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Congratulations on your recent graduation and employment!

Are you still in the D.C. area?

BTW, I've linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2007/06/re-medienkritik-on-how-to-improve-us.html

"I have decided to use my full name on this site."

Congrats, Ray! And thanks for all your great work!

Very interesting. It's important that Americans know what's going on in our media.

STRAWBERRY FARM SCANDAL IN BAVARIA
Illegaly Romanian Workers Paid Slave Wages by Policeman

Hunger, heat, and 13 hours bake breaking work A day: all for €1 on hour. Customs officials raided A strawberry plantation in Bavaria on Thursday and found illegaly Romanian workers living into slave like conditions. What which worse: the of owner OF the farm is A policeman.

Customs officers searched A Bavarian strawberry plantation on Thursday and found Romanian illegaly workers living in squalid conditions.
Zoom shot
GERMAN PRESS AGENCY

Customs officers searched A Bavarian strawberry plantation on Thursday and found Romanian illegaly workers living in squalid conditions.
German custom authorities raided A strawberry plantation into the much situation of OF upper village in southern Germany RK midnight Thursday night and discovered UP ton of 60 Romanian farm laborers living into miserable conditions. The of owner OF the farm had been keeping the workers as virtual slaves and only paying them around €1 ($1.33) on hour, for UP ton of 13 hours OF work A day into the fields.

The farm more owner is reported tons A policy more officer, although he has been on extended leave sink 2003. Customs officers acres now looking for the one, who had already been fined for hiring illegaly laboratory in August 2006.

Into the case he is more under suspicion OF “human trafficking for the PUR-float OF current exploiting workers,” A spokesperson for the Augsburg of pro ECU gate Office told reporter on Friday.

The 60 Romanian workers the investigators found were housed in overheated container, and around 50 OTHER Romanians of acres reported ton have already left the farm.

The of container of acres thought ton have been obtained from on asylum seekers camp. Four workers were housed square of meter nine in A tiny space OF only. Officials said there which NO functioning garbage system into the camp and emergency enough toilets. The men were emergency provided with more water or food, and money which withheld from their wages ton pay for their squalid accommodations.

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The officials were alerted by LOCALs into the much situation of OF upper village, after the workers had gone begging for food into the AREA. The customs office in Augsburg said that the strawberry pickers had been paid at AVERAGEs dares OF between €1 and €on 1,20 hour, based on how many strawberries they had picked.

A spokesman for the customs office said: “You have ton imagine how it went. They were only sent onto the fields after the polish farm laborers had already started picking. “That meant that the men had only been able tons pick A few strawberries, during their 13 hours OF work A day.

smd/ap/ddp

Congratulations, Ray and DMK. I can only say what's been said already many times: keep up the good work.


OT: regarding Romanian workers.

In the last few years Romanians started doing in the EU the work that Mexican workers do in the US (agriculture, restaurants, construction, hospitals etc.). This is not the first case of abuse, although it might be the biggest so far (and the first in Germany).
Many of them come from regions with little or no economic development at all and some of them have college education. I forgot the numbers, but I guess there are over one million working in the EU. Of course, some of them turn to crime; the ones who were criminals in Romania won't become lawful citizens once they cross the borders. Unfortunately, some of them will probably always be abused by people who exploit their desire to earn some money.

A solid presentation by CBN. Enjoyed it. It's ironic that the European media constantly portrays the Religious Right in America as extremists, fundamentalists, practically Nazis, yet the reporting on this Christian TV show is no more tendentious than what Germans watch every day on their enlightened national media.

By the way, Karin Quade is lovely. Is she married?

And Ray D. is quite the dapper gent.

A problem highlighted by awareness is less problematic than a problem hidden under the surface. My respect for your success, Ray.

...let's hope that the larger mainstream media picks up on the subject...

I must say I do not like the term "mainstream media", because it rings like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What is being referred to is the set of media that transport the story which is being believed by the biggest part of the population and hence becomes the perceived truth at this point in time. The river metaphor implies that this set will always remain the same.

Is there a better name? Any catchy suggestions anyone?

(There is no German word using the same metaphor, BTW.)

Excellent report, you looked very professional too Ray. And yeah Pat Robertson is a nutjob in my opinion - I can't stand to watch him but one time I heard him explain why birth rates in Europe and in particular Germany are so low: only because of lacking religious faith. Man, if only the world would be so easy as he sees it!

So it pleasantly surprises me to see a good piece of journalism on that channel.

I don't consider Pat Robertson as my spokesperson on any subject but his meaning regarding the low European birthrate is not as simplistic as one might believe.

A strong religious faith of any kind usually brings with it a love of life and a good hope for the future. As I have read many times, European society is plagued with a general loss of hope of achieving a satisfying meaningful life. I'm sure that this is not 100 % true of every European but it does seem to be fairly pervasive throughout many European societies and especially in Germany. People find no reason under the current nihilistic philosophy to marry and pro-create. They want to live only for themselves and have the easiest life possible. Children are both a blessing and a burden and in Europe committment to both a spouse and children seem to many to be an unnecessary intrusion into the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. The loss of a higher purpose in life is the natural result of losing faith whether it be in God or any other power outside of ones-self. This loss can affect all facets of life but especially in issues such as marriage and pro-creation.

Guantánamo, Guantánamo, Guantánamo... Guantánamo, Cuba. Here again the media has failed, and not only in Germany. What a great opportunity to inform the public about the horrible conditions of political prisoners languishing in Cuban jails. They could draw attention to their cause, inspire young people to be vocal about human rights abuses. When they talk about prisoners in orange jump suits, they could also mention hungry Cuban dissidents lacking medical attention.

I cannot argue whether it is legal or illegal for the US to hold those prisoners in Guantánamo. I have no clue about international law. But putting somebody in jail for 28 years for speaking his mind is a definite violation of human rights. Underreporting one case and overreporting the other makes me very suspicious of the media’s intentions.

------ Ray, it’s nice to see you.

Wow, Ray!! Just Wow!!

(some) Germans asked me if all Americans walked around with M16s

ohfercryinoutloud. M16s are not easy to come by, the ammo is expensive, and most non-military shooting ranges restrict shooters to handgun ammo, except shotgun.

Which is why I walk around w/a S&W .38.

@ Pamela,

When I first arrived in Germany in my early 20s, I frankly did not care much about media or German politics. However, like so many other people - I encountered tons of absolutely insane statements and ideas about the USA in Germany. I also heard quite a few outrageous things about Jews and other foreigners - including eastern Europeans. In fact, some of the crazy statements were made by German members of my own family.

As I said in the report - hearing the crazy talk is what initially spurred me to look at where people were getting those ideas. I soon discovered that the media was a fundamental part of the problem - particularly with relation to attitudes on the USA. The entire explosion of protest and anger over Afghanistan and Iraq pushed everything over the edge. The irrational culture of Hate America was in overdrive. The demand for all things anti-American and Michael Moorish took off. I later discovered this blog in September 2003 - in its first days of life - (thanks to an email from my father) - and asked David if I could help with translation. He said "yes" and the rest is history.

Ray,
I soon discovered that the media was a fundamental part of the problem

Oh, to be sure. But for me, it's very much a 'chicken and egg' question, given that anti-Americanism was part of the European elite catechism before the U.S. existed as a political entity.

I can't wait for part two of this report: Regligious people are stupid.

@ Pamela,

Part 2 will be on this site soon - along with an outstanding interview with Andrei Markovits. You can Google Dale Hurd blog and watch it now. I will link it all.

Regligious people are stupid.

And we can't spell, either.

Ted Bundy was American, John Gacy was American, Jeffrey Dahmer was American, what does that tell you about America?

Pamela -

But for me, it's very much a 'chicken and egg' question, given that anti-Americanism was part of the European elite catechism before the U.S. existed as a political entity.

Precisely. Anti-Americanism is only the latest instance of a collective resentment against every individual who disagrees with the prevailing consensus ideology that has been haunting Europe and ever since prehistorical times, not just the successful runaways.

Not even the introduction of Christianity was able to bring it to an end, in fact since our religion was imposed through the aristocracies top down, this process mutilated the faith to a hollow caricature of itself, an empty lip-service sugarcoating hatred, a fertile ground for antisemitism.

I don´t want to be a pessimist, I like this part of the world and I want it to overcome its procrastinated destructive self-hatred, including the variety that goes against our offspring on the other side of the pond, but when I look at the fate of these who tried before that´s what I become.

And while I write this, the Al-Saud is seducing our elites into even more Anti-Americanism. Nay.

Phil, were you born stupid or do you just need the practice?

Pamela, you can't bear criticism of American popular culture?

i was reading an article about the popularity of sodoku is japan and one of the japanese commentors stated that because there were so many different meanings for japanese words, sodoku was reassuring and much more japanese. he then threw it in there that it was invented in the states...
this was on the beeb.

it struck me how much this said about America and our way of even thinking.
we dont get hung up on confusion and get to cut right thru the crap and that makes us very lucky. even though Americans are all foriegners from the ice bridge all the way to the 747, we get to instantly join in to this thinking that is very reassuring and concise.
Germans are not so loucky and live in a very confused world that can be quickly realigned by anti-americanism, hidden jealousy, hate etc.
just like a japanese throwing off words for numbers. its simplicity wrapped up as complexity..
the euros are confused for so many reasons. for one, they have a drop off culture where they just drop off their freedom at the socialist's to get all their "I'll pretend to work and you pretend to pay me" free cheese (both pysically and pyschologically). But this is ending all over the place; merkel,sark,belgium and even effing sweeden are eschewing the polite stalinists. the euros have become Godless except for their goldencalf of statism and who out there even thinks to counter that trend.
You guessed it!!!
Good old ME!!!, the American.
And how DARE I think that I can think out side of the clearly demarcated box?
And the funny thing that makes so many americans laugh is that the geneva convention that says that combatants not in uniform lose all their rights was created in,

you guessed it..

EUROPE.

what most euros miss is that we like to hear their dissent, not because it makes us look good, but because its another check on our system too. Sometimes its stupid, sometimes its not. but its there. If it helps us in the long run to change from meat to milk every once in a while so as to not seem heavy handed and igorant, then great. perception is reality to lots of people and we can use the feedback, but only to a point.

Ray and David,

first of all I want to thank you for doing such a great job! Before discovering your blog back in 2004 I felt quite isolated, so it was very comforting to see I was not alone. I also want to thank you for having helped bringing German pro-American bloggers together. It is amazing to see how many, all of a sudden, started blogging. Some have given up, but many go on. That is great to see. You seem to have ignited a fire.

And without wanting to overestimate the impact of the CBN report and of Davids Medienkritik, but today`s Tagesschau (20 h) has shown positive pictures of American soldiers. The report showed how they liberated almost starved children in an orphanage in Baghdad. Heartbreaking pictures. And for almost the first time good news about American soldiers on German TV. I will mark this in my calendar.

Thanks again,

Karin

Next thing you know, Phil is going to tell us how Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof were 'nuanced' criminals....

"Ted Bundy was American, John Gacy was American, Jeffrey Dahmer was American, what does that tell you about America?"

That the U.S. has psychopaths just like every other culture. If I was as crass and asinine as you I’m sure I could name a lot more people from a certain unnamed European country with an exponentially larger personal body count.

"Pamela, you can't bear criticism of American popular culture?"

I didn't realize psychopathic serial killers were on par with vacuous entertainers like Britney Spears, Madonna and Paris Hilton. But considering what you deem to be part of popular culture, I imagine that you enjoy a few Jihadist snuff films from time to time.

@Pamela: I believe the answer to your question is "both."

I didn't realize psychopathic serial killers were on par with vacuous entertainers like Britney Spears, Madonna and Paris Hilton.

Dammit, you beat me to it. I was just loggin in to post the same thing!

Ted:
Next thing you know, Phil is going to tell us how Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof were 'nuanced' criminals....

terrorists.

fixed that for ya.

FranzisM
Not even the introduction of Christianity was able to bring it to an end, in fact since our religion was imposed through the aristocracies top down,

That's an interesting point of view. I'd like to discuss it with you more. Ask David and Ray to give you my email address and we'll chat if you like.

I was raised as a Christian (Lutheran) and after years of agnosticism, converted to Judaism - persuaded by something an apostate Palestinian Muslim wrote, no less. Boy, was he surprised! (But he's a good guy.) However, I don't take your view of Christianity's benefit to civilization nearly as bleakly as do you.

playertwo
But this is ending all over the place; merkel,sark,belgium and even effing sweeden are eschewing the polite stalinists.

Don't get your hopes up, sweetcakes. Ere we blog, they're getting ready to shove that constitution right down Europeans' gullets.

And Angela is leading the pack.

ya got a point about that there 'constitution'..
ever read this book?
http://www.amazon.com/Germany-Empire-Within-Amity-Shlaes/dp/0374256055/ref=sr_1_3/103-8528551-9571853?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182408215&sr=1-3

shes my favorite writer right now other than henning mankel but that's comic books. she just put out a book about the depression that I want.

the only way i can explain the eu constit and the move right is:

ever tie two dogs together?!!
they usual stop and stand there after awhile or they run off and you have to chase them a block.

@Karin Quade

I wouldn't be so optimistic about these, supposedly, positive pictures in the Tagesschau. ARD knows that these pictures will be spun in german minds into "if the americans wouldn't have invaded, that place wouldn't exist at all" and for them it just shows the horrors "caused" by this war.

@ garydausz

It might well be just the exception that proves the rule. But I really liked seeing this report. I have never seen American soldiers being shown on German TV in such a positive light. By the way, it is the CBS pictures.

Here is the link to the report:
http://www.tagesschau.de/sendungen/0,,OID6971416_VID6971690_RESms256_PLYinternal_NAV_,00.html

Pamela - Even easier, just click on my handle and drop me an email. I´ve got a similiar story and am interested to dig into it a bit further. And I´m not always as bleak on these issues, only when I post drunk. Which is what I did yesterday.

@playertwo

Please don't read too much into every bit of coverage, sometimes it's just what it seems to be, some content the agencies sent them so they have some pictures to send. ;)
Can't get anymore neutral if you ask me, after all they could have cut out the soldiers playing and smiling with the kids...

Hi btw, it's my first post here! :)

I don't know much about Pat Robertson, but I think he's completely right about the causes of low birthrate.
Which doesn't mean that there aren't "secular" having more kids or religious ones having one or none at all. It's just that this is rather the exception (by the way, quite off-topic, generalizations, in which I believe, are not the same as "exclusivity"; even if you are generalizing, there are still exceptions).
I think in Europe the family values are fading away. One example (it's not really about kids, but I think it is relevant): in France, one of the main candidate to presidency - Segoleine Royal - was not married to the guy she lived with (and had kids with). And this woman always became president. Could you imagine such a thing in US? (well, divorce is something else, we've seen that already).
Well, one could say, the Germans are very religious. I don't mean registered as such. I mean religious (going to church weekly would be a relevant criteria).
And the fact that the pope is seen as a rock star is not relevant either. It has more to do with this gone mad celebrity frenzy . It doesn't really reflect on one being religious.
I think it is a common belief that lack of affluence/being poor is the cause of the low fertility. I think it is pretty much because of being secular. And I feel pretty strong about this (not that that's an argument).
It would be interesting to see a map of the religious states (in US) and to compare it to the birthrate map:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5449a5.htm
Can anyone help?

The comment about Europeans believing Americans walk around with M-16s is interesting. Several years ago, my wife's cousin got married. the groom's mom was a native texan, they decided to have a "hoe-down" the day before the wedding. I am from New York originally so I do not hoe and I do not down, but I went anyway. Many of the guests dressed in Western wear. One of the guests was a Norwegian whose job was running a welfare office up near the Artic Circle. He was dressed in a real winner of a couboy suit, including a very real looking toy Colt.

When it was time to leave I had to explain to him that it was best he not carry the toy gun in view -- it was so realistic he would probably get arrested and given language difficulties, worse might happen. He was under the impression that all Americans run around with guns. I had to explain with difficulty that in the city of Chicago, handguns were essentially illegal.

That M-16 thing is a bit exaggerated, naturally not many "everyday" people even know what an M-16 is... And I doubt they think everyone runs around with assault rifles, not even Hollywood tells them that.

But the general viewpoint is, of course: "every American owns (or can own) a gun". The knowledge about differences in state policies is limited, another example is the death penalty, the majority doesn't know that there are indeed states without it.

jane m, neocon - European demography is more than birthrates.

The Islamic countries now are experiencing the same acceleration as we did a century ago. Still, in the European Union, four Europeans continue to share the area of one American in the United States. Yet, in the last 100 years the share of Europe in the world´s population has dropped from 25% to 10%.

West Germany now is tighter settled than when the Nazis proclaimed the volk ohne raum and will continue to be so for generations, the East is at the density of 1939, and still it is said to be depopulating. True, the growth has peaked, in a generation we will be back at the population numbers of the 1960s.

The matter of fact is not that Europe was dying out. The real problem is that an ageing population puts the social security system entirely out of balance, and that we must redefine our role in a world in which we are a smaller player.

@ Bimmer,

Actually it's not exaggerated at all. It is a real-life first hand experience. We had a screening of Bowling for Columbine at the Amerika Haus in Nurnberg in which Americans were shown firing M16s and other weapons and I remember more than one German asked me if everyone walks around with the things. Other people asked me if everyone had a gun, machine gun, etc. In fact, I received an email from another reader with family in Germany who said they had run across very similar comments as well.

The sad part is: That isn't even close to the most shocking thing I heard in Germany in my six years there - (I also heard that the US deserved 9/11 - that it would make the US a weaker country - that Jews are bad - that the darker your skin is, the lower you are - that if you are a foreigner, you have no business in Germany, etc.)

Alright, it's just hard to believe for me. But isn't this just an example of lack of knowledge/interest in other cultures? Of course the media does have its share in this, we all know the images of the gun-slinging Americans...

Admittedly, the things you heard from Germans aren't just extreme examples but can be heard from a very broad range of people. The racial outbursts are no German problem, these phrases are widly known although the Jew bit makes me want to smack someone.
Personally I also heard something like "the US deserved 9/11" once, but no matter how hard I try I can't get into these peoples mindsets.

I just recently started regularly reading this blog (tbh I'm not much of a blog reader at all) so I don't know much of you, but sometimes it sounds like you've given up on Germany. I hope you don't already think most of its people are xenophobic US bashers that rise their brows against any foreigner they meet.. Not true! ;)

Americans deserved 9/11, or they perpetrated it themselves... These views are not uncommon in Germany, but I hear they also have some followers in the US. It's surely a sign of misguided pepole and the horrible failure of the Western media. Bimmer is right, outspoken prejudices and sentiments against foreigners are discouraged here. Our media takes care to label anyone who critizes our immigration policy as right-wing, "ausländerfeindlich", etc. But bashing America is allowed and encouraged.

But Anti-Americanism also a sign of a bigger problem: Of the decadence that has grown in the West at least since the end of the cold war. People are unwilling and / or unable to recognize the real threats anymore, given that these threats aren't as clearly visible as before. And: The standards of living are higher than ever before. I guess that leads people to the perception that indeed the (small or big) failures of our free societies and democratically elected leaders are the world's biggest problems and to concentrate all their criticism on them, while completely ignoring the real problems.

A word about demography: The problem is not only low birth rates of native Europeans, but rapidly growing numbers of certain others.

Good lord I love this blog.

I don't know where to begin.

Well, let's try polite society. Welcom Bimmer, it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

So, we've got guns and God. That's red meat.

As I am the prototypical American that Europeans spend far too much of their time characterizing, allow me to expound.

Yes. I carry a gun. It is not a big deal. I'm trained, I practice and I do not choose weapons based on their caliber but on whether or not I can manage the weapon well enough to place the round on the target.

I am a 55 year old grandmother. This is not, as some Europeans seem to think, a big swinging dick contest. "Americans need their guns, Americans need their nukes, blah blah blah. Americans need to strut their stuff." (The crap I read in the Financial Times today about how Merkel swayed Bush on - ahem - climate change - is worthy of Monty Python.)

I carry a gun out of pragmatism.

I'm not going to write to you that all Americans are like me. Many are just as deluded as the European media. But here is the deal.

The world, on whatever level you choose to view it, can be - and usually is - a dangerous place. You can choose to face it with all the personal responsiblity that entails, or you can choose to abrogate that responsibility to, say, the local police or the state, or the federal gov't or the EU. Whatever.

I don't think the manifest disgust Europeans have for guns in the U.S. is really about guns. I think it's about American's refusal - nay - fundamental belief in our ownership rights - as a direct contradiction between the individual as a unit of political identity versus the collective. Did any of you notice what went down yesterday? Did any of you care? Sarkozy, the so-called American-o-phile, had the term in the EU constitution "internal markets, competition, undistorted markets" changed to "internal markets". Merkel signed off on it. Sarkozy's argument is that his constiuency was concerned about the whole thing being "too Anglo-Saxon".

Do Europeans understand that they are assenting to being chattel?

I think they do on some subliminal level. I think that is the bottom line about why they hate Americans. I think it always has been. Europe has always been a slave to class or ideology or something - The New World has held up a mirror to the straight-jacketed Europe that Europe has never wanted to acknowledge.

Ok, now let's do the God/religious people are stupid thing.

It is absolutely true. A lot of religious people are stupid.

It is also true that a lot of non-religious people are stupid.

It is also true that people of either persuasion who are very wealthy are also stupid.

So?

Yeah, we have nut cases over here. Re: Ray's remarks on Pat Robertson. Robertson is a crook, a son of a bitch who should probably be tried in the Hague for war crimes. He's been in cahoots w/Charles Taylor - he of Liberia and blood diamonds. Colbert King reported on it years ago. Go google.

The problem is not that religious people are a priori stupid. The problem is stupid people.

FranzisM
Are you telling me that it is because of the small "Lebensraum" that there are not enough kids in Europe? (particularly in Germany).
What about the values of the people?
There are many people who believe this "earth is overpopulated" leftist myth. But this was back in the 70s, and it still hasn't dawned on them that this is simply not true.
"Less children, less problems". Well, it looks it's exactly the opposite.
The matter of fact is not that Europe is dying out!?

Franzi, the replacement birth rate is 2.1 in the developed countries. If the birth rate is below that, it's only a matter of time...
(Germany's for 2004 was 1.4!)

I have no idea what you mean with "redefine our role in a world in which we are a smaller player"

The American approach to demographics is quite exceptional, it is one of settlers trying to fill nearly empty territory. The situation in the Old World is different.

What I am saying is that a thinner Germany does not scare me. A country packed as tightly as Japan would scare me.

And the demographic trend Germany is going through is just a prototype for others whose trends are lagging behind ours. Countries that now are growing rapidly will not be able to keep it up very long, although the Muslim birth rate today is the world’s second highest (after sub-Saharan Africa), it is falling faster than the birth rate of any other culture.

The problem from that is not existential, it is economical. How can the population surplus at the demographic peak find a place in their home cultures without having them all march into war as ours did a century ago? And how can a shrinking society feed an ageing population? These problems now are relevant for Germany, but in the future they will be even more relevant for countries that are now experiencing their demographic peak. We´re in a sort of avantgarde role to find a solution for them.

@neocon
And the fact that the pope is seen as a rock star is not relevant either

Perhaps not, but it does explain all the lighters held aloft by people yelling "Freebird!"

@FranzisM:
If the decreasing population does not scare you, then I am out of arguments.
(but I somehow suspect that you are kidding).

@Doug: I think this will be defintely the next step

What's going on here? The date on the main page post is 2011 and there are 41 comments here from 2007? Including mine. What's up?

I just moved this post up towards the top of the blog - because I think it is still so relevant.

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