German Poverty?

Nice try. This is another one of my favorite German myths. You can claim that poverty exists here all you want but everybody knows that poverty only exists in the real world and has nothing at all to do with this country. Or could it be that I am the one with an “unrealistic” definition of what poverty is?

Poverty

Report: About 3.1 million wage and salary earners in Germany had an income below the poverty threshold, according to Saturday’s edition of the Saarbrücker Zeitung newspaper.

You have to understand how Germany works to know that this is ridiculous. For one thing, nobody has to work in Germany if he or she does not want to – ever. They get their rent paid and a low monthly allowance (and then work illegally on the side in a lot of cases) indefinitely = for life, if they want to (everybody know how or knows someone who does).  Many people choose to live this way (I know a few personally). Their welfare system is called Hartz IV, by the way. So like, are you a victim of “poverty” if you choose to be? In a country that has the money to pay your way, I mean?

And you must also understand how a German defines poverty in Germany: “Every second low wage worker, some 1.5 million Germans, would not be able to pay for a one-week holiday per year outside their own four walls. About 600,000 workers were forgoing having their own car because they could not afford it.”

OMG. It’s certainly a cold, cruel world out there when you can’t fly off to Mallorca twice a year like everybody else does and/or keep your expensive German sports car on the road as God intended you to (even though you don’t believe in God, but still).

“The number of workers who earn scarcely or marginally more than the government unemployment benefits (Hartz IV) is alarmingly high.”

PS: Speaking of poverty, get your free copy of Dumb Deutsch here. Offer ends Monday.

North Korea Demands Film Not Being Shown At Film Festival Not Be Shown At Film Festival

And when North Korea demands something, the Berlinale listens.

Interview

Organizers here quickly buckled under pressure and have now sheepishly agreed to take the film not being shown on their program off their program immediately. The wussies.

Somewhere along the line, because of the February 5th start dates, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry misinterpreted that The Interview was an official entrant in the 65th annual Berlinale. As a result, North Korean’s state-run broadcast issued a statement demanding that the film not screen at the festival, which it’s not and never was scheduled to. An organizer for the film festival spoke to the North Korean ambassador to Germany to clear up the misunderstanding.

Now I Know Why We Can Never Find German Soldiers When We Need Them

They’re hiding.

Sniper

The sniper is straight up from the big boulder in the lower left corner, where the color of the stones changes from light to dark.

“The key question for me and my work at the moment is, how images are used to influence people and their decisions,” Menner wrote. “At the core, hiding snipers and ads for Apple have something in common, since both try to infect us with ideas about things we are not able to see. But I think that this is easier to detect while ‘looking’ at hidden snipers than by looking at Apple ads.”

Spiegel Objectivity

Do you remember how “there’s strong, and then there’s Army strong?” It’s the same with objectivity. There’s objectivity, and then there’s Spiegel objectivity. Just ask the Bildzeitung. Hardy, har, har.

NSA

Take the ever-popular NSA hysteria and superhero Edward Snowden HIMSELF. Of the nine (9) authors bringing out their latest shocking reports in the latest shocking Spiegel edition, only three of them actually work for the paper. The other six are well-known and clearly rabid anti-surveillance activists who make no qualms about their feelings for the NSA – and who have also managed to make good money in the process. I mean business.

Here are a few examples: Jacob Appelbaum, author of “Die Freiheit des Internet,” Euro 16.99, Andy Müller-Maguhn, hacker hero and former frontman for the Chaos Computer Club who makes his money as an IT security consultant, Aaron Gibson, salary man for the “Tor Project,”  etc. pp. No conflict of interest here, folks. Other than the vested interest all of them have, Spiegel included, in keeping German hysteria levels at a constant peak, which, as all know who live here, isn’t terribly hard to do. Nice work if you can get it.

Spiegel knows what its readers want before Spiegel readers do. And if Spiegel readers are not absolutely sure what it is they want then they can always find out what that is just by reading the Spiegel.

Als Gibson und Appelbaum im Juli 2014 eine NSA-Geschichte für den NDR recherchierten, legte der NDR diesen Interessenkonflikt offen, schrieb unter der Überschrift „Disclosure“ (Offenlegung), die beiden seien „bezahlte“ Mitarbeiter von Tor. Im „Spiegel“ – kein Wort dazu.

Would Numbers Lie?

News products can be that way. On the one hand the numbers tell us today that the mood in the German economy has picked up yet again and that German companies are looking ahead to 2015 with renewed confidence.

Positive

At the same time we read how Germany’s National Office for Statistics has determined that one in every five Germans is a victim of poverty.

A contradiction? Not necessarily, I guess. That’s why everybody’s kind of happy sort of around here these days. And that’s why I, for one, believe everything I read.

Die Stimmung in der deutschen Wirtschaft hat sich im Dezember erneut verbessert: Der Ifo-Index legte zum zweiten Mal zu.

World Pain In The Butt

Why do Germans always have to pick out these fancy-dad-gum-new-fangled German words of the year like Lichtgrenze (light border or boundary) when they’ve already got a perfectly wunderbar selection of traditional German words of the year or at least I think they ought to be for crying out loud?

Weltschmerz

Weltschmerz (world pain), for instance, has to be one of my all time favorites because, well, it’s just about as moany, whiney, lamenty and Germany as you can possibly get.

Now available in the U. S. of Amerika for a limited time only! I hope.

Disillusioned? Has your initial idealism been ground into cynicism? Dismayed by discovering how things really work? There’s a term for what you’re suffering: Weltschmerz.

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