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.

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”.

Venezuela Here I Come!

Right back where I started from…

Berlin

Berlin’s state cabinet has agreed on a rent freeze for five years to counter rising housing costs in the German capital.

The city’s leftwing coalition government wants to freeze the rent for apartments built before 2014, according to a report by the German news agency dpa.

Only a minority of Berliners own their homes or apartments and rent has been rising sharply in recent years, forcing many to move outside the city.

So put back up that Berlin Wall.

Cause Venezuela here I come!

German Of The Day: Eigentum

That means property. But property doesn’t mean much in Germany anymore. At least not in Berlin under its current “red-red-green” city government.

Property

Another word you might be interested in here is Enteignung.

German officials facing protests and endless complaints about threats to affordable housing in the nation’s capital have decided the solution may be a five-year ban on rent increases and fines as high as $550,000 for violators.

Officials in Berlin, a city of about 3.7 million residents long known for its affordable housing options, announced this week that they plan to temporarily freeze the rents charged on publicly and privately owned apartments in a bid to halt runaway gentrification.

“It will scare away investors who will find alternative markets with less regulation. It’s a socialist and populist attack on the free market and it’s not going to lead to a single new apartment being built.”

 

Go West, Young Man!

But not everybody at once! Sheesh.

Population

The East German rural population is now as low as it was back in 1905. The population in West Germany has more than doubled since then. For three reasons, demographers say: 1) Anybody who could fled from the Communist East after World War II and before the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, 2) Communist East Germany never had any immigration (of guest works like in the West, for example) and 3) there was also a big migration to the West after the Berlin Wall came down. Now it’s ghost town time over there and nobody knows what to do about it.

“For a long time, the problem of eastern Germany was, above all, the lack of jobs. Now you almost have the opposite problem: they are running out of workers.”

I Want Whatever The New York Times Just Had

While the New York times asks itself “Why Is Socialism Coming Back in Germany?” a young, supposedly up-and-coming SPD politician has just made himself a national laughing stock by suggesting the “collectivization” of BMW.

Kühnert

Not even Germany’s ex-communist partially Stalinist now socialist (or whatever they call themselves this week) Left party comes up with bat shit crazy ideas like that. Everyone is asking themselves what this guy has been smoking.

No, New York Times. Socialism might be alive in well down in Venezuela these days but it will continue to have a tough stand in Germany, flirtatious as the Germans may seem at times.

Die Empörung über die Sozialismus-Thesen des Juso-Vorsitzenden ist groß. Die SPD-Spitze spielt die Aussagen herunter.

German Of The Day: Verharmlosung

That means to play something down, to make it harmless.

Verharmlosung

You know, like the ideology pursued by the murdered “revolutionary socialists” (communists) Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht that gets played down, made harmless? They are worshiped as cult figures by the German left. They might even beat Che Guevara in the pantheon of mythical, romantic demigods of the revolutionary left. They may not have been the monster that guy was but that’s only because they didn’t have the time to get there.

On Sunday morning, some 10,000 people braved the rain and cold to march through eastern Berlin and place red carnations at the graves of Rosa Luxemburg and her comrade, Karl Liebknecht.

The march was commemorating 100 years since the brutal execution of the two revolutionary socialists on January 15, 1919…

In November 1918, a revolt by sailors and soldiers led to the overthrow of the Hohenzollern monarchy and the end of the war. In December, the Spartacist League renamed itself the German Communist Party (KPD) and Luxemburg asserted that they would not try to seize power without the support of the majority of Germans. Yet when a second revolt broke out on January 5, 1919, she and Liebknecht gave the movement their full support. The uprising quickly faltered and the SPD leadership ordered the army and right-wing paramilitaries, the Freikorps, to crush it.

On the night of January 15, Luxemburg and Liebknecht were abducted, tortured in the luxury Hotel Eden, and then driven separately to the nearby Tiergarten Park and murdered. Liebknecht was delivered to the city morgue while Luxemburg was dumped into a canal.

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

What’s Wrong With The SPD?

First they roll out a foreign minister who talks tough to Russia and then they provide a finance minister who has trouble spending other people’s money.

Scholz

Damn. Maybe I could become a social democrat (bourgeois socialist), too.

Germany’s new Social Democrat finance minister, Olaf Scholz, is frustrating both key ally France and his own struggling center-left party by adopting the same fiscal rigor as his conservative predecessor, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

During his first two months as treasury chief of Europe’s largest economy, Scholz has committed to a continued goal of no new debt and limited public spending.

“We act pragmatically and properly – and do not worship a fetish (of fiscal conservatism).”

“The Slow Death Of Europe’s Social Democrats?”

How ya figure? They’ve been dead for years already, Spiegel Online. Don’t any of you over there ever read the papers?

SPD

I would even ALMOST venture to say that it’s ALMOST time for a social democratic walking dead rennaisance. But the key word here is ALMOST. It won’t be anytime soon. They’re going to get annihilated in this election on Sunday. Again.

In 2000, social democrats or socialists were part of the government in 10 out of the 15 countries that made up the European Union at the time. These days, though, the picture is a drastically different one. There is a real chance that German Social Democrats will no longer be part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition following Sunday’s vote and the same could happen in Italy after voters there go to the polls next spring. Were that to happen, center-left parties would only be part of six EU governments out of 28 member states, all of them on the European periphery: Malta, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

 

Schulz Effect Now Tropical Depression Schulz

Only we’re not in the tropics here.

Schulz

And down, down, down they go. Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) keep losing ground in the polls just weeks ahead of the country’s parliamentary election. They have now reached what they call the vor-Schulz-Tief or pre-Schulz-low before the legendary, if not mythical medial Schulz effect kicked in when he announced his candidacy. Well, at least he’s not an alien. Having the media on your side doesn’t always help, folks. Not here in Germany, either, I mean.

The Greens have seen better days themselves. Some of the Green rats have even begun jumping ship.

„Die spannende Entscheidung ist der Platz drei. Daran zeigt sich, welche Botschaft von der Bundestagswahl ausgeht. Für die Grünen sind alle, die ihre Meinungen nicht teilen, dumm, von gestern oder böse. Diese Überheblichkeit ist nicht nur nervtötend, sondern auch eine Gefahr für den Wohlstand, wenn Technologien zum Feindbild gemacht werden.“