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No. 1. I was pleased to see Schmidt's appeal on the title page of "Die Zeit" this week. A man of his stature decrying the export of weapons to people, usually in developing countries, who then massacre each other. Ineffectual? Perhaps, but I welcome it.

No. 2. Lots of fear mongering here in Germany and elsewhere, and, yes, not so good for the peace of mind of our citizenry. The highly pitched shrieks warning of impending doom. Fear leading to more fear.

No. 3. Any suggestion of a sexual utopia in this chilly so-called civilization of ours lights a warming fire. Clothing off, masks laid aside: relating to each other openly and tenderly with our bodies. Nevertheless: not so simple as it seems.

No. 4. They are dull, aren't they? The cliché "shadowy functionaries" expresses it perfectly in this case. Groko, I wager, will not lead us to better places, certainly not the ones its proponents have promised us. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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