This Doll Must Die

Don’t EVER let anybody tell you that Germans are lasch (feeble) when it comes to threats posed to them by foreign intelligence snoops.

Cayla

Forget about not caring about Putin & Co., forget about spinning your wheels ridiculously with your NSA spying affair. We’ve got a real live (sort of) freakin’ wi-fi-connected Internet doll on the loose and we’re all going to die if we don’t kill her first. OK. So we don’t know who she’s working for yet. But still.

A German government watchdog has ordered parents to destroy an internet-connected doll for fear it could be used as a surveillance device. According to a report from BBC News, the German Federal Network Agency said the doll (which contains a microphone and speaker) was equivalent to a “concealed transmitting device” and therefore prohibited under German telecom law…

“My Friend Cayla” uses a microphone to listen to questions, sending this audio over Wi-Fi to a third-party company (Nuance) that converts it to text. This is then used to search the internet, allowing the doll to answer basic questions, like “What’s a baby kangaroo called?”

Why would anybody want to know what a baby kangaroo is called, huh?

And this is just the beginning, too. These wi-fi-thingies will soon be everywhere. “It doesn’t matter what that object is — it could be an ashtray or a fire alarm.” Damn right. So after you’ve finished strangling this doll toss everything else out of the window while you’re at it. Just in case. They’re out to get us, people. They’re everywhere, I tell you. Whoever they are. Bad dolly!

At what point did we enter this Philip K. Dick novel, anyway?

Nero Was The Guy In The Matrix, Right?

More cool Spiegel stuff, folks.

Trump

Trump as Nero: Europe Must Defend Itself Against A Dangerous President.

It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The president of the U.S. is a racist (it also hurts to write this). He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. He fired an acting attorney general who held a differing opinion from his own and accused her of “betrayal.” This is the vocabulary used by Nero, the emperor and destroyer of Rome. It is the way tyrants think.

I feel your pain, buddy. It literally hurts me to read this about how it literally hurts you to write this. Let’s both of us stop all this hurting, literally, and move on already. Please.

And The Little Girl Was Goose-Stepping, Too

And those Christmas trees covered in snow? Talk about white supremacist symbolism par excellence.

Christmas

Are we having that Christmas spirit yet, Germany? It’s time to find Nazi symbolism in supermarket TV ads that make a pitch for spending more time with your children during the holidays. Seek and you shall find, I always say. But don’t forget to take your medication regularly, I also always say.

A Volvo shown in the 84-second clip has the number plate MU SS 420. “SS” is forbidden on German number plates because it is synonymous with the Schutzstaffel, the Nazis’ paramilitary “protection squadron”. The number 420 is a common abbreviation – especially in far-right circles in the US – for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s birthday, 20 April.

German Of The Day: Schwerbehindert

That means severely disabled. You know, like 10 percent of the German population?

Scam

Huh? I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true. No, I’m not thinking it’s just another big scam (I know it is). I’m thinking how could it only be just 10 percent?

Schwerbehindert sind laut Statistik Menschen, denen die Versorgungsämter einen Grad der Behinderung von mindestens 50 Prozent zuerkennen und die einen gültigen Ausweis haben.

 

German Of The Day: Angststörung

That means anxiety disorder.

Angststörung

Germans don’t have this problem, though. Their anxiety is always in perfect working order.

Etwa fünf Prozent der Bevölkerung haben einmal in ihrem Leben generalisierte Ängste. Frauen sind häufiger betroffen als Männer.

“Ich war irgendwann überzeugt, mein Zahn wird ausfallen.”

 

TTIP Demonstrators Refuse To Let Their Rotten Mood Be Ruined By The Rotten Weather

Fearing that German goods bound for US-Amerika could soon be subjected to lower tariffs, less red tape and a much wider base of consumers to purchase them, tens of thousands of German anti-TTIP demonstrators have taken to the streets to loudly voice their concerns in an hysterical love-fest of classic anti-American blather.

TTIP

Unfortunately, the demonstrators seemed to have dropped the ball when it comes to rabid outbursts directed against the smaller version of TTIP with Canada called CETA. But this is most likely because Canada (another moral superpower like Germany) is bekanntlich (generally known to be) not US-Amerika so that deal is OK or something and will therefore be signed in October.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told Saturday’s Bild daily she was aghast at the “misunderstandings, urban myths and outright lies in the debate” on the merits or otherwise of the treaty.

Sensational Survey Shocker: Germans Pessimistic About The Future

Holy freakin’ Scheiße. Talk about coming out of left field.

Germans

A survey by the Allensbach Opinion Research Center has just discovered that Germans living in comfortable circumstances and aged between 39 and 59 are – now get this – really pessimistic about the future.

Boy oh boy do I ever hope that they (whoever they are) paid these opinion research center people one big pile of money because you can be absolutely certain that absolutely no one over here saw that one coming.*

Schwindender Optimismus, Sorge und Ängste trotz guter persönlicher Lebenslage und wirtschaftlicher Situation? Die Mehrheit der Deutschen zwischen 30 und 59 Jahren ist laut Analyse des Meinungsforschungsinstitutes Allensbach zwar materiell zufrieden, blickt dennoch eher pessimistisch in die Zukunft.

* I would have given them that data for half of whatever it was they paid them. I’m just sayin’.

Germany Passes Stricter Rape Law That Won’t Be Enforced Any More Stricter Than The Strict Rape Law Before It Was

But at least the politicians (SPD) who introduced it can claim to have done something in reaction to the infamous New Year’s Eve attacks. No one has been sentenced for any of these attacks, by the way. Just so you get where I’m coming from.

Rape

Introducing new legislation like this doesn’t solve the problem unless the laws are actually enforced. It’s a mentality thing. Judges here in Germany, like judges in another country many of you are familiar with, are simply much too lenient when it comes to their interpretation of the law and their sentencing. They will be just as lenient with the new law as they were with the old one. But boy oh boy is this new law ever strict or something. “No” actually means “no” now. As if it had meant something else before.

The wave of attacks on New Year’s Eve in Cologne shocked Germans, though prosecutions have been minimal and many were aghast to learn that, once again, assault could only be proven under German law if the victim resisted. On Thursday, a 21-year-old Iraqi and an Algerian of 26 became the first men to be convicted of sexual assault when a Cologne court gave them suspended one-year sentences.

German Couple Waits Days To Be Offended By Naked Neighbor Using His Sauna

Butt naked. In Germany of all places. The nerve. Is nothing sacred?

Neighbors

In the latest example of the German habit of seeking legal rulings on the tiniest details of every day life, a man has won a case over the right to walk to the sauna in his garden in the altogether.

The 42-year-old, named only as Robert B under German privacy laws, installed a private sauna in his garden in Dortmund.

In common with most Germans, Robert B liked to take his sauna naked, and didn’t bother covering up on his way to and from the house, despite the fact he could be clearly seen from the next door garden.

His neigbour, named only as Hans L, was sufficiently offended at the sight to seek legal redress, and initially won a court order for Robert B to cover up.

But Robert B appealed against the decision, and this week succeeded in securing his right to parade around his garden in a state of undress.

Die Rechtslage war bisher nicht eindeutig. Infrage kommt § 118 des Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetzes. Darin heißt es: “Ordnungswidrig handelt, wer eine grob ungehörige Handlung vornimmt, die geeignet ist, die Allgemeinheit zu belästigen oder zu gefährden und die öffentliche Ordnung zu beeinträchtigen.”

Confused Green Youth These Days

We all know how the enlightened left detests flag-waving. You know, flag-waving as in “a fallacious argument or propaganda technique used to justify an action based on the undue connection to nationalism or patriotism or benefit for an idea, group or country,” whatever that means exactly.

Greens

But the Greens in Germany have taken this to a new level. Their youth group has called for German soccer fans to leave their German flags at home during the Euro 2006 because, well, “Patriotismus=Nationalismus. Fußballfans Fahnen runter!” That is, Patriotism = Nationalism. Down with those flags, soccer fans!

How do you get to that point where something as harmless as rooting for your national team becomes a sinister act of rabid warmongering? Without using hallucinogenic drugs to get there, I mean.

Flags

“Besser Patriot als ein Idiot.”

PS: I don’t have a German flag handy but good luck with Ukraine tonight anyway, Germany!