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Podcast 014: Joe Berns, First Amendment, Elections, and More!

Joe Berns discusses capitalism and more!
Joe Berns discusses capitalism and more!

Whoo-hoo—new podcast! In this week’s awesome hour of audio from Dakota Free Press, local music teacher Joe Berns tells us what he learned about the Koch Brothers’ vision of “capitalism” at an astroturf meeting in Aberdeen last week. As he critiques some of the claims raised by the Americans for Prosperity speakers, Berns leads us through a delightful adventure in economic philosophy (and really, how could such a philosophical discussion not be delightful?) as we consider “systematic coercion,” slavery, class struggle, Germany, and how maybe healthy capitalism depends on strong labor unions to protect us workers from our corporate overlords… or a world in which there are no giant corporations and we all run our own businesses.

Wow—that by itself is worth ringing the Blog Tip Jar

But first, co-host Spencer Dobson and I recap the Aberdeen election, Trump’s proposed cuts to rural economic development, Bob Ellis’s departure from right-wing blogging, and the First Amendment implications of blocking people from the President’s Twitter account. Listen here:

Below are resources for this week’s conversation. If you like what you hear, ring that Blog Tip Jar to help us make the podcast even better!

Aberdeen Election Results (and an invitation to Pope Francis and future contenders to the papacy to join us on the podcast!) [2:15]

Trump Budget Attacks Rural Economic Development [5:00]

Bob Ellis Quits Blogging [11:20]

The First Amendment, Twitter, and Responsible Presidential Communications [15:45]

Interview: Joe Berns [33:10]


  1. Porter Lansing 2017-06-08 13:50

    The Inherent Fallacy of FreeMarket
    Every “Swingin’ Richard” in business thinks they should be free of regulations BUT they also think that the person who’s wholesaling stuff to them should be strictly held to fairness, through regulation if necessary. That’s dichotomous and displays the absurdity of the free market. (i.e. I need to be free to screw my customers but the guy I buy from shouldn’t have such freedom. My customers can be assured that I’ll take good care of them but I’ll accept no such assurance about the manufacturing and wholesaling crooks who screw me.)
    PS … Business owners don’t create jobs. Oh no, pilgrims. Customers create jobs. (i.e. If you cut taxes on business they can’t create a job until someone wants to buy their product. If you raise taxes on business, they’ll still create jobs if someone wants to buy their product.)
    PS … socialism works very well, folks. Think COSTCO. Think your local Co-Op. Think bridges, dams, schools, hospitals and infrastructure. Think military. Think national healthcare. Things we all use are ALWAYS cheaper when we buy them as a group. And oh yeah, Creatures of ContraryVille. A McDonald’s cheeseburger isn’t cheaper if you order it without pickles anymore than a healthcare policy is cheaper if it doesn’t have pregnancy coverage for women AND men. Mass production and blanket coverage are cheaper than getting to choose your cable channels because you don’t want Spanish tv on your set.
    ~ Another great podcast, Joe, Spencer and Cory.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-06-08 21:16

    Thanks, Porter! Spencer clearly agrees, as you can tell from his bringing up Europe, that socialism works really well, when it’s not run by murderous paranoiacs like Stalin. Same can be said of capitalism, as long as it’s not run by greedy bastards like the Kochs and Trump.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-06-08 21:22

    And wait a minute—who doesn’t want Spanish TV on their sets? Good grief, the whole point of cable is that it should bring me channels that help me practice my foreign languages. J’adore le XXIe siècle:

  4. Porter Lansing 2017-06-08 21:37

    Welcome, Cory.
    > I’m not that comfortable with the blog boredom talking about Porter creates but here goes, anyway. (kurz und bündig) I post often about the German influence in SoDak. You guys do have more German heritage than any other state, ‘ya know. But, what are you doing with it? What I’m promoting is modeling SoDak after the way Germany is now. Spencer knows about it. If you can see the documentary, “Where Do We Invade Next” you’ll get an idea of what I’m recommending. Or, do some research on GOOGLE. It’s not the authoritarian, no tolerance, work work work Germany it used to be. The German heritage in South Dakota could become the cousin to present day Germany and be a shining example of USA’s potential. In my ex-patriot brain, it’s your greatest opportunity to grow. I do know how hard change can be … especially among German descendants but just think about what Germany is today next time you have a choice. “Das ist alles.” PS … Trump is German and he’s the example of what to escape from.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-06-09 17:33

    Interesting, Porter. Could we say that Germany has soft-landed out of fascism and back into a functional Weimar Republic?

  6. Porter Lansing 2017-06-09 18:03

    There was a public demand in the Weimar for vengeance from a public that was humiliated and felt dishonored. The fourteen years of the Weimar Republic were a way station on the road to genocide, and yet they also witnessed the struggle of many decent, sincere people to create a just and humane society in a time of great artistic creativity.
    Today is much mellower. Young Germans truly carry a daily devotion of shame, regret and embarrassment. Every school day includes a time of remembrance for the victims of their Grandparents transgressions. Millions of plaques are on streets and buildings across Germany so no citizen can hide from the past. Modern Germany literally has no rug of concealment and white wash so prevalent from SoDak Republicans. (i.e. Research shows that the Germans who populated the Dakotas actually came from Russia where they’d been for two generations. The Czar reneged on promises and they packed up and came for the free land. That might explain their behavior and inherent mistrust, contrariness and taciturn nature much of which remains, today.) lol Cory, you don’t strike me as having German blood, like I do. You’re calmer and more measured. Like the English.

  7. Don Coyote 2017-06-10 01:54

    Meh, quality of the stream was so poor from SoundCloud that I missed easily a third of the podcast. Tried three different browsers, three different Apple devices and an Android device. I switched my router to a faster band. Diddlysquat. Bupkis.

    From what I could hear is that neither cory or Joe knows much of anything about capitalism or economics. They both really shine in their ignorance with their discussion over demand and employee ownership of a company. So sad.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-06-10 16:34

    Coyote, missed a third of the podcast? Really? I don’t think even my bias is going to make me mis-hear my audio stream that badly. I can hear every word. Porter? Any such audio difficulties on your end?

    I’d invite you on the podcast, Coyote, to correct our ignorance, but you probably don’t want to sully your golden understandings with our inferior audio.

    Porter! Me calm and measured? Are you sure you are getting confused like Coyote? :-D

  9. Spencer Dobson 2017-06-11 08:03

    I’m not German. I’m not from South Dakota, I don’t know what you’re talking.

  10. Porter Lansing 2017-06-11 08:30

    No, man. You gotta take that CPAP off when you get outa’ bed. Breathe deep, buddy. lol

  11. Spencer Dobson 2017-06-11 08:48

    I was actually referring to the wage gap in Denmark and the success of socialized medicine everywhere but here. Also, I’m not German.

  12. Porter Lansing 2017-06-11 09:02

    Did someone say “Spencer’s German”?

  13. Spencer Dobson 2017-06-11 09:26

    “You guys do have more German heritage than any other state, ‘ya know. But, what are you doing with it? What I’m promoting is modeling SoDak after the way Germany is now. Spencer knows about it.” Its implied

  14. Porter Lansing 2017-06-11 09:34

    Was that offensive to you?

  15. Porter Lansing 2017-06-11 09:51

    Let me explain what I meant because I communicated poorly. Nah, never mind. What I was thinking would be boring for the blog. But … my observation that people in SoDak, a state with more German heritage than any other state, don’t embrace it and are often offended by it. That’s a missed opportunity to build on the heritage. e.g. You seemed offended that you might be viewed as having German heritage.

  16. Spencer Dobson 2017-06-11 09:51

    Not per se. But I’m not German, my family doesn’t have German roots and we where all in North Dakota in the 40’s. I’m a big blond white guy and we live in a time when a lot of ideas that most people thought where dead have risen back to promimenace. That’s all.

  17. Porter Lansing 2017-06-11 09:53

    What ideas did most people think? That it’s bad to be of German heritage? I am and I’m proud of some of it and some of it I struggle to change.

  18. Spencer Dobson 2017-06-11 10:02

    I think Germany is on a good course. I think it’s the whole ‘extermination of the Jewish peoples’ / WWII Arian race stuff. And now you have racists in the White house, if not the President, then the guy sitting right next to him.
    I realize that facist ideas are doing far better in the US than in Germany at the moment. And that Germany has disavowed its past. But that’s where the tree took root and it will and should be a blemish and a reminder for a very long time.

  19. Porter Lansing 2017-06-11 10:23

    Well said. I have no validity critiquing your thoughts but I agree with those sentiments, fully. I guess I’m referring to German Americans, who didn’t do any of the Nazi atrocities but have characteristics of being of German heritage way before the 40’s. Back when the German migration from Russia happened … the late 1800’s. Characteristics that make up the way socially conservative government and socially conservative politics in SoDak operates. Some are good. Discipline – work ethic. Some could be tempered – stubbornness – aversion to change. Here are five more.
    It seems that SoDak people would rather consider themselves Scandanavian than German when that portrayal is just not true. Once I moved to a state with very little German heritage I realized what SoDak people can’t see, because they’re too close to it and live with it all the time. When Dakota people move to western state they find how easy it is to compete in the job market and they find how much they need to suppress to fit in socially. But yes, modern Germany is a quite proper model. Socialism works and is being portrayed by Republicans as akin to communism when that’s not what it is at all. Things we all use are cheaper when purchased as a group.

  20. Spencer Dobson 2017-06-11 10:41

    Well, all the best with your Germanness. I’m a mutt. Most people that live in America are now mutts. At anyrate, I have no German blood. I probably have some Germanic Tribe Blood as I’m Norwegian and Bohemian. There is a couple of other things in there too. And I’m sure if you do a blood test I end up in Africa, just like everybody else.
    I think a regulated free market should do what it does best, sell blue jeans and snapple. And the Government should do things like build roads, build a power grid and provide medical services.
    Enjoy the good parts of your Heritage.

  21. Porter Lansing 2017-06-11 11:06

    Thank you. In summary … A political blog from the minority party’s perspective is about massaging change. The first part of changing opinions is to define where the culture’s at and why it’s where it is. That’s what my analysis of the Dakotas German heritage stems from. When so many deny or ignore their culture, it’s important to bring it to the light of day and discuss it and discuss ways for liberals to assimilate with it. The inherent stubbornness and aversion to change in German heritage is a particularly stubborn obstacle because of those two traits.

  22. Spencer Dobson 2017-06-11 12:01

    Noted. Have a great day Porter.

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