Germany: Holding Down the Lid

As some readers know, my wife and I spend part of each summer in Potsdam. On the face of it the city has remained what it used to be. The relaxed atmosphere on the most important throughway, the Brandenburger Strasse with its eighteenth-century, two-story, houses; the beautiful flat countryside, fit for walking; the even more beautiful lakes, ideal for swimming; and the superabundance of cultural facilities both in Potsdam itself and in neighboring Berlin.

Yet under the surface Potsdam, and with it Germany as a whole, seems posed for the greatest challenge since at least re-unification back in 1989 and possibly even since the end of World War II back in 1945. How to best explain what has been going on? Perhaps by referring to the position of Frau Angela Merkel, the long-time chancellor who has now been in charge of the country’s destiny for eleven years. Two years ago she was on top. Both in Germany and abroad, many saw her both as the best chancellor Germany had ever had and as the most successful woman in the world; by contrast, her opponents seemed to be bleating in the wilderness. I myself was able to witness this, watching the spontaneous applause with which she was received when, in her typical unassuming way, she attended a Bundeswehr ceremony in Berlin.

No longer. Perhaps in Germany more than abroad, Frau Merkel is now the topic of fierce debates, not seldom accompanied by the kind of language we have come to expect of Donald Trump and his ilk. By some polls, no fewer than two thirds of voters want to get rid of her. The reason? The way she has dealt with the hundreds of thousands of refugees flowing into the country. In particular the words, “wir schaffen das” (we shall make it, i.e. successfully “integrate” the newcomers) have become by far the most famous ones she has ever uttered. Unless something truly dramatic happens, they are likely to be remembered as her legacy.

Frau Merkel grew up in the former East Germany. Such being the case, she at first seemed a strange choice for dealing with Germany’s past; that past which her native country had always firmly refused to confront but which, in both Germanies, simply does not want to go away. Both abroad and, except for the usual lunatic fringe, in Germany itself, her ability to create the impression that she not only understood but cared was one of the main reasons why people admired her as much as they did. Perhaps the fact that her father was a Protestant clergyman helped.

In come the refugees. From Albania, from Libya, from Syria, from Iraq, even from places as far away as Afghanistan. They do not speak the language. They have no education. They have no skills—in Germany, a country in which skills are acquired by means of lengthy and carefully organized apprenticeships, that counts as one of the worst sins of all. They have nothing and have to be supported, economically, at a cost that sometimes makes Germans who are on welfare or simply pay their taxes green with envy and resentment.

Some refugees resolutely refuse to “integrate,” insisting on retaining their own culture in respect of food, clothing, and the treatment of women and homosexuals. Contrary to what one sees on the media, which likes to present veiled women and innocent children being carried by their parents, the great majority are unattached young men; that fact, as well as sheer poverty, explains why they commit far more crimes than their numbers would warrant. Including some which can only be described as terrorism, and including some which their perpetrators themselves describe as such. I am told that, in the Rhineland, there are entire prisons inhabited exclusively by immigrants.

Some other EU countries, notably those of Eastern Europe, have resolutely challenged Brussels and refused to accept Muslim immigrants. Others, though subtler, also do what they can to put all kinds of obstacles in their way and, where possible, get rid of them. However, partly because it is a central pillar of the EU—which, without German support, would quickly far apart—and partly because of its own past, Germany cannot do the same.

Unfair? Yes. After all, a quick calculation shows that even the grandparents of young Germans under 25 cannot have participated in Nazi crimes in any meaningful way. The same goes for the parents of anyone under sixty years or so. To have been eighteen, the age at which, back in 1945, people were drafted into the Wehrmacht or Waffen SS, one must be at least 89 today. That only applies to less than one percent of the population.

So the sons, the grandsons, and in some cases even the great-grandsons are paying for their ancestors’ sins. One and all, they have been nailed to the swastika from which nothing and no one can liberate them. No wonder the “extreme” right, in the form of newspapers such as the Junge Freiheit and parties such as AfD (Alternative fuer Deutschland, An Alternative for Germany, which, incidentally, is led by a woman) is flourishing). Let me emphasize: neither the Junge Freiheit nor the AfD are in any sense Nazis. To the contrary, well aware that their opponents are doing whatever they can to describe them as such they do whatever they can to stay away from any such accusations. The Junge Freiheit, for example, is conservative. Knowing them well, as I do, I sometimes feel they would like to turn the clock back to 1871 if not before.

And how does Frau Merkel respond to the problem? By denying that there is any. So far she and the establishment she heads, consisting of the moderately right wing CDU and the moderately left wing SPD, have been able to hold down the lid on their people’s growing resentment. But for how long? And what happens then? As Hamlet might have said, those are the questions.

Guest Article: US Position is Untenable

by

by Karsten Riise

The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has newly released a projection of Federal debt 2016-2046.

US Fed debt 2000-2045

The CBO analysis shows that Federal debt is on path to increase from 75% of GDP to 146% of GDP in 2046. These figures exclude state & local government debt of approimately 16% of GDP (source: Fed.Reserve Z1,D1 and BEA.gov), meaning that the total public debt in the USA is on track to increase from 90%+ to 160%+ of GDP.

A public debt of 100%-200% of GDP is possible in Japan and Italy, where nearly all public debt is owned nationally—in Japan, by (often state-promoted) enormous private entities. However, for the USA, such high public debt figures are bound to lead to a fundamental crisis of non-confidence in the US dollar. 

Falling dollar rates and rising interest rates will incur still higher deficits to pay the interests on the public debt. 

A vicious circle threatens the US economy.
When and how it may start, we don’t know.

The biggest driver of the US Federal debt is the aging of the US population. Today 15% of Americans are aged 65+. This percentage will increase by two thirds, so that by 2060 about 24% of the US population will be 65+. Until now, the USA has benefited from a young population. The strain on medicare and social spending of an aging population, even with the still limited entitlements in the USA, will be enormous.

The CBO has calculated, that just to keep the Federal debt at its present level, the balance between tax revenues and federal expenditures must be improved by 1.7% of GDP—every year the next 30 years. In other words, tax revenue must increase and government expenditures must be curtailed.

The US economy is becoming less and less competitive. One reason for this is because the USA has some of the worst 3rd world-like public infrastructure in the western world. Roads, bridges and railways in the USA are a sham. High-speed trains are non-existent. Not only is China building far more kilometers of inter-state high-ways than the US, but it is also one of the world’s leading countries in the field of high-speed trains; in fact, China may become the main-supplier of America’s first high-speed railway line.

Furthermore, American public schools, hampered as they are by violence and other problems. are not exactly the best in the world, The US level of education is going down, as pointed out by the economic guru Michael Porter, who also points out, that the level of bureaucracy and red-tape hindrances to business are enormous in the USA. The middle class is disappearing in the USA, with now barely 50% of the population perceiving themselves as middle class. Median incomes have barely improved or even gone down the past 40 years, significantly reducing the middle-section of the tax base, which is normally the most reliable. The American Dream is a night-mare for most Americans. The Laffer-curve, stating that heavy tax-burdens on the rich will incur less total tax-revenues, still applies for the top-section of the US tax base. Any attempts to heavily taxate (fiscate) the upper 10% (or 0.1% !) of the US tax base will lead to US dollar capital-flight, and acute economic crisis. 

Ueber-rich people in the US will prefer to dump their American passports and go with their money to the Bahamas, Belize, the UK, Australia, Singapore, UAE, or even South Africa, or Brazil, if doing so is what it takes to protect their enormous fortunes from high taxes.

Poor Americans lack education and training to make them competitive in the global labor-market. America’s left erroneously blames the high percentage of unemployed poor on free trade, but the real problem is the lack of education which prevents the under-class from obtaining productive jobs. Poor Americans are too expensive compared to Asians, and too badly educated and trained, and the infrastructure around them too lousy, to make them able to earn a higher pay. The risk of starvation amongst the poorest in the USA remains high: In Obama’s presidency, one in seven Americans (14%) face the risk of not having enough to eat.

At the same time, the US military inventory is aging, and declining. The number of US ships and combat aircraft is declining, their average service-age goes up and their operativeness goes down. New US military hardware often take the form of useless “white elephants”, meaningless prestige-products like the 20-30 billion dollar Zumwalt class destroyer. The US addiction to over-investments in such relatively useless symbols of “strength” as the Zumwalt, in spite of economic problems and American city-disintegration, violence and poverty, is in the USA a sure sign of decay and decline – just like Rome in its latter days. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO report 15-364 ) has demonstrated, that the US military, in spite of spending 4% of US GDP (source: BEA.gov – extra spending is hidden in separate budgets), has no overview of its own economic needs, and the economy of the mega-expensive F-35 aircraft, according to GAO, has a big chance of not being economically sustainable over time, even for the USA.

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-364

The US military is simply on its way to run smack into a wall of economic impossibility.

In absolute strength levels, the American military is standing still or going backwards.

The US military now delays military purchases in order to keep overall military expenditures flat the next 5 years. 

https://www.cbo.gov/publication/51050

If military budgets are not increased, the aging of the US military will be tough in the 2020’ies. In light of the overall budget problems of the USA from now on until 2045 (as mentioned above), it must be expected that the US military will be economically forced to cut down on absolute strength levels the next 10 years. 

At the same time, absolute strength levels of militaries in Russia and China is going up. 

The qualitative lead in high-precision weapons, cruise missiles, and high-quality combat aircraft has come to Russia and China too. Though the USA still has a number of unique capabilities, especially its carrier fleet, advanced submarines, other ships, and “stealth” aircraft, Russia and China are specifically building up (and exporting!) cheaper weapons to off-set US advantages. 

Military lobbyists in the USA dream of a new US “revolution in military technology” to regain American tech-lead in weapons, but so far such US “wunder-weapons” as rail-guns, laser-cannons etc. have shown to be elusive and too costly, even for the USA. 
On the political front, the UK exit from the EU is a devastating blow to the US system of alliances.

The US economy is unsustainable – and the US military is going down in absolute as well as in relative strength.
Costly wars like Libya have been counter-productive. Afghanistan is becoming a failure. China is getting the upper-hand in the Straight of Taiwan, and Russia surprises (though still under-estimated in the west).
Without the tools-of-power or greater wisdom, Mrs. Hillary Clinton wants to increase the force-confrontation against Russia, China, and others.

A new world order is already developing. Mr. Donald Trump seems to have realized the new situation of the US. Mrs. Hillary Clinton has not – which makes her dangerous in world affairs.

Frauenparkplaetze

1358I am writing this from Potsdam, the German city (population, 200,000) near Berlin where my wife and I spend part of every summer. Wherever we go, we see designated Frauenparkplaetze, i.e. parking spaces for women. Potsdam and Germany are not by any means the only places that are blessed with them. That is why it pleases me to say a word about them today.

First, who is and is not entitled to use the Plaetze in question is by no means clear. Women driving on their own? Surely. But how about women drivers with male passengers (like myself) in the car? Wouldn’t a situation whereby I get the kind of protection originally designed for women be morally flawed as well as counterproductive? And how about male drivers with female passengers in the car? Are they permitted to use the spaces in question? And don’t old people (again, like myself) deserve protection just as much as women do? No one knows; no one cares. As befits an idiotic regulation which has long turned into a joke and which only a few half-crazed feminists, seeing “discrimination” at every step, give one penny for.

Second, the location of the Plaetze. One often sees, right beside them, spaces for behinderte (cripples). No accident, that, because both categories tend to be located in well-lit areas near elevators or staircases. Are we to conclude that women, by virtue of their sex, are cripples and deserve to be treated as such? Apparently so.

Third, the rationale. The declared reason for having Frauenparkplaetze is because parking lots and building are favored by male rapists eager “to carry out their nefarious schemes,” as the Hebrew phrase, which is used almost solely in that context, puts it so very nicely. Women, so the common view, have weak bodies and, as we shall see in a moment, weak minds as well. Ergo they cannot protect themselves but need to have special measures implemented in their favor.

What applies to female drivers and passengers seems to apply to every other field too. Women need to be protected against male violence at home (never mind that, statistically, in every country where the question has been researched, female-on-male domestic violence was found to be just as frequent as male-on-female violence; see on this the work of the late Murray Straus). Women need to be protected against rape. Women need to be protected against sexual abuse. Women need to be protected against sexual harassment. Including, it seems, being greeted with the words “hey, beautiful” instead of some more conventional way. Women need to be protected against “gazing” “staring,”, and “leering.”

But that is only the beginning. Delicate souls that they are, women need to be protected against “’objectification” and “verbal abuse.” Women need to be protected against cunning pimps who first promise them the earth and then enslave them. Women need to be protected against photographers who promise to turn them into models but do not deliver. Women need to be protected against having their naked pics published on the Net (I hereby formally grant permission to anybody who has a pic of mine to do so; I shall even be happy to provide him or her with one).

Women need to be protected against “economic terrorism.” Women need to be protected against wicked, but charismatic and clever, men who first promise them marriage and then disappear with their, the women’s, money, or turn out to be married already, or both. Women need to be protected against male physicians, psychologists, gurus, university professors, teachers, coaches, and masseurs, all of whom, which God forbid, first cause them to become “dependent” on themselves and then try to “exploit them by having sex with them.

Women need to be protected against their own preference for convicted male criminals (as shown by the fact that such criminals tend to have more offspring than average, mostly because they have more partners). Women need to be protected against the possible consequences of their taste in dress and comportment (they are, it seems, too dumb to understand those consequences on their own). So stupid are some women that they only understand that they have been “raped” years after the event, and often after some lawyer tells them they can make money by suing. Once they do, they have to be protected from confronting their alleged attackers in court and also from having their own names revealed. Women need to be protected against “offensive” speech, including, no doubt, this essay. So numerous are the things women must be protected against that I found it impossible to put them in any kind of logical order. In short, women are seen—and, what is much worse, see themselves—as complete idiots incapable of looking after themselves.

However, there is a catch. Men are physically stronger than women. As the fact that they commit most violent crimes shows, men also tend to be considerably more aggressive and more assertive on the average. By some accounts, this is likely to remain the case not only in our world but even in one where our place is taken by computers. That is why, when the chips are down, only men can protect women against other men; also why, throughout history, countless men have died to protect women whereas the opposite has rarely ever been the case. The more protection women demand and receive, the more dependent on their protectors and the less equal and free they become.

Starting with Frauenparkplaetze, the need for protection on one hand and equality on the other run at cross purposes. The resulting inability of women to decide what they want most—protection or equality—is the main reason why, whatever the common wisdom may say, they will never be equal with men.

Not, should humanity survive that long, in a million years hence.

What Must Be Done

Some of those who read my recent book, Pussycats, have asked me to say a little more about what could and should be done to restore the West’s waning fighting power. Given the differences between various Western countries, obviously there cannot be a single solution: still the following should apply, more or less, to most.614WXaCRlAL

To start at the beginning, the all-pervasive system whereby many young people are doomed to remain crybabies and forcibly prevented from growing up should be terminated. Provide them with opportunities to be among themselves and play with as little, if any, supervision as possible. Give them freedom to experiment—or else how are they going to learn? Instead of drugging them, demand performance from them and encourage them. Put an end to what one writer called “the war against boys,” under which boys keep being told how bad, how wicked, how oppressive, they and their male friends and relatives are and punished whenever they make a “gun” out of schnitzel and shout “pow-pow” or even look at a girl. Terminate the situation whereby boys over six, or eight, or ten, or fourteen, are taught mainly by women. Have more male teachers in elementary school. If necessary re-segregate the education system so as to allow boys to be boys and save them the humiliation of having to compete with girls.

Second, recognize that training, unless it incorporates some risk, will turn into a childish game and re-organize it accordingly. Bring down the average age of the troops while at the same time ceasing to treat them as if they were infants. Stop subjecting them to all kinds of petty restrictions and trying to turn them into eunuchs. Those sent by their country to kill and be killed should also have some latitude to drink and wench as troops have always done and, if they are worth their salt, will continue to do until doomsday comes. And stop denouncing “militarism.” Instead, recognize the fact that troops are unlikely to fight well if, in a word gone berserk with political correctness, they are not permitted to express their pride and joy in their chosen profession. Including, yes, the joy of fighting enemies and killing them.

Third, women in the military. That many women do their job as well as any man no one questions. However, their widespread presence in the military gives rise to three major problems. First, even a cursory look at the way things are managed will show that women are privileged, causing widespread resentment among the male personnel (the more so because they are not allowed to talk about it). Second, it deprives that personnel from what is perhaps their most important reason for enlisting and fighting, which is to prove their masculinity to themselves and to others. Third, it opens the door to all kinds of claims about “sexual harassment,” to the point any male soldiers are now afraid of being accused or it (and sexual assault, and rape) than of the enemy. To solve these problems, 1. Cut down the number of women to, say, 10 percent of the total. 2. Put an end to coed basic training, which is a pure waste of (to see what such “training” looks like, watch http://i.imgur.com/t3CF25z.gif ) and a humiliation to the men who participate in it. 3. Remove women from all combat and direct combat support jobs, which also means capping the ranks to which they can rise. 4. Reconstitute the woman’s corps in such a way that only women will command woman and sexual harassment of inferiors by superiors brought to an end.

Fourth, the vexed question of PTSD. The idea that war is necessarily harmful to the soul and, unless properly treated by all kinds of experts, will tend to destroy it is peculiar to the modern West. Looking back into history before 1860 or so, there is little or no evidence to support it; nor does it seem to be, or have been, a major problem in non-Western forces such as Hezbollah, Daesh, and, four decades ago, the Viet Cong. Ergo the phenomenon, which in recent year has grown to the point where it is threatening to undermine what little of the West’s will to fight remains, is a cultural one. So stop the system whereby anyone returning from war is automatically suspect of carrying the problem and practically forced to suffer from it. Reward those who do not contract PTSD instead of those who do so. Instead of pitying veterans and treating them as damaged good, find ways to reward them and above all, celebrate them for their heroism and their sacrifice.

Finally, it is vital that the old truth be recognized once again: Yes, war is a terrible thing. It destroys, it injures, it kills, often on a massive scale. Unless it is very carefully controlled, moreover, it may very well escape control while giving rise to the worse instincts in us humans—sadism, brutality, and what not. Still it should be understood that some things are even worse. Including to mention but a few, injustice, persecution, and slavery. Should the Spartans have surrendered and provided the King of Persia with soil and water, as the latter demanded? Should Abraham Lincoln have avoided war and allowed slavery to continue? Should Britain and France have avoided war and allowed Hitler to proceed with his plan of conquest? War, to repeat, is a terrible thing. But the situation whereby, in Europe and among some left-wing American democrats, this idea is carried to the point where society is incapable of waging it and pay the price it demands should be brought to an end. As the ancient Romans used to say: si pacem vis, bellum prepara (if you want peace, prepare for war.) Not just by improving your technology and purchasing new weapons, which seems to be the preferred Western answer to any military problem. But by changing attitudes.

Note that it is not a question of money. The US and its Western allies comprise all the richest countries on earth. As I have argued in several of my past posts, they already spend enough on their armed forces and to spare. Instead, nothing less than a fundamental change in mentality is needed. Enough to keep Donald Trump, who back in April 2016 promised to spend the first months of his putative presidency fixing the US military, busy for a long, long time.