We’re Number One!

When it comes to not having children.

Baby

A new study has determined that Germany not only has the lowest birth rate in Europe, it has the lowest birth rate on Planet Earth itself. In the past five years Germany has managed to produce a less than whopping 8.3 children per 1000 inhabitants. That edges the country past the previous Japanese champions who apparently couldn’t keep their hands off each other during the same period and now squeeze out some 8.4 children per 1000 inhabitants.

But what’s this with these .3 and .4 kids, gals?

Meanwhile, in an unrelated story… Another study indicates that Germany will face a massive labor deficit by the year 2030. In a mere 15 years, that is, between 6.1 and 7.8 million workers will be missing in the country.

And it could get worse. Large sections of the German population just disappear out of nowhere here from time to time, too.

Danach wurden in den vergangenen fünf Jahren im Durchschnitt 8,3 Kinder je 1000 Einwohner geboren. Das liegt unter dem Niveau des bisherigen Schlusslichts Japan von 8,4 Kindern je 1000 Einwohner.

German Film May Have Foreshadowed Hitler…

As claimed in the book “From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film.” But no force in the universe could possibly have foreshadowed, much less foreseen this latest greatest new and refreshing delicious taste treat snack: Hitler Ice Cream.

Hitler Ice Cream

From India. I guess you had to have been there. To get it, I mean.

Hitler Ice Cream. Mad, I mean made like no other. This gives “you scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream” a whole new meaning.

The ice cream packaging has a photo of Hitler along with a Swastika-shaped top hat, which is somewhat at odds with his furious expression and full military paraphernalia.

It’s Not Easy Being Optimist-In-Chief

When it comes to dealing with Europe, I mean. Optimism is suspekt (makes suspicious) here. There is always an angle to everything, you see.

Larry Page

For him (Larry Page), the real danger is opposing technological progress and greater efficiency. Such dangers lurk particularly in the Old World: “Especially in Europe, it appears easy to ignore the fundamental physics of a question in order to claim everything is just fine when things here cost twice as much as elsewhere. This attitude worries me greatly, because it hinders the work of entrepreneurs.”

But should not a society also have the right to say “No” to a superior technology? Certainly, agrees Mr. Page. But that’s not particularly clever. “If you make everything twice as expensive, you reduce people’s quality of life.” And do you really want to keep local entrepreneurs from making their contribution to the global economy? Naturally it’s great when citizens have the feeling they can decide. “I’m merely saying that when they make decisions contrary to a global system of capital, then they have to do that consciously and seriously. And I don’t believe anyone is doing that.”

“If I were a young entrepreneur today and I had the choice of starting my Internet firm in Germany or Silicon Valley, it wouldn’t be a hard choice. And regulation will only get worse in Europe. It will be very hard to build a company of global import there.”

Gerade die Europäer neigen in den Augen von Larry Page offenbar zu falscher Nostalgie. “In Europa scheint es leicht, die grundlegende Physik einer Frage zu ignorieren und zu behaupten, es ist schon in Ordnung, wenn Dinge hier doppelt so viel kosten wie anderswo”.

Forget Mediation

What these guys need is some meditation. Or maybe some heavy medication.

Strikes

Don’t worry. These GDL train drivers will be back for strike number ten before too long. And not that anybody cares anymore or anything, but the post office employees and kindergarden cop-people are still on strike here, too.

Remember when Germany used to be a “first world” country?

The latest strike is the ninth walkout in just 11 months and follows a five-day train strike earlier in May, which was the longest in Deutsche Bahn’s 21-year history.

Next Big US-Amerikan Internet Giant Soon To Threaten The German Way Of Life Again

Whatever that is. It’s called Postmates and it’s an on-demand courier service that is sure to ruin everything Germans hold to be hoch und heilig (holy) in the realm of quick and easy albeit expensive pick-up and drop-off service.

Postmates

It’s despicable and it’s nasty and it’s wait a minute… A German invented it. Well, a little German innovation never hurt anybody, right?

Postmates has set itself an ambitious goal — to be the Uber of goods, with a vast network of couriers, linked, like Uber’s drivers, via a sleek app, waiting for users to hit a button on their smartphones and send them forth to pick up anything that money can buy. Like Uber’s drivers, Postmates couriers aren’t employees but “independent contractors.” Anyone with a bike, car, truck, scooter or motorcycle can register and decide exactly when they want to work.

“In Germany, if you have an idea like mine, people think you’re deluded.”

Even When We Win We Lose

Or so it goes with SPD these days.

SPD

Germany’s Social Democrats, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners, on Sunday suffered their worst-ever electoral setback in regional polls in Bremen, raising questions about party leader Sigmar Gabriel’s hopes of gaining ground nationally on Ms Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats.

So sehen Sieger aus (this is what winners look like):

FDP

In Bremen ändern 6,5 Prozent für die FDP nicht viel. Im Bund aber eröffnet ihre Wiedererweckung Gedankenspiele für die Wahl 2017.

Do They Strike This Much In Greece?

European travelers have contended for weeks with the possibility that Greece’s dwindling finances might lead to empty ATMs. They should have concerned themselves instead with Germany.

ATM

While cash machines in Athens are still operating without any trouble, striking couriers in Berlin this week stopped filling ATMs, leading to a crunch for those trying to make withdrawals. And the open-ended labor dispute with a local security company means there’s no end in sight.

Berlin’s strike is the latest in a series of walkouts that have riled a nation more accustomed to mocking the labor strife which has so often beset neighboring France. A strike by train drivers that began Tuesday is paralyzing travel and clogging highways throughout Germany. That action follows a March walkout by pilots at Deutsche Lufthansa AG that led to flight cancellations for 220,000 people.

Dial M For Merkel

And something tells me there was a lot of heavy breathing during this telephone conversation, too.

Tsipras

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made an uncexpected telephone call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel that nobody wants to comment about officially.

Bild newspaper reported on Monday that Tsipras had called Merkel as well as Euro group head Jeroen Dijsselbloem to try to convince them of the need for more help for Greece and for the need for an emergency meeting of EU leaders this week.

Bild said the reason for the call is that the Greek government has run out of money

“It’s on fire and there’s no water there to put out the fire. The situation is more than dramatic.”

Plan B For Bankrupt

Tick tock tick tock

Plan B

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble hinted on Saturday that Berlin was preparing for a possible Greek default, drawing a parallel with the secrecy of German reunification plans in 1989.

“You shouldn’t ask responsible politicians about alternatives,” Schaeuble answered, adding one only need to use one’s imagination to envisage what could happen.

He indicated that if he were to answer in the affirmative that ministers were working on a Plan B — what to do when Greece runs out of money and cannot pay back its debt — he could trigger panic.

“Da ist überhaupt nichts dran. Der Plan B wurde nicht diskutiert.”

It’s TTIP, All Right

It’s TTIP of your normal-everyday-hysterical-German-anti-American iceberg.

TTIP

“All this enters the debate, but it surprises me a bit that the resistance is so strong in a country like Germany, where the benefits will be the greatest.”

The most controversial element of TTIP is a plan to let companies have legal disputes with governments heard by supra-national tribunals, which campaigners say would undermine national sovereignty and favour big business.

The so-called investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, allows firms to sue national governments if they feel that local rulings — such as health and safety regulations — violate the trade deal and threaten their investments.

The courts are a critical issue for US negotiators, who underline that these types of panels have existed for decades and are already included in thousands of trade deals worldwide, including about 400 in Europe.

„Dabei ist es geradezu bizarr, dass die Debatte in Deutschland so aufgeheizt ist: Schließlich profitiert kein Land so stark von TTIP wie Deutschland.”

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