Ed Driscoll

Germany begs Totalitarian Leader to Dial It Back a Notch or Ten

Change: In July of 2008, Obama visits Germany, delivers his Day The Earth Stood Still-style Citizens of the World Unite speech.

In June of 2013: “Germany to Spymaster-in-Chief Obama: You are on some Eastern Bloc $#!+ right now,” Jim Treacher quips:

Dude? When Germany is telling you to knock it off? Maybe you should listen. I know you won’t, but you should.

Reuters:

German outrage over a U.S. Internet spying program has broken out ahead of a visit by Barack Obama, with ministers demanding the president provide a full explanation when he lands in Berlin next week and one official likening the tactics to those of the East German Stasi.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman has said she will raise the issue with Obama in talks next Wednesday, potentially casting a cloud over a visit that was designed to celebrate U.S.-German ties on the 50th anniversary John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.

Government surveillance is an extremely sensitive topic in Germany, where memories of the dreaded Stasi secret police and its extensive network of informants are still fresh in the minds of many citizens.

Yeah, Barry will need to update that classic speech a bit: “Ich bin ein Faschist Soziopath.”

Am I the only one who was reminded of the Stasi when the White House started telling us to inform on your fellow Americans who say things that “seem fishy”? Four years ago, you would’ve been called paranoid for likening that to the Stasi. Today, you’d have to be a partisan idiot not to be reminded of totalitarian Cold War tactics.

Well, as I noted in June of 2010, when the fallout from the JournoList scandal was breaking, involving the self-described “Non-Official Campaign” by leftwing journalists to elect Obama in 2008 (and 2012), JournoList member Walter Shapiro wrote an article titled “The Death of JournoList: Does Privacy End at the Edge of Your Thoughts?” I responded by noting that Shapiro’s headline “seems like a rather disingenuous question for a man of the left to ask, as this is where the terrain invariably ends up, the further and further one moves left,” adding, “You wanted East Germany on the Potomac? Might as well have all of the trappings, boys.”

Incidentally, today Politico is reporting that Obama oversaw the “Greatest Expansion of Electronic Surveillance In U.S. History.” (Link safe, goes to Big Journalism.) Without of course noting how deeply Politico was in the tank for Obama in 2008 (and 2012).

I rarely say this, but let’s return to Germany for a bit.  On Monday, Treacher linked to a German Photoshop of Shepard Fairey’s 2008-era “Hope” poster retitled, “YES WE SCAN.” As he wrote, “It took a German to do the job Americans won’t do: Calling a Democrat POTUS on his bull$#!+.”

Ahem.

Admittedly, my effort was nowhere near as cool as the German version, but Tuesday of last week, playing around with some ideas presented in this Photoshop how-to guide (pro tip: buy the hard copy book, not the bollocked up Kindle version), I cranked this out:

obama_hope_matrix_6-4-13-4

By the way, after Obama’s July 2008 speech in Berlin, acting as John McCain’s surrogate, Lindsey Graham joked, “There goes Germany. We’re going to have to get to 270 without Germany.”

That idea didn’t work out too well, so perhaps Graham is taking another try at winning the German vote, as we’ll explore right after the page break.

At Hot Air yesterday, Allahpundit wrote, “Lindsey Graham: Sure, I’d support censoring your mail if it was necessary to counterterrorism,” joking that “Libertarianism has no greater asset than this guy”:

“In World War II, the mentality of the public was that our whole way of life was at risk, we’re all in. We censored the mail. When you wrote a letter overseas, it got censored. When a letter was written back from the battlefield to home, they looked at what was in the letter to make sure they were not tipping off the enemy,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters on Capitol Hill. “If I thought censoring the mail was necessary, I would suggest it, but I don’t think it is.”…

“The First Amendment right to speak is sacrosanct, but it has limits,” Graham added. “In World War II, our population understood that what we say in letters could be used against [us by] our enemies. It was designed to protect us and ensure that we would have First Amendment rights because under the Japanese and Nazi regime, they weren’t that big into the First Amendment. We don’t need to censor the mail, but we do need to find out what the enemy’s up to.”

Wait ’til Graham discovers what we did in World War One. (But perhaps I shouldn’t give him any ideas.)

Related: In other news out of Germany, the New York Sun reports, “German Government Brands Goods Made in Factories That Are Owned by Jews”:

In light of its own sordid record during the 20th century, Germany and its leaders have a special responsibility to be exceptionally sensitive to such issues, particularly when they relate to Jews. After all, it was 80 years ago, in April 1933, that the Nazis launched a nationwide assault on Jewish owned businesses throughout Germany, painting yellow-and-black Stars of David on storefronts and discouraging people from patronizing them.

This was carried out under the slogan, “Kauft nicht bei Juden!” (Don’t buy from Jews!). Hence, for any German government to stand up and declare: “Don’t buy from Jews,” even if the proposal is limited to the Jews of Judea and Samaria, is downright chilling and should send a shiver down everyone’s spine.

No one is suggesting that Berlin is planning a second Holocaust, but there is no escaping the painful historical irony here.

And speaking of history, it was on this day in 1987 that a very different US president than our current example uttered the words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”