“Co-say.” Having a voice in a decision.

(MIT shprock eh.)

das Liquid-Feedback

Free open-source software intended to support das Delegated-Voting. Wikipedia says that in addition to helping “find decisions” and “find opinions,” this software can help efficiently channelize different competencies about a topic.

Update on 17 Dec 2012: According to Oliver Wenzlaff’s 2012 book Piratenkommunikation, the software is now being used by Pirate parties in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Brazil, and the German Pirates have encouraged other German political parties to use it with some success in municipal SPD groups and FDP discussion. Wenzlaff writes that it has been called “das Perpetuum mobile der Partizipation,” participation’s perpetual motion machine.

Update on 10 May 2013: the Liquid-Feedback section of the German Pirate Party’s website:

(Doss likvid FEEDBECK.)

das Delegated-Voting, das Liquid-Democracy

German Pirate Party names for a voting system under debate last winter that is intended to enable groups to reach decisions in a manner between direct democracy and representational democracy. This will be enabled by software. On each issue, large or small, you can vote directly or you can assign your vote to someone you think is more competent to decide the specific issue being voted on. Your assigned votes can be rescinded at any time. Das Delegated-Voting is intended to provide more direct, and thus more accurate, feedback to representatives. There would be no more waiting for “elections” and political terms to end; instead voting would be continuous.

According to Wikipedia, an “Internet and Digital Society” Bundestag committee decided in 2010 to use Adhocracy software to involve the public in Bundestag “work” in a Liquid-Democracy manner. Germany’s two conservative political parties (the conservative, apparently slightly shady, powerhouse CDU/CSU and the libertarian now-unpopular FDP) stopped the planned introduction of this software in January 2011, citing costs, but a beta version was put online in February 2011.

(Doss delegated VOTINGK, doss LIKVID democrrracy)

streitbare Demokratie

“Militant democracy,” what Germany has according to the German constitutional court. In such a system, the free democratic fundamental order cannot be ended by legal means. Even a majority of voters cannot decide to eliminate democracy or its most important elements, taking them away from future generations. The state may also act against individuals or groups who wish to harm German democracy, even before they do anything illegal. (Presumably this was behind Germany’s ban of Scientology.) Thus militant democracy itself impinges upon some fundamental rights and is the focus of much dispute.

(SHTRIGHT bar eh DAME oh crah TEE.)

das Pirat

There’s discussion in the German Pirate Party about the fact that the word “pirate” is masculine in German. Rather than go with the usual, ungainly, separative constructions “die Piratinnen und Piraten” or “PiratInnen,” people have suggested making the word neutral in this case. Or providing a dropdown menu in which you can select a gender for “pirate.” One quite popular suggestion is to change the word “pirate” to the neutral word “squirrel” in their articles of incorporation.

(Doss pee ROT.)


“Compulsory loan.” Idea under discussion of forcing German taxpayers who possess EUR 250,000 or more to loan money to the state. If the state’s economy then prospers, the bond would be paid back, perhaps even with interest. 8% of German adults would qualify for this, according to current stats.

(TSVONG z on lie eh.)


“Cousins economy.” Nepotism.

(FETT er n virt shoft.)


“Information economy.” An environment in which information is a kind of currency.

(In form ah TSEE OWNS virt shoft.)


“Notes economy.” Type of self organization system that leaves you drowning in a sea of notes, probably including, but not limited to, a cascade of sticky notes around your computer monitor.

(TSETT el virt shoft.)


“Education citizens,” a societal class that places a high value on education.

(BILL doong z burgher.)


A woman who has expertise in the construction industry. This includes craftswomen and engineers.


BAUFACHFRAU e.V. is an education nonprofit for women builders in Berlin, and Ideentischlerei is their interesting idea of “ideas cabinet-making” or “ideas joinery.” Tischler, the German word we translate as “cabinet maker,” actually means “table maker,” so the word also carries the association of sharing ideas across a table.

(Ee DAY en TISH ler eye.)

gläserne Untertanen

“Glassy subjects.” Idea that the government is opaque but its citizens are transparent.

(GLAY zer neh OON ter t ON en.)

V-Mann, V-Frau

“V men” are police snitches in certain milieux. For a long time I thought V in this case stood for Verfassungsschutz, but apparently it stands for Verbindungs– or Vertrauens-? In the latter case, the paid informants in the German right-wing scene who have supplied questionable information to the police might actually be called “confidence men.”

Update on 4 Sept. 2012: The Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz office apparently ignored its own rules for selecting V-people. German constitutional law requires V-people to be neither leaders nor criminals, “yet V-men in Thuringia often fulfilled both those criteria,” according to Der Spiegel. Furthermore, the Thuringian Verfassungsschutz paid for lawyers, cars, computers and workshop rent for these guys, “keeping the neonazis mobile” as left-wing Thuringian state parliamentarian Martina Renner (Die Linke) described it.

Update on 15 Sept. 2012: Not only police kept V-people. German foreign intelligence, domestic intelligence (state and federal), military intelligence, and police (state and federal) paid V-people for information. Vertrauen means trust or confidence. As Spiegel-Online noted in this excellent article about one of the Berlin police’s neonazi V-men, it is not always clear in these situations who is trusting whom.

Update on 4 Nov 2012: The new head of German Verfassungsschutz, Hans-Georg Maaßen, has called for a central national register of all V-people. This must replace the current system wherein each German state pays its own set of informants and is not required to share information about them, he told the Welt am Sonntag. “Central knowledge is indispensable for effective management of the federal and state V-people.”

Update on 8 Dec 2012: The central list of V-people will go active by 1 Jan 2013.

Update on 4 Feb 2013: There is an argument in the committee investigating the band of neonazi serial killers because a government office refused to have a V-man connected to the cell, “Thomas R.,” appear to testify before the committee. Apparently the bureaucrats running the V-people were and remain also assured complete secrecy and apparent immunity.

Update on 5 Feb 2013: Europol used V-people in its investigation of the UEFA and FIFA soccer betting scandal that so far has turned up at least 380 manipulated games around the world between 2008 and 2011, with profits of at least 8 million euros in Germany alone. In this investigation Europol also accessed phone conversations and evaluated 13,000 emails.

Update on 27 Apr 2013: As part of their 2013 election platform, the Green Party wants to get rid of all V-people.

Update on 23 May 2013: The federal + states commission investigating the investigation of the neonazi serial killers published its highly critical report, which included a recommendation to continue the option of immunity for V-people who commit crimes. Saying such crimes were scarcely avoidable, commission spokesman and Munich attorney Prof. Eckhart Müller indicated the immunity was actually for the government officials paying the V-people, to keep these authorities from being prosecuted under German laws against incitement to crime.

Update on 16 Jul 2014: After a V-Mann testified this week that he gave his snitching fees to the neonazi bank-robbing cell of serial killers—he was available to testify inter alia because he’s been arrested for sexual abuse of a child—someone leaked a 1997 letter to ZDF in which the federal police firmly warn Verfassungsschutz about V-people, saying some were in “exposed positions” and fearing there could be an “incendiary effect.” By this I think they mean now that the authorities were paying neonazi leaders good money, though it sounds like at the time these words could mean they were worried about their sources’ safety. They think now there were seven paid V-people who were in contact with the neonazi serial killers. The 1997 letter mentions two of them by name.

In 1998 the authorities found a bomb-making workshop used by the cell, with one of the terrorist’s contacts list in it. The list was never used by investigators—perhaps because it contained the names of many V-people?

The Thuringian state legislature has passed stricter rules for the V-people paid by Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz. The income cannot be the source’s livelihood. Also, the Thuringian Verfassungsschutz has been made a part of the state’s interior ministry; previously, it was independent.

(F OW! mon. F OW! frrr ow!.)


“Support  payment,” “support installment payment.” At least two “high animals” at FIFA received bribe payments totalling 11 million euros, part of a bribe of 100 million euros given to FIFA by a media company in the 1990’s. Sepp Blatter knew about it. At the time, this was not illegal in Switzerland, but it is illegal now. The two known officials (a guy and his son-in-law) were prosecuted and found technically innocent. FIFA then made a seven-figure “support payment” “to keep the files in the prosecution’s filing cabinet,” which is why we’re only finding out about this now, thanks to journalist Jean François Tanda’s successful lawsuit to obtain access to the court files.

(Oon ter sh TOOTS oongs on tsoll oong.)


“Constitution Protection.” The name for a federal German police agency that has state branches. I don’t know much about it. The name might be intended to convey the idea that federal police are needed to keep a democracy from falling into dictatorship.

Wikipedia says the Verfassungsschutz offices are responsible for domestic intelligence, the Bundesnachrichtendienst for foreign intelligence, and the Militärischer Abschirmdienst for military intelligence.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung said federal Verfassungsschutz is responsible for defending Germany against spying.

Update on 28 August 2012: Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) has announced that he would like to reform the Verfassungsschutz, including a mandate that all state-level Verfassungsschutz organizations would have to send all their information to a central federal office (some state offices have already protested this) and that a central federal list be kept of all Verfassungsschutzmänner and -frauen who are providing information to these police in return for money. See V-Mann, V-Frau.

Update on 29 August 2012: The state and federal reps supposedly only discussed for one hour before agreeing on a framework for reform, which even the opposition SPD party now supports. Not only will state Verfassungsschutz offices be required to share all information with the federal office, but the federal office will be required to share all information with state offices as well (there are currently a total of 17 Verfassungsschutz offices). The state reps negotiated away Hans-Peter Friedrich’s proposal that the federal office be made the sole boss of  investigations of (potentially) violent groups. Angela Merkel’s libertarianesque coalition partner, the FDP, criticizes that these changes are just moving furniture around and the old system, with its redundancies, remains the same.

Update on 03 July 2013: Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) and the head of federal Verfassungsschutz, Hans-Georg Maaßen, announced the Verfassungsschutz agencies will undergo fundamental reforms of structures and procedures, imposing uniform standards on the state and federal offices. The changes are to include: new guidelines for the use of V-people (“persons who have committed the most serious crimes are not to be acquirable as V-people” —Maaßen; informants are no longer to receive fees high enough that they could live on that income alone; handlers are to be swapped every five years at the latest to prevent friendships and Seilschaften; and a central file of state and federal V-people is to be created e.g. to prevent multiple Verfassungsschutz offices from paying the same informant); new rules for working with state Verfassungsschutz agencies (which will have to send the knowledge they acquire in unfiltered form to the federal office) and in future files are only to be destroyed after multiple-step reviews (with destruction training and a “file destruction officer” appointed for each department). “Cross-thinkers” [Querdenker] in the offices are supposed to observe, question and criticize what they see, hopefully spotting real trends and catching when departments are on wrong or slow tracks. These initial reforms are said to be in response to the failures discovered in the investigations of Germany’s decade-long serial-killing bank-robbing neonazi terror cell, not to the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden. Because there is a German election in two months it’s possible these announced reforms will not be enacted and/or funded, as has apparently been the case with some of Health Minister Daniel Bahr (FDP)’s pre-election reform announcements. The opposition criticized them as purely cosmetic and piecemeal anyway. Thomas Oppermann (SPD) called for a mentality change at these agencies and training employees so that they “have a sense of where the real dangers to our democracy lurk.” Hans-Christian Ströbele (Green party) said Verfassungsschutz should be eliminated “such as it is. We can’t let people just continue on who failed like that.”

Update on 19 Sep 2013: A state Verfassungsschutz office (Lower Saxony’s) was caught collecting and keeping information on at least seven journalists. Federal-level Verfassungsschutz was also caught cooperating with the C.I.A. and the Bundesnachrichtendienst to spy on a journalist, though Hans-Georg Maaßen issued a denial; the NDR journalist‘s name, passport number, mobile phone number and date of birth were on a U.S. list of names and data given to the German domestic and foreign intelligence agencies in 2010 with a request for more information about those people.

These reports showed that the German domestic intelligence Verfassungsschutz (state and federal) and foreign intelligence Bundenachrichtendienst agencies are supplying information for databases (now including ones named “Project 6,” “P6” and/or “PX”) that should have been inspected by data protection officers and subject to German data protection rules regulating among other things what information they can contain and for how long, after which the data must be deleted. However, the German data protection officers did not know about these databases, said Peter Schaar. He said this is no minor infraction, and “anyone running such a project absolutely must guarantee that all activities are completely documented and subjected to data protection control/inspection.”

The excuse for Lower Saxony Verfassungsschutz’s spying on journalists was fighting neonazis and the excuse for federal Verfassungsschutz’s spying on journalists was fighting terror. In his 2007 book Das Ende der Privatsphäre [“The End of Privacy”], Mr. Schaar said in the 1990’s the excuse tended to be fighting organized crime.

Update on 14 Mar 2014: New Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière announced the Verfassungsschutz will stop watching members of the Leftists party, which many S.E.D. politicians from the former East Germany joined twenty years ago, “unless they have good grounds for surveillance.” It will also “in general” stop watching Bundestag members, no matter what party they belong to. He said they reserved the right to investigate resumption of surveillance if they received new knowledge. Such as, that Bundestag members had connections to extreme milieux willing to do violence. Sü said this change of policy is in response to a case Bodo Ramelow (Leftists, and kept under observation for decades) brought to the supreme court, Bundesverfassungsgericht, in Karlsruhe. The court decided in October 2013 that “parliamentarians could only be watched who abused their mandate to fight against the free democratic basic order.” Sü said Mr. de Maizière’s formal statement did not say members of state parliaments would generally no longer be watched, and it noted that formally that his statement only commits the federal Bundesverfassungsschutz to suspend operations, not the 16 state offices.

Update on 08 Apr 2014: A company that represents companies in the Maschinenbau industry [“machine building,” industrial engineering] signed an agreement with federal Verfassungsschutz at this year’s trade show in Hanover. The agreement is supposed to encourage more German companies to consult Verfassungsschutz about suspected cases of industrial espionage. “But Verfassungsschutz’s advantage is that unlike police they do not have to follow up on a crime, said the association. That is to say, the intelligence agency can pass on information to a company that’s affected; what happens with it after that is the management’s decision.”

(Fer FOSS oongs shoots.)

hohes Tier

“High animal.” Someone with an important job. Helmut Roewer, for example, the now-retired president of Thuringian Verfassungsschutz from 1994 to 2000. Spiegel-Online says his interests were “Wine, Women and Verfassungsschutz.” Apparently Roewer was difficult to work with or manage. According to the “Wine, Women” article, none of the responsible people can now remember appointing him to his post, and Roewer says he doesn’t recall who handed him the written appointment because he was drunk at the time.

Update on 04 Oct. 2012: Helmut Roewer has written a memoir, and Der Spiegel had to read it. “Roewer, who is considered vain and erratic, sees himself as a mover and a shaker.” Originally, Roewer was a West German lawyer. Spiegel calls his book “280 pages of justifications and assigning blame.”

(HO ess TEER.)

auf dem rechten Auge blind

Blind in the right eye. The accusation that for years state and federal German police failed to catch right-wing neonazi serial killers because of internal police failures that have yet to be clarified. At least three, now four, high-level heads have rolled so far. Mysterious documents were mysteriously shredded. The investigating committee now claims the shredded files have been recreated, reviewed and weren’t mysterious.

Apparently some German police have been paying people in the neonazi scene for information for years. This has undermined evidence when neonazis were put on trial, made it difficult to outlaw neonazi political parties and dropped a lot of money into neonazi treasuries, while failing to provide good information about e.g. neonazi serial killers.

(OW! F day m reck ten OW! geh blinn d.)

Überall ist Entenhausen

“Everywhere is Duckville.” A loving tribute from Donaldists.

(Oober all isst Enten how’s en.)


Deutsche Organisation nichtkommerzieller Anhänger des lauteren Donaldismus,
the German Organization of Noncommercial Devotees of the True Donaldism.
A society of Donald Duck fans.

(Day. Oh. En. Ah. Elll. Day.)


In comics, this is a word written above a character that is acting out that word, i.e. *clearsthroatmeaningfully*, *wonderwtf*, *ponder*. Named after Dr. Erika Fuchs, the charming and inventive translator of Carl Barks’s Donald Duck comics.

(AIR ica TEEF.)


What teenaged girls uttered when they saw the Beatles live.

(CRY sh.)


“Not proportional.” Improper. Like how a tiny number of Bundestag delegates amended a bill during the recent Italy vs. Germany match to permit their gubmint to sell the contact information—the names, addresses, phone numbers, &c.—people must provide when they mandatorily register their residence in Germany. The new law is required because in future residents are going to have to register their contact information with the federal government instead of the state ones. The “Italy” amendment flipped the default from “burghers must give permission before their data can be sold” to “burghers must forbid the selling of their data or their data will be sold.” The “score” of delegates added an excemption to even that: when people state that they do not want Angela Merkel’s government, and all governments after hers, to sell their personal data to address dealers and marketing firms, the government will still release this data to entities seeking to correct errors in their databases.

Update on 21 Sept. 2012: The Bundesrat stopped this law. It’s been sent back for rewriting.

(Oon fer HAIL t niss mace ick.)


“Metabolism!” Yell this when you feel strangely weak. Fan yourself with your hand. In France they might call it a liver issue.

(CRIES l ow! f.)


“Beer corpse.” A temporary condition induced by Oktoberfests, Schützenfests, Kirmess fairs, Kirschenfests, Leinenweberfests, Mandelblütenfests… People who have transitioned into the “beer corpse” state have to be carried to a special tent.

(BEER like ah.)


Low-quality moonshine. Also: airplane fuel.

(FOO zill.)


Bad beer or wine. Nasty brew. Swill, dishwater, gnat’s pizzle, camel micturation, acid rain.

(PLERR ah.)


Fusty, frowsty, moldy, muggy, musty, unventilated; in the case of beer, skunky beer.

(MEFF ick.)


“Off stood.” Beer in glasses that has stood around for too long. Its foamy top has begun to subside!

(OB geh STOND en.)

Helmut Kohl, Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin walk into a bar at Camp David

It’s a poolside bar. Bill Clinton says, “Here at Camp David we have a magic swimming pool. You run to the end of the diving board, leap high into the air, and call out the name of your favorite drink.” Bill Clinton demonstrates, calling “Whiskey!” as he catapults into the air. The entire pool turns into whiskey. Much fun ensues. Boris Yeltsin climbs unsteadily but determinedly up the diving board ladder, leaps, and yells, “Vodka!” The entire pool turns into vodka. Then it’s Helmut Kohl’s turn. He puffs even more slowly up the ladder, thinks, carefully jumps, and says, “Pilsner!” All the water disappears from the pool, and there’s a nasty incident. Bill Clinton turns to Boris Yeltsin and says, “Doesn’t everyone know it takes ten minutes to draw a good pilsner?”

die Blume auf dem Bier

“The blossom on the beer.” The foam atop, which should be at least 2 cm high. This is why it takes 10 minutes to draw a pilsner. Once in the glass, beer must be served quickly in German bars or its blossom will noticeably wilt.

(Dee BLOOM eh ow! f dame BEER.)

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