Bank Bad But Accounting Worse

This is government regulation in action, folks. Nationalize the banks? You betcha. State-owned banks are clearly the way to go.

“Germany is €55bn richer than it previously thought because of an accounting error at state-owned bank Hypo Real Estate Holding.” You see? The government really can make money out of nothing (and the chicks for free).

To be fair though, what’s 55 billion euros these days? And this mistake could have happened to anybody: “Collateral for derivatives wasn’t netted between the asset and liability side.” In other words, a government expert mixed up the + with the -.

The finance spokesman didn’t directly comment on the accounting error.

American Dream Dying In German Publication For 4387th Time

This just in from Hamburg: The US has entered a second Gilded Age, but one in which hedge fund managers have replaced oil barons — and it is killing the American Dream.

And not even the 99 percent (nor Triumph, their Insult Comic Dog) can do anything about it.

Here are a few of the article’s more fascinating, never-yet-revealed-before mysteries behind America’s unsolved perpetual decline and fall:

“We are the 99 percent” is a development that has shaken the world’s most powerful nation to its core (and here I thought it had been the subway line underneath our street).

Inequality in America is greater than it has been in almost a century (wow, I had no idea that inequality was that much worse now than it had been back in 1911, had you?).

Wealth disparity is greater in the US than in Tunisia or Egypt (but our disparity has a much longer democratic tradition or something).

The major economic expansion under President Ronald Reagan benefited only a few, and the problem only grew worse under George W. Bush (but those Clinton and Obama years really rocked though/still rock, don’t they?).

Although the productivity of the US economy has increased considerably since the beginning of the millennium (despite everything having grown worse under George W. Bush?) , most Americans haven’t benefited from it.

The United States has developed into a winner-take-all economy (can they take all our debts with them while they’re at it?).

The extreme deregulation of today’s financial and economic system makes it impossible for individuals’ self-serving behavior to ultimately contribute to the prosperity of society as a whole (that Adam Smith was like such a dolt).

Differences between rich and poor are tolerated as long as the rags-to-riches story of the dishwasher-turned-millionaire remains theoretically possible (so if it stays practically possible toleration time is over or what?).

“In the first Gilded Age, the streets were flooded with protest movements.” Manhattan hasn’t yet quite reached that point.

Has America become an oligarchy!?!

We Hate Being The Hegemon

But somebody has to do it.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Germany knew how important it was in Europe but kept its mouth shut about it (while pulling the strings behind France’s back). Those days of semi-credible falsche Bescheidenheit (false modesty) are over, sort of. Now they continue to refuse to lead openly, but still pull the strings. Only France isn’t standing there anymore.

As shown once again during yesterday’s latest “rescue” of Europe, Germany makes the decisions while France still holds the press conferences, but the absurdity of this show is starting to lose a lot of its regular viewers. This formula has jumped the shark, in other words.

But as long as major contradictions keep on coming, everybody here in Germany is happy. You remember, don’t you? Germany fled into the EU to protect itself from itself (there was something about World War II a few years ago). Now it dominates Europe through its sheer economic power anyway, but still psychologically/socially/institutionally traumatized (and loving it), refuses to openly take the role history has assigned it. It prefers instead to publically turn its back on Europe (nobody on the street in Germany truly undestands or much cares about Europe) and concentrate instead on more important things at home like solar energy, local elections and not hurting coalition partners’ feelings.

In other words, Germany may clearly call all the shots now, but it still refuses to lead. Which is kind of clever, if you think about it. When everything ends up going tango uniform later, it wasn’t Germany’s fault.

Mit politischer Macht verhält es sich wie mit Millionen von Euro auf dem Konto: Man spricht nicht darüber.

A Leaner Non-Fighting Force

Germany has announced 31 military base closures and the significant scaling back of 90 others as part of a major overhaul of the country’s armed forces which everybody here knows will never be used in any real combat situations anyway.

“Cuts or not, the German military must remain able to not deploy in an entire range of situations,” one high-ranking, unnamed Bundeswehr official said.

“This includes in particular missions in dangerous armed conflicts as well as high-intensity combat missions our government will regularly forbid us to participate in.”

When asked if these cuts might have a negative effect upon German defense industry firms involved in the extremely lucrative production of systems like the Eurofighter combat jet, the A400M military transport plane and the Leopard 2 and Puma tanks, to name just a very few, the official reassured all who cared to listen that the German military will do all in its power to seek other options to extend the orders for such weapons and will most certainly continue to order more of the same in the future.

“Our function as alibi army for the German defense and weapons export industry will continue to be our number one priority,” the official said, clicking his heels loudly or something.

The elimination of the draft will require making a career in the military more attractive in a country where part of the population is skeptical of military interventions. Germany didn’t support the international campaign in Libya.

Evil Internet Giant Now Within City Limits

Google Inc., that highly mistrusted and ruthlessly vilified corporate world dominator and spy on all things German (I got two words for you here: Street View), has just done an end-run around sleeping data privacy officers stationed at Berlin’s city gates and bought its way into Humboldt University itself by funding a new so-called Institute for Internet and Society, supposedly “based on a philosophy of openness and open access” which will “explore the impact of the digital age.”

Yeah, right. We all know what they’re really up to (or at least you do, I assume). Just don’t come crying to me later and say that I didn’t warn you. The next thing you now Googlezilla will be “approaching the power plant.”

Google Inc. has committed €4.5 million ($6.26 million) to the institute for the first three years as part of its recent push to invest in Germany, which has often been critical of the Internet giant’s practices.

Neidgesellschaft

This is a German word meaning a society based on envy (Germany, in other words).

A 27-year-old Berliner told police that being unemployed and in debt led him to set 67 cars alight over three months.

Damn. This guy must have been one of those 99% out there, if you know what I’m sayin’. If you follow their thinking to his logical conclusion, I mean.

“I’ve got debts, my life stinks and others with fancy cars are better off and they deserve this.”

 “Er fand, dass es vielen Menschen besser ging als ihm.”

PS: Speaking of Wall Street, sort of… What’s the real problem with Wall Street? “When you subsidize recklessness, you unsurprisingly get a lot more of it.”

99% Plus 53% Makes How Much Percent?

Now that it’s getting cold and wet on Wall Street (and elsewhere) the 100% of the 99% are beginning to reevaluate whether or not they will be able to continue whining at 100% or whether it might not be better for them now to just shut up already and start biting the bullet like that ugly 53% does.

There could never be a 53% movement in Germany, you know. Germans are always in the upper 80s to lower 90s.

53 Prozent, weil dies die Menge derer sei, die mehr Einkommensteuer zahlen, als sie an Abschreibungen und sonstigen Entlastungen zurückbekommen. “Wir sind diejenigen, die für diejenigen zahlen, die sich gerade über dieses und jenes und irgendwie alles beschweren.”

 

Revolutionary Masses (Yearning To Be Seen)

Hampered by nice weather and apathetic compatriots who actually have to work for a living, a massive crowd of some 300 (three hundred) global democrats and worldwide social revolutionaries nevertheless managed to occupy the city of Berlin over the weekend again already.

Denouncing banking and financial industry practices and other unspeakable injustices of the new century – and possibly having been inspired by something called the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York (the weather there is less nice at the moment I’m told) – the German revolutionary masses doing the occupying this week were notably smaller than the already rather puny ones amassed at German protests a week ago, but still.

“Derweil will die OccupyBerlin-Bewegung nach eigenen Angaben ihre täglichen Mahnwachen vor dem Bundestag fortsetzen. Seit Sonntag vergangener Woche kämen zwischen 100 und 200 Teilnehmer.”

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