More Down, Down, Down, Down, Down

Just when you thought Germany’s SPD couldn’t sink any further…

SPD

The Genossen (comrades) figure out a way to do it. I never really believed that the Volkspartei (people’s party with a broad base) SPD could ever actually disappear into the sunset forever but now I’m just not so sure anymore.

Germany’s SPD slip in polls after choosing new leftist leaders – Support for Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) has fallen after members last week chose as leaders a leftist duo who are skeptical about remaining in government with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, a poll showed on Saturday.

A Forsa poll put the SPD on 11%, 3 points down from a week ago and hitting a low last seen in June after previous leader Andrea Nahles quit due following the party’s worst-ever result in elections to the European Parliament.

You know the lyrics, folks. I’m going down. Down, down, down, down, down.

 

German Of The Day: Putsch

That means putsch. Or coup, if you prefer.

Merkel

And there might be one in the making for Mini-Merkel herself (Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer or AKK). Then again, there might not be one in the making either. You never know for sure. But you can always hope, right?

Angela Merkel’s party in a shambles as new leader flounders – Christian Democrats fail to convince both the left and the right as some consider ousting successor…

Friedrich Merz, the conservative poster boy defeated by AKK in last year’s leadership race, said Merkel’s lack of direction was smothering Germany “like a carpet of fog.”

CDU-Parteitag in Leipzig – Riskiert Friedrich Merz den Putsch?

German Of The Day: Hartz IV Und Der Tag Gehört Dir

That means: Get on welfare (Hartz IV) and the day belongs to you.

Welfare

Jeden Tag Pizza und Bier – Pizza and beer every day!

In a verdict Tuesday, the Federal Constitutional Court found that monthslong slashes to welfare benefits known as Hartz IV for “breaches of duty” are unlawful.

Under current legislation, recipients of the benefit can have their payments reduced by 30% for a period of three months if they don’t fulfill certain conditions. The amount can also be cut further — by 60% — or even completely, if a job center adviser deems they have failed to cooperate. The rules are stricter for people under the age of 25.

“It hardly makes any sense to go to work.”

German Of The Day: Grottenschlecht

That means abysmal, godawful, extremely bad, mega-bad and really sucky.

Merz

And after the CDU’s latest election disaster in Thuringia, Angela Merkel/Mini-Merkel adversary Friedrich Merz has grown the cojones (that’s Spanish so you’ll have to look that up somewhere else) needed to call Angela Merkel and her team’s “leadership” skills just that. Which, of course, they are. Somebody has to. Not that it’s going to make a difference or anything. But somebody has to.

German, European stability prospects unclear after Thuringia election – The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) led by Björn Höcke — whose local political faction is being investigated for extremism — doubled its vote share to place second with 23%. The CDU placed third with 22%, followed by the SPD with 8%. The environmentalist Greens and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) both finished with about 5% of the vote, the minimum needed to reenter the regional parliament.

„Das gesamte Erscheinungsbild der deutschen Bundesregierung ist einfach grottenschlecht.”

You Are A Racist

‘You are a racist,’ Germans tell AfD politician.

AfD

Then they called him a bigot, a fascist and a Nazi, I’m sure. You know, the standard leftist/status quo “argumentation” used all over the world against anyone who does not agree with them about, well, anything.

Oddly, though, AfD gains expected in battle for political heart of Germany – Party whose leader is labelled a Nazi is on par with CDU going into Thuringia poll on Sunday.

So are all of these Germans in Thuringia racists, bigots, fascists and Nazis? Of course they’re not. Hmmm. Then these Germans must be voting for the “Alternative for Germany” party for some other reason. Why don’t we ask the “established” parties that have been in power for years and years and years in Germany what they think the reason could be.

“We have been left behind.”

Let’s Pretend It’s Not

Let’s pretend it’s not what everyone else immediately knows it is. Until we’re forced to admit what it is a few days later, officially. It’s some bizarre new game of hide and seek government officials are playing all across Europe these days.

Terror

Similar to the way French officials behaved after last week’s knifing “incident” in Paris, German officials too now bend over backwards seeking any explanation they can find to explain Monday’s truck “incident” in Limburg – other than the most obvious one. Why is it so hard to admit that you have just witnessed yet another terror attack from someone Angela Merkel inexplicably invited to the country in 2015? Could it be that these authorities have a guilty conscience? Better late than never, I guess.

German authorities are investigating a man who drove a stolen lorry into a line of cars in Limburg in the western state of Hesse, injuring eight people.

The 32-year-old had pulled the driver of the vehicle from his cabin at a red light before using the lorry to plough into eight cars waiting at a light near the town’s central railway station at about 5.20pm (1620 BST) on Monday.

The man, a Syrian national named as Omar AI by the national broadcaster ARD, was arrested at the scene.

“My thoughts are with the injured victims of the accident and their families.”

Wane’s World

Normally I’d say don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Angie but the Germans have this saying: Totgesagte leben länger: Those reputed to be dead live longer.

Wane

I don’t think this woman is ever going to leave.

Merkel’s political twilight sees Germany’s influence wane – As the chancellor’s final term ticks away, her ability to set the political agenda is diminishing fast.

… For some in Berlin, the French leader’s gambit reflected a broader trend — Germany’s waning influence on the international stage. There was a sense that Paris had simply stepped into a diplomatic vacuum once occupied by Berlin. “Macron can only be this active because Germany has become so passive,” says Omid Nouripour, foreign affairs spokesman for Germany’s opposition Greens.

Ms Merkel, in her twilight as chancellor, embodies this perception of decline. As her last months in power tick away, her ability to set the political agenda appears to be diminishing fast.

“We live in an age when people want someone to give them direction, and they won’t get it from her.”

Now This Is What I Call Equality

Germans know how to do this stuff. When everybody loses over here then everybody loses equally.

Merkel

Everyone Loses in Germany – Voters in state elections effectively choose ‘none of the above.’

European elections these days are generally contests between a beleaguered mainstream and insurgent alternatives. Voters in two German states on Sunday chose a form of “none of the above” as the country stumbles out of the Angela Merkel era.

It Doesn’t Matter Who Replaces Merkel. Germany Is Broken.

Isn’t That Special

Germany Isn’t Special – To pull its weight, it needs to start seeing itself as a normal country, subject to the same pressures as all its neighbors.

Germany

Polls before this weekend’s elections in states in the former East Germany show the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) comfortably capturing 20 percent or more of the vote. This is just one of the ways in which the country at the center of Europe is confronting a new state of affairs.

Ever since reunification, Germany has built its liberal democracy on a few key pillars—a disavowal of the extreme right, a focus on economic performance, and a steadfast relationship to the United States—to avoid a return to the conflagrations of the past. By following these guidelines, the country has won itself respect around the globe. But it has also persisted in treating itself as a special case, not subject to the pressures affecting its Western peers. That, in turn, has led to resentment among its partners. It is time for Germany to buck its postwar policy traditions and begin to see itself for what it is: a normal power.

A German friend of mine summed it up more succinctly: Die Deutschen wollen immer eine Extrawurst haben. The Germans always want “an extra sausage” = special treatment. Are those days finally over? In the real world, I mean? Stay tuned.

Of Course She’s Inadequate

If she were adequate they wouldn’t have nominated her for the job in the first place.

Inadequate

That’s how the EU works.

EU crisis: Merkel’s coalition ally slams Ursula von der Leyen for EU chief ‘inadequate!’ – The European Parliament is due to vote next Tuesday on whether Ms von der Leyen, Germany’s defence minister and a conservative ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, should succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the EU. Ms Von der Leyen’s nomination by EU leaders has infuriated the Social Democrats (SPD), Mrs Merkel’s coalition partners, who have accused leaders of ignoring the lead candidates from the main parliamentary blocs in their horse-trading over top posts…

The SPD said of her efforts to fix gaps in military readiness, Ms von der Leyen had failed to make significant improvements and that the Bundeswehr was still “in a shabby state”.