Merkel’s Party The Union Is Trash

As you glean from the title ‘The Union’ is Merkel’s party. What is more to say about it? It is formally registered as two parties, a Bavarian leg called CSU and one with the name CDU that runs for all offices outside Bavaria. Booooorring! I hear you. Don’t they have a platform that I could talk about? No. So are they boring? Yes.

But not so fast. Friedrich Merz, the leader of the bigger part CDU, found Nazis. In his ancestry, you ask? Probably. But he’s more concerned with Hans-Georg Maaßen, the former head of the secret service Verfassungsschutz and the newly elected head of the conservative caucus ‘Value Union’ (Werteunion).

Merz is flabbergasted by ‘the language’ and ‘the rhetoric’ of Maaßen. The quote held against the latter is: “According to the red-green [left-wing/environmentalist] race theory whites are an inferior race.” Now, that is undeniably true. There are countless articles and books that suggest whites were inherently racist, irredeemable, oppressive and beyond reform. There is even an English word for the race theory ‘whiteness’ and because the racists don’t show any signs of shame they pretend it were an academic discipline and as such referred to as critical race theory.

So now we have this dilemma that the racists are proud because some of them are whites too and have found a silly pathway to cheap applause and that at the same time mentioning that racism is denounced as a sign of racism itself, but bad racism this time. I’m so jaded at the racism debate that I don’t care anymore about who’s more racist. This whole fire must be tamed. So ‘They are the real racists’ doesn’t fly with me, either. But also do we have to start the next round of tabooing everything by making suggestions that the other side were racist is now a punishable offense? I’m so tired.
So Merz tries to kick Maaßen out of his party.

But why are people still voting for The Union anyways. Merz has recognised that people like me would rather vote for the ‘party of park bench pissers’ than for him. He’d have to reform so much that he doesn’t bother. But who is still voting for them? Are they masochists?

Germans have some issues, masochism being potentially one of them. But there are two relevant points of indoctrination that are more worthwhile to focus on.

1) Germans fear to ‘lose their vote’.
A vote is supposed to be cast. It is not supposed to be reused again or to be found somewhere after an election. You have a day on which you show your support to a party. Either that support manifests itself in a seat or it does in the encouragement of the candidate to try again something similar. The German election system doesn’t allow parties with less than 5% of the votes to enter parliament. So unless many people come together in huge numbers as outsiders under difficult conditions (civil rights aren’t much protected), a vote to a party that doesn’t sit in the parliament is unlikely to result in a representative. So people keep voting parties that they hate. I don’t think that the CDU is a loved party.

2) Germans try to vote strategically.
Another quirk is that Germans try to slow-down progressives by voting slower progressives. To not vote for the slow progressives risks fast progression. The is the only place where ‘German angst’ makes any sense. People here vote exclusively against others because they fear the others. All the attention at the division in America makes many forget that Germany is a much, much more divided country. We are the country where people vote the CDU to not be ruled by the Greens. A country where the CDU tries to kick out somebody who shares a piece of common wisdom in an interview. A country where people are constantly shamed for being seen with people from another group. A country where people vote CDU because they are even afraid to identify as dissidents. Merz and a variety of media outlets speak of ‘provocations’. And Germans don’t understand how such vague notions justifying exclusion and discrimination sound authoritarian to any outsider’s ears.

‘The Union’ has no merit. Sensible members who linger around do so because they see it as another institution to be reconquered. I wish them good luck. The voters can only support individual candidates in few cases where the elections/constituency allows some targeting. For the rest of us The Union is nothing but utter trash.

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Climate Terrorists

The village of Lützerath is deserted. It’s inhabitants have been resettled and financially compensated for their property. A nearby coal mine is set to be expanded. Did I say ‘deserted’? No, not deserted. A battalion of climate activists occupy the village to protest the project. And with ‘protest’ I mean sabotage. And with ‘battalion’ I mean battalion.

The police was welcomed with a barrage of molotov cocktail, fire crackers, empty bottles and stones. And whilst the clashes were going on, the police headquarters announced that the removal of the occupiers is going well and that resistance to the police to the point where the officers have to carry the seated rebels physically out of the zone were a reasonable form of protest. The speaker added that he had no information yet about injured officers.

Great! If it should be true that no officer was injured, it is not because things ‘went very well,’ but because of pure luck. Things don’t go well when security forces are attacked. Things don’t go well, either, when the tax payer has to pay the expenses because ever more freaks get away with ever more crime and are emboldened by media and politicians every step on the way. Said cost is habitually added to the ledger of coal mining and serves as an additional argument for the freaks that coal were supposedly more expensive than the much subsidised and privileged “renewable” energies.

It is cynical how the speaker of the police depreciates the value of his colleague’s safety in that manner. We have come used to the idea that police officers should suck up everything that comes their way. Each new year violence against them is ramping up. The men and women who signed up to guarantee law and order do not receive a staggering risk premium. They expect to enjoy a normal job and a normal life like everybody else. They are not supposed to be maimed or killed and their children are not supposed to be traumatised by whatever happens to them. They are first and foremost fellow citizens. Their bodily integrity is not just cheap.

On New Year’s Eve riots shook Berlin. This time it wasn’t climate freaks, but stray goons mostly from migrant milieus. They, too, attacked security forces, but also ambulances and the fire brigade. The lacklustre response from the elites also reflected how little they value the attacked. In this case, unsurprisingly, any effort to learn anything about it and to work towards a solution was foiled by the overriding interest to not name the perpetrators. Media and politicians did their best to force the incidence into an irrelevant pattern so they don’t have to deal with the matching one. So instead of figuring out how the specific subgroup of Muslim men must be handled, we hear that ‘young men’ went rogue, that social workers are overworked and underpaid, and that fire crackers should be banned. The lives of firefighters, police officers and first-aid medics are apparently just too cheap to care.

In Lützerath the climate “protestors” have revealed themselves to be utter terrorists. They prepared their forceful removal with pales to cling on to. They deliberately planned not to cooperate with law enforcement. Lucky for them, popular news show Tagesschau had announced a “non-word” only a few days ago. It was, drum roll, ‘climate terrorist.’ What a “non-word” is, you ask? Well, that is a baddy-bad word, you should no longer use in polite company. That sounds straight-up Orwellian, you say? Yes. But don’t Germans have some antenna for such creepy, obvious totalitarian practices? No. The answer is: no, really not. Indeed, at that point the tradition of news anchors announcing “non-words” goes back many decades without people talking back. This short year Tagesschau has even announced a second “non-terminology”. If you just thought, that the pronunciation of ‘climate terrorist’ as a no-no sounds very 1984, you have not heard that one. It’s ‘freedom’. I kid you not. Just follow this link to google translate. The AI cannot handle the word ‘non-terminology’ (or more verbatim: vapid expression of the year, German: Floskel des Jahres) and renders it as ‘phrase’, but you get the dismissive vibe anyways. And Tagesschau still remains to be seen as a respectable news show.

And the reason is, of course, that democracy had always been largely performative in this country. Voting is casting a paper into a box. Free speech is repeating what the news anchors suggest. Freedom is an eye-roller that one has to endure to have democracy. And democracy is whatever the elites do. Germany is progressive. A progressive is somebody who never wondered what something is for, but knows already that it can be removed.

Recently, Interior Minister Nancy Faser argued that the burden of proof should be with the defendant. That would make the conviction easier. Yes, sure. Thankfully she talked to some people later who had advised her not to upend the entire legal foundation of the Western world. The bummer is that she is a trained lawyer. I’d be shocked to hear such words out of anybody’s mouth, but I find it even more irritating that somebody can graduate in law and speak of the ease of convictions like that. But then again I’m not a progressive. I’m a person who occasionally wonders what something is for.

The German face of Fridays for Future Luisa Neubauer recently said that we don’t have the ‘choice between time and democracy.’ Her poor verbal skills save her from easy quoting, but she responded with that phrase to the argument that it takes some time to organise a majority in a democracy. And this is where I have to concede some sympathy with the overall radicalisation. Her generation is not used to debate, organisation of new political majorities for any purposes, or really any democratic procedures. The current Chancellor was Angela Merkel’s Finance Minister and Merkel headed the government for 16 years straight. Civil rights are not respected and freedom is an eye-roller among the snobs. So what pathway do climate activists have outside of violence? Leave alone that I don’t agree with their cause and that I think that they have to consider their fallibility real fast. What procedure is available to advance their extreme proposals? On what stage would they have to concede their mistakes? I’m not saying that I condone violence. What I’m saying is that if all pathways are cut, people do resort to violence. And the pathways are cut. The cost of participation is deliberately driven to prohibitive levels. You either have democracy or violence and I predict that we will see more and more violence.

The Criticism-Laced Obituary Reel for Benedict XVI

The obituary reel of the past days was laced with criticism of the late Roman Catholic pope Benedict XVI, née Joseph Ratzinger. Other public figures also meet media criticism on the day of their death, but – let’s be real – the news casters have announced the death of dictators with less emphasise on the darker sides of the deceased.

This is a little bit hidden under the shroud of balance. Some lame praises about his intellect or charisma are the run up to the big “but” that introduces what the news room actually wants to talk about. And this is tactically necessary because the pope didn’t annoy the masses on a day-to-day basis. Politicians and journalists do. So they have to buckle down to his popularity like a creepy, resentful butler stooge in a horror movie.

I don’t want to repeat bromides like that the media only scorns what they see as an obstruction of left-wing interests. The left is not an organisation with a military command line for their thoughts and narratives. They are a swarm with a certain group think. And to understand where their resentment comes from – outside of their strategic interest of replacing Catholicism with their own fanaticism – one’s got to understand who they are criticizing and what fuels their emotions.

On the face value they say that they obsess over the pedophilia scandal and its supposed cover-up. After Jeffrey Epstein, the UK grooming gangs scandal, the lack of interest in child marriages and the “family-friendly drag shows”, it is safe to assume that this is not what enrages them. This is what angers normal people. And none of the scorn obituaries give any details as to what Joseph Ratzinger supposedly did to cover up any crime. What exactly did he do that stopped the police from doing their work? Is it the job of employers to punish employees in addition to the sentences of the legal system? If a convict continues to be a threat to children, isn’t it the job of the courts to issue a professional ban for vulnerable occupations? Do those journalists want the church to take a government function? It is fair to assume that they are not clamouring for an end of secularism in favour of a church intervention scheme. They just try to throw mud.

A second criticism they offer is that Joseph Ratzinger stood for a church that does not change, that were too conservative. Again this is something that sounds like we all would agree on, but don’t. Their criticism of the Catholic church has three pillars. The first is that they want all Christian churches to waffle even more about climate change, open borders and other talking points to advance the political left. The second is that women cannot become priests and the third circles around homosexuals and their suggested priesthood. A minor variation of the third which has got its little extension for straight people is the wailing about sins. This one should make up the better part of psychological research  at this point since it makes absolutely no sense to freak out over the mentioning of sinfulness if one ostensibly isn’t very religious anyways. Either you are comfortable with your lack of religion and you don’t care or you scream like a madmen whenever somebody mentions a potential sin because you are tense. Another combination that holds is that you are relaxed with your pick-and-choose religion and you are thus relaxed about your level of sinfulness as well (and no matter what people say, they all pick and choose). What does not hold water is the standard left-wing identity of not caring about religion while making a huge fuss over each proposal of what should be considered as sinful.

None of these typical points of criticism ring with normal people. Former news anchor Peter Hahne who also served in the leading council of the German Lutheran Church summed it up as ‘The mess is too much news show.’ He was referring to the Lutheran counterpart, of course, but most normal people, independent of their faith, don’t want to hear zeitgeist hogwash when they go to their temple. Normal people don’t think that being a priest is a terribly attractive job that women must have access to in order to be complete. Normal people don’t care about gay marriage at all. What most people find inhumane about the Catholic church is the celibacy. But that point, the only relevant point, is completely absent from the typical diatribe.

And this brings me to the person who made me aware of the man Joseph Ratzinger at first, his former student colleague Uta Ranke-Heinemann URH. She was the daughter of former German president Gustav Heinemann who was also at other times a member of the leading council of the Lutheran Church. After her marriage to a Catholic and a near complete university degree in Lutheran theology she converted. Lucky for her she aced academically and chased through the exams of Catholic theology in no time. Eventually she found herself in the same doctorate seminar with Josef Ratzinger. They would regularly meet and translate ancient Greek texts into German together.

After she became the first female professor of Catholic theology she realised the cruelty of the celibacy and began a vendetta against the sex obsession of the ‘bachelors’ as she liked to mock them. Lucky for her she was good ammunition for the left who saw the church only as some nasty competition. The story a superficial observer would be told by the media is that Josef Ratzinger represented the backwards and Uta Ranke-Heinemann the modern side of the church.

In her last years Uta Ranke-Heinemann fell out of favour, too. It was a silent, creeping disaffection. Her last media appearances could be found on fringe communist newspapers. She did not want to introduce more left-wing agenda points into the church or obsess over sin, gay marriage, women priests and CO2. She had her own mind and that mind was concerned about lonely or morally compromised priests whose basic human instincts had been denied by the grotesque celibacy regime of their employer. The political left lost its patience with her like they lost their interest in all working rights concerns.

In 2006 Ratzinger shocked with a speech in which he dared to tacitly describe Islam as violent. Back in those days I was also foolish enough to point to the history of Catholicism to wash away concerns over Islam. Since then Jihad has gained considerable momentum and today it strikes normal people as absurd that there was an outrage circus around this observation. At this point we all go by the Russian saying, ‘We know that they are lying. They know that we know that they are lying. We know that they know that we know that they are lying, but it continues anyway.’

For Josef Ratzinger there was also too much ‘news show in the mess’, too much focus on the institution, and too little contemplation of the faith. He also called for change, but he distinguished between the changes of the painting of the house and a change of substance. In his words the church had become ‘too worldly.’ It is the spirit of the zeitgeist, the news room, that spoils the church. He asked for the church not only be seen as an institution, but as the individuals, the community of the believers, who should change and turn to their creator.

So in the end both Uta Ranke-Heinemann and Josef Ratzingers were rebels. And they both shared the same opponent. Ranke-Heinemann being (informally, but effectively) excommunicated comparably early in her life, wielded the sharper tongue. And she made it perfectly clear that her issue was mostly with the dull and intellectually blunt mediocrity in prestigious robes. People who confused their social status with their smarts argued that Mary remained a virgin when she gave birth to the descendant of King David through her husband Josef ‘because we say so.’

But did the student friends Uta Ranke-Heinemann and Josef Ratzinger win? Yes and no. The perpetual ‘there was also criticism’ remark following concessions to the late pope’s strengths reveal that the dull, spineless creeps know that it is at least not them who have won over everyone just yet. Those who had an affinity to Josef Ratzinger and what he actually represented are still around. By the end of her life Uta Ranke-Heinemann believed that she had failed and not changed anything at all. And, yes, celibacy is still in place, but her rampage started a reflection on the church and an exodus of government membership registrations (in Germany church membership gets registered with local government authorities). And most people do not leave their formal, institutional status to leave the church. In the sense of Josef Ratzing they are the church and always will be. They leave the worldly, the zeitgeistly and the corrupt. The winner takes it all. Rest in peace!

Brainstorming European Crises

Despite the necessity to face an impending food crisis the European Union and the Dutch government have shoved down an anti-agriculture directive which keeps stirring up mass protests and violent altercations in the Netherlands. The German parliament Bundestag has turned down the option to continue nuclear energy. The ECB keeps flooding the place with money, but given the inflation that is going to change. A disorganised brainstorm.

Dark Grey Pill

I haven’t uploaded anything in a while. So I do a little explaining here. A lot of terrible things are happening. Additionally, I try to work on improvements. After all my reach is small (and I suspect nefarious reasons). Eventually I will need some kind of breakthrough and have to find new ways to raise the quality.

The Trustworthiness of The Media in Russia And The West (Konstantin Kisin)

People hate the media. Media dishonesty has accelerated considerably in the West since around 2015. The well-deserved loss of trust has made some jump onto the irrational assumption that whatever sounds the most remote from their media’s explanation is the reality. This “logic” has absurd side effects such as the mainstream media still remaining the compass and that their inconsistency must be mirrored whenever they knot their narrative into a pretzel.

In need of finding a standpoint that looks – at first glance – like the most remote one from that of Western media, a variety of political influencers have blindly trusted Russian media. The irony is big, literally, since Russian propaganda is infamous for its absurd level of inconsistency.

Carl Bildt On The Unclear Motivations of Russia

Carl Bildt is a Swedish diplomat and conservative politician. In a conversation with Russian dissident Vladimir Milov he addresses the fact that the motivations stated by Russia make no sense. Ukraine’s constitution even forbade a NATO membership. This was only changed after Russia annexed Crimea, occupied government buildings in the East of the country through proxy “separatist” forces and armed years of attempts at an insurrection.

The full conversation

creative commons pic used and the inspiration for the Hydra image

Authorities Struggle with anti-Covid-Policy Street Walks

All across Germany people demonstrate against corona restrictions and mandates. This is the emergence of a new form of protest and they call it the ‘street walks’ (‘Spaziergänge’; the singular is ‘Spaziergang’). Their main characteristic is that they are a widely decentralized expression of anger that hinges on no established institution. And they are a reflection of our times.

Old institutions have failed the public and their leaders are mentally transfixed on only consolidating the interests of society’s pseudo-representatives while ignoring the ordinary people they are supposed to represent. The street walks represent the street walkers.

After years of defaming one protest organizer after the other, independent of their cause, as “right-wing extremist” (or whatever proxy-word for “Nazi” they use) people are now taking to the streets either without registration or with registrations of independent individuals.

The threshold to register a protest in Germany is actually lower than most people think. You only have to announce your protest to the appropriate authority (which differs by location) until two days before the fact (§14 (1) VersG). You don’t have to wait for a permit (Art. 8 (1) GG) and, as I will explain later, the authority can only ban you in very few contexts. All it takes is to drop a letter into the letter box of the police station or into that of whatever the appropriate local authority is. Alternatively, one can send either a fax or an email, or make a phone call. The registration must only include your name, the cause, the time and date, the crowd size you personally take responsibility for (can be yourself, i.e. one ), materials (loudspeakers, banners …) and the venue. In case you take responsibility for a larger crowd, you may also name helpers that make sure people follow general laws. If you only register your family and a couple of friends, even that is not necessary. It might be strategically conducive for more and more people to formally register protests even if a registration is made by almost every participant. It gives less legal ground for the authorities to counter your ambition.

The actual reason why people might hesitate to register their protests might be the justified mistrust of our authorities. It makes people uncomfortable to operate politically. Out of fear more and more people would prefer to be anonymous entirely, cover their faces and hide their traces online. However, protests are registered locally and there are boatloads of rules in place that prohibit an aggregation of data across government bodies.

Which authority can ban protests differs locally and is referred to in the law as ‘the responsible office’ (die zuständige Behörde). The grounds on which they may do so in advance differ from those on which the police may disperse an existing one. A ban can be justified by a threat to the public ‘safety and order’ (§15 (1) VersG), a venue being a memorial for Nazi victims ( §15 (2) VersG ) or an absence of registration ( §15 (3) VersG ). The police can, of course, also end a protest when it gets violent ( §13 (1) 2 VersG ). Additionally, they can do that when people with weapons are not removed from the crowd ( §13 (1) 3 VersG ), when the leader/organiser (usually the person who registered the protest) tries to abolish the free democratic order or belongs to a banned political party or outlawed group. Outside of the leader/organiser provision, the event can only be ended when other police interventions, including temporary pauses, have failed (§13 (1) S2 VersG). The law does not give the right to end an unregistered protest to the police. Instead, the ‘responsible office’ comes to ban an ongoing process (it’s §15 (3) VersG) and the police acts on that order.

Freedom of assembly is a basic human right without which a people cannot govern itself. In German law there are five conditions the government must meet in order to curtail human rights. They are colloquially called the ‘limits -limits’ (German: Schranken-Schranken) because they limit the government in its power to limit the exercise of a citizen’s rights. The first is the ‘law requirement’ (Bestimmtheitsgrundsatz). Any restrictions of a human right must explicitly be based on a law passed by parliament. A second limits-limit demands that an order to that effect must transparently quote said laws (citation obligation, Zitiergebot). Many newspaper articles quote a fear of the authorities that corona infection regulations are violated. This is supposedly one of the motivation for the protest bans. But the assembly law does not allow the government to ban assemblies based on diseases. The best match in the law would be §13 (1) 4 VersG which allows a ban based on criminal behavior or misdemeanors. Those misdemeanors must, however, be a significant disturbance since the third limis-limit is the ‘proportionality principle’ (Verhältnismäßigkeitsgebot). Your human rights are not supposed to be taken away from you upon dropping a chewing gum on the pavement or breathing outdoors without a mask. A fourth limits-limit is the prohibition of a law to target individual cases. The parliament can pass the competence to an executing body which may specify directives and orders more specific to the cases at hand. Essential is, however, the last limits-limit which calls for the protection of a right’s core (Wesensgehaltsgarantie). While a right may be compromised, it may not be taken away entirely. The right of possession, for example, can be compromised by a fine or through taxation, but you remain entitled to accumulate a property of your own. Likewise, protest bans must ensure that the citizens can protest their cause otherwise (different date, place, or in keeping of different regulations). A cause of a protest must not be banned as long as it does not violate the free democratic fundamental order of the republic (freiheitlich demokratische Grundordnung).

Many of the mentioned concepts are fuzzy enough to require a clarification by precedents. And the go-to-case to check whether protest bans are legitimate is the Supreme-Court verdict on the anti-nuclear-power protests in Brokdorf, a municipality in Northern Germany (state of Schleswig-Holstein).

Since that verdict in 1985 the assembly-ban law (§15 VersG) has changed in 1999 and in 2005. The changes don’t touch anything the Brokdorf ruling clarified. In 1999, it became more difficult to ban protests in the area around the federal government buildings in Berlin and in 2005 the mentioned Nazi-victim-memorial ban was included. The law on which the police can disperse an existing protest ( §13 VersG) has not changed at all.

When the planning of the march against the construction of the nuclear power station in Brokdorf was completed, the county administration (Landrat) preempted its registration for the envisioned period from February 27 th to March 1 st, 1985, with a ban. The organisers filed a formal complaint (Widerspruch), which was only formally rejected after the fact in summer. The protest went ahead, anyway. So this precedent clarifies something that looked already clear in the law. As I mentioned above the law says clearly that a protest can be banned when it’s not registered. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the right to protest is so important that a lack of registration does not suffice. Additionally, the community council (Landrat) argued at the court that the protest would have been banned with or without registration. The reason the authorities feared a march on and in Brokdorf was that leaflets openly called for violence and previous nuclear movement protests turned violent regularly, both at the same site, but also on the construction sites of other nuclear power stations, reprocessing plants, or waste rod deposits.

The worst incident was four years prior. On March 19th , 1977, the aptly called ‘Battle of Grohnde’ spiraled out of control. With 1040 injured (800 participants and 240 police officers) the demonstration against the construction of the nuclear power station in Grohnde was the most violent protest in post-war German history at the time. With that in mind, the authorities had every reason to fear the protest. And they were right. 3,000 rioters threw stones and Molotov cocktails. Yet, as you know by now, the Supreme Court decided that the ban was unlawful.

The related term that needs clarification is ‘safety and order’ (Sicherheit und Ordnung). This word pair has a long legal tradition and remains weakly defined. The general understanding is that laws are kept and nobody harasses uninvolved individual by either noise, traffic blockade or by any other means. The Brokdorf incident involved said 3,000 well-organised rioters and a 1,000 individuals stormed the property of the company. A police officer who stumbled and fell to the ground was beaten on the head by two men with a club and a spate.

There have also been minor brawls around the street walks, but nothing that comes close to that scale. It would have made national news, probably international news, if we talked about a comparable magnitude.

The authorities don’t fear rioting. They say that they fear the violation of Covid rules during the protests. The assembly law explained above does not contain the rights of any ‘responsible office’ or the police to ban or end a protest on the ostensible basis of disease control. The case for that is extremely weak since, at worst, gatherings can be dissolved for misdemeanors. But as the Brokdorf verdict showed those must be very grave and even violence and property damage – as long as it is only committed by a comparatively small fraction of the participants – would not allow the police to end a march.

I found an order of the town Ostfildern which is likely to be typical of many other bans justified with infection risk excuses. The order of the town is based on an administrative order of its state – in this case the state of Baden-Württemberg. The latter is named ‘Corona order of the state of Baden-Württemberg ’(Corona-Verordnung des Landes Baden-Württemberg). And this order refers to a federal law because – as you know by now – restrictions of human rights require a law. And that law is §§28 – 32 IfSG.

Unsurprisingly, the law does not speak about dissolving a protest at all. The closest to it is the line §28 (1) S. 2 IfSG which allows to end events and gatherings of whatever kind if there is a presence of one or more highly infectious individuals. That law is about epidemics in general and was written for deceases like the bubonic plague or smallpox. It even mentions an infectious corpse (‘ein Verstorbener’) as a reason to clear gatherings or to ban people from a place. Covid is not a drop-dead disease that requires hysterical intervention.

The flood of annoying regulations that are put in place whenever a protest gathers finds its closest justification in the law §28a IfSG. That section, however, requires an ‘epidemic situation of national significance’ (epidemischen Lage von nationaler Tragweite). That sounds like a match, but the legal expression is very specific and the parliament has formally ended the ‘epidemic situation of national significance.’ The official end was the 25th November last year, but the instruments justified by it may persist until 19th March this year. This could theoretically be extended once (by a majority vote of the parliament Bundestag) for a period of another three months (19th June). In the meantime local authorities can randomly impose all kind of restrictions as they see fit. And some, like the City of Ulm abuse that legal construct to mandate masks outdoors in the time slots when they expect protesters. In the City of Frankfurt (am Main) the police used yardsticks to measure the distance between participants.

The reason why the police can go full draconian on enforcing dubious procedures is §5 (1) No 4 VersG . The ‘responsible office’ may ban assemblies only under a few conditions and one of them is that the ‘organiser or his surroundings may hold views or condone speech that include crimes or other misdemeanors enforced by authorities.’ Unfortunately, the German original is grammatically as dubious as my translation. What I translate with ‘include’ (original: zum Gegenstand haben) is a weasel expression that can broadly mean anything and everything. I could have translated it with ‘that have to do with crime and misdemeanors.’ In the light of multiple anti-speech laws, the views and words themselves could be illegal, or they could be broadly on a topic of a crime (e.g. what penalty would be appropriate) or they could condone crimes and misdemeanors committed by the protesters. The last one of my interpretations is apparently the reason why the police is excessively checking up on potential misdemeanors that otherwise – for example, at the gay pride march – were not an issue. The interpretation that broadly the organizers’ views or speech must not deal with misdemeanors or crimes in any capacity makes the section so universally applicable that it could ban any protest against any prohibition independent of Covid. A protest that asks for prohibitions that don’t yet exist like the marches to ban the construction of nuclear power stations or Fridays for Future does not ‘deal with’ a crime or misdemeanor. Yet all protests for freedom could conveniently be dissolved by the government because they ‘deal with’ an existing prohibitive rule. As far as I know, this is not the way the sentence materialises in actual court cases. The most sound interpretation is probably in use which is that the views and speech must condone rioting or comparable offenses in order to justify a protest ban.

The Brokdorf Supreme Court verdict says that the right of the police to wrap up a march is proportionate to the unwillingness of the participants to cooperate. It commands both sides, the protesters and the police (and other government entities), to be as cooperative as possible. In Section Rn 21 the verdict lists as a behavior that should be avoided ‘police operations that appear unnecessary, exaggerated or incomprehensible.’ And while the disease control law does not specify what restrictions a local authority can place on a time and location, keeping distance or wearing masks outdoors are obviously policies that are only in place for the sake of harassment as they are not enforced elsewhere. This undermines the credibility of the police and puts it at odds with the cooperation mandate of the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, both sides have to show cooperativeness. The municipalities issue statement after statement to say that registrations are required and protests without them could carry a fine of up to 3,000 EUR (e.g. Munich). One way to deal with this – if you are in the money – is to pick the bill and run with it through the court circuit to (possibly) shoot the way free for others. Brokdorf was unregistered and banned. Another option is that more and more people drop a registration into the respective post boxes two days in advance. Showing cooperativeness increases the chances of a successful lawsuit against the authorities, should they crack down.

The Covid-19 Vaccination Mandate of The Bundeswehr Explained

In the last week of 2021, a video circulated on the web. It showed Sergeant Major (Oberfeldwebel) Andreas Anton Oberauer issuing a vague warning against unnamed politicians without specifying much. He set an “ultimatum” in the event that the corona policies were not lifted by 4:00 p.m. (presumably of the following day – but that was also unclear). A second video revealed the nature of his “warning.” He “ordered” his subordinates to dress in uniform and protect the decentralized anti-corona-policy protests. It goes without saying that political activism is not permitted within the framework of the military service (§15 SG (1)). It is also forbidden to try to influence subordinates politically (§15 SG (4)). Uniforms may only be worn outside of work if there is an explicit permission to do so (§3 UnifV). Since he uttered an “order”, Oberauer seems to think that he is acting within the confine of his military role. However, arbitrary, non-official instructions from superiors to their subordinates are also prohibited (§10 SG) and cannot simply be interpreted as official orders.

But just as Oberfeldwebel Oberauer cannot give arbitrary and politicized instructions, neither can his own superiors or other Bundeswehr officers. The approximately 180,000 Bundeswehr soldiers are one of the first professional groups to be subjected to a Covid-19 vaccination mandate. On November 24, 2021, then Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer added the Covid19 vaccination to the Bundeswehr’s basic vaccination scheme Basis-Impfschema. Previous standard vaccinations in the scheme are measles, poliomyelitis, hepatitis A and B, mumps, rubella, whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria, tetanus and the flu. It is, indeed, more important for soldiers than for the average population to be vaccinated against some diseases. Tetanus, for example, is an often fatal disease and its robust pathogen spores commonly reside in the soil and can easily penetrate into wounds. For missions abroad further vaccinations, e.g. against tropical diseases such as malaria, are obviously warranted. Many of the vaccines are also a good option for large parts of the population because they’ve actually got rare, often mild side effects, protect effectively against serious diseases and are only injected a few times, some even only once.

There are plenty of doubts about the long-term effectiveness of the available Covid vaccines. The standing vaccination commission recommends the first booster shot after three months. This does not mean that the immune system were not already prepared for the virus from the first injection on. Neither does this negate the assumption that the vaccine might mitigate future infections down the line. However, the effectiveness does not hold up to that of a measles vaccination, which provides strong, permanent protection with one jab. As of now, the vaccine side-effects of constant booster vaccinations are not known. Alternatively, immune protection can also be built up with an infection if the immune system is strong and the virus variant is relatively weak. We don’t know the long-term consequences of either the repeated, frequent vaccinations or the occasional infections.

The ostensible reason why the risk assessment is not left to the individual is “solidarity”. But even the Robert Koch Institute cannot quite quantify how much less often a vaccinated person transmits the disease than an unvaccinated person. The difference is marginal and becomes increasingly meaningless with the advent of ever milder variants. And the Covid-19 vaxx attitude contrasts starkly with the very lax attitude towards flu vaccination refusals.

In two open letters [1] [2] from Lieutenant Colonel (Oberstleutnant) Daniel Futschik, which were published on Boris Reitschuster’s blog, one learns that the arbitration committee Schlichtungsausschuss on the inclusion of Covid19 vaccines into the basic scheme found on their meeting on November 22, 2021 that only 90,000 men and women are vaccinated against the flu every year in the context of the required vaccination scheme. A total of 180,000 people work for the Bundeswehr. Thus, there is a disproportionate harshness towards Covid19 vaccination refusals and some few other vaccination refusals. Either there is a consistent enforcement of the basic vaccination scheme or the general obligation is lifted and only well-reasoned vaccination campaigns are ordered, e.g. for foreign deployments or for particularly dangerous flu waves that occur again and again because of the very high mutability of the influenza viruses.

Several soldiers stated that they no longer felt that they were properly advised by the duty doctors under the current political pressure. Lieutenant Colonal (Oberstleutnant) Daniel Futschik reports in his letters about comrades whose doctors did not react to mentions of previous illnesses, allergies or to questions about ingredients in the vaccines. Of course, an allergy or previous illness does not mean that the vaccination is already a danger. However, the doctors apparently did not cite any studies on its tolerability for a given allergy or previous illness, and questions were not answered. Yet, even if no studies are available, a doctor can at least make anecdotal comparisons to other drugs with comparable side-effect profiles and how they wound up on patients with this or that pre-existing disease or allergy. The soldiers mentioned in Daniel Futschik’s letter apparently had the impression that they were only being blocked.

The former sergeant Robert Müller reported such a situation. After his release, Müller was arrested from December 7th to 13th for refusing to vaccinate with Covid-19. There were several vigils in front of his barracks in Minden. In a conversation with reitschuster.de, Müller reports that he has been referred to a civilian doctor, who, however, did not address his concerns at all.

Disciplinary arrest (§26 WDO) like that of Robert Müller is considered a light punishment and can be ordered by a superior for a period of between 3 days and 3 weeks without legal proceedings. However, the punishment is not just an arbitrary tool. The refusal to follow a random order like walking the colonel’s dog or washing the generals car cannot be punished with arrest. Orders must be related to the military service. A supervisor may also not arbitrarily lock away Covid-19 vaccination deniers and let flu vaccine deniers go unpunished for the same behavior. Given the current weak flu wave and the mix of delta and omicron variants in the face of a young and athletic soldier population, both vaccinations are clearly not decisive for any war and have no other recognizable military reference.

A sergeant major (Hauptfeldwebel) sued at the Federal Administrative Court (ECLI: DE: BVerwG: 2020: 221220B2WNB8.20.0) against an eight-day detention for a non-covid-related refusal to vaccinate. The man was afraid of the vaccination because he attributed his neurodermatitis (atopic eczema) and asthma to previous vaccinations. The arrest was imposed on July 6, 2018, but was not enforced until the verdict of the administrative court on December 22, 2020. One of the refused vaccinations mentioned in the verdict is the one against tetanus, which mainly spreads through open wounds and does not readily endanger comrades. Other vaccinations in the basic scheme concern various childhood diseases for which there should be herd immunity in the troops anyway. Regardless of the disproportionate reaction to the refusal to vaccinate, I wished, of course, that the sergeant major would get vaccinated against tetanus. It is an actually effective and safe vaccine against a terrible, often fatal disease. Soldiers in particular who easily suffer wounds on the open terrain should understand that.

The verdict is quoted by General Army Inspector (Inspekteur des Heeres) Alfons Mais in a letter to the generals of the Bundeswehr which was obtained by the press agency dpa. He writes that he considers disciplinary proceedings to be inevitable. He repeats the finding of the court that a repeated refusal to follow orders is a military offense (Wehrstraftat). In doing so, he ignores the fact that – as already mentioned several times – the orders must be of a military nature. While a tetanus infection suffered during exercises or in action is a substantial risk for a soldier’s military readiness, the risk to suffer any impairment due to a missing Covid-19 vaccination is limited for young, fighting fit soldiers; especially since the virus evolution shows a trajectory towards milder variants. A military offense (Wehrstraftat) can be punished with a reduction in salary, a promotion ban or a demotion. In the letter Army Inspector General Alfons Mais stipulates that all volunteers and all fixed-termination-contract soldiers (Zeitsoldaten) who have worked in the army for shorter than four years should be dismissed if they refuse to take the vaccines (according to §55 (5) SG). The law allows fixed-termination-contract soldiers (Zeitsoldaten) to be dismissed if their continued existence would jeopardize the ‘military order’ or damage the reputation of the military.

In the previous passage he wrote, ‘When implementing this order, care must be taken that there will be no stigmatization or exclusion of still unvaccinated soldiers in order to preserve the inner structure in our ranks.’ This annoys me almost the most. The woke ‘inclusiveness’ buzz is everywhere. It is like words haven’t got any meaning anymore. He asks the troops not to exclude soldiers who he’d like to see fired! Helllllooooo?!?

This contrast between slimy posturing and harsh reality can also be found in the law. Law §31 SG expresses glib and slick care-taking intentions to nanny the soldiers and their entire families, yet without much detail. The mentioned verdict on the non-covid-related vaccine-denier arrest, however, states callously, “From the onset different standards apply because soldiers are to accept considerable health risks by profession when they follow orders – particularly on missions abroad and when the country is under attack.”

Not only does the alleged we-nanny-you-all slick posturing drop right into the toilet, but also fundamentally the respect. The fact that soldiers risk their health and even death to protect the life and freedom of others does not mean that they are plainly cheap.

Interestingly, the law on the ‘obligation duty’ (Duldungspflicht) – as the compulsory vaccination is ominously called in the military – provides no punishment at all. It merely withholds assistance from soldiers who become ill after they skipped a vaccination against the disease. In §17a (4) SG it says “If the soldier refuses a reasonable medical procedure and his ability to work or make a living is impaired as a result, he can be denied care.” I have no idea on what basis the court allows a further punishment and I don’t find it really in the text. However, the court also did not issue a penalty, either. Rather, it did simply not denounce the superior’s arrest order.

The arrest was ordered because the ‘military order’ would have been in danger otherwise. That is the prerequisite for an arrest in the case that previous punishments did not yield any results (according to § 38 Abs. 3 Alt. 2 WDO). The ‘military order’ is endangered if there is a risk of imitation from other comrades. As far as I know (and I can be wrong) it has not been clarified legally whether the imitation by others must be sufficient to endanger the operational capability of the Bundeswehr. The specific case was about common vaccinations such as the one against tetanus and mass imitation would have been very unlikely. Given the short-term protection of a Covid-19 vaccination and the unknown health ramifications of regular injections, it is even unclear whether military fitness is threatened more by taking or skipping the vaccination.

And it is precisely this danger to military fitness that is also the prerequisite for an apparently non-military order, such as a vaccination order, to be interpreted as a legitimate military order. That connection would only exist if a refusal to vaccinate would impair the operational capability of a soldier or the entire ‘military order.’ Unlike Army Inspector Alfons Mais claims in his letter to the generals such an impairment due to a lack of Covid vaccination cannot be justified.

Virologist Alexander Kekulé Fired from University

The dismissal of Prof. Kekulé was carried out in a brutal fashion. The university president Christian Tietje initiated an investigation into trivial workplace contract violations, two colleagues sent a letter to 50 directors of the university’s hospital complex, a letter that was quiet on the charges, but loud in its support of the action taken against their colleague, and thus the professional relationship was ended. The ‘preliminary dismissal’ is particularly aggressive as it does not only remove the suspect of a disciplinary enquiry from his duties with immediate effect, but signals that the authorities are confident to strip him off of his pension scheme and his protected legal status (Beamter) that is attached to the professorship.

Alexander Kekulé suspects that his dismissal is politically motivated, yet only connected to his requests for a better funding of his field. Chances are that some of his public positions may also have played a role. In general his positions are very much in line with the WHO (and I don’t share many of his positions at all), but there are also some inconvenient views. The aggressive nature of his removal indicates that he follows the likes of Tim Hunt, Alessandro Strumia and (shirtgate) Matt Taylor as another victim of academic cleansing.

My little addenda: The booster shot risks are not represented with an iid random variable and we should not treat the risk of continuous vaccine shots as if they were binomially distributed. We need an open discussion and debates are stymied when academic witch hunts take place. I don’t need to agree with Prof. Kekulé to defend him as a scientist.

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