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you should never rely your opinion on German's biggest tabloid BILD. they love to bash the Green party and start populist campaigns to keep their sales high. (see http://www.bildblog.de/?p=772 for more info.)

Mr. Trittin wrote his article at monday last week - when the extent of the catastrophe wasn't apparent. remember, Georg Bush wasn't aware too - he was yet another day on vacation.


Note from David: The "Trittin didn't know about the extent of the catastrophe" myth has become the default excuse of the German left for Trittin's non-excusable remarks. Trittin knew that Katrina would have catastrophic consequences, including human losses, and that is why he wrote the article. The greater the catastrophe, the better for his line of arguments. He was just eager not to miss the opportunity to blame Bush for hurricans and nature made catastrophes ("Der amerikanische Präsident verschließt die Augen vor den wirtschaftlichen und menschlichen Schäden, die seinem Land und der Weltwirtschaft durch Naturkatastrophen wie "Katrina", also durch unterlassenen Klimaschutz, zugefügt werden."). Case closed.

As to BILD's love to bash the Green's - that's an emotion we share, for good reasons. And BILD being a "tabloid"... well, there's one politician who doesn't share your disregard for Europe's largest tabloid: Germany's outgoing chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. He once quipped: "All I need to govern is BILD, BamS (the Sunday edition of BILD) and tv."

Thank you, Andreas.

You have touched on the important issue here: caring for the humans in this situation, their loss and grief and courage should come before ideological agendas.

We've already seen political exploitation of this tragedy happening in our country. But I and many like me are determined to punish ANY politician of ANY party who continues to do this.

The scope of devastation from this storm is significant. We don't know yet how badly the ports are destroyed. Dysentery has been reported in one town where conditions for it's growth are particularly strong. We have over a million people to resettle, house, educate, find jobs for ...

And we will do it. In fact, over time we will emerge stronger. In the meanwhile, though, we should not only pause to respect the human loss. It would be wise for us all to realize that if the worst case scenario obtains, the economic impacts of the destruction may well echo across the world.

It is a bad time for Schadenfreude on the part of anyone.

It's not just Trittin, it's Schroeder as well. I watched about the last hour of the Schroeder-Merkel TV-Duell. Schroeder's demagoguery was shameful. To the point, Schroeder used the New Orleans situation for his political benefit. He said that the situation in New Orleans should make Germans think about how much State was needed.

In other words, Schroeder, launches his opinion, based on years of leftwing propaganda, that the US is some capitalistic monsterland, with no government and that if some a catastrophe hit Germany (ah, how?), the large German State would do better.

The only possibility of such an occurrence that I can think of, would be an asteroid strike. Schroeder can put out such BS, because he will never see the day that he'd have to perform. CREEP! Once again, Louisiana and New Orleans are deep, deep in the Democratic, Welfare, Social State. It is totally comparable and probably even higher in percentages of Socialism, than even Germany is. Schroeder is an uninformed buffoon, who is using rank propaganda and demagoguery to maintain his own personal power. The leftwing politicians of New Orleans and Louisiana have lead the most corrupt City and State in America. Oh, and for decades anyone (Republican or conservative) who brought this up, would be accused of being racist, since New Orleans is a majority black city and is run by black politicians. We see this happening already with Jesse Jackson saying to call people 'refugees' is racist and Kanye West accusing Bush of not caring for black people. The race hustlers never rest.

This is low. This is shameful. Germany and Germans ought to be ashamed to be represented by this low, common, populist politician.

He is doing no service for Germany.

The following is a post I found at Chrenkoff sent in by a reader and for David's German readers for perspective, Mississippi usually ranks 50th out of 50 States in everything. The Arkansas State motto is: Thank God for Mississippi (or Arkansas would be last!).

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Mississippi (MS) versus Louisiana (LA)

One of Chrenkoff readers reflects on different responses to the Katrina devastation throughout the South:

I read Gov. Blanco's (D-LA) statement (http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/09/kathleen-versus-katrina.html) too with some weird bemusement. Free tip - contrast the Louisiana situation with the one next door in Mississippi - Gov. Barbour (R-MS). What's been lost in all the blather over New Orleans (NO) is that it was really Mississippi that took the big hit. The buildings in New Orleans are still standing; the Gulf Coast of Mississippi basically has been scrubbed, like God took out a pencil eraser and just erased it. (Up in the northern hemisphere, since storms spin counterclockwise, the worst part of a hurricane is the "right-front" quadrant - because the wind is going with the momentum of the storm's movement, plus the wind pushes the storm surge along. The center hit basically at the MS/LA state line, so MS was on the bad side.)

I really don't like to find fault at times like this, but one thing that was missing was a quick recognition that in such a situation the potential for civil collapse is nearly 100%. Once the weather settles, you need to immediately declare marshal law and send in the MPs. That's basically what Haley Barbour did in Mississippi - there were a few early problems but very quickly the MPs were patrolling what was left of Biloxi and Gulfport and keeping a lid on things. Back on Tuesday when I put on the news and we all saw Kathleen Blanco bursting into tears, I knew that was the wrong message and would bring trouble. Louisiana and New Orleans basically have those touchy-feely, "I'm okay, you're okay" soft-leftie types in charge. Their education took a few days and has been expensive.

So I hope you're Watching Mississippi. Highly recommended - we may have found our next President out of this (you heard it here first).

Amidst all the hyperventilating that's going on, it's actually a good time for a civics lesson, particularly watching the competence of the people in Mississippi and the gross incompetence of almost all concerned in Louisiana. Who was responsible for what?

- The mayor of NO has been a good hyperventilator, but one thing became obvious quickly. NO is below sea level and it was inevitable that someday The Worst was going to happen. NO didn't even take the worse possible hit (MS did), but it was clear that no one in NO had ever planned for The Worst. Last weekend, the mayor said, "Everyone get out of town." It's obvious that lots of people weren't able to just load up the car and go - folks with no transportation like that, the incapacitated, patients in hospitals, etc. There was no plan to really evacuate the city, and it's the local officials (over decades) who were responsible for that.

- Why wasn't the National Guard called out sooner to maintain order? Responsibility with each state's National Guard contingent in situations like this (where they operate within state boundaries) is the responsibility of each state's governor. To put it bluntly, the responsibility for calling out the NG in LA rested with the governor. If it didn't happen on time, that's HER failing.

Mississippi got hammered much worse than Louisiana but is barely in the news because the leadership has been much more competent. Ms. Blanco is clearly way out of her league in this situation.

This was a good reminder that LA has for decades been our worst managed and most corrupt state. I briefly caught a bit of the News Hour last night, and David Brooks pointed that out; he also pointed out something that's pretty obvious - for the most part, the South has been booming for the past 25 or so years. The major cities went from backwater jokes to leading cities - Atlanta, Raleigh, Dallas, all of Florida, etc. The "hole in the map" in all of this has been Louisiana - it's like the last 25 or 30 years of southern growth have passed it right by. Get away from the gussified tourist areas and NO is a pretty awful city.

He also asked why we were so good at quick response halfway around the world in Banda Aceh while we seemed so unable to handle something right in the country. That's actually pretty obvious to me. Indonesia was a piece of cake because there was no bureaucracy out there - "What have we got over near there?" "The USS Lincoln battlegroup." "Send 'em in and let the Navy people on site to run the show." Inside this country, you have multiple interlocking bureaucracies that just don't know what to do on their own, let alone when they try to interact.

When I worked for ibm, the bureaucracy in the headquarters region in lower NY was so bad that the people "running" (sic?) the company even admitted that they couldn't manage it. The company's successes came from intentionally putting activities far away from there to keep the "system" from "managing" things. When ibm wanted to build its first PC, they set the project up in Florida to keep it far away from the HQ mess. The site I worked at was far enough away (eventually NOT far enough though) away to be able to get things done without interference. Those award-winning ibm laptops? That was all done in Japan, to keep it REALLY far away from HQ.

The most effective response to NO probably would have been to just turn the project over to the Navy immediately and tell everyone else to leave them alone. But of course that wouldn't happen because then all those bureaucracies would be forced to admit that they are much worse than useless when the crunch comes...

# posted by Arthur : 3:21 PM

I sent an e-mail to the German Embassy in DC letting them know I was none too happy with Tritten's comments when he first made them. Here is the response. I don't know if it was canned.

Thank you so much for taking your time and putting your feelings into a letter, giving us an opportunity to respond. I am glad that the American people are not all of your opinion, but I am also aware they are neither all of mine.

On the climate change discussion: this is an ongoing discussion, and allow me to only say this at this point: even the best of friends do not always agree on everything.

On Katrina, the German government has made its position very clear- a position which was praised by Fox Radio as "The Germans are the first to step up to the plate" and "be on our side", just to mention one voice.

Federal Chancellor Schroeder was among the first who sent a letter expressing his empathy to President Bush, followed by German Federal President Koehler, yesterday and the day before yesterday. Foreign Minister Fischer sent a letter to Sec Rice yesterday and called her this morning, knowing she lived in Alabama and this is personally difficult for her.

The German government offered relief by our Federal Agency for Disaster relief- the day before yesterday already. Chancellor Schroeder in yesterday's speech reiterated that the German people feel with the American people and are ready to help.

We are in constant contact to the U.S. experts from FEMA and State Department as well as with the governors from the effected regions. FEMA informed us that they will let us know but need more time to coordinate- at this point they have the equipment they need and can use.

The employees of the German Embassy, together with those from the Goethe Institute (the German Cultural Institute), the German School and the German Historical Institute in Washington have created a fund yesterday and asked Germans in the United States to contribute to it. You find all the details on our website www.germany.info where you find all recent and detailled information on the front page.

So, again, thanks for your email request. Have a good day

"The Germans are the first to step up to the plate"

Message to the German government - and the German people: Silence is golden - so please just shut your mouths for a time. Let it rest. The US is in an extremely stressful time. We need to focus our passions and energies on the needs of our own afflicted people - not to listen to the opinions of Germans no matter how obviously correct and enlightened they are (except for having never been there).

Herr Trittin has abley expressed the viewpoint of many or most Germans. We in the US need time to get over our rage at the contempt which has been expressed so eloquently. So give it a nice long rest. Should Herr Schroeder's government be returned to office relations will no doubt improve in 3 years time, when a new President who has not been repeatedly personally insulted by the Schroeder government will take office.

Though given past experience this will not last. Sooner or later some bright light will see a resemblance between Hillary Clinton or Rudy Guliani/John McCain and Hitler or Bismark - and naturally rush to impart their brilliant insight to the world.

We don't need it. The past 8 years have eroded the alliance almost to the breaking point: please don't put any more pressure on the shredding ties which still bind us.....

>>Sooner or later some bright light will see a resemblance between Hillary Clinton or Rudy Guliani/John McCain and Hitler or Bismark - and naturally rush to impart their brilliant insight to the world.<<
Comparing someone to Bismarck is, at least in Germany, not an insult. That's sad enough, considering what the man has done. He was a brilliant politician, to be sure, but certainly no humanitarian. His positive achievements, for which he is mostly remembered, are very seldomly qualified outside of high school classrooms. You can observe a similar kind of "old man worship" in the case of Paul von Hindenburg, the ultraconservative senile idiot who allowed Hitler to become Chancellor. Well, and Karl Marx, though he's probably the most positive of the three (which doesn't say much).

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