Link dump December 2020



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[added later:]

Germany appears to have the American sickness now. Covid spiked, but we didn't succeed at pushing down the daily case figures for a month. That's a society failure mostly known from the U.S.. The usual sequence of events in OECD countries is that an exponential growth becomes visible after a week or two, people and government react, and the daily new cases figures crash to previous level within a few weeks. This time, they didn't in Germany - in stark contrast to Belgium, for example. Even Austria is making more progress (albeit on a worse level).

I don't think that we can blame the tiny but loudmouth moron faction that agitates in effect pro-pandemic. The real problem is in my opinion a lack of self-discipline (I'm no fanatic hand-washer any more, either) among the general population (and in my region especially the retail employees).

It's a pity, for the Christmas time family reunions and festivities would be much better and in many cases much more complete if we still had 1/30th the daily cases figures as we had during the summer.

The ponderous decentralized yet mostly consensual decisionmaking in federal Germany seemed to work acceptably well in this crisis until recently. Now we can be glad that the federal government monopolizes foreign policy and defence policy (thought eh states have kind of embassies to the EU).

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[German] https://twitter.com/HonkHase/status/1334171963451957251

[German] https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/geheimdienste-bundesnachrichtendienst-abhoeren-gesetzentwurf-1.5133098



  1. "The fall of the East was mistaken for the rise of the West."

  2. The article on South Korea makes it look like Korea and Russia have tensions when Korea is actually developing a version of the S400 with Russian and French (Thales) help.

    The allegations of gene editing to increase mental aptitude was already made when twins were born who supposedly were HIV tolerant. The editing had also effects on brain plasticity and is associated with higher intellect. Doping might became standard practice in armed forcs anyway.

    The new law for German intelligence begs the question why they put so much reliance on the US after all the visible problems. It doesn't communicate well how this data collecting is keeping us safe and it does have lots of possible problematic applications.

    1. There's no real question. The German intelligence services (and law enforcement) are prohibited from spying on people in Germany, with law enforcement getting some exceptions if a judge permits it based on supported suspicions.

      The BND wants to spy on people in Germany, but must not do it itself. So the German government actually permits foreigners to spy on us, then the BND can look into their findings about us.

      We should restart the BND, the MAD, all 17 domestic intelligence services and also the non-technical parts of 16 LKAs and the BKA. They're way too much brown sauce (especially the literally nazi-based BND) and too persistent in their efforts to erode civil rights.
      The LKAs and BKAs are furthermore near-useless against big ticket white collar criminals.

    2. Do you have any evidence for the LKAs and the BKA being drenched in brown sauce?

      Wouldn't you risk throwing out the child with the bathwater by starting all over from scratch i.e. losing the most experienced personnel?

      And finally, wouldn't it be easier to simply improve their investigative capabilities against white collar crime?

    3. The BND has its roots in "Fremde Heere Ost" turning into the Organisation Gehlen which served uS intelligence before the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany. At least some Nazis were fired after the early years.

    4. Well, stories like these
      and the entire NSU scandal support that the LKA are utterly biased and outright useless in regard to right wing crimes. Their track record of doing squat about white collar crimes speaks for itself. The CumEx scandal should have brought dozens of people into jail long ago.

      Meanwhile, the Verfassungsschutz intel agencies are basically sponsoring neonazis by employing them. The list of their scandals is excessive.

      LE is authoritarian-leaning by its nature, and outside of supposedly communist dictatorships this means they're right wing-leaning. This cannot really be helped, even in long-time social democrats-led states the police leadership had social democrats party membership, but authoritarian-conservative mindset.

      So a certain leaning is to be accepted and tolerable, but the partial blindness to neonazi crimes and the persistent efforts to erode civil rights in favour of a surveillance/police state isn't.

      To change course requires to break the system by which these bureaucracies choose their leadership. You get rid of the middle-layer leadership that writes reports about junior leadership in order to have a chance of a self-sustaining promotion system that does not systematically promote authoritarians into top leadership who de facto protect neonazis as much as possible.

      An alternative would be to create a parallel bureuaucracy (there's no nature's law preventing having two bureaucracies for the same job, such examples exist) that's founded with acceptable personnel and structured with good incentives. This parallel bureaucracy could grow and replace the old one (which wouldn't get any personnel replacements whatsoever any more). This approach only works if you can keep right wingers and their fake "law and order" crooks from interfering, which means they couldn't gain power for about 20 years. This takes too long.

      The easiest way is to throw out the entire leadership, keep little more than subject matter (technical) experts, and rebuild it quickly to strength with selected personnel from other state police forces (and as well-paid people with financial sector knowledge).