More Down, Down, Down, Down, Down

Just when you thought Germany’s SPD couldn’t sink any further…

SPD

The Genossen (comrades) figure out a way to do it. I never really believed that the Volkspartei (people’s party with a broad base) SPD could ever actually disappear into the sunset forever but now I’m just not so sure anymore.

Germany’s SPD slip in polls after choosing new leftist leaders – Support for Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) has fallen after members last week chose as leaders a leftist duo who are skeptical about remaining in government with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, a poll showed on Saturday.

A Forsa poll put the SPD on 11%, 3 points down from a week ago and hitting a low last seen in June after previous leader Andrea Nahles quit due following the party’s worst-ever result in elections to the European Parliament.

You know the lyrics, folks. I’m going down. Down, down, down, down, down.

 

Dull And Duller

Or: Non-Party Elects Nonentities To Non-Lead Them.

Dull

Does anybody out there remember the uncola? Doesn’t matter. I’m sure you get the idea. Germany’s SPD (Social Democratic Party) has just made the leap to unparty status. Or non-party, if you prefer. I do. Nobody can figure this out. These two came out of nowhere because that’s where they belong. How can I put it? They are sheep in sheep’s clothing. Dull? These two are so dull that either one of them, on his or her own, could make the perfect chairman of the bored. But two of them together? Like, at the same time? It’s just too much to take.

Two strong leftist critics of the coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives – Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken – won a vote for leadership of the Social Democrats on Saturday, possibly putting the country, Europe’s largest economy, at a political crossroads.

Their ascendancy raises the chances of an early election or a minority government if the SPD leaves the coalition, which could trigger political instability at a time when the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has become the country’s third-largest party.

“I think it is good that the SPD has made a decision.” Loud yawn. “It paves the way to return to business. For the CDU it is quite clear: we stand by this coalition. We stand by this coalition on the basis that has been negotiated.”

What A Spooky Thought

That Berlin’s ghost airport could finally, like, actually, you know, well, open? Sends shivers down my spine.

Airport

But I don’t believe in ghost airports. That eventually open, I mean. You can’t scare me with that nonsense. So don’t even try.

After a 13-year saga punctuated by scandals, bankruptcies and comical setbacks, Berlin’s new airport could finally open in 2020 – nine years behind schedule.

An exact opening date for Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) – October 31, 2020 – was announced last week, with Dietmar Woidke, Minister President of the German state of Brandenburg.

“This time it will happen.”

Boo!

German Of The Day: Späti

That means the late-night stores of Berlin. And we should have smelled this rat coming long ago.

Späti

How could these popular local convenience stores be allowed to continue running without being inconvenienced by the Berlin city government? They were allowed to open when they saw fit, depending entirely on supply and demand. You know, like in capitalism? Spätis are one of the few things that actually work in this town, by the way. Obviously, somebody had to step in here. Spätis are crying out for government regulation – for our own good.

Since a May ruling by the Administrative Court of Berlin, city authorities have fastidiously targeted family-run convenience stores such as Abels’ if they’re open on Sundays. The crackdown is part of a broader debate that’s erupting over the future of these stores — known as Spätis — that have over the decades emerged as cultural symbols of Berlin.

“Spätis are to Berlin like cafés are to Paris. It’s where all forms of life come together.”

No Suspicion Here

Yesterday’s German of the day was Terrorverdact (suspicion of terror) but there was never any suspicion in my mind as to who the Germans got their intelligence from.

Terror

Who else? From evil US-Amerika itself.

US tips off Germany to ‘radical Islamist’ from Syria suspected of planning devastating attack – Police in Germany arrested a “radical Islamist” from Syria on Tuesday after receiving a tip from U.S. intelligence officials that the man was planning an attack.

Prosecutors said the 26-year-old man was planning an attack designed to “kill and injure a maximum number of people,” according to reports.

Erste Hinweise durch ausländischen Geheimdienst?

Tesla Must Fail

Right? At least that’s what I’ve been reading in the German media for many years now.

Musk

But some things you just can’t ignore away. And times change, or something. Looks to me like the German automobile industry just ain’t what she used to be.

Elon Musk’s German Factory Started With Love Letter From Berlin – Musk is taking his fight for the future of transport into the heartland of the combustion engine, where the established players long laughed off Tesla as an upstart on feeble financial footing that couldn’t compete with their rich engineering heritage. But Musk has captured the imagination of the think-different consumer, putting pressure on the Germans to respond.

“We definitely need to move faster than the airport.”

Nobody Had Any Intention Of Building A Wall

Right. And nobody had any intention of tearing it down twenty-eight years later either.

Walter Ulbricht

But, you know, stuff happens.

In his lack of preparation, he mistakenly insinuated that the checkpoints in the Berlin Wall — which up until then were guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone trying to cross — were now open. They weren’t, but that announcement was all East Berliners needed to storm the wall and demand they be allowed to cross into West Berlin. After that, the wall became obsolete, and soon fell.

German Of The Day: Disneyfizierung

That means Disneyfication.

Checkpoint

Just stop by Checkpoint Charlie sometime and see for yourself.

Authorities in Germany’s capital Berlin have banned local performers from wearing US army uniforms at Checkpoint Charlie, the iconic Cold War crossing between the east and west of the city.

They said the actors exploited tourists by demanding money for photos at the attraction…

People impersonating US soldiers have been at Checkpoint Charlie for nearly 20 years, working in rotation to pose with tourists.

But many Berliners are unhappy about the “Disneyfication” of the site, where fake Soviet Red Army fur hats, gas masks and pieces of the Berlin Wall can be found for sale.

Virtual Socialist Reality

Last call for boarding to Cold War Berlin. Don’t forget your VR goggles.

Berlin

Who says time travel isn’t possible?

30 years later, Berlin Wall comes back to life with virtual reality – German startup offering visitors and history buffs an ‘authentic’ and immersive Cold War-era tour of the divided capital.

A packed bus approaches Checkpoint Charlie, the Cold War’s most famous border crossing, as grim-faced East German guards whisper among themselves about whether to hold you for questioning.

After a few heart-stopping minutes, you and your fellow passengers are free to pass into the smog, soot and shadowy intrigue of 1980s East Berlin.

Das Ost-Berlin vor dem Mauerfall ersteht für Touristen wieder auf. Mit VR-Brille kann man eine Stadtrundfahrt vom Checkpoint Charlie zum Palast der Republik unternehmen, vorbei an Gendarmenmarkt und „Ahornblatt”.

If Only US-Amerika Had A Rate That Low

Of Antisemitism, I mean. Only one in four? Damn. Seriously, folks. That’s not bad at all.

Anti-Semitism

One in four Germans hold anti-Semitic beliefs, study finds – More than a quarter of Germans surveyed said they agreed with anti-Semitic statements, including that Jews have “too much power over the economy.” Over 40% said they thought Jews “talk about the Holocaust too much.”

Jeder vierte Deutsche hegt laut einer neuen Studie antisemitische Gedanken.