Turn That Frown Upside Down

Before you’re out of the picture altogether. The SPD’s “popularity” rating has now dropped to 17%. They used to say anything under 20% for a so-called Volkspartei and you’re dead. Now they’re happy to have even that.

Nahesl

And their fearless leaders are dropping like flies, too. First of all the savior guy from a year ago, Martin Schulz, who has now met his political end. Next, with any luck, the super Sozi Andreas Nahles herself. She has already elected herself to take over for him and be the head of the party, even if it’s only temporary, but the party is so beat up and bleeding and tired of the leadership’s mismanagement that they may just tell her no.

And this would be a shocker. She has the best SPD credentials you can possibly have: She studied for ten or twenty years and has never worked a day in her life. She has had years of experience, however, being head social democrat what’s in charge of redistributing other people’s money and seeing to it that future generations pay for her over-the-top spending. I’d hate to see her go but I’d get over it. That means she would finally have to get a real job and see what it’s like to earn that money herself. Oops. I forgot. As a top dog civil servant her big fat retirement is waiting for her now.

Sie ist zwar keine Partei-Vize, doch der SPD-Vorstand überlegt dennoch, Andrea Nahles kommissarisch den Parteivorsitz zu übergeben. Mehrere Landesverbände lehnen das ab.

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Can Somebody Pick Up The German Army In Mali?

I mean, if it’s on your way and not too much of an inconvenience? They want to come home now but their airplane is broken.

Mali

The Bundeswehr, one of NATO’s largest militaries, is now a steady source of news about planes that can’t fly, tanks that break down and troops that admire the Nazis. So what exactly has gone wrong in Germany’s army?

Quite simple, really. These are soldiers who are not allowed to be soldiers in an army that is not allowed to be an army – other than to serve as an excuse for being able to export lots of way cool and expensive military equipment that works fine everywhere else but here. There’s a lack of culture in Germany regarding its military and its responsibility as a partner, in other words.

Insgesamt 89 in Mali eingesetzte deutsche Soldaten warten seit Tagen auf eine Rückflugmöglichkeit aus dem westafrikanischen Krisenstaat in den Heimaturlaub.

Why Are Germany’s Public Broadcasters Raising Their Mandatory Fee?

Because they can.

TV

It will be going up soon enough from 17.50 euros to 21 euros. Whether you even own a TV or not. The excuse this time: They are having trouble cutting costs within the time frame they had promised. There you have it; a state-run monopoly financed with mandatory fees from a public that is never asked if it wants to watch its party line programming or not. I don’t get it, either. How could an institution like that ever have trouble cutting costs?

Bis 2029 sollen die Rundfunkbeiträge von heute 17,50 Euro auf 21 Euro steigen. So jedenfalls wollen es ARD, ZDF und Deutschland-Radio. Und begründen das ausgerechnet damit, ihr Einsparvolumen bis 2024 sonst nicht erreichen zu können.

German Of The Day: Sozialabgaben

That means social welfare contributions. And that comes out to be some 900 billion euros in Germany annually. These are not voluntary contributions either, folks.

Sozialabgaben

This is 29.3 percent of Germany’s GDP. GDP here standing for Grotesque and Deranged Payments, by the way.

Diese Leistungen entsprechen den Angaben zufolge 29,3 Prozent vom Bruttoinlandsprodukt (BIP/2015: 29,2). Nach einer Prognose wird Ende kommender Legislaturperiode die Billionen Grenze überschritten. Die Sozialausgaben werden dann bei 1,1 Billionen Euro liegen.

PS: The word “social” is a code word for “here’s something for free” over here, too. Just in case you were wondering.

Living Up To Contractual Obligations Causing Angst

Concerned about possibly turning Germany into a military superpower again by raising its defense spending from 1.3 to 2 percent of its gross domestic product (as agreed to by Germany many years ago in NATO), Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) says that this could cause angst elsewhere in Europe, and most certainly at the German ministry of finance, and therefore maybe ought to be put off for an other 10 to 15 years or so. Or maybe longer. It all depends.

Gabriel

Angst is a terrible thing, people. And so is Verarschung (being bullshited). But angst is worse, I guess.

“Für Deutschland unrealistisch.”

Spectacular!

The new Elbphilharmonie!!

Elbphilharmonie

Instead of costing the planned 77 million euros it ended up costing Hamburg 800 million instead!!!

Breathtaking or something. Enjoy your status while you can, Hamburg. Just wait until the final cost for Berlin’s airport gets determined. If it ever does, I mean. We will CRUSH you!

Die Hansestädter sind froh, dass das Ding endlich fertig ist. Der Bau sollte 77 Millionen Euro kosten, am Ende waren es fast 800 Millionen.

This Just In: Governments Waste Money

In Germany, too? You bet.

Waste

The latest “black book” has been published by the German Taxpayers Federation and here – not counting your regular, every-day kind of wasteful government spending – are just a few of the more special ways in which government tosses money out the window:

Garbage cans in the city of Leverkusen that cost  1,258 euros a shot.

A fish ladder near the town of Lauterbach that cost taxpayers 100,000 euros. The only problem is that the fish can’t reach the ladder.

Or how about a townhouse in an exclusive location in Manhattan, owned by the Federal Republic of Germany. The only problem here is that it’s been empty since 2009 and costs taxpayers over 80,000 euros a year in upkeep.

“Politik und Verwaltung gehen verschwenderisch, sorglos oder leichtsinnig mit Steuergeldern um.”

Tax Cuts Not Wanted?

In a country that registered a $250 billion surplus last year? That’s what some survey results are indicating here in Germany.

Taxes

Doesn’t make any sense, right? Well maybe it does. Germany is also a country where “about half of Germans, including students, pensioners and unemployed are living on state aid.”

Nach dem Regierungsentwurf soll der Bund trotz zusätzlicher Ausgaben zur Betreuung von Flüchtlingen und weiterer Investitionen auch in den kommenden Jahren auf neue Schulden verzichten und einen ausgeglichenen Etat mit der “Schwarzen Null” bis 2020 halten.

And You Thought Your Government Wastes Money

And it does. But the German state can burn the stuff up pretty good, too – at any level.

Waste

The German Federation of Tax Payers just came out with its latest “Black Book” of government waste, a breathtaking collection of 133 of the most impressive cases of abuse it found. Some are quite imaginative, I must say.

The city of Bergen on the island of Rügen, for instance, ordered 200,000 earthworms from a special firm in Holland for a sports field there – for over 7,000 euros. These special  „Dutch Nightcrawlers“ were supposed to loosen up the hard playing field. They failed at that but made the field so “soiled” with worm Dreck (filth) that it couldn’t be used anymore.

Or how about the five manhole covers in Osnabrück with the colorful LED lamps on the side? They only cost 10,000 euros a shot. They sure are purty, though.

Then there’s the State Ministry for Culture boss who felt the need to have a “cemetery app” developed that would show its users where over 1,000 famous graves are located. It was called “Where They Rest” and all it did was redirect these users to the website with the same name. It only set tax payers back some 548,000 euros, however.

Nicht kleckern sondern klotzen, I say. Don’t take anything halfway.

Last Man Standing

Only she’s a girl.

Merkel

You have called Angela Merkel the modern-day empress of the eurozone. What do you mean?

The title empress reflects, in my view, two realities of present-day Europe. First, the Germans look so strong because the others look so weak. The British are withdrawing from Europe. The French are down but not out. They’re unable to rev up their economy – same thing for the Italians, same thing for the Spaniards. So, when you add it all up, who is the last man – or in this case, the last woman – standing?

The second reason is more concrete – the Germans have been in the vanguard of driving home fealty to the eurozone’s foundational treaties. These conventions enjoined member states, like Greece, not to overspend and over-borrow and, at the same time, to make their economies more efficient. Merkel and her finance minister are not austerity mongers as everybody is harping on about. They are committed to the original treaties’ stated rules that require eurozone members to reform their economies and become more competitive.

Zum ersten Mal seit 2005 könnte die Union einer Umfrage zufolge die absolute Mehrheit erreichen. Die Partei wäre mit 43 Prozent der Stimmen stärker als all anderen Parteien zusammen.