Germany lifts ban on Nazi imagery in some video games

The German Entertainment Software Self Regulation Body voted to end a blanket ban on swastikas and other Nazi imagery in Wolfenstein, allowing case-by-case decisions similar to rules for movies and other cultural works. Read the rest

Couple jailed after abusing child and selling him to pedophiles

A German 48-year old citizen and her 39-year old partner have been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of repeatedly raping her son. If that’s not enough, the filth also sold the boy to pedophiles she found on the Dark Net, who further abused the child and filmed it, over a two-year period. It goes without saying that Germany, and most anyone else that’s heard about it, has been horrified by the case.

From The Guardian:

In Tuesday’s verdict, the couple was ordered to pay €42,500 (£38,000) in compensation to the boy and another victim, a young girl.

Local authorities have been accused of failing to protect the boy, who now lives with a foster family. The mother’s partner was supposed to be banned from having contact with children. Officials removed the boy from the family in March last year, but a local court sent him back weeks later.

According to The Telegraph, six others were jailed for their involvement in the sexual abuse of the boy. Because of the way that Germany handles criminal cases that involve rape, none of the parties responsible can be named by the media.

I can’t even begin to imagine the life-long harm that’s been done to those kids in the name of self-fulfillment and greed, nor can I understand the how a system designed to protect society’s most vulnerable failed them them so completely.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of Blogtrepreneur Read the rest

Germany's top domestic spy advised far right xenophobic political party on how to avoid being billed as "extremists"

The Alternative For Germany (AfD) is a xenophobic far-right party whose ranks include neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers; in a new tell-all book by "AfD dropout" Franziska Schreiber (once the head of the AfD's youth wing), we learn that party leader Frauke Petry worked closely with Hans-Georg Maaßen, the president of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (a domestic surveillance agency with 3,100 employees and an annual budget of €350m). Read the rest

Donald Trump keeps saying his father Fred Trump was born in Germany. He was not.

In an interview with CBS News' Jeff Glor on Sunday, President Donald Trump was asked which nations he considered to be foes of the United States. Read the rest

Experience real Austrian Krampuslaufs this winter in a tour hosted by Al Ridenour

Al Ridenour, co-founder of Krampus LA and host of the Bone & Sickle podcast, has just announced that he'll be hosting an eight-day tour of authentic European Krampuslaufs (the Krampus Runs). This winter, from November 30 to December 7, he'll be taking folks to Austria and southern Germany to catch runs in Salzburg and Graz.

All the details can be found at the Kristmas with Krampus tour's site.

photo by Rusty Blazenhoff Read the rest

This Wednesday, an EU committee voted to break the Internet: this Sunday, Berliners take to the streets to say NO!

On Wednesday, the Legislative Committee of the European Union narrowly voted to keep the two most controversial internet censorship and surveillance proposals in European history in the upcoming revision to the Copyright Directive -- as soon as July Fourth, the whole European Parliament could vote to make this the law of 28 EU member-states. Read the rest

Bavaria says its mandatory crosses aren't religious, so there should be no problem hanging them upside-down, right?

Bavaria's far-right, Islamophobic government enacted its Kreuzpflicht ("cross obligation") law, which mandates that every government building must display a Christian cross, and finessed this violation of Germany's legally enforced separation of church and state by claiming the crosses were "cultural," not "religious" and by saying that each building "should hang up the cross as they think best." Read the rest

There's a notorious Nazi concentration camp guard living in New York City and ICE won't deport him

Jakiw Palij is a convicted Nazi war-criminal who helped train the force charged with murdering every Jew in Poland, guarded the Trawniki forced labor camp -- where 6,000 prisoners were murdered in a single day -- and was present at the "liquidation" of the Warsaw Ghetto. He's lived in the USA since 1949, when he entered the country and lied about his Nazi past. Read the rest

Marx's birthplace celebrates his bicentennial with Communist traffic-lights

Karl Marx was born in the German city of Trier 200 years ago and lived there until he was 17; to celebrate his bicentennial, the city has installed a Marx-themed pedestrian signal light designed by Johannes Kolz, with another to come. Read the rest

Patti Smith stops to calm down crowd: "Just be cool, get cool" (1979)

When Patti Smith, the queen of cool, tells you to "just be cool," you'd better stop and check yourself. Watch her do just that in this Live at Rockpalast German TV footage from 1979. At around the 3:45 mark, she pauses her performance of "Dancing Barefoot" to break up a ruckus in the crowd.

"Now, c'mon. Just be cool, man. Hey everybody, just be cool. Get cool... Stop acting like assholes and settle the fuck down!"

(RED) Read the rest

25 years ago, a mutant American crayfish turned to asexual reproduction, and all of Europe's lakes are filling up with its clones

The marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) is a mutant slough crayfish (Procambarus fallax) an American species; the mutation that allowed slough crayfish to reproduce asexually by cloning itself occurred a mere 25 years ago, and it came to Germany as an aquarium pet in 1995, sold as "Texas crayfish." Read the rest

Berlin regulates Airbnb and safely deflates its housing bubble while returning 8,000 rentals to the market

Berlin is one of many European cities that have faced new housing crises -- or worsening existing ones -- attributed to Airbnb, where homes were converted to unlicensed, super-profitable hotel rooms, driving up housing prices, shrinking rental inventory, and making the city unaffordable for the people who lived and worked there. Read the rest

Twitter complies with Germany's new hate-speech laws by cutting off the account of a satirical magazine that mocks hate speech

When a German neo-Nazi politician tweeted that German police were trying to "to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men," her account was briefly suspended -- but when the satirical magazine Titanic put up its own tweet mocking the Nazi, their account was suspended, too. Read the rest

German VW exec is going to US prison for seven years for his role in Dieselgate

Oliver Schmidt, the general manager of Volkswagen's Michigan environmental and engineering office, is going to jail for his role in Dieselgate, the company's criminal conspiracy to trick regulators about the emissions from their diesel cars, allowing them to emit lethal levels of NOx on roads all over the world. Read the rest

Germany's proposed anti-cryptography bill: backdoors and hack-backs

This week, German authorities will introduce a law that will allow law enforcement agencies to order companies to insert back doors into their products to assist in law enforcement queries; the law is backed by Thomas de Maizière, Germany's Interior Minister. Read the rest

America's private health-care is rationed, but socialized medicine is luxury medicine

To hear America's fearmongering private health-care shills describe it, socialized medicine is a kind of Soviet death march, where rationed care and long waits are imposed on all and sundry; but if that state of affairs sounds familiar, it's because of how neatly it describes America's dysfunctional private care system, where you need to change doctors every time you change employers, where your care is denied and your prescriptions are deemed unnecessary by faceless insurance-company bureaucrats, and where three quarters of your family doctor's overheads are dedicated to filling in insurance forms in triplicate and chasing payment in a kind of LARP of Terry Gilliam's Brazil or a Stalinist hospital in deepest Siberia. Read the rest

Cheaters cheat: VW swears the €17B it stashed in a web of Luxembourg companies has nothing to do with tax-avoidance

As Volkswagen's murderous Dieselgate scandal has unfolded, the company has steadfastly maintained that even if it did kill thousands of people with its toxic cars, at least it pays its taxes. Read the rest

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