The Fall Of The Berlin Mall Of Berlin

Jeepers. That didn’t take very long.

Mall of Berlin

This is not just any mall, mind you, but the hubristically named Mall of Berlin—the largest Germany’s capital has ever seen, including not only shops but (as yet unfinished) apartments and a hotel. And guess what? While it’s only been open since the autumn, the whole project is already bombing…

It’s not that Berlin’s government and developers don’t have the guts to take on major projects to transform the city. They just really suck at them.

The End Of An Aura

It’s amazing these sleeper trains have lasted as long as they have, if you stop and think about it.

Night Train

Saturday marked the end of the line for this Paris-Berlin sleeper, at any rate. Slow food might be able to make a stand here and there but it looks like slow travel is definitely out.

Deutsche Bahn, the German rail network which operates the sleeper said the service was incurring debts over €20 million a year and losing out to cheap bus connections and easyJet which offers a regular service between the two capitals. Along with the Paris-Berlin sleeper, overnight train services linking Berlin with Copenhagen and Amsterdam are also being axed.

Germany A New Nation Of Immigrants?

I think you may have overshot the mark here, Christian Science Monitor. But nice try.

Arson

The reality here is still another one.

Far-right arsonists are believed to have caused fires which damaged three buildings earmarked for asylum seekers near Nuremberg in southern Germany.

“Es spricht einiges dafür, dass es sich um Brandstiftung handelt.”

PS: Oddity 325. Germans really do tend to equate nationality with ethnicity.

The Dirty Dozen

No, not the movie. That’s the number (12) of German “troops” currently active in Northern Iraq training Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

Iraq

Just sending weapons all the time was starting to get a little peinlich (embarrassing) for everybody – even here in Berlin – so this bold military move needed to be undertaken to prove to the rest of the world that, well, I don’t know what this was supposed to prove.

And now get this: Word is out that Angela Merkel’s government may now even want to surge big time and send more than 100 trainers more.

But don’t worry another invasion of Poland or anything just yet: Under German law, any military deployment abroad requires parliamentary approval, but this mission may require more than a simple parliamentary vote. The Defence Ministry fears it may require a change in the Basic Law, Germany’s constitution, Bild reported quoting an unidentified ministry source.

Right. The Germans will change their constitution for this? Hey, it’s better to have a dirty dozen than no dirt at all.

The Bigger They Are…

Airbus Group NV (AIR) raised the prospect of discontinuing its A380 superjumbo as soon as 2018, the first admission that it may have misjudged the market for the double-decker after failing to find a single airline buyer this year.

A380

Bis heute hat Airbus Bestellungen für 318 Exemplare der A380 erhalten. Das ist nur gut ein Viertel des Bedarfs, den Airbus einst vorausgesagt hatte.

Red Friday

When Red Friday comes, I’m gonna dig myself a hole

Linke

Germany’s Left Party, descended from East Germany’s Communist SED in an unbroken line, now heads a “red-red-green” coalition government in Thuringia with boss Bodo Ramelow as the new state prime minister.

This truly is historic. No, not so much because the good folks at the Linke have gotten this far (Thuringia is about as East in East Germany as East in Germany can get). It’s historic because the good folks at the SPD (currently partners in the federal government‘s grand coalition) have proven that their promises to never-ever-ever-never work together with the Linke are now history.

If they could help the Left Party enough, the SPD wouldn’t hesitate to form a coalition at the national level with these people and now everybody in Germany knows it – who didn’t know it already, I mean.

Good News: Communists Are Back in Germany

It’s Not Just A Club Anymore

The Putin Understanders Club, I mean. In Germany. It’s bound to be an eingetragener Verein (registered society) by now.

Putin

Putin understanders are not confined to the Linke; nor even to Germany. They are the bane of European politicians struggling to contain a troublesome Russia, found everywhere – particularly among the far right and left, and the energy lobbies. Some are ordinary people who see the Russian president as a strongman standing up to a feeble and imperialist America; others are stuck in a mix of nostalgia and sympathy for Russia’s historic sacrifices. Even after a year of geopolitical turmoil, they construct flawed comparisons to support their narratives – arguing that Russia’s actions are no different from the 2003 US invasion of Iraq or the 1999 Nato bombardment of Serbia.

 

More Awful NSA Spying Being Done On Ahnungslose Germans Again

Only this time it’s being done by the German BND (the German Federal Intelligence Service).

BND

Ahnungslos means unsuspecting, by the way. It can also mean clueless, however. If you know what I’m saying.

The agency, known by its German acronym BND, is normally forbidden from eavesdropping on Germans or German companies. But a former BND lawyer told parliament this week that Germans aren’t protected while working abroad for foreign companies. The government confirmed that work-related calls or emails are attributed to the employer. If the employer is foreign, the BND can intercept them.

Just Like The Duracell Bunny

Germany’s Energiewende (energy turnaround) just keeps on going.

Not only is the cost part still working: The cost of government subsidies for green energy is passed directly through to consumers. As a result, German households pay twice as much for electricity as their US counterparts.

Coal

The unreliability of renewables keeps on working, too: Berlin has little choice but to rely on electricity generation from dirty coal-fired power stations (evil nuclear power has been turned off here).

Which brings us to the next absurd turn of events.:  A striking example of the absurdity of this emerged this week with the publication of a letter from Germany’s vice-chancellor to the new Swedish centre-left government. Ms Merkel’s deputy warned of serious consequences for electricity supplies and jobs if Vattenfall, Sweden’s state-owned utility, ditched plans to expand two coal mines in Germany. While the Germans may need the dirty lignite these facilities produce, the Swedes are under pressure to scale back the mines because of popular concerns in Sweden about CO2 emissions.

Bad German Historian Woman Points Out Trümmerfrau Myth

… Every time another memorial goes up in the “rubble woman’s” honor, German politicians look to what former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said in Munich in 2005. The rubble-clearing women in the aftermath of WWII are “a symbol of the German people’s wish to rebuild and of their powers of survival,” he said, adding that the Munich monument “commemorates the large number of women who volunteered to clear the ruins.”

Wrong, says historian Leonie Treber. Neither was there a great number of women, nor did most of them volunteer to clear the rubble, the researcher says. “The Trümmerfrau is a German legend.”

Rubble Women

Yet it wasn’t just the women who were reserved when it came to clearing the war debris; men weren’t crazy about the task, either. In the eyes of the Germans, it was anything but honorable for people to show their “willingness to rebuild.” In fact, most Germans regarded clearing rubble as punishment – and for a reason.

During the war, the Nazis made soldiers, the Hitler Youth, forced laborers, prisoners of war and concentration camp prisoners clear the bombed cities after Allied air raids. In 1945, after the end of the war, prisoners of war and former members of the NSDAP Nazi party took their place. When that turned out to be insufficient, the population was asked to help – on a voluntary basis in the West, but usually against their will in the Soviet occupation zone.

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