The EU plan to mandate censoring filters for online speech to catch copyright infringement could be finalised as early as next week, and our best hope for halting it is to get the national governments of key EU member states to reject the proposal at that "trilogue" committee meeting. Read the rest
In many ways, Richard Grenell was the perfect pick for Trump's ambassador to Germany: a longtime Fox News pundit and John Bolton protege whose vanity and narcissism cause him to lash out constantly (and undiplomatically) at the nation he's meant to be charming, and whose thin-skinned insecurity sends him into spirals of misery and approval-seeking a the first hint of criticism. Read the rest
When top German officials had their emails and social media hacked and dumped, people wondered whether the attack was some kind of well-financed act of political extremism, given that the targets were so high-profile (even Chancellor Angela Merkel wasn't spared) and that politicians from the neofascist Alternative for Germany were passed over by the hacker. Read the rest
Hackers have published a big dump of private data related to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and hundreds of other of the country's politicians, in what is said to be the biggest data dump of its kind ever in Germany. Read the rest
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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