Gazprom Gerd Gets A Raise

You’ve got to have principles. As many as possible. For all eventualities. Take former German chancellor Gazprom Gerhard Schroeder (SPD), for instance. Please.

Gerd

His nomination to the board of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company – majority-owned by the Russian government – is breathtaking in its brazenness. You can’t really call it a sell-out, however. This guy sold out long ago.

Rosneft is under Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis. By pure coincidence, Schroeder, who calls Vladimir Putin his friend, has regularly criticized any moves to impose sanctions on Russia.

I know it’s hard to take an unpopular stand sometimes, especially when it is unethical, mercenary and just plain wrong, but he certainly is consistent here, at least.

“Schröder macht sich zum russischen Söldner.”

PS: Germany is predictably outraged about this (not) (or not particularly). But rest assured that if this had been a US-Amerkan oil company there would have been hell to pay.

German Of The Day: Heimaturlaub

That means home leave. And boy oh boy is Germany ever sticking to its guns on this one. When it comes to being super-mega-ultra strict about paying for asylum seekers’ vacation trips back home, that is.

Vacation

As German Integrationsbeauftragte (integration commissioner) Aydan Özoguz (SPD) explains, Germany doesn’t foot the bill for just any asylum seeker. They have to be Ausnahmefällen (exceptional cases) before the German tax payer will be asked to send them on an all expenses paid flight back home – and back again.

Someone’s mother dying would be such an exceptional case, for instance. Anybody’s mother (it doesn’t have to be your own). Or maybe your ex-neighbor’s dog is suffering for an ingrown toenail. Or maybe you forgot to bring your favorite bowling ball with you when you were on the run and now you have the urgent need to go pick it up. For integration purposes, of course. You know, exceptional cases like that.

I’m not making this up, people. Not all of it anyway.

“Es kann gewichtige Gründe geben, warum ein anerkannter Flüchtling für kurze Zeit in seine Heimat reisen will.”

We’re Not Putin You On

A new survey indicates that the vast majority of Germans hold Russia’s Vladimir Putin to be more trustworthy than US-Amerika’s Donald Trump.

Putin

In fairness to Donald Trump, however, these Germans also found Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un more trustworthy, too. Or so I assume.

Please note: These are people who even find Germany’s Angela Merkel more trustworthy. For crying out loud already.

The disparity in favor of Putin over Trump was most stark in Greece and Germany, where he outscored the US president by 31 and 14 points, respectively. In Germany, around a quarter of respondents said they had confidence in Putin, while only 11 percent said the same of Trump.

Germany Outraged Over Swiss Outrage About German Outrage

So that’s why Germany has indicted a Swiss citizen on suspicion of espionage for spying on German tax investigators.

Data

It’s complicated and goes like this: The German state government of North Rhine-Westphalia (SPD – at that time) decided to openly deal in stolen goods by purchasing, from a criminal who worked for a Swiss bank, a CD containing details on German clients of said Swiss bank. These Germans were dodging German taxes and this illegally acquired CD was then used to pursue numerous tax evasion cases in Germany.

The Swiss, outraged by this, had one of their spies try to obtain information on tax officials in North Rhine-Westphalia and wiggle his way into their system but he got caught doing so.

The Germans, outraged by this, have now indicted him for this outrageous activity and are outraged, as usual, that anyone could ever be outraged by any of the outrageous stuff Germans are always doing, which, in and of itself, is also an outrage. Like I said, complicated. Outrageously complicated.

Zunächst beschaffte er laut Bundesanwaltschaft persönliche Daten von drei nordrhein-westfälischen Steuerfahndern. Später platzierte er demnach eine Quelle in der nordrhein-westfälischen Finanzverwaltung.

And They Speak Such Funny Englisch, Too

“It drives me up the wall the way waiters in Berlin restaurants only speak English,” one popular German politician has recently been quoted as saying. In Berlin. In German.

English

And I couldn’t agree more. Although the German government may have made it compulsory for asylum seekers to learn German, this rule unfortunately does not apply to EU residents and others who have come here to live and work and, well, it’s understandable that some Germans are mad as hell about it and aren’t going to take it anymore.

The English these waiters speak, you see, is often done so by natives (UK folks, Canadians, Australians, even the occasional US-Amerikaner or two) and therefore practically impossible for most Germans to understand.

“Vat do they mean with ‘coming right up’ or ‘you bet?’ Vat does betting have to do wis my order? If zhey are going to speak zheir language here zhey should at least have the decency to do so properly, verdammt nochmal!”

Germans are too relaxed on the issue and that it would never happen in Paris.

50,000 (2015), 100,000 (2016), 200,000 (2017)…

Do you see a pattern here?

Courts

That’s the number of lawsuits filed by refugees in Germany who have been denied asylum here. Germany has increased the number of judges who decide these case to 2,000 but that still isn’t enough to deal with these numbers like these. Nor is a reduction in this work load anywhere in sight.

Nearly half of all asylum applicants rejected by Germany then take their cases before German courts. The BAMF refugee agency says 47 percent of its 119,000 negative decisions made so far this year went to appeal.

“Man kann sagen: Die Lage ist dramatisch. Es knarzt jetzt an allen Ecken und Enden.”

German Brains Tick Differently

So let’s tock about it. “Germans Just Love Paying Sky-High Prices for Green Energy.”

Energy

Huh? I don’t get it, either. It’s kind of like Angela Merkel’s popularity ratings. How could she still be in office after that refugee number of hers? Yet her popularity ratings are still very high. It makes no sense.

So even though… The cost of the Energiewende  is largely borne by German consumers, who pay a surcharge of around €20 ($23.61) on their energy bills. German households pay more for their electricity than in any other European country except for Denmark, where power costs €0.308 per kilowatt hour to Germany’s €0.298.

However, as the latest survey – conducted by Kantar Emnid on the AEE’s behalf – shows, enthusiasm for renewables is increasing if anything. “The survey results show the breadth of the societal consensus supporting the Energiewende in Germany,” said AEE deputy managing director Nils Boenigk.

The AEE’s survey that 95 percent saw the expansion of renewables as important or extremely important. That’s up from 93% in a similar survey last year.

95 Prozent der Deutschen für Ausbau von Ökostromanlagen.

What The SPD Stands For

Stop Paying for Defense, for one thing.

SPD

It’s election time, you see. And Germans like to pretend they are pacifists (as the world’s third largest weapons exporter). So the SPD, once again, is going to take an unpopular stand (not) and rule out their country’s obligation to meet NATO’s two percent defense spending target – a target the Germans agreed to years ago and still refuse to meet. You’ve got to have backbone in politics.

The parliamentary leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) rejected NATO’s 2 percent of GDP defense spending target and called for strategic investment in the German armed forces in an interview published Thursday.

“We think this is the wrong way, and with the SPD in the government there will be no such thing.”

German Of The Day: Großzügig

That means generous. As in “Merkel’s Generous Refugee Policy Puts Germany at Risk.”

Merkel

On July 28, one person was murdered and another five were injured by an Islamist wielding a knife at a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany. The sad tale had an all-too-familiar ring to it for many Germans: The perpetrator should not have been in the country. His application for asylum had been rejected and he was awaiting deportation. This latest attack may lead the German government to revisit the wisdom of its immigration policy. But it is more likely that, having allowed in almost 2 million refugees since 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel will simply double down. Merkel recently reaffirmed that, despite a string of Islamist plots perpetrated by recent arrivals into the country, Germany will put no limit on the number of refugees it is willing to accept. Her stance poses a serious threat to all of Europe. Such large numbers of newcomers quickly present huge societal challenges, not to mention serious security concerns. And no European nation is more endangered by this than Germany.

Messerattentäter Ahamd A. plante offenbar Lkw-Attentat.

The Mainstream Press Said No

The German literary establishment unanimously denounced it, too. It is a bad book. Bad book! It is a bad book of essays attacking said media/establishment – and the German government – for not taking citizens’ concerns about migrants seriously. Finis Germania has effectively been banned, in other words.

Book

This is not so terribly interesting, right? I agree. But what is interesting here is that the ban has turned Finis Germania into a bestseller. What does that tell us about what is really going on in Germany today? Down here were the little people live, I mean.

Don’t worry, though. This could never happen in your country, folks. Or could it?

Through its blind embrace of Angela Merkel’s open door to Middle Eastern migrants, the German media has lost the trust of a whole section of the German public. When the press calls something extreme, many no longer listen.

“What happens when the majority of Germans lose confidence and trust in mainstream leaders? Many of the Germans becoming disillusioned with mainstream politics and turning to these groups are not hardcore neo-Nazis. They don’t want to persecute the migrants or see them imprisoned, beaten up or killed. … They are concerned about Germany’s future. But Angela Merkel’s government refuses to give serious attention to these concerns and refuses to tell the truth about the impact the migrants are having and will have on the nation.”

Denn wer Antisemit ist, bestimmt der „Spiegel