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Tag Archives: Germany

Germany: Hundreds Probed Over Anti-Migrant Comments on Facebook, by Vijeta Uniyal

You’re more at risk in Germany if you comment on social media about immigrant crime than if you’re an immigrant and actually commit a crime. From Vijeta Uniyal at legalinsurrection.com:

“No one can hide behind a screen, not even with pseudonyms or made-up names,” Bavarian Interior Minister warns.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W05Nx__oCP4

German authorities have investigated hundreds of internet users over comments they made on a Facebook video posted by the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The massive probe, spanning over 250 investigations, was launched in response to the live streaming of a migrant protest by the Bavarian-wing of the AfD party in 2017, German media disclosed on Saturday. Some 97 people were fined and three others were to face incitement charges in the court, the weekly Der Spiegel reported.

The massive police investigation is apparently meant as a warning to anonymous internet users critical of the country’s migrant policy. “No one can hide behind a screen, not even with pseudonyms or made-up names,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann warned.

The Facebook comments against agitating migrants came after a series of riots in refugee centers across Germany. Muslim asylum seekers have repeadetly agitated against supposed lack of consideration shown by the German authorities during the fasting month of Ramadan. “With Ramadan Come the Riots,” a 2018 headline in the Germany daily Bild declared. In 2016, two migrants reportedly burned down a refugee center for allegedly not receiving extra chocolate spread ‘Nutella’ during the Ramanda festivities. The fire ended up causing an estimated $10 million worth of damage.

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Germany Stalls and Europe Craters, by Alastair Crooke

Will Europe lead the world into an economic depression? From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The influential economic commentator on Europe, Ambrose Pritchard Evans, writes:

“German industry is in the deepest slump since the global financial crisis, and threatens to push Europe’s powerhouse economy into full-blown recession. The darkening outlook is forcing the European Central Bank to contemplate ever more perilous measures.

“The influential Ifo Institute in Munich said its business climate indicator for manufacturing went into “free fall” in July, as the delayed damage from global trade conflict takes its toll and confidence wilts. It goes far beyond the woes of the car industry. More than 80pc of Germany’s factories are in outright contraction.”

Why? What is going on here? It seems that, though other European member-states used to be Germany’s largest market, Germany’s first and third largest export destinations are now the US and China, respectively. Together, they account for more than 15% of all outbound German trade activity. More than 18% of Germany’s export goods ended up somewhere in Asia. Therefore, Germany’s industrial struggles in 2019 point the finger in the direction of its external focus, which means the US, China, and Asia – i.e. its largest marginal trade partners. And the principal assailants in today’s trade and tech wars.

Clemens Fuest, the Ifo president, says: “All the problems are coming together: It’s China, it’s increasing protectionism across the board, it’s disruption to global supply chains”.

But if Germany’s manufacturing woes were not sufficient in and of themselves, then combined with the threat of trade war with Trump, the prospect indeed is bleak for Europe: And the likelihood is that any of that ECB stimulus – promised for this autumn, as Mario Draghi warns that the European picture is getting “worse and worse” – will be very likely to meet with an angry response from Trump – castigated as blatant currency manipulation by the EU and its ECB. EU Relations with Washington seem set to sour (in more ways than one).

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Killing Free Speech in France, Germany and on the Internet, by Judith Bergman

France and Germany are even farther along killing free speech than the US. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • In early July, France’s National Assembly adopted a draft bill designed to curtail online hate speech. The draft bill gives social media platforms 24 hours to remove “hateful content” or risk fines of up to 4% percent of their global revenue. The bill has gone to the French Senate and could become law after parliament’s summer recess. If it does, France will be the second country in Europe after Germany to pass a law that directly makes a social media company censor its users on behalf of the state.
  • Knowing that a mere Facebook post could end you up in front of a judge in court is very likely to put a decisive damper on anyone’s desire to speak freely.
  • If Facebook’s agreement with France is replicated by other European countries, whatever is left of free speech in Europe, especially on the internet, is likely to dry up fast.
  • While Facebook eagerly claims to be fighting hate speech online, including claiming to have removed millions of pieces of terrorist content from its platform, according to a recent report from the Daily Beast, 105 posts of some of Al Qaeda’s most notorious terrorists are still up on Facebook, as well as YouTube.
  • When will Facebook — and YouTube — make it a priority to remove material featuring the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, whose incitement has inspired actual terrorists to kill people?

In May, France called for increasing government oversight over Facebook. Now Facebook has agreed to hand over to French judges the identification data of French users suspected of hate speech on its platform, according to France’s Secretary of State for the Digital Sector, Cédric O.

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Casting off the EU millstone, by Alasdair Macleod

Brexit will be challenging, but it’s not going to be the disaster for Britain that it’s sometimes portrayed, and Britain has much to gain from it. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

In this article, we look at the implications of the new Johnson government: its strategy, the likely outcome of EU negotiations, and the golden opportunities to reform trade, tax and monetary policies to secure a better future based on free trade.

Introduction

It should have been no surprise that Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister. It should also be no surprise he will implement Brexit on 31 October, the last date agreed between Mrs May’s government and the EU. Johnson was elected by Conservative constituency members to do just that. His cabinet appointees are fully supportive, including ex-Remainers (that’s politics!) and he has appointed an aggressive rottweiler, Dominic Cummings, as his Brexit enforcer. Already, his influence over Brexit strategy can be detected. There are no compromises to be had, a point which slower minds in the commentariat find difficult to comprehend and accept.

It is likely there will be an agreement on the way forward after Brexit, which could involve a transition period, but nothing like that agreed with Mrs May. If, as seems unlikely, the EU digs its heels in, the UK will walk away. That is the message being given by the new administration.

The establishment media are still wrong-footed on Brexit. The BBC, and others, have been too idle to analyse properly, taking their information from biased pro-remain sources and politicians who are out of the loop. They are still doing it. Disinformation is substituted for truth.

The EU, disinformed by Remainers including a chorus of past ministers and prime ministers, has relied on the divisions within Parliament to put Britain into a political and economic stasis. Their repeated utterances (there will be no new negotiation, the withdrawal agreement stands etc.) reflect the continuation of the EU’s established position. That is likely to change, because the EU will find it is forced to accept the dangers to its own position.

There is a crucial difference between the new cabinet and its predecessor. In Johnson, as well as ministers such as Rees-Mogg, Raab, Javid and Gove there appears to be an understanding of and commitment to free markets, unlike anything we have seen since Margaret Thatcher. Obviously, the strength of that commitment is yet to be tested.

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EU at the Crossroads: Integration or Disintegration, by J. Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

The EU will try to prevent its own demise by becoming more centralized and powerful. That may, however, result in its demise. Germany will be the key. From J. Hawk, Daniel Deiss, and Edwin Watson at southfront.org:

While the European Union is theoretically the world’s biggest economy using the world’s second most popular currency in international transactions, it remains to be seen whether in the future it will evolve into a genuine component of a multi-polar international system or become a satellite in someone else’s—most likely US—orbit. There still remain many obstacles toward achieving a certain “critical mass” of power and unity. While individual EU member states, most notably Germany and France, are capable of independent action in the international system, individually they are too weak to influence the actions of the United States or China or even Russia. In the past, individual European powers relied on overseas colonial empires to achieve great power status. In the 21st century, European greatness can only be achieved through eliminating not just economic but also political barriers on the continent. At present, European leaders are presented with both incentives and obstacles to such integration, though one may readily discern a number of potential future paths toward future integration.

United Europe or Fourth Reich?

The greatest obstacle toward further European integration is the dominant position of Germany within the Union, and it remains to be seen whether a unified German state is compatible with a united Europe. The most recent two attempts to establish a pan-European empire were done by the dominant European actors at the time, namely France in the early 19th century and Germany in the early 20th, and failed because the imposition of rules beneficial to the hegemon provoked resistance—though going to war with Russia in both cases proved to be the fatal mistake.

Today, Germany once again dominates the continent, though it does so using a velvet glove of the Eurozone and the European Central Bank rather than the iron fist of the Wehrmacht. While the German media are full of self-serving praise of their country’s economic prowess, it is unlikely in the extreme German economy would be enjoying export successes had its key trading partners, namely other European countries, not been prevented from engaging in self-defensive economic measures such as devaluations by the existence of the single currency. Consequently there is a strong anti-German sentiment within the EU which provides much of the fuel to the Euroskeptics. After all, many of the unpopular EU policies, starting with fiscal austerity, are backed by Germany whose economy benefits from a strong, low-inflation Euro.

Moreover, the current crop of German leaders, starting with Angela Merkel herself, view themselves as Germans first and Europeans second. Angela Merkel  is an “alumna” of the German Democratic Republic where she never experienced European integration, and where revanchist nationalist sentiments re-emerged after reunification. Her political success had a lot to do with her desire to quietly promote “Germany First” policies under the guise of European integration. But what is good for a German is lethal to a European. If European integration is to have a future, it will have to start with an attitude change in Berlin. Fortunately, there are a number of factors encouraging Germany’s leaders to do so.

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Renewables Are Dead, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Some inconvenient physics, from  at theautomaticearth.com:

If I’ve said once that those among us who tout renewable energy should pay more attention to the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, I must have said it a hundred times. But I hardly ever get the impression that people understand why. And it seems so obvious. A quote I often use from Herman Daly and Ken Townsend, when I talk about energy, really says it all:

“Erwin Schrodinger (1945) has described life as a system in steady-state thermodynamic disequilibrium that maintains its constant distance from equilibrium (death) by feeding on low entropy from its environment – that is, by exchanging high-entropy outputs for low-entropy inputs. The same statement would hold verbatium as a physical description of our economic process. A corollary of this statement is that an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.”

Using energy produces waste. Using more energy produces more waste. It doesn’t matter -much- what kind of energy is used, or what kind of waste is produced. The energy WE use produces waste, in a medium of which WE cannot survive. The only way to escape this is to use less energy. And because we have used such an enormous amount of energy the past 100 years, we must use a whole lot less in the next 100.

We use about 100 times more energy per person, and a whole lot more in the west, than our own labor can produce. We use the equivalent of what 500 billion people can produce without the aid of fossil fuel-powered machines. We won’t solve this problem with wind turbines or solar panels. There really is one way only: cut down on energy use.

Because it’s exceedingly rare to see this discussed, even among physicists, who should know better since they know thermodynamics, it’s good to hear it from someone else. An article in Forbes today discusses a May 3 article in German magazine Der Spiegel on the problems with the Energiewende, the country’s drastic turn towards renewables.

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Time Runs Out on U.S. Opposition to Nordstream 2, by Tom Luongo

The battle over Nordstream 2 is yet another indication that the US empire is splintering. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

The Nordstream 2 pipeline represents the last stand of U.S. influence over the internal affairs of Europe.

Once finished it will stand as a testament to the fundamental split between the European Union and the United States.

Europe will this as its first successful defense of its newly-declared independence. And the U.S. will have to come to terms with no longer having control overseas.

This is a theme repeating itself all around the world right now.

Your view of Nordstream 2 depends on who you are.

If you are the U.S. it is a massive rebuke of the post-WWII institutional order mostly paid for by the U.S. to rebuild Europe and protecting it from the scourge of the U.S.S.R.

From Europe’s perspective it’s, “Job well done and all that but Russia isn’t a threat anymore and it is time for us to come out from underneath the U.S.’s shadow.”

And if you are Russia Nordtream 2 is the wedge driving these two adversaries apart while improving national security on your western border.

Europe has imperial ambitions of its own and Nordstream 2 is a very important part of that. Those ambitions, however, are not in line with those in the U.S., particularly under the “leadership” of Donald Trump.

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