Trump shared the title this year with such luminaries Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un, and the entirety of the United Kingdom, among others.
(The translation of ‘Vollpfosten’ to ‘idiot’ doesn’t really capture the flavor of the word. Dumbass is much closer.)
Video and picture is from their 2017 Awards show, which Trump dominated.
What’s keeping most Germans from getting a good night’s sleep? A survey has found that beating international terrorism, illegal immigration, and economic worries is none other than the US president. Well, his policies at least.
Anti Trump Rally In Berlin © Omer Messinger/Global Look Press Trump v the world? Belligerent unilateralism turning US into ‘rogue state’, analysts tell RT
Asking a sample of 2,400 Germans between June 8 and July 18 of this year, the multiple choice questionnaire found that 69 percent of Germans deemed Trump’s policies and attitude to allies were having a dangerous impact across the globe
The far-right: on the rise?
There can be little doubt that in Germany, as elsewhere in Europe, far-right parties are seeing increased success. In last year’s Bundestag (parliamentary) elections, the nationalist anti-migrant party Alternative für Deutschland gathered just over 12% of the vote, making it the third largest party nationwide.
However, it is important to note the overall numbers of people registered as involved in radical right-wing organisations in Germany has fallen from over 51,000 in 1999 to around half that number today.
More than 25 years after reunification, GDP in Germany’s east remains below that of the west, unemployment rates are higher, and more easterners than westerners feel that they are struggling to get by.
As the authors of a recent study found, racist and far-right views are commonest in Germany where the numbers of migrants and refugees are smallest.
xenophobia is weaker in areas of greater diversity shows that, whatever her detractors say, Merkel’s policy of cultural openness is the right one.
Among the most astonishing scenes in Chemnitz were those of right-wing protesters in front of a monument to Karl Marx holding up banners reading ‘Foreigners Out’ in front of a relief in which the words ‘Workers of the World, Unite!’ are spelled out in German, Russian, and French.
Berlin (AFP) – A member of the German government on Tuesday accused the new US ambassador in Berlin of meddling in domestic politics and aggravating already tense ties, as left-wing parties called for the staunch ally of Donald Trump to be expelled.
Richard Grenell took up his Berlin posting on May 8 and immediately irked Germany when he tweeted the same day that German companies should stop doing business with Iran as Trump quit the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.
He stoked further outrage last weekend with reported comments to right-wing news website Breitbart of his ambition to “empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders.”
The country passed the marriage law in June.
By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – – The nation of Germany gazed with helpless horror at Trump’s disastrous …
Dolli Einstein Haus in Pinneberg is run on a democratic basis, with votes on everything from food to nappy changes
German police are staging a manhunt for Tunisian man in connection to the deadly assault on a Berlin Christmas market.
Four police officers have been injured, some seriously, after they were shot in a raid on a home in southern Germany.
Pupils choose their own subjects and motivate themselves, an approach some say should be rolled out across Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged her fellow European Union leaders to react cautiously to Britain’s vote to leave the EU, breaking with fellow European ministers who seek a swift and decisive divorce with Britain.
Electricity bills are often ludicrously high thanks to our energy-intensive modern world, but every now and then, thanks to the forces of nature, a metaphorical miracle takes place. As reported by Quartz, Germany just experienced such a phenomenon when a particularly bright and sunny day supercharged their solar and wind power sectors.
Source: BBC News
If you made a list of countries you hope have learned from their past hundred years of mistakes, Germany would have to be at the top. Happily, the staunch opposition to a nativist fringe that the nation’s government and citizenry have shown in recent weeks makes it clear, again, that Germany understands the costs of bigotry and the virtues of tolerance.
Unhappily, it has not learned the costs of a mad adherence to fiscal orthodoxy, despite the fact that its prosperity is rooted in the decision of its World War II adversaries to allow West Germany’s postwar government to write off half of its debts.
Harold Meyerson writes a weekly political column that appears on Thursdays and contributes to the PostPartisan blog. View Archive
Indeed, the policies that Angela Merkel’s government have inflicted on the nations of Southern Europe could not be more different from those that European leaders and the United States devised in the early 1950s to enable West Germany to rebuild its damaged economy. Since the crash of 2008, Germany, as Europe’s dominant economy and leading creditor, has compelled Mediterranean Europe, and Greece in particular, to sack their own economies to repay their debts.
Germany’s insistence has reduced Greece to a condition like that of the United States at the bottom of the Great Depression. Unemployment has soared to 25 percent, and youth unemployment to more than 50 percent ; the economy has shrunk by 26 percent and consumption by 40 percent. Debt has risen to 175 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. And the funds from the loans that Germany and other nations have extended to Greece have gone almost entirely either to cover interest payments or repay past loans; only 11 percent has actually gone to Greece’s government. Stuck on a treadmill of debt repayment and anemic economic activity, Greece, as the Financial Times noted, has been reduced to a “quasi-slave economy” run “purely for the benefit of foreign creditors.”
Not surprisingly, when Greek voters went to the polls Sunday, they elected a new government that is demanding a renegotiation of its debt. German and European Union officials have responded with adamant opposition to any such changes.
Fortunately for Germany, its own creditors took quite a different stance after World War II. In the London Debt Agreement of 1953, the 20 nations — including Greece — that had loaned money to Germany during the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic and in the years since 1945 agreed to reduce West Germany’s debts by half. Moreover, they agreed that its repayments could not come out of the government’s spending but only and explicitly from export income. They further agreed to undervalue the German mark, so that German export income could grow. By the consent of all parties, the London Agreement, and subsequent modifications, were crafted in proceedings that made West Germany an equal party to its creditors: It could, and sometimes did, reject the creditors’ terms and insist on new negotiations.
The United States was particularly insistent on making the terms of West Germany’s repayments as lenient as possible. It needed the nation to be a strong ally in the Cold War. Besides, West Germany’s government, headed by Christian Democrat Konrad Adenauer, was (presumably) Nazi-free. To further punish Germany, its onetime mortal enemies concluded, was strategically — and, just maybe, morally — unwise.
No such scruples have informed Germany’s current policies toward Greece. As a member of the euro zone, Greece cannot undervalue its currency, and rather than enabling Greece to increase its exports, Germany has done everything possible to increase its own trade balance with Greece and its European neighbors. Far from rebuilding the economies of Southern Europe, Germany pillaged them in the name of fiscal rectitude.
But the considerations that informed Germany’s creditors six decades ago are just as pertinent today. Strategically and economically, it would be a disaster for Germany if Greece were compelled to repudiate its debts and leave the euro zone, as such a move would threaten the zone’s continued existence. The new Greek government represents at least as clean a break with Greece’s previous mis-rulers as the Adenauer government did with Hitler’s. Its early appointments signal a novel development in Greek governance: a fight against the corruption and crony capitalism that have long corroded the nation’s economy.
Why can’t Germany apply the lessons of its own past to today’s economic challenge? As Jurgen Kaiser noted in a brilliant paper for the think tank of Germany’s Social Democrats, “little knowledge about Germany’s debt relief is to be found among the broader public in Germany.”
The world will be a better place when Germans know their history — all of it.
Read more from Harold Meyerson’s archive or follow him on Twitter.
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What Does Pegida Say About Germany?
very Monday. Since the terror attacks in Paris, the movement has grown: The police counted 25,000 demonstrators on Jan. 12, the Monday after the attacks, a 7,500 jump from the week before. (It canceled its Jan. 19 protest over security concerns.)
Known by its German acronym, Pegida, the group has inflicted great harm on the country’s international reputation. Our neighbors and allies are asking whether Germany is stumbling back into the darkness of xenophobia, and rightfully so. Many Germans are asking the same question these days.
There are two ways to look at the situation. The optimistic take is to note that, for all the attention Pegida gets inside of Germany and abroad, Germany has never been as liberal, culturally diverse and open toward minorities as it is today.
Last year a biennial poll conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a foundation associated with the left-wing Social Democrats (and thus unlikely to underestimate the problem), found that anti-foreigner attitudes were at a historic low. While its 2012 poll found that about a quarter of Germans reported hostile views toward foreigners, only 7.5 percent did in 2014. And anti-Semitism, which is on the rise elsewhere in Europe, has dropped significantly, to 4.1 percent from 8.6.
Apart from the polls, there is quite a bit of evidence for a new openness. On Jan. 12, 100,000 people went to the streets nationwide in counterdemonstrations against Pegida, showing their solidarity with German Muslims. In Leipzig, 4,800 pro-Pegida protesters were met by 30,000 counterprotesters.
Meanwhile, all over Germany, private initiatives are popping up to help refugees. In Duisburg, a local politician has collected 100 bicycles for refugee children. In Zirndorf, doctors are providing refugees with free medication. Even in Dresden, Pegida’s stronghold, groups are helping refugees with the hard tasks of getting settled, like providing translation services at appointments with authorities.
Still, the enormous support for Pegida requires us to consider another, darker reading of the situation, as evidence of troubling developments within German society.
One is the failure of mainstream politics. There is a tendency among the major parties to move toward the center of the political spectrum, creating an ideological void at its far right and left ends. The far right in particular has lacked political representation in the past years, which helps explain why a new populist party, Alternative für Deutschland, had such enormous success in European and state elections last year. While leaders of the Alternative, as it’s called, claim to be primarily anti-European Union, many have also expressed support for Pegida.
Another change revolves around the Internet. In this view, the Pegida people are just the usual frustrated lot looming at the edges of society. Now, emboldened by the reinforcement they find in like-minded communities online, they’re taking to the streets.
And a third is the persistence of regional differences. Though Pegida has drawn support in western Germany, it is strongest in the former East Germany. In the East, xenophobic attitudes are still more common than in the West, for a complex mix of reasons, including higher unemployment rates, but also because of feelings of inferiority.
We also have to ask what Pegida says about Germany, whatever its causes. It certainly indicates that the relative social peace we are experiencing right now is fragile. But it also shows how the country, still new to the multiethnic game, is struggling with its identity. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the first waves of immigrants arrived, the “Gastarbeiter” (guest workers) from Turkey and Italy who came to fill the labor gap in the country’s prospering postwar economy.
For decades, Germany was able to pretend that the guest workers were just that, guests. But the third generation of Turkish immigrants is now reaching adulthood. At the same time, immigration numbers are rising: Germany’s immigrant population grew by about 430,000 last year. Many came from the Southern European countries that still suffer from the euro crisis, but last year Germany also welcomed some 220,000 refugees, mostly from Syria, Eritrea, Serbia and Afghanistan.
The white face of German society is changing at a rapid pace. In this context, the Pegida protests are getting such attention because they act as a weekly checkup of German society. It’s as if every Monday, the news media are putting a trembling hand to the country’s forehead, checking its temperature, wondering whether our ugly, xenophobic past is taking over again. And we don’t have to look back to the 1930s to find that past; in the early 1990s, when the country last saw similar numbers of refugees, an irrational fear of foreigners taking the jobs of “real Germans” gripped the country, culminating in anti-immigrant riots in several cities, with several deaths, many wounded and thousands scared.
Last week, a 20-year-old refugee from Eritrea was found stabbed to death near his apartment in Dresden. Neighbors reported that swastikas had been painted onto the door of his apartment. Germans held their breath. Was this a neo-Nazi murder? Was there a connection to the Pegida rallies? Then, on Thursday, authorities arrested one of the victim’s roommates, another asylum seeker, who they say has admitted to the attack. Still, we don’t trust ourselves. Why should our neighbors? Why should you?
However the investigation turns out, I am an optimist, believing that we will not see history repeated. Germany has come a long way since even the early ’90s. And rather than causing violence, Pegida has set off a public debate on Germany’s national identity. This is long overdue. Prominent conservative politicians like Peter Tauber, the secretary general of the Christian Democratic Party, have demanded a new, clearer framework for immigration. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that “Islam is part of Germany.” It was an assessment, rather than an ideological statement. It was the simple acknowledgment of a simple reality.
German village Feldheim the country’s first community to become energy self-sufficient
The rural village of Feldheim, 80 kilometres south of Berlin, is at the vanguard of Germany’s energy revolution, boasting a wind farm, solar plant, biogas and biomass facilities.
Germany is undergoing an energy transformation called Energiewende, which aims to reduce carbon emissions, increase the use of renewable energy, and stop all nuclear power.
Feldheim is the country’s first community to become completely energy self-sufficient.
The village now attracts thousands of ecotourists every year and has set up an educational group to spread the word.
The New Energy Forum’s Kathleen Thompson told the ABC it all started back in 1995.
“A student by the name of Michael Raschemann decided as part of his studies he’d like to install some wind farms,” she said.
With the support of local council, Feldheim’s 145 residents were quickly convinced of the wind farm’s merits.
One of those residents is 73-year-old Joachim Gluck, who has lived in the village his whole life.
Germany’s energy transition
- 80 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2050
- Nuclear plants shut down by 2022
- Carbon emissions cut by up to 95 per cent of 1990 figures by 2050
“There wasn’t much headwind … the project was done in open discussions at resident’s meetings. Everyone was allowed to voice his or her opinion,” he said.
Residents were invited to join a limited company to manage the wind farm in which they contributed 3,000 euros each.
Mr Raschemann founded a company, Energiequelle, which planned and implemented the project.
The wind farm now has 47 turbines, which produce 175 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year.
The town of Feldheim uses just one per cent of that, the rest is sold back into the wider grid.
Residents and businesses now pay a third less for their electricity than other German communities, at 16.5 eurocents per kilowatt hour.
The biggest local business is the agricultural cooperative which produces milk, pig meat and grains.
After the success of the wind farm, the cooperative, in partnership with Energiequelle, built a biogas plant to use manure and silage to heat the village.
The plant cost nearly 2 million euros and much of that was provided by government subsidies.
It has cut heating costs and saved the import of 160,000 litres a year.
The partnership has also built a solar farm with 10,000 modules, which has an annual output of 3,000 megawatts.
The town does not waste a thing, with a small woodchip heating plant burning timber by-products from nearby forests.
Mr Gluck said the big energy groups fought against Feldheim’s transformation.
“The permit process took longer than the actual building process,” he said.
But that has not deterred the villagers from new projects.
They are now spending 13 million euros on battery storage, which will help with consistency of supply.