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.

And You Thought Your Government Wastes Money

And it does. But the German state can burn the stuff up pretty good, too – at any level.


The German Federation of Tax Payers just came out with its latest “Black Book” of government waste, a breathtaking collection of 133 of the most impressive cases of abuse it found. Some are quite imaginative, I must say.

The city of Bergen on the island of Rügen, for instance, ordered 200,000 earthworms from a special firm in Holland for a sports field there – for over 7,000 euros. These special  „Dutch Nightcrawlers“ were supposed to loosen up the hard playing field. They failed at that but made the field so “soiled” with worm Dreck (filth) that it couldn’t be used anymore.

Or how about the five manhole covers in Osnabrück with the colorful LED lamps on the side? They only cost 10,000 euros a shot. They sure are purty, though.

Then there’s the State Ministry for Culture boss who felt the need to have a “cemetery app” developed that would show its users where over 1,000 famous graves are located. It was called “Where They Rest” and all it did was redirect these users to the website with the same name. It only set tax payers back some 548,000 euros, however.

Nicht kleckern sondern klotzen, I say. Don’t take anything halfway.

City Of Berlin To Be Torn Down And Moved To A Functioning Airport Somewhere Else

Well, not quite yet. But that would certainly be cheaper in the end.


Here’s the latest on Klaus Wowereit International:

Plagued by a series of construction problems, the Berlin Brandenburg Airport is years behind schedule and billions of euros (dollars) over budget. Lawmaker Jens Koeppen said in an interview published Sunday that all options should be considered, including building an entirely new airport.

“If there are problems that can’t be solved, and that’s clearly the case, then one needs to admit defeat and get off the dead horse.”

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.

The Donald’s 15 Minutes Threatening US-Amerika’s Once Proud Democracy

Here’s this here way sophisticated high-brow Spiegel article in a nutshell like.

Donald Trump

The American Dream is broken (again).

The super-rich are the only people who have profited from the considerable economic growth in the US in recent decades (the plain old filthy rich were left out in the cold this time, I guess).

The shifts in income that have taken place in recent years are destroying the moral fabric of society (maybe, but it’s a fabric still made in the USA, pal, so deal with it).

Not a single one of the current candidates for president is willing to call for an increase in taxes (this is a very, very Bad Thing for some reason).

The super-wealthy are against anything that might help the bottom 90 percent to rise (that is one heavy bottom, isn’t it?).

America is just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president (quoted form someone who should know: Jimmy Carter).

But is it really any more democratic that a billionaire can buy his own election instead of allowing himself to be bought by others?

Who Would Want To Stay In My Crappy Country?

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has brushed off calls for Hungary to reconsider its rejection of a fairer redistribution system for refugees across all countries belonging to the European Union by explaining how nobody in their right mind would want to set foot much less spend the night in a rotten country like his. He then named a few other trashy European nations no self-respecting war refugee would want anything to do with, suggesting he could name a whole lot more where those came from.


The problem is not European, it’s German. Nobody would like to stay in Hungary, neither Slovakia, Poland or Estonia. All of them would like to go to Germany,” the well-meaning prime minister said.

Der hässliche Populismus Viktor Orbáns kann nicht über die eigentliche Ursache der Flüchtlingskrise hinwegtäuschen: Die EU hat das Thema Migration völlig unterschätzt.

Coffee From Togo To Be Heavily Taxed

At last count, Germans who purchase coffee from Togo toss some 3 billion of the disposable cups used to temporarily carry it in each and every year.


Predictably outraged by this, German green shirts have predictably outraged German coffee vendors by suggesting that a 20-cent tax be placed on this luxury drink to encourage coffee Togo connoisseurs to bring along their reusable and occasionally re-washable coffee Togo coffee cups with them, preferably hanging on the environmentally friendly coffee Togo belt loop hangers attached to their biodegradable pants.

Should this prove to be too impractical for some customers, the ecological crusaders suggest, vendors should offer them a discount option (taxpayer subsidized) of drinking the invigorating beverage directly from their trembling cupped hands.

“Nehmen Sie sich ein wenig Zeit und trinken Ihren Kaffee vor Ort – aus einer Tasse.”

Racism Not Eastern German Problem

Hell no. It’s all over the place here. Although actually, what we’ve really got here is another good old case of classical German schizophrenia in action again.


The real issue isn’t the humanitarian one, however. Of course the refugees currently flooding Europe have to be helped and have to be helped in an equitable manner, i.e. each country takes on its fair share of the burden. The real issue is the unspoken one: They have to be stopped from coming here in the first place. The problems that are causing them to flee aren’t being addressed but Europe can’t solve them. Europe can’t even solve its own problems.

And the reason this issue is still unspoken is that keeping them from coming here implies doing something really unpleasant. You know, something really unpleasant like Americans and Israelis do? You know, like putting up a wall of some kind to keep them out. Set your clocks. This issue won’t remain unspoken for very much longer.

“At the moment, refugee shelters are burning night after night all across Germany. And the hot spots for far-right violence are spread in all directions.”

Weird Science

More German environmental backwardness in action. Or would it be better to call it genetic illiteracy?

So much for Europe’s efforts to put the junk science surrounding genetically modified (GMO) food to rest. Berlin this week signaled it will prohibit cultivation of GMO crops in Germany, even if the crops have been approved by EU scientific bodies and despite an attempt by Brussels to legalize them.


Sure enough, neither environmentalists nor German politicians have come up with a justification for Berlin’s looming ban other than, well, because. Supporters cheer the move as an expression of “food democracy” in a country where opposition to GMOs is widespread and the government faced intense pressure to ban them…

Back in reality, EU scientific and food-safety authorities have repeatedly cleared various GMO crops for human and animal consumption. The process often takes months to complete, and in 95% of cases EU regulators ask producers for more evidence before greenlighting GMOs, so it’s hardly a rubber stamp.


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