I caught this Twitter thread last week, and wanted to make sure I got a chance to talk about it. It’s by Andrew Hammel, an American living in Germany. The first people to pass it around to are all of your friends who still think Angela Merkel was the real leader of the free world over the last six years.

After that? Pass it on to all of your friends and relatives who think that “Social democracy – Socialism lite – is financially self supporting, and doesn’t depend on literally everything going perfectly.

And while it’s about European macro economics, there is an inevitable Minnesota angle below Mr. Hammel’s piece, which follows. And speaking of Minnesota – whenever “Germany” is mentioned in the piece below, fill in “Minnesota”. It doesn’t all fit, but enough of it does that it’s worth sitting up and taking notice.

I think many Germans don’t realize how the energy crisis directly threatens Germany’s future as a prosperous country. Germany has a huge bureaucracy and social-welfare apparatus, and provides comparatively generous subsidies for the arts.

Universities are free, which means the taxpayer pays for them, and lots of vocational training is also heavily subsidized.

Where does all the money to pay for this come from?

If you ask the typical lefty voter, they have only the vaguest idea: Big companies and the rich people in modernist villas who always turn out to be the real killer on German crime shows.

The German media do a terrible job conveying the basic principles of economics and management to viewers and listeners, so most Germans who aren’t engineers or executives or factory workers or otherwise directly involved in producing goods don’t really understand where Germany’s wealth comes from.

But no, the only reason Germany can afford all these dead-weight investments which don’t yield any returns (or only indirect, generalized, time-delayed returns) is because Germany makes things people want to buy.

That’s what brings the money in. Germany doesn’t have many natural resources (at least, that it is willing to recover), so those don’t bring in the cash. Germany’s exports are the main, nearly the exclusive, source of its wealth.

Germany has much higher manufacturing costs than many other comparable countries, and the only way it can keep competitive is through a well-educated workforce, efficiency, high technology, and high quality.

That’s what generates enough value added to make it worthwhile to produce something in Germany, rather than in Hungary or China or the US or Russia, where all input costs are cheaper.

But the energy crisis has the potential to nearly or completely destroy this competitive advantage.

When energy costs are merely three times what they are in a competitive country such as the USA or Romania or China (depending on the product), German efficiency and technical quality and brand reputation can make up for that.

When energy costs rise to 10 times or even 15 times those of competitive countries, and the markets become convinced this is a lasting situation, Germany becomes unsustainable. It becomes impossible to manufacture high value-added products for a profit within Germany.

They may be designed in Germany, but they won’t be made there. It will just be too expensive, period. There’s no way to make the numbers work.

And this leads to long-term erosion of the tax base.

Gradually the money dries up for things which aren’t vital to the survival of the country. And what are those things vital to the survival of the country? Massive government subsidies to make energy and food affordable to the average person.

This is where much of the budget of many developing countries goes right now: to subsidies on diesel and wheat and rice which enable ordinary people to be able to pay their (artificially reduced) bills.

Half of the time you read about riots in places like Indonesia or Egypt, the cause is the government being forced to reduce subsidies on food and energy, often by a mandate from the IMF.

Once Germany reaches the point where it has to subsidize energy and food to prevent social unrest – something it’s about to start doing right now – then money for non-essential things dries up.

Those things include generous welfare, arts subsidies, free education, generous pensions, etc. There will be even more privatizations, and many arts institutions will simply go bankrupt.

Train travel might become something reserved (even more) for the well-off, since (1) subsidies which keep the Deutsche Bahn (even remotely) affordable will disappear; and (2) the average German consumer will not have enough disposable income to pay for a non-subsidized train ticket. Universities will gradually wither on the vine unless they introduce tuition fees, and even then, they’ll shut down entire degree programs which don’t channel graduates into well-paying jobs.

Goodbye humanities, it was nice knowing you.

Sorry regional symphony orchestra, we can’t afford you anymore. Bye-bye small museum, you’re becoming an Aldi. And sorry 2nd-oldest church in Hepperhausen, there’s no money to maintain you anymore.

We can just barely afford the 1st-oldest church, which we have to keep up because it’s a tourist attraction, and we are desperate for every tourist dollar.

And all those state-funded “streetworkers” and “night buses” providing basic assistance to the growing numbers of homeless? Sorry, you’ll have to find money elsewhere.

And then Germany will find itself in the trap many developing countries find themselves in: It will lack the productive industries needed to support the subsidies which it must continue paying to avoid social chaos.

It will go further and further into the red, and will need help from outside entities. And those entities will point out that the only way out of the red is to cut the broad subsidies for basic survival.

Which Germany won’t be able to do without plunging millions of people into genuine, real, not-enough-food-to-eat poverty.

Germany will survive, of course, but it will keep getting steadily poorer and poorer.

And that is very bad for a country’s psyche, since humans regret what they have lost much more bitterly than they regret losing a chance to get something they’ve never had. Deaths of despair will increase, as they did in Russia in the 1990s.

This is why the energy crisis poses a grave threat to Germany’s future as a prosperous country. There is still a way to avert it, but certainly not with the strategies currently favored by the administration. We’ll see whether the EU can pull a rabbit out of the hat.

I’m not optimistic.

The side angles – about things that Germans do when things break down – are too obvious and awful to think about.

Minnesota, and US, angle: we don’t have the Soviet…er, Russian government shutting off gas and raising energy prices by an order of magnitude.

Or do we? I mean, this winter is going to suuuuuuck, and we’ve got a governor who thinks, like Angela Merkel, that shutting off nuke and coal plants and driving people to solar and wind power makes perfect sense.

Originally in this tweet thread:

Those Darned Armed Bigots

SCENE: Mitch BERG is picking up an Amazon parcel at the drop box at a Whole Foods on Selby Avenue. As he fiddles with getting the scanner to scan the bar code on his phone, Avery LIBRELLE walks up behind him.


BERG: Oh, shhhhhhhure enough, it’s Avery. How’s thi…

LIBRELLE: Republicans are racists!

BERG: Oh, yeah, you bet. You heard about the Republican gubernatorial candidate who chased down an unarmed black jogger – very similarly to the Ahmaud Arberry story? Chased him down and pointed a shotgun at his chest?

LIBRELLE: I had not. But sounds like a typical Rethuglicon!

BERG: Oh, you beg:

The jogger said [the candidate] pointed the shotgun at his chest; [the candidate] denies this but allows that his intent was to detain the jogger. At the time, [the candidate] was mayor of a small town in Pennsylvania. 

LIBRELLE: This is truly the America that Donald Trump created.

BERG: Uh huh. (BERG takes on a snarky grin)


BERG: Nothing. (He can barely cvontain his glee).

LIBRELLE: Wait. That’s the look you get when you drop what you think is the big zinger in one of these stories of yours.

BERG: Zinger? Who, me?

LIBRELLE: (Yelling at a store employee). Pouncer! He’s a pouncer!

EMPLOYEE: Er, sure, maa… (Stops, confused) Sir…uh (Looks at BERG, who merely shrugs)

BERG: I’ll be leaving now.



I wasn’t living here in 1980. I’m not sure how Minneapolis’s Loony Left reacted to the “Solidarity“ protests in Poland – where the Polish “Solidarity“ trade union led a year of demonstrations against Poland’s communist government. The demonstrations – which newly elected President Ronald Reagan supported morally, symbolically and materially – were the beginning of the end of the communist bloc, and the Soviet Union with it.

I have vague memories, arriving in the Twin Cities years later, of sensing that an awful lot of Minnesota leftists had bet on the wrong side in that particular episode. I mean, two decades later some of them still did, in my comment section.

Now, 40 years later, as a similarly benighted country protests for similar reasons, a Democrat government is lending the Cuban demonstrators a bit of rhetorical support from a senile president, along with an executive branch that is, as we noted yesterday, laying down the law hard in favor of the regime.

And the Minnesota left?

They are showing themselves to be as morally depraved and intellectually bovine as ever:

Facing an economic crisis, food and medicine shortages and rising prices, the Cuban people are demanding that the communist regime give up power.

“We have to see the larger context of the pandemic, COVID-19. The economy has also collapsed, Cuba depends on tourism,” said Nimtz. The Minnesota Cuba Committee is also calling for an end to the U.S. trade embargo.

“What we are doing here is to demand, demand that the Biden administration end the embargo, lift the embargo, and do as he promised,” said Nimtz.

Minnesota Progressives; reliable communist useful idiots for 60 years.

Just A Quick Note

A few regular-ish Democratic commenters have taken umbrage at my occasional statments along the lines of “Democrat voters have no critical thinking skills”.

Let me explain.

I say it because…’

…well, it’s true. Universally. Without exception.

Case in point:

“Shots in arms” – thanks to Trump.

Billions for schools – that, with the DFL calling the shots, are still squabbling about reopening.

And every dollar in the pocket paid for by five dollars taken from someone else – including your own grandchildren.

But no – don’t you dare assume the party that would write tripe like this can’t safely assume their voters are a lumpen, bovine mass.

Tuesday Night Plans

I’m pondering on what to do tomorrow.

Voting in the GOP primary is relatively pointless – I’ve got my choice of President Trump or The Donald. Hardly worth a trip to the neighborhood high school gym, is it?

On the other hand – paying a visit to the DFL primary it would give me a fairly pivotal choice in affecting the candidate the Democrats put on the ballot this November.

And the choices are enough to get you giddy with excitement:

  • A woman whose relationship with the truth makes Donald Trump’s Twitter feed look like a Jordan Peterson video
  • Another woman who’s never faced a hostile press question, much less Hillary Clinton’s celebrated “3 AM phone call”
  • The mayor of the fourth or fifth largest city in Indiana (oops – missed the boat on that one)
  • A 78-year-old man who has always been a walking political joke, and he seems to be into the first stages of senility
  • Bernie Sanders, a man whose formidable foreign policy acumen has to elide confidence in even the most ardent skeptic, yessirreenob.

Hugh Hewitt says he plans on voting for Sanders, to do his bit to make sure that there is the Starkist possible choice this November – Between a candidate who has been a deeply imperfect president who has actually done an unexpectedly good job, and someone who is an active, enthusiastic apologist for a system that murdered 100 million people.

It’s tempting. It really is.

Let The Record Show

The party of James Hodgkinson, of “Anti”-Fa, of Eric “Nuke The Gun Owners” Swalwell, of “Fight in the Streets” (VP candidate Tim Kaine and Loretta Lynch ) and punching teenage girls (Woody Kaine) and grownup girls (Keith “Thumper” Ellison) and fantasies (Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Bow Wow, MN DFL operative William “Guillotine” Davis ) and dramatizations (Kathy Griffin) about killing Republicans, of multiple dramatic and “comedic” productions featuring the violent deaths of Republicans (including Dubya and The Donald), of co-opting the same of a movement that killed “the enemy” with guns and bombs and molotov cocktails (“The #Resistance”)…

… which has just spent three years calling President Trump “literally Hitler”, and lying about his support for neo-Nazis at home (the Charlottesville slander) and his support from fascist to Brod (the fictitious Putin link”)…

… is about to nominate a candidate who literally, actively, proudly, truthfully supports people directly responsible for 100 million murders in the past century.

This is almost too far beyond satire for Berg’s Seventh Law.

Can’t Make This Bulb Much Dimmer

I’m gonna take a wild guess that if you asked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez how precisely it was that the US defeated Naziism, “turbocharging the industrial base and floating the whole thing on a sea of oil and a mountain of coal, to back up a complete national militarization” isn’t what she’s thinking.

I think she’s thinking it was all about Rosie the Riveter.

Do you You Remember…

…when the main stream media went nearly bugeyed shrieking about Melania Trump, Sarah Palin, and for that matter Nancy Reagan and their respective wardrobes?

Of course you do.

And I am just amazed that nobody in the mainstream media seems to find this remotely worth comment. It’s a wardrobe day in the life of the Democrat party is flavor of the month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

Now, I for one don’t necessarily begrudge Socialist Barbie a little fun with her, admittedly, patrician wardrobe choices.

I mean, clearly she made a ton of money off of gratuities working as a bartender.

That must’ve been it, right?

Orwell Was A Pollyanna

Ben Shapiro challenged prog flavor of the month Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to a debate – something she’s never had in her “political career”.

Now, there’s no requirement that a pol debate anyone, ever – even their opponents for office, much less pundits.   Of course, it can be used against you – not that it matters in a one-party town like Ocasio-Cortez’ district.

And there are so many ways to decline a debate request like this:

  • “Sorry – I’m getting ready for a general election (coronation?), and I’m too busy”.
  • “Debating you will be of no consequence to serving (koff koff) my constituents and my district.  Why would either of us waste our time?”
  • “I’ve got drapes to measure that evening”
  • “I gotta wash my hair”.
  • Or the old reliable “<silence>”.

That’s not what Ocasio-Cortez did, though:

Asking for a debate is “like catcalling” – sexist, intrusive, unwanted, arrogant.

A response that is, itself, sexist and arrogant, and a sign of a mind that can think on no other plane than the politics of identity and outrage.

Congratuations, New York.  You got another winner here.  (Not that Minnesota has anything to brag about, since the equally risible Alondra Cano  Alondra Cano, Ray Dehn and Keith Ellison remain in office).

SIDE NOTE:   Remember when the same people who are raving about Ocasio-Cortez today were calling Sarah Palin  an ignorant dumbass?

This is the sound of “the bar” in freefall.

It’s Almost, But Not Quite, A Berg’s Law

It probably doesn’t qualify as a “Berg’s Law” because it may not be absolute and universal – but for the most part, if you scratch the surface of an American “Democratic Socialist”, you’ll find a rich kid with daddy issues.

So, it seems, with current socialist wunderkind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Last week’s big primary winner in a Congressional district that includes parts of the Bronx and Queens highlighted the 29 year old “community organizer”, who will likely be going to Congress, and her “Jenny from the Block” story.  Listening to her before the election, I caught myself humming “It’s A Hard Knock Life” more than a few times.

So was it baked wind?

What do you think?  Remember – it’s almost a Berg’s Law:

Around the age of five, Alexandria’s architect father Sergio Ocasio moved the family from the “planned community” of Parkchester in the Bronx to a home in Yorktown Heights, a wealthy suburb in Westchester County. The New York Times describes her childhood home as “a modest two-bedroom house on a quiet street.” In a 1999 profile of the area, when Ocasio-Cortez would have been ten years old, the Times lauded Yorktown Heights’ “diversity of housing in a scenic setting” – complete with two golf courses.

Westchester County – which the Washington Post, in a glowing profile on Ocasio-Cortez, describes as only “middle class” – ranks #8 in the nation for the counties with the “highest average incomes among the wealthiest one percent of residents.” According to the Economic Policy Institute, the county’s average annual income of the top one percent is a staggering $4,326,049.

Yorktown Heights, specifically, offers a sharp contrast from Bronx living. According to USA.com, the town’s population is 81 percent white, and median household income is $96,413 – nearly double the average for both New York state and the nation, according to data from 2010-2014.

I interviewed for a job in Westchester County thirty years ago; the program director basically told me there was no way I could live in the area on what they could payme (here was the story).

Not that there’s anything wrong with doing well; but not only didn’t Ocasio-Cortez earn it, she wants to make it harder for others to do it.

(Even as she, beyond a doubt, gets ready to make a couple million in honoraria from liberals with deep pockets over the next few years, much like the Bern she no doubt felt).

Open Letter To Tim Walz

To:  Represenative Tim Walz
From:  Mitch Berg, Ornery Peasant
Re:  Sell Sell Sell

Rep. Walz,

You’re running in a primary this fall against a dog’s breakfast of people who, notwithstanding your attempt to re-paint yourself as a “progressive”, are far, far to your left.

To your credit, you’ve taken that “re-painting” pretty seriously:

Rep. Walz, burning whatever cred he may have had with gun owners by french-kissing “Moms Want Action” in 2016.

But your fellow DFLers prefer their “Democratic Socialism” neat.  No ice.

And apparently, with a little communist chaser.

For years, I’ve heard my Democrat friends chanting “Ronald Reagan wouldn’t get endorsed by today’s GOP” – with the premise being Reagan was “too centrist” for today’s GOP . It’s a perfectly plausible claim, if you have no idea about the history of the GOP; go and google “A Time For Choosing”, the full hour-long speech, if you need proof; it’d fit in at any Tea Party meeting in the past decade. If anything, Reagan would still scare the DC establishment; George Will was deeply unhappy with Reagan’s performance, and we know what George has been up to lately.

So no – Reagan would *not* have trouble in today’s GOP, or at least the part of the party that swept the elections in 2010 and 2014.

But Paul Wellstone and Hubert Humphrey would get laughed out of today’s Democratic Party. Of that, there can be no doubt.

That is all.

The Little Admiral

New York has a poverty rate well above the national average.  Crime is rising in NYC, as taxes scare away more and more  middle-class jobs.

So what does Andrew Cuomo want to do?

Build a navy to chase oil drillers away from the New York coast:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has apparently become unhinged by the primary challenge from the Left of “Sex and the City” co-star Cynthia Nixon. In an effort to get to the Left of Nixon, Cuomo has descended into a bizarre fantasy world.

To stop the Interior Department’s approval of offshore drilling, he vows “to commission a citizen fleet from throughout the state to go out and interfere with their federal [drilling] effort just as Winston Churchill did in Dunkirk…If you think I’m kidding, I’m not and I’m going to lead that citizen fleet.”

Odd that he opposes citizens owning guns to defend themselves – but he would authorize militancy against…business?

I’ve said for years that “progressivism” means never having to make sense”.  I’m starting to think it’s a positive handicap these days.

But Don’t Dare Say The Democrats Are Getting More Extreme

California Dems refuse to endorse…

Darth Feinstein?

Riven by conflict between progressive and more moderate forces at the state party’s annual convention here, delegates favored Feinstein’s progressive rival, state Senate leader Kevin de León, over Feinstein by a vote of 54 percent to 37 percent, according to results announced Sunday.

That whole “California secession” ting is looking better and better to me.

The Right Women

One of my favorite sociopolitical tales is that of Alan Dershowitz, the not-remotely-conservative legal scholar who once castigated the faculty of Harvard Law School for seeing diversity as “someone with different color skin, than you, or wearing a skirt, who thinks exactly the same as you do”.

As predicted, the “Womens March” over the weekend, in DC and Saint Paul, was precisely that.

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