German Of The Day: Jamaika-Aus

That means, sadly, the collapse of the Jamaica talks to form a CDU/CSU/FDP/Green government. And is, coincidentally, Germany’s Word of the Year for 2017.

Jamaica

Sadly because the SPD has now been given the chance to come out of its we’re-absolutely-positively-never-ever-going-to-come-out-of-opposition pout after getting creamed during this year’s election. The SPD can do this kind of 180 degree turn stuff. Nobody cares. Just like nobody cares about who the chancellor is, apparently.

Denoting the ongoing failure to form a governing majority in German, Jamaica Out was one of several political neologisms chosen by the Society for German Language (GfdS) on Friday for its Word of the Year, which has been awarded since 2009.

PS: This kind of stuff gives me a hangover. I think I’ll drive over to the new Denny’s in Hanover and order me some pancakes or something (this article says Denny’s is where you go in US-Amerika for your hangover breakfast).

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A Little Paralysis Never Hurt Anybody

If this is Germany’s acting government they sure are pretty lousy actors.

Merkel

On Thursday, the German chancellor spent two hours at the German president’s office in Bellevue Palace with the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Martin Schulz, and the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Horst Seehofer. The president wants to prevent new elections and has urged the SPD and the CSU, the conservative alliance partner of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to start afresh with the unpopular grand coalition, despite all past disappointments.

It will likely come to that, as the SPD is now ready for talks, even if it is still keeping its options open, including tolerating a CDU/CSU minority government. But it may take a while until a government is formed — some observers suspect the country could have to wait until March for a government to emerge from September’s election. After all, just a few weeks ago, the SPD was fiercely determined to reposition itself in the opposition.

But honestly, who really cares about any of this, anyway? As long as people here can still concentrate on the really dangerous governments out there chances are that nobody else will even notice that Germany doesn’t have one.

Dysfunctional, Datfunctional, Main Thing Nothing Works

And costs everybody else in the country a whole lot of money. Berlin, my kind of town. My kind of town??

Berlin

Berlin, the capital of Europe’s most successful economy, is surprisingly badly governed. The new airport, the city’s biggest flagship project, missed its seventh opening date earlier this year and may not open until 2021, ten years after it was originally supposed to. The jobless rate is among the highest in the country. Schools are dismal. Courts and police are so overworked that hundreds of millions of euros in fines and taxes have not been collected; and the city failed to keep tabs on Anis Amri, the jihadist who killed 11 people with a lorry last Christmas, despite warnings about him three weeks earlier…

Astonishingly for a capital city, Berlin makes Germany poorer. Without it, Germany’s GDP per person would be 0.2% higher. By comparison, if Britain lost London, its GDP per person would be 11.1% lower; France without Paris would be 14.8% poorer…

“We have a deeply held suspicion of anything that smacks of efficiency and competence.”

It’s Guys Like These Who Give Liberals A Good Name

These are your “classic” liberals, the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP). And more power to them.

Lindner

Lindner has very good reasons to not join a four-party coalition just after he managed to lead the FDP from the political wilderness back into parliament. He has sought to re-brand the FDP as a party with clear principles, delineating core demands that the FDP would pursue: investing in education, promoting digital transformation, lowering taxes, blocking an EU “transfer union” and controlling immigration. After a compelling campaign, the party re-entered parliament with 10.7 percent of the vote.

“It is better not to govern than to govern in the wrong way.”

Failed City-State

Take your pick it’s both.

Poor

Other than “poverty, unemployment, poor infrastructure, a floundering education system, debt, the refugee crisis and crime,” and a dozen or two other things nobody wants to address right now, Berlin is a great place to live.

Jeder fünfte Berliner ist einem Zeitungsbericht zufolge arm und verfügt monatlich höchstens über 841 Euro.

That Guy Down There Works For The Telekom

And it looks to me like they’re trying to save on energy these days or something.

Telekom

Hey, who needs the NSA when you’ve got the Telekom right here at home in your own backyard in Germany? Doing the wiretapping, I mean.

Hello? Hello out there! Where’s all the excitement about this? The Telekom just got a little more transparent and admitted that it taps 50,000 phone connections a year. It hands out information on a million IP addresses annually, too. No, not to the NSA. To certain German “state agencies” that wish to remain unnamed.

Well there is a big difference here, you know. The difference being, of course, that the Telekom “sticks to the rules” and no one here has any reason to doubt them because the Telekom would not lie to us, I mean you, and besides, Germans snooping on Germans in a country like Germany when not following the rules precisely and to the letter is absolutely unimaginable and thoroughly ausgeschlossen (impossible). Here, I mean.

Die Telekom ist verpflichtet, in bestimmten Fällen mit Behörden zusammenzuarbeiten. Wie viele Anfragen es jährlich gibt, erstaunt dann doch. Neben tausenden überwachten Telefonanschlüssen gibt die Telekom Daten zu fast einer Million IP-Adressen preis.

GroKo Is Just What It Sounds Like

Whoopee or something. Germany’s grand coalition is finally here – a government the Germans didn’t vote for.

groko

GERMANY’S language boffins were first: they coined “GroKo” (short for grand coalition) the German language’s word of the year 2013 (an accolade that is not automatically flattering). To some Germans, this neologism might evoke a “great crocodile” or something otherwise sinister.

What does this really mean? It means that the tail (SPD) has succeeded in wagging the dog (CDU/CSU) and will now force enough of its social democratic agenda (“social” = free lunch) upon the German ship of way-too-big-state to veer it off the proper course, once again. It had been heading, however timidly, toward more private initiative =  responsibility and away from your typical German been-there-done-that world of ever more government waste, meddling and control. The CDU/CSU has now become thoroughly social democratized, in other words.

Just like with the “energy turnaround,” everybody will wake up again once they figure out that this is actually going to cost them personally way too much money. Hey, life is a zigzag course. They’ll get back on track again eventually.

PS: Something actually happened on German TV last night that was apparently worth watching.

Der Spiegel: Republicans End Amerika As We Know It

Uh, that’s bad, right?

Republicans

America’s Republicans have emerged again as a crazed mob. The conservatives have stubbornly voted for the shutdown and against their own leadership. In doing so, they are only thinking of their own careers and not about their party.

Wow. That’s kind of touching. I honestly had no idea that Der Spiegel was so concerned about the Republican Party up until now.

Amerikas Republikaner erscheinen mal wieder wie ein wildgewordener Haufen. Die Konservativen stimmen stur für den Shutdown und gegen die eigene Führung. Dabei denken sie nur an ihre Karriere und nicht an die Partei.

FDP R.I.P. Greens With Envy.

FDP

With 4.8 percent, the FDP was well below the 5 percent needed to enter parliament, and 10 percent below their showing in 2009. For the first time since 1949, the liberals will not be represented nationally.

Greens

The Greens took 8.4% of the vote, enough to win representation in parliament, the Bundestag, but too little to form its preferred coalition with the Social Democratic Party, which won 25.7%.

“The FDP is tough. They have a deep history. They have representatives all over the country, including in the municipalities. They are deeply anchored in society, in the public – so it’s not yet the end of the FDP.”

Nach der Schlappe bei der Bundestagswahl will der Vorstand der Grünen geschlossen abtreten. Volker Beck zieht sich als Parlamentarischer Geschäftsführer zurück.

1,700 Affordable Homes To Be Built At Tempelhof Airport?

Planned by Berlin’s city government? Shouldn’t they figure out how to build one affordable airport first?

Tempelhof

I dunno. I still like that Tempelhof mountain thingy plan the best.

Berg

Tempelhof, whose stone-clad terminal built by the Nazis in the 1930s, was closed to air traffic in 2008 and its main building is used for events including an annual beer festival. The airfield, which has two runways, has been turned into parkland where visitors jog, roller-blade on the tarmac and barbecue.