Eco-Death Zone Idylle

Put back up the Berlin Wall again already. For nature’s sake.

Wall

Bombweed. Yum! Wild Thyme, Burdock and Evening Primrose shimmy through concrete and broken stone…

As part of our new series The Illustrated City, Ali Fitzgerald reveals Berlin’s hidden spaces, where the flora and fauna are wild – if you know where to look.

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Germany Can’t Abolish The Death Penalty

It never had one to begin with (not since the war).

Death penalty

Germany abolishes death penalty in public vote. But please read a little further: The ballot was purely symbolic, because Germany’s federal constitution and European treaties mean the death penalty is already banned in the country as these override state law.

Germany is a country where lebenslänglich (a life sentence) is fifteen years and somebody wants to suggest that they have a death penalty here? It’s interesting fake news, I guess, but it’s fake news all the same.

“There was a fear if a terrible crime was committed… then the vote could do the wrong way.”

PS: And yes, despite that morbid theme, Happy Thanksgiving!

When’s The Next Whammy?

November 9 in Germany is kind of, I dunno, creepy or something. Is there a pattern developing here?

November 9

1918: On November 9, 1918 the Social Democrats’ deputy chairman Philipp Scheidemann rushed to the balcony of Berlin’s Reichstag parliament to announce the birth of what would become the Weimar Republic.

1923: Adolf Hitler, the then relatively unknown Nazi Party leader, and his cronies tried to seize power with a coup that started in a crowded Munich beer hall on November 9, 1923.

1938: Nazi thugs torched synagogues, smashed Jewish-owned shops and rounded up Jewish men across Germany on November 9, 1938, in what became known as “Kristallnacht” or the “Night of Broken Glass.”

1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall in a bloodless revolution on November 9, 1989 is a joyous milestone in German history, ending 28 years of Cold War separation.

2016: Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America. OK, the election was on November 8 but the Germans didn’t get the results until November 9.

So are we overdue here again, Germany? Maybe the Merkel regime will be ousted later tonight in a bloodless coup. Maybe not. Maybe there might be a little blood, too. Hard to say for sure. Stay home, stay tuned and keep your doors bolted shut.

German Of The Day: Vorsitz

That means chair (of a company). Or chairman. Or chairwoman in this case.

Vorsitz

And chairwoman of the CDU is what Angela Merkel now no longer wants to be.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Monday took her first concrete steps to move away from political life, saying she would give up leadership of her conservative party while vowing to finish out her term as chancellor until 2021.

Ms. Merkel made her announcement, in a meeting of conservative leaders, after two disastrous results in regional elections that saw her party and its allies slump to near-record lows.

“Zeit, ein neues Kapitel aufzuschlagen.”

Germans Threaten Americans With Non-Negotiable Friendship

In a sly move calculated to add more leverage to the German position in the on-going trade war troubles with Washington, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is now headed there for talks in which he will openly threaten US-Amerikans with “non-negotiable” friendship should they not budge on their demands.

Friendship

Officially there to open the Year of German American Friendship, Maas made no secret about Germany’s intentions. He warned, “Our goal is not to just maintain the relationship we have with the United States but rather improve it.” Adding, “It (the Year of German American Friendship) is designed so that people learn more about Germany than any normal American person could ever possibly want to learn and, what is more, this will be done in an annoyingly friendly and courteous manner for, like, well, a whole year or something. Unless, of course, you lighten up with this tariff bullshit already. Here, let me shake your hand again.”

“Things that used to be taken for granted are no longer that way, they must be worked on.”

German Of The Day: Alarmbereitschaft

That means “alarm preparedness.” And you have just been placed in it. Or on red alert, if you prefer.

Bannon

Isn’t that sophisticated imagery? Get it? Really subtle. Or subliminal or something.

“Trumps ex-strategist wants to support Europe’s right” – Bannon is moving to Europe to set up The Movement, a populist foundation to rival George Soros and spark a right-wing revolt across the continent.

This “movement,” you see, is obviously no different than Adolf Hitler’s movement a few years back and all forces of Goodness and Niceness must be placed in Alarmbereitschaft immediately to ensure that they are and remain alarmed, or at least be prepared for alarm or red alert or whatever (with the emphasis on red). You know, like this guy here? No fifty shades of gray here, folks. It’s all perfectly black and white. Or brown, actually. So are you finally alarmed now? Me, neither.

Steve Bannon, der frühere Chefstratege von US-Präsident Donald Trump, will eine Stiftung gründen, die rechtspopulistische Bewegungen in Europa stärkt. Die Organisation mit dem Namen “The Movement” werde ihren Hauptsitz in Brüssel haben, berichtete das US-Nachrichtenportal The Daily Beast unter Berufung auf Bannon. Vor der Europawahl im Mai 2019 werde sie zehn Mitarbeiter einstellen.

What Does NSA Stand For?

For Narcissistic Street Art, of course.

Teufelsberg

Teufelsberg, meaning “devil’s mountain,” is actually the name of the man-made hill on which the Field Station sits. The site was chosen for its height rather than its obscure location, but the fact that it’s situated slap-bang in the middle of the Grunewald forest, requiring at least 30 minutes of uphill hiking to reach it from an S-Bahn train, does enhance the sense that it’s shrouded in mystery…

When the NSA left in the early ’90s, it took all its equipment with it. Reports about the activities that took place at Teufelsberg are classified until 2022. But even then, we may not find out much.

Can We Keep Schönefeld Open, Too?

Tegel was only voted 8th worst airport in the world recently, after all. Schönefeld was numero uno. But now another vote is in.

Tegel

Berliners voted to keep the historic Tegel airport open even after a new international hub is completed, creating a headache for the German capital’s government, which wanted it closed.

Tegel sprang up in just 90 days in 1948 to support the Berlin Airlift, a huge operation to ship supplies and thwart a Cold War Soviet blockade. It is much-loved by many Berliners and business travellers for its proximity to the city center.

Berlin’s government will now have to rethink its plans to close Tegel after some 56 percent of voters supported the non-binding referendum on Sunday, the same day as Germany’s federal election, to reconsider the proposal.

“The result has created a very, difficult situation that could be legally and financially challenging.” Another chance for the Berlin Senat to excel, I say.

Martin Schulz Also To Demand End Of Cold War

Once he’s elected and has demanded that US-Amerika remove it’s nuclear armaments from German soil. All two or three of them (they’ve already kind of sort of been removed already, see?).

Schulz

It’s a brave move, as always, but the SPD’s Martin Schulz is known for taking those hard stands. It’s always about principle when it comes to the SPD.

Then, after ending the nuclear arms race and Cold War, he will demand that Germany’s invasion of Poland be nullified, Hitler’s rise to power cancelled and World War 1 be put off indefinetely. If that doesn’t get the vote this guy needs, nothing will.

“Trump wants nuclear armament. We are against this.”