Category Archives: Germany

Tiny Steps To War

A hundred years ago in June, 1914, a man shot and killed the son of the Emperor of a nation called Austria-Hungary. The story was reported on page 12 of The New York Times, and in Europe there were some sad comments, but the son was not particularly liked by the Austrian nobility so his death was not greatly mourned. Days went by with some notes of protest sent by the Emperor to the kingdom of Serbia from whence the shooter came. Most Europeans went about their daily business without any concern regarding the shooting. Serbia was a tiny country and Austria-Hungary was a large empire so it was clear that Serbia needed friends. To make a long story short, nations in Europe took up sides with their allies and without anyone realizing by August, World War I had begun. This war changed the lives of all on this planet and led to World War II.

Vladimir Putin has initiated a process of attempting to proof that he is one tough dude. Ukranians really do not have an army, but they are organizing some volunteers as the Russian army gathers on its borders. An accidental shot, a plane shot down, who knows, just the wrong tiny step and we could have a shooting war. Putin is the bully who runs Russia and he can readily believe the entire world is afraid of him. All it takes is one man firing at the wrong time at the wrong person.

From 1914 To 2014

We are gradually working our way to the anniversary of the beginning of World War I back in 1914. The actual conflict began when the son of the Emperor of Austria Hungary was murdered by a young man named, Princip who believed the Slavic people were being persecuted and had to stand up for their rights. The actual scenario resulting in war took about eight weeks to unfold as nations warned one another about getting their armies ready for war. No one actually believed the road being taken was the road to war since diplomats were talking with one another and the thought that the end result would be war appeared too crazy to even consider. British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned the Russian government it had to end the attempt to make the Crimea part of Russia. Even as he spoke, thousands of Russians were cheering in the streets about the need to aid their Slavic brothers in the Crimea against oppression by Western Fascists. Most probably the Russian people support actions by their president.

Putin feels powerful sending troops into the Crimea knowing he has control over atomic weapons of destruction and he just wants to dare the West to oppose him. He also has control over oil and gas supplies that are needed by Western European nations. In the summer of 1914, the Russian government did not believe Germany would actually go to war over someone getting shot. The road to war just seemed to get shorter and shorter as nations threatened the use of force. William Hague warned of “the real danger of a shooting conflict.”

Is this a repeat scenario??

Banality Of Evil

A half century ago the state of Israel placed Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi who helped organize and carry out the Holocaust on trial for genocide. At that time Hannah Arendt, a famous historian, wrote a book in which she argued that Eichmann was a bureaucrat who carried out orders because they were orders and it was his task as a bureaucrat to carry out orders given by superiors. Arendt was harshly criticized because she employed words such as “banality of evil” as to transform the Holocaust into a process carried out by bureaucrats rather than a systematic murder of millions. Alas, we continue to live in a world in which whoever is in charge employs the bureaucracy that exists to enforce laws because it is the duty of bureaucrats to enforce laws. Barack Obama twice ran for the presidency arguing that he would end the disabuse of rights by the Bush administration and restore basic Constitutional laws that guarantee the rights of individual American citizens. Instead, Obama has become the defender to spying and surveillance because since he is the president then he must do what presidents do-catch the spy and enforce whatever technology has been used in the past to catch the spy.

If tomorrow, someone else became president- Chris Christie or Ted Cruz or even Rand Paul, we could expect that president would continue a campaign of surveillance and disregard of human rights. The power of bureaucracy is even more powerful than the power of common sense and respect for the Constitution. Military leaders, bureaucrats, technicians always argue that in the name of “our national security” certain actions must occur. Edward Snowden, in one sense, was the anti-bureaucrat because he chose to pose questions concerning which comes first, Constitutional rights or “national security.” In so doing, Snowden made clear the choice was NEVER between “national security” and the Constitution.

The evidence is overwhelming. For over a decade we have allowed bureaucrats in the armed forces or the NSA or the CIA to decide what constitutes “national security” and in so doing, have allowed nameless bureaucrats who simply are “doing their job” to continue doing a job that has failed for over a decade to protect “national security.” What is unusual about Edward Snowden is that a nameless bureaucrat who was just doing his job, began to question the nature of his job, and set in motion the concept that those who run the machine of death can always stop and question why this program of death?

Anything For National Security!

It has now become an accepted aspect of American foreign policy whether a Democrat or a Republican or Tea Party or a Vegetarian is in the office of president that one can do anything as long as the action is accompanied by those two very powerful words–NATIONAL SECURITY. If an American president is charged with violating the Constitution, simply whisper NATIONAL SECURITY– and any and all charges disappear. In a recent television interview, Edward Snowden claimed the National Security Agency is not only engaged in seeking out “terrorists,” but it is engaged in the act of industrial espionage. He noted that an important industrial giant such as Siemens in Germany has also been the object of NSA snooping. “If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to the US national interests-even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security–then they’ll get that information.”

The National Security Agency has spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as upon dozens of leaders in nations throughout the world because it they had information that was of interest to our NATIONAL SECURITY. President Obama argues that he is possession of information which justifies this spying and since he cannot provide it to citizens, we must trust that the NSA is acting in the interests of NATIONAL SECURITY.

Karl Marx Was Right!

It is now nearly 150 years since a young German writer named Karl Marx wrote a pamphlet called the “Communist Manifesto” and then followed up with books which made predictions concerning the new economic system known as Capitalism. In his books, Marx analyzed the emerging Capitalist system which brought people into factories who had been born and raised on farms. Marx believed the essence of Capitalism was exploitation of workers in order to enrich the wealth of businessmen. He emphasized that Capitalists are inherently selfish and the bottom line for them is always, make higher profits and pay workers lower wages. He foresaw the decline of the middle class and the centralization of wealth in the wealthy class. Was he right?

1. The top ONE PERCENT of wealthy people in America own 22% of its wealth.

2. The top FIVE PERCENT of wealthy people in America own 42% of its wealth.

3. The middle class continues to decline and has not shared very much in the expanding American economy over the past thirty years.

4. Marx predicted that exploited workers would become “alienated” from their work and not find joy and self fulfillment. Today, college graduates who were educated for careers they desired are now working at McDonald’s because the jobs they desired like in education or human relations no longer exist.

Let’s face it, what Karl Marx predicted has come true. His greatest failure was an inability to explain how a different economic system could function in the modern world. In the end, those who care about human rights are undeclared Marxists!

Finally Khodorkovsky Free

It was ten years ago on a dark night that the plane of billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky was preparing to take off on a flight to Germany when a group of Russian special forces boarded the plane and dragged him off to participate in a farce known as a “trial” because this man thought he had the right as a citizen of Russia to participate in the world of politics. His entry into the political arena frightened the Great Leader, President Vladimir Putin who regarded that it was HIS decision who could run for president, and certainly his decision as to who would be elected. Khodorkovsky was sentenced to prison and sent to Siberia while his company was taken over by some buddies of the Great Leader of Russia. After serving his sentence, Khodorkovsky went through another farce known as a trial and thus ended the thought by any wealthy man in Russia to dare challenge Putin.

Khodorkovsky had to beg for a pardon and then Putin graciously granted one. The man who was persecuted is now safe in Berlin, but the people of Russia remain in jail under supervision of the Great Leader. Most probably, this gesture came about in response to the upcoming Olympic Games at Sochi. One doubts if any wealthy businessman wants to seek the presidency, unless he desires to spend ten years in Siberia!

“Non Clash Of Civilizations”

During the past twenty years a group of neo-conservative writers have been warning the world of a “clash of civilizations” by which they mean those who inhabit Europe or democratic societies are being threatened by Muslim or Chinese or other such horrible entities that bring in their wake death and destruction. French philosophr Alain Finkielkraut told Der Spiegel he feared for French civilization due to the influx of “those people” from elsewhere. He believes that multiculturalism does not entail a blending of civilizations, but the crushing of historic French values and customs. He does not believe that immmigrants are integrating into modern societies.

Evidence

India is based on democratic ideas from western nations.
Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation is a democratic society.
China is based on the ideas of Karl Marx and Adam Smith.
Immigrants are now part of every aspect of French or German society.
We now have a global economic society.
We now have a global culture encompassing literature, music, art, etc..
In America people can wear what they desire and there is no evidence that it creates problems.
Western nations work peacefully with Turkey, Indonesia, China, Brazil, and are now attempting to create a treaty with Iran.

So, where is the famous Clash?

Pay For Sex?

Germany in 2002 under leadership of the Social Democrats(SPD) changed the law to allow women to engage in prostitution. The theory of legal prostitution is to empower women to assume control over their lives. Rather than being under the control of a pimp who pays for protection against the police, a woman can make her own decisions as to whether or not she wants to sleep with men for money. Society defines the action of a woman who goes into the streets or works in a house where men come, pay money, and then sleep with women as an act of prostitution. The concept of women sleeping with men for money is illegal in many nations of the world. However, if a woman goes on a date with a man, enjoys a wonderful evening on the town and winds up with a ring or necklace as “a date.” How many women target a man with money as the person they want to date because he gives gifts? The entire world of dating is a contest over money and power.

In Germany today, women are opening a house of prostitution without being abused by pimps or terrorized by police for bribes. They have become business people who are in charge of their lives and are able to keep the money they earn rather than paying a large sum to pimps and gangsters. Is the act of prostitution immoral? So, is prostitution of values for money, so is prostitution of our souls for power. Most humans engage, at one point or another, in acts of prostitution, only we term those acts, “being realistic.”

Hitler Rock!

Ah, in my youth sounds of music emanated from Germany and the sight of marching bands with Swastika banners flowing above were common. Even in New York City, Nazi groups marched through our streets and their blasting music of power and war pushed through our hearts and turned away the sounds of peace. These days in Germany neo-Nazi groups are the rage in music. Of course, they represent a minority, but one that can stir feelings of hate and anger toward Muslim immigrants. Ironically, Muslims are even more hated than that other group–oh, those Jews–who once suffered from the sound of warlike music. Interior ministers from 16 regional states in Germany will shortly employ the music capacity of the mobile phone-based music identification service, Shazam which can select the name of a band from a short sample picked up via the phone’s microphone.

Police could use this information to recognize neo-Nazi music being played on Internet radio stations. The goal is to prevent the music being played at gatherings. One can halt the music being played, but one can not halt the music being played at some place and some time. Music can never be silenced, but music desires can change with education and a commitment to society.

Israel Theatens Peace Efforts

During the past month there has been considerable progress in discussions between Iran and six powers-the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany–in an effort to identify an initial plan to move away from potential war and conflict. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insisted his nation is committed to making concessions in order to end sanctions and conflict with the world. However, he is sick and tired of being threatened by Israel which appears to demand veto rights on any agreement. He denounced Israel as behaving as a “rabid dog” in seeking to sabotage negotiations. Fench President Fandcoise Hollande termed such expressions as “unacceptable” and hindering negotiations. However, threats by Israel Prime Minister to bomb Iran, to initiate war with Iran are OK and apparently assist peace efforts!

Israel is the most dangerous country in the Middle East. It continuously makes threats and promises massive destruction of Iran, and the US does not seek to compel Israel to lower the rhetoric of war and allow the six nations to pursue the path of peace. Those who care about the people of Israel understand its future is best protected if peace is attained in the Middle East.