The Rise (and fall?) of the EU

European countries ruled the world for centuries.  Since WWII the fall from grace has accelerated.  Now it remains to be seen how Britain’s EU exit, and mass immigration, pan out.

The disaster of Greece typifies the EU

The disaster of Greece typifies the EU  By Raul Ilargi Maijer, via Zerohedge, 16 Sept 2017

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, famous for his imbibition capacity and uttering -not necessarily in that order- the legendary words “when it becomes serious, you have to lie”, presented his State of the Union today. Which is of pretty much limited interest because, as Yanis Varoufakis’ book ‘Adults in the Room’ once again confirmed, Juncker is nothing but ventriloquist Angela Merkel’s sock puppet.

But of course he had lofty words galore, about how great Europe is doing, and how that provides a window for more Europe, in multiple dimensions. Juncker envisions a European Minister of Finance (Dutch PM Rutte immediately scorned the idea), and he wants to enlarge the EU by inviting more countries in, like Albania, Montenegro and Serbia (but not Turkey!).

Juncker had negative things to say about Britain and Brexit, about Poland, Prague and Hungary who don’t want to obey the decree about letting in migrants and refugees, and obviously about Donald Trump: Brussels apparently wants ‘to make our planet great again’.

What the likes of Jean-Claude don’t seem to be willing to contemplate, let alone understand or acknowledge, is that the EU is a union of sovereign countries. The meaning of ‘sovereignty’ fully escapes much of the pro-EU crowd. And if they keep that up, it will break the union into pieces.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary must accept their migrant ‘quota’, as decided in Brussels, and that, too, constitutes an infringement on these countries’ sovereignty. And don’t forget, sovereignty is not something that can be divided into separate parts, some of which can be upheld while others are discarded. A country is either sovereign or it is not.

The single euro currency is already shirking awfully close to violating sovereignty, if not passing over an invisible line, and a European Finance Minister would certainly constitute such a violation. At some point, the politicians in all these countries will have to tell their voters that they’re about to surrender -more of- their sovereignty and become citizens of Merkel Land. But they don’t want to do that, because as soon as people would realize this, the pitchforks would come out and the union would be history.

The EU will be able to muddle on for a while longer, but Europe is not at all doing great economically (however, to maintain the illusion ECB head Draghi buys €60 billion a month in ‘assets’), and when the next crisis comes people will demand their sovereignty back. It really is that simple. And what will the negotiations look like to make that happen? 27 times Brexit?

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The real Europe is not the one Juncker paints a portrait of. The real Europe is Greece. That’s where you can see the economic reality as well as the political one. Greece has no sovereignty left to speak of, despite the fact that it is guaranteed it in EU law. Europe’s political reality is about raw power. About the rich waterboarding the poor, to the point that they are turned from sovereign citizens of their countries into lost souls in debt prisons.

This week, another chapter has been added to the dismal annals of the Greek adventures in the European Union. It’s like the Odyssee, I kid you not. Like the previous chapters, this one will not solve the Greek crisis, or even alleviate it, but instead it will deepen it further, and not a little bit. This chapter concerns the forced auctioning of -real estate- properties.

Not to Greeks, 90% of whom can’t afford to buy anything at all, let alone property, but to foreigners, often institutional investors. At the same time, bad loans, including mortgage loans, will be offloaded for pennies on the dollar to that same class of ‘investors’. Once the Troika is done with this chapter, Greece will have seen capital destruction the likes of which the world has seldom if ever witnessed.

People in the country have a hard time understanding the impact:

Greece Property Auctions Certain To Drive Market Prices Even Lower

Ilias Ziogas, head of property consultancy company NAI Hellas and one of the founding members of the Chartered Surveyors Association, said that the property market is certain to suffer further as a result of the auctions: “The impact on prices will be clearly negative, not because the price of a property will be far lower at the auction than a nearby property, but because it will diminish demand for the neighboring property.”

 

[..]Giorgos Litsas, head of the GLP Values chartered surveyor company, which cooperates with PQH [..] told Kathimerini that the only way is down for market rates. “I believe that unless there is an unlikely coordination among the parties involved – i.e. the state (tax authorities, social security funds etc.), the banks and the clearing firms – in order to prevent too many properties coming onto the market at the same time, rates will go down by at least 10%.”

 

He noted that “we estimate the stock of unsold properties of all types comes to 270,000-280,000, in a market with no more than 15,000 transactions per year.Therefore the rise in supply will send prices tumbling.” Yiannis Xylas, founder of Geoaxis surveyors, added, “I fear the auctions will create an oversupply of properties without the corresponding demand, which translates into an immediate drop in rates that may be rapid if one adds the portfolios of bad loans secured on properties that will be sold to foreign funds at a fraction of their price.”

A 10% drop? Excuse me? Even in the center of Athens, rental prices for apartments that are not yet absorbed by Airbnb have plummeted. With so many people making just a few hundred euro a month that is inevitable. You can rent a decent place for €200 a month, and if you keep looking I’m sure you can find one for €100. An 80% drop?! But property prices would only go down by 10% in a market that has 20 times more unsold properties than it sells in a year?

The Troika creditors found they had to deal with attempts to prevent the wholesale fire sale of Greek properties. They now think they’ve found the solution. First, they will force the government to lower official valuations concerning the so-called “primary residence protection”, which protected homes valued at below €300,000 from foreclosure. Second, they will bypass the associations of notaries who refused to cooperate in ‘physical’ auctions, as well as protesters, by doing the fire sale electronically:

E-Auctions Of Foreclosed Property For First Time This Month In Greece

Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis confirmed the development in statements to a local television station, announcing the relevant justice ministry is ready to begin electronic auctions in the middle of next week.At the same time, Stathakis noted that a law protecting a debtor’s primary residence from creditors will be expanded until the end of 2018. According to reports, the e-auctions will take place every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday over a four-hour period, i.e. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Some 5,000 foreclosed commercial properties will be up for sale by the end of the year, which translates into 1,250 properties per month, on average.

 

Currently, the primary residence protection against foreclosure extends to properties valued (by the State tax bureau) at under €300,000, a very high threshold that shields the “lion’s share” of mortgaged residential real estate in the country, if judged by current commercial property values in Greece. Creditors and local lenders have called for a decrease in the protection threshold, a prospect that is very likely.

 

The development is also expected to generate another round of acrimonious political skirmishing, given that both leftist SYRIZA, and its junior coalition partner, the rightist-populist Independent Greeks party, rode to power in January 2015 on a election campaign platform that included an almost universal protection of residential property from bank foreclosures and auctions.

 

Associations representing notaries – professionals who in Greece are law school graduates specializing in drawing up contracts and maintaining registries of deeds, property transactions, wills etc. – had also blocked old-style auctions from taking place in district courts by ordering their members not to take part. The e-auction process aims to bypass this opposition, as well as disruptions and occupations of courtrooms by anti-austerity protesters.

The claim is that Greek banks must be made healthy again by removing bad loans from their books. The question is if selling both properties and bad loans to foreign institutional investors for pennies on the buck is a healthy way to achieve that. But yeah, if 50% of your outstanding loans are bad, you have a problem. Still, at the same time, the problem with that is that many if not most of those loans have turned sour because of the neverending carrousel of austerity measures unleashed upon the country. It’s a proverbial chicken and egg issue.

If Brussels were serious about Greek sovereignty, it would make sure that Greek homes were to remain in Greek hands. You can’t be sovereign if foreigners own most of your real estate. By bleeding the country dry, and forcing the sale of Greek property to Germans, Americans, Russians and Arabs, the Troika infringes upon Greek sovereignty in ways that will scare the heebees out of other EU nations.

It’s not for nothing that the entire Italian opposition is talking about a parallel currency next to the euro. That is about sovereignty.

5,000 Greek Properties Under the Electronic Auction System by End of 2017

Auctions of foreclosed properties to settle bad debts are seen as key to returning Greek banks to health by helping reduce the burden of non-performing loans. These currently stand at roughly €110 billion, or 50% of the banks’ total loans. Under pressure from its lenders, in the summer of 2016 the Greek government passed measures allowing the sale of delinquent mortgages and small business loans to international funds, a move seen by many as yet another betrayal by the SYRIZA-led government.

Greek banks won’t return to health, they’ll simply shrink the same way the people do who can’t afford to rent a home or eat decent food. Austerity kills entire societies, including banks. If Mario Draghi would decide tomorrow morning to include Greece in his €60 billion a month QE bond-buying program, and Greece could use that money to stop squeezing pensions and wages, and no longer raise taxes and unemployment, both the people AND the banks could return to health. It would take a number of years, but still.

 

Whatever you call what happens to Greece, and what’s been happening for nearly 10 years now, whether you call it fiscal waterboarding or Shock Doctrine, it is definitely not something that has a place in a union of sovereign nations bound together in mutual respect and dignity. And that will ensure the demise of that union.

 

Another aspect of the fire sale is the valuation of the properties austerity has caused to crumble (so many buildings in Athens are empty and falling apart, it’s deeply tragic, at times it feels like the entire city is dying). The press calls it a hard task, but that doesn’t quite cover it.

It’s not just about mortgages, many Greeks simply give up their properties because they can’t afford the taxes on them. People that inherit property refuse to accept their inheritance, even if it’s been in their families for generations, and it’s where they grew up. In that sense, it may be good to lower valuations to more realistic levels. But tax revenues will plunge along with the valuations, and the government is already stretched silly. Add a new tax, then?

Greece Property Value Review A Hard Task

The government is facing a daunting task in adjusting the so-called objective values (the property rates used for tax purposes) to market levels by the end of the year, as its bailout agreement dictates. The huge slump in transactions and the forced sales of properties due to their owners’ debts do not lead to any safe conclusions for the values per area. One in four sales are conducted with prices that lag the objective value by 60-70%, and the prices of 2008 by 70-80%. The Finance Ministry must overcome all the obstacles to bring to Parliament all the necessary adjustments and regulations.

 

Moreover, once the objective values are brought in line with market rates, the government will have to maintain the same amount of revenues from the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) either by raising the tax’s rates or by introducing a new tax in the form of the old Large Property Tax.

 

Furthermore, once the objective values are reduced by 40-50% to match the going prices, banks may see problems with their capital adequacy, as lenders will incur losses by having to revise the collateral they get. Mortgage loans in Greece amount to €59.44 billion, of which 42%, or €25.4 billion are nonperforming.

Yeah, there’s the health of the banks again. And the government. And the people. A wholesale fire sale is the worst possible thing that could happen at this point in time. Greece needs help, stimulus, hope, not more austerity and fire sales. Juncker and his Berlin ventriloquist have this all upside down and backwards, squared. The one thing the EU cannot afford itself to do, is the one thing it engages in.

They may as well pack in the whole thing today, and go home. Actually, that would be by far the best option, because more of this will inevitably lead to the very thing Europe prides itself in preventing for the past 70 years: battle, struggle, war, fighting in the streets, and worse. If the EU cannot show it exists for the good and benefit of its people, it no longer has a reason to exist.

Saving the banks in the richer countries by waterboarding an entire other country is not just the worst thing they could have thought of, it’s entirely unnecessary too. The EU and ECB could easily have saved Greece from 90% of what it has gone through, and will go through going forward, at virtually no cost at all. But yes, German, French, Dutch banks would likely have had to cut the bonuses of their bankers, and their vulture funds couldn’t have snapped up the real estate quite that cheaply.

Summarized: the EU is a disgrace, morally, politically, economically. I know that French President Macron on the one side, and Yanis Varoufakis’ DiEM25 movement on the other, talk about reforming the EU. But the EU is the mob, and you don’t reform the mob. You dismantle their organization and then you lock them up.

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Understanding the EU, Angela Merkel’s red/green past

Understanding the EU, Angela Merkel’s red,green past. By David Archibald, for Autorenkollektiv, a writer’s syndicate based in Switzerland. 12 September 2017

 

Red before she was green, the German Chancellor’s rise from dutiful communist to elected politician testifies to an eye equally adept at spotting both the main chance and the next back to stab. Who is this woman who opened Europe’s borders to the Third World? A two-part series…

Angela Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany for 12 years. Of all the leading politicians in Europe, only Vladimir Putin has been in power longer. The next German federal election is on September 24. If she wins that and completes her next term, she has will have ruled as long as Helmuth Kohl, and longer than Konrad Adenauer. Merkel is now campaigning with this slogan: You Know Me.

What do we and the German people really know about Angela Merkel? Her visions, agenda and background? It is not easy to grasp. Do we really know?

Two recent books try to give a clearer picture of the person now called ‘The World’s Most Powerful Woman.’: Merkel’s Maske by Hinrich Rohbohm and Merkel -Eine Kritische Bilanz (A Critical Analysis). The latter is a collection of 22 articles by German intellectuals. They paint a picture different from the one  served up by German mainstream media. Rohbom’s tome goes through the information about Merkel’s time in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), which she reported to various journalists and biographers over the years. Of some 20 books about Angela Merkel, the author of this Quadrant Online article has read 13 of them.

Her father, Horst Kasner (right, shortly before his death in 2011), was ayoung, left-wing Lukeran priest living in Hamburg, West Germany in 1954. A few months after his daughter Angela was born, the family moved to Templin, north of Berlin, in the former GDR. This was perhaps not the most obvious choice of settlement for a young West German priest, less than a year after the brutal Soviet military crack down on the revolt against the GDR regime in Berlin on July 17, 1953. Normally people fled in the other direction if they could.  Hundreds of thousands left the GDR in 1954.

Soon Mr Kasner became known as “The Red Pastor.” In the early 1960s he became leader of a priest seminar, its mission was to train a new generation of socialist church leaders. In the GDR, the Lutheran church was dominant. Mr Kasner worked closely with the ruling party, the Socialist Unity Party, to build the new socialist church, Kirche im Sozialismus (the Church in Socialism) completely separated from the church in West Germany. Unlike many of the children of priests who were often denied access to higher education, Kasner´s daughter Angela was given the opportunity to study physics at Leipzig University, and later at the GDR’s foremost scientific institution, the Academy of Science in Berlin.

Angela had a traditional party career, starting with membership of the Thälmann pioneers (motto: Be ready) followed in 1969 by the Freie Deutsche Jugend (FDJ), the communist youth organization. No doubt Angela was gifted, diligent and smart. She was the best in school. She won a national award ‘Russian Olympiade’ in the Russian language 1970 at the age of 16. It gave her the opportunity to travel to Moscow on the Zug Der Freundschaft(The Train for Friendship). Her excellent knowledge of Russian opened many doors.

At Leipzig University she became one of the leaders in the FDJ. Merkel distinguished herself by devoting a year to study of Marxism-Leninism’s foundations for students, according to the weekly Junge Welt. Thus, the road was open to becoming head of the FDJ’s local department for Agitation and Propaganda at the Academy of Science, the Institute of Physical Chemistry in Berlin, Adlershof. It coincided with the intensification of propaganda activities by the GDR regime in order to counteract the influence of Solidarity in Poland and to campaign against NATO’s Double Track Decision on nuclear, medium-range missiles in West Germany. GDR propagandists studied techniques from the 1930s to improve their ability to fanaticise the GDR population in favour of the socialist system.

Merkel’s father had many privileges as part of the nomenklatura. The family had two cars! According to Merkel, her father had a large library, with books usually not available to ordinary GDR citizens. Merkel eagerly read books by Marcuse and left wing critics of the GDR, like Robert Havemann and Rudolf Bahro. She befriended Havemann’s son, Florian, who later fled to West Germany.

Merkel also visited the home of Robert Havemann, who endured a glorified house arrest, constantly monitored by the Stasi. Havemann had ideas about ecology and zero growth that go back to German nature-romantic tradition that characterized the Artaman movement at the beginning of the century. They were not far from the ideas of the Greens of West Germany though not popular in the GDR communist party. On the face of it, it is hard to understand why a careerist/opportunist like Merkel was staying in contact with the likes of  Havemann and his son.  But here she found her ideological base.

Merkel’s surname comes from her marriage to a fellow student, Ulrich Merkel, when she studied physics in Leningrad in 1977.  Their marriage ended in 1982. According to Merkel, the GDR system needed a socialist renewal. When Michael Gorbachev was appointed Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985, she belonged to those who saw opportunities in a renewal of the communist system through Perestroika. This was actually an old idea of ??Lenin’s, who conducted the New Economy Policy in the early 1920s. The goal was to get access to foreign capital and technology and thus strengthen the Soviet Union. Merkel became a Perestroikaist with an ecological leaning.

Gorbachev gave a speech to the top leaders of the Warsaw Pact in Budapest in June 1986 after the Chernobyl accident. He spoke of the need to reform the economy, using competition and market forces to become more effective, and also to care better for the environment. The communist leadership in the GDR was not particularly interested in these new ideas.

The head of the Stasi foreign intelligence division, Markus Wolf (right), was officially told to retire in 1986. This was a cover so that General (three stars) Wolf could build a new political structure in the GDR, which could implement Gorbachev’s visions even against the will of the ruling party. Wolf was considered by others in the intelligence community as the ‘master of deception. His memoirs have been published in English and German.  The content and message, for each language, is different because he had two different audiences to manipulate and influence.

Outwardly, Merkel held a low profile and devoted herself to research in physics with her new husband Professor Joachim Sauer. He was a leading light in the field of quantum physics. With Sauer’s prominence, the pair of Sauer and Merkel was allowed to travel to the West for conferences from 1986 and at one point stayed in the West and did research for six months. Merkel also met her grandmother in Hamburg on a private trip. For a childless couple, active in important scientific research, this opportunity to travel was very rare.

For a long time Merkel denied that she had ever been to the West before the fall of the Berlin wall of 1989. It was only when  confronted with hard evidence, of her and her husband’s western voyages by biographers and journalists that she recovered these memories. For someone hailed by admirers as having a mind like a computer, this indicates that she has not always been honest and told the truth. Travel to the West was a favour only offered to particularly reliable Reisekader (literally Travel Squad). This was a privileged minority required to provide written reports of where they had been, who they met and what they discussed. No reports of Merkel’s western voyages have been found in the Stasi archives since the fall of the wall.

And there is at least one more document missing. A PhD student in the GDR was not only judged by her specialist knowledge, political reliability was also important in order to be approved. Therefore, before the dissertation, they would write a 50-page essay Sozialistische Lebensweise (The Socialist way of Life). The PhD student would describe her own attitude towards socialism and the system. Merkel’s essay has never been found, despite the fact that many journalists have tried to obtain it.

When the Berlin Wall broke open on the evening of November 9, 1989, it was the beginning of the end of the Communist Party in its then form. New “reform-friendly” forces that followed Gorbachev’s direction took over. There would be free elections in the spring of 1990. Merkel joined the Democratic Party Revival Party, led by a good friend of her father, Wolfgang Schnoor, a lawyer. The party motto was Aufbruch – Sozial – Ökologisch (Renewal-Social-Ecological). Merkel became Schnoor’s press officer. The party was part of an election alliance with East-CDU (Christian Democratic Union) led by the lawyer Lothar de Maiziere.

A couple of weeks before the election, the weekly Der Spiegel revealed that Schnoor had been a secret informer for the Stasi for many years. So the party received only 0.9% of the votes in the elections of 1990. Merkel then transferred quickly to East-CDU, becoming deputy press secretary to de Maiziere. East-CDU had received 40% of the vote.  Lothar de Maiziere was active in the church and a friend of the Kasner family.

De Maiziere became prime minister in the last GDR government, leading a coalition. On October 3, 1990, the two halves of Germany were reunited and the East CDU was merged with West CDU. Mr de Maiziere became a minister without portfolio in Helmuth Kohl’s government and vice chairman of the CDU Party. Der Spiegel soon revealed that even Lothar de Maiziere was a long-standing informant for the Stasi under the cover name ‘Czerni’. Almost all leading people from the East CDU party were revealed as have been informers for the Stasi, leaving Merkel as the only one untainted. Merkel had become a member of the Bundestag on December 2, 1990. She succeeded Lothar de Maiziere as vice chairman of CDU, without ever having applied for membership of the party. Helmuth Kohl appreciated Merkel’s fast intellect, industry and ambition. So she was soon appointed to the position of minister for families, despite being childless and living with her partner, Professor Joachim Sauer, without being married.

In 1994, Merkel was appointed federal minister of the environment. Her over all ambition was to combat anticipated climate change. She organized the first UN conference on climate, COP 1 in Berlin in April 1995. Both Merkel and Helmut Kohl spoke in their introductory statements about carbon dioxide as “Climate Poison Carbon dioxide.” As a PhD in physics  she should have known, that carbon dioxide at levels of 400 ppm is not a poison. Only at concentrations of greater than 5% (50,000ppm) is it toxic.

The climate issue perfectly suited Merkel, if her aspirations were to change Germany and the world according to ideas developed by Hermann Flohn and Green Socialist ideologists like Bahro, Harich and Havemann. With her position as a minister in the governing CDU party, she could have much more influence on policy in Germany than as an activist in the Green Party.

Merkel committed herself hard to negotiate the Treaty of Kyoto to combat global warming. It implied binding emission limits for Western industrialized countries with no requirements at all for developing countries, such as China and India. She collaborated with Vice President Al Gore about Kyoto, but soon realized that Mr Gore was mostly out to enrich himself. He lacked ideological conviction. The United States did not in the end ratify the Kyoto agreement.

CDU and Kohl lost the election in 1998. Merkel was appointed as the new CDU Secretary General. Kohl remained as the party’s chairman. In one of her sparse interviews, Merkel said she saw herself more as a general than a secretary.

It was well known in the party’s inner circles that the CDU was partially financed by black money. For example, some had come from the French government through the oil company ELF before the election 1998. For many years the Stasi had been monitoring Kohl’s telephones. This was well known in government circles. During the new Social Democratic government led by Gerhard  Schröder, information about this black money financing began to leak to the press.  Former junior Minister for Defense in the CDU government and then head of the Constitutional Protection Agency (German secret service), Mr Holger Pfahls fled the country after being investigated for bribes from Saudi Arabia in relation to arms sales. The pressure against Kohl increased.

On December 22, 1999, Merkel contacted the editorial board of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and offered an interview and a debate article. She proclaimed that the CDU needed to be renewed, that they had to deal with the “old men”, who sometimes stepped over the law and lacked any new ideas. This overture was made without Merkel informing Kohl and his deputy, Wolfgang Scheüble, in advance — a Machiavellian stroke, just before the Christmas weekend, which had maximum impact in the media. Kohl was forced to resign. Scheüble succeeded him as chairman of the CDU.

It only took a few months for the next shoe to drop: it was revealed that Mr Scheüble also received a suitcase with money, from the arms dealer Karl-Heinz Schreiber. So Mr Scheüble had to leave. The road was now open to Merkel to become new party chairman.

Prior to the 2002 elections, Gerhard Schröder’s Red/Green coalition was well ahead in the polls. Merkel thought it was best to let the ambitious chairman of the Bavarian sister party CSU, Edmund Stoiber, become the chancellor candidate. Schröder easily won the election. So the conservative CSU’s position weakened. Merkel worked deliberately to eliminate competitors within the CDU party, so she became a more obvious chancellor candidate for the next election. After the SPD defeated Kohl in the 1998 elections, the Germany economy had stagnated. In the UK, Tony Blair had started a new reformed social democracy he branded ‘New Labor’. The labour market in Germany needed to be reformed. Gerhard Schröder had an ambitious agenda to implement the necessary liberalization in the labour market combined with tax cuts. This created great resistance in the SPD. Finally, Mr Schröder asked for a vote of confidence and lost, then called for new elections in 2005.

Merkel seemed to have a very good chance to win this time. She then ran a market-liberal agenda before the election, which had not been seen since Ludwig Erhardt’s campaigns in the 1960s. She was compared by the Wall Street Journal with Margaret Thatcher. The elections became a much narrower victory for the CDU than expected. Merkel needed to form a coalition with the Social Democrats in order to form a government. Promised tax cuts were forgotten.  Instead, the VAT increased by 3% percentage points, the largest tax increase ever. So the new “big coalition” actually returned to a typical traditional social-democratic policy.

Merkel was committed to building an international position for herself, which we would call globalist today. Among the like-minded politicians, she found Tony Blair and the Democratic Party Junior senator from Chicago, Barack Obama, who soon would gain a prominent profile in US and world affairs. When Obama proclaimed his presidential candidacy, he was supported by Merkel.  On June 24, 2008, Obama addressed 200,000 enthusiastic Germans in the Tiergarten, Berlin. The speech was held at the Siegessaule, a monument to German militarism and revanchism, moved to its present location by Albert Speer. Obama’s speech was broadcast in all the German state media such as ZDF and ARD. German TV and newspapers cheered over Obama as the ‘Anti-George Bush’. One paper called him the “New Messiah.” No German politician had used Siegessaule after the war for a public event. The monument was toxic, intended to celebrate Hitler when he had won the war.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Angela Merkel is her immunity to the political consequences of her decisions. Contrary to all promises, the cost of power has soared, yet this has not impacted her popularity. As to the 1.5 million migrants she has admitted, they haven’t budged the polls at all

In Barack Obama, Merkel had found a younger partner sharing her basic views about climate and social values, a man of mostly talk and little substance. Merkel increased the resources for a government-funded network, WBGU (Scientific Council to the Government, for Global Environmental Policy). The goal was set of a global transformation of the capitalist system in the ecological direction. The Germans on the board included Joachim Schellnhuber, Nebosja Nakicenovic, Ottmar Edenhofer and Claus Leggewie, all well -known to be left-wing.

In 2009, a conference was held in Essen ‘The Great Transformation’. In addition to German ministers, Obama’s Chief Councelor John Podesta and William Antholis from the Brookings Institution were in attendance. Lord Giddens, one of Tony Blair’s closest ideologists, was a speaker. The conference was about values ??and lifestyles in a globalized interdependent world – how governments through ‘nudge’ could reprogram their people’s brains to make them choose a ‘sustainible lifestyle’. The conference was summarized thus:

  • Decarbonization of the whole society, through use of renewable energy.
  • Implementation of the Öko-Soziale Markwirtschaft (a euphemism for a planed economy)
  • People should avoid using private cars, travel as little as possible.
  • A vegetarian lifestyle was proposed, proteins from insects are more sustainable than eating meat. Eat bugs.
  • Organize society more like ant heaps – it’s resilient.
  • It is doubtful if this vision of the future would be possible to implement in a democratic society. It would be necessary to consider appointing a global expert council who can make important long-term decisions without risking disturbances of short-term populist ideas.

The conference had 500 participants, including four ministers, but had almost no impact at all in the media. Only four journalists attended.

In the 2009 elections, the FPD (Free Democrat Liberal Party) won more than 15%, becoming the natural coalition partner for CDU, instead of the Social Democrats. The FDP had promised significant tax cuts and a reassessment of the former nuclear-decommissioning policy by 2022. They also wanted to limit wind and solar development because the exorbitant cost of subsidies (EEG). In 2000 it was claimed that the EEG would cost the typical household the equivalent to one scoop of ice cream per month, or 3.5 cents per kWh. Merkel promised not only that the EEG would not only not rise any further, it would be capped and subsequently lowered. That promise was false. Today, in 2017, the EEG is expected to cost about 6.88 cents per kWh. The total cost of Energiewende in Germany until 2030 is estimated at least EUR 1,000 billion. It seems to be an economic apocalypse. German households now, next to Denmark, have the world’s highest electricity costs. At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions have not decreased at all over the last three years. Fossil fuel power is always needed as back-up.

But renewable energy has created a new class of financial investors, the so-called ‘WindJunkers’, who earn amazing amounts from subsidies. This is possibly the largest transfer of money from households to a group of privileged investors in modern times. Merkel was a long time in favour of using nuclear power to save the climate, as Minister for the Environment and later Chancellor. So the government decided in 2010 to extend the use of nuclear power until the reactors were technically and economically depreciated. The nuclear industry was allowed to continue using the facilities against a significant charge on nuclear fuel, which would counteract supposedly unfair ‘super profits’.

In Spring, 2011, however, Japan was hit by the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the country, followed by a tsunami  that surged ashore and claimed 25,000 lives.  Then came the Fukushima nuclear meltdown and the world held its breath. As it happened, only two people died as a consequence of the accident and some radioactivity was released. Merkel realized that the dramatic TV images would influence the German popular opinion about nuclear power. On state television in Germany, Fukushima was presented as if the thousands of causualties were killed by the reactor accident, rather than the tsunamai. The government quickly convened an “ethics council”, consisting of church leaders and community scientists but no technicians, charging the panel with assessing if Germany should continue with nuclear power.

The outcome in the prevailing state of opinion was a given. Merkel quickly announced all reactors would be closed, the last to remain in operation no later than 2022, exactly as the red-green government had announced would happen way back in 2000. The vote was taken unanimously by all six parties in the Bundestag. The nuclear industry would have to continue to pay the new tax on nuclear fuel. The decision was popular among the Greens and Left, but hardly within the CDU Party. The German power industry initiated court proceedings, which the government lost in 2017. The Constitutional Court ruled that the charge was illegal, so the government ordered to return €6 billion to the power companies.

In connection with the urgent Euro crisis of 2010, Merkel took the lead to save the single currency. Her famous statement was “If the euro collapses, then the EU collapses.” The politicians conducted a number of rescue operations for Greece, Spain and Portugal. Merkel swore there was no alternative. She became known for the term Alternativlos. All commitments were guaranteed by the European Central Bank, where Germany’s share is 27%. This means that other central banks in Europe now owe Germany an amount of EUR 850 billion under the so-called TARGET 2 mechanism. This is money that returns zero interest and has no fixed amortization plan. Normally, this kind of non-performing debt would be considered worthless and be written off, according to Professor H.W. Sinn at the IFO Institute in Münich. He is one of Merkel’s sharpest critics on the Euro and the Energiewende.

The rescue of the weak EU countries by the ECB is completely contrary to what Helmuth Kohl promised the German electorate before the introduction of the euro in 1998. It would never ever be a debt union, he said, and the euro would be as strong as the D-Mark. This was guaranteed by the European Treaties and ECB charter. Several politicians in the Union parties complained to the Constitutional Court. It was also what triggered the political movement that became the new party Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), attracting some CDU members joined the new party.

The ECB also introduced a policy of negative interest rates, which was a hard hit to German savers and pensioners, whose savings are mostly in bank accounts and in bonds. Now the German government can borrow money and is paid interest by the capital market for the bonds. The ECB’s policy is based on an idea that has its roots in the radical political ideas prevailing in Germany after the end of the First World War. The Schwundgeld theory (“disappearing money”) is now applied by the ECB and Swiss National Bank. It was invented by Silvio Gesell, a fruit farmer without a formal education.  He was appointed as minister of finance and confiscation in the short-lived Bavarian Soviet republic of 1919. Another German economist, Gottfried Feder, one of the founders of the Nazi party had similar ideas about ban of interest on money.

German savers and retirees have lost around €300 billion in returns on their savings since 2012. During the 12 years of Merkel’s three coalitions, the government take of GPD has increased from 40% to 45%. The taxes and fees from households have been steeper, with only Belgium and Denmark having imposed higher tax burdens on their citizens.

THREE DECADES ago, in 1986, the GDR organized a refugee intake of Tamils ??from Sri Lanka. About 50,000 flew to East Berlin, where they could pass the Friedrichsstrasse border control into to West Berlin without any problem. This was a way to exert political pressure on the government Kohl, while at the same time getting hard currency.

In the winter of 2014, the EU Commission and the Obama regime decided to halve the contribution to UNHCR (UN Refugee Commission) operations in Iraq and Syria. The number of calories per refugee was reduced from 2800 to 1600 per day. A famine catastrophe threatened millions of people. They left refugee camps and began moving towards Europe. It created opportunities for windfall profits for human traffickers in Turkey, Greece and Italy.

A rational solution would have been to increase the appropriations for refugees in their home countries to the old level while strengthening the border guards in Italy and Greece to keep the Schengen border tight. Instead, Merkel opted for what is now known as ‘Welcome culture’ — a new term that captures what the Green Party had always wanted: open borders and  unlimited immigration. Germany has so far received 1.5 million migrants over 2015-16, with at least 100,000 arriving with no papers or dubious ones. According to a judgment in the Strasbourg European Court of Justice, the refugees are entitled to family reunification. Merkel’s spin doctors claimed many refugees were “qualified” immigrants – physicians, engineers and professionals – who would contribute to the German economy. The reality is otherwise,”unskilled shepherds” in the words of one critic, with many illiterate even in their native tongues.

It will be a hard putting these “New Germans” in meaningful work, but that is far from the only problem. The Constitutional Protection Agency (Secret Service) has reported there might be as many as 10,000 potential terrorists hidden among those immigrants. A retired judge of the Constitutional Court, Udo Di Fabio, has stated in a legal analysis prepared for the Bavarian authorites that the federal government violated the law,as the new arrivals identities had not been verified.

Yet none of this has diminished Angela Merkel’s standing, with the polls say she is favoured by some 50% of the population. How could this be? Merkel’s predecessor Dr Helmuth Kohl was constantly under siege from the media. He was demoted and declared incompetent until the 1990 reunification. After that, Kohls’s popularity began to drop again. To understand this, look no further than the media, very much Merkel’s ally.

In GDR, journalists were regarded as soldiers of the revolution. The Leipzig Journalist College was known as “The Red Monastery” and that mindset would appear not to have changed very much after unification. According to Manfred Güllner from the Forsa Institute, about 36% of German journalists sympathize with the Green Party, Social Democrats have 26%, the Free Democratic Party 10% and the CDU 9%. The balance of their sympathies is distributed among different extremist left-wing parties. In radio and television, state media ADR and ZDF dominate the ether with a clear left-wing agenda. Here we can really talk about journalists as ideological soldiers in the ether. As with journalists throughout the West, they are group-thinkers and exponents of political correctness, meaning Merkel has largely escaped consistent critical journalism. In addition, traditional newspapers are shrinking, their business plans are failing and they must increasingly depend on government assistance. Obviously, this does not encourage dispassionate analysis and commentary.  This makes “old media” increasingly dependent on the state.

Merkel has been the great beneficiary. It is not an edifying thought, but when Germans vote on September 24, it looks very much as if Merkel will win at a canter. The Great Transformation will go on!

Autorenkollektiv is a writer’s syndicate based in Switzerland. These reports were prepared for publication in English by David Archibald

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The biological extinction of Europeans

The biological extinction of Europeans  From Sputnik news, 31 July 2017

Some European countries, namely Italy, Germany, France and the UK, are facing the so-called “substitution of nations,” where the national ethnical majority is disappearing physically and biologically, and is being substituted by migrants, according to a recent report. Sputnik Italy discussed the issue with Daniele Scalea, the author of the report.

The recent report of the Italian-based Machiavelli Center of Political and Strategic Studies (Centro studi politici e strategici Machiavelli), “How immigration is changing Italian demographics” has revealed that a number of European countries are facing the “biological and physical extinction” of their national ethnicities.

Ethnic majorities in such countries as Italy, Germany, France and the UK, are gradually turning into ethnic minorities, while being “substituted” by incoming migrants.

Migration is drastically changing the habitual course of life in Italy, he told Sputnik. The reason for the influx of African migrants into Europe is not wars or catastrophes, but an explosive demographic increase on the African continent, from 9 percent to 25 percent of the global population throughout the last century.

While Europe, which accounted for over a fifth of the entire world population in 1950 (22 percent), is expected to make up just 7 percent of the world population in the year 2050, the percentage of the African population will make a sweeping rise from 9 percent to 40 percent.

Italy’s fertility rate is less than half of what it was in 1964, the analyst explained in his report. It has dropped from 2.7 children per woman to just 1.5 children per woman currently, a figure well below the replacement level for zero population growth of roughly 2.1 children per woman.
As of the first half of this year, Italy had over 5 million foreigners living as residents, a remarkable 25 percent growth relative to 2012 and a whopping 270 percent since 2002. At that time, foreigners made up just 2.38 percent of the population while 15 years later the figure has nearly trebled to 8.33 percent of the population.

Moreover, even the children being born in Italy are overrepresented by immigrants, whose birthrate is considerably higher than native Italians, the study revealed. It is “unsurprising,” therefore, that Italian regions with the highest fertility rates are no longer in the south, as was usual the case, but in the Italian north and in the Lazio region, where there is a higher concentration of immigrants.

If current trends continue, by 2065, first- and second-generation immigrants will exceed 22 million persons, or more than 40 percent of Italy’s total population.

By comparison, it was only in the not far-off 2001 that the percentage of foreigners living in Italy crossed the low threshold of 1 percent, which reveals the speed and magnitude of demographic change occurring in Italy, a phenomenon “without precedent” in Italy’s history, the study asserts.

An added concern brought forward by the report is the high concentration of immigrant populations from just a few countries of origin, which has often resulted elsewhere in the formation of “closed, homogeneous communities that fail to integrate with their host society,” or what Pope Francis has termed “ghettoization.”

“Traditionally, African migration took place only within the continent, in other words, Africans have been migrating from one African country to another. However for the past decade, there has been a tendency to migrate outside the continent,” Daniele Scalea told Sputnik.

He further explained that it happens due to sweeping demographic growth on the continent (from 9 percent to 25 percent of the global population.) The migrants have more financial (money for long-distance travel) and cultural (ability to evaluate their chances and become participants of more developed economies) opportunities, which enable them to search for a better life in Europe and not in a neighboring African country.

There are certain reasons why the streams of migrants are pouring into Europe: Europe is rich, it is easy to reach and its population is aging fast, thus young Africans are able to find their place among aging Europeans with low fertility rates.

Unfortunately, Italy is not alone in its demographic turmoil. Extrapolating from current trends, British citizens will no longer be the majority of the population in the United Kingdom around 2065.

In Germany today, 36 percent of children under five are born to immigrant parents, which presages a significant demographic shift in the next generation in that country as well. France is also in a similar situation.

“We are witnessing what I would call a “substitution of nations.” Ethnic majorities are becoming minorities in their own countries, physically disappearing, and it disturbs the native population,” Daniele Scalea told Sputnik.

“The European peoples will soon get anxious about this issue, as we are currently witnessing their physical and biological extinction. Europeans don’t have many children, and thus there are more and more people of other nationalities in Europe,” he explained.

The idea of multiculturalism partially facilitates this process. Migration has always been welcomed in Italy and it was hard to find a community where all the people had come from the same country. The situation however is changing now. The top 10 foreign ethnicities in Italy make up more than 60 percent if the total number of migrants.

France, Germany and the UK are in a similar situation. Turkish migrants dominate in Germany,

Pakistanis – in the UK, Algerians – in France. The Italian society will soon consist of different communities, each with its own culture, rules and ways of existence. It will ruin the Italian society.

“There are only two ways of development. If we continue with the policies of the leftists, by viewing as positive the idea of multiculturalism and the erosion of national native ethnicities, the European civilization will cease to exist and Europe will become a territory, occupied by various ethnicities, which belong to various civilizations,” the analyst explained to Sputnik.

However there is another way: radically reconsider the migration policy, ban the entrance of migrants into Europe and toughen the assimilation of those who have already come.

This will prevent migrants from residing only with their compatriots and speaking only their native language, without assimilating into the European society. Migrants should learn the language of their country of residence and acknowledge the fundamental European values. This will enable them to become real Italians, Germans and French, Daniele Scalea concluded.

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About Peter Senior

I'm a very experienced and pragmatic management consultant. I've reviewed and led the restructuring of many organisations - large and small corporations and Government Departments, much of the time as President of the New Zealand Institute of Management Consultants. Before that I was General Manager of a major NZ newspaper; earlier, an analyst for IBM UK. I gained an honours degree in engineering at London University, and studied management at Cambridge University. This wide range of experience has left me frustrated: I continue to see too many examples of really bad management. Sometimes small easily fixed issues; sometimes fundamental faults; and sometimes really tricky problems. Mostly these issues can be fixed using a mixture of common sense, 'management 101' and applying lessons from years of management experience. Unfortunately, all too often, politics, bureaucracy and daft government regulations get in the way; internal factors such as poor culture and out-of-date strategies are often evident. So what's gone wrong, and why, and most importantly, how to fix 'it'? I hope there are like-minded people 'out there' who will share their thoughts enabling 'us' to improve some significant management failures that affect the general public. If you just accept bad management, you don't have the right to complain! If you'd like to share thoughts on any aspects of management, send me an email to petersenior42@gmail.com . My latest project has the interim title 'You’ve been conned. Much of what you were taught and read is largely irrelevant, misleading or plain wrong – this is the REAL story of life: past, present and our possible future.' The working paper so far comprises 105 pages, many listing references and interim conclusions. The main problem is finding sufficient credible evidence, and realising the more Iearn, the more I realise I don't know!
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