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Do Yourselves a Favor – Turn a Blind Eye to Who I Am

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My false feathers - too beautiful to be rejected!

My false feathers - too beautiful to be rejected! (courtesy justrecently.wordpress.com)

As early as in summer 2010, it apparently dawned on several German scientists that then defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had, to say the least, been sluggish when writing his doctoral thesis. A postgraduate had written an essay about inconsistencies in Guttenberg’s work, and offered it to several professors – but neither of them was interested, reports “Die Welt”.

And why should they? If you show similar misdemeanor, umm, sluggisnhess, as a sales clerk, you’ll be fired, and it may take you years before someone will employ you again. If a small bugger tries to fiddle his dissertation and gets caught – I mean, if he works so negligently -, he can kiss all his academic ambitions good-bye, and rightly so. But when you are a defence minister, and some gripers simply don’t allow you to look  the other way anymore, you’ll give the ex-minister a job in a North-American think tank.

If Guttenberg wants to return into politics is a question he hasn’t yet answered, even though he gave a long interview to the chief editor of “Die Zeit”. But you bet that he is working towards that goal.

“Der Spiegel”‘s Jan Fleischhauer is making fun of Guttenberg, and compares him to former protestant bishop Margot Kässmann. Guttenberg’s “apologies” sound pretty much like Kässmann’s, he believes, and the religious effect makes such apologies so powerful, Fleischhauer adds with more than just a shot of irony. “How can you not forgive them?”

One problem that Fleischhauer doesn’t touch upon though is that a true confession would have to include a detailed description of how the fake, umm, sluggish approach had been conducted. But there are no such details.

There are two things to learn from this: there is one kind of law applicable to upper classes in Germany, and one for the lower. When Helmut Kohl flatly refused to name the gentlemen who had provided his political party with illegal donations, he wasn’t even taken into coercive detention.

Guttenberg’s “apology” to the German public amounts to this: “I’m so sorry, but my life will be destroyed, if you aren’t prepared to forget what I have done. After all, I must become federal chancellor. There is no other way!”

If that’s the chancellor the German people really want, they will get exactly the government they deserve. If his lack of character and substance isn’t obvious enough, any man will be good enough to lead this country.

The current government, led by Angela Merkel, might still be way above what should be good enough for this country.

We, the Anti-Democrats

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The following is my – unauthorised – translation of a short article by Adam Soboczynski, a journalist who has attracted a lot of attention and frequently readers’ anger with his articles for Germany’s weekly Die Zeit. In his latest article, he criticises the appreciation for a French manifesto, “L’Insurrection Qui Vient” (German: “Der Kommende Aufstand”). Whenever published online, Soboczynski’s utterances draw great numbers of – mostly angry – comments. His references to Stuttgart in the following are about Stuttgart 21.

– TAIDE

We, the Anti-Democrats

Adam Soboczynski, Die Zeit (online and printed ed. 49), 2 December, 2010

 The angry citizen isn’t conservative. He’s reactionary.

The Coming Uprising (Der kommende Aufstand), the much-discussed, partly printed by Der Spiegel, prized in the feature pages, manifesto of a French “invisible committee” has, despite all revolutionary rhetoric, a conservative nucleus: the loss of traditional conviviality, donnybrooks, good manners. Thought that could be associated with the left – a call for building communes, a celebration of subversive protest, anti-capitalism – are being notched with mourning past everyday habits.

The coming uprising is also anticipated so briskly because it seems to picture the uprisings of angry citizens who didn’t only agitate this country in Stuttgart. That’s what Der Spiegel claims this week. The paper misses the point that the protests are – despite what they may seem to be – of no conservative kind. Certainly, as a pensioner, you don’t want to be confronted with a construction site that is going to stay for ten years. For the last few years of your life, everything should remain the way it has been.

What appears to be, at first glance, a conservative impulse, is in fact reactionary. Reactionary in that secretly, it is moulded by a fervent distrust of parliamentarism and democratic institutions that structure [political or social, probably – Taide] participation.
Apparently, every sense of formal aspects of democracy have been lost: people don’t want to get involved in the political parties’ mean business, but shortcut opinion formation by referenda. No governments relying on discreet communication, people celebrate WikiLeaks. People wish to restrict minorities (such as migrants or smokers) by referenda, while the state is unnecessarily still protecting them.

Just as the sixtyeighters once came from America to Germany, it’s the reactionary Tea-Party movement today which inspires us. Even if only for operating the principle of majority against democratic institutions, quite in accordance with market-economy principles, you can’t consider citizen anger as conservative. If the sixtyeighters believed that the state was mixing with capitalism in a calamitous way, today’s angry citizens structurally align with capitalism.

Henning Ritter, a publicist, has recently noted in his jotter the fine observation that self-fulfilment may be highly appreciated, but without having anything in common with emancipation. The sixtyeighters were filled with the legitimate desire to emancipate from many things – the generation of their parents, or the patriarchy. Despite all revolutionary pathos, the protest soon turned to subcultural recesses or all kinds of careers that were felt meaningful. But from the moment where it dawns on you that self-fulfilment beyond the existing achievements doesn’t translate into individual gains in liberty any more, there will be no march through the institutions any longer, but their dismantlement instead.

Aygül Özkan’s next Big Thing

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So sorry, prime minister.

So sorry, prime minister.

After Aygül Özkan’s initative for the removal of crucifixes from Lower Saxonian classrooms (that would be basically five or six classrooms in the south of  Oldenburg Land) has failed, her latest initiative, one for culturally sensitive language in the press, has failed, too. Lower Saxony’s prime minister David McAllister said today that he hadn’t been informed about the contents of the “media charter”, and that his state chancellery, not Özkan’s ministry of social affairs, was in charge of Lower Saxony’s media policies. “There is no way that a government could instruct journalists how they have to report.”

Özkan was appointed minister of social affairs by former Lower Saxonian prime minister Christian Wulff, shortly before Wulff himself chose to become Germany’s top empty shirt & tie, probably after learning that his state’s financial situation was fairly rotten.

Now poor Özkan is in the lion’s den. McAllister, the new boss, is a bad guy.

But Taide has learned from usually well-informed circles that Özkan is already preparing her next big thing. She plans to have all Lower Saxonians (who are, after all, very Hanoverian) collectively apologize to prime minister McAllister, son of a Scottish father, for the Battle of Culloden. Besides, a minute of silence shall be obeyed on 16th April next year.

How Israel screws its Reputation

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Israel’s government press office passed on a link to a youtube video – by “Caroline Glick and the Flotila Band” –  to journalists on June 4, five days after the IDF raided the Turkish cruising ship Mavi Marmara on May 31 which was on its way to Gaza to “bring in humanitarian aid and supplies”, defying the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

"Caroline Glick and the Flotila Band"

youtube video: "Caroline Glick and the Flotila Band"

The video, “We con the world”, had been posted on youtube on June 3, produced by the Latma website. Maybe the “joke” could have worked if it had lasted up to twenty seconds – but “We con the world”, based on the 1980s song by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, takes painful five minutes, too long even if it had been a good skit. Israelis act as “Arab” and “Turkish” activists (or gangsters?), and with strained attempts to produce funny lines: “The greatest bluff of all”, “We’ll make them all believe that the Hamas Is Momma Theresa” (by the way, the old nun spelled her name Teresa) are not really funny.

The press office apparently had second thoughts about the “fun”, too. Der Spiegel quotes Dutch  news agency BNO as reporting that the office had contacting them with the intention to retract the email with the link.

The main problem with the video isn’t that it is using stereotypes. That could still be funny. The real problem, I believe, is that Mrs Glick and the Flotila Band didn’t enjoy their own show. It was a hasty propaganda measure, and the Israeli government’s press office dived for it like for a last straw.

The American “Center for Security Policy”, a conservative organization, is a major donor to latma.tv, Der Spiegel wrote on June 5. Caroline Glick, who took part in the “Flotila Band” production, moved from Hyde Park, Chicago to Israel in the 1990s and is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the “Center for Security Policy”. Yesterday, she posted another “funny” one: “The Three Terrors”, i. e. Ahmadinejad (Iran), Erdogan (Turkey), and al-Assad (Syria). The comments to her post don’t suggest that the viewers really had fun either. It’s fear, loathing, and little else.

It is obvious that the “Free Gaza” movement gives a rat’s ass on how life and Hamas are treating the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. The only thing that matters is what Israel does to Gaza. The “Free Gaza” movement wouldn’t have cared either if Hamas had taken the cargo from the Mavi Marmara and distributed it among the Palestinian people there in accordance with their allegiance to the Hamas regime.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the IDF raided the Mavi Marmara in international waters, and that the operation took the lives of nine “activists” who, after all, may have carried lots of knives and clubs – but no guns.

Sometimes, it would be nice if people like Mrs Glick and her Flotila Band would just shut up.

Their recent activities show that their mouths are no smaller than those of the people they fear and hate. Maybe they know each other only too well.

Written by taide

June 19, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Another Friday Night in Verden

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Cave people

Cave Peoples' nightlife (picture: JR)

A number of nightlife fans aged between sixteen and twenty had a big fight in the Sandberg street, in the vicinity of a discotheque, on Friday night or Saturday morning. Then they let loose on the arriving police (usually one or two patrollers only) who defended themselves with pepper spray. A twenty-year old was chased and arrested after throwing a cobblestone. The sixteen-year olds were handed over to their lucky parents.

If education worked, the police would have had a calm night, and the idiots would have a future. And if idiots had a bit of memory, they might have been prepared for police who is somewhat chippy these days anyway, and in no mood to take chances.

What’s next for Poland?

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Merkel, Putin: what's next for Poland?

Titanic Magazine, Merkel, Putin: what's next for Poland?

Postcards

Titanic Magazine »

Written by taide

April 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Brutal Poachers in Baden

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No, not in Baden-Baden, where the pretty people play. It’s Baden, Verden district, where they prefer a nice game of soccer instead. If they don’t go for a completely different kind of game.

brutal poachers

brutal poachers

Like those BRUTAL POACHERS (German: brutale Wilderer) who have caught several deer in wire loops during the past few days, in the marshlands around Baden. Kreisjägermeister Hilmar Kruse and the police are waiting for tips from the neighbourhood, says our district’s weekly Aller-Report.

One might argue that there is an overpopulation of deer in our district – but if anyone is going to kill an animal here, it needs to be someone officially entrusted with the bloody job.

That said, I can understand the concerns about the wire loops brutality. But in that case, the Kreisjägermeister should make good, fire-noise-oppressed UZI available to all poachers (firenoiseoppressed, to keep the poachers’ business sufficiently secret).

But only one shot at a time please. Too many hits spoil the broth.