The Perfect Choice

This woman  has been in charge of the German Bundeswehr for what feels like decades and has accomplished absolutely nothing other than to stumble from one self-inflicted scandal to the other without ever having to face the consequences because, being one of Angela Merkel’s top girls (and therefore being more equal than the other girls), she is simply too good and too big to fail.

Leyen

That is why she is the ideal choice to head the European Commission. Un-freakin’-believable.

Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen nominated to lead EU Commission – EU leaders have put forward their nominations for the bloc’s top jobs, with a woman for the first time proposed as European Commission chief.

The surprise choice of German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen to replace Jean-Claude Juncker came after the main front-runners were rejected.

“Von der Leyen is a very good candidate and a very good choice to head the European Commission. Her capacities and competences totally qualified her.”

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Let’s Celebrate

Having democracy shoved down our throats!

Constitution

You’ve come a long way, Germany. In those few short years (70) you have now become the Lehrmeister (schoolmaster) in all things democratic. Or at least you sure do come over that way. We couldn’t have done it without you. Or vice versa. Or whatever.

This month, a united democratic Germany marks the 70th anniversary of its constitution: the Grundgesetz, or Basic Law. The lengthy document—one version of the English text runs 135 printed pages—was composed under Allied supervision in 1948 and 1949. The final text was completed May 8, 1949; approved by the British, French, and U.S. occupying authorities on May 12, 1949; and entered into effect May 23, 1949. Its first article begins, “Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.”

“Why don’t you sing Deutschland uber alles?”

German Of The Day: Verantwortbarkeit, Verantwortlichkeit und Rechenschaft

Take your pick, all three mean accountability. Sort of.

Brexit

You know, like the kind of political accountability the British just voted to get back again? They soon won’t have to comply to the whims of unelected Eurocrats anymore.

Funny, but in German (and in other European languages, it seems) there does not seem to be a clear-cut translation for that very simple word.

Großbritannien wird aus der EU austreten und erschüttert damit den Staatenbund in seinen Grundfesten. Es ist die größte Krise der EU in ihrer bisherigen Geschichte. Jetzt greift Plan B, doch gibt es den überhaupt? Bislang scheint niemand genau zu wissen, wie es weitergeht, der Schock steht den führenden Politikern Europas ins Gesicht geschrieben.

Capitalism Causes All This Awful German Affluence

And it must be stopped immediately (the capitalism, not the affluence). And let’s get rid of democracy while we’re at it.

Democracy

Survey says… Nearly a third of Germans believe that capitalism is the cause of poverty and hunger.

The poll of 1,400 people found that 59 percent of Germans in the formerly communist east consider communist and socialist ideals a good idea for society. In western Germany, 37 percent said they considered communist and socialist ideals to be good…

The survey found that more than 60 percent of Germans believe there is no genuine democracy in their country because industry has too much political influence and that the voice of the voters plays only a subordinate role.

Although not covered by this particular survey, capitalism and democracy are clearly also the cause behind the German obesity problem, the German six weeks of vacation a year problem, the German lowest unemployment rate and highest per capita (does that word come from capitalism?) savings in all of Europe problems, too. To name just a few.

Einer Studie zufolge glauben mehr als 60 Prozent der Bürger, dass in Deutschland keine echte Demokratie herrscht.

Once An Ex-Communist Always An Ex-Communist

Another Ex-cellent chance to ex-ceed, I’d say. And a great way to celebrate the coming 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall!

Communist

Well isn’t this special. Germany’s main center-left party, the Social Democrats (SPD) – currently in power in Berlin with Merkel & Co. – said Tuesday a party ballot in eastern Thuringia state showed 70 percent favoring negotiations to join a regional government led by Left Party candidate Bodo Ramelow. The Left Party used to be the PDS which used to be the SED (the East German communist party), of course, but nobody with any manners likes to put it that way so I figured I would.

Do you think this coming ex-communist coalition with the SPD upsets anyone over here? Of course not. The only thing that ruffled a few folks’ feathers was the audacity Germany’s president Joachim Gauck had – a former East German pro-democracy activist – by openly questioning whether a party with communist roots like the Left Party could really be trusted or not. Can you imagine that? Who does this president of Germany think he is anyway? The president of Germany?

“There are parts of this party where I, like many others, have problems developing this trust (he means like the openly Stalinist folks).

Why Are These Eurosceptic Parties Winning?

The professional Europeans in Brussels made clear that they don’t want this to happen.

Alternative

So what do they do then? They do what they always do: Ignore what just happened and carry on with EU business as usual, whatever that is. Well, one thing we do know about EU business as usual in the meantime is that it is carried out by a Brussels political elite that Jane and Joe European simply does not understand nor feel represented by.

Not that anyone out there cares or anything, but the voter turnout for this latest round of European elections was absolutely pathetic and those who did vote voted in one-fifth of the new European Parliament’s seats to political parties critical of the EU’s previous policy, whatever that was. You would think that the elite would finally get the message here, right? Nope. It ain’t happening. And that’s why it ain’t happening with Europe.

I know. Why doesn’t Brussels consider acknowledging this overwhelming European apathy and start respecting how those Europeans who did vote have voted and slowly start the process of giving back competencies to the countries in question? You know, decentralize and let Europeans start deciding more for themselves at the local level again? Na. Wozu (what for)? If it wasn’t decided in Brussels, it didn’t happen.

Für den schlichten Normaleuropäer sei der schwierige Konsensfindungsprozess in der EU zu komplex. Der leider etwas beschränkte Bürger wisse gar nicht, wie gut die EU für ihn sei. So redet sich die „europäische Elite“ das Wahlergebnis schön und blendet die Tatsache der drastisch schwindenden Zustimmung aus.

PS: Speaking of winning, Tempelhof loses. I mean wins?

American Political System Broken For Real This Time

Honest. Or at least that’s what we read in Der Spiegel.

Democracy

Here is a quick summary of yet another intellectually challenging and frankly quite bizarre Spiegel “analysis:”

US democracy is nearing its limits.

The United States has avoided federal default, but no one should be happy about this.

This is because the American political system is truly broken.

This latest political crisis has turned out to be a systemic crisis.

The country’s political architecture was not designed for long-lasting blockades and extortion, the likes of which have been enthusiastically practiced by Tea Party supporters for almost the last four years.

America is no longer a representative democracy. This is because in the congressional elections in 2012 the Democrats won 1.17 million more votes than Republicans but Republicans got 33 more seats in the House of Representatives.

Not even 10 percent of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are considered competitive.

The last of the mohicans, uh moderates, have been pushed out of Congress.

Politicians actually call each other names these days (which apparently never happened in the past) and this is in part due to talk radio personalities.

Radical groups and billionaires (on the right, of course) actually make campaign contributions now.

The Tea Party came into being because the old “white majority” is shrinking into a minority and this is why they now proudly hold up ignorance and stupidity as badges of honor.

But other than all that though, I thought the commentary was pretty good.

And this just in: Germans are not really rude! And this video here will prove it or something.

German Government’s Concern About NGO Raids Has Russians Shaking In Their Fur-Lined Boots

After German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle himself summoned a Russian envoy to “express the German government’s concern” about a series of raids on German NGOs in Russia, the envoy broke down in tears of regret, fell to his knees, grovelled around for a bit and then promised that his country would never ever ever do anything bad like that again.

Guido

The Russian offices of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung have both come under intense scrutiny recently by Russian authorities seeking “foreign agents” who support domestic dissidents because, well, that’s what Russian authorities do. But all of this will come to a screeching halt now, I guess.

“Hampering the activity of German foundations could inflict lasting damage on bilateral relations.”

An Old School German Intellectual Poetry Attack Par Excellence

Günter Grass has it all: That fat and sassy moral high ground he’s king of the hill of, that left-wing obsession for defending brutal regimes in the name of “world peace,” that Nobel Prize for literature and that SPD party membership book (I’m not sure which one gives him more legitimacy here).

But above all else, he’s got that which all successful peacenik artists and Künstler the world over must invariably have: That inability to keep their mouths shut when it comes to addressing issues they clearly know nothing about.

At the moment Grass is worried about how “the nuclear power Israel is endangering the already fragile world peace” (think Iran) and has written a shockingly predictable poem about it. It must be a real humdinger, too, but to be fair I must admit that I haven’t read it yet and most certainly never will because I’m waiting to read his poem about Iran’s threat to world peace first. I assume that he will publish that one next week, but you know what they say about when you assume things…  Blah, blah, blah. Meet the new school. Same as the old school.

Israel currently has three Dolphin submarines from Germany – one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin – two more are currently under construction, and the contract for a sixth submarine was signed last month. Dolphin-class submarines can carry nuclear-tipped missiles, but there is no evidence Israel has armed them with such weapons.