Seventy-two years ago today

December 8, 2013
"FDR asks for a declaration of war"

“FDR asks for a declaration of war”

On the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt delivered this speech to a joint session of Congress:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

You can listen to FDR giving the speech here. (Real media file.)

Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the US. Four years later, Mussolini had been executed by his own people, Hitler had committed suicide, and Germany, Italy, and Japan were under occupation.

Today’s lesson: It’s not a good idea to make us angry.

(Reposting of an old post, somewhat edited.)

Quotes that make you go “Oh,no…”

July 3, 2013

It’s what you think, and it’s even worse. From The Daily Mail:

She highlighted one case where a farmer in the Gross-Gerau region of southwest Germany, noticed his once friendly flock of sheep were beginning to shy away from human contact.

You guessed it: “bestiality brothels” are becoming a national issue in Germany.

(Scratches Germany from world tour list) Ew.

via Vodka Pundit


Commence Operation “EU crack up,” phase two!

May 8, 2012

Phase One was the unending financial crisis that began in 2008 and the Europeans’ unwillingness to anything that would really address the problem, instead choosing to keep feeding the beast of debt and taxation. Sickened by the failure of their political class (and made delirious by their own addiction to the teat of the State), European voters are responding by throwing the bums out and putting radical bums in their places: a hack Socialist demagogue in France, and communists and neo-Nazis in Greece.

Now comes word that Phase Two, the bailout of banks in Spain has begun:

It was only a matter of time before the next bank bailout began despite all those promises to the contrary. Sure enough, as math always wins over rhetoric and policy, earlier this morning the shot across the Spanish bow was fired after PM Rajoy did a 180 on “no bank bailout” promises as recent as last week. From Dow Jones: “Spain may pump public funds into its banking system to revive lending and its recessionary economy, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday, signalling a policy U-turn. The government had pledged to not give money to the banking industry that is struggling in the wake of a collapsed, decade-long, housing boom. “If it was necessary to reactivate credit, to save the Spanish financial system, I wouldn’t rule out injecting public funds, like all European countries have done,” Rajoy said in interview with Onda Cero radio stations.

Spain is Europe’s fifth-largest economy, and its economic problems are huge, but bailing out the banks won’t make much of a difference, if any; it will merely transfer the debt burden from Spanish banks to the Spanish government, which will have to borrow the money or seek its own bailout, further burdening both the already over-taxed Spanish public — as well as German patience. It’s robbing Pedro to pay Pablo, but the bill will still come due — and it will be enormous.

With the EU’s fragile unity already threatened by a likely clash between Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and France’s new President Hollande, will the added pressures of a potential Spanish financial collapse (which would make Greece look like a block party) push the European Union and the Eurozone to the breaking point?

My guess is for at least a partial breakup within the next year, as Greece and other fiscally profligate Latin states leave the Euro so they can devalue their currencies enough to restart growth, while Germany and the other “adult” states are glad to see them go.

But with the rise of political fantasists in Greece, France, and elsewhere, one wonders if that will be enough?

via American Power

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sunday Book Review: “The Candy Bombers”

March 18, 2012

Call it the first battle of the Cold War.

For much of 1948, the world worried that another global conflict, “World War III,” was about to break out. Over the preceding years since the end of World War II, the Soviets under Stalin had clenched an iron fist around the throats of the nations of East and Central Europe, quashing democratic movements and establishing Communist governments in Poland, Rumania, Hungary and finally Czechoslovakia, where Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk was murdered, an event that shocked and frightened the West. Stalinist Communist parties and unions threatened the weak democratic governments of Italy and France, while Communists were in open revolt in Greece, leaving people to wonder if these nations would be next.

And then Stalin blockaded Berlin.

That’s the situation in Andrei Cherny’s “The Candy Bombers: the untold story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour,” which tells the story of this increasingly and undeservedly forgotten struggle. He takes the tale from just before Germany’s surrender — the meeting of the Soviet and American armies at the Elbe and the surreal, horrific Battle for Berlin– to the moment in 1949 when Stalin lifted the blockade and the West realized it had won. The cast of characters is large, ranging from American presidents and Soviet generals to children surviving in the rubble of Berlin, and sometimes their treatment borders on cursory (often necessary in a single volume on a huge topic), but, taken as a whole, they come together in a fascinating story. That cast includes people such as:

  • Harry Truman, a hack machine politician who suddenly became president, faced with having to thread a course between appeasement and all-out atomic war (and win an election he was expected to lose);
  • Lucius Clay, an American general who had never fired a shot in battle, but who became Military Governor of Germany and found himself surrounded in Berlin;
  • James Forrestal, the brilliant, eccentric Secretary of Defense who clearly saw the Soviet threat and was desperate to get American ready for war — and who went mad in the process;
  • Ernst Reuter, a Social Democrat who rallied the people of Berlin to resist the Soviets and take a stand for democracy;
  • William Tunner, an Air Force general and logistics genius who made the Airlift work;
  • …and Gail Halvorsen, the original “candy bomber” and an “average Joe” from Utah who became a hero to the Germans and a celebrity back home.

As Cherny tells it, the story of the Berlin Airlift is one of transformations and evolutions: of individual Americans, who came to occupied Germany hating Germans and wanting to punish them hard for starting two devastating wars, but who then came to sympathize with and even like Germans, risking war to save those they could from Stalin; of the Germans, nearly stripped of civilization itself by the conquest and its aftermath (in the first years after the war, Berlin women would great each other not with “Hello,” but with “How many?”, as in “how many times have you been raped by Russians?”), who went from a shell-shocked passive hatred of Americans to shock at our generosity to eventual love and admiration, as well as passionate defenders of democracy; and of the United States as a whole, from a desperate desire after Depression and war to just enjoy life and tell the world to go away, to recognizing that a new, different war had begun and only America could lead it.

Cherny writes with a fluid, easy style that never drags. While engaging his audience and painting dramatic portraits of people and events, he never over-simplifies or resorts to cliche. One particularly effective device, one that humanizes for the reader an otherwise vast story, is the interspersing of letters from children and adults to Lt. Halvorsen, thanking him for what he was doing and often asking if he could drop candy over their houses. (One girl gave him very specific instructions about how to find her house, but Halvorsen never could. He finally mailed her the candy.) Those letters, and Halvorsen’s own back home to his girlfriend, Alta, remind the reader that the great events of history are always inhabited by individual people with names, families, hopes, and fears.

If I have but one criticism, it’s that very little is told from the Soviet view. While one meets and even comes to like individual Soviets (and even sympathize with some clearly uncomfortable with what Moscow had ordered them to do), the motives behind Stalin’s actions can only be theorized from outside, observing events as they happened. What the decision process of the USSR leadership was, what options they considered and what risks they were willing to take, are as obscure as anything hidden behind the Kremlin’s walls. Of course, the nearly non-existent access to Soviet archives (except for a brief period in the 1990s), makes this lack almost inevitable and no real fault of the author’s. Still, one wishes there was a way to “see their side of it,” even if that side is one of utter evil.

Summary: If you like narrative history that relates great events through the people who lived it, and if you yearn to read a true story of American heroics in which the good guys face huge odds and win big, you’ll enjoy The Candy Bombers.

Afterward: While Cherny’s book focuses rightfully on the American effort to supply Berlin, the British and French also played important roles, which the author notes. But it is also fair to say that, without American leadership and will behind the Airlift, it would never even have taken place, let alone succeeded. Berlin would have fallen, to the incalculable detriment of Western Europe. The Berlin Airlift truly was one of our finest hours.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Not that I can afford a Mercedes-Benz…

January 12, 2012

But, after this, slap me if I ever do try to buy one:

“Some colleagues still think that car-sharing borders on communism,” Mercedes-Benz Chairman of the Board of Management Dieter Zetsche said onstage at CES today, speaking about Mercedes’ new CarTogether initiative. “But if that’s the case, viva la revolucion!”

To be sure, a luxury-car maker like Mercedes is not actually promoting communism. But during his CES talk, Zetsche pushed hard on a vision that the company has for a greener future that allows drivers to reduce emissions by using connected and social technology to easily find compatible passengers to share rides with.

Still, it’s odd–and no doubt intended to stir up conversation–to hear a company so inexorably tied to money and lavish lifestyles invoking philosophies like communism. Especially with a picture of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara towering over Zetsche as he talked. Of course, Che’s signature beret sported a Mercedes logo.

What’s next? VW embracing its past as the “People’s Car” and using Hitler in its ad campaigns?

I could go on a rant about stupid people treating murderous tyrants such as Che Guevara as trendy fads (the ubiquitous t-shirts come to mind), but two writers have already done a fine job of showing why this is not only mind-numbingly stupid, but a nauseating insult to Che’s victims. First, Michael Gonzalez at The Huffington Post, quoting Guevara’s own words:

Hatred is the central element of our struggle! Hatred that is intransigent…hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold- blooded killing machine…We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow! The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!

Then Humberto Fontova at Big Peace, who’s often written of Che’s murderous sociopathy:

“When you saw the beaming look on Che’s face as the victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad,” said a former Cuban political prisoner Roberto Martin-Perez, to your humble servant here, “you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara.” As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che’s second-story office in Havana’s La Cabana prison had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.

Even as a youth, Ernesto Guevara’s writings revealed a serious mental illness. “My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any vencido that falls in my hands!” This passage is from Ernesto Guevara’s famous Motorcycle Diaries, though Robert Redford somehow overlooked it while directing his heart-warming movie.

Guevara was also a rabid racist (see the Gonzalez link) and set in motion plans for a mass terror-bombing of Manhattan in November, 1962, a plot foiled by the FBI.

And this is the figurehead for the new Mercedes-Benz campaign.

Now, I could write something about how this shouldn’t be surprising, because MB is a German company that collaborated with the Nazis, and Naziism was form of Fascism, and Fascism is a product of the Left, as is Communism, so by extension it’s only natural that a Mercedes-Benz executive would feel drawn to Che Guevara, but that would be leaping to conclusions. (1)

It’s much more likely that Herr Zetsche is simply crass, ignorant, and stupid.

But I still wouldn’t buy his cars.

via Dan Mitchell

Footnote:
(1) Perhaps. Maybe.

UPDATE: Fontova on Mercedes-Benz and Che.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Anniversary of a bad idea

December 11, 2011

On this date in 1941, Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini declared war on the United States in support of their Japanese ally.

Benito, I have this great idea...

How’d that turn out for you, guys?

Mein Führer?

Berlin, 1945. Second thoughts?

Il Duce?

Not what you'd hoped for?

Prime Minister Tojo?

That worked out well, didn't it?

Maybe you should have thought about it a bit more. See, it’s generally not a good idea to make us angry.

In fact, it’s a really bad idea.

Morons.

Note: This is one of a few WWII anniversary posts I put up every years.


Pat Condell: Europe needs a revolution

August 26, 2011

British comic Pat Condell rips into the anti-democratic European political class and the “European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,” with an aside for some interesting observations about the nature of the American Revolution:

RELATED: At the Telegraph, Peter Osborne argues that the EU debt crisis will finally give Germany the empire it’s always dreamed of.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I’d like a 100-watt heat ball, please

January 4, 2011

Many of you know that the California legislature, in a valiant effort to save us from both a problem that does not exist* and a problem they helped create†, banned the evil 100-watt incandescent light bulb as of January 1st, 2011.  Those of us who’d rather not light our homes with mercury-filled, hard-to-dispose-of CFLs were beginning to fear we’d have to smuggle contraband light bulbs in from Mexico.

But, fear not, for human ingenuity and the desire to thumb one’s nose at the nanny state know no bounds! In Germany, an ingenious man has found an invention to circumvent the EU’s earlier ban on incandescents: the heat ball!

You gotta hand it to German businessman Siegfried Rotthaeuser, who came up with a brilliant run around the European Union ban on conventional incandescent light bulbs- he rebranded them as “Heat Balls” and is importing them for sale as a “small heating device”.

Rotthaeuser’s website is in German but Google does a passable job of translation. First, he’s very clear that the Heat Ball isn’t for lighting, stating (in German, the following is translated) “A HEAT BALL ® is not a lamp, but it fits in the same version!”

Further down: “The use of Heat Balls avoids the lack of heat. The intended use of heat Balls is the heating. “

The funny thing about this is that incandescent bulbs are fairly efficient when they are used as heaters, throwing off around 95% of the energy they draw as heat.

The article clucks its tongue in mild disapproval, but I like Herr Rotthaeuser’s style. Take that, Eurocrats!

Meanwhile, I need to look into getting the Heat Ball(tm) concession for California.

*Global warming, that is.

†Power shortages caused by doing everything humanly possible to block the construction of new power plants in this state.

via Moe Lane


Anniversary of a bad idea

December 11, 2010

On this date in 1941, Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini declared war on the United States in support of their Japanese ally.

Benito, I have this great idea...

 

How’d that turn out for you, guys?

Mein Führer?

 

Berlin, 1945. Second thoughts?

Il Duce?

Not what you'd hoped for?

Prime Minister Tojo?

That worked out well, didn't it?

Maybe you should have thought about it a bit more.

Morons.


Peace at last! World War I is over!

October 3, 2010

Today Germany makes the last payment on the debt imposed on her by the Treaty of Versailles, thus marking the end of the First World War after 92 years:

The final payment of £59.5 million, writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations for another.

Most of the money goes to private individuals, pension funds and corporations holding debenture bonds as agreed under the Treaty of Versailles, where Germany was made to sign the ‘war guilt’ clause, accepting blame for the war.

Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly ten million soldiers dead.

The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion, £22 billion at the time.

(…)

“On Sunday the last bill is due and the First World War finally, financially at least, terminates for Germany,” said Bild, the country’s biggest selling newspaper.

It can be reasonably argued that the crushing burden of the debt was a significant barrier to Germany becoming a stable democracy after the war. Indeed, Hitler made resentment of Versailles one of the centerpieces of his rise to power, and he ceased payments once he became Chancellor.

Of course, in my opinion, Versailles really didn’t end the shooting war: it merely created a long armistice, a timeout before the firing started again in 1939. Indeed, much of the 20th century was dominated by one long war , hot and cold, for control of Europe. Though the primary actors changed over time, the war that started in 1914 really didn’t end until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

But, whether one considers the World War to have ended in 1918, 1919, 1991, or today, the great question that’s been asked since it began has been “Whose fault was it?” Who was responsible for the devastation and carnage? Some saw great impersonal forces at work as the Great Power system of the 19th century headed toward an inevitable crisis. Others point fingers here and there, desperate to find individual devils, or even blaming it on one ruler’s overcompensation for his withered arm.

In the end, I agree with David Fromkin’s conclusion in his “Europe’s Last Summer.” Seeing Germany at the apex of her power, from which she could only decline vis-a-vis France, Britain, and especially Russia, the Imperial German General Staff used the crisis created by the regional war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia to generalize it over the whole Continent in order to smash Germany’s rivals then and there and establish her as the unquestioned predominate power of Europe. Thanks to this one Pandora’s Box moment, the world suffered 37 million dead and wounded in World War I, the rise of totalitarianism, over 60 million dead in the second round from 1939-45, and the crushing of Eastern Europe under the Soviet heel in a decades-long Cold War that periodically threatened the world with nuclear devastation.

And that’s just the quick list.

Gee. Thanks guys.

(via Big Peace)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oliver Stone: “I am an idiot!”

July 26, 2010

Well, he didn’t say that in so many words, but that’s the takeaway from the antisemitic, Hitler-apologetic interview he gave to the UK’s Sunday Times decrying Jewish domination of the media:

Director Oliver Stone belittled the Holocaust during a shocking interview with the Sunday Times today, claiming that America’s focus on the Jewish massacre was a product of the “Jewish domination of the media.”

The director also defended Hitler and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and railed against the “powerful lobby” of Jews in America.

Stone said that his upcoming Showtime documentary series “Secret History of America,” seeks to put Hitler and Communist dictator Joseph Stalin “in context.”

“Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support,” Stone told reporter Camilla Long during the interview, which can be found behind the paywall on the Sunday Times’ website.

Henry Ford was an antisemite, but that’s a long way from being a genocidal maniac, and Stone’s cry for “context” seems to be nothing more than a way to soften the crimes of two of History’s worst monsters. But Stone isn’t just fond of long-dead dictators; he has a soft spot for modern tyrants, too, such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez:

The Scarface screenwriter had even more encouraging words for socialist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who Stone called “a brave, blunt, earthy” man. The director has recently been promoting his Chavez-praising documentary called “South of the Border.”

When the interviewer pointed out that Chavez has had a less-than-stellar record on human rights, Stone immediately dismissed the criticism.

“The internet’s fully free [in Venezuela],” said Stone. “You can say what the hell you like. Compare it with all the other countries: Mexico, Guatemala, above all Colombia, which is a joke.”

While Stone has not been as blunt about his views on Jews and the Holocaust in the past, he has been outspoken in his fondness for Chavez and his disagreements with the U.S.’s policy on Iran.

Oh yeah, he hearts President Gilligan Ahmadinejad, too.

It’s hard to work up any outrage over this -Stone’s been known as a conspiracy nut for years- but it’s still pathetic that someone holding these views can become influential in Hollywood. Sadly, in a town that a) leans strongly to the Left and b) can lionize the likes of Roman Polanski, I suspect this nauseating interview won’t hurt his career too much at all.

TANGENT: It’s a shame the Times has gone behind a paywall. I’ve heard (but haven’t had confirmed) that online readership is way down, as people refuse to pay the price. Perhaps the publishers will relent and make their site freely accessible once again.

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, the American Jewish Committee has denounced Oliver Stone:

“By invoking this grotesque, toxic stereotype, Oliver Stone has outed himself as an anti-Semite,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “For all of Stone’s progressive pretensions, his remark is no different from one of the drunken, Jew-hating rants of his fellow Hollywood celebrity, Mel Gibson.”

LINKS: More from Hot Air.


Our partner in peace eulogizes mass-murderer of Jews

July 3, 2010

Remember, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is supposed to be a moderate Muslim, one whom we and the Israelis can work with to achieve peace in our time. And so it’s not surprising that he praises the memory of the terrorist who planned the massacre of Jewish Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics:

Abu Daoud, the man who claimed to be the mastermind behind the massacre that marked the 1972 Munich Olympics, has died, according to the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority.

On September 5 of that year, Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes who were taken hostage.

Daoud, also known as Mohammed Oudeh, died Friday night, the WAFA news agency reported Saturday. The former Palestinian politician and commander in the Fatah and Palestinian Liberation Organization movements was 73.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent his condolences to Daoud’s family, WAFA reported.

“He wrote in his letter to his family, ‘He is missed. He was one of the leading figures of Fatah and spent his life in resistance [against the occupation] and sincere work as well as physical sacrifice for his people’s just causes,’ ” the news agency quoted Abbas as saying.

In the early hours of the attack in Munich, eight Palestinian terrorists entered the Olympic Village in the German city.

They stormed the apartments housing the Israeli athletes and took control. Hours later, the world woke up to the image of a masked man on the balcony of the Olympic Village.

From the Olympic Village, the Palestinian terrorists issued ultimatums, demanding the release of 200 Arab inmates from Israeli prisons or they would start killing the athletes in Munich, one every hour. Eventually, all the Israelis, five terrorists and one German police officer were killed in what would be remembered as “Black September.”

Charming fellow. A real hero, if you’re into mass-murderers. And this is someone held up as an example by the current “moderate” leaders of the Palestinians? Yeah, let’s give them their own state.

(via Marisol)

RELATED: Excerpts from Mahmoud Abbas’ doctoral dissertation, in which he shows himself to be a first-class Holocaust denier. Some interviewer should nail him on this on network television. I won’t hold my breath waiting for it, however.


Death rattle of the Euro?

May 31, 2010

A group of British economists have urged the Greek government to abandon the European Union’s currency and default on its €300/$365 billion debt to save its economy:

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), a London-based consultancy, has warned Greek ministers they will be unable to escape their debt trap without devaluing their own currency to boost exports. The only way this can happen is if Greece returns to its own currency.

Greek politicians have played down the prospect of abandoning the euro, which could lead to the break-up of the single currency.

Speaking from Athens yesterday, Doug McWilliams, chief executive of the CEBR, said: “Leaving the euro would mean the new currency will fall by a minimum of 15%. But as the national debt is valued in euros, this would raise the debt from its current level of 120% of GDP to 140% overnight.

“So part of the package of leaving the euro must be to convert the debt into the new domestic currency unilaterally.”

Greece’s departure from the euro would prove disastrous for German and French banks, to which it owes billions of euros.

This could make the US banking crash look like a minor fender-bender by comparison. And if Greece flees the Euro and walks away from its debt, could Portugal, Italy, and Spain, three other major debtors, be far behind? And what about the political stability of the EU itself? Germans are already angry and resentful at Greek profligacy; how will they react to having the hundreds of billions in Greek bonds they hold repudiated?

Twenty years ago, we watched the Berlin Wall suddenly come down and the Soviet empire collapse almost overnight. We may be watching something similar with the European Union.

RELATED: Soeren Kern examines what a collapse of the Euro would mean for the United States.


Europe coming to its senses?

May 25, 2010

Skepticism regarding anthropogenic global warming is growing by leaps and bounds in both Britain and Germany, two countries previously largely accepting of this fraud:

Last month hundreds of environmental activists crammed into an auditorium here to ponder an anguished question: If the scientific consensus on climate change has not changed, why have so many people turned away from the idea that human activity is warming the planet?

Nowhere has this shift in public opinion been more striking than in Britain, where climate change was until this year such a popular priority that in 2008 Parliament enshrined targets for emissions cuts as national law. But since then, the country has evolved into a home base for a thriving group of climate skeptics who have dominated news reports in recent months, apparently convincing many that the threat of warming is vastly exaggerated.

A survey in February by the BBC found that only 26 percent of Britons believed that “climate change is happening and is now established as largely manmade,” down from 41 percent in November 2009. A poll conducted for the German magazine Der Spiegel found that 42 percent of Germans feared global warming, down from 62 percent four years earlier.

And London’s Science Museum recently announced that a permanent exhibit scheduled to open later this year would be called the Climate Science Gallery — not the Climate Change Gallery as had previously been planned.

The growing doubts in Germany probably weren’t relieved by this article, also in Der Spiegel.

(via Watt’s Up With That?)


Disappointed in each other

April 12, 2010

Germany’s Spiegel magazine has an interesting article on the difficult relationship between German Chancellor Merkel and President Obama. Framed in Merkel’s love for America and “freedom,” it showcases both their very different styles and Obama’s disregard for European priorities:

American politics is a little like the film “High Noon.” It requires a protagonist, a few decent shootouts and, finally, a showdown on Main Street, one in which there is a winner and a loser. Although Obama spent a long time negotiating and making compromises to get his healthcare reform bill passed, he was still on pins and needles in the end, when it came down to the vote and he had no idea how it would turn out. He also accepted the fact that some would hate him for his policies.

A similar situation is inconceivable for Merkel. She would negotiate Main Street to death, and the combatants would eventually lay down their arms, half satisfied and half dazed. Not even during the election campaign, the classic dueling scenario in politics, did she step into the streets with her guns loaded. Instead, she continued to pursue her program to promote a general feeling of fatigue — which, unfortunately, also includes political fatigue.

(…)

Obama’s approach to politics is more individualistic. He too is dependent on an army of advisers, but when push comes to shove, his will and charisma are crucial to making decisions happen. Merkel takes a collectivist approach. She identifies the goals of other participants, blends them with her own needs and turns the whole thing into a fail-safe policy that allows her to remain popular.

There are a few odd moments in this article, probably stemming from seeing American politics through a German (and pro-Obama) lens. I’d hardly paint Obama’s victory passing health-care as a great win, given how bleak the opinion of it is among the general public and how strong a reaction it’s provoked against the President, Congress, and his own party. I’d also question how important his “will and charisma” (the latter increasingly in question, itself) are in national policy, since, in the health-care reform process, he largely ceded the initiative to Congress and, especially, Speaker Pelosi.

But what really struck me was the nuance behind the word “freedom.” The article describes Merkel’s lifelong admiration for American liberty and how she has seen this country as a bastion of “endless opportunity,” and yet she is irked that Obama has rebuffed German initiatives on anthropogenic global warming and tighter regulation of the financial markets.  That hints that she doesn’t quite get the fundamental connection between economic and political liberty, and that some chaos in the former is the price of guaranteeing the latter. Perhaps that’s not surprising, since she was raised in totalitarian East Germany, and she believes that we take it too far.

And, if it’s true that Obama has resisted efforts to bring EU-style statism here, then bravo, Obama. Somehow, however, if the article’s assertion is correct, I think it has to do with other reasons, not a resistance to economy-killing statism. Not when he’s been a big advocate of cap-and-trade.

Regardless, this article is worth reading. Given Obama’s difficult relations with the British Prime Minister, the French President, and now the German Chancellor, it leaves one wondering with just whom overseas he does get along. Oh, wait…


Germany in the crosshairs?

September 8, 2009

Al-Qaeda hasn’t launched a major terrorist strike in the West for several years*, but intelligence reports of chatter among medieval psychopaths jihadis indicate plans for a strike bigger than 9-11, that Germany is the target, and that it may happen soon:

Jihadists close to al-Qaeda explicitly warned in new communications that Germany will be the target of the next 9/11-scale terrorist attack. The timing of the strike, they say, will be within the next few weeks.

According to analysts with the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), a recently intercepted jihadist communication declares that “everyone knows” that the “next strike is very near, a strike that will surprise everyone in its effect, which will be much more shocking than that of 9/11/2001.” The writer of the chilling message notes that this is the Muslim month of Ramadan and that “we pray that it will indeed be in this month.”

After referring to a previous boast by Osama Bin-Laden, that the enemy is afraid and unable to prevent the next attack, the communication says:

“And the Germans, grandchildren of the Nazis, know more than everyone else that they will be the first ones to taste [the nightmare]. It is just a matter of time – that is, days or weeks – and God willing you’ll see things that you’ve never heard of before.”

Analysts cite two reasons to suspect the attack, if it occurs, will happen this month: first, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It’s supposed to be a month of no fighting (a ban often ignored in Islamic history), and a strike at the end would be symbolically significant, showing strength and renewed religious zeal on the jihadis’ part. Also, German national elections are scheduled for the end of the month. Al Qaeda has struck during elections before, to great effect: their terrorist attacks in Madrid in 2004 during the elections toppled the national government, leading to their withdrawal from Iraq and Spain’s virtual surrender to al Qaeda. The temptation to strike a similar blow against Germany to force their withdrawal from Afghanistan (and cost Merkel the chancellorship) must be great.

A third reason may be in play, too: a recent airstrike against a Taliban group that had hijacked some fuel tankers also killed some civilians, who were helping themselves to the fuel. The strike occurred in Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan, an area under German military control. Al Qaeda, obsessed with revenge and ever-conscious of PR opportunities, may see this as a good time to “hit back against the murderous Crusaders” to bolster their image with other Muslims.

German authorities are not ignorant of this threat, and they have a very good counterintelligence service. One hopes, if the threat is genuine, that Berlin rounds up these refugees from the 7th century before any more innocents are hurt.

(via The Jawa Report)

*(Thank you, George W. Bush)


Was World War II worth it?

September 3, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson looks at the start of World War II, seventy years ago this last Tuesday, and asks if it was worth the terrible price:

Did any good come from such a monstrous bloodletting?

Perhaps. The Holocaust was finally stopped before every Jew in Europe was killed as Hitler had planned. Germany, Italy, and Japan were transformed from monstrous regimes into liberal states whose democracies have done much for humanity in the ensuing years. And Western civilization survived its own heretical cannibals — to foster in the ensuing decades the greatest growth in freedom and prosperity in the history of the planet.

Like all of VDH’s writings, it’s thoughtful and well-worth your time.

It’s a shame so little has been done to commemorate the moment.


Happy VE Day

May 8, 2009

Today is the 64th anniversary of the surrender of Germany: the "thousand year Reich" had lasted for only a dozen miserable years, but those years cost Humanity tens of millions of dead and left a wrecked continent behind them. In the end, the Hitler’s nightmare state was crushed between the armies of the free democracies of the West and the forces of another obscene dictatorship from the East.

The day Nazi Germany cried "enough!" was a day to celebrate:

VE Day

You can listen to President Truman announce our victory here.

More than six decades later, we find ourselves at war with another implacable foe. It’s hard for many to recognize this war or the mortal threat posed by jihadist Islam, for the enemy clothes themselves in religion, rather than national socialism. Their weapons are those of the terrorist, not a regular army. They hope to wear us down, rather than crush us beneath their heels.

And yet it is no less a fight to the death than the struggle with Germany, for the promise of Paradise that drives the jihadi requires the destruction of every value we hold dear: individual liberty; equality of all before the law; law made by the people themselves through their representatives; religious toleration and the freedom to practice one’s faith — or to have no faith at all; and so much more.

There’s no telling when this new war will end: I suspect it will go on for at least a generation or two, with hot and cold phases, more like the Cold War than World War II. I doubt that there will be an end so sudden and so dramatic that it sparks spontaneous celebrations in the streets.

But it’s just as important we win now as it was then.

 


Don’t blame Obama for Sarkozy’s petty jealousy

April 8, 2009

jealousy

It’s hard for me to work up much if any anger over President Obama’s failure to visit the Normandy on his recent European trip. My first thought when I saw this headline:

Barack Obama rejects Normandy trip to avoid offending Germany

…was a hearty “WTF?” The President of the United States passed up touring one of our most sacred battlefields with the President of a close ally? What the frack was he thinking? “Here we go again,” I thought. “Another liberal-lefty with contempt for our military and our history.” I was all set to write a post clubbing PBO for yet again dissing the country he leads in order to placate others.

Then I read the rest of the article. The text makes it clear that France was trying to use the American president as part of a “prestige contest” with Britain and Germany. Sarkozy’s ego and French pride were the problems here, not Obama. Not this time:

“During this trip, we wanted to maintain a balance between the British, German and France”. A White House spokesman in London declined to comment. Last month, White House officials briefed that a Normandy visit had been considered but it had not been logistically possible.

Mr Obama will arrive in Strasbourg on Friday for the Nato summit. He will hold a meeting with Mr Sarkozy and a brief press appearance in Strasbourg and then fly to Baden-Baden to do exactly the same with Chancellor Merkel of Germany. He will then fly to Prague on Saturday.

Mr Sarkozy is said by French officials to be piqued that Gordon Brown became the first European leader to meet Mr Obama and was then lavished with praise by him at a 50-minute joint press conference in London on Wednesday.

The French president tried unsuccessfully to meet Mr Obama before he was sworn in after the G20 summit in Washington last November, even stationing a French military plane on 24-hour standby nearby to whisk him to Chicago should the then US president-elect change his mind.

He had also hoped Mr Obama would agree to a meeting before attending the G20 summit in London on April 3. The French had suggested that Mr Obama fly from London to Normandy on Friday morning for a stop before the Nato summit. Instead, he is going directly to Strasbourg.

The president’s objective for the summit on this trip was to gain support for his economic agenda (whether I like it or not), and getting into the middle of a junior-high clique-fight among jealous heads of government wouldn’t support that goal, nor would it be fitting the office of the President. There’s a much better time for Obama to visit Normandy and commemorate our sacrifices there, as the article itself points out: the 65th anniversary of the landings this upcoming June.

In the end, I think the Telegraph’s headline is gratuitous, meant to inflame Obama opponents, not enlighten. It doesn’t help the Right’s cause to work itself into a lather that will only make it look irrational to middle-of-the-road voters. Do I wish PBO and his staff had found some way to avoid getting mixed up in intra-EU games while making a quiet, dignified visit to Normandy? Yes, it would have been better. But I just don’t see this as the craven appeasement of the Germans that the Telegraph paints it to be.

I’ve said before that, while I’m quite willing and ready to criticize Obama and the Democrats when they merit it (which is often), I will not descend to the level the Democrats and the far Left hit with their incessant, irrational, and Copperheaded attacks on President Bush. Obama doesn’t deserve it, the nation doesn’t need it, and it does no one any good. We can and must be better than that. The Telegraph’s headline writer should have been.

LINKS: Jim Hoff and Dan Collins muster the outrage for me.

(Cross-posted at Sister Toldjah, where I’m guest-blogging this week.)

(Updated 4/11/2010 to remove old Typepad traces)


A Veteran’s Day story

November 11, 2008

Sworn to silence by the military nearly 70 years ago, Anthony Acevedo finally gets to tell the story of how he survived a Nazi slave camp:

Anthony Acevedo thumbs through the worn, yellowed pages of his diary emblazoned with the words "A Wartime Log" on its cover. It’s a catalog of deaths and atrocities he says were carried out on U.S. soldiers held by Nazis at a slave labor camp during World War II — a largely forgotten legacy of the war.

Acevedo pauses when he comes across a soldier with the last name of Vogel.

"He died in my arms. He wouldn’t eat. He didn’t want to eat," says Acevedo, now 84 years old. "He said, ‘I want to die! I want to die! I want to die!’ "

The memories are still fresh, some 60 years later. Acevedo keeps reading his entries, scrawled on the pages with a Schaeffer fountain pen he held dear.

He was one of 350 U.S. soldiers held at Berga an der Elster, a satellite camp of the Nazis’ notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. The soldiers, working 12-hour days, were used by the German army to dig tunnels and hide equipment in the final weeks of the war. Less than half of the soldiers survived their captivity and a subsequent death march, he says.

Acevedo shows few emotions as he scans the pages of his diary. But when he gets to one of his final entries, the decades of pent-up pain, the horror witnessed by a 20-year-old medic, are too much.

"We were liberated today, April the 23, 1945," he reads.

His body shakes, and he begins sobbing. "Sorry," he says, tears rolling down his face. "I’m sorry."

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