Die Wörter der Steurbetrüger:
1) Word: die hehlerei – en
Definition: trafficking in stolen goods
Significance: After the German government bought information on tax deceivers from a hacker who had breached security at a Swiss bank, opponents of the government’s action accused the state of trafficking in stolen goods.
2) Word: die Empörung – en
Significance: We described the reaction to the government’s purchase of the data as an outrage.
3) Word: rechtfertigen
Definition: to justify
Significance: We debated the explanations the government gave in an attempt to justify their purchase of the evidence.
4) Word: der Steurbetrüger -
Definition: tax deceiver(s)
Significance: The government purchased the stolen data in an attempt to track down and prosecute tax deceivers who had underreported their income and stashed some away in secret Swiss accounts.
5) Word: hinterziehen
Definition: to evade
Significance: While ein Betrüger refers to one who deceives, hinterziehen describes the actual act of evasion. This word also came up in our discussion of tax evasion.
6) Word: das Vermögen –
Definition: the total sum of one’s assets
Significance: German citizens are required to report the total sum of their assets for taxation purposes. Tax deceivers underreport their earnings.
7) Word: bestraffen
Definition: to punish
Significance: This word came up in our discussion of the government’s justification. Without purchasing the stolen evidence, the judicial system would be unable to punish those who sought to evade the law.
Die Wörter des Überwachens:
8) Word: speichern
Definition: to save/store (data)
Significance: We listened to a story on Logo about a court ruling regarding the government’s surveillance policies. Apparently, the German government stores records of its citizens’ computer use (though, if I recall correctly, the court ruled that this is henceforth forbidden).
9) Word: der Vorrat -¨e
Definition: a store or supply
Significance: The government maintained a record of computer data.
10) Word: löschen
Significance: The government deleted their records six months after the day the data was collected.
11) Word: das Privatleben -
Definition: private life
Significance: Critics of the policy regarded it as an undue intrusion into the private lives of citizens.
12) Word: das Überwachen
Significance: The controversy centered around an extensive form of government surveillance.
13) Word: der Verdacht – e
Significance: Those under suspicion of wrongdoing warranted additional surveillance (though I don’t recall if the data storage covered all citizens, or only those already under investigation. I believe it was the former, but I’m not sure).
Die Wörter der Wahlen:
14) Word: die Wahl – en
Significance: During our unit on German political trends, we extensively discussed Germans’ attitude (and sometimes despair) towards their government and elections.
15) Word: bemängeln
Definition: to criticize
Significance: We listened to a couple of songs that criticized the political climate in Germany, and discussed the numerous criticisms of the controversial Hartz-IV program.
16) Word: die Richtung – en
Significance: In our discussion of party platforms, each of the major political parties claimed that their programs and ideals were critical to taking Germany in a new, right direction.
17) Word: sich profilieren
Definition: to self promote
Significance: One article we read mentioned a politician slamming Hartz-IV (“We talk often over the people receiving the payments, but what about the people who put the money in?”). Opponents claimed he was merely trying to stir attention and gain votes. The anti-climate protection side of our debate also accused Al Gore of empty self-promotion.
18) Word: das Gesetz – e
Significance: Talk of the law first arose, naturally enough, in our discussion of government, and resurfaced (in a more obtuse sense) in Kafka’s “Vor dem Gesetz.”
19) Word: das Sponsoring
Definition: campaign donations
Significance: The article with the Hartz-IV criticism also mentioned a controversy over campaign donations. One candidate (or his party) had come under suspicion for some apparently dubious fundraising.
20) Word: die Enthüllung – en
Significance: The party in question had apparently failed to fully disclose their campaign contributions.
21) Word: büβen
Definition: to pay (for one’s sins)
Significance: The article suggested that the candidate’s poor performance could’ve stemmed from the funding controversy; he took a hit in the polls as a result of his misconduct.