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"Somehow the all-powerful, all-compassionate European social welfare model was incapable of helping thousands of vulnerable citizens survive a heat wave just three years ago."

Ray, I believe you missed their reasoning on this. It is not that they are incapable (although they probably are), but it is a deliberate policy. Due to the low birth rates, the demographics are forcing the social welfare model to thin out the elderly to put off the point in time of the collapse of the model. It's easier to eliminate the elderly than to raise taxes on a decreasing base of younger tax payers (it’s sort of hard to squeeze blood out of a turnip) to pay for the social benefits of an increasing base of older recipients. I guess you could call it the European social euthanasia model. :)

"In den USA erfrieren im Winter immer wieder alte Menschen in ihren Betten."

This is what gets me - that such blatantly outrageous lies can be broadcast in the German media, and without outlets such as Medienkritik, will go completely unchallenged. And let's not call this anything but what it is - an outright, intentional lie for the purpose of "reminding" Germans of why they should fear, "amerikanische Verhältnisse". In fact, only about 600 people on average freeze to death in the United States per year (in a county of 300 Million), the vast majority of which are homeless and not "old people in their beds". There are numerous government assistance programs aimed at keeping people from freezing to death, unlike the case in Europe where there was no system which could prevent tens of thousands of elderly from dying of heat stroke during the heat wave a couple years ago.

But this is a good point, and it shows why Germans hold such outrageously incorrect stereotypes of life in the United States and a fear of anything approaching "Anglo-Saxon economic reforms". They've been fed a steady diet of misinformation, half-truths, lies and distortions by their media, all in an attempt to prop up the European left's portrait of the United States as a land of rigid class divisions where the rich eat caviar and drive six-figure cars while the poor freeze to death, with absolutely no middle ground in between.

First, its been a real mild winter in Boston this year.

Second, I estimate that the old man "Jerry" is living in a house that has at least $300,000 in equity. It beats the hell out of me why he can not secure a home equity loan.

Third, whoever set him up with Weltspiegel should be investigated by the Office of Elder abuse. The fact that Jerry keeps his house cold despite having a sick wife is disturbing. The fact that Weltspiegel's sources knew that these conditions existed but did not report it to the proper authorities, smacks of elder abuse. It is possible that both have a touch of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It may be time for Jerry and his wife to move to an assisted living home.

Fourth, I wrote Weltspiegel, thanking them for their assistance in helping Boston's elderly. I have offered to donate air conditioners to German elders so that the summer of 2003 does not repeat itself. I even offered them a chance to film the event of "us" donating the air conditioners to surprised and happy German grandmothers and grandfathers. I can't wait for them to get back to me.

Don Miguel, what you are stating is plain scary.
Could you back your opinion up?
(I think nanny-state is wrong, though)

I knew I smelled a rat in this ‘story’.

“The press conference was held at the South Boston home of Jerry Garten, 79, a grandfather of 13 who raised six daughters in his East Fourth Street townhouse. He and his wife Anne, who is disabled, live on Social Security and exhausted their $409 federal fuel assistance allotment in November. Virtually all of the state's 140,000 households receiving fuel assistance have already run through their benefit.”


Joe Kennedy, the wealthy and degenerate son of Robert Kennedy, pays himself $400,000 every year, out of his ‘charity’ to help the poor.

Now back to Jerry Garten, stooge. He’ got six daughters? So, there seems to be 19 direct decedents for the old folks. And they can’t kick in 10 dollars a week each? That would be enough to turn the house into a sauna.

Something smells. German TV, Joe “I Be In Front Of A Camera For $400k/year” Kennedy, and in the back round if one reads about Kennedy, Massachusetts congressman Delahunt is…. Hugo Chavez!


@ Don Miguel,

Your comment is utter nonsense. Don't bother to comment if you can't come up with anything better.

@ Don Miguel,

Your comment is utter nonsense. Don't bother to comment if you can't come up with anything better.

Actually, Ray, I read that comment as satire/ironic.

Carl Spackler
Now back to Jerry Garten, stooge. He’ got six daughters? So, there seems to be 19 direct decedents for the old folks. And they can’t kick in 10 dollars a week each? That would be enough to turn the house into a sauna.

This whole story does smell. Like the Kannapolis lie.

There's an article in WaPo today about the decline of France. Books are coming out in France about a climate of fear. The premise is that the French have become afraid of everything.

And altho I think Don Miguel's comment was in jest, I do wonder if there is a zeitgeist in Europe that needs to build a fantastical bogeyman out of (mis)perceived American failings in order to avoid confronting the real abyss right in front of them.

I got an email from an American expat living in Germany. I quote:

I have spoken to some others (age
>60) in Germany and Madrid and several of them think war is coming back to

OK. If Don Miguels' comment was just a joke, I retract my first comment. I didn't read it that way.

Again, Weltspiegel's ability to distort truth lets me perplexed. How is it possible that such lies and insinuations can achieve such a respectable status in Germany? How is it possible for the German viewership/society to absorb such lies and exaggerations with such a willingness? Apparently, the story was respectable and credible enough to deserve a follow-up.

In a normal society such a story would be exposed for what it is - blatantly slanted journalism. Best case, it would be forgotten as a stupid mistake. But no, not in Germany. Here it deserves a follow-up. And maybe another one, and another one, and ...

It is obvious that the German media has achieved its goal - the Germans are accepting uncritically anything it is thrown at them. I find it extremely depressing. Not the fact that the German media doesn't like Bush, but the fact that they are so willing to sacrifice literally every ounce of dignity in order to impose their ideological view of the world.

Apparently everything moves in circles. The German media underwent a long and needed transformation from being Goebbel's propaganda vehicle to becoming a civilized, objective and critical media corps. Right now, whatever its defenders may say, the German media is, in some instances, behaving as if it hasn's learned anything from the past. DMK has posted quotes from Goebbels's times and present times, which are frighteningly fully interchangeable. We have come full circle. The media is there again. This time coming from the Left, not Right. What do they want? Where do they go from here?

As it has been often pointed out, there is indeed room for mistakes. We all make them. The problem is that those mistakes are always one-sided. When was the last time Weltspiegel presented anything related to the US in an unfustified favorable light?

Remeber though, it's all Bush's fault. Once he's gone ...

This reminds me of a most interesting conversation I had with a German mother last week as I was picking my child up at Kindergarten. She heard me speaking English with my daughter and asked me where I was from. When I told her I'm from the US, she asked if I liked living in Germany. After I replied, she told me that she doesn't like living in Germany, anymore. Basically, she fears for the future -- she thinks Germany is going to Hell in a handbasket. She said her family is probably going to move to Canada (okay, it's not the US, but remember she has lived in Germany all her life).

So, not everyone buys into the ideas the European media is pushing. Many of those who have travelled and have seen for themselves what North America is like know what the truth is (of course, I also know of those who *should* know better, but don't).

Just imagine how dim her view must be of the future in Germany that she would strike up a conversation like that with a strange American. Talk about voting with your feet.

I did a deed search on Jerry Garten's property. He has a 1985 mortgage for $35,000. There is no property in Boston that is valued for $35,000. Gerry has to be sitting on 250 to 300K in equity.


Also, Gerry has a history of not paying his taxes. Some how he always happens to come up with the money before the city forecloses on him. You don't think Joe Kennedy has a program where Germans and other good intentioned foreigners pay property taxes for America's poor elderly?

@Scott H
Why do you think she is planning do go to Canada? Germans do very well discern between Canada and the US (especially in the media). She decided for sure to go to Canada because, she had been given this distorted view of the US by the Media here so she is probably afraid that she would get robbed as soon as she leaves the plane.
Living here in Germany I also get the impression that something big will happen soon. It feels like the pot is cooking and the lid is shaking. I think in the next 10-20 years we will see massive civil unrest in the western part of Europe, probably it will start in France and then spread.


It's interesting that you should bring that up. As we discussed various aspects of Germany, Canada, and the US, I mentioned several things that I think differed from what she thought.

While discussing Canada, I commented that Canada was sort of a "half-way" point between what people are used to in Germany and in the US. When I commented about the fact that Canada's health care system probably most closely resembled England's system, she did not seem to think that was such a good thing. I suspect she thought it was no different than Germany's system.

Her concern about the future in Germany stems from demographic trends. I commented that most "western" countires were facing the same sorts of issues -- obviously, some more seriously and immediately than others (for example, Japan, then Germany, and then -- even -- the US). It's what each country does to "fix" things, and when they take action, that matters. When I commented that Germany no doubt faces some painful changes in the future and I hoped they didn't react like France does when things change, she looked at me with a quizzical look on her face. Then, all of a sudden, I could see a look of panic on her face as she realized what I was referring to.

I fear, more and more, that civil unrest in in Germany's future.


Why do you think she is planning do go to Canada?

Most likely because it's relatively easy. I too moved from Germany to Canada for a while, simply because I wasn't able to move to the US. The Canadian immigration laws make it much easier to move there, while US laws make it impossible, in some instances.

As Scott said, since I couldn't yet move to the US, I figured Canada was sort of a "half-way" point between what people are used to in Germany and in the US. Fortunately, the US doors opened for me eventually and I didn't need the Canadian surrogate anymore :-)

I must say though that I learned to like Canada a lot while I was there. I didn't like their kind of dormant economy and their corrupt socialist, sorry, liberal politicians. Otherwise it was a great experience.

This guy is great: American anonymous
I wouldn't have thought of that

On the other hand, I am tired of discussing it to Germans. It doesn't make any sense. The problem is I cannot get someone to discuss it WITH ARGUMENTS. No, it's just that the Germans know better. Until now I've only made "enemies" when we get to this topic. So I just quit doing that. I told my girlfriend (a German) that in US the unemployment is half the size in Germany, and she tells me "I saw a lot of people living in Wohnwagen, I bet they are not registered".

I think Germany is doomed to socialism. And they will always "know better", no matter what. It is this "we know better" that drives me crazy. It would be ok if they said "well, maybe they are better, off, let's see the facts, let's see if we are ready to pay the price, etc". But no. Oh, it's terrible to hear the same thing all day long everywhere you go.

Please someone, a word of encouragement for me? (except for "why don't you immigrate to US")

Arguing with germans about the US using ARGUMENTS? Impossible! Even if you are an american who has lived there for half his life you couldn't possibly know better than any german who probably never has been there at all. Why? Because you would have been mislead by the american press that is completely controlled by the american government whereas the german press, off course, is completely neutral and unbiased.
I have a long time ago given up to argue with germans. It leads to nowhere. Even if you proove them your points in books or press releases they will just wipe it away as being propaganda or whatever and the conversation will always end with a "German tanks in WWII have been far superior to US tanks".

BTW. Would it be allowed in the US for a political party to own public medias like newspapers or TV stations? In Germany there is a company called DDVG which is openly owned by the left wing party SPD and owns various newspapers and TV stations. Off course that won't keep those medias from staying neutal (har, har).

garydausz, I think that it would be possible for a political party to own a tv station or network, but they would probably be shut down due to truth in advertising almost immediately after launching the service. There are no restrictions on who, just on how many in each market. This would bear further research.

Hi Neocon,

I responded to your comment on the other Weltspiegel thread. Hope it is helpful. Sorry for the delay but I hadn't read the question until today.

@ Chris,
Thanks a lot for the link. I guess the rumours are just rumours, after just having looked at it for a while, not thouroughly, although. I have to have a deeper look at it.
Now I'm really sorry I gave up debating it with Germans ;)

thanks for your reply. So I'm not the only one...
What do you think af a "American anonymous", but for guys who don't feel like having a fight (as is Erik's)?
Like a "how to keep calm when hearing the Spiegel/ZDF/Stern crap" guide.
Because it's not easy to stay calm...

I modestly suggest that the Germans do a little research.
I nearly all states, it's illegal to cut off utilities for non-payment in winter, and there are payment programs, including subsidies, for the elderly and indigent.

Not that Weltspiegel would bother with small details like that.

I'm sorry some people missed the ":)" at the end of my comment. Of course it was satire.


If I really believed crap like that I wouldn't be posting here; I'm sure there are other web sites that actually would welcome that sort of thinking.


In Mass, a landlord can not cut off water or electricity.

The law allows landlords to separately meter apartments. But a meters only work with natural gas. The Garten house is heated by oil.

But that is the killer! Gerry Garten is not a renter. According to my deed search, he owns his own house and he only has a $35,000 mortgage on the house.

I hope our German friends understand that he is not poor! He owns a house that has a value in the range of $250,000 to $350,000. Gerry Garten can easily get a home equity loan to pay his heating bills.

Instead, he as allowed naive foreigners to pay his heating bill when he can buy and sell the average German. (not to mention many Americans).

I just did a search of the property assessment and taxes for Mr. Garten's house:


It was assessed at $365,800. Boston carries an alleged 100% market value assessment, but the South Boston real estate market has been extremely active with a considerable run-up in the past couple of years. Also, since it is a neighborhood with high voter turn-out, the assessors have a history of going easy on properties there.

By the way, I just recently blogged about the long history of German anti-American propaganda. Good luck on reforming it.

Note from David: Many thanks, Mitch, for your valuable research!

@ garydausz

Arguing with germans about the US using ARGUMENTS? Impossible!

Unfortunately you are right.
I've been engaged in a multi-year back and forth with my brother in Law.
Unfortunately he is proof that political insanity as well can be "inherited" from your kids.
Some years ago, his oldest son (PhD in Biology) argued that the planet would be better of without mankind; he now has 3 daughters. My brother in law sends me paperclipings about the negatives of the war in Iraq, but when I tell him to be concerned about his (preschool aged) grand daughters with Sharia coming to Germany, he lectures me about needing to be more christian towards Muslims.

"Some years ago, his oldest son (PhD in Biology) argued that the planet would be better of without mankind;"

I think this is a big part of the problem.
There are a lot of organizations out there whose purpose is to "save" the planet and the animals at all cost. In this atheistic view, the people are not important. The earth, the animals, the environment is all that matters. Earth libaration front, Animals liberation front are considered by FBI terrorist organisations. And let's not forget the president of PETA, who, after some terrorists used a donkey to blow sth. up, addressed Arafat and asked him to "leave the animals out of this". Need proof that for some people the humans have no value at all?
The Christians believe that everything (earth, stars, animals) were created for man, and not the other way around. That's why they think the man should be the central point here.It looks like the environmentalists stopped worshipping the Creator and started to worship the creation (the earth, for instance)

I consider myself an environment friendly person. I am for protecting the environment, the endangered species, I am against trespassing (is this the right word for illegaly killing animals?), uncontrolled deforestation (is there such a word!?), getting away from oil, etc.
But the environment agenda in Germany has gone too far.

I think the Dosenpfand is a chicanery. The same with eco-tax. As about "no atom energy", there is no debate about that. It is just accepted as a fact, that "Germany is green".

I for myself actually consider the environmental regulations in germany as being a good thing. As long as they serve the purpose of saving energy and ressources or keep harmful substances out of nature thats just fine with me. Actually I think the US could do some more in that direction.
But all this "new" environmental behaviour in Germany now serves them as moral pedestal from which they blame the US for being guilty for all global environmental problems, that might have a human cause, completely ignoring the fact that if global warming actually exists that it would have been caused in the past 200 years and Germany had a big part in adding its share to the problem.

The real estate evaluation site zillow.com sets the guy's housing value at well over 400k. he easily qualifies for a $300k mortgage


$300K. But don't you see he has a lower income than I do - even though I own no house. It would be unkind of you or I to suggest he and his wife move to something more suitable. No, natural justice demands that we pay higher taxes to subsidize his heating bills paid on a large detached house where two people are living.

Living in my 1-bedroom rented apartment I personally take great satisfaction in that kind of 'social justice'. Doesn't everyone?

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