German Of The Day: Rosinenbomber

That means raisin bomber. Or candy bomber, if you prefer.

Raisin Bomber

Dignitaries from around the world have gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin airlift.

The Soviet Union entirely blockaded the western parts of the German capital in June 1948, when the country and the city were divided into US, UK, French and Soviet occupation sectors after World War Two.

“I did not ask permission.” – Gen. Lucius D. Clay, the U.S. commander in Berlin who started the airlift without clearance from Washington.

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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.

The Land Of Wishful Thinking

Das Land der frommen Wünsche, that’s what Reinhard Veser from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung calls it. And he means by this the place were what remains of Germany’s Social Democratic Party is now living when it comes to Putin’s Russia.

Putin

That the SPD would want to go back to the old days of SPD Ostpolitik (“change through rapprochement”), a time when twice as many voters voted for them as do today, is quite understandable. There is just one slight but fundamental difference here: During that cold war (they called it The Cold War back then), the Soviet Union wanted to keep the status quo and the Federal Republic of Germany’s recognition of East Germany contributed to this, benefiting the West, as well. Putin’s Russia wants territory, however, not the status quo.

By bending over backwards with the most absurd compilation of contortions to “understand” a Russia they clearly do not understand (see Germany’s current SPD foreign minister), the SPD shows us that it already has plans to move from the Land of Wishful Thinking to the Pays of Appeasement. Or is it living there already? How unimaginative political policy can be. And how delusional.

Die sozialdemokratischen Ostpolitiker haben es schon einmal nicht bemerkt, als die Voraussetzungen für ihren Ansatz im Osten Europas weggefallen sind – das war, als Solidarność in den achtziger Jahren die kommunistische Diktatur ins Wanken brachte. Damals hat das nur ihrem Ruf in Ostmitteleuropa geschadet. Wenn ihre alten Illusionen heute wieder in die Russland-Politik einfließen, droht ein weit größerer Schaden.

Secret Swagger Or Bausünde?

I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that but I think I’ll still go with Bausünde here.

Bausünde

Berlin’s post-war high rises were built with practicality, not beauty, in mind. The hulking buildings were designed to house as many families as possible, and though they were once desirable, today they aren’t generally considered great places to live. But photographer Malte Brandenburg casts them in a new light with his series Stacked

The photographer started the project late last year, and shot over a dozen high rises throughout Berlin. He lives in Copenhagen and scouts locations whenever he visits Berlin, seeking out buildings set against an uncluttered skyline. Brandenburg shoots from nearby buildings, parking garages, and other elevated spots so he can capture the towers as directly as possible, using a telephoto lens to help correct the perspective. “I would ring the doorbells of the tower buildings across the street and ask the people to let me in so I could shoot from the stairways,” he says.

German Of The Day: RIAS

That stands for Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor and means radio (or broadcasting) in the American Sector – of a place they used to call “West Berlin.”

Now Father Time has managed to take care of something that the East German jamming stations were never able to do back then in the good old bad old days: Shut this broadcasting tower down. With explosives, in this case.

Von Britz aus ging 1946 der Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor (Rias) auf Sendung. Später entstand dort Europas damals leistungsstärkster Mittelwellensender, mit dem jahrelang auch die Störsender aus Ost-Berlin überwunden werden mussten. Heute gilt die Übertragung per Mittelwelle als veraltet.

Forget The Ploughshares

We’re going to turn our old Cold War military bases into wildlife preserves.

Peace

The German government has announced plans to convert 62 disused military bases just west of the Iron Curtain into nature reserves for eagles, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles (personally, I wouldn’t trust a woodpecker as far as I could throw one).

Jeepers. It’s not like Germany has a need for a military presence anymore or anything.

We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature,” says German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Whatever that is. Nature, I mean.

Practice Your German Tonight

And your Cold War attitudes from the 80s, while you’re at it. Looks like we might be needing them again.

Deutschland 83

“Deutschland 83” premieres 11 p.m. Wednesday on SundanceTV.

SundanceTV’s “Deutschland 83” is the first German-language series ever broadcast on a U.S. network. The eight-part fictional spy thriller is set in 1983, when the then-split Germany was the hot spot for escalating nuclear tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin: “More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defense systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year.”

Just Out Of Cold War Storage

Demothball: to remove (naval or military equipment) from storage or reserve, usually for active duty; reactivate.

Leopard 2

Germany plans to bring 100 mothballed tanks back into service in what is widely seen as a response to rising tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

Die im Zuge der Neuausrichtung der Bundeswehr festgelegte Obergrenze von 225 Kampfpanzern Leopard 2 soll auf 320 erhöht werden.

Stop Hurting Russia’s Feelings Already

Who would have expected that? The German Left Party itself (they used to be called the PDS or Partei der Stasi) has expressed grave concern over the EU’s aggressive stance toward the Soviet Union, I mean Vlad Putin’s democratic Russia.

Wagenknecht

Rosa Luxemburg, I mean Sahra Wagenknecht herself has sharply critisized European crisis management with regard to the Ukraine conflict, saying it consisted of “vile Russia bashing right out of the Cold War” and that the West is pursuing a vicious anti-Russian policy of exclusion and unniceness and rottenness and that everybody, those damned faschist Ukrainians included, should finally just leave our commrades, I mean Russian partners alone already.

May Day, May Day… Earth to Wagenknecht. Earth to Wagenknecht. Can you read me?

Das ist übles Russland-Bashing aus Kalter-Krieg-Zeiten.

Goethe OK, But The EU ITSELF?

As if NSA surveillance, Google Street View (and Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), scary drone technology, unbridled imperialism, world domination and McDonald’s were not enough already, a well-intended leak has shown that American diplomats are now even using bad four-letter words when referring to the EU and other sacrosant international-like institutions, too.

FackjuGoethe

And the Chancellor HERSELF is really pissed off about this one this time. Eavesdropping on her cell phone is one thing, but using the F-word is “absolutely unacceptable.”

Of course, how German officials were even able to find out about the story is a bit of a mystery to me. The four-letter word in question is not allowed through their porno censorship system.

U.S. officials blamed Moscow for the Internet leak of recordings of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador in Kiev discussing a possible future government for Ukraine, where Washington and Brussels back anti-Kremlin demonstrators.

PS: Talk about stealing candy from a baby. Thieves had no problem breaking into a Bundeswehr barracks in Seedorf (no, it’s not in Afghanistan) and stealing 28,000 rounds of ammunition.