Food For Thought Police

“Please spare us the thought police!” read a headline in Wednesday’s Bildzeitung.

Feige

As recently reported, the latest German censorship craze (exemplified by the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz or “Internet Enforcement Law”) is already being abused by those who would make us think what we are told. This type of thing never takes very long, of course. I read this in a book in high school once long, long ago in a galaxy far away. It was called 1984 or something. The book, I mean.

Anyway, this law… meant to curtail hate speech on social media in Germany is stifling free speech and making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted. The law which took effect on Jan. 1 can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly. Twitter has deleted anti-Muslim and anti-migrant posts by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and blocked a satirical account that parodied Islamophobia.

But the case I really like is this one here: A German thought criminal had the audacity to criticize Germany’s reticence to support the protests in Iran and write “one could get the impression that Germany has become an unbelievably cowardly nation” in Facebook. This horrid example of hate speech was enough to get the user promptly blocked.

The outrage about this outrage about the other outrage (I’m running out of outrages) among the German population also remains rather reticent, to say the least. But they are law-abiding citizens, after all. The Germans. They don’t want to commit any thought crime or anything.

Einer der beiden Fälle betrifft Irina Schlegel (33), die Chefredakteurin des Kreml-kritischen Recherchemagazins „InformNapalmDeutsch“. Sie schrieb am 1. Januar im Zusammenhang mit der deutschen Zurückhaltung zu den Protesten im Iran: „Man bekommt den Eindruck, Deutsche sind eine unglaublich feige Nation geworden“. Zwei Tage später löschte Facebook den Post und sperrte die Verfasserin für drei Tage.

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Which Germany Is This Guy Talking About?

“Why Germany Is Better at Resisting Fake News”

Fake

It’s not the Germany I live in. Germans don’t resist fake news, they roll around in it like pigs in the mud. Only they pretend their news is not fake. Their fake news doesn’t stink, in other words. And their fake news is different than our fake news, of course. Maybe that’s why they can pretend it isn’t fake: German fake news is generated by the government broadcasters and funded by taxation for which the viewers have no representation.

Here is a little example recently to give you an idea of what I mean. If 98 percent negative reporting about Donald Trump done by a state-run broadcasting monopoly isn’t fake news I don’t know what is. Germans would be skeptical about 98 percent negative reporting on Hitler. Nobody here bats an eye about this, however. What is there to resist, right?

More regulation of social media, less news consumption from alternative sources and no Fox News.

Speaking Of State Control…

There may not be any punishment here for producing awful television shows but if YOU get sassy and don’t pay your GEZ TV tax (or “mandatory fee,” as the tax collectors prefer to call it) you can go to jail.

GEZ

I’m not making this up. All German households must shell out 17.50 euros ($20) a month to watch great entertainment like Traumshiff, Lindenstrasse and Tatort, Tatort, Tatort as well as be submitted to propagandistic-indoctrination-like nightly news programs à la the Tagesschau by those good old fashioned unelected and nameless state TV official folks over there at the ARD and the ZDF (exhale now). Or else.

A woman was freed from prison after a court in Chemnitz had admitted that they had kept her in custody for 61 days because of her refusal to pay the GEZ fees.

Regional state broadcaster MDR applied for an arrest warrant against Sieglinde Baumert in September 2015 in an attempt to force her to sign a statement about her assets, which she refused because, as she told “Die Welt” newspaper, “With my signature I would confirm the legality of the mandatory fees.”

“I feel patronized, I get the decision taken away from me about what I’m paying my money for.”

Censorship Is For Everyone

Just like Liebe.

Rammstein

Hey, you know the deal here in Germany: Anything that is not expressly allowed is strictly forbidden. Or at least very, very, very suspicious. You know, like free speech?

Rammstein has filed a lawsuit against Germany for having temporarily indexed the album “Liebe ist für alle da,” said a spokesperson of the Bonn Regional Court on Monday (04.04.2016). The rock band is seeking 66,000 euros (nearly $75,000) in damages.

In 2009, the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons, a German governmental agency responsible for listing works that could potentially harm youths, had decided that one of the songs of the album, “Ich tu dir weh,” as well as the pictures in the booklet accompanying the CD, were “brutalizing” and “immoral.” The entire album was indexed.

Once a work gets listed by the organization, it may not be advertised and can only be sold under strict conditions – limiting its potential success.

Ist alles, was nicht ausdrücklich verboten ist, erlaubt?

Reproduction Regulators Recommend Rigorous Reform

The logic appears to go like this: Germans will only have children if they are paid by the state to do so.

Children

That this money must first be taken from them by the state to only later be given back to them if they behave properly (improperly?) is the first oddity here but not really the issue at the moment – or at least not the one German politicians want to talk about. The problem now is that Germans aren’t having enough children (only 12% of families with children here have 3 or more). They are not following the German reproduction regulation logic like they are supposed to and are refusing to have large families despite regular increases to the child benefit or Kindergeld payments given here.

In an attempt to counteract what is now the German one-child-per-family-if-they-have-any-children-at-all tradition, some reproduction regulators are suggesting that families now be given higher payments for each successive child born. I’m sure this will work just great. Well, I’m kind of sure it might work maybe, I mean.

Of course more money will first have to be taken in from the Germans before some of it can be given back to some of them again but that’s never bothered legislators here before so why break with a tradition like that now?

“Die wirtschaftliche Situation von Familien verbessert sich trotz der staatlichen Unterstützung im Durchschnitt nicht.”

Good Privacy Protection Is Good Weapon Protection

When Germans register private weapons, they do it thoroughly. But by always keeping thorough privacy protection policies in mind, too, of course.

Gun

There are 550 various Waffenbehörden (weapons agencies) in the country and they must all now register their registered weapons at the Nationale Waffenregister (national firearmes registry) to boot. Sound well-registered? It should. It is.

Unfortunately, for those who advocate strict weapon registration policies here (99.9 percent of the population?), things aren’t going to plan.

First of all, those who advocate strict weapon registration (“the public”) want to KNOW who has the weapons, how many these owners have, etc. but the firearms registry legislation does not provide for this so they are Scheiße outta luck (law enforcement officials have access, of course).

The second problem is that the numbers now indicate (as they always have elsewhere) that registered weapons still kill people. Along with all of those other “bad” illegal unregistered weapons out there, too, I mean.

Wer wie viele Waffen hat, geht die Öffentlichkeit nichts an – “Bitte betrachten Sie unsere Ablehnung nicht als unhöfliches Vorgehen. Wir sehen leider keine Möglichkeiten, Ihrem aus öffentlichen Interesse erwachsendem Anliegen geeignet zu entsprechen.”

Debacle, Disaster, Fiasco…

Just a reminder here again: “There is no free lunch.” Honest.

Lunch

Government intervention at its best (again). Germany’s deliberate attempt to make its energy greener using price guarantees and mandatory quotas for green energy IS NOT WORKING.

Try and remember: The whole idea was to make renewable energy more competitive and, therefore, in the end, cheaper. Well this attempt is so not working right now that German consumers pay higher prices now than ever before and German industry is soon to follow. And this, even though there is actually an oversupply of power. In essence, an energy bubble has been created because Germany’s renewable energy producers get a guaranteed minimum price for what they produce (this now includes farmers and communities and anybody else who can still get into the ponzi scheme).

Imagine you have various consumers going to a grocery store. Some of them want to buy a bottle of beer for 1 USD. Others would like to buy a bottle of champagne for 30 USD. In normal life people would just pay 1 USD for the beer and bubble-lovers would pay 30 USD for champagne. The German energy market is different. People who want the champagne pay 2 USD for it and those who want beer have to pay 2 USD. It’s a good deal for the champagne drinkers, getting subsidized by the beer buyers.

…Perhaps the least fair part of the whole scheme is how these prices disproportionately impact low-income households, who are forced to subsidize green energy for richer families to support politicians’ green energy visions.