In his speech to the German Parliament in Berlin the Pope claimed that the Nazis took Gernany to “the edge of the abyss”. He used Nazi Germany as an example of “power divorced from right”. He said it was when the state became “an instrument for destroying right”. He labelled the Nazis a “band of criminals”.

During his 4 day visit he warned that Germans are growing apathetic and giving priority to utilitarian concerns. 30% of 80 million Germans are Catholics, but the numbers are shrinking. He implied that bad things happened to Germany when it turned its back on religion, i. e. the Nazis.

This is a twentieth century perspective following World War I. But what about the 30 Years’ War? What about the time when German Catholics and Protestants murdered each other? Worse things have been done in the name of religion than Heinrich Himmler would dream of.

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Pope Benedict XVI is arriving in Germany today for a whirlwind tour of Berlin, Erfurt, and Freiberg. For his speech in Berlin’s old Olympic stadium, seating 70,000, the tickets are sold out. He plans to hold services at the fairgrounds in Frieburg near the airport. He has told the Germans that this is not religious tourism or show. His motto is” where God is there is the future”.

Supposedly 30% of Germany’s 80 million citizens are Catholics. But the Catholic population is declining, a decline it is the goal of his papacy to reverse.

This pope who was once conscripted by the Nazis has a difficult road to pursue. Europe’s Catholics were dealt a blow by World War I almost a century ago as were all relgions and traditional philosophies. Hitler was raised as an Austrian Catholic, but his life changed after his time in the trenches. He founded National Socialism, which didn’t espouse any religion.

Since World War II more and more Germans have become non-religious. We will see what Pope Benedict can do.

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When the U.S. debt was downgraded it didn’t create a ripple. Investors flocked to treasury bonds and the yields fell to record lows. But when Italy’s debt was downgraded to A by S&P, Berlusconi lashed out at them. Their yield on 10 year bonds rose to 5.67%. There were calls for Berlusconi to resign. The ECB, which recently has been buying Italian and Spanish bonds, has warned Rome that they can count on this kind of support only for a time. It’s not permanent.

If Germany’s debt were downgraded — a fantastical scenario considering German attitudes about debt — investors would no doubt continue to flock to the bund. It’s the political realties of the situation that matter most — not the financial. The world-wide bond market is founded on U.S. solvency. That’s the absolute standard. If the U.S. didn’t pay its debt, we’d probably have World War III. And Europe’s standard is Germany. It’s the country that the EU and the euro depends upon.

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Germans put Germany first. 76% of them are opposed to expanding the EU bailout fund because Germany would have to pay the largest share. So ingrained is this thinking that Philip Rosler, the deputy chancellor and head of the FDP, the Free Democratic Party, has improved his poll numbers lately by making noises that they should stop bailing out Ireland, Portugal, and Greece.

As the September 29 vote in Parliament about the expansion of the bailout fund nears, Rosler speaks out against it more and more. He hopes that rebel conservatives from Merkel’s own party will join him.

Germans don’t like to think internationally. They like to think of their own country apart from any other place. It’s sort of like American Isolationism, but it operates differently. And it’s not moderated by Anglo ideas about liberating the world and raising them to the British level of civilization as a moral duty.

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Greece held an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday to plannew cuts and measures. Evangelos Venizelos said he would pass more budget cuts to satisfy the Troika. But he acted like a typical Greek and proclaimed that Greece was being “threatened and humiliated” by the Troika. They keep demanding that Greece fire more and more public workers. He even said that Greece was being made a “scapegoat”.

Wolfgang Schauble had no sympathy. He took a technical approach and said that Greece wouldn’t get the next quarterly payment of aid, amounting to 8 billion dollars, if they didn’t meet their budget targets.

This shows the great differences between Greeks and Germans. They haven’t gotten any less since World War II.

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Elections in Berlin today are supposed to garner a 20% vote for the Green Party. It’s growing so popular in Germany that in 2013 the Greens and the Social Democrats hope to oust Merkel and the Conservatives. Merkel herself even has plans to form a coalition with the Greens. Already she has ordered all the nuclear plants in Germany closed in the wake of the earthquake in Japan.

The Greens platform of environmentalism, peace, rights for consumers, women, and minorities has proved a winning combination for post World War II Germans.

Their defeat in the last war has left Germans in an opium smoker’s land where they refuse to have anything to do with their own defense. Hitler would have found them emasculated. They think of themselves as older and wiser.

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The U.S. Treasury Secretary has castigated the Europeans at a conference in Wroclaw, Poland. He says they ought to get it together and increase the size of their bailout fund. Otherwise it can’t handle the job of bailing out Greece and potentially Italy.

But what the U.S.A. doesn’t understand is that the Euro Zone is not the United States of Europe. The 17 member countries are not like states in the U.S.A. There is no one central political and economic authority that can make policy. Germany is nearing the end of its patience with Greece. Most Germans won’t support increasing the bailout fund and paying additional taxes. They don’t feel any affinity with the Greeks.

Remember that Europe is still operating in the shadow of World War II. That’s all that needs to be said.

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Supposedly this week for the first time ever European heads of state and officials are considering issuing Euro Bonds. They’re promoting it as a way to lower borrowing costs for most of the members of the EU. But it will never happen.

Historically no country like Germany that is one of the four big economies of the world will take a voluntary downgrade to be a do-gooder for the other Euro Zone members. It will not stop issuing bunds, which is the safe haven investment of Europe, just so Greece can have lower borrowing costs — for a time. Naturally if Germany kept it up and sacrificed its economy for the common good, in the long run it would harm everybody. There would no safe haven. It’s economy would lose momentum, and everybody in Europe would need bailed out.

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European companies are turning to America for loans as the Greek credit crisis deepens. The French bank, Societe General, had its credit rating downgraded to AA3 with a negative outlook because it was embroiled with Greek loans. BP, British Petroleum, and mid-size companies are avoiding France because of the crisis.

U.S. banks have much cash to loan out. Up until now they haven’t been making many loans because of the 2008 meltdown. Even the ECB is pumping dollars into the Euro Zone.
This is all reminiscent of the end of World War II. Europe looked to America to turn it into the United States of Europe. That was the new model for the world. Apparently they are still looking towards us to set the mess straight.

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Germany doesn’t like Greece to be unpredictable. Merkel said that was one reason why they couldn’t allow Greece to have a messy default. It couldn’t be controlled and no one would know what would happen. It might start a dangerous domino effect and cause an unravelling of the euro. Not only Greece would default but other countries such as Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and maybe even Italy. So it’s up to the Euro Zone to work with Greece to prevent the first default.

Merkel even rebuked her Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, for saying that maybe they should let Greece go. She also disagreed with the Free Democrats who said they ought to start an insolvency procedure for Greece. Needless to say she rejected the ideas of the Conservative Bavarian Party that insisted Greece be thrown out of the Euro Zone.

Merkel thinks that unity, not disunity, is the key to advancing Germany’s interests.

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