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And we'd expect nothing else from the venal little toad. Pity that

'Germany's fall 2006 elections will most likely free Mr. Schroeder from the obligation.'

You seriously overestimate the political talent of the current German oppostion. Worst possible outcome would be a SPD-Green-PDS coalition

Germany's fall 2006 elections will most likely free Mr. Schroeder from the obligation.

No, they won't, I fear...
Germany's electorate is definitely stupid enough to vote for him again...

no way, my dear!

schröder is set for another term and this time he doesn't need a flood or a war to help him along.

the fumbling, bumbling and - honestly speaking, as we're amongst friends here - beyond moronic opposition parties with their room-temperature-iq personnel are doing their best to keep him in office.

to quote the emminent mr. stoiber: "red-green (this is schröders' camp, for our foreign friends) is standing in the way of the future - we could do that better".

that about sums up the level of competence to be found in our political system. a horde of backward chimpanzees would possibly do marginally better. on a bad day, that is.

darling, turn off the light.

Schröder's words/promises mean really nothing:

* If I don't get unemployment down to 3.5 million, I shouldn't be re-elected
* I will only run for 2 terms...

Blah, blah, blah...

and what is more, my dear,

that schröder is the only - visually - outstanding person in the german political arena.

do not underestimate that fact in our time of consumer-brand marketing. especially as he contrasts starkly with angela - the queen of boring - merkel, eduard - still can't speak in public after 25 years - stoiber.

as none of the current parties has a platform (programm) worth mentioning, even though they are willy-nilly identical, but instead all play host to a bunch of greedy, corrupt profiteers, crooked enough to make a bengali babu blush, schröder sure stands out.

the good uncle syndrome. it works. especially if the rest of your familly are dangerous sociopaths with a chain saw.

schröder is like the only lighthouse in the middle of a sea of boredom, indifference and slime.

nice mixed metaphor.

sleep well, darlings.



@ James


so eff promises, for gods' sake!

please remember this about politicos: if their lips move, they're lying.

now go back to sleep, darling.

I agree that Schröder will win next year. Against Angela Merkel - no doubt. Against Edmund Stoiber - that would be closer, but Stoiber owns the loser image, doesn't connect well and the media will be even keener to have Schröder win when he is candidate.

What I'm looking forward to - a small hope, though - is that Schröder might step down after two years to introduce his successor. And it can probably only get better. It's a pity that most of the better SPD people (Hans-Ulrich Klose, Peter Struck, Otto Schily) are probably too old...

Amihasser, your comment probably won't be here for long... but who are you referring to as "five-dollar-american-whore"? (just so that the non-German speakers also get a flavor of your comments)

Maybe Amihasser IS President Chavez!
They're both extreme leftist wackos.
Their statements are complete BS.
Their limited gutter vocabulary is similar.
They can't form sentences with more than five words.
Even their two-digit IQs seem to match.

Stupid question:

Do any of the major parties know where the people are at on issues?

And what are these issues? Not the issues that are reported in the press but the ones people talk about around their dinning rooms tables.

Hey Amihasser,

Without NATO where will you clowns in Germany be? On your own, man! What a pleaserit will be when NATO ends and we won't have to assocaite with the likes of you Old Europeans anymore. Good riddance to Old World clowns.

@amihasser
Warum beläßt Du dann Deine vorpubertären Kommentare nicht "bei die Kumpels inne Kneipe"?
Lieber Junge, wenn du wirklich glaubst mit billiger Ausdruckweise die "mainstream" Meinung aller Deutschen zu vertreten, so muß ich dich leider aus deinem "Koma" wachrütteln.
Voreingenommenheit aus Unwissenheit und medialer Gehirnwäsche ist in der Tat "mainstream" Meinung in Deutschland.
Aber die vulgäre Ausdrucksweise und der offensichtliche Hass der aus deinen Kommentaren sprüht, ist kein Spiegel aller Deutschen. Ich schlage vor, du bleibst in deiner "Spelunke" sitzen, säufst dich schön stramm und sicher hört dir der eine oder andere "Stammtischbruder" auch mal zu.
Verschone dieses Forum doch in Zukunft mit deinem pathologischen verbalen Müll.
Diskussion jederzeit aber ein wenig Niveau muß sein.
Prost!
JR


@ JR

actually, darling,

Amihasser is right in saying that the majority of Germans would love nothing better than to see the US embarrased, humbled, possibly even mauled a little.

just check out the comments on SPON re north corea nukes. it's all the US's fault.

the troulbling aspect is that people like Amihasser would even cut off their own dick to spite the US, just for the sake of spiting them. there is no thought, just the very german wish to be "right" (im recht sein) on a certain matter, and to prove the other party is not.

Amihasser will even support wife-beaters, oppressors, hate-diven mullahs, terrorists and murderers by proxy to prove that his position is "right" and others are "wrong".

from there on it is a very short step to fashism, either right-wing fashism, left-wing fashism or religious fashism.

the doors of hell are well greased.

night-night darlings


@lebemann
I don't disagree lebemann, what I said is that I don't think the majority of Germans would use the type of tenor he is using.
I am well aware of the good job the media did on the Germans and I realize that most of them are simply against the US. But...I argue that most of them still try to use some style in the debates. And a lot of them would probably wake up in time if Ray D. would be in Stefan Raabs timeslot.
May be I am too optimistic.
Have a good one,
JR
That is all I meant.


@ Amihasser:

darling,

i completely agree with you about the toad issue.

toads are harmless little creatures, and to their great credit none of them has run for an election or held a political office in the near past (although i'm not so sure about kim yong il, if you look at him in a good light).

so yes, Amihasser, let us not insult the toads, our benign fellow creatures.

insults should be reserved for the ruling political classes and the wide range of fanatics, there are enough of both to go around.

now hush-hush and go back to sleep, darling.


Looking from the outside: Is it realistic to think that any major-party opposition candidate wouldn't run on the same anti-American platform as Schroeder? Are there any up-and-coming politicians in Germany advocating a pro-American stance? I don't follow it enough to know.

@ Cousin,

the CDU won't be running an anti-American campaign but I guess they want to keep the issue out of the debate. I'm expecting them to run a campaign that will try to catch votes on the right by focussing on limitations on immigration (economically simply false). Otherwise they will try to attackt the government without offering any real alternatives. The FDP's programme and ideals might be good and certainly the most free-market based. Also I don't know any of their politician who has ever tried to get a vote with anti-Americanism but then again the German public doesn't know many of those politicians. Their leader is a lightweight.

Schröder and especially Fischer have the advantage of being very good and effective campaigners. I know Fischer's interview in Australia was terrible but he is a excellent public speaker both on the campaign trail and in the Bundestag.
All in all, chances are high for the government to be reelected, tragic as it might be.

Are there any up-and-coming politicians in Germany advocating a pro-American stance?

As Niko said, the answer is NO. The opinions on the US are very varied, from hate their guts to strong dislike. That's about it. There might be some politicians who actually like the US, but they have to do that in their own private time, well hidden from the rest of Germany. Otherwise, they would be, politically, dead man walking, untouchables, party breakers. Nobody volunteered for this yet, and if someone like that does show up, I believe that the media, society, political parties(including the own) would make sure he/she has nowhere to go.

As you see Cousin, Germans are correct in questioning democratization of a country through force. After six decades they are still working on it.

@ Cousin, Niko and WDIK

I have to disagree with you guys on this question. I think there are politicians at CDU and FDP that hold a somewhat friendlier attitude towards the US, and maybe even share some of the american ideals.
I thought I could read this clearly between the lines in a Schäuble interview that really struck me. I wouldn't count Westerwald, Merkel or Stoiber out either (BTW, remember the float?). And I have no doubts towards President Köhler, which is my opinion one of the few German politicians currently making any sense when he opens his mouth.
The problem is, the media have disinformed the German public so effectively, that it would be political suicide to give even a hint of such a position away. So they keep their mouths shut and hope for election.

Schakal, that's what I also said. The few German politicians who do like the US do it after work hours and on vacation. They don't mix business with pleasure. The President, Köhler, is indeed a special case and I like him. Probably because he wasn't really a politician before becoming President :-)

@ WDIK

Sorry, I was thrown off by the sentence in the beginning "the opinions vary from hate their guts to strong dislike"...

Here are a bunch of disjointed comments and observations. They in many ways seemed simple until I tried to organize them in a post.

I too believe the spd will be returned to Berlin as the ruling party. I would almost guarantee they would if the election can some how be make a referendum on the US. I personally think just too much programming has been aimed at the average German to be overcome if the US becomes an issue.

I do not think the spd will have a platform that is any better than the one they ran on last time. It would appear this is acceptable to the average German voter. Having said that I do not see the opposition parties developing and presenting a platform, which is at best marginal, better. Because either party at the end of the day is going to be faced with the same set of domestic issues, those issues being taxes and spending. If I were a German, the critical issues would be the condition of the welfare state going forward. It would be about what should be saved and what must be saved, given that not everything can be.

There are however a huge number of foreign policy issues which might be in play. I would list these as Iraq, Iran, China, NATO, EU and UN. Right now during this period of “happy talk” these are being covered over both by Europe and the US.

Most of these issues are linked. The key issue will probably be China. When the EU lifts the arms embargo to China, the reaction of the US Congress is going to severe, as it should be. It is going to be punitive. It will probably have an effect on other issues such as the UN and NATO. With regard to the UN, I could not see how Congress and an American administration could or would support the Germans desire for a seat on the UNSC.

NATO will be harmed. It could possibly be harmed to the extent that it is either disbanded or becomes nothing more than a club of nations and a basing means for the US forward deployment.

The basing issue I raised over a year ago. It is still with us. It will become even more of an issue later this year as the US Congress goes through the process of base closing in the US. One of the drivers for Congress will surely be why base US forces in the EU when those nations are arming what is probably going to be our long-term enemy on the other side of the world. The Administration is going to be hard pressed to answer this pressure. So it is quite possible by the end of the year NATO starts to unwind. (There is a 2 year op out clause in the treaty and it would take the US about that long to find replacements for facilities currently located in Germany.)

In play at the UN will also be Iran. At this juncture, it is a pretty safe bet the EU3 will fail in their efforts to stop Iran going nuclear. In fact, I view what is now going on as nothing but a stall tactic by Iran as it goes full bore with it current program. The EU3 has said if they fail, they then will support taking Iran to the UNSC for the purpose of imposing sanctions. To pass a resolution is not going to be easy. The vetos of both Russia and China will have to be overcome. China who has already sold Iran missiles, which can reach any nation in the EU. China, which has its own energy requirements and would like nothing more than to have a solid relationship with an oil-producing nation like Iran. So a China veto is quite possible. Still even if sanctions are passed they will have little or no effect. Even that great french leader chirac has stated sanctions will not work. The EU has ruled out any other action.

Finally there is the EU itself. By the time of the election cycle in Germany the EU constitution could be dead. One or more nations could have voted to not ratify it. These could be the UK, Denmark, any number of the new nations and even possible france.. It will be up to the ratifying members as to what to do next and how they react to this crisis. It is within the realm of possibilities a new security and trading block could be established between the US and like minded nations.

Finally there is Iraq. The key to the ME is probably Iraq and it is also probably the key to Iran. If Iraq can be made into a success then the Iranians are going to want to have the same options. So it might fall from within. It then possibly it could follow the path of SA and disarm. Right now Germany is not doing all it could to make this a sucess story. NATO cannot get its act together on training a military force for Iraq. These too impact on Iraq, Iran, NATO and the UN.

So while this election in 2006 should be about domestic policy, it very well may become one about foreign policy.

Just as before the last election cycle the world looks much different than it did then. I have to believe before 2006 the world will look much different than it does today.

Some of these issues the spd can manage and some they will not be able to manage. Who ever wins in 2006 could very well find themselves on a speeding train ready to jump the tracks at any given point.

@ Joe

I see some problems, though.

Regarding the domestic situation, it doesn't seem like this is being viewed by the majority of the population as it should (this is of course anectodal, based on conversations with friends, and I hope I'm wrong). The media are doing a fine job of rationalizing bad news and silencing critics. Since no good news from abroad makes it into TV or Newspapers/Magazines here either, there is a sense that the current crisis in Germany is a global one, and that you can't really blame Schroeder/Fischer for it. Check out the responses to articles presented in Medienkritik Online or Politically Incorrect on the US economy and jobs - you'll notice the strong convictions from German commentors that the recovery news in the US is just a scam.

And, as far as foreign policy is concerned, I heard Schroeder some weeks ago on TV during a fully unrelated speech say something like "The US is planning war against Iran. We will not participate in that war, under no circumstances". Does that statement ring a bell close to elections?

Join all that to a successful Soccer World Cup in Germany, and you're all set for four more years of Red/Green.

Schakal

There is no doubt in my mind that your observations are more correct than mine.

I kind of view it like I do the democratic party here. They have been hijacked by the most extreme elements of their collation. They keep moving farther from the center where more and more Americans find themselves. I figure with Congressional races here in 2006 and another Presidential election in 2008 which they will probably loose, they might just get serious about being a national party again. To do this they will have to toss out their own leftists and move more to the center. The US needs a strong two party system.

I figure based on what has transpired in Germany in the last few years and with no real changes being planned, 2006 could be the spd’s last horary. I think the situation will be so bad by 2010 it cannot be ignored even by the most diehard leftist or defender of the welfare state.

The spd of course will do everything it can to force standard taxation rates across all of the EU to prevent job transfers. The eastern nations who have chosen to follow a different economy model as well as say Denmark and the UK will resist this. This could be another flash point within the EU. What I think the spd fails to see is if they do this then jobs will be transfered out the EU completely. So this will not be an answer either.

By delaying and avoiding the pain of what will have to be done is just going to grow worse and it will last longer. It is unfortuante so many people are going to suffer who do not need too.


Joe and Schakal:
I share a lot of both of your views in regards to the spd. I personally think, the cdu/csu totally failed to position themselves for success in 06. Both Merkel (so booooring) and Stoiber (way too stiff to connect) are unfit for command. The one guy I really liked was Merz, but he threw the towel last year. Even if the cdu (or fdp for that matter) had a real good candidate, I still think 50 years of welfare state history can not be overcome easy. I guess what I am saying is, that it does not matter who runs the ship, it will go down. Now I am an optimistic guy by nature and I believe that Germany one day will recover old instincts like committment, work habbits and ethics, but the current "Spaßgesellschaft" is likely to go down in time. By 2010, as Joe said it will be so bad here, that something will happen.
I am just sorry for all the folk who still believe that government can somehow keep the boat afloat.
JR

This article appeared in the European Edition of the WSJ. I found it to be a bit depressing from the standpoints of attitude and future outlooks. I am hoping some of you are going to tell me these two writers have it all wrong and why they have it wrong. Their site also is in English. I could not however find this particular article.

Willkommen to Hobbitland
By DIRK MAXEINER and MICHAEL MIERSCH
February 10, 2005
In a recent television survey, Germans chose the epic "Lord of the Rings" as their favorite book. In so doing, they were paying homage not only to J.R.R. Tolkien's literary abilities but apparently also to their own emotional state. A large portion of German society would prefer to live in the hobbits' pastoral idyll, surrounded by windmills and small-scale rural technology -- far from Mordor, the mirror of western industrial society, where evil wizards challenge nature.

Unfortunately, Middle Earth has a few problems. Windmills don't create enough prosperity. It's getting uncomfortable in Hobbitland. For some ten years, wise economists have been pointing out that the foundations of the German welfare state must be modernized. Committees and advisory boards have debated for thousands of hours and produced tons of papers; talk shows on the issue resemble a babbling, infinite loop.

Agreement exists that things can't continue as before. But there's no sign of an awakening; more like submission to fate. The country is about as excited as a sick person giving his permission for an operation. Usually, the word "reform" conjures images of progress, stepping forward into a brighter future. But to German ears, the word "reform" sounds as threatening as the theme music of "Jaws." No other nation is as pessimistic as the Germans. In an international Gallup poll, only 13% believed the future would be better than the present.

A fog of negativity obstructs the view of the possibilities. Only few citizens really want more responsibility and less state. Most would like the government to take care of its little hobbits. The future should preserve as much as possible of the present. The taste of freedom and adventure scares Germans; the future should have the cozy smell of Grandma's recipes. This is what happens in a society where "progress" has become a dirty word. Technology is perceived only as a sinister threat.

The German motto is "don't take any risks" (except for 250 kph on the autobahn). The land of the economic miracle, the land of inventors and entrepreneurs, has turned into Hobbitland. The most daring vision of the future is to optimize the system of deposits on bottles. Germany is being left behind at the station, waving good-bye to progress as it chugs away.
* * *
The German hobbit's view of life is characterized by low expectations, constant emphasis on limits, nostalgia for the past, idealization of nature, and a deep-seated distrust of the workings of the market

www.maxeiner-miersch.de

@ Joe,

those two authors are spot on in my opinion. Their website is also very good as are their columns in 'Die Welt'

Phil,

If you are correct and they are correct, then I do not have a clue how you go about fixing this unless there is a huge train wreck.

If you were to have such a wreck, the pain and suffering for so many people would be just awful and so wide spread.

I have known some people who have structured their personal lives like this but I have never seen a nation do it. In the case of these people, they seem never to learn anything and everything is too hard to do or they do not want to do it. They keep living in an unreal world which they have created and it crashes down on them. The results being you feel so sorry for them but at the same time you know you really cannot help them. It is as if they were drug addicts.

There is no reasoning with them and until it can no longer work for them they do nothing. In each case, being given a fresh start they blew it too and in a few years were back in the position they were orginally in.

Sad does not begin to describe it.

Joe, thanks for the link. An interesting site!

I live in Germany, so I'm also hoping the situation here stops spiraling down and it doesn't come to the wreck some are predicting...

There's another possible scenario for getting out of the mess sooner:
Like it was the case in the old DDR, people in Germany will look over the fence and start noticing that the rest of the world is doing ok, creating jobs, economies growing more than 1%, in spite of what is being portrayed on TV and newspapers. They'll realize something is wrong and maybe quit listening to eco-socialist BS. Then they might begin to hold their government accountable and look to other countries for answers.

Now there are some obstacles to this. For example it was easier to distrust a single government in the DDR than it is to see through the bias of many independent media channels nowadays. Specially since they have corroboration from the left media outside Germany. And they have the support of the elite academia as well, who live in a fantasy world. But Germans are allowed to travel, which they still love to do, and they will see the prosperity gap as it widens further.

And JR has a point in my opinion. The opposition is lacking a charismatic politician to challenge Schroeder. Although that could also be the doing of the media, which refuses to report on the opposition and presents Schroeder as hard-working and Fischer as a half-god.

If you have no message, no vision ......it does not matter who the messenger is.

I thought Miniter's column had a "put a happy face" on it feel. We will all talk about how "we are going to change" . . . but nothing, beyond expelling a lot of hot air, does.

If I were king of the forest . . . I would simply start doing to Europe what it seems more than comfortable doing to the U.S.A.
Start telling the truth! For example;

On Iraq:
1) "The U.S.A. always wants to work with her allies on problems that confront us all. We appreciate the EU nations willingness to consider renegotiating or forgiving the Iraqi peoples debt that was left over from oil contracts signed between the EU and the criminal Hussein regime."
We would of course appreciate Germany and France as coalition partners in the liberation of Iraq, if we could figure out a way they could contribute that would be of any additive value at all!"

On providing relief:
2) "The U.S.A. always wants to work with her allies on problems that confront us all. But there currently is no space available to carry the small German government contribution on the American military transports already delivering relief supplies to the tsunamil victims this past week."

On Kyoto:
3) "The U.S.A. always wants to work with her allies on problems that confront us all. And the U.S.A. will consider relooking at the Kyoto Accord as soon as a majority of the EU proves it is capable of, or ever really even intends, compliance.

On Darfur:
4. "The U.S.A. always wants to work with her allies on problems that confront us all. However to continue to do it the "EU/ UNITED NATIONS" way, and stand by while discussing the definition of "Genocide" as another 70,000 Sudanese Africans are slaughtered is totally unacceptable."

I think the Europeans believe they can say and do just about anything without any blowback. Why doesn't the U.S. release all the documents they have from Iraq about the EU involvement in the criminal hussein regime. The Deutsch built bunkers, the French and Russian oil deals, the Chinese and French military hardware and chemical deals, and who was profiting from the (nearly ignored in the european media,) "Food for Oil" scandal.

Just play their same game back at 'em. Only do it by telling the truth, not make up their little michael moore-ish half truths and preferred myths.

Tyranno

PS: But the U.S. won't! It doesn't play that way. Though demographics being what they are, the U.S. can pretty much just sit back and watch old europe implode on itself. The trick will be to ensure they don't again drag the whole world into their latest deadly little navel gazing, miasma.


Tyranno

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