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Join in and Seek out New Life!

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One of my sources here in Verden provided me with a recent newsletter from the regional Christian Democratic Union or CDU, a traditionally conservative party (which is to say that there is no noticeable political party on its right side on the German political spectrum). To give you an idea, it’s the party of Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel.

The Modern Join-In Party

CDU: The Modern Join-In Party

The CDU here in Verden made a survey among its members in the Verden district and learnt from the feedback (no statistics given in the newsletter) that the CDU’s local work is viewed positively by the party’s grassroots, especially because it is strong and active in election campaigns.

Probably to become even stronger and still more active, the CDU in Lower Saxony wants to become a modern join-in party (Mitmachpartei). Member of (federal) parliament Andreas Mattfeld is happy to take the time to explain government policies as part of the join-in activities. That much about politics. Besides, the activities on offer…

… is multifaceted, so that for you, there will be something of interest for you, too. As a “join-in party”, we offer politics, sociality, and association! Such multifaceted awareness weeks have never happened here before, and certainly not by other political parties! I cordially invite you to join in yourselves! The schedule of the join-in weeks can be found on the back side.

Best regards

Adrian Mohr, CDU district chairman.

So it all begins with politics, i. e. Mr Mattfeld taking the time to explain government politics, on May 28. And that’s it, basically, as far as politics is concerned. They offer a walk through a forest, a bicycle tour, a cookery course at an Italian inn (with a maximum of ten participants), a refuse collection (not from the households, but on a public playground), OK… and a civic forum on “What kind of school do we want here?”.

Of course, the world football championship is also built into the join-in weeks. On June 13, after yet another bicycling tour, there will be a jumbotron – probably for the match Germany vs Australia. Which is good, because high spirits are almost guaranteed (safer than on an election night for the CDU these days), and there will be an opportunity to sing along with the national anthem.

May I give the CDU a bit of advice? Go to the grassroots and help people filling in their applications for dole-money (that’s what the PDS is doing), or with other stuff that endears you to strange new worlds.

Seek out new life! Your greatest potential is no longer at the “center”. Do away with Angela Merkel, and revive Heiner Geissler. And re-integrate Martin Hohmann to secure the right wing of your party, if Mr Geissler can put up with that (and if Mr Hohmann is still willing).

After all, political parties are about politics.


“Isn’t the Right to Work a Civil Right?”

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Lutz Brockmann is the first mayor who the union speaker can remember who managed to appear on each and every May Day rally in Verden to date. “Only you have managed that, Lutz.”

Good to know that our mayor got something done in his six first years in office.

Verden's mayor Lutz Brockmann greets the masses

Verden's mayor Lutz Brockmann greets the masses

Apart from Mr Brockmann himself who is a member of the social democrats (SPD), neither the SPD nor the “Left Party” had information booths at the rally. The (market)-liberal democrats (FDP) were obviously missing, too, and so were the conservative christian democrats (CDU). The Industrial Union of Metalworkers (IG Metall) had a booth there, and so had the Green Party.

At least one employer was there, too, but stayed on the sidelines. The union speaker didn’t invite him for a beer.

The rally was organized by the German Federation of Unions, the DGB. And it was a smart decision to let a green politician talk. Brigitte Pothmer is a member of the German federal parliament (Bundestag), and she was the one who could actually deliver something that deserves to be called a speech. She even had the nerves to tell her audience that Greece needed financial help, and that it would get financial help: “The longer it take, the more costly it will be.”

That said, just like everyone else, she kept talking about the rights of young people to be trained in the companies after finishing schools, about the right to earn good money for ones good work, the right to this, the right to that. No word about the need to do a good piece of work before getting paid, and no word about the duties to learn reading, writing, and to acquire a basic numeracy before being unleashed on innocent industrial units.

“Isn’t the right to work a civil right? Aren’t decent wages a civil right?”

Obvious answer: to prepare oneself for a good working life is a civil duty. To get the means to make it happen is a civil right. To dumb oneself down is not.

There was a lot of talk about the youngsters and their rights. Their right to oversleep wasn’t mentioned, but it was manifest yesterday morning. You saw many greyheads there on the rally, and I remember no0ne who might have been younger than thirty.

And that, even though they only started at eleven a.m., rather than at 10 a.m. as tradition would demand.

It would have been an even smaller congregation of early Christians if they hadn’t been joined by unionists from the neighbouring town of Achim, who organized a bicycle tour to Verden. Achim itself hasn’t seen a May Day rally this year.

Anyway, Mrs Pothmer made an entertaining talk. And the trade unionist, as usual, managed to produce at least one phrase which made no sense at all. Something like “more work for more money”.

Weather was nice, same as last year. It only started raining in the afternoon. And the Bratwurst was even better than last year.

Wöltingerode/Vienenburg: a Humble Venue for a Humbly-abled Government

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Lower Saxony’s prime minister, Christian Wulff, seems to have a soft spot for Cistercian monasteries. He had his son baptised in Loccum, and this month, he took his cabinet to the monastery of Wöltingerode, in Vienenburg, the Harz mountains.

Wulff has been Lower Saxony’s prime minister since March 4, 2003. He is the member of a conservative party, the Christian Democrats. They are traditionally credited with knowing how to handle budgets. Ora et labora, the old rule of monastic order, was still true in our times, the prime minister told his ministers at the outset of the venue there in Vienenburg.

Some will become aware here how dramatic the situation is, the Nordwestzeitung quoted a government official. The Wulff government plans to slash some 1,500 jobs in the public service, and another 4.6 billion Euros of debt for the federal state. And public officers, whose jobs are basically safe, will need to get prepared for a retirement age of 67. And the state will need fewer teachers, Wulff suggests: the number of students would drop by almost 25 per cent. In short: after seven years of a party in government that knows how to handle money, we are bankrupt.

That would be reason to condemn Mr Wulff’s and his government’s performance. As long as they were in the opposition, a “Lower Saxonian public debt clock” was showing the latest digits in the Christian Democrat’s parliamentary group’s conference room. (I suppose they have either removed it, or have become blind to it.)

Another problem is that it’s impossible to see a policy in what Wulff and his ministers are now doing. Education is one of the few core jurisdictions of a German federal state (i.e. a member state of the German Federal Republic). So far I have only heard that there will be blood, sweat, and tears. But where is the enemy that needs to be overcome? And where is the glory that awaits us after victory? What, besides saving money, does this government want to achieve?

The federal state government’s communication skills either suck, or their jobs have been slashed long ago.

Syria: A Celebrity and a Politician

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You can parade your decadent dog in Syria if you are one of the country’s affluent folks (if you aren’t, you can’t, because it’s costly, and besides, your family would never talk with you again).

You can visit locations like the Narranj in Damascus, and watch Syria’s vice foreign minister Faisal Mikad and Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov  dining there.

And – hey! – you can connect with Baladna, a very modern newspaper, on Facebook now. Asma al-Assad and her husband, Bashar, have done so, too, as Baladna’s network friends. (Homie Bashar even appears twice there, as a celebrity, and as a politician.)

An Awkward and Stiff Penalty

An Awkward and Stiff Penalty

If you are the country’s first lady, you can also surprise the world with highly original and innovative peace plans.

But don’t publicly say stuff like 

Syrians enjoy no protection from arbitrary authorities and the state apparatus’ encroachments.

You can’t say that in Syria. Not without going to jail right away, like Haitham Maleh, after reportedly making the above, too-true-to-be-inoffensive statement.

This post is based on information from an article published by Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin on November 25, unless linked otherwise.

Written by taide

November 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Asma al-Assad’s unnoticed Peace Plan

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Syria’s first lady, Marie-Antoinette à la rose, Asma al Assad, introduced a peace plan for the Middle East and the World a few months ago. I believe it is time to give it some publicity.

“The fact is President Obama is young,” al Assad said, “and President Assad is also very young as well, so maybe it is time for these young leaders to make a difference in the world.”

Many tanks, Madame. Consider yourself nominated.

Asma al Assad is a SENSATION in Europe! (زيارة الرئيس الأسد إلى (فرنسا) أثارت جدلاً واسعاً في الأوساط الفرنسية والأوروبية)

Oh! Ah! Wohoo! Asma al Assad is a SENSATION in Europe! (زيارة الرئيس الأسد إلى (فرنسا) أثارت جدلاً واسعاً في الأوساط الفرنسية والأوروبية)

The Recession isn’t ONLY Bad

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Prices for freehold flats in Bremen have gone down by 23.6 per cent in 2008. On average, buying such a flat in Germany came at the cost of 120,900 Euros, that’s 3.5 per cent less than in 2007. In Munich, prices went up.

There is a downward trend not only in Bremen, but also in neighbouring (or surrounding) Lower Saxony.

ugly rural residential area, Lower Saxony

ugly rural residential area, Lower Saxony

So far, this is how Verden’s local paper quotes Associated Press today. The Handelsblatt adds that one year earlier, there had been a substantial rise in Bremen’s freehold flat prices, and the decline was a correction of that earlier trend.

Either way, if sustained, this trend should do the Lower Saxonian commuter belt around Bremen,  and the Lower Saxonian hinterland in general, a lot of good. Maybe more people than before may move into the city, rather than buying property in rural “development” areas which spread in this otherwise beautiful countryside like cancer until recently.

For Sale, but at a Given Price, April 5, 2009
The Countryside – Reasons to Go, Reasons to Stay, June 7, 2008

Written by taide

September 25, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Not-So-Brainy Talent Search

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Advice for Parents: Media Skills and Optimal Braces Are the Way into your Child's Happy Future!

Advice for Parents: Media Skills and Optimal Braces Are the Way into your Child's Happy 'n Successful Future!

Der Spiegel explains why children who start school earlier than others often lose out during the school years. They are reportedly about  30% less likely to enter college later, than other pupils.

Unfortunately, there is no material about what can happen when a child enters school at a regular age, but then leapfrogs one schoolyear or several due to excellent school performance.

Whenever parents want to see their brat start working as soon as possible, so that they can at last pay off their ambitious homestead, pushing the kids into college at an age of two years less than average may look like a wonderful strategy. Besides, who doesn’t want to have a wunderkind?

But unfortunately, their kids often fail even harder than traditionally weak learners. They may become verhaltensauffällig (“behaviour disordered”) and are frequently disembarked at child or adolescent psychologists’ practices as a result. Arguably pretty often, the professionals won’t try to talk real sense into the parents – after all, they want to keep their business.

Written by taide

September 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm