Cabaret, Haffner, and Chicago

My friend Brandon Christensen over at Notes on Liberty each evening does a post with a few links, which are often interesting. The day before yesterday had one that struck me, so let’s take a look.

In an article entitled The Unromantic Truths of Weimar Germany, Marilyn Macron is essentially reviewing Blood Brothers by Ernst Haffer. The book was originally published in 1932 and banned a year later by the Nazis. Ms. Macron starts this way.

EVEN HALF A CENTURY ON, Cabaret heavily informs perceptions of Weimar Germany. The popular, Oscar-winning 1972 musical features garter-clad Liza Minnelli and elegant Joel Grey slinking their way through a decadent Berlin underworld of sex and style, and it all seems so glamorous. The reality for most Germans at the time was, of course, colder, duller, and much more miserable.

But no one wants anything to do with misery. It’s not the kind of thing viewers and readers pay money to experience. If you dress up misery with tuxedos and boas, though, and hide the accompanying desperation under makeup and sequins, you get decadence, and decadence sells. German writer Alfred Döblin filtered this aesthetic into his classic 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz. Christopher Isherwood was similarly taken in — his 1937 novella Sally Bowles, later collected in The Berlin Stories(1945), was the basis for Cabaret.

They wrote of Berliners who knew how to commodify decadence. Of aristocratic gangsters who wouldn’t do a job without top hat and tails. Of Apache dancers, Brylcreemed villains, and two-mark whores with fire-red curls. There were discreet champagne lounges in basements, secret entrances, and trapdoors. The observer of this falsified and superficial milieu would find Berlin’s actual criminal underworld deathly dull. Nothing of interest there at all. Except, perhaps, real people with real needs, and few ways to get those needs met.

She’s right though, that undertone that runs through Cabaret does give you a feel for what is coming. A newer version, set in the US, with much the same feel of desperation about it is Chicago, another fine effort, this time about what might have been instead of what was.

Haffner’s writing is of the short-lived Neue Sachlichkeit, or New Objectivity, movement that rejected romanticism and expressionism in favor of realism. His collage of the exploits and exploitation of these boys shows them fully responsible for their actions but also indicts German society as a whole. In this, his prose pairs well with the vitriolic caricatures of Dada/New Objectivist artist George Grosz, a contemporary of Haffner’s who left for the United States in 1933.

Grosz’s works were mainly done in pen and ink to emphasize the starkness of his subject matter. Of his claustrophobic collage A Funeral: Tribute to Oskar Panizza, he sought to portray, he said, “[A] gin alley of grotesque dead bodies and madmen […] A teeming throng of possessed human animals […] think that wherever you step, there’s the smell of shit.” A Funeral is an artistic analogue of Blood Brothers, in which Haffner writes, “And the big beer joints with their lively oom-pa-pah music from early morning on, they are just waiting rooms for armies of pimps, unemployed and casual criminals.”

All very interesting, and I wonder if it has implications for our time. For aren’t we seeing the same things, decadence, missing fathers, self-harming or more or less defeated mothers leading to feral young people, surviving however they can? How different is Haffner’s Berlin to present-day London, or Chicago? I don’t know and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. But what I really don’t want is to find out they are the same. Neither the United States nor Weimar Germany survived the thirties as they were before. Neither did the world.

The book is now on my wish list. And do read the linked review.

As for Haffner himself, Macron tells us…

Beyond being a creative risk, Haffner’s humane depiction of the gang members turned out to be a grave political error: the Nazis banned and burned Blood Brothers within a year of its publication, during the notorious May 1933 Bebelplatz book burning. Sometime after, the writers’ union affiliated with the Third Reich, the Reichsschrifttumskammer, summoned him to appear. It is believed that he did.

Haffner was never seen again.

There is a lesson in that, as well.

Brexit, There Isn’t Really a Choice

Some of you are likely wondering why I have become so insistent on a clean WTO Brexit. Well, it’s pretty much in what the EU has written. This is a list of the clauses of the Lisbon Treaty which the UK will have to accept to remain in the EU, or indeed to take May’s cretinous withdrawal agreement.
, who pulled this together.

You only have to know the following about Selmayr and the EU.

Check out the Lisbon Treaty if you wish:

1: The UK along with all existing members of the EU lose their abstention veto in 2020 as laid down in the Lisbon Treaty when the system changes to that of majority acceptance with no abstentions or veto’s being allowed.
2: All member nations will become states of the new federal nation of the EU by 2022 as clearly laid out in the Lisbon treaty with no exceptions or veto’s.
3: All member states must adopt the Euro by 2022 and any new member state must do so within 2 years of joining the EU as laid down in the Lisbon treaty.
4: The London stock exchange will move to Frankfurt in 2020 and be integrated into the EU stock exchange resulting in a loss of 200,000 plus jobs in the UK because of the relocation. (This has already been pre-agreed and is only on a holding pattern due to the Brexit negotiations, which if Brexit does happen the move is fully cancelled but if not and the UK remains a member it’s full steam ahead for the move.)
5: The EU Parliament and ECJ become supreme over all legislative bodies of the UK.
6: The UK will adopt 100% of whatever the EU Parliament and ECJ lays down without any means of abstention or veto, negating the need for the UK to have the Lords or even the Commons as we know it today.
7: The UK will NOT be able to make its own trade deals.
8: The UK will NOT be able to set its own trade tariffs.
9 The UK will NOT be able to set its own trade quotas.
10: The UK loses control of its fishing rights
11: The UK loses control of its oil and gas rights
12: The UK loses control of its borders and enters the Schengen region by 2022 as clearly laid down in the Lisbon treaty
13: The UK loses control of its planning legislation
14: The UK loses control of its armed forces including its nuclear deterrent
15: The UK loses full control of its taxation police
17: The UK loses its standing in the Commonwealth
18: The UK loses control of any provinces or affiliated nations e.g.; Falklands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar etc
19: The UK loses control of its judicial system
20: The UK loses control of its international policy
21: The UK loses full control of its national policy
22: The UK loses its right to call itself a nation in its own right.
23: The UK loses control of its space exploration program
24: The UK loses control of its Aviation and Sea lane jurisdiction
25: The UK loses its rebate in 2020 as laid down in the Lisbon treaty
26: The UK’s contribution to the EU is set to increase by an average of 1.2bn pa and by 2.3bn pa by 2020

This is the future of what the youths of today think we stole from them?
They should be on their knees thanking us for saving them from being turned into Orwellian automatons.

Want it in one line? Great Britain becomes a province wholly controlled from Brussels, of no account in its internal affairs, or even less in international affairs. Remember what happened in 1940? Yeah, me too.

What Parliament and the government are setting up here is not 1940 rewritten, but 1642, and the first of the Cousin’s Wars, and I note without comment that quite a few of the American Cousins went home to fight for their family.

This may be on point, one hopes. Because what Her Majesty’s Government are doing is selling the Throne of England, and all those other places we love so much, to Belgium, ultimately to Das Vierte Reich.

And an update: If you would like to know why Britain must do this now, Timothy Bradshaw, writing in The Conservative Woman explains it.

Self Appointed Elites vs. Deplorables

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

There’s an open letter floating about over in Europe. It’s a defense of the EU by so-called intellectuals, most of whom nobody has ever heard of. One who you may have is Salman Rushdie, whom you may remember irritated the Muslims some 20 years ago, and has been living in hiding courtesy of the British taxpayer ever since. This is how he repays that debt. The rest are likely worse.

“The idea of Europe is in peril.” Thus begins an 800-word open letter published on Friday in the French newspaper Libération and other several European dailies. Written by Bernard-Henri Lévy, the French philosopher, it was signed by thirty “top intellectuals” (as the Guardian put it) from twenty-one countries.

Now, anyone familiar with current affairs will readily agree that Europe – at least Western Europe – is imperiled. It’s imperiled by a European Union whose unelected leaders are determined to convert it into a sovereign superstate with its own army and with ever-expanding powers. And it’s imperiled by hordes of Muslim migrants who, having been forced upon it by those EU leaders, will, barring dramatic reversals, eventually turn the countries of Western Europe into sharia states.

But this isn’t what these “top intellectuals” mean. Note the wording of their letter: they’re not concerned with the well-being of the peoples of Europe; their preoccupation is with the idea of Europe, which is to say with the preservation and fortification of the European Union.

And their message is that the EU is imperiled by – who else? – Europeans themselves.

Who are these “top intellectuals”? The signatories include the renowned novelists Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Milan Kundera, plus an assortment of philosophers, historians, activists, and social critics, some more famous than others. Their tender concern for the EU’s health is not surprising. The EU was always a project of privileged highbrows, who helped it advance from strength to strength by lying to the governed, acting without their consent, and overruling their votes. Now, with Eastern European governments rejecting dictates from Brussels and with Western European electorates, at long last, demanding that their voices be heard and their wishes respected, the EU’s architects and partisans are balking at the audacity with which the deplorables – the peons, the peasants, the proles – are standing up to them. Lévy writes:

“Enough of ‘building Europe’!” is the cry. Let’s reconnect instead with our “national soul”! Let’s rediscover our “lost identity”! This is the agenda shared by the populist forces washing over the continent. Never mind that abstractions such as “soul” and “identity” often exist only in the imagination of demagogues.

Pace Lévy, a feeling of national identity has long been a potent force in the souls of men. For him and other devotees of the “idea” of an EU superstate, it has been Job One to try to eradicate that patriotism and replace it with a newly forged sense of “European identity.” Unfortunately, these EU boosters have discovered that that particular abstraction thrives only in their own demagogic imaginations, and that most of the people of Europe want nothing to do with it.

Lévy’s letter goes on:

Europe is being attacked by false prophets who are drunk on resentment, and delirious at their opportunity to seize the limelight. It has been abandoned by the two great allies who in the previous century twice saved it from suicide; one across the Channel and the other across the Atlantic.

The degree to which Lévy manages to turn everything upside down here is impressive. The actual false prophets are the EU’s unelected leaders and their collaborators, lackeys, and running dogs, such as Lévy and his pals. They’re the ones who are, to borrow Lévy’s metaphor, drunk – specifically, drunk on unearned power that they’ve seized from the once free citizens of Europe’s nation states. As for Britain and the U.S. – yes, they did save Europe from suicide twice in the twentieth century. Today, in keeping with that history, the Brexiteers in Britain and the Trump administration in the U.S. recognize the EU as, like Nazi Germany and the USSR, a misbegotten imperial project – an ideologically rooted effort, conceived and driven by an arrogant and self-regarding elite, that has steadily encroached on individual liberties, steadily weakened economies, and steadily evolved into something that looks increasingly like a suicide pact.

If twentieth-century Europe was almost destroyed by various totalitarianisms, twenty-first-century Europe now risks destruction either at the hands of Islamic totalitarianism, to which the EU honchos have kowtowed for two generations, or at the hands of the burgeoning totalitarianism of the EU itself. Or both. “Europe as an idea,” Lévy tells us, “is falling apart before our eyes.” Good. The key lesson of the twentieth century – which the multitudes are waking up to even if the “intellectuals” aren’t – is that Europe’s Achilles heel isn’t populism but a susceptibility to control-happy “ideas” for the organization of societies.

It goes on and it is worth reading just to see how ungrateful “our betters” are. I’m becoming convinced that Brexit will happen properly (on WTO terms) and that the EU elections will start the process of dismantling this evil superstructure, das Vierte Reich. maybe even, for once, peacefully. One hopes so.

If so, we will have seen, for the third time in a century, Britain, with an assist from the United States, saving Europe from itself. It’s time for Europe to grow up.

A Historic Vote in Parliament

And so, tomorrow UK time, Parliament will vote on May’s Withdrawal Agreement, which isn’t. It’s an amazing document, given that its existence is premised on the authority of a passed referendum that asked,  “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

That is very clear and unambiguous, remarkably so, in fact. And so were the results, 51.9% of the electorate (in the largest UK turnout ever) said: “Leave”.

But the British swamp (pretty much the same players as the American swamp, but with a British accent) disagreed with the people. Loudly, coarsely, contemptuously, and disgracefully they disagree. It hasn’t been edifying watching as they attempted to spin, lie and otherwise weasel out of what the sovereign people said. This attempt is the keystone of May’s Prime Ministership, to undermine the will of the people. It’s a hell of a mess, perhaps worse than what Trump is fighting, not least because the people have few allies in Parliament, the Civil Service, or the City (that square mile, mentioned in Magna Charta) that has had pretensions to know better than anybody what is good for the UK, ever since.

If the domestic enemies of the people were not enough, then there is the EU. They are already on a bumpy ride to oblivion and fighting a rearguard action to preserve what is increasingly seen as das Vierte Reich, the fourth incarnation of the German Empire.

What May’s agreement does not do is withdraw from the EU, in fact, what it does is even worse than staying in, it removes any influence Britain has in the EU (not much) and strips Britain of voting rights in the organization. It is literally worse than staying in the status quo. It was evidently dictated to May by second level officials of the EU, not surprisingly, German allies of Merkel’s.

The other option is, of course, a clear exit on WTO terms, and then as is proper, to negotiate trade deals with all and sundry. Rumor has it that the US has one waiting that is very favorable to the UK, and it is likely that the Commonwealth does as well.

Would there be disruption? Perhaps, but its hard to see why. Trade is in everybody’s interest. Germany is still a metal-bashing economy, what they do best is make cars. The UK is comparable, maybe superior, as a twenty-first century economy to the US, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and an end to the EU asset stripping of manufacturing to relocate in Eastern Europe would enhance employment for regular people, as we’ve seen here in the last two years.

Greg Hands, the MP for Chelsea and Fulham, and a former Minister of State at the Department of International Trade wrote this for Conservative Home a few days ago.

[…]But most Brussels commentators maintain that Brexit details are determined by their respective number twos: Martin Selmayr (Chief of Staff to Juncker since 2014, and – controversially – General Secretary of the European Commission since March 2018) and Sabine Weyand, deputy to Barnier.

Both happen to be German. Indeed, Die Welt, the leading German daily, early on in the negotiations did a feature titled‘The top German players in the Brexit poker game’, with a certain pride, on their central role in the coming talks.

Selmayr and Weyand – the well-connected German officials, behind the scenes […]

In September 2017, Selmayr was reported to have blasted Brexit as “stupid”.  “He is a theologian who regards the British as heretics,” was how a former British ambassador to Brussels described him to The Times.

It is Selmayr who stands accused of having leaked the details of two dinners between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Although he denies this. The accounts claimed May “begged for help” and described May as appearing “anxious”, “tormented”, “despondent and discouraged,” and cruelly described how our Prime Minister appeared to be having sleepless nights.

Juncker – or more likely Selmayr – vetoed greater transparency in the Brexit talks and specifically recommendations from the EU’s official watchdog that Weyand’s role be more scrutinised and her meetings published.

What they now say about the Brexit Agreement: and why that should warn us, British MPs, in advance of next week’s vote

Since the Withdrawal Agreement was finalised in November, Selmayr and Weyand have left most of the public words to their bosses Juncker and Barnier, but behind the scenes various reports have emerged of what these two officials think. And these officials are the ones who know the detail best. Both have been clear that the Agreement is overwhelmingly favourable to the European Union.

There are credible reports that the British armed forces have already been assigned roles in the so-called EU army, often said under German officers, and that intelligence functions will be extended. This last is important, the premier intelligence operation in the world is Five Eyes: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Britain is, always has been, a key player in this. This agreement will end this, and possibly NATO as well.

So that is what this vote tomorrow is all about. Perhaps the most important vote in the entire Anglosphere since the British decided (without public approval) to join the EEC, the predecessor of the EU.

We’ll see if Parliament has the guts to legislate for the (not very) United Kingdom, or is content to throw away a thousand years of history for the satisfaction of surrendering British sovereignty to German bureaucrats.

A proper British Prime Minister would simply tell the EU to sod off.

The date today could just as well be 10 May 1940.

Selling Out the British

This is quite remarkable, not to mention rather horrifying. What Theresa May’s government is doing in their negotiations is nothing less than selling the UK’s sovereignty to Brussels (and you can easily see Berlin’s hand running the puppet that is the EU.

Britain is, of course, the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world, depending on how you measure, and many believe it is the second most powerful country in the world, second only to the United States, and the only other one able to intervene anywhere around the world.

Amazing, isn’t it? The people voted clearly to leave the EU, and the government has used that as cover to give them a worse deal, a similar influence on how they do things, but without even the (mostly sham) vote. One could call it selling their sovereignty, but one would be wrong – they aren’t getting paid, well probably May and the Civil Service have some golden prospects for their treachery, but we don’t know that yet.

There is, of course, a backstory, of how it got that way. Peter Hitchens lays it out as clearly as I have seen.

Amazing story, isn’t it? I’m pretty much convinced that the overall point is true. I don’t agree with every point, although some of that may be my prejudices speaking, of course. Specifically, I do believe in the special relationship between the US and the UK, although I’m not sure the British really do. Still, overall, he makes an excellent case.

UK vs the Reich

James Lewis had an article on American Thinker yesterday. In it he does a remarkable thing, he tells the truth. Let’s have a look.

Europe has a neurotic compulsion to repeat the past.  This is bad news, because nobody wants to repeat five (count ’em!) East-West wars exploding out of Europe over the last two centuries.

But – the E.U. now has a better idea.

It wants European nations to surrender to the German-French axis without a shot being fired.”Countries must give up their sovereignty and join the one-world government,” German chancellor Angela Merkel remarked generously the other day.  The E.U. Times, of all places, remarked that “[n]o, this isn’t something Adolf Hitler said many years ago.”

Everybody in that part of the world knows who runs the E.U.: the Germans, fronted by the French.  So when the charming Frau Merkel said that, most of her listeners filled in the rest of the story.  But the Brits were not laughing.

Just to keep the historical record straight:

  1. Napoleon beat the German-speaking provinces around 1800, arousing a century of vendetta wars.
  2. Otto von Bismarck used Prussian robo-militarism to invade Paris in 1871.
  3. WWI started as an enormous German-French meat-grinder, finally ended by the United States entering the war.
  4. In the 1920s and ’30s, Hitler arose in revenge for WWI, leading to thirteen years of industrialized massacres of innocent human beings and ending with catastrophic Axis aggression in World War II, including the Japanese Rape of Nanking and all the rest.
  5. But…Europe’s world wars did not end in 1946.  They just moved to the Soviet Empire, which included East Germany.  Korea and Vietnam were proxies for the U.S.-Soviet struggle.

And now we have Reich Number Six, called the “European Union.”  But the only “union” in the E.U. is the unelected ruling caste, which rules with an iron hand, while the left-out voters are getting sick and tired of the scam.

This may be why Emmanuel Macron, the German vassal in Paris, just called for an E.U. army – to use against NATO, of course.  These little voters can’t be allowed to resist Das Sechtse Reich (the sixth! in 200 years!), so we gotta get an army, now.  Because both the U.K. and France have nuclear weapons, the E.U. army is bound to inherit nukes.

Spot on, although many of us refer to it as Das Vierte Reich, because we for whatever reason do not count the proxy wars. He may be correct.

So once again as always, it comes down to that small fog-shrouded island off the coast. Can they once again, prevail? As the did against Napoleon, against the Kaiser, and against Hitler. All of those struggles have hurt them, and the Reich’s fifth column has as well, as it has America. But once again the British people have lined up on freedom’s side, as they always have. This time (as has sometimes happened before) Her Majesty’s Government is not on side. That is a problem, but it is not a new one, the British have solved that before, perhaps they will again.

Because as Britain goes, Europe goes.  Mr. Lewis finishes this way, he is correct.

Or, as Victor Davis Hanson warned about Monsieur Macron:

The French president suffers from the usual dreams of some sort of European “empire” – Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler … Brussels? He probably envisions a new Rome steered by French cultural elites whose wisdom, style, and sophistication would substitute for polluting tanks and bombers, and who would play Greece’s robed philosophers to Europe’s Roman legions: “It’s about Europe having to become a kind of empire, as China is. And how the U.S. is.”

Two years ago, more than 17 million Brits voted to leave the E.U., but the last two years have been an imperialistic E.U. campaign to stop an independent Britain from ever rising again.

The biggest embarrassment is that Britain has allowed its own swamp to be penetrated and bought off by the Franco-German Axis.

In that process, the voters of the U.K. have been lied to and betrayed many times. The allegedly conservative prime minister, Theresa May, is now seen as the biggest back-stabber in the land, and it looks as though Labor will repeat her betrayal as soon as they get a chance.

I know you did not want to hear this. Neither did I. Welcome to the real world.

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