VW Too Big To Fail?

Then it’s too big. Think GM (Government Motors). Only different. As in much worse.


At Volkswagen AG, political connections come already fitted.

When it comes to Volkswagen, German chancellors don’t intervene in company decisions. But the unique arrangement in Lower Saxony (it holds 20 percent of the company) has spawned alumni in high places with an interest in the boardroom, including Merkel’s Social Democratic predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder, who sat on VW’s supervisory board for eight years as state premier, was known as the “auto chancellor” when he led Germany from 1998 to 2005 because of his perceived closeness to the car industry.

Following him to Berlin after serving at his side in Lower Saxony was Frank-Walter Steinmeier, now in his second stint as Merkel’s foreign minister. Sigmar Gabriel, who succeeded Schroeder as state premier — and VW board member — is now vice chancellor and economy minister. He also heads the Social Democratic Party, Merkel’s junior coalition partner. Christian Wulff, a Christian Democrat like Merkel who succeeded Gabriel in the state capital Hanover, made it all the way to the German presidency, before resigning in 2012 amid a legal probe.

Im Abgas-Skandal, dessen Auswirkungen noch unübersehbar sind, rückt die Frage nach der Mitverantwortung der deutschen Politik in den Fokus. Und weil die politischen Spitzen der Republik wie geschockt schweigen und selbst die sonst geliebten Talkshows meiden, werden Vorwürfe laut, die Bundesregierung habe mit Volkswagen gekungelt und möglicherweise sogar von den Manipulationen gewusst.

I Got Your Green Credentials For You Right Here, Pal

“It’s ugly, but it gets you there.” But it’s ugly. And it’s getting uglier by the minute.


The timing of the scandal could not be worse for the government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to travel to New York on Friday to persuade fellow members of the United Nations to adopt climate goals ahead of a UN climate conference in Paris in December.

Merkel sees herself as champion of climate issues and would like to see Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power and the transition to renewable energy as one of her most lasting legacies.

In June, she helped draw up ambitious carbon emission reduction goals adopted by the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

At the same time, she has always robustly defended the interests of her country’s automakers and postponed the implementation of European emission limits.

German Of The Day: Dreck Am Stecken

That means there is dirt stuck (to you) somewhere or you have dirt under your carpet – as in having done something wrong or illegal.


You know, like Volkswagen has/does in US-Amerika? The company inserted a device into almost 500,000 cars meant to trick emissions testing, the EPA says. Volkswagen is not denying this.

So the next time Germans begin those tiring lectures about doing more for the Umwelt (another German word meaning environment), remember to make sure and check if their emissions are make-believe or not.

There are almost 500,000 vehicles on American roads with the devices installed, according to the EPA. Volkswagen must now pay to repair the emissions systems in affected cars. The government may also fine the company as much as $18 billion.

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play. No, wait. That was the Rolling Stones. And they were destroying Berlin’s Waldbühne.

After World War II, the Olympic grounds were within the British occupation sector of Berlin. They were released for public use beginning in 1948, and the amphitheater was used for film showings, including for the Berlinale, and beginning in 1960 for boxing matches. Use for concerts began in the 1960s, but when the Rolling Stones performed there on 15 September 1965, the theater was severely damaged. Fans stormed the stage, and after the band left after a set of only 20 to 25 minutes, fought police, who attempted to control them with rubber truncheons and fire hoses, and destroyed the seating, fire hydrants and other furnishings. 270,000 DM in damage was done, in a riot that fulfilled the dire prophecies of some Berlin newspapers about rock concerts and was the first inter-generational battle of the 1960s in Germany. A reporter from Bild wrote of the concert, “I know Hell.” The arena had to be completely renovated and was then little used until 1978.

Are We Having An Ugly American Border Wall Yet?

Sooner or later reality gets up in your face.


Germany has introduced temporary controls on its border with Austria to cope with the influx of migrants, the interior minister has said.

Politically this is a shrewd move by Thomas de Maiziere. His announcement comes just a day before he travels to Brussels to meet other EU interior ministers to discuss the migrant crisis. The measure will help him put pressure on other European countries to do their bit. It highlights just how much Germany is struggling to cope.

The move could also serve as a useful threat; after all, Mr de Maiziere said Germany was controlling the border with Austria “first”, the implication being more could follow. The possibility that Germany might suddenly decide to control its other borders could well help jolt EU partners into action.

But I Didn’t Inhale

Now this one here knocked my socks CLEAN off. Finally, some real news.


German GREEN whip Anton Hofreiter from the GREEN party has revealed in a shocking interview about his new GREEN Book entitled “Toking and Criminality” that yes, he, too, he HIM-GREEN-SELF actually smoked GREEN pot in his youth. He didn’t do it all that often, though. And it goes without saying that he didn’t inhale. And that was way back when in his youth, like he says. When he was young and stuff.

His drugs today are wine and beer. Damn. He reminds me of me.

“Ja, ich habe in meiner Jugend gekifft.”

German ISIS Defectors Explain How Terrorist Lifestyle Was Actually Somewhat Disappointing

Clearly not the sharpest knives in the drawer, two Germans who fought for ISIS in Syria are standing trial back home and are now prepared to give “deep insights” into the life of foreign fighters in Islamic State.


One of the very first deep insights appears to be that life as an ISIS terrorist really, really, really sucks. Who would have thought that?

Although facing a potential jail term of 10 to 20 years, the IS defector called Ebrahim B. claimed to have gone through such horrible atrocities during three months in the Islamic State that “for him jail in Germany is preferable to freedom in Syria.”

I Got Your FIFA For You Right Here

The German government sent a shipment of rocket-propelled grenades to Saudi Arabia in order to secure support for their bid to host the 2006 World Cup, according to the latest sensational claims in the FIFA scandal.


German newspaper Die Zeit say the country’s Football Association arranged for then Chancellor Gerhard Schroder’s administration to supply the arms in order to swing the Saudi vote from Morocco to Germany ahead of the vote in 2000.

Die Regierung von Gerhard Schröder beschloss eine Woche vor der WM-Vergabe die Lieferung von Panzerfäusten an Saudi-Arabien. Deutschland habe “kurzfristig das Waffenembargo aufgehoben”, sagte Guido Tognoni, damals Fifa-Mitarbeiter, später.

Uber And Out

Always remember: What is not expressly allowed in Germany is strictly forbidden.


A court in Frankfurt has ruled that the UberPop ride-hailing service may not operate anywhere in Germany for the simple reason that, uh, well, you ought to have an official permit to do so. To be the driver, I mean.

This is a big relief for everybody here because if people didn’t have to have official permits to use the service then anybody could just simply offer or choose to use the service on his or her own, without being regulated. One can’t have that here because this would make the people who would otherwise make the regulations and hand out the permits superfluous and also make taxi driving more competitive and even bring down prices for the consumer, without these prices being properly regulated first, I mean. There are a lot of bad implications here, people. So, like I said, strictly forbidden. Or verboten, if you prefer.

And besides, they spell Uber wrong.

„Ubers Geschäftsmodell basiert auf Rechtsbruch.“


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