Where are all the nervous Germans when you need them?

What’s a 6 percent contraction in the economy, anyway? We’ve seen worse.

Everything's A O K...

Well no, actually we haven’t. But we’re not worried. Not us. Not yet anyway. We’re calm, perhaps too calm, but calm all the same.

“One reason that we are only seeing small protests is that politicians will not reveal the true cost of the crisis until after the parliamentary elections… Perhaps there will be a new wave of cost-cutting welfare reforms, like those which spawned the unpopular Hartz IV scheme.”

“Three months ago, the German government was forecasting that G.D.P. would contract by 2.25 percent in 2009. But since then, Berlin has suffered from plummeting demand for its products as its foreign customers rein in spending.”

PS: Why do I get the feeling that everybody in Berlin is about to RUN INTO A WALL again?


Gitmo folks in Germany? Nein, danke!

“Several European nations, including Portugal and Lithuania, have said they will consider taking such detainees.”

Now let's think this through veeery carefully....

“Some nations, such as Germany, are more divided on the issue.”

“The Obama administration is trying to overcome the “not in my backyard” sentiment that exists on both sides of the Atlantic.”

No financial crisis here

Cool weapons, don’t you think?

Panzer for peace!

Too bad we (as in we Germans) can’t use them, or won’t. We’ll sell the hell out of them, though, despite our well-known pacifist sensibilities. Our sales have gone up some 70 percent over the past five years, as a matter of fact. But nobody talks about that here because, well, nobody talks about that here.

Germans only get enraged about their dead militaristic past. That’s easy. The clear and present (and present) militaristic one is taboo. That’s easy, too, see? Sure, you get the obligatory newspaper report like this one from time to time, but any of you living here long enough (more than three or four weeks) must have noticed by now that an “issue” like this probably won’t even make it to the Tagesschau (the nightly state-run news). And even if it does, it’ll only be one of those one night stand, low priority billig (el cheapo) stories, because, well, it is.

Nope, no outrage and Entrüstung (outcry) about the Aufrüstung (arms build-up) here. Not a single political party here will pursue it and make it an issue, not even the Left party. If these were American parties it would be because they’ve been bought. Nope, nobody here wants to address the sad fact that the only reason you (as in you Germans) have a Bundeswehr is so it can serve as an alibi to allow you to sell your incredibly lucrative weapons – third largest exporter in the world, by the way. That would be an inconvenient truth, you see. So I understand, sort of.

Hello? Bitte kommen (do you read me)? I know you’re out there Germany, I can hear you breathing. Whatever. See you around the next time the next report comes out, for a minute or two.

„Deutsche Rüstungsexporte legen um 70 Prozent zu“

Nix religion here!

Just like we knew they would, voters in the capital of atheism (and apathy) have pulled through again and voted against allowing secondary school children the choice of taking religion instead of ethics.


Ahmen, it's over.


And a whopping 29.2 percent of Berlin’s voters actually turned out to vote too, even though the sun was shining yesterday. Well, 29.2 percent is a whopping amount of voters over here. When the sun is shining and the discussion turns to religion, I mean.


It’s strange, really. There was a lot of heated debate about this so-called issue beforehand but in the end everybody already knew that nobody really would really care. Germans have trouble voting yes for things like free choice, you see (whether the sun is shining or not), but voting no here is always a no-brainer, regardless of the turnout, which in this case is a no vote, too.


“The opposing side scored 48.5 percent but even if it had inched ahead and won, turnout was too low for the referendum to have been valid with only 14.2 percent of Berliner’s 2.4 million voters ticking the “yes” box.”

Talk about your 57 varieties

People over here want a piece of that President Obama magic so bad that they are even starting to line up to get the same kind of dog he has. You know, one like Bo. They want a Portuguese water dog now living in Washington who came from an American breeder in Texas, only for Germans, in Germany.

I used to work for Dr. Suess.

Animal behaviorists over have warned Portuguese water dog breeders to gear up for what will be a huge surge in demand for puppies. Animal misbehaviorists over here have warned the same thing. And animal-rights activists are disappointed with the President’s decision not to adopt a real mutt instead, and not one of these blue blooded, aristocratic types. But who cares what they think? Dumb animals. I mean, dumb animal-rights activists.

“My phone has not stopped ringing and I have had at least 100 people call me!”

Fritz, Daniel and Attila

No, they’re not stand-up comedians. As a matter of fact, they don’t stand up for anybody, not even the judge. But the chances are good that they’ll be sitting for quite a long time to come, even by German standards.


I sit down for everybody.


The so-called Sauerland cell is now facing charges in Germany of conspiracy to murder, plotting to launch explosive attacks and membership in a terrorist organisation. Tipped off by evil US American security services, German spooks had been keeping them under surveillance for months before busting them big time in 2007. The German Islam converts and company had purchased 12 barrels of hydrogen peroxide and were arrested in their vacation home/bomb factory preparing attacks on American targets in Germany.


Some may wonder how ordinary Germans could have been recruited for an Islamic holy war crusade like this. I wonder were all the other ordinary ones like them are still hiding. Or do they even have to hide at all anymore these days?


“Ich stehe nur für Allah auf.”

True religion

It’s another one of these typical German moments, fighting about something that doesn’t really matter or mean much in the end anyway. But maybe that’s why Germans fight about trivial things like this to begin with. If it were ever about a real issue, they would have to take a real stand.


And the million dollar question is...


Anyway, Berliners are all up-in-arms (yawn) about a referendum on religion and ethics which will be held here this weekend. Being neither particularly religious nor all that ethical, this is the kind of referendum that’s right up their alley.


In a nutshell, students here are required to take ethics at school and have religion as an elective course they could choose to take instead. An initiative calling itself Pro Reli wants students to decide between the two courses, thus giving the religion course a bit of a push, I guess.


Not only are Berliners apathetic about ethics in general and religion in particular (60 percent are officially non-religious), like I said, they aren’t terribly thrilled about referendums, either (see Tempelhof). And being that participation of at least 25 percent of all eligible voters is required for the referendum to even be binding, the whole shebang will most likely have been for naught. So, well, that will make everybody happy in the end, I guess.


„Knapp 50 Prozent der Berliner sind für die Einführung eines Wahlpflichtfachs Religion – doch wollen nur wenige Bürger auch beim Volksentscheid am 26. April für diesen Vorschlag der Initiative Pro Reli stimmen.“

Germans racists after all

I don’t get it. This was a UN conference, Germany. How could you, gulp, boycott today’s anti-racism forum and then urge those attending it to “stand up for the effective fight against racism and ethnic discrimination” at the same time?


Can't wait to give my big speech!


What ever happened to international cooperation and consensus and community? The UN would never let another one of its shining examples of international unity be, well, hijacked by hate-filled demagogues and misused as a platform to repeat attacks on Israel and deny the Holocaust, now would it? Not like it did during its first conference on racism in Durban eight years ago which was marred by anti-Semitic comments from some less-than-well-meaning NGOs. It’s just not that kind of a place.


No, Germany. By making this fateful decision you have revealed yourself to be what you really and truly are; a country that can actually make the right decision from time to time, although this probably hurts like hell and you’ll be doing a lot of tooth grinding over it for a while (making right decisions can be like that). Good job and keep up the good work.


„Irans Präsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad hat Israel einem Fernsehbericht zufolge kurz vor Beginn der Anti-Rassismus-Konferenz als „Fahnenträger des Rassismus“ bezeichnet.“