Germans Hate Monopolies

Unless they are labor monopolies, of course. They’re always showing Verständnis (understanding) for strikes. And this despite the fact that only about a fifth of employees in Germany are union members.

Strike

It might be a bit different this time, however. The latest hostage-taking of millions of German travelers over the weekend (a weekend in which there are more travelers than usual due to school breaks in most German Länder) during a 50+ hour strike by the GDL train drivers’ union is finally starting to piss people off here.

It’s becoming increasing clear that the union’s boss Claus Weselsky, is suffering from “delusions of omnipotence” and that his thirst for power has less to do with the interests of the train drivers then he would like us to believe. And the passengers? What passengers?

By the way, unlike labor monopolies, Germans don’t generally like leaders with “delusions of omnipotence” anymore.

Es ist erstaunlich, dass sich die Lokführer auf dieses Spiel einlassen. Denn Weselsky ist gerade dabei, seine eigene Klientel durch den Dreck zu ziehen. Für die Erschließung neuer Kompetenzfelder lässt er es zu, dass ganz Deutschland aufschreit: Stoppt die Lokführer! Dabei geht es hier gar nicht um die Lokführer. Die werden von der GDL bestens und uneingeschränkt vertreten, selbst wenn sie bei der Konkurrenz organisiert sind.

Drittländer

Or “third countries.” Beautiful German weapon sale of the week.

Third countries

Because somebody has to admire them.

The German government has approved over 1.4 billion euros worth of weapons sales to third countries during the first six months of this year.

Deutsche Firmen dürfen unter Wirtschaftsminister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) beinahe ebenso gute Rüstungsgeschäfte mit sogenannten Drittländern machen wie unter der schwarz-gelben Vorgängerregierung.

Germany’s Growth To Be Removed

I mean cut. Yuk. Talk about your gross national product.

Growth

Actually, I mean have its economic-growth forecast for 2014 reduced to 1.2 percent from 1.8 percent.

Jeepers creepers. Is this the end of the beginning of the party or the beginning of the end of the party? Let’s ask two economists and get their five answers and find out.

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun!

On the double! And no, you’re not seeing double. Electricity prices have nearly doubled for German consumers since 2000.

Double

So I guess this famous German Energiewende (energy turnaround) is what one could call a two-edged sword. You know, something having a double meaning?

Germans are leading a double life if you ask me. If they still think that this is going to work, I mean. So stop the double-talk already, people. Get this Energiewende nonsense over with on the double before you end up doubled up with laughter – and those men in the white coats come to take you away.

Etwas läuft schief am deutschen Strommarkt: Während Stadtwerke sich seit Jahren über sinkende Strompreise freuen, hat sich der Preis für Verbraucher einer Studie zufolge seit 2000 fast verdoppelt.

Because They Can

Train drivers’ union GDL called for the next senseless nationwide strike starting tonight. But all they’re really doing here is showing the other train drivers’ unions out there (there are three, I think) who they think is the baddest union what’s in charge. The main thing is that hostages will be taken.

Strike

Someone once said: “If unions raise wage rates in a particular occupation or industry, they necessarily make the amount of employment available in the occupation or industry less than it otherwise would be – just as any higher price cuts down the amount purchased. The effect is an increased number of persons seeking other jobs, which forces down wages in other occupations.”

I know that this applies to a lesser degree for train drivers but that’s just what you’ve got here in Germany, on a broad scale. The overpaid on the inside and the underpaid on the out. On the down and out? And yet everyone here continues to show “understanding” for strikes like this.

Es ist nicht etwa so, dass die Lokführer mehr Geld fordern und die Bahn ihnen das verweigert. Die Reisenden zeigen Verständnis für einen Streik, den sie nicht einmal ansatzweise durchdrungen haben. “Der GDL-Führung geht es aber darum, das Terrain von Konkurrenzgewerkschaften erobern zu wollen. Dafür nimmt sie Schaden für Kunden, Mitarbeiter und Unternehmen in Kauf.“

Buy Amerikan!

These are not real Germans.

Germans

Don’t be fooled by the authentic German attire and flags. These are actually US-Amerikaner with German Wurzeln. Only now they call them roots.

America’s German roots are rich and strong. From California to New York, 48m people claim German ancestry, which would make them the country’s biggest diaspora. But when it comes to owning businesses in America, Germany has punched below its weight, with only 8% of the stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) there. It ranks 7th, behind France, Britain and Japan, among others. British and Japanese firms are especially prone to megalomaniac episodes in which they seek, and fail, to conquer America. German firms have been more cool-headed.

This year, however, things have changed. German giants such as Siemens, SAP, Bayer and Infineon have been on a spree, so far spending more than $65 billion on American firms. Of all the American companies receiving foreign bids this year, a fifth were from German buyers, measured by value. And of all the cross-border takeovers worldwide led by German firms, 60% were for American firms.

Gazprom Gerd Pushing To Pass More Russian Gas

To Germany, that is. Not less (less was yesterday).

Gerd

And being chairman of the Shareholders’ Committee of Nord Stream, the Russian-German natural gas pipeline (51 percent owned by Gazprom, the Russian state gas monopoly), has absolutely nothing whatsoever at all in the slightest to do with this push one itty-bitty tiny little bit.

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (SPD) said Wednesday that Germany should deepen energy ties with Russia and urged an end to sanctions. Schroeder, who served as Social Democratic chancellor from 1998 to 2005, retains close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and celebrated his 70th birthday this year in St. Petersburg, where he was photographed in a bear hug with the Russian leader.

“We would be well-advised to further expand this energy and raw materials partnership with Russia.”

And In Other News: Germany Unable To Deliver On Its NATO Promises

Ain’t no big deal. It’s not like NATO partners could ever get attacked or anything.

Bundeswehr

And besides, it’s not the Bundeswehr’s fault. “Industry” let them down again (or the lack of it?).

Germany could not currently fulfill its NATO commitments in the event of an attack on a member of the alliance, owing in part to severe backlogs in replacement parts for its aircraft.

“With our airborne systems we are currently below the target figures announced one year ago, defining what we would want to make available to NATO within 180 days in the case of an emergency,” Defense Minister von der Leyen told the “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper. “Delays for replacement parts for our planes and the missing helicopters are the reason for this.”

Maul Of Berlin

It’s a gallery… It’s a shopping center…  It’s the Super-Mall (of Berlin)!

Mall of Berlin

Oh boy, another mall. I’m outta here (not).

A gigantic German department store, rebuilt in the heart of Berlin on the rubble of a shopping center seized by the Nazis, was opened on Thursday with a ceremony paying tribute to its original Jewish owners.

The near 1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) “Mall of Berlin” — an entire quarter with a glass-covered arcade, 270 shops, a hotel and flats — marks the spot where the Wertheim store was built in 1896.

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