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Bad News from Germany

November 9th is Germany's "Day of Destiny." Great and horrible events happened on that day in German history. Today a shocking survey by the respected Friedrich Ebert Foundation was released and reminds us of the horrible events. DW World reports about:
Nine percent of those polled believed that under some circumstances a dictatorship can be a better system to run a state than a democracy. An iron-fisted leader who would "govern Germany for the benefit of all" would be supported by 15 percent of the respondents. One in four -- 26 percent -- said they favored a single party in Germany "that would embody the national community as a whole." (...)
About 15 percent said they believed the Germans were "by nature" superior to other cultures while one in 10 said they believed that some human beings were unworthy to live.
More info in German in Der Tagesspiegel. The 185 pages survey "Vom Rand zur Mitte: Rechtsextreme Einstellungen und ihre Einflussfaktoren in Deutschland" can be downloaded at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (pdf).
Good news: New Munich Synagogue Opens on Nazi Persecution Anniversary

More news from Germany:
Panel Expects Higher Economic Growth 

Man Arrested in Germany on Suspicion of Illicit Arms Deal
Suitcase Bomber Says Mohammed Cartoons Set Him Off
Germany's population will drop by as many as 12 million people by 2050 due to low birth rates

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Anonymous on :

November 9th is 9.11., i.e. the German 9/11: Das deutsche 9-11 Zum Gedenken am "Schicksalstag der Deutschen": http://blog.bierhalunken.de/?p=211

Zyme on :

what a coincidence: today I received the first flyer of an obviously newly-founded media in my town, which seems to belong to the NPD. As regards the survey: "under some circumstances a dictatorship can be a better system to run a state than a democracy" That sounds like some people are willing to risk quite an amount of stability. In case you get a dictator like in North Korea, this is by no means for the benefit of the people. "An iron-fisted leader who would govern Germany for the benefit of all" This one sounds harsh but might fit into our people´s mentality. Just like in Russia, our people is not made for the anglo-saxon democracy. We expect true leadership and the solution of all major problems by our politics - which can hardly work in our current system. This is the main reason why I believe the disapproval rating of democracy has risen to 51% in Germany now (http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,446203,00.html) People would approve democracy more, if we had a system that worked. What we need here is a president that can be voted by the people and has similar power to the president in Russia. Only then you can clearly jugde whether he was successful or failed, since he is fully responsible for the development. And this would also make sure that we no longer have any "leaders" which can only fight for influence within their parties but not for their country. But I´m no illusionist: The political system in germany will not change into this direction even if this would increase it´s support among the people. The system will not reform because it can´t. It will defend itself until the very end, just like the others did before. "a single party in Germany that would embody the national community as a whole." A great idea indeed. Just take a look at Bavaria: While according to the survey of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, among the bavarian people 46 % are hostile towards foreigners, 34 % want to act germany in a chauvinistic way in foreign politics and 16 % are anti-semitic, no fascist party has made it into the bavarian parliament for almost 40 years now. Why is that? It is because the CSU is in charge without interruption for more than 50 years now and effectively embodies the bavarian people. They make mistakes like other parties do, but they have the power and the time to realize their visions, as they are unchallenged. This way, Bavaria has developed in the last decades from a formerly agricultural and poor state into the most progressive state of germany. In fact, if Bavaria was an independent country today, only five nations (including the rest of germany) would have a bigger economical strength in the whole european union. So I really hope this model will one day start in the rest of Germany, too.

Wolf on :

Let's look at another country: People here, in the US, think that the Republican dictatorship in Washington D.C. was the only way to run this country. The rants about how "treason" by "liberals" are actually believed by at least a third of Americans. Why else would anyone still approve of the job W. is doing? With the corruption of the Republicans, supporting a "unitary executive" or "imperial presidency", why are 46% of Americans voting for Republicans? You have to have blinders on if you think that is practiced here is in fact a "democracy". The people are systematically being misinformed by government officials, and media. Just three weeks ago I spoke with a guy who said "if the Democrats get elected the port gets blown up". And that you could solve the Iraq problem by being less politically correct. Want to guess whether he supported W. on torture? Sorry, alternative interrogation techniques. People, perspective please!

Don S on :

Well - of COURSE not, Wolfie! What is practiced in the US is 'natonal socialism'. Triumph of the Will and all that..... Surely you've seen the way the Nazis are contesting the elections results?....

Don S on :

"Suitcase Bomber Says Mohammed Cartoons Set Him Off" Which is obviously why he's still around to be interviewed. I knew that many German schools were bad but this is ridiculous! WHen they let him out on bail I suggest he use a mechanical timer or a cell phone trigger on his next train trip. They work much better than cartoons....

joe on :

wolfe, I might suggest a place you might enjoy more.. any of the chocolate summit nations are very good. Hell, you don't even have to get a job, free healthcare, great schools, good food. You don't have to give up anything. You can do all of this for less than $400.00 Right now would be a good time to get a passport because all the liberals have stopped applying given they are now in power.

joe on :

LOL Who says history does not repeat itself. Give this a few more years... Watch out Poland!

Zyme on :

lol Joe - Let´s see how long they will continue to sit on our land :) Btw it´s the same problem with constant moaners here - I always ask them to leave and be happy somewhere else. They never do. Maybe america and europe should start an exchange program ;)

Wolf on :

Anyone disagreeing with me: Germany today has very limited influence on world affairs and will in no way be a danger to other countries. Should we focus on Germany while the "leaders of the western world" violate international law and human rights? BTW, most Americans still think that the US' great achievement is to have defeated tyranny and established a democracy "with liberty and justice for all". Wouldn't we let all those Americans down if we didn't stand up for the American constitution?

Bill on :

I figured that you would pickup on that news about the survey and the return to Reichskristallnacht in Brandenburg. Spiegel International's translation "Night of the Breaking Glass" was a bit misleading in depicting what that horrible night was like for thousands of innocent people, don't you think? "Let's roll that documentary film footage again Gunther G., to show 'em what it was really like on Kristallnacht. Kaltblütig." I've said before that this is a growing and worrisome problem in modern Germany and it's good to see that respectable institutions i.e. the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Germany's highly regarded Bundespräsident Horst Kohler have the good sense to attempt to focus the people's attention on this growing danger. The Nazis (NPD) had a march just last weekend in the North German city-state of Bremen but only 75 of the anticipated 100's showed up due to their fear that the 1000's of anti-Nazi demonstrators would attack their dumb asses and drown 'em in the nearest river. It's the Delmenhorst Syndrome over in Bremen, you understand. Re: Bayern (Bavaria) being free of the neo-Nazi danger, let us not forget that Bayern is the HQ for the far-right political party DVU, or have they changed their tune down there? Let's see how long the new synagogue in Munchen will remain anti-Semitic grafitti and fire bomb free. Bayern is Nazi-free my ass! Sorry about the use of profanity but the neo-Nazi debate gets me worked up to boiling temperature in a hurry.

Fuchur on :

I feel a bit ambiguous in this matter. One should note that there is a good deal of partisan politics involved. It´s a bit like with the racism issue in America: Think of affirmative action or the racism debate after Katrina. In this light it´s not surprising that a left-leaning institution like the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung should come up with a survey like that. Here´s what I don´t like about this: I fear that this will result in another placebo-debate: We´ll all say how bad neo-nazis are, and that we need more understanding and tolerance for foreigners in Germany, and then invest a few Euros in social workers and similar programs. Doesn´t hurt anybody, and doesn´t bring anything either. In reality, there are pressing issues that need to be addressed: the economy, of course, but also the various problems resulting from a bad immigration policy, like kids barely able to speak German, with no chances of of finding work. Islamism, too. But it hurts to address these issues; there are some ugly truths involved that some on the left would rather not talk about. So I fear that they will use surveys like this to prevent these necessary debates.

Bill on :

With all due respect Fuchur and Wolf, the steady rise of neo-Nazis and radical far-right hooligans in Germany today cannot be attributed solely to the economy. There are plenty of examples of Western societies that have it much worse-off than Germany but do not have this problem with racial and nationalistic extremism steadily making substantial gains in the political arena, in business and industry, and in the society as a whole. This is not a new phenomenon that we are dealing with here, but a re-emerging danger right across Europe. Try explaining to the foreign-born parents of young schoolchildren in your respective neighborhoods the next time they are threatened and/or frightened by a group of cowardly skinheads and neo-Nazis that it is the weak economy and high unemployment rates that have fueled the rise of these idiots. Try selling them the idea that "If we could just fix the economy the neo-Nazis would go away." It's not primarily about difficult integration issues and weak employment figures as many suggest, it's also about weak minds and perverted moral character in a growing number of people who will gladly prey upon foreigners and anyone who even looks different at the expense of the entire German and European society, and the world at large. Germany has been there and done that and Germans should be loathe to repeat that history yet again. Get control of it now, or it may control you later.

Wolf on :

Fuchur has it right. It's the economy, stupid! And yes, there are also those issues of integration that the Greens and many Social Democrats would rather forget about. Looking back at monetary policy after unification, it becomes clear that there was plenty of room for stimulus. It's not too late to provide it. But that would mean to deal a symbolic (not substantive) blow to that other integration issue: Europe. Get out of the Euro and make don't worry until inflation has been over 4% for two years.

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Wolf is just crazy. Perhaps forgiveably so, as there are some Americans who would echo his beliefs about Republican dictatorship and unitary executive power. But it's all just fevered imagination. The party that had for years run the government was incompletely ousted in stages from 1980 - 2004, and deeply resented that they could no longer do as THEY pleased. Thus, they accused the opposition of tyranny. Even in the most recent, height of Republican power congress, conservatives could not get anything passed unless they could talk a few Democrats into some sort of compromise as well. As to the growth of this type of extremism (which would line up about evenly with the left and right extremists in America), it is indeed worrying, even at low percentages. 15% turns into 30% quickly in crisis, and then all bets are off. I wish I had advice to give, but I fear the "solutions" will be as Fucher predicts.

Wolf on :

Sure. You think John Dean is just crazy? Or Bob Barr? Or the courts that have finally seen that the executive cannot be trusted, including the SC? You may not be able to read, but I have read what the justice department and white house counsel assert. There is no other interpretation than this: Checks and balances are not for this POTUS. Besides all that, this administration has failed to faithfully execute the laws of this country. From the SEC to EPA, FCC to FEC, lots of laws were violated and the government has done nothing about it. And then there was Jack Abramoff... Who benefited? Not we, the people.

joe on :

Did I miss something again? I thought the news from Europe was the euroland and Germany were growing at an astonishing rate of 2.4% this year. This is the best growth since 2000. This would seem to be good news as the US growth is slowing down. Finally these two markets have decoupled. So any slow down in US growth will have almost no impact on euroland. What a strong case to diversify one’s portfolio

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Wolf, take a breath. In any going to war or crimefighting with new technology or techniques, Presidents A, B, & C are all going to try to use new technology. When challenged, they will win some and lose some in the courts, and most will be narrow decisions that can be regarded as neither complete wins nor complete losses legally. When each party has each appointed about half the judges, there will be a lot of inflated rhetoric. That is the general picture that will play out every time, in every administration in America. Nothing that has happened this time around is any different. The Bush administration has made various legal assertions. The courts have upheld some, struck some down, but have mostly given narrow rulings that fall somewhere between. Anyone who has a different impression should check where that impression comes from. I am well aware of the accusations you are making about the Bush disdain for checks and balances. Many people here make the same claims. I have not found those claims at all persuasive. Any time you think that something is completely obvious or beyond debate, you will most likely be wrong. As to John Dean, I don't think he's crazy. I think he's dishonest. You might check out his avoidance of testifying under oath, choosing to settle out-of-court after years of bluster.

Wolf on :

If waterboarding and secret prisons are new technologies, you are right. But that's not what John Yoo (and others) was talking about. He said the president can do this. Period. And that was rejected completely. Much has been made about the secrecy, though. This is unprecedented. And it becomes very undemocratic when,e.g., lawmakers (and why would the public need to know?) don't get to see a different estimate for the cost of MediCare Part D. Threatening to fire an actuary for doing his job is tyrannical. As is prosecuting air marshals. And of course, outing an undercover CIA agent. But what did we need to know about proliferation in the Middle East anyway. And there is more. Not persuasive? What more do you need? BTW, Republicans have not just appointed 5 SC justices. And while the SC cannot hear everything, its decisions influence the entire judiciary.

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