Election in Vienna – defeat for the FPÖ – opinion

A great – and dangerous – satisfaction broke out in Vienna after election Sunday. The SPÖ has used its home advantage and gained. The Greens and the Liberal Neos have gained ground. The ÖVP has grown. The right-wing populists, the FPÖ and the private split of their former boss, Heinz-Christian Strache, have collapsed and, at least for the time being, will not play an important role at either the state or federal level.

Strache had advertised himself on election day with the slogan: “What hurts the powerful and slanderers the most? One vote for HC!” In addition, the ÖVP in Vienna, without fear of contact with the Freedom Party, took a strict right course and collected some of these votes.

But the ÖVP has only collected a part. In any case, it would be unlikely that the turquoise ruling party and its regional providers will and can ensure that there is no longer any room to the right of the ÖVP. 40 percent of the voters in Vienna preferred to stay at home on Sunday and did not vote at all; The voter flow analysis shows that very many of them had previously voted for the FPÖ. They may either be waiting for their old party to get out of hand – or for a new right-wing party, not damaged by the Ibiza scandal, Strache’s expense affair and internal power struggles, to offer itself.

In addition to the low voter turnout, the composition of the electorate is an issue that the winners should tear from their well-deserved post-election exhaustion. A third of Viennese aged 16 and over are not eligible to vote because they do not have an Austrian passport; in some parts of the city it is almost half. Many of them are young people who were born in Vienna. 80 percent of those not eligible to vote have lived in the capital for much longer than five years.

Only: The ÖVP top candidate in Vienna, Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, had tried to score points, among other things, by the fact that apartments in municipal buildings should only be given to applicants with a reasonable knowledge of German. And the ÖVP-led federal government and its chancellor are of the opinion that one can also participate in society in an honorary position. It is therefore not to be expected that an initiative for easier access to citizenship or the right to vote for foreigners will come from this side.

But even the social democrats in red Vienna have so far not distinguished themselves by being particularly committed to this issue. Mayor Michael Ludwig put it, emphasizing the state, as follows: “Personally, I am always of the opinion that the right to vote in the legislative bodies should be linked to citizenship.”

To tackle the question of electoral law would mean opening a barrel and fueling fresh anger among the lying right-wing populists. ÖVP and SPÖ, which used to run under “people’s parties”, will not take any risks and will further upgrade the increasing number of people with a “migration background”. Even if they are part of the people.


NBA: LeBron James – professional basketball player with a message – sports


Jürgen Schmieder, Los Angeles

If it had been up to LeBron James, he would not have been able to win the title with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Then the season of the US professional league NBA would have ended in the summer, and that’s actually all you need to know about the best basketball player in the world. It was the end of August, the NBA had just resumed its season in the state of Florida, where the players had been billeted at Disney World to shield them from the corona virus – in Kenosha, Wisconsin, fair-skinned police officers shot the unarmed African American Jacob Blake a total of seven times. James wanted to abort to send a signal that something is fundamentally wrong in the US.


Amy Coney Barrett: Who will lead the hearing – Politics

When speaking at campaign events, Lindsey Graham likes to begin his speech with the words, “I’m from the federal government. I’m here to help.” He borrowed this little joke from former President Ronald Reagan, and he’s been doing it for a while: 65-year-old Graham has served in the US Senate for South Carolina since 2003. For a long time he was considered a moderate politician who worked with the Democrats. He was respected on both sides of the political spectrum. However, since Donald Trump was elected president, he has undergone an amazing change. Graham is Trump’s most ardent and hasty defender, which has led Democrats to despise him almost as much as they despise the president himself.

From this Monday on, Graham will be in the focus of the Democratic furor, because as chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, he chairs the hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, who, according to the will of the Republicans, the place on the Supreme that has become vacant through the death of the liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg Court should take. Graham wants to get the case through before the November 3rd election. If everything goes according to plan, the Republicans will confirm Barrett as the new life judge to the Supreme Court in the last week of October.

The whole process infuriates the Democrats, but they are particularly angry with Graham. This is because he said in October 2018 that if there was a vacancy at the Supreme Court last year of Trump’s first term in office, then they would wait until after the election with the occupation. One could take him at his word. This statement no longer interests him in the least.

That he has broken his word so blatantly should not have come as a surprise to the Democrats. Before the 2016 elections, Graham made several statements about what he thought of Donald Trump. He called him a racist, described him as “xenophobic” and “bigoted”. He called him a “crank” and said Trump was “unsuitable for office”. That didn’t stop him from extolling Trump after the election. The Democrats especially get on their nerves that he likes to praise Trump’s golf game so much.

However, Graham is not only a shameless opportunist, he is also a shrewd politician. He proved that, among other things, when the Republicans last occupied a seat on the Supreme Court. Their candidate, Brett Kavanaugh, was accused by Christine Blasey Ford of sexually molesting her as a teenager. Ford testified in the Senate that she looked believable, while Kavanaugh didn’t look good. Graham saw that the Republicans were about to slip the matter away. He gave a cracking five-minute speech accusing the Democrats of wanting to destroy Kavanaugh’s life in order to score politically. He called out to his Republican colleagues that if they did not vote for Kavanaugh, they legitimized the “most despicable process” he had ever seen in his political life. It was like a wake-up call to the Republicans. They chose Kavanaugh, who without Graham’s Speech of Anger would probably not be in the Supreme Court today.

At the time, Graham’s poll numbers soared after previously falling – possibly because the grassroots didn’t want to forget what he once said about Trump. Graham is now hoping for a similar effect again: that the Republican base will give him high credit if he, as head of the judiciary committee, ensures that the judge’s post is filled quickly. He needs all the support: Graham is running for re-election as Senator in November, and his Democratic rival Jaime Harrison has recently caught up dramatically.


Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in profile – Politics

You certainly don’t get too close to most Scots if you say they are facing a cultural break. From this weekend on, pubs will no longer be allowed to serve alcohol. No ale, no lager, no whiskey, nothing. The ban initially applies for 16 days. In the regions worst hit by the coronavirus, restaurants will even have to close completely. For those Scots who think they are part of their country’s legendary pub culture, this is a decree that hurts a lot.

Responsible for this is Nicola Sturgeon, 50 years old, chairman of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and head of government in Scotland since 2014. When First Minister With her Corona policy, she not only has the welfare of the country in mind, but also a clear political goal: She wants to act faster and more decisively than Boris Johnson, who is responsible for the Corona rules in England.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, she has been pushing the prime minister along skillfully. Sturgeon made decisions that Johnson could only imitate. It looks like he will also be imposing pub closings in the coming week – at least in those parts of northern England where the number of infections has risen dramatically. That might suit Sturgeon. Once again, she would be the one who dictated the course to the hesitant prime minister.

Scottish FM Sturgeon takes questions in Edinburgh

Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh Parliament on October 8th.

(Photo: REUTERS)

Compared to Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity in the Corona crisis has not suffered as much by far. This is also due to the fact that her political style is pretty much the opposite of Johnson’s demeanor: In the government district of Edinburgh, she is considered a detail-obsessed technocrat who really only gets off her skin when it comes to fighting for Scotland’s independence.

Sturgeon wants to propose a new referendum bill before the Scottish general election in May. With this, too, she wants to put Johnson under pressure. The prime minister is strictly against Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. On the one hand, Sturgeon’s move is symbolic politics, because the question of whether Scotland can hold such a referendum would have to be decided by the British Parliament. On the other hand, Johnson cannot dismiss the maneuver as an absurd dream. Because the higher the presumed election victory of Sturgeon’s SNP, the harder it could put Johnson under pressure to allow a referendum.

In 2014, the Scots had voted 55 to 45 percent to remain in the UK. But now, according to surveys, a majority is in favor of leaving. The main reason for the split-off request is Brexit, which Sturgeon calls “irresponsible”. So she knows the majority of the Scots behind her. She likes to present herself as a friend of the EU. During a visit to Brussels in February, she said she was looking forward to the day when an independent Scotland would join the EU.

Sturgeon joined the SNP at the age of 16 to stop Margaret Thatcher’s conservative policies. She is married to the party’s long-time director, Peter Murrell, and describes herself as a feminist and pacifist. Recently, however, Sturgeon’s image as a fighter got scratched. She is accused of having misled the Scottish Parliament. It’s about when she found out about the allegations against her predecessor Alex Salmond, who was charged with sexual harassment and eventually acquitted. This week, she said on record that she had known about it earlier than claimed – she had “forgotten” a meeting with Salmond.

Since then, the opposition in Edinburgh has been reproaching her that Johnson often hears: that she does not seem to take the truth very seriously.


Assault rifle for the Bundeswehr: a comment – politics

Just as one likes to say in the trade that the complaint is the merchant’s greeting, so it is said of the soldiers that those who would ever be satisfied with their equipment must still be found. It was all the more astonishing from the start that although the public, the parties and weapon manufacturers spoke of scandal and affair for years when it came to the Bundeswehr’s standard G 36 rifle, this was praised by the troops.

Yes, there were experts there who warned that the rapid fire rifle could not withstand extreme loads. The opposite opinion was and is more widespread: The G 36 is a good weapon that, for example, proved itself in the hands of the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters when they successfully defended their autonomous region in Iraq against the IS terrorist militia from 2014 with German military equipment.

The endless affair of the G 36 began with an act of haste. After indications that the G 36 had shown deficiencies in Afghanistan, the then Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen suddenly announced the end of the weapon and had a new one written out.

The contract was awarded to the company CG Haenel, which is now suspected of possible patent infringements. This is how an affair goes on that may never have had to be. There is some evidence that more diligence instead of a demonstrative demonstration of leadership by von der Leyen would have saved the Bundeswehr a lot of money and trouble.


US election – Trump pinches – politics

The so-called television duels of the US presidential candidates are not about gaining knowledge. Probably Donald Trump is the most exposed president in history anyway, and Joe Biden lives off his milky profile. Nobody needs to get to know them anymore. So two things remain: the hope that the opponent might stumble and the goal of mobilizing your own clientele and driving them to the polls. The rest is shouting.

This shouting begins a week before the next presidential debate, which should have been a questioning by citizens.

The 2020 US presidential election newsletter

That would be an interesting experience for Trump, because opponents of his policies would also have their say – and he would have to let them have their say. He can’t tackle them as robustly as he last did with Biden. Citizens’ discussions are usually objective and promotional – and above all, the gap between the president and the electorate is clear. Humility is required.

Alone: ​​The debate will probably not take place, the risk of infection is too high, Trump’s state of health is rightly questioned by the organizer and classified as too critical. The man has apparently infected enough employees.

Trump is now refusing the connection via video and perceives the distance conversation as an imposition – an imposition, by the way, that millions around the world have endured without complaint for months. So that’s why the screaming now. Therefore no more debate.

If the cancellation remains, it would be regrettable. The round of vice-presidential candidates has shown how beneficial the banality of politics can be. As soon as malice, deceit and lies cease to exist, politics will shine with a new civility even in the USA, and even a fly on the vice president’s head can make it to fame.

The Americans have not had this experience for a long time. A survey appointment would have offered the chance to clearly see the decline in political mores and the alternative model offered by Biden. Because nothing is banal with Trump, he lives in excess, which is why a bath in the sink would be good for him. Now he seems to be pinching from John and Jane Doe.


Corona pandemic – Spain becomes the land of gloom – politics

Doctors speak of a superinfection when a patient falls ill with other infections after a virus. Spain threatens to become such a patient. The corona crisis is growing into an economic and state crisis. Regionalism and the traditional irreconcilability between socialists and conservatives are proving to be the worst obstacles in the fight against the coronavirus.

The polarization of the political camps – which has always been clearly noticeable in Spain – unfolds its destructive power at this vulnerable moment and makes Spain particularly vulnerable to the pandemic.

For weeks, Spain has reported one of the highest number of cases in Europe. The latest death toll is reaching the level of April when Spain was hit hardest alongside Italy. But while Italy is now considered a positive example of containing Sars-CoV-2, Spain’s doctors are again warning of the collapse.

But it is not just the massive overburdening of the health system that makes this hour one of the darkest in recent Spanish history. The International Monetary Fund expects the Spanish gross domestic product to collapse by 12.8 percent in 2020. The worst recession since the end of the civil war is forecast.

The fate lies behind the numbers: a quarter of the employees in Spain are on fixed-term contracts, undeclared work is still widespread. These people are not entitled to short-time work benefits, they are already at their limit.

Added to this is the dependency on tourism, on which almost 13 percent of jobs depend. In the past few months tourism has almost completely collapsed. Many waiters and maids live on what they have earned in summer in winter. What will they live on this winter? Many fear the crisis will get even worse than the 2013 crisis, when unemployment peaked at 27 percent. Spain threatens to become a European patient again.

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It therefore stands to reason that Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez should focus his hopes on an antidote from Brussels. This Wednesday, Sánchez explained how he intends to spend the EU’s 140 billion in aid and loans. He calls it a “recovery plan” for Spain. However, an “emergency injection” would be more appropriate, because the country will not recover anytime soon.

Especially not from the third crisis, which is just beginning to begin: Spain is experiencing a dramatic loss of confidence in politics and institutions. Half of voters think the government is doing its job worse than other governments. In March, only 24 percent thought so. The political scientist Víctor Lapuente stated with good reason: “Spain is caught in a vicious circle of citizens who mistrust the rulers and rulers who mistrust the citizens.”

There is growing support for the right

While in other countries confidence in the elected representatives rose in the face of the pandemic, in Spain it sinks into the abyss. 90 percent of Spaniards do not believe that the country is prepared for the months ahead of the pandemic. People feel more or less at the mercy of the virus. This summer, 150 scientists called for Spain to have its virus control measures independently reviewed. Nothing happened.

Instead of resolutely tackling the virus, public officials attack their political opponents. While the opposition leader in neighboring Portugal promised the head of government his “full cooperation” and wished him courage, luck and good nerves, socialists and conservatives in Madrid are each pursuing fundamental opposition. The result is extensive immobility. In the fight against the virus, which requires constant adaptation, this self-paralysis is fatal. “The unity of all institutions is the way to defeat the virus,” warned the Madrid Region Minister for Social Affairs, before resigning in frustration.

While the elected representatives are preoccupied with themselves, many people turn away from them. In line with the declining trust in the institutions, support for the right-wing extremist Vox party is increasing. In the latest survey, Vox made strong gains. So far, Spain has been considered to be halfway immune to right-wing extremist parties such as those in Germany, Austria and France that belong to the political spectrum. With this immunity, it could be over in the middle of the corona pandemic. The division in society threatens to accelerate.

The European Union alone promises unity. It is the only institution that surveys show that almost all Spaniards are turned towards. As a donor, the EU is indispensable for Spain’s recovery – but also as a common horizon for Spain’s future.


The mockery of Caesar Donald Trump – politics

Comment from

Hubert Wetzel

There are, roughly speaking, three ways one can rate this bizarre triumphant show that Donald Trump put on when he returned to the White House on Monday. The first: If you happen to be the autocratic ruler of a small or not so small country, say North Korea or Russia, then you probably only have recognition and maybe a bit of envy. The helicopter in the evening light, the balcony with the flags, the military salute over to the Washington Memorial – Trump learned a lot about power and propaganda, about the cult of the person and the leader.


Right-wing extremism in the police: Documentation of the shame – politics

Security authorities are the guardians of the rule of law. In a parliamentary democracy like the Federal Republic of Germany, there must be no doubt that the police and the armed forces, who embody the state’s monopoly of violence, are firmly rooted in the Basic Law. And that protection of the constitution do what their job title is.

But this basic trust has been shaken and the mistrust is justified, as the situation report on right-wing extremists in security authorities shows. The fact that this report even exists is not due to the insight of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, but to all those who asked for clarification a year ago. Then there was one individual case after another – some only in the past few days.

Because Seehofer finally gave in to this urge, at least the following is documented: Since 2017 there have been 377 cases of suspected or proven right-wing extremism in the security authorities and more than 1,064 suspected cases in the Bundeswehr. Every case is “a shame” – at least the interior minister has found clear words. But this documentation is only a snapshot and is no longer up-to-date. In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, 59 cases have been added since March. This shows the dynamism, but also the greater attention and problem awareness that is being devoted to this topic. Finally.

The activities of the police, the armed forces and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution are embedded in a decades-long history of the repression and trivialization of right-wing extremism, right-wing terrorism and anti-Semitism, and they go back to the recent past. It is not the first time that security authorities have overlooked – or wanted to overlook – the networks behind them because of the sheer number of lone criminals. That was the case with the Oktoberfest attack in Munich in 1980 and also with the double anti-Semitic murder in the same year, to which the Jewish publisher Shlomo Lewin and his partner fell victim in Erlangen. At that time, politics and the judiciary were fixated on RAF terrorism and criminally underestimated right-wing terrorism. The NSU murderers were also able to act undisturbed for years because the investigators did not want to recognize right-wing terror in Germany.

Lessons should be drawn from past failures for the present, especially since Germany is being looked at abroad in particular: In Israel, anti-Semitic attacks such as the one in Halle a year ago and the recent attack in Hamburg, as well as reports of right-wing extremist chats by police officers, are triggering outrage and fears out. In Turkey and in the Turkish community in Germany, it is precisely recorded that the police do not draw any conclusions from racist incidents.

This management report can and should only be the first step. Even if Seehofer continues to stonewall and block an independent, scientific investigation into racism in the police and instead wants to investigate police officers’ experiences of violence: Arguments for such an investigation can be found in the report itself, which states that it is “basically to be assumed from an unreported” .

This dark field needs to be illuminated – right down to the last corner. Seehofer even asked the employees in the security area: “Take a look!” But he doesn’t seem to want to look very closely and certainly doesn’t want to know exactly. However, it must be clarified whether there are networks and structures behind all these incidents, in short: a system. It is not enough for Seehofer to assure that there is no structural problem. It is also not enough for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution to carry out further analyzes, especially since the domestic secret service itself has been criticized since its failure at the NSU complex. This has to be done by an independent institution.

As a politically responsible person, Seehofer should have an interest in gaining sound knowledge of what needs to change. It is necessary to determine which instruments would have to be used in the recruitment, training and further education of civil servants in order to counter right-wing extremist activities. Civic education will have to play a bigger role in education than it does today. Independent contact persons at the security authorities and the armed forces should be installed, because the motto must apply: Don’t look the other way, cover nothing or anyone.

It’s not about putting all police officers under general suspicion. Your reputation has been damaged by the repulsive behavior of some colleagues, just as the basic trust of the citizens has been shaken. You have a right to have enemies of the constitution discovered and removed from service. Because the majority wants to protect this rule of law and not undermine it.


EU: Politicians should rather strengthen the internal market – politics

This EU summit will be much shorter than the previous one, but it could become much more important for Europe’s economy: At the meeting in July, the 27 heads of state and government debated for more than 90 hours before they agreed on the budget and the Corona aid pot. Now the summit will be over in a day and a half.

After the foreign policy on Thursday evening, this Friday is now about the future of the internal market. Only a few hours are provided for this, but for companies and consumers this exchange is certainly more important than the exact amount of the EU budget and Corona aid.

Of course, such financial injections are in great demand from governments, but the financial blessing is spread over several years and is small compared to national budgets. So it won’t make a very big difference. It is therefore very bizarre that heads of government always invest so much time in this topic.

Politicians should better spend their energies on strengthening the single market, the jewel in the crown of EU integration. This does not require money, but simply political will. If the summit debate on Friday contributed to this, a lot would be gained.

The single market principle means that companies in other EU countries can do business just as easily as at home, because Brussels laws remove bureaucratic hurdles at the border. Consumers enjoy more choice and companies enjoy a gigantic market with 450 million customers. This means you can keep up with rivals from other giant markets such as the USA and China. That’s the theory.

In practice, companies still complain of problems with different regulations abroad. Some problems and protectionist harassment even got worse over the years, even before the mind-boggling decision of some governments to close borders regardless of delivery traffic at the start of the pandemic.

There has never been a lack of declarations of intent

In addition, the internal market is focused on the trade in goods; In the case of services and digital – two growth sectors – the hurdles remain very high. Architects are not allowed to offer their services in other EU countries without further ado, and if digital companies want to save or evaluate data across national borders, that can also be a pain.

The draft of the summit resolutions is now full of noble promises: the member states want to remove hurdles, especially in services, and to establish a single market for digital. But there was never a lack of declarations of intent.

It is crucial to implement them – even if it is politically tricky to abolish cherished rules that protect domestic industries from competition from neighboring countries. But all in all, a real, well-functioning internal market benefits all companies, consumers and governments. In addition, it would strengthen Europe in global competition with the USA and China.

Breaking down barriers, promoting trade and thus increasing prosperity: This is the EU’s core economic policy business. And here Brussels has to get better. This is much more important for Europe’s future than redistributing money through an always controversial EU budget.