Swatting “Locusts”: Germany, the EU Take Aim at Investment Funds

Posted by John Rosenthal

“For the locusts in the finance sector, a new age is dawning.” This is how German Social Democrat and Member of the European Parliament Udo Bullmann commented on the prospect of new EU-wide regulations for hedge funds. The comment harks back to spring 2005, when then SPD party chairman Franz Müntefering compared financial investors to [...]

Will Lula Beat Ajad to the Bomb?

Posted by John Rosenthal

The US State Department was reportedly supportive of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva’s visit to Tehran last weekend. An unnamed State Department official was quoted as saying the trip represented “perhaps the last big shot at engagement” in the conflict over the Iranian nuclear program. But one can well wonder whose side Lula [...]

“Brussels, Capital of the Free World!” (Joe Biden at the European Parliament)

Posted by John Rosenthal

Joe Biden’s May 6 speech to the European Parliament appears to have been largely ignored by the American media, both old and new. Although the chamber was only about half-full, the modest turnout of the euro-parliamentarians did not prevent the American vice president from praising the EU to the skies – even at the cost of [...]

A German “Liberal” (Christian Lindner)

Posted by John Rosenthal

The Free Democratic Party (FDP) is supposed to be Germany’s “liberal” party, i.e. in the sense of economically liberal. Does this mean that the party rejects the general bashing of the financial sector that is practiced by all the other major German parties nowadays or even, say, pushes back against it? You be the judge. [...]

An Anti-Bailout Vote? (Elections in North Rhine-Westphalia)

Posted by John Rosenthal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats suffered big losses in state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on Sunday, and the traditional English-language media appear to have had an “instant” narrative available to explain this fact: the vote was a protest vote against the federal government’s support for a financial bail-out package for Greece. One problem though: the [...]

From Gitmo to Hamburg?

Posted by John Rosenthal

On first glance, the report in the popular German tabloid Bild could have seemed like a bad joke. “Guantánamo Detainees Slated to Go to Hamburg,” the headline ran. “Despite protests…,” the article began, “[German] Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière appears to be determined to accept three of the 183 suspected terrorists still detained [...]

“Don’t Waste the Crisis!” German President Says

Posted by John Rosenthal

“Die Krise nicht verschwenden!” — “Don’t Waste the Crisis!” This is the title of the speech given by German President Horst Köhler to the Munich Economic Summit last week. The speech is notable, above all, for the severity of its attack on international financial markets and the radicalism of its proposals for “subduing” the latter. For [...]

More Proof of the Ravages of “Global Warming”

Posted by John Rosenthal

Here the headline and subhead of an article on the front page of Tuesday’s (4 May) edition of the German daily Die Welt: Mosquitoes Attack The cold winter is bringing us a scourge – and the little beasts are particularly thirsty for blood  The article begins as follows: It won’t be exactly like it is [...]