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The SPD establishment rushes to Merkel’s rescue

Desperate to avoid an election SPD leadership reverses itself and talks to Merkel about propping her up as Chancellor

Alexander Mercouris

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Days after the collapse of the coalition talks in Berlin German Chancellor Angela Merkel has found a not-so-unlikely saviour in the form of the leadership of the SPD, Germany’s biggest ‘opposition’ party and her partner in the outgoing coalition.

After the SPD’s dismal showing in the September parliamentary elections – when the SPD’s share of the vote was a paltry 20.5% – the SPD’s leadership led by the party’s leader Martin Schulz vowed that the SPD would not enter into any further coalition with Angela Merkel.

The idea was that the SDP, having been badly damaged by its all-too-close association with Merkel in two coalition governments, urgently needed to distance itself from Merkel so that it could start to reconnect with its increasingly angry and alienated working class base.

In addition SPD leader Martin Schulz said it would be wrong for the SPD to forge a new coalition with Merkel after the SPD’s previous coalition with Merkel was electorally hammered by German voters in the September election.

That was a clear and straightforward position, easily understandable by the SPD’s membership and electoral base, and one which makes total political sense.

However following the collapse of the talks between Merkel and the FDP and the Greens to form a so-called ‘Jamaica coalition’ the SPD at the insistence of President Steinmeier (previously one of the SPD’s most senior leaders) reversed itself.  Following a tense eight hour discussion on Thursday it agreed to open talks with Merkel to look for ways to support her government.  There is now even some talk of the SPD going into coalition with her again.

What lies behind this truly extraordinary reversal?

The SPD has come under extreme pressure from the German political establishment to save Merkel.  This is because of fears that a new election would result in a further increase in support for the anti-establishment AfD.

This appears to be a prospect that Germany’s political establishment finds too horrible to contemplate, so once it became clear that negotiations to form a ‘Jamaica coalition’ were going nowhere the SPD came under intense pressure to reverse its stance so as to prevent the threatened election from taking place.

Over and above this, there is also a measure of truth in the frequent claim that the entire political ethos of postwar Germany is one which requires political parties to look for compromises.  A conflict between parties which results in fresh elections may be a commonplace in many European countries.  In postwar Germany it has never happened previously, and the German business community in particular was alarmed by it, and made known its wish that it be resolved quickly without new elections being called.

However the SPD was not just strong-armed by the German political establishment into reversing its position.  On the contrary it is clear that this was also the urgent wish of most of its most senior leaders.

The cause of the alarm is a series of opinion polls which show that since the September election Merkel’s popularity and that of the two big establishment parties – the CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD – is continuing to crash.

Not only is Merkel’s own popularity draining away, but the opinion polls suggest that in the event of a new election the CDU’s/CSU’s support might easily fall below 30% (in the September election it was 33%) whilst the SPD’s support might fall below 20%.

This seems to have spooked many senior SPD officials and MPs, who terrified of losing their seats in the Bundestag pressed for talks with Merkel to prevent an election from taking place.

The fact that the SPD is making decisions based on such calculations shows why it is going to go on losing support.

When British Prime Minister Theresa May called an election in April this year there was also pressure on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to block the election.  The reasoning was that if the election happened Theresa May would triumph and Labour would be crushed.

Corbyn spurned these cowardly counsels and instead welcomed the election.  For that however he came under strong criticism from precisely the same sort of people in Britain’s Labour Party as those in Germany’s SPD who are anxious to avoid an election in Germany now.  See for example this extraordinary article by the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, blasting Corbyn for his ‘ineptitude’ in agreeing to an election which would result in ‘catastrophe’ for his party.

In the event and against all expectations an energetic and self-confident Corbyn stormed if not to victory then to a very close second place, increasing the Labour Party’s share of the vote from 30% to 40%, and depriving Theresa May of her majority.

The events of the last week show that Germany’s SPD has no equivalent to Jeremy Corbyn.

On the contrary it has become as assimilated into Germany’s neoliberal political establishment as is Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU.   In truth it is politically speaking Germany’s neoliberal establishment along with Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU.

Given that it is precisely that neoliberal establishment that German voters are now rejecting that all but guarantees that the SPD will continue to lose support, and by talking about propping up Merkel the SPD is simply giving its working class base further reason to desert it.

It is still not a fully foregone conclusion that the SPD’s will forge an arrangement with Merkel.  The party’s grassroots – closer to German voters and more loyal to the party’s traditions than its leadership – are believed to be unhappy and will have a vote over whatever arrangement is finally agreed.  In a sign of the unease the party’s youth wing has already said that it will expect the talks with Merkel to be broken off if there is no agreement by Christmas.

Assuming an agreement is however reached, it should be clear that it will be a case of trading short-term ‘stability’ for long-term crisis.

Angela Merkel is quite simply the wrong person to continue to be German Chancellor.

This has been my consistent view ever since I first expressed it back in 2014.  More to the point, it is a view which is now starting to become mainstream.

Consider for example this article by Roger Boyes in the London Times, with its comments like these

Germans have become too comfortable with the rule of Angela Merkel, so cosy in their governing compact, so gemütlich that they failed to recognise they have a Merkel problem. For the past 12 years the chancellor has ducked big choices about Germany’s role in the world, about the need for change, and now the country is paying the price……

The great hope that accompanied the election of Merkel in 2005 was that she would usher Germany into the modern world in a non-threatening, non-Thatcherite way. Instead, without a guiding idea, her various coalition governments have been about crisis management: the global financial breakdown, the eurozone in disarray, Greece hurtling towards bankruptcy, an increasingly aggressive Vladimir Putin, the flood of refugees from apparently insoluble wars. She was never under-employed but along the way she lost the plot.

Since her political convictions were never laid out clearly, she felt free to steal the political clothes of her various coalition partners, the Free Democrats and the Social Democrats, claiming them as her own. She even dressed herself up as a Green by suddenly renouncing nuclear power after the Fukushima accident in 2011, thus keeping options open for a future alliance with the party.

The corrosive effect of leadership without a compass has become clear over the past weeks. Neither the Free Democrats nor the Social Democrats trust her as a partner; they both bled votes after being in coalition with her. All parties are feuding furiously with each other, making a nonsense of the chancellor’s claim to be a consensus politician. Her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union is alarmed by her drift leftwards and by her misjudgment in opening up Germany’s borders to a million migrants and refugees. The CSU faces a regional election next year. In public it swears loyalty to Merkel; in private it knows that the association with Merkel is likely to be toxic, driving even more voters towards the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Apart from the (inevitable) reference to the “increasingly aggressive Vladimir Putin” there is not a word here with which I disagree.

More to the point, as the draining away of Merkel’s popularity shows, this is also increasingly becoming the view of Germany voters.

Propping up an increasingly unpopular Chancellor who is now obviously past her sell-by date is a certain recipe for trouble, and is not politically speaking sustainable.

As I said in my discussion of the state of Germany which I wrote just before the election, what Germany needs is not more of the same – which is all it is ever going to get from Merkel – but strong and purposeful leadership, which can start to address Germany’s mounting problems.

These are likely to become increasingly apparent within the next few years or even months, as  evidence mounts that the German economy is dangerously overheating.

The German people sense this, which is why in September’s election Merkel’s coalition lost so much support.

Presenting the German people with the same coalition just weeks after that coalition lost so much support in the September election is in political and electoral terms pure folly.  Martin Schultz for once was saying it right when he said just a week ago that it would be totally the wrong thing to do

The mere fact that this folly is even being discussed is a sign of something else.  For the first time since the establishment of the Bundesrepublik Germany’s political class is running scared of Germany’s voters.  Instead of calling an election – the standard way to resolve a political crisis in a parliamentary democracy – Germany’s political class is instead engaging in a shabby stitch-up because it is frightened of how Germany’s voters might vote in an election.

That of course is not something which is unknown in other countries.  In Germany however it is something new.  That means that in German political terms an important line has been crossed.

Running scared in that way will of course cede the position of being the only true opposition parties  in the Bundestag to the AfD and to the leftist Die Linke.  Inevitably that will also cede the political initiative to them, ensuring that their support will continue to increase.  It speaks volumes about the state of German politics and about the weakness of Germany’s traditional ‘establishment’ parties that the only party in the Bundestag which had the courage and understanding of the situation to call on Merkel to resign once the ‘Jamaica coalition’ talks collapsed was the AfD.

If a stitch-up is put together to allow Merkel to remain Chancellor, it will start to fray very quickly.

Merkel’s authority is gone, and so very quickly will what is left of her popularity, especially if predictions of a looming crisis in the economy come true.

Meanwhile the SPD will continue to lose support as it props up the unpopular government of a discredited and unwanted Chancellor.

Sooner or later the whole thing will fall apart, but in a much messier and more dangerous way than would be the case if an election were called now.

This however is the dismal scenario Germany’s political class is presenting to the German people.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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Why Joe May be Courting Stacey

Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


Of 895 slots in the freshman class of Stuyvesant High in New York City, seven were offered this year to black students, down from 10 last year and 13 the year before.

In the freshman class of 803 at The Bronx High School of Science, 12 students are black, down from last year’s 25.

Of 303 students admitted to Staten Island Technical High School, one is African-American.

According to The New York Times, similar patterns of admission apply at the other five most elite high schools in the city.

Whites and Asians are 30 percent of middle school students, but 83 percent of the freshman at Bronx High School of Science, 88 percent at Staten Island Technical and 90 percent at Stuyvesant.

What do these numbers tell us?

They reveal the racial composition of the cohort of scientists and technicians who will lead America in the 21st century. And they tell us which races will not be well represented in that vanguard.

They identify a fault line that runs through the Democratic Party, separating leftists who believe in equality of results for all races and ethnic groups, and those who believe in a meritocracy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed anger and frustration at the under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in the elite schools. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have ignored his pleas to change the way students are admitted.

Currently, the same test, of English and math, is given to middle school applicants. And admission to the elite eight is offered to those who get the highest scores.

Moreover, Asians, not whites, are predominant.

Though 15 percent of all middle school students, Asians make up two-thirds of the student body at Stuyvesant, with 80 times as many slots as their African-American classmates.

The egalitarian wing of the Democratic Party sees this as inherently unjust. And what gives this issue national import are these factors:

First, the recent scandal where rich parents paid huge bribes to criminal consultants to get their kids into elite colleges, by falsifying records of athletic achievement and cheating on Scholastic Aptitude Tests, has caused a wave of populist resentment.

Second, Harvard is being sued for systemic reverse racism, as black and Hispanic students are admitted with test scores hundreds of points below those that would disqualify Asians and whites.

Third, Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Here are Biden’s quotes, unearthed by The Washington Post, that reflect his beliefs about forced busing for racial balance in public schools:

“The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with.

“What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist!

“Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?

“I am philosophically opposed to quota systems. They insure mediocrity.”

That was 44 years ago. While those views were the thinking of many Democrats, and perhaps of most Americans, in the mid-’70s, they will be problematic in the 2020 primaries, where African-Americans could be decisive in the contests that follow Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden knows that just as Bernie Sanders, another white male, fell short in crucial South Carolina because of a lack of support among black voters, he, too, has a problem with that most loyal element in the Democratic coalition.

In 1991, Biden failed to rise to the defense of Anita Hill when she charged future Justice Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was a law-and-order champion responsible for tough anti-crime legislation that is now regarded as discriminatory.

And he has a record on busing for racial balance that made him a de facto ally of Louise Day Hicks of the Boston busing case fame.

How, with a record like this, does Biden inoculate himself against attacks by rival candidates, especially candidates of color, in his run for the nomination?

One way would be to signal to his party that he has grown, he has changed, and his 2020 running mate will be a person of color. Perhaps he’ll run with a woman of color such as Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia.

An ancillary benefit would be that Abrams on the ticket would help him carry Georgia, a state Donald Trump probably cannot lose and win re-election.

Wrote Axios this morning:

“Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.”


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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