The New Rules

Remember when there was an unstated rule, when following news coverage of a crime in the Metro – if they didn’t mention the offender’s ethnicity or show a photo, it actually answered the question?

New addition to the rule: if the story pertains to criminal justice’s response to last year’s riots, and the offender’s ideology – “Boogaloo”, “proud boy”, whatever – isn’t mentioned, you know by omission whose “side” they were on.

Case in point.

Prove me wrong.

The Great Shun

There was a time when news outlets in the Twin Cities would, on occasion and when it was germane to the story, reach out to people on the political right. It even got to the point, in the last aughts, when lowly lil’ ol’ me was getting occasional calls from Channel 4, MPR and WCCO Radio for a grassroots conservative perspective on stories. This hit a peak during the Tea Party years…

…and then, abruptly, stopped.

We’ll come back to that.

The “point/counterpoint” feature was, if not a staple, at least a fairly normal part of American media life not all that long ago. Before “Crossfire” – which, I’m surprised and pained to see, has been gone for over 15 years – there were others; the earliest I can remember was a weekly bit on “Sixty Minutes”, “Point/Counterpoint”, with liberal Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick – two articulate spokespeople for two diametrically opposed viewpoints.

Of course, CNN’s Crossfire was the biggest of them all. The original cast – Pat Buchanan and Tom Leyden – was the best, and sometimes created some fantastic TV – and I say this as someone who was pretty much a Democrat back then, although I hadn’t really thought that much about it (which makes me amply qualified to be a Democrat today). The most memorable bit, in those days when “white supremacist” groups operated in the open and were at least an order of magnitude larger than they are today, was an interview with a uniformed American Nazi. And Leyden, the show’s liberal and a World War 2 veteran, opened the segment by saying “My biggest regret in life was that I didn’t kill more of you back during the war” as the normally un-out-irascible Buchanan looked on, his jaw momentarily agape.

It’s a scene you wouldn’t get today – partly because any notion of patriotism and objective good and evil is gone from the left…

…and partly because Crossfire is long gone.

Now, according to Ben Domenech at Federalist, it was killed by Jon Stewart, who during a fabled appearance in 2004 completely trashed the premise of the show:

Readers will recall this was the infamous “hurting America” clip, where Stewart crapped all over the very concept of a debate show that paired left and right as co-equals in a running debate over the direction of America.

Stewart, who’s a fan of uninformed hubristic rants generally but will put the clown nose back on the minute you call him on it, went on a jeremiad against hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala as representing the worst aspects of American politics. But looking back on the ramifications of his comments — “Crossfire” was canceled months later — what do we see? There is today essentially no program on all of cable television that pairs left and right perspectives on camera as co-equal hosts, allowed to engage in free and open debate about the topics of the day.

Domenech’s premise – that event was the beginning of the end of actual debate in the media:

So we should ask: Is that a good thing? Is the media landscape Stewart helped create better for it, where Brian Williams regularly engages in Stewart-like snark (he called Ron Johnson a Russian asset the other day for reading a Federalist article into the record) and Tucker Carlson is the biggest name as a solo act in cable news?

In a context in which so much ink is dedicated to the concept of silos and the elimination of common space between right and left — and I mean the real right and left, not David Brooks and Maureen Dowd — do we honestly want a world where there is no space where these warring sides meet to do rhetorical battle?

The answer is: of course not. It’s much, much worse. The inability to have a space where such debates play out, and the inability of existing entities to provide such a space, has led directly to a degradation of our political conversation and a lack of familiarity with even the most basic version of the other side’s perspective on the world.

Domenech may have a point – the event was certainly the beginning of the end on cable.

But the stifling of actual co-equal debate began much earlier. I recall the woman who edited the “Letters to the Editor” page at the Strib, back before the internet made everyone an LTE editor, and then before social media made us all stupid, describing on a talk show how she made sure she picked only the dumb voices on some subjects, like gun control and abortion. You know which side she favored.

But it’s become absolutely airtight. As I noted way up above, local media made a point of at least acknowledging some sort of opposing opinion. During the run-up to the Republican National Convenion in 2007, I got invited on an MPR program on the planned protests, to discuss planned counterprotests. Because there was a counterpoint, and there was another side.

A few years later, when I spent some time fact-checking NPR’s fact-check column, both here and via email – correctly – one of MPR’s news execs inadvertently cc’ed me on an email to RIchert, telling her not to bother engaging. And that was the last I’ve heard from NPR, on any level, for any reason.

And it’s not just me. Far from it – even “tame” liberal Republican voices like David Brooks are getting rarer.

It was almost like a switch flipped, along about 2011. LIke the media saw what a motivated, decentralized, idealistic conservative-libertarian throng like the Tea Party could so (and did, in 2010), and figured they needed to starve it of that most precious political commodity ,air time.

I strongly suspect that the “outing” of “JournoList” didn’t end the collusion around the progressive narrative in the media – indeed, I suspect that, like an evil, adenoidal Gandalf, it just came back, bigger and stronger and more secret still.

And the nation is much worse off for it.

The M.O.

Twelve years ago, during the first year or so of the Obama administraiton, I pointed out my, shall we say, skepticism over the Administration’s, and Big Left’s, claims that we were on the verge of a wave of “white supremacist terror” that was going to, in the words of more than a few pundits, “dwarf 9/11”.

White supremacist terror was certainly a real thing. In the 1920’s, aided and abetted by Woodrow Wilson, the Klan was a major power in the South, and could even muster thousands of member to rallies here in Minnesota.

And I”m old enough to actually remember active White Supremacists doing bad things; the Medina Shootout, the shooting of Alan Berg, and others.

But to paraphrase Martin Luther King, the arc of White Supremacist organizations has been long, and has curved toward Palookaville. According to actual sources that had to keep their jobs by reporting facts, groups like the Klan, the Bund and other radical white supremacist organizations mustered:

  • Millions of members and active sympathizers in the 1920s
  • Hundreds of thousands by the 1960s
  • A few tens of thousands by the time I graduated from high school, after a decade and a half of rigorous prosecution.
  • As of 2015 or so, a few thousand, powerless, isolated, ridiculed, inbred losers living in their parents basements.

The number of actual identifiable active “White supremacists” has shrunk, in terms of verifiable numbers, by an order of magnitude every generation.

Of course, with the election of Trump, the narrative turned: while there were fewer verifiable, actual members of organizations, the “rhetoric” of the new administration “created more sympathizers”…

…which was simultaneously unverifiable, un-testable, and conveniently allowed the keepers of the narrative to brand anyone to the right of Amy Klobuchar as a “potential” “white supremacist”. Like Candace Owens.

But I digress.

The narraative saw comical spectacles like the pathetic gaggle of a hundred or so endomorphic cretins gathered from across ten or more states to Charlottesville, parading with tiki torches before set upon by a much larger mob with the active connivance of a “progressive” mayor, presented as evidence of the coming Racemageddon.

Berg’s 20th Law reads “All incidents of “hate speech” not captured on video (involving being delivered by someone proven not to be a ringer) shall be assumed to be hoaxes until proven otherwise” has heretofore concerned itself with dime-bag racial huckstery like last week’s collossal FUBAR at Adelphi University, where university staff indulged in a “Ready, Fire, Aim” moment: an anonymous social media post declared that there was a wave of lynchings of blacks headed toward…Adelphi?

In response to the anonymous post — which included no corroborating evidence — the school sent a statement to the student body.

“There have been recent incidents of students using racial slurs, hateful comments, and reported threats of violence and retaliation on social media — and sadly, this is not the first time these issues have occurred,” said Adelphi President Christine Riordan. “To those among us who have been targeted, directly and indirectly, we hate that this has happened to you, and we hate that we have not yet found a way to stop it.”

“Ignorance, racism, hate and violence hold no place in the Adelphi community, yet those things keep happening here,” continued the communication. “We know there is no place at Adelphi for inexcusable messages of white supremacy and anti-Blackness, but such racist attacks are a stark reminder of the work we need to do to combat systemic inequality and ongoing racism in our very own community.”

Adelphi University Strategic Communications Director Todd Wilson directed Campus Reform toward another statement published the following day.

The second statement admitted that public safety and local police officers “have continued to ask for direct evidence of threats from those who have received them firsthand and none have been submitted for investigation.” 

As with the entire wave – remember that word – of such hoaxes, so significant as to lead to the enshrining of Berg’s 20th Law, there shall be none.

But maybe I, and my law, have thought too narrowly.

The law focused on penny-ante hoaxes like Adelphi, or this one (one of several such in recent years, which seem to come up so frequently I have to check to make sure they’re not the same episode) or the similar one at Saint Olaf a few years back (a school which is no stranger to hate crimes, but all of them seem to be directed at the right).

But the entire “wave of terror” narrative applies. Like the scads of little hoaxes, everything about it must be observed, questioned, verified…

…and, if the pattern continues, as it usually seems to do, mocked and taunted from public life.

Chum

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Andrew McCarthy writing at National Review says the Chauvin jury was correct to convict him, not based on anything reported in the media or introduced as evidence at trial or the pervasive atmosphere of intimidation, but because the conviction means Chauvin is a bad cop and that exonerates the rest of society from the charge of systemic racism. 

Sacrificing a victim to the mob is shameful.  Twisting your shameful act to pretend it’s all for the greater good is disgusting.  But I expect nothing less from a Never-Trumper. 

Joe Doakes

It’s the sort of rationalization I expect from someone who spent way too much time in the prosecution industry.

For All The Amateur Legal Scholars

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

We’ve heard a lot of legal expertise tossed around lately.  Let’s see how easily our resident legal scholars handle a first-year law school exam question.:

Criminal Procedure quiz, essay portion:

A man is accused of committing a crime in Minneapolis.  The prosecuting attorney spends a year tainting the jury pool with pretrial publicity.  Defendant moves for a change of venue citing his Constitutional right to a fair trial but the judge concludes the State’s actions have been so widespread, so pervasive, so completely corrupting, that the Defendant cannot get a fair trial anywhere in the state.

The judge’s choices are:

A.  Hold the trial in Minneapolis since that’s where the alleged crime occurred, even as the mob outside the courthouse threatens to burn the city if the man isn’t convicted;

B.  Dismiss the charges on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct in violation of the Defendant’s Constitutional rights.

If the judge chooses A, he opens the door for the State to violate future defendants’ Constitutional rights in a similar manner.  If the judge chooses B, the mob burns down the city. What should the judge do?   Explain your answer in 100 words or less giving citations to relevant statutory, case-law, and rule authority.

You have one hour.  Begin.

Joe Doakes

Er..Racism and White Privilege and the Patriarchy?

Those seem to be the answers for everyone question one can’t answer these days.

Rumor Of War

The Chauvin trial wrapped up yesterday. As this is written, the jury is deliberating.

But well into last week, Saint Paul was strapping in.

Holiday station, Hamline at Marshall. That’s some solid woodwork on those plywood window covers.

Saint Paul is smoking ’em if they got ’em.

Laundromat, University and Pascal. At least 2-3 other buildings east and west of here burned last May. The strip mall across the street was more or less looted out – allowing the property managers to sell to the owners of “Minnesota United”. The riots were indeed very good for Saint Paul’s plutocrats.

The Midway Menards hasn’t yet piled stacks of plywood in front of the store – which is the “smoke ’em if you got ’em” moment, from where I sit.

Some merchants are of the opinion that some kind of supplication to the crowd might buy them some grace.

I’m not going to say what the store is – and I’ll block anyone who tries, and it’ll be so permanent it’ll make “Dog Gone’s” exile look like Woody Kane’s sentence.. They’re a local, family-run business, and they were burned and looted, although not totaled out, last year. They’ve been warned to expect more of the same. Fingers crossed for all of them.

But most of the biggest victims last year were immigrants and merchants “of color”, and there’s no reason to expect the white left-wing college kids who did most of the burning last year are going to be any different this time around.

If some legislator wants to push a bill removing “duty to retreat” and allowing self-defense of felony-level destruction of property via lethal force, I’ll pound all the pavement they need.

Or, y’know, assert the rule of law:

Assert it equally, regardless of class, race or all the rest? Absolutely – suggest otherwise (or suggest I suggest otherwise) and you are depraved and need to be shunned.

But assert it, for chrissake.

Incomplete

The press “reports” on Maxine Waters’ weekend trip to Brooklyn Center:

Did they cover everything?

Miss anything?

Like…the incitement to violence?

From the party (and media) that seems to think that there was no political violence in this country before (or apparently after) January 6?

UPDATE/BUMP: Oh, yeah – like Lisa Bender and Philippe Cunningham, Waters wanted special treatment while she incite her violence.

This Is A Sincere Question…

…for any DFLers that happen to be reading.

Yesterday, on the one hand, DFL rep Jennifer McEwen, sounding as if she were nearly in tearms, chided her GOP colleagues for attacking Maxine Waters, who spent her weekend telling Demcorats to riot if they didn’t get the verdict they wanted in the Chauvin trial…

Right after that, the DFL moved a resolution condemning the National Guard – part-time soldiers who live among us all – for supporting the effort to keep “Anti”-Fa from burning down. more poor, immigrant and minority neighborhoods:

Do these people speak for you?

And if you deflect to “January 6”, in the seeming belief that there was no pollitical violence in this country before that day, I will mock and taunt you for a month straight, and you will deserve it.

Some Animals…

This was Keith Ellison, the other night in Brooklyn Center:

So we have:

  • Minnesota’s top “law enforcement officer”
  • Out after the curfew his political class imposed
  • Telling (the right) people to go ahead and flout the curfew

I’m going to need to find all these examples of Ellison’s perfidy and collect ’em all in one place for 2022. This stuff needs to get dragged out of the memory hole…

…for whatever good it’ll do.

Enough

Watching what’s going on now, I’ve had just about enough of two responses:

“It’s just property”

Let’s say you’ve worked hard, and spent $40,000 on a car. Since the average median income is about $40,000, that’s a year out of your life (your math may vary; If you make $100,000 a year, imagine you bought a Range Rover). You can spread that out over 4 to 7 years with a loan – but it’s still got to get paid, which means you are still going to spend a year of your life to pay for that car.

Somebody steals or destroys it. That means they have taken the work from a whole year of your life.

Without paying you.

And saying “it’s covered by insurance“ is a copout; instead of appropriating the life and labor of one person, you’re spreading it out across everyone. Insurance against accidents and the vicissitudes of life is one thing; assuming insurance is there to pay for someone’s looting or crime spree is the same as saying “this group of people is entitled to that group of people’s labor, without compensation.”

Stealing and destroying things, and saying “someone else will pay for it“, whether it’s one person or hundreds of thousands, is no different than making them work for you for free.

If someone openly talked about forcing a group of people to work for them for free, what would you do?

If someone were coming at you with the explicit purpose of forcing you to work for them for free, what would you call it?

Hint: we fought a Civil War over it at one point.

The other saying: “Complaining about destruction of property is privilege”

Your G___damn right it is. It’s a “Privilege“ you, and I, and every chump Of every race, religion, gender and orientation who pays taxes to any level of government, earn, in full expectation that government will carry out its absolute minimum legitimate role.

Which is not “building bike paths” or “running resiliency departments” or even “making life happy and equitable”.

It is “ upholding the rule of law“.

Which all sounds very square, like the John Lithgow character in “Footloose”…

…until you remember that without some minimum standard of order – for example, knowing that the home you work to pay for and the business you work to build, and the community that you work to create, aren’t going to be stolen and destroyed arbitrarily – prosperity [1] is impossible.

And without prosperity, “freedom“ is irrelevant. What difference does it make if you can vote, if you are working from sunup to sundown to stave off famine and don’t have time to keep up on the news?

It is the same level of “privilege“, by the way, that leads one to legitimately expect the justice system to which we lend some of our freedoms to work, fairly and impartially, no matter who the defendants are.

I’m done with taking either of these arguments as anything but the abominations they are. Our entire society needs to be done with them both.

Excusing looting, whatever its motivations, is an attack on everybody’s freedom. It’s time to treat it as such.

[1] and by “prosperity“, I don’t mean “Jay-Z driving around in a Bentley“. I mean “most of us aren’t out working in a field from the sunrise until sunset, to earn a famine prone subsistence living, so we have time to read books and raise our kids and think about things other than trying not to starve“. Which, throughout millions of years if human history, has been the rule, not the exception. That is mankind‘s natural state, not this relative utopia we are living in today.

With Apologies To David Letterman (Back When He Was Funny)

The Top Ten Things you Never, Ever Hear in Real Life.

10. “Hey, hand me that piano”.

9. “Gosh, the Star Tribune does a great job of balanced coverage on divisive issues”

8. “You know what I could use right now? A plate of “Scrod” from Embers”

7. “The fact that the Vikings, T-Wolves, Wild and usually the Twins disappoint me terribly is a sign that my priorities in life are terribliy out of whack”.

6. “See how much clearer and more fluid writing is when you arbitrarily and mindlessly adhere to the ‘Oxford Comma?'”

5. “The ‘zipper merge’ has made my life better”

4. “I got a call back from Alice Hausman’s office!”s

3. “That Mike McNeil on AM950 is appointment listening for me!”

2. “I always feel healthy and safe riding the Green Line after 6PM!”

And the #1 thing you never, ever hear in real life:

Number 1: “Oh, good. Al Sharpton is in town. Our racial divide and social crisis is going to get better”.

Impunity

I’ve been thinking about impunity.  It’s why:

-Black Lives Matter and Antifa can burn down cities;

-Keith Ellison can orchestrate a lynching;

-Tim Walz can imprison the whole state for an entire year;

-someone in the Biden Administration can send troops to kick down doors
in Syria;

-China can humiliate our diplomats in Alaska;

-sex fiends and pedophiles can prey on victims for years;

-illegal immigrants can swarm our border.

When people know they can get away with bad behavior, they engage in
more of it.  Swift punishment deters bad behavior.  How can we restore
the deterrent necessary to end bad behavior?

Joe Doakes

A city without any political opposition, and a political system without any major media scrutiny, all lead to people acting with impunity.

Consequences. Unintended And…

A friend of the blog emails:

Essentially this article blames the pandemic as the reason for higher Minneapolis property taxes next year.  The reason is because commercial real estate in the city has been jumping so much over the last 10 years before 2020, home owners have not seen as much increase in property taxes.  It’s all relative.  The city spend money like a drunken sailor and has been able to pass that on to the growing apartment buildings, restaurants, other commercial ventures that have popped up in the last 10 years.  That growth has halted and I predict commercial properties and values will decrease which will shift the burden to homeowners.  Get ready homeowners.

2020 has changed all that.  Part of the change is the pandemic as businesses realize they can keep workers working at home and reduce the amount of office space needed.  But it is also true that businesses will not move into a city that has no police force and allows blocks of businesses to be looted and burned.  Target is downsizing.  There wasn’t even a thought of the Canadian Pacific merger of having the headquarters in downtown Mpls where it is now.  Who thinks Minneapolis will see a Final Four or a Superbowl in the next 10 years?  The airheads running the city have created a bigger mess than just the pandemic.  I am glad to see my favorite establishment, Brit’s Pub, has re-opened but I am not tempted to go there even in daylight due to the dangerous downtown. 

Right now I am watching the discussion on the local Nextdoor.  People are noticing a big jump in their assessed home values yet their property taxes are stable and some even falling a bit.  The respite in tax increase this year is a big head fake.  The 2022 property taxes will increase mightily as these higher home values will shift a big piece of the real estate base from business to homeowners.  Maybe not if the city’s spending can be cut.  Unfortunately those cuts will likely come from the police force which is already being decimated by resignations and retirements.  The city can just recognize reality that they cannot retain and recruit enough badges.    My heart is sad for my beloved Minneapolis.  The local voters have been mislead by the local media and the chickens have come home to roost.  They will appeal to the state of MN for help.  God give backbones to the state legislature to say “NO.”  Just say “no” as Mpls voters caused this problem, they need to fix it.

Let this be a cautionary tale for other cities.  You don’t want this.

The same story can be said for all of Hennepin County. This will affect them as well.

Two observations.

First: when the MInnPost is too far to the middle for a Democrat machine…

Second: This is what a death spiral looks like.

See also: Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark…

…well, you get the idea.

I’m No Lawyer

As such, I have no idea if the City of Minneapolis is trying to find ways to throw the Chauvin trial, or to create grounds for endless appeals, each of them a potential spark for more riots and, of course, more springboards for more political grandstanding.

But if it were…:

Cahill’s decision followed a defense request to delay or move the trial in the wake of last week’s $27 million wrongful death settlement announced between Minneapolis and the family of George Floyd.

Chauvin’s attorneys argued that the massive settlement and the notoriety around it might taint the jury pool.

Cahill, who’s expressed his unhappiness over Minneapolis publicizing the settlement during jury selection for Chauvin’s criminal trial, acknowledged Friday that the high-profile nature of this case would be inescapable no matter if it were postponed or moved.

“I don’t think there’s any place in the state of Minnesota that has not been subjected to extreme amounts of publicity on this case,“ Cahill told the court, explaining his decision to keep the trial in Minneapolis.

…I’d be at a loss for what they’d be doing differently.

After Nearly A Year…

…of constant violence that he encouraged not only with as many words but with as many actions, Portland, Oregon mayor Ted Wheeler says people are “sick of” the constant sturm und drang that has made parts of the city unlivable:

Portland became a hotbed of civil unrest last summer during demonstrations protesting the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis. Similar demonstrations in cities across the country were largely peaceful. But in Portland, some of the demonstrations have deteriorated into widespread arson, looting and assaults. ADVERTISEMENT

Rioters in the city, who have called for the defunding of the local police department along with other measures, have on several occasions targeted a federal courthouse, spraying it with graffiti, setting fires and destroying nearby storefronts and other property.  

“The people who work here support the voices of racial and social justice and will not be intimidated from doing our jobs by the ugly graffiti or broken windows,” Scott Erik Asphaug, a U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, said during the press conference, the AP reported. “We do not confuse the voices of the many with the shouts of the few who hope to hold our city hostage by petty crime and violence.”

The first two things that jumped to my mind?

  1. After ten months of Wheeler all but setting Portland up as an “Anti”-Fa staging area, I wonder what powerful “progressive” constituency finally figured it was time to rein the party in?
  2. Reading Asphaug’s quote, am I the only one who thinks it sounds like they’re trying to pin the violence on…”the right”?

Currying Favor

Here’s the team of lawyers volunteering their time to prosecute a Minneapolis police officer in the biggest racial lynching the city has ever seen. 

They must all be gunning for judge, hoping to impress Tim Walz with their sterling Liberal credentials so he appoints them to the bench.  Thank God I don’t live in Hennepin County.

Joe Doakes

Same. Although let’s not pretend for a moment that if this had happened in Saint Paul, the Ramco Attorney’s office wouldn’t be just as bad.

The Darkness Before The Darkness

A longtime friend of the blog emails:

With the impending Derek Chauvin trial, the fortification of the 4th Precinct has begun this morning.

A wall of cement traffic barricades are being set around the perimeter. Back last summer it was reinforced with razor wire.

I am so deeply saddened by what has happened to my city.

Sad. And disgusted.

Kevin Williamson was right. This isn’t decay. This is municipal suicide.

To Recap

We had a thorough discussion about Ryan Winkler’s tweet and established
that Democrats have a strong personal belief, perhaps even a moral
conviction, that public safety is a government responsibility.

We had a thorough discussion about a lawsuit against the City and
established that when citizens suffer because government abandoned its
responsibility, the citizens have no recourse against the government
under existing law.

So the obvious question is: Will Ryan Winkler introduce legislation
creating a right for citizens to sue the government for failing its
responsibility to protect them?  And will the new law be retroactive to
cover the riots?

Ryan Winkler talked the talk, but will he walk the walk?

Joe Doakes

There may be no more superficial person in Minnesota politics than Ryan Winkler.

Other than Erin Maye Quade. And Ilhan Omar.

OK, and probably a few others.

But you get the point.

The Walk

Our thorough discussion of Ryan Winkler’s tweet established that
Democrats have a strong personal belief, perhaps even a moral
conviction, that public safety is a government responsibility.

Our thorough discussion of the lawsuit against Minneapolis established
that when citizens suffer because government abandons its
responsibility, the citizens have no recourse under existing law.

You must rely on us; but you can’t rely on us. That’s Catch-22 and it’s
not a joke, it’s official policy.

So the obvious question is: When will Ryan Winkler introduce legislation
creating a right for citizens to sue the government for failing its
responsibility to protect them? And will the new law be retroactive to
cover the riots?

Ryan Winkler talked the talk, but will he walk the walk?

Joe Doakes

No point of Rep. Winkler’s career has been about “walking” any “walk”.

It’s been about pointing at others shortcomings, real or manufactured, and jumping up and down and pointing and flinging poo.

That should clarify things.

Civil Society And Its Abusers

One of domestic abusers most insidious forms of brainwashing is telling, and eventually convincing, their partners that the abuse is partly, or all, their own fault. “You provoked me”. “You shouldn’t have said __“. “You’re as much to blame as me. Maybe more”.

We’ll come back to that.


Years ago, I was at an event – political convention, election night coverage, something along those lines [1], in my capacity as a blogger and talk show host. I was hobnobbing with Big Minnesota Media.

As I was walking back from a concession stand, one of the Big Media people, someone who doesn’t have a byline or get seen on camera, walked up to me, and furtively whispered “Hey – PLEASE don’t tell anyone, but I’m a huge fan of you guys’s show. I’m a conservative. But I gotta keep it quiet. Anyway, keep up the good work”.

And then, as suddenly as the exchange began, it ended. The person peeled away and went back to work, making sure not to be seen talking to me. I felt like a Western reporter in East Berlin or Warsaw, in the seventies, getting a furtive, samizdat message from a covert dissident who was on the lookout for the Stasi or ZOMO.

This person – a successful media professional – was worried about being “canceled”. For being a conservative.

This was years ago – long before “Cancel Culture” was a term.



Last week, Erin Maye Quade, a former state rep and Lieutenant Governor candidate, tweeted this:

We covered this last week.

“People who rail against “cancel culture” are actually just upset about a culture of consequences.”
Is this just an isolated example of a person with an invincible sense of Urban Progressive Privilege #progsplaining people (“actually…”) to accept some premise that flies directly in the face of what they see with their own eyes?

Sadly, no.


A few weeks back, “progressive” theology site Patheos posted this article: “No, You’re Not Being Canceled Because You’re Conservative

The article makes one plausible but misguided point – “conservatives and Christians do it too” – using the examples of John McCain (who got attacked for bucking conservative orthodoxy, and got a political response from people in a political party that has political stances they argue about – seeing a theme, yet?), and the Dixie Chicks (an example they undercut later in the piece). Nothing about non-political people losing non -political jobs, oddly enough.

The other points are worse.

The author posits “Either you’re for the free market or you’re not” – thereby cutting his own “Dixie Chicks” argument off at the knees. And he finishes with a slightly more elegant version of Maye Quade’s bit of #progsplaining – “the stuff you’re being canceled over is neither Christian nor Conservative”, holding that everyone that’s been “canceled” has gotten it because they peddle QAnon theories or are Kloset Klansmen.

And the author doesn’t even address the notion that dishing out consequences to a person’s personal and vocational life over political differences is appropriate “consequences” for any mainstream political view. Indeed, the Patheos article makes the “hear no evil / see no evil / speak no evil” monkey face and ignores the real issue entirely. To this “progressive” Christian author, it’s a non issue.

Which must’ve come as news to the conservative professors, and in the past 20 years teachers and school administrators who’ve been hounded into silence, or out of academia, as a “consequence” of having a considered worldview based on Friedman rather than Alinsky.
Or to the conservative students who are bullied into silence or exile as a “consequence” for dissenting from academia’s oppressive leftist slant.

Or the actors, artists, journalists and other soft-skills professionals and craftspeople who worry, legitimately, about the “consequences” to their career of being “outed”. Like the person in my story at the top of this piece. They worried about being slandered, pilloried and ousted from a decent job in their field, for *being a mainstream Republican and conservative” , albeit not even an activist – something that wasn’t considered “thoughtcrime” 20 years earlier, when that person entered the field.

Or Gina Carano, whose views leading to her defenestration from Disney have been misrepresented by the Left’s noise machine to the point of slander. Carano did *not* say Republicans today were like the Jews of the 1930s. She said – quite correctly – that tyrants succeed by turning neighbor against neighbor. That is Totalitarianism 101 , a point made in fiction by Orwell and in history by Solzhenitzyn, among many others.

Or…me.

I get some flak for my blog and my show – the occasional demented stalker, no big deal. But I’ve also gotten harassed by ex-co-workers who learned about my alter ego life [2]. And there’ve been two jobs in the past ten years where managers with highly progressive views that they were (significantly) unafraid to espouse in the office gave off muted but pointed indications that my contracts were ending because while my work was just fine, even superlative, my views – which they had had to expend some significant effort to find, since not even a whiff of them came out in the office – were not.


So yes – “cancel” culture is about consequences. In most cases, consequences for principled, but not infrequently silent, dissent from a dominant world view.
And the current narrative – from Erin Maye Quade, Patheos, and much of the rest of the dominant culture in media, academia, education and Big Tech – that “you got canceled because you provoked it and have it coming?”

That’s gaslighting. It’s a key tactic of abusers – among many others that have become commonplace weapons in today’s culture war:

Is it any different from the tactics that abusers use to shut their partners up?
Convince me.

Good luck.


[1] I’m profusely concealing this person’s identity, to this day. Don’t even ask.

[2] Which I keep scrupulously out of the workplace – literally, I’ve never mentioned my radio or blog lives once over the past 19 years. In that time, I’ve had two people, both fans, ask me “aren’t you the Mitch Berg that’s on the radio”. And my response, every time, is “There IS a Mitch Berg who does that. But he’d never talk about that on company time”. Every single time.

UPDATE: Jenn at Redhead Ranting has a personal take on the whole thing.

Residual Forces

In Ben Shapiro’s Sunday interview with Gina Carano that I linked yesterday, there were several passages that resonated.

One in particular:

I would go to a barbecue on the beach in California, and all these people would go [switches to sotto voce] “Hey, I agree with you. Messed up, isn’t it?”.

And I’d be…’This is your house. Why are you whispering?'”

It reminded me of another episode.

I was talking with a couple of reps from a metro media organization – TV, newspaper, it matters not. And when one of the representatives and I had a moment without the others around, that person swiveled their head around to make sure nobody was listening, and whispered to me “Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I love [the NARN]. I’m on you guys side. I just have to keep quiet about it”. I felt a little like a reporting working in East Berlin or Warsaw in 1974, getting a furtive, samizdat note from a local that the Stasi or ZOMO wouldn’t be able to trace.

This was over a decade ago.

I think of this because it is now in vogue for lefties to tell people “there is no such thing as cancel culture. There’s just consequences for actions”.

Right. And that “action” is “dissenting from the progressive worldview in public”. No more.

Required Listening

“People tell me ‘I see what’s happening, and I”m so afraid’. And I tell them ‘you should feel more afraid that they’re making yiou feel afraid'”.

Get the truth about Gina Carano, because God knows the media won’t give it to you.

It’s from Sunday’s Ben Shapiro podcast. And while Carano isn’t a highly polished radio guest, her story – then and now – is utterly fascinating.

Big Left has been ideologically cleansing academia for decades. They’ve largely consolidating their control of the educational-industrial complex. They’re consolidating Hollywood and Big Tech now. Along with that, they – and a Big Sort – are doing the same with major metro areas.

And conservatives have in many cases obliged by moving on to greener/redder pastures.

But just as Eden Prairie is following Edina into the moldy blue camp as conservatives concede the battlefield, the culture war is coming for you, wherever you are.

At some point, the good guys and gals have to draw their lines in the sand.

Feniks > Penzey’s

A Michigan ammo company vows not to sell ammunition to Biden voters…

…and puts its marketing where its mouth is:

“Are you really willing to walk away from a paying customer simply because they voted for Joe Biden?” the company asked rhetorically. “Yes, yes we are. We’re dead serious.”

“We don’t want your money, and you shouldn’t want us to have it because we’re going to use it to make more ammo, sell it to the citizenry, and do everything in our power to prevent Joe Biden’s administration from usurping the rights of Americans,” the company wrote.

Not just its marketing, but its sales portal:

As a way to weed out the unwanted customers, the company reportedly inserted a questionnaire into its purchasing process that asks whether prospective customers voted for Biden in the 2020 presidential election. If they did, it’s no sale for them.

Some “progressive” companies led the way with partisan-based marketing after Trump’s election – Penzey’s very publicly told conservatives (not just Trump voters) to stop patronizing them (a request I could not comply with, as I’ve never shopped there before, either – which makes sense; I suspect their demographics, well-to-do white urbanites with lots of disposable income, overlaps with GOP voters only incidentally).

TL:dr – The good news: fighting cancel culture is a good thing, and I applaud Feniks.

The bad-ish news? Feniks is just as sold out of all stock as every other ammo shop.