Constitutional complaint, to be heard by Germany’s supreme Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe [Verfassungsgericht].

A Berlin attorney announced he will file a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe after his lawsuit was rejected by the supreme Administrative Court [Oberstes Verwaltungsgericht] in Leipzig. He is suing against the German foreign intelligence service, BND‘s, monitoring of international email, which he considers excessive and illegal.

Leipzig’s supreme Administrative Court had said they would not hear his complaint because he could not prove that he himself was directly affected by the BND’s dragnet surveillance. Merely saying that he had foreign clients and communicated with them by email did not suffice for that court.

(Fair FOSS oongs beh SHWEAH dah.)

Zeitungswissen nur

Only newspaper knowledge.

After investigating N.S.A. activities for several months, German federal public prosecutor Harald Range is said to be considering starting no prosecutions, neither for mass surveillance of all Germans nor for surveillance of Angela Merkel’s phones, because his office has neither documents nor witness testimony, “only newspaper knowledge” of the N.S.A.’s violation of German criminal law. Presumably requests for judicial assistance [Rechtshilfeersuche, letters rogatory] to U.S. authorities would remain unanswered. Spiegel, which broke the story of the N.S.A.’s years of listening to the chancellor’s cell phone, cited source protection and refused to hand over related evidence from the Snowden trove.

Süddeutsche Zeitung said Mr. Range’s deciding not to prosecute would upset some people in the federal government and in his own office.

The federal government is said to have sent Mr. Range an early signal that he had independence to investigate freely in this matter, when Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed not to stop any investigations for foreign policy reasons.

S.P.D. and Green party politicians said they were upset by the decision to quit. The C.D.U. seemed to support it, saying they thought the matter should be dealt with by the Bundestag’s N.S.A. investigation committee and not by the federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe.

Update on 03 Jun 2014: The Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR have heard that the decision was altered: Federal Prosecutor Range still will not investigate the U.S.’s massive spying but will do an initial investigation of their bugging of the chancellor’s phones. He is seeking the whistleblowers in his offices.

Update on 05 Jun 2014: What the federal prosecutor is investigating, geheimdienstlicher Agententätigkeit or “secret agent activity,” has a statute of limitations in Germany of five years.

Update on 04 Jul 2014: The federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe is investigating a U.S. spy caught in Germany’s foreign intelligence service.

Update on 09 Jul 2014: The federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe is investigating a U.S. spy caught in Germany’s defense ministry.

(TSIGHT oongs VISS en   noor.)

Schlichtungsstelle für Suchmaschinen

Mediation board for search engines.

Since the European Court of Justice’s recent decision that Google (and all search engines) must delete on request links to pages that E.U. burghers feel violate their personality rights, thousands of deletion requests have been sent to the company.

Germany’s coalition government announced they want a board to be created to help search engines process these requests so the search engines are not the sole deciders. They said they want clear rules about how these requests are evaluated. Clear credible rules for how the “forget” requests are handled are also necessary: in the U.S.’s data protectionless jungle, companies frequently respond to consumers’ requests to forget or correct information with demands for more information, all of which is certainly not deleted. Who will be allowed access to the forget requests? Who can make copies of them, and how secure are the copies?

Germany’s data protection officers have demanded they have a significant role in the evaluation of the link deletion requests.

Update on 30 May 2014: Germany’s data protection officers have criticized that the “forget” request page Google has provided requires a scan of the requestor’s passport or other photo identification. Hamburg state data protection officer Johannes Caspar, who deals with Google questions, said that the automatic saving of personal ID’s by non-public entities was illegal and must be changed immediately. Google promptly changed the wording on the online submission form to “Please attach a legible copy of a document that identifies you.”

(SHLIH chh toongs SHTELL ah   fir   ZOO chh mosh ee nen.)

Rechtspopulisten, Rechtsradikale oder Rechtsextreme?

ZDF heute journal was kind enough to provide definitions for the terminology they use to describe right-wing parties that may or may not belong to the Europe-skeptical wing.

The question is whether the party supports the constitution. “Radical political opinions have their place in our pluralistic societal order,” ZDF said the federal Verfassungsschutz said.

Federal Verfassungsschutz defines extremists as those who work against core content of the constitution.

Populists “provide simple and not necessarily always completely correct answers to questions that are sometimes quite complex,” said ZDF.

Before Edward Snowden, one would have said that based on their attitude toward the constitution Verfassungsschutz would have kept an eye on extremists but not radicals or populists. However, now we know that no one’s data is safe.

ZDF said right-wing populists and radicals but not extremists include: F.P.Ö. in Austria, U.K.I.P. in U.K., Front National in France, Gert Wilders’s “Party of Freedom” in the Netherlands and Jobbik in Hungary.

Right-wing extremists include: the “Golden red of morning” [Goldener Morgenröte] in Greece and the neonazi N.P.D. party in Germany.

(RECTS pop ew LIST en,   rects rod ee CAWL ah   oh dah   rects ex TRAY mah?)

Ob Europas europafreundliche Parteien nervenstark genug sind, um nicht im Teich der Europagegner zu fischen

ZDF heute journal moderator Claus Kleber’s post-EU-parliamentary election question: whether Europe’s Europe-friendly political parties have strong enough nerves to not start fishing for votes in the pond that houses Europe’s opponents.

Bavaria’s C.S.U. party, which has governed Bavaria since 1946, ran an anti-foreigners campaign for the E.U. parliamentary election and did not succeed in motivating foreigner haters to go to the polls and vote C.S.U. -8%.


Stellarator vs. Tokamak

Two types of experimental nuclear fusion reactor. Both use magnets to try to keep hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium under enough temperature and pressure to fuse their nuclei into helium, but, said the Frankfurter Allgemeine, the tokamak system can only work in pulsed operation while the less common stellarator can do continuous operation, making it useful for research into electricity-generating applications.

Physicists say the bigger a pulsing tokamak is, the better it works. The world’s largest tokamak experimental fusion reactor is under construction in southern France. The “Iter” reactor in Cadarache is a joint project of Europe, Japan, Russia, China, South Korea, India and the U.S., originally budgeted at 4.6 billion euros with completion in 2020 but now expected to cost ~15 billion and be at least two years late. A project manager said the extra costs are because the original estimates were only for construction costs and did not include e.g. insurance, manufacturers’ profit and administration costs. Because each of the seven partners wants to acquire all knowledge related to this reactor so they can build copies at home, many of the parts have been manufactured in factories in multiple countries instead of by one contractor, with the added risks this entails.

The world’s largest stellarator experimental fusion reactor officially completed construction this month in Greifswald, Germany. The Max Planck Institute said since 1995 construction of the “Wendelstein 7-X” has been financed by approx. 201 million euros from the E.U.’s Euratom program, 672 million from Germany and 131 million from the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; it was originally budgeted at 500 million euros but ended up costing >1 billion.

The stellarator in Greifswald is not intended to fuse hydrogen atoms but is intended to research electricity generation via fusion. The tokamak in Cadarache intends to use 50 megawatts to produce 500 megawatts via fusion, getting more energy out than was put in for the first time said a representative; researchers there are interested in pure physics research but also developing technologies that will be used in the next generation of fusion reactors, probably not available before 2050.

The world’s previous largest tokamak experimental fusion reactor was at Culham, U.K., and only managed to produce 60% of the energy that it fed into the reaction.

Deutsche Bank verkauft Cosmopolitan-Casino

Deutsche Bank built and operated a casino in Las Vegas, but now they’ve sold it.

Originally, Deutsche Bank said, they only wanted to finance the construction of the casino. But the construction company ran into difficulties and DeuBa took over the project to complete it. The hotel and gambling complex is said to have originally cost $3.9 billion, and the bank sold it to a real estate fund of a financial investor Blackstone for $1.26 billion. Deutsche Bank emphasized that they didn’t lose much money on the project because their casino earned so well.

(DOY tcha   BONK   fair COW fft   caw SEE no.)

Schlagende Verbindung

The German university fraternities that deliberately cut each other in the face while swordfighting, as a result of which any company manager with a facial scar is thought to have a powerful right-wing network supporting him. This is still going on.

Not all Burschenschaft fraternities are schlagende Verbindungen.

Hamburg’s state Verfassungsschutz has announced they will be keeping a closer eye on the “Germania” Burschenschaft because some of its members might be right-wing extremists.

In 2013, said the officials, HB Germania’s political activity increased and included:

Multiple invitations to right-wing extremists, including a public relations expert and neonazi politician, Jürgen Schwab, who was to give a talk on “Manipulation of International Law.”

Close ties to a Hamburg fraternity of right-wing extremist high school students [Schülerverbindung]. I did not know there were Verbindungen-type fraternities for schoolchildren.

Update on 11 Jun 2014: The foundation in charge of the Wartburg castle in Eisenach said the Deutsche Burschenschaft will no longer be allowed to hold their annual meeting at the castle. Spiegel said this group is an umbrella association of right-wing student Verbindungen, who’ve caused talk lately by wondering aloud if they should require proof of Aryan ancestry for membership!

Update on 13 Jun 2014: In addition to Hamburg’s “Germania” fraternity, Verfassungsschutz is also looking at Munich’s “Danubia.” And two N.P.D. members of Saxony’s state parliament have said they were members of Gießen’s “Dresdensia-Rugia.”

The president of Saxony’s state Verfassungsschutz is a Burschenschaftler. He indicated that in college he joined a fraternity that his family member(s) had joined, that he has been active as one of their Alte Herren (“old gentlemen,” the alumni), and he didn’t mention it before because he thought this was a private matter.

(SHLAWG en da   fair BIN doong.)

Mafia und post-sowjetische O.K.

German police are narrowing down their use of “mafia” to mean Italian mafia. “Post-Soviet organized criminality” is the new phrase because “Russian mafia” isn’t broad enough for that spectrum.


“Backgrounded,” simply providing background or written with knowledge of background to fit into the larger world outside the text; yet dictionaries say this translates into English as deep, profound, cryptic, enigmatic, ulterior. Also subtle.

(HIN tah GRIN dichh.)

Das Feuilleton fährt fort

The Feuilleton
Goes on and on.

In a charming discussion of the state of the section of German newspapers that falls somewhere “between the people’s education and corporate publishing,” Süddeutsche Zeitung said this traditionally has been understood as a part of the paper that contained “cultural interest, alert/awake/astute contemporary-ism*” and “literarily inspired writing that simultaneously has lightness and sharpness/focus.”

The principle of the feuilleton is spreading, said Süddeutsche, into diverse areas that include sportswriting and fashion reporting. “Only with special, original, witty, backgrounded texts will you make progress against the tempo of the internet.”

* German’s delatinized calque for contemporary is “time comrade,” and so the nouned Zeitgenossenschaft is a bit of a play that reads as a time association, time confraternity or time cooperative.

(Doss   fight ɔ̃   faired   FOTT.)

Numerus clausus

Restricted admission.

With free tuition, German universities don’t use money to determine who gets an education and who doesn’t. But they’re having a bit of a budget crunch so, if they don’t get more money from the government, the universities threatened to restrict admissions of new students for majors that don’t yet have restricted admission.

Medicine and law are two famous numerus clausus departments, with admissions depending on how many doctors and lawyers the government calculates Germany will need in x years.

An informal way German universities do restrict admission is by requiring students to pass certain highly-set hurdles in order to graduate (though you can put off graduation for a very long time while still taking classes and haunting libraries). Humanities subjects frequently require a Latin proficiency certificate. Other subjects use statistics classes for the purpose. Medical students’ ranks used to be further thinned by a notorious class in physics.

Even with free tuition, money still limits who can study and who cannot. The semesters are set up with long breaks so students can work enough to earn money for the next semester. Student rebates are provided to try to help with the costs of living and the costs of not working. The rebates I remember applied for foreign students and included low rent on well-designed student housing, cheaper mandatory health insurance (incl. dental and medicines), reduced or free public transportation (trains, buses, subways), cheaper admission to museums, movies, concerts, lakes and swimming pools…

“Auf einer Mission des Wissens”

“On a mission from knowledge,” Süddeutsche Zeitung’s homage to the Blues Brothers movie, in its announcement that Lila Tretikov will be the new boss of Wikipedia.

S.Z. mentioned that the Wikimedia Foundation now has 207 employees, and its projects include the Wiktionary dictionary, Wikiquote citations collection, Wikispecies index of biological species, Wikivoyage travel guide and Wikiversity collaboration platform for research projects.

Lila Tretikov said she appreciates Wikipedia because she still remembers how difficult it was to obtain information in the Soviet Union. And I appreciate it because I still remember how difficult it was to obtain information in Appalachia.

(Ow! f   eye nah   meese YONE   dess   VISS ens.)

Weniger aber vergleichbar

Less but comparable.

The New York Times’s editor-in-chief was fired this week by the Sulzberger heir after some management style differences and then because she took steps when she found out they were paying her less than her predecessor. The paper announced that Jill Abramson’s pay was less than but comparable to Bill Keller’s.

(VANE ig gah   AH bah   fair GLY chh bah.)

Tag des Rocks

It looks like it means Day of RAWK, but in German it also means Day of the Skirt. On 16 May 2014, male high school students and some male teachers in northwestern France wore skirts to school to protest sexism. They looked like such nice boys in the photos in the international press.

Frankfurt’s excellent conservative business newspaper joked that jour de la jupe could be the start of a television career for the charming protesters.

The national education ministry in Paris printed posters with the movement’s logo, “Ce que soulève la jupe,” [what raises your skirt], which, said the Frankfurter Allgemeine, approximately means what questions a skirt raises! Spiegel said the movement’s motto translated as what does the skirt hide? [was verbirgt der Rock?].

Conservatives and pious homophobes did respond with outrage, saying this meant the end of the République and western civilization, reported. Yes, girls and boys are equal, but if boys act like girls it will damage the boys, some declaimed. The objecters apparently ignored last year’s jour de la jupe, and Scottish rugby, but this year they’d already mobilized for unsuccessful attempts to stop gay marriage in France and saw an opportunity.

(Tochh   dess   Rocks.)

Nachhaltige Pharmazie

Sustainable pharmaceuticals.

Spiegel-Online shared natur magazine’s profile of Lüneburg University’s Sustainable Chemistry and Material Resources professor, who is working on developing versions of drugs that break down into harmless substances rather than accumulate in rivers and lakes. They’ve already managed to create a version of a cancer drug that is both more effective and more biodegradable.

Professor Kümmerer said these criteria could be being taught in drug engineering but aren’t yet. Pharma companies are cautious about supporting the trend because they don’t want to invest more money or invite more licensing requirements to be imposed. Until the new standards and discoveries can be deployed, he said, the filter systems will have to be improved for factory waste water and municipal water treatment plants.

The goal of sustainable pharmacy would be to make drugs that break down into e.g. carbon and water outside the body. Perhaps one way to achieve that could be with coatings: an exterior coating that is broken down only by gastric juices, with the tablet’s core broken down by gaseous oxygen?

(NAH chh halt ig ah   fah mah TSEE.)

“Eine linsengrosse Menge genügt”

“A quantity the size of a lentil is sufficient,” the famous slogan on an old-fashioned German toothpaste that dates back to when toothpastes were sold as powders. A tiny dab from the small tube still suffices to brush your teeth.

The old problem of how to encourage the sale of small quantities appears pertinent to our failure to replace medicines that the germs have beaten.

The World Health Organization has said some of humanity’s most notorious germs can no longer be cured. Anyone who’s read the desperation and pain of the contagious life sentences we helplessly passed around to each other before the discovery of sulpha drugs and then antibiotics might wonder why the private sector doesn’t appear to be devoting the resources to antibiotic research that the problem appears to call for, and why governments don’t put more restrictions on the widespread use of antimicrobial substances. One plausible explanation I heard is that pharma companies are incentivized to find drugs that can be sold to the largest possible pool of customers who will consume them for as long as possible, to maximize the volume of sales of medicines as if they were any other widget. By that incentive, it might be less interesting to discover efficacious cures for the new superstrains of tuberculosis and gonorrhea, and more interesting to seek patents on therapies that can treat but not cure e.g a chronic condition in humans, chickens and cows (especially in rich cows). By this reckoning it might even look possible to earn more by switching from selling prescription drugs to nonprescription drugs. Or possibly beer.

Solving the problem of antimicrobial resistance would require spending money to find new treatments that work, yet selling the found drugs as sparingly as possible.

Harry Shearer said a W.H.O. official said one solution is to start thinking about effective antibiotics as global public goods. Good investment in vaccine research might eradicate these diseases while selling ~10 billion vaccine doses for each disease cured, even more if it works in chickens and cows. More dangerous solutions might include making the investments to find new therapies and then openly keeping the supply low and demand high for the precious new drugs to drive up their price; but this tactic would kill people whenever and wherever an economy or nomocracy hit a shaky patch. Finding new effective drugs but then keeping them secret, and thus available only to a small elite, would dangerously undertest the medicines, be more susceptible to fraud, and kneecap research.

(Eye na   LIN zen grow sah  MENG ah   geh NUE gt.)

Zug ins Grüne

A train into the greener countryside.

Some wonderful person has carefully filmed, edited and posted online videos of the Stuttgart Stadtbahn light rail routes. These videos take you into the green twice, because the streetcar lines start and end in the city’s green outer periphery; they also document and share other ways of building and living.

In the video for the U2 line, you can hear kids discussing with their father while practicing multiple languages.

(TSOOG   ins   GROON ah.)

Wichtige Informationen verschwiegen

Maintained silence about important information.

In the numerous court trials dealing with deeds done during the running of the Bavarian state bank BayernLB and during the running of the Carinthian state bank Hypo Alpe Adria, and deeds done during BayernLB’s purchase of Hypo Alpe Adria and the country of Austria’s subsequent buying it back for $1, there have been many accusations about improper sharing of important relevant information at key moments.

09 Apr 2014: Jail sentences will be appealed for Hypo Alpe Adria’s former manager Tilo Berlin (2 years), management board member Josef Kircher (3 years), bank head Wolfgang Kulterer (another year), and management board member Siegfried Grigg (3.5 years), for making improper secret side agreements with investors. The Hypo managers did not tell BayernLB that they’d tried to raise capital by selling preferred stock [Vorzugsaktien] with a put option guaranteeing the bank would buy back the stock at any time; i.i.u.c. Hypo’s balance sheet at the time BayernLB bought it described these shares as >100 million euros of Eigenkapital when they should have been classed as Fremdkapital, equity capital when they were in fact debt capital. BayernLB is saying this means the balance sheet and core capital data they were given before the 2007 sale weren’t accurate.

Now that several top managers have been found guilty of selling the bank with an inaccurate sales brochure, the Bavarian Landesbank is suing one of the smaller major shareholders in Hypo Alpe Adria at the time, a group of shareholding Hypo employees, for selling their stock to BayernLB while the brochure was wrong. If the Landesbank wins that lawsuit they can go on to sue the larger major shareholders who owned the bank then, such as the state of Carinthia.

07 May 2014: Former Hypo manager Tilo Berlin thinks BayernLB disguised their true intentions to him in 2008 and has filed charges against the BayernLB bankers and politicians who were running the Landesbank then; prosecutors in Carinthia and Bavaria are investigating his allegations of “serious fraud and suspected fraudulent acquisition of nonvoting share capital” [schweren Betrugs sowie des Verdachts des betrügerischen Erlangens von Partizipationskapital]. After buying Hypo Alpe Adria in 2007, the Austrians are saying, in 2008 the Bavarians tricked them into handing over 900 million euros in Austrian taxpayer-funded aid by pretending BayernLB would keep the troubled Hypo Alpe Adria when they were already planning to get rid of it. BayernLB bought Hypo Alpe Adria in 2007, knew already in 2008 that they’d made a big mistake, and got Austria to take it in 2009; in 2013 the long process for winding it down as a bad bank began.

07 May 2014: In addition to the above, concluded this Spiegel article, the game’s afoot with regard to Hypo Alpe Adria. But Spiegel provided no details.

“Furthermore, the bank was involved in criminal machinations, which Austrian investigators are processing in one of the biggest crime cases in the Alpine republic’s history.”

(VIH chh tigga   in foam ats YONE   fair SHVEEG en.)

Schweigegeld oder Schmiergeld?

“Silence money or shmear money”; blackmail or bribery?

How do you show that a quiet illicit payment was corruption and not extortion?

The Bavarian Landesbank BayernLB came into some unexpected Formula One stock (through a series of events after a Deutsche Bank manager said things in a television interview that led to the end of Leo Kirch’s ability to get more loans and the subsequent implosion of the Kirch media empire). One of BayernLB’s managers started asking questions, in Germany and England, to learn about how Formula One was run in order to learn how much his bank’s new stock was worth. He found the racing empire curiously opaque. He found Bernie Ecclestone had a strange veto right, and filed lawsuits to counter it. Then, say prosecutors, Bernie Ecclestone decided to “turn” the diligent bank manager. A 44-million-euro payment was made (disguised as consulting fees and transferred in several installments to accounts in Austria).

The bank manager testified it was a bribe was to obtain BayernLB’s support for the sale of Mr. Kirch’s Formula One shares to a buyer Bernie Ecclestone preferred.

At his trial in Munich, Bernie Ecclestone’s lawyers are saying it was a blackmail payment to buy the bank manager’s silence after he made threats.

(SHVY gah geld   ode ah   SHMEAR geld.)


Foam manufacturers cartel.

The E.U. announced a fine of ~114 million euros for price fixing to several manufacturers of the polyurethane foam used in furniture and car seats. The fine was reduced for companies that provided information about the cartel.

The lion’s share of the foam fine, 75 million euros, will be paid by a U.S manufacturer, Carpenter Co., and the rest by Eurofoam (Austria) and Recticel (Belgium). Because Eurofoam is a joint venture of Recticel and another Austrian firm that does not make foam, the final accounting could get a bit complicated. Foam manufacturer Vita Cayman (Cayman Islands) will not be fined because they’re the ones who reported the cartel to authorities in Brussels.

The cartel manipulated sale prices in about ten E.U. countries, including Germany. Auto seats make up about a quarter of the industry’s sales, said the E.U.’s competition commissioner.

(Sh OW! m shtoff heah shtell ah caw TELL.)


Bogus, dummy, sham company; in hiphop slang it means your street name.


“White money strategy.”

Under-the-table money is called Schwarzgeld, black money. Before Switzerland got rid of banking secrecy this year by joining the O.E.C.D.’s common standard for automatically sharing account holders’ banking data with the tax authorities in the account holders’ home countries, Switzerland first adopted a so-called “white money strategy” for several months. The Süddeutsche Zeitung said the policy involved trying to only attract and manage legal money. In some cases, under this policy, Swiss banks pressured their clients to make things right with the tax authorities at home, or lose their Swiss bank account.

How Switzerland’s new rules will look remains unclear, said the Süddeutsche. It’s possible that it may be easy to get around them by using letterbox firms or “shell” companies. “The only thing that will help against that is transparent company registers.”

(VICE geld shtraw tegue eee.)

Ein Duke kommt selten allein

“A Duke Rarely Comes Alone,” the German name of the Dukes of Hazzard television series.

German titles for U.S. television shows sometimes don’t come alone. I saw three different ones used for Home Improvement: the Heimwerker (home handyman), the Dünnbrettbohrer (someone who drills thin boards as if they were difficult-to-drill thick boards), and finally Hör mal, wer da hämmert (Look Who’s Hammering).

(Eye n   DUQUE   come t   zell ten   ah LINE.)


There’s a word for free beer in German.



Germans might not have a word for the mountains of branded free stuff given away at giant, nebulously defined charity events.


Beute, pirate treasure.

Kostenlose Scheiße, free stuff.

Werbeartikel, promotional merchandise.

Streuartikel, “scatter merchandise,” chaff items, inexpensive branded things made for distribution as free gifts. German Wikipedia authors wrote, “The efficacy of this form of marketing, in other words the number of new business deals made in the wake of one of these campaigns, is often estimated as quite low.”

Oscars-Geschenktüten, Oscars™ goodie bags, which have been described in German media.


Reform of Germany’s supreme Constitutional Court.

In an interview given because he wanted to encourage more discussion about the European Union, Constitutional Court president Andreas Voßkuhle indicated there’s talk about reforming the Bundesverfassungsgericht. He said it wouldn’t be a problem if future German supreme court judges were to be elected not by a Bundestag committee, as they are now, but by the Bundestag plenum, as long as the condition is maintained that the candidates do not make statements. Questioning the judges before their election “would threaten to immoderately politicize the Court.” It appears a seat on the Bundesverfassungsgericht is for one term only, because Dr. Voßkuhle said enabling re-election of supreme court judges would be a “stab in the heart” to judicial independence.

(BOON dess fair FOSS oongs geh R-R-R-ICHHTS ray form.)


The Gotthard basis tunnel, being built under the famous Gotthard Pass through the Swiss Alps. They’re saying this new double tunnel for trains is the longest in the world, at 57 km. Wonderful ZDF heute journal report on the testing currently underway, showing how Swiss engineers are verifying human/computer interaction to control responses to a variety of simulated emergency situations. It’s not yet known whether the air each train pushes in front of it and pulls behind it will be enough ventilation for all 57 kilometers.

Passenger trains are to travel through the new tunnel at up to 250 km/h. Accelerating inside the tunnel would cost a lot of energy because of the column of air; the F.A.Z. said the trains will “thunder into” the tunnel entrances.

(GOTT haht BOZZ iss TOON ell.)

Perfektion protegiert Pädophilie

Perfection sponsors pedophilia.

In its thousand-year-old quest for perfection, the Vatican under St. Pope John Paul II was staffed with high officials who were supporters of a group called the Legion of Christ and of its charismatic founder, Marcial Maciel (born 1920 in Mexico, died 2008 in U.S.A.), a man who sexually abused children. German newspaper articles said Marcial Maciel raped children, using his Legionary students and priests as “lustknaben” [lust boys], weekly but possibly daily since the 1940’s. He used to summon young people to his bed at night to massage his stomachaches; after ruining their lives he reportedly told them the pope had given him permission to assuage his ills in this manner to enable him to continue his marvellous good works. He switched to women in the 1970’s and was known to have fathered several children. When he was 56, he used a false identity to seduce a 19-year-old girl, founding a family with her, then founding a second family ten years later. “According to his women, of his four children he didn’t sexually abuse only one of them,” said the F.A.Z. [“Nur eines seiner vier Kinder missbrauchte er nach Angaben seiner Frauen nicht.”: a bit convoluted].

Marcial Maciel’s qualification as a priest and his education have been called into question, because he was kicked out of several Catholic education institutions as a teenager in Mexico despite the support of several bishop uncles before being ordained by one of those uncles.

Mr. Maciel apparently had a serious opiate addiction since the 1940’s, and used to send confidants hundreds of miles with faked prescriptions to obtain medications for him, and get nuns to administer shots and tablets to him.

The high point of Marcial Maciel Degollado’s power was in 1994, said the F.A.Z.

The Legion of Christ—which still exists and e.g. has a location in Germany, in Bavaria—has been described, in its conservative attitudes and rigorous discipline, as a bit similar to the Opus Dei and Pius Brothers groups. Founded in 1941, the organization also used anti-communism as a way to surf to power during the Cold War. It’s said to have been close to the Franco dictatorship in Spain. The Legion successfully recruited wealthy aristocrats as supporters throughout the 20th century, apparently in countries like Spain, Austria and Germany. Süddeutsche Zeitung said the Italian l’Espresso newspaper and Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal reported that the Legionaries have had huge financial resources, possibly due to Marcial Maciel’s close involvement with Carlos Slim, possibly the richest man in the world, and the German branch’s recruitment of the former “C.E.O. of the United Nations’ Refugee Agency and chair of the German Fundraising Association” [Deutscher Fundraisingverband, it’s not clear who that is or for whom they raise funds]. The Legionaries have an organization for laypeople called Regnum Christi that’s been said to have or have had 50,000 members.

Supporters of Marcial Maciel inside the Vatican included:

  • Cardinal Angelo Sodano at the State Secretariat, who has been accused of leading a “coverup faction” that tried to hide priests’ pedophilia at very high levels. Cardinal Sodano may have had good connections to the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet because “as a nuncio he introduced Maciel into Chilean society during the time of the Pinochet military dictatorship,” according to the F.A.Z.
  • Pope John Paul II’s secretary, Stanislaw Dziwisz, who became the cardinal-archbishop of Krakow.

Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book in 2012 about the discoveries he made in materials revealed by the Vatileaks Vatican whistleblowing. In Süddeutsche Zeitung, Mr. Nuzzi said that Marcial Maciel’s secretary, Pater Alfredo Moreno, met with Pope Benedict’s secretary in 2011 and reported that he had destroyed documents containing evidence of Mr. Maciel’s crimes. According to the Vatileaks information, at the 2011 meeting Pater Moreno said he was refused an audience by John Paul II’s Vatican when he tried to report this in 2003. Other German-language newspaper articles show there were decades of notifications to the Vatican about this man’s crimes. The Swiss Tagesanzeiger said a victim was refused an audience with John Paul II to discuss Mr. Maciel’s abuse in 1983. In the late 1970’s a victim sent the Vatican a letter describing what had happened to him and some of his brothers but there was no response, said the Frankfurter Rundschau. In 1956 the Vatican investigated accusations against Mr. Maciel (which they had now also received from the U.S. and Spain, in addition to Mexico); that report too has disappeared in the Vatican archives, “as have all other letters and reports containing information on Maciel’s practices,” said the F.A.Z., adding that since the 1950’s Mr. Maciel’s strategy of favorably influencing key cardinals with money and gifts created an impenetrable armor around him.

The first newspaper report about this was apparently published in the U.S.A.’s Hartford Courant in 1997 by journalists Jason Berry and Gerald Renner. Then there were reports in Mexican media. All were heavily squashed: “Libel lawsuits, advertizing boycotts, freezing out journalists who dared to take up the topic, getting personalities from public life to defend Maciel—nothing was not tried,” said the F.A.Z. Before dying mysteriously, a former Legionary well-known in Mexico asked the priest Alberto Athié to ensure that justice was served, and in 1998 Fr. Athié filed a lawsuit in Rome with eight former Legionaries against Mr. Maciel for abusing the sacrament of confession by hearing his victims’ confession after a shared night, issuing the victims absolution with an order to maintain silence. But the head of the department responsible for hearing Fr. Athié’s lawsuit, the Congregation of the Faith’s Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), decided not to allow the 1998 proceedings despite the fact that his department at the Vatican was not the one in which previous complaints against Mr. Maciel had always disappeared and despite the fact that Cardinal Ratzinger was not known to have been one of the cardinals accepting envelopes full of money from Mr. Maciel’s network. In 1999, the archbishop of Mexico City stripped Fr. Athié of all his church functions.

(Peah FECKED shown   pro tej jeert   pay dough feel EE.)


Dispute culture.

I’m not sure what Germans mean by this because I’m unfamiliar with productive disputation.

It seems that in Germany you can say, “Auf dem Niveau diskutiere ich nicht,” I won’t discuss at such a low level. And the dispute will actually continue, at a higher level.

(SHTRITE cool tour.)


Discussion culture.

(Disk ooss SEA OWNS cool tour.)

Mehr Licht!

What Goethe said.


A big techno concert in Germany in the 1990’s that probably lasted for days. German radio stations would broadcast it with no ads for hours, just a brief traffic report with station I.D. at the top and bottom of the hour.

From what I heard at the time, Carl Cox seemed the funkiest. He used triplets in addition to quarter notes.

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