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.”

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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».

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,”

Turkey

Beautiful German weapon sales of the week.

Tanks

Because somebody has to admire them.

Just in time for the Easter march, too!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday Turkey’s military offensive in Syria’s northern town of Afrin was unacceptable and she criticized Russia for “just watching” the continuing attacks by Syrian forces on eastern Ghouta.

Obwohl die Bundesregierung die türkische Offensive in Afrin als “inakzeptabel” bezeichnet, genehmigte sie seit deren Beginn Rüstungsexporte in Millionenhöhe an die Türkei.

German Of The Day: Länderfinanzausgleich

That’s a beauty, isn’t it? And it means “German Länder fiscal equalization scam.” I mean scheme.

Länderfinanzausgleich

And THAT means.. Well, think Robin Hood. The rich and therefore “bad” German states (the ones on the left in the image) must be punished for this and therefore the Robin Hoodlums in the Bundestag take some of their money and give it to the poor and therefore “good” German states (on the right side of the image). Berlin, on top, is actually on bottom, so-to-speak, being the poorest of the poor. The Robin Hoods and the Bundestag are located in Berlin, by the way. But that’s just a coincidence, of course.

The theory being, I’m assuming here, is that this kind of completely unjust robbery and redistribution will encourage the poor “good” German states to finally get their acts together already so the rich “bad” German states don’t have to pay their bills anymore. That’s just a theory, like I said, of mine. I must say, though, this redistribution initiative has certainly had a positive effect here in Berlin these past thirty, forty, fifty years. Once you ignore the fact that not a thing has changed.

Berlin Schlusslicht, Bayern Zahlmeister.

Karl Marx Traffic Lights?

Whose bright idea was that?

Marx

That photo is a bunch of bull. They’re only going to turn from red to red.

The home town of influential communist thinker Karl Marx is celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth… with new pedestrian lights.

The philosopher and author of The Communist Manifesto was born in Trier in western Germany on 5 May 1818, and spent his first 17 years in the city.

Bei Rot musst du stehen, bei Grün kannst du gehen. Das wird sich auch mit der neuen Karl-Marx-Ampel nicht ändern. Auf der neuen Marx-Fußgängerampel gibt es sowohl einen roten, als auch einen grünen Karl Marx.

German Of The Day: Oligarch

That means oligarch. Take former chancellor Gerhard “Gazprom Gerd” Schroeder, for instance. Please.

Gerd

Sanctions aimed at key individuals can be surprisingly effective, it turns out. They help to undermine internal support for the regime or at least its most unattractive policies.

One oligarch, though, remains overlooked. Arguably he is the most important of all. That’s former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Mr. Schroeder has been a one-man Trojan horse against every European Union commitment to curb Russian energy leverage and improve the competitiveness of its gas market. Notice that the alternative was never to shut Russian gas out of Germany. It was simply for Germany, at every step, to stop lending itself to the enhancement of Russia’s energy power, with Mr. Schroeder leading the influence brigades.

Schröders Engagement in Russland und Nähe zu Putin, den er einen Freund nennt, stößt seit Jahren auf Argwohn. Im vergangenen September ließ sich der Altkanzler allen Einwänden zum Trotz zum Aufsichtsratsvorsitzenden des halbstaatlichen russischen Ölkonzerns Rosneft wählen.

“Trump is awful but…”

“He’s right.”

Handelsbilanz

Uh-oh. All bets are off now. I may have found a German economist who is willing to take an unpopular stand and defend certain aspects of the Trump administration’s policy. Unpopular? Sacrilegious is more like it, right?

“On one side there’s the EU with a trade surplus that is mostly supplied by the huge German surplus. On the other side is the USA that has been living with deficits for 30 years. Germany is the world’s largest surplus country and the USA is the world’s largest deficit country. The trade practiced between these two national economies may be free but it is not efficient. This criticism of the German undervaluation strategy – that is, the relatively weak salary increases combined with a weak euro – has been around since presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Politicians in Congress have warned about making trade deals with notorious surplus countries. Trump is just the first one to do anything about it.”

“Every country can do whatever it wants – but not when it is part of a currency union in which there are no exchange rates that could be adjusted. Germany procures an advantage in global trade not just due to the quality of its products vis-a-vis its EU partners, the USA and other countries. In the past 15 years salaries in Germany have remained far behind productivity. We gain advantages over other national economies through wage dumping.”

“Will the punitive tariffs have a real effect on the German economy? Not so quickly. They have just been little needle pricks up until now. But if the EU now pursues the loud-mouth announcements made by Commission President Jean-Claud Juncker and reacts with its own punitive tariffs it is possible that the USA’s reaction will be more massive. Yet Trump is merely following a very simple rule here that no one in Germany wants to believe: The losers in such a trade conflict will be the trade surplus countries and the winners will be the deficit countries.”

Aber wenn die EU jetzt den großmäuligen Ankündigungen des EU-Kommissionspräsidenten Jean-Claude Juncker folgt und mit eigenen Strafzöllen reagiert, kann es sein, dass die USA noch massiver reagieren. Trump folgt doch einer einfachen Regel, die in Deutschland niemand wahr haben will: Verlieren werden in einem solchen Handelskonflikt die Handelsüberschussländer und gewinnen werden die Defizitländer.

What’s A Few 4500 Billion Euros These Days?

Give or take 1000 billion? Fur European taxpayers, I mean. When the financial system “Draghi crases” and burns after the interest rates start heading up again.

Drahgi

Bank expert Markus Krall shows in the book “The Draghi Crash” what drastic measures are needed to save Europe from the death of the financial system. Five measures are necessary – otherwise threatening costs up to 4500 billion euros.

The vast abuses in the banking sector hang like a sword of Damocles on Europe. “We are all trapped in the trap that the ECB has dug for itself and us with its Keynesian interest rate policy,” warns Markus Krall. The imbalances in the credit sector are so huge that even a small turnaround in interest rates could lead to a crash.

The problem: the Eurozone countries do not have the resources to deal with the consequences this time around. In Germany 3000 billion euros of national wealth are at stake. Krall estimates the total amount of defaulted loans in the European banking system to be at least 1000 billion euros. And when interest rates rose, an unprecedented wave of bankruptcies threatened Europe’s zombie companies. “That costs again up to 1500 billion euros,” said the consultant.

Staatsschulden, Lebensversicherungen, Bankbilanzen – Banken-Experte Markus Krall zeigt in dem Buch “Der Draghi-Crash”, welche drastischen Maßnahmen nötig sind, um Europa vor dem Exitus des Finanzsystems zu retten. Fünf Maßnahmen seien nötig – sonst drohen Kosten bis zu 4500 Milliarden Euro.

Wacko Level Three

It’s gone completely wackodelic, captain. I don’t know how much longer the ship can take it!

Wackodelic

Really enlightened Berlin activists (all activists are enlightened, of course, but you can tell the really enlightened ones by that weird gleam in their eyes) are now instructing us to become shoplifters for humanity. Upset about the conditions under which chocolate, bananas, orange juice and other products are harvested and/or produced, they are calling on us to begin stealing this stuff from our local supermarkets. The money we save by doing so will then be donated to those who deserve it. They mean us thieves are supposed to donate it, of course.

Think of Robin Hood except with a big coat at your local Safeway. Oh, the humanity of it all. It gives me goosebumps. No, wait. That’s a nasty rash. I’m going to run over to Aldi real quick and steal some skin creme or something. For the needy, you know? I’m just sayin’.

Schokolade, Bananen, Orangensaft: Viele Lebensmittel werden unter zweifelhaften Bedingungen hergestellt. Jetzt provozieren Aktivisten mit dem Aufruf, die Waren im Laden zu stehlen – und das gesparte Geld an die Produzenten zu spenden.