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It's when Germans assemble outside Germany that we have problems.

The author of this reportage writes: "If Americans where (sic) more widely informed about the situation in Germany they would be outraged at the hypocrisy of the German left’s criticism of the Patriot Act."

That is not correct. The correct statement is: "If Americans were more widely informed about the situation in Germany they be totally indifferent to said situation." The simple fact is that the average American no longer gives a shit about the situation in Germany, or anywhere in Old Europe. A sad fact, IMHO, since I am a old Germanophile, having spent some of my carefree youth in Deutschland, learning German and cherishing many German friendships. But a fact nonetheless. Old Europe has proven itself simply irrelevant. RIP.

Why does the right always equal NAZI in the eyes of the German government and Media? I am not saying many of these current people are not neo-NAZI. There can be little other explanation of the walk out over the 60th anniversary of the British firebombing of Dresden. But in no way can all conservatives be Nazis.

You must not forget, that for the CDU, all this still isn't enough. I guess they would like to totally revoke the Right to free Assembly.

... we have no real conservatives here in Germany.

Two remarks I have to make:
1. Although the development of the NPD is worrying, other european countries (France, Austria) have experienced more powerful right-wing parties.
2. Good article of the Süddeutsche Zeitung (10 rules to promote right-wing extremism)

"Right - wing" marches? Nazism stands for national socialism, they formed out of German workers' party; and they were all for social state, big goverment, goverment projects and their people controlling jewish property. What's more right wing about the nazis then left wing?

They've simply replaced "capitalist" with "jewish capitalist" (capitalizing on anti semitism), but in essence their program is socialist.

Tomaž

@Chomskybot

Comparing Germany's NPD to Austrias FPÖ is not really helpful. The NPD wants to rebuilt the Reich and regards the modern democratic Germany as an illegitimate state. The FPÖ on the other hand is a mere nationalist party. In don't support them, but they are not Nazis.
BTW, I too believe that the NPD should be banned, or should have been banned a long time ago. There can be no freedom of association for those who want to abolish all civil rights. You cannot argue with a party like the NPD who actively advocates violence against the "system", against Jews, against America, against everything western and against people like myself by means other than force. They have every right to their opinion, but they have absolutely no right at all to establish a Nazi system in Germany, and that's what they are trying to do.

Ray D,

Some Southern German SPD website expresses "concern" that "freedom" has been "sacrificed" to the patriot act. So what? That's not exactly "merciless criticism". Where exactly is your evidence for "Transatlantic Double-Standards"? What did Otto Schily have to say about the patriot act? And Schroeder? Nothing? Or maybe Joseph Fischer said something? It doesn't matter what the left wings of the SPD and the Greens say. They are not in charge. What matters is the Schroeder administration. And I can't see any double standards there. If it was just for Schily we would have a German Patriot Act by now with librarians reporting my reading habits and all the other good stuff!

In Germany I once told a few work colleagues how in the US you don't have a mandatory "Personalausweiss"/National ID. Well, you don't have a national ID at all. The Drivers License is the only one that comes closest to that, but even that is not mandatory. I told them you can get a valid DL with a mail box address, lie about the Social Security Number and get a job with those. This is illegal, but you can do them easily if you have no problems breaking the law. Bottomline, you can live in the US and not hide underground and the government would have a hard time finding you.

My colleagues were shocked, but they believed me. The expression on their faces was priceless. All this was against everything they had been told by the German media about the Patriot Act. They were open enough, though to realize that Germany in peacetime comes infinitely closer to a police state than the US in war time.

The several comments that stated Americans don't give a shit about Germany or Old Europe are totally correct. Who in the hell is afraid of France? Germany? All of Europe banding together to do what, exactly? Write? Whine in a few very bad movies?

I don't think one American in 25 cares what Europe thinks about anything, and you flatter yourselves when you think otherwise. You are not important any more. Period. Those days are long past.

It is amazing to me that the shocked work colleagues of WDIK had never stopped to consider (or maybe have no knowledge of) the fact that we have millions of undocumented illegal aliens here in the US. Under the German laws, this would not apparantly be possible. The US is much freer than any other country in the world notwithstanding the odious Patriot Act which if it bothered Americans so much would have been undone by Congress by now. It is a very minor change to our liberties. The main benefit to law enforcement is that with the PA, the authorities are now able to get a judge's order to wire tap cell/mobile phones. Under the old rules, phones could only be tapped at a SPECIFIC address. Since the technological advances and popularity of mobile phones has grown, it is necessary to be able to tap phones that are not wired into a specific building.

The access to library records is not new. It has always been legal, same as video rental stores. According to the FBI, in their investigation of possible terrorists since 2001, they have never checked library records. As far as I'm concerned, they can check all my library records. I read nothing that I fear would cause me to become a suspect of anything except perhaps a fondness for murder mysteries.

There are many Americans who care what the Euro press says about the US's government and policies. They all voted for Kerry and look to the past to solve the problems of the present and future.

Those who look forward realize that Europe and the UN are barely relevant for the future. It's true, no matter what Condi Rice has been saying this week, the Atlantic alliance is of no real importance on the world scene anymore. Europe's attempts to counter-balance the power of the US is futile.

You keep bragging about how outrageous the german lawmaking was. But in the passing you omit something that seems quite important ro me:
The US-Practice formulated by the Supreme Court allows for general Time, Content and Place regulation. Which would allow the City Council of every town to redirect ANY kind of demonstration. And that is not due to the patriot's act. That's older.
Not that I'm a friend of expansive governing, but I think it's important to get the facts right.

Equating this to the Patriot Act is just ridiculous. Look at the document, please (and look at all the Amendments to existing laws. That thing is huge, compared to this PROPOSED assembly law).

Americans not caring about what Europeans say? I guess that goes for Bush-Voters, what about the rest?
About the relevance of Europe/UN/whatever: see how you get along in Iraq, Iran and so on by yourself. That laughable Coalition in Iraq (AND I'M NOT FORGETTING POLAND) shows only one thing: YOU are alone. YOU are the minority concerning opinions towards the Iraq war, worldwide. Now, obviously you can play war, waste money and lives to counter phantom threats (WMD) as you like. The question is: for how long? Is THAT a relevant question for you?


laughable only because it excludes Germany?
Italy, Australia, Japan, UK...
etc. Denmark.
Hey Horst, why was Kosovo legitimate and Iraq not?
Kosovo had NO UN authorization (Iraq 1441 and many others).
Hey do you think it was because it was in Germany's interest to fight in Kosovo?
I always hear Germans bitching about the
Asylbewerber ESPECIALLY from the former Yugoslavia.
If a war in Kosovo DIDN'T happen, there would have been more refugees, thus more worries for Rotgrün.. hey maybe THAT'S why Fischer liked Kosovo so much and didn't like Iraq.
MORAL HYPOCRITES

amiexpat: Laughable because it consists almost solely of american soldiers (okay, include britain if you like). That "grand coalition of 40 nations" is nothing more than a cheap pre-election PR move.

I am not talking about the legitimacies of the wars, and I said nothing about the legitimacy of Kosovo, I hope you don't always mix things up like that. Wars are always driven by interests, that goes for EVERY government, not just the US, not just Germany. Don't fool yourself into thinking that the Iraq war is fought for the Iraqis. That is equally a lie as the one about WMDs. America is in Iraq for american reasons. Talk about moral hypocrites.

The (or My) topic was the relevance of Europe, and my take was that Europe's irrelevance to the (supposedly) republican mind is in reality their isolation from the rest of the world.
America simply can't afford to solve every problem Iraq-style. Or at least that was my question, which remains to be answered.

in your last sentence we agree.
you certainly didn't phrase it that way in your first posting, thus my confrontational response.
but to be honest, there aren't that many major military powers other than the US.
Russia, China, India... who else would even
have enough fire power? the Germany army?
they are stretched as it is.
Yes America is fighting in Iraq for American reasons.
NOT blood for oil though.
As foolhardy as it perhaps is, I really think
Bush wants to bring democracy to the middle east as part of the war on terrorism.
crazy? perhaps... but just so crazy it might work.
IN any case this was NOT a Bush idea.. clinton signed the Iraq liberation act in 1998 and if you look at Clinton and Gores rhetoric from that time
you would think it was from Bush.
War was not part of the plan then, but that was pre 9/11.
JOe Liebermann the Democratic vp candidate in 2000 was a STRONG proponent of the war in Iraq.

and if WMDs were a lie, than Chirac also told the lie, he believed they existed. So did the BND I believe.
Saddam had so much time to get everything out of there.. there are in syria probably.

amiexpat: When you ask about firepower, then America is Nr 1 by far. The question is: is firepower the only thing that matters, looking for example at North Korea. Or Iran. And will America be able to sustain that path (firepower), in terms of resources and public opinion. You ask "who else has the firepower", i think the way to go is to go _together_ (sounds like a fairy tale...). Maybe a pan-european army could be of some quality (as long as they use leopards and HKs ;) but i don't want to see Europe competing with America, militarily. There's no point to that, and i hope there are Americans that would agree.

Concerning WMDs a lie, maybe the BND and Chirac did believe it at a time, but the Bush Administration never really dropped that issue. I think they really knew better while they still maintained a WMD threat.
It never made sense to me that, as Blair said, Saddam could attack Europe within 45 minutes, and so you just go there and have a (pretty) conventional war. If he had WMD, what reason would there be to not just use them. He sure seemed mad enough.

@ Thomaz, Puppet

I've posted this before. There is a misunderstanding due to translation and history differences:

"Right" means National Socialist in Germany, while in the US it means conservative.
"Left" means Liberal Socialist in Germany, while in the US it means liberal.
"Liberals" in Germany are liberal in values but financially conservative (small government).
A bit confusing, I'll admit...

As strange as it may seem, in Germany both Left and Right are socialists, but they hate each others' guts, and only agree in that government should control (or "regulate") everything, and that the US and UK are bad.

This is one of the reasons why many misinformed Germans hate Bush - he belongs to the Republican party, which for being to the right, they assume is racist and fachist. Nothing could be further from the truth!


@Horst:

What is this "together" business? Why on earth would America want or need an alliance with Europe at this point in time? What does Europe have to contribute? Your military is a joke, your economy is withering, and your "diplomacy" is double-dealing underhandedness. Face it, Europe continued to supply arms to Saddam right up to the eve of the war, and continues to give Iran a free hand (and lots of technological help) in its quest to nuke the entire infidel world. Chirac's UN henchmen claimed to be supporting the U.S. while simultaneously rounding up votes to oppose Powell's resolution on the war. And there is strong evidence that French intelligence planted some of the WMD documentation to intentionally embarass the U.S. Why did Hans Blix say right up to the start of the war that Iraq probably had WMDs and was non-cooperative with the inspections, then suddenly change his mind when the war started? If Bush was wrong about WMDs, it was largely because treacherous European governments set him up. Europe is using the Mideast to fight a proxy war against America, and Americans know it.

So tell me again: to an American, your opinions are relevant, how?...

@philip:

Your statement is about three-fourths true. Local governments can regulate the time, place, and manner of public speech. Surely one would have to admit that at least a certain level of this is reasonable for the purpose of maintaining some level of public civility; for instance, one person shouldn't be entitled to set up high-powered loudspeakers in a residential area and shout opinions all night long loud enough to keep all the residents awake.

However, the U.S. courts have also pretty consistently held that time and place regulations must be applied in a non-discrimintory manner. If a town regulates public demonstrations, and it approves a demonstration permit for the VI Users of America, then it cannot deny a similar permit (not necessarily the same day) for the National Emacs Guild. Admittedly, there is the matter of "community standards" which is always a vague and problematic area, but as long as it isn't accompanied by four-letter-words in 80-point type or exposure of private parts, I can't see a court allowing any town to punish organizers of a demonstration (much less deny the permit in the first place)simply because they don't approve of the content.

On the other hand, the constitutional guarantee of free speech doesn't include a right to compel anyone to listen. About ten years ago, there was a small town near here where the Ku Klux Klan decided they wanted to have a parade. The town fought issuance of the permit, but courts ruled against them: the KKK, no matter how odious their beliefs, would be allow to have their day in public. The town's reaction was priceless: All the downtown merchants, where the parade would run, put the word out that their shops would be closed that day and that their customers should go elsewhere. When the KKK paraded, they did so in front of blocks of empty streets, locked doors, shuttered windows, and a few dozen spectators at most. They never asked that town for another parade permit again.

@Cousin Dave: Oh yes, point an american finger concerning "dealings" with mideast countries. As mentioning Halliburton would be MichaelMoorish, I'll leave that out (oops...). I'm laughing right at you. Tell you what, let's sit back and see how you Americans fix it all by yourself. Until then..

@ Horst

That's exactly the point. That's all the rest of the world has been doing since WWII (with the exception of some notable exceptions): at best sitting back and laughing while America has to fix things alone, but mostly even standing in their way and fighting against it.
So where's the change in your suggestion?

Or is our help in Germany going to be to wait till things calm down and the killing of (American) soldiers ends, and then try to make a profit out of the rebuilding? (...oops)
Nach dem Motto "sich die Rosinen auspicken und dann dazu noch meckern"...

Horst,

I really enjoy your posts. I hope you will support your chancellor on the relook of NATO. I feel it past time this took place.

With luck together we can bury NATO.

Horst: Let me put it to you a little plainer: America simply does not give a damn what you think. You and the people who think like you have made yourselves irrevelant. In relation to your "fixing it by yourself" comment, I ask you again: If you came to the party, what would you bring? What's in it for us?

Ok, Cousin, I think Germany could contribute by sending in Joschka Fischer and negotiating a cease-fire with the terrorists...
That would be a great help, wouldn't it?

Cousin Dave,

We in the south call it a picnic..... and not a party.... for this group a party is awful sophisticated.... but then they are europeans ... the living definition of sophistication.....LOL

Cousin: First of all, your Limbaugh rhetoric is quite amusing, but not really motivating to be taken seriously.
You know, you just didn't get it. I was asking about American capacities, and if American foreign policy, in the long run, can afford to ignore Europe as you choose to (given a sustained multi-theater war scenario), or if there somehow needs to be an improvement in that relationship for the better of both. In the future, not at this point of time. But this is probably the wrong place for such questions, as many of you seem to be too busy euro-hating right now...

@ Horst

Im Ernst jetzt - there are plenty of us fellow Europeans, even living in Germany (like myself), who are genuinely concerned with the degree of disinformation our media has managed to consolidate here, and not at all interested in bashing. On the contrary, we see the direction our countries are headed to (foreign policy, economics etc.) and want to inform and warn both Americans and Europeans about the situation.
OK, there are some emotional gut reactions and rough comments on the Blogs, but most of us actually enjoy having an objective discussion. As long as you allow us to challenge your premises - these are the very things the press and TV in Germany want (for whatever reason) people to take for granted. Americans are aware of these positions from their own extreme partisan media (you mentioned Moore), but other than in Germany, they are not accepted facts. You'll have noticed that in fact many find them completely absurd. So you can't expect others to accept "WMD were excuses", "Iraq was a mistake", "America only cares about its own interests" and try to argue from there. We need to get the facts straightened out first.

BTW, I'm surprised you have been listening to Rush Limbaugh. Or is that a name you just picked up and are throwing as a disqualifying argument?

Schakal: not been listening to Limbaugh, but reading. Concerning facts, who has facts? What's the source of those facts that I don't get, but you all do? As many find "my" facts absurd, i find theirs absurd, I'm sorry. Nevermind, I know there are Americans that disagree with the views that you all seem to have, so I'll just find me a different place. This in here seems rather pointless to me.
Yes yes you won, okay?

Horst, I'm not Euro-hating, I'm just being realistic. There is no strategic or diplomatic advantage for the U.S. in this relationship at this time. In terms of global economics or security, today's Europe has absolutely nothing to contribute. So what's the use?

@ Horst

If you do not want to discuss the issues but rather ignore facts (as presented by credible sources or arrived at by objective analysis - not by emotional politics), and you are just looking for a Blog where people will agree and say "yeah, americans are evil", "right, we have a balanced and nonpartisan media in Germany", "gee, I wonder why Americans are so blind to the things we in Europe know to be true" etc., then you should indeed try one of the many leftist Blogs around. They'll help you feel confident with your position and by no means challenge your conclusions. They won't even try to confuse you with facts.

Now, I think Cousin has a legitimate question: what could Europeans (other than the UK) offer, even if they wanted to, that would contribute substantially to the efforts of the US?

BTW, even if you live in Germany, you can listen to the 1st hour of RushLimbaugh on the Armed Forces Radio, I believe it's AM 1143. And you can also listen to the highlights of the show everyday for free at www.rushlimbaugh.com
Don't judge him by what people say about him or on comments taken out of context. Even if you don't agree with him (I don't always either), I'm sure you would enjoy his show.

Sorry, the show begins at 18:00, and the frequency is for SW-Germany (other areas problably have other channels)

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