Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: January 26, 2012


Stunning

I’m stunned every now and then when I see a story like this.  By the way this isn’t an indictment of Germany, necessarily, its not the only country in which you’ll find such knowledge gaps.  Japan has hidden its atrocities during WWII as well.  In fact, most countries would prefer not to discuss such behavior.  

But it sure makes it hard to say “Never again” and have it mean anything if part of the population doesn’t know what it refers too.

One in five young Germans has no idea that Auschwitz was a Nazi death camp, a poll released Wednesday showed, two days ahead of Holocaust memorial day.

Although 90 percent of those asked did know it was a concentration camp, the poll for Thursday’s edition of Stern news magazine revealed that Auschwitz meant nothing to 21 percent of 18-29 year olds.

And nearly a third of the 1,002 people questioned last Thursday and Friday for the poll were unaware that Auschwitz was in today’s Poland.

Maybe it’s not significant that 21% didn’t recognize a name that is so identified with concentration camps that it could be a synonym.  Perhaps it is good enough that 90% of the total knew it was a concentration camp.  Or does it signal that the shame and the knowledge of the shame brought to Germany by the Nazis is beginning to fade (of course my guess is if you asked the question of the same demographic here in the US, the percentage to which the name would mean nothing would probably be higher)? 

Or, does it perhaps point to a demographic in which a portion is so self-absorbed that history like that represented by Auschwitz simply doesn’t register?

I wonder at times, as I watch the WWII era dim as veterans die off, whether things like D-Day and its import or Pearl Harbor will even get a mention in a few years.  

But back to the poll.  If ever there is something every German school kid should know about it is the Nazi era.  If ever there was a subject to which they should be exposed, to include all of the atrocities by that regime, it is the subject of Germany and Nazism. 

I can’t help but believe, and I don’t know it for sure, that the subject gets taught but it isn’t something that is lingered over by schools.  And I wonder how sanitized it has become now days. 

The fact that a fifth of the young demographic said the name “Auschwitz” had no meaning for them has thinking it is both short and sanitized when presented.  

Wonder if they knew the name “Dachau” (10 mines northwest of Munich).

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 26 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Durable goods orders for December rose a sharp 3%, and ex-transportation orders were up 2.1%. November orders were also revised upward sharply to 4.3% from 3.7%

Initial claims for unemployment rose 21,000 to 377,000. The 4-week moving average still dropped, however, to 377,500.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1 point to -46.4.

The Chicago Fed reports its National Activity Index rose to 0.17 in December from -0.46 the prior month. The 3-month moving average stands at -0.19, which is slightly below-trend growth.

New home sales in December fell 2.2% to a disappointing 307,000 annual rate, well below analyst expectations of 320,000.

The Conference Board reports that the Index of Leading Economic Indicators—which has received a huge revision to the components that make it up—rose 0.4% last month. In the LEI, money supply has been removed in place of a new credit measure, and deliveries have been dropped in favor of the ISM New Orders index. As part of this makeover, previous months have been revised sharply downward to 0.2% and 0.6%.

~
Dale Franks
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$2 billion US dollars to Brazil, but the oil will go to China

Remember this?

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil’s Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-I’m Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas.

And  this?

“We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and, when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.”

Mr. Obama was saying that while he was drastically slowing down leasing and permitting in the US and whining about “subsides” to US oil corporations.  We apparently can subsidize government controlled oil companies in foreign countries, but not here (and I’m not arguing for subsidies here – just pointing out the usual Obama contradiction – kind of like he’s against bailouts, except for Chrysler, GM, Solyndra, etc.)

Well, that little jump-start of ObamaDollars has indeed helped “develop these oil reserves”.  And the beneficiary?

Off the coast of Rio de Janeiro — below a mile of water and two miles of shifting rock, sand and salt — is an ultradeep sea of oil that could turn Brazil into the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, behind Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The country’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, expects to pump 4.9 million barrels a day from the country’s oil fields by 2020, with 40 percent of that coming from the seabed. One and a half million barrels will be bound for export markets.

The United States wants it, but China is getting it.

Less than a month after President Obama visited Brazil in March to make a pitch for oil, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was off to Beijing to sign oil contracts with two huge state-owned Chinese companies.

Well done, Mr. Obama.

[HT: Red Country]

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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