The Man In The White Castle

Frightened by unsubstantiated fake news reports that US-Amerika‘s president has turned the place into an alternative history (alternative fact history?) horror-land run in part by their creepy grandparents, German vacationers are staying away in droves.

Castle

Almost half of Germans with an interest in traveling to the U.S. won’t do so now because they feel unwelcome or don’t want to endorse President Donald Trump.

About 46 percent of Germans who would like to visit the U.S. “in principle” have changed their views on that destination since Trump took office and won’t travel there as a result, according to a survey by GfK SE published in travel-industry magazine fvw.

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?

Berlinale Has Numbing Effect On Audiences This Year, Too

It numbs them with its politics. And its smugness. Intentionally so. Every year. And if you don’t have the “correct” kind of politics and smugness, it will numb you all the more.

Numb

The opening night of the Berlinale was all about politics, from the red carpet, where Green Party politician and Bundestag vice president Claudia Roth sported a black dress adorned with the word “Unpresidented” in large letters – an apparent dig at U.S. President Donald Trump’s spelling aptitude and/or his perceived behavior as commander-in-chief – to officials and speakers taking the stage to talk about free speech, free art and resistance to oppression.

“It’s kind of an antidote to massive budget films with millions of special effects and stuff, which in the end creates a kind of numbing effect: I want more, I want more, I want more.”

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.

Next Misleading Berlin Wall Comparison Just In!

This happens regularly, of course. The cool thing about this particular one is that it comes from the mayor of Berlin himself.

Berlin Wall

Michael Müller (SPD), apparently not all too familiar with the history of his own city, has implied through a message he sent to President Trump on Friday that the wall he is planning to build on Mexico’s border is somehow comparable to the infamous one that divided Berlin for decades. “Divisive?” Certainly. Most walls are divisive, as far as I know. Otherwise they wouldn’t call them walls.

But what Müller and others bend over backwards to ignore here is that the one in Berlin was built to keep people “in.” You know, like a prison wall? The planned Trump wall, however, is being built to keep people “out.”

Now I understand that I am being an annoying stickler for details here but one really ought to consider this from time to time. Before the next misleading comparison comes over the wires, I mean. Because you’ll be hearing them regularly, like I say.

“Berlin — the city which stands for the separation of Europe as well as the freedom of Europe — cannot watch silently as another country plans to build a wall,”

Germany To Build Autobahn And Let Austria Pay For It

Outraged by years of illegal foreign automobile immigration into their country, irate German politicians have now announced the introduction of road tolls that purposely aim to discriminate against these foreign drivers. The money taken in here will then be used to build yet another autobahn to, uh, keep them out or something.

Foreigner

As one irate Berlin government spokesman noted: “We will build a great autobahn, and nobody builds autobahns better than us, believe me, and we’ll build it very inexpensively. We will build a great great autobahn on our southern border and we’ll have Austria pay for that autobahn.”

Furious and really, really pissed off, the Austrian prime minister has now cancelled a visit with chancellor Merkel planned for next week and Austrian companies have begun launching a series of boycotts of German companies.

Austrian Transport Minister Joerg Leichtfried on Wednesday said he was discussing with other countries whether to file a joint complaint against Germany’s proposed Autobahn toll, which he said violated the EU’s “principle of equal treatment”.

Der Aufstand gegen die Pkw-Maut beginnt

Who Am I? Where Am I? And Why Am I Reading This?

My fellow Americans: We have lost our identity. Again already, or something. Or at least that’s what I just read down here.

Amerika

But luckily for us, the folks over at Spiegel Online are going to give our identities back to us. Only this being Germany, and Germany being Germany, and what with Datenschutz (data protection) and all, we will have to properly identify ourselves first, of course (unless we’re Syrian refugees from North Africa, I mean, but we’re not, we’re Mericans). So… Wait a minute. How the hell is this supposed to work anyway?

Reporter Holger Stark spent the past four years as DER SPIEGEL’s Washington correspondent during a time in which the country changed radically enough to elect Donald Trump as its president. What led this once mighty nation into decline?

Megalomania & Small-Mindedness – How America Lost Its Identity

PS: Just read it, folks. They’re only trying to help us. This is NOT fake news, by the way, so don’t even THINK of looking for any alternative facts.

What Does Reality Have To Do With Anything?

We Germans don’t care that “Germany isn’t an ideal place for solar and wind power.” We’re green. And we’re going to stay green and pay green (one of the highest electricity rates in the developed world) until we’re green in the face.

Green

Once, German utilities like E.on and RWE had a sound business model that produced cheap energy from nuclear factories. That’s how the two companies could be kind to investors, workers, and taxpayers…

Then the green revolution caught up with the utility sector, as German government decided to abandon nuclear for green energy. “In the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe, the German government (Angela Merkel) has resorted to an overhasted exit from nuclear energy until 2022,” explains investment analyst Martin Burdenski. “This decision was in stark contrast to a lifetime extension of existing nuclear plants in 2010…”

“The companies will now receive compensation for investments made between the lifetime extension in fall 2010 and the abandonment of nuclear energy in 2011.”

Nervous Germans More Nervous Than Usual For Some Reason

I haven’t been able to decrypt this Deutsche Welle article yet but at least there aren’t that many words in it.

Trump

Here are most of them: Disbelief… bad dream… cold sweat… irritation… extremely alarming… dangerous… help of fake news… populist… irrational… awful phantom… concerned… not been very convincing… catastrophic mistake… contempt… inauguration.

“There are no signs showing that it will be good.”

German Of The Day: Stiff Upper Lippe

That means stiff upper lip.

Trump

And that’s what meany Berlin politician types are struggling with to keep up after Donald Trump’s latest bizarre attacks against Germany, the EU and NATO.

In trying to console themselves, however, many German stiff-upper-lippers remind the rest of us that Donald Trump is also against the UN, the CIA, the FBI, AC/DC, TCP/IP and even LSD itself, to name just a few. Although the LSD…

With a stiff upper lip, Steffen Seibert instead pledged that Berlin would “co-operate closely” with the Trump administration.