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Rage against the Machine: Mow-My-Lawn!!!

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I mentioned the way German society is ticking, in my post on Rafael Behr and the way he criticizes”complaints” from the police (or their trade union), on Monday. Rafael Behr’s article on DIE ZEIT has got some 163 comments, which is no small number (even though middle-east related articles frequently get more).

One comment by a certain Guy of Osborne (if that’s a place in Britain or elsewhere in the English-speaking world, don’t take it personally – the guy is definitely German, and from how he writes, I can say with confidence that his family has been German for generations):

The police are no service providers? But of course they are! Just like any public officer! Do you think I’m paying for persons who harass me on behalf of an authority (for which I feel no respect either!), or who, in the best case, ignore me? Do I pay taxes so as to enable the state (I’m not referring to the rest of the populace) to subjugate me even better, or to finance his little adventure trips to Afghanistan? Maybe you are right, and I should raise money with other injured parties and hire the Hells Angels – that’s cheaper and more effective.

If I had replied to that poor guy (he’s a damaged party because police in a rather tranquil residential area didn’t save his and his neighbors’ cars as they were scratched at nighttime), I would have wished the “Hells Angels” upon him, and DIE ZEIT would have moderated my comment. But anyway – a friendly patrolman (that’s what he wrote he is), in his capacity as another commenter, took care of Guy’s woes:

“I’m paying your salary with my tax money, so you’ll need to do as I say.”

You pay your taxes, amongst others, so that your children get to school safely, without getting run over by drunk car drivers or being kidnapped by marauding horsemen. You pay so that someone will help you when you are in trouble, when you are trapped in your car, your bank account is being looted, or a crazy stalker is after you.

You pay so that someone patrols your road at half past four, come rain or **** cold, so that you can stay in your bad without being scared.

You pay for someone who’s looking after your ill sister who you can’t reach, and who, with some hundred colleagues, helicopters, and infrared cameras, searches the thickest forest when your high-maintenance mother escaped the home for the elderly.

You pay taxes so that there is always someone who will risk his own health to save yours – no matter how little he may like you.

And your fellow people pay taxes so that the police will protect them from you, if you infringe their rights and break the law.

So – don’t tell me that the police weren’t there for you, only because they won’t mow your lawn!

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“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.

Too Beautiful to be Published

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Margot Kässmann, material celf-censored by Tai De

Margot Kässmann, material celf-censored by Tai De

Given that I’m a civil servant, and that freedom of expression in Germany is more limited than in the U.S. of A., I will not publish this beautiful (fictional) story about former Bishop Kässmann, who will indeed spend some time abroad.

But not in Afghanistan.

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.

The German Schools are Ready

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I felt tempted to say that they are ready from day one, but Hilary Clinton said she was, and her day didn’t come. But anyway: we, the teachers are ready, and the schools are ready.

Many questions are asked about the schools. In most cases, they are asked by people who should ask questions about themselves instead. By parents who are glad to send their kids to school, not because they want their children to learn something, but because they are glad to see the back of them, at least for a while. Politicians who put parents’ voliton first, and neglect teachers’ expertise, because there are many parents, but only few teachers in their constituencies, should ask themselves questions.

And if parents or teachers – or both – start asking themselves question, day one will be here.

That’s haughty, right? But you see, teachers have constantly asked themselves questions during the past ten or fifteen years. And teachers have studied, been trained on the job, and twenty or thirty years ago, as a student, I would have survived even the worst of my colleagues of today. Compared to my teachers decades ago, they are geniuses.

It’s time that others start asking themselves questions now.

Verden: Prison and Therapy for Knifer

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Hawkar A. from Verden, 19 years old, has been sentenced to five years and nine months in prison and in a psychiatric clinic’s closed ward by the Verden Regional Court’s 3rd Criminal Division on Thursday. The defendant, apparently an Iraqi national, had seriously injured his older brother by stabbing him five times, in an argument about too-loud-a-television in July last year. The defendant forthrightly admitted that he had intended to kill his brother, and during the trial, he continued to advance the view that he had been perfectly right in doing so.

Verden Regional Court

Verden Regional Court (Landgericht Verden)

His brother had taken refuge in a pub next to the railway station, and police and an emergency doctor came to his help there. Hawkar A. stabbed a policeman into the cervical artery. The patrolman was only saved by the emergency doctor, the Verdener Kreiszeitung writes in its Friday printed edition.

The policeman is back on duty, has reportedly overcome the psychological impact, but still has difficulty at speaking.

The judge found that the defendant had “no respect for lives” and needed both a therapy and a tangible prison term, but added that a shattered family background and a maturational lag needed to be considered as well.

Written by taide

March 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Margot Käßmann goes to Afghanistan

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Breaking new ground: Margot Käßmann (picture: tanks to JR)

Breaking new ground: Margot Käßmann (picture: tanks to JR)

Bishop Margot Käßmann, the German equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury (The Times), resigned this week after police found her drunk at the wheel of her company car. She now intends to work as a parish priest, writes the Times. However, Taide has obtained information that she has reported to duty in Kunduz, Afghanistan, as a military pastor.

“She’s having a helluva time here,” says Colonel Heinz Krauthammer. “She’s absolutely thrilled about riding a Panzer once in a while. Unfortunately, she’s squashed the only traffic light here in Kunduz which had been carefully built by a girl’s school a month earlier, sponsored by Hornbach, but there isn’t much motor traffic here anyway, except hers.”