German Of The Day: Populismus

That means a left-wing political doctrine that proposes to help the common people who are being exploited by a corrupt dominant elite. Or at least the one I am referring to here is of the left-wing variety.

Populismus

Ironically, this particular form of Populismus is being proposed by a leading member of that corrupt dominant elite himself. But this is the left-wing variety, as I said, and this type of thing has a long tradition so it is therefore “OK.”

The Social Democrats have presented a serious, new challenger for upcoming federal elections. But they are using the same old lines about social justice when there are more important things to talk about, writes a former economics minister (himself once in the SPD).

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.

German Of The Day: Du Darfst

That means you may, or you are allowed to.

Kim

You know, as in New Zealand allowing Kim Dotcom to be extradited to US-Amerika itself for racketeering charges? Yes, Kim. You may. The entire Dotcom family is really upset, I assume, but they’ll get over it. In a decade or two.

A New Zealand judge on Monday upheld an earlier court ruling that flamboyant internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three of his colleagues can be extradited to the U.S. to face criminal charges.

The decision comes five years after U.S. authorities shut down Dotcom’s file-sharing website Megaupload and filed charges of conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering against the men. If found guilty, they could face decades in prison.

The Polls Are Never Wrong

Right? As we were recently reminded after the Brexit vote and the United States presidential election, the pollsters, survey scientists and media manipulators who publish them are always right on the money.

Poll

So please keep this in mind (and please bring it back to mind in a few months time) when we now read that “the SPD has passed the union in another survey” (the union being Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU) and that this is due to the so-called “Schulz effect.”

This means, of course, that Germans are supposed to believe that the SPD’s candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz, is wildly popular and on a roll and is single-handedly bringing German social democracy back from the near-death it is now experiencing to march together bravely into the brave new social democratic (socialist) future. They don’t believe it, of course, because he isn’t and he can’t. Germans, too, have also realized that polls have long since failed in their traditional function as poorly functioning forecast tools and are now failing miserably at their latest job: To deftly manipulate public opinion and steer it in the direction these pollsters & co. want it to go.

Nobody buys it anymore, Martin. Just like nobody buys you. You can bring out all the survey results you want but that won’t change a thing.*

Der Schulz-Effekt hält an: Die SPD hat auch laut einer Emnid-Umfrage die Union überflügelt. Die AfD fällt erstmals seit einem Jahr unter zehn Prozent.

*The real issue here is the true degree of Angela Merkel’s unpopularity, another closely guarded media secret.

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.”

Peugeopel

That rolls right off your tongue, doesn’t it?

Opel

GM gets rescued by the American government (government is a code word for taxpayer, by the way), Opel gets rescued by the German government and Peugeot gets rescued by the French government. Is there a pattern developing here or something? Now GM is going to rescue itself out of Europe and dump its Opel on Peugeot, making it a Peugeopel. But who the hell would want to rescue one of those?

General Motors is in advanced talks to sell its European Opel subsidiary to France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen, Handelsblatt confirmed after Reuters broke the story. A Peugeot spokesperson told Handelsblatt that the two are in discussions “over the purchase of Opel.” A deal “could be announced within days,” sources told Reuters.

Seit Jahren versucht General Motors vergeblich, seine Marke Opel zu sanieren. Nun steht offenbar ein Verkauf an den französischen Konkurrenten Peugeot an.

This Was A Hard Decision To Make

No, not deciding as in electing the walking sleeping pill Frank-Walter Steinmeier himself so unceremoniously to the ceremonial office of president of Germany. That was a no-brainer, in more ways than one. I mean deciding as in whether to write a post about that boring election or about the cat in Lörrach. So here’s the cat story.

Cat

This cat locked his owner lady out of her apartment by shutting and somehow locking the balcony door while she was out there getting some fresh air. There was no locksmith available at that hour so she called the cops and they threw her one of their nightsticks so she could bust the glass door open to get back inside again. Is that cool or what? Other than that though, not much going on.

Mit einem Sprung gegen die Klinke hatte die Katze die Balkontür in der Nacht zu Sonntag von innen verschlossen.

German Air Farce Ready For Action

Only one of Germany’s eight way-over-budget Airbus A400M military transport planes is working at the moment, if working is the proper word for a military transport plane that will never actually be used anywhere anyway. Jeepers. That’s like, I dunno, less than half or something.

A400M

Germany’s defense minister Ursula von der Leyen apparently discovered this problem single handedly after the A400M she had taken for a visit to Lithuania broke down there.

Meanwhile… Countless aircraft belonging to German Billigflieger (budget airlines) loaded with countless tons of German tourists don’t seem to be having any technical problems whatsoever. Their number will be increasing dramatically this summer. You just got to set your priorities right these days, I guess.

Zum Sommer wächst das Angebot der Billigflieger an deutschen Flughäfen kräftig.

German Of The Day: Schweinefurz

That means pig fart. And pig farts are super hilarious here in Germany (Hey, German humor is what it is. I’m not passing judgement here or anything).

Pig farts

Unless, of course, they are directed toward foreign heads of state, so-to-speak.

A German court upheld  ban on a satirical poem which suggested Turkey’s president had sex with animals and watched child porn. The Hamburg court upheld its injunction issued in May banning re-publication of parts of the poem which it called ‘abusive and defamatory’.

A lamb or a llama fart probably probably wouldn’t have been all that bad in this guy’s poem, but pig fart? That just doesn’t cut it (Cut it, get it?).

Schweinefurz“ ist für Erdogan besonders ehrverletzend.