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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Saint Paul Issues and Forums loses popular radio show host/blogger.

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Blogger Bob said...

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 14:22:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Mitch Berg"
Subject: SPIF-Feedback Via The Back Door
To: "cathleen royce"
CC: "St. Paul (SPIF) Feedback Forum", "Mitch Berg" , "John Harris", owings

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Mitch Berg here. For starters, I'd like to thank you
all for your support during this past year of duking
it out with the SPIF leadership over the whole "rules"

Rick Mons suspended me for two weeks (and shut off my
account, after an off-list comment of mine got posted
on the forum!). He "offered" to "allow" me to rejoin
after March 3 - but only as a "moderated" member for
two months.

Nah. Not gonna do that.

I've written a bit of a "Dear SPIF" letter, included
below. If anyone could do me the favor of posting it
on the appropriate forum (Feedback or SPIF, I don't
care), I'd appreciate it. No offense if you don't, of
course. And if you do, and have a moment to spare,
let me know how it goes.

Thanks again.


I suspect I'll have to wait two months until I'm "off
moderation". Which would imply that I'd have to
actually resubscribe, and I"m not sure that's worth

But here's my big kiss-off to Mons and SPIF.


Rick told me that I could "reapply" to join SPIF after
March 3 - subject, of course, to allowing him to
censor me for two months afterwards.

After thinking over the events of the last few weeks,
I think I'll decline.

There are really three reasons:

1) For all of SPIF and E-Democracy's leadership's
yammering about seeking "diversity" and "discussion",
management's every move has been designed to stifle
actual disagreement. The forum, and the concept, as a
result, are devoid of integrity.

2) The idea of the email forum is about ten years out
of date, on life support, and not worth resuscitating.

3) Rick Mons will censor me when pigs fly or Larry
Pogemiller has an original idea.

I'd call Rick's enforcement of the "civility" rule
"capricious" and "inconsistent", but he'd have to work
his way up to earn either of those adjectives.

Classic example; a while ago, Andy Driscoll wrote an
email which said, *in its entirety*:

"When are people going to stop getting sucked in by
Mitch Berg's irrational illogic."

Andy Driscoll
Crocus Hill/Ward 2

...with Rick Mons' complete blessing under the
"civility" rule. Offline, he wrote "all he did was
describe your opinions in less than flattering terms".

What on *earth* does Rick Mons think "incivility" is?

Well, apparently to Rick Mons it means that while
DIRECTLY insulting the intelligence of a named,
well-known contributor is *perfectly* fine, my
referring to un-named, unpersonified people *not on
the forum* who have vowed to wreak havoc on Saint Paul
as "scumbags" is, somehow, within the threshold of


Let's recap:

"Unflattering" insult aimed at an actual person: Just

"Unflattering" insult directed at unnamed,
as-yet-hypothetical people: Uncivil!

I'll let you try to get your arms around that logic.
Don't lose any sleep - you can't, and there is none!

The only rational conclusion is that "the rules are
whatever Rick Mons (and the "board") wants them to be.

Bear in mind - I'm not complaining about Driscoll's
incivility itself; good Lord, I can take care of

And before Rick responds "I also warned people about
calling Republicans names" - there ARE Republicans on
the forum, people with names and faces and homes in
the city, people who are working for the betterment of
their families, neighborhoods, schools and the city
itself. I'm not aware of anyone on the forum, of any
party (with one possible exception) that hasn't
strenuously abjured violence and tried to distance
themselves from the thugs who are vowing to shut down
Saint Paul, destroy property and harass delegates. Do
we see the difference, here?

(Oh, I know some of you don't. I'm being charitable).

What can you say about the integrity of a forum where
*every single Republican and conservative voice* that
has regularly appeared is, or has been, suspended?
Not just firebrands like Tom Swift and I, mind you,
but even the late *Paul Kuettel*, the most
mild-mannered fellow who ever posted in these forums?

You can, indeed, say nothing for these forums'
integrity, for their commitment to "diversity" of
thought and "inclusive" conversation - because there
is none.

A very interesting confluence of people - people I'd
NEVER agree with on ANYTHING political - wrote offline
a few months back, when Rick and Tim were publicizing
their little "poll" about attitudes toward this
"forum". "It looks like they're trying to set you
up", they wrote. I thought that sounded a little
paranoid at the time.

Kudos to the correspondents! You won one!

Alan Dershowitz famously railed against Harvard's
faculty's notoriously monobloc social and political
views many years ago; "your idea of diversity is
someone in a skirt, or with different colored skin,
who thinks just like you do". So, it seems, with

The difference is that Harvard provides *some* useful
service to the world. The fact is, email discussion
forums like SPIF are a relic from the early nineties,
when email was bleeding-edge communication and the web
was an exotic novelty. They are an artificial, binary
idea (either authoritarian, hivelike and hierarchical
or anarchic and useless) whose train left the station
ten years ago.

My blog ( sees more traffic by
Tuesday morning than SPIF gets all week, but the
discussion in the comment section is livelier, more
diverse, AND, largely, more civil than the
clicque-ruled hive that is SPIF. Like the blogosphere
as a whole, it is both more diverse AND provides a
better level of discussion than forums like SPIF -
provided one is willing to engage their brain in the

Anyway, I decline Rick's offer to "allow" me to rejoin
this forum (and only as a "moderated", censored
member). Whether you value my contributions or not
(and I get plenty of email on both sides), the forum
is poorer for its current management. The
"marketplace of ideas" in this "forum" resembles one
of those eastern-bloc groceries in the eighties, with
bare shelves and surly staff and posters extolling how
wondrous and diverse the merchandise *really will be*
when SPIF gets over 1000 members or when communism
triumphs, whichever applies.

And for the record, I'll allow the ethical, editorial
and logical titan that is Rick Mons to censor me about
the same time I let Grace Kelly perform neurosurgery
on my kids.

And if you are one of this forum's remaining
conservatives (both of you!), I gotta ask you - why?
It takes less time to start a blog (
than it takes to register for SPIF - and the
reward-to-time ratio is infinitely higher.

So there ya go, Rick! Elvis has left the building!
The hive has been cleansed, just like you and your
pals on the "board" wanted! Badthink has left the
room, and this echo chamber is now a "safe" place for
all the DFL news releases you can stomach.

Mitch Berg
My City

Shot In The Dark
Better than SPIF, without even trying

Northern Alliance Radio Network
ALSO better discussion than SPIF. Calls from people
who disagree with us get on first, every time.
1-3 PM Saturdays, AM1280 The Patriot

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

You know that saying Bob.

We can agree to disagree and thats
why we do it here.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

The TRUTH always prevails at A DEMOCRACY!

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

curiosity killed the cat.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SPIF is a lot like the city. Where the city is presently trying to rid the city on the minorities and the landlords who will rent to them, SPIF was taking the same course of action in getting rid of people one by one who didn't sing the party song. Now they have next to nothing left and still have their noses in the air! I'll never forget Rick Mon.....the guy who says he wouldn't take a real estate listing if the house was not in good enough shape! That's about as believeable as their blog!

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should send Mitch all the Engel and Shoemaker stuff.He seems reasonable.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous spif sucks said...

This story reminds me of the picture Bob posted of a SPIF members home.

Any of you remember that house with the big red star painted on it and Dave Thunes campaign sign in the front yard?

Saint Paul Issues and Forums the communist indoctrination forum.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:09, Mitch Berg isn't interested in the RICO suits. He wants these low income scum bags out of town as much as any other Republican.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:09 AM

Why are you saying Republicans want to get rid of the protected class in St. Paul?

It is the DFL controlled city council who has made these codes and are responsible for addressing behavior problems with code compliance.

It was the DFL who built I94 right over Rondo in the 1960s, so much for the Black community. This was done as a way of urban renewal.

It was the white DFLers who for 35 years stopped I35 E from being built in their section of town and when it was it was built as a practice freeway.

There are no Republicans elected to any city office in St. Paul and have not been any since the 1970s. You can thank Nick Coleman, Chris Coleman's father for that.

Nice try at slandering another party for the failings of the DFL Party in St. Paul.

This is the same thing SPIF or E-Democracy did to Mitch Berg and others, slandering them and calling them names.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Sharon 4Anderson said...

Bobby keep publishing the "TRUTH" AS the opposition is "Devoid of Integrity" ie quotes from Paul Gxxx However Affiant learned to UTube, etc at a Tax exempt
chat room favoring DFL persons against Republicans, keep records re: for Complaints Federal Indictment are coming down even to "Lantrys RICO Trash"

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quit SPIF a few months back. I can handle bias and different ideas on how to better our world. But, it gets tiring when the majority thinks they win an disagreement by shouting down the minority. There are more productive and valuable ways to spend ones time.

SPIF is a forum of ideas -- just as this forum is. I think the leaders should over-compensate for the minority voice to assure they continue to feel welcome. I *think* Bob does a good job out here welcoming the minority voice for this website (the gov't supporters). I think SPIF would be a better place if they did the same.

Regards, Bill Cullen.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I left SPIF long ago. I think it around the time when they were talking about Jessamine, I'm glad I did and I've never looked back. It was so obvious that it wasn't an open discussion unless you were the elite favorites. Bob brings everyone under the tent and gives them a chance.

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:09, Mitch Berg isn't interested in the RICO suits. He wants these low income scum bags out of town as much as any other Republican.

I actually am interested in the suits.

As to who I want "out of town" - huh? I say let the market rule.

5:20 PM  

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