Social Solidarity:
Will there soon be a cure for Merkel’s syndrome?

Are Angela Merkel’s days as a chancellor numbered? After the Jamaica bankruptcy, the Germans suddenly stand for a grand coalition – CDU with SPD. Who (apart from Merkel) seriously believed that the Greens and the FDP could be in the same room for more than ten minutes without puking?

Before you are getting sick now: The SPD has now suddenly learned something new in the pre-opposition that has been going on for a few weeks. Or more precisely: The Socis had something with “social” in the program. This was many, many years ago, but at that time – when the party was founded on 27 May 1875 in Gotha – the Socis found this little word so cute that they integrated it into their party name: ‚Social Democratic Party of Germany’. And the boys and girls of the SPD (although their vocabulary is rather moderate) still know the word „social” today. It’s just that – according to Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt – the exact meaning has been somewhat forgotten, though not as thoroughly as with the CDU.

Because, as you know, they have been having Merkel on their hands for many years and can, therefore, avoid social stuff. And those who have ‚made it over’ from the real existing socialism directly into the capitalist land of milk and honey for the wealthy, know exactly that the healthy greed of politicians can only be satisfied by the economy. And, as it is known, the German voter can’t remember anything from 12 to noon. At least the antisocial politics have already fallen victim to an ominous voter dementia after only a few months.

The SPD never had it easy with the Germans. Not back then, and certainly not now. Because, unfortunately, their hope for more voices is now called Martin Schulz, and he always looks as if he was about to cry. On the other hand, SPD faction vice-president Karl Lauterbach* has a good laugh, because his idea could actually bring victory to the SPD over the Merkel syndrome: Citizens’ insurance. If this social security policy is introduced, all income-taxable citizens will have to pay for it. This inevitably means the end of private health insurance that has so far been protecting the money of high earners.

Serious experts say that with the introduction of citizen’s insurance, all the problems encountered by German social security systems will soon become history. Of course, Merkel and the CDU only feel obligated to the privately insured, they are their loyal clientele. However, an election cannot be won without floating voters, and they are generally not private patients. So, if there are new elections, they will only be dominated by one topic: social solidarity!

Thus, Merkel and the party of high-income earners have a choice between the Devil and Beelzebub. The coalition with the SPD brings the dreaded citizen’s insurance, albeit presumably in a weaker form. But when it comes to new elections, the SPD will suddenly be able to mobilize the majority of the almost 40 percent of our non-voters. Then she may have the absolute majority, and Merkel and CDU will be sitting on the hard opposition benches…

*Dr. Med. Karl W. Lauterbach is a professor at the University Hospital Cologne and deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag. Further Qualifications


Merkel within the opposition. Incidentally, she likes to wear her old bicycle lock from the GDR as a jewelery because she is firmly convinced that it brings her luck and also conceals her wrinkled neck. In reality, however, Merkel syndrome draws every attention…

Photograph by www.kremlin.ru / Wikimedia Commons

Wie die Chinesen bei Smog mit frischer Luft versorgt werden

Die Inder haben inzwischen längst eine leistungsfähige Industrie, aber leider auch ein Riesenproblem: Die Luft ist zäher als Melasse und dieser Smog ist so übel, dass die Leute in New Delhi große Atemprobleme haben und reihenweise krank werden.

Die Chinesen sind aber noch viel ärmere Schweine, sie haben zwar ebenfalls eine florierende Wirtschaft, um nicht zu sagen, eine Industrie, die selbst Amerikaner vor Neid erblassen lässt, aber leider kein bisschen Luft mehr zum Atmen. Die chinesische Luft kann man buchstäblich in Streifen schneiden und als Kaugummi verkaufen (was die Chinesen wahrscheinlich auch längst tun).

Selbst auf dem Land ist die chinesische Luft noch um einiges giftiger als zum Beispiel die im englischen Birmingham, der Stadt mit der schlechtesten Luft Großbritanniens. Bleiben wir doch gleich in Großbritannien, dort lebt nämlich eine Familie, die nach eigenem Bekunden so richtig Mitleid mit den armen Chinesen hat. Diese guten Menschen – Lester Hatchinson* (27), seine Mama Marylou (47) und Schwesterchen Priscilla (24) – kommen aus einem Kaff in Westengland und haben angesichts der entkräftet durch die Straßen torkelnden Menschen in China eine tolle Geschäftsidee entwickelt. Sie „ernten“ mit großen Plastiktüten die westenglische Landluft und füllen Sie in Einweckgläser, die danach luftdicht verschlossen werden. Diese Einweckgläser mit köstlich frischer englischer Landluft, verkaufen die Hatchinsons den torkelnden Chinesen. Und zwar für satte 80 Pfund das Glas, das sind umgerechnet etwa 100 Euro.

Diese Geschichte ging wie ein Lauffeuer quer durch die Medien, deshalb haben wir ein Interview mit der Familie Hatchinson gemacht. Dabei gestanden die guten Leute ein, dass sie in Wirklichkeit gar nicht in dem westenglischen Kaff wohnen, sondern in Birmingham.

„Und da fahren Sie jeden Tag über 200 Kilometer aufs Land, um Frischluft zu ernten?“, wollten wir wissen. Da drucksten die Leutchen ein wenig herum und meinten schließlich: „Naja, am Anfang sind wir schon aufs Land gefahren. Aber die Spritkosten schmälern den Gewinn doch erheblich. Und wir können auch viel mehr Gläser verschicken, wenn wir in Birmingham bleiben“, meinte Lester etwas verlegen. Aber das sei trotzdem kein Betrug, denn sie bekämen die Gläser von einer Firma aus der Schweiz, und zwar bereits luftdicht verschlossen.

Die Schweizer Luft sei bekanntlich sehr sauber und frisch, da werden die chinesischen Käufer keinen Unterschied feststellen können, verriet uns Marylou. Familie Hatchinson öffnet also die Gläser mit der gesunden Schweizer Luft wohlweislich nicht, sondern verschickt sie direkt nach China. Auf diese Weise kann der eklige Smog aus Birmingham die Luft in den Gläsern nicht verseuchen.

Um unserer journalistischen Sorgfaltspflicht nachzukommen, fragten wir bei der Schweizer Firma nach, ob die Luft in den Gläsern tatsächlich aus den Schweizer Bergen stammt. Der Pressesprecher war sehr freundlich und meinte: „Wir beziehen die Gläser von einer indischen Firma, die sie nach eigenem Bekunden in Nepal fertigen lässt, dort sei die Luft noch viel besser, als in der Schweiz oder Westengland.

Der Chef der indischen Firma gab uns sehr bereitwillig die Telefonnummer ihres nepalesischen Geschäftspartners, von dem wir erfuhren, dass sie die Gläser schon seit Jahren nicht mehr selbst herstellen, sondern bereits luftdicht verschlossen aus dem Ausland beziehen. „Und wo werden die Gläser denn nun hergestellt?“, wollten wir wissen. Der Mann kicherte: „Na in China natürlich, da ist doch alles spottbillig…!“

*Alle Namen geändert


In diesem Glas befindet sich übrigens von Fachleuten zertifizierte reinste Luft aus Bad-Cannstatt. Der Stuttgarter Oberbürgermeister Fritz Kuhn lässt es sich nicht nehmen, an jedem einzelnen Glas probezuschnüffeln, bevor es für 280 Euro das Stück nach China exportiert wird…

How the Chinese are supplied with fresh air in smog

07The Indians have had a powerful industry for a long time, but unfortunately also a very big problem: The air is thicker than molasses, and this smog is so bad that the people in Delhi have bad breathing problems and are getting sick by the dozen.

It is just as bad for the Chinese, they also have a flourishing economy that even makes Americans green with envy, but unfortunately, no more air to breathe. Chinese air can literally be cut into strips and sold as chewing gum (which is what the Chinese have probably been doing for a while now).

Even in the countryside, Chinese air is still much more poisonous than, for example, in Birmingham, the city with the worst air in Britain.

Let’s stay in Great Britain. There is a family living there who, according to their own statement, has real compassion for the poor Chinese. These good people – Lester Hatchinson* (27), his mother Marylou (47), and sister Priscilla (24) – live in a town in Western England and have developed a great business idea in the face of the exhausted people in China. They “harvest” the West English country air with large plastic bags and fill them into jars, which are then hermetically sealed. The Hatchinsons then sell these jars with the delicious fresh English country air to the Chinese. For 80 Pounds per glass, which are about 100 Euro.

This story went through the media like wildfire, so we interviewed the Hatchinson family. They admitted that they actually don’t even live in this western English town, but in Birmingham.

We asked: „And you drive over 200 kilometers to the countryside every day to harvest fresh air?”. The family began to hem and haw and finally said: „Well, we went to the countryside at the beginning, but the fuel costs were reducing the profit considerably. And we can mail out more glasses if we stay in Birmingham“, Lester said embarrassed. But this still wouldn’t be fraud because they would receive the glasses from a company in Swiss, already hermetically sealed.

Marylou explained that the Swiss air is known to be very clean and fresh and that the Chinese buyers will not be able to tell the difference. The Hatchinson family prudently doesn’t open the glasses with the healthy Swiss air but sends them directly to China so that the disgusting smog in Birmingham cannot contaminate the air in the glasses.

In order to comply with our obligation to exercise journalistic diligence, we asked the Swiss company whether the air in the glasses actually comes from the Swiss mountains. The spokesman was very friendly and said: „We obtain the glasses from an Indian company who claims to manufacture the glasses in Nepal, where the air is supposedly even better than in Swiss or West England.”

The CEO of the Indian company gave us the phone number of their Nepalese business partner, who told us that they had not been producing the glasses themselves for years, but that they were getting the glasses already hermetically sealed from abroad. So we asked: „And where are the glasses made now?”. The man giggled: „Well, in China, of course, it’s ridiculously cheap…!”.

*All names changed


This glass contains the purest air from Bad-Cannstatt certified by experts. The Mayor of Stuttgart, Fritz Kuhn, will not miss the opportunity to sniff on every single glass before it is exported to China for 280 Euro…