What Army?

Nobody wants to join Germany’s army.

Army

Germany’s armed forces are struggling to attract much-needed recruits, with the number of new soldiers joining the Bundeswehr falling to an all-time low last year. The shortages are an urgent challenge for the German military, which has tried to boost its strength and capabilities at a time of record-low unemployment, and against fierce competition from both the private sector and institutions such as the police.

The need to build up the Bundeswehr reflects at least in part the recent pressure from the U.S. and other allies to raise German defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product, in line with a longstanding commitment given by all NATO members. Berlin spent 1.2 percent of its budget on defense last year, a figure that is expected to rise to 1.5 percent by 2024. Still …

JUST 20,000 RECRUITS JOINED THE ARMED FORCES IN 2018, DOWN FROM 23,000 THE PREVIOUS YEAR, AND THE LOWEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE BUNDESWEHR.

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German Of The Day: Grenzschließung

That means border closure.

Borders

Damn. Maybe Mini-MErkel isn’t so Mini-MErkel after all.

Much like the SPD desperately trying to get back the people who used to vote for them with yesterday’s Hartz IV shenanigans, Germany’s CDU 2.0 (can we call it post-Merkel yet?) is fighting to get back the voters who abandoned them in droves after Angela Merkel’s bat shit crazy migrant fiasco of 2015. Boss lady Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has made it clear that this can and will never happen again – without pointing fingers or naming any names, of course – and has even said that her party would be prepared shut down German borders (no, really, they have borders, too) should it ever be necessary.

Odd. These are stands that the pure evil of evilness AfD has been taking from the start (that’s were the CDU voters ran off to). Now the CDU is acting as though they just figured this out all by themselves. Better late than never, I guess.

„Wir haben gesagt, als Ultima Ratio wäre das durchaus auch denkbar.”

Right, Left, Up, Down…

But mostly down. That’s where Germany’S SPD keeps going in the popularity ratings these days.

SPD

Their latest act of desperation? Turning back the hands of time and abolishing the one reform the SPD ever managed to get right (Hartz IV). Nobody’s buying it, of course, “social” (free) gifts or not. There is no going back and somebody else already ate your free lunch.

The SPD wants to replace Hartz IV, the basic welfare benefit — currently €428 ($484) per month — with a basic income. They also want to extend the period of time that older people, from age 58, receive unemployment benefits, to 33 months from 24 months. Younger people, too, will receive unemployment benefits for longer, taking into consideration how long they contributed to the welfare system when they had work. Those who are jobless should have the right to further training, the 17-page welfare state concept says.

“We are overcoming what we recognized as not having been the right route.”

More Fake News

It’s 95 percent easy.

Fake News

Nicht gut: Nearly 85 percent of Germans see U.S-German ties as negative.

Nearly 85 percent of Germans have a negative or very negative view of U.S.-German relations, and most want to put more distance between the traditionally close transaltantic allies, a new poll showed on Friday.

Just over 40 percent of those polled view China as a better partner for Germany than the United States, the survey of around 5,000 people, conducted by Atlantik-Bruecke and the Civey institute in poll in November and December, showed.

Ties between the United States and Germany, Europe’s largest economy, have been strained since the 2016 election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has criticized Germany repeatedly for its trade practices, defense spending and its participation in the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Forget About Jane’s Addiction

Germany has the real problem.

Nord Stream 2

And France is going to help the Germans score… Right?

Nord Stream 2 pipeline row highlights Germany’s energy dependence on Russia – Almost a third of the new Nord Stream gas pipeline has been laid across the Baltic Sea. There is, however, growing opposition to the pipeline — and Brussels is having difficulty figuring out how to deal with the project…

Germany is pressuring other European capitals to block an EU proposal to regulate Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline ahead of a key meeting on Friday, diplomatic sources said, but may fail to convince France, threatening the project’s construction.

Germany Reassures NATO Partners It Will Continue To Miss Defense Spending Goals

Worried that the German government’s tax revenues are likely to decrease in coming years due to a slowing economy, German defense officials were quick to explain to their NATO partners that this will have absolutely no effect on the country’s continued failure to increase defense expenditures.

Defens

“Whether tax revenues increase or not is really not the issue here,” these officials stressed. “We have absolutely no intention of raising our defense spending under any circumstances. We do this to ensure that our NATO partners will be able to plan effectively for future increased defense spending on their part and thus continue to protect us as they have done so in the past, pretty much free of charge. For us, anyway. But still.”

“We have time until the end of March. Let us negotiate.”

German Of The Day: Milliardenloch

That means a billion-euro hole. You know, as in the ones that will be appearing in the coming German federal budgets?

Loch

The money has been rolling in to Berlin for years but it looks like those days are about to end. Germany’s current finance minister, Olaf Scholz (SPD), warns that the government will be missing some 25 billion euros by 2023. No new expenditures possible, folks. Not unless there are cuts somewhere else. Right. Good luck with that, pal. You’re with the SPD, for crying out loud (that stands for Spend other People’s Dough).

And it sure would be a shocker if Germany now used this as an excuse not to live up to its defense spending commitments, wouldn’t it? See how this works, folks?

Nach Jahren sprudelnder Steuereinnahmen droht dem Bund wegen der abflauenden Konjunktur ein 25-Milliarden-Loch im Haushalt bis 2023.

Well, This Is A Fine Super-State You’ve Got Us Into

Brexit has been going on a long time before Brexit ever came along. For good reason.

Brexit

Germany planted the seeds of destruction…

Although the form of the British exit from the EU is often presented as a reductionist binary choice — “a no-deal exit” or “a deal the U.K. and the EU can live with” — London has in effect restated the fundamental question of what is a European project: A Europe of sovereign nation states, or a federal European super-state.

Brexit is a revolt against a German-run European super-state.

German Of The Day: Antidemokratisch

That means antidemocratic.

Quotas

Women in Germany won the right to vote in 1918, but a century later they still do not enjoy equal representation. Though the country is led by a woman — who will, most likely, be succeeded by another woman — fewer than a third of the members of the federal Parliament, the Bundestag, are female.

That’s why leading figures from all major German parties are now calling for parity: a 50-50 quota for male and female representatives in the Bundestag and the 16 state-level Parliaments. But is achieving a gender balance in Germany’s legislatures worth weakening another hard-fought accomplishment, the right to free electoral choice?

In a word, no.

Der gute Zweck heiligt nicht den Zwang.

This Is A Bad Hair Day

For hair everywhere. Especially in the Bundeswehr. German court rules goth soldier must get a hair cut.

Goth

Sorry, pal. But a man’s goth to do what he’s goth to do. At least those cute Bundeswehr chicks goth off the hook…

The soldier, a member of Germany’s Gothic scene who wants to wear his hair long, considered the armed services law discriminatory because it allows women to wear long hair, but not men.

Men in previous ages wore their hair long, argued the 51-year-old who works in the defense ministry in Bonn. He said ancient, long-haired warriors were thought to have a particular masculinity, so he did not understand why only women were currently allowed to wear their hair long.

“Fashionable hairstyles are allowed, provided they are not particularly conspicuous in cut or shape, such as mohawk, ornamental or sidecuts.”