[PHOTOS] The Last Days of East Germany: 40 Fascinating Photographs That Capture Everyday Life in Berlin in the late 1980s

From vintage everyday: Between 1961 and 1989, the Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany and prevented the mass defection that took place after World War II. It also acted as a symbolic partition between democracy and Communism during the Cold War period. The wall was erected in the middle of the night, but it was torn down just as quickly 28 years later, leading to Germany’s reunification.

In January 1988, Erich Honecker paid a state visit to France. By all indications, the long stretch of international isolation appeared to have been successfully overcome. The GDR finally seemed to be taking its long-sought place among the international community of nations. In the minds of the GDR’s old-guard communists, the long-awaited international political recognition was seen as a favorable omen that seemed to coincide symbolically with the fortieth anniversary of the East German state.

In spite of Honecker’s declaration as late as January 1989 that “The Wall will still stand in fifty and also in a hundred years,” the effects of glasnost and perestroika had begun to be evident in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe. Although the GDR leadership tried to deny the reality of these developments, for most East Germans the reforms of Soviet leader Gorbachev were symbols of a new era that would inevitably also reach the GDR. The GDR leadership’s frantic attempts to block the news coming out of the Soviet Union by preventing the distribution of Russian newsmagazines only strengthened growing protest within the population.
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BREAKING: ‘Explosive Device’ Goes Off in Germany City 

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BERLIN –  An “explosive device” blew up in the center of the Bavarian city of Ansbach, killing one person and injuring 11 others, the city’s mayor told local media early Monday.

Mayor Carda Seidel was quoted by Munich’s Focus magazine as saying that the explosion late Sunday night was near the entrance to an open-air music festival.

The website for a group of local newspapers, nordbayern.de, reported that Seidel said it was not yet clear if it was an attack.

German police told the dpa news agency earlier that the explosion was outside a cafe in Ansbach, which is near Nuermberg.

Ansbach police could not immediately be reached for comment. Read the rest of this entry »


Farewell to the Era of No Fences 

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Europe’s openness rests on America’s strength—you can’t have one without the other.

Bret Stephensrenocol_BretStephens writes: This was supposed to be the Era of No Fences. No walls between blocs. No borders between countries. No barriers to trade. Visa-free tourism. The single market. A global Internet. Frictionless transactions and seamless exchanges.

In short, a flat world. Whatever happened to that?

In the early 1990s, Israel’s then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres published a book called “The New Middle East,” in which he predicted paradwhat was soon to be in store for his neighborhood. “Regional common markets reflect the new Zeitgeist,” he gushed. It was only a matter of time before it would become true in his part of the world, too.

[Order Robert Kagan’s book “Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order” from Amazon.com]

I read the book in college, and while it struck me as far-fetched it didn’t seem altogether crazy. The decade from 1989 to 1999 was an age of political, economic, social and technological miracles. The Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union dissolved. Apartheid ended. The euro and Nafta were born. The first Internet browser was introduced. Oil dropped below $10 a barrel, the Dow topped 10,000, Times Square became safe again. America won a war in Kosovo without losing a single man in combat.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Would Israeli businessmen soon be selling hummus and pita to quality-conscious consumers in Damascus? Well, why not?new-middle-east

[Check out Shimon Peres’s bookThe New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World at Amazon.com

Contrast this promised utopia with the mind-boggling scenes of tens of thousands of Middle East migrants, marching up the roads and railways of Europe, headed for their German promised land. The images seem like a 21st-century version of the Völkerwanderung, the migration of nations in the late Roman and early Medieval periods. Desperate people, needing a place to go, sweeping a broad landscape like an unchanneled flood. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Who wants to live in a world where the only place you can speak your mind is in your head?

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The Emerging Liberal Dystopia

For The Daily Caller, Allen Porter writes: You know things are bad when even a hardcore liberal ideologue like Bill Maher can not only see but publicly admit it.

In a recent installment of the infamous “New Rules” segment of the HBO show titled after himself, Maher tackled the trendy topic of the release of Donald Sterling’s recorded remarks. Only instead of falling in line with the mainstream liberal media’s inexorable march for political correctness in this as in all cases—instead of focusing on the “racist” dimension of Sterling’s comments, that is — Maher decided to buck the well-worn mantle of his ideology and, instead, focus on the real story. That is: instead of playing into the fabricated narrative predictably constructed by the pervasively liberal media, Maher saw what is really at stake in a case like this — namely free speech, privacy, and our Fourth Amendment rights.

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The terrifying reality is that we are on the verge of, and moving ever closer to, a liberal dystopia in which speech is directly policed, and thought thereby indirectly policed; one in which principles of political correctness replace moral standards as the ultimate criteria of normative evaluation; one in which the chilling effects on discourse has become a deep freeze. Maher himself made the perfect historical analogy during the May 9 show, which is somewhat ironic:

“Who wants to live in a world where the only place you can speak your mind is in your head? That’s what East Germany was like. That’s why we fought the Cold War, remember? So we’d never have to live in some awful limbo where you never knew who, even among your friends, was an informer. And now we’re doing it to ourselves.”

 

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Vintage Soviet Sci-Fi Movie Poster ‘First Spaceship on Venus’

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First Spaceship on Venus (Silent Star) (VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, 1959). Soviet movie poster

In the far distant future of 1985, a multi-national crew rockets out to the planet Venus, only to find its population was long ago wiped out by the misuse of nuclear power. A co-production from East Germany and Poland, this science fiction film was released in the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc First Spaceship on Venuscountries under the translated title Silent Star. It was re-edited and released in the US as First Spaceship on Venus in 1962 by Crown International.

[The DVD – First Spaceship On Venus – at Amazon]

And Internet Movie Database has a photo gallery of other posters and related material.

via Heritage Auctions

spaceexp –  scanzen
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Hey Man, If You Think Those Communists Are Bad For People, Check Out What Those Red Bastids Did To The Planet

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And it’s not a coincidence or accident of history

For The Federalist.com writes:  When pressed by Twitter critics earlier this month over the horrendous human rights record of his chosen ideology, Jesse “#FULLCOMMUNISM” Myerson struck back with this tweet:

In addition to being an advocate for an ideology directly responsible for tens of millions of non-war deaths and untold human misery, Myerson has revealed himself as something of an ignoramus concerning communism’s shocking record on environmental issues. Not only a blight on the human condition, communism’s impact on the planet’s ecology has proven consistently ghastly.

When the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain was finally lifted to expose the inner workings of communism to Western eyes, one of the more shocking discoveries was the nightmarish scale of environmental destruction. The statistics for East Germany alone tell a horrific tale: at the time of its reunification with West Germany an estimated 42 percent of moving water and 24 percent of still waters were so polluted that they could not be used to process drinking water, almost half of the country’s lakes were considered dead or dying and unable to sustain fish or other forms of life, and only one-third of industrial sewage along with half of domestic sewage received treatment.

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Social Media is Acting as the New Permanent Record

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Watch Out, Your Character Is Showing

Jonah Goldberg writes:  Character is what you do when no one is watching.”

It’s a bit of a trite saying, attributed to coaches, motivational speakers, and fortune-cookie writers (by the way, whose idea was it to replace fortune-cookie predictions with treacly aphorisms from the “Successories” reject pile?).

Still, the expression’s popularity illustrates the power of the idea behind it. Character is what you do when the only controlling authority is your conscience.

Because young people do not yet have fully formed characters, they often need incentives beyond exhortations to do the right thing. That’s one reason most parents reward good behavior and punish bad behavior — to create real-world consequences for poor decisions, and thus train the habits of the heart.

Schools do the same thing. When I was a kid, one of the chief tools in this regard was your “permanent record.” You don’t want to get caught cheating, running in the halls, cutting class, drinking beer, etc., because it might go down on your permanent record, teachers would warn.

One of the great epiphanies in life is that your permanent record is not some bulging binder kept under lock and key like some archive in East Germany. But the threat that keepers of your permanent record were watching you — bureaucratic Santas determining if you were naughty or nice — had its uses. I’m sure it still does.

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