The Third of October

3 10 2018

Munich;  Berlin

October 3 is to Germans what July 4 is to Americans.

The process known colloquially as “German reunification” was formally and legally consummated 28 years ago today.  Which must have meant that Oktoberfest 1990 was really special.

I was in the seventh grade for the most part when it all went down, though the final events of German reunification happened in the first month of my eighth grade.

It all started almost a year before, on October 7, 1989, on the “celebration” of the 40th anniversary of East Germany (“40-Jahre DDR”).  Erich Honecker and Nicolae Ceaușescu were both there, among many other commies.  Little could either of them know that, eleven days later, the former would be out of a job, and eighty days later, the latter would be out of a life.  Anyway, that evening, protests in East Berlin and other then-East German cities, including (and this should sound familiar) Chemnitz, then known as Karl-Marx-Stadt, started rolling the snowball downhill.  And you know most of the rest.  While the DDR technically lived to see 40, it would not live to see 41.  And to show you how fast things can move, a wall that was extant and militarized on October 7, 1989 came crumbling down so fast, both figuratively and literally, that supposed pieces of it were on sale at Famous-Barr locations in St. Louis that Christmas shopping season, though even then and even at the age of twelve, I figured the turnaround was too soon, and those pieces for sale were fake.

One of the forgotten elements to the history of German reunification is what happened in March 1990.  Then, the DDR held the only open elections in its history, and of course the East German CDU won handily, installing what turned out to be a placeholder Prime Minister to negotiate the DDR’s part for reunification, he being an heir to a long time Franco-Prussian Huguenot family.  Even before then, from 1949 to 1989, political parties other than the East German Socialist Unity Party, the one party of the one party state, technically did exist, the East German CDU was one of them, it’s just that they weren’t permitted any legislative power based on a “constitutional technicality” (cough cough).  Anyway, that was one of the things that made reunification as a legal and diplomatic process much easier.

Also, one of the things that made reunification easier is that, legally speaking, German reunification wasn’t really reunification.  Like I wrote above, “German reunification” is a colloquial term.  Legally, what happened is that the entity colloquially called “East Germany,” legally the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), abolished itself, and its territory joined the entity colloquially called “West Germany,” legally the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, and then that enlarged country became colloquially called “Germany” but legally with the same name.  Along with the March 1990 elections, what helped that process was a provision (“Article 23”) in the BRD (though that acronym was and still is largely frowned upon) Basic Law (constitution) that permitted territory to “ascend to observing the Basic Law” (i.e. joining the BRD) with a simple majority vote in both the existing BRD and the new territory.  And that did indeed happen.

But it was a little more complicated than that.  West Berlin, during the wall and curtain days, was associated with West Germany, but never legally part of it.  Reunification meant that the West Berlin territory and residents also “ascended to observing the Basic Law” formally, and then it and the former East Berlin were combined to form the city-state of Berlin within the suddenly larger BRD.  Speaking of Berlin, when the Berlin Wall fell, I thought that it was a gimme that Germany would reunify and the capital would move back to Berlin.  While the reunification part was an easy layup, and while the capital was eventually moved back to Berlin, that part was not the gimme that it seemed it would have been in November 1989.  In reality, the proposal was very contentious, it was a close vote in the reunified Bundestag, and on top of that, it was not an instantaneous process (did not happen formally until 1999), and it was not a consummate process, as most of the BRD bureaucratic and administrative functions that were in Bonn during the West Germany days did not move, stayed there, and are still there to this day.  Which means that it was simply more or less moving the legislative capital in terms of elected Federal politicians back to Berlin, but little else.  Not to mention other government offices that were spread around West Germany in cities other than Bonn, including one you know, the Supreme Court in Karlsruhe.

One other issue that had to be ironed out before reunification is that, since West Germany and Poland never shared a border, only East Germany and Poland did, the BRD had to accept the Oder-Neisse Line as the permanent eastern boundary between what suddenly became a larger BRD and Poland.  Also, the provision of the Basic Law used to add the DDR to the BRD, Article 23, was amended such that it excluded any legal possibility of adding territory under Article 23 from east of the O-N Line.  Eventually, Article 23 was totally eliminated and replaced with some EU mumbo jumbo, which means legally speaking, Germany cannot add any more territory.  Which is just as well, because just about all of what used to be Germany but isn’t anymore was ethnically cleansed decades ago.  The only one that wasn’t was the Alsace, but if it ever comes to be where the Alsace is not part of France anymore, it will become an independent state instead of part of Germany again.  Especially since much of the EU is planted in Strasbourg.

In the years since reunification, we came to find out that the then Israeli PM, Yitzhak Shamir, in addition to being publicly opposed to German reunification out of spite and “principle,” (i.e. hatred of Germans), he tried to do a whole lot behind the scenes to prevent it.  Margaret Thatcher, who never expressed a public opinion on the matter, also tried to prevent it behind the scenes.  Mainly because of Britain’s long standing policy of seeing to it that no single entity on the continent ever becomes that powerful.  Even though through 1990 she was standing on shaky political ground in her own country, which was not apparent to the rest of the world until November when she resigned as PM.  Gorby was too busy trying to save the dying Soviet Union to care.  So what made the difference?  One of the few really positive things he ever did — George H. W. Bush was whole hog in favor of reunification, and of course he was Commander-in-Chief of by far the biggest piece on that chess board.  The Bush family itself being mostly of mixed English-German heritage.  That is, until Jeb! married that bowling ball, bringing that something-something into the woodpile.  Besides, the Vice-President behind “Tear Down This Wall” couldn’t have said no.

Advertisements




Muh Slabry Problem — And Ours

19 07 2018

Philadelphia

This has made me think of something.

Team Social Justice can’t get its story or narrative straight on American slavery.

On the one hand, it was so horrible, that the farther and farther away we get from its abolition, the worse and worse its effects are on black babies’ bodies.  That whole “muh ongoing legacy” thingy.  And also, Ta Coates and reparations.

On the other hand, public visual-spatial reminders that slavery ever existed cannot be permitted, because triggering, microaggressions, trauma, Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder.

Combine the two, and what do you get?

We’re supposed to hate something that we’re not allowed to see ever existed.

As far as that goes, slavery is the new (or old) Haven Monahan.





The Most Special Fulfilling Day of My Life

17 06 2018

Wittenberg, Germany

I said I wasn’t going to write any posts while on the trip.

But, today has been…well, you read the title.  A real red letter day in my life.  So I’m using some of my precious hostel WiFi time tonight, (it’s after 10:30 PM in Germany and the entire CEDT zone as I write this), to tell you all.

By pure luck, coincidence, or maybe something otherworldly at work, the itinerary got us here to Wittenberg on a Sunday.  Which means you can probably figure out where we went to church this morning, and which other church we spent some time in early this afternoon.  In contrast to last Sunday, when I was in another city on the Elbe River, downstream, that being Hamburg, when and where I thought the better of actually attending any church in that city.  Even though one of Hamburg’s church steeples was for a short time the world’s tallest man-made structure.

Of course we saw what are probably the most famous church doors in all of world history.  And you know?  Upon a very close look, I could swear I saw some half millennium old glue residue.

I became upset when I wasn’t able to return to mental functional coherence in time fully to appreciate the observed 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses, that being October 31, 2017;  As you know, it wouldn’t be for another two weeks until I got well enough for something like that.  But, this makes up for it, and then some, and then some, and then some, and then some, and then some.  It’s still the 500 years (plus some change) year, so I’ll score that as a win for myself.

Surreal…supernatural…soul-shaking…not powerful enough words to describe the impact of this day on me.

Today was the first of three whole days here in what I call the “Luther Region,” including Wittenberg, obviously, but also Dessau-Roblau, Leipzig, Halle, Eisleben, and other nearby towns important to Luther lore.  Near Leipzig, we’ll be making an ironic visit to another important but more recent German historical figure.

And because of that, we’re surely going to visit Worms once we make our way back around to the other side of the country.  Because I’m on a diet.

***

Of course, anything any churches in this town had going on late this afternoon and into the evening was canceled, because Germany’s first World Cup game was this evening, which of course we watched from a beer hall.  We happen to be in a soccer crazy country, whose national team is a favorite to win the World Cup, (in fact, Germany won it four years ago), during the time of the World Cup, which means God Himself has to take a back burner for ninety minutes of clock time.

The atmosphere in the beer hall during the game was, to say the very least, spirited and raucous.  To put it accurately, it got me so charged up that I had half a notion to invade the Sudetenland.  By comparison, a ‘Bama crowd in a Birmingham sports bar on an autumn Saturday night would seem like an overnight at a retirement home.  I hardly like soccer, but I don’t think I’ve never had so much fun doing something I don’t like.

Obviously the only downer to this late afternoon was that Germany lost the game.

I just wish Germans would quit outsourcing their patriotism to soccer.  Though I’m a fine one to talk — I come from a country whose native born white people outsource their patriotism to the football team that represents the nearest land grant university, and to Israel.  Stones, glass houses, n’est pas?

Yet and still, that was just some very nice icing on the cake to this day.

I wonder who the American media were rooting for. Did they want Germany to win, because Angela Merkel hearts immigrants and refugees, in order to spite Trump? Or did they want Mexico to win, because of immigrants, and media members’ undocumented nannies and housekeepers, in order to spite Trump?

I’m also surprised that in the Moscow stadium where this game was played, that there were way many more Mexico fans than I would have thought, maybe even a majority of the house. Moscow, not being that far from Germany, you would have thought 99% of the stadium would have been Germans. Mexico, by contrast, is not that prosperous of a country, on the other side of the world. Perhaps most of the Mexico crowd at the stadium are well to do Mexican-Americans?

***

Yesterday, which was our third and final day in Der Hauptstadt, was also very special.  Here, I’m going to have to be way more coy, because of all the flies on the wall.  Let’s just say I met important people, who hooked me up with meeting more important people, and came away with two important recent German language political books autographed by the author.  I will only fill in the blanks for those of you who I know and trust.

And yes, I’ve been paying attention to the political upheaval happening under my nose, literally under my nose, for three days, because it’s all been going down in Berlin.  While it was on the top of Drudge most of the weekend, and a big story in the world media, the German media are treating it as only the second most important story going, not quite as important as…you guessed it.

Angela Merkel is really on the ropes, and could join the ranks of Der Arbeitslose by next week. Mainly because of the instability within her own party-coalition, the CDU-CSU.

The root cause of all this is the very tenuous red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-sienna-peach-mauve-magenta-fuchsia-apricot-navy-grape-pink-teal-pine-black-lemon-brown-burgundy-aquamarine coalition that it took to return Merkel to power. Of course, all that was a function of trying to string together a string bean coalition of everyone-but-AfD. At first, it worked, kinda, even after a false start. But the constant threat to such arrangements is that they are houses of cards, and have all the stability of them. Just don’t anyone in the whole country let out a big hard sneeze. And that’s just what the new Interior Minister, who is Bavarian, and leads the CSU, did.

I’d like to claim credit for what looks to be the end of Merkel’s political career, just because I happen to be in-country and was in-city. But I don’t think I’d even eat my own dog food.

BUT…

Reality check time:

Going forward, unless the “untouchable” AfD either falls off the map, or attains an absolute majority of the vote, those two extremes seem to be unlikely in the relatively near future, or one of the “mainstream” parties works up the courage to call on the AfD, also unlikely, considering this is the country that is seriously mulling throwing out the American ambassdor, Richard Grennell, because he openly supports a neighboring country’s head of government (Sebastian Kurz in Austria) only because Kurz worked up the courage to call on Austria’s AfD-style pop-nat-right parties and factions, and the German political class interprets that as Grennell telegraphing/dog-whistling support for the AfD domestically, (which he denies in public), then German politics are going to be stuck on Groundhog Day for quite some time to come. Government falls apart, new elections, AfD gets a significant percentage, but nowhere near a majority, “mainstream” parties agree to nervous string bean rainbow color coalitions to box out the AfD, the agreement lasts about as long as a snowball in hell, government falls apart, new elections, lather rinse repeat.

Another issue is that if Merkel is ousted this week, then who?  While the CDU-CSU could pick a new leader, he or she would probably not be acceptable to the other parties in the rainbow coalition.  But the only kind of person that they would accept, because that person would be the new head of government, wouldn’t be acceptable to the CDU-CSU.  Which means, new elections, but back on the Mobius Loop.  Groundhog Day.

Long and short is that German politics are stuck with her. They can’t live with her, and they can’t live without her.

***

To give you a halftime report, and thanks to the fact that I have along with me a heavily marked up on its way to being even more marked up road atlas of Germany and surrounding countries (*) I bought off of some obese French ghost who also sold me the tires on my car that I may never get to drive again, I’ll just state here which cities and towns we’ve spent significant time in so far, not counting the ones we’ve just passed through:

Frankfurt -> Bonn -> Cologne -> Dusseldorf -> Moers -> Venlo, Netherlands -> Duisburg -> Essen -> Dortmund -> Munster -> Osnabruck -> Oldenburg -> Bremen -> Hamburg -> Hannover -> Braunschweig -> Wolfsburg -> Helmstedt (i.e. the old BRD-DDR border Charlie Checkpoint) -> Magdeburg -> Brandenburg -> Potsdam -> Berlin -> Frankfurt (Oder) -> Slubice, Poland -> Rzepin, Poland -> Berlin -> Luther Region

You won’t get a full report and travelogue until we get home.  But, make sure you check out my Minds feed, where I’ve been teasing everyone with more frequent updates.

***

(*) – Including something called “Benelux.”  I bought it back at home, to make sure I have a version where English is one of the languages, (this particular one is in six languages), and to avoid what I knew would be a much higher price for the same atlas here in Germany, where most everything is significantly more expensive, sometimes way more expensive — But that’s for the travelogue.  Back to the point:  Benelux?  Doesn’t one vacuum one’s carpets and rugs with a Benelux?  Then I looked it up, and it’s a portmanteau of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, and in fact, the three countries have a political union of the same name, very similar to the Visegrad Group, one of the countries in that group I’m making my way towards and will be in for several days.  Yet and still, would it have killed the obese French ghost to print “Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg” instead of the portmanteau which almost nobody has heard of?  Also, this atlas contains the Czech Republic, which I’m headed to, but indicates it as “Czechia.”  Which may be grammatically correct, but it’s easy to confuse it with Chechnya, which of course is not a country, even though people of a certain peaceful religion want it to be.





Hate Crime

22 05 2018

Cool, right?

Not so fast.

The map is in the Mercator projection, which SJWs today inform us is a form of hate speech.





FDR Head Spin

30 04 2018

Washington, D.C.

Because nothing says “indifference to the plight of the Jews” like fighting and helping to defeat and topple Hitler.

And why was FDR so “indifferent?”

Because he defended what was at the time American immigration policy and the intellectual rationale behind it.  Which of course, on its face, has everything to do with Jews qua Jews, unless it doesn’t.

And also, he had some subordinate draw up a bunch of maps involving moving people around based on purely an intellectual and academic exercise.

Nothing in here about FDR’s administration engaging in residential redlining, much to the disappointment of Ta Coates.  But…

Roosevelt also expressed the opinion that “for a good many years to come European immigration should remain greatly restricted,” and that “foreigners” who had congregated in large American cities should be encouraged to disperse into the heartland.

“Encouraged to disperse into the heartland” is such a scandalous mentality?  It seems to me that all FDR needed to do was to call this policy proposal Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, and this very slick would be praising him for it today.  Ironically, FDR’s redlining is cited as one of the reasons why we needed to do AFFH.

One more thing:  If moving people around and dispersing people along ethnic lines and on ethnic grounds is so horrible, Jews, then give back your Israel, because a whole lot of that had to be done to create Israel and to make it a successful Jewish state.

We should also remember that FDR was the President who surrounded himself with a whole lot of Jews in his New Deal brain trust, which had the effect of finalizing the Jewish long march through the American institutions.

Why do I get the feeling that FDR is about to become Robert E. Lee-ized?  Why do I sense that Official Amurrika is about to throw him under the bus?





Give Peace a Chance

23 04 2018

Jefferson City

“Denounce the Dred Scott decision.”

That’s right, they better do that, and find a peaceful resolution to this slavery question.  Because if they don’t, we run the risk of a war breaking out that might have as many as 750,000 casualties, in order to settle this and related political questions, and if the anti-slavery side wins the war, then there will be Constitutional amendments followed by legislation followed by a military occupation of the part of the country whose governing elites are economically dependent on slavery, in order to repudiate the curious institution once and for all.

Isn’t a meaningless state legislative resolution a century and a half after the fact preferable to all these horrors?





History Is History

13 04 2018

New York City

In modern official Amurrika, the official history canon is all about:

(1) Slavery
(2) Apartheid
(3) Jim Crow and Segregation
(4) The Holocaust

Therefore, I have a really hard time believing that the headline is true.  Virtually all of said individuals spent thirteen years, and many spent another four, hearing nothing but these four things.