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Germany’s ‘zombie’ Grand Coalition staggers on

Merkel remains Chancellor, heading a government of ghosts

Alexander Mercouris

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As expected, the SPD leadership in Germany has now completed its U-turn by reversing the decision it announced after Germany’s September elections – that it would go into opposition and would not agree to another coalition with Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU – by agreeing to a new ‘Grand Coalition’ with Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU.

The explanation for this total reversal is set out in an article in the Guardian which supports the deal

……in last September’s general election, [the SPD] went down to historical defeat. As of writing, they are polling a risible 18% or so, not much more than the far-right newcomer Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Now you can argue that this is precisely because the SPD has been in government for so long – since 1998, with a break of only four years between 2009 and 2013 – and that a spell in opposition would do it good. And this is what the SPD’s youth organisation wants. They gaze with envy at Jeremy Corbyn’s populist appeal and dream of a rejuvenated party with a hard-left approach winning big in 2021 or 2025 and giving them lots of career opportunities, maybe in a coalition with the Greens and the radical Left party.

If I were a budding career politician in the SPD, I might think the same way. But for the present middle-aged leadership, four to eight years in opposition watching the rise of a new generation is hardly an attractive option. 

(bold italics added)

In other words, the primary support for the new ‘Grand Coalition’ deal from within the SPD comes from its veteran establishment, which wishes to perpetuate its leadership and its place in government even if this puts the SPD’s future in jeopardy.

There could not be a more straightforward admission that this is indeed an establishment stitch-up by Germany’s centrist political establishment against the SPD rank and file and Germany’s voters.

The Guardian article does say that one other reason why the SPD leadership prefers a coalition is because since the September election the party’s poll rating has fallen further, to a disastrous low of just 18% (I believe the actual rating is 17%), putting the SPD at risk of being overtaken by the AfD.

However the reason for that is surely that the SPD is not doing what it said it would do, and which is what its membership and electoral base want, which is oppose Merkel and the CDU/CSU, but is instead doing the opposite by going into coalition with her.  Given that that is so, it is hardly surprising that its voters are deserting it in droves.

In return for agreeing to go into coalition with Merkel the SPD has secured the Finance Ministry and its erstwhile leader Martin Schulz will now become Germany’s Foreign Minister.

Whether control of the Finance Ministry really is the great prize it is being presented as being is another matter.

Given that in my opinion the mini-boom the German and EU economies have been experiencing – which in my opinion is largely the result of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme – has now peaked, possession of the Finance Ministry could easily turn out to be for the SPD a bed of nails, with the SPD being blamed for any economic downturn, and exposed to criticism if demands for further bailouts from Greece, Spain and Italy follow.

As for Schulz himself, possession of the Foreign Ministry now gives him the opportunity to advance together with Macron their joint hyper-ambitious agenda for further European integration.

That – far more than the future of the SPD – seems to be Schulz’s overriding priority.

Whether at a time when opposition to further integration within the EU is increasing throughout Europe – including within Germany itself – Schulz and Macron really can ride roughshod over all opposition as they jointly pursue this goal remains to be seen.  With the AfD and the Free Democrats breathing down the CDU/CSU’s neck, I would expect much of its membership to be opposed.

Nonetheless Macron has emerged as the one clear winner from the political machinations which have been underway in Berlin since September, which was not how it appeared would be the case when the results of the elections were first announced.

Schulz’s emergence as Germany’s likely future Foreign Minister also reduces the prospect of Germany agreeing to lift sanctions on Russia – increasingly unpopular within Germany and Europe though they are – and probably also means that Germany will take a harder line against Britain in the Brexit negotiations.

However it is important to say that neither the sanctions nor Brexit are where Schulz’s priorities lie.  EU integration is the subject which truly interests him, to which all other considerations – including it seems the SPD – must be sacrificed.

It is difficult to see how anyone comes out well from this affair, except possibly the AfD, which is now confirmed as Germany’s main opposition party and which will therefore gain further publicity as well as control of several of the German parliament’s committees; and Die Linke, which now looks well positioned to attack the SPD from the left.

Possibly if Merkel’s CDU/CSU poll rating continues to drift downwards – as I expect – then the Free Democrats will in a strong position to capitalise on that, especially amongst centre right voters in the former West Germany.  However I am not sufficiently well informed about political opinion in Germany to say that with any confidence.

What I can say with confidence is that the ‘Grand Coalition’ deal has been agreed without enthusiasm in order to perpetuate an exhausted government bereft of ideas which is obviously past its sell-by date.

The result is that the same gaggle of politicians who in September visibly lost support – Merkel, Seehofer, Schulz, Gabriel and the rest – are still there.

Even Alan Posener, the author of the Guardian article, admits that Merkel looks tired and stale, and is unlikely to remain Chancellor for very long

…..the loser in the poker game of the past weeks and months is Merkel. The only party that honestly wanted to govern with her were the Greens. The liberal Free Democrats (FDP) walked out of negotiations, and the SPD had to be enticed back with a deal that leaves Merkel’s own party without a single key ministry. Horst Seehofer, who is being forced out of his office as prime minister of Bavaria by his own party, the CSU, is being rewarded for his constant sniping at Merkel’s refugee policy with the thankless job of interior minister, where he can take responsibility for future terror attacks.

Everyone expects the chancellor to leave in the middle of her term and hand over to a successor. As the leader of a so-called Jamaica coalition between the Christian Democrats, the FDP and the Greens, she might have gained a new lease of life. As the leader of her third Groko, she looks tired. The concessions she has made to the SPD give superficial credence to the claims of the AfD that it is the only truly conservative force in the country and that it has stepped into the shoes abandoned by the CDU under Merkel.

If Merkel had accepted that the outcome of the September elections meant that she could no longer continue as Chancellor, and had resigned, then the outcome would have been better for her, and for her party and for Germany as well.

She would have left office with her record and reputation intact, whilst the CDU/CSU would have a chance to pull together around a successor.

As for Germany, following another election it would have had a good chance of gaining a strong and renewed government.

Instead Merkel’s decision to cling on, and the decision of the CDU/CSU and SPD leaderships to help her do so, has left Germany politically speaking adrift, with a Chancellor lacking credibility and authority, ensuring that Merkel’s last years as Chancellor will be unsuccessful and unhappy.

How that helps either Germany or the CDU/CSU I cannot see, but the key point is that at a time of growing international tension and instability, and of growing discontent within both Germany and Europe, it has left Germany with an exhausted and unwanted government which – save for Schulz’s integrationist dreams – has no idea what to do.

The result is that as in late Habsburg Austria and Theresa May’s Britain, in Germany administration is about to replace government.

As for the AfD, whether it really is the ultra right wing crypto-fascist anti democratic party which some say, or is simply a conservative party with a more right wing and radical edge, I do not know, though I suspect that it contains elements of both those things.

However if the priority of Germany’s centrist establishment is to prevent its rise, then the proper way to do it is to take it on in an election.

Instead, by pulling out all the stops to avoid an election which polls show most Germans want, Germany’s centrist establishment is giving every impression of running scared of it.

That – taken together with the decision to cede to AfD the opposition role in the Bundestag and the chair of important committees – ensures that the AfD will continue to gain credibility, popularity and support, rather than lose it.

The ‘Grand Coalition’ deal Schulz has just forged with Merkel still has to be approved in a ballot by the SPD’s membership.  There remains an outside chance they may reject it.

For Germany’s and the SPD’s sake it is to be earnestly hoped that they do.

POSTSCRIPT: No sooner had I finished writing the above then news came through that Martin Schulz, the SPD’s erstwhile leader, has been forced by what the Financial Times calls a “furious backlash” in his party to abandon his plan to become Germany’s Foreign Minister.

Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz said he will not serve as foreign minister in Germany’s new coalition government, after coming under intense pressure from his own party to give up the role.

Mr Schulz faced a wave of anger from across the SPD after taking the job, despite vowing never to serve in a cabinet led by Angela Merkel. Senior Social Democrats said the volte-face left the party with a huge credibility problem just as it launches a nationwide poll of its 460,000 members over the coalition agreement clinched this week with Ms Merkel’s conservatives.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Schulz said the discussion of his role was “endangering a successful vote”, and said he hoped that by giving up the foreign ministry, he could bring an end to the personnel discussions inside the SPD”. “We all do politics for the people in this country,” he said, “so it’s appropriate that my person ambitions should take a back seat to the interests of the party”.

His move comes after he was subject to a blistering attack from Germany’s serving foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, who accused him of a breach of faith by taking his job.

Mr Gabriel told the Funke media group that he had been a successful and popular foreign minister, but “the new SPD leadership clearly didn’t care a hoot about this public appreciation of my work”.

Berlin has been in uproar since Angela Merkel’s conservatives and Mr Schulz’s SPD unveiled their new coalition agreement on Wednesday, amid widespread fury over the way ministerial posts were divided up between the two parties.

The 177-page agreement is designed to end the political deadlock left by the inconclusive elections in September, in which both parties lost votes to the far-right Alternative for Germany. But the deal has been overshadowed by the row over who got which ministry.

Conservatives are incandescent that the SPD, despite winning only 20.5 per cent in the election — its worst result in postwar German history — was awarded the critical finance ministry, which for the past eight years has been a fiefdom of Ms Merkel’s CDU.

In the SPD, the anger over Mr Schulz’s appointment at foreign minister was, if anything, even greater……

This row and Schulz’s decision to give up the Foreign Ministry underlines the fact that trying to perpetuate the ‘Grand Coalition’ government which lost so much support in September is an extremely bad idea.

The fact that Schulz has been forced to go, and the angry reaction to the ‘Grand Coalition’ deal on the part of many within both the SPD and the CDU/CSU, may be a sign that the deal is starting to unravel.

If the deal does go ahead and a ‘Grand Coalition’ government is patched together nonetheless, then all I will say is that Schulz’s departure robs the government of the one individual who did at least have some genuine goals and ideas – utterly misguided and unrealistic though I think they are.

That will leave the government even more a ‘government of ghosts’ than it was before.

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Defeat in Bavaria delivers knockout punch to Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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The stunning CSU defeat in Bavaria means that the coalition partner in Angela Merkel’s government has lost an absolute majority in their worst election results in Bavaria since 1950.

In a preview analysis before the election, Deutsche Welle noted that a CSU collapse could lead to Seehofer’s resignation from Merkel’s government, and conceivably Söder’s exit from the Bavarian state premiership, which would remove two of the chancellor’s most outspoken critics from power, and give her room to govern in the calmer, crisis-free manner she is accustomed to.

On the other hand, a heavy loss and big resignations in the CSU might well push a desperate party in a more volatile, abrasive direction at the national level. That would further antagonize the SPD, the center-left junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, themselves desperate for a new direction and already impatient with Seehofer’s destabilizing antics, and precipitate a break-up of the age-old CDU/CSU alliance, and therefore a break-up of Merkel’s grand coalition. In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel’s fall.

The Financial Times reports that the campaign was dominated by the divisive issue of immigration, in a sign of how the shockwaves from Merkel’s disastrous decision to let in more than a million refugees in 2015-16 are continuing to reverberate through German politics and to reshape the party landscape.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning Bavarian election defeat of the CSU party, and the message voters sent to Angela Merkel, the last of the Obama ‘rat pack’ neo-liberal, globalist leaders whose tenure as German Chancellor appears to be coming to an end.

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Via Zerohedge

Voters in Germany’s economically dominant southern state of Bavaria delivered a stunning rebuke to the ruling Christian Social Union, in an election that delivered another crushing blow for the parties in Angela Merkel’s grand coalition in Berlin.

With all eyes on Sunday’s Bavaria election, moments ago the first exit polls showed a historic collapse for the ruling CSU party, which has ruled Bavaria continuously since 1957, and which saw its share of the vote collapse from 47.7% in the 2013 election to just 35.5%, losing its absolute majority and suffering its worst result since 1950, as voters defected in their droves to the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany.

German newspaper Welt called the election “the most painful election defeat of the past 50 years for the CSU”. As predicted in the polls, the CSU experienced a “historic debacle” in the Bavarian state elections, according to Welt. The CSU was followed by the Greens which soared in the election, more than doubling to 18.5% from 8.6% in 2013, the Free Voters also rose to 11% from 9.0%, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the nationalist AfD are expecting to enter Bavaria’s parliament for the first time ever with 11% of the vote, and as such are setting up for their post-election party. Party leader Alice Weidel already is having the first beer in the small community of Mamming in Lower Bavaria.

Establishment party, left-of-center SPD also saw its support collapse from 20.6% in 2013 to just 10% today.

The full initial results from an ARD exit poll are as follows (via Zerohedge):

  • CSU: 35.5 %
  • Grüne: 18.5 %
  • FW: 11.5 %
  • AfD: 11.0 %
  • SPD: 10.0 %
  • FDP: 5.0 %
  • Linke: 3.5 %
  • Sonstige: 5.0 %

The breakdown by gender did not show any marked variations when it comes to CSU support, although more women voted for the Greens, while far more men supported the AfD:

There was a greater variation by educational level, with highly educated voters tending more towards the green GRÜNE (G/EFA) and liberal FDP (ALDE) then the average, while low/middle educated voters tended more towards CSU (EPP) and AfD (EFDD).

This was the worst result for the CSU since 1950.

Zerohedge further reports that alarmed by the rise of the anti-immigration, populist AfD, the CSU tried to outflank them by talking tough on immigration and picking fights with Ms Merkel over asylum policy.

But the strategy appeared to have backfired spectacularly by alienating tens of thousands of moderate CSU voters and driving them into the arms of the Greens.

Meanwhile, as support the CSU and SPD collapsed, the result confirmed the Greens’ status as the rising force in German politics. Running on a platform of open borders, liberal social values and the fight against climate change the party saw its support surge to 18.5%, from 8.4% in 2013. Meanwhile the AfD won 11%, and for the first time entered the Bavarian regional assembly.

“This is an earthquake for Bavaria,” said Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

The CSU had governed the state with an absolute majority for most of the last 60 years. “It was Bavaria and Bavaria was the CSU. That is now no longer the case.”

The latest collapse of Germany’s establishment parties highlights the shaky ground the grand coalition in Berlin is now resting on as all three parties in the alliance, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the CSU and the SPD, are haemorrhaging support. Some are now questioning whether the coalition, already frayed by personal rivalries and near constant bickering over policy, can survive a full term in office.

“This outcome throws ever more doubt on the future of the grand coalition,” said Heinrich Oberreuter, head of the Passau Journalism Institute and an expert on the CSU. “Based on current polls, if an election were held now, the CDU, CSU and SPD would not even command a majority in the Bundestag.”

The CSU will now be be forced to form a coalition government — a humiliating outcome for a party that has run Bavaria single-handedly for 49 of the last 54 years. Its preference is probably for a three-party coalition with the Free Voters, a small party that is mainly focused on local politics. It could also team up with the Greens, though it would be highly reluctant to do so: the two parties are deeply divided over immigration, transport and environmental policy.

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Elizabeth Warren’s DNA ploy backfires big time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 1.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ‘genius’ idea to accept POTUS Trump’s ‘Native American DNA’ challenge. Let’s just say that Warren will never recover from this self-inflicted wound.

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The Cherokee Nation issued a statement crushing Elizabeth Warren for her “continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, who ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is prove. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.

– Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr

Zerohedge reports that Elizabeth Warren just owned herself after releasing a DNA test confirming that she’s as little as 1/1024th Native American – about half the percentage of the average white person.

What’s more, the DNA expert she used, Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamente, “used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American” as opposed to, say, DNA from a Cherokee Indian which Warren has claimed to be throughout her career.

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Elizabeth Warren’s got trolled by Trump in the most epic fashion, pushing the Senator to make a blunder that will follow her for the rest of her career.

The Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson exposed Elizabeth Warren’s history of lies in 10 simple tweets…

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Hillary Clinton: Democrats have been TOO CIVIL with GOP (VIDEO)

Civil war becomes more likely as Clinton calls for greater civil unrest after weeks of absolutely insane behavior from leftist activists.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton just called for an end to civil behavior towards Republicans and conservatives. In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN expanded on in a piece by USA Today, the failed candidate had this to say:

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about… That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and / or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

Clinton said that Senate Republicans under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “demeaned the confirmation process” and “insulted and attacked” Christine Blasey Ford – who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a sexual assault she alleges Kavanaugh committed in 1982 – along with other “women who were speaking out.”

It should be pointed out here that Clinton told a lie. The Senate Republicans did everything possible to hear out Dr Ford’s testimony, and no one has gone on record with any sort of insults or demeaning comments about her. Every Republican Senator who stated anything agreed that something happened to her, but they also agreed that there was no corroboration showing that Judge Kavanaugh was actually involved in any misdoings. USA Today’s piece continues:

Clinton compared the handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to “Republican operatives shutting down the voting in 2000,” the “swift-boating of John Kerry,” attacks on former Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primary and “what they did to me for 25 years.

“When you’re dealing with an ideological party that is driven by the lust for power, that is funded by corporate interests who want a government that does its bidding, you can be civil but you can’t overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections,” she told Amanpour.

Clinton compared Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Monday to a “political rally” that “further undermined the image and integrity of the court.”

She told Amanpour the effect on the court “troubles” and “saddens” her “because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government.”

“But the President’s been true to form,” Clinton added. “He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign – really for many years leading up to the campaign. And he’s continued to do that inside the White House.”

Here, Clinton told at least two more incendiary whoppers.

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First, no one has been specifically after her, and second, President Donald Trump’s record with women including in the White House has been nothing short of stellar and gentlemanly. Nikki Haley, who supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 campaign and has at times been openly critical of Donald Trump, yesterday announced her full support of his 2020 campaign and her intent to campaign with and for him.

By all accounts, Mrs. Haley is a woman.

The first American Civil War had economic policy and states’ rights as its central focus. Slavery was a part of that issue, though slavery was practiced in the North as well in the South before this war began.

Now a new civil war is coming, but perhaps it should be called the American Social War. It is not about any real policy matter at all. It is hysteria, but it appears to be hysteria with a purpose.

The first American Social War has two apparent sides and allying forces and groups:

The Left:

  • pro-gay marriage
  • pro-death (in other words, pro-abortion)
  • anti-Christian, especially Christianity that says these first two issues are wrong
  • anti-GOP / Republican / Conservative
  • “victim class” – feminists, some millenials
  • supporters of legalized use of mind-altering / mood-altering drugs
  • appears to support overreaching socialist style government, featuring “fair” wages, such as a $15.oo minimum wage
  • anti-traditionalist
  • Mainstream media is strongly allied here
  • George Soros is a supporter
  • social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter are supporters through “scrubbing” of media content
  • anti-white, anti-male, and if you are white, male and Christian, look out. You are Enemy Number One
  • supports and executes violence against all these people they are against, including family members.
  • very zealous, and very monolithic in terms of alignment and energy

The Right:

  • Conservatives
  • people who generally want the government to leave them alone
  • generally favors life, considering abortion tragic and to be avoided, though some consider that it should be made illegal
  • marriage has always been between one man and one woman and it should not be redefined to fit the whims of a few
  • God is sovereign (though many conservatives would never make this connection)
  • No real animus against the left, but at the same time, fed up with being hectored by the left all the time, as we saw in Senator Lindsey Graham’s explosive confrontation against Senate Democrats
  • Generally Republican by party affiliation, though many libertarian and conservatives are also present as well as a number of conservative democrats.
  • seeks to avoid violence. While there do exist a very few neo-Nazi types, their numbers are infinitesimal, and their behavior is rejected by the Right
  •  generally against drug use, though many have unfortunately moderated on the matter of actual illegality

The main characteristic of this approaching war, as stated before, is little more than some sort of outrage over identity politics and perceived victimization. This is something both new and old, as there is always a party in any war that claims that they are fighting because they are in fact the aggrieved party, under the other side’s aggression and suppression.

That factor exists with this war too. However, the reality of that aggression or suppression is that it does not exist, and this makes it very difficult for the “perceived aggressors” to ramp up the zeal needed to carry out the fight.

This factor is often very maddening for conservative people. As a whole they do not wish to fight. They wish to be left alone. The left on the other hand insists that everything must be fought for because the right has somehow managed to take it away from them, or is keeping it away from them.

This is purely fiction but it is almost impossible to convince a leftist that this is so. Tucker Carlson expands on this matter in this report. He makes reference at 6:37 about how Hillary Rodham Clinton is now openly calling for civility to the GOP to end (as if it hasn’t already!), but the entirety of this report begs to be seen to give perspective to the look and feel of this crisis:

This is unfamiliar territory in many ways, and it is unclear how far this will go. But one this is clear: it is testing all available limits, and it may come to real fighting, and real killing, for no reason better than perceived victimization.

It should be understood that the advocates for violence are all people that reject God and traditional values openly. There is certainly a connection.

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