More Direct Democracy

And it doesn’t get any more direct than this. Now you can vote online for your sexiest German parlamentarian.

Not that you would want to or anything. I’m just saying.

Which German Politician would you rather …? Choose one.


But We Mentioned Human Rights

You got your values, then you got your interests. Then you have the value of your interests. Then you have the interest you get on the value of those interests.

So, in other words, always look after your own interests if you want good value.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also targeted an increase of bilateral trade to 200bn euros ($284bn; £178bn) over the next five years.

Germany is by far China’s biggest trading partner in the European Union.

China and Germany are the two biggest exporters in the world. 

Guns R Us

How magnanimous or something. Now that NATO is running out of munitions to use in the Libya conflict (go Europe!), Germany has decided not to obstain from sending weapons to its allies.

The positive response to the politically sensitive demand is another concession to its allies by the German government, which has been heavily criticized in recent weeks because of its Security Council abstention in the March vote, which resulted in a resolution authorizing the use of force to protect Libya’s civilian population. Russia and China also abstained.

“NATO allies must pool funds or face decline: Gates”

Everything Is So Wonderfulawful Here

Things have never been better here in Germany, we are told. And yet the German nation still can’t seem to get up off the collective couch (the psychiatrist’s kind).

This guy has an interesting take on Germany’s latest “season of angst” or why a prosperous nation has this obsessive need to turn on itself (and those around it).

His bewilderment is uncalled for however, I find. I can only wonder why he wonders. The Germans were, are and always will be collectively schizophrenic, in their own peculiar (cute?) little way. They are permanently krankgeschrieben (off sick) and that couch is, well, where they live.

Yet it is very hard to find anyone here who is happy about this state of affairs. Unlike the great Rhineland industrial booms of the 1950s and 1970s, this one is provoking Germans to turn against their government, against Europe, against technology and growth, against outsiders. It is an inward-looking, self-questioning moment in a country that the rest of Europe very badly needs to be involved in affairs outside its borders.

Green Electricity Threatening Energy Turnaround

Yeah, I know. You thought that Germany’s Energiewende (energy turnaround) was synonymous with green or eco-power (I did too). But if you listen to what some scientist types are saying (Rheinisch-Westfälischen Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung or RWI, for instance)–and you won’t, and nobody else will either–the present state of renewable energy in Germany is so clearly deficient and so way too costly (especially when it comes to generating solar energy) that they recommend rethinking the whole big turnaraound thang (not that all that much thinking had gone into it in the first place or anything, that rethinking part was just a figure of speach).

Some of these folks are even starting to call this mess Der große Solarschwindel (The Great Solar Energy Scam). But, like I said, nobody is particularly interested in hearing about things like this. Or do you want the Green Shirts to come knocking on your door one night? And after all, money is no object here. It never is when it isn’t your own.

Es bestehen derzeit in Deutschland so große Defizite in Bezug auf Leitungsbau, Speicherkapazitäten und bei der Vernetzung mit den europäischen Nachbarn, dass es vorerst nicht ratsam erscheint, mit dem Ausbau regenerativer Stromerzeugungskapazitäten fortzufahren.

Stress and the City

A shocking new study has come to the completely unexpected conclusion that German city dwellers are more “stressed-out” than their country bumpkin counterparts.

Researchers at the Zentralinstitut für seelische Gesundheit (too stressful to translate) found that a certain ganglion of the limbic system adjoining the temporal lobe of the German city brain involved in emotions of fear and aggression (the amygdala) was more fearful and aggressive than your every day German hick’s amygdala is, itself already much more fearful and aggressive than other human amygalas anywhere else in the world you can possibly think of.

“Who would have thought that?” one researcher asked another researcher, brutally shoving him aside in impatient disdain to confront the next one. “I grew up in Berlin and we’re not at all aggressive. That’s a myth. Or it’s just a show. Or do you think you’re big enough to tell me you think that we are?”

Städter erkranken häufiger an Depressionen, Angststörungen, Schizophrenie.

German Recycling Destroying Umwelt

Bad consumer! Environmental groups are alarmed and warning that the entire German reusable bottle system as we know it may soon be on the verge of collapse. And it’s all because of you, ihr Flaschen (“you bottles,” a German idiom for losers). You’re recyling the wrong bottles (the plastic ones, these are “bad”).

Horror of horrors or something. Just when Big Green Brother finally got you to robotically return your bottles to the reusable bottle robots located at your local supermarket, like you should, for your own good, you start buying more plastic returnables (thinking that these are as “good” as good old glass ones), causing the share of environmentally friendly bottles in circulation to sink from 70 to 50 percent. If this continues, the whole system will become “unprofitable,” whatever that means.

It seems that Fearless Leader’s five-year plan actually called for a percentage of 80 percent of environmentally friendly bottles to be in circulation so you have all failed miserably and will now have to be reprogrammed at your own cost again so that you know better and start buying the good glass recyclable bottles instead. And returning them to the robots (the machine ones). After you have emptied them, I mean (the bottles). Ah, the hell with it. They’ll explain it all to you better later.

Eine bessere Kennzeichnung und ökologisch differenzierte Steuer werden verlangt.

Debt Expert Deutschland

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Ritschl, Germany is coming across like a know-it-all in the debate over aid for Greece. Berlin is intransigent and is demanding obedience from Athens. Is this attitude justified?

Ritschl: No, there is no basis for it.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Most Germans would likely disagree.

Ritschl: That may be, but during the 20th century, Germany was responsible for what were the biggest national bankruptcies in recent history. It is only thanks to the United States, which sacrificed vast amounts of money after both World War I and World War II, that Germany is financially stable today and holds the status of Europe’s headmaster. That fact, unfortunately, often seems to be forgotten.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What happened back then exactly?

Ritschl: From 1924 to 1929, the Weimar Republic lived on credit and even borrowed the money it needed for its World War I reparations payments from America. This credit pyramid collapsed during the economic crisis of 1931. The money was gone, the damage to the United States enormous, the effect on the global economy devastating.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The situation after World War II was similar.

Ritschl: But right afterwards, America immediately took steps to ensure there wouldn’t be a repeat of high reparations demands made on Germany. With only a few exceptions, all such demands were put on the backburner until Germany’s future reunification. For Germany, that was a life-saving gesture, and it was the actual financial basis of the Wirtschaftswunder, or economic miracle (that began in the 1950s). But it also meant that the victims of the German occupation in Europe also had to forgo reparations, including the Greeks.

“He warns the country should take a more chaste approach in the euro crisis or it could face renewed demands for World War II reparations.”

Soccer Really Is A Woman’s Sport

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack stepped up his sharp criticism of Germany coach Joachim Loew, saying he had already decided to quit the national team when Loew announced that the player had no future with the side.

The 34-year-old former Chelsea midfielder said on Sunday that he wanted to announce the decision himself.

Ballack and the German football federation (DFB) have been trading barbs ever since Loew made the announcement on Thursday.


The octopussies. The men, I mean.

“We agreed that I would make the announcement myself during the summer break.”