company takes a hit in the business line, they can cover it by raising rates in the home and auto lines.  Which means Antifa is really attacking every home owner and car owner in Minnesota.  Fine, they’re rich capitalist pigs, they deserve it, too.
Except . . . remember all those programs to help low income and minorities into homes?  The escalator to wealth?  The first step on the ladder?  Those homes were all purchased with loans that require the homeowner to maintain insurance.  For wealthy homeowners, no problem, pay the higher rates.  But for marginal homeowners, it’s an issue.  And it’s a bigger issue in the time of Covid, when minority and low income people have been laid off in higher numbers.  Which means Antifa is really attacking low income and minority homeowners.  
I know, it takes effort to understand your actions have effects which are SEEN and also effects which are UNSEEN.  it takes effort to see the ripple effect of Black homelessness downstream from burning some schmuck’s bar.  It takes effort to redirect your actions into productive, positive, beneficial work instead of mindless destruction.
But failure to think the problem all the way through, means you end up harming the people you intended to help.  That includes your supporters, like Governor Walz’ daughter Hope and Attorney General Ellison.  
Joe Doakes

We’ll need to revisit this in ten years, when the DFL power structure wonders where the &^%^% their tax base went.

The Fifth Killer

Police and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) deal with a lot of people in crisis – including various medical crises, exacerbated or caused by drugs, alcohol, mental illness, or physical pathologies.

Combining the stress of a contact with police, the medical episode and other contributing factors can cause all sorts of problems, some of them potentially fatal:

  • Excited Delirium – a physical condition involving, essentially, the brain and body speeding out of control. It sounds fun – I thought I was in an excited delirium when I met the Bangles. But no, it’s deadly serious.
  • Positional Asphyxia – where someone is in, or is being restrained in, a position where they can’t breathe – frequently because their chest is constrained from moving. When combined with the other effects of high stress, the blood becomes “acidotic“, which can quickly lead to cardiac arrest.

A standard method of dealing with Excited Delirium and Positional Asphyxia, while detaining and maintaining physical control over someone, is to turn them on their side. It’s easy enough, relatively, to maintain physical control – but their chest can expand, their diaphragm can expand and contract the lungs which, with someone in crisis, helps bring down the blood acids that lead to Acidosis, lowering the risk of cardiac arrest.

Or at least, that was what the Minneapolis Police Department was taught by Hennepin EMS, the paramedic service for Hennepin County, which helped train Minneapolis cops in basic first aid and other medical techniques used to stabilize people in crisis, even when they needed to be detained an controlled.

And for cases where more intervention is needed, some paramedics use a drug called ketamine. it’s a sedative, used in operating rooms for starting general anaesthesia – but it works just fine for sedating someone in a crisis, letting them breathe and recover while de-stressing, physically as well as mentally. Hennepin EMS was the first paramedic agency in the country to use Ketamin to sedate people in medical emergencied, along with about a third of all EMS agencies in the US. It’s a “very safe drug that works quicker [in his experience] than anything else”, says my source.

But – says my source – the article, the inevitable raft of subsequent lawsuits and regulatory investigations resulted, in my source’s words, in some EMS medics “…being spooked. As an agency, we were less likely to administer optimal treatments.”

It’s also a component in some “date rape” drugs – which we’ll come back to.

Hennepin EMS trained Minneapolis cops – and used Ketamine to de-escalate medical crises.

That is, until just about two years ago.

That’s when a story came out in the Star Tribune, by Andy Mannix, entitled “At urging of Minneapolis police, Hennepin EMS workers subdued dozens with a powerful sedative“.

A source formerly located in Hennepin EMS, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells me the Mannix article got pretty much every substantive fact about the use of Ketamine wrong (“He spelled Hennepin right”, my source quipped).

But the damage was…well, not done. It began. Minneapolis broke its training arrangement with Hennepin EMS, and stopped the use of ketamine.

Breathing: Fast forward to Memorial Day, 2020, and the infamous encounter outside Cup Foods in South Minneaoplis.

The New York Times put together what my source calls an excellent video on the killing – including some camera angles and audio I hadn’t encountered before. My source says the Times did an “outstanding job”.

It’s distressing, but worth a watch.

And as you do, notice – Floyd was clearly having a medical emergency. He was a big guy, so having his wrists cuffed already restricted his breathing. His claustrophobia was self-stated – but as a 6’5 guy (Floyd was 6’6) the thought of being wedged into one of those passive-aggressively cramped little police cruisers makes me a little panicky all by itself. Stress on top of medical crisis – strikes one and two.

And then officers Chauvin and Moua arrived, pulled Lloyd out of the back of the car, and commenced kneeling on his neck and back – seriously impairing his breathing.

Some wannabe social media doctors have missed the point, borrowing lessons from Heimlich Maneuver training and claiming that since Floyd could say “I can’t breathe”, he could breathe.

But, my source relates, it wouldn’t matter, if the killer symptom – acidosis, which Floyd was unable to ventilate – was leading to a cardiac arrest.

One of the officers figured it out, asking Officer Chauvin if they might roll Floyd onto his side – which Chauvin rejected, keeping Floyd under his knee until EMS arrived.

By which point Floyd was well past mere “crisis” – unresponsive, apparently acidotic, sliding toward the cardiac arrest that was reported by the EMS when they reached 36th and Park – mere blocks from Cup Foods.

Did a sloppy news story and a subsequent frenzy of litigation and regulation take a vital tool out of paramedics’ toolkits? One that might have prevented George Floyd’s death, and the orgy of misery that it led to?

Calculating Risk

The question “why does anyone need a thirty-round magazine?” is one BIg Gun Control likes to throw around among the uninformed.

To them, there is no valid answer.

As Minneapolis and Saint Paul sloooowly start bundling the last of our “Anti”-Fa rioters up and sending them back to college for summer term, it’s worth noting that the grabbers are wrong of course. There’s a pretty solid justification.

I’m going to answer you with a question. three, actually.

First: are you ever going to be attacked by someone who wants to kill you, then and there? If you answer “I have no idea“, that’s a perfectly valid, honest answer. Violent attacks – robberies, kidnappings, rapes, aggravated assaults, spree killings, terror attacks – are exceptionally rare. Rarer still if you have no criminal record, don’t associate with criminals, and don’t work in a business where a lot of criminals are part of the clientele. That accounts for the vast majority of people.

Not a single person who gets robbed, kidnapped, raped, suffers a home invasion, owns a business near a riot flashpoint, or is at a location where a spree killer decides to stage their blaze of glory, woke up that morning thinking “I bet I’m going to be the target of a violent incident today!“ Did they?

Second: if the person decides to attack you with the lethal force we mentioned above, and you decide to defend yourself, how hard is it going to be the end the threat to your life?: impossible to predict, right? Many robberies, assaults and rapes, and even a few spree killings , have been ended by a good guy pulling out a gun, with no shots fired. Sometimes an attacker falls over unconscious, or dead, after a punch to the face. On the other hand there are records of people who’ve been shot 20 times and still had the strength to shoot, stab or hit before they bled out. I know one story of a woman who barricaded herself and her kids in an attic during a home invasion; when the guy broke into the attic, she shot at him six times at a range of 2 feet, hitting them five times in the face and head – and he lived without a lot of complications ( other than a lengthy prison sentence). Alcohol, drugs and mental illness all affect this as well – drunk people are harder to deter from doing stupid things; people who are extremely high may not experience pain, even pain from a gunshot wound. There are cases of people who were very, very high who never noticed they’d been shot until they bled to death.

So the question is: how many shots (if it’s a gun you choose) will it take to stop one person from following through on trying to murder you? The answer, given the evidence we have seen above, is “0 to 20 shots – maybe”.

Bear in mind that, under stress, almost nobody hits their target with every shot. Even at close range. Even if you practice shooting a lot (although that helps) the police, in self-defense situations, hit with an average of about one shot in every six. Put another way, the police fire an average of 17 shots to end an engagement.

So – you don’t know how many hits you’re going to need to end a lethal or threat to you (or your family, or innocent bystanders), and you don’t know how many shots that you fire are going to hit the person who is trying to kill you.

That’s with one attacker.

Which brings us to the third question

Third: how many people will be trying to kill, Rob, attack, rape or kidnap you?: The scenarios above are predicated on one attacker. Can you predict how many people are going to attack you?

Before you answer, think of this past week. You’re a shopkeeper who runs afoul of a band of looters, a homeowner whose home some group decides to invade.

The riots have those scenarios front-and-center but even in “normal” times, terrible things can come in groups. In Saint Paul a few years back, there was a series of home invasions. Four people would break into a house, violently subdue any occupants who were present, and take what they wanted. Nobody died in that series of incidents – but other home invasions do lead to murder, almost always murder of unarmed people.

Remember – none of the victims woke up that morning thinking “I bet I’m going to have a violent home invasion today”.

Now – if you hear somebody kick in your door in at midnight, ask yourself – how many of them are there? Are they armed? Are they drunk or on some sort of mind altering substance that warps their perception of risk, danger, and/or pain? How will they react to someone resisting (or not resisting)?

You are not going to know. All you know is that there is a potentially lethal threat to your life down there. Maybe the sound of a pistol racking up will send all of them scampering from your house. Or maybe the sight of one of them falling over, gushing blood after you shoot one of them will send them running.

Or maybe you pull out your six shooter, and fire all six shots of the first attacker you see – leaving you holding an empty revolver while robbers two, three, and four come at you with baseball bats, ice picks and a shotgun.

So the answer to your question is “When we are responsible for defending ourselves, our families and our community from a violent threat to our lives and we can’t predict who is going to carry out that attack, how many of them there will be, and what it will take to deter/stop them, we want a magazine that is less likely to run out of ammunition before the attacker runs out of attack”.

I hope that answers your question.

Open Letter To MPR

A friend of the blog who fled Saint Paul just in time writes:

this msg is making the rounds of the S.MPLS progressive/arts set

Per Jon Collins at MPR News- “South Minneapolis: I know this sounds crazy. But it’s 2020. And I’m working on story now about white supremacists coming to Minneapolis to foment race war under cover of the protests. I need your help, and your friends help. Please refer anyone with real, credible info (not rumor or speculation) or sources to me at (I’m gonna redact that)

What the heck – let’s give this a shot:

 Mr. Collins,

I’m Mitch Berg.  I’m  a talk show host at WWTC-AM in Eagan, and I write the blog “Shotinthedark.info”.  

Last week you put out a call to your listener mailing lists, looking for confirmed sightings of “white supremacists”.  

I’m genuinely curious – did you find anything?

While I am a very overt conservative (I went from Bob Collins’ Christmas Card list to…well, not on it over the past few years), I also spent time covering radical groups of all stripes back when I was in the mainstream media.  

And while I realize this is very unlikely, I’d like to invite you on my show (Saturday, 1-3PM) to talk about your findings.   Because it’s everyone’s city. 

Thanks, and stay safe

Mitch Berg
Host, WWTC-AM

Given that I saw a lot of “AmeriKKKa” and “Destroy the 1%” graffiti, but not a single swastika or “14 words” reference, I’m thinking the Twin Cities either got the most inept “white supremacists” in the history of bigotry, or they were the most ingenious – fiendishly tricking a whole city full of leftists into doing the job for them.  

Smooth Move

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In which Mike Freeman drops a banana peel in front of Keith Ellison while saying “Hey, join the team,” and chuckles as Ellison eagerly rushes in.
https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/05/31/keith-ellison-prosecutions-george-floyd

Freeman is a jerk but he’s also an experienced prosecutor.  Remember the Somali cop who shot the little White woman in the alley?  He got convicted of 3rd degree and got 12 years, nothing close to what the mob wanted. Freeman survived that fiasco and he intends to survive this one.  
He’s read the autopsy report.  He knows Floyd didn’t die from lack of air (obviously not, or he couldn’t have been talking).  Freeman knows the victim was stoned and had other medical issues that may have been exacerbated by the arrest, which might possibly make the officer careless or negligent, but Freeman knows there’s no way to make Murder 1 stick and that’s the only thing that will satisfy the mob.
So how’s he get the mob off his back?  He asks Keith Ellison for help.  Ellison – who has no prosecution experience – will now “take the lead.”  Which means whatever goes wrong with the case from here on out, Freeman points at Ellison and says “Don’t ask me, he’s in charge.”
Early in my career, I spent a few years as a prosecutor.  A criminal case isn’t won by clever speeches or Twitter comments, it’s a s***load of hard work.  Ellison has no idea.  He’s being set up to take the fall when the cop walks.  Freeman will shrug and carry on.  Walz will remind us what a great job he’s done on Covid.  Charlie Foxtrot all around.
Joe Doakes

More on this later today.

This Is My Town, Sparky

Thursday evening, I decided to walk down to Snelling Avenue to check out the situation.

I saw broken glass at Lloyd’s Pharmacy, at the corner of Snelling and Minnehaha. I decided to check out the situation.

The situation nearly came to me. I saw a vibrant group of youths carrying bags of merchandise out of the Speedway station across the street, chased by the immigrant family who run the place. The other gas station up the block was in the process of being looted as well.

A small group of twenty-somethings jumped out of a car in rudimentary riot-wear, and ran past me, headed toward the Speedway. They took no interest in me – which was good for all concerned. Take that as you wish.

I beat a hasty retreat home, and rode out the rest of the evening.

The next morning, it looked like this:

Lloyd’s, which had been in this building for 102 years, as one of the last of Saint Paul’s small independent pharmacies, was gone. They’d remodeled last year, adding more lab space and some offices for a medical office – a vote of confidence in the neighborhood.

Here’s what confidence in Saint Paul gets you:

That’s 102 years worth of rubble.

Some wag commented with a sign:

Lloyd’s Pharmacy rubble pile

Lloyd’s, and the looted gas stations , were the only visibly damaged bulidings north of Thomas – although it was hard to tell if the stores were boarded up as a preventive measure…

Asian buffet on Snelling at Van Buren

Or repairing damage.

Korean and Vietnamese buisnesses on Snelling at Blair

I don’t know.

All I know is that my neighborhood, the Midway – my tough, scrappy, blighted little underdog of a neighborhood – feels gutted today.

Did I say tough and scrappy? Hell yeah. The staff from one restaiurant, immigrants all, climbed up on their roof on Thursday night, vislbly armed, entirely to deter the looters that’d gone over so miuch of the street the night before. I won’t name them here – I don’t want the neighborhood’s many Soy Boys and Karens to try to cancel them for their impudence.

During the day on Friday, University was crawling with people with dustpans and brooms, descending on University to clean up the mess.

They clearned out later in the afternoon, though, as sporadic incidents of looting and violence started to speckle the map. Recovery? Just ending the nightmare seemed a long, hard slog away, given Mayor Frey and Governor Walz’s performance.

Anway – to those of you who’ve been burning down my neighborhood, looting my neighbors’ shops, trying to wreck our lives – the neighborhood where I raised my kids, started a business or two, and have lived for what seems like an entire lifetime?

You want to talk about police brutality? Cultures of entitlement? Systemic racism?

Want to talk anger?

Let’s talk.

Want to make some changes, over what happened to George Floyd? Hey, guess what – I’ve got huge problems with excessive police power, too. Let’s get things done!

But talking isn’t’ fast or dramatic enough for you? Want to browbeat dissent into submission? Want to vent your inchoate rage on innocent third parties? Want to burn things that don’t belong to you?

Racism, inequality and brutality is oppression. But so is rioting.

And if you want to fight opporession with more oppression?

This is for you .

Go back to taking your rage out on your family, or your professors, or on yourself. Jam your adolescent entitlement someplace nature never intended things to be jammed.

Screw your “revolution” – I brought my own.

I’ll be here long after you move on to other tantrums. I will listen, if listening and discussion is what you want. But I’m not running anywhere.

This is my town, sparky.

This is our town. All the good people, black and white, Korean and H’mong, Turkish and Ethiopian, and every other flavor of humanity God put here. The ones who built this place, and the ones who’ll rebuild it after you’ve had your excellent weekend of fun.

We deserve better elected “leaders”, it’s true. But we were here first, and we’ll be here last.

The New, Old And Future Normal

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

One’s outrage over George Floyd’s death varies depending on one’s definition of normal.
If you’re just going about your business, acting in an ordinary and normal way, the cops shouldn’t hassle you and certainly shouldn’t kill you. So what is “normal?”
Philandro Castillo was driving and carrying a pistol while high on marijuana. The Black community considered that normal. His death was an outrage… to them.  The rest of us could understand why the officer panicked and shot him. Driving and carrying while stoned is not normal…for us.
I don’t know how hard it is to restrain a 6 ft 6 in tall, 250 lb former NBA player, who is drunk and passing counterfeit money. Does that take a polite request? Or three cops kneeling on his neck? I have no idea. But to me, getting arrested for committing a crime would be normal, and you sort it out later in court. For the Black community, passing funny money while stoned is normal and the cops should have left him alone.
The autopsy report shows George Floyd did not die of asphyxiation. He had an underlying medical condition. His arrest may have contributed to it, but the cops didn’t murder him. His death was merely incident to the arrest which makes us question whether the arrest itself was justified, which brings us back to whether his behavior was so unusual and abnormal as to justify an arrest.
This difference in perception – what is normal and acceptable behavior – is the heart of the dispute, not just for this one fellow, but for Black lives matter, antifa, achievement gap, racial reparations, affirmative action …
Joe Doakes 

And the perception gaps among so many different, parts of society are so radically different, it’s hard to see how any of it squares up, ever.   Especially since arriving at some sort of consensus is both absolutely vital…

…and utterly impossible given not only our current political, social and media state, but the opposite of what most of Minneapolis’ ruling class wants.  

I Have A Theory

My theory: America is protesting – angrily, but generally peacefully – over the death of George Floyd and all of the history in, about and around it.

America is rioting, on the other hand, because America is bored stiff after ten weeks of being cooped up inside with each other, unemployed or underemployed, being told they are “nonessential“, stricken with stage IV cabin fever, with no place to go but the online world that, hey, lookie here, told them about a huge get together!

No, not joking.

The Minneapolis police killing George Floyd was the spark.

A nation of Karens, on the other hand, had been piling up tinder for months.

Siege

For those who might be curious, I’m safe.

The neighborhood that has been my home for most of the last 33 years? Not so much. More on that later.

The cities that have been my home, and the place that I raised my family, for the last 35 years?

Lloyds Pharmacy, at Snelling in Minnehaha. My pharmacy for most of the last 30 years. Or what’s left of it, anyway.

We are in the worst possible hands.

Yesterday afternoon, I almost wrote that Mayor Frey’s press conference was the worst train wreck I have ever seen in public.

I would’ve spoken too soon.

The mayors 1:30 AM press conference last night…

… Well, words fail me. I come up with words for a living, and a hobby, and I’ve got nothing.

There is literally not the faintest shred of leadership under that perfectly coiffed hairdo of his.

Asked why he ordered the third precinct evacuated, he prattled something about the building being just a symbol – human lives are the important part. Why no reporter thought to follow up by asking “what about the lives that are being put in direct jeopardy by the complete turnover of the streets to the mob? What about the symbol you’re sending – that the police protection that is one of the few legitimate reasons to have a government, is being pulled out at the height of the crisis? Do you want to talk symbols, let’s talk symbols!”

The Menards, at University at Prior. There was apparently a minimal amount of looting, before police and security cleared the building. Front and loaders piled barricades made of lumberyard materials in front of the doors.

Naturally, nobody asked that.

But a reporter actually DID ask an incisive question, something the mayor clearly isn’t used to ever getting. “What’s the plan?“. The mayor responded, initially, with five seconds of deer in the headlights silence, before asking the reporter “plan for what?” like a junior high kid who’d forgotten this week was midterms, before starting “there’s a lot of pain out there…“ and another couple minutes of gibberish that didn’t even address, much less answer, the question.

Forget about the facts on the ground – if you are a resident of Minneapolis, that press conference should have you howling with anger. The feelings of the mob – not people demonstrating against police brutality, but the roving mass of thieves and provocateurs – are more important than your livelihoods, your lives.

Call it the tyranny of low expectations, but when I saw St. Paul police chief Todd Axtel‘s press conference I found myself almost happy to see a police chief saying “we’re not abandoning our city“. In normal times, I would say, dumbfounded, “what, do you want a cookie? That’s your job!“ We’ve seen today that you can’t take that for granted.

Part of me wants to apologize for former New Orleans Ray Nagin for calling him the worst mayor in the history of America in the wake of hurricane Katrina.

Anyway – curfew in effect.

This is how I curfew. Miscreants, take the hint.

“One Minnesota“ my ass.

———-

If you think this would be an opportune time to slip some virtue signaling about the justification for the rioters into the comments, think again.

Taking Sides

So as law biting, hard-working, taxpaying Twin City ends wake up to get another day under siege, it’s providence to ask yourself – whose side are your leaders on?

Not just comic book characters like our “Attorney General”:

Did anybody else watch Minneapolis Mayor Frey’s press conference yesterday? It looked like an outtake from “Reno 911”. Minneapolis needed a leader – a Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, John F Kennedy.

They got pajama boy.

Social Attitudes

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Court Administrator sent a message at 3:00 warning all court employees in St. Paul to evacuate because a mob was coming. My wife and I have the grand-kids for a sleep-over. I was concerned the kids’ mother might say “Riots? Get my kids out of there!”

She’s a Southren girl, married my boy while he was in the Navy. She asked two questions: “Are the riots near y’all?” Well, no. “Grandpa Joe’s got a gun, doesn’t he?” Well, yeah. “Well, alright then.”

I LOVE THAT GIRL.

Joe Doakes

You should, Joe.

Tourists

A friend of the blog writes:

What, did they just come to town, Google for chain stores that might be open and close to the freeway? Apparently they did.

I don’t know a single local protester who would have thought SunRay would be the place to March/riot.

I have lived in the Twin Cities for decades, and I can’t remember a single time when it was the perfect place to…shop.

Breaking News: Retreat

According to a very reliable source, a Minneapolis police officer reports that all Minneapolis police have been moved out of the Third Precinct to the Fourth, and told to “sit tight, do nothing”.

And the police are – according to my source’s source – “pissed”.

Never Was

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

LEAKY: Muuurrrg!

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

LEAKY: You don’t remember me?

BERG: Can’t say as I do.

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

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

LEAKY: Ze group favors removing Govenor Walz!

BERG: Huh. Where did you read that?

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

BERG: Never heard of it.

LEAKY: Sure you have.

BERG: Sorry. Nope.

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

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

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

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

And if you “win”, then you get…

…Governor Peggy Flanagan…

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

BERG: You’re a Flanagan fan?

(Time passes)

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

BERG: Your what?

LEAKY: My blog, “Minnesota Progressive Dog”.

BERG: Never heard of it.

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

BERG: Clearly.

LEAKY: You must be a crazy wing nut too!

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

And SCENE

DFL: You Do Own This

When the DFL wins yet another one-party election in one of their one-party towns, Minneapolis or Saint Paul, they are – or, not too long ago – were wont to chant “We own this town”. They may not be quite so loud about that anymore.

And yes, Minnesota DFL – you own Minneapolis this morning. Every one of you, from Duluth to Worthington , from La Crescent to Moorhead. Minneapolis is all of your town. Your responsibility. Every death – by cop, by gangster, by overdose in the increasingly hopeless communities, by accidents on the streets whose “calming measures” have ramped up the road rage.

Minneapolis is your city. Every scorched brick and broken window and looted business on East Lake and in Uptown belongs to you.

There’s not a single person with a soul worth worrying about that didn’t blanche at the video of George Floyd dying literally under the knee of a Minneapolis cop. The fact that the union didn’t demand the usual cooling off period after officer-involved killings indicates that they felt the same way.

But this is nothing new in Minneapolis. The cops had a reputation for brutality when I moved to Minneapolis – just down the road from the infamous Third Precinct – in 1985, when the last Republican mayor was twenty years in the rear-view mirror and the last Republican city councilman was still in living memory. The reputation carried on during the “Murderapolis” years, when Dave Sauro was a household name – kids, ask your parents about both.

And so it is today, after two generations of single party rule.

Two generations after Plymouth Avenue burned, taking whatever economic viability North Minneapolis had with it, the North Side is still a warehouse for the poor.

Because the DFL owns Minneapolis.

Crime has been on the rise – against the trend and tide in the rest of the state (which has the lowest crime in the nation for a state with a major metro area) and the nation.

Because the DFL owns Minneapolis.

The schools have the worst achievement gap in the nation. Because the DFL owns Minneapolis.

The city has been stocking up on desperate underclasses, imported to Minneapolis explictly or implicitly, drawn by tax-funded goodies, kept here to serve as votes on the hoof by a one-party city that cares about remaining a one-party city more than anything else.

Because the DFL owns Minneapolis.

And East Lake is burning – still, at 6 AM – and the National Guard and the Saint Paul cops are on the way to try to put the greased squirrel back in the shopping bag.

Because the DFL owns Minneapolis.

Every fire. Every murder. Every homeless person wandering their life away, up and down, whether on Lake Street or Eat Street.

Proud?

Times In Which The Mundane Is Spectacularly Radical

Let’s say I write an article in which I assert that the mid-day sky is actually bright scarlet red in color.

You might respond “You’re just Mitch Berg. You’re a conservative, so you always think stupid things”. That response is half, maybe 3/4 true – but doesn’t say anything about the color of the sky. What it does is say “your argument is false because of who you are”. The term is “Argumentum ad Hominem” – latin for “arguing against the man”, rather than the facts the Man presented. It’s a logical fallacy. Who I am has no bearing on the facts I present, right or wrong.

You might then respond “You don’t have a degree in meteorology – how would you know anything about the sky?” That’s also true – I’m not a meteorologist. But it doesn’t address the facts presented, but rather my credentials. It’s called an “Appeal to Authority”, and it’s another logical fallacy. One’s credentials might lend authority to a statement – but not truth or falsity, all by themselves.

You could try another tack, something like “you are an idiot”. That’d be called an “Appeal to Ridicule”. Again – I might be actually an idiot, but it doesn’t address my factual assertion in any way. It’s…yep, another logical fallacy.

Maybe you could dig back on Twitter, and find some example of me saying “the sky is blue”, and post a before-and-after saying “Hah! You’re being inconsistent!”. That’s called the “Argumentum Tu Quoque” – focusing on the fact that one has changed their mind on a subject, rather than the facts at hand – which is a really dumb one; the fact that I was a Democrat growing up, for example, doesn’t make me less a conservative today (or vice versa for someone else).

You could go on the offensive, and claim that if I believe the sky is scarlet with “Sooooo, what you’re saying is you want old people to die”. That’s called a “Straw Man Argument” – trying to make someone defend an argument they never made. I said the sky was scarlet – nothing about Grandma at all.

You could write “the sky is blue, because as I noted above, the sky is blue”. That’s called “Begging the Question” – perhaps the most mis-used phrase in the quasi-educated dialect of English, which people usually use to refer to “asking a question again”. It means “using your conclusion as proof of your conclusion”.

Or – here’s a radical thought, you could post a picture of a bright blue, or dull gray, sky and tell the world “Look! The sky above is blue! It’s not even a little bit scarlet!”. That would address the actual facts of my assertion that the sky was bright scarlet.

And the technical term for that is “a factual argument”.

I’m writing this not because I’m trying to go all Jordan Peterson on you, but because our society would be a lot stronger, smarter and BS-proof if more people learned how to make a logical argument, and to spot and call out an illogical one.

“That’s just NPR!” or “That’s just National Review” or “that info came from people allied with “the swamp”” and many other arguments…aren’t really arguments at all. They are illogical deflections.

Not to go all Walt Kowalski, but there was a time people had to learn this stuff. And there are times I think, reading social media, that learning the basics of, if not logic, at least spotting gross illogic and not being illogical, should be required before people can vote…

much less post on Facebook or Twitter.

And if I’m ever appointed king, or otherwise become a benevolent strongman…

(Careful, kids – in some quarters, particularly academia, the above is very un-PC. It’s what we used to call Samizdat. )

This post was originally run on May 11 2020. I’m re-running it because, well, it seems appropriate.

Dense

“Red” states are 45% of the nation’s population – and about 21% of the nation’s Covid19 deaths (and 25% of the cases, as far as testing shows, although that’s a fuzzy numerator at best in many states, including Minnesota).

That leaves most of this epidemic’s carnage to the 100 most densely-populated counties – almost all of them “blue”. Indeed, Dallas and Houston – two of the only “red” major cities in the ocuntry – aren’t even in the top 100 metropolitan areas for infection rates.

And the red-state natives are getting restless (emphasis added):

“The cure is worse than the disease, no doubt,” said Mark Henry, a Republican who oversees the Galveston County government in southeast Texas. “There are businesses that were shut down that are never going to open again.”

In the country as a whole, outbreaks in conservative rural counties are rising, but not on a scale that would close the gap in the virus’s impact on red and blue counties.

Overall, the infection rate is 1.7 times as high in the most urban areas of the country compared with nearby suburbs, and 2.3 times as high in the suburbs as in exurban and rural areas.

That bolded bit is kinda key. The more incendiary, less filtered parts of the Blue commentariat are openly predicting – “hoping” and “praying to the God they don’t believe in” might be more like it – that the impudent Reds get their comeuppance, like some Biblical penitence for disbelieving. It’s the mirror image of the fundie crones who are saying the plague is God’s vengeance on the cities…

…except that the Blue scolds have an actual platform and audience.

Blue Fragility: “Science!”

I’ve been pretty stringently self isolated since March 16. I’ve got my reasons – a number of people in my family and immediate social circle with immune and cardiovascular problems, as well as a mother in memory care and a father who is doing quite well, but he’s 82, so why chance it, anyway? I’m blessed with a job that allows me to work from home. It makes perfect sense for me to do so.

I believe the closest thing we have to scientific consensus – drawn from decades of experience in operating rooms worldwide – is that masks don’t prevent anyone from catching viruses; they prevent them from being spread from the infected to other people. Which is my operating room staff wear them. And if you were able to get all the worlds asymptomatic yet infected people to wear masks, I suspect you might cut the infection rate down by a fair chunk.

That being said, I think the current orgy of virtue signaling over masks is largely pseudoscientific logrolling – a festival of malinformed logrolling and bandwagoneering.

And with that, in turm, being said, I’ve worn a mask twice in the past week: both times to go to Menards, which requires masks. It’s private property, and it’s about 7 miles closer than the nearest big box home improvement store that doesn’t require a mask. Putting on a cheap surgical mask for 10 minutes burns up less of my time than driving all the way to Home Depot.

Wearing a mask, in short, is purely a matter of contingency, not belief.

And I believe that Mayor Frey’s order that all people wear masks while in any indoor public accommodation in Minneapolis is, if not pointless, then merely virtue signaling of the most callow order.

And yet, if I had taken the call from the Strib’s “ Minnesota“ Poll, I would’ve come down on the “make everybody wear a masks” side of this fairly dimwitted bit of propaganda, which appeared as an at taken out by the DFL on the various Star Tribune online properties over the weekend. It read:

74% of Minnesotans have worn a mask in the past week

Minnesotans support the lockdown!

Now, we don’t know how many people among the “74%” in this “Paul” are like me Dash people who wore masks for utilitarian or social reasons, rather than out of any conviction that Governor Walz is anything but Way over his head and being led around by a bunch of party hacks whounderstand neither business nor science.

And, obviously, we have no idea how many of them are committed mask wearers, like this woman, whose mooring in the world of science is clear and utterly unassailable:

That’s the thing I love about “ progressives”: their absolute, categorical commitment to science and reason.

But the Democrats – and some of their apologists in the “center” – are claiming this isstar Tribune Minnesota poll is a mandate for the governor.I don’t think that necessarily means The DFL, the posters or the various media organizations involved (the Strib, MPR and KARE11) are stupid.I think it means they are counting on Minnesota voters to be stupid. And doing their best to keep them that way.

Minnesota Is Finally Number 1

Minnesota has the highest share of long-term-care residents as fatalities of any state in the union. So we’re finally champs at something.

And looking at the numbers in that spreadsheet, it’s beyond shocking – nearly ten percent of all ilong term care residents in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – the Blue Triangle of Death – have died in this pandemic.

Minnesota, thus far, has lost 2.8% of its nursing home population – the 14th-worst result in the US, thus far. That’s far, far above the death toll in the two states that are every Minnesota “progressive’s” favorite punch lines, Mississippi (1.9%) and Florida (1.5%).

The Dakotas – the two neighbor states that Minnesota Progressives just can’t stop bashing? Both tied in the bottom five – at 0.1% of the long term care population.

And while politicizing the results isn’t entirely fair or appropriate, it’s worth noting that the top 25 states in terms of deaths in long-term care are all “blue” states (with the exception of Louisiana, whose main population center and Covid hot spot is utterly dominated by the Democrats.

Great job, Walz-y.

Never Waste A Crisis – Libertarian Edition

I pointed out with a bit of mindly tart surprise last month that California, after voting in lock step with the statist agenda for the past thirty years, had rediscovered the virtues of federalism via the current public health crisis, and the (to progressives) greater crisis of Hillary losing the election.

That was a tad sarcastic – but as José Niño at the Mises Institute points out, after quite a few policians romping and playing in power like Scrooge McDuck bathing in his coin vault…:

Amusingly, the COVID-19 saga has been host to some of the most flagrant political posturing in recent memory. Early in March (which feels like eons ago in today’s frenetic media cycle) New York City mayor de Blasio was telling people to go to the movies and have fun. Now, he’s done a complete 180, shutting down most private businesses and even calling for the nationalization of certain industries and begging the federal government for military aid to combat the epidemic.

…there’ve been some object lessons show, and learned, on the value of federalism coming out of this crisis:

We are indeed living in the strangest of times when LA Times columnists are expressing sentiments that better belong in a passage of Human Action. The jury is still out on whether this is merely oppositional posturing from the Left, but any kind of conversation entailing the restoration of federalism is a welcome surprise.

The “authorized” right can generally be counted on to disappoint its constituents who genuinely believe in small government principles. To their credit, there have been some bright spots on their side in the present pandemic. States like Texas have gone out of their way to declare gun stores essential businesses and to deregulate several parts of its economy at a time where bureaucracy is impeding various vital economic functions.

Elected officials like State Representative Matt Gurtler in Georgia have raised the stakes by floating a proposal that would allow law-abiding Georgians to concealed carry anywhere. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem projected a stark contrast in her relatively lax approach to handling the pandemic. Jeff Deist used her example as the basis for several pragmatic measures that state governments can take to reopen their economies without throwing civil liberties into the wood chipper. No doubt there is much work to be done, but we can find glimmering signs of promise every now and then.

The example I like to use – after Katrina, gun rights groups noticed the speed at which Louisiana and New Orleans’ layers of incompetent Democrat governments turned to confiscating the firearms of law-abiding citizens. In 2015, Minnesota’s gun rights groups pushed a law in Minnesota barring the state from confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens under states of emergency, or shutting down gun stores before every other store in the state was closed. The bills passed, with bipartisan majorities in both chambers powerful enough to scare Governor Dayton’s handlers away from telling him to sign a veto.

We – the good guys – need to do that with every other civil right.

Starting in November.

Idle Question For Governor Walz

Question: why are tiny United Churches of Christ in small towns in southwestern Minnesota, the huge Cathedral of Saint Paul, and the sprawling Living Word Church which seats several thousand people several times every normal Sunday, all limited to 10 attendees?

What’s the ostensible “science” behind concluding fifty people on a restaurant patio – any restaurant patio – but the same limit holds for churches that seat 5,000 as 50?

Why, it’s almost as if Minnesota’s ongoing response to Covid has become so reflexively, un-scientifically, sclerotically unscientific and bureaucracy-driven that even the “elite” media is starting to take notice.

But you know what would be cool? If we had some group of people, perhaps working for companies that owned printing presses or transmitters, maybe even people who see themselves as heroic comforters of the afflicted and afflictors of the comfortable, who’d ask questions like this theselves.

Other than Tom Hauser, sometimes. .

Huh. I guess all this quarantining is making me delusional.