In two respects Hitler was ahead of his time — he was a nonsmoker and a vegetarian. Germany is, too, over 66 years after his death in the Fuhrer Bunker in Berlin. But now Germany is paying for it with the scare about E-coli in lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bean sprouts.

In his day Hitler was lectured to by all and sundry all over Germany. He was told that he should eat more meat. It was good for him, but he merely smiled and continued to eat eggs and potatoes along with vegetable concoctions prepared by his chefs and dieticians that he hired to serve him. Martin Bormann, who controlled nearly all access to the Dictator in the last years of his life, planted a vegetable garden on the Obersaltzberg near the Berghof, Hitler’s country estate.

In those days Germans were meat and potatoes people. They would be puzzled by the article in the Monday, June 6 Wall Street Journal, “Hamburg Restaurants Just Say No To Vegetables”, talking about what a financial hardship the current scare is for the food business in northern Germany. You’d think that Germans had been piling lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers on top of their meat and cheese sandwiches forever to hear how the vegetable deprivation is affecting restaurant sales. Apparently German farmers are losing 30 million euros/week in sales. The Cafe Knuth in Hamburg has reduced its offerings by one half because one half of them were vegetables!

Hitler would be astonished at just how much the people he ruled over in the 30’s and 40’s have changed. But he would join in their lament about the lack of edible vegetables.

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Adolf Hitler, the vegetarian

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Port of Hamburg

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Prime Minister Angela Merkel called Prime Minister Zapatero on Friday to suggest that they both ask the EU for aid for their farmers, affected adversely by the recent E-Coli outbreak. Germany, Portugal, and Sapin plan to presne their case. Millions of euros are being lost as vegetables sit rotting and uneaten in a ban that affects all lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and now as of Sunday, June 4 bean sprouts.

Granted that the outbreak has been traced to a farm in Lower Saxony. Granted that Spanish cucumbers are not the cause of it. Granted that there have been 1733 cases so far in Germany and even 4 in the United States traced to tourists who just returned from Germany. True that there are cases in 11 other European countries according to the European center For Disease Control in Stockholm, Sweden and that this is the worst outbreak in living memory.

But Germany is putting a political face on this and playing along with being “just one of the other kids on the block” of European states. This is how they plan to finesse a greater union of Germany and the other states. But don’t kid yourself. Germany’s still in charge (witness how Merkel was the one who had to do the calling and suggest the plan), especially when it comes to financial matters.

In order to be ipolitically correct Germany must ask itself for aid.

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Angela Merkel

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Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg Prime Minister and the President of the European Group Council of the Euro Zone Finance Ministers, met with the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, on Friday. He announced that the Euro Zone countries would provide the extra aid to Greece in the form of loans. The IMF chimed in by agreeing that Athens would get in July the next installment of last year’s bailout money.

This is obviously a carefully crafted political compromise meant to conceal the real conflicts underneath. Juncker hinted at what could impede further progress after this summer by insisting that there must be involvement by Greece’s “private sector creditors” — which, of course, it doesn’t have and can’t have until it institutes major reforms. And that’s why the Greeks are still taking to the streets.

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Greek riots

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Jean-Claude Trichet, European Central Bank President, who calls himself a “true European”, gave a speech accepting the Charlemagne Prize for European Unity. He proposed a “deeper intervention” in the economies of struggling countries such as Greece and praised the idea of a “fiscal union” instead of merely a “currency union”. This would give leading countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Finland “veto power” over sloppy budgets proposed by such countries as Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland.

Of course what’s he’s prosing is a greater political unity which he terms, as many have before him, “the United States of Europe”.

This is not a new idea. Alexander started it. Caesar perfected it. Charlemagne, the emperor for whom the prize is named, achieved it once more in the Middle Ages. Centuries after that Napoleon dreamed of it. And even the unsuccessful Adolf Hitler had vaguely romantic notions back in the 1930’s when he nicknamed his train, “Amerika”.

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Greek Protests Turn Violent

The German taxpayers don’t want to be left holding the bag. The Greeks don’t want to lose their coveted government jobs in a country totally dependent upon them. The IMF wants assurances that Greece can make it through the next two years before it releases its next slice of previously agreed upon aid. The German government says, through Wolfgang Schauble, that there should be a “reprofiling” of the Greek debt, making Greek bond holders share some of the responsibility by agreeing to take payment later. But the European Central Bank warns that this policy will lead to a domino effect, causing panic in other pig countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Ireland and will also lead to the closing of Greek banks.

No one can agree. Politicians and economists are at each other’s throats. But the bottom line is that the twelve-year-old currency, the euro, must be saved at all costs. At the end of the squabbling an agreement must be reached. Germans will probably have to shoulder the burden and pay more money in loans to Greece that will probably never be repaid.

Why can’t the Greeks grow up? Why can’t they reform their society, sell off government assets to businesses, collect more taxes, and cut spending to the bone? Maybe Americans can be excused for such naivette, but Europeans must know better. Saying that the Greeks should act more like the Germans and should imitate Germany’s sale of East German assets during the 1990’s to private businesses, is like whistling Dixie. East Germany was in Soviet hands for only forty-five years after World War II. Greece was in Ottoman Turkish hands for hundreds of years. And Greece has not until now been independent for thousands of years — since Roman times, in fact.

To say Greeks should be like Germans is like fighting history.

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Germany agreed to an uneasy political compromise today, pushing off dealing with the Greek debt until at least July, if not later this summer. That way it does not have to deal with the future of its ideas of an economic empire right now, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal

The Germans aren’t going to push immediately to have a rescheduling of the Greek debt. They aren’t urging Greece for now to tell its bond holders that it will pay them at a later date. For now the IMF will get assurances that Greece will get the money it needs for the next two years so that American-made institution can release its next slug of funds due under the original bailout.

The Greeks themselves seem to hardly notice the hastily put together, temporary compromise to avoid a blow up before July. They continue to protest for the sixth straight day. Professors walk off the job because they weren’t yet paid. Some universities don’t have enough paper.

Germany and Greece are worlds apart. But at least now the worlds won’t collide this summer.

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Greek protestors

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Adolf Hitler with Blondi

Most Americans think of Adolf Hitler, the Chancellor of Germany during the Third Reich, as a mad carpet-eater. They watch the black-and-white newsreels of his speeches and imagine the German dictator flailing his arms about and raving twenty-four hours every day.

They would be shocked to read Dr. Jan Bondeson’s new book, Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, and learn that the same man supported scientific research during the 1930’s to teach dogs to talk.

The Germans tried to train intelligent dogs to read, write, and speak with some success. Puppies were collected across Germany and put through training sessions at the Tier-Sprechschule ASRA, translated as the School for Dog-Human Communication, in the town of Leutenberg.

Trainer Margarethe Schmitt taught Rolf, the Airdale Terrier, who could discuss religion, complex mathematics, and communicated in an alphabet-code that he tapped out with his paw. Supposedly one pup named Don barked “Mein Fuhrer” when asked who Hitler was.

Bondeson speculates that after the war started the program may have been attempting to train the guard dogs to take over for their masters and supervise military prisoners.

It is a well-known fact, though it contradicts his image, that Hitler was fond of dogs and training dogs. He was frequently seen with his favorite dog, Blondi. He often used to boast about her tricks. He took her with him to East Prussia. She stayed with him at the Wolf’s Den. She was there when von Stauffenberg tried to blow up Hitler and failed in July of 1944 during the “July Plot”.

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Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank


Germany and the European Central Bank are holding back on an interest rate increase for one month. Instead of raising the rate in June, they will raise it in July. That is the respect that the economic leader of Europe is paying to its followers — the “pigs” — Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal.

In an article entitled “Trichet Signals Rate Changes Aren’t Imminent”, Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank, says just the opposite, mincing words just to be politically correct. At the same time in a speech in Berlin he praises twelve and a half years of vigilance about inflation on the part of the European Central Bank. For countries such as Germany inflation is always the big bugaboo and has been so since the hyper-inflation of the 1920s in the wake of World War I led to the rise of Adolf Hilter and that country’s defeat in World War II.

Thus the European Central Bank won’t raise rates at its next meeting in June but will wait for July after raising rates in April to 1.25%, up 1/4 point and the first increase in 3 years. They expect to raise it to 2% in 2012 by 1/4 point increments. The economies of Germany, Frnace, and the Netherlands, the places where most of the output of the European Union occurs, are overheating. Already the inflation rate is 2.8% and soon to be 3% when everyone agrees it shouldn’t be more than 2%.

If increasing the interest rates does damage to the economies of Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Ireland, Germany doesn’t know what to do. The voters don’t want to give out more aid to Greece when they are not going to be paid back. But they should consider that the price of their new economic empire. That is in some respects as important as paying attention to inflation.

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Lusitania

Reuters reported on Monday, May 9, 2011 that the famous Cunard ocean liner was carrying stowaways in an article entitled, “Queen Mary II Luxury Liner Used In Alleged Smuggling Case” — reminding the reader that almost one hundred years ago German spies sneaked aboard the doomed Lusitania.

On May 1, 1915 at the Cunard Pier in New York City German spies stowed away on the last voyage after Germany’s warning to all who sailed her to beware. The men were caught by Captain Turner two days into the seven-day voyage and imprisoned in the brig, to be dealt with as soon as the ship docked in Liverpool. What exactly these men were up to we don’t know to this day. This might have been carrying acid bombs that ignited on contact which was something German spies were known to be doing in those days. But their fate was certain. They went down with the ship about six miles from shore near Queenstown once another German, a U-boatman, torpedoed the ship and made it sink in eighteen seconds.

A Malaysian man was arrested for smuggling 9 Chinese aliens into the U.S. on the ship just this year, 2011. The Chinese carried forged Japanese passports but couldn’t speak Japanese. They were caught by immigration officials after disembarking on April 26 after boarding the ocean liner in Dubai. Speaking on behalf of the cruise line, Jackie Chase, Cunard public relations manager, told the press, “To the company’s knowledge, this is a first time occurrence.”

They ruins of the Great War casualty, the Lusitania, still at rest in a seabed off the coast of Ireland, attest to the cruise line’s mental lacuna.

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Queen Mary II, fellow Cunarder along with the Lusitania

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Adolf Hitler may have been a National Socialist Dictator, but even he did everything he could to get the Germany economy ticking again in the 1930’s. Without respect for the means of production, he wouldn’t have been able to produce all those Tiger tanks and fight World War II. That’s Germany. Greece is a Balkan Land. The Greek mindset is miles away from Germany’s. So it’s no wonder that the Germans get increasingly frustrated when Greece doesn’t see things the “right way”.

George Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, reported yesterday that talks between him and the opposition leaders failed, thus making it even more unlikely that Greece is going to get the additional 60 billion euros it seeks. For example, New Democracy Party leader, Antonis Samaris, refused to accept the latest calls for austerity to save Greece from default. He says that the only thing worth discussing is how to re-negotiate the bailout. He says about the current German plan, “We won’t pre-sign a policy that fatten the economy and destroys society.”

What is Greece’s beef? Most of the jobs are in the public sector. If the government sells off parts of what it controls to private companies, many are doomed to lose their jobs. The same thing with other austerity measures. Olli Rehn from the European Monetary Affairs Commission says that he expects Greece to tow the line like any other country (i.e. any other Northern European country). But he gets his answer from the Greek youths who on Friday held a protest outside the Greek Parliament building in imitation of their confederates in Spain. They are also answered by the public sector unions that are staging strikes to oppose the bailouts.

If Germany doesn’t figure out a way to deal with non-Germans in a multi-ethnic currency confederation they will lose out in their dreams of competing with the United States.

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Olli Rehn, European Monetary Affairs Commission

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