EU Demands 20% Steaming Crap Quota

Sorry. I meant streaming crap quota, of course. You know, when it comes to what Netflix and Amazon Prime is allowed to offer its customers here in Europe?

Film

That’s right. The European Commission is planning to introduce a quota ensuring that at least 20 percent of the content offered by Netflix and Amazon Prime are European productions. This “identity-building measure” is necessary, the commissioners say, in order to, well, build identity (the European Commission’s identity?) and of course to continue to protect films and series that nobody wants or intends to watch but to keep on subsidizing anyway (“culture” in ze Europe is regulated by unelected state bureaucrats who know better than you and are here to help you whether you want their help or not  and not by yucky old and vulgar supply and demand – just in case you were wondering).

“Wir halten 20 Prozent für sehr maßvoll.”

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Free Choice, More Convenience, Lower Prices?

Not in our city, buddy. I mean Airbnb buddy. Not if we from the we’re-from-the-government-and-we’re-here-to-help faction can do anything about it.

Miet-Map

We like things regulated here in Berlin. You know, we like things managed, micro-managed, even nano-managed or nanny-managed, if you prefer. What else do we have this oppressive Bevormundungsstaat (paternalistic state) for?

Looking to rent an apartment on your next vacation to Berlin? Starting Sunday, you can basically forget about it. From May 1, Germany’s capital is banning landlords from renting out apartments to short-term visitors, with only a few exceptions permitted.

The penalty for breaking the law is a substantial €100,000 ($113,000) fine — levied on people renting their homes, never on the guests themselves. There will still be some loopholes that allow a few vacation apartments to persist, but it seems that, in Berlin at least, the astronomical rise of Airbnb and other short-stay rental sites is effectively over.

Das Wohnungsangebot in Berlin bei Airbnb ist kleiner geworden. Mehr als 4000 Objekte wurden laut einem Medienbericht gestrichen. Offizielle Begründung: Sie böten “kein authentisches Reiseerlebnis”.

German Of The Day: Fiasko

That means fiasco. You know, like the state-ordained Energiewende?

Wind

Berlin likes to think of itself as a green-energy example to the rest of the world. It sure is.

It makes you wonder if there’s any form of energy-price signal that governments won’t ignore. Germany’s 16-year-old Energiewende, or energy transformation, already has wrecked the country’s energy market in its quest to wean the economy off fossil fuels and nuclear power. Traditional power plants, including those that burn cleaner gas, have been closing left and right while soaring electricity prices push industries overseas and bankrupt households. Job losses run to the tens of thousands.

But now Berlin is going to fix all of this – again.

Derzeit gehe der Ausbau zu schnell und werde zu erheblichen Mehrkosten bei der Umlage zur Ökostrom-Förderung führen.

German Of The Day: Umweltunfreundlich

That means eco-unfriendly. Or in the case of biodiesel, this means “being so eco-friendly that it is eco-unfriendly.”

Umwelt

More starry-eyed government interventionism in action. To save the world from destruction by using biodiesel they have to destroy the world first by producing it. This reminds me of those good old communist planned economy days. And we all know how that went with the best made plans of mice and communist men.

Dem Biokraftstoff gehört die Zukunft. An negative Begleiterscheinungen dachte keiner. Doch die Indizien, dass vermehrt für das Weltklima wichtige Wälder gerodet, Sümpfe entwässert und in Ackerflächen umgewandelt werden, mehren sich. Nach Informationen der Weltagrarorganisation FAO dienen nur noch 47 Prozent der Weltgetreideproduktion – Weizen, Reis, Mais – der Ernährung.

Redistribution Is Da Solution (Again)

The next step backwards: Berlin has a new law prohibiting landlords from demanding rents that are more than 10 percent higher than the area average, in an attempt to keep housing affordable in a city that’s attracting 50,000 new residents a year. The rule relies on a disputed index — known as the Mietspiegel — that critics say is a statistical crapshoot.

Rents

“The rent brake is essentially a transfer of wealth from landlords to tenants. Berlin will become less of a destination for international investors because capital doesn’t like to be constrained.”

Germans Can’t Figure Out Why Germans Keep Disappearing

Suffering from one of the lowest birth rates in the EU and xenophobic to the core (although officially in denial about this), Germans everywhere (or at least where you can still find them) are puzzled by the continued drop in Germany’s population.

Population

Federal statistics office Destatis said Germany was expected to have between 68 and 73 million inhabitants by 2060, compared to its current 81 million.

I think it’s time for even more concentrated government intervention, don’t you? More sex education efforts, for instance.

“It won’t fall below the 2013 level until at least 2023.”

Germany’s Eurovision Preselection Winner Forced Out To Meet New Gender Quota

No sooner did the German women already running the country pass a law requiring that at least 30% of non-executive members at large companies be women than was Andreas Kümmert, the fair and square winner of the chance to represent Germany at this year’s all-important Eurovision song contest, forced at what might as well have been gunpoint to hand over his spot to runner-up Ann Sophie, a woman.

Kümmert

Kümmert, A man, I think, his arm being held tightly behind his back, shocked the German Eurovision preselection audience by announcing “I’m really not in the right shape to accept this. Honest I’m not! I swear I swear I swear. You take it, Ann Sophie. And you run with it, girl!”

Sheesh. These broads never would have gotten away with this last year.

Where’s The Money?

All of a sudden. For all of that five-year-plan-renewable-energy-turnaround-ideology-project-like-stuff in Germany, I mean. She is gone, señor.

Gabriel

Or at least more and more German citizens are finally waking up and simply just aren’t prepared to keep on paying ever more for less and less of whatever it was that this so-called energy turnaround of theirs was supposed to be delivering.

That is why Superminister Gabriel (didn’t he used to sing with Supertramp?) is now urging (ordering) German parliamentary lawmakers to start cutting state subsidies for renewable energies – for German industry – because they are rich and capitalistic or something and are therefore evil (he’s an SPD Superminister) and haven’t really been milked properly for this one yet. And the po folks just aren’t willing to keep paying more and more, like I said [By the way, the S in SPD stands for “social” and everything with “social” in it means “free lunch.” Read Margaret Thatcher’s quote down there on the right if you want to learn more.].

Of course why the energy turnaround has to keep on turning around the way it does like this in the first place is the really interesting question here, I find, but certainly not one that anyone here in Germany appears to be willing to ask. At least not quite yet anyway.

Yup, renewable turnaround money has sure gotten tight around here these days. Not even a Swabian housewife can help out anymore.

“We need to break the dynamics of ever-rising electricity bills, while ensuring a stable supply of energy for all.”

Sunny, Windy, Costly And Dirty

What’s not to like here?

Super Minister

“Super minister?” I’d say this is more like a job for Superpenner.

The difference between the market price for electricity and the higher fixed price for renewables is passed on to consumers, whose bills have been rising for years. An average household now pays an extra €260 ($355) a year to subsidise renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive than rivals from America, where energy prices are falling thanks to the fracking boom…

Cost is not the only problem with the Energiewende. It has in effect turned the entire German energy industry into a quasi-planned economy with perverse outcomes. At certain times on some days, sun and wind power may provide almost all German electricity. But the sun does not always shine, especially in winter, and the wind is unpredictable. And “batteries”—storage technologies that, for example, convert power to gas and back again to electricity—on a scale sufficient to supply a city are years away. Nuclear-power plants are being phased out (this week’s court decision that the closure of a plant in Hesse was illegal will raise costs even more, as it may entitle the operator to more compensation). So conventional power plants have to stay online in order to assure continuous supply.