We’re caught in our safety nets

And we like it. Ask the Germans.

 

 I'm fighting the financial crisis my own way.

 

Who needs a big stimulus package when the German state has never been anything other than a big stimulus package itself? Or at least that appears to be the way the thinking goes here right now.

 

Europe loves Obama, but they don’t love him that much. Locked in to their so-called social safety nets which already drain them of the cash and maneuverability they might otherwise have for stimulating the economy now, the Europeans will predictably preach stricter regulation at this weekend’s G-20 summit instead (that doesn’t cost anything).

 

No talk or even thought of big spending or safety net cold turkey here, folks, most certainly not in a German election year. And the President probably feels their pain, too. He can’t even quit smoking.

 

Europe’s extensive job protections and unemployment benefits are bad in the upswing, because firms don’t dare to hire people, because then they are glued to them.”

The road to hell

No, I don’t mean that AC/DC song. I’m talking about President Obama’s trip to Europe this week (and thanks to you Mr. Ex-Minister Czech guy). Talk about a breaking fever (in this case Europe’s Obama one). I was sure this infatuation would last at least six months. But, then again, I was also sure about the lasting value of that Florida swamp land I bought a few years back, too.

 

 

 

“The tidal wave of expectation and enthusiasm that Obama rode into the White House is giving way to a more cautious reception in Europe as the administration’s policies begin to take shape.” More cautious? That’s about the most cautious term you can use for it.

 

“His policies are not exactly the change that they can believe in.”

The Case of the Missing Bruderkuss

Funny, they don’t look like brothers to me.

 

We just love communism!

 

But when it comes to “brotherly kisses”, nobody can beat the famous Brezhnev and Honecker Schmatzer (smacker) on the famous East Side Gallery wall in Berlin. Especially now, because it’s not there anymore. As reported earlier, the gallery is getting renovated and thorough Berlin bureaucrats, being thorough Berlin bureaucrats, have had the mural removed.

 

And they don’t understand the artist’s excitement about the incident, either, being thorough Berlin bureaucrats, like I said. Once the wall has been renovated, they say, all he has to do is paint a new Bruderkuss mural.

 

Sounds reasonable enough to me. Do you think Michelangelo would have gotten all hot and bothered about somebody removing his Bruderkuss mural from the Sistine Chapel, had there been one? I didn’t think so.

 

 

„Der Mann soll das Bild einfach neu malen.“

Trains, planes and automobiles

But mostly trains, really. Still not willing to take that first step toward recovery by openly recognizing that they even have a serious problem, scores of Germans in denial (yesterday’s retiree bludgeon murderer at Old Hermann has most certainly been among them) won’t stop visiting the world’s largest model train set at Hamburg’s “Miniature Wonderland.”  

 

Wie wunderbar or something.

 

“Set on three floors in an old warehouse along the Elbe River, Miniatur Wunderland features realistic replicas of parts of Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the U.S. Figurines about a half-inch (just over one-centimeter) high represent people in all walks of life.”

You have to bring your own sleeping bag, though. Yawn, Schnarch (yawn) already. Or I would have to, if I ever go, which I won’t. Not even for money, unless it’s a whole lot, maybe. I don’t believe in wonderlands. I’ve seen too many of them.

“Es ist ein Traum.” (or a Tram?)

All the news that’s not fit to print

What? Reprinting actual Nazi newspapers from the 1930’s and allowing German Menschen (people) in the year 2009 to actually, gulp, read them? Why that’s, why that’s… That’s history!

 

 There's no news like old news.

 

Das Unheil (calamity) always comes from somewhere else, you see (Hitler was an Austrian, for instance). Now it’s coming from England (even Germans get tired of reading about US-Amerika all the time). Some British terrorist journalist type has somehow managed to manipulate a Bavarian court that just ruled he can continue to publish his annotated “Witness Reports” series down there.

 

This is bad or something I guess because Germans are more susceptible to Nazi propaganda from the 1930s than others are I suppose and like with hypnosis I assume they are pre-programmed or even genetically predetermined to start foaming at the mouth and marching into Poland whenever things like this get published I guess, again (funny how you can’t get them to march into southern Afghanistan though).

 

Alles ist verboten was nicht ausdrücklich erlaubt ist.

John Lennon High still giving peace a chance

Continuing to show solidarity for John and Yoko’s heroic efforts to end that dirty war over there in Vietnam, students at Berlin’s John-Lennon-Gymnasium will be honoring this forty-year-old battle for peace by voluntarily coming to school an hour later next year.

Give me peace.

Students have voted to begin instruction next semester at nine o’clock instead of eight o’clock in the morning, effectively increasing Lennon’s “Bed-in” action by some 35,000 man/woman/student hours per year.

“Da sind wir Vorreiter für Deutschland.”

Geschichtsklitterung

Or “piecing together history” as it suits you, if you prefer. Sure you can find something good to say about good old, bad old East Germany (that yucky communist one, remember?) if you want to. The thing that interests me is why on earth anyone would ever want to. Some young and dynamic SPD (East) politician did it again the other day, though (that’s SPD, not SED). He warned everyone not to always be putting everything that had to do with the GDR in a bad light because, well, gee… That wouldn’t be nice or something, I guess.

 

 Those were the days.

 

But as an older colleague of his noted in response, once you start arguing like that you could quickly find yourself defending the so-called good side of the Nazis – building the autobahn, putting people to work, stuff like that. And that, of course, wouldn’t be nice, either.

 

So why not just let dead dogs lie? After all, they have all their lying long behind them.

 

„Wer wie Sellering argumentiert, kommt schnell zu den vermeintlich guten Seiten der Nazis, dem Autobahnbau oder der Arbeitsbeschaffung.“

The W Word

“The host was absent when German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung held a press conference at the Kabul headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan recently.

ISAF’s commander, General David McKiernan, apparently had something better to do – unusual considering Jung is defence minister of the third-biggest supplier of troops and the fourth biggest donor nation in Afghanistan.

The snub dates back to the last joint press conference held by the two men in the late summer of 2008 when the US general used the ugly word ‘war’ in Afghanistan, much to the annoyance of Jung.

Germany had been studiously avoiding the term when speaking of the unpopular deployment of its troops in the landlocked Asian nation. Since then the two men have avoided each other in public.

McKiernan’s absence could be considered trivial were it not symptomatic of a more general problem: Germany’s influence in Afghanistan and among its allies there has deteriorated markedly.”

What’s in a word?

How bad is the sex recession in Germany these days?

Why it’s so bad…

 

How much?!?

 

That when sex workers start suggesting stimulus packages they’re actually referring to money. Bad? It’s so bad in German brothels these days that fewer and fewer people are coming. We’re talking bad. It’s so bad that experts fear the industry is flat on its back. You want bad? It’s so bad these days that it might take months or even years before business picks up and turns the street corner again.

 

“Economic aid would be judicious.”

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