World View: France, Germany Hostile After 50 Years of Political Unity

World View: France, Germany Hostile After 50 Years of Political Unity

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Italy sentences scientists to jail for not predicting 2009 earthquake
  • North and South Korea exchange threats over leaflet-laden balloons
  • Lebanon’s politicians turn against Hizbollah
  • After 50 years of political unity, France and Germany’s relations are increasingly hostile

Italy sentences scientists to jail for not predicting 2009 earthquake

A court in the central Italian city of L’Aquila on Monday sentencedsix scientists and a government bureaucrat to six years in jail onmanslaughter charges for their failure to predict a 2009 earthquakethat left more than 300 people dead. The seven are all members of theThis commission met early in 2009, and responded to the question ofwhether there would be a repeat of the disastrous earthquake of 1703.The response was: “It is unlikely that an earthquake like the one in1703 could occur in the short term, but the possibility cannot betotally excluded.” That was enough to find them guilty of criminalmanslaughter. Apparently the Italian court system consists of a bunchof morons.

For ten years, I’ve been using this web site to predict things that,unlike earthquakes, actually CAN be predicted. (See “List of major Generational Dynamics predictions” from 2008.) But that’s not what bothers me. 

What bothers me is that six scientists have been sentenced to jail fordoing their jobs honestly, as far as I can tell, while none of thebanksters that caused the financial crisis have gone to jail. If youturn on CNBC or Bloomberg TV, you see banksters making 7-digitsalaries and bonues who lie constantly, particularly stockprice/earnings ratios, also called “valuations.” If you look at theWall Street Journal , you’ll see that the current S&P 500price/earnings ratio is 17.03, far, far higher than the historicalaverage of 14, meaning that stocks are far overpriced. But theso-called experts on CNBC and Bloomberg TV tell full-throated lies,saying that valuations are around 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 or arehistorically low. (See “14-Apr-12 World View — Wharton School’s Jeremy Siegel is lying about stock valuations” from earlier this year.) So wescientists in Italy doing their jobs and being sent to jail by morons,and we have crooks and liars on CNBC and Bloomberg TV who are NOTgoing to jail. CS Monitor

North and South Korea exchange threats over leaflet-laden balloons

A group of North Korean defectors in South Korea have defied the SouthKorean army and launched balloons carrying 120,000 leaflets criticizingNorth Korea across the North Korean border. When the defectorsannounced the plan last week, North Korea said its army will launch asaying that the balloons were “undisguised psychological warfare.”South Korea immediately went on high alert and responded that it wasprepared to “completely destroy” the North Korean attack. However,the South Korean army and police were sent out to stop the balloonlaunch. The defectors evaded the army and launched most of theballoons anyway. A U.S. envoy in Beijing said, “It is grosslydisproportionate to have threatened to respond to balloons withbombs.” Yonhap (Seoul) and Arirang (Seoul)

Lebanon’s politicians turn against Hizbollah

Hizbollah is both an international terrorist group and a politicalparty in Lebanon, with links to Iran and to the Bashar al-Assad regimein Syria. However, its continued support for al-Assad, as he’s beenalmost two years of extermination attacks on innocent Arab women andchildren in their homes, has caused Hizbollah to be weakened, andallowed opposition politicians in Lebanon to stand up to Hizbollahwhere they previously didn’t dare to do so. Particular criticism isnow being directed against Hizbollah for its use of weapons for anypurpose other than the “Resistance,” where the word “Resistance”refers to actions taken against Israel. Hizbollah’s weapons are tobe used ONLY for the “resistance,” but now Hizbollah is beingcriticized for using its weapons illegally — sometimes against Lebanesepeople who oppose Hizbollah, but more importantly now in supportof Bashar al-Assad’s extermination policy. 

Lebanese President and former commander of the Lebanese army MichelSuleiman, who became president of Lebanon in 2008 with the blessingsof Syria and Hizbollah, has now become particularly critical ofHizbollah, and is demanding that Hizbollah’s weapons be turned over toLebanon’s military:

[We] propose to approve a law to arm the Lebanesearmy for the intermediate future, and to allocate sufficientresources to develop its human and military capabilities, so thatit can formulate a plan to defend the country’s land, air, andsea. [Until then], all sides [must] agree on the framework andappropriate mechanisms for use of the resistance weapons, fordetermining who controls them, and for approving [a procedure for]handing them over to the military, which is exclusivelyresponsible for operating mechanisms of power…

We have decided to arm the Lebanese military in five years, sothat it will have the exclusive capability to carry weapons inLebanon and defend the land.”

A Hizbollah spokesman has replied:

“In Lebanon there is one party called Hizbollah. We donot have a military wing and a political wing. We do not haveHizbollah [on one hand] and the resistance party [on theother]. Hizbollah is a political party and the resistanceparty. The distinctions being drawn by certain people areforbidden and nonexistent. … No one is competingwith the state for exclusive control of weapons… However, if theintention of the slogan [that the state should exclusively controlthe weapons] is to disarm the resistance, then we say to them thatthis is the last thing they should think of…

We will protect our weapons at any cost, [for] they are like theblood flowing through our veins.”


After 50 years of political unity, France and Germany’s relations are increasingly hostile

After fighting two bitter wars in the first half of the 20th century,Germany and France have generally been unified after World War II in pursuingpolitical objectives to guarantee that there would never be anotherwar. But the recent European Summit exposed huge policy differences betweenGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President FrançoisHollande, as well as the fact that they despise each other.Some of the personal and policy differences are: 

  • Hollande doesn’t want to forgive Merkel for openly supporting his opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy, during France’s last presidential election.
  • Merkel suspects that Hollande is secretly planning a campaign against Merkel in Germany’s next election.
  • Hollande suspects that Germany is using the budget issue as an excuse to gain European dominance. Merkel is demanding the EU’s right to intervene in national budgets, which Hollande firmly rejects.
  • Merkel is suspicious that France is joining forces with Spain and Italy to form a joint axis against Germany.
  • Hollande insists that the euro crisis can be solved only if Europe shared liability for debts of individual countries. He’s put forth several proposals to accomplish this: euro bonds, euro bills, debt repayment fund.
  • Hollande is critical of Germany’s “obsession” with austerity and budget controls.
  • Hollande wanted to merge the German-France EADS aircraft maker with the British defense contractor BAE, but Germany vetoed the merger.
  • Merkel believes that Hollande is a novice in the business of governing, and he is making mistakes that are accelerating France’s decline.

The Germans are particularly dismayed over Hollande’s attempt to painthimself as the spokesman of the southern EU countries. It upsets themthat he’s is reviving old plans for a Mediterranean union on Europe’ssouthern edge, including four other Southern European and five NorthAfrican countries. Spiegel

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