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(Written by a U.S citizen, expat living in Germany)

Quote from Der Spiegel:

“Is Barack Obama a friend? Revelations about his government's vast spying program call that assumption into doubt. The European Union must protect the Continent from America's reach for omnipotence.”
We’ve all heard about Obama’s recent visit to Germany, but what is the German press actually saying about President Obama and America, both now and in the recent past in view of the PRISM scandal and the economic decline of the American superpower?
Spiegel quote: World from Berlin: Prism Spying 'Attacks Basic Civil Rights'
The world has been scandalized to learn about Prism, the broad data surveillance program used by the US at home and abroad. German commentators say that both Berlin and Brussels must defend Europe from this invasion of privacy.”
Spiegel quote: “A Monitored Human Being Is Not a Free One  
What, exactly, is the purpose of the National Security Agency? Security, as its name might suggest? No matter in what system or to what purpose: A monitored human being is not a free human being. And every state that systematically contravenes human rights, even in the alleged service of security, is acting criminally.
As someone who voted for Barack Obama twice, like many other Americans, I am worried. In fact, millions of us are worried and why is that… because America in the international media and increasingly in the European media is being portrayed as a “soft totalitarian state”.  

The European press led by mainstream German magazine Der Spiegel asks, should the European Union build the tech backbone necessary to protect the civil rights of people living in the European Union?

Spiegel Quote: “We're currently in the midst of a European crisis. But this unexpected flare-up of American imperialism serves as a reminder of the necessity for Europe. Does anyone seriously believe that Obama will ensure the chancellor and her interior minister that the American authorities will respect the rights of German citizens in the future? Only Europe can break the American fantasy of omnipotence. One option would be for Europe to build its own system of networks to prevent American surveillance. Journalist Frank Schirrmacher of the respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper recommended that over the weekend. "It would require subsidies and a vision as big as the moon landing," he argues.”
Somehow reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, wherein we are all under the prism of the American super state of 2013, wherein no one’s civil liberties are safe. These are the types of headlines that are now screaming from Hong Kong to Berlin. We’ve all heard of the tales of the CIA whistle blower Edward Snowden and it does frighten the life out of most of us.

Like many Americans and people across the European Union and beyond, I too have become confused and frightened like millions of others who no longer know the way out and ask….what does this all mean? Is this the new normal and how did we get here?

Spiegel Quote: “The revelations brought to us by IT expert Edward Snowden have made certain what paranoid computer geeks and left-wing conspiracy theorists have long claimed: that we are being watched, all the time and everywhere. And it is the Americans who are doing the watching.”
To read the full Spiegel article click here
Spiegel quote: World from Berlin: Prism Spying 'Attacks Basic Civil Rights'
The world has been scandalized to learn about Prism, the broad data surveillance program used by the US at home and abroad. German commentators say that both Berlin and Brussels must defend Europe from this invasion of privacy.”
What will America look like in the next ten or twenty years? How will the European Union and the rest of the world see us then?  Well let’s see from a selection of  German newspapers quoted how do they see us now?

Spiegel published quotes:

Center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:
"It may be that US citizens can defend themselves under the US Constitution. But that doesn't apply to foreigners. Facebook users in Germany have as little protection from the US Constitution as those in Afghanistan. Germany is the country in Europe whose telephone and Internet communications are being spied on the most intensely by the US. ... But even the best rulings from Germany's high court are useless because the majority of the Internet's architecture is located in the US. As a consequence, US authorities have the power of access, and this is stronger than basic German rights."
The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung tell us that Germany’s first ever female Chancellor Angela Merkel will ask will ask President Obama about the spying of German Internet users by U.S. intelligence.
Left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: "Merkel will question Obama when he visits about the apparent systematic spying, particularly of German Internet users, by US intelligence….. But more than that, the issue here is the protection of the federal government from total surveillance by a foreign state, no matter how friendly it may be. Germany has strict privacy laws ……..The federal government must explain what they intend to do about the immoderate and unwarranted clandestine surveillance of its citizens by American intelligence agencies.”
The Left-leaning Die Tageszeitung asks about Basic civil rights and how we feel about them?
Left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: "Basic civil rights around the world, which are taken for granted far too naively in Western democracies, are being placed under attack by state 'security architecture' such as the US spying program Prism. In Germany -- where the relatively recent examples of two totalitarian state systems mean that the consequences of state monitoring in the private sector are still in living memory…… It may sound utopian, but it would be appropriate to offer fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden political asylum in Germany."
If  E.U. citizens use Google, Yahoo or post on Facebook, have they given up their civil rights?
Conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"Whether it's with Facebook, Google, Yahoo or Microsoft -- user confidence has been shaken. According to statements made by the source of the revelations, Snowden, all users should be asking whether they themselves, and especially their personal data, are in good hands with these companies."
As an American, I am often asked by Europeans friends; how is it that America is the only major industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t offer universal medical to all of its residents as a human right because they claim they can’t afford it but they have plenty of money to fund PRISM spying against citizens of the European Union (as a friendly ally state), while at the same time there’s not enough money for Head Start programs in America.
Spiegel quote: US Feels Pinch of Erratic Spending Cuts
“Those cuts will affect the Head Start Parent Child Center on 13th Street in Washington, where Alicia Tolliver takes her youngest daughter. Starting on July 1, 20 children will suddenly be left with "no nutritious meals, no benefits of seeing a doctor on-site, no dental services on-site," says Almeta Keys, the center's director. Keys has already been forced to consider which children she'll select to be removed from the program. Tolliver and her daughter, she says, will most likely have to go.”
While in America we seem to have plenty of money to invest in the backbone of electronic infrastructure to spy on the European Union and other ally citizens, we seem to have not enough money to invest in the critical infrastructure made out of bricks and mortar. 1 in 9 American bridges are in danger of collapse according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Spiegel quote: “In fact, more than a few American economists advise investing rather than making cuts. Such investing could come in the form of the kinds of massive infrastructure projects that have traditionally been used to create jobs in times of economic slowdown. And, as can be seen by Thursday's collapse of a bridge on a highly trafficked interstate highway in Washington State, there's plenty of evidence that the US could use upgraded infrastructure. Looking at bridges alone, in its 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated one out of nine of the country's over 600,000 bridges as "structurally deficient.”

Doubtlessly some people will say that I as the diarist writing this am clearly too stupid to appreciate the valuable contribution that PRISM makes to our national security posture and the truth is, they would be right in saying this about me. I am just an ordinary American, I have no national security credentials and I do not know if PRISM makes America safer (or not). But there is one thing I do know, that is we in America seem to have plenty of money for state sponsored surveillance and we never seem to have enough money for bricks and mortar critical infrastructure, childcare, welfare and health care. Why is that?

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