German Of The Day: Schwitzkasten

That’s “sweat box” but actually means stranglehold. You know, like being stuck between a rock and a hard place?

Tsipras

Is the current five-year Greek drama finally going to come to an end today? Hardly, it already ended quite a while ago, the real drama having actually begun long before that, of course, generations before. The name of the drama is “Living Beyond Our Means” and now the current government wants to give Greek voters the illusion that it gets the chance to turn back the clock with one final vote, a final vote that doesn’t actually mean anything, of course, because the money is long gone and nobody is going to give you any-more-anymore. Said current government has seen to that.

It took many, many years of concerted effort – on the Greek side – to get this far, but at least now we will all have an “official” result: However Greece votes today it has already voted to escape “financial asphyxiation” by committing financial suicide.

After all, debt and guilt – “Schuld” – are the same words in German.

Germans Discover “Text Neck”

Only they call it “Handynacken,” which sounds a whole lot worse because, well, it is. Just look at those lightning bolt thingies flashing around down there, for instance.

Handy Neck

So now everybody has it, of course. And this has nothing at all to do with hypochondria or disease mongering or anything like that, folks.  Nope, this is serious business so I looked it up at a place called “The Text Neck Institute.” Handynacken is an “overuse syndrome involving the head, neck and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at any hand held mobile device, i.e., mobile phone, video game unit, computer, mp3 player, e-reader. This can cause headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, breathing compromise, and much more.”

OMG we’re all gonna die. Do they still make dumb phones anywhere out there?

Tägliche Nutzung von mehr als vier Stunden ist mittlerweile keine Seltenheit mehr.

Germany Celebrates 60th Year In NATO

By maybe-possibly-perhaps increasing its current expenditure of 1.2 percent of German GDP on its military. Maybe, like I said. Hard to say for sure. They don’t want to overdo it or anything, just yet. Being newbies and all, I mean. And it’s not like Germany has ever gotten all that much out of being a NATO member or anything…

NATO

“I am speaking to all the allies. But as the biggest economy, Germany weighs more heavily than others. The USA spends four percent of GDP on defense, in Europe we’re closer to one percent. “That isn’t a fair distribution of the burden.”

“The problem with socialism…”

is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Socialism

Already on Saturday pictures of anxious savers queuing outside banks to withdraw money were circulating. A slow-motion bank run that had already drained €35 billion ($39 billion) of household and corporate deposits out of the Greek banking system between November 2014 and May 2015 threatens to get out of control. Greek banks have been able to cope with the haemorrhage of deposits only thanks to massive borrowing from the Bank of Greece, permitted by the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt. The ECB is now likely to call time on this and to prevent further increases in this “emergency liquidity assistance” (ELA). That will in turn force limits on cash withdrawals along with capital controls to prevent money leaving the country… Even if the ECB stays its hand this weekend, it will be forced to act early next week. Without a deal this weekend, the cash-strapped Greek government will be unable to repay the IMF €1.5 billion that is due at the end of this month.

The climax to 10 days of fraught bargaining in Brussels and Luxembourg was the decision by Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, to call a plebiscite on the terms of Greece’s bailout, stunning the other eurozone governments. “I am very negatively surprised,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chair of the committee of eurozone finance ministers. “The situation [in Greece] will deteriorate very rapidly … How the Greek government will survive, I do not know.”

More Negativity

But it ain’t nothing new, folks.

Flag

More than half of Germans (53 percent) said they did not believe the United States government respects the personal freedoms of its people, according to a Pew Research Center report published on Tuesday.

“The U.S. receives largely positive reviews among many of its key NATO allies. About two-in-three Canadians have a favorable opinion, as do large majorities in Italy, Poland, France, the UK and Spain. The outlier is Germany.”

Forget The Ploughshares

We’re going to turn our old Cold War military bases into wildlife preserves.

Peace

The German government has announced plans to convert 62 disused military bases just west of the Iron Curtain into nature reserves for eagles, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles (personally, I wouldn’t trust a woodpecker as far as I could throw one).

Jeepers. It’s not like Germany has a need for a military presence anymore or anything.

We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature,” says German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Whatever that is. Nature, I mean.

Practice Your German Tonight

And your Cold War attitudes from the 80s, while you’re at it. Looks like we might be needing them again.

Deutschland 83

“Deutschland 83” premieres 11 p.m. Wednesday on SundanceTV.

SundanceTV’s “Deutschland 83” is the first German-language series ever broadcast on a U.S. network. The eight-part fictional spy thriller is set in 1983, when the then-split Germany was the hot spot for escalating nuclear tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin: “More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defense systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year.”

Gimme A G! Gimme An R!

As time ticks down for a deal, Athens and the lenders remain at odds over how far Greece is willing to bend to meet demands for austerity in exchange for funds desperately needed to avoid a default. The dispute is likely to come to a head by a European summit on June 25, or possibly earlier, at which either Mr. Tsipras or German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have to back down.

GREXIT

In a speech to Syriza party lawmakers, Mr. Tsipras said that Greece cannot accept deeper austerity demands from its international creditors—other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund, accusing them of trying to humiliate the country and the IMF of having “criminal responsibility” for the country’s current economic woes.

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