Keep Berlin Poor!

And sexy, of course.

It all used to be so easy. But now property prices are rising like mad. This is not sexy, I am told. Unless, of course, you own property here, which practically nobody does. And that brings us back to poor…

Poor

About 85% of Berlin’s 3.4 million residents live in rentals and homeownership remains remarkably low — a condition fostered by the city’s turbulent history, Cold War division and five decades of communist rule in East Berlin. Almost by nature, Berliners tend to have a low regard for property owners…

Though still modest compared with other cities in Europe, rents in Berlin have risen 75% in the last five years. A recent survey by the property consultant group Knight Frank showed that property prices in Berlin rose 21% in 2017, the steepest rate in its survey of 150 cities around the world and far above the average increase of 4.5%. The biggest increases that year in the United States were Seattle, where rent rose 12.7%, and San Francisco, where they were up 9.3%.

“Once you move into an apartment in Germany, you are basically in the lease for life unless you cancel it yourself.”

Advertisements

German Of The Day: Sozial

That means caring. You know, like the German state? It is caring and social (“social” here, of course, just being a different word for “free of charge”).

Sami

And it turns out that one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, Tunesian Salafi Sami A. (he lost the other letters of his last name in a tragic car crash or something, I guess) has been receiving over 1,100 euros a month from the social German state since 2008 to chill around the house somewhere in the Ruhr Valley and do nothing except watch his beard grow. Or maybe reminisce now and then about the good old days with the Big O. himself. And the Germans do this even though the Tunisians would like to have a word with Sami A. Germany won’t extradite him, however, being sozial and all and fearing that Tunisia might subject him to “inhuman” or “demeaning” treatment. You know, like not getting him a flat-screen TV or a sufficiently fast WiFi connection for his cell?

You laugh but just think about it. How would Germany look returning the bodyguard of a mass murderer to a country like that?

Die deutsche Justiz geht davon aus, dass A. “mit beachtlicher Wahrscheinlichkeit Folter, unmenschliche oder erniedrigende Behandlung drohen.”

Perfect For The Job

As head of a “worker’s” party like Germany’s SPD, I mean: Somebody who has never worked a day in her life.

Nahles

Folks like that know best how to distribute/redistribute other people’s money. I guess this election means that the SPD commrades want to stretch out their party’s long and excruciating terminal illness for as long as they possibly can. Good choice, workers. She is clearly the best man for the job.

Andrea Nahles has become the first woman to lead Germany’s Social Democrats — though by a disappointing margin of votes…

After garnering a meager 66.35 percent of delegate support at a special conference in the western German city of Wiesbaden on Sunday, Andrea Nahles takes over a Social Democratic Party (SPD) in an unprecedented crisis.

Scarcely a year ago, SPD delegates had unanimously elected Martin Schulz, the longtime president of the European Parliament, as party leader and chancellor candidate. The result was a historic national electoral debacle against Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), leaving the SPD deeply divided over policy and personnel.

After initial refusals, party leaders decided to extend the grand coalition with Merkel’s CDU and Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, which allies with the chancellor’s conservatives. Nahles’ job is to remake and re-energize the SPD while ensuring that its cabinet ministers can do their jobs with minimum of interference by fellow Social Democrats.

“Solidarity is one of the main things missing in this globalized, neoliberal turbocharged world.”

In A Word: Yes

Is Germany Protecting Russia’s Gazprom From Latest Anti-Trust Discovery?

Gazprom

German companies like BASF and Wintershall may be successful at lobbying their government to keep the new Russian pipeline going, despite opposition from Washington. Such are the worries being made behind closed doors within the state owned Central and East European (CEE) gas companies that are no fans of Russia’s Gazprom.

On April 10, someone leaked the Statement of Objections against Gazprom from the European Union’s competition authority known as the Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp). The leaked document was a 270-page report of abuse cases filed by nearly every Gazprom partner in eastern Europe, including Poland where the news first broke last week…

As Gazprom is responsible for nearly a third of all of Germany’s foreign gas supply, and because Germany has two big companies with money on the line with Gazprom projects, some believe Brussels is ready to let Gazprom off the hook from disputes with at least five countries.

“DG Comp is said to be pressured by some high-ranking German officials to make a soft deal with Gazprom so they can start building the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”

Russia To Begin Behaving Better Now

Because, well, Germany’s foreign minister has told them to.

Heiko

Thank goodness. I wish someone would have told them this earlier. These tensions with Russia have been really sucky lately. Germany may not be much when it comes to hands-on action in matters like these but they really take the Kuchen (cake) when it comes to giving good advice.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) on Sunday criticized Russia for a series of activities beyond its borders, blaming it for a cyber attack on his own ministry, and said Moscow must change its ways.

Maas listed a series of what he called problematic actions that also included the lack of progress in implementing a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, a poison gas attack in Britain, support for the Syrian government, and efforts to influence Western elections.

“It is time, I think, to point out that we expect constructive contributions from the Russian side, including on the Syrian conflict. And also that they don’t always simply protect (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad.”

German Of The Day: Kristallklar

That means crystal-clear. You know, like Germany’s policy of backing the airstrikes in Syria as “necessary and appropriate” – immediately after they have taken place?

Germany

This “hat Hand und Fuß” (has hand and foot = rhyme and reason) as immediately before they took place Germany made clear that it would not participate or support these airstrikes in any way. Being a responsible ally with clear conviction beforehand was apparently neither “necessary” nor “appropriate,” you see.

No one here or anywhere else bats an eye at this strange logic (some would call it a contradiction) much less critisizes it because German policy in matters like these where something is asked or expected of them is always contradictory – and no one here or anywhere else very much seems to care. The German conviction is to freeload, in other words. Or perhaps this confusion is not a contradiction at all, just another complex nuance of the German language.

“We support the fact that our American, British and French allies have taken responsibility in this way as permanent members of the UN Security Council.”

If We Rename The Street It Never Happened

Berlin is set to rename streets linked to atrocities Germany committed during its 1884-1919 occupation of Namibia.

Streets

Local councillors agreed on new street names for the so-called African Quarter in the north-west of the German capital on Wednesday evening.

The resaoning goes like this, I think: Historical or cultural explanations for events that took place over 100 years ago by people who have absolutely nothing to do with the culture under strict supervision by today’s ultra-moralists cannot even be brought up much less considered as this would be, well, heretical. OUR moral truth is universal and transcends space and time so we, as in you, are responsible for everything everywhere at all times that ever happened, throughout all known dimensions even, except the modern parallel universes we have created here in town and elsewhere and refuse to address much less take responsibility for. So we, as in you, should be ashamed of yourselves already.

“The African Quarter still glorifies colonialism and its crimes,” council members from the Greens, Social Democrats and Left parties say in their joint motion.

Columbia

Beautiful German weapon sale of the week.

Sig Sauer

Because somebody has to admire them.

Looks like Sig Sauer might  get fined twelve million euros for illegally selling 36,000 handguns to Columbia.

Nach vier Jahren Ermittlungen gibt es eine Anklage gegen Sig Sauer. Eine Strafe von zwölf Millionen Euro droht: Der Waffenhersteller in Eckernförde soll über die USA illegal mehr als 36 000 Pistolen nach Kolumbien verkauft haben. Sig Sauer sieht sich «rechtskonform».

Israel

Beautiful German weapon sale of the week.

Israel

Because somebody has to admire them.

The contract will be signed in the coming weeks, German parliament member Fritz Felgentreu, responsible for defense affairs in the German Social Democratic Party, told “Globes.”

The German Ministry of Defense estimates the cost of the agreement, which includes leasing five Heron TP UAVs manufactured by IAI in cooperation with Airbus, at €1 billion over nine years.

But Nobody Said We Couldn’t Do It Until Now

Trump is right about trade and Merkel needs to do something about it, former German state secretary says.

Trade

In early March, Trump started by implementing tariffs on aluminum and steel imports — measures that did not represent a big impact for China, but did for countries like Japan and potentially Europe too.

Germany has also faced international criticism for its trade surplus, which means its exports outweigh its imports, as some see it as unfair, imbalanced and a cause for protectionism elsewhere.

“Germany is really out there as the main culprit, so to say, because Germany has the highest surplus, much higher than China in terms of GDP… Germany has to do something against it, that’s absolutely clear,”