Spiegel claims ties between Germany's neofascist movement and secretive billionaire

High ranking German government officials were outed this year for secretly supplying advice and assistance to the xenophobic, violent, far-right extremist Alternative For Germany (AfD) party. Read the rest

Yanis Varoufakis on capitalism's incompatibility with democracy

It's a not-very-well-kept secret that elements of the libertarian right believe that democracy is incompatible with capitalism (tldr: if majorities get to vote, they'll vote to tax rich minorities and since rich people are in the minority they'll always lose that vote); and as this persuasive and fascinating lecture and Q&A with former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (previously) shows, the feeling is mutual. Read the rest

Reminder: I'm speaking in Berlin tonight at the DTK-Wasserturm

I'm in Berlin today, promoting the German edition of my novel Walkaway: the kindly folks at Otherland Books are hosting me tonight at a free event at DTK Wasserturm, where I'll be presenting with Marcus Richter. Hope to see you there! Tell your friends! Read the rest

I'm speaking in Berlin on November 5!

I'm going to be in Berlin next week to promote the German edition of my novel Walkaway: I'll be appearing at DTK-Wasserturm from 20h-22h, sponsored by Otherland Books. Entry is free -- I hope to see you there! Read the rest

Germany's far-right top spy just lost his job after gaslighting the country about right-wing, violent mob

Hans-Georg Maaßen was Germany's top spy, in charge of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (a domestic surveillance agency with 3,100 employees and an annual budget of €350m), and he was widely understood to have used his position to aid crypt-fascist, far-right groups like the notorious Alternative For Germany (AfD). Read the rest

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

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