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Posts Tagged ‘Angela Merkel

Do Yourselves a Favor – Turn a Blind Eye to Who I Am

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My false feathers - too beautiful to be rejected!

My false feathers - too beautiful to be rejected! (courtesy justrecently.wordpress.com)

As early as in summer 2010, it apparently dawned on several German scientists that then defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had, to say the least, been sluggish when writing his doctoral thesis. A postgraduate had written an essay about inconsistencies in Guttenberg’s work, and offered it to several professors – but neither of them was interested, reports “Die Welt”.

And why should they? If you show similar misdemeanor, umm, sluggisnhess, as a sales clerk, you’ll be fired, and it may take you years before someone will employ you again. If a small bugger tries to fiddle his dissertation and gets caught – I mean, if he works so negligently -, he can kiss all his academic ambitions good-bye, and rightly so. But when you are a defence minister, and some gripers simply don’t allow you to look  the other way anymore, you’ll give the ex-minister a job in a North-American think tank.

If Guttenberg wants to return into politics is a question he hasn’t yet answered, even though he gave a long interview to the chief editor of “Die Zeit”. But you bet that he is working towards that goal.

“Der Spiegel”‘s Jan Fleischhauer is making fun of Guttenberg, and compares him to former protestant bishop Margot Kässmann. Guttenberg’s “apologies” sound pretty much like Kässmann’s, he believes, and the religious effect makes such apologies so powerful, Fleischhauer adds with more than just a shot of irony. “How can you not forgive them?”

One problem that Fleischhauer doesn’t touch upon though is that a true confession would have to include a detailed description of how the fake, umm, sluggish approach had been conducted. But there are no such details.

There are two things to learn from this: there is one kind of law applicable to upper classes in Germany, and one for the lower. When Helmut Kohl flatly refused to name the gentlemen who had provided his political party with illegal donations, he wasn’t even taken into coercive detention.

Guttenberg’s “apology” to the German public amounts to this: “I’m so sorry, but my life will be destroyed, if you aren’t prepared to forget what I have done. After all, I must become federal chancellor. There is no other way!”

If that’s the chancellor the German people really want, they will get exactly the government they deserve. If his lack of character and substance isn’t obvious enough, any man will be good enough to lead this country.

The current government, led by Angela Merkel, might still be way above what should be good enough for this country.


We, the Anti-Democrats

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The following is my – unauthorised – translation of a short article by Adam Soboczynski, a journalist who has attracted a lot of attention and frequently readers’ anger with his articles for Germany’s weekly Die Zeit. In his latest article, he criticises the appreciation for a French manifesto, “L’Insurrection Qui Vient” (German: “Der Kommende Aufstand”). Whenever published online, Soboczynski’s utterances draw great numbers of – mostly angry – comments. His references to Stuttgart in the following are about Stuttgart 21.


We, the Anti-Democrats

Adam Soboczynski, Die Zeit (online and printed ed. 49), 2 December, 2010

 The angry citizen isn’t conservative. He’s reactionary.

The Coming Uprising (Der kommende Aufstand), the much-discussed, partly printed by Der Spiegel, prized in the feature pages, manifesto of a French “invisible committee” has, despite all revolutionary rhetoric, a conservative nucleus: the loss of traditional conviviality, donnybrooks, good manners. Thought that could be associated with the left – a call for building communes, a celebration of subversive protest, anti-capitalism – are being notched with mourning past everyday habits.

The coming uprising is also anticipated so briskly because it seems to picture the uprisings of angry citizens who didn’t only agitate this country in Stuttgart. That’s what Der Spiegel claims this week. The paper misses the point that the protests are – despite what they may seem to be – of no conservative kind. Certainly, as a pensioner, you don’t want to be confronted with a construction site that is going to stay for ten years. For the last few years of your life, everything should remain the way it has been.

What appears to be, at first glance, a conservative impulse, is in fact reactionary. Reactionary in that secretly, it is moulded by a fervent distrust of parliamentarism and democratic institutions that structure [political or social, probably – Taide] participation.
Apparently, every sense of formal aspects of democracy have been lost: people don’t want to get involved in the political parties’ mean business, but shortcut opinion formation by referenda. No governments relying on discreet communication, people celebrate WikiLeaks. People wish to restrict minorities (such as migrants or smokers) by referenda, while the state is unnecessarily still protecting them.

Just as the sixtyeighters once came from America to Germany, it’s the reactionary Tea-Party movement today which inspires us. Even if only for operating the principle of majority against democratic institutions, quite in accordance with market-economy principles, you can’t consider citizen anger as conservative. If the sixtyeighters believed that the state was mixing with capitalism in a calamitous way, today’s angry citizens structurally align with capitalism.

Henning Ritter, a publicist, has recently noted in his jotter the fine observation that self-fulfilment may be highly appreciated, but without having anything in common with emancipation. The sixtyeighters were filled with the legitimate desire to emancipate from many things – the generation of their parents, or the patriarchy. Despite all revolutionary pathos, the protest soon turned to subcultural recesses or all kinds of careers that were felt meaningful. But from the moment where it dawns on you that self-fulfilment beyond the existing achievements doesn’t translate into individual gains in liberty any more, there will be no march through the institutions any longer, but their dismantlement instead.

Join in and Seek out New Life!

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One of my sources here in Verden provided me with a recent newsletter from the regional Christian Democratic Union or CDU, a traditionally conservative party (which is to say that there is no noticeable political party on its right side on the German political spectrum). To give you an idea, it’s the party of Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel.

The Modern Join-In Party

CDU: The Modern Join-In Party

The CDU here in Verden made a survey among its members in the Verden district and learnt from the feedback (no statistics given in the newsletter) that the CDU’s local work is viewed positively by the party’s grassroots, especially because it is strong and active in election campaigns.

Probably to become even stronger and still more active, the CDU in Lower Saxony wants to become a modern join-in party (Mitmachpartei). Member of (federal) parliament Andreas Mattfeld is happy to take the time to explain government policies as part of the join-in activities. That much about politics. Besides, the activities on offer…

… is multifaceted, so that for you, there will be something of interest for you, too. As a “join-in party”, we offer politics, sociality, and association! Such multifaceted awareness weeks have never happened here before, and certainly not by other political parties! I cordially invite you to join in yourselves! The schedule of the join-in weeks can be found on the back side.

Best regards

Adrian Mohr, CDU district chairman.

So it all begins with politics, i. e. Mr Mattfeld taking the time to explain government politics, on May 28. And that’s it, basically, as far as politics is concerned. They offer a walk through a forest, a bicycle tour, a cookery course at an Italian inn (with a maximum of ten participants), a refuse collection (not from the households, but on a public playground), OK… and a civic forum on “What kind of school do we want here?”.

Of course, the world football championship is also built into the join-in weeks. On June 13, after yet another bicycling tour, there will be a jumbotron – probably for the match Germany vs Australia. Which is good, because high spirits are almost guaranteed (safer than on an election night for the CDU these days), and there will be an opportunity to sing along with the national anthem.

May I give the CDU a bit of advice? Go to the grassroots and help people filling in their applications for dole-money (that’s what the PDS is doing), or with other stuff that endears you to strange new worlds.

Seek out new life! Your greatest potential is no longer at the “center”. Do away with Angela Merkel, and revive Heiner Geissler. And re-integrate Martin Hohmann to secure the right wing of your party, if Mr Geissler can put up with that (and if Mr Hohmann is still willing).

After all, political parties are about politics.

What’s next for Poland?

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Merkel, Putin: what's next for Poland?

Titanic Magazine, Merkel, Putin: what's next for Poland?


Titanic Magazine »

Written by taide

April 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Steinbrück set to become Germany’s Ambassador to Switzerland

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Ambassador Steinbrück, charging soon?

Ambassador Steinbrück, charging soon?

Peer Steinbrück (SPD), managing finance minister in Germany’s outgoing grand coalition, is set to become Germany’s ambassador to Switzerland, Taide learned from usually well-informed sources.

Written by taide

September 27, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Obama’s best Revenge: go to Berlin

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Barack Obama visits Germany, but skips Berlin. A roundmail about the president’s itinerary, sent around by the White House, didn’t even mention Germany: it was from Cairo right away to France.

Former concentration camp Buchenwald and U.S. Landstuhl Military Hospital are Obama’s destinations here – not Berlin, although he might have got the Brandenburg Gate this time.

Sarkozy, on the other hand, has engendered the desired attention. Obama will stay one extra night. Well… when you have the choice between nightlife in Berlin, or Paris…

Washington considers chancellor Merkel unwieldy, hesitant, impolite, and therefore unwise. Unwieldy because her refusal to let Obama have the Brandenburg Gate as a background for his speech in Berlin last summer. Impolite and unwise, because she declined an audience at the White House in April, because she didn’t need the plane trip and would see Obama in London at the G20 summit anyway.

On economic matters, she is considered rather uninformed, especially since her conduct at the beginning of the global financial crisis, when she underestimated its magnitude and thought of it as a mostly American problem. The European stimulus action was pushed mostly with French support. Ever since, Germany has been sidelined when important economic decisions are taken, in places such as the IMF. Merkel keeps silent about it.

When Opel’s future was negotiated, the U.S. administration sent a representative with a White House intern’s  decision-making power. In the end, Merkel had to give Obama a phonecall to get decisions.

Stephen Szabo, the Transatlantic Academy’s director: “Currently, France is hip. The impression here is that the Germans are rather useless.”

Meantime, the IMF’s head is French, France is back in Nato’s military structures, it has a military base at the Persian Gulf, and isn’t only active in Africa, and while Merkel demanded the closure of Guantanamo, her interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, declines to admit any of the camp’s detainees into Germany.

The new U.S. administration feels that Germany tries to dodge its military duties within NATO. Merkel had made it clear long before Obama’s inauguration that noone should expect more military contributions from Germany. The country’s 4,100 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan seem to guard their military camps in the first place, while soldiers from other allies have to do most of the fighting – and of the dieing.

The new administration apparently wants to show that it doesn’t need Germany, and Merkel wants to avoid an open confrontation.

Obama’s war without words may feel good for him. It may even help to get Germany to work.

But he could have done better. He could have delivered another big speech in Berlin. And he could have hammered an important news home to the German public: that their country, just as America itself, is at war. He had made some hints last July, in Berlin. But he needs to become more explicit. Once he will have made the German public understand that Germany is at war, too, he will really have hurt Merkel. Because so far, this big war is the grand coalition’s dirty little secret.

And while the American president tours the federal state of Saxony, Germans will happily stay in their state of denial.

Written by taide

June 5, 2009 at 9:04 am