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LQD: Merkel does Leadership

by Frank Schnittger Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 11:48:46 AM EST

The Leader of the Free World Gives a Speech, and She Nails It

Angela Merkel doesn't do drama and she doesn't give speeches on TV. So the mere fact that the German chancellor faced the camera across a desk and spoke to the nation Wednesday evening made the gravity of the situation clear. "Es ist ernst," she said--"This is serious"-- and those three bland words had more power than a hellfire sermon. Then she pivoted from statement to plea: "Take it seriously." Quickly, she moved on to historical context, the reason for her unprecedented impromptu appearance: "Since German unification--no, since the Second World War--no challenge to our nation has ever demanded such a degree of common and united action."

Merkel made no specific announcements and called for no nationwide curfews or additional closures. Yet what gave her address its force was her tone, which was direct, honest, and searingly empathic. She laid bare not just the test we all face but also the solace that leadership can provide. Without accusations, boasts, hedges, obfuscations, dubious claims, or apocalyptic metaphors she did what a leader is supposed to do: explain the gravity of the situation and promise that the government's help would flow to everyone who needed it. She gave full-throated thanks to front-line medical workers, assured Germans that there is no need to hoard, and paused to offer gratitude to a group of workers who rarely get recognized by heads of state on national TV: "Those who sit at supermarket cash registers or restock shelves are doing one of the hardest jobs there is right now."

This is a war without a human enemy, and Merkel lay no blame. She asked for the sacrifice of discipline, for heroic acts of kindness. She acknowledged the paradox in calling for solidarity and apartness at the same time. She understood how painful it is that just when people desperately want to come together, families and friends have to endure separation. To Americans, Merkel's appeals to democracy, and her sadness at having to use the full weight of her authority, come as a welcome shock. No German could listen to her calls for self-policing without recalling that she grew up in East Germany under the eye of the Stasi. "For someone like myself, for whom freedom of travel and movement were hard-won rights," she said, "such restrictions can only be justified when they are absolutely necessary." No American could hear that statement and fail to contrast it with our own leader's ringing words: "I don't take responsibility at all."

It looks like the real leaders are beginning to step forward...

There aren't so many ... shall we name them, perhaps in a! poll added?  😎
by Oui on Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 12:06:52 PM EST
The TV address took place on Wednesday 18, 11 days ago, an eternity in Covid time...

Merkel: Coronavirus is Germany's greatest challenge since World War Two - DW

Merkel urged Germans to follow these measures, underling that successful defeat of the virus depended on every person doing his or her part.

"I truly believe that we will succeed in the task before us, so long as all the citizens of this country understand that it is also THEIR task," she said. "I also want to tell you why we also need YOUR contribution and what each and every person can do to help."

Earlier in the day, German health experts warned that the total infections could reach as high as 10 million individuals in the next months if citizens do not follow the measures to slow the spread of the virus.

More relevant than ever, in Germany and elsewhere.
by Bernard on Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 01:32:44 PM EST
And so far Germany is still an outlier among the larger states in Europe by having a widespread testing regime and a case mortality rate of less than 1%...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 01:54:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now the deaths are rolling in. 15 people dead in a Wolfsburg nursing home. The president of the RKI saying "capacity may be exceeded". I expect thousands to die.

At the other end of the rainbow, the Euro problem will come to a head. I think this will be it.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 08:15:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least those deaths were all contained in one space with limited uncontrolled access and egress, so perhaps the knock-on further infections elsewhere will be less. Once Covid-19 gains access to a care home, all within it are at risk, depending on their age and condition.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 10:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As for the Euro, we shall see. At the moment this is still a public health crisis which is not a primary EU competency. If anything, it argues for greater EU competency and cohesion in health care - something which may be easier to achieve with the UK out.

As for the economic/financial consequences, it all depends on how long the crisis lasts. A lot of debt will be added to national balance sheets - the EU has only a small budget of its own, and is statute barred from  borrowing, so it cannot magic up large resources without taking from one member state to give to others. (A v. difficult thing to do when all members are nursing big losses and deficits).

But provided the ECB allows borrowing on a massive scale, and keeps interest rates near zero, those balance sheet numbers need not have devastating impacts on the real economy. I realise that is a big proviso...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 10:16:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coronavirus: Take Care of One Another  🙏🏼

German minister commits suïcide after virus crisis worries | Straits Times |

Mr Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany's Hesse state, has committed suicide apparently after becoming "deeply worried" over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus, state premier Volker Bouffier said on Sunday (March 29).

Mr Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track on Saturday. The Wiesbaden prosecution's office said they believe he died by suicide.

"We are in shock, we are in disbelief and, above all, we are immensely sad," Mr Bouffier said in a recorded statement.

Hesse is home to Germany's financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have their headquarters. The European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt.

by Oui on Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 03:01:26 PM EST
there seems to be something quite strange in the reporting by the Frankfurter Allgemein Zeitung (FAZ)...

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Mar 29th, 2020 at 06:05:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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