Monday 13th of July 2020

merkelina never left...


Coronavirus and Germany: Why the world is looking to Angela Merkel

The German chancellor has been declared politically dead many times. But the current pandemic has boosted her reputation and popularity at home and abroad. DW explains why.

"Lame duck" is the usual term given to politicians who don't want to or can't run for office again. With their political shelf-life suddenly measurable, such figures are condemned to being considered weakened and less effective.

Political observers have sorted Chancellor Angela Merkel into the lame-duck drawer many times in the last few years: after the poor showing of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the 2017 federal elections, then when she resigned as party leader in 2018, and then again during the various attempts by her former rival Friedrich Merz to take over as political leader in 2018 and 2020. Two years ago, even "Merkelites" in her parliamentary group were expecting a withdrawal sometime in 2019. But no, she's still there, like an old VW Beetle: reliable, unadorned, a little awkward.

Tributes from across the globe

At the moment, Merkel is having a day in the sun of the kind she has not had for many years — both nationally and, even more so, internationally. "The media here looks at Merkel as one of the world's strongest leaders," Amichai Stein, diplomatic correspondent for Israeli public TV station Kan, told DW. "Merkel gets attention as a leader who can make people understand the situation and explain it clearly to people."

This assessment coincides with op-eds, political appraisals and social-media posts the world over. In March, the New Zealand Herald published an articleheadlined "Germany's leader shines in crisis even as power wanes." Earlier this week, a comment in Clarin, Argentina's most widely read daily, became a hymn of praise to the chancellor.

Commentator Ricardo Roa wrote of the "65-year-old doctor of physics, daughter of a Lutheran pastor and a Latin teacher," who, even after 15 years at the top of power, behaves "like a normal person." In the coronavirus crisis, Merkel is "one of the very few" politicians worldwide who do not protect themselves but "lead." "She communicates with scientific rigor. She communicates with calm. She disarms hysteria," Roa wrote.

The commentator even went on to coin a word in Spanish, "Merkelina," to describe the "sobriety and determination" of her political leadership "by trying to solve problems and not trying to derive political benefit from those problems."

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und sie alle starben an coronavirus ...

People in Berlin and Stuttgart have taken to the streets to protest against a loss of freedoms amid the coronavirus pandemic. Germany has enacted a series of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Hundreds of people took part in demonstrations in the cities of Berlin and Stuttgart on Saturday against government measures introduced to protect the country from coronavirus.

Around 1,000 protesters gathered in the German capital at the Volksbühne theater near the city center. Protesters shouted "I want my life back" and held up signs with slogans such as "Protect constitutional rights."

The protesters handed out newspapers questioning the need for lockdown measures and claiming the coronavirus is an attempt to seize power by spreading fear. Police spokesman Thilo Cablitz said permission was granted to distribute the newspaper, but that health authorities had not approved the gathering itself.

Read more: Coronavirus restrictions leave Russian student stranded at Frankfurt Airport

"During coronavirus times and according to containment regulations, we are obliged to prevent a gathering," Cablitz said.

Police, who cordoned off the square directly in front of the building in an effort to prevent crowding, used megaphones to call on attendees to disperse and said they arrested more than 100 people.

It was the fourth consecutive Saturday of protests in Berlin. Police said they deployed 180 officers to respond to the latest gathering. Participants have included well-known far-right populists and conspiracy theorists.


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... And all the conspiray theorists died from the coronavirus, unless they got saved by the police first....

ruhig, methodisch und sachlich...

Germany's battle against the spread of COVID-19 is far from over — like Australia, it fears a second wave of infection that could trigger thousands more deaths.

The country has recorded more than 165,000 cases of the coronavirus and 6,700 Germans have died.

In a rare televised address, Chancellor Angela Merkel said not since World War II had a challenge "demanded such a degree of common and united action".

Yet the country seems to have weathered the pandemic far more adeptly than its European neighbours.

While France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom have all recorded tragic death tolls above 20,000, Germany, with a larger population, has kept fatalities relatively low.

Professor Martin Voss from the Disaster Research Unit at The Free University of Berlin says there has been widespread approval for Germany's social distancing measures.

"It was a shock to see that this virus can overwhelm health systems," he said.

"It increased the sensitivity and willingness of the German public to react even before the Government announced [social distancing] measures."

Ms Merkel and her centre-right Christian Democrat party are now riding a renewed wave of popularity.

"She's a very trusted and respected person, she's already dealt with several crises in the past," Professor Voss said.

Fronting her nation to explain the nature of the virus, former scientist Ms Merkel has been calm, methodical and factual.


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the corona in germania...

German doctors are feeling exposed – quite literally.

In an online protest, general practitioners have stripped off to raise awareness of a lack of equipment such as masks, gloves and medical gowns to protect them against the novel coronavirus.

Pictures of the undressed physicians have been published on the protest website (the name roughly translates as “bare concerns”), showing doctors often donning no more than a stethoscope.

The initiative has made some waves in Germany, with the country’s most popular newspaper, Bild, publishing the doctors appeal along with some of the eye-catching portraits.

“In order to safely treat you, we and our team need protective equipment,” the campaign says on its website.

“We couldn’t prepare. To be true: You couldn’t prepare for this. We are all vulnerable. Medical practices need more support from politics.”


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Despite this, the news from Germany are not bad. People can go about as the isolation decree has been lifted for parts of that country and the doctors got more stuff to play with, since this protest. The number of deaths compared to the number of infected people is very low compared to the USA. 

the US A-bombs in germania...

Angela Merkel is a formidable European leader, having served as German Chancellor for 15 years and still going strong. She also no doubt has a formidable intellect, having earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry and previously working as a research scientist before she entered politics.

On the other hand, Frau Merkel seems incredibly gullible and unable to see when she is being gratuitously manipulated by others. Last week, she stood up in the German parliament and spoke of her “pain” on reading media reports that Russian state hackers had allegedly broken into her email account as well as allegedly carrying out cyberattacks on the Bundestag.

Merkel said she was vexed by what she saw as a breach of trust by Russia despite her efforts to “strive for good relations” with Moscow.

“Nevertheless, I will continue to strive for a good relationship with Russia, because I believe there are very good reasons to pursue such diplomatic efforts. But this doesn’t make it any easier,” added the German leader.

Merkel was referring to an article published days before in German magazine Der Spiegel which quoted anonymous German intelligence sources reiterating an old claim of Russian hacking. A Russian national, purportedly a member of Russia’s military intelligence, was named as being the subject now of an international arrest warrant. The Kremlin denied the latest allegation, as it has done in the past.


Der Spiegel’s anonymous sources do not provide any substantive verification of their claims against Russia, relying as usual on lurid speculation. So, what Merkel means when she claimed to have seen “hard evidence” of Russia hacking is rather ambiguous and should invite skepticism. If there is “hard evidence”, then let it be presented to the public for independent assessment, and in order for Russia to have an opportunity to respond in detail. Like so many other instances of Western claims over recent years about alleged Russian interference, from election meddling to cyberattacks, there is never any evidentiary details. That’s because the aim is all about smearing Russia with unanswerable allegations lacking any specifics that might be challenged or disproven.

Moreover, why Merkel and other open-minded people should be additionally skeptical about the renewed “Russian hacking” claims is the timing and political context.

Earlier this month, the Social Democrat coalition partners in Merkel’s government relaunched a public debate on removing US nuclear weapons from German territory.

German citizens have long opposed the installation of nuclear warheads in their country. There are reckoned to be around 20 US B-61 air-launched bombs housed at the airbase in Buchel. The Americans have nuclear bombs stored in other European states, including Belgium, Italy and Netherlands, as part of a so-called NATO sharing agreement.

Rolf Muetzenich, the parliamentary leader of Germany’s Social Democrats, has revived calls for the withdrawal of US nuclear warheads from Germany. Back in 2010, the German parliament voted for this disengagement which has so far been ignored by Washington.


The reinvigorated push by Germans to get rid of American weapons of mass destruction has no doubt alarmed Washington planners who view Europe and NATO as key to projecting power against Russia which in turn is vital for American geopolitical influence.

All the more alarming for American apprehensions if that if Germany were to refuse US nuclear weapons then other European states would probably follow suit. Heinrich Brauss, a former Lt General in the Bundeswehr and ex-NATO policymaker, is quoted by Deutsche Welle as saying of Germany’s proposed withdrawal of US bombs: “That would rock NATO’s nuclear-sharing agreement and burden sharing  – or maybe even lead it to unravelling completely.”

Therefore, to that end, there has been what certainly seems to be a concerted pushback from Washington and NATO against any German attempt to expel US nuclear weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg penned an oped for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on May 11 in which he appealed to Germany retaining American nuclear bombs because, he said, it was necessary for deterring “Russian aggression”.


Then we had Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Berlin, writing an oped for Die Welt on May 14, in which he lambasted Germany for undermining the US-led alliance. “Instead of undermining the solidarity that forms the basis of NATO’s nuclear deterrence, it is now time for Germany to meet its commitments to its allies and to continuously invest in NATO’s nuclear participation.”

This is the context in which Der Spiegel published its hackneyed story on May 8 about the Kremlin allegedly hacking the German parliament and Merkel’s email. (The real and proven culprits here are the American NSA and CIA, as whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013.)

It’s a tawdry and transparent effort to undermine initiatives for Germany realizing political independence from Washington. The unspoken objective is to rekindle public fears about the alleged Russian bogeyman supposedly hacking into Germany’s government and wielding aggression against Europe.

The bogeyman story is absolutely vital in order to scare Europe into accepting the unacceptable imposition of American nuclear weapons on their territory. Such weapons – 30 years after the supposed end of the Cold War – are a reckless provocation to Russia’s security and a reprehensible endangerment of Europe with a possible nuclear war against Russia. The American ruse is as contemptible as it is risible. Yet Angela Merkel is played like a fiddle in this Cold War charade.



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We know that "intelligence" agencies are designed to spread falsehoods, porkies, lies, crap in order to manipulate or create a political outcome. And I believe that Frau Merkel knows this. She would also know that the media, even as reputable as Der Spiegel would be manipulated by the said "intelligence agencies" with "secret sources" and messages that matches her own information (which is also a falsehood) as the "intelligence" agencies are also adept at manufacturing fake "hard evidence" for the eyes of leaders exclusively.


The problem here for Merkel, is that of a commercial decision. Angela would have to know that having US nukes in Germany would be no deterrent whatsoever, should Russia "aggress". These nukes are only a "pressure point" in bargaining mercantile agreements. So she would also have to know that Russia HAS NO INTENT TO AGGRESS EUROPE — not now, not tomorrow, never... She intimately knows that Putin (and Russia) isn't the monster painted in the Western press. But the dear Angela cannot tell the US and their atomic toys to go away without some repercussions, like the US tariff-sanction-mad president slapping more tariffs on the import of Mercs to the USA. The automobile industry is what keeps Germany ahead of the game.


Yet, this entire industry will have to soon retool to produce electric cars. Elon Musk is prepared to start a factory in Germany, using the precise skills of the German workers and "his" technology. What is preventing many traditional car manufacturers to do the switch are the PATENTS on many parts of the new technology. Every facet of implementing a change needs to be outside patents — or make royalty agreements on patents.


The problem of PATENTS is also what is interfering with the Covid19 solutions. In this regard one of the way to bypass patents is to say "we don't know what we're doing, but it works." This is what The Donald is experimenting with... and it may or may not work...


We should see less argy-bargy and more cooperation, though don't expect miracles. Poland (the polish catholico-fascist decadence revival...) is prepared to accept the US nukes, should they be expelled from Germany though this would be in breach of an international agreement — but when was the last time that the USA respected an international agreement?


Russian officials have already repeatedly warned in the past that its Eastern European neighbours' decision to host US-made strategic systems, including components of America's Aegis Ashore missile defence system, make them targets for Russia's strategic nuclear response in the event of a war.

The redeployment of US nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland would be a direct violation of the Russia-NATO founding act of 1997, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.


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dangers of the brotherhood...


Germany severs ties with Muslim Brotherhood

For the past year, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), tasked with combating extremist groups in Germany, has been running a campaign to raise awareness among parliamentarians about the dangers posed by the Society of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

In a report dated 2 February 2019, the BfV posits that despite its constitutional facade, the Brotherhood pursues secret goals contrary to democracy and the rule of law. It furthermore points up that, in the long run, the Brotherhood is more of a threat to Germany than Al-Qaeda and Daesh.

After a year of awareness raising, the BfV concluded that the Brotherhood no longer has the means to exert influence over Muslims in Germany.

The campaign conducted by the Federal Office, under the umbrella of the Interior Ministry, was at odds with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which had been interacting with the Brotherhood since the beginning of the Arab Spring, and had opened a special office for this purpose.

The Brotherhood had been sponsored since 1945 by the MI6 and since 1953 by the CIA. During the Cold War, the Anglo-Americans called on their French and German allies to give hospitality to those MB leaders that NATO had enlisted against the Soviet Union. It was in this context that the Egyptian Said Ramadan created the Islamic Center in Munich and ran a program funded by the US Congress on Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe for the USSR. [1] In the 1980s, Germany granted political asylum to the Syrian branch of the Brotherhood embroiled in a failed coup attempt against the government of the Syrian Arab Republic.

In 2011, while the Anglo-Americans were endeavouring to place the Brotherhood in power throughout the Middle East, Germany resorted to the MB elements at home. US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, who became number two at the UN, entrusted Volker Perthes, head of the German think tank SWP, with the mission of crafting a full and unconditional capitulation plan that he hoped to impose on Syria. [2] However, in 2017 US President Donald Trump cut off his administration’s support to Daesh and at the end of 2018, the new German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, decided to shift its policy toward the Brotherhood, giving rise to the BfV campaign.

Contrary to what its name might suggest, the Muslim Brotherhood is not a religious society, but a secret political organization. It is organized on the model of English Freemasonry and takes great care to conceal the identity of its members. However, almost all the jihadist leaders, from Osama bin Laden to Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, came from within its ranks.




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when mummy is about to leave the kids alone...

The US may voluntarily relinquish its status as a world power and Europeans must brace themselves for such a contingency, including by boosting their militaries, the German chancellor has warned.

European nations need “to carry more of the burden than during the cold war” in terms of defense spending, Merkel said, because they cannot assume that the US will be there to protect them.

“We grew up in the certain knowledge that the United States wanted to be a world power. Should the US now wish to withdraw from that role of its own free will, we would have to reflect on that very deeply,” she said, in an interview published in six European newspapers.

The German leader stopped short of advocating a joint EU military force, the idea favored by French President Emmanuel Macron. She said she saw the value of NATO capabilities, including the shared nuclear umbrella, in a world of the rising Asian powers China and India.


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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Germany is considering countermeasures against the United States should the latter deliver on its promise to slap new sanctions on the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 project to block the gas pipeline’s completion, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing unnamed German officials.

According to the news agency, Berlin is mulling over pushing for a coordinated EU action to challenge the US sanctions. The officials say that the German government believes that, despite the existing divide over the Russian pipeline, the EU27 should still collectively respond to the direct US interference in Europe’s energy interests.

One German official, at the same time, noted that any countermove should be carefully assessed, as US President Donald Trump amid the tightening election campaign can immediately implement his longtime threat to slap steep tariffs on the German car industry, Bloomberg reported.


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