Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html en-gb 30 Fri 29 Aug 2014 11:08:30 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html Dez http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=99#comment120 MAII"oldgnat, I'm not surprised that you and many other Brits would not die for a cause, any cause including the defense of your liberty or your life or that of those you love. That's why Chamberlain gave Hitler whatever he wanted."Which country was it that fought the Nazis in 1939 & 40, when the Soviets provided Hitler with materials and which country sat on their backsides across the oceanAnd which counrties president carved out Europe with the Soviet regime, to Churchills discust and inability to do anything about, Let me remind you it was your president who was deluded by Stalin, not oursYes I agree with you that the soviet empire was oppressive and in many ways evil, and that anyone who calls themselves a marxist lennist is not only deluded but probably dangerous if they ever got any meanigful power, but please dont insult us brits who fought the Nazis long before your lot could be bothered to get involved Wed 18 Nov 2009 11:46:04 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=98#comment119 MODERATORS!!SOMEBODY!I HAVE TRIED PUTTING THIS TECHNOLOGY COMMENT ON BUT NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION!FOR 3 DAYS NOW THIS BLOG ARTICLE AS AS FAR AS I CAN GO ON THE EDITOR'S BLOG PÅAGES!????????????????????????????????????????????????????????ALTHOUGH LAST WEEK I WAS MAKING COMMENTS ON MORE RECENT ARTICLES THE BBC WEB-PAGES FOR GAVIN HEWITT BEYIND THIS ARTICLE JUST DO NOT APPEAR!!!!!!!ONLY THE BBC LOGO AND THAT IT IS GAVIN HEWITT'S ARTICLE - - BUT BLANK PAGES FOLLOWS UNTIL AT BOTTOM OF PAGE I CAN SEE PREVIOUS AND THE MOST RECENT PAGE ARTICLE TITLES, BUT, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ARTICLE OR COMMENTS APPEAR.ANYONE OUT THERE???????????????????????????????????????????? Tue 17 Nov 2009 12:23:41 GMT+1 Ilah Williamson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=97#comment118 I went to Berlin with the kids for the celebrations. It was a great atmosphere, people were feeling genuinely happy. The kids also got the concept of the divided city and the continent and couldn't understand how people could be so stupid building The Wall and separating and imprisoning all of those people behind it away from their friends and family. They've only known growing up in a free Europe with no boundaries, going to school with many children from different mainly European countries and have no problem with it. Maybe it will take the next generation to appreciate what has been achieved. It's really sad to see and to read here that people, mainly those who never had to look at life from the wrong side of the Berlin Wall can make such comments as "The West Germans didn't know when they were well off. The South Koreans are making the same mistake" Many Germans I know were reunited with family that they hadn't seen in years in November 1989. They would be inclined to disagree strongly with such statements.I do agreee with SuffolkBoy 2 though. The borders should be maintained between Britain and the mainland. Anything to limit the mass of criminals flooding over here from The UK is vitally important to our security, since The UK is in number 1 position for crime in the EU by a long way and it's mostly homegrown. Tue 17 Nov 2009 10:21:09 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=96#comment117 Follow-up on the "Wall", poor Lech Walenca was wounded by it. After he kicked it a camera-man and his trolley slipped in the rain and drove into him, falling over the whole equiment on Walenca. Even plastic the wall bites! He was treated at home but tomorrow goes to the hospital, leg and spine. Tue 17 Nov 2009 00:16:46 GMT+1 smroet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=95#comment116 #116 BoilerplatedThe "detail" referred to the question of the crucifix, which you thought to be the "original sign of Christianity", but I think is not. The political question is at the last paragraph of my post #103 and is asked here as well. I fully understand the scope of the ECHR judgement in the Lautsi vs. Italy case, so it is not really necessary to repeat this. Fri 13 Nov 2009 18:15:24 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=95#comment115 #113. At 5:39pm on 12 Nov 2009, smroet wrote:"But this is detail:"That you questioned, by suggesting that the ECHR had in effect banned all national flags that had a cross in them..."I note that you do not wish to discuss the more important political question. OK."I assume you mean 'political' with a very small 'p'?.Surely that is what we were doing, the devil (no pun intended) in so often in the detail. The ECHR has not banned religion, nor has it banned the crucifix, all it has done is ban it's universal placement - by means of state law - in one section of society (educational establishments), in the UK (if this judgement were to have any impact) I very much doubt that it would lead to the removal of crucifixes from church aided faith schools. Fri 13 Nov 2009 10:02:42 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=94#comment114 OK, Seraphim85, I return Mavrelius back to you. Fri 13 Nov 2009 06:00:09 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=93#comment113 WA"I'm not skilled in European politicians' names, we are not told about personalities and differences between them, and without MA's occasional eh word, I would only be reading these blogs, not able to say a thing. Well, nearly, not able. :o)"In fact they are like peas in a pod. Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum (I expect you read Alice in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass and know it was Humpty-Dumpty who had a great fall. I think he broke into 27 pieces.) When you look from a high floor of a tall building down on the street, all the people look like ants. One looks just like another. Same when you are far away and look through a telescope. To the ants themselves they look very different from each other but we here high up and far away see them differently, it's hard to tell them apart. Are Gordy, Nickie, and Angel Eyes all that different from each other? To me they are the three blind mice, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil, See no Evil. Or as we say, Monkey see, Monkey do. Pathetic. For all President Obama's faults, he beats them all combined hands down. He's much smarter than the lot of them. His problem is lack of experience but he's learning quickly.I don't think the President of General Motors has anything to worry about from Russia. I'd say he's far more at risk from irate shareholders. But hey, what is the worst that could happen? A job opening for his successor, one less unemployed. Do I care about Russia? Well since I don't care about much and Russia isn't anywhere near the top of my short list, I'd say not a whole lot. But I do watch it. It's always interesting to see what is going on on the other side of the planet even if there isn't a physical wall anymore to keep worlds apart. There are still many mental walls between us. If you want an inkling of how I see Russia, consider how you see North Korea. From the point of view of an ant, a bacteria is out on the sidewalk near a tall building. It's all a matter of scale and perspective. Like looking through the looking glass at a world that runs on a different set of rules, by its own different logic (if that's what it is.) Fri 13 Nov 2009 00:01:21 GMT+1 smroet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=92#comment112 #112 - BoilerplatedVarious sources on the Internet discuss that the crosses on the Union Jack are a blend of the cross of Saint George (England) and the cross of Saint Andrew (Scotland). These seem to have originated somewhere in the Middle Ages, when heraldry became popular during the crusader times. A similar story is told for the Danish flag, and by implication the other Scandinavian flags. Of course, the use of the cross itself predates Christianity, as you correctly remember. But the notions of "England" and "Scotland" as nation states flying flags with crosses referring to Christian saints on them seem much more recent, and there are several royal decrees regulating their use.As for the use of the crucifix, it is not popular in protestant countries, and its use was not wide spread in early Christianity. So for me the crucifix is NOT the original sign of Christianity. But this is detail: I note that you do not wish to discuss the more important political question. OK. Thu 12 Nov 2009 17:39:17 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=91#comment111 In reply to comment #103. At 11:16am on 12 Nov 2009, smroet wrote:"#102 - BoilerplatedI do grasp the difference between cross and crucifix, thank you. I just think that a cross also refers to Christianity."If I remember correctly, the origins of the cross in both the English and Scottish flags, and hence the crosses in the UK's 'Union flag', pre dates Christianity... The Crucifix is the original sign of Christianity, the cross ("x" or "+") is, primarily, of pagan origin which has since been 'hijacked' by Christianity. Thu 12 Nov 2009 15:24:46 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=90#comment110 Searaphim85,leave me Mavrelius. :o) I'm not skilled in European politicians' names, we are not told about personalities and differences between them, and without MA's occasional eh word, I would only be reading these blogs, not able to say a thing. Well, nearly, not able. :o)On offences - how to say. It's not because of MA, that "our little houses got leaning over". MA cares about Russia - in the only way he can! LOL! - I mean give me Mavrelius on any day over Jukks summarising Russia's past-present and future. Old Jukks - about 28 yrs old I suppose - is a very practical personality, he is interested in the neighbour only in the sense where it concerns the well-being of his EU cocoon-to-become. the recent post "Plan B. - you sell gas to us charging euros, and invest those euros into the European banks - and given this arrangement is in place - beyond the EU borders Russia can do with others all it pleases" :o))) I was, even, kind of offended, no concern at all for our morals, Jukks , having got his euros, is ready to allow Russia to take up Abkhasia and South Osetia 10 times a week and then return them back, and grabatise again - and old Jukks having gotten his coffers won't even wink! aj jai iaj. :o))) Thu 12 Nov 2009 15:20:25 GMT+1 Seraphim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=90#comment109 I forgot on my list that you very well may be also the worlds biggest hypocrit Marcus. You permanently complain about how every single European here is bashing America and yet without Alice losing any insulting words at all you can only come up with posts as your last one. I think I can't consider you a forum troll any longer - it wouldn't be fair towards the trolls. Thu 12 Nov 2009 14:28:53 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=89#comment108 MA, back to our own sweet relations______On the 9th of November the Board of Directors of General Motors, during their meeting in Detroit, decided not to sell Opel to Sberbank.When the General Motors CEO was told where the only man so far who tried to fool Putin spent the last 6 years - he wrote a resignation application - and dated it a back date! :o))))))2. In connection to the refusal of General Motors to sell Opel to Sberbank, journalists asked Putin: Will the GM decision to call back the deal with Sberbank influence General Motors' business other in Russia?- "Surely not", - said Putin.- "Aha", - said Russian people. And ran to sell their used Saabs, Opels, Chevrole-s and other cars made by the GM concortium. :o)))) Thu 12 Nov 2009 14:18:49 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=88#comment107 Lavrov was giving yest an interview to TV, where journalists asked him how are our relations shaping, with that country or another, type - you are the Foreign Affairs chap - brief the population, where we are standing.He got one question "At the last Chinese parade, on the 60th anniversary of China (the people's republic of :o), weren't we, kind of, impressed? That was the first China's military parade - in the past 60 years - where they didn't sport Russian air/land/rockets/ships armament - but all own ones. Many an attending military expert from many a country got the signal, a deliberate clear message.To which Lavrov said firmly: "China - is our good friend and partner. We wish them all the best in their further development. It is mistaken to think that they are good in copying and aren't good in creating one's own. To the opposite - it's a very creative nation, who has vastly advanced with own designs - and not only in the military field, but also demonstrates successes in the automoto, space, etc. - was listing an industry one after another (getting more gloomier and gloomier as he listed, LOL! Besides (here he visibly cheered up) - Russia and China have full agreement on int'l affairs, share views of each other in relation to various int'l arising issues and towards other countries. So, we are glad for them that they advance so quickly and, like, are glad and happy for our strategic partner - and, like, don't you dare for a sec even to let in another thought into your enquiring journalist head or be it any other Russian population head. I understood it that, LOL, in foreign affairs he did all he could :o))) and that China is creative - what can he do about it :o)))) Thu 12 Nov 2009 13:41:48 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=87#comment106 it's like a laugh at the scaffold, if you wish. :o))) Thu 12 Nov 2009 13:29:33 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=86#comment105 MA, all fair. Apart from, I'd say, "chose to alienate itself from the USA and Europe". Not "chose", there is much to be desired that could have been done differently in relation to Russia post 1989 - by both the USA and "Europe".So, "what to be happy about". A./ all is relative we saw far worser times, and compare not to the USA and Europe but measure against ourselves. BTW - drastic changes for worse in this respect as well, LOL!So, why happy. ? I guess because still alive, Dum spira spera/while I breathe I hope.I think it's simply Russian humour, which arises / is explained, like, "when one gets on the edge of the abyss and has one leg sliding over, looses balance and nearly falls. "Well, the process of slowly crawling back from the edge of the abyss, the first shaky millimetres in another direction - is when appears Russian humour and it makes what it is. " Thu 12 Nov 2009 13:28:08 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=85#comment104 WA;What have you got to be happy about? Your country's population is decreasing 1% a year, your economy shrank 10%, and there is no reason why the decline shouldn't continue. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8301333.stmThe only thing that isn't shrinking is the land area of Russia and the only thing that is likely to grow will be the attractiveness of Russia's natural resources to hungry nations like China. Corrupt, inefficient, pig headed, and just plain stupid, Russia's government has done everything within its power to wreck its economy and society. If that wasn't bad enough, it has chosen to make the US and Europe its enemies for no possible benefit to itself. Expropriating energy projects by going back on its agreements with Shell and BP may have won a short term battle but it was a fatal blunder in a long term war to change and improve. Vast waste of money on expensive new military weapons it can't possibly ever use, dependency on oil and gas for foreign income yet deterring foreign investment and foreign expertise it sorely needs and lacks, little world class technology, a still primitive agricultural sector, an image of a brutal dictatorship that assassinates reporters, represses minorities, fleeces foreign investors, and its general 19th century mentality suggest it will not change for the better even when the rest of the world recovers from the current economic crisis. It will live on what it has. The price of oil and gas many recover but that is all that will affect its future insofar as anyone can tell. Meanwhile the rest of the world continues to move on. Small wonder so many people who want a better life choose to leave for other countries, even at the risk of being exploited by human traffickers. And now you can add an HIV/AIDS epidemic to Russia's problems if they weren't already bad enough. Glad my government only has to deal with a ten trillion dollar debt and wars against terrorists, Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, and terrorists. Easy by comparison. Thu 12 Nov 2009 12:43:58 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=85#comment103 MA, cheer up. Nobody wants that either you or Israel fall through the floor. How would European countries "fare better" without Israel. They don't even, oh, well, they don't depend on it. So I am sure no "plotting" in that respect it only seems to you.To us it also often seems that Estonia or Poland LOL or Georgia only sleep and dream how to get rid of Russia :o))) such big scary places someone please protect us! a tiny Russian darling offended by the "big nasty ones" :o))) There is this inclination to complain and look for compassion, but when you come to senses for a sec, you understand your nagging is kind of premature and kind of funny. Remember you'll have a new important role in regards of European countries in a week - to provide for them "an international perspective". Their "international" will be the USA, Russia LOL, Switzerland etc., while to each other they become "domestic".So, for someone there to get an "interntional experience", for example in the CV :o)))) - it won't be enough that a German worked in France. :o)))In terms of 49,999 wars fought by Europeans I think people in this blog interpreted wrongly what you said. While you meant "49,999! - without the USA! how they dared! :o)))))Regarding wars MA, seriously, I think they are badly tolerated these days, but the main crime is that you involve others in it. I think if you don't pull in European countries into them - you can still kind of get away with 1 or 2 :o)))) Thu 12 Nov 2009 11:52:29 GMT+1 smroet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=84#comment102 #102 - BoilerplatedI do grasp the difference between cross and crucifix, thank you. I just think that a cross also refers to Christianity. The League of Red Cross Societies was renamed League of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in 1983 for that reason. As for children pre-11 years old, I do hope that they learn not only in school, but also at home. In particular, their own parents will be able to teach them about the value or not of religious symbols. If this conflicts a bit with what they might learn at school, it might stimulate their capacity of thinking by themselves, which should remain one of the purposes of education. In the case of Ms. Lautsi's children, since Ms. Lautsi was articulate enough to bring the case to the ECHR, she quite possibly would have been able to convince her children that, for her at least, crucifixes don't mean anything special. Anyway, all this is quite separate from the question who decides these matters: the ECHR acting like the USA Supreme Court (as in e.g. the Roe v. Wade case on abortion), or national or local governments. Thu 12 Nov 2009 11:16:08 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=83#comment101 #100. At 11:03pm on 11 Nov 2009, smroet wrote:"even though I do not fully grasp why the subtle difference between cross and crucifix matters so much."Please point out were the crucified figure of Christ is on the UK's Union flag, within the Swiss flag or the Red Cross flag... Never mind that a cross is either a "+" or "x" and not a "†" ('dagger' shape)."Moreover, if a child knows that a crucifix does not have any meaning anyway, why should it be offended?"A valid point, if the child knows that it's just symbolism and that s/he can choose to take notice of it's presence or not, unfortunately placing them in schools (were, by definition, a child goes to learn) and especially in 'lower' - pre 11 year old - the child is not always able to make such a choice, either through ignorance or pressures from (well meaning) adults. Thu 12 Nov 2009 08:31:37 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=82#comment100 threnodious #89"Why is peace in the Middle East an American problem?"Who has been pumping billions in military and economic aid into Israel over the past three decades so as to fundamentally alter the balance of power and to perpetuate the problem? The Europeans?"Thank you for making my point for me so clearly and forcefully threnodious. Yes, Israel's existance does perpetuate a problem for Europe. Wouldn't life be simpler and less problematic if the US had allowed Israel to be destroyed and it didn't exist? If it had allowed the Arabs to "throw all the Jews in the sea" as they used to say they would? In fact wouldn't life be simpler and even more smug for Europeans of America didn't exist either or had the decency to at least remain an obedient colony like Canada did? Why the Crown might even have let us print a likeness of the reigning monarch on our currency, fancy that. But Israel and America do exist and neither of them are going away any time soon. Did you Euros think that all Americans forgot all that America bashing Europeans gratuitiously dished out in such generous heaps less than a decade ago? Well this one hasn't. In fact it has reminded him of what he learned first hand when he lived there. It stank then, reading the real history of it shows it always stank, and it stinks now worse than ever as you just proved. And no amount or celebrating can hide it. It is a blight on the face of humanity, a disgrace, a plessed blot just like that skewered isle. Thu 12 Nov 2009 04:20:41 GMT+1 smroet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=81#comment99 #99 - BoilerplatedI understand your argument, even though I do not fully grasp why the subtle difference between cross and crucifix matters so much. Who decides that a crucifix is still too religious, and a cross is just a cultural expression allowed in public? The ECHR in its great wisdom, or the national or even local government? Or is it up to you or to me to assess this? Moreover, if a child knows that a crucifix does not have any meaning anyway, why should it be offended? Wed 11 Nov 2009 23:03:03 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=80#comment98 #92. At 1:44pm on 11 Nov 2009, smroet wrote:"#83 - Symbolism is in the eye of the beholder. If we remove all crosses etc. from public life, 7 countries out of 27 in the EU would have to redesign their flags, including the UK."No we don't as we are not talking about crosses but crucifixes, a subtle by important difference,m if the parents want to hang a crucifix in their child's bedroom (or where ever) then that is up to the parents but what right do these parents or the state have in forcing such symbols onto non believers - that was the point I was making, the ECHR is not acting like a latter day Marx or Stalin in banning religion, as threnodio_II said: Surely multiculturalism is about celebrating diversity, not destroying individuality?...Those who want religious guidance can still receive it without having to force it on those of a different faith or none. Wed 11 Nov 2009 20:39:41 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=80#comment97 Gavins' workrate is a bit slow, nuh?Hey Gavin... HEY GAVIN!!This blog is a demanding feature. Folks here write hard and fast. We have very high standards of journalism here. Don't think you can spit out the odd piece here and there and keep the hordes satisfied. We want topical controversy, and we want lots of it.So, you know. Chop chop. Otherwise the blog decends into a proxy war between russia and the USA, and the euro's take sides in that debate. And then you position as Euro editor becomes untenable for reasonable folks like me.On other topics, I have been doing some pro bono legal work in the UK this week. This experience, and the opportunity to work with duty solicitors and other state employees, has lead me to understand that society faces a very real danger from excessive wealth in the stock market.Why? Well, I know a whole bunch of really smart lawyers. These folks are decent people, they have happy families and sound values. When they give advice, it is sincere and useful. It is so useful, folks flock after them and seek their help.All those folks ( men and women in equal measures, as far as I can tell) work for banks and large corps, or for themselves.Now I have also met a bunch of the most useless, idiotic, vain loser human beings who have legal qualifications. All these work for the government.Tragically, these government employed lawyers are what is offered to folks who can't afford the private sector lawyers. I am not going to go into the details of why government paid lawyers are so woeful. You just have to accept that they earn far less than corp counsel, and they suck. It is supply and demand. If you are a lawyer and you are not an idiot, you can earn huge money. There is a lot of demand. If you work for the government....... clients are not beating at your door.This seems dreadfully sad for the class based society, where the rich have the pick of legal help and the poor get the insane refuse from hack universities. Anyway, I offer my sympathies to UK folk who need the help of government lawyers. Wed 11 Nov 2009 18:11:50 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=79#comment96 I apologise to all, but, if no one is willing to say any thing in particular exactly, not in the mood to talk tonight on Berlin wall, it may be that the thread is currently kind of "vacant", and I can talk a teosofic talk a bit with dt, without invading the thread. ?Thank you.democracythreat, that's all very well but in the initial stages of your look at the arrangement - what if "the big man" simply saw that the humanity is going to destroy itself (practically) (not morally), and JC was sent to perish to save us all from ourselves but not from the "big man"?Do you question humanity's ability to destroy itself in the year 00?. Well, back then, yes, would be difficult. But what's 2 thousand years plus/minus in terms of forecast. :o)Then, one does not exclude the other. The "big man" can be simultaneously revengful-minded and punishment-minded in general - but still not planning to destroy the humanity himself. And then, a man was sent to help us see how wrongly we do about ourselves and badly take care of ourselves, killing off our best people. for example. So all is reasonable, and one can only hope that all were stricken enough by the Jesus Christ coming and going and didn't forget it in the next 2,000 years. It seems we didn't, as even the calendar was eventually changed in many places, counting on from the date of appearance-disappearance, while I am absoluetly sure that Ivan the terrible, for example, thought he lives in the year 5 thousand something. It was always 5000 something before, in Russian history calculation, as min. 5,000 - that's from Adam and Eve garden, but finally JC related counting was preferred. I think I put it very well, for a person who once got "A" for "scientific atheism" :o) Wed 11 Nov 2009 18:00:59 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=78#comment95 marcus writes:"According to the bible and most Christians around the world, god's plan was for Jesus to die for humanity's sins as a way to redeem humanity. "Yes. This is what I was getting at. See, if it was god's plan for Jesus to die in order for us to be spared, there was clearly a plea bargain going on.Humanity was clearly on the hook before the JC got sent down, dawg. Tink bout it.How could we have been saved if we were not on god's hit list? So Jesus took the heat, and the big man called of his celestial goons and furious judgement.But there is never any suggestion that god did not maintain his grudge, y'all. The lord is vengeful, according to scripture and any reasonable summation of his old testament behavior. Jesus is the bong smoking hippy. God holds a grudge.And that is how plea bargains work. You might let a perp off the hook (in this case humanity), in return for evidence to convict an alternative target (the big JC), but that doesn't mean you are sweet and tight with the perp. It just means the perp walked. this time.And that is consistent with my reading of the bible, both the old and new testament, and especially the prognosis of the end of days.God doesn't like folks, and he is out for blood. We just have to sit tight and hope he honours his sacrificial contract.You see marcus, I am just saying the same thing christians say in a different way. I am highlighting a different perspective on the deal. And you must admit, it makes a lot more sense to put the deal in these terms, than to describe a "loving" god who wanted his own son tortured to death if he couldn't take a massive piece out of humanity. That is just confusing. Like your patriotism. You are always lurching between descriptions of the greatness of the USA and its awesome capacity for violence. Like the christians, you think America loves you because it is great. But you fail to see the perpetual hunger for violence and the threatening posture that has become fixed in place like an oak tree trunk twisted by strong winds.But god hates you marcus, and so does the USA. You are just flesh and blood and human, and these concepts you associate with and claim as friends, these concepts have no love for you.Anyway, believe what you want. It isn't a free world, but everyone deserves a chance. Wed 11 Nov 2009 17:02:18 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=77#comment94 On the other hand, one would think: Switzerland - mountains - mountain peaks - and from mountain peaks - to minarets...the gap is ? :o))))_______In fact the Chiswick church now calls to my mind associations with the EU flag. Hardly that was the intention! From both Russian and Chiswick's point of view. If the architect (could) keep to the essence of the Rus. church construction, and not the letter of it - the essence it has to be beautiful. Now, a building can't look beautiful if it dissonates with the environment, therefore small all-white Russian churches in fields of white snow (where you can reasonably count on it for the most time of the year), daring those multi-coloured colour cute like a toy weaves in the St. Basil's top in Moscow - a capital, all mixed up, very Babylonian masses, all "colourful", bright mixture of peoples and things - fitting the notion. By the key concept - then the church in Chiswick ought to look like a serie of Victorian terrace houses! or like something from that era. Gold-plated. :o))) Wed 11 Nov 2009 14:43:55 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=76#comment93 WebAliceinwonderland #93."So what they did is thought what other options available - it can not be that a nation is so rich that invariably in the history every church you build is covered with gold, there are times and times, and realised that a dark blue dome with occcasional yellow stars here and there (like night sky) is also historically allowed."went to London last Monday (by coach) from the South coast and remember seeing an orthodox church with a golden 'onion' dome, just before Hammersmith.(didn't pay attention, so may be memory deceives) Wed 11 Nov 2009 14:30:44 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=76#comment92 threnodio, I suppose on churches construction a consensus is possible, though, well, a church design re-done with "reaching a consensus" in mind - might start resembling "a winterfest" reached "on consensus principle", and not equal the old Christmas. I know of Rus.Orthodox church built in London, where of course the original idea was to cover the dome in gold sheets (as ChrisArta enquired recently :o) - yes, exactly so that "God notices you more often" :o)))) High minarets are traditionally high, as I understand, on the other principle - that the muedzin who does prayers out of the top of it is closer to God and can be heard. Also, the second advanatge - is your audience on the ground will hear you from afar. But then the London church was buit in a quiet region of London with victorian terrace houses, narrow streets, and a golden dome in it will shine out , how to say, clearly in dissonance with the existing terrain, all so quiet, those short bushes, all so intentionally modest (though not "modest" at all), how to say, hushed down deliberately the colours and sounds, another concept. So what they did is thought what other options available - it can not be that a nation is so rich that invariably in the history every church you build is covered with gold, there are times and times, and realised that a dark blue dome with occcasional yellow stars here and there (like night sky) is also historically allowed. I think what also helped them to decide was lack of money! :o)))))So there it is in Chiswick, I was surprised when I saw it, to see that "night sky" applied in modern times, but then come to think of it - we have had simple wooden domes and what not, if you stress your brains. So may be the minarets either, the Switzerland congregation, if they think about it, were not always so high? Wed 11 Nov 2009 14:13:46 GMT+1 smroet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=75#comment91 #83 - Symbolism is in the eye of the beholder. If we remove all crosses etc. from public life, 7 countries out of 27 in the EU would have to redesign their flags, including the UK. The ECHR judgement underlines the potential primacy of European law over national law. Some of the judgements concern the right of innocent citizens against intrusive police practices ordered by the state (such as keeping DNA records of a person not guilty). Others concern much more difficult areas, where tradition and culture is involved. In these areas, opinions are shifting as time goes on. Opinions may differ in different countries, with different cultural histories. Hence the question poses itself : do we really want this Court deliver binding opinions in this area of policy for the whole of Europe, or do we treat this at the national level according to the principle of subsidiarity?On a different issue, but related to the remaining divide in the EU, in Cyprus, the ECHR ruled in favour of Loizidou in the Loizidou v. Turkey property access case, but the logical conclusion of this was explicitly overruled in the Annan V plan, supported by the EU-15, yet voted down by referendum by the Cypriots in 2004. Whether derogations to ECHR jurisprudence should become 'primary law' was a hot topic at the time. These court matters are not innocent, since they can have far reaching consequences. But that does not mean we cannot hold different opinions ourselves. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:44:58 GMT+1 Seraphim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=74#comment90 "I've heard it said that humanity has fought 40,000 was throughout hitory. I think at least 39,000 of them in one way or another involved Europeans."This is actually another comment in which you prove your lack of knowledge. Between 1500-1600 and say 1850-1950 (depending on the region) Europe more or less controlled the majority of the known world and about every part of it belonged to one empire or another. So as Europeans have been nearly everywhere - you could link everything to european influence if you really wanted to (though I highly doubt 39000 is the right figure as there have been wars in Asia and the middle East long before there have been even weapons in Europe). However if the Europeans had not had sailed out to try finding a way to India in the west there would be no US today on which you could so damn proud on. There would probably either still be native Indians or Russians who sailed over passing the Bering Street living in America today."Why is peace in the Middle East an American problem?"Well, because for some reason those terrorists there seem to hate you far more than Europeans. At least those planes were crashed into the world trade Centre instead of places in London, Berlin or Paris. May that be because you ensured that their regions were constantly either occupied by Americophile dictators or in war with Russia for the last couple of decades?Oh probably also because Europeans have learned from their history that war hardly ever solves any problem and that it will usually only cause more hatred (a vicious circle which was only stopped after WW2). Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:03:59 GMT+1 Seraphim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=73#comment89 Geez I thought you would get that without further elaboration - well looks like you don't. As you obviously haven't understood democracythreat's message (btw I like that Captain America thing ^^) either, maybe this will help you:"Laws are meaningless when the entire government [US goverment] is controlled by a conspiracy of criminals [various CEOs of companies that make a fortune out of the current system at the expense of other people's lives] who won't enforce them except to keep themselves in power [by comparing Health care with euthanasia and other bullshit]."However it obviously is not only that you fail to understand my posts or dt's but the entire discussion here:"Europeans look for any way they can find to bash America to prove to themselves that their own civilization is not entirely inferior as we all know it is."Marcus - hardly any of the "bashing" here is connected to America directly. In fact most of it wouldn't even come up if you had not come here and fit into all stereotypes a single person could possibly have about Americans all at once: You are patriotic to an extend that sickens me (though actually that is probably because I am German and we are taught that it is a bad thing). You are intolerant to any other opinion voiced here unless it is identical with your own."The West Germans didn't know when they were well off. The South Koreans are making the same mistake."You are also one of the most arrogant I've ever met claiming to know everything (if not being omnipotent) about Europe because you have lived here when again? oh right about 40 years ago. This is while you in the majority of your posts prove how little you know about anything whatsoever so that it usually only takes 5 to 10 minutes of research in the web to prove "your truth" to be nothing but lies.You are deluded by what foxnews and other medias in America want you to believe and even fail to accept it when more or less neutral sources such as wikipedia (which is of course not always right, but if it says the same thing in three different languages then one should assume it is unlikely to be made up) strongly contratict with your opionion. Or when people from various parts of this worlds all tell you how nuts you are.If I generalized Americans like you do it with Europeans then I would have to assume that America must in fact be the most horrible place to live among all indutrialized countries.In fact if this was a blogg in which not every visitor of the BBC webpage could take a look at every now and then I guess hardly anyone here would bother even replying on your comments because talking to a wall is equaly effective (and to help you with this again, by this I mean a waste of time). Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:46:42 GMT+1 threnodio_II http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=72#comment88 #86 - MarcusAureliusII"Why is peace in the Middle East an American problem?"Who has been pumping billions in military and economic aid into Israel over the past three decades so as to fundamentally alter the balance of power and to perpetuate the problem? The Europeans? Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:39:17 GMT+1 threnodio_II http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=71#comment87 #71 - oldnatNot so jolly likely, chum. We've had some spiffing good wheezes hereabouts.#80 - BoilerplatedHave you had a humour bypass or something? Just because we don't agree doesn't mean SB2 and I cannot poke a little gentle fun at each other occasionally. Re your #82, a UK government statement on this very subject is due today.And your #83. There is a very real difference between a philosophy and the symbolic manifestation of it. To take a silly example, it is perfectly all right for someone to be a naturist but wander around naked all day and you will quickly be arrested. It is possible to indoctrinate children in Italy into the catholic faith without having crosses on the wall just as it is possible to be a Moslem in Switzerland without a minaret on your mosque.The question here is whether parents of young children are allowed to ensure that religious teaching is withheld from their kids and, for older children, that they are free to practice whatever religion they please. There is a difference between ensuring freedom of belief and being downright silly. Some years back, I was in Birmingham around December and was astonished to find that the powers that be had renamed Christmas to Winterfest. How long will it be before there is a ban on nativity scenes or the words of Christmas carols have to be changed to some multi-faith alternative?Surely multiculturalism is about celebrating diversity, not destroying individuality. Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:31:37 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=71#comment86 and, a side note, democracythreat, you got it all wrong. with your wife a Lithuanian, and, as I understood from some of your posts - a very, how to say, enthusiastic about all things proper Lithuanian; then of the family subjected to Gulag by Russians - you are supposed to get a different opinion about Russia. Why do men never listen to their spouses ? :o))))) Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:25:17 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=70#comment85 I love the typical irrational America bashing by Euorpeans. It constantly reminds me why I detest Europe so much.Sarah Phlegm;"Up to this point I thought you would be talking about America and why it still does not have a working healthcare system..."What does one thing possibly have to do with the other. Contrary to your Communist ideas of social justice, there is no guarantee that anyone will get free medical care. That you call it a crime is your problem, not mine. Yet the fact is, that if they didn't including illegal aliens, sick people would be dying in the streets like flies. The fact that they don't proves this is so. But they do not always get the best care our system has to offer. That is because in capitalism, medical care is private enterprise and doctors do not work as slaves to the government, nor are citizens taxed to death to pay for it.dt;"Do you know, marcus, that when the Christian preachers tell you that Jesus died for your sins, what they are really saying is that God killed him in order to get back at us?"Even if you are a devout Christian (I am not) that is not Christian theology of any sect I ever heard of. According to the bible and most Christians around the world, god's plan was for Jesus to die for humanity's sins as a way to redeem humanity. That was the plan all along. That is what the Christians call the new covenant between god and man. Your statement flies in the face of what Christians around the world including America say.Europeans look for any way they can find to bash America to prove to themselves that their own civilization is not entirely inferior as we all know it is. This week we celebrate the sodiers who died in the two worst bloodbaths in the history of humanity, bloodbaths of the Europeans, by the Europeans, and for the Europeans fought mostly by Europeans on European soil, the climax of thousands of years of Europeans warfare. I've heard it said that humanity has fought 40,000 was throughout hitory. I think at least 39,000 of them in one way or another involved Europeans. Today, problems all over the world are often a result of European invented disasters. Iraq is one example. Africa is another. The conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir yet another. The list could go on and on and on. I don't see why America has to clean up the mess it took Europe millenia to create. Why is peace in the Middle East an American problem? Stay out of it Mr. President. No good can come of trying to settle it. Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:09:28 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=69#comment84 thank you, democracythreat, you are as always allowing about Russia, or, rather, I suspect LOL, me in this blog habitat, to let me feel more or less a human, squared btw MAII and old Jukks! :o))))about the level of catching criminals - I suppose they still catch some, in spite of the hype that they don't. simply because otherwise our prizons won't be so full and over-flowing, in the cameras/cells where in USSR there sat 2 people - they are piled now by 10 or 20 on top of each other in those? multi-layer beds, and every one who bothers to appeal to the EU court of human rights - wins against Russia for in-human conditions while in prizon. Somehow all these people get there, hardly by own will :o) We are now looking to reviw the system, some foreign company got a huge order of brcelets on legs, the ones that beep or someting, to extract "easy crimes" out of cells and send them homes, where they are said to have to be at home from 10 pm to 6 am. there was a criminal chap interviwed recently on his impressions on wearing a bracelet on the leg (he is a pilot trying one) - well he said the damn bracelet works, as he tried to take out with him out of home the whole system that beeps or signals to the prizon or whenever, "but you can't shake it it is balance-related, "you can't even lift it up in hands". Then he said he tried to violate the distance and the times' limit, testing the patience of the guards :o))) well he is a creative man seems to have tried it all (he could, in the short time he had so far :o) experimentingone thing they'll have to change is Russians can't take a bath in the bracelets, not because it can't stand water. it can. but it can't stand a Russian bath-tub, always weighting tons and made of cast-iron (glazed white on top) (but inside it's cast-iron), doesn't like heavy metals. and all the Rusian women flat refused to wear leg bracelets, who were planned to be tried - and preferred to stay in prizon!!!! (now this I don't get) - "because you can't wear high boots in winter in them". Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:01:05 GMT+1 JorgeG http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=68#comment83 @ 4. At 6:48pm on 09 Nov 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote: "Gerald Warner puts it better than wot I do "Funeral in Berlin – of freedom, buried by EUSSR commissars posing as democrats "And then, this"I don't want criminals coming into the UK." [That is why I support the new "ring of steel" in the words of HMG*, the only remaining policed border in the whole of Europe, if you exclude the Balkans, yet I solemnly accuse the EU of being the new Soviet Union. Britain, with a quarter of the worlds CCTV cameras and the only country rejecting the EU principle of freedom of movement, aka Schengen, is a shining example of 21st century freedom]* http://ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2009/july/france-border-controlsIt is highly ironical that you accuse the EU of being the new Soviet Union and yet, the UK has the only remaining policed border inside the EU (excluding recent entrants Romania and Bulgaria, which will join Schengen in a few years time), which you wholeheartedly support, a prime example of double standards. But your opinion and that of the Torygraph is not the only one. It is just that, an opinion, and a largely uninformed and apocalyptic one.Here are other opinions from some of your compatriots (are they double agents from the EUSSR, I wonder?):"The Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain have gone, to be replaced by the Great Wall of Dover.(...) Part of [the] problem is that harsh Germanic word, Schengen. If only Europe's borders had been abolished at some place the British find sexy, like St Tropez or Torremolinos, the British might have understood better how their country is starting to mutate into North Korea."http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/28b3322c-9700-11dc-b2da-0000779fd2ac.html"It is high time this British paranoia about frontiers had a common-sense revolution and we worked with our neighbours towards a large secure area of freedom rather than a big brother-controlled internment island."http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a395ccd4-9fb1-11dc-8031-0000779fd2ac.html"The mission statement of the Borders Agency is to make us less like Germany and more like North Korea. This is because the government is more afraid of the British National party than of continued recession."http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/72b1ab96-8dea-11de-93df-00144feabdc0.htmlNote to the moderators: The reason why these three quotes are from the FT is because that is the only paper where Britain's "Ring of Steel", i.e. its rejection of the principle of true freedom of movement inside the EU, is ever debated (and very little for that matter). The BBC, together with the rest of the British media, never, ever, ever, ever, discuss the issue of Schengen, as HMG doesn't want that issue to be debated in the open. Wed 11 Nov 2009 11:28:26 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=67#comment82 74. At 00:45am on 11 Nov 2009, smroet wrote:"This ECHR judgment does not mention article 9, 2nd paragraph, of the 1984 agreement between Italy and the Vatican, where the Italian Republic admits considering that the principles of the Catholic Church are part of the historical heritage of the Italian people, cf. http://www.religlaw.org/template.php?id=578 .It seems to clash with protocol 1 article 2 annexed to the European Convention of Human Rights about the right to education and teaching in conformity with the religious and philosophical convictions of the parents."How is the ECHR ruling removing such rights, or is the Church of Rome nothing more than symbolism, thus removal of such symbolism is also removing religious teaching? If so then the Church of Rome is a lot weaker than I thought... Wed 11 Nov 2009 10:58:28 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=66#comment81 Re ECHR judgements:SB2 (and others, in the UK, who criticise the ECHR), would you prefer that the UK government ignores the recent ECHR judgement on innocent peoples DNA records, would you support such records being held indefinitely? Wed 11 Nov 2009 10:09:58 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=66#comment80 75. At 01:18am on 11 Nov 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:"http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8353809.stm" ... French Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche is busy with plans to prepare a new "Franco-German agenda for Europe" which he claims will be a central relationship in the new European configuration. ..."SB2: I suppose the other 25 "leaders" should get their rubber stamps ready."They'll have to be quick about it then, they only have until the end of the month, as you would know had you actually bothered to understand the Lisbon Treaty and the changes it makes - again SB2, you're S/N ratio is very poor, to much ranting and not enough facts. Wed 11 Nov 2009 10:03:42 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=65#comment79 #64. At 10:17pm on 10 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:"Xenopobe" and "Racist" are ploys used by some "EU"-lovers to try to terrorise opponents into silence.Wrong again, the terms are used in all their factual correctness. Wed 11 Nov 2009 09:57:21 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=64#comment78 Captain America writes:"Is Russia a criminal society? How many of those murderers who assassinated reporters who exposed them have been caught, brought to trial and punished?"I like a man who holds his world view in disposable soundbites from the mainstream media. It reinforces my belief in a vengeful god.Do you know, marcus, that when the Christian preachers tell you that Jesus died for your sins, what they are really saying is that God killed him in order to get back at us?This is kind of how it works with America, too.God created America as the perfect nation because he loves everyone and wanted people to be able to go to a particular geographic location and be saved. But on the flip side, God also created America because he really hates Russia.He wanted to show those ruskis what he might have done for them, if he wasn't bitter and angry about string theory. Wed 11 Nov 2009 09:32:07 GMT+1 Wonthillian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=63#comment77 #75 SB2Do you prefer the Franco-German relatonship the way it is today or the way it was 70 years ago?Or the Anglo-German relationship, come to that? Wed 11 Nov 2009 09:24:08 GMT+1 Seraphim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=62#comment76 "Laws are meaningless when the entire government is controlled by a conspiracy of criminals who won't enforce them except to keep themselves in power."Up to this point I thought you would be talking about America and why it still does not have a working healthcare system... Wed 11 Nov 2009 08:30:01 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=61#comment75 WA;Laws are meaningless when the entire government is controlled by a conspiracy of criminals who won't enforce them except to keep themselves in power. For laws to be meaningful, a system of checks and balances like we have in America is desirable because it confronts one possibly corrupt individual or group with another equally likely to be corrupt but whose personal interests are diametrically opposed. This is how criminals keep each other honest. When they are allowed to collaborate as they can in Russia or the EU for that matter, the laws have no value except to repress revolt against them by ordinary people. Is Russia a criminal society? How many of those murderers who assassinated reporters who exposed them have been caught, brought to trial and punished? Wed 11 Nov 2009 03:34:41 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=61#comment74 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8353809.stm" ... French Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche is busy with plans to prepare a new "Franco-German agenda for Europe" which he claims will be a central relationship in the new European configuration. ..."SB2: I suppose the other 25 "leaders" should get their rubber stamps ready. Wed 11 Nov 2009 01:18:57 GMT+1 smroet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=60#comment73 This ECHR judgment does not mention article 9, 2nd paragraph, of the 1984 agreement between Italy and the Vatican, where the Italian Republic admits considering that the principles of the Catholic Church are part of the historical heritage of the Italian people, cf. http://www.religlaw.org/template.php?id=578 .It seems to clash with protocol 1 article 2 annexed to the European Convention of Human Rights about the right to education and teaching in conformity with the religious and philosophical convictions of the parents. Maybe Berlusconi will ask for an opt-out, after all. Or Ms. Lautsi (the mother who went to Court about this) might decide to emigrate to France. I wonder whether she had her kids believe in Santa Claus when they were younger. Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:45:33 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=59#comment72 wanted to say, in the photo above - the black and white photo, the young man looks so touching and open and happy on that car crossing to the other side. A great hearty photo, but he does look like a poor relative, as if trousers are his own when he was 12 yrs old :o))), and overall I know it is 1989 but looks like 1960-s. because black and white? or those narrow trousers in fashion in 1960-s? Anyway, where is the photo of the first happy man crossing over from the other side - let's have a look! Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:41:22 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=58#comment71 or, may be, if people suddenly get a right to vote direct on laws, they become so , how to say, full of own meaning, that become gracious, and won't like to lessen their new meaningful status, denigrade yourself, vote for the death penalty? there is a huge yearning for "death penalty back" in Russia, accumulated over the past unlawful years, seeing that the state is unable to protect people, and very few criminals get caught, people want death for the few caught ones, as a scare to potential criminals. fear seems to be the driving force. Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:36:04 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=57#comment70 68. SuffolkBoy2 and threnodio_IIAnd there was me thinking the language used in the "Bunter" books, when I were a lad, had died out! :-) Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:25:19 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=57#comment69 seems good when people can vote on laws-to-be directly? we might get out of civilised nations' list (in this respect :o) soon, there expires the ban on death penalty period in Russia by 1 Jan. Nobody even knows who should decide such a matter. To prolong the ban or to introduce death penalty back. Constitutional court sat yest for 2 days - walked out said they don't know. Constitution, LOL, doesn't mention "death penalty" (only nice things :o)on the other hand, by SW methods - granted death penalty will we back here, if people were to vote directly on this principal approach matter.then it appears to be good, "what people find proper for themselves". Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:24:49 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=56#comment68 Hang on, I never agreed with SB2 on the crosses in school thing.I said that if something isn't worth doing, it isn't worth doing properly.That is a line taken from modern philosophy, commenting on theology and the church. It refers to those who believe in scientific doctrine, but who then twist and turn inside their faith so that they can also accommodate the mysteries of god. In the specific context I heard it used, it referred to priests who had lost their faith and become atheists, but who had decided to stay working as preachers.And it applies here. If religion is useful as a means of educating children, then lets all join hands and pray to whatever, and never mind the science. But if religion is just a bunch of superstitious mumbo jumbo, then why do we need to pay it lip service, and somehow pretend that it has a legitimate place in schools?Religion in schools is no different to any other ridiculous stupidity and cult thinking in schools. We owe a duty of care to children to provide an educational setting that is free from hocus pocus salesmen in their fancy clothes and outrageous hats. Children are at school to learn, to to learn how to get fleeced by organized religion. Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:21:12 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=55#comment67 64. At 10:17pm on 10 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:" ....Tut, tut SB2! You know better than that -"Xenopobe" and "Racist" are ploys used by some "EU"-lovers to try to terrorise opponents into silence. "SB2: I say Old Boy! You are jolly well right!!I apologise! Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:08:22 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=54#comment66 66. threnodio_IIOK I'll become a Swottish Nationalist (mind you the oiks in the Lower Fifth will bully me!) Tue 10 Nov 2009 23:58:17 GMT+1 threnodio_II http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=53#comment65 #63 - oldnatSwaziland has never been to war.Maybe he has a point. Tue 10 Nov 2009 22:58:32 GMT+1 threnodio_II http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=52#comment64 What a perverse world we live in. The ECHR judgment is absolute garbage. The Italian courts ruled against objectors on the grounds that it was a cultural rather than a religious symbol. It seems the ECHR don't agree. I can see why they might have arrived at that conclusion if schools had banned the use of symbolism relating to other religions but, as religious freedom is written into the constitution, that would be a surprise. What I find disturbing is that some organisation or individual would be so perverse as to bring such an action in the first place but before you get on your high horse about it, SB2, spare a thought for those nurses and flight attendents who have been suspended in bighty for wearing cruxifixes by ne'er-do-well 'human resources' departments who then take refuge behind Health and Safety rules. Outrageous!The Swiss decision seems pretty damned silly to me as well but, as DT says, at least it was a democratic decision and I suppose there is an aesthetic argument as well. But look on the bright side - when was the last time SB2, DT and I agreed about anything? Tue 10 Nov 2009 22:41:00 GMT+1 threnodio_II http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=52#comment63 #56 - SuffolkBoy2SB2: Rubbish! "Xenopobe" and "Racist" are ploys used by "EU"-lovers to try to terrorise opponents into silence.Tut, tut SB2! You know better than that -"Xenopobe" and "Racist" are ploys used by some "EU"-lovers to try to terrorise opponents into silence. Tue 10 Nov 2009 22:17:57 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=51#comment62 62. ChrisArta"changing a country's name to start with "SW""Would South Wales count? Tue 10 Nov 2009 22:07:36 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=50#comment61 #58 Did sweden take part in WW1? If not maybe changing a country's name to start with "SW" may prove more effective than direct democracy :)))))I do not disagree with you by the way on the idea of direct democracy, there just needs to be some mechanism to ensure legislation proposals are sane and do not play with peoples mood swings. Also some form of pre-existing legislation is required to ensure there is no monopoly or media.Regarding minarets or bell towers, etc. I can't see their purpose either :) unless god needs some kind or landmark to pay attention to prayers taking place at that spot?? :) Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:49:14 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=49#comment60 #57. At 8:32pm on 10 Nov 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:"The "EU" is a dictatorship."The facts prove you wrong as usual... Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:58:01 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=48#comment59 Well you know, SB2, if something is not worth doing, it is not worth doing properly. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:54:02 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=47#comment58 I read thqat the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has banned crosses in Italian schools. We don't just need to get rid of the "EU"-dictatorship. We need to get rid of th ECHR-dictatorship. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:39:57 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=47#comment57 ChrisArta wrote:"#48 in Switzerland they do not do oppression! They just refuse (I guess on aesthetic grounds) the building of places of worship that the majority that are allowed to vote find not to their liking. "To be accurate, folks are allowed to build mosques. That is not the issue. The issue is getting planning permission to have a tall spire in the form of a minaret.The whacko fringe have argued that this constitutes a form of cultural invasion. Or something. I don't understand what their case is, to be honest.But there is no question, the process of direct democracy has forced a huge and widespread discussion about the influence of Islam and proper rights of religious folks in this country.We are not given the politically correct dictation from party hacks. Nobody can adjust their tie, look into the camera, mention their father, and then tell us all what we think.As i witness direct democracy in action, I am constantly struck by the old chicken and egg argument. Which comes first, an intelligent, peaceful and well informed public, or direct democracy and the right to vote on the law?I am almost certain that it is the political system which proceeds the peaceful and well informed nature of the public mass.I find it curious that the only country on earth to allow people to vote on law is also the only significantly neutral country, the only country to avoid destruction in Europe over two world wars, and also the country with the lowest unemployment, the lowest crime rates, and so on and so forth.If people were objective about cause and effect, you'd think they would demand direct democracy just to see if it works for them.But then we get the chicken and egg paradox! People are ignorant and warlike in their idiot patriotism. They prefer war and patriotism to responsibility and debate.So, I will go back to witnessing the people decide what to do, and you folks can go back to being told what to think by the party representative. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:37:44 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=46#comment56 46. At 10:28am on 10 Nov 2009, Boilerplated wrote:' ... SuffolkBoy2 ...If you think that the EU is a dictatorship then you are totally clueless as to what a dictatorship is ...' We were promised a referendum which we din;t get. The Lisbon Treaty will be in force agains the know wishes of the people of the UK and in contradiction of promises which were made and which were the basis on which Blair,m Brown and the rest of that disgraceful shower got elected.The "EU" is a dictatorship.I refuse to work in prison. I refuse to share a cell. I am a vegetarian. I only drink vegan Champagne. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:32:57 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=45#comment55 46. At 10:28am on 10 Nov 2009, Boilerplated wrote:'... SuffolkBoy2 ... rabid xenophobe ..."SB2: Rubbish! "Xenopobe" and "Racist" are ploys used by "EU"-lovers to try to terrorise opponents into silence. Try it with somebody else. It won't work with me. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:26:48 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=44#comment54 23. At 00:29am on 10 Nov 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:'18. At 11:09pm on 09 Nov 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:"I don't want criminals coming into the UK."I see. But that begs two questions:1. What makes you think criminals want to come to the UK? 'SB2: Because loads of them have already.lacerniagigante: "They've got plenty to steal in countries like Germany, France, Netherlands, etc. which have much more spread wealth than the UK."SB2: That's right and loads of them are at it in for instance Austria. Austrians are the victims of a phenomenal crime wave carried out in good part by non-Austrians.lacerniagigante: 'If there's no criminals in the UK'SB2: It is not my assertion that there are no criminals in the UK. We just don't need more. See my post No.54. Stop distorting what I write!¬lacerniagigante: " ... could you explain why more than 60% of Europe's CCTV cameras are located in the UK, which has less than 11% of the EU?"SB2: We don't have enough. Too many of them in Suffolk are not working. The quality of the pictures in Suffolk is poor. The people who man them are too few. I have been involved in a number of incidents in Suffolk in recent years in which the CCTV cameras should have helped but have not.We need them in schools. The most criminal age is when kids are still at school.They need more on the continent including in schools. The stories I have heard and read about the goings in in schools in Berlin are not nice. The stories I have read about th3e Russian Mafia in Germany are not nice. I have read in a German newspaper somewhere that the German police are staggered by the brutality of the Russian Mafia.lacerniagigante :'Or did you mean that you don't want criminals getting *out* of the UK? ;-)'SB2: I definitely do not want British criminals getting out of the UK. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:21:05 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=43#comment53 21. At 11:33pm on 09 Nov 2009, Ford Mondeo wrote:'SuffolkBoy 2:"I don't want criminals coming into the UK"You mean FOREIGN criminals. 'SB2: Of course! We can't stop British criminals coming into the UK.FM: 'Good old fashioned British criminals after all are plentiful and of a better stock than those nasty foreigners yes?'British criminals are indeed plentiful. There are plenty of nasty Brits. My experiences of the last few years back that assertion up.Not only do I not want Portuguese drugs gangs in Suffolk, I do not want British drug dealers or paedophiles in Portugal. I do not want the extremely nice Portuguese people I have met in Suffolk thrown out or abused in any way. I consider their presence to be an enrichment.I consider it very sad that I keep on being misinterpreted by "EU"-lovers and have to make the same point repeatedly.I want British criminals to be prevented from leaving the UK. The young Brit who tried to scratch my eyes out about 18 months ago , got of with a caution. I have heard that he has since been on holiday on the continent. He was already "known to the police for a number of reasons." I believe he should have had his passport taken away from him as he is a disgrace to the UK.I further believe that British criminals should have more restrictions placed on them e.g. cannot go our after dark, cannot associate with X,Y and Z , cannot be more than thirty miles from his home without permission etc. Tue 10 Nov 2009 19:46:48 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=42#comment52 Then Konev became "bad again" "because he built the wall".Then we decided he is good again.It is very difficult for a man to stay "a good son" of his Motherland, if she is so capricious and changeable as Russia was lately. Still, Konev's idea of the wall was barbed wire, later on the concept was developed to shining heights. Subway lines blocked by slabs, solid concrete replaced wire here and there, then was connected into an un-terrupting line, built up to 4 metres height, then there were added "watch towers", then it became two walls instead of one, with a space in between, and by 1980 it became a massive fortification structure, equipped with various detectors and what disasters not. Tue 10 Nov 2009 18:04:00 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=42#comment51 MAII, @ 40 "there were several days in 1962 when most of us didn't expect to be alive by the end of the day".Then you missed the 1961, what is known here "the tank stand-over in Berlin" but I guess it is useless to google it in English, given your selective attitude to history. That's when American tank army stood face to face with the Soviet tank army in Berlin, 100 metres apart, along the demarkation line (pre-wall times). The USA were about "to support the will of the East Berliners in their striving for freedom".Kremlin had to wake up Marshal Konev in his bed in a provincial Russian town, (2ndWW local hero who was taking Berlin together with Zhukov) - by that time sacked, retired and forgotten - his daughter remembers - he only said : What? To take Berlin - again???! - and fly him over "in pajamas" from Siberia to Friedrichstrasse. Or whatever it was. Because it was a very tense silence in that 100 metres stripe, and Kremlin remembered "Konev is good, with all Berlin matters. He will manage. Somehow."Never before, in spite of all the build-up, Americans and Russians stood in fighting order 2 tank armies 100 meters apart (and I hope never would). Konev walked the stripe, un-armed, and in the open, and was recognised by the US tank army commander - they once had a joint party "on Elbe". Previously. The message was "if Kremlin put in Konev in Berlin "matters" - there won't be stepping back. And he commanded his tanks to back off. All is well that ends well. But the next night the demarkation line became a barbed wire. Tue 10 Nov 2009 17:36:09 GMT+1 threnodio_II http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=41#comment50 #49 - ChrisArtaWell, you know what they say - one man's religious persecution is another man's Town and Country Planning Act. Tue 10 Nov 2009 16:03:28 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=40#comment49 Democracythreat and oh alright, you too, MAII!Re #36 and #45If you had seen Peter Sellers', 'The Mouse That Roared', you would both know a relatively low populated, very small, mountainous and in the main wholly peaceful Nation did once declare war, invade and conquer the United States of America.So, careful what you wish for! Tue 10 Nov 2009 16:02:16 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=39#comment48 #48 in Switzerland they do not do oppression! They just refuse (I guess on aesthetic grounds) the building of places of worship that the majority that are allowed to vote find not to their liking. :)) Tue 10 Nov 2009 12:35:13 GMT+1 threnodio_II http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=38#comment47 #47 - democracythreatLOLDidn't think you did oppression in sunny Switzerland :-) Tue 10 Nov 2009 11:49:53 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=38#comment46 " Could we not for once accept the fact that 20 years ago today, something genuinely good came to pass and leave the argument about whether the opportunity was wasted for another day?"i don't know who you think you are, or where you think you are, but in future you can leave this sort of rubbish at the door on your way in.You will not take away my right to be oppressed. Tue 10 Nov 2009 10:31:29 GMT+1 TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=37#comment45 #19. At 11:11pm on 09 Nov 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:"No. I don't see reds. I see another sort of dictatorship using the colour blue."Rubbish, of course you do, why else would you use the phrase "EUSSR".If you think that the EU is a dictatorship then you are totally clueless as to what a dictatorship is, or you are just a - IMO - troll, my money is on the latter.A dictatorship is normally formed within a single party system, or indeed without any political party (in the case of a absolute monarchy or military coup), something the EU clearly isn't - that said - yes the EU could become a single party dictatorship, but so could the UK, even more so should any extreme political party ever become the elected majority by a very large margin or there be a military coup, does that mean you see a (possible) dictatorship here in the UK also?...Sorry but at best your comments are that of a rabid xenophobe and at worst just intentional noise generation. Tue 10 Nov 2009 10:28:21 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=36#comment44 MarcusAureliusII wrote:"dt, I saw this one piece, I think it might have been on CBS's 60 Minutes where a Swiss guy said that nuclear armed missiles would pass harmlessly over Switzerland."Yeah, the Swiss can be a bit strange when they talk about how modern warfare operates. I remember qwhen I first came here, I was sitting in a bar with a bunch of high falutin Phd students who were studying international whatever in Geneva. This was during the build up to Iraq, i think, and everyone was morally outraged that the US was going in regardless of what anyone else thought. So these guys were chatting away about what Switzerland was going to do in protest, and one of them suggested that the Swiss should promote a coalition of the willing AGAINST the USA. No joke. this guy was advocating the Swiss take up arms against the US.I had been quite all night, cause my french sucks hard, but at that point I just blurted out "Are you completely stupid? Have you got any idea how the USA does war?"They all just looked at me in shock, and one guy, I will never forget it, says "We have strong natural defenses in this country. The USA would find any attack much harder than they think."My response was to just belly laugh. Then I told him "The USA would come here and knock the top right off the Matterhorn, buddy. They'd snap that puppy into three pieces and leave you guys to clean up the mess with what is left of your tiny little country."Anyway, that was the end of that discussion. I guess I made a strong case.Didn't hang out with those guys much after that. Some folks can't handle the truth. Tue 10 Nov 2009 09:59:42 GMT+1 mindxavierbloggz http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=35#comment43 The wall came down but it didn't change the government there and then. Six months after the wall came down we were driving through Europe my Polish wife had to have visas for all European countries. My wife didn't need a visa of course for East Germany. I had a transit visa for East Germany and we waited at the border near to Magdeburg (remnants are still there) to be allowed into DDR. When we got to Berlin the Russian army was still there with their hardware and we could not drive through the Brandenburg gate. So we decided to take a ride further and eventually found a rubble strewn gap which we drove over and into the east of the city which my wife was familiar with. Later we drove that horrible road to the Polish border made up of concrete slabs and the jarring as we crossed every joint in the road was awful. There was virtually no vehicles on that road which has been now turned into a super highway and which will some day connect to the new Polish road syatem. So much for progress. Over the years I have driven that route well over a hundred times going to the UK and saw roadworks going on for hundreds of kilometres. But the good news is that Berliners took it all in their stride and nowadays it's a great city to visit, we go often by train or by car. Tue 10 Nov 2009 07:35:14 GMT+1 Doctuer_Eiffel http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=34#comment42 "The world remembers the fall of the wall" yes and now the UK has more surveillance than East Germany ever had. Sick society. Tue 10 Nov 2009 06:26:49 GMT+1 Mathiasen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=33#comment41 Germany had invited all Europe and USA, which was represented by secretary Hillary Clinton. However dissidents played a major role in the celebration we had yesterday in Berlin, where they had the opportunity to make addresses and interviews during the whole arrangement. Best known here is probably Lech Walesa from Poland, and perhaps Mrs. Birthler, who is now the leader the archive with the Stasi papers. Another participant was her predecessor Joachim Gauck, who made a very fine address. The Germans also took the opportunity to express their gratitude to Mikhail Gorbachev once again.The very interesting thing about the entire process, which did not begin in Germany, is that the part of the social structure, which we in German call “basis”, in a coalition with dissidents and intellectuals was putting pressure on the system and brought it down. We can be absolutely sure that the many politicians present in Berlin yesterday are aware of this, and the official host, Klaus Wowereit, the mayor of Berlin, was breaking the protocol, when he addressed the activists before the heads of states and other notabilities in his welcome address.Taking the entire complicated history of France and Germany into consideration and knowing about the severe implications it has had for Europe, I am most delighted that Paris yesterday had a very big party celebrating the fall of the wall. I suppose it signals approval of an understanding, which chancellor Merkel articulated: In order to achieve its political goals the nation states must in future politics transfer power to multilateral institutions. This implicates two things: Firstly the Federal Republic is ready to participate in this transfer, and secondly it will, in accordance with the latest change of the German constitution, take place in a further specified and concrete extent.While Gordon Brown has a very faint understanding of the process in the 1980s he seems to have reached the latter insight too. At least he said yesterday in his address that Great Britain would not move away from Europe. A wise position, however I am not sure it is shared by David Cameron. Yet. Tue 10 Nov 2009 06:15:49 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=33#comment40 MTE, I never made any pretense of occupying a "moral high ground." I do not accept your morality. My only morality is my allegience to me. That's what comes of reading another Russian at an early age Alissa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum or as the world came to know here Ayn Rand. Actually the only thing I ever read of hers was a series of compiled essays which included some by Nathaniel Brandon called "The Virtue of Selfishness." I owe the world nothing, I do not apologize for existing, I have every right to expend my energies exclusively on my own behalf if I choose to without any reason for feelings of guilt. Still sounds good 35 years later to me. Tough luck on losing all your party privileges MTE, that's the way the commie cookie crumbles. What was the name of the top pig in Orwell's book Animal Farm, Napoleaon? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_RandTwo new books about Rand were highlighted on BookTV (C-SPAN-2) this weekend in a presentation at the Cato Institute. Quite interesting. You can see how she got her start as an anti-communist when at 12 years old, she watched as the Soviet Communists siezed her father's pharmacy "to build a better society for the peasants and workers." Tue 10 Nov 2009 03:33:24 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=32#comment39 Funny to go through these old cold war debates that died out when the USSR died. I'm not going to try to dredge up sources again, it's much too time consuming and it isn't worth it. If I were writing a dissertation I'd have to but for a blog entry, why should I bother. Believe whatever you like MTE, only believe this, one day 47 years ago this sorry world nearly came to an end because people who think like you and people who think like me were at swords point with thousands of nuclear weapons ready to launch at each other on a hair trigger. There were several days at school in October 1962 when most of us didn't expect to be alive by the end of the day. And in truth, the end almost came that time. Read an account of the Cuban missile crisis or find the docu-drama "The Missiles of October" and you will see how close the human race really did come to extinction. Remember the old saying; if you keep your head while everyone around you is losing theirs, you obviously don't have a clue as to what is actually going on. Were you alive then? Did you know? Were you afraid? Tue 10 Nov 2009 03:17:30 GMT+1 Mte_ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=31#comment38 #37 - MarcusAureliusII:So you've abandoned any pretense of holding the moral high ground and now your argument for American imperialism rests solely on raw power - might makes right. Nietzsche would be so proud.Well, I guess that's the end of our conversation, then. There is nothing more for me to say.Q.E.D. Tue 10 Nov 2009 03:09:29 GMT+1 Mte_ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=30#comment37 > "BTW, capitalism never existed in Russia and doesn't now. Not in any meaningful sense the way it does in much of the rest of the world."Oh, I see. If capitalism doesn't do what you want it to do, then it's not really capitalism.Well, I can play that game too. There were many differences between the kind of society that Marxists advocated and the kind of society that the USSR turned out to be. So, I could just as easily say that communism never existed in Russia.But hey, when I present you with a list of various sources making various claims about the number of people Stalin supposedly killed, and you wave it aside with the comment "your numbers are all wrong" and some unsupported claims about the "accepted number in the West", it really gives me hope that capitalism will collapse one day out of sheer hubris.As for the radical militant Islamists - you mean the people that Reagan supported and funded in the 80s? Well, sometimes the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy.And I hope you realize that George Orwell himself was a Marxist. He fought for the Marxist POUM (Workers' Party for Marxist Unity) in the Spanish Civil War as a volunteer, and even took a bullet in the neck. Tue 10 Nov 2009 03:03:19 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=29#comment36 MTE;""Extreme efforts" were indeed made to avoid having Greece and Austria "sucked into the Soviet evil empire" - and these extreme efforts consisted of brutal repression against communists, and, in the case of Greece, a full-blown civil war."Funny how it was not called a "brutal civil war" when it was waged against Franco. In fact when it is waged to enslave people with communism, they ironically call it a "war of liberation." The word "brutal" never comes up in their account of their crimes. Why shouldn't America's foreign policy be aggressive and self serving? Every other country's is. You remind me of that communist kook Chomsky who said in a BBC interview that the US under Bush was a rogue state because it acted in its own interest. Letter when pressed he admitted so did all the other countries.Sukarno, Suharto, the jungle of Bolivia, the jungle of Venezuela who cares. IMO the only good communist like the only good fascist or the only good islamic terrorist is a dead one. I'm not concerned with the details of how they die just so long as the job gets done. In the ultimate defense of what we call civilization against implacable enemies whose only goal in life is to destroy it, in the final analysis that is one case where the end fully justifies the means. Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:57:08 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=28#comment35 dt, I saw this one piece, I think it might have been on CBS's 60 Minutes where a Swiss guy said that nuclear armed missiles would pass harmlessly over Switzerland. They'd be safe in these huge shelters with giant steel doors. Wow did he get it wrong...as Chernobyl later proved. oldgnat, I'm not surprised that you and many other Brits would not die for a cause, any cause including the defense of your liberty or your life or that of those you love. That's why Chamberlain gave Hitler whatever he wanted. Just keep in mind Shakespeare's famous line "a coward dies a thousand deaths, the valiant die but once." What scares you more old gnat, your own mortality or that of the human species? I'd remind you that it did not cause the USSR to give up. Most Americans believe in an after life (I'm not among them) while Soviets were told to believe they had only this one time at life and when it is over, it's "lights out." Life couldn't have been worth much to them since they were prepared to fight on in a war they could not possibly win but could all die in. Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:47:32 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=28#comment34 MTE, I can understand why the statement "Give me liberty or give me death" uttered by the American patriot Patrick Henry would fall on deaf ears when it reached you. Radical militant Islamists, the people the media are reluctant to call Islamic terrorists or Islamic fascists agree with you that the US is an evil empire. Neither harldy surprises me. A civilization that has crushed what you most valued so decisively is something you'd find no way to admire. I really don't care. The judgement of history will decide. Meanwhile the fact is that the USSR is dead and President Reagan had a real and significant role in killing it yet he was not even mentioned in most accounts of the celebration in Berlin today. In fact BBC showed one former East German woman whom they interviewed when the wall fell, ten years ago, and recently and she was not a happy camper. I'm sure all those who did well under Communism are unhappy if they are not among the oligarchs who stole most of their country's wealth when communism ended. Venezuela, Bolivia, and Peru can play the Marxist game but they would do well to talk to the Hungarians, Poles, and Czechs before they do. They might change there mind if they aren't as foolish and ignorant of history as they appear to be."especially since the Gulag was closed in 1956"Not true. The Soviet prison system still existed and it included "psychiatric" institutions where dissidents were diagnosed with an invented disease called "creeping schizophrenia" and were tortured with thorazine. This was well documented in the New York Times Magazine in the 1980s. That was why Soviet psychiatrists were not permitted to attend some intenational meetings of psychiatrists. Your numbers are all wrong. Stalin killed at least 10 million Kulaks alone. He said they were preventing collectivization of farms. We don't have accurate numbers of how many people died in Soviet prisons but the accepted number in the West is at least 40 million. They didn't keep meticulous records the way the Nazis did. But they had quotas. If you went to the local police station to inquire about your spouse who'd been arrested the day before and they hadn't met their quota of arrests, you'd go to the gulag too. Nazi Germany as hell on earth was no more monstrous than the USSR. Orwell's model for a future world run exclusively by insane criminals. BTW, capitalism never existed in Russia and doesn't now. Not in any meaningful sense the way it does in much of the rest of the world. Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:39:05 GMT+1 Mte_ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=27#comment33 MarcusAurelius #28:You admitted that "any rational analysis would have drawn the conclusion that it was unnecessary for the USSR to spend another Kopek to defend itself." That was the only point I was trying to make - that the Soviets could have simply ignored Reagan *if they wanted to*. Of course, they did not want to, and the historical reasons you mentioned played a part in their decision. THEY WERE WRONG. Very, very wrong. Soviet foreign policy in the 80s was a disaster. But, again, my point is that it did not NEED to be that way.Your second paragraph, unfortunately, is full of statements that are simply false. Factually false. The Brezhnev Doctrine, for example, was created in the wake of the 1968 Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia. It stated that the USSR had a right to *keep* nations under its sphere of influence. Not to expand, but to keep what it already had. This is precisely what I said before:"Sure, the Soviets used force to *keep what they already had after WW2* - as in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. They were also persuaded to reluctantly send military aid to the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan when it was in danger of being overthrown by Islamic militants. But the USSR made no aggressive moves to *expand* its sphere of influence beyond the gains of WW2."On a somewhat minor note, Che Guevara was killed in Bolivia, not Venezuela.You are right about a few things, though. The US-backed Indonesian dictator Suharto killed about 900,000 communists (yes, that's Suharto, not Sukarno - Sukarno was the democratically elected leader who got deposed in Suharto's coup). "Extreme efforts" were indeed made to avoid having Greece and Austria "sucked into the Soviet evil empire" - and these extreme efforts consisted of brutal repression against communists, and, in the case of Greece, a full-blown civil war. I'm surprised you forgot to mention all the other examples of heroic American intervention to destroy a country's democracy or cancel elections (as in Vietnam in the 50s), because they were afraid the communists would win.Really, you're doing much to prove my main point for me: That US foreign policy was ruthless, self-serving, and aggressive.And, finally, yes, it's true that there were large communist parties in many countries, often supported by the USSR. So what? Is the USSR not allowed to support political forces friendly to its interests? The United States did the exact same thing with right-wing parties! Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:35:23 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=26#comment32 I love the way Marcus can turn the simple comment "We've got the bomb." into a clever philosophically complex chess move. It's so cute! Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:28:13 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=25#comment31 29. MarcusAureliusII"That was a gambit even the best chess players in the world could not defeat."Quite right. If a competitor in the World Chess Championship strapped a nuclear bomb to himself and said that if he wasn't allowed to win, then everyone would die, then he would probably be given the title. Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:23:20 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=24#comment30 28. MarcusAureliusII"The USSR was an aggressive power that siezed every opportunity to capture new nations into its maw.""It was liberty for America or death for everyone"Kind of says it all. Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:19:56 GMT+1 Mte_ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=23#comment29 MarcusAurelius, when you advocate the annihilation of the entire human race for the sake of your ideology, you're hardly in a position to criticize Stalin. Compared to what you've just suggested, Stalin looks like a benevolent humanitarian.I sincerely doubt that any American president (even Reagan) could have been so insane and murderous as to destroy the world out of spite. But if that was the policy of the United States, it clearly shows who the "Evil Empire" truly was!For the record, yes, I am a Marxist-Leninist - just like you appear to be a particularly virulent imperialist - but I do not support Stalin. I support the Soviet Union. Supporting a country does not imply endorsing everything that every leader of that country ever did. I assume you can support the United States without supporting slavery, right? Then one can also support the Soviet Union without supporting the Gulag (especially since the Gulag was closed in 1956, so it's not like it was a permanent feature of Soviet life).Still, your numbers for Stalin's victims are ridiculously inflated. Not only are they not supported by any evidence (I'll get to that in a second), but they do not even make logical sense. If you add up your numbers with the number of Soviet people killed in WW2, the USSR would have been almost entirely depopulated by 1945! Even the extremely anti-communist Black Book of Communism puts the figure of Stalin's victims at 20 million (and that includes at least 10 million people whom the government did not actually kill, but rather *failed to save*). More balanced accounts put the number between 3.5 - 6 million. See a comprehensive list of sources here:http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm#StalinThe absurdly big differences between the various estimates should tell you something about how unreliable all these numbers are.And, given that over 20,000 people starve to death in capitalist countries every day, you could use the exact same standards to argue that capitalism kills about 100 million people every 13 years and 8 months.As for your claim that most of the people who lived and died in the former "Soviet Empire" would disagree with me... as a former citizen of this "empire", allow me to doubt that. Certainly, they would have disagreed with me 20 years ago, when hopes were so high. I supported capitalism myself back then. But today? After 20 years of broken promises, after the crushing unemployment, poverty and hyperinflation of the 1990s? After the destruction of our social services, the dumbing down of our education systems, and the return of property to pre-WW2 landlords and fascists? Today many people look back on communism with nostalgia. Not all people, of course, but a growing number.The Wall Street Journal (hardly a hotbed of communist propaganda) found that support for capitalism in every single Eastern European country today is lower than it was in 1991 - and in several countries it's below 50%:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125717785492623069.htmlThe same poll was also reported by France 24: http://www.france24.com/en/node/4915979In Germany, the conservative magazine Der Spiegel recently reported with barely-contained outrage that a majority of East Germans feel life was better under communism:http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,634122,00.htmlAnd in the UK, the Daily Mail - again, a highly conservative newspaper - published an opinion piece by a Hungarian author claiming that growing up under communism was "the happiest time of her life":http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1221064/Oppressive-grey-No-growing-communism-happiest-time-life.htmlThese are all right-wing sources. Perhaps you would not have believed me if I posted anything written by a "Marxist-Leninist". Opposition to capitalism in Eastern Europe is very real. Many of us don't like the results of 1989. Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:14:30 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=23#comment28 old gnat, yes it does. That was a gambit even the best chess players in the world could not defeat. Nobody was given a choice except the USSR which chose to pursue its insanity right up until the end. The policy wasn't given the acronym MAD for nothing. Even today, the US and Russia each have thousands of nuclear weapons targeted at each other even though there is no real ideological basis for such power. With neither side trusing the other, there is no likelihood that they will be eliminated any time soon. More likely a gradual verifiable stand down is the only way to get rid of them. Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:05:35 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=22#comment27 MTE #25;You are wrong on every point you made.While any rational analysis would have drawn the conclusion that it was unnecessary for the USSR to spend another Kopek to defend itself, from the point of view of its military leaders, it risked fallig far behind the US badly. This came from a long history of having been invaded and the fact that until around the mid 1970s, objectively the USSR actually was much weaker than the US. Reagan's ratcheting up of the nuclear and conventional arms races alarmed the USSR's military leaders. Among the deployments and weapons systems under development that they felt threatened by was the air, sea, and land based cruise missiles, the stealth bomber and stealth fighter, the Ohio class trident submarines, the SDI missile defense shield, the MX "peacekeeper" missile, a 600 ship navy, and deployment of the Pershing II missiles in Europe. This last deployment which the USSR worked desperately through its communist party agents in Western Eruope to oppose cut down their warning time of nuclear attack from about 30 minutes to five minutes. It appeared to them that the US was trying to develop a first strike capability. The arms race bankrupted both governments. America's national debt soared from one trillion to four trillion dollars under Reagan. But in the US, the government is only 20% of the economy, in the USSR it was 100%. The USSR was an aggressive power that siezed every opportunity to capture new nations into its maw. This was codified in the Brezhnev doctrine. Remarkably for example, Egypt's Sadat threw hid military ally the USSR out of hid country during the 1973 war because he feared a Soviet backed coup. The USSR tried to establish itself dirctly or through its proxies all over the third world. Angola was one place, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Congo were among the others but it actually worked in every country including the US. Venezuela was where the communist terrorist Che Guevera was killed. The USSR's client states also incuded Syria, the PLO, and North Korea. In the aftermath of WWII, it was only by extreme effort that Austria and Greece weren't sucked into the Soviet evil empire. Communist parties in India and Indonesia backed by the USSR were very active. At one point, Sukarno killed about 900,000 commuinists in Indonesia as I recall. In Afghanistan the USSR overthrew one of its puppet governments to establish another. That is when the armed rebellion started. American organization and active support of the mujhadeen demoralized an already grim USSR. Afghanistan became the USSR's first Vietnam, Chechnya another. Gorbachev's efforts to end alcoholism in the USSR by imposing heavy taxes on vodka only made things worse. While the USSR was hard to take drunk, it was unbearable sober. The USSR devoted one million people to the gathering, sifting, sorting, and exploitation of Western intelligence. In the end, the information age made it impossible for the Soviet government to keep the outside world a secret from its own people any longer. They were told that we in the West all lived like paupers and that only a hand full of wealthy people, the upper ruling capitalist class lived well. As time passed, the USSR became increasingly irrelevant to the rest of the world, its primitive techonlogy, its inferior products, it worn out rhetoric no longer found much resonance except among die hard communists...like you. Tue 10 Nov 2009 02:01:09 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=21#comment26 26. MarcusAureliusII"It was liberty for America or death for everyone"Kind of says it all. Tue 10 Nov 2009 01:46:44 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=20#comment25 MTE, you are clearly a Marxist Leninist but I'd say most of the people who lived and died in the former Soviet evil empire would disagree with you although many may have had a more affluent life in the prision state than they have being relatively freer. Of course it went bankrupt, even its slavery couldn't sustain it. We don't know whether Stalin killed 40 million or 80 million in his Gulag Archipellago but we think Mao killed 30 million in his cultural revolution. In tiny North Korea alone, probably over a million have starved to death under Communism already while Cubans revel in their worker's paradise, their ingenuity at keeping 50 year old American cars running until they can find a boat to get off the island in is remarkable.The USSR winning the cold war was not an option. Every American president from Truman to Bush senior made it clear that in the unlikely event it appeared the USSR would be victorious and rule the world, a third world war that would annihilate the entire human race would be the result. It was liberty for America or death for everyone, those were the only options allowed so the point is moot. Tue 10 Nov 2009 01:27:25 GMT+1 Mte_ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=19#comment24 In addition, MarcusAurelius, there are serious problems with your claim that US foreign policy (and Reagan's military spending in particular) "saved" the world from some kind of Soviet takeover.First of all, there was absolutely nothing compelling the Soviets to keep pace with American military spending. They could have simply ignored Reagan completely. Both sides in the Cold War already had more than enough nukes and conventional weaponry to destroy the world several times over. Any further military buildup was just a matter of pride, not necessity. The USSR had a military spending problem in the 80s mainly because of its involvement in Afghanistan. Reagan and the CIA did indeed weaken the USSR, but only through their support for Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East, not through any domestic policies.Second, I see absolutely no evidence that the USSR had any intention to expand its sphere of influence by force anywhere in the world. In the Cold War, the USSR was the side of the status quo. NATO and the Americans were extremely aggressive - American military bases encircled the USSR, East Germany was not recognized as a sovereign state by the West for a very long time (while West Germany WAS recognized as a sovereign state by the Soviet bloc), and Taiwan occupied China's UN seat for many years.Sure, the Soviets used force to *keep what they already had after WW2* - as in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. They were also persuaded to reluctantly send military aid to the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan when it was in danger of being overthrown by Islamic militants. But the USSR made no aggressive moves to *expand* its sphere of influence beyond the gains of WW2. They only sent money and supplies to various friendly political forces throughout the world, which is what EVERY great power (including the USA) does. Tue 10 Nov 2009 01:22:23 GMT+1 Mte_ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=19#comment23 "EUSSR"? Heh, I wish! Let me know when the European Union decides to give us full employment, guaranteed jobs and housing for every citizen, completely free education up to the highest levels, an egalitarian pay scale, and considerably more leisure time than we have today.#4 - SuffolkBoy2, it's nice to see that, besides slandering East Germany as usual, your source from the Telegraph blog is also unaware that the East German state was created in 1949 (in response to the creation of West Germany by the Anglo-Americans) and certainly not in 1945.#22 - MarcusAurelius, thank you for the insight that "the Evil Empire was evil." I'm really amazed by the brilliance and logic of that argument.Nevertheless, I will proceed to deny the "undeniable" and say this: The majority of the people of the world would have been better off if the USSR won the Cold War. Tue 10 Nov 2009 01:04:16 GMT+1 lacerniagigante http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=18#comment22 18. At 11:09pm on 09 Nov 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:"I don't want criminals coming into the UK."I see. But that begs two questions:1. What makes you think criminals want to come to the UK? They've got plenty to steal in countries like Germany, France, Netherlands, etc. which have much more spread wealth than the UK.2. If there's no criminals in the UK, could you explain why more than 60% of Europe's CCTV cameras are located in the UK, which has less than 11% of the EU?Or did you mean that you don't want criminals getting *out* of the UK? ;-) Tue 10 Nov 2009 00:29:18 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2009/11/the_world_remembers_the_fall_o.html?page=17#comment21 I watched the Bull$**+ Broadcasting Corporation's coverage of the celebration in Berlin on PBS TV this evening. I have never seen so much lying and revisionism to history in such a short time. You'd hardly know anyone was still alive who remembers what really happened. Ronald Reagan's name wasn't mentioned even once yet the facts are clear, he and his advisors were far more directly responsible than any others for the end of Communist rule in the USSR and Eastern Europe, an end to the cold war. And it was the American led, financed, and fought cold war and its political courage and perseverence that saved the world from being engulfed by that terrorist state the USSR. How disingenuous for Vlad Putin to have been there when he said that the end of the USSR was the greatest tragedy in history. If he'd have his way, Germany would be reunited....under Moscow's rule just the was East Germany and the rest of the USSR's slave colonies were. Something else you never hear from Communists themselves or their sympathizers and apologists on the left in the West and that is that the Evil Empire was evil and had an enormous adverse impact on the life of every human being who lived in the second half of the 20th century and those who are alive today. That is also undeniable. Tue 10 Nov 2009 00:16:54 GMT+1