More Strikes Like These Please

“Amazon is being striked – and nobody is noticing it.”

Strikes

Amazon employees (in Germany) have already been on strike for an entire week. The union Verdi is looking to disrupt the delivery of Christmas packages but our user survey (Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung) indicates that it isn’t having any luck.

This survey indicates that 86% of Amazon packages have come on time – the other mail-order companies only managed 73% of the time.

Von dem Streik bekommen die weitaus meisten Kunden nichts mit. Laut Umfrage ist Amazon sogar jetzt noch pünktlicher als die anderen Versandhändler. 86 Prozent der Amazon-Pakete aus unserer Umfrage sind pünktlich angekommen, von den anderen Versandhändlern waren es nur 73 Prozent.

Would Numbers Lie?

News products can be that way. On the one hand the numbers tell us today that the mood in the German economy has picked up yet again and that German companies are looking ahead to 2015 with renewed confidence.

Positive

At the same time we read how Germany’s National Office for Statistics has determined that one in every five Germans is a victim of poverty.

A contradiction? Not necessarily, I guess. That’s why everybody’s kind of happy sort of around here these days. And that’s why I, for one, believe everything I read.

Die Stimmung in der deutschen Wirtschaft hat sich im Dezember erneut verbessert: Der Ifo-Index legte zum zweiten Mal zu.

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 Stammtisch Unchained

Everybody who is anybody who is politically correct in Germany is all hot and bothered about the marches being staged by PEGIDA or the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West” in Dresden these days. They have to be. It’s their job or something.

PEGIDA

I say take a chill pill already and don’t take these folks so seriously, you other folks. It’s just diffuse bitching and moaning pur (pure). All this is is the biggest Stammtisch party we’ve seen yet. It’s Oddity 384 all over again (shameless ebook plug), in other words.

Oddity 384. A real German is always being “verarscht” or taken for a ride by somebody “da oben” or up there. All Germans belong to a symbolic “Stammtisch” or regular’s table, whether they actually belong to a real local regular’s table or not. This is the place where the unappreciated man on the street regularly complains about the abuse he is receiving from his employers, the rich or the ruling political caste and how they are all personally out to get him. Strangely, at least with regard to this ruling political caste, these same men on the street regularly reelect said politicians with large majorities or enable them to remain in power by not going to vote at all.

Die „Pegida“-Bewegung habe einen Nerv getroffen. Bisher sei Deutschland nicht für Populismus dieser Art anfällig gewesen.

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.

Günter Wallraff Foaming Around The Mouth Again

Still bitter about having lost his undercover job as a package deliverer I guess (he wasn’t used to actually having to work for a living) undercover undercover-journalist Günter “Undercover” Wallraff couldn’t help but have yet another fit about Amazon & Co. on German television last night.

Gunter Wallraff

Good timing or something. It’s strike season in Germany again (still?), as you know. Merry Christmas, Verdi!

But at least he didn’t just stop with Amazon, for once. Wallraff is also very, very angry at German consumers themselves for not purchasing their products where he wants them to (anywhere else but Amazon). Geez, he’s saying. It’s like if you just let people do whatever they want to do they’ll end up doing whatever it is they want to do. And where would that lead us to? That’s right, to where we are now.

His costumes really do rock, though. The one he was wearing last night (see above) was a little scary, though.

Wallraff kritisierte auch die Verbraucher: „Wir selber zerstören eigentlich gewachsene Struktur und wundern uns, irgendwann, dass das Leben so kalt und unpersönlich und trostlos geworden ist und Innenstädte veröden.“

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

German Tree Hugger Forcibly Removed After 130 Hours

From her tree. In a place called the Hambacher Forst. After occupying it in the name of tree love (a bad energy company wants to cut down the tree for bad energy purposes).

Tree hugger

The traumatized tree refused to comment and is being treated for hug burns.

Mittels einer Hebebühne holten die Höhenkletterer der Polizei die Aktivistin gegen 11.30 Uhr von der Plattform, nahmen sie in Gewahrsam.

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.

 

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