Der Spiegel Analyzes The “Kavanaugh Disaster”

As only Der Spiegel can. And oddly, they almost got it right.

Kavanaugh

For one thing, they were honest enough to admit that it was a disaster – for them, of course – because “the President and the Republicans achieved a great victory.” And then they continue  on with their five-point explanation of why this is such an awful, terrible and unspeakably bad thing.

1. Trumpism reigns. They got that right, too.

2. The Kavanaugh nomination was a farce. They almost got that right. The nomination itself wasn’t a farce, of course, but the freak show that accompanied it most certainly was.

3. Consensus culture is a foreign word. Absolutely correct. Take Germany, for instance, where they call it Konsenskultur. Every German knows that there is no consensus when it comes to Angela Merkel’s migrant madness meltdown, for example, but the difference between Germany and US-Amerika here is that the Germans behave as if there is. Germans normally being the all too direct ones, it is the Americans this time who make no qualms about how divided they are in Trump America.

4. There are no clear rules for dealing with accusations. Not true. Making false accusations, like the ones made against Kavanaugh here, is against the law. American laws allow those falsely accused of a crime to pursue a course of action in court, generally based on defamation of character. And this, I believe, needs to be done here.

5. The Supreme Court is now in a real mess. Well, they got the mess part right, I guess. But the Supreme Court mess is now in the process of being cleaned up, although there is certainly still quite a bit of work yet to do.

All in all, a solid job, Spiegel journalists. I’ll give you a seven for your five points this time. Keep the change.

Mit der Wahl von Donald Trumps Kandidaten Brett Kavanaugh zum Richter auf Lebenszeit am Supreme Court haben der US-Präsident und die Republikaner einen großen Erfolg errungen.

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German Of The Day: Zusage

That means pledge – like the one Germany just made (increase in defense spending to 2% by 2024 instead of 2028 or 2030).

Zusage

President Donald Trump appeared to declare victory on Thursday in his battle with America’s closest allies to get them to contribute more money to the NATO alliance. Mr. Trump acknowledged that he had taken a tough stance with his European counterparts, demanding they contribute more of their national budgets to defense and saying after Thursday’s meetings, “they upped their commitments and I am very happy…”  

Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump on Wednesday turned a harsh spotlight on Germany’s own ties to Russia, alleging that a natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel’s government “totally controlled” and “captive” to Russia.

Auch Deutschland habe große Zusagen gemacht – das Zwei-Prozent-Ziel solle nun wesentlich früher erreicht werden als ursprünglich geplant – laut Trump nicht erst 2028 oder 2030, sondern schon 2024.

German Of The Day: Transitzentren

That means transit centers – for migrants entering Germany through Austria. And these transit centers are the price Angela Merkel (CDU) had to pay Horst Seehofer (CSU) to keep her government together, at least for a little longer.

Tranzitzentren

The CSU-CDU compromise:

1. A new border regime at the German-Austrian border that prevents asylum seekers from entering Germany if it is the responsibility of other EU countries to process their asylum claim.

2.  Transit centers from which asylum seekers are returned directly to the country where they first arrived in the EU (if that country agrees)

3. In cases of refusal by the country of first arrival to sign up to the deal with Germany, the rejected asylum seeker will be turned away at the  German-Austrian border under an agreement with Austria

Man hätte es fast nicht mehr für möglich gehalten. Aber Edmund Stoiber ist immer noch da. Oder wieder. Und er sieht noch mürrischer aus als er es früher oft getan hat.

German Of The Day: Blamage

That means humiliation or disgrace. And we, as in me, can only hope that this is what the “leadership” of the SPD gets to experience up close and personal at their big grand-coalition-yes-or-no party conference today.

Links

Many of the SPD Genossen (comrades) are against forming a new grand coalition because the agreement Martin Schulz & Co. has worked out with Merkel’s CDU/CSU is, well, not “left” enough. Whatever that might mean these days.

I’m with them, of course, although not for the same reasons. This grand coaliton was voted out of office by the German electorate. What part of “no” don’t you understand? Merkel needs to spend a little time in minority government purgatory before calling for new elections again. This is the mess Germany is now in, folks. Every once in a while reality catches up with you. But as messy as it might be, the German voter does not deserve another GroKo. Please, SPD delegates, put an end to all this nonsense and have your party “reinvent” itself already, like it says there on that Spiegel cover.

600 Delegierte und 45 stimmberechtigte Mitglieder des Parteivorstands werden am Sonntag in Bonn entscheiden, wie es mit der SPD weitergeht. Aber nicht nur das: An ihrem Votum hängt auch die Zukunft von Parteichef Schulz.

German Of The Day: Das war knapp!

Meaning that was a close call.

Flughafen

For a moment there it almost appeared as if the city of Berlin might somehow actually manage to complete the construction of the Mother of All Politically Engineered Airport Absurdities by the end of 2017. But only for a moment. Whew. The more things don’t change, the more they stay the same.

Travelers are set to wait still longer for Berlin’s much-delayed new airport to open, as city media report that a provisional opening date in late 2017 is no longer achievable.

Niemand hat die Absicht, einen Flughafen zu errichten.*

*Nobody has the intention of building an airport. Get it? You know, like nobody had the intention of building a wall? The only difference is that they got that wall up in no time.

Is Bild Without Bild Still Bild?

Germany’s best-selling newspaper has removed all pictures from its print edition and website in response to complaints about its decision to publish images of the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned trying to reach Greece.

Bild

The decision to remove pictures in print and online comes less than a week after the newspaper dedicated its whole back page to the distressing image of Alan lying face down on the beach in Bodrum, surrounded by a black background and a plea for action from Europe.

Not Bright To Call Germany Dark

It is weder (neither) dark noch (nor) bright.

Personally, I like to think of it as being more of a Wehrmacht gray. No, wait. Leave that Wehrmacht part out. Gray like all cats are in the dark, I mean. When it’s not light out there in Dark Germany.

Refugees

And being that it’s always darkest before the dawn and there is no darkness but ignorance and out of darkness comes creation, well, let’s all lighten up and Schluss (enough) with these all of these dark thoughts already.

Which Germany will prevail? The Germany of racist chants from the roadside? The Germany of rioters and drunken rock-throwers? “Dark Germany,” as President Joachim Gauck calls it? Or will it be the new, bright Germany, represented by the young policeman with his roots in Afghanistan?

“The problem with socialism…”

is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Socialism

Already on Saturday pictures of anxious savers queuing outside banks to withdraw money were circulating. A slow-motion bank run that had already drained €35 billion ($39 billion) of household and corporate deposits out of the Greek banking system between November 2014 and May 2015 threatens to get out of control. Greek banks have been able to cope with the haemorrhage of deposits only thanks to massive borrowing from the Bank of Greece, permitted by the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt. The ECB is now likely to call time on this and to prevent further increases in this “emergency liquidity assistance” (ELA). That will in turn force limits on cash withdrawals along with capital controls to prevent money leaving the country… Even if the ECB stays its hand this weekend, it will be forced to act early next week. Without a deal this weekend, the cash-strapped Greek government will be unable to repay the IMF €1.5 billion that is due at the end of this month.

The climax to 10 days of fraught bargaining in Brussels and Luxembourg was the decision by Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, to call a plebiscite on the terms of Greece’s bailout, stunning the other eurozone governments. “I am very negatively surprised,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chair of the committee of eurozone finance ministers. “The situation [in Greece] will deteriorate very rapidly … How the Greek government will survive, I do not know.”

Grass Bites Grass

And I bet he’s greener on the other side now, too.

Grass

No, but seriously folks… He was very outspoken. And he spoke out a lot. And he was a humble social critic.

Too bad he couldn’t just stick to what he was really good at. Writing The Tin Drum, for instance.

During the rise of Nazi Germany and the Second World War, Grass was in the Jungvolk (Hitler Youth) before, aged 17, being drafted into the Waffen-SS, the elite armed wing of the Nazi Party. He only revealed this fact about himself in 2006.