Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Germany and France demand talks with US over NSA spying revelations

europe usa 2013 spying nsa trust allies

  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 SparkyCola

SparkyCola
  • Islander
  • 14,904 posts

Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:25 AM

Is there a cold war going on between the US and Europe that no one told me about?

You don't spy on your allies.

http://www.theguardi...e-angela-merkel

I expect some of you will say "It's naive to expect that your allies won't spy on you." No. It's naive to think no one will find out and that there won't be consequences. It's naive to jeopardise your relationship with your allies for no reason. And I think that it displays a certain lack of understanding of France and Germany, on the part of the US.

There is a reason that the US, UK, Aus, NZ and Canada have an agreement not to spy on each other and to share intel - it's a matter of trust among allies and it's pretty serious to find out one of your so-called friends is listening for potential blackmail material and state secrets that don't concern them.

Imo: the US is used to acting independently, doing what it wants and being a bit of a vigilante. That's not continental Europe. Continental Europe is used to having a variety of powerful and respectable next door neighbours. To them, cooperation is important, and meaningful, and means an unavoidable degree of trust. I can't help but wonder if it's really a cultural clash at heart.

Sparky
Able to entertain a thought without taking it home to meet the parents

#2 Spectacles

Spectacles
  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 9,632 posts

Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:18 AM

More here--pretty good, broad coverage of all the issues:

http://www.cnn.com/2...s-surveillance/

Two things have caused the expansion of government spying--Islamist terrorism and technological advances. Since 9/11 and other terrorist attacks by jihadists, there has been a concerted effort--world-wide--to beef up intelligence. And with the enormous sophistication of communication networks and spying technology, it has increased indeed.

Some people are willing to trade off lack of privacy for increased security. It's an understandable impulse. But it is an impulse that needs to be balanced with common sense. Spying on Merkel's phone conversations seems to be a pretty severe violation of that.

There is a lot of discomfort among Americans regarding the expansion of the NSA and our increased loss of privacy. We don't like it any more than anyone else does. :)


Quote

And there is a hint in the U.S. response this week that, to borrow from Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much." The NSA itself has made the point that "the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations." The UK and France are among governments that run their own expansive technical programs. Der Spiegel reported -- again based on Snowden's disclosures -- that the British equivalent of the NSA was involved in a cyber-attack against Belgium's state-run telecommunications company, Belgacom. The company would only say that "the intruder had massive resources, sophisticated means and a steadfast intent to break into our network."

The Europeans have been very grateful to share the benefits of the NSA's immense data-gathering abilities in counter-terrorism and other fields. U.S. diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks show Germany was enthusiastic in 2009 and 2010 for closer links with the NSA to develop what is known as a High Resolution Optical System (HiROS) -- a highly advanced "constellation" of reconnaissance satellites. One cable from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin said: "Germany anticipates that their emergence as a world leader in overhead reconnaissance will generate interest from the USG and envisions an expansion of the intelligence relationship."

The 9/11 attacks changed espionage beyond recognition, leading to massive investment in the U.S. in "technical means" -- the flagship of which is the enormous NSA data center being completed in Bluffdale, Utah. Its computing power, according to the specialist online publication govtech.com is "equivalent to the capacity of 62 billion iPhone 5s." But 9/11 also shifted the balance between intelligence-gathering and civil liberties, with the U.S. federal government acquiring new powers in the fight against terrorism -- some sanctioned by Congress but others ill-defined.

The technology that allows such enormous data-harvesting cannot be put back in the box, but the limits to its use pose an equally huge challenge. Ultimately, the Europeans need to collaborate with the U.S. on intelligence-gathering, to deal with international terrorism, cyber threats and organized crime. But the Snowden allegations, whether reported accurately or not, have changed the public perception and mood in Europe, obliging leaders like Merkel to take a tougher stand.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#3 Themis

Themis
  • Islander
  • 6,544 posts

Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:12 AM

View PostSparkyCola, on 25 October 2013 - 07:25 AM, said:

Continental Europe is used to having a variety of powerful and respectable next door neighbours.

Says someone born long after WWII.


Spying seems to have gone from James Bond to computer nerds.  The movies won't be nearly as good.  Not that I don't kinda agree with this statement:

Quote

Imo: the US is used to acting independently, doing what it wants and being a bit of a vigilante.

Cats will never be extinct!

#4 SparkyCola

SparkyCola
  • Islander
  • 14,904 posts

Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:04 AM

Quote

Says someone born long after WWII.

Rather proves my point than not, wouldn't you say? But if the above was intended to be as patronising as it sounds -  please don't.

My comments were made as observations rather than criticisms.

Edited by SparkyCola, 25 October 2013 - 10:06 AM.

Able to entertain a thought without taking it home to meet the parents

#5 BklnScott

BklnScott

    FKA ScottEVill

  • Islander
  • 18,142 posts

Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:19 PM

Sparky - are you SURE your government doesn't do the similar stuff?  

It's one thing to say nobody should be doing this - and I agree with that.  

It's another thing to say, "America - stop doing this!" despite the fact that a lot of states are doing the same thing.  Some of the wiki leaks documents indicate that the UK, France, Russia and China - at least - are doing or attempting similar.  

In that context, who would EVER stop?

Quote

There isn't enough mommy in the world to further a cause like yours!

#6 SparkyCola

SparkyCola
  • Islander
  • 14,904 posts

Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:41 PM

^ Hell no, the UK government is cynical as hell. Have you ever SEEN Yes, Minister? It's our version of the West Wing...

However: if the UK were caught with it's hand in the cookie jar, it would have the sense to be contrite about it afterwards... we'd be all "How shocking!!! How could such a thing happen?!" ;) We would at least understand why Germany and France were upset.

We have a different ethos again over here, which is why I excluded the UK from the rest of Europe in my opening post.

Sparky
Able to entertain a thought without taking it home to meet the parents

#7 Themis

Themis
  • Islander
  • 6,544 posts

Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:26 AM

Just pointing out that European states have a history of NOT having respectable next-door neighbors.  All signs are that everyone's friendly now with the EU but things change.  The need to control terrorism, deal with the cultural manifestations of immigration and the economy could well lead to not-so-friendly status again.  Eyes wide open is always a good policy.
Cats will never be extinct!

#8 Spectacles

Spectacles
  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 9,632 posts

Posted 26 October 2013 - 05:40 PM

Merkel's phone has apparently been tapped by the U.S. since 2002. Why? I have no idea.

http://www.huffingto..._n_4166326.html
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#9 ilexx

ilexx
  • Islander
  • 2,791 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 03:55 AM

View PostThemis, on 26 October 2013 - 09:26 AM, said:

Just pointing out that European states have a history of NOT having respectable next-door neighbors.  All signs are that everyone's friendly now with the EU but things change.  The need to control terrorism, deal with the cultural manifestations of immigration and the economy could well lead to not-so-friendly status again.  Eyes wide open is always a good policy.

I seriously doubt that listening in on Merkel's mobile has anything to do with control of terrorism. Her ties to Al-Quaida always seemed pretty loose to me...

View PostSpectacles, on 26 October 2013 - 05:40 PM, said:

Merkel's phone has apparently been tapped by the U.S. since 2002. Why? I have no idea.

http://www.huffingto..._n_4166326.html

LOL Sarcasm, anyone?

However, in an attempt to treat all of this from a more earnest POV:

Economically, regardless of how well the US did in the past and of how well China, Russia, India, Brasil and whomever might do in the future, at this very moment the EU (and within the EU the so very ill-famed Eurozone) is the world's largest, most productive, richest unified market. Which means that economically, the Eu is not only a global player, but the global player par excellence. Being the top power in any field is an implicit threat to all others attempting to achieve or regain that status. This is a basic truth the Europeans have chosen to ignore for a very long time, allowing themselves to be militarily and qua intelligence controlled by their allies. It bwas very comfortable and also a very cheap policy that has now officially come to an end. From now on, France's stand on this subject, who have always opted for intelligence and military independence and might, will prevail within the EU over Germany's, who after WW II adopted a distinctly different POV - for obvious reasons. If one is to interpret the signs coming from the Bundeskanzleramt correctly, those reasons have been shown by the very revealing past 48h to have been an absurd naiveté to stick to. Industrial and scientific espionnage is something Germany tends to take very seriously - and by now there is very little doubt, that this is what this is all about.

So now we have not just France, but Germany too (which means we now have the EU) regarding the US as a "partner" on exactly the same level as Russia and China. As far as I can tell, this doesn't really change the "special relationship" we shared  from an American POV. It does however change it from ours. That's not necessarily a bad thing. A little reality check from time to time can be quite helpful.

#10 Spectacles

Spectacles
  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 9,632 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 07:47 AM

Quote

ilexx: Industrial and scientific espionnage is something Germany tends to take very seriously - and by now there is very little doubt, that this is what this is all about.

Duh. Seriously, that had not occurred to me until now. NOW it makes sense--in an ecomonic-realpolitik way.

I think that Americans in general have no idea how profoundly this shakes up things, how it alters our image abroad.

Since the Iraq War, we have looked increasingly like a lumbering, drunk, paranoid giant on the world stage. Europe had a brief honeymoon with Obama, whose press was that he was going to profoundly change things, but that fizzled as this administration pretty much continued the policies of the old one. (Of course, our right wing will tell you that we've become Islamist-appeasing communists under Obama.) But the fact remains that not much has changed.

I read that in his phone call with Merkel, Obama said he'd have stopped this had he known about it. IF that is true, yeeesh....I don't know what's worse: that we tapped Merkel's phone or that the President of the United States claims he had no idea we were doing it.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#11 Spectacles

Spectacles
  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 9,632 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 07:51 AM

CORRECTION--He must not have said that he had no idea. Surely not:

http://news.yahoo.co...-092009842.html

Quote


Berlin (AFP) - US President Barack Obama was personally informed of mobile phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which may have begun as early as 2002, German media reported Sunday.

Bild am Sonntag newspaper quoted US intelligence sources as saying that National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander had briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel in 2010.

"Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue," the newspaper quoted a high-ranking NSA official as saying.

Meanwhile newsweekly Der Spiegel reported ahead of its Monday issue that leaked NSA documents showed Merkel's phone had appeared on a list of spying targets since 2002, and was still under surveillance weeks before Obama visited Berlin in June.

But wait!

Quote

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported Saturday that Obama had told Merkel during their call that he had been unaware of any spying against her. It did not cite its sources.

Der Spiegel said he had told her that if he had been informed of the operation he would have stopped it at once.

Other media reports said that Obama's National Security Advisor Susan Rice had also told German officials the president knew nothing of the spying.

My God, sometimes it's hard to defend this weasel against the crackpottiness of the Tea Party.

Edited by Spectacles, 27 October 2013 - 07:53 AM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#12 Chakoteya

Chakoteya

    Playing Devil's Advocate

  • Islander
  • 3,035 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 09:04 AM

View PostSpectacles, on 27 October 2013 - 07:47 AM, said:

I don't know what's worse: that we tapped Merkel's phone or that the President of the United States claims he had no idea we were doing it.

That's the actual salaried workers making sure the boss has plausible deniability. Perhaps you need to rewatch Yes Prime Minister - The Tangled Web?
Andromeda, Star Trek (all shows) and Doctor Who franchise episode transcripts.


Just because I didn't post a reply doesn't mean I wasn't tempted to.

#13 Spectacles

Spectacles
  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 9,632 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 09:45 AM

^And yet it's not so plausible. Especially since "National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander had briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel in 2010" if the unnamed intelligence sources are to be believed.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#14 ilexx

ilexx
  • Islander
  • 2,791 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 11:58 AM

Quote

Spectacles: Duh. Seriously, that had not occurred to me until now. NOW it makes sense--in an ecomonic-realpolitik way.

Technological, scientific and industrial know-how are Germany's and the EU's livelihood. We'll never have the US' or Russia's resources at our disposal nor can we produce as cheap and as much as the Chinese or Indians or whomever. We literally live off "arts and crafts and ideas", because we haven't got anything else. This is thne reason why all of this is taken so badly: spying in that field is a direct threat to that livelihood and therefore a very hostile act.

What's worse:

View PostSpectacles, on 27 October 2013 - 09:45 AM, said:

^And yet it's not so plausible. Especially since "National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander had briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel in 2010" if the unnamed intelligence sources are to be believed.

No, it's not.

Sadly, this is once again a rather good example of how it's less the actual incident causing the uproar and more the way in which said incient it's being handled.

The Snowden-info about Germany being among the NSA top-espionnage list hit the news in Germany around May this year. It was one of the main topics discussed between the two leaders during Obama's visit in Berlin back in June, since there was a huge amount of indignation in Germany in this respect. You must understand this: one of the Nazis' most dreaded tools of repression was the constant surveillance Heidrich's Gestapo had placed every ordinary citizen under. Later-on, West-Germany's most beloved and respected chancellor Willy Brandt (and incidentally also a famous ´resistance fighter and Germany's only Nobel Peace-Prize laureate so far) had to resign because of a spy the East-Germans had placed within his government.

The Nazi-practice of constant surveillance (and terror through surveillance) of the own citizens was continued by the Communists unabashedly in East-Germany, and for the East-Germans - and practically all of Eastern Europe, of which most countries are meanwhile EU member states - this kind of society lasted therefore from 1933 resp. 1939 till 1989. Angela Merkel was born and brought up there.

With this kind of personal history in her lap, she does have a rather pronounced sensibility when it comes to being placed under surveillance. So back in June she directly asked Obama and he expressedly told Merkel that it is all a matter of data-sampling and that no-one is listening in or reading calls and mails and letters of German citizens on German territory, since it is well-known that this is a criminal offence according to the German constitution.

Accordingly, Merkel sent her chief-of-staff to meet the press and publicly declare that the NSA has presented thne German government with signed documents stating that it is operating strictly within the German law and no conversations are actually being listened to etc. This is the message with which they entered - and won - the general elections.

Now it turns out that the German government has been lied in written statements by the NSA, that Merkel has been lied to in the face by Obama, that Obama possibly has been lied in the face by his own secret services - and that basically a great many mobile-phones of all 27 leaders of the EU have been under surveillance, with the US secret services being helped out on this by British intelligence (i.e. one of our own). All of this with consultations about a free-trade alliance between the EU and the US (that have been in the planning since... guess! - indeed 2002) having just started.

I don't know what's the most embarrassing part in all of this: the fact that everyone pretended not to spy, that they let themselves be caught in the act, that the German government actually tried to sell us its version of how this wasn't the case in order to keep tings quite till after the election, how it all blew up in their faces now, and so on and so forth...

Either way, the free-trade zone is pretty much dead for the time being, so much we know for sure.

#15 Spectacles

Spectacles
  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 9,632 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 12:07 PM

^Best explanation I've read of the screw-ups and consequences thus far. Thanks ilexx.

How amazingly stupid....What on earth would cause the U.S. and British governments to think that risking this breach was worth whatever gleaned from spying? Do you have some ideas?

Or do you think it was simply a matter of "we can so let's" without fulling weighing the benefits (whatever they might be, and I still have only the foggiest idea) against the potential costs?
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#16 Balthamos

Balthamos

    Once more unto the breach!

  • Islander
  • 2,280 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 12:13 PM

Ilexx, how is the British involvement in the spying being reported in your news? Since the NSA + GCHQ related stuff around Edward Snowdon the British press seems to have ignored UK involvement in USA spying.

#17 ilexx

ilexx
  • Islander
  • 2,791 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 12:47 PM

View PostSpectacles, on 27 October 2013 - 12:07 PM, said:

^Best explanation I've read of the screw-ups and consequences thus far. Thanks ilexx.

How amazingly stupid....What on earth would cause the U.S. and British governments to think that risking this breach was worth whatever gleaned from spying? Do you have some ideas?

Or do you think it was simply a matter of "we can so let's" without fulling weighing the benefits (whatever they might be, and I still have only the foggiest idea) against the potential costs?

The most distressing part of it (at least for me) is the impression they left me all with that no-one bothered to actually think at all.

Viewed from as far away as I am, it simply looks as if ever since the last two years of the Clinton-administration the US have been stuck in very intense home-struggles, that left them even more disinterested in foreign policy than usual. The result was a long list of incompetent persons allowed to deal with everything going on outside the US. The list started within the administration at the very top with the two last presidents and trickles down the government scales, to think tanks, to embassy personnel and even to the press people, including the league of American correspondents sent all over the world, who comment everything happening around them with an almost complete lack of insight, never trying to scratch beneath the surface.

View PostBalthamos, on 27 October 2013 - 12:13 PM, said:

Ilexx, how is the British involvement in the spying being reported in your news? Since the NSA + GCHQ related stuff around Edward Snowdon the British press seems to have ignored UK involvement in USA spying.

Badly:

Quote

Eine Doppelagent ist per Definition ein Agent, der so tut, als stünde er auf der einen Seite und in Wahrheit aber für die andere arbeitet.
Großbritanniens Premierminister David Cameron ist sicher kein Spion - aber auch er ist in einer Doppelrolle. Sein Horchposten GCHQ arbeitet seit Jahrzehnten aufs Engste mit der amerikanischen NSA zusammen und sammelt gezielt und strukturiert Informationen in Europa und weit darüber hinaus - offiziell zur Terrorabwehr. Der Juniorpartner aus dem Heimatland von James Bond gilt sogar als besonders eifrig.

(A double-agent is by definition an agent pretending to belong to one side while working for the other. Great-Britain's prime-minister David Cameron is certainly no spy - but he does find himself playing a double part. His very own listening post GCHQ has been working for decades in close partnership wit the American NSA, purposefully gathering and structuring info on Europe an beyond - officially while fighting terrorism. The junior partner from James Bond's home-country is even said to be extremely assiduous in fulfilling the task.)

Etc. And that's (unlike the Spiegel) the spearhead publication of the conservative press.

Edited by ilexx, 27 October 2013 - 12:48 PM.


#18 Spectacles

Spectacles
  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 9,632 posts

Posted 27 October 2013 - 01:19 PM

Quote

ilexx: The most distressing part of it (at least for me) is the impression they left me all with that no-one bothered to actually think at all.

Viewed from as far away as I am, it simply looks as if ever since the last two years of the Clinton-administration the US have been stuck in very intense home-struggles, that left them even more disinterested in foreign policy than usual. The result was a long list of incompetent persons allowed to deal with everything going on outside the US. The list started within the administration at the very top with the two last presidents and trickles down the government scales, to think tanks, to embassy personnel and even to the press people, including the league of American correspondents sent all over the world, who comment everything happening around them with an almost complete lack of insight, never trying to scratch beneath the surface.

I would agree, but I think the incompetence is not limited to our foreign affairs.

One of the reasons I voted for Obama was that I wanted house-cleaning in the executive branch. All Presidents use executive branch administrative jobs as patronage. So under Bush (who was there thanks to the conservatives) we had a lot of regulatory captures: oil and gas guys running the EPA, etc. And we had anti-science religious fanatics involved in agencies overseeing NASA and agencies overseeing government developments in medicine and science.

I think things improved from the days when we had stuff like this: http://www.nytimes.c...html?_r=0  or this: http://www.independe...ff-8539767.html

But we obviously still are run by stupid people who cannot see the beyond the ends of their noses: See Obamacare Website and this spying scandal.

Our lack of competence would be fine if we were a third world country (which I think we may be in another generation). But when we screw up, the entire world ends up suffering the consequences along with us.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#19 ilexx

ilexx
  • Islander
  • 2,791 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:27 AM

View PostSpectacles, on 27 October 2013 - 01:19 PM, said:

Quote

ilexx: The most distressing part of it (at least for me) is the impression they left me all with that no-one bothered to actually think at all.

Viewed from as far away as I am, it simply looks as if ever since the last two years of the Clinton-administration the US have been stuck in very intense home-struggles, that left them even more disinterested in foreign policy than usual. The result was a long list of incompetent persons allowed to deal with everything going on outside the US. The list started within the administration at the very top with the two last presidents and trickles down the government scales, to think tanks, to embassy personnel and even to the press people, including the league of American correspondents sent all over the world, who comment everything happening around them with an almost complete lack of insight, never trying to scratch beneath the surface.

I would agree, but I think the incompetence is not limited to our foreign affairs.

Probably not, but... my competence is... ;)

Quote

One of the reasons I voted for Obama was that I wanted house-cleaning in the executive branch. All Presidents use executive branch administrative jobs as patronage. So under Bush (who was there thanks to the conservatives) we had a lot of regulatory captures: oil and gas guys running the EPA, etc. And we had anti-science religious fanatics involved in agencies overseeing NASA and agencies overseeing government developments in medicine and science.

I suppose that using administrative jobs as pay-offs for services rendered is a method used universally. The trick is to find some sort of acceptable balance between the favours you need to pay back, the personal gain people want to obtain from it all - and a minimum of efficiency in getting the job done that actually needs to get done. The current and previous US-administrations clearly didn't seem to have had much of a lucky hand in that.

Quote

I think things improved from the days when we had stuff like this: http://www.nytimes.c...html?_r=0  or this: http://www.independe...ff-8539767.html

Not sure, but that would be a rather huge can of worms to open here and now...

Quote

But we obviously still are run by stupid people who cannot see the beyond the ends of their noses: See Obamacare Website and this spying scandal.

Our lack of competence would be fine if we were a third world country (which I think we may be in another generation). But when we screw up, the entire world ends up suffering the consequences along with us.

Well, after deciding to call it quits and sell Chrysler to Fiat, Jürgen Schrempp (chairman of Daimler-Benz back then) and Sergio Marchionne (chairman of Fiat and Chrysler) both agreed that the US' main problem consists in being "too powerful a banana-republic. In fact, it is the world's richest and mightiest third-world country." Marchionne added that, being Italian, he'll probably get by a lot better in dealing with the problems such parameters pose than the Germans had. Luckily, he was right. ;)

Edited by ilexx, 28 October 2013 - 10:28 AM.


#20 Spectacles

Spectacles
  • Awaiting Authorisation
  • 9,632 posts

Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:42 PM

Funny, I've long said that my home state of Alabama is run like a banana republic: wide gulf between the poor majority and the wealthy, who control the state--and so corruptly that it's fairly normal for an Alabama governor to be in jail at some point, either justly or because he was put their by his opponents.

For a glimpse at the "freedom" in Alabama, here's this: http://blog.al.com/w...ects_taxes.html

When a Republican but geniunely-Christian governor tried to reform the tax code a few years ago, the "Christian Coalition" and the GOP led a campaign to convince people that raising taxes for the wealthy would (a) hurt them or (b) be un-American. So Alabama still has the most regressive taxes in the nation. And one of the worst education systems.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: europe, usa, 2013, spying, nsa, trust, allies

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users