A Bridge From Nowhere

I’ll admit it; I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut when dealing with the left and media (pardon the redundancy).

Especially when they talk about “reaching across divides”.  Whenever people on the left talk about “Reaching” across one “divide” or another (let’s leave aside the fact that divides are always of their making), the best one can hope for is that they’ll act like Jane Goodall – ideological anthropologists, here to furrow their brows and write about the Conservatives in the Mist.   At worst, they come to mug for their fans and exude their self-perceived superiority and laugh at the locals.

Both efforts pretty generally backfire when the subject is firearms and the Second Amendment.  The mugging and smugging usually gets undercut by a lot of unforced errors.  And once in a while, the lefty has a Road to Damascus moment and sees the light.  Yes, it happens.

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The Blind Squirrel

“So let’s get this straight – we have an overwhelming majority of young people supporting a white-haired old man who promises to give them stuff for free.  But I imagine someday they’ll be disappointed when they discover it was really their parents paying for college”.

— Peter Segel, NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” over the weekend.

Tremors And Trash

Republican Chad Anderson upsets the DFL – ahd “Democratic Socialist” trash collection –  in a special election, flipping Ann Lenczewsi’s seat in a district only marginally less DFL-secure than any other in the first tier of burbs:

With all the precincts tallied in the special election to replace Lenczewski, Anderson netted 51 percent to DFL Bloomington City Council member Andrew Carlson’s 49 percent.

The win gives Republicans, who are already in the House majority, an extra legislative vote this year and a key boost of confidence before November’s election, when the entire Legislature is up for election.

Both House Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor campaign arms spent thousands of dollars on ads targeting the Bloomington area, an unusual step in special elections. About 5,000 voters turned out Tuesday.

Losing Lenczewski’s seat has to have people at the DFL’s office on Plato Boulevard changing their underwear today.   It’s not quite like flipping a seat in Minneapolis – but it’s not that far from it, either.

Andrew Carlson – the DFL contender, and an incumbent Bloomington City Council member – was instrumental in jamming down Cuban-style socialized trash collection in Bloomington last year.

UPDATE:  What could be better than flipping a DFL sinecure?  Doing it while spending 1/4 as much as the Democrat did.

More on that tomorrow.

Why Iowa Mattered

On the Democrat side, it mattered because it’s high time the voters saw how dodgy the Democrat “commitment” to “democracy” actually is.

Ian Tuttle:

High-minded appeals to transparency are the stuff of which Democrats are made. Barack Obama has called his scandal-plagued White House “the most transparent administration in history,” even as he resorts to circumventing the legislative process to enact policies he couldn’t get through Congress, thereby stripping voters of their ability to check the executive branch.  Hillary Clinton says she has been “as transparent as possible” about her troublesome e-mail, ignoring the plain truth that she intentionally used a private e-mail account to circumvent public-disclosure laws, thereby keeping voters in the dark about her work as the nation’s chief diplomat.

Is power ultimately vested in “the people”? And do “the people” have a right to the capacity and knowledge to make use of that power? If so, then Democrats at the highest levels have sought to curtail their rights at every turn. And now it’s happened again, at the ballot box in Iowa, the state’s Democratic party and the apparent winner of the caucus having decided that transparency and accountability — “more democracy,” as it were — do not serve their purposes at this particular juncture.

America may have slid from “Democracy” (representative republic, of course) into “Authoritarian Bureaucracy” some time ago.  But the Obama administration will be known as the time when the mask came off all the happy talk.

Thanks!

I owe someone some thanks.  And I have no easy way of reaching them.  But what the heck – we’ll try it the hard way:

Last night, I woke up to a knock on my door at 11PM.

After a quarter-century of living in the Midway, I know that there’s no such thing as a good knock on the door after dark – so I took, er, the necessary precautions, and went to the door.

A young woman identifying herself as “Shelby” told me she’d seen a car run into my daughter’s car, which was parked out on the street, and then drive off. She got the license number, called the police, left a note under my daughter’s windshield wiper…and then came and knocked on the door.

First, let me say two things; it takes guts to walk up to a stranger’s door at all, much less in the middle of the night, much less when you’re a (near as I could tell) 5’3, 120 pound woman.

Second thing?  I’m happy I live in a neighborhood where people feel they can walk up to a stranger’s door and knock in the middle of the night.

But I digress.

It was miserably cold last night, and I wasn’t in a state to let anyone in, #ifyacatchmydrift, but she basically told me everything I needed to call the police and the insurance company to get things taken care of.

To my astonishment, the cops actually found the car, and the driver – a woman from up north somewhere who was apparently lost and claimed not to have known she’d hit someone. I can find no record that charges were filed – the woman wasn’t drunk, according to the officer I talked with. I’m going to guess she was texting and didn’t see a black car on a dark street. That’s just a guess.

Thankfully, at least both parties are insured.

Anyway – I don’t know who you are, Shelby, and I hope you’ll forgive my less than stellar late-night hospitality, but I thank you for all you did last night.

And if someone out there in the Midway knows Ms. Shelby (twentysomething, African-American, probably 5’3, possibly a Hamline student), it’d make my day if you could pass on my thanks!

Today’s News, A Month Ago

January:  the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement watched President Obama’s tearful, angry, and utterly theatrical broadside about guns, gun owners and gun manufacturers, noted that nearly everything he was “proposing” was existing law already, and said that the President’s big “effort” was nothing but a shallow bit of political grandstanding calculated to make it look like he planned to, as his supporters wailed, “dooooooooooo something”, without actually signing the political death warrants of every Democrat between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre.

February:  The New York Times notices the same thing.

Lesson:  the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement are smarter and better-informed than the media.

On Track

Joe Joe Doakes from Como Park emails about an appeals court ruling of interest to Second Amendment supporters:

This article focuses on the important point:  the battleground for Second Amendment rights is in the court-created rules, not the Constitution.

If firearms ownership is a constitutionally protected fundamental right, then any law infringing that right must pass “strict scrutiny” meaning the law must be narrowly tailored and the least restrictive means to further a compelling government interest.  This is the same level of scrutiny given to restrictions on speech and religion and very few laws can meet that test.  Which is as it should be – the whole POINT of constitutionally protected rights is to prevent the government from infringing on them.

The lower court applied “intermediate scrutiny” which is a lower standard: laws can infringe on rights if the law furthers an important government interest in some way that is substantially related to the government’s interest.  This is the level of review given to sex discrimination laws: it’s easier to pass because the right being protected is not as important in the constitutional hierarchy.

The Court of Appeals got it right.  Firearms belong with speech and religion on the top of the hierarchy of rights the Founders wanted to protect.

Yes, I know, the Court of Appeals is still applying the idiotic “home defense” notion instead of recognizing the Founders intent that the citizenry be as well-equipped as the government in order to resist tyranny; but that’s a battle yet to come.

Joe Doakes

But only if we keep the Supreme Court in rough balance.

Which is one reason why I will plug my nose and vote for Donald Trump if he’s nominated.

 

Cultural Appropriation

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is in his car, at the drive-through at Taco John’s in Little Canada.

Suddenly, Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK steps around the corner and up to BERG’s driver window.

BIRKENSTOCK:  Merg! Stop the cultural appropriation!

BERG:  What are you talking about?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Places like Taco Johns that prepare ethnic food outside its original cultural context are practicing cultural appropriation!

BERG:  So?  All cultures practice appropriation.  And by the way, who are you – a twenty-something graduate of Saint Olaf, and of Camp Wellstone, who works as a telemarketer for “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, and is as white as the driven snow – doing jabbering about “cultural appropriation”, anyway?

BIRKENSTOCK:  I identify as a wise Latina!

BERG: Huh.  OK.  So no member of a culture can use anything from another culture without, what?  An accompanying certificate of authenticity?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Don’t be a smart-aleck, Berg.   Appropriating other cultures diminishes them!

BERG:  Huh.  Well, OK, then.  In for a dime, in for a dollar.

BIRKENSTOCK:  What does that mean?

BERG:  Well, people from other cultures should stop appropriating things that are identified with a European cultural context.  Universities.  Voting.  The emphasis on the rights of the individual.  The idea of democratic government and one-person, one-vote rule and equality of all people of all classes before a law that is written by consent of those governed.  The ideals of free speech, the right to petition for the redress of grievances, fair trials, enumerated powers and unenumerated rights – all of them are Western, “white” ideals, most of them American.

BIRKENSTOCK:  Nonsense.  All of them were invented by the Iroquois.

BERG:  And are you Iroquis?

BIRKENSTOCK:  I have always identified as Iroquis.

BERG:  Iroquis and Latina?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Don’t mansplain!

BERG:  Do you also identify as Hindi?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Huh?

BERG: That toe ring you’re wearing is “appropriated” from South Asia.

BIRKENSTOCK:  Check your privilege!  You’re a white male who’s trying to mansplain!

BERG:  Now you’re appropriating elements of our linguistic heritage; “Privilege” is from the Norman French, while “Check” comes from Saxon roots.

DRIVE-THRU SPEAKER:  May I take your order?

BIRKENSTOCK:  Just a small Potato Olé, please.

BERG:  Hey – I was in line.

BIRKENSTOCK:  I identified as ahead of you, so I appropriated your spot.

And SCENE.

 

Super Bowel

NARAL objected to a Super Bowl commercial because it “humanized” a fetus.

Let me respond:

It’s an ultrasound.  But take note, NARAL and other infanticide supporters; I don’t need to “humanize” it, any more than someone needs to “conservatise” me – because it is human.   Left alone without any medical intervention (or, likely, help), the odds are overwhelming that in about 31 weeks it’ll be born as a human being, not a cat or a goat or a Prius or a producer of NPR’s “On the Media”.

It is a human, you joyless babbling harpies.

Go suck an exhaust pipe.

UPDATE: Anything that gets Darth LateTerm and the Infanticide Sith this exercised deserves some product-placement love:

Details

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Once a week, the Minnesota Court of Appeals releases decisions in criminal cases that have been appealed.  This week, four of them involve pistols possessed by people who aren’t eligible to have them.

One was handed his pistol by a friend just before the murder.  One had a pistol in the trunk of a stolen car.  One was carrying a pistol wrapped in plastic, secured with earbuds (not the way gun stores package the products they sell).  One was found under the seat of a van – nobody knows how it got there.

The court doesn’t discuss how these ineligible people got their pistols, only the fact they had them.  And these four cases are not everybody arrested with a gun, only those who had a strong enough case to appeal; but it’s an indication that the problem is widespread.

How would these crimes would have been prevented by universal background checks?

Joe Doakes

They’d give urban liberals that sense that they’ve dooooooone something.

Which is all that they really care about.

Happy Reagan’s Birthday!

It’s Ronald Reagan’s birthday.  He’d be 105 if he were alive today.

I’ve been writing about Reagan – who, along with PJ O’Rourke, Solzhenitzyn, Dostoevskii and Paul Johnson is the reason I’m a conservative today – as long as this blog has been in existence, and long before.   He was the first Republican I ever voted for – growing up in the left-leaning household I did, Reagan was utterly trayf.

His eight years in the Presidency, like his two terms in California, were not perfect, and I don’t beatify my presidents, even if they’ve been out of office for two and a half decades.  His last term wasn’t as stellar as his first, and his last two years were very difficult.

Still and all, he was the greatest president of the second half of the 20th Century.  All it takes is one great accomplishment; he had two.

He caused the implosion of Communism.  Let no liberal bobblehead tell you otherwise.  They’ll say the USSR fell because of Mikhail Gorbachev; they ignore (or, more likely, never dig beyond the left’s chanting points to learn) that Gorbachev only became Premier as a reaction to Reagan.

And he not only saved the economy (for a couple decades), but thanks to the end of the Cold War, he ushered in the greatest period of unmitigated prosperity in history; Bill Clinton cashed the “peace dividend” (and the Gingrich congress prevented him from squandering it), to the benefit of everyone in the world who wasn’t living in complete tyranny.

Some hamsters say “Reagan could never get nominated today!”    It’s possible.  I have a copy of a George Will book from the middle of Reagan’s second term that hammers the President’s departures from conservative orthodoxy; I can imagine what today’s Mark Levins and Laura Ingrahams would say and do.

But on the other hand, listen to “A Time For Choosing”, his 1964 speech supporting Barry Goldwater, where he “came out” as a conservative.  Tell me that wouldn’t fit in at a Tea party meeting:

Anyway – have a safe and blessed Reagan’s Birthday.

 

The Hero Is Exposed When His Crimes Are Brought To The Light Of NARN

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air! I will be on live from 1-3PM today!

Today on the show, I’ll be out at “Holes for Heroes” with Brad Carlson!  Come on out to Medicine Lake and join us out on the ice!

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 1-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

Well, That Snuck Up On Me

Today is this blog’s 14th Anniversary.

On February 5, 2002, I – a fairly recently divorced guy with a couple of kids and a fifteen-year-dead “career” as a pundit, working at a dotcom that was already circling the drain – read an article in Time magazine about “the new generation of conservative intellectuals”.  They directed me to, of all people, Andrew Sullivan – who was a conservative, at the time – and in a sidebar, explained what a “blog” was.

Starving for an outlet, I ran out to “Blogger.com”, signed up, and started writing.   And I’ve kept at it, most weekdays, ever since.

I got lucky – I got a couple of back to back Instalanches bright and early and, on one notable day back in 2004, simultaneous plugs from Instapundit, Hugh Hewitt and James Lileks – which pretty much put me on the map.

Blogs surged, of course, and then settled back into the social media pack behind Twitter and Facebook.  What was once a huge, bustling blogging scene in the Twin Cities is now a couple of blog superstars – Ed Morrissey, Lileks and the Powerline guys – and a small, hard core of people who just love to write; I’m one of them.

Up until that first couple of Instalanches, this blog got maybe 10 hits a day.  I’ve been holding steady around 1,000 visits every weekday for most of the past decade or so – not enough to make it a fulltime job, too many to be anything but thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given.

And it’s been an amazing opportunity.  It led, of course, to meeting a group of amazing friends; Brian, Chad and Atomizer from the Fraters (Brian emailed me back in 2002, the first person to tell me that there were other bloggers in the Twin Cities), John and Scott from Power Line, Lileks, King Banaian (blog is long gone), Brad, the Stroms and the Stewarts, the tireless Mr. D, Enge, Gary, Ryan, Foot, and too many others to mention.

And it led to the show, of which much more next month.

Anyway – thank you all for indulging my little outburst this past almost-decade-and-a-half.

Help Me Out Here

To:  Colgate
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Your Super Bowl Ad

Colgate,

So I watched the teaser for your Super Bowl spot:

I get it.  There’s big money in appealing to the altruism of the soft-core social justice warrior.  There’s a whole generation of Millennials out there who are impressed by symbols.

And I am not one of the people who “wastes” water like the guy in the ad.  I’m way too frugal for that.

But I have a question.  Several, actually:

  1. If I did leave the faucet running, what do you think would happen (other than inflating my water bill)?   Would the water disappear from the face of the earth, never to be seen again?    Of course not; it runs down the drain, through the sanitary sewer, back to sewage plant and a holding pond, where it evaporates, turning into humidity, clouds, and eventually rain or snow, falling…somewhere in the world, usually to repeat the cycle over and over and over.
  2. For that matter, what do you think happens to the water I drink?  That it disappears from the earth for good?  No – it comes back out in one form or another; #1, #2, sweat, tears, spittle, whatever.  It eventually gets back to the environment, where it evaporates and becomes humidity, clouds, fog, snow, rain, ice, glaciers, or something.  And then repeats the cycle, over and over again.
  3. You end the ad with a young, ethnically-ambiguous girl (Asian? Central American?  Briilliant casting, actually) thirstily and heart-rendingly slurping up every drop of the “wasted” water she can get her hands, literally, around.  Now, I live in a part of the world blessed with a lot of water.  My city water comes from the Mississippi River.  And any water I don’t physically consume eventually probably gets back there, or seeps down into an aquifer, or evaporates back into the atmosphere to go heaven-only-knows where.  So please tell me; if I don’t use a gallon of water, how do you propose that it gets to that little girl in Myanmar or Honduras?  Can I pack it up in a jug and send it there, with Colgate paying the freight? Will you be holding a water drive?  How is my use of water – which, between nature and a government that handles basic services with some degree of competence, is plentiful where I live – related to the availability of water in a third-world hellhole beset by banana-republic socialists, corruption and incompetence?   Can the water I don’t use be re-purposed to drowning the successive waves of dictators that have managed to make places like the little girl’s hometown short of water, even though they’re by a freaking rain forest.

Thanks in advance.

Meet The DFL’s Praetorian Guard

The City Pages – the Twin Cities’ media’s aggressively dumb and mindlessly aggressive little brother – engages in “Trump-shaming”, in an article that asks the question that’s on every Minnesotan’s “mind”:

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

Who among us would give to Donald Trump? These people, that’s who.

The article then publishes the names of everyone (they could find) who’s donated to Trump, from the $1,000 donations down to $19.

Now, let nobody be under the delusion that the City Pages is anything but the low end of the DFL’s PR chain, covering the “dumb, entitled, self-impressed would-be hipster” market segment.

But this is part of a larger Democrat strategy – and it’s nothing new.  Back in 2010, the DFL used the media to help “shame” Tom Emmer’s corporate donors into acquiescence.   Newspapers around the country have been trying to “gun-shame” carry permit holders (in states that have less-effective protections for permittees than Minnesota law does, thankfully) ever since they could.  Even Minneapolis city councilwoman, Generalissima and Councilwoman for Life Alondra Cano, used/abused her position with the city to try to “shame” her critics by publicizing their personal contact information.

This is your Twin Cities media, doing its job.

No, I mean its real job.

Kim Norton: Minnesota’s Greatest Gun Salesperson

GOCRA notes that since Barack Obama and Kim Norton started their parallel offensives against guns (in the hands of the law-abiding citizen), Minnesota carry permits are flying off the shelves as fast as guns of all types.  January was a near-record month for permit applications:

The number of valid Minnesota carry permits is now 221,712, an increase of more than 6,000 in the last month, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

That’s the second-largest increase ever. The largest increase occurred in March 2013, in the wake of calls for increased gun control following the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Permittage-2-4-16

The sharp increase following the San Bernadino, California mass murder — and subsequent calls for more restrictions on firearms — was entirely predictable, according to GOCRA President Andrew Rothman. “Nothing gets people more interested in exercising their rights than the threat of having them taken away,” he said, noting a similar increase after Sandy Hook.

The people are generally smarter than their legislators:

GOCRA’s founder and chairman, Professor Joseph E. Olson, emphasized that although police arrived at the San Bernadino scene in under five minutes, the killers had already taken 14 lives and fled the scene.

“The only solution to a mass murder incident is instant counterfire,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who is shooting back: police, security, or an ordinary citizen. All that matters is that someone is. As history shows, after the first armed resistance, the murderer will almost always either give up, or run for cover — and often commit suicide. Either way, the presence of instant counterfire ends the murdering. Nothing else does.”

The next nine months are going to be intense.  And if Bernie or Hillary wins the election, look for the lines at gun stores to make the lines at Star Wars look like the lines outside Truth.

Almost Like A Sequel To “Trulbert”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Federal Reserve was formed in 1913 for one purpose: to give the nation a stable money supply.  That’s it, nothing fancy, just provide a safe, secure, stable supply of money that will hold its value.  We needed that, because the previous national money schemes all went bust and decades of economic chaos followed.

 

After WW II, things looked pretty good and people had forgotten the old lessons.  In the 1970’s, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act to force banks to lend to unqualified borrowers and also expanded the Federal Reserve’s mission to include social engineering through monetary policy: “ . . . effectively promote the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates . . . .”

 

Remember the recession under Nixon, WIN buttons and the malaise economy of the Carter years?  And the real estate crash we just had?  Social engineering gone awry.

 

The federal government still deficit spends but nobody will buy worthless US bonds so the Federal Reserve buys them with money that it prints up.  I suspect the reason that cash inflow isn’t showing as inflation is the rest of the economy is in deflation but the government changed the formula to hide the fact its borrowing only partly offsets the slow-motion crash.

 

Buyers have a fixed amount of money to spend on monthly house payments.  It doesn’t matter whether that $1,000 per month goes to interest or principal.  The Fed is keeping interest rates low to prop up home values to benefit Baby Boomers wanting to sell McMansions, but it’s killing retirees whose investment accounts earn nothing, cost management fees and are eroded by secret inflation.

 

I suspect the Fed will raise interest rates when more Baby Boomers have retired and need the investment money.  True, it’ll crush home values but retirees won’t care at that point.

 

They tinker with the money hoping to reward certain behavior but if it crashes the economy again – as the other systems did before it – then we’ll be standing around saying “What we need is a safe, secure, stable supply of money that will hold its value.”

 

Joe Doakes

“He who forgets his history…”

Lightning Fails To Strike

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is out running his snowblower down the block.  BILL GUNKEL, former Republican who is now chairmain of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”, pulls up to the curb.  

GUNKEL:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Oh, hey, Bill.  What’s up?

GUNKEL:  Elections are a sham.  The best way to “participate” in elections is withdrawing your consent by refusing to vote.

BERG:  Huh.  Well, feel free to tell the Minnesota Department of Revenue “I have withdrawn my consent” when they come for your money and property after the DFL wins.

GUNKEL:  Hah.  So what?  Your participation makes absolutely no difference.  In fact, settled science has shown us that your chance of dying on your way to the polls is greater than your chance of affecting the outcome of an election.

BERG:  That’s absurd!

GUNKEL:   It’s science!  Why do you hate science?

BERG:  It’s not science.  It’s arithmetic.  The writer – apparently a barrista who contributes to “Forbes” – calculated your chance of being the single vote that decides an election versus your chance of dying in a car accident on the way to the polls.

GUNKEL:  So?

BERG:  So nothing.  Of course your chances of being the single vote that decides an election are small – although if you think they’re nonexistent, tell it to her.

GUNKEL:  Hah.  That’s just the religion you were taught in high school civics class.

BERG:  Right.  And all of you “libertarians” who sit resplendently above it all snarking at the commoners are so much better than that.  I get it. Look – it was a stupid article, and it reinforces an even dumber point.  It’s not about tipping elections yourself.  It’s about bringing a lot of people who believe the way you do to the polls to help you tip it.  Which, to be fair, is something your crowd has never been good at.

GUNKEL:  Pffft. That never happens.  If it did, you’d see election results change significantly.

BERG:  It most certainly does.  Thirty and forty years ago, support for gun control was extremely common at the state and federal levels.  Over the course of thirty years, Human Rights advocates in ones and twos voted, and convinced others to vote, for rather than against the Second Amendment.  Today, those regular schnooks voting by their ones and twos have flipped that issue 180 degrees.

And you “liberty” people could do it too, if you ever stopped purity-testing each other to a fine sheen and started trying to convince people, instead of bellowing about “principles” to rooms full of people just like you.

GUNKEL:  Oooh, look – a city snow plow!  (Forms a snowball, begins the stalk)

And SCENE